2019 in Review

Another year has passed. It is now officially 2020. You know what that means- it means time for another year in review.


All Januaries share one thing in common: my birthday. Actually, one of my presents was unique, which was late. It was this purse, which would become my theatre purse. It literally is made out of fabrics and other things made from leftover scarps from costumes, etc…..- this one says “For Good” on it and has the broom and wand on it- a lot of people know the impact of Wicked on my life. I now take that bag to every show I go to.

My first Club Blume event happened in January: The Miss Saigon Informance. While I would be seeing that musical with my mom and dad, I still went to the informance. This time, at Belk Theater, we actually learned some history about the theater and got a backstage tour: this happened a month before Miss Saigon would tour there. So actually seeing backstage made me get a different kind of appreciation for the cast and crew: at Belk, the ensemble dressing rooms are below the stage; so they literally are running up and down steps all night long while the leads are not: crazy. Belk is shaped like a horseshoe, and we learned where the best seats tend to start. There is a reason why Belk has the box seats and why it looks the way it does- Belk is designed for Broadway Tours, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte Ballet, and the Charlotte Opera.


I was not expecting to travel to St. Louis at the beginning of this month. I would be going alone with mom to visit my grandma. During the trip, we would be seeing Fiddler on the Roof (I originally thought Miss Saigon would be the first musical).


It actually was this month when I fell in love with the Lord of the Rings trilogy movies. The characters I emotionally connected to the most were the four main Hobbits: Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin.


Well, Miss Saigon happened the same week I saw the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I was expecting to be crying due to KNOWING how Les Mis affected me. That was because they both were written by the same team. Yes, I was right: I was in tears. Miss Saigon would be my first of the tragic musicals of this year: I would be seeing a 2nd later in the year.



Charlotte Shout was one of Blumenthal’s events this year. It was a way to celebrate Charlotte’s 250th birthday. This kind of event is something to experience at night due to the illuminated bunnies, wheat field, prisms, and bunnies- they don’t exactly light up if you are there during the day.



June obviously was the month of the Tonys. However, this year the Tonys was different. I actually got fascinated by a new musical, Hadestown, a tragic love story myth, which is between Eurydice and Orpheus. Ever since, I have been dying to see Hadestown.

June is the month of the POPS symphonies- this year, went to a Star Wars and Broadway themed one. It is always something to look forward to every year.


Lake Tahoe was vacation with my extended family. Now, what state were we in exactly? California or Nevada- well, Lake Tahoe is in both states.


I ended up going to the Aladdin Informance this year. This time around, we were trying Middle Eastern food. During the talk, our speaker spoke about the history of Disney movies. Well, whenever it came to talking about the songs, a lot of Club Blume ended up singing along including myself. I would get tickets to Aladdin through Club Blume.



I did not know where to place Kanuga. Either it would be in August or in September. The Parish Weekend was over Labor Day Weekend. Kanuga is ALWAYS a weekend of fellowship and community. There was some art done, singing, hiking (which I was one of the leaders of), and the Lakeside Chapel Service, etc…..



Aladdin was seen on September 11th. Even though that date was the same day tragedy struck our country in 2001, seeing Aladdin that day this year was worth it. This come as a surprise: I did get a little emotional during “Proud of Your Boy”- that would be the 2nd time this year I would be affected in that way this year. After all, Miss Saigon drove me to tears, but “Proud of Your Boy” made me a little emotional. I saw this as a date with my mom. After this, I knew that I eventually wanted to own the Original Broadway Soundtrack.



October did not have huge highlights, but had things I enjoyed. I did enjoy a day trip at Blowing Rock: part did include actually seeing the actual Blowing Rock. One particular highlight of October was finding out if I would be seeing Les Mis or not: that had been something I wanted to know from October 2018 to when I found out. You know what- my mom somehow managed to keep secret from me that she had bought tickets in January 2019 all the way to the day she told me.


Les Mis would be my 4th musical this year. Well, before Les Mis, I had already seen one tragedy in 2019 (Miss Saigon), but now I would be seeing my 2nd. It was a date with my mom. What was interesting about Les Mis this time around was that I got five repeat actors/actresses in the same role: Josh Davis (Javert), Jillian Butler (Cosette), Joshua Grosso (Marius), Matt Shingledecker (Enjolras), and Allison Guinn (Madame Thenardier) were part of the US Tour of 2017. I did end up with an understudy as Valjean (Andrew Maughan)- I was hoping for Nick Cartell, but got an understudy instead. Here is what I can say- Joshua and Matt were standouts from 2017 so at least I got them.

Well, I am still not immune to Les Mis. I actually started having some tears before expected. Usually, it is “I Dreamed a Dream” where I start crying during, but this time, the reaction started before Fantine’s story began. Actually seeing those five actors again and getting four new actors was quite interesting.

Ovens Auditorium



Club Blume Come From Away Informance happened this month. The video meant for informance was cut short. However, it was just enough to get me interested in someday wanting to see the musical.

Les Mis Stage Concert: Well, during this staged concert, I had some of the exact some actors/actresses I had when I saw Les Mis back in the West End in 2015. Look- what is in common between Les Mis is that I am ALWAYS an emotional wreck. That always happens. If I start tearing up before “I Dreamed a Dream”- that is usually saying something, which happened during the US Tour 2019 and this staged concert. It doesn’t seem to matter who is in the cast for me to cry in Les Mis- that is the truth.


A Christmas Carol was the last show of this year. While being the last show, it was the first straight play. The story of A Christmas Carol means a lot to me. I have loved the story since I was a child- I was raised on the George C. Scott movie.


Christmas Services/ Christmas:

Advents Lessons and Carols/ Christmas Lessons and Carols- these are filled with more hymns and lessons than others throughout the year. I love how there is more hymns. Those two services are some of my favorites throughout the year.

Candlelight Christmas Eve Service was one of the Christmas services I love over the Holiday season. This one takes place at 10:45 p.m, but the prelude starts at 10:15. The prelude for this particular service is always worth it- at this one, there is the regular organ and on top of that, a trumpet and a string quartet is added. This particular year, a new piece was written specifically for the adult choir at my family church- so no other church but ours got to listen to it. I actually cried during part of the prelude- so it wasn’t just two musicals that made me cry. At the beginning of the service, we are given a candle for “Silent Night” where the lights go off and our candles are lit. A beautiful beautiful service.

Of course, I loved Christmas. Examples of presents include the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings trilogy movies, tickets to Come From Away and Frozen, Original Broadway Aladdin Soundtrack, etc…. Christmas is my favorite holiday.

Happy Christmas Eve 2019

It’s hard to believe its Christmas Eve already. For me, Christmas actually begins on Christmas Eve. Today, I do attend church, but there are four options. The one I go to is the Candlelight Christmas Eve Service. That one is actually at 10:45 p.m. You saw that right- it really starts that late, but you need to get there early to be able to listen to the prelude, which begins at 10:15.

At a typical Church service, there is only the organ playing, but at this one there is a trumpet and strings. When you come into the sanctuary, you are given a candle, which is used for a later part of the service. Those candles we are given are used during “Silent Night”- the lights are dimmed down and our candles are lit. By the time the church ends, it is Christmas. It is such a beautiful beautiful service.

My love for Christmas

Everyone has their favorite holiday. One of the reasons why Winter is my favorite season belongs to Christmas. Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love the lights outside and inside- inside as in on the tree. I love the decorations. When possible, Christmas is a time of giving back to those in need- like Room in the Inn, which my church does every Winter (I volunteered for it yesterday). Christmas always has some of the best music- Silent Night to Away in a Manager to The First Noel to White Christmas….etc. Then there are the holiday movies I love to watch—there are three in particular I hope to watch: A Christmas Carol (The George C. Scott version), Elf, and White Christmas- that has already been accomplished. I love the Candlelight Christmas Eve Service- that one takes place at 10:45 pm, but the prelude begins at 10:15- that one has the organ, trumpet, and strings- quite a beautiful service.

A Christmas Carol Review

Yes, I have seen four musicals this year, but there is one show I saw this year that holds the same kind of importance. That would be the straight play, A Christmas Carol at Theatre Charlotte. As a matter of fact, I do not even remember if I even saw a show there (it is one of Charlotte’s community theaters). Do you know why it holds the same importance as Fiddler on the Roof, Miss Saigon, Aladdin, and Les Mis? That is because of the importance of A Christmas Carol in my life. A Christmas Carol entered my life a long time ago when I was either in elementary or middle school- by the George C. Scott movie. It soon became a tradition in my family to watch it every Christmas Season. So, now I would be seeing the stage show of it (I did watch Scrooge, the musical of A Christmas Carol, but do not think I remember a time when I saw watched the straight play. The difference with this show compared to any musical I saw was that my family actually knew one of the cast members- one of the main reasons why we wanted to watch it this year.

My Scrooge was Ron Law. It can be easy to compare him to George C. Scott’s Scrooge, but I did not. I was enjoying him more and more as the play continued. Who was the young Scrooge: Blake Harwood.

You also had Rick Taylor as Jacob Marley, Anna McCarty as Ghost of Christmas Past, Chip Bradley as Ghost of Christmas Present, John Rendlemen as Ghost of Christmas Future, Maxwell Greger as Bob Cratchit, Pearce Stinson as Tiny Tim, and Keyes Miller as Fred.

The ensemble was amazing- from the children to the adults. Literally, when I saw the costumes, it was like they were coming right out of the book. This is a small community theatre we are talking about. The special effects of the fog and the sounds gave the feeling that A Christmas Carol is supposed to when the Spirits come.

Lessons and Carols 2019

One of my favorite Holiday church service is the Advent Lessons and Carols church service. During those, more lessons and more carols-it does lead to a service ending later than usual. Beautiful music.

Yesterday- funny story: our church almost lost power. When Lessons and Carols happens, it truly feels like you are officially in the Holiday season. My other main favorite Christmas service is not until Christmas Eve.