“‘Cause every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take
A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make“
HELLO Gentle Reader!!!
Christmas time always brings around one of two things.. 1. A Star Wars movie or 2. a feel-good movie. I skipped 1 and went directly to 2. And I don’t regret it.
To say The Greatest Showman is a fantastic movie is barely doing the film justice in my opinion.
The idea of bringing yourself and others up from being held under by circumstances like class or appearance or race weaves a moving story of the start P.T. Barnum’s (Hugh Jackman) career, a dreamer with the belief that he can create a life for his family that is the complete opposite of his childhood. However, focusing on trying to fight your past can create other issues with your present.
Jackman’s performance is spectacular in all facets; the acting was clear and strong, the dancing was amazing (his clarity of movement and lines were mesmerizing), but for me, his singing was the clincher. If you were to listen to his performances in Oklahoma or Les Miserables or Boy From Oz, you know his “sound.” He’s a belter. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes I want to hear a little variety in a voice. The Showman music has allowed him to show more of his voice in a way that I feel hasn’t been featured much, if at all. I was expecting it for Bring Him Home in Les Mis but never got it. Hearing him use this lower register more was like being given the most wonderfully unexpected surprise. This role could not have been played by anyone else that I can think of with the same power.
The major theme of acceptance runs throughout the film. From Barnum wanting to elevate his status in society, to the performers in his circus wanting to just be a part of society not just its freak show as well as self acceptance, to Barnum’s wife, Charity (wonderfully played by Michelle Williams) who just wants a simple life with her family, to Zac Efron’s socialite producer, Phillip Carlyle, who is too afraid to lose status in society to find something that makes him happy. The entire ensemble was fantastic. I was so happy to hear how talented all the actors were.
The script was written by Jenny Bicks (Emmy winner for Sex and the City) and Bill Condon (Oscar winner for Chicago and Dreamgirls). It is no wonder why this movie feels so polished in its storytelling.
The beautiful and uplifting songs were written by the team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, A Christmas Story and the incredible Dear Evan Hansen) and are easily something that can be recorded into a pop song and played on the radio. I am a wee bit surprised that “This Is Me” “Never Enough” or “Rewrite the Stars” haven’t had that treatment yet. LOL. I found the music energetic and catchy and haven’t stopped listening to the soundtrack since.
Visually, it was a crazy spectacle of color and flash during the circus scenes interspersed with stunningly clear regular life. Some of the shots were just gorgeous. Two that pop in mind right away is during the number “Rewrite the Stars” there is a shot of Anne Wheeler (Zendaya) on the trapeze singing beautifully clear while the rest of the shot spins around her. Then, in “This is Me” there is a moment where Lettie (Keala Settle) turns around and then everything else around slows down. There are so many great shots but there is also one really bad one. LOL. It happens toward the end of the movie during “From Now On.” With so much great imagery, there is one that is just so jarringly out of place I wanted to flip a table. GRRRRR!!! When you see the movie, I am sure you will see it. Still, director Michael Gracey has made a very well done film.
I was really excited to see this movie and am so glad that I enjoyed it so much. This is like a little love letter to the dreamers. The people that want to be something more.
So this afternoon is the closing performance of my first show at the Pear Avenue Theatre Company, Super Villain. It has been a blast for sure. It was incredible to work on something that was totally nerdy and way edgier that anything that I have ever worked on in the past. Also, to do it with a company that I never had worked with before makes it that much more memorable. We had some audiences that were just average but we had two nights where the viewers were just catching every reference that was being thrown out there and in turn, we the cast, had a blast. We did have a night where the laughs were few and far between, but most were appreciative of the show. I am apprehensive/anxious about how the show will go over on today’s audience. I know, I know! I can’t control that issue, but I really want this show to close on a high note. So I have my fingers crossed that the average age of the viewer is closer to me than to my grandmother.
After my realization/breakdown with A Chorus Line, I, in earnest, began to seek out different theatre companies and opportunities to work with. I sought advice from my dear friend, Bill Starr, and ran with it. While it scares the ever-loving bejeezus out of me, I forced myself to try those places. I am really glad I did.
While I have had only a handful of auditions at other places (okay, okay! It was only three auditions in total) one of them has extended it’s hand out to me and offered me a role that I have had on the ol’ bucket list.
I don’t know if I am at liberty to tell, but after waiting a week and getting no response if I can or cannot, I am just gonna spill the proverbial beans…
Next May, down in Gilroy, I will be performing the role of Che in Evita!
Evita is the Cinderella story of Eva Peron, who tragically died of cancer at the age of 33. She went from rags to riches, using not just her sexuality, but also her brains. She knew that being smart wouldn’t be enough to get her what she wanted so she used her body as a short cut. I know there is more to it, but that is the Evita for Dummies version. I know there are some Andrew Lloyd Webber haters out there, but what care I? I have loved this show for decades and now I get to be a part of it. I thought that I would never get to do this show because it is so rarely performed and most recently it was done in the Northern Bay Area, but I already had commitments to another show. I thought my chance was long gone.
I am so friggin’ happy that I was wrong! I am past excited to start rehearsals in February that I wanna skip over Christmas and New Year’s and just get to work. He may not know it yet, but my good friend Kevin, offered to help me with music stuffs, so he’s going to be a busy guy! That’s what I love about him, the blind offers. Of course, I have to make it through the opera first.
Yes, dear reader, you have read that correctly. I am going to be in an opera. Not singing, no. Are you kidding? I can’t do that. No, my dance teacher is going to be choreographing an opera called Carlotta that takes place in the 1800’s in Spain, I believe. I will be strictly dancing. What I am really looking forward to is that her pieces are always great, but they differ than what she teaches in classes, so it will be fabulous to really dance the heck out of her work. I mean, it’s kind of hard to do it in a class that is full of people. Here there will only be 6.
I am really excited that the first part of the year is shaping up so well. I really look forward to what the second half will bring. Especially after the SF TBA General Auditions!
But THAT is a story for another day.
🎶 I’m gonna be a part of B.A, Buenos Aries – Big Apple! 🎶
Opening night of Sweet Charity had it’s share of hiccups, like both acts beginning late, and a few missed cues. However, for the most part it was a good performance. The basic comment that I got about the dancing, which I was expecting, was that the dances need tightening. I spent so much time in rehearsals going over every single step in detail (sometimes multiple times) that there wasn’t much time to actually run the dances. So that comment was something that I was expecting. One of the things that surprised me the most was that even with the problems that we had, most everyone said that the choreography was good. And, a director friend said that she will keep me in mind the next time she has a chance to direct. So while I am happy about that, I feel bad that I couldn’t give the cast more opportunities to run the dances.
On Sunday, I volunteered to usher. As I was waiting, I poked inside the audience and watched the warm ups. The cast was doing the vocal warm ups which was followed by a running of Brass Band. I watched this very closely, and what I saw was strange. I turned to my partner, who was also ushering, and asked, “Are they performing this better than they did last night?” To which, his response was “I was just thinking that!” I hate to assume, but I am venturing to guess that nerves were playing a part in the show on Saturday night.
Regardless, I wouldn’t mind giving them the chance to run the numbers a few more times to boost their confidence in the steps, and to tighten up the performances. There hasn’t been a mention of a brush up rehearsal on Thursday night, but I will be happy to be there.
Now that Sweet Charity is officially opened, I don’t know what I am going to do with all my time!
Of course I am kidding. I will be trying to set up meetings with other companies, requesting interviews with more people, and researching more stuff that inspires.
Hey, maybe I’ll dust off the instruments. Don’t get the reference? Take a listen to the podcast.