Relying on Tours

As a musical theatre fanatic, you imagine being able to experience multiple shows on either Broadway or the West End. The downside is you live too far away to experience them on Broadway or the West End. You barely can get to either Broadway or the West End- your best source of a professional production are the tours. Look at the bright side: at least you still can experience musicals, and you always have talented actors and actresses.

I know what that it is like. I always want to experience Broadway more often, but I have to see tours all the time. Tours to me are my Broadway. Charlotte, my hometown, is a popular touring destination. It is a major city, which is why shows tour there every year. From Newsies to Pippin to Rent to Lion King to Sound of Music to Wicked (3x) to Mamma Mia. The shows I mentioned are tours I have seen in Charlotte that I loved. The actors and actresses come with a lot of talent: part of those actors and actresses have been on Broadway and some are just starting their career. I am blessed to have the tours- if it wasn’t for Charlotte- would not have been able to experience all the musicals I have seen.

Another place to experience theatre in Charlotte is Central Piedmont Community College. Yes, this post is about tours, but I wanted to say I did see shows there. It may be community college, but those shows don’t feel community college. Those shows feel professional. You might think it is just community college students- but that is not true. They use the students from the school plus those from the community- that is a huge strength. I saw Godspell and Les Mis when I was a student there. After graduating from Gardner Webb, I saw Oklahoma, Grease and Newsies at CPCC. It continues to do well-done productions. It is less expensive than the tours, and those shows feel professional.

So the actors and actresses on tour can have the same amount of talent as those on Broadway or the West End. I did not just see tours in Charlotte. St. Louis: 2014- I went there alone to spend a week with my grandma, and the two of us saw Annie together at the gorgeous Fox Theatre. Greenville- 2014: Phantom of the Opera: Christmas 2013: Santa put tickets in my mom’s and my stockings for Phantom of the Opera at the Peace Center so that happened. 2017: Les Mis- I had to make a choice: see it in my hometown with mom or see it in Greenville with Gardner Webb- I thought about Ovens and the Peace Center- I knew it was my last year at Gardner Webb, and wanted to make the most out of it. So I choose Greenville in that situation.

If you rely on tours, see that as a blessing. Think about the actors and actresses you do get. I have seen a number of talented actors/actresses from the tours. In my case, I have never seen the same actor or actress in more than one lead role- that actually allows me to come across a number of talented actors and actresses.

The tours give access to those who can’t easily get to NYC or London. Charlotte is my main place to see musicals. I have to rely on the tours- NYC isn’t easy to get to. It means waiting and waiting till a show I am dying to see that is currently in NYC to go on tour. You never know which shows are going to be in the upcoming season. It takes a lot of patience if you rely on the tours and a lot of waiting. There are musicals you hope to see, but you never know when you see them- it just depends when it comes your hometown. I hope to go back to NYC, but so glad I have the tours: the tours are my musical world. At least, there is a way to see them. Imagine if the tours didn’t exist- what if there just was just Broadway and the West End- see what I mean- you wouldn’t be able to see them as much if you didn’t live close enough. So the tours play a huge part in musical theatre.

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Mamma Mia Milestone

Mamma Mia is one of the number of musicals I love. Why do I love it? It has a fun and energetic score. It is a very happy and light-hearted musical. What is the milestone in my life? I have loved it for ten years. Ten years- that is hard to believe. I first fell in love with it in 2008 when I saw the film. Exactly one year in 2009, I saw the stage show on tour in Charlotte- the main thing I remember about the stage show is the addition of two songs. My favorite song in Mamma Mia is “Dancing Queen”. It is always fun when musicals enter their milestones. Musicals like Mamma Mia need to exist to balance musicals out.

Why are Childhood Musicals so Special?

We have those musicals! They are the musicals from our childhood. There is something special about those musicals. To love a musical for that long, there is something sentimental in that. My childhood musicals start in elementary school and stop August 2006. They form the foundation of musicals. They created my vision of musicals. I loved those musicals for 12 years and more. That is a long time to love them. Some of them had to reenter my life.

Annie- this was my favorite musical from elementary school. I was an optimistic child as an child. I think that was why I loved the musical. Then at the age of 20 in 2014, I finally saw the stage show in St. Louis at the gorgeous Fox Theatre. I felt like a kid again. I do not know how long I loved Annie. To have loved it since elementary school- that is a long time. “Tomorrow” is my favorite song in Annie- it is a song of hope.

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Sound of Music- Another childhood favorite of mine. Edelweiss was my favorite song and my first piano recital song. When I saw the stage show in 2015 at the age of 21, I felt like a child. Edelweiss hit, and I was in tears in the 2nd half. I think it was combination of things- the nostalgia behind Sound of Music and sad entering the picture for the first time.

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Lion King and Beauty and Beast are the two childhood musicals that had to reenter my life. For some weird reason, I don’t remember seeing the stage show or the movies of them. However, the one thing I never forgot were the songs, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”. So last year through the live movie, I was reminded of the love I had for the musical several years ago. Lion King last month reentered my life when I saw the tour. Both of childhood musicals despite barely remembering them.

Wicked does count as a childhood musical even though it entered my life past elementary school. After all I was 12, still young enough. Part of the meaning of Wicked comes from the fact that my first memory was seeing it with my mom in NYC. It was just my mom and I. All I remember was that “Popular” was my favorite song. The impact clearly shows- in elementary school I only enjoyed musicals- Wicked sparked that love.

Wicked Meg Mom NYC

These childhood musicals laid down the foundation of musicals. A world of spectacle, dance, complexity, romance, comedy, positive and negative emotions in the score, and a strong emotional connection- that is my vision of musicals. It is a bonus if I relate to a character- Elphaba, Belle, and Annie for instance are characters I relate to. So those childhood musicals are the ones that have been part of your life the longest. The childhood musicals gave me an idea of what I want and don’t want in a musical. They showed me what a musical is and what it isn’t- even though soon I was to realize musicals are not always what they seem.

Is there something special about those childhood musicals?

The Power of a Pause in Theatre

There can a lot of power in a pause in theatre. They can help bring out emotion. They can set up an upcoming emotion. Below I will give two examples of two actors I have seen who did give a pause. Each example helped with the emotion the song portrayed.

Major and Minor Spoilers:

Ben Davis was my Captain when I saw Sound of Music in 2015. Sound of Music ended my year of musicals in 2015. His pause happened during Edelweiss. There is a moment in Edelweiss when he stopped singing. He took a pause, and Ben did a nonverbal, and that nonverbal allowed sadness to enter the song. The nonverbal only lasted a few seconds. It was in between the moment he stopped singing and the children joined in. Taking that pause was just enough for the song to have a bittersweet nature about that.

Joshua Grosso was my Marius in the US Tour in 2017. I already mentioned multiple times on this blog where this pause took place. It was right at the end of “A Little Fall of Rain”. At the end of the song, Joshua ended up pausing at the end for about 5 seconds- to me that showed he was stunned at Eponine’s death. After that pause, he ended the song with the “grow”- he didn’t sing it- he said it in a heartbreaking way- the pause allowed the emotion to build up. That one word showed just how heartbroken he was- crazy how one word can show all that emotion.

Those are two examples of how there is a lot of power in a pause in theatre.

September in Review

September had two main highlights.

Kanuga- Parish Weekend. What is Kanuga? Kanuga is an Episcopalian Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC. We went over Labor Day Weekend for a Parish Weekend. During Kanuga, we ended up doing some art work, square dancing, fellowship, singing, Eucharist at the Lakeside and some hiking among other things. Kanuga means a lot to me- this one was extra special- I have not been for two years. I went to Kanuga since 1997. With this church, I started going in 2003, but I had to skip both 2016 and 2017 all because Gardner Webb had class on Labor Day.

Gardner Webb Visit- on the way home from Kanuga, I took a visit to Gardner Webb. After all, Gardner Webb is on the way from Kanuga. It is different being at my university as an alumni versus being there as a student. I got to see some the staff and got to see some of my friend. Gardner Webb will always be home to be. I was able to get my first alumni merchandise while I was there.

Lion King- 2nd time seeing the musical, but will be 1st time actually remembering seeing it. I sat in the orchestra at the aisle. The first song, “Circle of Life” blew my breath away. The spectacle and dance was incredible the watch. The acting was incredible- I can just see why it is so successful. Lion King ended up in my top ten musicals.

Below is a proper review of my Lion King review

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2018/09/06/circle-of-life-lion-king/

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Lion King and Kanuga may be the main highlights, but other exciting things happened in September.

For one thing, I started the second draft of my Fairy Frogs book. I ended up doing some art with my former piano teacher. So little things like that happened during the month of September. Lion King and Kanuga highlighted September the most.

Romeo and Juliet vs West Side Story

I never did a post like this before. As some may know, the musical, West Side Story, is based off of Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet. I decided to talk about the two of these in this post. This comparison shows how I looked at tragedy in high school versus how I view the same genre now: very opposite views.

Major and Minor Spoilers:

Romeo and Juliet was the play where I first discovered the genre of tragedy. It was in 9th grade. It started high school in 2008, and when we got to the Shakespeare unit, we had to read Romeo and Juliet. We had to learn what the genre of tragedy us. I never knew tragedy was a part of theatre. The word, TRAGEDY, confused me. I was thinking tragedy can’t be a part of theatre. Only comedy can exist in theatre and not any tragedies. The word, tragedy, to me sounded pure sad. I thought that was what it meant. I didn’t want to delve deeper into the genre. I didn’t want the genre to enter my life. I told myself I will never love a tragedy. With Romeo and Juliet, I kind of ignored it: yes, I studied it because I am a hard working student, but did not like all because I pushed it back and told myself I will not love it. I also ignored it because it was a Shakespeare play. In the show, I was like I don’t get it: two families not getting along: where did that come from? The ending I was disagreed with- the double suicide I hated. So much of my opinion came from not giving tragedy a good enough chance.

In between Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story, I learned to love tragedies all because of Les Mis.

I first discovered West Side Story in 11th grade. I was told it was based off of Romeo and Juliet, but for some bizarre reason, I did not realize it was a tragedy at the time. I did not watch the film until 2014. A snowstorm hit Charlotte, and a good church friend leant us five films, and West Side Story was one of them. So I had to watch it no matter what. At this point, I knew it was drawn through the dance, and at that point I defiantly knew it was a tragic point. I connected the dots between Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story. This sounds insane- the musical may be based off Romeo and Juliet, but I like West Side Story’s plot more. You might be thinking is it only because its a musical not a play? Instead of Romeo and Juliet, the main characters are Tony and Maria. Instead of two families, it is two gangs (The Jets and Sharks). It is not because of that. A lot of it has to do with the ending- in this version, one of them lives- I prefer that ending to the double suicide. I don’t exactly know why I prefer that ending, but I just do. I liked West Side Story enough to like the songs- I feel like the love songs get more and more heartbreaking as the show continues. So, as a high school kid, I HATED the idea of theatre. Now, TRAGEDIES are enjoyable. I don’t love West Side Story nor do I like it- it is sitting right in the middle of liking it and loving- so mixed emotions.

So this gives you an idea of how I used to view tragedies- so I once told myself I will NEVER love a tragedy. It also shows that I no longer have that negative view, but I still am particular about the tragedies I like.

Did you used to have a negative view on tragedies? Are you particular about the tragedies you love?