I am a strong spiritual person who is a big fan of musicals. This blog mainly is about musicals. Every so often I talk about spirituality. Sometimes I add in movie reviews, book reviews, and about my life in general. I hope you find my blog inspiring.
One of my least favorite genres belongs to the world of nonfiction. However, that doesn’t mean I fully dislike the genre. That is because every once in a while, I find something I love. Crazily enough, even this genre seems to fall under different subgenres as wells. So, what are some of the nonfiction books I love?
One Hundred Story Home– this book takes place Charlotte, NC. It is about the making of Moore Place, a place that helps house the chronic homeless. I am passionate about volunteering for those living in poverty- a reason why I volunteer once a week at Loaves and Fishes, a food pantry.
Same Kind of Different as Me- Perfect for fans of “One Hundred Story Home”. As that story references this book. A wonderful book that the relationship between Denver Moore and Rob Hall. If it wasn’t for their journey to Urban Ministry , Moore Place most likely wouldn’t have existed.
The Day the World Came to Town– Never would have read this if it wasn’t for “Come From Away”. Some people might accidentally think it was a book about 9/11, but it isn’t. It is about what happened after 38 planes suddenly had to land to Gander, Newfoundland- a town that offered a lot of compassion and humanity.
Pour Your Heart into It– This is basically a story of about how Starbucks came to be. At the time, I was more of a Starbucks fan.
Dewey– Now that I think of it, probably an incredible book for bookworms. Yes, Dewey is a library cat. He really made a difference in the library he was part of.
I Am Malala
Musical Theatre Books
Bolton and Wodehouse and Kern– this book focuses primarily on the early days of musical theatre
150 Years of Musical Theatre– Now, I was able to enter more familiar ground with musicals I love since it covered more years
The Movie Musical– Covering a number of years of movie musicals; it even had to start on the times when there was still silent films, and how musicals started having the ability to have sound; and glad to find musical movies I love
In the world of musical theatre, BOTH positive and negative emotions exist. True, it is easy to feel the positive emotions, but the negative emotions are harder because they hurt. But, at the same time you can still have joy feeling them. Wait, sec—-that makes no sense, how can you enjoy feeling the negative emotions- wouldn’t they hurt? Well, there are reasons why—yes, there is more than one reason? So, why is there joy found in the negative emotions?
This is KEY to a lot. They are the DESIRE, REASON, and WANT to go on the characters’ journey and want to feel their emotions. So, what causes an emotional connection. One of them is relating to the characters, but that isn’t always the case. Another is loving their songs- the negative emotions usually fall under the category of beautiful songs.
Joy in Heartbreak
This time, I am literally referring to what happens in the story. What does bittersweet mean- a combo of joy and sad, and due to that it causes a special kind of beauty. Bittersweet usually happens at those “goodbye” kind of moments- when two characters realize it is the last moment they will see each other, and at times at death scenes.
If you look deeper, you might see elements of hope at moments that might seem to be JUST heartbreaking. Called understanding the show and characters better.
The Overall Experience
This is basically referring to your overall experience at the musical. The positive emotions are stronger- a result of your EXCITEMENT, JOY, and LOVE at seeing the show. Those help a lot- you don’t want an experience where you are 100% emotionally disturbed, and at intermission you strongly want to leave- so that means you have lost that level of excrement, love, and joy. You just don’t want to watch act II.
As musical theatre fans, we understand the power of live theater. So, there are some musicals that end up being seen more than once. Due to relying on US Tours, only just a few shows get lucky with that chance. So, which musicals have I seen more than once (by memory)?
August 2016- this was when I first saw the stage show. This was by the US Tour when they arrived in Charlotte. Due to learning to like a few songs prior, I found interest in seeing it, and after hearing about the Tony Award Winning Choreography, I was really looking forward to the dance. I ended up having Joey Barreiro as Jack Kelly (aka my first and favorite Jack Kelly). I ended up being mind-blown by the dance, and “Seize the Day” ended up as my favorite song from the show.
July 2018– this around, CPCC (Central Piedmont Community College) was doing a production, and they always do well-done productions. I wanted to catch their production to see how they could pull of the just incredible dance. This time around, it was a total surprise- I honestly thought this wasn’t going to happen. I kept convincing by parents to get tickets to see it, but it felt like they weren’t going to. But what do you know- one of my best friends from college showed up on the final day of production- well, I didn’t know what was in store for that day.
But, the two of us drove to CPCC to pick up Newsies tickets- that was a graduation present. Second time with Ashton Guthrie (that same summer, he was Curly in CPCC’s Oklahoma)- in Newsies, he was Jack Kelly. Although Joey is my favorite Jack, I loved the sense of maturity I found in Ashton.
August 2006– At the Gerswhin Theater on Broadway. I was with my mom in NYC at the time. Little did I know the impact Wicked would have on my life. All I can remember is where we were, and my favorite song at the moment. My favorite song was “Popular”, and still is my favorite Wicked song. If it wasn’t for this particular experience, Wicked might not have been in my life. If Wicked didn’t enter my life, there is a possible chance I wouldn’t have become a musical theatre fanatic. Only visit on Broadway, and the others were by the US Tour.
2008?– I honestly don’t know when my 2nd time was. It was the 2nd time I remember the least. The first and second times I saw Wicked, I learned some important things that would be essential later on in musical theatre. As in, about emotional connection about the emotional and complex side of musical. Plus, I started to understand the concept of love triangles (but I had no idea how so little I really understood). Four core emotions were existing- excitement, love, joy, and sad. After this round, I thought the only thing I still didn’t understand about the love triangle was the plot twist (turns out there was something else I still couldn’t grasp).
2013– this time a date with dad. This time around, I only wanted to go because my dad still hadn’t seen it. He even gave be the better seat (this happened after the tallest guy in the auditorium sat it front of me). After the show ended, my dad said to me something around the lines of- “I can understand why you love the show as much as you do”.
January 2016– got an amazing opportunity when my university was taking students to see Wicked. So I was ended up seeing a musical that changed me for the better with an university that changed me for the better. I felt most vulnerable this time around- for starters, my first time finally realizing “I’m Not That Girl” was not the sad song I thought, but instead heartbreaking; and the emotionless “No Good Deed” finally had emotions.
Part was result of being with my university and part was due to Les Mis entering my life. After all, “On My Own” helped “I’m Not That Girl” out- as they are both unrequited love songs, but only one is ironic. As a result, I further examined the love triangle to understand things better- as in parts of the love triangle that are tricky to figure out.
Here was home to my favorite Elphaba (standby), Glinda, and Fiyero.
Crazily enough, this happened in my 10th year of loving the musical.
September 2021- looks like things came full circle. As it was my 2nd date with my mom to Wicked. Plus, so happened to be at another milestone of loving Wicked- my 15th year of loving it. True, my favorite trio and individual Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero remains at my 4th cast, but still loved this cast. But for different reasons.
Les Mis- 6x
November 15th/17th/24th 2013– wait, 3x at CPCC??? How was that possible- well that helps if you were an usher. That’s right, I saw it once with my family and twice as an usher the first time I saw the stage show of Les Mis. I was able to see the cast improve from production to production- they were at their strongest at the final production- as in the 24th. There was no way of knowing this was a community college production. I had called the show phenomenal- still hadn’t see a professional production of the musical yet.
As a matter of fact, this production was truly the motor of wanting to see the musical in London
July 30th, 2015– where to start here? I honestly have no idea where to begin. If it wasn’t for the adult choir, this wouldn’t have happened- if they weren’t in residence at Bristol Cathedral, our church wouldn’t have gone to England- including the choir, family and friends joined (due to that, a pilgrimage was built around it- as going to places in and around Bristol, but first a few days in London). For the group, London would only be like 2 and 1/2 days, but my family went up two days early.
There were actually two things I loved about that night- 1) that it was a double date night (my dad and sister, and my mom and I), and 2) what my actual memory was. The moment I saw The Queen’s Theater (it will always be Queen’s Theater to me), nothing felt real, even buying souvenirs (i had culture shock buying the playbill), noticing I had an understudy for Valjean, even seeing the set, and noticing how close I was. But then it happened, the first notes of the orchestra- hearing them made me realize this dream was becoming reality and that it would be more than expected. Well, I was an emotional wreck like I thought and laughed when I thought I would be.
November 5th, 2017– I had a bit of a dilemma this round. I had to choose between Charlotte and Greenville. Either go with my mom again or with my university. That was a tough decision- I was thinking of the two venues at first. My university also knew me as a huge Les Mis fan, so they would be surprised if I didn’t choose to go with them. I also love the Peace Center, as I once saw Phantom of the Opera there. So, I had another opportunity to go that beautiful theater again,.
Glad I choose the university route- Greenville. I would be helpful to students who still hadn’t seen it. Since my prior cast with the West End Cast, I knew I shouldn’t compare especially if I got an understudy. I wanted to see this cast for what they are, and because it was the new staging, you would get a different perspective on the same show. Plus, just because my previous cast was my West End cast doesn’t mean that anyone in this cast could be worse (anyone could possibly be better or just as good, as I know from experience touring actors/actresses have just as much talent, and also know to respect understudies if we get them).
It just so happened that I did get an understudy- this time around for Eponine. My standouts ended up being the Valjean, Marius, and Enjolras. At intermission, the girl sitting next to me starting asking me Les Mis questions, and I was able to help. Like expected, an emotional wreck- don’t think that reaction will stop. Little did I know I would see some of those actors again.
November 3rd, 2019– Well, my first time seeing the tour in Charlotte. And my 6th visit with the stage show. Well, some of my actors from my 2017 cast were in this production= including an ensemble member who moved up to play a lead (that’s right, Mary Kate Moore originally was cast in the ensemble/1st cover Fantine, and eventually secured the role of Fantine after Melissa Mitchella left). So glad Joshua and Matt were still in the cast- as they were two standouts (as Marius and Enjolras) from 2017. Emotional wreck again.
You were probably expecting Wicked and Les Mis to be on here, as they are are my favorite musical. Yep, tied for that place- they literally are both sharing the place for my favorite musical. There is so way to really compare them. There is a 4th musical I saw twice, but can’t count because I only remember seeing it once (Lion King).
There are various characters I love- I have discovered these characters in different kinds of fiction. Literature, ballet, opera, plays, and musicals. But for the sake of this post, I will only be referring to literature and musicals. Well, the fates of characters I love- either they survive or they die. So, what do MOST of my favorite characters fall under?
Alex and Conner Bailey
Maria (Sound of Music)
Captain Von Trapp
Von Trapp Children
If I literally continue, it will take forever. That is just how many survivors exist in the fictional world- a lot. Even if I only focused on just one type of fiction- they still take up the vast majority. Even though yes characters do die, I have found a way to keep them alive- that is through myself if I have formed an emotional connection to them and/or the story.