October 2016 RECAP #MonthlyRecap

Ha! You’d think I’d be doing this quite regularly now. But no, I still miss posting on certain days when I am supposed to. I shouldn’t be hard on myself, though. Have to remember that I promised myself that I’d just chill and not stress over it. I did stress about other writing-related things and with good reason. Let me just keep that/those to myself, though. Regardless, I think I did okay enough.

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here’s how October 2016 went:

Blog-wise:

(1) So, how did my hash potatoes go?

#MondayMemoirs (see “comfort”) – I’m supposed to always have a Monday post weekly. Unfortunately, these days, I am usually busy at home on weekends, I am not able to log in.

Even when I am able, I often spend my time worrying about other “real-world” things, like accompanying one of the kids to class rehearsals as the class is required to perform as a group. Well, they were made to choose from dancing and singing and it’s good he chose the latter–he’s not a good singer, but he is a more awkward dancer. He even kind of freezes when performing. I am trying to change that, although I don’t think my strict style is working on him...

#MondayReviews (see Cancer? Schmancer! ~Fran Drescher)

#TuesdayTunes (see Fight Songs!, Poetry in Music) – You can never really run out of things to share when it comes to music. Maybe just run out of time when busy. Good thing I was able to deliver.

#AskWednesday (see The Warrior Teacher) – Well, somebody promised she’d be sending her answers, but she probably hasn’t answered anything yet. Plus she just lost someone close to her so that’s understandable. As for the others, it’s my own fault as I haven’t sent any questions yet (partly because I was expecting the said promised answers). Will push through then.

#ThursdayTips (none in October ) – In a sort of way, my missing posts here were kind of affected by a kind of issue I had to deal with last month. To think I do have stuff to share.

#FeatureFriday – Last time, I said this would alternate with #FridayFlashdance, which basically meant it would be my default post whenever I couldn’t post a feature in time. However, given that it was near Halloween, thought I’d do a #FreakyFriday thing again, like last year. So…

#FreakyFriday (see Freaky Me, ZZzzzoooommmbiiiesss…!!!) – I actually enjoyed these! The thing is, I was also supposed to share a third post last October 28. Miss Indecisive got the better of me again. The post is still in draft mode. Because I enjoyed that, though, and it’s still November, anyway, think I’ll continue this hash potato for a while. Don’t be surprised, then, by next Friday.

Saturdays and Sundays, or any day, could be about anything. I will post anything when I feel like it, like Moms, we are with you… that is a re-share of a writeup over at My Trending Stories. I definitely could relate to it.

(3) My Trending Stories. Posted once or twice, but certain things were kind of off for me and I didn’t have time to deal with them as well. I will need to have a working scheme for this because I do want to post there.

(4) Memoirs of a Coffee Cat. If you don’t know yet, that’s my more personal blog over at another platform. There were a few posts when I was in Drama Queen mode, but they were not really much. I just wanted to let off a bit of steam. Meanwhile, I have been re-sharing stuff from way back 2004, editing and updating along the way. It’s weird in a way as I get to re-read stuff that I now do not remember what were really about (some stuff vaguely shared), or who I was referring to. To think I said somewhere there that I could be having a lovelife soon. LOL. I should have known that “soon” meant eight years more, give or take.

Social Media Reach-out:

As I said in my last recap, I am very thankful to new followers. And of course, I am also very thankful to those who have followed me over the months, especially the years. Let me share some of them to you  and feel free to visit their blogs. Here they are in alphabetical order:

Christine,         Jane,          Lani,        Mabel,

Raine,               Rara,          Victo

More bloggers to link to in the coming months, for sure. “Old” ones, new ones.

Fiction/Story-writing:

Trying something out. That’s all I’m going to say.

Literature:

Done with Gregory Maguire‘s Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West online book. I wish I could read the third installment of his series, but I couldn’t find an uploaded copy where I found the first. I will read something else from there then as I am curious to see how certain movies based on books actually “look” and “feel” in written form.

Personal:

How apt that I thought of starting to watch The Walking Dead. Got season 1 and watched with the family. There were several awkward moments the first family night when characters spent sexy time, so the kids had to look away or close their eyes. The next night, I made sure to fast-forward to more wholesome scenes (like there’s any) as I already finished the whole thing the night before, ergo, I knew what to expect and when. Got season 2 now, but we haven’t seen it yet. Meanwhile, we started watching Japanese animated films. I made sure to watch with them so I could translate and explain the movies to them.

Aside from movies, I am again obsessing over stuff and stars that I obsessed over years back. Two of them are “CATS The Musical” and Veerle Casteleyn. I have, in fact, been playing professional sleuth (or professional stalker, you choose), trying to really find Veerle. I am proud to say that I have updated my post that is dedicated to her: Little Dove: Cat of a Feather. Do check!!! One of my fondest wishes is to see Veerle in person before I die. If I do die not seeing her, then I’ll fly and get to finally find her at the other side of the globe–no visa!!! I’ll be the first stalker spirit/ghost, ha ha haaa!!!!

 

Alright, that’s it with October. I predict that November would be a blast (yeah, right). Oh, and it’s my parents’ wedding anniversary today…

Love you, Mame & Dade!!!

 

September 2016 RECAP #MonthlyRecap

September was a much better month for me, writing/blogging-wise. There were some glitches, but the positives outweighed the negatives. I mean this in a less-stressed out way. There were two weeks that I hardly posted anything. Something got me busy, but all was for naught. At least, I tried. It honestly did cause me to lose my mojo a bit, had to clear my head…Now, I’m BACK.

writer-stuff

Here’s how September 2016 went:

Blog-wise:

(1) Not obvious, but I have begun calling may hashes as “hash potatoes”. No reason, I just think it’s cute. I’ve thought of several reasons to give just so I can justify calling them that but, bottomline is, I just like it, period.

So, how did my hash potatoes go?

hash-tag-sign#MondayMemoirs (see What I Am) – I could have posted more, but Mondays are often tricky unless I am able to schedule something the weekend prior. No #MondayReviews posted.

#TuesdayTunes (see Out of Oz)

#AskWednesday (see Born to Sing) – I was so lucky to have interviewed the very gracious Hanna De Guzman. Read to get to know her, guys.

#ThursdayTips (see Let the Spiders Crawl)

#FeatureFriday (see Butterfly Kisses and Lullabies, my replacement Friday post) – This is also a tricky day for me. I do intend to alternate this with #FridayFlashdance. Guess what that’s going to be about 😉

Saturdays and Sundays could be about anything, just like any given day of the whole week. That is, when I am able to post anything. Or MORE, like Dream a Little Dream [Reshared].

(2) So I’m done with my singer, Hanna. I am currently waiting for my interview with my horticulturist-friend, and a Muay Thai artist with whom I worked when I was in college. I have not really yet talked to Andoyman regarding the update interview. But here’s news! The professional dancer I mentioned before has said yes to an interview. Will do that soon!

(3) My Trending Stories. As mentioned before, it’s a new site, they’re still doing stuff to perfect it, but it’s still an honor to be invited, and there’s no such thing as perfect. This is me (CLICK ON IT):

my-trending-stories-jgi

I began posting for it. Then there were two weeks that I was really prolific in posting. The next two weeks, though, I lost much interest and time in posting anywhere.  I’ll get back to it, I promise.

Social Media Reach-out:

This really took the backseat. But I assure you that I appreciate everyone who clicks on LIKE and especially FOLLOW. I am awed and humbled that despite my seeming inactivity, I keep finding out through my email that people have been clicking on the FOLLOW button.

I would like to pay it forward. Just let me get my act together and I will soon be posting links here to legit followers (I do emphasize on legit).

Fiction/Story-writing:

NEXT!!!

Literature:

Abandoned Thomas Hardy‘s Tess of the D’Urbervilles for now. Unintentionally abandoned Gregory Maguire‘s Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West online book. Priorities weigh heavier. Will try to get back to reading soon as I am able.

Personal:

csi-las-vegas-showI do try to go online on weekends, but I’ve lessened it. Going online does cost money if you don’t have a permanent Internet connection and you just buy “load” for your WiFi, like I do, though it is less expensive.

I’m only home on weekends, so it’s the time to do stuff in the house the way I want them done (I am slightly OC, so understand that I want to do things a certain way).  Time to arrange things the way I want them arranged, sew what needs to be sewn, fix what little things need to be fixed, iron clothes for the coming week, and see to it that the kids open their books and notebooks. More important, weekends mean family time. I’m not the perfect mother at all, but I try to manage the best I can, even if they hate it when I get mad.

So in the evenings or while I iron clothes, I just watch my still-unseen Season 9 and 10 episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Life is a series of ups and downs, so you face everything. No ifs, no buts. You have to learn everyday. Therefore, in the meantime, you get to watch the gory stuff and plan how you can get away with murdering your enemies and covering up all the evidence…KIDDING!!! 😉

August 2016 RECAP #MonthlyRecap

what to write

What to write? What. To. Write? What-to-write? Whatto write? What towrite? Whattowrite? Whattowrite, Whattowrite? WhattowriteWhattowrite? WhattowriteWhattowriteWhattowrite…?????!!!!

Seemed like it was just last week when I was complaining about how fast July flew by, thing was, it wasn’t last week. August certainly beat my July. I hardly know where the weeks went! And I am totally irritated with myself. Seems like I hardly did anything, at least nothing that I really wanted to do. Well,…not exactly, but I’m still mad.

Here’s how August 2016 went:

Blog-wise:

(1) Excited by how my hashes made me prolific, I decided to do some trial-and-error and find out what would work best for me. In my busy-ness about this matter, planning and planning and planning, I ended up not posting much at all, because I couldn’t make up my freakin’ mind!!! Indecisiveness does not solve anything. I need to fix that about myself. If you were able to follow me, at least, last week, I think you would notice that I tried.

So I have created a new set of scheduling scheme and it will hopefully work. Anyway, my hashes will go like this:

#MondayMemoirs (which I am skipping for now to make way for this), alternating with #MondayReviews (see Helen vs Troy, though that’s more of a comparison of two films rather than a review)

#TuesdayTunes (see They Say Something Together)

#AskWednesday (see Interview with a Komikero REWIND)

#ThursdayTips (wait for it)

#FeatureFriday (I didn’t have any last month. I know already who to feature, but I never get to write the full thing.)

Saturdays and Sundays could be about anything, just like any given day of the whole week.

(2) Happy to say (like I haven’t yet…) that I have a bunch of interviewees already — a horticulturist, a singer, a Muay Thai artist, a comic book artist (we haven’t talked about this yet, but he saw already last Wednesday’s post, so he knows an update interview is coming), hopefully a dancer (haven’t talked about it with her yet), hopefully another martial artist (who hasn’t yet read my invitation for an interview). Now, I am crossing my fingers that anyone of the first three sends her answers for next week’s post…

(3) Well, I got a nice invitation to be a regular writer for My Trending Stories. It’s a new site, they’re still doing stuff to perfect it, but it’s still an honor to be invited, and there’s no such thing as perfect. This is me (CLICK ON IT):

my-trending-stories-jgi

You will see that I am FOLLOW-ing myself. Narcissistic -much. Pathetic, huh? LOL. Actually, I don’t know what I did but I ended up clicking on the follow button or something and can’t even find a way to unfollow myself. But YOU! You, my friends, are welcome to FOLLOW me there, LIKE anything, make a COMMENT.

I post random stuff, meaning, much like here in my blog, I post anything I feel like posting. I want to be able to post for various sections and be versatile. I do choose the less personal thingies. Readers are not there to find out what I did today, what I ate yesterday, where I was last week. Well, I could tell you, but the life of the Real J.Gi isn’t so interesting so, bleh.

Social Media Reach-out:

I am ashamed to say that this whole reach-out thing is kinda overwhelming me. It’s not that I don’t do it. The thing is, I try to do everything, that is why I end up kind of like incapacitated. Talk about irony. I need to be more organized. Or maybe I try to organize everything, that’s the problem. My husband has been saying that with me, I always have to have a process. That is true. But it also causes my downfall. So maybe I’ll just chill-out a bit and be more spontaneous about it. Yes, let’s try that.

Fiction/Story-writing:

Did I mention I have lived with a chaotic mind this past month?

Literature:

Started with Thomas Hardy‘s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, but then I found Gregory Maguire‘s Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West book online! Yay!!!!

Personal:

When my August started, it was really messed-up already — remnants of July. If only I could tell you. Maybe the life of the Real J.Gi is interesting after all, at least, for those who like tension a lot. However, it has been my motto to be positive so I try not to let things get to me. They still do, but at least, I don’t sulk about them. You can’t change people, especially not the self-important, self-righteous, self-entitled, judgmental ones. So you change how you react to them instead.

Okay, the happy things: I met up with two of my dearest friends on separate days. Didn’t take a twofie with Jenny; did take twofies with Myra, lots of ’em, but not sure if she’d be okay with me sharing any here. We updated ourselves with one another’s lives. It’s always nice to spend time with your buddies for life.

The sad things:

(1) I missed the Indie Komiks Market. Again. But I never miss the Komikons without valid reasons. Just that they are always valid. I’ll try to make up for it in the Grand Komikon.

my-friend-sherwin

Me and my friend Sherwin The Kraken at one of the Komikons

(2) Two good guys have left. One good guy is about to. It sucks when you lose people you like, those who have been good to you, who even tolerate you when you’re being talkative or asking too many technical questions while they also worked, who make an effort to not make you feel left out.

A special shout-out to one of my besties, Sherwin The Kraken! I will miss you. Thank you so much for everything, you know I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I hope to still see more of you, but we know that reality is, people do grow apart, at least, by distance. I hope to still be with you and your lovey on the next comics conventions!

 

Alright, let’s see what September 2016 has in store…

 

July 2016 RECAP #MonthlyRecap

Oh, July! How fast you went by! But at least, you kept me pretty busy and I hope I can keep it up. How did I fare? I think I did well enough.

serious-blogger

Blog-wise:

(1) I started my Hashes — that’s what I’m calling my hashtagged posts (e.g. #TuesdayTips, #FeatureFriday). These kept my blog busy. Not sure if they work to my advantage in terms of actual readership, but they give me more focus. July was trial-and-error month, though, so I’ll be trying a more workable scheme.

For August, I’ve started trying to see what works best, what combo days, etc. The stats page does tell my current best days and best times, but since I’m not a business anyway, I am not going to sweat on those. It’s not really just about what brings in the visitors, but about how I can work on my posts efficiently and regularly. If anything, I maybe adding one or two more hashes.

BTW, this post replaces #MondayMemoirs for now.

cherished-blog-fest(2) I joined and finished a challenge! It was the Cherished Blog Festival (#CBF16, #CherishedBlogFest) that was held last July 29-31. Instead of just one post for the whole challenge, I made one for each day. I will try to join this again next year.

Through this, I met more bloggers, followed more, got more followers–win-win situation, right? However, considering what I thought of sharing as cherished “item” (FAMILY) and my own feelings at the time I created the posts, they became therapeutic for me. I do want to keep it more jolly next time.

Post titles: ‘My Family’, ‘How do I Love Thee’, ‘Inspirations’

(3) I continued “re-updating” Memoirs of a Coffee Cat. Was actively doing it first half of July, not-so-much the next. I’m not really in a hurry. This is how it’s going to run.

(4) I got interviewed about life as an “N.B.S.B.” or, at least, former. It was fun to share my story, in a sort of way. In hindsight, because I didn’t realize at the time that since I’d be sharing it to you all, who are mostly non-Filipinos, I should have stuck with an all-English interview. Most of Dr. Eamer’s blog’s Filipino readers understand English anyway. Nevertheless, you can still get a lot from what I shared.

(5) Last time, I mentioned about the Awards Gallery. Happy to report I did add the newer certification badge. Currently trying to find time to get certified for yet another online training. Meanwhile, sorry to announce I haven’t answered three blog awards still, especially one that I told my blogger-friend Christine a.k.a. C.E. I was going to answer (honestly, I began, but answering it proved to be harder than it sounds).

Social Media Reach-out:

(1) As usual, I try to say thank you to new blog followers, even post-likers. It’s just right to show my appreciation and let them know they’re not just statistics to me. I make sure to visit their blogs, say something, have a look around.

If I haven’t told you yet, I have been visiting those who have clicked on FOLLOW even many, many, many months ago, been doing that since last year. I feel ashamed for not having said my thanks before. Understandably, many of them probably felt unappreciated and did not come back, so I’m reaching out. I’ve begun doing the same thing with my Facebook page. It’s just funny when I message them and they ask “who are you?”

(2) My Facebook page, J.GiOFFICIAL, just turned one last Friday, Yaaaayyyy!!!!!

Fiction/Story-writing:

I mentioned about having created my Wattpad account. Well, after my first fiction post, my posting itself became fiction, sadly. Haven’t had the time and that should be what I have to really work hard on, having the time. Haven’t even updated parts of stories.

Again, I will try. Maybe I should integrate my writing with my hashes. Will let you know soon. Planning two other things. Not telling yet. You’ll know it once something comes out of them.

Personal:

Honestly, if I start telling you what’s been happening now and what’s been happening in the past years of my life, you’re going to get much more entertained with  my true stories rather than with my fiction. These recent weeks weren’t that kind and were particularly stressful. I just try to take things in stride, keep calm and keep the peace. Just don’t make me promise to stay like that as that will depend on other people. When you keep getting pushed to the brink, eventually, you’ll push back, right? I just try to balance things. For now.

On a less serious note, I finished Gregory Maguire‘s Son of a Witch like I said I would 😉 Currently finishing Anne Rice‘s Interview with the Vampire that I long-started and kept long-abandoned till now. Don’t ask me yet what’s next on the list.

 

Alright, August 2016, let’s get to work!!!

What’s Up? #atozchallenge2015

I’ve been house-bound for days and will continue to be in the coming weeks. But I refuse to just keep lying down or sitting down doing nothing or staring into space or, worse, crying and staying depressed. So I try to keep busy. Of course, I don’t overdo, don’t worry. So what’s up with me?

These are what keep me busy:

TV. There are actually not so much interesting stuff to watch on regular channels. Too bad we don’t have cable. It won’t be practical for us, anyway. But I’ve been watching way too much kiddie shows for my own good, I’ve found myself singing along to Hi-5 songs.

Books. I finally had time to finish The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd last week (I liked the movie as well, just want to say). I am now reading the same author’s work, The Mermaid Chair. Taking it in stride.

Once finish, I’ll most probably read the second book of the Wicked novel series titled Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire, even if I haven’t yet read the first (hey, I don’t have a copy, alright?).

 

THEN I’ll continue my on-and-off reading of Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire. I was on it last year till I found out I was pregnant. Didn’t know if reading it would not affect the baby, but I did not want to risk it (so much for that).

Write. Well, I haven’t done much yet, but I’m trying. I have to go back to the me that I knew. Blogging is one way to do it. And I am about to continue with my long-time and long-neglected story, even if it means doing longhand.

Organization. I am not allowed to do much work (husband too strict — hate it but love him for it at the same time). So just little by little, I sort things out, stuff I haven’t had much time to take care of when I was busy working. It’s great ’cause organization is something we haven’t done well for months. It’s what makes me feel more me.

Home-tutoringNot really homeschooling but kind of. School’s out but we need to prepare our recent-kindergartner for his exam this May that’s supposed to test if he’s ready for the first grade. Personally, I know he is and he’s actually smart, but then you can’t be too complacent as you never really know what they’re going to ask the kid to do or answer. We do think we have the right ideas so I try to teach him base on those and try to add more ideas.

 

I know I’ll have much more to do these next weeks. Will keep you posted 🙂

**************************************

This serves as my “W” post for the 2015 A to Z Challenge.

WICKEDly Ozsome!

wicked-the-musical-banner

More than two weeks ago, I had already extinguished any hopes of ever seeing the Manila run of one of my most-awaited musicals, a part of my Broadway bucket list. It was just days to go and poof! The show would be gone again. I unfortunately could not go and see it. It just. Wasn’t. Possible…Until, in a wickedly awesome fashion, something magical happened.

Suddenly, there it was, the ticket in my hands, made possible by prayer, hope, and a magical thing called friendship. The universe thought to make it work for me. I won’t delve much on my meaning, but that person knows already how much I appreciated it. To you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Idina-Menzel

Idina Menzel was first to play Elphaba (WICKED). She reprised her Broadway role in RENT The Musical onscreen alongside husband Taye Diggs. On TV, she notably had recurring roles in the hit show Glee

Now, in case the title of this post and the image and video above aren’t enough give-away clues, I am referring to WICKED The Musical. I can’t believe it’s a decade old already!

Long-before the song “Let It Go” from the Frozen movie became everyone’s favorite, Idina Menzel (yes, that’s the right name) first made the song “Defying Gravity” famous by originating the role of Elphaba, the thoroughly green, thoroughly misunderstood witch in the Land of Oz. The role won for Idina a Tony. (See the next video to watch Idina sing “Defying Gravity” onstage with Kristin Chenoweth playing Glinda The Good. Idina’s lovely recorded album version can be found HERE, just click on it.)

I had known about this and about her for a long time and kept wishing that WICKED would find its way to Manila. Well, as they say, good things come to those who wait (and those who cross their fingers for good measure). It turned out it was the Australian production that came here to perform at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) as part of their Asian tour. Ooh, Oz bringing Oz to Manila! I did wish for Idina, but some things aren’t meant to be.

My friends and I pretty much got good seats that night. Not that near that even my 20/20 vision could not give me a much clearer view of everyone’s face on stage. Not that far either, which was a real blessing for I have always been vocal about how I hate the way the CCP auditorium is structured, a real let-down if you happen to sit at the top rows. Binoculars were actually offered outside for people to get a better view but we opted not to buy/rent any. I just wish I didn’t forget to bring mine. I wanted to kick myself (utterly impossible to do it, really).

I have to say it was a really fun night. I had expected it for a long time and indeed, the production did very well. But first, if you’re still unfamiliar with it (and don’t want to watch the first posted video here), a background on the show:

Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz, or simply WICKED  The Musical, is an adaptation of Gregory Maguire‘s 1995 novel Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. This, in turn, somehow serves as a prequel to the Frank L. Baum classic novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its 1939 film adaptation The Wizard of Oz that brought fame to Judy Garland. In 1978, there was a film adaptation of the then-Broadway version, The Wiz, with musical greats Diana Ross and Michael Jackson headlining an all Afro-American cast that included other celebs doing some cameo.

Baum’s book was about a young girl, Dorothy, who, together with her dog Toto and her new-found friends — The Tin Man, The Cowardly Lion and  The Scarecrow — saved the Land of Oz from the Wicked Witch of the West with the help of the Good Witch of the South and two magical red shoes.

the-wicked-book

A cover version of Gregory Maguire‘s WICKED: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. I have a copy of the sequel Son of a Witch, but I’m not sure if I want to read it already since I haven’t read the first yet. We’ll see…

wizard-of-oz-cover

This is the original title page of Frank L. Baum‘s book. In later versions, the “Wonderful” was dropped from the title

wizard-of-oz-original

This is Dorothy (Judy Garland) with her three friends in the 1939 movie that made the songs from its 1902 Broadway musical famous, particularly “Over the Rainbow” and “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”

wiz-movie-musical

The main cast of the all Afro-American film The Wiz (fr. left): Ted Ross. Diana Ross, Nipsey Russell, Michael Jackson

As said, WICKED and the book it was based on serve as prequel, to supposedly explain the events that have led to the Wicked Witch’s own demise. But things aren’t always as they seem, especially in Oz. As the show itself says, “So much happened before Dorothy dropped in.” Told in the point of view of the two witches, mostly by the Good Witch, we learn of a history of friendship between them before they become frenemies. More importantly, we learn who truly deserves to be called “wicked.”

The show starts with Glinda The Good announcing the death of the Wicked Witch. Everyone rejoices until someone boldly asks something like, “We heard you were friends with her.” So then, we are thrust back in time as Glinda recounts mostly in her head what happens before, during and after she becomes friends with the “beautifully tragic” Elphaba, who is literally as green as can be.

good-wicked-witchThese two loathe each other at the start because they believe themselves so different from the other. Glinda, a closet bully, describes her new roommate as “Unuuuusually and exceeedingly peculiar and aaaltogether impossible to descriiibe,” like words are not enough to explain Elphaba; Elphie, the nerdy loner, describes her new roommate as “Blonde,” like that says it all.

I will stop here or I won’t be able to then tell the whole story and be the bad egg that spoiler freaks are made of. I’ll jump to my actual comments.

First, the set…WIC-KEEED!!! Having had a bit of a background knowledge of how things go down in this production, I still loved the way everything was put together. It was nowhere near The Phantom of the Opera (POTO), but it was still a great and totally awesome set.

Whenever I watch plays and musicals, while most eyes are glued on the actors, mine are always busy checking out the sets and props. It gives me a kind of a different high that I can’t describe, like I want to know each set’s story: how is it made, what makes it work, who handles everything, do the handlers ever get confused and make mistakes…If I’d known I’d be this interested, I should have paid closer attention in class.

wicked-musical-stage

What the stage looks like before the show starts and during intermission. Cool dragon above 🙂

wicked-musical-stage-2

One look of the stage

Second, the costumes. I imagine that Oz being somewhere in a kind of alternate universe, the costume designer needed not be constrained with period clothes and such. There was a lot of freedom incorporated in the costumes, the designer making the ultimate decisions, like how something should look on whom and where. They made sure to create a distinction between the “regular” clothes and those of the people of Emerald City. The City dwellers dressed up lavishly, if not weirdly, and vibrantly, especially in green. Elphie found herself a shoo-in — finally, a place where she belonged!

I should really mention two things. One (and, I guess, this falls under under costume?), they should have just left out those three giant puppets dancing with the rest of the Emerald City citizens when the two girls arrived. As all others were just humans, they seemed really out of place and played no importance at all to the whole story, in my opinion. On a more personal note, they looked like clowns and weird-looking clowns give me the creeps, ha ha! Two, and in contrast, a welcome kind of creeps were what I felt when the monkeys grew wings. I didn’t expect it and it made me go “yikes”…Love it.

Third, the sounds and music. Good enough sound quality, although I don’t know if it’s the actors, but many times, when there’s an ensemble singing, the group didn’t sound that clear (can’t say the same for those who sat nearer to the stage). I had to try and strain my ears just to get what they were saying. Also, I am not sure if the assumption was true, but somebody said some parts were lip synced. I’d like to believe they weren’t, given that it’s a professional, touring production. So I am left wondering. Nevertheless, I didn’t really mind.

The songs, themselves, were very nice, sometimes really meaningful and even catchy. Stephen Schwartz is a genius with his music and lyrics. I’ve been singing the songs over and over everyday! Talk about last song syndrome.  Again, “Defying Gravity” along with “Popular” were easy favorites. I liked, too, the sentimental “I’m Not That Girl” and its reprise. Another one of my favorites is “For Good,” a very beautiful and rather sad friendship song. (See the last video posted here to listen to this song.)  

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Fourth, the story. Well, I had a bit of a knowledge on what the musical was going to be about, and I do mean bit there so, unlike with POTO and Cats The Musical, I didn’t exactly know what to expect. Somebody gifted me with a live Broadway show recording years ago (so nice of her, bless her soul), but the copy is a bit problematic.

It was fun and ingenious the way the whole background stories were woven together to create a whole new story.  We met the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Scarescrow in ways we never expected. It’s kind of funny in a wow-who-would-have-thought way to find what the magical red shoes were actually for. And how exactly did Dorothy land in Oz? Classic.

I found that both the witches were actually similar in a big way, being two insecure creatures and putting up fronts. Glinda made up for it by being the lovable and popular girl. Elphaba made up for it for being a somewhat acerbic nerd and pulling off an I-don’t-care-about-what-you-think class act. One qualm: Elphaba gave me the impression of a serious character. I wanted her to be fun, given that the story was supposed to be somewhat a comedy and hers was the title role.

Some parts of the story that were supposed to surprise did not surprise me much, but I think that was because I have often been good at knowing things immediately when I watch something. So the first time I saw the mysterious character dancing with Elphie’s mom, I knew already who he was going to be later in the story. And when a character confronted Elphie and her sister Nessa, the moment the witch mentioned “heart,” I knew exactly what was to happen. These did not dampen anything for me because they served to excite me, making me try to be more observant for more clues.

I did feel that they failed to build up the love story. There were not enough scenes between the future lovers to make his falling in love with her more logical, and until he told her his feelings, there was nothing to suggest that she liked him. Of course, I expected it, but even something that fictional could use a bit more of the realistic approach. I didn’t like how the love angle was “told” kind of haphazardly. As an effect, I didn’t feel the chemistry. It fell flat, to be perfectly blunt about it.

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Jemma Rix as Elphaba, The Wicked Witch of the West…This is my fave image from the show. Fierce Elphie!

Fifth, the acting. Jemma Rix as Elphaba was wonderful, although I guess it came with the character she was playing. But like I said, Elphie lacked something in the fun character department. The most fun I had with Elphaba was when she was singing, especially her signature song, Defying Gravity.

Let me just emphasize that was never Jemma’s fault. As said, she was a wonderful Elphaba. Oh, but I did love the kind of robotic dancing and the hair “toss-toss”-ing! Those were really funny. You won’t see them in the videos because it seems that each production and its actors still have their own styles, innovations and ad libs.

I did enjoy Suzie Mathers more as Glinda. I can’t even say you’d love to hate Glinda because you could never hate her, she’s so cute! She was the show’s real comic relief, which I didn’t expect, and the fact that she was played by a very credible actress was truly entertaining.

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Suzie Mathers as Glinda The Good Witch of the South

My impression was Suzie’s character was the most physical one in the whole production. She was constantly moving and making gestures, going here and there. The good witch role was a fun character. Suzie was perfectly perky-bubbly-girly. I was, in a way, reminded of Elle Woods in the film Legally Blonde, which now also has its own stage musical adaptation.

Her attack on the role was somehow different from that of Kristin Chenoweth who originated it. Kristin was very effective also, though, rather more on the quirky-silly-girly side. (Watch the very funny Kristin below, giving beauty tips in “Popular.” The last stanza of the song got cut off, though. For a more complete performance and a closer look at the characters — they’re so pretty! — click HERE. )

Jay Laga’aia as The Wizard may seem familiar, and he did seem so to me. That’s because according to the programme, he’d done lots of screen work, most known of which were Star Wars 2 & 3. As for the acting, maybe it’s in how the character was written in the play, but I found myself not feeling anything, either positive or negative. Sorry, just personal opinion.

As for Steve Danielsen playing Fiyero, I felt he lacked a lot. Understandable as he is said to be a relative newcomer to the musical theatre stage. I felt he looked awkward onstage especially when it involved choreography.

In general, the whole ensemble did great justice to the show. Special props to Ms. Maggie Kirkpatrick who played Madame Morrible. 

Over all, it was a very enjoyable night to spend with friends. After all, it was, more than anything else, about friendship and acceptance of others and oneself. The WICKED experience was worth every second, every effort, every cent.

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