A Reaction to Broadway’s ‘My Fair Lady’

I have a soft spot for Broadway revivals. Depending on the season, I’m usually either excited or neutral about new, original musicals, but nothing beats seeing gorgeous, full-blown productions of the shows I grew up loving. I’m still waiting for a revival of The Music Man, but in the meantime, I had the pleasure of seeing My Fair Lady at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater last week. While it’s never been one of my favorites, I’ve always adored My Fair Lady‘s score, and seeing it on such a grand scale was wonderful.

Following Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle’s mission to improve her dialect with lessons from linguistics expert Professor Henry Higgins, this revival originally opened in April. TV star Lauren Ambrose played Eliza Doolittle, and after scoring a Tony nomination, she left the production to film a TV series. Acclaimed Broadway star Laura Benanti, who I’ve grown to love for her humor and great social media presence, then stepped into what she has long described as her dream role. She joined original company members Harry Hadden-Paton as Henry Higgins and Norbert Leo Butz as Alfred Doolittle.

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October 2018 Reads

Happy November! This is my favorite time of year — the weather has finally realized it’s autumn, Oscar bait movies are hitting the theaters, and the general merriment and chaos of the holiday season is in the air. While I have several contemporary reads coming up on my library holds list, I mostly read historical fiction in October. Four of these books were NetGalley ARCs, but two of them have since been published and are receiving some well-deserved praise!

Although the ratings of this lineup suggest the books were fairly average, the majority of them had special elements that really stood out to me and kept me invested.

One Day in December, by Josie Silver (★★★★☆)

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In her early twenties near the Christmas holidays, Laurie spots a man waiting on the street below from the top deck of a London bus. They make eye contact and have an inexplicably strong connection. Laurie and her best friend Sarah spend the next year searching London for the mystery man. She finds him the following Christmas when Sarah introduces him as Jack, her boyfriend. The rest of the book follows Laurie and Jack over the next several years, becoming close friends while avoiding the fact that they once shared that special moment.

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What I Wish I Hadn’t Missed

Distance not only gives nostalgia, but perspective, and maybe objectivity.

~ Robert Morgan

1) Simon & Garfunkel’s Central Park concert

2) Newsreels played before movies

3) Wearing a hat and gloves for your daily errands

4) Midnight releases of the early Harry Potter books

5) The original Broadway productions of My Fair Lady and The Music Man

6) Experiencing high school without text messages

7) A television world with only three main channels

8) The heyday of Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire movies

9) Nights that ended with watching Johnny Carson

10) The prime era of drive-in movies

11) The hair and fashion of the 1940s and ’50s

12) Sitting with loved ones while watching the very last episode of M*A*S*H 

13) Nora Ephron’s New York

14) Baggy flannels and wide-rimmed glasses being ’90s men’s go-to fashion

15) The Tina Fey-Amy Poehler era of SNL‘s Weekend Update

16) Watching new Friends episodes on Thursdays

17) Gene Shalit’s TODAY Show segments

18) The novelty of the first few seasons of Real World

19) Swaying to Glenn Miller at USO dances

20) Needing to watch TV in real time at risk of never seeing a certain episode

21) Consciously living through the height of the Spice Girls’ fame

22) Big, wavy hair being in style, a la Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally

23) Being able to avoid feeling engulfed by the news or that I’m missing the next best thing, and knowing that we can disconnect without realizing we’re doing so

One of the virtues of being very young is that you don’t let the facts get in the way of your imagination.

~ Sam Levenson

A Reaction to Broadway’s ‘Waitress’

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.

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A Reaction to Broadway’s ‘Anastasia’

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!

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News Worthy: 9/4 – 9/8

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!

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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. Carousels 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!

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Dream Casting: ‘The Music Man’

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!

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A Reaction to Broadway’s ‘Bandstand’

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.

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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.

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What’s New: A Catch Up

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!

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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.

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My 2017 Tony Nominee Predictions

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?)

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