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Kiss today goodbye...

Yes, that's right. I'm dancing around my kitchen at 1 AM, singing the soundtrack to "A Chorus Line."

Why, you ask? Because I saw the fabulous movie "Every Little Step." (And no, there is no other word to describe it other than 'fabulous.') It's a behind-the-scenes, reality TV style documentary about the casting of the recent revival of "A Chorus Line." The filmmakers have also thrown in some archival footage of Michael Bennett's original process of writing the show, which consisted of taping a bunch of dancers telling their stories.

For anyone who loves theater, dancing, Broadway, all of those things... it's a must see. The film takes you through the entire casting process, with some familiar Broadway faces along the way (i.e. Tyce Diorio auditions for Mike!). Just as the characters in the show, you see their ups and downs, their falls as well as perfect grand jetes, and their backstories (mostly). It's totally fascinating to see how the original producers of the show mounted this new production, with some help from the original cast as well.

By the end of the film, I was sobbing as the soundtrack played "What I Did For Love" and we watched all of the new cast members receive the news that they were cast. And as any good musical or dance movie should, it made me go home and dance around my kitchen.

The only disappointment was that there wasn't more interviews and footage from the original cast - Kelly Bishop and Priscilla Lopez are nowhere to be found, and aren't even mentioned, for example. But, as the guy sitting next to me (my new gay boyfriend) said, that's a whole other movie.

Report from the land of "duh!"

"Across the Universe" is an actual musical, like where the characters sing the songs in order to further the plot. Somehow I thought it was one of those movies that just happens to have Beatles songs in the soundtrack, like "I Am Sam." Very interesting concept, but so far the use of the songs has not been terribly creative. (I.e., "Let it Be" as narrative for a funeral. I don't think the "Across the Universe" people were the first ones to come up with that.)

Holy crap, there's dancing in this movie too.
Thanks to some kind of promotion that Amazon was running, I got a 6 month subscription to Rolling Stone for $1. I had no idea I was interested in reading Rolling Stone until it appeared in my mailbox every week, and then I remembered how sharp their observations on pop culture are. (When I was writing my thesis, I used to use their articles on television all the time.)

Anyway, here are 2 things I learned this week:

1. I know you all read my post about how much I love Kelly Clarkson, here's one more reason:
RS: What do you sing around the house?
KC: My backup singer and I are usually doing Patty Griffin songs. She's my favorite artist.

2. The guy who conceived of "Spring Awakening" is making Green Day's "American Idiot" into a musical about disillusioned teens living in post 9/11 America. It opens September 4th in Berkeley. I hope it makes it to Broadway, or at least on tour, so I can see it. This sounds awesome - that's a great album, with lots of anthemic declarations, and we need a new rock musical on Broadway. (The current revival of "Hair" just isn't doing it's job of replacing "Rent" and "Spring Awakening.")

Rainy Sunday

I want to write something, because I'm kinda bored, but my brain is mush. I spent the entire day watching movies on basic cable.

"Saved!", then "Saving Face", then "The Holiday", and I think "DEBS" is on in about two minutes. I was and still am equipped with Trader Joe's orange chicken, pancake mix, and Ben and Jerry's.

Oh, gotta go change the channel - I left the remote on the couch and I'm in my bed. Yes, I'm in my bed at 7 PM on a Sunday. I'm awesome.

"What Indigo Girls song is that from?"

"Syllabus of us. Off 'Martyrs, Vagabonds and Quilts."

"There is no solace in luxury, only deep despair."
"How do you know all these Indigo Girls songs?"


Hahahahaha. I knew there was a reason I loved 30 Rock.
Since I last posted, I've seen two more Broadway shows (and driven back to Chicago, but more on that later). My friends and I have season tickets to a theater here in Chicago, and one of our plays is this Thursday. I'm not sure I can take it!

Saturday - Guys and Dolls.Collapse )

Sunday and West Side Story.Collapse )

On the way back to Chicago, I did an experiment to see how much of my Broadway soundtrack collection I could get through if I listened to nothing but cast albums for 15 hours. I barely got through half of them, which is scary. The playlist:

In the Heights (I cheated a little with this one - I started it last night, listened to about 8 songs, and then started it again this morning.)
Rent (twice)
Wicked (I skipped the songs I don't like)
Hairspray
Jersey Boys
Grease
Dirty Dancing
Chicago
Spring Awakening
Fiddler on the Roof

Wait. That can't be it, can it? Maybe I listened to Rent a few more time than I think I did!

She's done it again...

Sigh.  I saw another Brandi Carlile show last night.  That was my third and last one this week, and I have to admit that after seeing a musical the other day and changing the pace a little, I wasn't really in the mood to go at all.  It was cold and dreary yesterday, and I'd been in the house all day writing blog entries and just generally being lazy.  It took a lot to get me out, at which point I thought, "Maybe I'm done with Brandi for now."

But then, she opened her mouth and sang, and everything was forgotten.  I wasn't tired anymore, I forgot all about the fact that I had traded my ticket in for what was supposedly a better seat, but turned out sucky because the guy in front of me was 6 feet tall and had a big, bald head.  I forgot about all the embarassing things I've said to her this week, and just sat back and listened.  She managed to suck me back in, and I was bouncing off the walls steadily until 5 am last night.

I've seen Brandi play 3 times this week, and every time, the set list was a little different.  She always plays certain songs from her repertiore, but there are a bunch of new ones that switch out, and at the last two shows, she's played a song she'd never played before.  She's also really good at tailoring her setlist to how things are going to sound in the particular venue. 

After the show, I hung out for a while with about 7 forum members whom I had met at the other 2 shows this week, plus a few new ones.  It was great to hang out with people who were willing to sit around and talk about Brandi for 3 hours.  Also, though, I know I give a hard time to the people who spend much of their lives traveling to see shows - I always wonder where they get the time and money.  But after last night, I'm beginning to realize that after a while, it becomes not about the actual show as much as it is about the people you get to meet and hang out with.  The de-briefing where we talked about the brilliance of Brandi's whole band, gossipped about people on the forums, people told stories about other shows they'd been to, and I felt like I made some new friends in NY - that was the best part.  I can see how once everyone meets each other, they end up with a free place to stay pretty much anywhere they want to go, and they just visit each other and go to shows together.  Now I feel like if I end up back in NY, I have a few people I would happily call to say hi.

Billy Elliot on Broadway

As much fun as I’d been having this past week stalking Brandi Carlile, driving around the New York suburbs, taking my grandparents to Costco, and collecting bagels and apple pies from my old stomping grounds, I felt as though something was remiss on this trip. It was something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on until I got on a train to Manhattan, got off in midtown, and hit Broadway. Though seeing my favorite rock star do her thing in my hometown was certainly a trip, I was starting to feel like a traitor to Broadway. After all, in my world, usually the entire reason to come to New York is to support theater and feed my showtunes habit. I was already starting to feel the pangs of guilt and longing on Tuesday, the day that my friends in Chicago and I were supposed to go see the national tour of Rent, but I found myself on the outskirts of Manhattan, watching the farthest thing from a Broadway musical imaginable. Yesterday, I felt like I had finally returned to reality when I ended up wandering around Times Square, listening to the strains of showtunes pouring out of storefronts, and deciding which musical to check out that night. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to choose from, since Broadway has taken a huge downturn in these times of economic crisis. I forged on anyway, and ended up with a balcony seat to Billy Elliot. I was wary of this production at first, since I’m not usually a huge fan of non-musical movies being made into Broadway musicals, but the reviews for this from friends and critics alike have been positive, and I love musicals with lots of dancing, so I decided to check it out. Sitting in a Broadway theater, hovering over an orchestra pit, listening to the two old biddies sitting next to me kvetch, and watching a 12 year old ballet prodigy on stage was definitely a welcome change of pace from the rest of the week.

Read more...Collapse )

Brandi Carlile, Westhampton Beach

I just returned safely back to Queens after another awesome Brandi Carlile show. As usual, I really don't know what to say about it, because when I talk about Brandi, I turn into Barney Stinson and insert an "awesome" into every sentence.

As close to a legitimate concert review as I can do...Collapse )

Getting autographs and other fangirl fun...Collapse )