Blumenthal Performing Arts is home to about seven theaters. Their main theater is Belk Theater. At Belk, you can see operas, musicals, symphonies, and ballet. I saw Sound of Music, Miss Saigon, Aladdin, Lion King, Newsies, Pippin, Rent, Come From Away, Mamma Mia, Porgy and Bess, and La Cage at Belk. As for operas and ballet, saw La Bohème and Nutcracker there.
Despite Belk being the main theater, it isn’t even the largest. That really surprised me when I learned that Ovens is actually bigger- Belk may have more levels, but Ovens is wider and deeper. If Ovens didn’t exist, there is a good chance many musicals never would have made it to Charlotte. Ovens is able to host musicals when something is happening at Belk. So Ovens allows for a lot more availability.
While I did not see many musicals at Ovens—–I am glad that Ovens does exist or else none of them might have made it to Blumenthal. I saw Addams Family, A Christmas Story-The Musical, Les Mis, and Wicked at Ovens. Whenever I think of Ovens, I think of Wicked: I was able to catch that musical three times on tour. The latest time I saw Wicked, I was watching it with my school. When I saw Les Mis at Ovens, it was a date with my mom: that was our 2nd date to Les Mis: the 1st was in London.
I did not like ALL the Blumenthal shows I saw, but defiantly liked most. Addams Family, Porgy and Bess, and La Cage were musicals I did not even like.
I fell in love with Rodgers and Hammerstein when I was a child. I fell in love with Sound of Music- it has a wonderful cast of characters, an incredible plot, along with fun and exciting songs. I love more than just Sound of Music- there are other Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals that I love. Just the others did not get in my life in childhood. I know I fell in love with two more when I was still a student at Central Piedmont Community College. I feel like nothing can really go wrong with this duo. These are Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals I have seen.
Sound of Music
I already stated I love Sound of Music. Maria is such an incredible protagonist. Julie Andrews was my first Maria. I love the songs from “Do Re Mi”, My Favorite Things”, “Lonely Goatherd”, “Something Good”, “Edelweiss”, “Climb Every Mountain”, and “Sound of Music”. Sound of Music actually was the final musical the duo did together.
This is a musical romance. Like almost all Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, there is a double romance. The main story is between Emelie and Nellie, but the subplot is between Liat and Joe Cable. It is weird to think that this musical could almost be a tragedy if the main romance was between Liat and Joe Cable. From “Some Enchanted Evening”, “This Nearly Was Mine”, “Younger than Springtime”, “There is nothing like a Dame”, and “I’ve Got to Wash that Man outta my Hair”. I feel like the antagonist of South Pacific is actually a theme: Racism. Through, “You Got be Carefully Taught”, you realize that you are not born racist, but are taught it: that is something I love about that song. This is a SPOILER: but Joe Cable does die in this musical- that is why if the romances were switched, South Pacific would be a tragedy. But due to being between Emelie and Nellie, South Pacific is a happy musical.
This musical romance also has a double romance. It took be a while to realize this, but this musical is home to two love triangles. Curly and Laurey is what the musical is between, but Jud does add the third thing: but he is the antagonist of Oklahoma. The other love triangle is between Ali Hakim, Ado Annie, and Will Parker. However, these two love triangles are a bit weak: due to two characters fighting in both. However, the couples become who you want them to be: meaning it will end up as Curly and Laurey and Ado Annie and Will Parker. This is noticed through song and through characters. Considering that Jud is abusive, you know you want Curly and Laurey together- Curly does everything he can be with Laurey.
Songs like “Oklahoma”, “Kansas City”, “Surrey with the Fringe on Top”, “People will Say we’re in Love”, and “Oh, What a beautiful Morning”. People think Oklahoma is basically revolving around the dance, but in reality not true. It is about Curly and Laurey’s relationship, Oklahoma becoming a State, and between Ado Annie and Alik Hakim.
I don’t know why this keeps on happening, but for some odd reason I keep on forgetting about their Cinderella. The past Friday, I saw the 1957 televised recording of the musical, which stars Julie Andrews as Cinderella. The only problem with it was that it was way out of sync and has some annoying background noise.
Cinderella become popular through Disney. I love the songs, “My Own Little Corner”, “Impossible”, and “Ten Minutes Ago”. I love Cinderella- as in both Disney adaptions: I really love the live action one with Lily James as Cinderella. If Disney did not create the original Cinderella, it is hard to think that this story wouldn’t have become that famous.
Still, don’t know why I keep on forgetting about this one. I think that might have to do with being associated with Disney. I still love this musical- Rodgers and Hammerstein are extremely good at creating memorable songs.
King and I
I don’t exactly love this musical, but I don’t really dislike it either. I actually can parallel Anna with Maria. They are both strong-willed and called difficult women. They play a similar role: as in one being governess and the other a teacher. Both teach children. King and I still has some songs I love: “Getting to Know You”, “Shall We Dance”, and “I Whistle a Happy Tune”.
Of all Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals I have been around, Carousel is my least favorite. It has to do with plot and partly due to songs. Like expected, there is a double romance- Bill and Julie, and Carrie and Mr. Snow. Julie and Carrie are best friends. The plot really really confuses me. I keep on forgetting about the songs.
Well, now I will write a list of my favorite actors in various roles. I know some people have seen these actors before. You don’t have to agree with everything-these are only opinions. Yes, there were be some casts where I might leave a character off- that happens to be the case if I don’t remember the others or have a hard time deciding. In addition, will be missing some shows I love.
Elphaba- Mary Kate Morrissey
Glinda- Amanda Jane Copper
Fiyero- Ashley Parker Angel
Jack Kelly- Joey Barreiro
Javert- Jeremy Secomb
Cosette- Jillian Butler
Eponine- Samantha Barks
Marius- Joshua Grosso
Thenardiers- Phil Daniels and Katy Secombe
Kim- Emily Bautista
Chris- Anthony Festa
John- J. Daughtry
The Engineer- Eymard Cabling
Sophie- Amanda Seyfried
Maria- Julie Andrews
Aladdin- Mena Massoud
Jasmine- Naomi Scott
Babkak, Omar, and Kassim- Zach Bencal, Ben Chavez Colt Prattez
Beast- Dan Stevens
Belle- Emma Watson
Simba- Jared Nixon
Nala- Nia Halloway
Joseph- Donny Osmond
Leading Player- Lisa Karlin
Pippin- Sam Lips
This list is all I have for now.
Some of these actors have no choice, but to be my favorite. That ends up being the case if I only have one cast or if they are the only ones I remember. A few of these are understudies: Mary Kate Morrissey, Lisa Karlin, and Eymard Cabling. A few of them were the first in a role- so that sometimes gives them a huge advantage.
What about you, what are some of your favorite actors in a role?
Well, I can easily separate meaningful musicals into three categories. Those are my childhood musicals, Fletcher musicals, and college musicals. These are all self-explanatory meaning you can easily describe all three. Let me put this into more perspective.
My childhood musicals were ALL musicals that entered my life before I started middle school. Beauty and the Beast, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Wizard of OZ, Aladdin, Lion King, Grease, Sound of Music, and Annie fit under this category.
What about the Fletcher musicals? Well, I call these Fletcher musicals because they entered my life when I was still a student at Fletcher. I went to that school from 6th -12th grade. That school was a small K-12 school. Most of the musicals I saw in this time frame were movie musicals. These musicals were Wicked, Mamma Mia, Enchanted, and The High School Musical series. So this set of musicals were the smallest.
College Musicals- I went to two colleges. Central Piedmont Community College and Gardner Webb University were the ones I went to. There were a lot of musicals I fell in love. They were Rent, Godspell, Les Mis, South Pacific, Oklahoma, Newsies, Phantom of the Opera, Frozen, Man of La Mancha, White Christmas, Music Man, Pippin, Singing in the Rain, My Fair Lady, Greatest Showman, and Fiddler on the Roof. This time frame was where my passion for musicals came from- thanks to Les Mis, which challenged everything. That is why there is a lot. What was amazing about CPCC is just how professional they feel: I literally called their production of “Les Mis” phenomenal. CPCC is where I started to get more into theatre: I ushered twice for Les Mis and once for Some Enchanted Evening.
As all musical fanatics know, there are musicals we don’t like and at the same time there are musicals we love. While I tend to lean towards complex musicals, there are still simple musicals I love. While I tend to want spectacle or dance, not all musicals I love share that. So, what exactly is in common towards all of them?
Well, to make a musical, we need songs, plot, and character. It is extremely difficult to love the plot and characters if the songs are not good. That is one thing in common between all my favorite characters-as in amazing songs. That is usually my first step for a musical to become amazing.
Now that song is taken care of, it is time to look at the characters. That’s right, I look at the characters before the plot. After all, the characters create the plot in the first- no matter how small or big they are to the show. I have to love characters in the show. The characters are a huge reason why the songs become the songs we tend to love. We want the songs to complement the characters.
Finally- what about the plot? All three together create one. I have to love the plot. If the plot is boring, it will lead to boring songs and even not so amazing characters.
Now, what is especially important is the emotional connection to song, character, and plot. That emotional connection is where the WANT, DESIRE, and REASON comes from. It makes you want to listen the songs, go on the characters’ journey, which connects to the plot. All of the musicals I love I formed a strong emotion with: Wicked, Les Mis, Annie, Sound of Music, Phantom of the Opera, Rent, etc…….ALL have an emotional connection. Because of our emotional connection, it makes us love feeling the emotions in the first place. Positive emotions are the easiest to love feeling, but when it comes to negative emotions, that emotional connection is really important. After all, it truly matters what the characters’ lives and story are.
Yes, it will hurt at times in a musical. But, it isn’t our emotions we are feeling; instead it is the characters’. While we still feel the negative emotions, those have created some of the most beautiful songs in musical theatre. We end up loving listening to those sad/heartbreaking songs. “I’m Not Girl”, “Santa Fe”, “On My Own”, “I Dreamed a Dream”, “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”, “If I Can’t Love Her” are examples of songs I love despite the sadness that they have. I love dealing with these emotions due to the emotional connection I have with these characters.
So, what I am saying about all favorite musicals, they all share an emotional connection. That is exactly why I love each of them. The range of musicals is quite gigantic: “Music Man” to “Les Mis”. That really does show a lot.
Below are pictures from favorite musicals of mine: not all of them, but some.