All photos: Leanna Yip for the Appeal

A sampling of the notes I took during the Wicked singing contest at Pier 39 on Sunday, which marked the first day of “Wicked Week in San Francisco”:

  • “OMFG”
  • “adorable gaysian”
  • “ran in circles”

Festivities for Wicked’s portion of Pumpkin Pandemonium at Pier 39 began at noon, with the pros stopping by to perform two songs before their matinee. I haven’t seen Wicked in its latest San Francisco incarnation — I’m not really a fan, though I did see it pre-Broadway at the Curran, and then on Broadway in spring 2007 — but Teal Wicks (Elphaba) and Kendra Kassebaum (Glinda) were appropriately charming. Wicks performed “The Wizard and I,” then was joined by Kassebaum in the duet “For Good,” all the while surrounded by Wicked fanboys, fangirls, even fanparents. Kassebaum seemed completely tickled by the tiny children in costume, waving at them during sound check and then before being whisked away to the Orpheum.

Then came the fan participation portion of our afternoon. 17 contestants were given a choice of truncated versions of three songs: “The Wizard and I,” “Defying Gravity” and “Popular.” This was not nearly as wince-inducing as I’d expected. Sure, there were some kids who definitely won’t be playing Annie anytime soon, but you know? They all had guts to go up on stage, and there were a handful who were full of that honest-to-goodness talent that makes you want to buy a stick-on mustache, paint a few milk crates and put a show on in the barn.

Back to my notes.

  • “OMFG”: This girl would ultimately win the contest, and rightly so. She was a sprightly, freckly preteen named Rosie who blew everyone away. I hope she ends up going places, because I want bragging rights.
  • “DEATH BY CUTE”: Have you ever seen a child whose performance made you both realize why you never wanted kids and then almost reversed this decision? This was a tiny girl named Violet, who probably hadn’t even been born the time Wicked opened. She came in Glinda drag (complete with blonde wig), almost entirely mumbled her way through “Popular,” and she sang the same four verses over and over again. It made my afternoon.
  • “adorable gaysian”: This was a guy named Vin who sang “Popular,” shortly after Nick, a pink-shirted hipster, had done the same thing, but without the same kind of charm.
  • “ran in circles”: At first, this fedora-wearing guy named Reggie really seemed to regret his decision to enter the contest, but warmed up and finally ended the song by running in circles while singing.

Wicked tote bags went to all the contestants, the three finalists (chosen by Star 101.3’s Alicia Kimbrell and some Pier 39 staffers) got t-shirts, and the winner (chosen by crowd noise) received two tickets to the show. Meanwhile, at a booth behind the stage, the line was growing so long you might think it was a chance to touch Idina Menzel’s newborn baby, but no, fans just wanted to line up to spin a wheel to win swag like Wicked chapstick or a shirt.

If you and your friends (or your tyke) spend evenings debating which production has the coolest dragon, or whether Robert Morse should’ve continued with the show, or saw the 9 to 5 musical just because of Megan Hilty and Stephanie J. Block, then you may also want to check out what’s brewing (ha!) for the rest of Wicked Week:

Tuesday, October 27, 12 p.m.
Decorate Halloween treats with Wicked cast members at Macy’s Cellar.

Friday and Saturday, October 31
“Magical Makeovers” at Macy’s MAC counter. Meet Wicked’s makeup designer and sign up for a chance to win lots of green swag.

Saturday, October 31, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Costume contest (judged by Wicked cast members, Patty Duke included!) at the Zeum Carousel. More green swag.

October 31 – November 30
Ongoing exhibit at Zeum, “Defying Gravity From Page to Stage.” No, don’t just look at the cool costumes, production photos or sketches — make a wand or a clay character, too! Make sure it’s small enough to bring to the stage door, but big enough to autograph.

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