Monday, February 14, 2011

This is twice now. Twice. That I got teary on a job. Cait can name the other instance in a heartbeat and I'm sure I'll share with you all someday... or if you care to look back through this blog, I'm sure I noted it somewhere.

Walking into this gig, I knew I was doomed. Who am I kidding, when I took the job, I knew I was doomed. Powerhouse vocalist. Internationally renowned orchestra. Gorgeous venue designed for pristine sound. And?

One of my favorite Broadway songs of all time - "Defying Gravity"

Ms. Menzel, if you didn't know, played the original Elphaba in the musical Wicked. Again, for those not in the know, Elphaba is the Wicked Witch of the West's name according to author Gregory Maguire's take on Oz. For all you L. Frank Baum fans out there, we can commiserate about the literary monstrosity that was the novel Wicked later, but for now, let's focus on more positive things.

To be honest, I didn't even love the show. I liked it a lot, but I was pretty opposed to seeing it, following my reaction to the book. It was actually my mom who said that I should give it a chance. And I did. And I'm glad I did for pretty much one reason: "Defying Gravity"

As you follow the show, you really do get attached to Elphie and this is her character's turning point, the moment she says, "enough with you people, I'm doing this my way." It is a gorgeous scene, beautifully lit. And yes, I absolutely had tears down my face in the Gershwin Theatre.

Fast-forward to Saturday, February 5th, 2011 in the stage-right wing of Avery Fisher Hall. The only other photographer in the venue is the Philharmonic's house photographer with his crazy 600mm lens and he is nowhere to be seen. There are about four stagehands and the stage manager behind me and I see the pianist change his sheet music.

Shoot. Why couldn't I be in the back of the house for this? Somewhere I could freely weep as Idina belted out this song and the entire orchestra backed her?

So again, as I did the last time this happened, I kept the camera tight to my face as I mouthed the words and waited for the single tears that were going to quietly roll down my cheeks, one at a time.

Then... I went to a boxing match. Photos to follow in the next few days.

Idina Menzel with the New York Philharmonic/Avery Fisher Hall/Lincoln Center/New York, NY/2.5.11


sedef said...

I was at the performance, and I swear it made me cry more than once. She was amazing, the non-mic. acapella performance got to me the most. I was sitting right on the third row and was mesmorised. Thank you for the photos. Did you get to meet her backstage?

Alli Harvey said...

You're quite welcome, sedef. Very glad you enjoyed the photos. Ms. Menzel is an exceptional performer with a beautiful sense of humor. I look forward to working with her again!