Musical Theatre Nerds Unite!
Completely obsessed with the podcast Broadway Backstory. This podcast was recommended to me by my friend Laura (thank you Laura!). In season one, tales of 7 Broadway shows are told from idea to creation. With interviews of key players (Directors, Producers, Composers, Actors, etc.) Each podcast is dedicated to one shows story.
Patrick Hinds hosts this addictive series. The shows included in season one are: In the Heights, Fun Home, Deaf West’ Spring Awakening, Legally Blonde, The Secret Garden, Next to Normal, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
The podcast pull back the curtain on what it takes to produce shows on Broadway, the years of dedication, setbacks, and triumphs.
Have you heard of Dear Evan Hansen, the new Broadway Musical? If not, you soon will. This show has quickly become a must-see show of 2017. All this is before any attention it is about to receive from the Tony Awards.
The show is written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the duo who won an Oscar for their work on La La Land.
It is the story of a guy who is socially awkward and suffering from anxiety. He struggles to be accepted, find friends, love, or just someone to sign the cast of his broken arm.
Social media and social isolation are predominant themes of this wildly popular show. One which seems to speaking to our times of iphones and bullying.
What is accessible to all of us is the music, and it’s amazing. Original Cast Recording is available as well as songs and clips on YouTube.
La La Land. It’s rather extraordinary. And have already have seen it twice.
The story is about Mia and Sebastian, both with the desire to pursue their dreams in Hollywood. Mia is an actress and Sebastian is a musician. They meet and struggle to love and follow their dreams.
What makes this film special is the nostalgic and modern sensibilities smashed up together. It feels both familiar and fresh at the same time. And the talents of both Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are on full display.
It’s also a musical, but a touching and affecting one.
My friend Tyler said he took from it that “Some dreams come true, some dreams change.”
This one is for the dreamers.
Dubsmash is an app which takes sounds clips of music, films, tv, quotes, etc. and let’s you lip sync to them. Basically it allows you to test your lip synching skills and post them online via social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Mostly hilarious and clever. Can be quite entertaining.
Check it out. And lip sync for your life!
And Be Anyone You Want To Be.
On Sunday, November 13th, 2016 I was invited to attend a Educational Theatre Association Alumni Fundraising Event. It was held at the El Portal Theatre in Los Angeles. And my reaction was initially neutral. Always want to support the arts, but it was a Sunday night of a big work week ahead.
So my friend Jim and I headed to the show.
And then something crazy happened.
Broadway performers, Tony award winners, Tony nominees, and young students performers all showed up to deliver their A-Game. Who knew it would be such a dynamic and special evening.
EdTA has never done an event like this before on the west coast. This was their first one and they wanted to showcase Theatre performers who are working in TV/Film.
While everyone delivered amazing work, there were a few stand outs.
Steve Kazee, Tony Award winner for ONCE: The Musical was extraordinary. He told his story as a young guy in rural america who found his voice and way to becoming a performer. He sang “Gold” from Once while playing the guitar.
Becky Lythgoe stood out with her performance of “Everybody’s Girl” from Steel Pier.
And Barrett Foa performed “One More Day” from Les Miserables as 7 characters.
The night was inspiring for a few reasons:
- It was clear that the people who are succeeding are because they are being fully themselves.
- The arts produces smart, witty, thoughtful people.
- Commit and perform full out as if your life depends on it.
- Access to arts education as early as possible will yield incredible results.
Full disclosure, Susan Blackwell is a friend of mine.
So what, would you say, came before James Cordon’s Carpool Karaoke? Side by Side by Susan Blackwell, perhaps?
The premise is straightforward: Susan interviews Broadway Stars in comfortable, unique settings while engaging in a specific activity, different each episode.
But now, the successful series and features, produced by Broadway.com have racked up over 60 episodes.And Broadway stars such as Audra McDonald, Sutton Foster, Daniel Radcliffe, Kelli O’Hara, Jonathan Groff, Zachary Quinto, and more have taken part.
It is an example of a good host who helps showcase the artists in a great, natural, and flattering light. It feels like you are sitting around listening to friends talk.
And it’s funny.
Check it out, especially if you love theatre.
Here are a few highlight episodes:
This new Broadway musical was created based on the film of the same name. It’s the story of a woman who works in a diner who’s life isn’t exactly what she wants. It’s the surprising journey she goes on to discover herself and what really matters.
And she makes pies.
Nominated for Best Musical in the year of Hamilton, as well as three other nominations; Best Score, Best Actress, and Best Featured Actor.
The score is by singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles and offers charm and weight to the hometown story.
Take a look at the recent Tony Award performance.
Jessie Mueller plays the main character Jenna. Jessie won the Tony Award last year for her portrayal of Carol King in the musical Beautiful. A clear talent, Mueller is a fresh new face to the Broadway scene. Expect incredible performances from her for years to come.