Theatre Review: Wicked @ Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando FL

“Wicked” opened on Broadway in New York back in 2003 and has since com “a cultural phenomenon” according to Variety and called “the best musical of the decade” by Entertainment Weekly. “Wicked” has been performed in over 100 cities in 14 countries around the world being translated into six languages and is the winner of over 100 international major awards, including a Grammy® and three Tony® Awards. And this month it is in Orlando, FL at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts’s Walt Disney Theater from January 11 – 29, 2017.

If you have never seen or heard of “Wicked” here is a quick premise: The surprising tale of an unlikely friendship between two women in the Land of Oz, Wicked tells the untold story of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good, long before Dorothy dropped in. Elphaba, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. Glinda is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. The remarkable odyssey of how these unexpected friends changed each other’s lives for good has made Wicked one of world’s most popular musicals.

This show was simply outstanding. Simply outstanding! I grew up in New York and visit the theatre district many many many times and have seen hundreds of plays. I loved the grand scale of it all. The sets, the cast, the music! It was all so amazing to me. When I moved to Florida in 2010, I thought I wasn’t going to be  able to see that scale of amazing again in the theatre…and that was true until I found the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts’s Walt Disney Theater. These people put on shows like I have never seen. “Wicked” was so just epic and breathtaking that I feel like I have to see it twice to soak in all the magic that it was!

I am sure that Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth were amazing in their original roles on Broadway. No doubt. But these two leads in Orlando were absolutely breathtaking! Their voices really pick you up and take your through this amazing story behind “The Wizard of Oz”. The talent on this production overall is just A+. With all the shows I’ve seen I have to admit this was in no question of the best in recent year! Must see this show at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts or at least during its North American tour.

Tickets Online Now for “Wicked” for the 2016-2017 FAIRWINDS Broadway in Orlando season!

2016-2017 FAIRWINDS Broadway in Orlando season 

WICKED

TICKETS ON SALE NOW!

“If every musical had the brains, heart and courage of Wicked, Broadway really would be a magical place.” (Time Magazine) 

Orlando, FL – Broadway’s biggest blockbuster returns to Orlando this winter.Wicked will fly into Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts’s Walt Disney Theater from January 11 – 29, 2017. Tickets are on sale to the general public NOW!.Tickets start at $42.75 and may be purchased online at drphillipscenter.org, by calling 844.513.2014 or by visiting the Dr. Phillips Center Box Office at 445 S. Magnolia Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday. Online and phone ticket purchases are subject to handling fees.

The surprising tale of an unlikely friendship between two women in the Land of Oz, Wicked tells the untold story of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good, long before Dorothy dropped in. Elphaba, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. Glinda is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. The remarkable odyssey of how these unexpected friends changed each other’s lives for good has made Wicked one of world’s most popular musicals.

Based on the best-selling 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire, Wicked is the winner of over 100 international major awards, including a Grammy® and three Tony® Awards.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Pippin, Godspell, Academy Award®-winner for “Pocahontas” and “The Prince of Egypt”) and book by Winnie Holzman (“My So Called Life,” “Once and Again” and “thirtysomething”), Wicked is directed by two-time Tony® Award-winner Joe Mantello (Take Me Out, Love! Valour! Compassion!, The Vagina Monologues) and features musical staging by Tony® Award winner Wayne Cilento (Aida, The Who’s Tommy, How to Succeed…).

 

Wicked has been declared “a cultural phenomenon” by Variety and “the best musical of the decade” by Entertainment Weekly. Wicked has been performed in over 100 cities in 14 countries around the world (U.S. Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, Germany, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, The Philippines, Mexico and Brazil) and has thus far been translated into six languages: Japanese, German, Dutch, Spanish, Korean and Portugese.

For more information, visit www.WickedTheMusical.com.

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FAIRWINDS Broadway in Orlando is presented in partnership with Broadway Across America and Florida Theatrical Association. FTA is a non-profit civic organization with a volunteer board of trustees established to ensure the continued presentation of quality touring Broadway productions and the promotion of arts education throughout the state of Florida. For more information, visit FloridaTheatrical.org .

BROADWAY ACROSS AMERICA is part of The John Gore Organization family of companies, which includes Broadway.com and The Broadway Channel.  Led by 9 time Tony-winning producer John Gore (Owner & CEO), BAA is the foremost presenter of first-class touring productions in North America, operating in 41 markets with over 270,000 subscribers. Current and past productions include Beautiful, Cats, Chicago, Fiddler on the Roof, Finding NeverlandMillion Dollar Quartet, Hairspray, On Your Feet!, School of Rock and The Producers. Broadway.com is the premier theater website for news, exclusive content and ticket sales. For more information please visit BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com andBroadway.com.

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization operating the state-of-the-art performing arts center in downtown Orlando, Florida. With its opening in November 2014, the performing arts center launched its vision of Arts for Every Life by being a gathering place for creativity and discovery; a vibrant urban destination where artists, audiences and students come to experience, explore and learn. The two-block community destination features the 2,700-seat Walt Disney Theater, 300-seat Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, Seneff Arts Plaza, Dr. Phillips Center Florida Hospital School of the Arts, the DeVos Family Room, and other event rental spaces. Future expansion includes Steinmetz Hall, a 1,700-seat acoustical theater, along with rehearsal, classroom, office space and commercial development spaces. Dr. Phillips Center is a private non-profit collaborating with the City of Orlando, Orange County, the State of Florida and generous donors.

 

Wicked Cool Toys Wins Christmas With Amazing New Products!

Wicked Cool Toys has quickly become the winner of the holiday season in 2016. They have put out some of the best products for kids of all ages. One of the hottest items of 2016 is the brand new, Cabbage Patch Kids Baby So Real! This is one of the most coolest gifts that you can give to your kids. Check out all the amazing features below, they never had toys like this when I was a kid!

“New for Fall 2016 and for the first time ever, CPK Baby So Real allows you to enjoy one of the most magical and interactive experiences in the history of the baby doll category. These life-like babies combine traditional play patterns with groundbreaking technology. Baby So Real’s interactive sweet baby sounds and random reactions are designed to surprise and delight. With your touch, Baby So Real comes to life with beautifully animated LCD eyes that open, close and look around. Loaded with realistic features that encourage interactive nurturing play, Baby So Real has sensors for peek-a-boo and tickle play, feeding from a special bottle, burping, diaper changing, and rocking to sleep. If your baby should develop a fever, you can calm those red cheeks by administering TLC from a magical spoon. Just like the original Cabbage Patch Kids, Baby So Real is soft and cuddly with removable clothes.

And for advanced play, Baby So Real has its own free app that allows your phone or tablet to simulate a baby monitor. The online mode allows you to see the virtual nursery where you can play with your baby, feed, diaper burp and administer TLC. You can also play games, watch video clips and earn baby points for additional virtual accessories and new features. Baby So Real comes with a fully removable outfit and diaper, a special interactive bottle and medicine spoon, birth certificate and adoption papers and a free baby monitor style app for additional virtual play. Ages 3+”

If the CPK Baby was for the girls, then the next gift is sure to please the boys in the world. Remember how I just said above that I never had toys like this when I was a kid? Well, with the new Xtreme Cycle Moto-Cam, I will say those words again! This is not just your average remote control motorcycle. This is suped up for the 21st century and comes stocked with a “wicked cool” camera, so the kids can have run with their toy and then also record what it sees, which is just the awesomeist idea! Check out the features below:

“Now kids can kick it up a notch with Xtreme Cycle Moto-Cam which features an awesome built-in helmet camera! With Extreme Cycle Moto-Cam, young cyclists can capture flips, tricks and sharp turns just like they do in extreme cycling! The patented gyroscopic stabilization system is made up of a flywheel mounted in the rear, as well as an all four bar linkage steering system. This system allows for ramp jumping, driving on various terrains, and even recovering from crashes. The cycle is specially designed to always right itself after it falls so it has non-stop action and has front and rear shock system to absorb bumps and rocky terrain. The remote control not only steers the cycle but it also allows cycle enthusiasts to start and stop the video at any time – even in mid-jump!

Moto-Cam has 640×480 VGA resolutions and allows kids to record video at 30 frames per second and store 60 minutes of video. The set includes the cycle with Moto-Cam, a remote control, 12” USB cable to download and share video online or watch on TV, stunt ramp and a removable 4GB SD card. 9V rechargeable and 2 AA batteries included! Ages 8+”

Wicked Cool Toys Teams with Alchemy II For Global Relaunch of the Teddy Ruxpin Brand and Franchise

Bristol, PA – February 1, 2016, Wicked Cool Toys has teamed up with Alchemy II, Inc. to relaunch the Teddy Ruxpin brand and franchise globally with toys, content and comprehensive licensed merchandising program. Returning in Fall 2017, Teddy Ruxpin remains one of history’s most successful, trusted and cherished children’s entertainment properties!

Teddy Ruxpin launched in 1985 with enormous success as the world’s first fully animated talking toy. Named as one of the 100 Greatest Toys of All-Time by Time Magazine, the new Teddy Ruxpin will engage with a whole new generation of kids whose parents and grandparents adored Teddy for his wholesome fun, exciting interactive adventures and cutting edge technology, making Teddy Ruxpin more relevant to today’s kids than ever.

“Teddy Ruxpin’s play-pattern and infusion of technology was way ahead of his time back in the 80’s, and with continued massive parental awareness it’s the right time to bring back this coveted brand,” said Michael Rinzler, Co-President & Founding Partner, Wicked Cool Toys.

Jeremy Padawer, Co-President & Partner, Wicked Cool Toys, adds, “We are embracing the past and making Teddy Ruxpin as adorable and engaging as ever, while innovating Teddy with features that will amaze parents and their tech savvy children.”

Padawer and Rinzler will be meeting with potential partners at Kidscreen Summit in Miami, New York International Toy Fair, and more in the months to come.

Created in 1985 by Ken Forsse, former Disney Imagineer, Teddy Ruxpin was the very first of his kind, creating a new industry category in talking toys. Teddy Ruxpin became an overnight sensation as parents and children embraced the lovable, gentle storytelling bear and the 65-episode television series. Teddy Ruxpin sold more than 8 million units in a few short years!

“Teddy Ruxpin is more than just a toy,” said Jan Forsse, President of Alchemy II. “He’s about friendship, magical fun, storytelling and literacy, and we believe the team at Wicked Cool Toys has just the right experience to bring this friend-for-life franchise back to life for a whole new generation of kids.”

“Alchemy is thrilled to work with Wicked Cool Toys, to maximize Teddy’s creativity with new innovations, and meet with potential content and licensing partners,” said Mary Becker, Vice President of Alchemy II.

About Teddy Ruxpin

The first interactive children’s toy took the form of a talking teddy bear; Teddy Ruxpin’s mouth and eyes were programmed and synchronized with his voice as he told stories that played on a cassette deck in his back. At the peak of his popularity, Teddy Ruxpin became the best-selling toy of 1985 and 1986. An animated Teddy Ruxpin series, “The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin,” debuted in 1987.

About Alchemy II

Alchemy II, Inc., owner of the Teddy Ruxpin brand, was founded by Ken Forsse in 1982. Following the success of its technology and toy, Alchemy produced a 65 episode animated series called, “The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin” as well as more than 60 books and audio tapes featuring original stories, art and songs. The Teddy Ruxpin brand expanded to include interactive games, plush, poseables, clothing and more. Over 8 million Teddy Ruxpin animated toys were sold worldwide in 13 languages. The combined worldwide gross earnings from the Teddy Ruxpin talking toy products, books, audio tapes, television series, merchandising, licensing, and other ancillary products and royalties were an estimated 6 billion dollars over a three year period from 1985 to 1987.

Alchemy II also developed the Talking Mother Goose, and in collaboration with Disney, Charles Schultz and Henson respectively, Mickey Mouse and Goofy, Snoopy and Charlie Brown, and Baby Boppers all became Talking Toys from Alchemy II.

About Wicked Cool Toys

Founded in 2012, Wicked Cool Toys (Wicked Cool Toys LLC/WCT) is an emerging leader in play that creates, designs, manufactures and markets a diverse, innovative and fun portfolio of toys for all ages.  Wicked Cool Toys’ portfolio includes Cabbage Patch Kids®, GSUSA® (Girl Scouts), Teddy Ruxpin, MasterChef Junior, WWE®, Wild Kratts, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles®, Blaze, Shimmer and Shine, Xtreme Cycle, Cat Paw, My Girl’s Dollhouse and Vrüm.  WCT’s Girl Scouts Cookie Oven was a 2016 Girl Toy of the Year (TOTY) nominee and top pick on every major retailers’ 2015 holiday list, including, Walmart, Toys “R” Us, Amazon and Target.  WCT was also selected by industry peers as a Kidscreen Hot50 Company in the Licensing category for 2015! Visit www.wickedcooltoys.com and follow the Company on both Facebook and Twitter.  www.facebook.com/wickedcooltoys    @wickedcooltoys

DVD Review “Wicked, Wicked”

Starring: Starring Tiffany Bolling, David Bailey, Randolph Roberts, Edd Byrnes, Diane McBain, Madeleine Sherwood and Arthur O’Connell
Director: Richard L. Bare
Distributed by: Warner Archive
Release Date: October 28, 2014
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 95 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The idea for “Wicked, Wicked” is very interesting. It was presented in anamorphic “Duo-Vision” aka a fancy way to say split-screen today. I think the idea of watch the film from the eyes of the hunter and the hunted is a really neat idea. It is a mixture of horror, suspense and comedy thought, think this would have been much more effective if it kept it focused on the horror. Definitely shows it’s age but this is a still a fun time and worth checking out for sure on DVD.

Official Premise: To experience the grisly goings’on of Wicked. Wicked, your right eye has to know what your left eye is doing! Filmed in a split-screen process dubbed Duo-vision. this guilty pleasure follows a psycho electrician at an elegant California resort who prefers blondes,.,dismembered. It simultaneously follows, on the other half of the screen, the gorgeous, golden-haired guests who are unaware they’ll soon be checking out.

In order for Warner Archive to release this film on DVD, there are reports that it received an extensive two-year restoration. They are making it available as part of their Made-to-Order DVDs. It is presented in a 16×9 Letterbox with an original 2.40:1 aspect ratio and boasts a solid stereo soundtrack, which works well with the use of the organ music created for the 1925 silent classic “Phantom of the Opera”. The only special features included on this DVD is a trailer.

New Girl Scouts Collection from Wicked Cool Toys to Feature Girl Scout Cookie Oven

New License Honors Classic Brand by Designing a Full Line of Fun and Creative Role Play, Crafts and Activity Toys For Girls 

Bristol, PA – October 3, 2014Wicked Cool Toys has entered into a licensing relationship with Girl Scouts of the USA to introduce a delicious baking experience with a new Girl Scout Cookie™ Oven, as well as a comprehensive line of role play, craft and activity products inspired by the preeminent girls’ leadership organization in the U.S.

Wicked Cool Toys’ Girl Scout Cookie™ Oven will feature mixes inspired by some of the most popular Girl Scout Cookies® such as Thin Mints®, Trefoils®, peanut butter, and caramel coconut varieties, as well as traditional classics like chocolate chip, oatmeal and even cakes, brownies and more! Wicked Cool is also developing a line of unique craft and activity kits for ages 6 and up called D.I.Y. girl, inspired by the fun projects Girl Scouts engage in, including such diverse offerings as a string art kit, jewelry making kit, collage silhouette kit, garland making kit and more, giving girls the chance to experience some of the fun Girl Scouts have every day. Wicked Cool Toys expects its line to hit mass market retailers throughout the US beginning in Fall 2015.

“We are honored to be embarking on a licensing relationship with Girl Scouts of the USA, one of the most treasured brands in America,” says Michael Rinzler, Co-President and Founding Partner, Wicked Cool Toys. “We hope the line will encourage girls to express their creativity, learn new skills and offer a fun, positive and truly hands-on experience that will have broad appeal. On a personal note, the idea of the Girl Scout Cookie Oven was the subject of my Field Application Project as an MBA student at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. It truly is a dream come true for me, all these years later.”

“We’re pleased to work with Wicked Cool Toys,” said Barry Horowitz, chief merchandise executive, Girls Scouts of the USA. “Their creative approach to toys will help us share the fun and excitement of Girl Scouts with even more girls—both current members and future ones.”

 

About Girl Scouts of the USA

Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, with 3.2 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouts is the leading authority on girls’ healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. The organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girl Scouts of the USA also serves American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer or reconnect with, or donate to Girl Scouts, visit www.girlscouts.org

 

About Wicked Cool Toys

WickedCool, LLC is a Pennsylvania-based toymaker with offices in Pennsylvania, California and Hong Kong. Founded in the Summer of 2012, Wicked Cool has a diverse portfolio of playthings for all ages. The Wicked Cool Toys management team is led by co-Presidents in the US Michael Rinzler and Jeremy Padawer, and in Hong Kong, Thomas Poon. The Company develops and brings to market proprietary lines and licensed product, including, Wild Kratts, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles®, Garfield, The Wiggles, Crashlings, My Girl’s Dollhouse, Vrüm, WWE®, Disney Princess®, Minnie Mouse®, Marvel®, Batman®, Superman®, Iron Man®, Sponge Bob®, Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer®, and Monster Jam®. Visit www.wickedcooltoys.com and follow the Company on both Facebook and Twitter.  www.facebook.com/wickedcooltoys    @wickedcooltoys

 

Blu-ray Review “Way of the Wicked”

Actors: Christian Slater, Vinnie Jones, Emily Tennant, Jake Croker
Directors: Kevin Carraway
Rated: Unrated
Studio: IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT
DVD Release Date: May 20, 2014
Run Time: 92 minutes

Film: 1 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

I know, I know…I need to stop being lured into watching sure to be terrible films based on the box art and list of the cast. Supernatural horror is always a big draw for me and when you put that together with the likes of Christian Slater (“True Romance”) and Vinnie Jones (“X-Men: The Last Stand”), I have a hard time saying no…even though I am sure to regret it. The film itself starts off at a snails pace and never gets it’s feet off the ground. I literally went to turn this film off after about 20 minutes and probably did mentally after that time, thanks God for gaming on my phone to pass the time. Avoid this like the plague.

Official Premise: After a series of inexplicable murders sweeps a small, isolated community, Father Henry (Slater) goes to a local police detective (Jones) with a theory on why the murders are occurring. The two learn that a troubled teen with a dark past has recently moved to town and has set his sights on the cop’s beautiful, young daughter. Father Henry, who turns out to have secrets of his own, finds himself pitted against a demonic force more diabolically evil and twisted than any of them could have imagined.

Christian Slater and Vinnie Jones are not the real stars in the “Way of the Wicked”. They are just poster boys for the film to draw you in. Jones plays the father of one of the kids in the film and Slater plays a priest that pops up in the opening scene and then disappears for a while and then comes around later in the film. The Blu-ray picture and audio are standard, nothing special. There are no special features included on this film at all. This comes absolutely bare bones, just like the film itself.

Win a DVD of Christian Slater’s Latest, “Way of the Wicked” [ENDED]

MediaMikes.com has teamed up with Image Entertainment to provide two of our readers with a free DVD of the new thriller, “Way of the Wicked.”

The film is directed by Kevin Carraway (7 Below) and stars Christian Slater (Stranded, True Romance), Vinnie Jones (X-Men: The Last Stand, Snatch), Emily Tennant (Juno, Mr. Young) and Jake Croker.

After a series of inexplicable murders sweeps a small, isolated community, Father Henry (Slater) goes to a local police detective (Jones) with a theory on why the murders are occurring. The two learn that a troubled teen with a dark past has recently moved to town and has set his sights on the cop’s beautiful, young daughter. Father Henry, who turns out to have secrets of his own, finds himself pitted against a demonic force more diabolically evil and twisted than any of them could have imagined.

 All you have to do to win a copy is let us know below your favorite Christian Slater film.  Was it his early stuff, like “The Name of the Rose” or “The Legend of Billie Jean?”  Or was it his classic role as J.D. in “Heathers” or the audience-friendly George in “Kuffs.”

Two random entries will be chosen and the winners will receive a copy of “Way of the Wicked” on DVD.  This contest will run through May 23.

“Way of the Wicked” will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on May 20, 2014.

Iced Earth’s Stu Block talks about new album “Something Wicked”

Stu Block is the lead singer of the heavy metal band Iced Earth. The group is set to release their 11th studio album via Century Media titled “Plagues of Babylon” in January and will be hitting the roads here in the States starting in April. Media Mikes had the chance recently to speak with Stu about the creation of the new album, its guest performers and how it fits in to the “Something Wicked” saga, An ongoing story spanning the groups last few albums.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some info on the new album?
Stu Block: This album is a pretty dark and heavy album. The first half has sort of a concept that follows a zombie apocalypse type story while the other half of the album features more standalone songs. It kind of reminds me of an old Rush record where you get half concept and half standalone material. There is something for everybody on this record and it takes the listener on an emotional rollercoaster. We are really proud of this record.

AL: Where does the concept portion of the new record fit in with the “Something Wicked” saga?
SB: That really is those first six songs. You can take any period in time or history and apply it to the “Something Wicked” universe. This is something people can really read in to and we are very aware of that.

AL: Did the 3 year gap between this album and the previous affect the creative process at all?
SB: No not at all. Our creative process has always been the same. Jon and I have good creativity together and we both had input towards the record. Jon keeps his big toe on this type of thing because there is a standard for Iced Earth records and he is the man with the vision. Both this album and the previous one are really great heavy metal albums that were very proud of.

AL: Can you tell us about some of the guest appearances on the album?
SB: The song “Highwayman” was an awesome thing to do and it was really a lot of fun. We were able to do that song with some of our best friends. Russell Allen is a vocalist who I have looked up to for many years and we became friends through touring together so that brotherhood was something that was already in place. We also had Michael Poulsen of Volbeat who we just finished a tour with and have all become friends with. This song was sort of a brain child of Jon’s and it’s been a song he has been mentioning wanting to cover for a few years now. Everything worked to where we could finally get it done and it turned out great. I think this song shows the uniqueness of everyone’s voice. We also had Hansi Kursch from the band Blind Guardian and Demons and Wizards sing on a track as well. He and Jon have been friends for a really long time and for me it was an honor to get to sing along side of him. Hansi is a really great guy to be around.

AL: The album is going to be released in a number of different formats. Can you tell us a little bit about those?
SB: I know the album has been mastered in a couple different formats. One of those will be a vinyl format with no compression. I can’t wait to hear that version as I hear it sounds amazing. These different mixes are something that people will really enjoy. There is a mix for people who listen to their music on ear buds and there is a mix for people with high end stereos and then the vinyl format as well. There is a box set that is going to be available also which includes an hour long DVD and some other really cool things that I think fans will like.

AL: Can you tell us about the tour which was announced recently?
SB: This tour is going to be a long one. We are currently rehearsing for the tour as we speak. We start in January over in Europe and from there head to Australia and New Zealand. From there I believe we will be hitting Canada and the United States before heading down to South America. For all the dates fans can go to www.icedearth.com .

AL: You mentioned that you are rehearsing for the tour as we speak. How does the band go about selecting which songs will make it into the set list?
SB: It’s funny that you ask that because this last set was something that came out of our tour with Volbeat. Michael is such a big fan that towards the end of the tour he handed Jon a list of songs he wanted us to do on the next tour. I think the list had almost 40 songs on it. We narrowed it down to around 20 or 25 with some of them being songs we have done before and some of them we hadn’t done before. The set list for this upcoming tour kind of came from Michael. (Laughs) Generally Jon and Luke our bass player put the set lists together and if there is a song I want to do that gets throw in as well. I am excited as there is some really cool stuff we are going to be doing on this run.

Theatre Review “Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz” Kansas City, Missouri

WICKED: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz
October 10, 2013
Music Hall
Kansas City, Missouri

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

For those not familiar with the story, “Wicked” tells the story of the witches of Oz before they are visited by a certain little girl from Kansas. The two main characters are Glinda the Good Witch (Hayley Podschun) and Elphaba (Jennifer DiNoia) the “Wicked” Witch of the West. The story begins where the well known story of “The Wizard of Oz” ends, Dorothy has just gone back to Kansas and the Munchkins are singing and celebrating now that the Wicked Witch is finally dead. As the celebration and singing continues a question is put to Glinda as to the actual relationship she shared with Elphaba when they were growing up. We are than transported by way of Glinda’s memory to her school days and her first meeting with Elphaba.

As you can probably figure, Glinda and Elphaba were very different from the beginning. Glinda grew up in a higher class family, which made it quite simple to achieve any dream she had. She just had to ask and it was given to her. Even though Elphaba’s father is the Mayor she has a little tiny problem that keeps her from making friends… she is green! Her sole purpose in life is to take care of her beautiful and normal looking sister, Nessarose, who is confined to a wheelchair. We follow Elphaba and Glinda to “college,” where their disdain for each other grows. As time progresses we watch them deal with their differences, their disagreements, their shared following of sorcery and their shared love of the same boy, Fiyero.

What’s most enjoyable about “Wicked” is that the story continually works in the story of “The Wizard of Oz,” with some twists involved that make all to much sense to the story that we already know. We learn how the scarecrow, tin man and cowardly lion all come to be. We learn why there must be good to match evil or, in this case, where there must be evil to match good. What we are all lead to do is to accept the thought that we must unlearn what we already know. You will never watch “The Wizard of Oz” again and feel the same way about any of the characters.

Most impressive of “Wicked” was that the story was all new to me, I went in with only expectations of being entertained and satisfied with the production I saw. What I witnessed was something entirely different. It was an emotional experience that left me drained by the end. You’re not sure if you should choose sides; is there a good and evil in this story? Is it all evil? Is it all good? Do I root for just one character or do I just trust that sometimes there can be two right sides to every story? “Wicked” is a top notch production with great music and a fantastic crew currently running in Kansas City through October 27. It’s a story that you should experience at least once. My only regret about the show is that it has taken me ten years to see it!I

The entire cast of “Wicked” in KC was amazing, with special kudos going to DiNoia and Kansas City native Podschun. Many in the cast had played the same roles on Broadway. I could tell from the beginning that this performance would be like nothing I had seen recently at the theater. “Wicked” was nominated for ten Tony Awards, winning three, and boasts a Grammy winning soundtrack of such memorable tunes as the Act 1 finale “Defying Gravity.” If “Wicked” blows your way I suggest you go see it before a house drops on YOU!

There are currently two touring companies of “Wicked” making their way around the United States. This cast can next be seen in Des Moines, Indianapolis and Cleveland. For more tour information http://www.wickedthemusical.com/broadway-tickets

Blu-ray Review “Miramax Double Feature: The Crow: City of Angels / The Crow: Wicked Prayer”

Directors: Tim Pope, Lance Mungia
Starring: Vincent Perez, Edward Furlong, Mia Kirshner, Tara Reid
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Running Time: 185 minutes

The Crow: City of Angels: 3.5 out of 5 stars
The Crow: Wicked Prayer: 2 out of 5 stars

I feel bad for Vincent Perez in “The Crow: City of Angels”, since he has really big shoes to walk-in. This sequel does not trump the first one with the late Brandon Lee but it surely gives it some respect and delivers a good time. On the other side of this release we have “The Crow: Wicked Prayer”, which does not succeed at all. The film has Edward Furlong taking the lead as the risen vigilante but it is more laughable than chilling. I would have liked to see a double feature with “The Crow” and “The Crow: City of Angels”, but Echo Bridge unfortunately doesn’t have the right to the first film.

“The Crow: City of Angels” is a fast-moving and action-packed sequel to The Crow and stars Vincent Perez and Mia Kirshner. After being brought back to life by a mysterious crow, our vicitim seeks revenge on the evil drug cartel that murdered him with the help of beautiful woman Sarah (Kirshner). “The Crow: Wicked Prayer” stars Tara Reid, David Boreanaz and Edward Furlong. It follows ex-con Jimmy Cuervo (Furlong) who while trying to straighten out his life, his girlfriend Lily and himself are brutally murdered by a renegade biker gang in a satanic ritual. Of course in line with the series, Cuervo comes back to get revenge.

Despite the including of “Wicked Prayer”, this Blu-ray presentation is actually quite impressive. Both films look great in their 1080p transfers and both include very powerful DTS 5.1 audio track, as well as 2.0 Stereo tracks. Also in a rare change for Echo Bridge each film actually has special features. For “City of Angels”, there is Brandan Lee’s Last Interview and a production featurette. For “Wicker Prayer”, there is two deleted scenes and a commentary track with director Lance Mungia, director of photography Kurt Brabbee, editor Dean Holland and sound designer Steve Avila. Not the best track but better than no extras.