Reviews - Last Show on Broadway by Erica
Annaleigh Ashford
"She Couldn't Be Lovelier":
Written By: Erica Nickerson

On May 11, 2008, Annaleigh performed her last show as Glinda in Wicked on Broadway before joining the Chicago Company of Wicked on June 3rd. Annaleigh entered to a rousing applause, everyone in anticipation of her last show. She did not disappoint. With an illuminating light shining from her face, Annaleigh rose from her traveling bubble one last time. Her voice more powerful than ever, and her presence unforgettable, Annaleigh's performance was not only flawless; it was marked by extraordinary elegance and brilliance. She does not just act the part of Glinda; she becomes unified with the character. Her stage presence is what truly motivates the show to its full potential. Her last show was nothing short of this. In fact, I think it was the most inspiring show that I have ever seen on Broadway.
When it came to Annaleigh's performance, the perky "Popular" number had many standout moments. She added a few extra hair flips and extended a number of dance moves. When she removed the pink flower from her hair and placed it in Stephanie J. Block's (Elphaba), one could see the emotion cross over their faces. Their friendship was very evident both on and off of the stage. After the show, I got a chance to meet with David Burnham (Fiyero) who said, "[I did an extra hair flip for Annaleigh today]".
However, the most emotional part of the show, drawing tears from actors and audience members alike, was the heartfelt "For Good". Cracking with emotion, Annaleigh and Stephanie had everybody crying. The song was significant to what was actually happening off of the stage. It was a beautiful and sensitive performance of two friends who knew that their lives would be taking them in new and different directions, but because they knew one another, they would be forever changed.
As the cast was taking their bows, I was still in awe of Annaleigh and Stephanie's performances that night. Finally, the two made their way to the front of the stage, Annaleigh taking her last bow. Stephanie asked, "[to have a few moments of the audience's time because we were all saying goodbye to someone very close to our hearts]". Stephanie handed a breathtaking bouquet of pink and white roses to Annaleigh. With sadness and tenderness in her voice, Stephanie said her goodbyes, "[Annaleigh is one of the youngest stars on Broadway. Everyone looks up to her professionalism, especially because of her age]". She described her as being "[like a monster, who rarely misses any shows]". Of course, Stephanie was referring to the sweet, punctilious, and always raring to go Annaleigh. As she continued to speak about her co-star and good friend leaving, Stephanie's eyes overflowed with genuine tears. Turned towards Annaleigh, Stephanie sincerely expressed "[Annaleigh is the most kindhearted individual that I have ever met in my entire life]". Annaleigh burst into tears, as did I. She continued on, "[I am going to miss her very much, we all are]". Before everyone exited the theater, Stephanie asked the audience to give Annaleigh one last standing ovation for all her dedication and hard work. The entire theater rose from their seats (the majority still standing from the first ovation from the finale of the show).
New York will definitely miss the blonde curls and smiling face of Annaleigh Ashford for the next few months. She brought such a positive aura of energy and enthusiasm to the stage, which I am sure her fellow cast mates will never forget. Without a doubt, this talented, young lady is, "dancing through life skimming the surface" of her endless career. At only 22, she has accomplished more than most people have in their lifetime. Intertwined with her Broadway fame, Annaleigh is the most down-to-earth individual that I have ever met. As her curtain closes here for the last time and we bid our dear friend "adieu", we will forever remember Glinda's impeccable voice and engaging smile. We wish her a prosperous and safe journey as she moves on to the bright lights of Chicago. "With this perfect finale, the cheers and the ballyhoo....because happy is what happens when all your dreams come true." Godspeed Annaleigh...Brava!!!! May all your dreams come true!

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