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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another kind of witch switch

So some of you may have heard, or even seen in person, that this past Sunday night I went on as Elphaba midway through Act II. Elphaba swaps during the show are pretty rare, although not as rare as you'd think, and swaps during Act II are even rarer. Like, if Elphaba swaps in general are Portuguese Man-of-Wars, then swaps in Act II are Goblin Sharks. (<-- Isn't that the weirdest video you've ever seen?)

Recap time, wut wut! So. Where was I this past Sunday night during the evening show, you ask? I was at home, luxuriating on my couch, about to watch another riveting episode of "Say Yes to the Dress" (the suspense always kills me: WILL SHE FIND THE PERFECT DRESS?!?!?!). Nothing out of the ordinary there: on a regular night of work, I usually sign in and head back home, turn on The Learning Channel and pretend not to notice the numbing repetitiveness of all of their programs. And I am always reachable by phone if WICKED needs me.

Sunday, August 8 at 9:40PM, I get a call. I have to go back to the theater! On with the shoes, the sweatpants, the scarf, the dumpy college sweatshirt.  But my nerves remain calm -- even a phone call from stage management doesn't necessarily mean I am on (a lot of times the team will want me in the building just to be safe).

So, dressed in the most heinous of outfits -- rivaled only by what I used to wear during late-night college study sessions, when I would sit with my laptop in Gourmet Heaven, the campus' favorite 24-hour deli, and chew a whole pack of caffeine gum so that I could study an entire semester's-worth of information in 12 hours or less (this unfortunate situation actually only happened once, in my senior year: to fulfill a science credit in order to graduate I made the ill-advised decision to take a class called "Language Abilities in Animals" and wrote my term paper on whether or not dolphins could talk (they can't)) -- I walk to the Orpheum theater.

It takes ten minutes to get there. Moments after walking in the door, I hear: "You're on!"

The first, and only other time I went on as Elphaba during the show was during Act I, and it was my first day on the job. This combination of factors was truly terrifying, but also exhilarating. In contrast, and not to burst everyone's collective bubble or anything, going on this past Sunday night was totally fine. Honest! The only thing that was sort of stressful was getting painted green at super warp speed. But by this point I have such a great rapport with the WICKED staff (my dresser, our makeup artist, our wig supervisor), that we can basically handle any challenge. To be honest, it was actually kind of fun getting into Elphaba makeup and garb with such a small window of time; it was kind of like that game show Minute to Win It, except there was no weird robot lady with a British accent telling me what to do. Stage management did end up holding the show for a few minutes right before the "Wonderful" scene and song in Act II (which is where we did the witch switch) while I finished getting ready, but, well, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

And then I finished the show. Yay!

I hope this explains everything to people who have been asking about it. As for what happened with Marcie Dodd, our brilliant and lovely principal Elphaba, please no prying questions! She just wasn't feeling well and couldn't finish the show. Believe it or not, this happens quite a bit in live theater. Anyway, she's back and fierce as ever, and, when all is said and done, I'm glad I was able to step in and help her. Cuz it be ma job, y'all.

PEACE OUT TO BROOKLYN,
Felicia.

25 comments:

  1. While I do so enjoy the inside scoop, I am most thrilled by your inclusion of my buddy, the GOBLIN SHARK. Heh.

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  2. Oh, I give you all the credit for introducing me to the goblin shark -- and you can take the blame if that video scares the kiddies. :) WEIRDEST THING EVER

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  3. That shark is the scariest looking thing I have ever seen!! Eeek!!!! Hate sharks!!! Close to 1 one too many times. =O

    That's why a standby is for, just incase...right? Gotta go on at a moment's notice. ;) It might be rare for it to happen, but it keeps happening to you, Felicia. I bet you will never forget your first Wicked run, right?

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  4. Glad to hear Marcie is ok, and that you handled the rest of the show fabulously! :D

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  5. We were there Sunday with whole family. Never had that happen to us before. It was still a great show. I thought at one point Marci came back. I guess that how good a stand-in you are. Thanks for the post, it always good for us fans to get the back story, it makes the show that more interesting. I heard that that was Alli last show. If so who is the new Glinda?

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  6. Hey guys! Thanks for the comments!
    Randy, that wasn't Alli's last show; she's here until we close September 5. --FR

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  7. Way to be a great Standby! Glad Marcie is doing okay!I am sure she is grateful!

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  8. I think I'm still a little jumpy after shark week. Just when I thought it was safe to sleep with the lights off again...

    But wow, must be such a rush to go from zero to Elphie so fast! Way to do handle your bizzle, yo.

    big ups from the 718!

    Lesley

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  9. Luxuriating! Hahaha! That was the BEST from Toddlers and Tiaras! So fun to hear all about your Wicked adventures!!

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  10. ohhhhh that's why Marcie was gonee...ok.
    i like inside scoop. :DD

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  11. Well, I'd say you earned your pay that day. Why do I miss all the fun days?
    As to the Goblin Shark, the really creepy part is the retracting of the teeth. Yikes! They showed that a lot.
    I love Shark Week, but I love The Theatre even more!

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  12. Felicia! I'm the girl who told you that I read your blog, and you said you'll have to blog about this! :) Haha. You didn't, but thats okay. I forgive you! I love your blog.

    heres the picture!
    http://tinypic.com/r/1zogbao/4

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  13. wow, your blog kills me! I was there Sunday, thanks so much for giving us the inside scoop as i was so curious. Needless to say but you were amazing stepping in and I adored the show. I've now become re-obsessed with the show and singing the soundtrack at work is my new hobby. Thanks for being wonderful.

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  14. Off the top of my head I can't remember hearing about an Elphaba swap that happened during Act 2 before; thanks for sharing the details! :)

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  15. Would love to know exactly how they "hold the show" - please expound

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  16. Our family was there at the show, and we all thought you did an EXCELLENT job! This was our second time, and we were a little worried because we love Marcie, but you have a beautiful voice. Keep up the good work. Hey, did you hear about what happened during Act I when Alli had to go off stage with the giggles during the popular scene? It was hilarious.

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  17. BTW, as to anonymous asking about how they "hold the show", I was there, they paused the show, lights went up, and the announcer came on and said that Felicia Ricci will be playing the part of Elphaba for the rest of the show, and it will begin again in about 5 minutes. That was it, then it began again with Felicia. She did great!

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  18. Felicia, thanks for posting this funny, informative, and very tactful account of the witch switch. I adore Marcie, and she is someone I consider to be a dear friend. She has been hounded about the whole ordeal, and frankly, I love that you stepped in with your "no prying questions please."

    LOVE your humor and I could totally picture you in your sweats only to get the "your'e goin' in kid..." From couch to stage in what? 25 minutes? CRAZY!!

    Thanks for sharing AND protecting Marcie's privacy at the same time. I just love your style girl! You rock!

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  19. Hi Felicia!

    I've wondered, do the standby and principles get the same amount of pay? Or do the standby's pay differ by the number of nights they go on? Thanks!
    Oh yeah, thank you so much for the playbill. You better be coming to Broadway soon! :)

    xox
    Jared

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  20. Wow...what an adventure! I totally would have panicked...props for staying cool in an unusual situation!

    I'd also love to know what it's like being Marcie's standby versus Eden's...have you had to change your own performances?

    Hope the final few weeks in SF go well...and that you have exciting adventures ahead!

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  21. I don't even know what to do with that shark video except gape and then cover my mouth with my palm. Glad the show went smoothly and that Marcie is back and well! Always love reading your entries, Felicia!

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  22. @Jared Um, I don't know what anybody else gets paid.

    @Jessica There are slight variations, mostly with small technical things, like: with Eden, after "Popular" I took my glasses from the bed when I ran off stage. Marcie, on the other hand, doesn't do that, so to make things consistent from show to show, I leave them on the bed. This is just one example, and it might sound like a trivial difference, but it ensures that all shows run super smoothly, no matter who is playing whom.

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  23. so here's an awkward story...I am slightly obsessed with your blog! I am friends with Alyssa Fox and due to her recent involvement in Wicked I have stumbled upon your blog. I am ever so glad that I did. You are such a great writer and I love hearing your juicy and interesting behind the scenes stories. If you had a column in a magazine I would subscribe to that magazine just to read your column. That sounds creepy...but anywho, thanks for being so entertaining. Best of luck after the show closes!

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  24. Haha from couch to witch in 25 minutes hahaha :) Thanks for all the backstage stuff Felicia!! I'm sad Wicked is closing but hope you guys have fun the last couple of shows!!! Have fun!!!

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  25. Felicia, I got to see your fantastic debut. Loved it, loved it, loved it. You are incredible. :)

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