The Talents of the Actors and Actresses I Have Seen

One thing that really impresses me is seeing the talent I have seen on stage when I have seen musicals. Some of the ones I have seen are understudies and standbys and those can really impress me. I have had understudies for characters such as Eponine, Christine, Jean Valjean, Elphaba, Leading Player and Katherine Plumber. Those actors have to work harder than anyone else. I just cannot believe how talented all of the different actors and actresses I have had over the years. I have seen more actors than actresses mainly because of Newsies. Newsies has a cast of mostly males and that is why I have seen more actors.

Les Mis was the last musical I saw and I loved that cast. You had the very powerful and passionate ensemble with some talented principals. It was lead by Nick Cartell and he was wonderful as Jean Valjean and his “Bring Him Home” was so soulful and truly sounded like a prayer and he quiet enough for what the song required and strong enough for what the song required. Another standout was Joshua Grosso as Marius and he brought this unique nature of awkwardness to the role and of all of the actors in the love triangle, he was the strongest and I never expect Marius to be the strongest actors because I always expect Eponnine to be the strongest actor, but this time it wasn’t the case. Jillian Butler’s Cosette somehow was able to connect to Joshua’s charming but awkward Marius. My Eponine, Talia Simone Robinson (understudy), was impressive. The fact that she was an understudy made her work harder than anybody else. She had some impressive scenes and some scenes needed some work. She was very playful around Marius and was quite strong during “A Heart Full of Love” and she was very believable during “A Little Fall of Rain”.

Matt Shingledecker was my Enjolras and he truly brought the passion and leader side of Enjolras. Even the ensemble was very talented. They were so epic passionate and powerful. The ensemble is very impressive when it comes to musicals and they are a huge part of a show: after all they take up most of the cast.

During Rent, I was impressed with the actors. Kaleb Wells brought out quite an emotional “One Song Glory” and showed his unwillingness to get into a relationship with Mimi. Lyndie Moe, my Maureen brought out her craziness perfectly and she made me laugh during “Over The Moon”.

Newsies was a musical I saw August 2016. It was lead by Joey Barriero, my Jack Kelly. It is hard to describe why I loved Jack. I loved how he showed his bond to Newsies especially his bond to  Crutchie. He brought out the inner conflict that Jack eventually went through. He was able to bring out the emotion felt in “Santa Fe” and the song to me was innocently sad. I don’t know if the innocence felt in the song was how Joey wanted to portray the song or if it was because this was my first time seeing the show. The actors in this show were triple threats. They were very impressive in the dance. They were flipping about two or three times in a row, dancing on newspapers among other amazing tricks and able to act and sing at the same time. The dancing was mind-blowing. The picture below is Joey Barreiro as Jack.

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Highlighting all of the talented actors will take a while. By showing some of the actors, you can tell that I have seen a lot of talented actors over the years. I still have not yet seen the same actor or actress in more than one  lead role. I am glad that each time I see a musical, I am exposed to new actors. I am always thinking how on earth have they memorized everything and they make it seem easy, but in reality it is not easy. It takes a lot of work and acting it much harder than it seems. They are doing the best they can and when you get an understudy or standby, you can get a bit nervous, but I alway regret it.

For example, Mary Kate Morrisey (standby) as Elphaba embodied everything about Elphaba, but brought something new. It felt like she was the main Elphaba. Another understudy that comes to mind to Adam Bayjou as Jean Valjean. He was my West End Jean Valjean, and he played the role so well that I forgot I was actually watching an understudy. So respect the standbys and understudies. You have no idea how much harder they have to work.

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Favorite Roger Actor

I first saw Rent live last year in September. I waited five years to see Rent. My favorite Roger was Kaleb Wells, my Roger from last year. I still do not know exactly why I love Roger, but he is one of my favorite characters from Rent.

Possible Spoilers:

Kaleb Wells was able to really show strong emotion during “One Song Glory”. I actually got quite emotional during the song. I felt the heartbreak found in the song. Considering the fact that this was live and the fact that Kaleb was able to express the emotion so well, it shows how wonderful he is as Roger. I could really feel just how unwilling he is to get into a relationship with Mimi. It just is hard to explain why I loved him as Roger so much. He also actually looks like a Roger in my opinion.

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Waiting five years was worth the wait.

What do I Love about Roger and Mimi

In Rent, there are three couples and that is unique. Other musicals tend to have only one so having three is part of what makes Rent unique. Mimi and Roger are the main couple from Rent. They have always been my favorite couple from Rent and have a hard time knowing why. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that they are the main couple.

Major and Minor Spoilers:

These two first find a connection in “Light My Candle”. Roger and Mimi both have HIV and Mimi is a drug addict. Roger is currently dealing with depression after his latest girlfriend, April, committed suicide after finding out she has HIV. So Roger just does not want to get involved into a relationship. It is towards the end of act I where Roger finally decides to commit to a relationship. Mimi is what help brings light back into his life and she did help him come out of the house. Roger finally asked Mimi out. Then at the end of “La Vie Bohme”, Roger finds out that Mimi has HIV and finally decides to commit to a relationship with Mimi. “I Should Tell You” is the first time you realize the two are in love. That song allows you to love them as a couple.

These two do fight a lot, but yet still love each other. Their relationship in a way is like a “normal” relationship because in real life couples love each other, but sometimes don’t get along at times. It can be hard for them to stay in a relationship due to them both having HIV because at the time period it was basically a death sentence if you get the disease. When Roger leaves for Santa Fe, he just realizes how much he needs Mimi in his life. His song that he wanted to write before he dies is about his love for Mimi. But when he sings it is at a very inconvenient time. Mimi is dying (I think) during “Your Eyes”, but it is about Roger’s love for Mimi. Mimi almost died in Rent, but she does live. Roger’s love for Mimi gives her a second chance at life.

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Rent has some of the most controversial couples, but they still are unique. I still don’t fully know why I love Roger and Mimi the most out of all three, but at least I have a better idea.

Big Character Moments in Musicals

I have talked about musical characters a lot on this blog. But I don’t think at once I brought up what their big character moments are and that is where they develop the most. So in this post I will bring up characters and next to them say what their big moments are. Just to let you know, I might be missing some big moments from characters that I can’t think of right now.

Possible Major or Spoilers Ahead:

Elphaba:

Wizard and I- this is an important step for Elphaba. This happens very early on in the show. Elphaba shows in this song that she just wants to be accepted. She is quite hopeful in this scene and still innocent because she is still quite young-basically college age.

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2. Popular-yes, I put one of Glinda’s song with Elphaba’s big moments and I say it is because it is when the two girls become friends for the first time.

3. For Good- this is a big moment for her because that is when she understands just how important her friendship with Glinda is.

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4. Defying Gravity-this is when Elphaba truly matures.

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Glinda: 

  1. Popular-this is a new step for Glinda when she befriends Elphaba. This moment is important for both girls because it is when they become friends, which is the center of the show

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2. For Good-it is here as well because this is really when Glinda realizes the impact that Elphaba has had on her life

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Fiyero: 

  1. Lion Cub Scene-this may be a speaking scene, but it still is a big moment for Fiyero. Fiyero may not notice it this time, but this when the audience notices that he in fact has a crush on Elphaba. It is hard to describe why this is an important moment for Fiyero, but it is an important step for him.

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2. Thank Goodness-this is when Fiyero puts a big curve on the love triangle. While everyone was spreading rumors about Elphaba, he realizes something important. He has truly matured at this point and discovers that he in fact is in love with Elphaba and not Glinda.

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Eponine: 

  1. On My Own-this is the moment where she finally accepts the situation she is currently in. She talks about how empty her life is through lyrics like “without a home, without a friend, without a face to say hello to” and “a world that’s full of happiness that I have never known. On top of all of that darkness, she also is dealing with unrequited love for Marius and here is when she can accept the fact that Marius will never love her, but it does bring up the fact that she will continue to stand by his side despite the the unrequited love.

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Jean Valjean: 

What Have I Done?- this is a gigantic step for Valjean. He has been released from prison after nineteen years just because he stole a loaf of friend for his family. Right before this scene, the bishop give him food and a place to sleep for the night, but Valjean still steals the bishop’s silver. But when the police took him back, the bishop laid and said that it was a gift. Through the bishop, Valjean has learned the ways of the Lord. Through this song, Valjean reflects on this past and the kindness of the bishop and realizes he has to change and become a better person.

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Meeting Cosette- this is so important because Cosette was the first person he ever loved after being released so she gives him a new purpose in life.unknown-2

  1. Who Am I?- another big moment for Valjean. An innocent man accused of being him is in court so Valjean has a tough decision to make. Does he save the innocent man or does he not? Valjean has decided to turn himself in despite the fact that he still is going to help Fantine.
  2. Bring Him Home-Valjean has arrived at the barricades to protect Marius, Cosette’s love. Here he is praying to save him.

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Boy, Valjean has a lot of big character moments due to how complex he is and how much he changes throughout the show.

Marius: 

  1. Empty Chairs at Empty Tables- this is Marius’ big song. He is suffering through survivor’s guilt after being the only survivor at the barricade. He has lost everyone from Eponine to Gavroche to Enjolras and the rest of his friends. I can’t exactly describe why this is a big character moment for Marius, but it is.

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Jack Kelly: 

  1. Santa Fe- this scene is when Jack starts to go through a lot of inner conflict, but it still is an important moment for him. He sees this huge fight break out due to the strike and sees Cruthcie being arrested. Because of what he witnessed, he is about ready to give up on the strike even though he does not want to give on the other Newsies especially because he is their leader. He has such a wonderful bond to Crutchie and that drives him a lot of inner conflict, which makes this song sad.

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2. Something to Believe In- yes, I think a big character moment for Jack is in a love song. But this is truly the moment where Jack is able to get through his inner conflict. It shows just how much Katherine believes in him. Leading up to this, she saw some of his drawings and thinks it would be a good idea if they put them in the paper. This song really helps Jack climb out of the inner conflict. That inner conflict made Jack a complex character.

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Newsies as a Whole: 

  1. The World Will Know- this is when the Newsies decides to unionize to head towards the strike so it is an important part to the story
  2. Seize the Day-this is truly when the strike begins. They understand the meaning of courage which is shown through the lyrics, “courage cannot erase our fear. courage is when we face our fear”
  3. Once and For All- this is yet another big character moment for the characters. This is the last step of their strike. They start printing their own papers and this shows their cause and this is when it truly comes out. This song shows their determination and shows that Jack has not given up yet despite the fact that he recently has gone through a lot of inner conflict.

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Students of the ABC: 

  1. Do You Hear the People Sing- this is when they go to the streets to try to rally up citizens to help in their strike. It shows just how passionate and hopeful they are when it comes to the strike. It is their revolutionary anthem so it is important step  towards the uprising
  2. Drink With Me- this song is important to the cause. They understand that their uprising is a lost cause and feel hopeless. They know most likely they will die the next day. You can really understand their love for each other throughout this song. Marius is still upset over the loss of Eponine, but he sings about Cosette because it is his hope that he will be able to see her again since he loves her.

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Pippin:

  1. Corner of the Sky- this is when Pippin realizes what he truly wants in life. He wants to find out where he belongs so this song shows what his main goal of this story is. He just wants to find his “corner of the sky”, so he starts going on this kind of adventure after this.

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Roger:

  1. One Song Glory- here is where we find what Roger’s main goal is. He hopes to write one last song before he dies of HIV. Here we can understand how hurt he is at this point due to what happened in his last relationship. This hurt makes you understand why he is so reluctant to enter a relationship with Mimi
  2. I Should Tell You-this is the first time that Roger realizes that he needs Mimi in his life. It is when he finally decides to enter a relationship with her so this is a big step for him.

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So you see character big moments are important. I honestly wish I could add more. Do you agree with these characters moments. What are some big character moments you can think of?

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Couples of Rent

As some of you know, I saw Rent over the weekend. I thought for today I talk about each of the couples that are present in Rent. There is Mimi and Roger, Maureen and Joanne, and Collins and Angel.

Major Spoiler Alert:

First up is Mimi and Roger, the main couple. There are some problems in this relationship, but they are still my favorite couple from Rent. Roger and Mimi are the only heterosexual couple in the show. They are both HIV positive and Roger is reluctant on entering a relationship with her even after falling in love with Mimi. I don’t blame him because at the beginning of the show, he is dealing with depression after his former girlfriend, April, killed herself after finding out she has HIV, which is how Roger found out that he has HIV. In addition, he is a recovering drug addict. He doesn’t want to even leave the house and hopes to write one last song before he dies.

Mimi enters during “Light My Candle” and the two find this connection. In this song, we discover that Mimi is a drug addict. Roger is still unwilling to enter into a relationship with her and that is discovered in “Another Day” when he pushes her away. Mimi was how Roger got of his depression and after “Will I” he leaves the house for the first time. He finally asks her out on a date to the life cafe after Maureen’s protest. Even during “La Vie Boheme”, he still ignores her all night long, but he is trying, but still finds it difficult. But after the number, he discovers that Mimi is HIV positive as well. Throughout “I Should Tell You”, you can feel their love for each other and they finally enter into a relationship.

But the problems still continue in act II. It must be hard because they are both HIV positive. When Roger leaves for Santa Fe, he realizes that Mimi was the song all along. He actually writes a song talking about his love for Mimi. But he sings it at an inconvenient time. He sings to her as it seems as if she is going to die, but she lives. Yes they fight throughout Rent, but they do love each other. Despite the relationship struggles, I still find them to be my favorite couple in Rent. Just don’t know why, but I just love them.

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Then there is Angel and Collins, a gay couple and another one where both characters have HIV. This is the couple where no problems exist. They connect after Angel finds Collins in the street after he has been attacked by people. They instantly find a connection and because they know they both have HIV, they live life to the fullest and don’t fight once. So they make the most of their relationship.

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I find the most problematic relationship to be the one between Maureen and Joanne. Mark used to date Maureen, but Maureen eventually started dating Joanne. They are the two of the characters who do not have HIV. Maureen is bisexual and she is very crazy, but still sweet. She always seems to flirt on other boys, which annoys Joanne. They seem to fight a lot more often than Roger and Mimi.

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Who is your favorite couple from Rent? If you don’t love or like Rent, who is your favorite musical couple?

Measured in Love

I have been waiting 2,628,000 minutes to see Rent. It was so worth the wait and exceeded my expectations. So today I will be reviewing Rent and waiting five years was worth it and I needed it yesterday.

So what is Rent about? Rent is about a group of friends and their life in a year in the midst of the HIV and AIDS epidemic. You have filmmaker and narrator Mark, HIV positive and musician Roger, HIV positive and dancer Mimi, HIV positive Collins, HIV positive and compassionate Angel, crazy and performance artist Maureen, lawyer Joanne and landlord Benny. There are three couples in this musical, who are Roger and Mimi, Collins and Angel and Maureen and Joanne. They discover throughout the musical that you should measure your lives in love and live in the moment. There is so much fear, uncertainty, but also a lot of love because the relationship between this friends is like a family.

In this cast, I had Kaleb Wells as Roger, Sammy Ferber as Mark, Aaron Harrington as Collins, Marcus John as Benny, Jasmine Easler as Joanne, Aaron Alcaraz as Angel, Skyler Volpe as Mimi and Lyndie Moe as Maureen. I did not have a single understudy last night.

Possible Spoilers:

I found the entire cast to be amazing including the ensemble. Kaleb Wells played a wonderful Roger. Throughout “One Song Glory”, I could feel the heartbreaking nature of the song and this was the first time I got emotional during the song. I could see his unwillingness to enter into a relationship with Mimi despite the fact that he loves her. “Your Eyes” is a song that I always get emotional during, but still he portrayed that song incredibly.

Sammy Ferber really brought out the narrator side of Mark. I started to believe in him when he began the show. It makes sense that Mark is the narrator because he is a filmmaker. He is Roger’s best friend

Skyler Volpe played a good Mimi. She made a good match to Kaleb Well’s Roger. Throughout “Light My Candle”, I could tell they felt an attachment to each other. “I Should Tell” made me emotional and usually during love duets, I usually don’t get that emotional, but that song did. Throughout Roger and Mimi’s relationship, you can easily see their fighting and the anger throughout those as well. Roger and Mimi are my favorite couple even though they fight a lot, but you see Mimi so badly wanting to enter a relationship with Roger and who wants to live in the moment.  “Without You” is another one of those emotional moments and I did feel the emotion as well.

Aaron Alacaraz played a very sweet and energetic Angel. “Today For You” was the most energetic moment of his performance. He was a nice match to Aaron Harrington’s Collins. They are the only couple where there is no fighting. Because they both know they each have HIV, they live in the moment. Collins looks after Angel when Angel is dying of AIDS so they have a lovely relationship with each and their portrayals of the characters really shows.

Lyndie Moe was incredible as Maureen. I always knew Maureen was quite crazy. Lyndie Moe was able to bring out her crazy side but also brought out her sweet side because Maureen is both but mainly crazy. Her “Over the Moon” performance was quite hilarious and crazy, which is perfect for Maureen. I feel like Maureen and Joanne fight the most when it comes to their relationship especially because Maureen is always flirting with other guys.

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Jasmine Easler really made you feel how annoyed she can get when it comes to Maureen. Throughout “Tango Maureen”, Joanne and Mark talk about how Maureen can drive them nuts.

This entire group of friends is wonderful. During “Goodbye Love”, you could really feel it. They spent a lot of the song being angry with each other. This all happened soon after Angel died. But they eventually come to the conclusion that the best life to live is one filled with love.

Marcus John played Benny, one of my least favorite characters. I wish I could say some things about him, but I can’t seem to. Benny is their landlord and marries for money even though he eventually warms up and begins to rejoin the group of friends.

As for the small ensemble, they were wonderful. Each of the life support meetings got me emotional especially during “Will I”, which is quite a powerful song got me emotional and the song is only three lines repeated over and over with some overlap. Even the opening song, “Rent”, got me somewhat emotional. The two soloists in “Seasons of Love” were incredible. Rent is such a meaningful musical to me and glad I finally got to see it live. The finale of the show is one of the best ways to end a musical.

As for my seats, I had such a wonderful set. You could see the entire set and that was perfect and we were near the center of the Mezzanine. I loved the set. I have seen the final Broadway cast film, but never noticed there was an actual moon in the set. You can easily tell it starts on Christmas Eve because eventually this thing of junk lights up with Christmas light and later you can see it beginning to snow.  It looks like the East Village. You can actually see Mark’s video that he made during the second act.

I knew coming in I would be an emotional wreck, but wasn’t expecting to be as emotional as I got. Rent is a sad musical, but at the same time inspiring because it teaches you about the preciousness of life and why it is important to live in love and in the moment. At the time period that Rent takes place, there is a lot of fear and uncertainty because if you end up with HIV, it was basically a death sentence and they all measure their lives in love. No Day But Today.

Memorable Friendships in Musicals

I realized that I have blog posts mentioning memorable couples, families, and characters, but I have never mentioned memorable friendships I have come across. They have already been talked about, but never in the same place. Below is going to be a list of memorable friendships and I will explain why I love that friendship.

Possible Spoilers:

  1. Elphaba and Glinda- this friendship is the first friendship that comes to mind when I think of musicals. The musical after all talks about their friendship and they start out as rather reluctant roommates and they form a close bond. Even when they both fall in love with Fiyero, they don’t let a boy get in between them. Even when Glinda is in a relationship with Fiyero, Elphaba does not try to steal Fiyero away from her and Glinda does not try to steal Fiyero back when Fiyero enters into a relationship with Elphaba. The song, “For Good” shows just how deep their friendship is and how they have touched each others lives and changed each other for the better.

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2. Jack Kelly and Crutchie- these two characters are from Newsies. Their friendship and bond is shown during “Santa Fe (Prologue). Jack is quite protective of Cructhie especially because Crutchie has a bum leg. He does not want Cructhie to end up in the Refuge because Jack knows through experience how horrible that place is and knows just how vulnerable Crutchie will be there. They are so close and they do sleep on the same rooftop. When Cruthcie gets arrested later on in act I after a big fight breaks out , it causes Jack a lot of inner conflict because he knows Cruthcie will be sent to the Refuge and knows his friend will be quite vulnerable there

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3. Newsies- I love the brotherly love they have for each other. They are like this one big family. Jack is the leader of them all. You first realize how amazing their bond is during “Carrying the Banner”. When Pulitizer raised the prices of the papers, they go on strike to stand up for what they believe in and they support each other.

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4. Friends of the ABC- similar to the Newsies, is the Friends of the ABC. They are from Les Mis. Enjolras is the leader of this group and just like the Newsies, they have a brotherly love for each other. This group is a political group and are planning an uprising in response to the weak government France has at the time. They are so passionate towards their cause and even when they know they are going to lose, they still stand up for what they believe in. The first scene you meet them as a whole is during “Red and Black” and each song they sing is full of passion and hope. But “Drink With Me” isn’t full of hope, but instead is full of sadness because they know at that point, they are most likely going to lose and most likely going to lose their lives.

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5. Rent friends- Mark, Roger, Mimi, Angel, Collins, Maureen, and Joanne form a very close bond throughout Rent. They are like family and even in the midst of fear, they live in the moment and in love. They do struggle at times, but they always remain close friends.

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What are some memorable close friendships? What is your favorite musical friendship?