I have seen a number of musicals. I have been to a number of theaters. What are those theaters? Today, I thought I would bring them out, and mention what shows I saw in those. I will break it up according to city.
Fox Theatre- Annie
The Fox Theatre is such a gorgeous theatre. This was such a special memory. In 2014, I was 20 and I ended up flying to St. Louis alone to spend a week with my grandma. I ended up seeing Annie with my Grandma. Annie was (and still is) a childhood musical favorite of mine. Annie was my favorite musical until Wicked entered my life.
Peace Center- Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis
- The Peace Center is a very gorgeous theatre as well. I have been able to sit in the orchestra and in the highest level. By seeing in both levels, I have been to really see just how beautiful Peace Center is.
Phantom of the Opera- this a was a date between mom and me. This was my first time at Peace Center. In about January 2013, my mom recommended Phantom of the Opera, and I automatically began to listen to the songs, and fell in love with the musical. I knew I had to see the stage show. Tickets to see the show at Peace Center was a Christmas Present in 2013. Mom and I sat about 19 rows back from the stage in the orchestra. I was spellbound and choked up from start to finish. It was gorgeous- little did I know that one of the actors from the ensemble would be a lead in a future production in the same theatre.
Les Mis- This was a tough decision- to see the tour in Greenville with Gardner Webb or see the tour in my hometown. I choose Greenville. It was Nick Cartell, who was in the ensemble of Phantom who played Jean Valjean, that I ended up seeing at the Peace Center. Crazy how it ended up that way. This was my 5th time seeing Les Mis on stage, and I had an understudy as Eponine. I was a emotional wreck (like expected)- and laughed (liked expected). My standouts were Valjean, Enjolras, and Marius. The most surprising standout was Marius. I loved this cast and staging. I could go on and on about this. I sat in the highest level, and still got a lot out of it- even from the highest level- I could still hear everything- even when they were not as loud. I even could hear (I believe)- just a tear at the end of a song.
Charlotte: my hometown- this city of all places is the main place I have seen musicals, but in two ways.
Pease Auditorium: Godspell
- This was the first and only musical I saw at the Pease Auditorium. I do not remember the acting. I do remember loving the show (three of the actors would be in future shows I would see at CPCC).
Halton Theatre- Les Mis, Oklahoma, Grease, Newsies
- For a community college, Halton Theatre is a very nice theatre. It has two levels. Even in the orchestra, every seat is a good seat. At row Q or row S, you still feel like you are close to the action. It is a really nice theatre- it does not exactly feel like a community college theatre. CPCC knows what they are doing when it comes to musicals.
Les Mis- this happened in 2013. 2013 was the year I became a true fan of Les Mis. I saw Les Mis 3 times that year. You might be wondering why 3 times. For starters, I saw Les Mis once with my family and twice as an usher. The only problem is I don’t remember my actors/actresses that well. However, I do remember that the entire cast felt professional. CPCC did not just use their students- they also used professionals and the community. I have a feeling they did the 25th staging- the reason why I believe this is because I remember the rowing at the beginning and the candles during “Empty Chairs”, and my playbill says “A New Productions”. I do remember while being an usher- that after I saw it with my family, the principals got better each day despite the energy dying down the first day I ushered. They were at their best at the last production.
Oklahoma- I took a bit of a long break from CPCC musicals. That was because of Gardner Webb. I had graduated from Gardner Webb a month before seeing Oklahoma. So it was interesting going to Oklahoma- after all, CPCC did start my college journey. I was wondering- would I see any of the same actors I had seen in Godspell or Les Mis. Turns out I was right- Will Parker and Laurey were the actors- both of them were in Godspell and I later learned the actress who played Laurey was in the ensemble of Les Mis. Oklahoma had minimal set, and they had the cast move the set pieces, but it flowed smoothly. I was not surprised with how well-done Oklahoma was- after all I had seen CPCC productions before. Little did I know- I would see the actor who played Curly again.
Grease- I had seen the movie of Grease. Once again, minimal set with actors moving set pieces and flowed smoothly. CPCC had gotten permission to use four songs that were not originally in the stage show. I was wondering how different would the stage production would be from the movie. All it took was the first scene- different songs. Just from the first song- I came across another well-done CPCC production.
Newsies- This happened two years after seeing the show for the first time and falling in love with it. Short story is, one of my best friends showed up at my house not telling me she was coming and drove us to CPCC, and we ended up in Will Call line so she could pick up tickets to Newsies. I actually was convinced Newsies wasn’t going to happen- I wanted to see CPCC’s production of Newsies- but I thought it wasn’t going to happen, but it did. This was their best production of the summer of all three shows. The actor who played Curly played Jack Kelly in this. So glad they still used towers to represents parts of the scenes. Once again- another well-done production.
- Belk is basically Charlotte’s main touring theatre. It is home to about four levels (maybe 5, not exactly sure). I just am definitely aware of 4- Orchestra, Grand Tier, Mezzanine, and Balcony- know about those levels.
Pippin- I have wanted to see Pippin since hearing “Corner of the Sky”. I missed Pippin the first time it came to Charlotte. Then it decided to come again May 2015. Spring 2015 was my first semester at Gardner Webb- there came a point in May when I felt like I wasn’t seeing Pippin. Then, all of a sudden, the week before Pippin, my mom bought tickets for Pippin. That was a close one- my mom happened to find seats together, but they were the last ones, and they just happened to be five seats back from the stage. You are hooked from the first scene- I fell in love with it so quickly. At intermission, I bought the soundtrack- if at intermission you want the songs, that does say something.
Sound of Music- this musical was unexpected. I did not think I was seeing this musical in 2015. After Les Mis in London, I thought that was the last musical. Turns out I was wrong. Instead it was Sound of Music. There is something special about the childhood musicals. I don’t know what it is, but to love something since you were a child is special in so many ways. This was my first time ever seeing the stage show. After seeing it live, I now love Sound of Music more than ever, and the emotional connection is stronger than ever. The emotional nature has grown.
Newsies- this is one of the newest meaningful musicals of my life. I have only loved it since August 2016. I loved the bond all of the Newsies have in particular the intimate bond found between Jack and Crutchie. The story is so inspiring, the dance is mind-blowing, and the songs are so exciting and emotional at times (Yes, in a sad way). However, I want musical songs to be full of showtunes and to have sad songs. Yes, I said I want sad songs, but to be home to sad songs make a musical more believable and character more complex.
Rent- this was a 5 x 525,600 minute wait (that means I waited 5 years to see Rent live). It was a musical I fell in love with by songs alone- that is the hardest way to fall in love with a musical. That is because all you have are songs- you have no idea who the characters are, who sings what song, and it is almost in a way impossible to figure out the plot. I waited since 2012 to get to see live. I finally got to see it live September 2017- the closest I had gotten was the filmed final Broadway cast. Still I wanted to see it person, nothing beats seeing a show live. I already knew Rent was capable of reducing me to tears, but not in the way Les Mis could. However I was surprised what it did live. Songs that never affected me hit me in person so it affected in a similar way that Les Mis did.
So twice in a year I was an emotional wreck- this was in 2017, the same year I saw Les Mis with Gardner Webb.
Lion King- I first saw Lion King when I was a child, but the problem was I don’t remember seeing it. That is why I wanted to see it when I heard it was coming to Charlotte in 2018. My mom took my sister and I to see it, and got us seats in the orchestra at the aisle. Best seats for one of the most breathtaking openings. Loved everything about it.
- Ovens is the 2nd main touring theatre for Charlotte. It is bigger than Belk since it can fit a bigger audience, but has an orchestra, mezzanine, and balcony. It doesn’t have the best balcony, which is the 2nd half of the 2nd level.
Wicked- whenever I think of Ovens, Wicked comes straight to mind. Wicked always comes to Ovens. I have seen Wicked three times at Ovens, but only remember seeing it twice. Both of the times I remember seeing it there has a funny story attached to it. I will talk about both times, but will keep them separated.
2013- dad date. In 2013, I only wanted to go to Wicked because the only person in my family who still hadn’t seen Wicked was my dad. I went for my dad. Santa put tickets in both of our stockings. I ended up going with my dad. This was the funny story: before the show began: the tallest guy in the auditorium sat in front of me- so I almost did not have a very good view. My dad, despite never seeing Wicked, gave me the better seat. The two of us were in the Mezzanine, which are some of the best seats in Ovens.
2016- The most memorable times I have with Wicked come from 2016. Garner Webb University is only one hour away from Charlotte. Student Activities took 50 students to see Wicked- I was one of them. I was going to see a show that changed me for good with a school that means a lot to me. I was coming into Wicked determined to figure some things out about that love triangle- I wanted to know why the plot twist happened; I didn’t want to confused about it. I was going to pay closer attention to what I was feeling during “I’m Not That Girl”- the other three times- that song wasn’t heartbreaking- it was sad- at least during 2/3 of those times- I was coming in knowing it was heartbreaking- so with that pre-knowledge this time, I would have to look at differently. This was the Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero I remember the most. I think the best reason why “For Good” hit me harder than ever was because Elphaba and Glinda were excellent and because I was with Gardner Webb.
The funny story was after the show ended: the bus we took to get up there was broken down- so we had to wait and wait till we could get back.
A Christmas Story, The Musical- This was my first musical with Club Blume, the young adult club I joined last year. When I first saw A Christmas Story on the 2018-2019 season, I wasn’t interested. When Club Blume informed me of A Christmas Story’s Informance, I went just so I could start getting involved in the group. The informances tell us more about the musicals Club Blume takes us to. The moment I learned A Christmas Story’s songs are written by the same people who wrote The Greatest Showman, I wanted to see A Christmas Story. At the end of the Informance, everyone receives a voucher for a discount. You may get a discount, and say what section you want, but you have no say on where you want to sit- by voucher.
With Club Blume, there is a pre-party before the show. A Christmas Story is a good musical. Its funny and has good songs. Glad I went to see it last year.
Boiling Springs: One Hr Away from Charlotte
- Dover Theater is the theater I have seen musicals in while I have seen musicals at Gardner Webb. It is their theatre for musicals.
Music Man- Seeing Music Man at Gardner Webb was interesting in a way. Coming from CPCC, I had no idea what Gardner Webb’s shows will be like. So Music Man was my first of musicals at Gardner Webb. Even though Gardner Webb has a smaller theatre program, they still can do a good job on their shows. I loved their production of Music Man- it started my musicals of 2015, one of the best musical years of my life.
Little Shop of Horrors- I was house manager for this production and was allowed to see one production. I was not the biggest fan of the show, but loved Gardner Webb’s production. I only loved five of all of the songs. It was well-cast. I can see why a number of people love it. I only saw two musicals during my time at Gardner Webb.
Gershwin Theater- Wicked
- I cannot believe I was 12 when I saw Wicked on Broadway. I think it was August (not sure, but it was around that time). It was in the year 2006. That long ago, I would see a musical that would change my life forever. That memory is so special to me- I was only with my mom. I don’t remember the theatre. All I remember was mom, me, and my favorite song was “Popular”. That is all I remember about that night. Despite that, the impact shows. All because of Wicked, a love was sparked. Wicked was the musical where I finally understood what it meant to have an emotional connection to characters and plot, what complex characters and plots are, and the emotional side of musicals. Because of Wicked- there were four core emotions- excitement, love, joy, and sad. This was truly the beginning.
Queen’s Theatre- Les Mis
- This is another beautiful theatre. 2013 was when I developed my dream of seeing Les Mis in London. It was seeing Les Mis at CPCC that truly was the motor for really wanting to see Les Mis in the West End. 2013 would start this pattern of seeing Les Mis every other year. In 2013, I already knew about the Bristol Pilgrimage; I did not think about the possibility of having this dream come true in 2013 all because there was no talk about going up early. Enter Nov. 2014- my parents said we were going up two days early, and that was when I started nagging my parents to take me to Les Mis. Enter Dec. 2014- I was told I would see a show in London- I asked what show- it just had to be Les Mis- it just had to be. All Spring 2015- my first semester at Gardner Webb, I was getting impatient of knowing what West End show that was, and in June 2015 I finally found out. My mom texted me French Flag emojis and musical notes- that made no sense. I was told to check my emails, and the moment I saw Les Misérables, I ran to my mom crying- this dream was coming true.
This in a way came circle with seeing Wicked in New York. Just like Wicked, it was a date with my mom. Just like Wicked, it played a huge impact on my life. Also, I saw both Les Mis and Wicked in a huge theatre district. I don’t remember this, but mom or dad told me that I saw Wicked in the 6th row in the orchestra- Les Mis at the Queen’s theatre was in the 9th row in the orchestra- so it really came full circle.
July 30th, 2015: Day of show- When I saw the Queen’s Theatre, it did not feel like reality. Even when I bought the T-Shirt, Poster, and Playbill- nothing seemed real. Coming in- I noticed I was going to have an understudy for Valjean. Even when sitting down, seeing the set and noticing how close my mom and I were. Nothing seemed real- I was like- I am dreaming. But then I heard it- that one note of the orchestra- I knew all of that I just experienced was real- it was a dream coming true. That one note told me all of what you are about to experience is gong to be more than expected- it was more than expected.
These are all the theaters I remember seeing a musical in- well, the Gershwin is the only one I don’t exactly remember, but do remember seeing Wicked on Broadway, but it took several years later still I relearned what theatre Wicked was in on Broadway. Just thought it would be interesting to talk about all of the theaters I saw musicals in. I was only going to include the theaters where I remember actually the musical, which meant if I don’t remember seeing the musical- that theater will not be included.