Matt and Mike visited last weekend, and after a two-year wait, we finally saw Wicked. And we made Vanilla Coconut-Milk Ice Cream. And much like the ice cream wasn't fully frozen when we tried it out, Wicked wasn't a completely realized musical for me.
I mean, it was OK. I'm glad we went. But it could have been so much better. Matt agreed with me on that. Mike liked the show most of all, and Tony, shockingly, found less to complain about than I did.
I thought Jenni Barber as Glinda and Christine Dwyer as Elphaba were terrific. And if you don't get a thrill from our green-skinned heroine belting out "Defying Gravity" while levitating, you don't belong in a seat at a musical. Unless you're there because you're taking your tween-aged daughter or son, because you knew she or he would love it. In which case, good for you.
The book of the musical, based on the novel of the same name by Gregory Maguire (which I haven't read), is very complicated. I'm inclined, actually, to say "a hot mess." There are so many characters who have to grow and change—some of them into major figures in the book and movie The Wizard of Oz—and most of those transformations didn't work for me.
It's clear from the Wikipedia summary of the novel linked above that the musical differs greatly from it. That novel wasn't intended for children, and yet that's the primary target audience of the play. So in the musical, we see, at first, an emphasis on cattiness between Elphaba and Glinda and, inevitably and somewhat irritatingingly, their love triangle with a handsome prince. (In the novel, only Elphaba gets romantically entangled with Fiyero.)
And there's also a not fully realized fight against fascism(!), in the form of the annoying wizard and his supporter Madame Morrible (played by the always more-than-capable Mary Testa, our neighbor here in the West Village, whom I occasionally see walking her dog or dropping off her compost at the Abingdon Square Greenmarket), that doesn't get the attention it might have if the musical ultimately weren't mostly about getting preteen girls and their parents or guardians into seats at the humongous Gershwin Theatre.
And I have the same issue with the show that some critics had with the widely panned Oz the Great and Powerful movie (which, based on the horrible reviews, I didn't waste my money on seeing): Why are these spell-casting witchy women in thrall to a largely powerless in-name-only wizard?
And I wish more had been made of the fact that Elphaba was wicked only to the extent that she was misunderstood; it was the hateful bigots who were out to destroy the lives of the learned animals who were truly evil.
Finally, as for the songs: "Popular" and "Dancing Through Life" were cute. And "For Good" is a lovely number about Elphaba and Glinda's friendship. And of course there's the aforementioned "Defying Gravity," which I've been annoying Tony (and probably Missy and Grady, too) with my renderings of.
For lunch on Saturday, before we all went to the show, the 'phews and I had egg sandwiches on bagels we got from Chelsea Market. We also picked up 2 pounds of mahi mahi there for dinner, because my fish guys at Abingdon Square didn't have any that day. And I sautéed green and purple string beans with shallot, which both of my special guys really took a shine to.
Here's Mike with his lunch:
I told him "That's my boy" when he spoke appreciately of alliums. :-)
Matt especially isn't fond of string beans, but both of the twins enjoyed the beans when they were elevated by the shallots.
In the background are the prior week's flowers from the Greenmarket, which I wrote about in my previous blog post. That week's flowers were lovely reddish-purple strawflowers, some of which had delightful orange centers:
Tony made the Thai-style mahi mahi for dinner again, and it was great, though not quite as good as the previous Saturday's. This time, he left out the ground ginger that he'd impetuously shaken into the sauce last time, and the fish from Lobster Place probably wasn't as fresh as PE & DD Seafood's:
I made a salad topped with Lemon Gem marigolds and lemon thyme leaves:
After dinner, we played Muggins, the Game of Luck and Paying Attention, and this old guy won, with Tony coming in second. But Matt called a muggins on me, so I wasn't exactly playing World Championship–level Muggins. :-)
The next morning, M&M and I went to Cafe Minerva for breakfast. I got the French toast, which turned out to be too small a portion for me. 'Cause I'm a growing boy!
There were photos of The Magnificent Chicken by Tamara Staples hanging up at Minerva. Some of them were truly sexy beasts:
Others looked tragic, none more so than this sad, bare-necked rooster:
Back here at the apartment, the 'phews helped me make a new flavor of coconut-milk ice cream: vanilla.
I cut back the amount of sugar to only 1 1/2 cups per batch. Next time, I think I'll try 1 1/4, because it was still plenty sweet at 1 1/2 cups.
The ice cream was in the freezer for 3 hours before we ate it—after Tracey, M&M, and I went to The Meatball Shop for lunch:
I had suggested a few other places, but everyone was keen on meatballs over something brunchier.
I had never clocked how long it takes for the CMIC to get good and frozen. I'm still not sure, but it's much longer than dairy ice cream, probably at least double (so 8 hours minimum).
The vanilla CMIC was more sauce than ice cream when Tony, the Gerbers, and I had ours, but it tasted divine. Rich and Vince stopped by in late afternoon, and I was able to scrape enough off the surface of the container so that what they had was fairly solidified.
Tony said using real vanilla beans was key. And we always offer chocolate chips as an add-in. Because as good as it was by itself, it's better with chocolate:
That Saturday night, Joyce e-mailed me the sad news that there's no more Marrow. And at our last barbecue of the year, Lou told me that both locations of Gobo are closed. The end of Gobo is especially painful; it was our go-to vegan spot, and I can't think of a place to fill that void.