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.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has already sold more than 4 million copies. Interestingly, the reviews from critics have been positive. The reviews from fans, however, have been mixed.
Here’s the dilemma, how do you continue such a beloved story, with characters fans have welcomed into their hearts, and make everyone happy? Maybe it’s not possible.
This new Harry Potter book is actually the script of the London stage production. It is based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne. Therefore, not written solely by Rowling herself. And therein lies the challenge.
But what makes this an interesting departure is that Rowling has moved the story forward through the theatrical production, exclusively in London. It has been a critical and commercial success. Plans are even in place to bring the production to Broadway.
The story itself offers familiarity and unchartered territory. Certain themes repeat, and new concepts reveal themselves. As a reader, or theatre goer, it seems one has to decide if they are OK with new versions of stories from the Harry Potter universe.
Successful, familiar, inventive, and boundary strecthing.
A few reviews of the book:
And an article about the Harry Potter Fandom: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/08/22/j-k-rowling-creator-of-the-harry-potter-universe-is-no-longer-its-god/
The Humans is a play written by Stephen Karam and it won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Play. It was also a Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama in the year of Hamilton.
The story focuses on a family gathering on Thanksgiving in a 2-story duplex in Manhattan. There are strange sounds lurking about as well as family dynamics circling the space.
It was hard to predict where the story was going, the tensions increased as the happenings became more pronounced. But as the plot unfolds, secrets are revealed, pains are shared, common struggles exposed.
Funny, heartbreaking, creepy, and relevant.