Liebster Award

Rules

Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog. Answer the eleven questions given to you. Nominate 11 other bloggers. Ask your nominees 11 questions.

I was tagged by THE DISNEY WAY for this- I have been tagged multiple times for this award. Each time was exciting because each time, different questions showed up.

Questions I was Given

1- Do you prefer winter or summer? Winter. Despite the cold, my favorite Holiday is Christmas. I love Christmas Decorations, Christmas Tree and Ornaments, and Holiday Music. I actually can play some of those songs on the piano.

There are a lot of incredible Christmas movies- my favorite isn’t one several people would expect. My favorite Christmas movie is the George C. Scott A Christmas Carol- I was raised on this film so I was introduced to the older classics early. I love bundling up and having a nice cup of either peppermint mocha or hot chocolate. I love snow and playing in it.

Not only does Winter consist of my favorite Holiday, but my birthday as well. In addition, December is the anniversary month of my blog.

2- What’s your favourite thing to blog about? Musical Theatre

3- If you could give your 10 year old self some advice, what would it be? I probably would tell my 10 year old self to write my stories down.

4- What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Blogging, reading, listening to music, playing piano, coloring, and of course going to musical theater

5- Favourite TV Show? My favorite T.V. show is actually a cooking show. Chopped is my favorite.

6- What’s one thing you have overcame in your life? One of the things that did scare me was going on the canopy tour in Costa Rica. I studied abroad in Costa Rica for two weeks. Part consisted of going to Monteverde Preserve- that included a day of hiking and another day, we all the option of doing the Canopy Tour or not. I decided to do the Canopy Tour because that is a rare opportunity- that was one of the best parts of Costa Rica.

7- What’s your favourite thing about yourself? I don’t think I can accurately answer that question. I do love the strong spirit I was given and love that it is easy for me to be just myself.

8- What’s your proudest achievement? So far, it is graduating from Gardner Webb University. I actually majored in Sociology and minored in both Theater and Spanish Cultural Studies. Theater was a backup minor, but due to taking so many theater electives, I was able to minor in that as well. Eventually, it might be seeing my first book being published- I am not on my final draft of Tale of The Cattail Forest- but the fifth so I am close to having the entire manuscript done.

9- How did you find your schooling/education experience? I will be specifically referring to GWU. God wanted me at GWU- it truly felt like home. From all the student activity events to The Gathering (student-led worship service) to the hangouts with friends to volunteering with my club. While my studies were difficult, I was truly a hardworking and determined student. I was given a tip in high school that did help me during GWU: one of my English teachers gave me the advice of “write, don’t think about it”. That really helped when it comes to papers. There is so much to be said about my university experience

10- What’s the perfect date night for you? Probably going out to dinner and going to a musical afterwords

11- Favourite movie? That is a tough decision. I will tell you this- I watched the Les Misérables musical film so much that I now own my 2nd copy.

My Questions:

  1. If you could live in any of the worlds you created, where would you live and why?
  2. Would you ever want to write a book set in an extensive world (like Narnia or Middle Earth)
  3. What do you love the most about musical theatre?
  4. If you could write a book that has characters from all your WIPS, which characters would you choose and why?
  5. What is your favorite spectacle-based musical?
  6. What is the longest book you ever read?
  7. What book would be your biggest achievement if you read it?
  8. If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be?
  9. After the pandemic, what would be one of the first things you would do?
  10. What is your favorite Disney Musical?
  11. What musicals are on your to be watched list?

My Tags:

I always struggle with this. I will be opening this tag to everyone.

Characters more Complex than they Seem

This can happen in all sorts of literature. At first glance, some characters appear to be simple, but in reality they are complex. Today I will talk about musical characters that are like that.

Fiyero- Major Spoilers

In Wicked, it is most obvious that Elphaba and Glinda are complex. However, at first glance, Fiyero isn’t. Fiyero goes through a drastic transformation- from being a jerk to softening up to eventually becoming a courageous and mature young man.

When he arrives at Shiz, he really is a jerk. He does’t care much about anything- he has been expelled from a number of schools. When we first meet him, he accidentally knocks over Elphaba, which sends her school books flying. Elphaba honestly can’t stand him- you get the feeling that she will never fall in love with him. All he really cares about is having a good time- as shown in “Dancing Through Life”.

The Lion Cub Scene: it is important to play close attention to Fiyero. He actually has softened up a bit. Right now, Elphaba and Fiyero are in the woods getting ready to free a scared lion cub in a cage. You can tell there is a strong chemistry between Fiyero and Elphaba, which indicates that Fiyero actually has a crush on Elphaba. These two are literally like basically filtering with each other in a playful way. You also start to notice that Elphaba is falling in love with Fiyero- there is a reason why her spell didn’t affect him. The Lion Cub scene is truly when the love triangle begins. After this scene, Fiyero can’t seem to forget about this scene in particular.

There is a reason why I said pay close attention to Fiyero in the Lion Cub scene. At the end of act I, Elphaba still has unrequited love. You truly think that Fiyero and Glinda are endgame. Think again- in “Thank Goodness”, after hearing about the rumors about Elphaba, he all of a sudden realizes he is in love with Elphaba. This love triangle really does develop in the same way the characters do. So, an unrequited love shift happens- that is a huge reason why he is complex.

Through his love for Elphaba, he shows a lot of courage and maturity. He literally is willing to sacrifice his life for her, and the same is also true for Elphaba. These two don’t want the other hurt- that is why Fiyero demands “to let the green girl go”. Fiyero looks like he might possibly be tortured- at the same time, Elphaba is trying spell after spell to save him. They both are considered outcasts.

Marius

Just like Fiyero, Marius is the male romantic lead. He truly does seem like a simple character. He appears as if he is just this romantic revolutionary. However, that is far from the truth. Due to reading the book, I realized he is more complex than he seems. He has a political conflict with his grandfather, is a revolutionary, and fell in love for the first time. At the same time, he is good friends with Eponine.

It might seem as if he is a jerk, but that is not true. If he was a jerk, Eponine never would have fallen in love with him. I know it appears that way when he asks her to do these errands for him. However, Marius is the only person who treats her kindly. He does worry about her and does care- he knows of her tragic and dark life. Look, at the beginning of act II, I believe he sent Eponine away to try to protect her from getting hurt or killed during the uprising. That is why he asked Eponine: “why did you come back”. He was really worried- you notice this when he realizes she was dying. He was devastated, but yet shows compassion. He comforted her and held her in this moment- how can people not see the compassion shown in “A Little Fall of Rain”. If he truly didn’t care or have compassion, he would have left her to die alone and wouldn’t have been devastated.

What are his characteristics- awkward, kind, sweet, romantic, and brave. I actually believe that awkwardness makes him a more charming person. He may not be a tragic character, but terrible things do happen to him. He was the only survivor of the barricade. All he has left is Cosette, the love of his life. He had to deal with survivor’s guilt. The sad thing about Cosette and Marius is that at the end of the musical, the only thing they have left is each other. Together, these two bring hope to this tragedy.

Are are other musical characters you think are more complex than they appear?

Blumenthal/Non-Blumenthal Shows

This is basically a continuation of one of my most recent posts. That list did not list ALL of the musicals I saw.

Blumenthal/Other Places

This is specially refers to the musicals I saw with more than just Blumenthal.

  1. Newsies- Blumenthal, Central Piedmont Community College (Halton Theater)
  2. Les Mis- Halton Theater, Queen’s Theater in London, Peace Center, and Blumenthal
  3. Wicked- Broadway, Blumenthal

Musicals outside of Blumenthal

None of these musicals were seen with Blumenthal. Either at university, community college, and other touring companies

  1. Godspell
  2. Oklahoma
  3. Grease
  4. Music Man
  5. Little Shop of Horrors

Those five are those seen at CPCC and Gardner Webb University

Other Tours

  1. Phantom of the Opera- Peace Center
  2. Annie- Fox Theater in St. Louis
  3. Fiddler on the Roof- Fox Theater in St. Louis

Full Circle- Wicked and Les Mis

Of all musicals that entered my life, Wicked and Les Mis are the most meaningful. These two musicals are most responsible for the love I have for musicals today. I talked about how they came full circle before, but this post will be kinda of different.

Broadway

It was August 2006 when I first saw Wicked. I was in NYC with my mom. One of the best things we did was seeing Wicked on Broadway. While I don’t have vivid memories, I do remember that “Popular” was my favorite song. At the time, I was only 12. Wicked was the musical where I began to understand emotional connection, and the emotional and complex side to musicals.

Due to Wicked, four core emotions were at the forefront. Those belonged to excitement, joy, love, and sad. Wicked was the musical where I first began to understand love triangles.

West End

This is connected to Les Mis. Les Mis entered my life by the film. Before falling in love with the musical, I had to give the film a 2nd chance. March 2013 was when I fell in love with Les Mis. Les Mis challenged what I already knew about musicals. Tragic musicals started to enter, a new core emotion was introduced (heartbreak), love triangles started to be understood even stronger, and the concept of death. How did Les Mis change death? Prior, I literally thought that death couldn’t be memorable or happen during song- Les Mis proved me wrong. I finally could understand that unrequited love was heartbreaking.

By summer 2013, I was obsessed with Les Mis. It truly was Central Piedmont Community College’s production of Les Mis that ended up being the motor for wanting to see the musical in London. I thought it would take a number of years before that happened. I already knew about The Bristol Pilgrimage- I already was aware that it would happen summer of 2015. At the time, did even think that Les Mis would happen just because there was no talk about going up early. Then November 2014 comes around, and that was when I told that my family was going up early- that was literally when I started nagging my parents to take me to Les Mis. December 2014- finally I was told that I would see a show in The West End.

When June 2015 came around, I finally figured out which musical. I was texted French Flags and Musical note emojis. I did not quite understand the text, and then was told to check my email. I found out I was seeing Les Mis- that moment I saw that, I ran up to my mom crying. It would happen on July 30th. It was interesting how I saw Les Mis this year- that was due to taking Acting I in Spring 2015 at GWU. It just connected so well into the Bristol Pilgrimage.

“I Dreamed a Dream”

Just like Wicked, it was a date with my mom. It literally worked for the Bristol Pilgrimage- Les Mis is Valjean’s spiritual journey. So I saw Les Mis the day before going on my own. Not only was I living my mom, but my dad and sister got their own date. Nothing felt like reality- from seeing the Queen’s Theater to buying souvenirs to seeing the set to nothing how close I was- nothing once felt real. Then, the first notes were heard, and I knew I was living the dream. Do you know what those notes told me? They told me it was going to be more than expected- I actually see the orchestra as a character. I came in knowing I would be an emotional wreck and that I would get a laugh every once in a while. Those notes weren’t lying- it was more than expected. It was my 4th time seeing the stage show.

At least with Les Mis in London, I knew my cast. I did not keep the playbill for Wicked on Broadway. I had a culture shock in The West End- buying my playbill. I did have an understudy as Valjean (Adam Bayjou) and actually got to meet him at stage door- I literally have a signed playbill and picture with the Valjean.

Gardner Webb University

As a number of readers know, Gardner Webb was the university I went to. Broadway and The West End aren’t the only way Wicked and Les Mis came full circle. GWU is close enough to Charlotte and Greenville that it is possible to see touring productions.

Wicked

Wicked was the very first tour GWU took students to. I was one of the first to sign up. I knew the slots would fill up quickly. This actually marked the 4th time I saw Wicked. Seeing a musical with a school that changed me for good and seeing a musical that changed me for good. I had a standby (Mary Kate Morrissey). I knew I would be more vulnerable this time around. For the first time, “I’m Not That Girl” was heartbreaking- thanks to the help of “On My Own” and memorizing the lyrics. I really was able to explore Fiyero a bit deeper to help figure out the plot twist in the love triangle.

was really surprised at “No Good Deed”: that song was always emotionless, but this around I could feel the energy and emotions that came with that song. “For Good” did make me tear up= it was a combo of the actresses and being with GWU.

Les Mis

GWU decided to take students to Les Mis. This time, we would be in Greenville at the gorgeous Peace Center. I had a tough decision to make in 2017- see the tour with my university or see it in my hometown of Charlotte. I choose Greenville- I really wanted to make the most of my final year of university, and I actually was able to help those who didn’t fully know the musical.

Peace Center

I came into this production smart. I would not compare this cast to the brilliant West End cast I already had. Just like London, I had an understudy, but this time for Eponine. I love both productions- I think the 25th has a bit more color and more Victor Hugo. There are moments I loved more in this production- “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” for instance. Yes, I was taken off guard in London, but quite as much as this production. In the love triangle, my favorite character is Eponine. However what happens when your favorite character in the love triangle isn’t the strongest- that happened to me. My standouts were Nick Cartell (Valjean), Joshua Grosso (Marius), and Matt Shingledecker (Enjolras).

With Joshua, I saw a side I never saw to Marius. It was a personality shift: I saw an unique awkwardness that made the character more charming. Due to Joshua, Marius is almost a core favorite character. Still don’t know how Jillian Butler (Cosette) was able to connect to Joshua. I loved how he treated falling in love with Cosette (It felt like I don’t what to say). Even how he portrayed “A Little Fall of Rain”- he did focus more on comforting Eponine than showing the heartbreak he was feeling- yes, the heartbreak showed, but not until the end when he finished the song alone. There is just something special about his Marius- he ended up becoming my favorite actor in that role.

Conclusion:

So I saw both Wicked and Les Mis on two major touring districts and both were dates with my mom. The other way they came full circle was seeing the tours with my university. I truly believe that if Wicked didn’t enter my life, Les Mis wouldn’t have. I didn’t fully describe the casts because this post would have been too long.

Come From Away- 9/11

September 11th, 2001 is a day of mourning and grief. However, in the midst of tragedy, an incredible thing happened. I am referring specifically to Gander, Newfoundland. When 38 planes had to all of a sudden had to land, all they could do was stop in Gander, Newfoundland- this was in Canada. Let me talk more about what happened.

In 2001, all of a sudden Newfoundland had to welcome 38 planes. They did not have much time to prepare. It was the day the world was shook with tragedy during the 9/11 attacks. The town of Gander welcomed thousands of scared passengers on 38 planes. Despite tragedy, Gander was able to provide places to sleep, food to eat, and comfort. This event was never forgotten especially after Come From Away was introduced to the musical theater world.

Come From Away actually used real events and people in the story. Characters had to exact same names, and some incredible stories came out. 9/11 wasn’t fully a day of tragedy due to what Gander did. There were children who were wish children, who were on their way to Disney, romance blossomed, a woman had a son who was a rescuer during 9/11, etc…..These passengers were stuck on their planes for hours not knowing what happened in the US- they were unaware of the attacks. These people were scared and Gander showed compassion to them.

I ended up seeing Come From Away in January. While I don’t remember 9/11 due to being only 7, it still should be a day we never will forget. Seeing the other end of the terrorist attacks was incredible. That refers specifically to the events unfolding in Gander. Tragedies seem to be a time where humanity is the strongest- everyone comes together.