MISSION: To visit every state and territory in the U.S. For my mission a visit is greater than a stop over; I wish to explore the natural and cultural environments of these areas. Each of these locations has a story to tell, and I want to find it.

As of February 2018 I have visited all 50 states (and Puerto Rico and 2 island in the US Virgin Islands) at least once.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Shows, Shows - So Many Shows

Fourth of July Weekend - I had a date with New York City and the theatre.  It was such a strong season and I have fallen behind.  There have been so many shows I was interested in that I just missed; and, a new crop of shows announced their closing dates.  So, I headed into the City to play catch-up with theatre and 4 shows (3 of which had announced closing dates this summer).

First up, Finding Neverland.  Originally, I was supposed to see this with a friend in January - we had tickets for the weekend that HUGE snow storm hit the east coast.  I was supposed to see Original Cast members, but the mayor closed the theatres that Saturday; our tickets were cancelled (a first for me), and I have not been able to make another attempt until now.  Almost 6 months later, we rescheduled our theatre meet-up to see this show (based of the movie based on the book), a story of the creation of Peter Pan.  And it was just stunningly beautiful.  We laughed, we cried, we ahhed and wowed.  The music ripped your heart out and the visuals created the dream like sequences as imagination took over. The sequence during  "Circus of Your Mind" left my jaw on the floor, from the power of the sound wall, to the creation of the carousal with the dances and props.  Just a visually stunning, emotionally draining, heartfelt show about the power of love and life.   So glad we finally got to see this it. 

Luckily, we had something much more lighthearted lined up for the evening... She Loves Me.  This show has been on my radar since it was in casting... hello, with the likes of Laura Benanti, Zachary Levi, Jane Krakowski and Gavin Creel, I was sold hook, line and sinker.  This classic show revival is a well known story of man and women make a bad first impression and despise each other in person while they correspond anonymously and are deeply in love - think She's Got Mail.  The sets were sugary sweet - colored like mounds of cotton candy, and situated like the largest doll house ever made.  I was in love.  And the songs... 2 weeks later I am still singing some of these ditties. I could listen all day to Gavin Creel sing, and Zachary Levi - he puts forth so much charisma, you completely "get" what his guy is feeling.  And when I went shopping, I had to buy some "Vanilla Ice Cream" in honor of Laura Benanti's souring soprano ode to love.  And ladies, if you need a song to remind you stop putting up with the "game", look no further than "I Resolve"!  I do wish we had better seats for this show, Studio 54 was not kind to the acoustics, but the cast album has filled in the holes we missed when sounds died on stage.  If we still hade records, I would have worn out my copy by now.

I switched things up a bit when I decided to commit to "Fully Committed."  I don't go to many plays.  It's not that I don't enjoy them; its just with my limited time, I prefer soaring music and amazing dancing.  But, I missed Jesse Tyler Ferguson when he was in Putnam County Spelling Bee... this was a new chance AND I had read amazing things about this show and his ability to manage so many characters at once.  What happens when you are manning a reservation desk in an NYC Hot restaurant and everything that can go wrong does... funny stuff!!!  I will admit, it took me a bit to get used to the presentation, where he answers the phone and becomes both sides of the conversation, but sometime during the play, that transition fell away and all I was left with was pure awe for this man's talent and comedic timing.  I swear, he was balancing 4 characters during one call, and in total I think he played over 40 different personalities.  It was pure awesomeness. 

The one show that I saw that weekend that was not closing was the Carole King story - Beautiful.  But, Sunday night?  I was so happy to have a few choices on Sunday evening (most shows have a matinee only on Sunday).  So, finally, I would get to see the story of this protolithic song writer.  I missed the show  when it first debuted on Broadway, and I missed it as the tour wound its way through DC last year... and honestly, I am still not sure that was the best decision.  There was a lot off in the first act; I swear we had stand-ins for understudies (or some variation of that) for much of the studio singers.  When Carole goes to the song writing factory, we are treated to a medley of classic 50's grooves, but so much was off key.  Without the leads (that were the current crop of leads in the show), I don't think I could have stuck it out.  It was unfortunate; I was relieved when the show clicked once Carole and Cynthia Weil's friendship was forged.  The show took off to tell the story and not just sing hits. 

Coming home from a Broadway binge is always tough.  But I eased the transition by planning to see a few stage shows.  First up, the dance tour Our Way!  I love the fact that the silly (but oh so enjoyable) Dancing With The Stars has made household names out of so many of its incredible dancers.  And I love that some of them have amassed such a following that they can tour on their names and abilities.  Its a freaking national dance tour.  The former dancer in me is eating this up.  I had to go... and I am so happy I did!  Its a mixture of ballroom and funk.  Like when we go to a restaurant and call 2 styles mixed up - fusion, this was a fusion dance tour.  A little traditional (we got a whole waltz sequences), a little Latin (there was an amazing samba number, a little throwback (Tootsie Roll!), and a whole lotta funk.  I love seeing jazz get its moment!  Those men can move, and they ham it up showing just how much they love to dance.  The troupe was amazing.  And it was a gorgeous night of dance.  Watching dancing like this always make me reminisce about that feeling on stage... seeing a show like this (which is like a professional recital) take off, makes my heart soar! 

And as I get ready for my trip to Canada, I am taking an evening to go the Kennedy Center and see the tour of Bridges of Madison County.  Kennedy Center put the tickets on discount... and I did not get to see this shows 4 week run in NYC.  I heard it was better than expected, it won a Tony for Best Score (as well as one for Kelly OHara).  I purchased the cast recording to see for myself... I am not expecting confetti and steamers to blast from that stage like Our Way, or for candy colored staging like She Loves Me, but I am hoping to be moved... fingers crossed.

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