Something Rotten

(in the state of Broadway)

somethingrotten

I had the privilege of seeing Something Rotten on Broadway recently, and it was fantastic. It was more than fantastic, it has probably shot its way up there to become one of my favourite top five shows; mainly due to the fact that it’s a mishmash of fantastic things – a.k.a. Shakespeare and Broadway and jokes! *breathe*

Everything about the show added to the experience of the show. From the set pieces, to the wonderful and often hilarious costumes, to the absolutely remarkable musical numbers – not to mention the numerous mentions of other musicals, the show keeps you enthralled from its first note to the very last.

My favourite number was “A Musical” which was packed with so many references (both visual and audible) that I wasn’t able to catch them all! But, I did find a handy video from WSJ explaining all the references afterwards, and I’m happy that to report that I picked up quite a few of them.

Broadway week is happening right now, so if you do have  a moment, I’d highly recommend going to see this hilarious show.

Did I mention it has musical references, fun costumes and Shakespeare?

If/Then – You will enjoy it!

IfThen

I really love living in New York.
I really love working in New York City.
I especially love when Broadway Week rolls around!

I had the privilege of seeing Idina Menzel in the new broadway musical If/Then; it was excellent. It’s the story of native New Yorker and urban planner, Elizabeth, who returns to the city from NYC from Phoenix after divorcing her college sweetheart turned husband.

Elizabeth always thinks about the what ifs – what if she hadn’t moved? What if she made a different decision, would this decision have changed her life? Would her life be better or worse for it? Essentially the story branches out from one moment in the park after her return form Phoenix.

For the two paths she has two nicknames, the path where she stays with her new neighbour, Kate, in the park – the Liz path – and the path where she goes with Lucas to his protest – the Beth path. There were many quick changes in between to differentiate between Liz and Beth but if you think you’ll get easily confused trying to follow the action, listen to the music and keep track of the storyline, I would suggest reading a quick synopsis about the show before venturing to watch. This way you’ll be less confused and be able to enjoy the show. However, I found that it was really easy to follow which story you’re watching and didn’t have a problem keeping them separated in my head.

The soundtrack was good and sometimes funny. I really enjoy listening to Idina Menzel sing, and since she has such a powerful voice I was a little worried that she might stick out from the rest of the cast and it might become “Idina and the rest of them”; but LaChanze (Kate), Jenn Colella (Anne) had such powerful voices themselves and James Snyder (Josh) was a wonderful singer, that I had no reason for concern.

The set was minimalistic yet functional with bits and pieces of fresh elements – LED subway map and the home set were really great!

Overall I absolutely enjoyed it, definitely worth it if you have the time. As an added bonus, here is an article I found – Jason Tam Reveals 10 Things Fans May Not Know About If/Then.

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[image from If/Then site]

Matilda: You will soon C there’s no escaping Trage-D

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Matilda: The Musical has a cast of extremely talented kids, a catchy score and a story that will touch your heart. 

The first time I felt the urge to see Matilda on Broadway was when I saw the cast perform Revolting Children on the Tony Awards. I did some Youtubing and found some videos of other bits from the show then I did some Spotify-ing and listened to the soundtrack, I was hooked! I had to watch this show.

Finally, I got the chance! The cast is mostly children and they did an excellent job acting and singing. There was definitely a lot of energy to the show and Miss Honey and the Trunchbull were excellent, though I think my favourite adult actor in the show was the Librarian, she was so funny!

The set was decorated with letters and sometimes had some amusing bits (“Soot” in the fireplace). The kids did a lot of the rearranging of the set, moving props on and around the stage. I think my fave part was the school gate when they sang the School Song and stuck the letters in the gates. That’s one of my favourite songs in the show.

I can go on, it really is one of the cutest shows on Broadway. And can I add that they made a Doctor Who reference? Awesome! 🙂

[Image from broadway.com]

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Something has changed within me, something is not the same. I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game. – Elphaba; Wicked

Five Things (4)

We are in the fourth month of the year 2013. Spring has officially begun, but Mother Nature didn’t get the memo. I’m thinking we need to rename the seasons, there is Fall from November to January and then Winter from February to April. May is Spring, June/July is summer and everything else is a sort of muggy uncertainty.

Enough with the weather, that universal topic of conversation; it’s time to talk about FIVE THINGS!

— Thing One —

I love Broadway, so I try to go to a show at least once a year (or more). 2013 started off with Rock of Ages, and it was wonderful! I would recommend this show to anyone – it’s electric!

— Thing Two —

I love getting together in small, intimate groups with friends, especially friends that I consider dear to my heart. This past month I got to hang out with some of my old workmates who are dear friends of mine. We met at someone’s house and spent the day around the table, having brunch then supper and talking about life, work and babies! I think I’m going to pass on the babies! haha

Since it was a brunch get together, we each made dishes and I decided to try a recipe that I found on Pinterest. I’ve done a few successful ones and some not so successful ones, my fave being the Personal Lasagna Rolls, but ever since I started my “Delightful Dishes” board, I’ve always wanted to try the French Toast Bake. So, after some consideration, I made it for brunch and, I have to say, it was DELICIOUS! Instead of brown sugar, I only had white sugar in the house, so I added some molasses (yeah, we have that and not brown sugar) and it gave the base a sort of pancake syrupy taste. Of course one serving was about 500 calories, but, hey, it’s the weekend, I can let my hair down (and loosen the belt).

shanella_frenchtoast

Other such intimate hangouts included time spent with three other ladies, one who I haven’t seen in a loooong time due to time and distance. That was an awesome evening, I started out hanging with C and we talked about a ton of things and I shared some funny (and disturbing) stories about men, that I was experiencing at the time. Watch this space for a detailed post in a month or so. (hehehe)

Then spending the night at the movies with my soon-to-be-published cousin A.J., watching Jack the Giant Slayer and making fun of the predictable plot. I don’t usually talk during movies in cinemas, but when there aren’t many people there it really is a lot of fun laughing and talking about what’s going to happen next. So predictable.

Then this past Sunday there was a spontaneous Sunday lunch (well I had two lunches, like a hobbit) because I was missing some faces, but only lunch #1 was considered intimate. Large gathering does have it’s time and place as well.

— Thing Three —

Girl Scout Cookies!!!!! The Girl Scouts know about demand and supply. I can’t tell you the number of cookies I’ve consumed in the past two weeks … I’m ashamed to count them! But those Thin Mints and Tagalongs are just SO GOOD!

Just the other day I was on my way to the threading salon where I passed a group of Girl Scouts strategically located right outside of the salon, I was going to purchase 1 box of Thin Mints, but ended up purchasing 2 boxes of Thin Mints and 1 box of Tagalongs. I’m a little tempted to buy a bunch and hoard them, but I’m afraid that might lead to the over-consumption of cookies over the span of a few hours.

— Thing Four —

This might have been my first bookish event this year – I’m slacking, I know! I saw Andrew Jenks, Alaya Dawn Johnson and Eireann Corrigan. I wrote a bit about the event on my book blog, so you can check it out there if you’re interested (and see photos from the event).

— Thing Five —

Finally, The Good and Beautiful God book club met for the second time a few weeks ago. I love reading and discussing books with others, it really does amaze me how two people, reading the same text, can find different insights. I love the sharing of inspiration and ideas that come out from the text. I also love how everyone reads differently and react differently to the text. Discussing books shows me how diverse our world is, I absolutely love it!

shanella_hitechlotech

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I wanna Rock!

Rock of AgesRock of Ages was one part unpredictable and all parts spectacular. You don’t have to be a fan of the eighties to love it, but it wouldn’t hurt.

The story follows two young, fame-seeking kids trying to live out their dream on the strip. Drew the singer and Sherrie the actress meet at The Bourbon Room, a place where they both work while trying to realize their dream. There is the usual falling in love and miscommunication that leads to the ultimate breaking apart, followed closely by the realization that they were both wrong. However, the way Rock of Ages presented it is so fresh and fun that it’s easy to overlook this formulaic love story and enjoy the show.

Lonny – the narrator and part owner of The Bourbon Room – is quite hilarious. Regina, a protestor who is trying to save the strip from being torn down by a pair of German developers, also helps to bring a comedic element to the show. Her and Hans were probably my second favourites after Lonny.

The music was great! I loved the way they sung the 80s rock songs, it was edgy, but also a bit classical. The music wasn’t overwhelming, nor did it feel forced. Everyone in the cast did a great job on the vocals and I was blown away by Drew’s voice. I absolutely loved that the band was on the stage and at some points participating in the act itself.

The set was pretty simple, nothing splashy; but I loved the touch they added with the 80s Las Vegas strip memorabilia that hung on the walls.

The ending was the best, make sure you get an orchestra seat because you don’t want to miss the glittering confetti!

Rock of Ages is definitely Broadway’s biggest rock party. Check it out while you still can!

[image via Broadway.com]

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Potted Potter: 7 Books in 70 Minutes

Take two guys, seven books, seventy minutes and an assorted array of props and you have Potted Potter! This is a show that Harry Potter fans will truly enjoy.

Dan and Jeff take the audience on a hilarious ride from Platform 9 3/4 to Hogwarts as they fearlessly battle dragons, Slytherins and You-Know-Who. There’s a bit of crowd participation with a rousing game of Quidditch and tons of opportunities for laughter. There was hardly a time that I wasn’t laughing!

The one and only issue I had with this show was the closing number – there were times when I couldn’t understand what they were singing, I’m not sure if this had to do with the audio in the theater or the fact that they were singing really quickly and I just couldn’t make out the words, either way, it would have been great to hear all the words of the song! Since this was the very end it felt a bit anti-climactic, which was sad because I thought the rest of the show was hilarious!

Overall, it was a fun experience. I don’t think they are playing in New York anymore, but if you do get the opportunity to see the show in another state/place, it’s definitely a show to watch.

The Not So Amazing Spider-Man

I went to see Spider-Man on Broadway and I was not impressed.

Let me explain.

The set was amazing! One of the best sets I’ve seen on Broadway. Think of a comic book panel; now pull that panel out so that it’s three dimensional. Add some lights, some flash, some bang. This was the set for the show. Spectacular! I loved it a lot. The set was impressive.

The acrobatics was breathtaking. Spider-Man (or men, since there were about 9) swinging over the audience was a sight! I can understand why they had so much trouble opening this show and so many accidents, the actors really do swing over the audience just like you see in the movies. The action was impressive.

What almost killed the show for me were the songs. Personally, when I think of Broadway musicals I think of singing and dancing – a memorable score, maybe a nice dance, but mostly wonderful singing. This was greatly lacking in the show.

I do want to point out that the actors could sing, however, the downfall was not their singing as much as it was the songs that they had to work with. The songs fit more into a rock concert setting than a musical. Some of the songs were a little on the low side (scale-wise) and I can only assume that they were played that way to be edgy, however, by doing so it lost its stage appeal.

There were a few songs – mostly the ones Mary Jane sang – that were good, this was because they were in a scale that matched her voice. I’m not sure I’m explaining it correctly, after all I loved American Idiot (a play based on Green Day songs from the album of the same name) but in American Idiot the actors sung the songs in scales and styles that fit their voices as opposed to trying to be a Green Day concert and that made a world of difference. They owned the music, and I didn’t get that feeling from the soundtrack of Spider-Man.

At first I thought it was just me, but I turned to my friends during intermission and we were all equally baffled at the music. If you must see the show, just make sure you’re not going for the music.