It is already a known fact I have been seeing musicals my whole life. I have seen them at various cities and theaters. Now, it is time to bring up my entire musical journey map. I will put the shows in order by year- the city will be listed as well along with the actual theater.
- I saw Seussical the Musical, Lion King, and Cats in those years; the only problem is I do not remember seeing them.
- My mom and I were in NYC, and the two of us saw Wicked. Little did I know that when I stepped foot in the Gershwin Theater I would be changed for good. Wicked was truly the beginning. The musical sparked my love for musical theatre. I was able to understand what an emotional connection was; and the complex and emotional side of musicals. Four core emotions were existent : excitement, love, joy, and sad (sad came to the forefront due to Wicked).
- Once again, Oliver is a musical I do not remember going to. It was at the Barter Theater in Virginia. Earlier this year, I actually found a journal where I wrote a little bit about the show- a review- but it not even good one bit. All of the musicals I saw after Oliver, I for sure have a better memory of.
- (Blumenthal Performing Arts- Ovens): I did see Wicked a 2nd time BEFORE 2013, but I honestly do not remember which year it is. I knew it had to be close to my first year of high school (I was in high school 2008-2012). Actually, I think it was the 2nd time when I realized Elphaba and Glinda were complex characters, and if I did not pick up on the love triangle the first time, it would have been this time around.
2009- Mamma Mia
- (Blumenthal Performing Arts-Belk): I literally saw this musical one year after falling in love with the movie. I just love the joy and fun nature of Mamma Mia. In a way, my habit of collecting playbills started with this musical: it is my first show that has a playbill after all. From 2009 on up, I know where I saw all the shows.
2011- Addams Family
- (Blumenthal Performing Arts-Ovens): I actually had to research the US Tour to figure out when I saw it- even though there were some clues- for one thing- I knew it was in October. In addition, I knew it was in the later parts of high school meaning either 2010 or 2011. This musical turned out to be one I did not like- I thought it was just weird (you do have to remember I saw this two years before I became a musical theatre fanatic).
2012- La Cage, Godspell
(Blumenthal Performing Arts: Belk): After I graduated from Fletcher, my school I attended from sixth to twelfth grade. My family saw the musical soon after I graduated. Just like Addams Family, did not like it.
(Central Piedmont Community College: Pease Center): Pease no longer exists at Central Piedmont. Fun costumes, energetic songs. Godspell was the first musical I fell in love in during my college years. As a matter of fact, I was unaware of the fact that soon of some these actors would show up in future productions.
2013- Wicked, Les Mis
(Blumenthal Performing Arts: Ovens): I decided to go to watch Wicked this time because of my dad still had not seen it. So, I really wanted to to get the chance to see Wicked. He actually gave me the better seat. Well, the musical still got better – that is what Wicked does- I always find something new.
(Central Piedmont Community College: Halton Theater): I saw both part of the audience and for two performances an usher- that is what happened for Les Mis. Ryan Deal, who was Valjean, was in Godspell, along with this. So three times-two times in orchestra and one time in balcony- literally Halton Theater has a balcony.
2014- Phantom of the Opera, Porgy and Bess, Scrooge, Annie
(Greenville: Peace Center)- I ended up seeing Phantom of the Opera with my mom. This actually was a Christmas Present- in 2013, my mom and I ended up with Phantom of the Opera tickets in our stocking. I was spellbound from start to finish and got choked up watching it- literally, I was almost in tears even with an understudy (Grace Morgan) as Christine.
(Blumenthal Performing Arts: Belk)- Porgy and Bess was the 2nd musical I saw this year. I remember seeing and enjoying it, but do not really remember liking it much.
(Children’s Theatre of Charlotte)- Scrooge is the musical of A Christmas Carol. I do not exactly remember any of the songs. I believe I remember one particular song (but do not know which it is), which belonged to Tiny Tim and remember loving his singing voice in that one. Scrooge is kinda of like my first Les Mis stage cast where I have such a blur on the principal cast.
(St. Louis- Fox Theatre)- Annie was my favorite musical before Wicked. It falls in the category of childhood favorites. I do not think I need to say more. What I can say is this- Fox Theatre is such a beautiful theatre.
2015-Music Man, Pippin, Les Mis, Sound of Music
(Gardner Webb: Dover Theater) The first musical of this year was Music Man. I actual was required to see Music Man- even if I wasn’t required to go. I actually love how happy and joyful it is. It is the romance that gives it the emotion it needs. Music Man was the beginning of one of the best years of musicals of my life.
(Blumenthal Performing Arts: Belk)- The 2nd musical was Pippin, and the actually was not expecting that to happening. I did want to see Pippin, but it really did feel like Pippin would never happen. My mom decided to buy tickets the week before; well, luckily there was one left with two seats. So, in 2015- I ended up falling in love with new musicals- the other two I had already fallen in love with.
(West End: Queen’s Theater)-Les Mis was my third musical of the year and was seen July 30th. Well, it was not just Les Mis this time around. It was the West End Production- my dream. It was brilliant. Just by seeing the Queen’s Theater (it will always be the Queen’s Theater to me), it felt surreal. From buying souvenirs to knowing I had an understudy as Jean Valjean (Adam Bayjou) to seeing the set to noticing how close we were (about nine rows back)- nothing felt real. It was the first note (or maybe notes) that told me; this is actually happening, and it will be more than you expected. It was more than I expected- it was the 4th date I had with my mom. It fit perfectly into why I was in England- the two of us saw Les Mis the day before the Bristol Pilgrimage.
(Blumenthal Performing Arts: Belk Theater)-After Les Mis, I thought all the musicals were over. Turns out, I was so wrong. There would be one more musical, which was Sound of Music. Sound of Music is a childhood musical- I thought only Les Mis would reduce me to tears. Well, during Edelweiss, I was crying: sad decided to enter the song, which I totally was not expecting. As time went by, I realized that Sound of Music is the perfect way to end the 2015 musicals. After all, there is a lot of nostalgia in it due to being a childhood favorite. 2015, by far, has been my favorite musical theatre year- mainly due to seeing Les Mis in London.
2016- Wicked, Newsies
(Blumenthal Performing Arts: Ovens)- Well, this is my 3rd time seeing Wicked on tour at the same theater- but overall 4th time seeing Wicked- once again improved and I did get more vulnerable with Wicked. I do associate Ovens Auditorium with Wicked. This time with Wicked, I saw it with Gardner Webb University- an University that changed me for good. In addition, I saw a brilliant Elphaba (standby Mary Kate Morrissey) and Glinda (Amanda Jane Copper)-at the same time, an incredible Fiyero- so I saw a pretty strong trio. Seeing Wicked in 2016 marked 9 and 1/2 years when I saw it: that is only because I saw it in January.
(Blumenthal Performing Arts: Belk)- I actually enjoyed some of the songs before seeing Newsies. In addition after hearing it had Tony Award winning Choreography, I made the decision not to look it up. I remember being mind-blown by the dance: literally everything they were doing- dancing on newspapers, backflips, jumping over each other and sliding underneath each other, etc…..- that was hard to believe. Joey Barreiro was my Jack Kelly and to this day remains my favorite Jack Kelly.
2017- Little Shop of Horrors, Rent, Les Mis
(Gardner Webb: Dover Theater)-I will start by saying this, I actually was house manager for Gardner Webb’s production of Little Shop of Horrors. For three of the productions, I had to just listen to the show. I only was allowed to watch one as long as I got an usher to look after front of house. But from just listening to the show, I could tell it was an incredible cast and incredible production. Little Shop of Horrors isn’t like La Cage, Porgy and Bess or Addams Family where I don’t like them, but one where I can actually enjoy.
(Blumenthal Performing Arts: Belk)- Of all my times I have been home from Gardner Webb, excluding school breaks, was for Rent. I fell in love with it about the same time as Les Mis. Ever since falling in love with Rent, I have wanted to see Rent, but year after year, there seemed to be no chances of the musical. However, in 2016 when I discovered Blumenthal’s 16/17= the moment I saw RENT= I told my dad and mom that we just had to get tickets- it seemed to be the only time we could see it. So in my 2016 ticket for Christmas- I got Rent tickets.
Just like expected when I saw it, I was in tears- Rent is the next level down from Les Mis when it comes to being an emotional wreck. As a matter of fact- there are some songs that only can hit you when you see it live. Ended up with the best seats. Rent is one of the meaningful musicals of my life.
(Greenville: Peace Center)- I had to choose this year with Les Mis. Either see the US Tour with Gardner Webb or see it in Charlotte with my mom: both would be in 2017. I went the GWU route. One of the best decisions I made- after all, I wanted to make the most out of the last year at university. In addition- Peace Center is such a beautiful theatre and has incredible acoustics (GWU ended up sitting in the balcony- the 4th level up). Little did I know I would see some of these actors/actresses once again. So I was emotional wrecks close to each other- September was Rent and November was Les Mis.
2018- Oklahoma, Grease, Newsies, Lion King, A Christmas Story
(Central Piedmont Community College (Halton Theater)- There was something special about going back to CPCC after graduating about GWU. CPCC started my college journey- I may not have wanted to be at that school, but it did play a part in my college journey. It was where I began being a usher. I saw three musicals after graduating. The first, Oklahoma, was a date with my mom. I had kinda of forgotten what Halton Theater looked like. CPCC knows what they are doing when it comes to musicals.
(Central Piedmont Community College (Halton Theater)- Seeing Grease was different than watching the movie
(Central Piedmont Community College (Halton Theater)- Newsies was the best graduation present. It actually was a surprise. One of my suitemates showed up my house not telling me she was coming; and she even asked me what do you want to do. All I said is go to the mall or something- even when we close to CPCC, I still could not figure out anything. Even when she asked me for directions to CPCC, I could figure anything out; she just said to me, I want a tour around the college. The two of us walked in the building Halton Theater was in- she kept on saying to me “I want to see the theater”, well I was saying “only those seeing Newsies can see that”- we were in the will call line at the time. Guess what- she actually bought tickets for the two of us- as a matter of fact- Ashton Guthrie (my Curly) was Jack Kelly in this production.
(Blumenthal Performing Arts: Belk)- I wanted to see Lion King due to not remembering the first time. It was a girl’s night out- my mom, sister, and I. We were in the orchestra at the aisle- best seats especially in “Circle of Life”. I can understand why people did say to be how can you not remember seeing Lion King, but I was too young to remember. I literally, at times, felt like I could almost tear up.
(Blumenthal Performing Arts: Ovens)- When I first saw Blumenthal’s 18/19 season, I only wanted to see Miss Saigon/ Aladdin. So, I was not interested in seeing A Christmas Story The Musical. However- it was A Christmas Story’s Informance that made me want to see it. After discovering that does who wrote the songs to Greatest Showman also wrote to A Christmas Story, I decided to go. After all, I love Greatest Showman. I defiantly got a good laugh out of it this musical.
2019-Fiddler on the Roof, Miss Saigon, Aladdin, Les Mis
(St. Louis- Fox Theater)- Fiddler on the Roof was a musical I was not expecting. Originally, I thought it was going it was going to be Miss Saigon. Turns out I was so wrong. Glad I got to see Fiddler- that was because of my love for Fox Theater. Just like with Peace Center, I started with seeing a musical on the orchestra then advanced to the balcony.
(Blumenthal Performing Arts-Belk)- Of all the musicals I saw, Miss Saigon was the one I was the least experienced with. Coming in, I knew I would be in tears at times; hopefully I would get a few laughter here and there; and be satisfied at the end. I was right- I did tear up at times (I knew that because of Les Mis): well, I almost started to cry during “Movie in my Mind”, but the water works truly began at “Sun and Moon”. I was satisfied at the end despite it being heartbreaking.
(Blumenthal Performing Arts-Belk)- This was the Club Blume musical I saw. I actually do not remember when I first wanted to see Aladdin live. Even though Aladdin did not reduce me to tears, I got a little emotional during “Proud of Your Boy”. I loved all of the spectacle; dance; comedy; romance; and did my emotional connection- the only ones I am not emotional connected to are Jafar/Iago.
(Blumenthal Performing Arts- Ovens)- Well, Les Mis again. I will tell you this, Josh Davis (Javert), Jillian Butler (Cosette), Joshua Grosso (Marius), Matt Shingledecker (Enjolras), and Allison Guinn (Madame Thenardier) were part of the US Tour in both 2017 and 2019 casts. It was a delight to get some of them again- in particular Jillian/ Joshua and Matt. I only said that because in 2017, Joshua and Matt were standouts- Jillian and Joshua have incredible chemistry with each other: do not know how she does it, but she is able to pair up with an awkward and charming Marius. Literally- seen Les Mis every other year- 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019.