Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

I’ve recently started watching Jimmy Fallon on Hulu (because I’m in bed by the time he’s on TV. Yeah, that’s how I roll). I like watching him because he’s so dorky, but in a funny and endearing way. I especially love his Thank You Notes segment and his crazy games. So when I got the opportunity to go to a taping of his show I jumped on the opportunity quicker than fleas on a dog (or, nicer analogy, it’s late, I don’t want to be creative).

We got to 30 Rock around 2:30pm to get in line for our tickets, once we had those in hand we waited around until 4:15pm where we were then allowed to line up to be taken in. Around 5pm we were in the studio and ready to see Jimmy. He had a great show with some lovely audience shots during the game – we threw balls at guys with cones on their heads.

Jimmy was just as wonderful in person as he is on the telly, I would definitely try to go again (and sit on the aisle again, but this time closer to the back. And armed with a magazine and a pen for him to sign – and that’s your tip of the day).

 

what I got after the show

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Unlimited; Together We’re Unlimited

I’ve always loved The Wizard of Oz. I remember seeing the movie as a child and wanting to be a part of munchkin land, or wanting to skip down the yellow brick road. So naturally, when the show Wicked came to Broadway, I had to see it. Wicked, is based on a novel of the same name, by Gregory Maguire. It’s the untold story of the Wicked Witch of the West. I attended the show on a free ticket, a lucky break. It was a great experience; I remember leaving the theater with the songs playing through my head. I got the soundtrack the very next day and played all the songs on repeat for one entire week. At Karaoke places I would sing all the Wicked songs that were available. I declared Wicked my favourite Broadway show.

This past Saturday I got a chance to attend Behind the Emerald Curtain and take a peek at how Wicked came into existence.

Our tour was lead by Jerad Bortz (ensamble and understudy for Fiyero) and Anthony Galde (swing and understudy for Fiyero, Wizard and Father). They took us through all the stages an actor experiences from audition to the stage. One of the most interesting stories was the fitting. The actor spends the day going to different shops, standing in their underwear in a room of mirrors and getting their measurements taken while being observed by a group of people who are holding clipboard and talking about their body. Intimidating? I think so.

I was blown away by the effort and detail that goes into each costume. Every single costume is custom fitted for each actor who will be portraying that role and some costumes cost thousands of dollars.

Jerad and Tony explained the behind the scene choreography that goes on with the costume changes. There is a system off stage that’s just as detailed as the dancing happening on stage. With limited time between scenes the actors have to know exactly where to go, what they are taking off or putting on and how to move along the line to change. Sometimes they do all of this while STILL singing.

The spoke in detail on the setting up of the set, the masks and the sound (mic placements), then we got to sit in the theater’s orchestra section while they showed us a short film on the making of the musical as well as the jobs of the folks in the background who keep the show running. One thing that struck me was the amount of people behind the scenes that work on the show while there is an audience watching the performance. I believe they said that there were about 100+ people working backstage to make sure each show runs smoothly, this is not including orchestra or actors.

To say that I was impressed with the effort and money it takes to put on Wicked is an understatement. I was blown away by the hard work and many hours. I thought back to the time I saw the show; when I left the auditorium I wasn’t thinking of the people doing the sound or the light, I was remembering the spectacular closing scene of Act 1. I was not wondering about the wardrobe team or the stage team, I was enjoying the look of the stage and the gear-like props that added something different to the setting of Oz. I know that the next time I see Wicked – and there will be a next time – I will probably be engrossed in the show on stage again. However, in the back of my mind I will also remember this day and I am quite sure that I will have a greater appreciation for the hard work that 100s of “invisible” people do on a daily basis to allow me to enjoy the work of art that is Wicked, the Musical.

Broadway: American Idiot

Nobody likes you. Everyone left you. They’re all out without you having fun.

The Set
The walls of the stage was plastered with newspapers and magazines. There were TV screens placed into cutouts in the backdrop and metal stairs running down the back right of the stage like a fire escape. The band was scattered about the stage and there was a violinist high up on the stairs and a cellist on the bottom. The conductor also played the piano. It reminded me a lot of the stage for Rent.

The Soundtrack
If you’ve listened to Green Day’s American Idiot, you’ve got the soundtrack.

The Show
If you don’t like being spoiled, this is where you stop reading. The show followed three boys, Johnny, Will and Tunny, from the suburbs. They plan on escaping their town and making their name in the world.
Will’s dream comes crashing down before he even leaves as he learns that his girlfriend is pregnant. Johnny and Tunny leave him and set out on their own. Will stays in the small town and turns to drugs and alcohol. He doesn’t pay attention to Heather and a few months after the baby was born she packed her back and walked out. She ended up with a man who turned out to be the man Will always wanted to be (my interpretation). Will ended up alone on his sofa.
Tunny seems depressed away from home and later enlists into the army as a way to make something out of his life. He fights in the war; he meets a girl; he loses a leg in the fighting. In the end he comes back home with the Extraordinary Girl on his arm.
Johnny stays in the big city and lives a life of drug, sex and rock and roll influenced by his alter-ego (well I think so at least)  St. Jimmy. He falls in love with a girl, but with St. Jimmy in his life the relationship suffers due to his drug addiction. Whatsername leaves him. He’s left with a choice to clean up his life or to keep going down the road he’s going. His decision leads him to an office job, while St. Jimmy commits suicide. He later sells his guitar and heads back home, frustrated that his life has not turned out the way he wanted it to be.

This show should be rated PG13. This is not a show that you want to take children or young teens to, even if they love Green Day. There was an energy flowing through the actors on stage that made you want to get up there and sing and dance with them. I left the show feeling empowered; ready to face the world.
The band was amazing! The drummer was amazing!  The finale was amazing! All I have to say in regards to the finale is that they must go through a lot of picks per show!

I would recommend this show for all fans of Green Day’s American Idiot CD, the people who liked the way Rent was done on Broadway as well as anyone who loves a good show. There’s just one thing to be aware of, the show runs 90 minutes long and there is no intermission, so head to the bathroom before you take your seat!

Ballet: Sleeping Beauty

Lincoln Center

If you’re in New York City, one of the biggest attractions is Broadway! And right next to Broadway you have the Ballet – at least that’s my opinion. For those who are unsure, there is no singing, or speaking, only just dancing at a Ballet, and yes, the style of dance IS ballet.

One of the most popular ballets is The Nutcracker – which I’ve seen a few times. It usually runs during the winter season as it tells a the famous story of the Christmas present of the Nutcracker toy coming to life. This past Sunday I saw the Sleeping Beauty ballet.

Sleeping Beauty was choreographed by Peter Martins and George Balanchine with music from Tschaikovsky. The dance was performed by the New York City Ballet company and it tells the story of Princess Aurora.

The Story

King Florestan and his Queen held a christening for their new born princess and Aurora’s fairy godmothers were invited to bless the infant with their gifts of virtues. During the blessings, as the Lilac Fairy was about to give the last gift, the evil Fairy Carabosse crashes the christening and, furious for not being invited, casts a curse on the infant. When the princess turned 16 she would prick her finger on a spindle and die.

The Lilac Fairy uses her gift to the infant to counter the curse: instead of dying the princess will fall into a deep sleep from which she will be awaken by love’s first kiss.

On her 16th birthday, Princess Aurora accepts a gift from an old woman – the Fairy Carabosse in disguise. The gift turns out to be a spindle and she pricks her finger and falls to the ground. Her mother and father are distraught until the Lilac Fairy reminds them that she will not die, but will sleep until a prince awakes her with a kiss. After this the Lilac Fairy puts the entire kingdom under a sleeping spell so they will remain sleeping until the princess is awoken.

outside by the new fountain

One hundred years later the Prince Désiré was hunting in the forest and during a time of solitude receives a vision from the Lilac Fairy of the Princess Aurora. He begs the fairy to take him to the princess and the Lilac Fairy leads him to the enchanted Castle.

The prince reaches the princess and awakens her, and with her the entire kingdom. There is a wedding and a celebration. Evil was defeated with love’s first kiss.

The Dances

Act 1 had three main sets: The Christening, The Spell, The Vision. My favourite parts were the dances of the fairies as they bestowed their gifts – The Fairy of Vivacity being the funniest – and the Vision set, with the best part being the prince trying to dance with the princess in his vision, but being cut off by the Lilac Fairy … rejected! =)

excited for the ballet

Act 2 had two main sets: The Awakening and the Wedding. The Wedding set included dances from the fairy-tale guests: The White Cat and Puss in Boots (absolutely enjoyable!), Princess Florine and The Blue Bird, Little Red Riding Hood and The Wolf (the little girl was so adorable!), The Jewels (Gold’s tights were well … tight) and The Courts Jesters.

The Grand Pas de Deux (dance between the prince and princess) was really good, but I think my favourite dance from all the different sets were the cats – of course there were a few “pas de chats” which is one of my favourite ballet moves.

The Conclusion

I loved the costume – especially the dresses of the courtiers in the wedding scene. I loved the set. I loved the music. I loved the dances. I loved this ballet and would definitely see it again!

Hello Rachael Ray!

About two months ago a friend emailed me asking me if I wanted to go with her to a Rachael Ray show. I hadn’t watched the show in a long time but said I would. So we set off to see the show and were turned away because there were no available seats. We were told that we could give our names again and the next time they invited us it will be with “VIP Passes” so that, if we showed up, we were guaranteed a spot.

Two months later I received another email from my friend, I said yes, and yesterday we went to see the Rachael Ray Show!

We got to the studio around 9:45 am and were told to wait for a little while. At around 10am they took us to the security line where, 20 minutes later, they checked us and let us in and up to a black room. We had some breakfast snacks – muffins, tea/coffee, water – and awaited for further instructions.

Around 11 we were ushered into the Studio and seated. The audience sat on a rotating stage, so that every now and then we would go for a ride on the giant turn table to face another part of the set. There were cameras and microphones EVERYWHERE! I suppose that’s to be expected seeing as it’s a TV show and all. Immediately I spotted my dream job … I will one day grow up to be the person who wraps and unwraps the wire behind the camera as I follow the cameraman around the set. I’m sure there is a technical name for it.

For the curious, Rachael Ray was very nice to her audience. She answered questions between segments, made fun of herself and made you feel at ease. She had personality.

Her guest on the show was Barry Manilow, whom I heard of but never listened to. I must admit that when he sang for us I turned to my friend and said, “Amazing! Can I take him home with me!?” His voice blew me away. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a man sing like that, LIVE!

She made a soup dish and a fish dish. They spoke about shampoo and shaving products and then she did some promotional segments. The audience left with a sample of some shampoo/conditioner, an eco friendly Manilow bag that included a beach towel and his newest love songs CD. We also got to snack on some organic cookies.

Unfortunately there are no pictures, you’re not allowed to take them in the studio. The show airs this Friday, for me it’s on ABC at 10am.  I love living in New York, where I get the privilege do these things. Hopefully I will do more fantastic things this year and report them on this blog (finally a use for this thing).

This has been your very first segment of Shanella does New Yorkie Things. =P