All the Theaters I have Been to

It is known I have mostly seen musicals through Blumenthal Performing Art. What about all the theaters I have seen musicals? I decided to write a post that make a mention of ALL the theaters I have been to. However there is only ONE theater I don’t even know the name of.

St. Louis

  • Fox Theater- I have seen Annie and Fiddler and the Roof here. It is such a gorgeous theater. As you can see below, you can tell just how beautiful the theater is. I saw Annie in the orchestra and Fiddler up in the balcony- so I was able to fully appreciate the beauty of the Fox.

Greenville, South Carolina

  • Peace Center- I saw Phantom of the Opera and Les Mis at this beautiful theater. It has incredible acoustics- I was able to truly notice this when I saw Les Mis. Like Fox, I started in the orchestra with Phantom of the Opera, and my recent show, being Les Mis, I ended up in the balcony. It is incredible for that to happen. Both times I saw these shows were special- Phantom of the Opera was a date with mom and Les Mis was with my university. The reason why I was able to really notice how incredible the acoustics were in Les Mis belonged to the fact that I was sitting in the balcony (the 4th level)- to the way I heard a gunshot, to literally hearing just one tear (I literally was able to pick up on that), to the way just one word was said, or in more quieter moments still able to pick up on the words. Despite being in balcony- was able to hear everything.

Charlotte, NC- this is going to take a while

Blumenthal Performing Arts

Belk Theater- this is Blumenthal’s main theater. It has four levels- orchestra, grand tier, mezzanine, and balcony. I only remember sitting in orchestra and mezzanine. Not only does Belk do tours, it also does Charlotte Ballet events, and Charlotte Symphony Events. I saw Lion King, Miss Saigon, Newsies, Rent, Mamma Mia, Sound of Music, La Cage, Porgy and Bess, and Pippin at Belk Theater- most of these musicals are ones that I LOVE. It might seem like Belk Theater is the biggest theater of Blumenthal Performing Arts, but it actually isn’t.

Ovens Auditorium- What was surprising to me is that Ovens is actually the biggest Blumenthal Performing Arts theater. Ovens does have less levels than Belk. It has only two levels, but three sections- Mezzanine and Balcony share the second level. What makes Ovens a bigger theatre? Ovens is wider and deeper compared to Blumenthal making it able to fit more people. I have seen only three musicals here- even though it feels like I have gone to Ovens more often than that. I think that is because one of those musicals is a repeat.

I have seen Addams Family, A Christmas Story, and Wicked here. I did not see shows at Ovens three times- it actually would add up to five times: Wicked was seen three times. The BEST area to see a musical at Ovens is in the Mezzanine. I have seen Wicked as a date with my dad and with my university. Blumenthal’s upcoming season has more shows at Ovens that there typically is.

Central Piedmont Community College

Pease Auditorium- this theatre no longer exists at Charlotte’s community college, but when I was a student there, it did. My first musical I saw when I started college was Godspell. It is actually one of the smallest theaters I have seen a musical in. I still remember some of the costumes. Loved the show- three of those actors would show up in later productions I would see at CPCC.

Halton Theater- this may be a community college theater, but it actually has an orchestra and a balcony. I have seen Les Mis, Oklahoma, Grease, and Newsies at this theater. This shows all felt professional- you never once though you were at a community college’s theater. They combined students with the community and with professionals. I have seen Les Mis three times at this theater-once with family and twice as an usher: this was my first time seeing the stage show, and as a matter of fact was truly the motor for wanting to see the musical in London. CPCC has a very strong theater program- you go in, and you believe you are just going to see a community college type of production, and you come out thinking you just watched a professional production: that is what all four shows felt like.

Children’s Theatre
  • When I was an usher for Children’s Theatre, I did get to see one of their musicals. It was in December 2014, and I was ushering for Scrooge, which is A Christmas Carol’s musical. I remember seeing it, but don’t exactly remember any of the songs. There is something I do remember- I remember how talented the Tiny Tim was- there was a particular song that belonged to him, and I loved his voice in that song, and I was moved by it.

Boiling Springs, NC

  • Dover Theater- Boiling Springs is literally in the middle of nowhere. Dover Theater is where I saw musicals in Gardner Webb. The two musicals I saw were Little Shop of Horrors and Music Man. Music Man was actually the first show I saw at Gardner Webb, which was one of the best starts- especially when you transferred in Spring Semester. Music Man began the BEST year of musicals. I actually was kind of nervous when it comes to GWU musicals- these were musicals after CPCC- by that point, I only saw Les Mis and Godspell. I loved Music Man’s production, and the show itself. GWU has a smaller theatre program, but still can put on well-done productions.

Abingdon, VA

Barter Theater- Okay, this is one of the theaters I don’t remember going to. I did see Oliver here, but I have no memory of seeing it. I only know about it because I was told.

Jacksonville, FL

  • Jacksonville Theater- I don’t even know the name of the theater I went to in Jacksonville. Just like Barter, I don’t even remember going. I think my parents said I went to Cats and Seussical here in elementary school.

New York City

  • Gershwin Theater- this was my first theater I ever saw Wicked in. Little did I know when I stepped foot in that theater that I would be changed “for good”. It was August 2006, and I was alone with my mom- that was a HUGE reason why it was special- just me and my mom. That is part of why Wicked is meaningful. It is not all of why Wicked is meaningful. I was only 12 at the time. The song, “Popular”, was my favorite song at the time. It has been 13 years since I have been to NYC- I think it is time to go back, but next time, I want to see more than one musical.
Gershwin Theater-Wicked

London-West End

  • Queens Theater- I will always view this theater as The Queens Theater. It was what I knew it as when I saw Les Mis. Just like seeing Wicked on Broadway with my mom, I was seeing Les Mis in the West End with my mom. I feel like things came full circle when I saw Les Mis in London. Not only was I with my mom, but I was dreaming a dream. I sat in the 9th row from the stage. Plus, Les Mis is not just a musical- it made me passionate about musicals. When I saw Queen’s Theater, I literally thought I was imagining- it still felt that way when I bought souvenirs to when I saw that I had an understudy as Valjean to entering the auditorium to seeing the set to sitting down to noticing how close I was. Nothing felt real- that was how surreal it felt. Then it happened- I heard it- that one note (or notes) from the orchestra- I knew this was no dream happening- it was a dream actually happening. The notes did tell me something= that it was going to be more than expected- how can just a few notes make you know that? Those notes were not lying- it was more than expected. It was 110% worth it. At the end, I went to stage door, and my playbill was signed by the actor (Adam Bayjou) who played Jean Valjean. No words to describe the ENTIRE experience. This happened July 30th, 2015.

Conclusion

  • I sure have been to a number of theaters. I purposely ended on the theaters I saw on Broadway and the West End. As you can see, I mostly see musicals in Charlotte, my hometown. There have been times where I do see a musical somewhere else besides Charlotte, but that is not common. I feel like I want to eventually go see a musical at St. Louis’ MUNY- which is an outdoor theater, and I want to go back to NYC. If I go back to NYC- I want to see more than one musical. I don’t have vivid memories of Broadway- I want stronger memories. It is time for me to go back to the city. I might live in the states, but NYC is not easy to get to- so I am glad that Charlotte has Blumenthal Performing Arts.
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Favorite Song in a Musical- Why?

Musical fans are aware of this. We usually have our favorite song in a musical. However, have we fully thought of the reasoning? Does it have to do with the emotion? Does it have to do with the actor and actress? Does it have to due to with the character? Does it have to do with the meaning of the song? Does have to have to do with a memory? This is will be a difficult post- it will be about why a song is our favorite song in a musical. Sometimes, even I don’t have a reasoning behind that. I think a best reason is to bring up my favorite song from certain musicals, and try to describe why they are my favorite song from the musical itself.

Corner of the Sky

  • A huge reason behind this comes from the fact that it is the main reason why I wanted to see Pippin in the first place. It is also one of the strongest “I Want” songs I described in musical theatre. Some may not agree with me and may agree with me. It actually does not just describe what Pippin wants in life, but I believe it also relates to our life in general as well. If I never heard this song, Pippin would not have been in my life. “Corner of the Sky” is the place where we truly belong.
"Corner of the Sky" in the Revival of Pippin
Corner of the Sky

Seize the Day

  • It is actually the beginning of the Newsies strike. I found it to be my favorite Newsies number because of the dance. I think it has the most advanced staging out of all the numbers. In one moment, all of them (well, most of them) are dancing on newspapers. It strongly has to do with the dance and some of the lyrics- “Courage cannot erase our fear. Courage is when we face our fear”. Those lyrics are what made me release Newsies is meaningful to me, and I think represent Newsies as a whole.

Popular

  • You would think, I would choose “Defying Gravity” or “For Good” for my favorite song for Wicked, but that is not true. It does come from the fact that I was 12 when I first saw Wicked. My favorite song from Wicked is a memory thing. My favorite song from Wicked when I was 12 was Popular, and that is true to this day. It really is a memory thing- I saw Wicked in 2006 for the first time.
"Popular" during Wicked- Elphaba and Glinda
Popular

Beauty and the Beast

  • It does sound cliche that my favorite song from Beauty and the Beast is “Beauty and the Beast”. It is Belle and Beast’s main love song. I did watch the cartoon- yes, I sort of forgot I did love the cartoon. However, this song never left my memory. There is something unique and special about Disney love songs. They have this magic in them. Belle and Beast are my favorite classic Disney couple. Their “Beauty and the Beast” song is an incredible one to watch- ever since watching the live action 2017 film, my love for Beauty and the Beast came back. The song actually affects me on a more emotional level.
Beauty and the Beast Scene (live action 2017)- Emma Watson (Belle) and Dan Stevens (Beast)
Beauty and the Beast (Live Action 2017)

A Whole New World

  • Even from Aladdin, my favorite song is the main love song. Flying on a magic carpet while singing this song is incredible to witness. So magical in so many ways. Still seems cliche to say this is my favorite song- but it still is my favorite song from Aladdin. Just like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin had to reenter my life, which was through the live action movie.
A Whole New World (Aladdin Cartoon)- Aladdin and Jasmine
A Whole New World (Aladdin Cartoon)

Can You Feel the Love Tonight

  • Once again, this is another main love song. It is still a classic Disney musical. You still feel the magic and innocence in this song just like the others. It is not cliche- even though to others it seems that way.
Can You Feel the Love Tonight- Simba and Nala (Stage Show of Lion King)
Can You Feel the Love Tonight

Seasons of Love

  • This song is one of the messages of Rent. Rent is all about what to do with life. It is about how to measure life. The song is about measuring your life in love. There are only 525,600 minutes in one year. It is hard to describe why this is the favorite song from Rent. I just know this is my favorite song from Rent.

Tomorrow

  • This totally highlights the character of Annie. She is an optimistic child, and that is the main characteristic you see in you. I have always loved that song. I will never grow tired of that song.

Seventy Six Trombones

  • This has been my favorite song from Music Man. I love the patriotic nature of the song. When I saw the musical, the production had the Harold Hill go out in the audience making us feel like we are part of River City. I still believe a lot of the patriotic and energetic nature of the song made it my favorite song from the musical.

Conclusion:

  • So, there are many reasons why a song is your favorite song in a musical. It can be a memory, the meaning, and the emotion. However- you usually just know a song is your favorite song. I only listed a few of my favorite songs from certain musical.

My thoughts on Stephen Schwartz musicals

One of the composers I have seen more one musical belongs to Stephen Schwartz. He is a successful composer, and today I decided to write my thoughts on his musicals- as in the ones I love. They will be in a particular order- as in I will end on my favorite musical that he did. I loved all three of the musicals I am about to mention.

Godspell

  • I loved Godspell ever since I started college. Godspell was my first musical I saw at Central Piedmont Community College. What I remember most about that production belonged to some of the costumes. As a matter of fact, I did see three of the actors in future productions at CPCC. I did love Godspell- my parents did know I will love Godspell.

Pippin

  • I have loved Pippin since May 2015. I have wanted to see Pippin since I heard “Corner of the Sky”. I quickly fell in love with the song- that song told me a lot of what the musical was about. When I heard it won a Tony Award for Revival, I watched a preview, and wanted to see it even more. A spectacle- based, and a song I loved a lot. Too strong reasons for wanting to see Pippin. Pippin makes you fall in love with it very quickly- that is what “Magic to Do” allows you to do. The revival feels like you are in a circus. The Leading Player is an intriguing antagonist, and she does trick both the audience and Pippin
"Magic to Do" during the Pippin Revial

Wicked

  • Of all Stephen Schwartz’ musicals, it is the easiest for me to explain why I love Wicked. It is a story of two strong and complex young women who form a special and beautiful bond. That is rare in a musical to see that kind of friendship. On top of that complex friendship- you also come across an extremely complex love triangle. This is a musical where the friendship is much stronger than romance. As Wicked says- “I have been changed for good”. That is what Wicked did for me.
"For Good" during Wicked- Elphaba and Glinda

Conclusion

  • The songs in his musicals are both energetic and emotional. That is the type of music I want in a musical. At the same time, I want all the songs to sound like they all belong in the same musical- does that make sense?

Parts of a musicals that some people still fail to Understand

There are parts that some people still fail to understand. These tend to be the people that either a) don’t like musicals, b) like musicals, but don’t love them or c) not as passionate as others. What do I mean by parts of a musical that people still fail to understand? I am not talking about the unpopular opinions I already mentioned before. I will bring up what I mean below.

Spectacle/Dance

Some people don’t quite understand the importance of dance and spectacle in a musical. They feel like those shouldn’t be in musicals at all. Well- they do a reason for being in there. There are settings that need spectacle- OZ, Agraghah (still can’t spell it right), and the Savannah. How will you believe in places like those if the spectacle didn’t exist? Spectacle belongs to lighting, colorful and fun costumes and set- they do make you believe in what you are seeing. Some settings need those or else you will not believe in what you are seeing. You know how song brings out emotion- dance does the same thing. From the surface, dance doesn’t just looks like it is there for enjoyment, but in reality- it has a reason. You need the spectacle and dance to bring the location and emotion to you.

Romance

I feel like these can easily be overshadowed. It is the love or hate emotion in books and on stage. It is believed that there is TOO MUCH ROMANCE in the musicals. True, there is romance in a lot of musicals, and most likely when you see a new musical, there will be romance. Romance exists either in the form or a couple or in a love triangle. Why is romance so common? For starters, it is an universal emotion. Second, it translates easily to song. When it translates to song, it creates these beautiful melodies- that is what makes me fall in love with a couple. I am more likely to fall in love with a musical theatre couple than a book couple. It is so much easier to find a couple in a musical than a book- because of song. Love songs are a combo dealing with a couple, breakup, and unrequited love- all are them beautiful songs. Let’s say it is a musical that has zero negative emotions in the score- the romance gives it an emotion feel- that is what music man does. There is a reason romance happens in all the musicals I love.

What Word do I Associate when it comes to Musicals?

Musicals are one of my passions. Is there a specific word that comes to mind when the word musical comes to mind? That does depend at times. Growing up, I associated musicals with a different word than I do today. They were very different in those days. I was still getting to know them- they were very similar in those days. Similar- yet different.

Growing up- when I thought of musicals, the word, showtune automatically came to mind. Showtune was something that connected to many things in the world of musicals. It connected to song, dance, and spectacle. What exactly is a showtune song? You know those musical songs that start out slowly and speed up and stay exciting- songs like “Seize the Day”, “Do Re Mi”, “Dancing through Life”, “Be Our Guest”, and “I Just Can’t Wait to Be Wait” all are examples of showtune songs. They are ones that most likely to have dance and spectacle in them.

What is spectacle exactly? Dance is part of spectacle, in my opinion. They are moments of excitement, color- as in costume, scenery, and lighting- you will know spectacle when you see it. People think spectacle and dance are too “you know” don’t do much for a musical- are just there just to be there. In my opinion, spectacle and dance do have a specific reason for being there. What if a musical takes place in a colorful and magical place- you would that spectacle to make you believe: OZ in Wicked and Agragah in Aladdin for example. Spectacle and dance also advances plot: people might be thinking: how can dance advance plot- it does. I know it. People do think dance and spectacle is overdone these days- it is not- just like song, it adds something unique and beautiful to a musical and can help with the emotion.

Now, if I automatically think of musicals, more than one word comes to mind. I don’t know if I can’t think of that one word. Showtune, magical, emotional, and special are four of the words that automatically come to mind. It is crazy how things changed. It used to be one word that came to mind- now more than one word comes to mind. Musicals have more capability than they used to have.

All my favorite Characters- per Letter

As a continuation of yesterday’s post, I decided to list all of my favorite characters of each letter of the alphabet. Yesterday, the limit belonged to only one character. This time, there is no limit. I think it will much easier this time around due to having no limit.

A- Annie, Anna (Frozen), Angel, Aladdin

B- Belle, Beast

C- Crutchie, Cosette, Cogsworth, Chip, Christine, Chris

D- Davey, Don Quixote, Daddy Warbucks

E- Elphaba, Eponine, Enjolras, Elsa

F- Fiyero, Fantine

G- Glinda, Gavroche, Grizabella, Groups (Newsies/Friends of the ABC)

H- Harold Hill

I- N/A

J- Jack Kelly, Jean Valjean, Jasmine

K- Katherine Plumber, Kim (Miss Saigon)

L- Lumiere

M- Maria (Sound of Music), Marius, Marian, Mimi, Mrs. Potts

N- Nala

O- Oliver

P- Pippin, Pumba

Q- N/A

R- Raoul, Roger

S- Simba, Sancho Panza

T- Timon

U- N/A

V- Von Trapp Children

W- Winthrop

X- N/A

Y- Young Cosette

Z- Zazu

Conclusion:

I feel like I love more characters than the ones I listed. This is just all I can think of for now. Yes, for “G” I said groups, but I didn’t know where else to put them. It is amazing how for some letters, the number of characters is bigger.

Favorite Characters- Per Letter

I decided to see if I can think of one of my favorite characters for each letter of the alphabet. It turned out to be harder than I thought.

A- Annie

B- Belle

C- Crutchie 

D- Davey

E- Elphaba 

F- Fiyero 

G- Glinda 

H- Harold Hill 

I- N/A

J- Jack Kelly 

K- Katherine Plumber 

L- Lumiere  

M- Maria (Sound of Music) 

N- Nala

O- Oliver

P- Pippin

Q- N/A

R- Roger 

S- Simba

T- Timon 

U- N/A 

V- Von Trapp Children

W- Winthrop 

X- N/A 

Y- Young Cosette

Z- Zazu

Some of these came naturally easy to think of. Of some letters, it was very tricky. I was surprised that some musicals were barely on here, but glad it was a nice variety of musicals.