I had the pleasure of seeing Waitress on Broadway back in October as a belated birthday present. My mom, sister, and I took advantage of the show’s “Buy One, Get One for $10” deal to grab discounted tickets for a Sunday matinee, and as much as I’ve gotten used to the post-evening show hustle through Times Square to make my train home, it was nice to drive in with people and leave the theater a little more relaxed than usual.
Waitress has been on my list of must-see Broadways show for awhile, and at this point, it was really the only new musical that I was interested in seeing. Even now, I’m more looking forward to next season’s revivals than its new shows. The cast recording became essay-writing music for me in my last semester of school, and I figured that, if anything, seeing the show would be a fun, girly afternoon with my mom and sister.
Based on the 2007 indie film, Waitress tells the story of Jenna, a diner waitress in a small southern town who finds herself pregnant by her abusive husband. In addition to feeling ambivalent about becoming a mother, she has a talent for baking unique pies, and schemes to raise enough money to enter a pie-making contest that could allow her to leave her husband and start anew. Things become complicated when Jenna starts falling for her married OB/GYN, and the plot also explores her coworkers’ experiences with finding love.
It’s no secret that I’ve been dying to see Anastasia on Broadway. I grew up adoring the 1997 animated film, and when I was older, I loved reading both nonfiction and fiction about the end of the Romanov dynasty. Even upon hearing about the notable differences of the stage musical (stick to the movie if you want to see Rasputin and Bartok), I was so eager to find a chance to see this show!
With the summer winding down, I was ready to pull a Fiddler on the Roof and ask for Anastasia tickets for my birthday. However, when I ended up in the city for a networking opportunity back in August, I was free by 1:30 with a completely open evening ahead of me. With the whole afternoon free, I wandered around until the daily discounts at the Times Square TKTS booth went up around 2:30. If you aren’t familiar with TKTS, check out the video I found below!
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!
The last Dream Casting blog I did was for Into the Woods, and today I wanted to do another Dream Casting for one of those classic shows I saw so many community productions of while growing up. The Music Man probably has my favorite overall score of any show – the songs are so easy to catch onto and are fun yet beautiful.
I think a huge part of The Music Man‘s initial appeal is Robert Preston in the title role both in the original Broadway production and in the film. Any other Harold Hill, professional or amateur, seems to fail in comparison because they’re (consciously or not) trying to emulate Preston’s unique style.
This may be why Broadway revivals of The Music Man are few and far between. There was a 1980 production with Dick Van Dyke that’s considered a revival, but it lasted less than a month after its opening. The 2000 production with Rebecca Luker and Craig Bierko lasted a little over a year and a half, which is a pretty standard run for a revival, but those are huge gaps between versions. What with Carousel and My Fair Lady being revived next year, there isn’t much room for another large-scale classic from that era, but I’m hoping for a Music Man revival in the next few years! So, I lived vicariously by casting my dream company of the show.
Harold Hill – James Monroe Iglehart or Seth MacFarlane
Seth MacFarlane is often the Internet’s choice for an ideal Harold Hill because he performed a very Preston-esque rendition of “Ya Got Trouble” at BBC Proms. I have to admit, I forgive Seth for all of his gross humor (ugh, remember the Oscars?) when I hear him sing musical theater, but I really don’t see him doing a Broadway show. I think he’d be a safe revival choice if producers want to please an older generation that likes their traditional musicals. However, current Hamilton star James Monroe Iglehart said in a recent interview that he would love to play Hill if non-traditional casting was embraced, and I sort of love the idea!
This post has been a long time coming since I saw the new Broadway musical Bandstand in previews back in April. Now with the show’s cast recording out, I’ve listened to a few songs recently and I think the show’s effect has finally sunk in for me. So, I’m ready to share my opinions on the show! Keep in mind that because I saw it in previews (albeit later in its preview run), there’s a possibility that some of its elements have changed since I was in the audience.
Going into the experience, I was really excited because I love the show’s World War II era. If I’m reading historical fiction, there’s like a 95% chance it’s set in the 1940s and exploring the before, after, or immediacy of the war. I also love hearing about the American homefront during the war, probably because I read so much about Europe in that time and there isn’t a huge literary focus on the States. I also adore Glenn Miller-esque music, which was a huge selling point of the show for me.
Originally produced at Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey, Bandstand presents a group of young WWII veterans returning home and dealing with the mental effects that the fighting has caused. Compared to now, the idea of PTSD is virtually nonexistent, and the men feel even more isolated from their homes because of such a lack of understanding these mental changes.
I always feel like I came into the podcast game a little later than everyone else, listening to some for the first time about two or three years ago. In actuality, I think there was a huge surge in podcast production over the last year or so, and the forum has gained so much more attention as literally anything in the pop culture world seems to have a well-known fan podcast now.
I’m not a huge fan of podcasts that consist of “unknowns” talking to a long-distance friend/relative/whatever. I also don’t really enjoy ones produced by bigger publications that might have a more serious reputation and think podcasts will get the “young folk” interested. I’ve also never listened to Serial or any podcasts that are like a radio play, and I don’t think I’m really interested in trying them out. My favorite ones tend to focus on a certain theme I’m already a fan of, and I love hearing deep discussion about a production’s little inconsistencies or fun facts.
That being said, I’d like to share my four favorite podcasts with you and talk about why they’re so great!
Arguably the greatest podcast success story out there, Gilmore Guys is so popular that the titular guys, Kevin T. Porter and Demi Adejuyigbe, partner with Up TV for its Gilmore Girls airings and have interviewed several of the show’s stars. Coming from the perspective of a longtime fan (Kevin) and a first-time viewer (Demi), the podcast goes through each episode of Gilmore Girls and discusses characters’ fashion, pop culture references, how an episode was originally advertised, general critique of the episode’s storyline, and more. The guys are hilarious and have great chemistry with each other and their guest co-hosts, and they’ve even done live shows for some later episodes that are absolute must watches (I recommend this one if you have the time!).
Hi friends! My first post-college summer is in full swing and amidst weekly (or daily) freakouts about life, I’ve finally emerged from a rough slump where I really wasn’t in the mood to take in any kind of cultural stuff. I wanted to share some things I’ve been loving lately that have made this transition into real life a little smoother.
Jill Mansell books
I read my first Jill Mansell book years ago and remember thinking it was just okay. Last month, I found myself in the mood for some of my beloved British contemporary fiction (the mood strikes whenever I’m particularly homesick for London, and what with everything going on in the UK in June, I guess it hit me hard). Having come across Mansell’s section on my library OverDrive, I downloaded one at random, Three Amazing Things About You, and quickly fell in love with Mansell’s style. It’s lighthearted, funny chick lit, but still so satisfying – I call her books the written equivalent of films like Love Actually.
Welcome back to my blog, friends! I’ve had a crazy month and a half or so of schoolwork, internship projects, and freak-outs about life that kept me from blogging regularly, but with summer on the horizon, I’m trying to get back into a nice writing routine!
Recently, I purposely made a post about my Tony nomination predictions so it was out before award announcements, and am planning on a reaction post to seeing the Broadway musical Bandstand. For now, as a nice catch-up to get the blog back in order, I wanted to do a News Worthy-esque post about recent cultural news or events that excited me!
Jessie Mueller and Joshua Henry are starring in a Broadway revival of Carousel next year. The sound that came out of my mouth when I saw this headline was not human. I love Jessie Mueller, and recently fell in love with my birthday buddy Joshua Henry through his HamJams on Instagram. I love how this is a pairing no one would have really considered in casting speculation but now that it’s happening, everyone loves it! The fact that a black man was cast as Billy in Carousel is also huge and amazing. With a My Fair Lady revival already announced for next season as well, the 2018 musical revival category is looking pretty strong.
The last semester of college has been slowly killing me as far as having energy for outside blogging, but with things quickly winding down, I’m hoping to get back into it! I have some other posts coming up, like a general catch-up and my reaction to seeing Bandstand on Broadway, but given this crazily competitive theater season and the upcoming announcement of Tony nominations on May 2, I wanted to share my predictions for the musical categories. So many shows are officially opening in the next week or so, and Tony season is also a make-or-break time for new shows to gain some traction or quietly close a month after opening (remember Tuck Everlasting last year?)
I’m still incredibly excited for all of the new musicals premiering this season, but there are some classic musicals that I think are long overdue for Broadway revivals. Growing up, we watched a lot of the popular, traditional movie musicals – Rodgers & Hammerstein, Disney live action – that really solidify your view of Broadway as a flashy song-and-dance place no matter how much you enjoy newer and more experimental musicals.
The Music Man
Last on Broadway: 2000