I Waited 15 Years For This
And thought almost missed it completely
I heard some kids sing ‘Popular’ at a recital I couldn’t be in because I didn’t take voice lessons (she was bitter). I was charmed by the cleverness of an anti-love ballad, and annoyed because I didn’t think the students performing in it gave a shit about the story behind the notes.
I read the book by Gregory MaGuire my freshman year of college. It was fascinating and grim and long and aggravating and so good. It frustrated me, but I also couldn’t put it down. It’s even darker than the musical.
I’ve screlted ‘Defying Gravity’ at MANY show tunes nights at gay bars because showtunes are the hymns of musical theatre church. I taught kid’s theater classes themed after Wicked. I missed the touring production in Ohio probably 2 times because I couldn’t afford a ticket. One day a few years ago, I fell down a deep YouTube hole of pirated clips of the show. I figured I missed my shot, might as well see as much as I can online.
I know this musical, but until last week, I had never seen it. In the theatre community, having gone so long without seeing it leaves many awe-struck. It’s like asking someone if they have seen Orange is the New Black and they’re like, “Oh, I don’t stream”. Or offering ice cream to someone who says, “Oh, I’ve never tried it, and I think I’d like it, but I’ve gone so long never having tried ice cream that is kinda my thing now. I’m the no ice cream guy!”
Wicked is a bucket list show for me, but it’s been running for so long that I never worried about never seeing it. In January, I saw the closing date posted this for March and my stomach dropped. I almost missed this. (NOTE: I misread the closing note, it was just an end date for ticket deal. Wicked will live FOREVER!) I kept waiting and back-burning the opportunity, taking it for granted, and I almost missed it. Every ticket was at least $90. I cruised all the ticketing apps and websites daily, ready to pounce on any back of mezz seat, anything under $60, please! I’ve procrastinated since 2003, but I’m doing it now! I got very lucky.
While I waiting in a huge line for the doors to open at the Gershwin Theater, my mind wondered. Was it just me there for the first time? It’s almost dangerously casual to go to BROADWAY on a Thursday night (What is my life? I love this city, amen). Do you realize that there are teenagers that have never lived in a world without Wicked? What was it like to see Wicked when it first came to the stage? How did people feel not knowing the characters and songs? To not have sung along with the soundtrack every morning or dressed as Elphaba or Glinda for Halloween. I’ve watched so many YouTube videos, seen so many recital performances, sang ‘For Good’ with the choir at a high school graduation. Like, what was being a theatre kid like before everyone knew ‘For Good’? My aunt actually said we had seen Wicked together on tour in Columbus, but I swore it couldn’t have been. However, the production seemed so familiar that I question myself. DID I actually see this before? (no)
The hype was real, and I felt it. Why did I wait so long? I hate to say it, but being so intimate with what Wicked was before I saw it spoiled it for me. I knew the surprises that were coming. I knew the songs and intentions, and the biggest wonder I had the entire night was if I would have loved this on a deeper level had I not waited so long. Regardless, finally attending this show feels like an accomplishment.
How It Happened
I’ve taken on seeing shows in a somewhat utilitarian way. I don’t like to belittle the creative process with logistics, but planning helps. Wait, screw that. Do you know how much planning and meticulous detail goes into producing a show every night? I think I would make stage managers proud of my prowess. I don’t want to mislead you into thinking I can just go see a famous musical on a whim.
First and last, go download TodayTix and TKTS on your phone. I’ll wait.
I love going to musicals and plays. My boyfriend loves that I love these things and will go with me, but doesn’t have the same cathartic experience as I do. So we agreed that should a show come around and it’s too expensive for 2 tickets, it’s totally cool, everyone’s COOL with me going by myself. Our budget is extra cool with it.
NYC has taught me to love taking myself out on a date. I don’t mind eating alone at a restaurant. I’m comfortable at a show or traveling on my own and just running at my own pace. Sometimes the boyfriend works on the weekend. Many of my close friends live uptown and are too far from Brooklyn to meet up regularly. So I just do me.
I maybe eat out too much. I hate saying that because my Mom would be like “Andrea, you know how to cook” and yes, I do. Sometimes, especially in this city, it is so much easier to just pick something up. When you work late, the trains are delayed and it’s raining, it’s so convenient to just get a dang burrito. BUT, prepping meals ahead of time has helped me save a little nest egg that I use exclusively for show tickets. I mean, I’ve cut back other things, too, but eating out is the worst of it.
I decided to try to see one show a month. I said I want to see one show a month out loud, wrote it down, and let the self-actualization grow. And I’ve opened this to any performance, not just Broadway. Because let’s be real, ya girl cannot always afford a Broadway ticket once a month. Life happens.
There are a lot of shows closing in March and I am so irrationally scared to miss them. I missed out on The Great Comet and I still get sad thinking about it. Once a show is done, it’s done. Even a revival wouldn’t be the same. Even the same show night to night isn’t the same. Live theatre is fleeting and I am so overwhelmed by how beautiful that is. How in the moment it is. There are so many ways to capture moments in video and photos, but it truly is never the same as disconnecting from everything outside of your plush velvet theatre seat and being with everyone else in the room for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Let’s gossip. Have you seen Wicked? What did you think? What is your bucket list musical, to see or perform in? Let your lil theatre heart shine in the comments.