It was November 2011, on a cold New York day. Jill and I had a big choice to make. We had already wasted two days lining up for hours and failing to get tickets to The Book of Mormon.
Should we risk wasting another afternoon or should we move on to the next musical on our wish list? I looked at the huge ticket-desperate crowd that had gathered in front of the Eugene O’Neill Theatre on West 49th Street. Then, I looked at Jill, my eternal Broadway buddy, and we mouthed one word at the same time: “Wicked.”
We rushed off to the Gershwin Theatre on West 51st Street to make it in time for the lottery. Wicked’s lottery winners get the chance to purchase front row seats for just $30 each. But there were too many hopefuls that day. The odds were against us – we didn’t win.
“Screw it, it’s our last weekend in New York,” we said. “Let’s pay full price.” We paid $131 each for our tickets. It was a choice we did not regret.
We spent over two hours in Oz, captivated by the tale of Glinda (Chandra Lee Schwartz) and the green-skinned Elphaba (Jackie Burns) and swimming in the music of Stephen Schwartz. I didn’t want it to end. That was the night I fell in love with Wicked.
We watched four Broadway shows on that trip but Wicked was our favorite.
The following year, the rumors started. Wicked was coming to Manila! I desperately wanted the rumors to be true.
In August 2013, it became official. Wicked was really coming and they flew in the stars Jemma Rix and Suzie Mathers for the press launch.
In September, I got another Wicked surprise. Deborah Lippmann had created a special Wicked nail polish set to celebrate the musical’s 10th anniversary and she wanted Polish Police to join her celebration. It sounded like a magical night – dinner and then a trip to Broadway to see Wicked with Deborah. I desperately wanted to go but I was in Manila. Enter Petah, Polish Police’s New York correspondent.
He had a fabulous time with Deborah.
I was green with envy… but not too green because I was about to have my own Wicked adventure… in New Zealand!
Petah had thoughtfully sent me the Wicked trio so I could bring it with me to Auckland, which had been Ozified.
I changed my Wicked mani every day. I had so much fun with it backstage…
And even onstage!
Yep, that’s me showing off my mani after the show.
I returned to Manila even more excited about Wicked. I only had one wish – that Deborah’s Wicked set would become available here. I knew a lot of Wicked fans would love it as much as I did.
Luckily, the awesome ladies of Rustan’s The Beauty Source decided to bring it in. They are the official distributor of Deborah Lippmann here in the Philippines and they were just as excited about the trio as I was.
In fact, when Kaye of Rustan’s found out that I was planning to surprise the show’s lead stars with the Wicked trio, they sent me Wicked sets for Jemma and Suzie as well.
Weeks before they were scheduled to arrive, the Wicked sets were ready, nestled safely in their Rustan’s bags. While waiting, I had fun revisiting Deborah’s color inspirations.
One Short Day
(If you want to see my swatches and the full review of the trio, check out this post.)
I also loved these photos of Deborah with Wicked’s Broadway stars Lindsay Mendez and Tiffany Haas.
The show opened in Manila on January 22. The next day, they had a press preview scheduled and I knew that would be the perfect time to give Jemma and Suzie their gifts. I prepared little cards – pink for Glinda, green for Elphie – that welcomed them to the country and told them how excited I was to watch the show again.
I wanted to wear a special Wicked mani again and this time I knew I wanted to just use Defying Gravity. I also brought out the black creme from the two-piece Edge of Glory set that Deborah created for Lady Gaga’s Barneys Workshop. I used them to create a two-tone mani that was my tribute to Elphaba.
The next day, we headed to the CCP at noon. The previews started with four excerpts from the show – The Wizard and I, Dancing Through Life, Popular and One Short Day. I will prove to you just how crazy I am about Wicked: I actually cried a little while watching the excerpts. Yep, I am crazy.
There was a Q&A after the excerpts and a quick photo session. When they started to set up the one-on-one interviews, I knew that was the perfect chance. I approached Bambi Verzo, the executive producer of Concertus, and she led me to the girls.
Jemma remembered me from the press launch in Manila (we missed her in New Zealand – she was sick when we went so it was her alternate Ali Calder who performed when we watched) and Suzie remembered me from the interviews I had done with her in Manila and in Auckland. I handed them the bags and they opened them together. “Oh wow! This is cool!” they said, holding the boxes in their hands.
“I’m going to try this,” Jemma said. And I put my nail next to her hand to show her just how close Defying Gravity was to Elphaba’s skin tone. “Yeah!” she said.
The girls seemed thrilled with the sets but we had to say quick goodbyes because their interviews were about to start. I took photos of them and Jill kept snapping away too.
Later that day, I heard that the girls were so excited that they opened the boxes during their break from the interviews and that they loved them.
The next night, we were back at the CCP for Wicked’s gala. People came decked out in green and I thought it was wonderful that James Cundall, CEO of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, was also wearing green nail polish. (Yay for men who wear polish!)
The show that night was incredible. I cried three times. Jemma rocked. Suzie was amazing, as always. It was my third time to watch Wicked and I love how each show reveals more to me, how new lyrics resonate with me each time, how the songs continue to strike me in different ways.
My Wicked adventure isn’t over yet and I’m glad. Today, I went to the MAC greening event where Kellie Ritchie, Wicked’s head of wigs and makeup, demonstrated how they transform their stars into Elphaba. (More on that in a future post.) And I’m watching Wicked again in February with friends. I can’t wait.
Deborah Lippmann’s Wicked set is available at Rustan’s The Beauty Source for ₱1250. Get your Wicked tickets from Ticketworld.