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.
Big Little Lies is a new limited series on HBO. It’s stacked with incredible actresses including Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shalene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz, and Laura Dern. Based on a novel by the same name by Liane Moriarity. It takes place in the tony Monterey California, home of the well-heeled and afluent.
The conflict begins amongst a group of mother’s because of an incident with their children in their elementary school. It all starts there.
Or does it.
A murder has taken place you find in the first episode. However, you do not know who is murdered or who is the killer until the end.
The performances are strong, story intruiging, direction, and film-making stellar.
But be warned, their is darkness underneath this shiny tale. Violence, betrayal, sexual assault, and murder.
The popularity of this series was so strong they are considering a second series even though it was not intended.
S-Town is a new postcast by the producers of Serial and This American Life. And it is a blockbuster (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/arts/s-town-podcast-blockbuster-status.html?_r=0) having been downloaded 16 million times in it’s first week.
Let’s put that in perspective with film grosses and the average movie ticket price for 2017 at $8.65 (according to BoxOfficeMojo.com). That means if each download costs the movie ticket average it would amount to $138, 400, 000.
The story starts when John B McLemore contacts the show about a murder in his small town of Woodstock, Alabama. And what proceeds from there, according to the s-town podcast website: “HE ASKS a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.”
This Southern Gothic mystery unfolds in a most unexpected way. Investigative Journalist, Brian Reed, helps to reveal bits and pieces over the 7 episodes. Changing perspectives, motivations, pain, suffering, and even brilliance are all part of this engrossing story.
What does a life fully lived mean to each of us? In this short amount of time we actually have on earth.
John B McLemore
The new Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, is based on a Young Adult novel of the same title by Jay Asher. It deals with a girl (Hannah) who has committed suicide and left behind 13 tapes explaining the reasons why she took her life.
There is something about that time in High School which always proves to be so ripe for rich storytelling. Perhaps because it is a shared experience for many and we are all thrown into high school with a cross section of people who would not always be who we choose to hang with.
It’s also that time when we discover a whole new world of young adult feelings; love, jealousy, envy, sadness, longing, isolation, joy, revenge, confusion, etc.
Bullying is clearly a topic at hand, but it delves further into the collective responsibility everyone holds. Even if you see something, but don’t say something, are you partially responsible or complicit?
These are questions this series asks. And ones you will find yourself asking too.
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.
I’m sure you are aware of Instagram. It’s an app that let’s you upload photos and share them. It’s a visual way of sharing your social media story.
Recently, Instagram launched Instagram Story as a way for users to now create photos, videos, boomerang, and more to share.
It’s only posted for 24 hours and allows the user to be playful and quick with giving some insight into their days.
At the top of the scroll it lists all the people you follow who have created stories and allows you to watch them one after the other.
And for the person who posts, you get to see who viewed it. Plus you can save it or post it to your regular feed.
And it’s just a little bit addictive. Have fun sharing.
Fun Home is a 2015 Tony Award winning musical based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. It is not standard musical fare, the story of an aspiring cartoonist, her coming out, and relationship with her family, and most significantly, her father.
I’m a little late to this family party as I did not get the chance to see it when it ran on Broadway. However, did get a chance to see it in Los Angeles.
It certainly helped to have read the graphic novel twice, and therefore was familiar with the subject matter. However, the translation to the stage is rather remarkable. Due to a strong script, direction, and scoring. The emotional journey is clear in not only the lyrics, but the carefully constructed score.
It is a case of specific storytelling which yields universal themes through it’s details.
Thought provoking, challenging, moving.