Charlotte Blumenthal Performing Arts

Recently, I was asked how big is Charlotte theatre. Blumenthal Performing Arts is big. Charlotte Ballet, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Musicians, and Tours all use Blumenthal Performing Arts. Do all of these use the same theatre? No, Blumenthal Performing Arts is a collection of multiple theaters; Belk Theater, Ovens Auditorium, Knight Theater, Booth Theater, and either one or three others.

Belk Theater is their main theater. It has four levels- orchestra, grand tier, mezzanine, and balcony. I have seen the Charlotte Ballet do The Nutcracker. I am seen tours do La Cage, Porgy and Bess, Sound of Music, Newsies, Miss Saigon, Rent, Pippin, Mamma Mia and Lion King all do these musicals at Belk. I did not like La Cage or Porgy and Bess. The others were ones I became a fan of- some I already was a fan of previously, and some I became a fan of during watching the show. Belk was designed for the different types of performing arts- it has box seats and the typical audience seats and designed like a horseshoe.

Ovens Auditorium- Ovens may have two levels with three sections (orchestra, mezzanine, and balcony), but sits more people. That is because it is deeper and wider. If it is a new musical for you, I would not recommend the balcony if I were you. Ovens does not great acoustics for the entire theatre- the balcony being the existed. There are only three musicals I remembered seeing at Ovens- Wicked (2008?, 2013, and 2016), Addams Family (2011), and A Christmas Story (2018). From this list, there is only one I did not like-Addams Family- I remember at the end, thinking it was just weird.

I have an interesting story for A Christmas Story- in March 2018, when I saw A Christmas Story, I did not want to see it; then I joined Club Blume (Blumenthal’s young adult club); then decided to go A Christmas Story’s informance; and during the informance, I found out that those who wrote the music for A Christmas Story also wrote the music for Greatest Showman, a movie I love. I decided to go to A Christmas Story. I enjoyed A Christmas Story- one of the funniest things to watch were the dogs. The songs were incredible and emotional (not in the sad sense). Glad I opened myself up to this musical.

When it comes to Ovens, there is one musical that automatically comes to mind. That is Wicked, which I saw three times at Ovens. I have no idea when the 2nd time was- I think it was 2008 (maybe). 2013 and 2016 were for sure the other two times. 2013 and 2016 have a funny story attached to them. 2013 was a dad/daughter date, and before the show began the tallest guy at Ovens sat in front of me. My dad switched seats with me to give me the better view even though he never saw the show. 2016- I saw it with Gardner Webb, and at the end, we discovered the bus was broken down, so we were stuck with a broken down bus in the parking lot. Each time I was at Ovens and Wicked, the show got better and better- those times were after Broadway.

So Charlotte theatre is big. Blumenthal Performing Arts consists of multiple theaters and does more than just tours. I only have seen shows at Belk and Ovens.


Les Mis Songs- Choosing a Favorite

Musical theatre fans know that in a musical they have their favorite song. There is an exception to that, and that is in Les Mis. Why do I think that is? I think it is a combination of things: the passion, the epic nature, the powerful nature, and the level of emotion. There is something found in the songs that has made Les Mis last so long in the West End, and had made it keep on touring throughout the World. The songs are key to any great musical- they are the first step- then the characters and plot.

On My Own- this is one of my favorite songs in the musical. It is perfect for Eponine. It is about her unrequited love for Marius while still giving some insight into her life outside of Marius. It perfectly complements her character- it shows just how strong of a character she is. It also shows how strong and deep her love for Marius is. A beautifully heartbreaking song, which can be sung in so many ways- different emotions can be shown each time. This easily can be my favorite song from Les Mis, but the same applies to a number of other songs from Les Mis.

A Little Fall of Rain- this song ends Eponine’s story. She has sacrificed herself after seeing a gun aimed at Marius. This is the most intimate moment Marius and Eponine have. After Eponine collapsed in Marius’ arms, he realized she was dying, and he was devastated. Despite how he felt, he ended up staying with her to the end. A bittersweet scene- you do feel devastated for BOTH Eponine and Marius, but happy for Eponine because she is in the arms of Marius. He is there for her, and is comforting her. You get to see how much compassion Marius is capable of. This is my favorite death scene in Les Mis.

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables- While “On My Own” can easily be my favorite solo, I can’t help but think about how this song can also be that song. Devastatingly heartbreaking-more heartbreaking than “On My Own”. It perfectly complements Marius- the rebellion has ended, and Marius is the only one who comes out alive. He lost all of his friends, and is now dealing with survivor’s guilt. Marius is my favorite survivor in Les Mis, and has become almost a core favorite character.

One Day More- the perfect act I finale. Do I have to say more? This easily could be my favorite song from Les Mis song too. There is no way to describe what you are feeling in this number. It is one of my all-favorite musical theatre finales.

Bring Him Home- This song is another song that can be my favorite song from Les Mis. This further highlights the love Valjean has for God, and shows his love for Cosette in a way. After all, he went to the barricade to protect and save Marius, the revolutionary his adopted daughter loves, from dying. It sounds like a prayer.

Do You Hear the People Sing- This song is a very passionate song. It perfectly shows the passion the students have for the rebellion. It easily gets stuck in your head- it got stuck in my head after seeing the movie the first time.

Drink With Me- The thing I really love about this song is how intimate it is. It shows a vulnerable side to the students. It is sadder than it seems to be- you will understand after seeing it a first time. Once you know what is going to happen to them, the song becomes heartbreaking. This is the last moment they will truly get to spend time with each other. They know this is a last cause, and that they will most likely die, and feel hopeless. At least, they still have their brotherly love for each other, and they still have the passion.

Finale- the perfect finale to a musical. The first half is heartbreaking. Valjean is dying, and he is alone in a church. However, you know he has become a better person, and that he has redeemed himself, become “saint-like”. You might think he will die alone, without anyone by his side. Soon enough, Cosette, his adopted daughter, and Marius, his now son-in-law, come to his side. I think there is some symbolism in the deaths- Fantine, Eponine, Gavroche, Enjolras and the students, and now Valjean will have died with someone with them- have you noticed a pattern with these characters? They know how to love- it doesn’t matter if it is love for a child, love romantically (even if it falls unrequited), or love for a country. After Valjean dies, you are heartbroken, but then a reprise of “Do you Hear the People Sing” starts- you are still heartbroken, but you feel hope- I think the ending represents heaven. You do not leave devastated- you leave the theatre uplifted and with hope.

See what I mean? There is something about each song that makes it hard to choose which is your favorite. Whether that is the bittersweet “A Little Fall of Rain”, the heartbreaking “On My Own”, the devastating “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”, the intimate “Drink With Me”, etc….. So many of the songs have something special about them: you can see the spirituality shine in some of them: “Bring Him Home”, “Come to Me”, “A Little Fall of Rain”, “Finale”, “What Have I Done” are examples of that.

Do you think Les Mis is hard to chose your favorite song, and why? I gave a few examples.

Favorite Musicals and Favorite Songs

All musical theatre fans have their favorite musicals. In each musical, there is usually a song that becomes their favorite. I decided to write a list of some of my favorite musicals and what my favorite song is.

  1. Wicked- Popular
  2. Les Mis- (Do I have to say more); this is an exception where I can’t pick
  3. Sound of Music- Edelweiss
  4. Phantom of the Opera- either Music of the Night or All I Ask of You
  5. Annie- Tomorrow
  6. Newsies- Seize the Day
  7. Beauty and the Beast- Beauty and the Beast
  8. Lion King- Can You Feel the Love Tonight
  9. Rent- Seasons of Love
  10. Music Man- Seventy Six Trombones
  11. South Pacific- Some Enchanted Evening
  12. Pippin- Corner of the Sky
  13. Mamma Mia- Dancing Queen
  14. Man of La Mancha- Impossible Dream
  15. Godspell- We Beseech Thee

Music Man Movie Review

Watching this movie two days ago reminded me of when I first saw Music Man. In March of 2015, at Gardner Webb University, I saw the stage show of Music Man. One of the biggest things I love about the musical is how happy and light-hearted it is. You need musicals like Music Man to help balance out the more emotional musicals. It would be interesting to see how different the movie would be.

The opening song was sung on a train. It seemed to be sung in the rhythm of the train. When it speed up, the salesmen speed up, and when the train slowly came to a stop, they slowed down- I don’t think I actually remembered that from the stage show- the nature of the opening number.

“Ya Got Trouble” was not different either. Soon enough, I saw differences between the songs. Harold Hill was singing “Gray, Indiana”, and in the stage show, that is sung by Winthrop, one of my favorite characters from the musical. Winthrop does get “Gray, Indiana”, but as a reprise. I did think that “Sadder, but Wiser Girl” Harold sang to someone other than Marcellous, but after the movie, I went into my playbill, and the movie was right, he does sing it to that character.

That song is also in act II, which means after “Wells Fargo, Wagon”. Marian had a new number, and that is where part of “My White Knight” was- that was confusing. I am used to “My White Knight” being a separate song. In the movie, on the bridge, “Till There Was You”, was a solo, which is supposed to be a duet- why would a movie turn a duet into a solo- Harlod sings his part of “Till There Was You” as a reprise.

Those kind of changes did confuse me- after all, I am coming from the stage show, and I do own the soundtrack. Now, about the actors.

The actor who played Harold Hill did act like a conman. I didn’t see the con-side at first. Soon enough I did. He was able to get away quickly when people were asking for his credentials by making those four men sing as a group. I saw two very talented Harold Hill’s. (Yes, I am talking about a university Harold Hill and a movie Harold Hill). It is the conman side to Harold Hill I want to see the most. He also showed the conman side when it comes to Marian before and during “Marian the Liberian”. It was his love for her that made him a better person.

The actor who played Marian showed that she had no interest in Harold Hill. She also showed that she saw his faults (as in she knew he was a conman) in the beginning. I don’t know when Marian realized she loved him, but it was her love for him that made her protect him. That is why she tore that page out of that book, and tried to convince him to leave when the entire town was searching for him.

As for the quartet, their voices blended perfectly. As for the ensemble in this number, loved them. I loved how they created River City. Seeing it brought back memories of when I fell in love with Music Man- it has been four years. I still love Harold Hill and Marian as a couple. I still love Winthrop. Seventy Six Trombones is still my favorite song in Music Man.

Non-Survivors I love in Musicals

What do I mean by the non-survivors? These are the characters who die in musicals. So this will be SPOILER HEAVY. I used to think a character death would be not memorable, but I learned my lesson.

  1. Enjolras and the students
  2. Gavroche
  3. Eponine
  4. Fantine
  5. Jean Valjean
  6. Don Quixote
  7. Angel
  8. Mufasa
  9. Kim

It was Les Mis that taught me that I can love a character death. I love more characters who survive than characters who don’t survive. A lot of that it because I can’t think of more. Death in musicals are not EASY to watch, but you have to understand WHY they had to happen- all of these deaths had to happen. Yes, character death is sad, and you are heartbroken because you loved the character. The only way they will continue to live is in you.

How do you feel about character death?

Survivors I Love in Musicals

Yesterday, my question was who was my favorite survivor in Les Mis. I realized that I actually loved more survivors than non-survivors. I also knew about more characters who lived than died in musicals.

  1. Elphaba
  2. Glinda
  3. Fiyero
  4. Jack Kelly
  5. Crutchie
  6. Davey
  7. Newsies
  8. Katherine Plumber
  9. Marius
  10. Cosette
  11. Maria (Sound of Music)
  12. Von Trapp Children
  13. Simba
  14. Nala
  15. Zazu
  16. Rafiki
  17. Raoul
  18. Christine
  19. Annie
  20. Orphans
  21. Belle
  22. Beast
  23. Lumiere
  24. Cogsworth
  25. Mrs. Potts
  26. Chip
  27. Pippin
  28. Harold Hill
  29. Winthrop
  30. Elsa
  31. Anna
  32. Sancho Panza
  33. Chris

This is a list of more than 33 characters. After all, the Newsies take up the majority of the cast, the Von Trapp children are 7 characters, and the same applies to the Annie orphans in Annie (at least five characters).