Monthly Archives: December 2012

les miserables touring cast

Les Miserables Touring Cast Washington DC Reviews – Get Tickets Here

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les miserables touring cast

les miserables touring cast

I just went to see the 25th anniversary touring cast of Les Miserables at the National Theatre in Washington DC and was absolutely blown away!   I was nervous about seeing it because the movie comes out on Tuesday, but I am extremely happy I went, besides the overweight guy next to me elbowing me during the first half and the rude guy snorting behind me, I don’t think I’ve teared that much since I saw Phantom which is one of my favorite shows.  Overall the 25th anniversary touring cast of Les Miserables reviews should be amazing.  They did an awesome job.  Here’s my full Les Miserables Review.

Buy les miserables tickets here.

The only negative things I had to say about the show were that the grown up Cosette was not memorable.  You didn’t remember her, you don’t think of her and she just didn’t exist.  The same could be said for Marius.

The difference between Marius and Cosette is that Marius had an awesome voice.  Unfortunately he lacked any and all stage presence.  On the barricade, you didn’t see him, even when they called him out.  Instead you watch other people.  At his wedding with Cosette, you were watching other characters and they both disappeared.  You enjoyed watching him as Eponine died, but that is only because Briana Carlson-Goodman was holy sh*t amazing!  If she was the Eponine I saw in the London cast of Les Miserables,  the scene would have died, not the characters.  In his defense, his microphone didn’t seem to be working correctly during the first act, but his acting and his voice were solid, he just lacked the ability to grab your interest and stand out.  The blond guy and the guy with the brown hair that was combed to one side caught your eye the entire time, even when the spotlight was on Marius. The last weak cast member was Jean Val Jean.

He acted like he didn’t want to be there.  He walked on stage, sang his song and left.  He honestly looked like he didn’t care.  I don’t care if it’s the holidays and you might want to be with your family, or if you’re just having a bad day and wanting to be a diva.  People are paying over $100 per ticket to see this show and for the person playing Jean Val Jean to give a performance like he was annoyed and didn’t care about being there is offense to every actor, every person who paid for the show and everyone around me commented that he was very good.  If you don’t want to be there, quit the show and let someone else have your part.  I was offended by his performance.  With that said, lets go into the good stuff.

Javert was amazing!  Andrew Varela completely stole the show.  He was the only thing you could see, here and look at when he was on stage.  He stole the show and completely showed that he really was Javert and made you hate and fall in love with him.  His voice was strong, his presence was insane and he absolutely brought everyong to their feet, even before the cast took a bow.  He was incredible and it was amazing to get to see him perform.  I would gladly attend another show only because he is in the cast.

Eponine – Amazing!  Briana Carson-Goodman has a holy sh*t amazing voice, more presence than Carol Channing and is now almost one of my favorite people to watch at a level of Kristin Chenoweth.  I had never heard of her before, but after seeing her, Lea Salonga got taken on a run for her money.  This girl can sing, she can out act anyone else but Andrew Varela (close tie on those two, she wins though) and her stage presence was incredible.  When she was hiding behind the wall and not supposed to be seen, you actually kept trying to look to see her.  Her performance was amazing and her voice was incredible.  I would love to see the next show she is in and cannot wait to hear her again as well.  She took the song On My Own and absolutely brought it above and beyond what people were expecting.

Fantine was ok.  I enjoyed her voice, but I don’t like how they sped up the intro’s in some of her songs.  Her acting was good and she did a great job.  The Inn Keeper (Thenardier) and his wife were absolutely what you wanted to see and his wife completely stole the show when the two of them were performing.  The two made an awesome team that you loved to watch.  The two kids in the show were amazing and over performed their counterparts in the London cast and the rest of the cast gave a perfect show and performance.

The show was a shorter version of Les Miserables with a new staging.  They shrunk it down by speeding up some of the songs, which normally I would be pissed off about, but I actually enjoyed it.  I also like how they changed the set because of the size of the National Theatre vs. a larger theatre that could handle elaborate sets.

Instead of a rotating gate to Jean Valjean’s house, it was stationary.  The baricade took up the entire stage which was cool and the entries and exits were all done differently.  Instead of using a trap door to take Marius into the sewers, he dragged him off stage.  Instead of a blue light on Fantine when she died, they used white lights which was actually pretty cool.  They also had Jean Valjean sitting on the Baricade to sing Bring him Home instead of on the stool or at least by the floor and away from the other cast members.  It was a pretty cool way to do the show.

The 25th anniversary touring cast of Les Miserables is amazing.  I highly recommend you see it and you can buy broadway tickets for the show in your own city by clicking on the link above.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars because the show was amazing, but the person plating Jean Valjean ruined the role for me by looking bored like he didn’t want to be there and because the roles of Cosette and Marius weren’t as good as they should have been for the show.  If you are going to give someone lead roles, make sure they have a huge stage presence and that they can keep up with the other characters and cast members.  There is no reason you should be watching the supporting cast when they are singing solos and are supposed to be the focus.  Overall the show is amazing and I highly recommend you see the touring cast of Les Miserables.  Feel free to leave a comment below if you’ve seen the cast and what you think.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at the Kennedy Center Reviews

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I just dumped the guy I was seeing so it was the perfect night to get to see Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Unlike Jekyll and Hyde which was just at the Kennedy Center, I was tearing and balling because this show was absolutely amazing. Even when the dancers were a bit out of sync, they were smiling and everyone was loving it. The show was phenomenal and is one of the only ones I will ever give 5 stars to.

From the minute the show starts in World War 2 when the characters are talking about Christmas and performing for their troops, you fall in love with the show. From the whistles, the singing and the bad jokes that make you laugh, you are instantly drawn in. Shows like Wicked or Spiderman need a ton of special effects to make an audience fall in love with them. Shows like Irving Berlin’s White Christmas rely on quality acting, dancing and a cast that can bring you into their own time and make you feel everything they are feeling.

From the songs like “Falling out of Love Can Be Fun” to “White Christmas”, you are instantly brought to Vermont in the 1950’s.  The characters are perfect, the Actors are all amazing and everyone continued to feed off of each other and make the show amazing.  Whether you love Bob and Betty or the sisters or anyone else, you will feel like you are part of the cast.  Everyone did an amazing job, the dancing was perfect, the singing incredible and the show is the perfect thing that can help you cheer up if you’re feeling depressed.  Even if you’re lonely or just broke up with someone, this show is perfect for you and you’ll leave feeling amazing.

I couldn’t pick which song to put a video for from Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, so I found a trailer about the making of the show.  The video actually describes what I am thinking in that it is almost impossible to put shows like this together, but when you have someone like Irving Berlin whose music is amazing and you combine it with a talented cast that is all able to work with each other, the show is incredible and everyone was tearing at the end.  I actually teared more at this show than I did when I saw Les Miserables.  If you get a chance to see Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at the Kennedy Center, go.  The show is amazing and you will definitely love it.

Linda Beers from The Kennedy Center is “Wick” & Amazing

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Last week I missed my ticket to see Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at the Kennedy Center because I had a flu with a fever.  When I called the Kennedy Center to see if there was anything they could do so I wouldn’t miss a show I paid around $100 for.  The first two people I talked to were fairly rude (they just sounded annoyed and agitated which really wasn’t a good experience), but the one said that I should call someone names Linda Beers who may be able to help me.  I figured why not try calling a third time since the third time’s a charm and I did.

I called Linda’s number and got her voicemail.  I left a message (guessing I would never hear back based on the other two people) telling her what happened and that I didn’t want to get anyone else sick at the show.  The next morning I got a phone call and it was a happy, perky and friendly Linda Beers.  Linda was amazing.  Not only did she ask if I was feeling better and thank me for not bringing the flu into the Kennedy Center, but she asked if it would be ok to call me back on Monday and then she could help me locate a seat so I wouldn’t have to miss the performance.  She even actually talked to me about Irving Berlin and how we both love his music.  It was an awesome experience talking to someone who works at the Kennedy Center who actually loves the arts and wants to make sure that everyone gets to have exposure to them.  That is why I called her “wick” above.  It is a song from the Secret Garden.

The song and term wick means that there is some life left within something, even if it looks dead.  When I was talking to other employees at the Kennedy Center, I felt like it was pointless and that they could care less about providing good service or helpful advice.  Then when I talked to Linda, it was clear that there is still life at the Kennedy Center that loves the arts and wants to help people be able to see and hear amazing shows.  She also proved that although numerous employees are there because it’s a job and not because they love the theatre and wanted a job in it, they still have some people who love what they do and really help people to fall in love with the theatre and performing arts.

I wanted to thank Linda for helping me get to see a performance of White Christmas and I’ll be putting my review up within the next couple of days.  I also wanted to share a kind of cool version of the song “Wick” from the Secret Garden that I found on YouTube.  This version is really neat because they use people and props as the set.  Because they did this they can have a moving set that is actually alive.  Even though the people blend in, the set is always alive so it’s kind of cool that they did this and they did it for the song “Wick” as well.

purses for the theatre

Where to buy clothes before the Kennedy Center in DC – Second Hand Rose

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purses for the theatre

purses for the theatre

On the way to the gym I found this amazing boutique clothing store that carries the most amazing clothes and accessories for the theatre. It’s called upstairs on 7th and is in the lobby of a large law firms building. Ricki’s store upstairs on 7th carries amazing formal wear for women as well as dressy casual wear that is perfect for the theatre, dinners or anywhere you need to be dressed nicely, but want to remain comfortable. Her clothing choices are perfect for going to the theatre like at the Kennedy Center or even just to a piano bar. I love them and there are a few things that makes her store unique.

1. Your outfit will always be unique. Ricki orders everything at Upstairs on 7th 1 time and only 1 of each major size. When the article is gone, it’s gone. It doesn’t matter if it’s her local designers or the impossibly hard ones that she has what seems like exclusive access to, because she will only buy it 1 time in each size, no body will be wearing what you are wearing that night.

clothing for the theatre

clothing for the theatre

2. She carries designer clothing you won’t find anywhere else. Forgot department stores and couture shops, Ricki does the hard work for you and brings you amazing designer clothing that you will not find in other places and you can easily piece together the clothes into a perfect outfit for the night. Imagine walking into your dream closet filled with clothing, accessories and even purses and clutches and having everything be amazing, unique and perfect for you. That is what her store is like.

3. She’s accessible to all of the theatres and the best restaurants in Washington DC. Just go to the address below and you’ll find the perfect place for that last minute outfit where everything fits perfect and you’ll be able to be ready for any meeting, party, or event instantly.

Upstairs on 7th
555 12th St NW, (lobby Metro Center 12th & F streets exit, Washington, DC 20004)
Phone:(301) 351-8308

upstairs on 7th washington dc

upstairs on 7th washington dc

Now that we’ve gone over where to buy clothes for events, here is the perfect song to go with it. The only difference is that nothing at Upstairs on 7th is second hand, but second hand rose would still love to find them. I absolutely love this song and because it’s prepping for the theatre, I wanted to play the version sung live by Barbara Streisand for Second Hand Rose. I hope you all have a great holidays and thank you again for reading.

Shana Dagny – What songs inspire her – Good luck on tour!

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When Adam Riemer asks you to write about your favorite broadway song you want to fill up his page with absolutely everything you know and dream to know about show tunes. As a professional singer raised in the Philippines (a country which hones very strong broadway singer competition for the world) I went down the list and grew drunk and giddy off of chorus after chorus in my head and out my mouth without regrard for the rest of the passengers (unknowing audience) at the boarding gate where I fortunately was at the time I encountered his request.

“Oh Adam! There are so many!” The man asks me to pick just one I can relate to. GREAT! Everyone in show, stage, presentation etcetera has the lucky inevitable advantage of experiencing a myriad of emotions through their art, and for people who have music in their repertoire be it a singer, instrumentalist or good ol’ music lover with no mention of professional or studious background, each song is a reflection of a different expression of said emotions, a different depth that they are able to tap into. So maybe I’ll slightly defy the request and mention just a few songs that I did start singing here at the boring boarding gate, and tag my thoughts on each.

Take Me Or Leave Me; Rent: The One Two Knock Out Punch every self respecting woman out there would want to sing. For those who are both career oriented women or relationship driven, this song speaks to both. It is a dialogue between two lovers, where one considers the other her “person”, the center of her universe, while the other defines the object of her affection as more multidirectional. It’s Sassy, energetic and above all strong!

Nothing A Chorus Line: This song is half singing half speaking. Here the singer gets a chance to talk her way through a verse, rest and get ready for the belts coming shortly after. Kind of like a flume ride. The performer here is an auditionee who complains her way through the song because the antagonist in her story questions her sense of meaning. The song is both playful and expressive.

This is Shana singing it:

He Was My Boyyyfriend Young Frankenstein: Oh Shush! don’t laugh… On second thought, you probably won’t stop laughing after experiencing this song number/dance break. It’s about a creepy looking landlady of Dr. Frankenstein’s mansion who retells her love affair with the reinamination scientist. It’s hilarious and I love it because it is so.

Defying Gravity Wicked: The first two songs were from musicals based on real life. This song is from the prequel to the story of The Wizard Of Oz. The symphony here mirrors the magic in the tale and by the time you start your first line in the song you already feel enchanted, fueled by some green glowy elixir that can only exist in fairy tales but then the volume of the song increases and turns so fierce that the fiction becomes real life.

My flight is about to board (finally!) but before I go I do remember one more song. It starts out, singing “Perhaps I had a wicked childhood, perhaps I had a miserable youth, but somewhere in my wicked miserable past I must have done Something Good…” Sung by Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. It is a song about love and happiness. To me it says life becomes meaningful… and the magic in that meaning is because of the one “person” around for you. That one person could be anybody, family member, friend, boyyyyfriend;) an existential being, or yourself. As I draw this to a close I realize that this song is THE song. It is the first song I ever heard sung to me by my favorite woman in the world, my mom. I invite you all to listen, sing and use Something Good and explore the many heights it could take you to.

That’s my final boarding call.