The last few weeks of summer dragged for me, bringing plenty of important but sad news regarding politics and the world, but not enough happy, fun cultural news. Now, just as you snap back into gear for school or work after Labor Day, the past week’s pop culture announcements have been crazy! Given that there’s still a few weeks before fall TV starts, I’m thrilled for the release of so much news to hold me over!
More casting news for next year’s Carousel revival, which I’m so excited for, was released. Betsy Wolfe, who’s currently playing Jenna in Waitress, will play Julie Jordan’s best friend Carrie. Having watched Betsy’s current Broadway.com series and realized how great of a career she’s had, I think she and Jessie Mueller will be great in their scenes together. The two also starred together in The Mystery of Edwin Drood several years ago, and I love seeing old costars reunite for new projects. Carousel‘s marquee also went up this week at the Imperial Theatre, and I think the artwork is so old school and classy. While I’m waiting on My Fair Lady casting news to determine if it’s worth seeing, I’m definitely planning on going to Carousel and seeing this awesome cast!
People went totally gaga over Hello, Dolly! this year and Bette Midler as Dolly was pegged as the performance to see. Confession: I don’t know the story of Hello, Dolly! at all and never had any interest in seeing it, even though the response I’ve seen to it has been overwhelmingly positive. I wasn’t a fan of the leads (although I love Gavin Creel) and I’m stubborn when it comes to hype (and a little stingy when it comes to really expensive show tickets).
However, when Bernadette Peters and Victor Garber were announced as Midler’s and David Hyde Pierce’s replacements for this January, I died. I’ve loved Victor Garber since seeing him as Oliver Warbucks in the TV movie version of Annie, and he just screams of a a classic New York actor who is very much of a different era and brings that experience to his work. I also love Bernadette Peters. Again, she was an actor I was exposed to very early on in movie musicals when she played Lily in the original Annie movie and Sophie in Anastasia. Both she and Garber were also in the 1997 version of Cinderella. In recent years, I’ve become absolutely obsessed with her voice in Into the Woods and recordings from her Sondheim tribute concert. She and Garber are the sole reasons I’ve started considering finding a ticket to see them early in their run. To me, they are worthy of once-in-a-lifetime performances, and those producers have definitely succeeded in casting replacements of the same caliber as the original actors.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a big royal family fangirl. I always hoped William and Kate would have a third child because their family is just adorable. Following their move to London and the announcement that they would be taking on more royal duties after Prince Philip’s retirement, I read articles suggesting that these factors would prevent them from having another kid. It seems that I wasn’t the only surprised one when Kensington Palace announced the couple’s third pregnancy. Nonetheless, I’m thrilled. The timing of the announcement played out right as the publicity around the twentieth anniversary of Princess Diana’s death died down. I find that very symbolic, showing that William has created this sweet family life that Diana would be proud of.
In other royal news, Prince George started school this week, and while the video footage of him arriving shows him looking a little shy and reserved, this photo of George and William before they left home is precious!
To top off the big week for the royals, Meghan Markle was featured in a Vanity Fair article discussing her relationship with Prince Harry. I still don’t really have any strong opinions for or against Meghan, but I think she and Harry are a cute fit. An engagement would be a great way to end an exciting year for the family, just saying.
“We’re in love. I’m sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time. This is for us. It’s part of what makes it so special, that it’s just ours. But we’re happy. Personally, I love a great love story.”
As I mentioned earlier this summer, I’m a big Bachelorette fan. This year, some friends and I even had a group chat while watching the show. Between that and discovering Bachelor Nation podcasts, I became an analytic, devoted franchise fan in a way I never was before. I never watch too much of The Bachelor, but was very invested in who the lead would be this year.
It turns out that it’s a blast from the past this time: Arie Luyendyk Jr., who finished in second place on Emily Maynard’s season, is the new Bachelor. I’m honestly so excited about this decision! Most fans’ responses showed that they had no clue who he was, making me feel old because Emily’s season was the second Bachelorette season I watched. I have such a soft spot for her season and Ashley Hebert’s because it was a much simpler time for the show. Social media wasn’t the selling point it is now, and people genuinely went on the show to find love or at least just have a cool experience.
Contestants from those years haven’t stuck around as Instagram celebrities or influencers as much as people from the last two or three years have. A few may have trickled onto Bachelor Pad (I preferred this to Bachelor in Paradise), but for the most part, everyone went back to their normal lives and careers after doing the show. Arie is now almost 36, and because of both his age and the more genuine era of Bachelor Nation that he experienced, I’m hoping for an old-school season that will bring the show back to its purer days. I think producers also chose contestants based on Peter Kraus, who’s in his early thirties, so there will hopefully be some older women closer to Arie’s age.
I admire Reese Witherspoon so much. She’s made opportunities for both herself and other women by starting her own production company and values women’s stories in film and TV. She recently wrote an essay for Glamour about ambition that I think anyone struggling to stay confident and motivated should read.
“Because here’s the deal: You can complain about these things. You can get stuck in the emotion of it—and sometimes I do, and I get really angry. I’ll get pissed off and stomp around the house. The anger comes from such a deep, real place for me. But my mother always said to me, “If you want something done, do it yourself.”
It’s safe to say that this week of news has gotten me so motivated to write more! Be on the lookout for more posts!