Is no secret I'm passionate about musicals. I was a performer in many, saw lots of them all over the world, bought records, tapes, CDs and then, when the net brought us the KazaaLites and LimeWires of life, spent hours downloading their tracks. I taught my daughter to sing with musicals, we drive 'round town with them blasting, we clean the house and cook to their sound.
Still, for many years in London I wasn't able to actually afford the West End theaters. That was until 2004, when Sarita was dancing with a latin dance group called Raices Latinas, and then center's director got us into the Family's First Night Out Project , a scheme sponsored by the Mousetrap Foundation where families have the opportunity to get up to 6 tickets to top West End performances for a mere £5 a head (we are talking £40 to 60 were one to pay full price) providing that half of the booking goes to under 16's. We saw Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor DreamCoat in more than amazing seats and, not only was I told then that my being registered disabled I had a variety of discounts for most theaters, but also discovered Kids Week (a free under 16 for each adult booking) so from then on was a string of marvelous outings for us.
Last year Sarita was insistent in her wanting to see Wicked but, no matter what I did, Kids Week, disabled discounts, hours on the phone, the possibilities of having a reasonable seat were nil and the thought of spending £60 in a theater ticket even when booked 10 months in advanced did not ever have a space in my mind.
But our friend Lu arrived in Europe out of the blue (well, she mailed us when she was already in Switzerland).
Lu lived in Trancoso (Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil) at the same time we did and is now in Sao Paulo producing shows, it seemed the right thing to do to suggest a West End one, problem being Sarita and I have seen most of the main ones….result of the equation: my begging the deputy box office manager of the Apollo Victoria for 3 tickets no further back than row H, more than willing to pay full price.
Alex (very nice deputy box office manager) made me call a few times, made a point of repeating that the only discount we could have was a £10 reduction per ticket (the ones we wanted are £60) but finally we got it:
on Tuesday, the 23rd of August 2008, row G, seats 29,30 & 31, facing stage, we exploded our senses on the extremely Wicked experience.
I'm not gonna go into details as most of the world knows: this is the story behind the Witches of oz.
Instead I'm gonna tell you about a young girl called Alexia Khadime, who played Nala in London's Lion King for 4 years and then blew everyone away when she auditioned for Wicked….she certainly blew our minds that night.
Her skin painted green does little to hide this girl's beauty, and her voice and acting talent made us fall in love.
Not that the rest of the cast doesn't follow: everyone, from leading characters to flying monkeys who have not even one spoken line, everyone, each one of them: marvelous.
The costumes and set design are something wonderful too.
But Alexia Khadime singing Defying Gravity as closing the first act got me buying the CD (£16!!!!). A first for me, I never spend money in merchandise. My disappointment was proportional when we got home and discover that the people singing on the CD are not the ones we had just saw, nope. We got the New York cast.
No offense guys, you (especially y'all here in Vox) know how much I love all things American, I keep telling the world we are in the wrong country…..but I wanted Alexia's voice to fill our house and that did not happen. Oh well.
Not that it stopped us playing the music non stop. We take it to the car, to the kitchen, to the bedrooms. We are in love with Oz. We are in love with Wicked.
Lu left yesterday back to Genevre, and we are trying to plan an encounter next year in Trancoso [though that may mean saying goodbye to my plans of buying an I Mac….:( ] We had the most fantastic week.
Sarita has been relatively good to me, but she had to be off school all last week, they sent her back monday morning coz she had temperature, the weather in London was mad but then Lu brought sun with her thursday, and we kept it for the whole weekend.
There is so much I should be writing about, but my arm and general pain levels don't let me stay in the computer for longer than downloading pictures, only I couldn't not write about Wicked. (there is also the fact that Sarita was so impressed she is considering going back to performing arts school….her lack of interest for anything cultural had me worried lately)
Hope everyone is happy. I know I am right now 🙂
This is not even close to what one sees or hears in the theater, but I just wanted to have something registered of this girl flying between beams of light on stage…..