Jab’s Builds (Tiger Shark! Orka! Stingray! Namora!)

Where in all of your character write ups will go.
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Goldar
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Re: Jab's Builds! (Hypno-Hustler! Stromm! Jackpot! Joystick!)

Post by Goldar » Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:10 pm

Video Man reminds me of the FF villain Fassaud.

Jabroniville
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Megawatt

Post by Jabroniville » Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:39 pm

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MEGAWATT (Dirk Layden)
Created By:
Dennis O'Neil & John Romita, Jr.
First Appearance: Spider-Man Unlimited #2 (Jan. 1993)
Role: Merged Villain, Unthinking Monster
Villain Ranking: E-Level
Group Affiliations: None
PL 6 (70)
STRENGTH
7 STAMINA 5 AGILITY 1
FIGHTING 5 DEXTERITY 0
INTELLIGENCE 0 AWARENESS 0 PRESENCE 3

Skills:
Expertise (Criminal) 2 (+2)
Expertise (Acting) 2 (+5)
Ranged Combat (Lightning) 4 (+4)

Advantages:
Benefit (Fame)

Powers:
"Electro Lite"
Lightning Blast 8 (16) -- [17]
  • AE: "Electrical Feet" Leaping 6 (500 feet) (6)
Offense:
Unarmed +5 (+7 Damage, DC 22)
Lightning Blast +4 (+8 Ranged Damage, DC 23)
Initiative +1

Defenses:
Dodge +5 (DC 15), Parry +5 (DC 15), Toughness +5, Fortitude +5, Will +2

Complications:
Motivation (Greed)
Secret/Responsibility (Convict)- Dirk has been convicted of crimes in the U.S., and often has to flee to Australia. This was a big secret at first.
Normal Identity- Dirk must touch a power source in order to "power-up".

Total: Abilities: 42 / Skills: 8--4 / Advantages: 1 / Powers: 17 / Defenses: 6 (70)

-Yes, they really wasted as good a name as "Megawatt" on a do-nothing loser like this. His origin is silly- he stole a park of cards & gum as a child, and believed this doomed him to a life of crime. A petty crook, he came across Jonas Harrow and gained superhuman powers- that's like... the entire origin for his powers. "Justin Harrow Did It". It's that easy to gain Electro Lite powers? Wouldn't TONS of guys do that? His first mission was a failure, as Daredevil interfered and beat him before he could even use his powers. He escaped and moved to Australia, where he became a stuntman in their film industry. Bizarrely, he became an authentic MOVIE STAR with the Bush Ranger series (a Crocodile Dundee knock-off). However, the movie premier party saw him get confronted by the law for his past crimes, and Spider-Man (whose wife's producers were producing the thing) beat him. Megawatt fled to Australia once more, where the producers paid their top lawyers to defend him, and he signed on to produce more Bush Ranger films.

-What's funny is that I've actually read this comic (it's the third story in the book that also concludes Maximum Carnage, and remember the character well enough that I was always annoyed that I couldn't use his name for MY guys as a result, but I still forgot to stat his stupid ass in M&M until just now. Either I assumed I already had (I had to check), or I dismissed him as too minor a one-off.

-Megawatt produces some interesting stats, being a colossal failure of a super-villain who is nonetheless a movie star. This means that his Presence is okay (though I'd imagine his movie was popular more because of action than his acting talents), but his Skill-set is abysmal and he's not even that powerful- DD is said to have beaten him before the villain could even DO anything. PL 6 is just garbage for anybody.

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HalloweenJack
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Re: Jab's Builds! (Cloak & Dagger! Hypno-Hustler! Stromm! Jackpot!)

Post by HalloweenJack » Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:51 pm

Jabroniville wrote:
Thu Jun 08, 2017 10:31 pm
Yup- I mentioned that up above- even the Finisher & Gentleman are movie villains.
I was unaware

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Coldheart

Post by Jabroniville » Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:50 am

Image
Image

COLDHEART (Kateri Deseronto)
Created By:
Howard Mackie & Tom Lyle
First Appearance: Spider-Man #49 (1994)
Group Affiliations: The U.S. Government
Role: Anti-Superhero Fighter
PL 8 (100)
STRENGTH
2 STAMINA 3 AGILITY 4
FIGHTING 8 DEXTERITY 4
INTELLIGENCE 3 AWARENESS 2 PRESENCE 1

Skills: 
Athletics 4 (+6)
Deception 4 (+5)
Expertise (Government Agent) 4 (+7)
Insight 2 (+4)
Intimidation 3 (+4)
Perception 3 (+5)
Stealth 2 (+6)

Advantages:
Equipment 2 (Armor +3, Handgun +4), Ranged Attack 4

Powers:
"Cold-Generating Swords" (Flaws: Easily Removable) (Feats: Paired) [22]
"Freeze Blast" Blast 4 (Feats: Split) Linked to Affliction 8 (Fort; Dazed/Stunned/Paralyzed) (Feats: Split) (Extras: Ranged, Cumulative) (34) -- (35 points)
  • AE: "Sword Strike" Strength-Damage +3 (Feats: Split) Linked to Affliction 8 (Fort; Dazed/Stunned/Paralyzed) (Feats: Split) (Extras: Cumulative) (21)
Offense:
Unarmed +8 (+2 Damage, DC 17)
Swords +8 (+5 Damage & +8 Affliction, DC 20 & 18)
Freeze Blast +8 (+4 Ranged Damage & +8 Ranged Affliction, DC 19 & 18)
Initiative +4

Defenses:
Dodge +8 (DC 18), Parry +8 (DC 18), Toughness +3 (+6 Armor), Fortitude +4, Will +4

Complications:
Motivation (Killing Superhumans)- Kateri's own son was killed in a superhuman conflict- this makes her target superhumans. Oddly, in Civil War, she was depicted with regular super-villains. Probably because the writers just didn't care, and wanted a disposable super-villain.
Responsibility (Insane)- Coldheart acts as if her dead family is still alive, keeping mannequins in empty apartments.

Total: Abilities: 54 / Skills: 22--11 / Advantages: 6 / Powers: 22 / Defenses: 7 (100)

-Coldheart's son was killed in a conflict between superhumans, causing her to lose her government job due to mental trauma. She stole a pair of cold-generating swords and some armor, and started campaigning against superhumans. She engaged Spider-Man and the Hobgoblin (Jason Macendale), stunning Spidey after he saved Macendale's kidnapping victim (Jason's own son)- she prepared to kill Spider-Man, but the kid convinced her to stop; she went after Hobgoblin instead. We never really found out what happened after that.

-The character reappeared in Civil War... well, the BEGINNING of it. See, she was a Raft escapee who'd teamed up with Speedreek, Cobalt Man and Nitro, and you see where this is going. Yup- she was part of that band who fought the New Warriors in the conflict that killed hundreds of schoolchildren in the "Stamford Incident"- ironically, Coldheart had not only become what she hated, but she inflicted her own trauma on hundreds of other parents. Coldheart was killed, basically being a one-off who never mattered- the "perfect victim" for a crime that mainly killed civilians and (it turns out) all of two New Warriors.

-Coldheart would be really solid if she weren't such a one-off- she was able to beat Spider-Man owing to his own Complication against new opponents, and a sneak attack, but two New Warriors (Night Thrasher and Namorita) easily beat her in Stamford. I used a new Feat I invented for Easily Removable Devices- "Paired", which basically means you have to disarm her TWICE to really knock out her full power. It's still a bit cheap for what is is, but that's always kind of an issue with Devices. The Affliction is set pretty high (and is Linked with Damage in both cases), but her defenses are only at PL 7, making her still a Jobber.

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The Mud-Thing

Post by Jabroniville » Sat Jun 10, 2017 2:10 am

Image

THE MUD-THING (Morris Bench & William Baker)
Created By:
Dennis O'Neil & John Romita, Jr.
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #4 (June 1981)
Role: Merged Villain, Unthinking Monster
Villain Ranking: E-Level
Group Affiliations: None
PL 10 (174)
STRENGTH
11 STAMINA 11 AGILITY 0
FIGHTING 9 DEXTERITY 0
INTELLIGENCE -3 AWARENESS -2 PRESENCE -3

Skills:
Intimidation 8 (+5, +8 Size)
Perception 4 (+2)
Ranged Combat (Mud) 6 (+10)

Advantages: 
All-Out Attack, Chokehold, Diehard, Extraordinary Effort, Fast Grab, Improved Critical (Mud Attacks) 2, Improved Grab, Power Attack, Ranged Attack 4, Startle, Withstand Damage (Trade Defenses For Toughness)

Powers:
"Mud Giant"
Growth 7 (Str & Sta +7, +7 Mass, +3 Intimidation, -3 Dodge/Parry, -7 Stealth) -- (25 feet) (Feats: Innate) (Extras: Permanent +0) [15]

"Fine Particle Form" Insubstantial 2 (Feats: Selective, Dynamic) (Extras: Reaction, Continuous) (16) -- [17]
AE: "Muddy Skin" Protection 1 (Feats: Dynamic) (Extras: Impervious 9) (11)

"Returns From the Drain" Immunity 1 (Drowning) [1]
"Forming Other Hands" Extra Limbs 4 [4]
Regeneration 6 (Flaws: Source- Sand) [3]

"Grab More Mud & Water"
Elongation 4 (120 feet) (Flaws: Source- Mud & Water) [2]
Features 4: Increased Mass 4 (Flaws: Source- Mud & Water) [2]

"Mud Snare" Snare 10 (30) -- [36]
  • AE: "Mud Toss" Blast 10 (Feats: Split) (21)
  • AE: "Mud-Blast" Damage 10 (Extras: Area- 30ft. Burst +1/2) (15)
  • AE: "Mud Stream" Damage 10 (Extras: Area- 30ft. Line) (20)
  • AE: "Mud Asphixiation" Affliction 9 (Fort; Dazed/Stunned/Incapacitated) (Extras: Progressive +2) (Flaws: Grab-Based) (18)
  • AE: "Mud in the Eyes" Dazzle Visuals 10 (Extras: Area- 30ft. Burst) (Flaws: Touch Range) (20)
  • AE: Burrowing 8 (16 mph) (8)
"Sandy Trail" Movement 1 (Slithering) [2]
Movement 2 (Permeate 2) (Flaws: Limited to Earth) [2]

Immunity 20 (Piercing, Slashing Damage) [20]
Immunity 20 (Bludgeoning Damage) (Flaws: Limited to Half-Effect) [10]

Offense:
Unarmed +9 (+11 Damage, DC 26)
Standard Blast +10 (+10 Damage, DC 25)
Mud Blasts +10 Area (+10 Damage, DC 25)
Mud Asphyxiation +8 (+9 Affliction, DC 19)
Mud Snare +10 (+10 Ranged Affliction, DC 20)
Mud In The Eyes +10 (+10 Ranged Affliction, DC 20)
Initiative +6

Defenses:
Dodge +8 (DC 18), Parry +8 (DC 18), Toughness +12, Fortitude +11, Will +3

Complications:
Relationship (Sadie Frickett)- The Mud-Thing is pathologically in love with Sadie, willingly doing whatever she asks. However, he is incredibly jealous, and will fly into a rage if he sees her being affectionate with another.
Responsibility (Temper)
Weakness (Mud)- Being made of sand & earth has its flaws. Mud-Thing is vulnerable to extreme heat (turning into glass, where it is much harder to move).

Total: Abilities: 18 / Skills: 18--9 / Advantages: 15 / Powers: 113 / Defenses: 18 (174)

-The Mud-Thing is a one-off created when Sandman and Hydro-Man, two of Spider-Man's elemental foes, accidentally merged together in a fight. It was an unthinking monstrosity, but was Hulk-like in that it was harmless so long as it was unprovoked. When it was proven harmless, it was released into the care of Hydro-Man's girlfriend Sadie, whom it willingly served. However, Sadie, dreaming of stardom, took the thing on the road- it went all "King Kong" when it saw her platonically kiss another man, and scaled a skyscraper. A special gas caused it to dry out and crumble apart, and Spider-Man saved the damsel. Sadie, to her credit, was guilt-ridden and mourned the loss of the creature whose only crime was loving her. The remains were later separated, and the villains returned to their normal forms.

-The Mud-Thing is essentially a different animal from either Sandman or Hydro-Man, being an unthinking beast with fewer Power Feats. However, he's as unstoppable as Baker was in the 1980s, meaning he's extremely hard to put down. I reduced him to PL 10 since he was only an early-80s character- modern-day Mud-Thing would likely hit the current Sandman's PL 11.

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Davies
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Re: The Mud-Thing

Post by Davies » Sat Jun 10, 2017 2:21 am

Jabroniville wrote:
Sat Jun 10, 2017 2:10 am
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #4 (June 1981)
Umm?

Jabroniville
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Re: The Mud-Thing

Post by Jabroniville » Sat Jun 10, 2017 3:09 am

Davies wrote:
Sat Jun 10, 2017 2:21 am
Jabroniville wrote:
Sat Jun 10, 2017 2:10 am
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #4 (June 1981)
Umm?
Boo. I copied my Sandman build over, changing the year but not the issue number.


And that does it for the Spider-Builds! It took a couple days longer than expected, and Ares still needs to catch up commenting with those essays of his (LAZY :p), but it's the most fun roster of guys in comics to look at. Only guy I think I'm missing is Morbius, who I'm saving for the Monster Builds.

Jabroniville
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Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:05 pm

"Together, we're UNLIMITED..."

Post by Jabroniville » Sat Jun 10, 2017 3:26 am

Image
Image

This is absolutely the greatest logo of all time. The color, the flat art-style, the EXPRESSIONS- it's just magnificent. Elphaba's at her sinister, fun-having best here.

Now here's a little story about a writer who took a classic story from fiction, and made the most stereotypical FanFiction of all time out of it.

He heavily-altered all of the characters therein, rewrote the villain into a misunderstood character with positive leanings, threw sex scenes all over the place, added homosexual leanings into a bunch of people that 'd never shown it before, and even included a character of his own gender to go and sleep with the main heroine. Seriously, this is the most cliched, tired, self-parodic FanFic concept that ever sprung forth from the mind of an unimaginative nerd- and then someone went and MADE ANOTHER FANFIC OUT OF THAT!!!

And yet, not only was the novel a big best-seller, but the Broadway Musical it sprung was the monster smash of the decade, and still holds strong more than ten years later. And further still, I love the absolute crap out of it.

It's also funny, because I gushed like crazy over Idina Menzel back when she was a complete unknown to normal people, and it turned out I was a couple years ahead of my time, because eventually EVERYONE would hear her voice. Constantly. Whether or not they wanted to.

WICKED:

(Warning- As everyone knows, I tend to be pretty long-winded. Moreso when I really like something. Be prepared for CRAPLOADS of text :))

Anyone who's been reading my thread for more than a few months knows that I love Wicked- a fascination which has some pretty silly origins. I'm no Broadway geek, though I admired some of the songs and I have a Musical Reflections CD about some of the best stuff (though mostly from Evita and Phantom of the Opera). I definitely respected that Broadway stars were some of the hardest-working actors in the world (EIGHT SHOWS A WEEK, plus all the singing & dancing going around- it's a full-body workout for sure. I can't imagine the people who do these shows for years). They're probably the most all-around talented performers on Earth.

In my case, I actually got into Wicked the most roundabout way imaginable- I'd seen a few ads on TV for shows in the Northern States (close to Canada), but it was some some commercials for Old Navy jeans that actually got me into it!

See, I saw some ads of a tiny, super-cute lil' blonde girl with a squeaky voice doing some Red Carpet thing involving jeans or something stupid. I thought she was hot, but her name wasn't mentioned (I think). A few months later, I witnessed the actress, Kristin Chenoweth, being named on a support show for Autism research that featured Jon Stewart and other comedians on the Comedy Network (Canada's version of Comedy Central). Therefore, I had the girl's name! A Wikipedia search revealed that she was the original Glinda in Wicked, in addition to some FHM bikini pictures (let's just say that helped me become a bigger fan :)), and a full biography of her career. I downloaded some songs (illegally, of course) from this play that I'd only heard a bit about, and was immediately amazed- Kristin's own songs were weaker, but this Idina Menzel chick was AMAZING on Defying Gravity, I mean, that song is the greatest song ever written, and it's my favourite thing ever. I went out and bought the CD as soon as I could, and listened the crap out of it. I became a HUGE fan.

Defying Gravity is so big, the songwriters for Frozen essentially did the same song over again and made the smash hit of the decade with Let It Go- it's basically the most epic thing imaginable- a young woman letting go of rules and conventions once and for all, becoming her own person, and challenging the world to fight her. The end of the song, when Elphaba goes "If you care to find me- LOOK TO THE WESTERN SKY!" is positively spine-tingling stuff. And then there's As Long as You're Mine, which is possibly the sexiest song of all time- Elphaba & Fiyero sharing their "One moment" in the dark woods while they're on the run (ie. they totally do it in a G-Rated kind of way). For Good is one of the saddest songs ever as well- the girls give their final goodbye to each other, using dialogue taken from Stephen Schwartz asking his own daughter "You know your best friend? Say you know you'll never see her again. Tell me what you need to say to her."

It'd actually be years before I could see it for real- the touring companies didn't come to Canada for quite some time, and it was before I made travelling a regular part of my life. But WHEN I DID...

THE ORIGINS OF WICKED:

The Book:
Wicked is a 1995 book by Gregory Maguire, a Fantasy-themed author of some repute, explaining a Ret-Con origin of the Wicked Witch of the West, renamed "Elphaba" (a phonetic pronounciation of L. Frank Baum's initials- "LFB")- she is born to an unfaithful wife and a certain travelling salesman (who gave Melena, Elphie's mom, a "Green Elixir"), and goes to Shiz University, where she meets (and eventually befriends) a girl named Galinda. Then stuff happens, she rejects the evil Wizard of Oz (and his assistant, Madame Morrible- a Headmistress of their school), becomes a Rebel Leader of the Animals (speaking "Animals" instead of non-sentient "animals"), who are now being oppressed. Her fate is the same as the original 1900 book's, and that of the film's Witch as well, though almost by accident. Also, people are bisexual as a rule- I think the only 100% one-sided people are Boq (who actively resists Crope & Tibbet's flirtations- as one of them ends up sodomized by a Tiger, I'd say he was wise to avoid them) and Glinda (who's basically Elphabasexual).

I've read the whole thing, and it's quite good- it starts out pretty slow and boring (basically freakish green Elphaba as a toddler, with her parents debating with each other, "Elphie's" Nanny, and a traveller named Turtle Heart), and it's a little sex-obsessed at parts (and a LOT sex-obsessed in others), but really hits a stride when Elphie heads off to University, meeting Galinda (later changing her name to "Glinda"), Boq (an "Everyman" character of sorts; he's a Munchkin that reaches Galinda's shoulder), Nessarose (Elphie's deformed- armless, actually- sister, the eventual Wicked Witch of the East), and a small cast of schoolmates. The book is REALLY entertaining around this point, as Elphaba (who's described as "hatchet-faced" and with a chin that could "slice salami", but also "exotically beautiful" at different points- it's all a manner of perspective and fashion) is a classic "Deadpan Snarker" character, interacting with befuddled, Galinda-crushing Boq, a strange foreigner named Fiyero (who later hooks up with her), and Her Royal Snottiness herself Glinda, who enacts some CLASSIC put-downs on her way to becoming a respectable heroine in her own right.

My favourite bit is from when Boq got Elphaba to force Galinda to meet with him, and she is waiting for him, waving a courtesan's fan in front of her face like a good little rich girl, too good to talk to a boy- it exemplifies every character, and I just get an absolute kick out of it:
"Marriage isn't what I came here to propose."
"See, I'm glad I didn't leave, this is just getting good," said Elphaba, but clamped her lips shut when they both glared at her.
"I came here to propose that we meet from time to time, that's all," said Boq. "That we meet as friends. That, free of expectiations, we come to know each other as dear friends. I do not deny that you overwhelm me with your beauty. You are the moon in the season of shadowlight; you are the fruit of the candlewood tree; you are the pfenix in circles of flight--"
"This sounds rehearsed," said Elphaba.
"You are the mythical sea," he condluded, all his eggs in one basket.
"I'm not much for poetry," said Galinda. "But you're very kind." She had seemed to perk up a little at the compliments. Anyway, the fan was moving faster. "I don't really understand the point of friendship, as you call it, Master Boq, between unmarried people of our age. It seems-- distracting. I can see it might lead to complications, especially as you confess to an infatuation I cannot hope to return. Not in a million years."
"It's the age of daring," said Boq. "It's the only time we have. We must live in the present. We are young and alive."
"I don't know if alive quite covers it" said Elphaba, "This sounds scripted to me."
Galinda rapped Ephaba on the head with her fan, which folded smartly up and opened just as neatly again, an elegant, practiced gesture that impressed all of them. "You're being tiresome, Miss Elphie. I appreciate your company but I didn't request a running commentary. I'm perfectly capable of deciding the merits of Master Boq's recital myself. Let me consider his stupid idea. Lurline above, I can hardly hear myself think!"
Losing her temper, Galinda was prettier than ever. So that old saw was true, too. Boq was learning so much about girls!
(Snip- Galinda's minder/caretaker, Ama Clutch arrives and scolds them all for this scandalous meeting of boys & girls- Elphie notes that Boq is beardless and implies he has no pubes, and is thus not a threat)
"I will not deign to arrange another meeting like this. As Ama Clutch reminds me, it is beneath me. But if our paths cross in a legitimate way, Master Boq, I will do you the courtesy of at least not ignoring you. I trust you will be satisfied with that."
"Never," said Boq with a smile, "but it's a start."
(snip- the girls get up to leave)
"Miss Elphie, you were horrible" he heard Galinda say, while Elphaba twisted around and waved good-bye with a grin he could not clearly read.
I mean, I just love the crap out of this bit- you've got Boq being heartfelt and over-dramatic (like a young college boy with an infatuation would), Elphaba being sarcastic and good-naturedly mean, and Galinda is HILARIOUS. Saying "Let me consider his stupid idea" when the boy is still sitting RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF HER?

The real tragedy is that the "we're all at school" portion of the book is maybe only a quarter of it. The boring part that precedes it is bad, but it's REALLY dull when Elphaba (and her & Fiyero's son, Liir) goes gallavanting around the other lands of Oz. I mean, it COULD be interesting, but to me, the entire core of this book was the gang at school, doing dumb college things (experimenting, screwing up, being borderline-insane... I remember those years well), and insulting each other in that weird way that friends do. If Maguire had made an entire book about JUST THAT, it would be completely awesome (though of course draw comparisons to Harry Potter)-- but it doesn't last, and soon there's another timeskip.

I hate how the book keeps jumping through years at a time (when Elphie leaves Glinda and goes off on her own, we get a five-year time-skip; when Fiyero falls to the Gale Force, it's a SEVEN-YEAR one, and there's another after that), meaning we miss out on the entire backstory of Glinda marrying some rich old man, Boq living a life with another woman, etc.

It's also completely dreary and overly-cynical- and I'm a generally cynical "people are usually assholes" type of person, but this was NUTS- almost every character ends up miserable, several characters end up dead, all of Elphaba's friendships end up broken, and she goes completely insane by the story's end. Hell, Maguire's so cynical that he actually felt bad about the musical's changes to his plot, until he realized that it was at least bittersweet, so that made it more OK. Another thing that's kind of irksome, but I couldn't put a point on until Chez Lindsay pointed it out, was that Maguire's writing style is excessively detached, like he deliberately keeps himself emotionally-apart from his work, just kind of putting the words down without emotion, as some kind of omniscient, disengaged narrator.

The book did very well, and was optioned for movies and stuff- but a man named Stephen Schwartz (himself a Broadway semi-legend, and writer of such Disney tunes as The Colours of the Wind and Hellfire) was the one who suggested they actually make a BROADWAY MUSICAL out of it. There's a book called The Grimmerie that explains the whole process, but believe me, it was a LOT of work- it had a record-breaking budget of $14 million (itself FAR eclipsed by Spider-Man- Turn Off the Dark in recent years). The first thing done was to hire soon-to-be-star (and my future betrothed) Kristin Chenoweth as "Glinda the Good"- she had a star-making turn in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown a couple years earlier, and the role swiftly expanded (the super-nice Chenoweth bluntly states "they could see what I brought to the part" in the book).

The success of the musical has led to a second life for Maguire's Oz stuff, as he's done four books in total for the series. Liir appeared in Son of a Witch, but seemed to have been a bit of a boring character. The Lion was the main character of the third tale, while Liir's son Rain (herself a green girl, which has taken on a mythical component by this point) is the main girl of the fourth.

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The Musical

Post by Jabroniville » Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:42 am

WICKED- THE MUSICAL:

They eventually altered a huge portion of the story (Maguire was fine with this- "let it be it's own thing" was his opinion), threw out a TON of the adult content, invented a Love Triangle between the leads and Fiyero (there SORT of is one in the book, but it goes a different way; Galinda & Fiyero hardly interact), and switched the focus from Elphaba to the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda (who changed it from "Galinda" in honour of a fallen teacher, who always mispronounced her name) being the crux of the entire storyline. Songs were taken away and added, the lead was changed from Stephanie J. Block to Idina Menzel (annoyingly, the Grimmerie doesn't really explain why this was- we just switch leads all of a sudden- further research says "they wanted a star who knew how to open a musical", as Menzel was a part of the Rent phenomenon a decade earlier), and whole scenes were cut.

What was kept was the idea that Elphaba is a rebel leader, and that The Wizard uses a powerful Propaganda Machine to make everyone hate her- Maguire's book goes into detail about this, as it was written when Saddam Hussein was being treated as the devil in the Western media, but it got more relevant as time went on. He admitted that Hussein WAS evil, but he was interested in the power of media and propaganda to turn a figure (Saddam was famously photographed with a smiling Donald Rumsfeld during happier times) into a public menace. As well, it's about the creation of an enemy to organize and focus the people (The Wizard says, "All it takes to bring people together, is a really good enemy").

In the process of things, we learn the origins of various characters (many different from the book- particularly Boq & Fiyero, who both are unrelated to any other famous Oz characters in Maguire's work)- young Boq has his heart shrunk thanks to a faulty spell from a desperate, deranged Wicked Witch of the East ("you're heart will belong to ME- I swear it!"), and Elphaba has to change his form to something that will survive without a heart. A young Lion cub is tortured in a class on "the nature of Animals", and Elphie & Fiyero free him (falling for each other in the process)- thought the experienced leaves him fearful for life. Fiyero himself is captured by The Wizard's forces and tortured to death... so Elphaba has to cast ANOTHER spell so that "his blood leaves no stain" and so he won't die. And of course, Elphaba DOESN'T die in this version- her & Fiyero (as a man of straw) run off into exile, "never returning" to Oz, because she planted the "water will melt her" story, and actually hides away instead. So Elphie & Glinda will never see each other again, but Elphaba still has her man.

The End Result:
What we ended up getting was... FAAAAAABULOUS!! Sorry, couldn't resist.

I mean, the show's not flawless (nothing is, save Calvin & Hobbes... and Maxine Hunkel). The fact that it's two hours long means that entire subplots have to be handled via exposition, and certain REALLY interesting characters have to go through rapid-fire changes (sweet Little Sister Nessarose & Boq suffer the most from this). Fully-fleshed out novel characters like Boq get shifted into one-note "I am in love with Glinda!" types with only a handful of scenes. Elphaba's role as "Defender of the Animals" is basically told in passing, because there's no time to really dwell on it. The Love Story that the play is partially-centred around (the snobby party-animal Fiyero hooks up with the "perfect" Galinda at first, but then sees Elphaba "through different eyes") is similarly reduced to "Fiyero & Galinda are In Love and he's an obnoxious, lazy ass- then Fiyero does one nice thing and he & Elphaba decide they love each other"- this is kind of a recurring problem on Broadway, though- two hours just isn't enough to have a huge plot AND have a true love story work itself out.

The Reception:
The critical reception was... iffy. Many gushed about it, but an equal number felt it over-produced and showy (it is a HUGE spectacle). Most theatre critics are a REALLY snobby "everything old is good, and most new stuff sucks" crowd, even moreso than Film critics, so that's to be expected. The show's enormous teenybopper fanbase probably doesn't help matters. But the proof was in the success (no piece of crap could ever get this big without supreme pandering, Twilight and Backstreet Boys style)... the show was a MONSTER smash hit, breaking box office records easily, winning back it's budget quickly (which 80% of Broadway shows apparently fail to do, according to the book on the musical), and sprouting a huge, ultra-loyal fanbase.

The musical made instant stars out of Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth- Menzel won the Tony Award, but Cheno's giddy, peppy Glinda was such comedic magic that she was propelled to becoming a bigger star (Menzel became more of a "touring singer" without a lot of real fame... until a shocker ten years later), appearing in mostly guest-starring roles, but she got some serious cred eventually. The show was so successful that there are THREE full-time shows (including Broadway and the West End in London), TWO touring companies in the U.S. & Canada, and various other tours that sprout up in other countries. Entertainment Weekly called it "The Musical of the Decade", and it's a smash in a way that very few things are. It's a true pop culture phenomenon, though it hasn't TRULY penetrated the mainstream as much as, say, Phantom of the Opera (or Hamilton did much later)- I know way more people familiar with it's title tune (or Memory from Cats) than are familiar with Wicked's most triumphant songs. But it's a huge, huge thing.

In fact, the musical wouldn't be surpassed in the public imagination until The Book of Mormon came out a number of years later. But that one has a much smaller theater (both on Broadway and the West End), so couldn't pack houses to the same extent. And of course the past couple of years has seen the meteoric rise of Hamilton, which became an absolute phenomenon. Wicked is now easily #3 on the "big-time musicals" scale (sometimes dropping below Les Miz, depending on things), but we'll see what the future holds.

It got some props as a Feminist piece, which I found a bit odd, since the fact that the heroines are women doesn't really seem to matter a whole bunch- but maybe that's what people like about it. And teenage girls LOVE this stuff- I'm not quite sure what's the exact catalyst, but I think the whole "Popular girl who is actually sad/Sad outcast girl who is actually good" thing reaches that weird insecure part of teenage girls to an extreme level. I think the woman who modified the book to a play, Winnie Holzman, could be credited with that- she did My So-Called Life and thirtysomething, the former of which was a treatise on Teen Lady Angst. It's also popular among gay folk, which is probably unsurprising, what with it being a MUSICAL based off of The Wizard of Oz, and was written by a GAY WRITER and the musical produced by a GAY PRODUCER. Plus the whole theme of "I am who I am, and fuck you if you don't like it".

I think this review suits it just fine- It ain't perfect, but it rocks, the songs are good, and it's VERY well-acted. He's also prone to worshipping Kristin Chenoweth like a goddess, which suits me just fine.

THE CAST:
Elphaba- The Wicked Witch of the West, and main character. She's a cynical, sarcastic girl, often screaming at others who treat her poorly because of her skin ("she's supposed to be beautiful", says the make-up designer, thankfully averting the whole "paint a beautiful woman a different colour and everyone thinks she's ugly" cliche, "but people just hate her because she's green"). Her heart is warmed by the thought of loving a boy, though she admits she could never be with him. But when she finds out that the Animals are being oppressed, BY the Wizard of all people, she becomes a feared rebel leader, and the propaganda machine makes her turn to the dark side.
Elphabas are judged by the fanbase on three virtues- the final moments of Defying Gravity (where she loses it and screams into the heavens), her mournful cry of "FIYERO-O-O-O-O-O-O!" in No Good Deed, and the power of her final bit in The Wizard and I's "I Want" song.
Glinda The Good- A ditzy, zany popular blonde girl, Glinda actually figures out "Elphie" is OK after all after she helps Glinda get into a sorcery class. They have a funny, quirky friendship, doing the perfect mix of "Popular Cheerleader" and "Artsy Weird Girl", as they play off each other, fight and make up.
Nessarose- Elphaba's sister, a "tragically beautiful" young girl in a wheelchair (instead of her being armless, like the books- this is for obvious reasons of casting & acting). People like her, but she's so sad that when a boy finally pays attention to her (Boq), she's COMPLETELY transfixed, and grows obsessed with him. To prevent him from ever leaving her, she strips the Munchkins of their rights (becoming known as "The Wicked Witch of the East", and she's later killed by Madame Morrible so that Elphaba will reveal herself publicly.
Fiyero- A Winkie Prince, Fiyero is lazy and "dances through life", hooking up with Glinda because they're the two prettiest people around. He shows a good side when he helps Elphaba save a young Lion cub, and becomes more attracted to her over time. Eventually, he flees with Elphie and they hook up. Trapped by The Wizard's men, he's changed into straw by Elphaba to survive the beating.
Madame Morrible- An evil headmistress at Shiz University, she manipulates the girls into sorcerers, and becomes a recruiter & trainer for The Wizard as his "Press Secretary", turning out to be the most evil person in the whole play.
The Wizard- A huckster and humbug artist, this travelling salesman and his "Green Elixir" show up more than once. He uses a horrifying, Nightmare Fuel-y mechanical head to order people around, and hides behind smoke & mirrors to control all of Oz. He uses the Animals as patsies, to unify all of Oz against a single make-believe enemy.
Boq- A young Munchkin (tall for his species), he falls for Glinda the moment he sees her, but she doesn't even remember his name ("Oh Biq, really?"). Glinda pawns him off to Nessarose to get him away from her, and he becomes her manservant and slave. To ensure he will "lose his heart" to her, Nessa accidentally removes the organ, and Elphaba has to change him into a new Tin body to survive. Mortified, and with Nessa soon dead, he becomes obsessed with savage revenge. In the book, his crush is a mere summer fling, but the play basically makes it his entire character.
Dr. Dillamond- A minor role in book & movie, Dillamond is merely a means to an end- a beloved professor that is killed (the book) and transformed into an unthinking pet (the play- if THIS was supposed to be less adult, then they sure succeeded in making it scarier), therefore instigating a revolution in young Elphaba.

Jabroniville
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The Songs

Post by Jabroniville » Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:10 am

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The Story (via the Songs):
Act I:

No One Mourns the Wicked- The opening song that explains what just happened (Elphaba's death), and it takes us back to the beginning of the story via flashback- Elphaba's birth (via maternal shenanigans), etc. It's a pretty epic-sounding opener with the full chorus going, and the whole "I see a nose..." "I see a crown... I see a healthy, perfect lovely littleOOHHHHHHH! Sweet Oz!!" "What is it? What's wrong?" scene at Elphie's birth is REALLY well done. A great "little thing" to notice is the face on Glinda whenever anyone ELSE is singing. She's defying the name of the song!

Dear Old Shiz- A short little University song by the chorus. Meant primarily for a scene change, and to pull the "how the f*ck did THAT work?" costume change of Disney Princess to Schoolgirl for Galinda's actress. Glinda & Elphaba are stuck together as roommates by circumstance, but Elphaba's been recognized for her unique talent by Madame Morrible.

The Wizard and I- the "I Want" song of the play (Schwartz said exactly that in The Grimmerie)- EVERY Broadway show must- early on- have a character declare all the things she wants out of life. It's very well done, too, as it involves the character lying to herself (she suggests that if she's pals with The Wizard, he might "De-Green-ify" her- which she blows off as unimportant and "alright, why not!", which we immediately understand to be her deepest wish). One of the Elphaba Understudies called it her favourite song- it's the first time you can convince the audience not to feel down because they're "only seeing the Understudy", while others hate it because it's got a lot of "sing-talking" interspersed with big notes, which makes it really hard to sing.

What Is This Feeling?- A hilarious song about Elphaba & Galinda's first impressions with each other. It basically takes all the love song cliches "my face is flushing... What is this feeling?", and turning them on their head to make a HATE SONG instead of a LOVE SONG. It's all about "Loathing! Un-A-Dult-Errated LOATHING!" and the joys of hatred. The song features Galinda's friends dancing with her, agreeing "Poor Ga-linda/forced to reside/with someone so/disgusting and vile!", and Elphaba interrupting their choreographed dance by knocking her out of the way and mimicking her dance moves.

Something Bad- A short song by Dr. Dillamond, a sentient Goat, describing to Elphaba how the Animals are losing their rights, and even their powers of speech. She promises to tell The Wizard, of whom she has nothing but faith.

Dancing Through Life- Fiyero makes his debut, declaring that his philosphy in life is that "life is froughtless, for the thoughtless" and that you shouldn't put any effort into anything. It's also very plot-important (it's interspersed with a LOT of dialogue in the live play), as Boq crushes on Galinda, she pawns him off on sad Nessarose (setting her off on a dark path), Elphie sees this and does something nice for Galinda, and Galinda falls for Fiyero, and is convinced to befriend Elphaba. This was actually my favorite song when I first got the CD, but it's weaker in person thanks to all the exposition (however, it's interspersed with some of the play's best moments, and has the best costuming of the show, in my opinion).

Popular- Galinda's signature song, as she explains to her new best friend Elphaba ("Now that we're friends, I've decided to make YOU my new project!" "You really don't have to do that." "I know... that's what makes me so nice!") that all politicians, leaders & thinkers didn't "have brains or knowledge... Don't make me LAUGH/ They were POPULAR! Please! It's all about Popu-u-Lar!" It's amusing in song form, but it's where most of the live Galindas get all their physical comedy, improv and wit out there. Galinda/Glinda actresses are basically defined by how well they do this song, and it fits most of her slapstick. The exact moments are often left up to the actress, too- I've seen the same actress do the song twice, and do the splits once (drawing a huge ovation), and changing it to a tackle in the next performance.

I'm Not That Girl- Elphaba suddenly falls for Fiyero, but admits that she's always known she could never be "that girl", because nobody will ever love her. Awwww.... Sad song, and some actresses get a lot of emotion out of it.
One Short Day- Generic peppy showy song about seeing The Emerald City and visiting the Wizard- the "two BEST friends" go see him together. This is mainly about the crazy Emerald City Costumes, which I've always felt were overrated and a bit too show-y (DELIBERATELY so, but still).

A Sentimental Man- A boring, but character-defining moment for The Wizard (revealed to be an old, powerless man), as he announces that he's "always longed to be a father", and that he wants to help Elphaba "fly".
Defying Gravity- Elphaba discovers The Wizard's evil ways, and proclaims that she'll fight him to the very end- lionized by her new magical might, "nobody (...) is ever gonna BRING ME-EEEE DOWWWNNN!" The EPIC ending of Act I, and the show's signature song. Absolutely nobody gets up to pee without being impressed with this one.

Act II:
Thank Goodness- Glinda didn't go along with Elphaba's rebellion, and is now a beloved "Glinda the Good", with Fiyero as her fiancee ("fiancee?" "SURPRISED??- *reveals engagement ring*"). She "couldn't be happier!", but she finds a "sort of... cost", being her lost friendship with Elphaba, and the fact that she's not quite as happy as she imagined. They spread vicious rumours, such as the fact that Elphaba's "Soul is so unclean, pure water will melt her!"- which Fiyero declares as idiotic (he's fallen for her) and storms off. Kristin Chenoweth says this is her favorite moment of the play, and probably requires the most acting for Glindas, since "bittersweet" is one of the hardest feelings to get across on the stage. She gets everything she ever wanted, but finds it wanting.

Wonderful- The Wizard gets one last chance to win Elphaba over, saying that it wasn't his dream to rule Oz, but he just wants a chance "to be wonderful". Elphaba is turned to his side... until she sees her beloved Dr. Dillamond, reduced to a non-speaking prisoner. And it. Is. ON!

I'm Not That Girl (reprise)- From Glinda this time, as Fiyero runs off to join Elphaba, leaving Glinda alone.
As Long as You're Mine- In the most G-rated way possible, the musical explains that Fiyero & Elphaba are on the run, so tonight is their only way to have some of that good old-fashioned sexual intercourse. "What is it?" "It's just... for the first time... I feel... WICKED." A very great moment in-person (the guitar at the beginning of the song is MUCH more noticeable than on the album), but sometimes Fiyeros get drowned out live.

No Good Deed- Fiyero's been captured, and Elphaba tries to cast a spell that will save him from being beaten to death ("let him feel no pain!"). She realizes that all of her decisions thus far have led to disaster (Nessa has been killed by a falling house, Boq has been transformed into a man of tin, Fiyero may be dead, and all of Oz hates her), and decides that "No good deed goes unpunished" and that it's time for "let all Oz be agreed- I'm WICKED through and through!" Now she's gonna kidnap little girls (and their little dogs, too), and get REALLY mean. Most Elphabas love this song the best- it lets those negative emotions flow, and with the crazy under-lighting, Elphaba never looked so magnificent.
March of the Witch Hunters- The chorus, led by Boq the Tin Woodman, declares their intentions to kill "Elph... THE WITCH!!"

For Good- Elphie & Glinda make up, realizing that they don't really hate the other. In the saddest song ever, they realize that they may never meet again, but that each are what they are "because of what I learned from you" and that "you'll be with me, like a handprint on my heart". Pretty much the tear-jerkingest moment ever for most of the women watching the show, as "Women always have a harder time holding onto their friends", as Idina Menzel notes. Note that if it's an Elphaba or Glinda's last show, this song is basically full-blown hysterics from both of them. I've heard some enjoy it, but others have said it's a bit hard to watch.

Finale- Elphaba is "killed" by a silhouetted young girl, and Glinda can only watch. She has Madame Morrible arrested, and reveals to The Wizard the secret of Elphaba's parentage (the same Green Elixir that belonged to her mother via a travelling salesman... is one ALSO owned by The Wizard!). Horrified, with a CLASSIC "My God, What Have I Done?" moment, he goes into exile, leaving Glinda the sole ruler of all Oz. She declares her intentions to never forget Elphaba (though she can never clear her friend's name), and that she will truly try to become "Glinda... The Good". Prepare for Standing O.

As a curiosity, neither Dorothy nor The Cowardly Lion make "real" appearances- we hear Dorothy's sobs and see her silhouette in the end, and the Lion is seen as a mere cub, and his tail while he's off-stage, refusing to show himself out of... well, cowardice. The reasoning for this was simple- next to the Wicked Witch of the West, those characters are the most iconic people in the original story- SO iconic, in fact, that they would overpower the scenes by their very presence- people would be too distracted by "oh my God- that's Dorothy" instead of focusing on the major plot- you can't make the Kansas Farmgirl a mere bit-player. So instead they make off-stage cameos.
Last edited by Jabroniville on Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jabroniville
Posts: 10740
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:05 pm

a small amount of typing

Post by Jabroniville » Sat Jun 10, 2017 6:27 pm

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Broadway Rule #1: Have a gigantic mouth.

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How the musical opens

Some Flawless Moments:
* The moment at the party- where the entire play turns on its ear from "the two hate each other" to "the two girls' relationship is now the entire point of the show". Glinda has set up Elphaba, Carrie-style, to be humiliated by giving her a stupid pointy hat and suggesting she wear it to the party. But right then, Madame Morrible announces that Elphaba has given Glinda a true gift- a role in the Sorcery Class ("she INSISTED I tell you right this second, and that she would drop out if I didn't!"). Glinda just gets this look of absolute sheer horror and "oh my Oz... what have I done?" when she watches helplessly as Elphaba stomps into the party, receives a ton of derisive laughter, and realizes that she's done this absolutely shitty thing for no reason at all- she's gotten everything she ever wanted, and Elphaba's got humiliated in return. And Glinda's the only one to really figure out Elphaba's true character- when Fiyero chuckles, kind of impressed, "Well I'll give her this- she doesn't give a twig what anyone ELSE thinks!", Glinda just replies with a sad, pleading, "Of COURSE she does- she just pretends not to!"

And, to her credit, Glinda actually makes good- I've noticed a great additional bit when she gets stopped by two of her bitchy friends when she tries to make things right (by showing Elphaba how to dance properly, right in front of everybody- as Queen Bee, nobody can judge her for it), and has to kind of uncomfortably ignore them and help the person who becomes "the only friend who ever mattered!"

* The costuming during Dancing Through Life is awesome, too. Everyone's in these stark, black & white costumes, but with so much extra detail that I almost get distracted staring at them. Of particular note is one that ends up on a tall blonde girl in most productions- black pleats over a white dress, a white "tuxedo collar" thing, and shoulder-length striped gloves. Look closely enough and you'll see two male backgrounders actually wearing masculine-looking DRESSES, too.

* Glinda & Fiyero's first meeting, staring longingly at each other. "You're perfect." "You're perfect!" "So we're PERFECT TOGETHERRRRRRR!" is done with such honesty, such arrogance... it's hilarious.

* Glinda putting the pink rose in Elphaba's hair, complete with the musical sting later used for I'm Not That Girl. Elphaba gets flustered and runs off, while Glinda acknowledges "Why Miss Elphaba... you're beautiful!" Then gets distracted by her own reflection and plays off Elphie's discomfort.

* So Elphaba's already got the pointy hat, but she's just wearing the frock and boots. But when they're trapped in the attic in the Wizard's castle, she casts a spell to make a common broom float. And then Glinda notices her friend is shivering, and so grabs a random cloak and drapes it over her. And Elphaba stands. And all at once, the audience realizes that they're looking at The Wicked Witch Of The West, one of the iconic characters of Western fiction. The "full glory" of it. With the right actress, you feel that electricity wave come over the entire audience- EVERYONE feels it.

* Elphaba's "It's not her! I'm the one you want! It's me! It's MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!" Pretty much lights up the entire theatre, and shatters expectations when she goes for the final notes.

* When Glinda shows the Wizard his Green Elixir, and you literally see his memories flood back. "Have another DRINK, my dark-eyed beauty..."


SEEING WICKED LIVE:
* Wicked is apparently quite well-known for being an addictive play. People are prone to seeing it again and again. It didn't strike me at first, despite LOVING the play- the next time I could have seen it was in New York, and limited time and my sisters being along for the ride meant I didn't want to press the issue. However... I immediately saw it the next time I was on Broadway. And the next time it came to Edmonton. Then I got a ticket for ANOTHER show that week. And now I've seen it on the West End. And halfway through that show, I was like "... I feel like I glossed over some things- I need to see this again" and bought another ticket. For the next day's show. So yeah, you might saw this is addictive.

Seeing It Live The First Time:
It would be a few more years before the show would come to Edmonton- it was phenomenal in person (thought it had the earlier-mentioned flaws, which were only notable in seeing the full thing). Despite being a touring company, they had a BIG spectacle- a huge Time Dragon Clock hovers above the stage, The Wizard himself is a MONSTROUS automoton that looks like The Iron Giant with an extra dose of Nightmare Fuel, and there's huge equipment being wheeled about on stage as the scenes change. The two main actresses were GREAT, especially Natalie Daradich as "Glinda"- that role brings out a LOT in the "zany comedy" antics of athletic women, and Natalie had some hilarious line delivery, even meeting the Divine Miss Chenoweth's. The play was surprisingly funny as well- Popular is Glinda's signature song, and is KIND OF amusing, but Glinda's own lines that intersperse it in the play are hilarious- it's one of those things that you have to see in person. Their "Fiyero" had a little trouble singing over the music (and the other characters), but was otherwise fine. It was a HUGE, great show, and deserved every bit of the standing ovation it recieved that night- I recommend everyone go see it if they have a chance. I certainly didn't feel like I wasted my $155 for a fairly good seat- I would see it again in a second (kind of sucks that I didn't go when I was actually in Manhattan, but it was a busily-scheduled trip).

The Broadway Show:
* I saw Wicked once again, and it's as grand as ever. This Glinda isn't that great, though- she over-does the nasal "Betty Boop" voice, and it makes her more annoying than cutely-funny. Elphaba does a lot of imitating her here, which is much different than either touring show I've seen- I asked some cast members if they ever made changes to the show, and they say all versions are supposed to be the same, but there is definitely some different stuff here and there (Elphaba directly mimicking a Glinda line is something I've only seen in NYC). Oddly, there were some lines in a later version I saw (the tour came to Edmonton like a week after I got back, which I didn't know when I bought my Broadway tickets) that felt different, though I might just be misremembering. The Gershwin Theatre is HUGE, which gives the show a different impression than the smaller stages (Book of Mormon is in a more standard-size theatre, which makes it obvious why getting tickets is so hard)- it's mostly the same as the touring version, but the stage is wider, and the Wizard Head is MUCH bigger from what I've seen.

Oh yeah, and JUSTIN GUARINI was playing Fiyero, which was a hoot. I mean, I haven't seen this guy since he was the goofy runner-up with the silly haircut in the first season of American Idol, and that god-awful From Justin to Kelly movie destroyed any hope of a potential career. He was quite good, having the voice to sing properly (that can be tough for males on Broadway- their voices don't carry clearly as far), and the age to play a more charming love interest (Fiyeros are usually MUCH older than the girls in the show, despite supposedly being the same age). Playing Nessarose always strikes me as tough, since she has to be dainty and cutesy at first, then turn shrewish, and then turn full-bore evil at the end... and all in just a few scenes! The poor girls playing her have to do all of this basically with one scene for each version of the character!

Curiously, I actually liked the Touring Version better- the actors are generally better, though people bounce around all versions (the Elphaba Standby here was the same one I saw on the tour in Edmonton in 2012!). The Glinda in Edmonton recently, Kara Lindsay, was just as good, if not BETTER than Natalie Daradich was on the first one I saw! She has the perfect combo of a girly-high-pitched voice without being over-the-top (the Boop version), making some of her line delivery epic ("The GA- is silent!"). She's such a scene-stealer that Elphaba (a tougher role to play, as it's less-showy) kind of falls flat- it's a good thing both girls come out for the Curtain Call at once, my sister pointed out, since Glinda would have gotten MUCH bigger cheers otherwise (which would probably be an issue with the actresses, given that they're co-leads). The Broadway Elphaba seemed more bossy and capable of holding her own with Glinda (thanks to Glinda being weaker, and the trick where she kept imitating the Boop Voice back at her), whereas the Touring Elphaba felt like more of an afterthought, despite getting all the powerhouse chords. She also BELTS a little too much in regular dialogue, with a very huffy "Young Joan Rivers" vibe- a lot of hollering.

The biggest laughs were "The GA- is silent!", and pretty much all of Popular, especially when Glinda hit THE SPLITS near the end (well, half-splits, and she sold it like a goofball, sending people into rapturous applause)- in a show a week later, she drew the same reaction for doing basically a running tackle on Elphaba on the bed (yeah, there's tons of Femslash written about this play- can't you tell?). Another big reaction for Glinda ironically shoving Madame Morrible's "I don't think you have what it takes!" back in her face. People LOVE Glinda when Kara plays her.

Seeing multiple versions of the show makes for some interesting comparisons. The crowd reactions are often COMPLETELY different, with Elphaba sometimes drawing an ovation for her debut. Sometimes, the crowd riots for Glinda in Popular. The first time I saw it, the crowd took Fiyero's insistence that Elphaba was, in fact, beautiful ("It's not lying. It's looking at things another way!") as a backhanded compliment and REALLY insulting thing to say to the love of your life, and laughed at how inappropriate a response it was- I've never heard that reaction again.

Differences between Gershwin and the Touring version: A smaller Wizard Head ("IIIIIII AM OZZZZZZZZ!!!!"), the set doesn't extend into the seating area (there are vines everywhere at the Gershwin), the Flying Monkeys only fly once, and only above the stage (not over the crowd), and Elphaba comes across the stage for No Good Deed instead of through the floor (only the Gershwin & Apollo Victoria have holes in the floor). Also, Elphaba got an ovation as soon as she appeared on Broadway, but not on any Tour I've seen.

* I went on the Behind the Emerald Curtain tour, a 1 1/2-hour Q&A/Show & Tell thing featuring some Cast Members (an Ensemble guy who was HUGELY RIPPED in real life, and a cute Swing actress). Apparently they didn't want to go on the Gershwin for Wicked because it's so huge that it's tough to fill, and shows don't tend to last very long here (ten years on, and I'd say it worked out- the size means that Wicked is consistently the biggest-seller on Broadway, regardless of how popular Book of Mormon and Hamilton are). Some changes were made over the years, largely to fit certain actors (Josh Grey as The Wizard had a big dance number with Elphaba that's been taken out since most Wizards aren't Cabaret-bred dance pros, and are instead beefier old dudes), but nowadays, it's expected that everyone stick to the script for all their stuff, since it's now an established show. Doesn't explain Elphaba's "imitation" habit in the NY version, though.

Fun facts: Elphaba's dress in the final act weighs about 30 pounds, since it has hundreds of pieces of fabric stitched in to look haphazard. Most of the costumes are designed around being assymetrical (especially the background women's dresses). The Glinda dress is now much showier, as the original had to be kept small for Kristin Chenoweth, the original Glinda (who was 4'11" and would disappear if wearing too much fabric)- it's very poofy compared to the original, which was hanging in the Gershwin for the Tour/Showing. Since the two actors here act as Swings, they often played a different role every night, filling in for someone who was sick ("sometimes I'm a dancing Giant Head, sometimes I'm a Mouse midwife"). People on their level make about $1,700 a week, which is great, but not really "New York" great, as they point out.

Both had been with the show for YEARS, whereas most of the leads go to "ambitious actresses", who are usually cycled through quickly (I only know of a couple who've gone on to great fame- Idina, Chenoweth and Megan Hilty- the third Glinda). Many cast members sign on and leave as soon as possible- six or nine months- because they can't hack the eight-shows-a-week schedule. The worst mistake seen on the show was the female cast member here who once dropped the pants of her "Wiz-O-Mania" big-head creature in front of the entire audience, who laughed their asses off- because of her, actors in those suits now have to wear all-black, instead of her bright pink pants that were clearly just her regular clothes)- though Idina Menzel breaking her ribs on her second-last show by falling through a trap door had to be pretty bad. Entire swaths of the show were written-out and changed right up until the release, including a funeral scene for Doctor Dillamond, which resulted in tens of thousands of dollars of props & costumes, and months of time tossed away ("the truck with the props was on the way before they got the call that the scene was axed").

The West End Show:
* So naturally I made plans to see Wicked in London- it was actually the first thing I did, basing my vacation around seeing it on the 12th (the first day that had good seats available). And of course during the half-way point I was like "man, there's stuff I glossed over because I was too used to the music" or "damn, that was a good bit" and decided to see it again the next night. Keep in mind that's like a $200 thing. Seeing Wilhelmijn Verkaik- one of the most popular Elphabas of all time, was pretty much worth it.

There's a lot of things I noticed here:
* Verkaik drew a standing ovation on the Friday show, as soon as she walked on- much like the Broadway version. I think tourists kind of expect that. But then on Saturday... nothing. She just kinda stands out awkwardly. Verkaik is belt-y as all hell out there, but does it differently than Idina (who just hollers to the back rows)- she instead takes the note and repeats it, going "AAA-AAAA-AAAAAAAAHHHH!" instead of Idina's straight "AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!" Theatre dorks online call this "riffing".

* Verkaik uses the right amount of humor with Elphaba. Too many Elphies are overwhelmed by the hilarious Glindas and come off as stodgy and uptight- this Elphaba can hold her own. Though it's funny- the English accent makes her seem "posh" and stand-offish anyways, and she reads some lines a little too quickly. Like during the opening of What Is This Feeling?, Glinda does her usual droning spiel ("exceedlingly and altogether peculiarrr and quite imposssssible to descriiiiiibbbbe..."), and WV's "Blonde!" is so quick that she practically removes a full syllable out of the word. Which was already only one syllable. She does a similar thing when she yells at Galinda in Doctor Dillamond's class- the "perfecting the pronounciation of your PRECIOUS name is not the sole focus of Doctor Dillamond's LIFE!" is spammed out with ridiculous speed. The accent doesn't really help.

* Glinda, by contrast, was a bit more subtle. Less show-y than Kara Lindsay's, and less zany than the others I've seen. I think it works, in a way- you come off less impressed with the actress than some (Kara especially), but I think it works better for the SHOW if Glinda can rein it in a bit. It also makes her "Couldn't be happier" bits read a bit better, since she was more normal beforehand- you get to see the cost of what's happened, and why Glinda getting everything she's ever wanted now seems so bittersweet.

* "That Moment" at the party in Dancing Through Life has never read better. Elphaba rushes into the party all giddy, gets laughed at immediately, and you just see her SEETHE at Galinda, realizing what's just happened, and that she's been set up. And Galinda is equally mortified by what she's done.

* We got the Understudy Nessarose, who I felt was a bit weak- coming off a bit overwhelmed, which she probably was, against such powerhouse actresses. It's a character that only gets a little bit to do, so she really needs to knock it out of the park. She was a cutie, though. Very "Kristin Davis" chin. I likes that.

* This was the best Wizard I've seen- his cries when he remembers "I've always longed to be a father" came off 100% legit, and make this monster out to be quite sympathetic.

* Standing by the stage door for autographs is a bit fun- much easier than the mess on Broadway for a huge star (Neil Patrick Harris & Idina Menzel command MASSIVE lines), because there's only like eight people there. I got most of the major cast (Fiyero is apparently always "really quick" and leaves through another door). Boq is always first, followed by Wilhelmijn- amusing, since the two of them wear the colored make-up, which theatre stars will tell you is actually dolloped on less than the regular stuff, and easier to remove. Glinda wears black leather boots (YESSSSSSSS), and was happy when I told her what I noticed about her Glinda performance ("During the opening scene, I can actually see you mourn the wicked!")- she was like "Oh, thank yew- I'm so glawd that read!" PS: Australian accents are awesome. We're married now.

* Lots of people talk to Wilhelmijn in German or Dutch- I guess her fangirls went to see her overseas. She was happy I called her the "best Elphaba" (well, the best one *I've* seen). Funny to see a woman who's clearly in her forties play a college student, but of course the benefit of Elphaba is that you can pretty much be any age and get away with it on-stage- ya can't see age through that facepaint.

The Series as a Whole:
There are endless YouTube clips out there of the various cast members through the years acting out. Of course, like most long-running Broadway shows, the original cast has LONG since gone, and many of the later replacements were a lot more forgettable (given some of the INSANE talent coming through over the years, it's to be expected). Everyone has their own supporters, though most will say the original Elphie & Glinda were of course the best. Eden Espinosa & Kerry Ellis are particularly well-thought-of Elphabas, and Kerry in particular seems to have made a career out of the role, showing up in various shows. Other permanent Elphies include Rachel Tucker and Wilhelmijn Verkaik (who's played over 2000 performances as the character, and has done the role in Dutch, German & English at this point). Espinosa in particular tends to follow Idina Menzel's performances, as she was both an Elphaba and a Maureen (from Rent)- she's currently the voice of Cassandra on the new Tangled TV series.

And there is a LOT of Homoeroticism at work, here- The book is more open about it- Glinda & Elphaba have to huddle together in bed "for warmth, and (Glinda tells herself) protection", but even some of the actors in the play have declared that Glinda & Elphaba are probably in love with each other, as well as Fiyero. I would declare their love for each other a "Homoeroticism Scale" of "6" in the play- more obvious than, say, Dante & Randall in Clerks (a 5), but less so than Ken & Ryu in Street Fighter: The Animated Movie (an 8, and screw you if you don't see it :p) or Xena & Gabrielle in Xena: Warrior Princess (a 9). A "10", is, of course, called the "Frodo/Sam Rating" for "their genitals are touching. Don't lie"). But man, the book isn't even SUBTLE about it after a point. Elphie calls Glinda "my sweet", they talk about each other constantly, and the flirting gets so obvious at points that I wanted to jump up from reading and scream out "For the LOVE OF GOD, JUST F*@#* ALREADY!!"
Last edited by Jabroniville on Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:52 am, edited 4 times in total.

Thorpocalypse
Posts: 1573
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:52 pm

Re: Jab's Builds! (Jackpot! Queen! Megawatt! Mud-Thing! WICKED!!)

Post by Thorpocalypse » Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:00 pm

See, this is where I have to admit that my oldest son's love of show tunes has rubbed off on me and I am actually looking forward to your reworked Wicked run. I find myself humming For Good and Defying Gravity on a regular basis now. And I blame BOTH of you!

I find one the great minor jokes in moviedom is them having Idina Menzel as Amy Adam's character's love rival in Enchanted, which was a musical kinda spoof of things like Wicked and she didn't sing at all. ;)
Me fail English? That's unpossible. - Ralph Wiggum

Jabroniville
Posts: 10740
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:05 pm

Re: Jab's Builds! (Jackpot! Queen! Megawatt! Mud-Thing! WICKED!!)

Post by Jabroniville » Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:50 pm

Thorpocalypse wrote:
Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:00 pm
See, this is where I have to admit that my oldest son's love of show tunes has rubbed off on me and I am actually looking forward to your reworked Wicked run. I find myself humming For Good and Defying Gravity on a regular basis now. And I blame BOTH of you!

I find one the great minor jokes in moviedom is them having Idina Menzel as Amy Adam's character's love rival in Enchanted, which was a musical kinda spoof of things like Wicked and she didn't sing at all. ;)
I SHALL CONVERT THEE ALL TO THE CULT OF WICKED!!!

Idina says she found it flattering that they didn't hire her to sing- it meant that she was hireable on acting talent alone :).

Plus, it gave us Idina Menzel as an animated Disney Princess. I still say there's money in that.

Jabroniville
Posts: 10740
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:05 pm

Re: Jab's Builds! (Jackpot! Queen! Megawatt! Mud-Thing! WICKED!!)

Post by Jabroniville » Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:52 pm

Image

And there

Image

Is.

Image

A.

Image

LOT.

Image
Image

Of Shipping Pics & Fics between the two lead (some of which I didn't even commission myself).
Now, I normally hate obsessive "Shipping", as it distracts from the main work, derails internet conversations, f***s up TV Tropes pages with tons of whining, and often rewrites major characters to suit someone's random needs. HOMOSEXUAL Shipping is even worse, as it alters the very core sexuality of a character. But "Gelphie" Shipping? THAT, I like. I mean, it's BARELY out of character (in the novel, Elphie actually kisses Glinda good-bye with "Hold out, my sweet"), and it involves a tall green woman scissoring a tiny, pretty blonde. What's not to like? It doesn't hurt that some people actually ship the original ACTRESSES, too- "Chenzel" Shipping went into overdrive when Idina Menzel kissed Kristin Chenoweth before HER OWN HUSBAND when she won the Tony Award for playing Elphaba. And her husband was TAYE DIGGS, who is himself known for being quite the looker. Yes, there is even fanfic about actual human beings being Slash-Shipped together.

So of course, with my love of the Musical at an all-time high, and having just read the book, I simply MUST provide some builds for the characters! Because after all, as much as cynicism and complaining about things are fun, sometimes it's just plain better to actually ENJOY things, and there's nothing I like more than sharing awesome stuff I've seen with others- it's all about spreading the love.



Also: OMFG THIS MOVIE NEEDS TO BE MAAAAAADE!!! I know Idina Menzel has stated that the studios don't want her & Kristin to do the roles in a movie because they're "too old" now (apparently your 40s is not the time to play college students... did they not see "Beverly Hills 90210"?), but this would be PERFECT.
Last edited by Jabroniville on Sat Mar 03, 2018 3:24 pm, edited 6 times in total.

Jabroniville
Posts: 10740
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:05 pm

The Tragically-Beautiful Nessarose

Post by Jabroniville » Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:50 am

ImageImage

"Save him please, just save him
My poor Boq- my sweet, my brave, him...
Dont leave me 'till my sorry life has ceased.
Alone and loveless here,
WITH JUST THE GIRL IN THE MIRROR!!
Just her and me...
The Wicked Witch O-O-O-O-O-OF THE EAST!!
.... We deserve each other..."

NESSAROSE, THE WICKED WITCH OF THE EAST (Nessarose Thropp)
Created By:
L. Frank Baum
First Appearance: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Role: The Favoured Child, Adorable Crippled Girl, The Clingiest Jealous Girl Ever, The Frightening Ruler
Group Affiliations: Shiz University, Munchkinland
Signature Song: "The Wicked Witch of the East"
PL 0 (36)
STRENGTH
-1 STAMINA 0 AGILITY -3/1
FIGHTING 0 DEXTERITY 0
INTELLIGENCE 3 AWARENESS 2 PRESENCE 2

Skills:
Deception 2 (+4, +6 Attractive)
Expertise (Governor of Munchkinland) 4 (+7)
Expertise (Singing) 8 (+10)
Insight 2 (+4)
Intimidation 2 (+4)
Perception 2 (+4)
Persuasion 2 (+4, +6 Attractive)

Advantages: 
Attractive, Benefit 3 (Governor of Munchkinland)

Powers:
"The Magic Slippers- Non-Removable Magical Device"
Enhanced Agility 4 [8]
"There's No Place Like Home" Movement 1 (Dimensional Travel 1- Oz & Earth) [2]
 
Offense:
Unarmed +0 (-1 Damage, DC 14)
Initiative -3/+1

Defenses:
Dodge +0 (DC 10), Parry +0 (DC 10), Toughness +0, Fortitude +2, Will +5

Complications (Early):
Reputation ("Tragically beautiful")- Nessarose is beautiful and beloved by the students at Shiz, but in a very tragic way. The sad little girl gets doted on endlessly, and everyone feels sorry for her. She is acutely aware of this, and engages in self-pity over it.
Hatred ("All of my life I'd depended on you, and this hideous chair with wheels!")- Nessa despises her wheelchair, believing that it traps her, and is the only thing keeping Boq from truly loving her.
Relationship (Elphaba)- Nessa is ashamed of her sister Elphaba (who is aware of it)- the bizarre green girl often openly embarasses her with public outbursts.
Relationship (Boq)- When the sweet Munchkin boy asks Nessa to dance, she first feels like he's only feeling sorry for her (like everyone else is). When he assurse her that he asked her out "because you are so beautifullll!", she cries "Oh Boq! / I think you're wonderful! / And we deserve each other--", and becomes infatuated with him. Unbenownst to her, he only asked her out because Galinda convinced him to, and he was unwilling to hurt her feelings when he confessed his reasoning.

Complications (Later):
Responsibility (Governor of Munchkinland)- With Elphaba on the run, and their father dying of shame, it is up to Nessa to rule over the Munchkins.
Obsession (Boq)- Her love for Boq has grown into a full-blown obsession- she strips the Munchkins of their rights so that he will be forced to serve her as a manservant, and she insists he call her by her name, not "Madame". Though she is angered by his open revolt against her, she breaks down emotionally when she thinks him injured.
Reputation/Hatred (The Wicked Witch of the East)- Nessa is acutely aware of how despised she is by the Munchkins, and she secretly resents herself. When she thinks Boq is dying, she admits that she cannot be left alone "till my sorry life has ceased... Alone and loveless here / with just the girl in the mirror."
Relationship (Elphaba)- Nessa's resentmen towards her sister has grown to an all-time high, as Elphaba flies around Oz helping the Animals, but "No ONCE have you considered helping me!"

Total: Abilities: 6 / Skills: 24--12 / Advantages: 4 / Powers: 10 / Defenses: 5 (36)

-Nessa's a weird, rather thankless role in Broadway, though can be a bit underrated. Taking the necessary role as the Wicked Witch's sister, Nessa (the Witch of the East, naturally) was a super-religious, armless girl in Wicked the novel (her mother, afraid of another green baby, took milkflowers and the second baby was hurt by it), but in the musical, she's merely wheelchair-bound and a general sad-sack. She's actually very likeable at first, as she's mortified by Elphaba's antics, but seems genuinely tragic, and everyone kind of wants to help her out (because she's a Governor's daughter, Madame Morrible insists on Nessa living in a dormitory with herself).

-But when she's set-up with Munckinlander Boq, we see a big switch. When she sadly informs him that he only asked her out "because I'm in this CHAIR... and you felt sorry for me / Well isn't that right?" and he lies to her and says it's because "YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFULLLLLLLLL!!!!", she falls ass-over-teakettle in love with him (while he still pines for Galinda). Later on, she gets a glimpse of this, and loses it when Elphaba suggests "maybe he isn't the right boy for you"- she freaks out and declares him perfect, in a way that makes her come off as desperate.

-Then we don't see Nessarose for a LONG time, and she has exactly one more scene- Elphaba, on the run from The Wizard's forces, arrives at Nessa's home (where she's now the Governor of the Munchkins, and taking away all their rights- "and we didn't have that many to begin with!", cries Boq). Nessa guilts Elphaba into using The Grimmerie to allow her to walk- creating the fabled Ruby Slippers. But then Boq rejects Nessa one final time (figuring that since she can walk, she isn't helpless enough to need him anymore), and he makes the single worst choice of words in recorded history (see Boq's entry, below), and Nessa's entire life falls apart when he's gone from her life forever. Her final "scene" is just a silhouette of a fallen farmhouse.

-So Nessarose is basically a bit part, but she's a big force in the plot- she's murdered by Madame Morrible to draw out Elphaba (in a plan accidentally concocted by Glinda, who merely suggests the "rumor" of something happening to Nessa). It's quite the tragic tale, and very unusual- there are NOT a lot of wheelchair-bound villainesses out there, and Nessa's bizarre quest for love ends up twisting her into this broken, cruel woman (she starts the play in bright clothes and shiny make-up; by her last scene, she has a severe bun in her hair, harsh make-up, and black clothes). What I found most sad was her lack of singing, considering that ALL Nessas have to be greatly talented singers! She has a few lines in Dancing Through Life, and then there's a short, one-stanza soliloquy (written as her quote, above) about being left alone forever "alone and loveless here / with just the girl in the miirrrorrrrrr"- a very depressing realization for Nessa, but always a well-sung bit- the "OF the East" part is one of the most spine-tingling moments in the entire play with a top-tier singer doing it, so it's too bad that all the Nessas over the years have done all this musical training for this one short bit. Not only that, but the song isn't on the Official Cast Recording, since it's only a tiny stanza, and it's surrounded by tons of plot exposition.

The Various Nessas:
-The first Nessa I saw was easily the best- I don't remember too many of the others. Though maybe that's because The Wicked Witch of the East doesn't occur on the Cast Recording, so I was stunned to hear it in person for the first time. None of the Nessas are famous- it's such a small role that I feel like it goes to the most-amateur girls in the cast (though none appear to be "Understudy Elphabas", one Nessa did become a main Elphaba).

Nessa's Stats:
-Nessarose is no capable warrior, or even that skilled at anything- she's got those Magic Slippers, but all they really do is allow her to walk- the Dimensional Travel bit is a matter of what happens when Dorothy gets the things. She can read the Grimmerie, but makes a royal mess of things.

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