Brian Jacobson

Witches’ Night Off

By - Aug 4th, 2010 12:18 am

What strikes you at first, upon meeting the cast of the critically acclaimed and fan-raved Wicked, is how young they are.

Now, you expect a vibrant, energetic and youthful cast to pull off the singing and dancing involved in the epic musical that tells the tale of how Oz’s witches came to be. But on this dark night for the show’s run in Milwaukee, they appear on the naked stage at Cardinal Stritch‘s Nancy Kendall Theater. They just appear so human.

The cast was sans fantasy makeup and gear but in full force Monday night for a cabaret-style event benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the ARCW Medical Center.

The lobby was filled with memorabilia and opportunities available for a silent auction, while the end of the night saw two major auction items go for big money. The first, a chance to see Elphaba “Greenified” and a tour backstage before a performance went for $1000. The show’s producer emerged from the wings and split the offer between two bidders, doubling the gift amount. But it was the battle for the chance at a walk-on part in Wicked that sent audience hands flying.

In the end, that opportunity went for $4000.

The show itself was a stripped down affair, with only a talented piano accompaniment and a few props used by the stage artists. Women dominated the group (being the larger number in the cast) with standards like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and deeper tunes grasped from the musical theatre’s long history. Dancing played a feature role with a straightforward routine of “Good Morning” from Singin’ in the Rain and a non-traditional all male modern dance number featuring a ribald version of “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.”

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