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 favorite months in the year is January. That is because it is my birthday month. This January, I had some exciting highlights to look forward to. Now, what was January like?
Reading- finished 1
Becoming Mrs. Lewis– Patti Callahan
This book took me longer to read than it should have. This book is a slow-read, but perfect for fans of C.S Lewis and Narnia.
That’s right, I saw two musicals this month. However, the crazy thing is I saw them both the same week. They were what ended January. They were so different- one would enter my life and a comedy and the other already in my life and a tragedy.
Something Rotten- 29th
This was seen for the first time, a musical I waited a few years to see. I missed the tour when it first came thanks to school. I already had fallen in love with the songs and love the time period. So when Theatre Charlotte was doing the show, I was hoping to see its production. Something Rotten is perfect for fans of musicals- it even makes it more funny. The musical has several references to other shows (those who know musicals would be able to pick up on those, and provide laughter).
So, a musical that has been in my life for ten years ended January. Those that know me are aware that I am obsessed with Les Mis. The show is tragic and inspiring; epic, passionate, powerful, and highly emotional. It is character and plot-rich. Its songs are some of the BEST in musical theatre- usually in a musical I can easily choose my favorite song, but in Les Mis not so easy. This is the musical that really challenged what I thought I knew about musicals. When I saw it, I was an emotional wreck like always. This was my 7th time seeing the stage show.
One of the most famous musicals is Les Mis and currently on tour in the US. As many know, I have a strong love for the show. It is tragic and inspiring; full of epic, passionate, powerful, and emotional songs; and characters to love. I am emotionally connected to most of the characters. There is a reason this musical is the sensation it is. This was my 7th time seeing the stage show- it was my 5th theater I saw it in.
Valjean- Nick Cartell
Javert- Preston Truman Boyd
Fantine- Haley Dortch
Cosette- Addie Morales
Eponine- Christine Heesun Hwang
Marius- Gregory Lee Rodriguez
Enjolras- Devin Archer
Thenardier- Matt Crowle
Madame Thenardier- Christina Rose Hall
This was my 2nd time with Nick Cartell as Valjean. Like Greenville in 2017, he was fantastic. He had an incredible dynamic with Preston Boyd as Javert. He was able to connect to Hazel Vogel’s Young Cosette. Nick was just as strong as he was during “Bring Him Home”, one of Valjean’s strongest spiritual moments. It truly stood out. I could clearly see Valjean’s transformation trough Nick.
Preston Truman Boyd had a strong voice as Javert. His dynamic with Nick Cartell was strong, but he still struggled for me to find common ground or sympathy. Javert is one of the hardest characters to get that connection with. For me, his strongest moment was during “Stars”. Yes, I saw his struggle during “Javert’s Suicide”, but didn’t feel it- this is one of those moments you are supposed to feel sympathy for him.
Like with any Fantine, I was emotional during “I Dreamed a Dream”. That is the song where I usually start becoming an emotional wreck. She was able to show the heartbreak of her struggle- Fantine has the hardest story to watch unfold. Haley Dortch was wonderful in the role- even during “Come to Me”, she was able to get quieter as the song continued.
Matt Crowle and Christina Rose Hall were hilarious as the Thenardiers. “Master of the House” is always a fun scene to watch. It always has been a funny scene to watch, which provides much-needed comic relief. Matt Crowle was able to show both the comic and villainous side of Thenardier.
On to the love triangle- Addie Morales (Cosette), Gregory Lee Rodriguez (Marius), and Christine Hessun Hwang (Eponine). They were strong when the love triangle started. Even during “A Heart Full of Love”, it was incredible- Gregory Lee Rodriguez did show some awkwardness there and acted like he fell in love for the first time (shown through acting nervous). Once again, towards the end of that song, it was confusing to who to feel for- that is a sign of a strong love triangle.
I felt the unrequited love during “On My Own”, and Christine was amazing at “A Little of Fall of Rain”. “A Little Fall of Rain” is always interesting to see how Marius and Eponine interact- there are so many ways to portray that scene- it usually is my favorite Marius and Eponine moment. What was interesting about the scene this time was noticing some connection between Gavroche and Eponine. I noticed Gavroche’s hurt, and I was surprised he was the one to comfort Marius at the end.
Devin Archer as Enjolras was incredible- literally all Enjolras actors I have seen have been fantastic. I always am able to feel his passion and connection to the students. I also was able to feel the hope and brotherly love the students have. Harrison Fox as Gavroche was incredible.
I saw the 25th anniversary staging. I love the use of the backdrops- it adds more color and more Victor Hugo. With the use of some flaps, you were able to see the vastness of Paris more. I even love the candles used for “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”- it adds a lot more emotion to the song. Like expected, I was an emotional wreck and at times laughing. Les Mis is still epic, passionate, and powerful.
One of the musicals I have waiting to see is Something Rotten. I have been driven to see it due to loving some of its songs. I also love the Renaissance. After years of waiting, I finally got my chance at Theatre Charlotte, one of Charlotte’s local theaters. Someone in the cast was an actor I saw before (Kevin Roberge was my Thenardier at CPCC’s production of Les Mis).
Welcome to the Renaissance!
In the streets of Elizabethan England, William Shakespeare is a rock star while playwright siblings Nick and Nigel Bottom are stuck in his shadow. After an ill-advised trip to a local soothsayer, they risk everything to produce what they believe to be the future of theatre: THE MUSICAL!
Nick Bottom- Joe McCourt
Nigel Bottom- Matt Howie
Shakespeare- Mitchell Dudas
Bea- Lindsey Schroeder
Portia- Cornelia Barnwell
Nostradamus- Kevin Roberge
This musical was funny and exciting. It is the perfect show for any musical theatre fan- that is because it references many musicals. Those references always provide great laughs (you especially notice them in the song, “A Musical”). This musical has one of the best musical openings- “Welcome to the Renaissance”. I loved my cast- from the leads to the ensemble.
Nigel and Nick Bottom are incredible brothers, making them wonderful protagonists. Their love interests Portia and Bea are wonderful. Nostradamus was such a delight to watch- after all, he was the one to predict the future of theatre (musicals); although everything doesn’t always make sense, it provides great fun and laughter (after all, we as the audience understand what he referring to).
One of the most famous musicals is Phantom of the Opera, and today marks its 35th anniversary of being on Broadway. That musical is one of my favorites and have loved it for 10 years- that’s right, I first fell in love with it early 2013. Not only is it a favorite musical, but my favorite Webber musical as well.
My Love for Phantom of the Opera
I discovered this musical thanks to my mom. This was a musical I fell in love with by the songs- the beautiful, angelic, romantic and haunting songs. Falling in love with by a musical through songs isn’t easy- after all, you are hearing things out of context (after all, you don’t know who is singing them and you can’t figure out the plot). So you have to base an opinion based off of songs alone.
I originally saw the musical unfold through the 25th anniversary special- December of 2013. My mom and I were able to see the stage show at the beautiful Peace Center in May of 2014- was spellbound and got choked up. We were literally sitting just a few rows back from the Chandelier.
Home to a mysterious and angelic love triangle- it is one of my favorites actually. The musical has some unpopular opinions I have. I actually love Christine and Raoul as a couple- “All I Ask of You” is one of the most romantic duets I came across in musical theatre. The Phantom is what makes the love triangle fascinating to watch- after all, he is what makes it full of mystery and suspense.
Every year, there are always highlights to look forward to. Some of those get preplanned the year before. So, what are my current plans for early 2023?
It is a known fact that musicals are one of my biggest escapes. It is also known that I hope to see at least one per year. On average, I actually see 2-4 a year. So, at the moment which musicals are planned.
Something Rotten- wanted to see it for a few years (love the songs)
Les Mis (7th time)- seeing it in my 10th year of loving it; powerful, epic, passionate, uplifting, hopeful
Aladdin (2nd time)- an exciting and romantic musical
Parish Retreat- Montreat
One of the many traditions at my family church is going on a Parish Retreat. A weekend of fellowship. In the past, we were going to Kanuga, but starting last year, we changed the location to Montreat—–still a wonderful place.