July in Review

Today I will talk about my highlights of July 2018.

Symphonies: Celebrate America Pops Symphony

Every year in Charlotte, there is an outdoor symphony series called the summer Pops. One of them is for Fourth of July, which is usually celebrated before Fourth of July. That one uses songs such as God Bless America, National Anthem, America the Beautiful and a section that honors our veterans and this symphony had a overture from the musical, Guys and Dolls.

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Trips: Lake Hartwell, Georgia

So I went to a long weekend trip to Lake Hartwell. I went there to be with members of my extended family: this sounds crazy, I was with third cousins during that weekend. I spent time on the lake for only two days. I helped bake a blueberry pie.

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Musicals: Newsies (BIG SURPRISE)

Well, I wanted to see CPCC’s production of Newsies to see how they could handle the dancing. The week came and all week, my family never seemed to tell me that I was going to see Newsies or anything. So I naturally assumed that it wasn’t going to happen.

Than this happens: Saturday: one of my best friends from college shows up at my house without her telling me. I did not know why on earth she would suddenly show up. She asked me if she where we were going: I said “no” and she was glad. I really had no idea what surprise she had up her sleeve. She drove the two of us downtown, and then we were near CPCC. We drove in the theatre parking deck: I was telling her only those seeing Newsies can park: she just told me “she just wants to see the theatre”. That made no sense to me one bit. Okay, now the two of us were waiting in the will call line and she was saying “I just want to see the theatre” and I was like “just talk to an usher”. It turns out in the end she bought the two of us tickets to see Newsies in June. So there you have it: when I totally thought I wasn’t going to their production: I ended up seeing it.

Below is a link to the Newsies review

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/newsies-surprise/

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This was basically an overview of my July 2018.

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Contribution Understudies Put to Theatre

I talked about this before, but I feel like understudies keep on being under appreciated. Without them, so many shows would be cancelled. You have to know how to truly respect them and what they are able to bring to their roles. From the years 2014-2017, I have had a lot of understudies and throughout those years, I have truly learned to really respect them. Without them, you know how much trouble theatre would be in? They would be in a lot. Below I will put a list of mine and if I remember anything about them, I will talk about them.

Possible Spoilers:

1. Grace Morgan (Christine)- I don’t fully remember her when I saw Phantom of the Opera. However, I remember getting choked up by this cast. I remember being drawn to Christine so I bet she was really good as Christine.10354149_10203791645890941_4955988638206113711_n

2. Lisa Karlin (Leading Player)- This was my first time seeing Pippin. She was the true standout in this production. Everything I know about the Leading Player was based off of her portrayal. She was able to hide her evilness around Pippin to make it seem like she was someone he can trust and to do that she was very playful around him. She was quite crafty and in “Magic to Do”, I detected a small hint of evil, and then in “Glory”, she was much more dark and evil. Everything I know about this character is Lisa Karlin. Just by one actress, I know so much about one actress: that is impressive.

3. Sam Lips- due to being so intrigued by Lisa Karlin, I don’t remember a clue about Sam.

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4. Adam Bayjou- I literally was in the West End, and I was thinking “wait a minute, I am in the West End about to live my dream and I have a understudy for Jean Valjean”. I was a little bit nervous. Here is how I can say how brilliant he was: I forgot I was watching an understudy: think about that: if you forgot you watched an understudy, that is real talent right there. Below is a picture of me with Adam at Stage Door.

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5. Mary Kate Morrissey- When I have an understudy for Elphaba, it can be kind of scary for me because Elphaba is my all-time favorite musical character. She was actually the standby for Elphaba. Mary Kate embodied everything about Elphaba while bringing something new to the character. She made me appreciate a song I always hated, a song that always seemed emotionless to me: “No Good Deed”. She changed her voice to fit the character: act I: her voice was so much more innocent, but in act II, she changed it to be mature.

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6. Kaitlyn Frank- I did basically forget about her version of Katherine Plumber. I got so into Joey Barreiro as Jack that I did forget about the other acting. I also got mind-blown with the talent into the dancing. However, I recently saw my original Newsies review and it did say she had incredible chemistry with Joey Barreiro, who played Jack Kelly.

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7. Talia Simone Robinson- this was a bit of a coincidence. How is it that my 2nd professional cast of Les Mis did I end up with an understudy? I thought that was the craziest thing, but this time instead of Jean Valjean, my understudy was Eponine. Talia wasn’t the strongest actor in the love triangle: it was Marius instead. However Talia had extremely strong moments as Eponine. She did not start out that strong as Eponine, but she eventually was able to embody the role. She was flirty and playful around Marius. As I recall, I think I heard some tears at the end of “On My Own” and during that song, I got some goosebumps. Than during “A Little Fall of Rain”, each time she tried to move, she barely could showing that she was weak and just getting weaker indicting that she was dying.

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So RESPECT the understudies. They have much more talent than you realize. They are able to embody the roles more than you think. Look at all of these understudies. When I saw Lisa, I didn’t even know who the Leading Player was, and Lisa was able to get me so intrigued by that character and usually the first time I discover the antagonist, that usually that doesn’t happen. Then at Mary Kate, she made me appreciate a song I always hated for once. I was able to respect what Talia was able to bring to Eponine even though she didn’t start out that strong; she eventually was able to embody the role. It is not easy to be an understudy: they have to work harder than anybody. You have to be aware how many productions would be cancelled if they didn’t exist. Just appreciate them much more.

Newsies Surprise

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So far in the summer I had seen two shows at CPCC (Central Piedmont Community College): Oklahoma and Grease. I had been dying to catch Newsies at CPCC, a musical that entered my life two years ago. It felt like I would never get to see it. Well, one of my best friends from college literally came to my house and honestly had no idea she was coming. She had another surprise coming and managed to keep it a secret. She drove the two of us to CPCC and what do you know: she bought us tickets to see Newsies. So what a surprise that was. So: I did not know Sydney was coming to Charlotte to literally take me to Newsies at CPCC. I never known about seeing a musical very last minute like that before. I mainly wanted to see Newsies to see how CPCC could handle the dance. I just was so wowed by the surprise, which added to my experience of actually seeing the show.

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As expected with any CPCC show, I could not see as a college production. They kept the towers that other productions of Newsies has. They needed somehow to represent the rooftop where Jack and Crutchie lived, the place where the other Newsies lived along with Medda’s theatre among other things. So I am so glad the set had the towers.

Jack Kelly was played by Ashton Guthrie. He played Jack as very mature, which I liked seeing as. He gave it his all in “Santa Fe”, which got me quite emotional. It almost made me tear up. He showed the nature of being a leader and acted older than many of the Newsies. While he costume did not make him look dreamy, it did make him look like he was one of the older Newsies. I liked seeing the difference in costume. That is what is fun about college or local productions: costumes that are only in that particular costume. But in “Something to Believe In”, Jack was much more innocent to show his love for Katherine. So he was able to work with his emotions in different ways. He was able to bring out the inner conflict that Jack eventually has to deal with.

I loved the fact that Crutchie was black. It showed that CPCC was accepting of their performers. Treston Henderson was just incredible during “Letter from the Refuge”, another moment that got me emotional. He showed his optimism during that number. The only thing that seemed maybe a bit off is that Crutchie might have done a bit more dance than he should have done. After all Crutchie has a bum leg: however he doesn’t do the really really advanced dancing. Just saying. Treston was an amazing performer as well.

Collin Newton was Davey. He did show Davey’s shyness at the beginning, but soon was able to show how Davey was eventually was able to come out of his shell. Even in that one moment when thing weren’t going this actor’s way, it showed how he was able to deal with it. He got frustrated for a few seconds, but dealt with it nicely. That showed how mature of an actor he was.

Robin Dunavant was Katherine. I really loved her in both “Watch What Happens” and “Something to Believe In”. She gave it her all in her solo number and showed Katherine’s frustrations as she was struggling with figuring out to write in “Watch What Happens” and that is when Robin really started to shine as Katherine. I loved all her acting leading up to “Something to Believe In”. In “Something to Believe In”, she was very innocent, which matched perfectly with Ashton’s Jack.

About all the Newsies, they really showed their bond. It was quite strong throughout. Once again, they were quite talented at their dance. They were doing all these wonderful tricks like flipping, dancing on newspapers among other things. What was interesting about “King of New York”, instead of just Katherine, there were two other females dancing: I thought that was unique. It is just interesting seeing what other productions will do.

CPCC really knows what they are doing when it comes to theatre. Newsies has got to be one of their best.

Who is Katherine Plumber?

Just like Roger, Katherine is another musical character I love and barely know.

Possible Spoilers:

Katherine is the only major female character in Newsies. After all Newsies is about the Newsboys Strike of 1899. She ends up becoming the reporter of the strike and ends up falling in love with Jack. She is an complex and independent young woman. She loves reporting and we discover in act II that she is Pultizer’s daughter. I still don’t quite know why she is complex, but I know that she is. She does help Jack when he is dealing with some inner conflict in act II.

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Newsies 1992 Movie VS Newsies Stage Show

I decided to compare and contrast the stage show and say which is better.

Denton or Katherine: 

Denton is the reporter in the 1992 movie and Katherine is the reporter in the stage show. Katherine is the better for the two for my opinion. She gives more female voice in an entire cast of boys, and is Jack’s love interest. Plus, she has an incredible solo, which is “Watch What Happens”. She also is Pultizer’s daughter, which adds to the stakes even better so she helps deepened the story even more.

I prefer Katherine a lot more because she is young and a strong love interest for Jack. Having another female character helps balance out a huge cast of boys even more.

Jack and Crutchie’s Relationship- Should it be there? 

This relationship is only found in the stage show. They have such a personal and intimate found. Jack and Crutchie are best friends who sleep on a rooftop. Jack is very protective of Crutchie knowing just how vulnerable his friend is. I don’t like how this relationship is lacking in the movie. It is shown through “Santa Fe (Prologue)”.

In the movie, it is more Jack and Davey. But I prefer Jack and Crutchie. Jack and Crutchie is the relationship that made me automatically emotionally connected to the musical.

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Relationship Between All the Manhattan Newsies: 

I feel like the relationship found between all the Newsies is even stronger on stage as well. The dancing does help with that aspect among other things. For example, in the movie at the beginning, they do not even have a leader. I feel like there are other things that make their relationship stronger such as stronger dancing.

In the stage show, Jack is already their leader. He becomes an even stronger leader as the story continues.

Brooklyn’s Involvement in the Strike:

I noticed something about the movie. Brooklyn was much more involved in the strike in the movie than the stage show. The stage show and the movie have this big fight and both involve the Manhattan Newsies. In the stage show, the Brooklyn Newsies are not part of the action. Brooklyn isn’t even in the plot quite yet: they are not even in Manhattan yet: they first show up in act II. In the movie, Brooklyn has a much bigger role in the movie. Jack actually visits Brooklyn in the movie and during the big fight, Spot Conlon, the leader of the Brooklyn Newsies, and the rest of the Brooklyn Newsies arrive and help the Manhattan Newsies so they have a bigger involvement in the strike. Just something I noticed.

The versions of Santa Fe: 

Below are two versions of Santa Fe.

Movie: 

In the movie, Jack sings “Santa Fe” as the 2nd song of the movie singing about the hopes of going West to Santa Fe. Later after being sent to the Refuge after being caught by Synder after a Rally, he sings the song again as a reprise, but is instead a song, but wants  to go to Santa Fe more than ever.

Stage Show: 

Santa Fe (Prologue) opens up the show. Like I said earlier when I talked about Jack and Crutchie’s relationship, this song talks about it. This song also brings up the fact that Jack is a dreamer. Just like the movie, it brings up his dream of going West. It is sung again as a solo after a big fight breaks out right after the strike begins and Jack sees all of his brothers getting hurt and Cruthcie getting arrested. This hurts him a great deal, and he sings “Santa Fe” again, but this time as a solo, but not as a reprise like the movie, but an entire song. “Santa Fe” is a sad song due to how hurt Jack is at this moment, and this leads Jack to go through inner conflict. I feel like stage Jack cares much more about his brothers than movie Jack.

Romance: Sarah or Katherine 

Here is the thing about Sarah. I found here just to be there. I found here to be shallow.

I prefer Katherine for Jack Kelly. Katherine is more complex and a lot of why I love Jack and Katherine is because of “Something to Believe In”. Both Jack and Katherine are complex characters. Jack may not seem complex, but he actually is. I think stage complex is much more complex than movie complex.

Identity of Jack: this sounds like an odd one 

Here’s the thing, I watched the movie. It said that Jack Kelly isn’t his real name. Plus that his father is jail and stuff like that.

However none of that stuff is in the stage show. I would rather go with the stage show. I think Jack Kelly is his real name. Don’t forget I have always been a fan of the stage show. I love that Jack is a dreamer and a leader. Another reason why I prefer his identity on stage is because he is also a wonderful drawer and painter on stage. Jack starts the story as an leader and once the strike begins he becomes a stronger leader and when he goes through some inner conflict, he is almost ready to give up, but doesn’t in the end.

Songs: 

Overall, I prefer the songs in the stage show. Even the songs from both the stage show and the movie. Songs like “Seize the Day” for instance are better. They have better lyrics and better energy and longer and more equipped for dance. That is just my opinion. They had to add songs to further develop character such as Pulitzer because he had no songs in the movie. Plus, Katherine was added and they had to add songs for her. Then I loved that they decided to make Jack have a stronger relationship with Crutchie, and they showed that through a song.

Dance: 

Part of why the songs were longer was to add more dance. The songs have dance breaks in them. After all, Newsies became a Broadway show, and that is what happens to Broadway shows. I still love the dancing in the movie, but I prefer watching the dancing in the stage show.

Overall Opinion: 

I am more of a fan of the stage show. There is better development on stage between the Newsies. The romance is much stronger. I love the songs even more because there is more energy, fun, and emotion and more songs. Some of the additional are “Something to Believe in” and “Watch What Happens”.

 

The 1899 Manhattan Couple

Not many people may know of Jack and Katherine. They are the couple found in Newsies, one of my favorite Disney musicals. I picked Jack and Katherine because I thought it was a good idea to talk about a couple not part of a love triangle and felt it was time for a Disney couple. Jack and Katherine are an extremely new couple in my life since Newsies entered my life about 1  1/2 years ago.

There is something special about Disney love songs. Their main song, “Something to Believe In”, is so adorable and beautiful. Disney love songs seem to have this kind of magic in them it seems. There is something wonderful about Katherine, the reporter, and Jack, the leader of the Newsies, being in love. Even though the plot mainly focuses on the Newsies and the strike, it is nice having a bit of romance in there.

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You expect romance in a Disney musical  and in the case of Newsies, the cast is mainly all boys. So there is something wonderful about having a female major character in the cast. In act II, Jack was struggling with his emotions and Katherine helped him get through it. These two clearly love each other. Disney couples just pull you in such a special way and “Something to Believe In” really shows that connection.

Extra Extra Read All About It

Today, I am doing a Newsies post. Just last year in August, I decided to watch Newsies for the first time when it toured to Charlotte. I was with my mom, dad, and sister. I first heard the songs through Pandora and enjoyed them. But I wanted to see the stage show and after hearing it won choreography in the Tony Awards.

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So yesterday night, I got to see the stage show again. This time I watched a movie that was made of the stage show. I got to see the original Jack Kelly (Jeremy Jordan), Katherine Plumber (Kara Lindsey), Crutchie (Andrew Keenan-Bolger) and Davey (Ben Fankhauser). There were some others from the original cast and there were some from my touring cast. As reading the actors names from the ending, I noticed that I saw my same Pultizer, then my Crutchie and my Katherine were in the cast as well except in different parts.

Seeing Newsies last night made me see so much more than last time. One of my favorite scenes from Newsies is “Santa Fe (Prologue)” because it sets up the close bond between Jack and Crutchie. Jack is quite protective of Crutchie considering how vulnerable his friend. Jack in fact is protective of all his brothers, but Crutchie means so much more. The first dancing number in Newsies is “Carrying the Banner” and seeing it in the movie is so fun even though seeing Newsies live makes the dancing even more exciting. But the dancing in this movie is still mind-blowing. My favorite dance number is “Seize the Day” especially when you see the boys dancing on newspapers.

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Last year, Joey Barreiro was my Jack, but I loved Jeremy Jordan just as much. The difference was I loved them in a different way. Joey’s Jack had more innocence than Jeremy’s Jack. For both of them, I was able to see Jack’s inner conflict that he was able to go through. Jack is a dreamer and a romantic. Twice, he sings about his desire to go to Santa Fe. The first time, he is very hopeful, but the second time, Jack is obviously quite upset after seeing what has happened to his Newsies during the big fight especially to Crutchie. So throughout act II, Jack is about ready to give up on the strike and this inner conflict helps make him a complex character.

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Andy Richardson was my first Crutchie and Andrew Keenan-Bolger was this Crutchie so I was able to find a brand new love for Crutchie. I don’t remember “Letter From the Refuge” that much from last year so the movie allowed me to see it and actually remember it. Andrew was such a wonderful Crutchie and loved seeing “Letter From the Refuge” performed. Despite Crutchie being sent to the Refuge, he still has optimism about the strike. Crutchie being sent to the Refuge left Jack with a lot of inner conflict.

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I find Ben Fankhauser to be a really good Davey. It was nice getting to know him this time around. I felt like I had to relearn Davey a bit. Davey and his little brother, Les, are the newest members to the Newsies. Davey helps establish the strike and when Jack is just not there, in a way he is like the leader even though he isn’t the leader of the strike.

Kara Lindsey brings a fresh light to Katherine. Through Kara’s Katherine, you can tell that Katherine loves being a reporter. Jack falls in love with her and you can tell in the second act that Jack has felt an attraction to her. But it wasn’t until “Something to Believe In” that the two of them fall in love. Katherine really helped Jack with his inner conflict so after the song, you realize that Jack doesn’t fully give up on the strike.

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As much as I don’t like Pulitzer, Steve Blanchard is still a wonderful Pultizer. He was my Pulitizer last year, but I don’t remember him that much. You can see him not being nice to the Newsies especially to Jack.

In Newsies, I love how the towers change shapes in order to advance scenes or to create different locations. The dancing in Newsies not only advances the story, but it also serves as a way to transition to the next scene. One of the biggest reasons why I love Newsies is the dance. The dance shows the youthful energy that the boys have. All the Newsies are quite special because they are like this one family with Jack as this leader. This story of them standing up for what they believe in through a strike is inspiring. They did not like the prices going up so they went on strike. While at the end, the price stayed the same, Pultizer agreed to sell back their papers. The things I want in ALL musicals are songs I love, characters I love, and a plot I love. Dancing is an added bonus when it comes to  a musical.

The meaningful musicals tend to be the most likely to have positive and negative emotions in the score. The main songs where the negative emotions take place is “Santa Fe” and “Letter From the Refuge”. When those negative emotions happen, it makes the story even more believable. Because this is based off of a true story, it makes sense why there is both positive and negative emotions.

Are you a Newsies fan and why?