Miss Saigon Review

Why did I want to see Miss Saigon? Wanting to see Miss Saigon comes from Les Mis. I discovered Miss Saigon through Les Mis. When I heard that those who wrote the music to Miss Saigon wrote the music to Les Mis, I knew I eventually wanted to watch Miss Saigon. I had no idea if I never would see Miss Saigon- it felt like it hadn’t been on tour for a very long time. During Charlotte’s 2018-2019 season, I discovered Miss Saigon was coming. It was the main musical I wanted to see- tickets to see Miss Saigon with my mom and dad were in my stocking at Christmas. I was excited that I was going to see it. Miss Saigon is a tragic love story. So glad Les Mis taught me that I can love tragedies.

My Cast:

  • Engineer- Eymard Cabling
  • Kim- Emily Bautista
  • Chris- Anthony Festa
  • Gigi- Christine Bunuan
  • John- J. Daughtry
  • Ellen- Stacie Bono
  • Thuy- Jinwoo Jung
  • Tam- Jace Chen

In the last days of the Vietnam War, 17-year-old Kim is forced to work in a bar run by a notorious character known as the Engineer. There she meets and falls in love with an American G.I. named Chris but they are torn apart by the fall of Saigon.

-Blumenthal Performing Arts

Major or Minor Spoilers:

Eymard Cabling showed out the villainous side of the Engineer perfectly. You can clearly see it in the beginning of the musical to the end. He does give you a laugh from time to time. I loved how I had that laugh- it was needed.

Emily Bautista’s Kim was both a victim and a fighter. I saw her Kim both ways. In the beginning, her Kim was more of a victim. I almost cried during “Movie in the Mind”- that song was shared with Christine Bunuan’s Gigi. It showed both of them as victims. Emily’s Kim had this vulnerable side of things. She had incredible chemistry with Anthony’s Festa’s Chris- I felt like they were in love- I wanted them to stay together even know I knew it wasn’t to be. I was emotionally connected to her Kim- I could see a strength in Kim. She was a fighter when it came to her son, Tam- that was admirable in so many ways. She wanted him to have a better life.

As I said with Emily Bautista, Anthony Festa’s Chris had incredible chemistry with her. Their chemistry made me want them to stay together- I did not want it to end to in tragic circumstances. “Sun and Moon” made me cry- I was not expecting that during that song. His vocals were incredible- you first noticed it during “Why God Why”. Tragic love stories are tough- if you have two actors like Anthony and Emily who feel like they are in love, you want them to stay together- you don’t want it to be tragic.

J. Daughtry’s John truly didn’t shine until Bui Doi. He was just perfect during that number. The hardest thing about Stacie Bono as Ellen is having you feel anything for her- the problem had to do with Emily and Anthony. I struggled with Ellen. I loved Kim and Chris as a couple- Emily and Anthony being the Kim and Chris that they are, it made it difficult to get into Stacie’s Ellen.

The staging was incredible to watch. Yes, at times, it can be difficult to watch- it was the emotional connection to Kim and Chris that kept me going. I loved some of the spectacle and dance I saw in some of the scenes. One moment made me wish I was in another section of the theatre- there was a scene with lights pointing directly at you that you had to block out the brightest lights to see what was going on. It made me uncomfortable- don’t know if that was the scene’s intention- to make you feel uncomfortable or was it the seat I was in?

In terms of the songs- I did cry at times, which I had a feeling it would knowing how Les Mis affected me. “Movie in my Mind” almost made me cry, “Sun and Moon”/ “Last Night of the World”/ “I’d Give My Life For You” all made me cry. I did not think the song that “Sun and Moon” would me cry, but it did- it does tell me just how incredible Anthony and Emily were- it made me want their romance to work out despite knowing it was going to be tragic. The ending did satisfy me- tragic love stories are rough in the ending due to how it turns out, but they still need to be satisfying. SPOILER: At the end of the musical, Kim sacrificed herself to give Tam a better life. Chris saw this, and ran to Kim. She ended up dying in Chris’ arms- I believe at the end, Chris realized that he still was in love with Kim- based on his reaction at the end of this scene.

I did feel heartbroken, terrified, love, joy and uncomfortable watching Miss Saigon.

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Hobbits of Lord of the Rings

One of the geniuses of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series are the characters. Character are highly important in any story. You want to care about them in order to get into the story. The first characters you spend time with are the Hobbits. The Hobbits are the characters I got attached to the most during the films.

Frodo

As the main character of the series, we want to be able to like him. If we don’t why would the quest matter? I understand that if the ring isn’t destroyed Middle Earth would be in trouble. Still, you need to care about Frodo since he is the central character of the trilogy. In the film, I loved him from the start- before he had the ring. There was just something about him that drew me in.

He was brave enough to leave The Shire and to become the Ringbearer. He had a big burden to deal with- The Ring. The Ring easily corrupts and get heavier as the journey continues. The closer you are to Mordor, the weaker you become, but Frodo never gave up. He was determined throughout this journey. There was just something about him that makes him likable. He does have his flaws- you need a character to be flawed or else they wouldn’t be believable. Some of his flaws does come from the power of the Ring.

Sam

Sam is easily likable. I love his loyalty to Frodo. He is always with him no matter what. When Frodo tries to continue on his quest alone, Sam would not allow it. When Frodo is too weak to go up the mountain, Sam carries Frodo up. Sam stays loyal to Frodo in any situation they find themselves in. He rescues Frodo from Orcs when Frodo is captured. So I love his loyalty to Frodo the most. Frodo wouldn’t have made it that far without Sam.

Merry/Pippin

Merry and Pippin are troublemakers and mischievous. You do wonder at first: why are they part of the fellowship: why are part of the quest and why are part of the story? They are the youngest Hobbits on this quest. Soon enough, you see courage in them. Their mischievous nature can get the fellowship in trouble at times. Later on, they have encouraged the talking trees to help protect Middle Earth, and these two Hobbits do some fighting. So they do care about Middle Earth. So they have a purpose- without them, parts of Middle Earth could be destroyed.

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King- Movie Review

Here we are at the end of the trilogy. It can be hard to know where the film begins. You might think it would be like Two Towers where it continues where Fellowship ended. However, Return of the King started as a flashback as to how Gollum got the ring and how he became the creature that he is- that might be a bit confusing to first time viewers.

While the evil might of the Dark Lord Sauron swarms out to conquer all Middle Earth, Frodo and Sam struggle deep into Mordor, seat of Sauron’s power. To defeat the Dark Lord, the One Ring, ruler of all the accursed Rings of Power, must be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom. But the way is impossibly hard, and Frodo is weakening. Weighed down by the compulsion of the Ring, he begins finally to despair.

Major or Minor Spoilers:

As with the other films, Middle Earth comes to life. That is one of the best things about this series. They know how to make this fantasy world come to life. You really feel like you are in Middle Earth. You are always introduced to someplace different in each film. In this one, Frodo and Sam finally enter Mordor, and the biggest battle finally happens.

The “hidden passage” to Mordor is actually a spider’s lair- I was worried and scared for Frodo- despite knowing what is going to happen. I knew it wasn’t right to trust Gollum, but at the same time, Frodo and Sam never would have made it into Mordor without him. Most of the time in this film was spent outside of Frodo’s plot- it spent most of it’s time preparing and being at battle. Boy, the good guys were outnumbered- all of the films, I did not like Middle Earth attacked like that, but they never lost hope. Sam continued to be loyal to Frodo in his quest to destroy the ring, such as carrying him when he was too weak to continue up the mountain.

Just like with all Lord of the Rings films, the music helped a lot. It set up all the scenes. It told you when danger was coming- I loved how it set that up. It did give you a sense of worry.

This was the longest Lord of the Rings film, but was worth it. It was the darkest film, which was the strongest during the battle. You could easily see at Mordor that the Ring was becoming even harder on Frodo and making him weaker. He wouldn’t have made it that far without Sam. I was satisfied with the ending- even though Frodo had to leave Middle Earth. His quest was a huge burden on him and left him scarred for life- he still hadn’t fully healed from what happened to him during to the Quest- those are reasons why he had to leave.

Lord of the Rings: Two Towers- Movie Review

Yesterday, I review the first movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In that one, Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, and other’s have gone off on a quest to destroy the One Ring to destroy, it, which is Frodo’s job. At the end, the Fellowship is separated. Now it is just Frodo and Sam- they are continuing the quest to destroy the Ring.

The Fellowship is scattered. Some are bracing hopelessly for war against the ancient evil of Sauron. Some are contending with treachery with the treachery of the wizard Sauruman. Only Frodo and Sam are left to take the One Ring, ruler of all the accursed Rings of Powers, to be destroyed in Morder, the dark realm where Sauron is supreme. Their quite is Gollum, deceitful and lust-filled, slave to the corruption of the Ring

This movie continues exactly where Fellowship of the Ring ends. The ring is starting to became a bigger burden on Fordo, but Sam still stays loyal to Frodo no matter what. When Fellowship of the Ring ends, you wonder what will happen to this characters- for me, I especially care about the Hobbits, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Sam.

Major and Minor Spoilers

When Sam and Merry were captured in Fellowship, I was scared something would happen to them. I was scared then those bad guys thought about eating them, but Gimli, Leoglas, Aragorn was coming to their rescue. These sheer had their storyline, while Merry and Pippin had their storyline going on, and Frodo and Sam had theirs.

Things have gotten darker. The ring has had become a bigger burden on Frodo. It is also is heavier. Good thing, he has Sam- he couldn’t have made it as far as he had without Sam. Then Gollum shows up- his voice is scary- I literally want to tell Frodo not to trust him- (knowing the books)- even though Gollum is the only one who knows the way into Mordor. Even Sam knows not to trust Gollum.

Even Gimi, Aragorn, and Legolas has a lot to deal with. They have a big fight to deal with. They are saying to protect the humans. They are way outnumbered- even with help. Even with the human fighters and the elf helpers- still way outnumbered.

So this movie has an emotional effect on me as well- last like the first one those. That is because I already formed a strong love for Middle Earth and for the characters. I know I in particular love the Hobbits the most- but I do love characters such Leagolas, Aragon, and Gimli as well- you formed a connection with them in Fellowship of the Ring. Lord of the Rings series is very strong in does that to you. You want them to succeed- you want Middle Earth to survive- not be destroyed. The music does the same thing- tell you when danger is about to happen.

A line that same Sam and Frodo said is interesting- is something around- I hope people know our story- I am like I am watching your story being told.

Just like Fellowship, Middle Earth comes to life. In all of mountains and you finally get an idea of what Mordor looks like. Gollum lead them to the black gate, but it is nearly impossible to get in. Right when Gollum says, I know another way- I don’t want Frodo to listen- I know what it leads to- I don’t want Frodo to go that way. I care about these characters so much. Frodo does have his flaws- there are times he does act on impulse or ways that does seem like Frodo and so on- a lot of that is caused by the ring- you have to remember that. The ring is such a burden.

I think I might actually want to own this movie series.

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings- Movie Review

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smith, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all other. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages, it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit.

In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose

After I read the books, I always wanted to watch the movies. It was the length of the movies that kept me back.

One of the things I love about this movie is the prologue. It tells you about all the Rings were made and what the One Ring was made. It tells you about how it fell in the hands of Bilbo. If it didn’t have the prologue, the rest of the movie would be confusing. You have to understand all of this to understand why Frodo must go on this quest. From the prologue alone, you can tell this is such an incredible film.

Then you actually move into the plot. I knew exactly who Frodo was even though you just saw a Hobbit in the opening. I knew the one Hobbit you saw had to be Frodo all because he is the main character of the Lord of the Rings series. That was how I figured it out. I even was able to figure out who else went on the journey- in terms of Hobbits. You start to care about them pretty quickly. You even care about Gandalf- he is quite wise. Merry and Pippin are the youngest Hobbits on the journey and are troublemakers- you can tell.

I loved all of the action scenes. You worry for these characters. They have a lot to go against. I do know it is more than just Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin- it is like 8 of them. They have to fight those were on the dark side- you always hope they make it. It actually is the Hobbits I care about the most- especially Frodo. That does show he is a main character worth rooting for. The ring does have an emotional toll on him at times, but at the same time has to deal with rough times when those dark creatures try to attack them because they want to kill them. I am like “don’t kill him or don’t hurt him” even though I know they will not- after all I read the books. I love Sam a lot- I love his loyalty to Frodo.

In terms of music, it is wonderful- it does make you aware if something bad is going to happen. This film does an incredible job of creating Middle Earth. From the Shire to the other locations, it looks like Middle Earth. You love looking at all of the different locations. Can’t wait to see all of this in the next movie. What will happen to Frodo next? Will I own the movie- yes I will.

Examples of Emotional Musicals

I have known musicals are emotional since middle school. Wicked was the reasoning behind this. Wicked told me about four core emotions, which were excitement, love, joy, and sad. The emotional musicals are the ones that I tend to be drawn to the most. What exactly makes an emotional musical?

The emotional musicals tend to have a score that has BOTH positive and negative emotions. When I say negative emotions, I mean strong enough to create a response- not mild. Not all sad songs are heartbreaking, but all heartbreaking songs are sad. Now I will talk about some of the examples of the musicals I call emotional.

Major and Minor Spoilers:

Newsies

For a lot of act I, Newsies does not seem to fit under emotional musicals. The songs already are catchy and exciting. The only kind of emotional song that comes to mind already are “Santa Fe (Prologue)”, but that song is hopeful- however I believe that song and “Something to Believe In” does play their part in Newsies being emotional. So why is Newsies emotional? Look right after “Seize the Day?”

"Something to Believe In" in Newsies

This big fight breaks out. Jack, the leader of the strike, witnesses all of this. This upsets him a great deal, but hurts him the most when he sees Crutchie being arrested. All of this shows that Jack cares a lot about the strike. If you remember Jack and Crutchie share quite an intimate bond- that is shown in the first song. All of this leads into “Santa Fe”, which is a sad song. So that song does make Newsies an emotional song.

"Santa Fe" in Newsies

There is a 2nd moment in Newsies that makes it an emotional musical. Crutchie has a solo that was added when the musical was launched as a tour. Crutchie is one of the principal actors. The song, “Letter From the Refuge”, was added, and that song is heartbreaking. So those two songs make Newsies an emotional musical.

"Letter from the Refuge" in Newsies

Beauty and the Beast

This musical, like Newsies, is a Disney musical. This musical is a romance- so ALL the romantic songs are emotional. From “Something There” to “Beauty and the Beast”- those help make the musical emotional. Beauty and the Beast still has their heartbreaking songs- in the stage show, “home” is one of the more emotional songs and so is the heartbreaking “If I Can’t Love Her” and “If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise)”. All of those songs combined are why Beauty and the Beast is emotional.

Lion King

This is yet another Disney musical that is emotional. After all, the emotional nature of the show starts after Scar kills his brother. That was when the storyline kicked off. Seeing the effect it has on Young Simba is heartbreaking (before he runs away). Mufasa’s death almost made me cry last year when I saw Lion King. Lion King is home to songs such as “Shadowland” and “Endless Night”. Even the romantic “Can You Fell the Love Tonight” plays a part in the emotional nature of Lion King. So Disney does do a good job on making a musical emotional at times.

Wicked

Wicked is for sure a musical with a lot of comic moments. It still has a serious side to it. Its’ center core is the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. At the same time, it has a love triangle between Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero. There are songs such as the heartbreaking “I’m Not That Girl” and bittersweet “For Good”. “For Good” is the most emotional song of the musical. “No Good Deed” shows negative emotions as well- which took 9 and 1/2 years for me to notice any sort of emotions in it. One of its more major topics is discrimination- but each time I keep on focusing much more on the friendship and the love triangle that I keep on not exploring the more serious side of Wicked.

South Pacific

South Pacific is a romance that is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. That would mean one couple is more light-hearted than the other. Romance musicals have multiple emotional moments. Emelie does sing the heartbreaking “This Nearly Was Mine”. Once you see South Pacific, “Younger Than Springtime” does become almost more emotional- that is the song that focuses on List and Joe Cable- that couple is actually tragic. One of South Pacific’s major topics it focuses on is racism.

Rent

Rent is a sad musical, so it obviously is an emotional musical. It takes place during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It talks about how to live life in the time you have. Rent is one of those musicals that can make me an emotional wreck- songs like “Will I”, “Your Eyes”, and “Without You” are moments that usually get to me.

Les Mis

Les Mis is even more tragic than Rent. Les Mis feels like you are hit with tragedy after tragedy after tragedy- it is like the tragic events never stop. At the same time, there is this beautiful underlying spirituality. Compassion is shown at death scenes, hope is shown when something tragic does happen, and so on. I am truly an emotional wreck at Les Mis.



What are some of the emotional musicals you love?


Before the Curtain Goes up…What happens

While yesterday talks about happens when the curtain goes down, today will do the complete opposite. This is still coming from the point of view from a theatre goer.

This all starts to happen a few months or so in advance. This sounds crazy that I say that. If you know you are seeing a musical ahead of time, you do get excited. It is hard for that day. You do get impatient. You still are excited. Then the day comes, and the excitement is the strongest. You start to get ready, and you know for sure you are seeing the musical. Sometimes you know you are going to love it (that is especially true if you already love the musical (sometimes you know if you never saw it) and sometimes you never know.

You arrive at the theatre, and that excitement starts to build up even more. Then you are impatient- after all you could have arrived thirty minutes early. However, you want to be there early- but it means waiting a while till the show begins. The hardest moment of waiting is in the theatre itself- especially when you have sat down. You have already received your playbill – so all you have to do is look at the playbill, and get that picture. You sometimes already have if there was a picture station out in the lobby. You end getting that picture on social media. You see the stage and part of the set. This basically short period of time feels like one hour or so- you are like start the show already.

So basically before the show, there are feelings of excitement and impatience.

How do you feel before the curtain goes up?