A Chat with the Stars of Million Dollar Quartet

Yesterday, I had the honor of meeting up with the cast from Million Dollar Quartet and interviewing them at the Johnny Cash Museum in downtown Nashville. The talented foursome gave me a some insight into prepping for their roles and filling some very big shoes, but before I share our little chat I should give you a quick rundown of the Broadway show and the true story of this very famous foursome.

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The actual event happened on December 4, 1956 in at Sun Records Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. Carl Perkins went to the studio to recorded some new music. Jerry Lee Lewis (very new artist at the time) was brought into the studio to play piano for Perkins. Then, Elvis just happened to stop by the studio for a visit. Finally, Johnny Cash shows up and the fours of them hit it off and have an impromptu jam session. They recorded several tracks and the local paper published an article about the whole accidental get-together under the title “Million Dollar Quartet”. 50 some odd years later this phenomenal jam sesh was turned into a hit-musical. The musical takes the audience back in time and gives them a “fly on the wall” perspective to the once in a lifetime gathering.

The famous foursome
The famous foursome

The 4 main characters, John Countryman, James Barry, Cody Ray Slaughter and Scott Moureau, were nice enough to chat with me about their roles as these iconic country singers and what it’s like to perform for the first time in music city.

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Me: Since you are currently performing in Tennessee have you been able to get out, sight-see, visit some of the historical sights of the very characters you are playing?

Scott (Johnny Cash): Yesterday, I took James here on a little “Johnny Cash pilgrimage” We paid our respects at Johnny and June’s grave sights. We went to Johnny Cash’s house, the Ryman auditorium and are now at the Johnny Cash Museum.

John (Jerry Lee Lewis): I took my wife to the Country Music Hall of Fame where they actually had a little “Million Dollar Quartet” section. While I was looking at it, a man came up to me and said,”You ought to go see the show. It’s here right now!” and I was like “funny you should say that…”

Me: How did you prepare for these roles?

James (Carl Perkins): There’s a wealth of information on YouTube these days, as well as books and everything else.

Scott: I’m kind of an obsessive fan. (insert sarcastic looks of shock from his cast members) It’s not just one thing for me. It’s everything. Every song, book or whatever is available. I’ve read everything.

Cody (Elvis): (sarcastically) I’ve had a lot of plastic surgery.

Me: Do you get that a lot? (He looks EXACTLY like Elvis.)

Cody: Oh yeah, and I always give them different answers.

Me. What makes this show such a success?

James: You get a glimpse at the real people behind the icons.

Cody: If you love music, any music, then you’re going to love this how. This unplanned gathering is non-c0mparable. Nothing like this can ever happen again, not without a plan and publicist.

Scott: It tells a story that most people don’t know. You may know Elvis, you may know Johnny Cash, but you probably don’t know the story of the Million Dollar Quartet.

Million Dollar Quartet will be playing at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center until May 11th. They will continue touring the nation as well, so check out their tour dates here.  Huge thanks to the stars for taking the time out to give us some insight into this special musical.

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Cheers!

10 Reasons Why You Should Definitely See Wicked on Tour

 

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After all this time, I think it’s clear that I am a fan of Wicked. I mean…why else would I see it 6 times in 3 different cities? I love it so much that I am finding it difficult to write a fair an unbiased review. Since, Thursday night I have been brainstorming and trying to come up with some critical remarks. The best I’ve got is “the actress playing Glinda isn’t my favorite…still incredibly talented, but not my favorite.”  And that’s it! So, instead of telling you the good and the bad parts of this show, I’m just going to tell you 10 Reasons Why You Should Definitely See Wicked on Tour.

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10. The Costumes. The costumes in Wicked are nothing short of great. They munchkins look short and funny. The Emerald City citizens look crazy and whimsical. Glinda looks spectacular while Elphaba manages to look simultaneously nerdy, homely, studious and wicked. I’ve seen these costumes backstage on Broadway and the detail is fantastic. These are the types of wardrobes you will want to touch, try on and ooh and aww over.

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9. The Set. The Wicked Tour is extra special because the set (which is insane) is basically identical to the one on Broadway. The producers of the show want you to get your moneys worth. They are determined to give you nothing short of what you would see in NYC. It’s incredible to walk into the theatre and realize they have transformed the stage into this incredible place that has flying witches, bubbles, a giant dragon, bridges, castles and enormous moving gears and clocks. I was there to see them put the set together and still don’t know how they do it!

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8. The History. Wicked has broken numerous box office records, won a crazy amount of rewards and has been seen by literally millions of people worldwide. This show is a piece of artistic and theatrical history. It’s songs are performed time and time again, it’s referenced in TV shows and movies and  Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth originated the roles of Elphaba and Glinda. This musical will be talked about for years to come, don’t you want to participate in those conversations?

7. The Lessons. I touched a lot on this in Thursday’s blog. We learn about accepting ourselves, being brave and standing up for ourselves and others from Elphaba. From Glinda, we learn to accept others and the cost of getting what we wish for… it’s not always what it seems.

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6. The Backstory. In case you haven’t heard, Wicked is the untold story of the witches of Oz. You will learn how one became good, one became Wicked and even where the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, the Wicked Witch of the East, they flying monkeys and the Wizard came from. It’s interesting.

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5. The Culture. Face it, most of us are not getting enough culture in our lives. We don’t go to museums enough, read enough, listen to great music or see enough theatre. We need to feed our souls with more talent and art! Do your soul a favor and buy a ticket to Wicked. Get the Broadway experience in your home town and watch some truly talented actors perform their hearts out.

4. A Night Out. Seeing Wicked on tour will give you and your better half a chance to have a fancy date night. You can dress up, have dinner, see the show and grab some cocktails. OR, make it a family night out. Wicked is kid-friendly which means you can all go and check it off as family outing and an artsy night for the kids. Perfect.

3. Defying Gravity (and all the music). I am still obsessed with the entire soundtrack from Wicked. Husband and I know every word to every song and sing it a little too often on road trips. The obvious standout is “Defying Gravity”. Even if you’ve never seen Wicked, you have most likely heard this song on various occasions. It’s been on Glee and New Girl and it’s been performed by dozens of others. I get goosebumps every time I hear someone hit that high f at the end. I also get goosebumps every time I hear Idina sing.

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2. The Comedy. Wicked isn’t known for it’s hilarity, but there are many LOL moments. Glinda’s character is hilarious. No matter how many times I’ve seen the show I can’t help but laugh at her ditzy nieve self.

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1. The Magic. I guess one reason I love Wicked so much is the same reason I love Disney so much…it’s magical. I get goosebumps and tears in my eyes as I watch. The sets change so seamlessly, characters disappear, costumes change, wizardry is performed and you will constantly wonder “How did they do that?”

Convinced? Good! Now check out their tour schedule and order those tickets. Or, if you are in Middle Tennessee get your tickets here. Have fun and let me know what you think of the show!

Cheers!

 

 

 

What about Glinda?

The most popular movies, tv shows, books, etc are loved and successful because we, the fans, relate to them. It’s why young girls adore Taylor Swift’s music, why we are all currently obsessed with Frozen and even why we can’t get enough of The Walking Dead. It also explains why Wicked is Broadway’s’ biggest success. Everyone knows that Elphaba is the green girl who never fits in, rises above her enemies and learns to stand-up for herself and for what’s right. We have all felt like an outsider at some point in our lives; we have all been Elphaba, but what about Glinda?

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Glinda is the pretty “pink girl”. She’s practically perfect…she’s bubbly, cute, rich, popular and has all the self-confidence in the world. Glinda is the girl the that everyone wants to be and the girl that everyone hated and envied in high school. But, is that all? Does the depth of her character and her role in the musical end there? At first glance, I wold have said “yes”. We watch Wicked and see her as the head cheerleader we loved to hate or the co-worker who seems to have it all. She’s the one we strive to beat at the game of life. However, after all this time of being obsessed with Wicked, I’ve come to see Glinda in a different light.

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Sure, she begins the play as a ditzy egotistical self-absorbed  teenager, but as the story progresses so does Glinda. She learns to stop judging others, she befriends Elphaba and even learns to put others before herself. But, what I find most interesting and valuable in Glinda’s growth is that she realizes that what you want in life is often not what you need and most importantly, that getting what you want does not equal happiness.

At the end of the play she sings a song with her fellow Ozians called “Thank Goodness”. They are singing about how grateful they are that Elphaba (the wicked witch) is out of sight and celebrating Glinda’s promotion to “Glinda the Good, officially”. The citizens are singing about how horrible and scary Elphaba, but Glinda knows the truth…that Elphaba is far from wicked, and only hiding so she can continue to fight for the rights of others. Anyways, in this scene Glinda sings of her happiness, or what should be her happiness.

That’s why I couldn’t be happier
No, I couldn’t be happier
Though it is, I admit
The tiniest bit
Unlike I anticipated

How many of us strive so hard to reach some goal, date some person or buy some specific outfit only to find it’s not what we thought it would be. How many times have we thought, “If only I had this…then I’d be happy.” After we get what we wanted so desperately does it truly satisfy? Or do we just want for something else? And at what cost are willing to pay to get these things?

‘Cause getting your dreams
It’s strange, but it seems
A little – well – complicated
There’s a kind of a sort of a cost
There’s a couple of things get: lost
There are bridges you cross
You didn’t know you crossed
Until you’ve crossed
And if that joy, that thrill
Doesn’t thrill you like you think it will

Like Glinda, we have all gone a bit too far at times to get what we will think will make us happy. We have paid too much money, risked friendships, lost sleep, missed job opportunities… reaching that dream of ours always has its costs. We often stay so focused on it that we fail to recognize the life happening on the road to our success. Then, once we make it, it’s not what we thought it would be. I can’t tell you how many times I reached some goal… new job, new degree, new dress, etc and thought “This is it? This what I’ve worked towards for the past year…shouldn’t I feel happier or more fulfilled?”

Because happy is what happens
When all your dreams come true
Well, isn’t it?

Is it? I think that’s the question Glinda poses for all of us. When we finally get our dream job, marry that perfect person, start a family, make tons of money or whatever it is we dream will bring us happiness it often fails to do so. Not that those things can’t or don’t bring happiness…they do, but if we are depending on these wants and dreams to bring us happiness we are sure to be disappointed. We must learn to be happy with ourselves first, find happiness in the road to our successes and appreciate the small victories and people we meet along that road. Then, when and if are dreams come true we can truly enjoy them or not be devastated when they don’t meet our every expectation.

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I love when I hear this song because it always seems to play at the exact moment that I need it. I have a bad habit of building up very high expectations for just about everything, which means I am easily disappointed. Glinda reminds me that my happiness shouldn’t depend on my house, my Husband, my child, my career or my wardrobe. My happiness depends on me, how I live my life, how I handle each situation and how I treat those I care most about in my life.

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Glinda and Elphaba are both waiting for something to bring them happiness, the perfect guy, the right skin color, etc, and in the end they realize happiness is far more complicated. In the end, they discover that they had each taught each other how to be a better person. The person they thought they hated most, the thing they thought they would never need was one thing they needed most, and isn’t that something we can all relate to?

Cheers!

What’s Behind Wicked’s Curtain

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Wicked is officially in Nashville and I could not be happier! Over the years I have seen a ridiculous amount of Broadway shows, but Wicked is still my all-time favorite. It was the first show I ever saw on Broadway and this Thursday will be my 6th time to see it. It will also be my third time seeing it in Nashville! I will be reviewing the show on Thursday, but tonight I’m going to give you a peak into what goes into making this show the greatness that it is.

The Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) is awesome and they invited me to come watch the Wicked crew load-in and setup for their 4 week engagement in Andrew Jackson Hall. The Wicked set, props and costuming is unbelievable. It’s the most intricate scenery I’ve ever seen on stage and the tour is almost identical to the set on Broadway. So, watching the entire thing get unloaded, brought in and put together is really impressive. It takes about 2 and a half days to put this intricate set together and eight hours to load it back into the trucks.

This where the giant semi's backup and unload into the theatre.
This where the giant semi’s backup and unload into the theatre.
I learned that these are called "elephant doors", which makes a lot of sense, considering an elephant can easily fit through them.
I learned that these are called “elephant doors”, which makes a lot of sense, considering an elephant can easily fit through them.

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Not only did I get to an insider’s look into how the show is unfolded, but I also had the pleasure of interviewing their company manager, Steve Quinn. Steve is a very outgoing and friendly guy who has been with the Emerald City tour for 9 years. He knows his stuff. He was asked if there are any plans in the works for musicals or plays to be made from the other books that were written. Sadly, he has never heard of any such plans. (Wouldn’t that be cool though?) He pointed out that it’s hard to have lightening strike twice, which is true, but Idina Menzel did have Defying Gravity and Let It Go… so it’s not impossible.

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He believes the main draw of Wicked and its huge success is the fact that we have all been a “green girl”, Elphaba, at some point in our lives. We have all been at the point where we feel awkward or just don’t fit in with that main group. The story of Elphaba is one we can all relate to and we all have to learn to accept who we are and that’s what Wicked celebrates. I completely agree with his theory, it’s a similar theme in Frozen, which explains it’s popularity as well. However, I think there’s a huge lesson to be learned in Glenda’s story as well. I’ll touch on that later this week.

I had to know his favorite part of his job. He told me he loves standing out front before the show starts and watching the faces of all the guests, from city to city, coming to see the show for the first time. There is so much excitement and wonder in their eyes as they come through the lobby.

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I feel as if I know Wicked inside and out. I thought I was becoming more and more jaded to the magic behind Broadway shows, but I’ve got to say that my experience today has me all pumped up to see the show again on Thursday!

If you are interested in seeing Wicked in Nashville, then check out the show times and ticket information here. To my friends outside of Nashville, check out the tour schedule here.

Review of Sister Act The Musical

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About a week ago I got asked to review Sister Act The Musical at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville. When I got the email I was pretty stoked because I never got to see the show on Broadway when we were living in New York and because Husband and I would get to go together and have a little date night. Then, I realized that our first “date night” since Luna’s birth also meant our first time to leave Luna with someone else.

Luckily, my Mom-in-law lives close and is very willing to keep Luna, but it still was not easy to leave her. Not. At. All.

We arrived early to check out the scene, the souvenirs and to read through our playbills. I always like to get to know the actors before the show starts.

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I remember loving Sister Act the movie and watching it numerous times growing up, yet I barely remember what happened in the movie. I decided not to watch it and refresh my memory before the show because I didn’t want to be bothered by any differences. I’m happy to say that the only difference I noticed is that the music in the movie is not used in the play. In fact, the play has all original music by Alan Menken (a disney legend!).

The music was great! Every song was catchy and fun and the singing was fantastic. The show was cute and entertaining for sure. It wasn’t my new favorite, but I enjoyed watching the nuns sing and dance. I especially enjoyed the priest’s performances! Honestly, it had everything you’d expect in a broadway show…bedazzled costumes, great songs, impressive sets, some dancing and a huge finale. I don’t think anyone would be disappointed (unless you’re expecting an exact replica of the movie).

The only downside is that the story is a little dated and there aren’t any great dance numbers. Don’t expect to hear any incredibly witty jokes, just expect some good R&B/Gospel music being belted out by outrageous nuns.

Personally, I would have enjoyed the show much more if I wasn’t freaking out about leaving Luna at home. I called to check on her during intermission…she was of course crying, which made me cry. I actually begged Husband to take me home, but he refused. I never doubted that Luna would be fine, or that my Mom-in-law could care for her, I just wanted to be with her. It’s not easy to leave your baby!

Anyways, if you are interested in seeing Sister Act in Nashville sometime between now and March 16th then get your tickets here. If you don’t live in the Nashville area then check out the tour schedule here.

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Cheers!

Fall Break in NYC

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*Written Saturday, October 12th…obviously I’m a little behind on my postings….LOTS of catching up to do!

We are officially halfway through our “babymoon” vacation. We just left the big apple (in-flight now), are headed to Nashville for some haunted housing and a very big ceremony. Then it’s off to Florida! New York was great, and I think it will end up being the most relaxing part of this two-week vacation.

Love walking along 5th and Central Park
Love walking along 5th and Central Park

For the first time ever I went on a vacation with zero plans. I had our flight in and our flight out written in my calendar, and nothing in between. After living there for two years it seemed a bit ridiculous to make plans. So, we played everything by ear and ended up relaxing a lot (for us, anyways).

I've been trying some new hairstyles everyday...I'm a bit sick of my hair at the moment.
I’ve been trying some new hairstyles everyday…I’m a bit sick of my hair at the moment.

We hit our favorite spots…Central Park, the MET, the giant public library on 5th, Chelsea Market, etc. Strolling around the park and relaxing is possibly what I miss most about New York. We spent a lot of time just people watching, and laughing at the people in the boat pond who had no clue how to row a boat.

Husband and Zoey having a leaf fight in the park (and yes, he is wonderful and carrying all of my crap)
Husband and Zoey having a leaf fight in the park (and yes, he is wonderful and carrying all of my crap)

The MET had a few new exhibits, as they always do, and we happened to go on the most beautiful day of the week. The rooftop was open, the sky was sunny and the views were spectacular. The exhibit on the roof right now is called “Zombie Garden”. You see why, right?

Zombie Zoey
Zombie Zoey
Rooftop of the MET
Rooftop of the MET

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The library had a new exhibit up that focused on the history and importance of children’s books, which is right up my alley. Plus, there was an entire Mary Poppins section!

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Mary Poppins umbrella is on display!

We shopped on 5th Avenue, Madison and through Chinatown. We snacked at a Chinese bakery on pineapple bread and mango and basil seed juice. I haven’t been to a Chinese bakery since we were in China 5 years ago, so it brought back lots of great memories. At Bloomingdales, I bought my first ever pair of shoes for the sole reason of being comfortable. I LOVE shoes, but in a fashionable artistic way. I could care less if my shoes are comfortable, until now. Being pregnant has made my feet total weenies. I was barely making it around Manhattan and began to worry about all the walking we will be doing around Disney. So, I did what a sensible person might do and bought a comfortable pair of non-slippery shoes with lots of support. They aren’t so bad. I’ve got to say, my feet feel aaammmmazzzzinnggg!

Shopping down Madison Ave.
Shopping down Madison Ave.
Mmmm pineapple bread and some weird delicious iced tea
Mmmm pineapple bread and some weird delicious iced tea
oh yeah...comfy shoes
oh yeah…comfy shoes

We ate bagels at H&H, breakfast at lots of little diners, tacos at Tacombi and pizza of course. Sorry, but I am definitely one of “those people” who swears New York has the best pizza! (They do, they really do!) We even ate at the Stardust Diner for the first time ever. The Stardust is in Time Square and is famous for it’s staff, which is ALL professional singers, actors and dancers who are trying to make it on Broadway. (Rachel and Santana work there now, for all you Glee fans.) We decided we might as well try it since we are acting as tourist all week. The waiters were surprising talented and entertaining, the food was nothing to brag about and overpriced.

bagels at H&H
bagels at H&H
tacombi!!!
tacombi!!!

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We also so Pippin on Broadway, because no trip to New York is complete with a trip to Broadway. Pippin is an old musical that’s been revived and features some crazy cirque du soleil type acts, erotic dancing, some intense singing and a storyline that leaves you thinking “WTF”? We liked it, but I am also biased due to the fact that Gilmore Girls referenced the heck out of Pippin in one episode.

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Box seats for the first time!
Box seats for the first time!

Of course, the best part of our trip was catching up with friends. We had dinner out with different friends almost every night and really enjoyed catching up and getting to spend time with people we love so much. We love traveling and moving around, but it always sucks to make and leave friends so often. It’s also a good reason to go back and visit though.

Maybe, I’ll keep up with writing better over the next week, maybe not.

Exploring the archives of the MET
Exploring the archives of the MET

Have a great week!

Cheers!

Hands on a Hardbody

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Last Friday, Husband and I had the pleasure of seeing and reviewing a new original broadway show, Hands on a Hard BodyI was especially curious about this new musical because it is not only set in Texas (Longview to be exact), but is also based on true events. It is based on a 1997 documentary of the same title. Here’s the lowdown…. a car dealership in Longview, TX used to host an annual competition for people to win a new truck, aka hardbody. Each contestant had to keep at least one hand on the truck, and whoever lasted the longest without leaning on the truck or squatting, won the brand new truck!

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What a unique idea for a Broadway musical, right?! Going in I was a little nervous that the characters would be gross exaggerations of people from Texas. The characters turned out to be right on the money. I felt like I was sitting in 110 degree Texas sun on the black asphalt watching a group of hearty dream chasers do their best to win their new ride. The only thing I needed was a foldable lawn chair and a cooler full of beverages. I was right at home.

The characters/contestants were full of southern charm, but were each on a very different journey. There was one character who was a grumpy old sourpuss and put every single person down every chance he got. There was an older man trying to prove he was still capable of great feats. A young Hispanic boy who needed to sell the truck to help pay for his tuition at Texas A&M. A girl who needed the truck to become independent from her parents and make something of herself. A mother who needed to take her kids to school and her Husband to work. One very religious woman who believed this was God’s answer to her prayers, and a few more lovable, and just as worthy, characters.

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The character I related to most was a young girl who sang about leaving her small town life and seeing the world. Even though she loves Texas, she dreams about what life is like beyond its borders. Winning this truck will give her the transportation she needs to hit the road and begin her adventures. I had this same yearning my whole childhood. I love where I grew up, but God, all I ever wanted was to travel and see all the mysterious places I read about constantly.

Husband and I had mixed feelings about the music. It was good, but some were a little too hokey. One song, “Joy of the Lord”, was PHENOMENAL. One of the best songs I have seen on Broadway. I have looked all over the Internet to find a video for you with no luck. So, take my word for it, this number was amazing.It was like being in a gospel choir, STOMP and a Broadway show all mixed together.  Another song, “If I had this truck” explained just how necessary it is for a Texan to own a truck…which is true, very very true. I’ve never seen as many trucks on the road than when I’m in Texas.

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This best part of the show was the story. I loved seeing ten people from all different walks of life being forced together for days and days. These people were forced to get to know one another, share and hear each other’s stories. Getting to know people different from yourself is a powerful learning experience. It teaches compassion and gives us a chance to walk in another human’s shoes for a bit. I left the show with a reminder to stop judging other’s too quickly. Sure, that guy next to me on the Subway was a complete jerk, but it’s possible he just had the worst day of his life, and maybe what he really needs is some compassion. I should remember to show more love to the grumps of the world.

I also left the show without my favorite black lace scarf. I realized about 45 minutes later, and luckily we were still in Time Square. We ran back to the theater to find the doors locked and lights off. We tried the stage door too. As we were pulling on the locked door it flew open. A tall man who obviously worked there and was on his way out looked at us like we were crazy, so we quickly explained why were tugging on the stage door. The worker told us he was the last person in the building and we were lucky we caught him. He allowed us to walk backstage, and out into the audience where I found my scarf lying across my seat.

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I enjoyed our date night with a taste of my old southern life. The vivid and realistic characters made the show for me. It was a version of the American Dream that we all relate to and a reminder that this dream is still alive and valid even today.

*If you want to purchase tickets to Hands on a Hardbody just click here.

**Sadly it was just announced that Hands on a Hardbody is closing THIS SATURDAY, April 13th. I’m shocked! So, if you want to see it, you better hurry!

Cheers!

P.S. During the show, one of the girls talks about how Matthew McConaughey is from Longview, and how he was voted “Sexiest Man Alive” by People Magazine in 2005. She then mentions that the car dealership keeps a framed copy of this magazine in the lady’s room. Look what I found in the lady’s room at the theatre during intermission….

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Cinderella on Broadway

Part of my job, my paying-5-days-a-week job, is heavily involved with social media. I write for another blog (for the business where I work), and luckily I get to review some family friendly events around the city for that blog. One recent review I wrote was for Cinderella. This show is now in my top 5 favorite shows on Broadway. It’s so good that I must share my review with you….

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On my way to see Cinderella on Broadway I felt a little apprehensive… I am obviously a huge Disney fan, and I worried that the Roger and Hammerstein stage version might not be my cup of tea. I imagine Cinderella singing with mice and wearing a big blue ball gown. As I arrived at Broadway Theatre I was thrilled to see the giant glass slipper on the advertisements and instantly loved their tag line, “Glass slippers are so back.”

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 As the lights dimmed a beautiful voice, maybe that of a fairy Godmother, reminded us to “Put away [our] cell phones, as well as [our] daily worries and concerns.” As the show began I was blown away by the set. The stage was covered with tall majestic trees, which would eventually transform to a little cottage, then a castle, and even a village. It was absolutely stunning!

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The show itself was nothing short of magical. Every little girl in the audience was wearing a ruffled dress, a little tiara, and sparkly shoes. They ooh’d and aww’d throughout the show, giggled at Cinderella’s animal friends and were angry at her mean stepmother. One little princess even shouted “Oh my GOD!” as Cinderella easily slipped her foot into the glass slipper. It was probably the most adorable night on Broadway.

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 The boys in the audience had an equally good time. They loved the Prince’s opening scene as he slew the giant forest monster and defeated the enormous dragon. They also got a kick out of Cinderella’s crazy stepsisters and the Prince’s silly lines. Boys and girls alike were in awe of the “magic” that happened throughout the night.

 Even the adults’ jaws dropped when Cinderella’s rags transformed into a beautiful ball gown, the pumpkin turned into a coach, and the town’s crazy lady became a beautiful fairy Godmother. There were moments where even I thought, “How did they do that?!” I’ve never seen a more attentive audience, especially one so full of children!

Now I must say this Cinderella is different from the classic Disney tale, even a little different than the original 1957 Rodgers and Hammerstein’s version, but I could not have loved it more! The contemporary script, written by Douglas Carter Beane allows the characters to have more depth. Cinderella and the Prince are both trying to chase their dreams and discovering how to be a good person. One stepsister has a change of heart, and the entire kingdom has a revolution! It’s Cinderella for the 21st century.

Don’t worry though; the classic memorable parts are still there. Cinderella loses her glass slipper, the fairy Godmother is there to save the day, it’s full of wonder and every one lives happily ever after. Then there’s the music. You will leave the theatre singing “Impossible” or “In My Own Little Corner” and your kids will sing right along with you.

 To have your own fairy tale experience on Broadway you can purchase tickets here. Cinderella tickets start at $45 and the show is performed 8 times a week. It’s a great time for the whole family, and you’ll get home before the stroke of midnight!

Star Struck for the First Time

Husband’s Grandparents have been in town visiting with us all week. Unfortunately, I had to work everyday so I did not get to spend near as much time with them as I would like, but I did enjoy the little time I got to visit. Most days I just had time to join them for dinner. By the end of the week we started playing a new out-to-dinner game.

We realized we were spending more time checking our phones than we were speaking to each other so we played a little game that has been trending online. The rules are simple: You stack all the phones on each other, and placed them in the middle of the table. The person who picks up their phone first pays for dinner.

We added a rule: “If no one picks up their phone Dad-in-law pays for dinner”.

Yesterday, I had enough time to meet them for a show on Broadway. We saw the new show Grace starring Paul Rudd and Ed Asner! I LOVE both of these actors and could not wait to see them in person. The show was great! There were only four actors, all very talented.

I went in knowing nothing about the play, and was very surprised when it started with every single character dying in literally the first five seconds. Needless to say, it was a very depressing story. I still enjoyed it, but I can’t shake some of the saddest scenes from my mind.

On the bright side, I got to meet the actors after the show! Woo! AND, for the very first time I felt star struck! I have been in love with Paul Rudd since he played Mike Hannigan (AKA Crap Bag) on FRIENDS.

Paul Rudd!!!!!
Ed Asner!!!

It’s always a little exciting to meet a celebrity, but I couldn’t even form sentences when meeting Paul Rudd. I got all flustered and shy and said something like “uh…Paul…um…picture…oh…thanks…um….you’re so great!” He was very nice and seemed happy to take pictures with absolutely anyone before speeding off in his getaway car.

Then, because I am the luckiest girl, I got to go see Once today! Once is the new #1 show on Broadway. It won the most Tony’s last year and I have been dying to see it since I saw the commercial over a year ago. The music is incredible. Watching the show was more like watching a really cool concert in your favorite dive-bar. The set is a bar and before the show, and during intermission, everyone is allowed on stage to order drinks.

It turned out to be sad too, but was like watching Full House compared to watching Grace. You can watch a few of the highlights below.

Now, the Grandparents have returned home safely, and we are left to fend for ourselves as Hurricane Sandy approaches. Looking forward to a stormy day inside with lots of junk food, movies, books, and wine!

Cheers!

Everything I Need to Know in Life I Learned From Mary Poppins

Husband’s cousin is in town this week, which means we have another first time NYC visitor! I think that makes 15 visitors this year! This means we are yet again making our rounds to each Manhattan tourist spot. If any of you are ever planning a trip to the city and need help…you know who to ask! Seriously, why haven’t we started charging people for our services?

Cousin has never been to a Broadway show, and was pretty excited about the chance to see a musical during her visit. Her show of choice ended up being Mary Poppins. I’d already seen this musical once, and I must say, it was even better the second time around!

 

Mary Poppins is my all time favorite Disney movie! I have seen it at least 900 times. I was super excited to see the musical the first time, but I left with mixed feelings. The acting, singing, dancing, the set (omg the set…it’s unbelievable!), and the costumes were are great, magical even. The story however… was quite different.

The musical is based on the stories from the children’s books, by P.L. Travers, and the story from the Disney film. So, some scenes from the books were added, and a couple from the movie was taken away. The added scenes and songs weren’t bad, in fact; they were actually pretty good. It’s just hard to swallow if you’ve had the movie memorized since you were ten years old.

This time though, I knew what to expect; I could truly appreciate the talent and the theatrics. This show is really beautiful and amazing… the best combination of Disney and Broadway I have ever seen. (I like it 10 times better then The Lion King Musical). While watching it again, I remembered just how smart this Nanny is, and how much I have always wanted to be like her.

In life, and certainly in my classroom, there are lots of very important lessons I learned from Miss Poppins. Here’s my top 10.

  1. Always carry a large purse full of surprises. This one is especially true for teachers, and Mother’s I assume. We need our bag of tricks.
  2. Be confident and always describe yourself as “practically perfect in everyway.” I have only said this to my students; I’m not quite confident enough to write it on a resume yet.
  3. Children love someone who is stern, honest, and knows how to throw in some “elements of fun”. I try my very best to use all 3 qualities when teaching.
  4. Every lady needs a man who can dance, make here laugh, adore her, and always have her back. I’m so glad I found my Bert.
  5. Never reveal too much information to your employers. AKA, do not friend your boss on Facebook! I don’t even friend my co-workers. Although, I’m pretty sure my current boss knows I’ll leave “as soon as the wind changes”. If only I had a large umbrella to travel by.
  6. Always look your best. People treat you as you appear.
  7. Never stop dreaming or using your imagination.
  8. Take medicine (and anything else hard to swallow or stomach) with spoonfuls of sugar. When I was teaching in Tennessee I played this famous song as our classroom “cleanup song”. It made the process much more cheerful, and I loved that all my students knew this song by heart.
  9. Remember it’s okay to get a little dirty. (Hey! Keep your mind out of the gutter!) Getting some soot and ash on your clothes and face is okay if you’re going to spend the night dancing on a roof top.
  10.  Be sure to take some time out to fly a kite, and enjoy time spent with your loved ones. Maybe even give the crazy bird lady your toppin’s.

Maybe I’ll make some time to watch the Mary Poppins the movie for 901st time this weekend. I could use a snuggle-up-in-my-pj’s-with-a-giant-bowl-of-popcorn–and-a-Disney-movie kind of night.

Cheers