It is, of course, always a little weird to go see a musical and have the voices be different than the ones you've listened to over and over on the soundtrack. The timing and phrasing always changes a little, and there are a number of chunks of dialogue in the middle of songs that are cut out of the soundtrack. There were even a couple of short song pieces that were new to me.
But all the live actors had great voices, on par with the original Broadway cast. I actually liked this Wizard better than the original. This Elphaba was really good at mimicking other actors' voices. Glinda didn't have the distinctive perky/blonde character that the orignal Broadway actress did, but on the other hand there were several points where you could really hear how Glinda was seriously heartbroken, and that added a lot to the show. In general, the cast showed a lot more depth of character development than comes through just in the vocals, mostly with body language. Glinda was physically very humorous.
It was quite a spectacle of a show. They had spiffy sets, and I noticed some pretty cool lighting effects, and the costumes were really neat, though I felt really sorry for the ensemble/dancers who had to have been wearing at least 5 layers during some of the dance numbers.
I've decided that I like the plot of the musical a whole lot more than that of the book (and they're considerably different). It could be that I read the book too piecemeal to pick up on subtle points, but it was just a lot easier to understand what the characters were thinking and feeling in the play and why they acted the way they did. Their motivations just seemed a lot more sensible to me. It's also impressive how much of the storyline comes through in just the songs on the soundtrack -- there were a couple points that were cleared up in seeing the whole thing, but mostly you can get the story just from the soundtrack.
However, there are a couple twists at the end that I am HUGELY impressed with, because I did NOT see them coming. They TOTALLY faked me out, which is awesome. What's even better is that as soon as I had processed the big surprise, I realized that it actually made more sense than what I had thought was going on, and they even foreshadowed it! So that was really cool, because you get the ending you were hoping for, but it's not in any way a cheat -- it's what should have happened, logically as well as emotionally. Plus the character development arcs all finish off in a very satisfying way.
Oh, and on top of all this, there was some really interesting commentary woven through it all about the politics of fear and the roots of evil (or wickedness, I suppose) in the banal, petty, and selfish. Not to mention that it's darn funny in spots, too.
In short, it was a really, really great show! I'm sooo glad we went.
And then today, we loitered around the house and watched Doctor Who on library DVDs.
Oh, and if you were expecting my Serenity review, that's what we're seeing TOMORROW night (since we got to see one of the previews).