Wicked awesome

By Mir
October 22, 2008

So, last week my pal Foodie (remember Foodie? Perhaps I should always refer to her in context in a way that makes her sound all mysterious, like Hey! Remember Foodie and the Gazpacho of Doom?) called me up and said, “I have a friend who got a couple of show tickets she can’t use for Tuesday night. Wanna go?”

This was a no-brainer for me, for several reasons.

1) I was a theater major in college, and although I’m very very very glad I didn’t decide to pursue that as a career, I am still a fool for a great stage production
2) I very much like hanging out with Foodie
3) Getting out of the house on a weeknight for something other than a school-related meeting sounds like the height of decadence to me, because I have no life.

So of course, I said HELL YES. And also probably “What time are you picking me up?”

Well, either Foodie didn’t mention it right off or I just didn’t process it right away—either is possible—but I had assumed that she meant the show was here in town at our little theater. But it turned out that no, the show in question was Wicked, playing at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. And that made it much more exciting, because were going to go to the Fancy Theatre like Fancy People, but it also meant that I was not just going out on Tuesday night, I was going out for ALL of Tuesday night. As in, not arriving back until it was technically Wednesday morning.

And I don’t know if you know this, but I am sort of old and cranky and really value my sleep. But I figured this was something not to be missed, so we went.

Foodie did indeed drive, which was good, because even with my GPS unit I can only drive in Atlanta while swearing profusely and sweating bullets, so it was infinitely more pleasant to have her at the wheel. We made excellent time in the city and then set about driving in circles to find an appropriate place to park. Finally we did park, and set out to walk back to the theater, and I was fairly jogging to keep up, you see, because Foodie is a tall drink of water and her legs end about where my chin is, and so her stride is pretty formidable.

So we’re walking. And walking. And walking. And then we (and by “we” I of course mean “Foodie”) realize: WE’RE ON THE WRONG PEACHTREE STREET!

Every other street in Atlanta is called Peachtree. It’s terribly charming. (You know, in the way that something stupid and annoying is supposed to be quaint.)

The first person we assaulted for directions sounded exactly like us, which is to say that he was an out-of-towner who was similarly clueless. But the second person was able to tell us that we were only about a block and a half away, and we thanked him and headed over and made it into our seats about sixty seconds before they dimmed the lights.

One of my other friends had told me to expect to be blown away by the Fox, but even that didn’t prepare me for the grandeur of the space, with the stage all made up like a castle and turrets surrounding the entire seating area, and the ceiling looking exactly like the night sky. I felt like a kid again, sitting there, overwhelmed by it all and just plain excited for the show to begin.

And the show was AMAZING. Worth every minute of lost sleep! I’m so glad Foodie took me. (Thank you again, Foodie!)

But rather than gush on and on about the show itself and how awesome it was, I thought I’d point out a few ways in which I realized, over the course of the evening, that I am really not fit for polite society.

To start with, I had asked Foodie a couple of times what she’d be wearing. I’d never been to the Fox and I had no idea of proper attire, you see. Eventually we reasoned that people couldn’t possibly be getting dolled up to see a show on a Tuesday night, could they? Certainly not. And we wore sort of “business casual” things—Foodie was in nice slacks and a sweater, I was wearing a nice blouse with structured black jeans and boots.

The good news is that I’m positive no one there cared one bit about what we were wearing. The bad news is that it was a real effort for me to stop people-watching, because we saw EVERYTHING on the spectrum, there. Some people really did pay enormous sums of money for tickets and then show up in paint-splattered torn Levis. And some people really did join us in the cheaper balcony seats absolutely dressed to the nines. I am coming to understand that Atlanta is a place where young women seem to feel the need to flat-iron their hair, cake on the make-up, and then put on a strappy gown for ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. But it still amuses me.

Then there were the people sitting behind us. About halfway through the first act they prepared an entire meal on their laps, I think. Oh, okay, that’s an exaggeration. Probably. But they DID open a giant bag of potato chips or something equally rustle-y. Not during a big musical number, either, where most people wouldn’t be able to hear it. Like, during a dramatic (and quiet) scene. Which just confirms my belief that most people nowadays are completely void of manners. Because, dude, your tasty chips are NOT more important than the folks busting ass on the stage, or the people around you who purchased tickets to see a show, not to listen to you and your friends Crunch and Munch.

At intermission we joined the swarm of people vying for a chance to pay for overpriced, flat soda in the lobby. I actually found the press of people (the line was more of an oversized amoeba than a line) overwhelming, and when Foodie suggested we divide and conquer, with me going off to try a different line, I all but clung to her leg and cried. “Um, no, I think this is fine,” I said. “I’ll just stand here with you. The only person I know in this sea of thousands.” She looked at me a little funny but she’s known me long enough now that I don’t think she was terribly fazed.

And the crown jewel in the Can’t Take Me Anywhere crown: There we are, at this historic theater, watching a giant spectacle of a show with great music, a fabulous cast, etc., and I am LOVING it, yes, and having a great time, obviously, but I still couldn’t resist, not too far in, leaning over and whispering to Foodie, “What do you suppose they use to get the green make-up off?” I mean, c’mon, the lead actress has a green face and green arms and green hands, and people are touching her and it’s NOT COMING OFF. I was just curious how they do that, and then what she has to use to get it off later. I mean, anyone would be.

Right? RIGHT?

Oh, shut up.

After the show we were delighted to make our way back to the car by a much less circuitous route than we’d approached on, and we chatted all the way back into town until Foodie dropped me off at 12-something and I realized that I was WIDE! AWAKE!

Let’s face it; that may be more fun than I’m allowed to have on a Tuesday. Though I sure am glad I did.


  1. Half Assed Kitchen

    I must be a long lost Atlanta-ite, because I insist on flat ironing my hair, piling on the makeup and wearing a strappy gown just to drop my kids off at school. And make dinner.

  2. Leandra

    Athens is like that too. Have you SEEN the girls going to the football game?

    Isn’t the Fox awesome? I’ve seen Gone With the Wind there. Twice!

  3. Deb

    Wicked is AWESOME!!! glad you enjoyed. I love people watching too, it is a wonderful thing to do ;-)

  4. Mir

    Anytn, OMG — that video is awesome, and GET THIS: I went to theatre school with Julia Murney. She was a senior when I was a sophomore. :)

  5. shannon

    dude, that crunch and munch would have sent me over the edge! one reason i avoid movie theaters…can’t. stand. the. sound. of. wrappers.
    glad you got to see the show…i get to go in april, hopefully!!

  6. Heather

    I want to see Wicked quite badly :D Except I’d like to see it with Kristin Chenoweth, because I think she’s adorable.

  7. Cathi

    Fabulous, wonderful, marvelous show. So very worth the kidney and lung that I sold to buy the tickets! I went in L.A. and nobody cared what you wore. Some were very dressed and some were casual but most were kind of like you – kinda business casual. So glad that you got the chance to go.

  8. Nancy

    A girl who plays wicked…on Broadway, maybe?…was featured on The Dog Whisperer because her little dog would go nuts when the make-up guy came in to do her green – he used a setting spray of some sort that made little dude go all Barkity Bark Bark.

  9. Barbara

    So women dress like that elsewhere?

    Mir, at what age would you approve of Chickadee seeing Wicked? My younger teen is asking to go.

  10. Megan

    Wow. Still just impressed that you saw a reallio trulio SHOW show in a theatre and everything! Last time I did that was… erm… good lord surely I did that SOME time. Don’t suppose Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner counts as a) that was in college and b) I was in it. Quite likely if I went to one now I would simply swoon with the fancitude of it all… either that or forget myself and lean over the balcony to spit sunflower seed shells on the Very Important People beneath [note: I haven’t eaten sunflower seeds since junior high so obviously this would be the time to revisit that as well].

  11. KD @ A Bit Squirrelly

    OOO I am SO JEALOUS! I would LOVE to see Wicked! Sounds like a blast even if you are publically challenged :-)

  12. Aimee

    Shannon, I’m with you on the crinkly bags. That drives me NUTS. And to do it at a stage show? Beyond rude.

    The show sounds great, though. I loved the book… I think the show is coming here in January!

  13. Jess

    Man, and when I went to Legally Blonde (the musical) with my daughter two weeks ago I gave her a very involved talk about how there was to be no eating, no drinking, no singing along, and no asking loud questions during the show. She managed all that just fine, and she’s six!

  14. el-e-e

    I need a friend who’ll share free theater tickets with me! I would love to see that show! :) Glad you got to experience the Fabulous Fox and relive your theater-geekhood (one of the best kinds, frankly). My own is severely underused.

  15. Foodie

    I am STILL flying high from the show and in fact was on ebay last night at 1 am (!) looking to see if there were tix to other shows before this run ends! I just wanted to add that not only was this a-hole behind us munching and crunching his crinkly bag, I turned around about 5 times and glared at him — clueless! His wife turned and looked at me one of the times — still nothing. She obviously has not read the part of the marriage contract where it states that it is the woman’s role in public to prevent the man from being oblivious to social mores! ;) Anyway, if you get a chance, SEE this show. There’s nothing inappropriate in it for kids — I’d guess a child would need to be 9 or 10 to “get” the story-line and humor, but (from what I understand, not having read the book) it’s lighter and funnier. (I did notice in the program that they recommend it for kids older than 8, and they would not admit kids under 4, but that’s probably due to just wanting to emphasize that this is an adult story). As I told Mir, I also really appreciated the centrality of the friendship between the two female leads — so often we have stories where the love interest is the primary plot-driver and the “buddy” serves an ancillary role, but this play is really a beautiful story about friendship. Awww, my green makeup is going to start running if I get all sentimental now! ;)

  16. Taylor

    Oh don’t you just love The Fox? It makes me swoon just thinkning about it.

  17. Denise

    So glad you got to experience the Fox! My senior prom was held in the Egyptian Ballroom there (back in 1974–man I’m old!) Before moving to Texas for grad school this summer, my son lived about a mile from the theater and we took advantage of the summer movie classics season they hold every year. You should check it out next summer for Monkey and Chickadee–so much fun!! Also, should you get the chance for another *grown-up* night out, check out Baronda’s across the street from the Fox for dinner…makes the evening complete.

  18. Carol

    Oh yay! We went to Wicked at the Fox last week, too. I was blown away! In fact, another friend who also saw the same performance, said it was the 3rd time she had seen it – the first 2 in NY, and she thought this was the best. Katie Rose Clarke’s take on Glinda is hilarious.

    And Barbara, I took my 10-year-old and she loved it. I would NOT let her read the book, but the play is much better. There is innuendo that Elphaba is an illegitimate child, but that was the worst of it.

    Glad you got to enjoy a night on the town! The Fox is Fabulous – did you look up and see the stars?

  19. Flea

    I would have wondered the exact same thing. :) I’m so glad you were out havign great fun with a friend on a Tuesday!

  20. Melisa

    Well, I was going to suggest that maybe the actress was ACTUALLY green (in which case, this is the PERFECT role for her.) But since you went to school with her, you probably would have noticed that.


  21. Lori

    I heart Wicked. Like know-the-words-to-every-song heart it. So I might have decked Crunch & Munch if I were there…

    With that said, at the travelling production of Rent the guy in front of me was belting out each song and sort of rocking back and forth clutching his hands like he was praying. Now I know and love the songs as much as the next guy but c’mon, I’m not paying to hear the audience sing them! Unless it’s the curtain call at Mamma Mia.

    Oh my hell, I think I just geeked out Broadway style.

  22. Lori

    PS – Aimee, the show is nothing like the book. Sorry to disappoint. Both are good though!

  23. Em

    My daughter has only been to one “real” show (Annie) but I try to take her to community theatre and I am trying like heck to instill in her that this isn’t TV – those are real people and they worked very hard to do this for us to see. Voices carry and you don’t want to be disrespectful to them by making any extra noise (I am a load of fun at these things, really). My point is, I’m trying to instill in a 6 year old what I would assume would be common sense for any person who has any. How does a person get to adulthood and think that it’s not a bad thing to make loud rustling noises in a room full of people trying to pay attention to a stage full of people who learned a whole play, put on green makeup, and came out to act it out for you (and by the way are RIGHT THERE trying to ignore you)? I don’t get people at all.

    On the good side, as long as there are people like that, I don’t have to worry as much about what I wore or what I wondered or whose side I refused to leave at intermission. And neither do you.

  24. Jamie AZ

    Why would people even think it’s acceptable to bring chips into the theatre?! Heathens. :)

    Glad you had a fun night!

  25. hokgardner

    If you get the chance, you should take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Fox. I did it years ago, and it was fascinating.

  26. Abbey

    I love WICKED I’ve actually gotten to see it twice the second time thanks to some lovely free tickets. Such fun and I’m glad you got to enjoy the experience with a buddy. Good story telling all around.

  27. Stephanie Chance

    I am so jealous. My husband and I stayed at the Georgian Terrace across the street from the Fox, but I have not been in it yet. And we have done the walking and walking and walking and being on the wrong street in Atlanta, too. Great fun.

  28. jean

    Wicked was by far the best play I have seen. I got to see it on Broadway and trust me, the people there don’t behave or dress much better. Actually, it may even be worse.

  29. Lucinda

    I can so relate to people wearing anything to the theater. When I saw Wicked in Portland, one man was dressed in a bright purple suit. Others were dressed in VERY casual clothing. But the thing that annoyed me the most was the people who brought their baby to the show. I’m all about taking your baby with you when appropriate (like restaurants–even spendy ones), but dude! These were expensive tickets and I’m not interested in hearing your baby coo and giggle during a show. Especially given my ADD. Very distracting.

  30. Jenny

    The Fox is faaabulous.

    And as for the green makeup inquiry, my girlfriends and I spent an entire intermission trying to calculate how much Molly Ringwald’s take was going to be from Sweet Charity, assuming concert halls and crowds approximately the size of the one here. So you aren’t the only one that wonders…

  31. bob

    structured black jeans?

    Now you know why they call it the Fabulous Fox Theater. It’s an amazing place, great for concerts too.

  32. Kelly

    My husband owes me tickets – he got to go for work and I missed out…

  33. Lindy

    Dude, you got lost and couldn’t find the Fox? I mean, there’s *only* like 55 Peachtree Streets in Atlanta. Duh.

  34. Lindy

    Oh, and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend Avenue Q. It’s touring right now. Probably not a play for the kiddies tho. There’s muppet sex on stage.

  35. zandor

    It sounds like you had an awesome time. Isn’t Wicked awesome? I saw it for my birthday and it was pretty much my favorite thing ever.

  36. Rosie

    During movies, I’m famous among my friends for giving The LOOK to rude people. There’s no end to the inanity: food wrappers, talking or whispering, jiggling the seat. If The LOOK doesn’t work, I speak to them about it. I don’t pay good money to have other people ruin my experience.

    Ooh, that sounds cranky. In most others areas of life, I’m fairly laid back.

  37. Gigi

    I l-o-v-e Wicked, so glad you went to see it.

    To add to the discussion, the show is appropriate for most any age as far as content, it would only be attention span and ability to sit that long that would really be relevant.
    The book however, was very dark and disturbing, and I didn’t like it at ALL. Definitely not suitable for children of any age. There’s an orgy scene for crike’s sake. Ugh.

  38. Karen

    You so make me want to be a Southern Girl. I have yet to have that much fun on a Tuesday night.

  39. Heather

    I just have to chime in on the munchers behind you – A very long time ago I went to see A Chorus Line (Summer tour – the tours were not even called National Tours back then) with my parents – I might have been 11 or 12. I was appalled by the behavior of the people who sat behind us talking among themselves and eating candy throughout the ENTIRE show except the last couple of scenes because at that point one of them said as loud as possible OH THANK GOODNESS THE SHOW IS FINALLY STARTING. I thought my father was going to have an attack and my mother wouldn’t let either of us say anything to them because they were senior citizens. The part that we keep laughing about to this day is that they made very loud disparaging remarks about my parents bringing a child to the theater when we sat down in front of them.

    Do not even get me started on the way people dress – I once saw a ripped t-shirt and bike shorts at a play in NYC.

  40. Me

    I’d so desperately love to see Wicked. People have the same span of dress code for operas and symphonies, too. I don’t know how you didn’t smack the potato chip people … that’s obscene!

  41. Erin

    *SOB* I was supposed to go see Wicked at the Fox two weeks ago, but the dadgum gas crisis in NC kept me from driving down there. I’m going to re-read your post several times and live vicariously through you. And I read the book again yesterday. I’m so glad you got a night out on the town!

  42. Em

    Just so you know, I have spent most of the day looking up Wicked scenes on youtube. I blame you for my lack of completed laundry today. (Because it’s easier than blaming myself of course – *I* didn’t remind myself of Wicked today!)

  43. J from Ireland

    Yeah I would love to see Wicked, I read the book and found it a bit difficult but I hear the musical is amazing. Glad you had an interesting Tuesday, you lucky thing you!

  44. Mama Bear

    Nice, food wrappers drive me insane anywhere, but at any live show they are just plain rude. But, I can top it: a few weeks ago we were at mass, and the gentleman in front of us kept getting phone calls, it would ring, he would open and shut the phone, it would ring, he would open and shut the phone, finally he just answered it… during the service, and explained what he was doing and why they shouldn’t call back. This was during a Catholic mass, it was quite quiet at the time, but mostly it was appalling.

  45. Rachel

    Wickedly jealous here in ND!! I’d love to see that play!

  46. Lady M

    I saw Wicked in New York and like an idiot, forgot that Tuesday night shows start at 7pm instead of 8. I missed the first 20 minutes! And for no good reason either – I was just killing time at a shop down the street.

  47. Dawn

    I find having knowledge of the theatre completely changes your experience. Before I got involved, I was all, “Oooo! Look! Magic!” Now I’m critiquing the props and costumes and noticing if something’s been left on stage that shouldn’t have been, and tutting to myself if light is bleeding from backstage… you get the picture. But I try to keep my comments to my inside voice.

    I have heard that Wicked is… well… wicked! Would love to see it.

    I think noisy food at a live performance should be a hanging offence.

  48. Vicky

    The green makeup is actually MAC Chromacake in landscape green. I have an empty container of it that I got when I visited Carmen Cusack backstage in Cleveland. I watched her get green and it was fantastically awesome.

    Also, I saw Julia when she toured back in 2006 and she made me fall in love with Wicked.

  49. Valerie

    You are not kidding about the all the streets named Peachtree. Every time I’ve been to Atlanta, the Peachtrees have caused much frustration. Still love Hotlanta, though! Glad you had a good time!

  50. Kathy

    I am going on Friday and I can’t WAIT!

    I have been to the Fox many times, and it is a beautiful space – I actually have know people to have their weddings there – they have a great ballroom called the Egyptian ballroom.

    Luckily I live about 40 minutes closer to Atlanta than you do, so hopefully I will be home before midnight (I am also taking my 10 year old daughter!)

    Glad you had FUN!

  51. Bri

    I went with my mom to a show at our Fox Theatre in St. Louis. We saw an awesome show with men in kilts, playing the bagpipes and dancing traditional dances. It was beautiful and yes, at one point I leaned over to whisper to my mom, “So, you think they’re wearing anything under there?” and then again to say, “Nope, and I may be scarred for life now.” I am classy like that. ;)

  52. Alison

    Wicked is on my to-see list, glad you enjoyed it.

    When my son was in Les Mis at a local, large theatre last year, my friend’s dd produced a large tub of M&Ms, which she was proposing to munch through the first act. I gave her my best Paddington hard stare and said. “Please put those away until the interval.” My dd looked ruefully at her friend and said “no eating, no talking, no fidgeting, those are the rules!”

  53. Brigitte

    I would so totally be clinging to my friend in the crowd, and (no matter how much I LOVED the show), some part of me way in the back of my mind would be sniveling about being out past 8:00 on a weeknight – even though I’m a SAHM.

    Gee, I already don’t recall an orgy scene in the book. THIS is why I have to purchase books I like, I need to reread them every few years because I have no brain cells! Maybe I’ll get to see Wicked on stage when it gets down to the local highschool level. You’ve made me miss college when a good buddy was a theater major, and I got to see everything when it was still in dress rehearsals!

  54. Kristy

    I love the Fox! So jealous you got to go – and so glad you had a good time!!

  55. Jill

    Oh my, I know just what you mean about the Peachtree name in Atlanta. I was lost downtown late last night after a concert and could not believe so many streets were named Peachtree. Seriously this is a logistic nightmare!

  56. Nicole in WI

    Both of my daughters have sung the songs from Wicked in chorus. They were in middle school…their teacher hearts anything to do with this or Wizard of Oz. The music is fabulous! It is coming to Little ‘ole Wisconsin next February and I am taking them to see it — I can’t WAIT!!

  57. sheila

    Wow, I wish my daughter could have seen Wicked!
    They were supposed to go while in NYC two years ago with their school (field trip from Ohio)….but the show was sold out and they ended up having to see Dirty Rotten Scoundrels…which,….anyone who’s seen the movie…or the play….would understand it’s NOT appropriate for 12-14 year olds….which the teachers quietly (1/2 way through) escorted out.

  58. WaywardGoddess

    I am absolutely DYING to see Wicked…but, I’m afraid to drive in Atlanta. It’s stupid to live so close and not go, though. I have, what? A week to get over my fear?

  59. Angela

    I have never been more in love with a musical, than I am Wicked. So much so, I’m pretty sure I’m naming my next child Elpheba. Maybe we’ll make the “buh” silent.

    Don’t know if anyone wrote this already, but when I saw it in Chicago, I was in the 5th row and could see—Little Miss Elphi is wearing a tight shirt. Not sure about gloves, but at least most of her neck and all of her arms were not painted. See, if you had asked me, I could have answered—loudly. So you wouldn’t feel out of place or alone.

  60. Cele

    Now I am jealous, it sounded like a lovely girls night out.

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