Broadway.com gift certificate, which was given to us by one of my generous cousins. If you have any theater lovers in your life, it's the perfect present. The site makes it extremely easy to purchase tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. Whether a fan of musicals or plays or both, you'll find it all there, including a nice assortment of news, links to hotel accommodations, a selection of souvenirs/merchandise, and more.
We chose to see Wicked again at the spectacular Gershwin Theater. Even though I've already seen it a few times with the original cast, it still holds up all these years later. Loosely based on the Gregory Maguire novel, which is a fantasy prequel to L. Frank Baum's classic Oz tales, the production continues to be a hit with the public and lives up to the many awards it has won since its debut in 2003. The music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz are a giant reason for that success, but the storytelling in the book by Winnie Holzman is also an enormous factor, perfectly paying homage to the familiar saga of the witches we think we know. Whether you love the children's books or the masterful 1939 motion picture, Wicked delivers recognizable characters and plot points in new and exciting ways. I hope the long rumored movie adaptation stays true to its many charms.
As can be expected when seeing a performance on a summer weekend, two understudies were on stage for the lead roles of Elphaba and Fiyero, and they were both magnificent. Emily Koch was the standby for the Wicked Witch of the West and Ryan Vasquez stepped in for the brainless romantic interest. Their voices, energy, and stage presence were star worthy and they held their own with the regular cast -- Kara Lindsay's perfect rendition of Glinda the Good, Fred Applegate as the Wizard, Robin DeJesus as Boq, Arielle Jacobs as Nessarose, Michele Lee of Knots Landing fame as Madame Morrible, and the terrific ensemble.
The Gershwin Theater is worth a visit just for its Theater Hall of Fame...
...which includes a statue of playwright Noel Coward, among other interesting tidbits to see for any theater buff.
Whether you already know which show you want to see or if you just want to browse, Broadway.com is worth a look. Afterwards, if you're still undecided, a gift certificate is an easy idea -- tuck it away for future use or share it with a friend and let him or her decide.
Enjoy the show, whichever one you see!