What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

30 April 2016

Z is for Zorro


This photo reminds me of Martin Guerre, but with a Z.
Source: Zorro official site
Originally opened in the West End July 15, 2008, after a very short run in Eastbourne.

Currently: Looks like folks have been talking Broadway and a U.S. tour for a while, but neither have materialized yet.

Music: Gipsy Kings and John Cameron

Lyrics: Stephen Clark

Book: Stephen Clark and Helen Edmundson

Basis: 2005 mock biography Zorro: A Novel, by Isabel Allende

Everybody knows about: He has a thing for the letter "Z."

I have thoughts: This was a harder-than-expected choice for the letter Z. There aren't that many plays or musicals that start with "Z", but having to choose between essentially three pretty cool shows was difficult. I finally went with one that seems to have had lots of success everywhere but the U.S.

Here we are at the end of the A to Z challenge! I'm leaving Austin in two days for my next great adventure, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I hope this little trip through the theatrical alphabet has been fun for you.

29 April 2016

Y is for You're

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown

Source: Wikipedia.
Originally opened Off-Broadway March 7, 1967. Transferred to Broadway for a limited run in 1971.

Currently: Check your local community, high school, or college theatre. (An Off-Broadway revival is coming this summer.)

Music & Lyrics: Clark Gesner

Book: John Gordon

Basis: Charles M. Schulz's comic strip Peanuts

Everybody knows about: It's a musical about a beloved comic strip. What more do you need to know?

I have thoughts: I've never seen it, although I do hold the Peanuts characters near and dear to my heart, as so many people do. And hey, another musical that Kristin Chenoweth was in! It's hard to argue with that.

Have you seen You're a Good Man

28 April 2016

X is for Xanadu


Source: Pinterest.
Originally opened on Broadway July 10, 2007.

Currently: Touring the U.S., I think. I'm not really sure about this particular site's reliability.

Music & Lyrics: Jeff Lynne and John Farrar

Book: Douglas Carter Beane

Basis: 1980 film Xanadu

Everybody knows about: Roller skates! 80s! Greek gods!

I have thoughts: Okay, so I obviously chose this one because there aren't that many musicals that begin with X. However, now that I've read the synopsis and see how much the stage version pulls from mythology, I'm really intrigued. Think I'll give the soundtrack a listen.

27 April 2016

W is for Wicked

Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz

I haven't seen it yet because I'm
holding out for time travel so
I can see these two in it.
Source: Pinterest.
Originally opened on Broadway October 30, 2003, after an out-of-town tryout in San Francisco.

Currently: Still running on Broadway. Still running in the West End (since September 27, 2006). First Portuguese production currently running in São Paulo until July 31. Touring the U.S. And, if that's not enough, four more shows are scheduled to launch this year.

Music & Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz

Book: Winnie Holzman

BasisWicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory Maguire

Everybody knows about: Friends will change you for good.

I have thoughts: Is this the place where I tell you I still haven't seen it? I know, that's shocking. I'm not sure how I've managed to miss it so many times. Much like Hamilton, I know about as much as you can know about this show without having actually seen it. (Unlike Hamilton, I don't quite have the soundtrack memorized.) When I asked my friendly not-so-neighborhood (he lives in El Paso; I don't) go-to-with-all-my-theatre-questions guy what his favourite show that he's worked on is, this is the one he said. And I still haven't seen it. Believe me, I mourn this fact regularly.

You know what's great to sing on a bike? "Defying Gravity." I mean, why wouldn't you? I've started reading the book, but haven't finished it because I had to return all my books to the library since I'm changing states in a week.

Have you seen Wicked? Go ahead, tell me what I'm missing. Twist the knife-- I totally deserve it!

26 April 2016

V is for Victor and Victoria


Source: Wikipedia.
Originally opened in tryouts in Minneapolis in June 1995, then opened on Broadway October 25, 1995.

Currently: Can't find a thing. Presumably, it's playing in a regional theatre somewhere.

Music: Henry Mancini & Frank Wildhorn

Lyrics: Leslie Bricusse & Frank Wildhorn

Book: Blake Edwards

Basis1982 film Victor Victoria

Everybody knows about: Julie Andrews plays a woman playing a man playing a woman.

I have thoughts: I've fairly certain I've seen the movie, but maybe I should see it again just to be sure. I first heard of this show when it went to Houston on tour in 1998; Julie Andrews coming to Texas was a source of excitement for me, although she was inaccessibly far away since I was stuck in Lubbock at the time.

Should I just go all-in and do a Julie Andrews themed A to Z Challenge next year? That seems to be where I'm headed with this one.

25 April 2016

U is for Urinetown

Another musical about a revolution.
How many of those am I up to now for
this A to Z challenge?
Source: Theatre Arlington.
Urinetown: The Musical

Originally opened Off-Broadway on May 6, 2001, transferring to Broadway later that year

Currently: I ran across a couple shows while Googling. If you're in Arlington, Texas, or Salem, Oregon, you can go see some actors not pee in your neighborhood.

Music: Mark Hollmann

Lyrics: Mark Hollmann & Greg Kotis

Book: Greg Kotis

Everybody knows about: They have to pay to pee.

I have thoughts: I've never seen this one, but it's hard not to appreciate a musical that's one long parody of so many things, including my beloved Les Mis. If it were on near me, I'd probably go see it.

23 April 2016

T is for Thoroughly

Thoroughly Modern Millie

In a competition for the world's best
stage directions, this one surely is in the top 10.
Source: Pinterest
Originally opened on Broadway April 18, 2002. (A bunch of these have been April openers! And not a single one has landed on the anniversary date.)

Currently: check your local high school.

Music: Jeanine Tesori

Lyrics: Dick Scanlan

Book: Richard Morris & Dick Scanlan

Basis: 1967 film Thoroughly Modern Millie

Everybody knows about: Small town girl moves to the big city, immediately buys new clothes.

I have thoughts: It's remarkable how many of the actors from yesterday's two shows are also connected to today's show. I've never seen the stage version of this, only the movie with Julie Andrews, but the line that has stuck with me is, "What a wonderfully full life she lives!" And so may we all.

Are you planning to tap dance in a murderous rage today? Could be a fun weekend activity.

22 April 2016

S is for Shoulda & Sound

In the whole of the A to Z Challenge, this is my only tie! A couple other letters were close, but I managed to restrain myself from gushing about every show ever made. Amazed? You probably should be.

I was delirously happy this day. That NYC
trip really was the highlight of an otherwise
awful, awful year. They all should have won
Tonys just for making me laugh so hard.
It Shoulda Been You

Originally opened off-Broadway October 4, 2011. Opened on Broadway in April 2015.

Currently: Closed on Broadway but has not been released for other theatres yet.

Music: Barbara Anselmi

Lyrics & Book: Brian Hargrove

Everybody knows about: This was Tyne Daly's first Broadway musical in 25 years.

I have thoughts: Seeing this show on Broadway was amazing. I chose it because of Sierra Boggess, but as is my wont, I came away delighted and with a bunch of other actors to obsessively stalk on Twitter (although I've been too busy lately for much stalking), and in particular Josh Grisetti. He's a lot of fun on social media.

- AND -

My playbill from the tour. Signed by the actors
who played Captain von Trapp, Maria, Lisel,
and the Reverend Mother (Ashley Brown,
who is best known for originating Mary
Poppins on Broadway. Her signature is the one
with the heart).
The Sound of Music

Originally opened on Broadway November 16, 1959.

Currently: touring the U.S.

Music: Richard Rodgers

Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II

Book: Howard Lindsay & Russel Crouse

Basis: 1956 German film Die Trapp-Familie and Maria von Trapp's autobiography The Story of the Trapp Family Singers

Everybody knows about: The movie, of course. But it was a stage show first, y'all. It's also the last Rogers & Hammerstein musical, since Mr. Hammerstein passed away only a few months after the show opened on Broadway. He never saw his gorgeous score on the big screen.

I have thoughts: I'm not sure we have time for all the thoughts I have about this show, although I did write some of them down just a few weeks ago after seeing the current tour. This is one of the musicals that competes for the #1 slot on my favourites list (I have about five in rotation, depending on my mood).

I'm guessing most of you know The Sound of Music well and may have never heard of It Shoulda Been You. Let's hear what you think!

R is for Rent


Source: Wikipedia.
Opened on Broadway April 29, 1996, after a couple off-Broadway stints interspersed with workshops

Currently: The 20th anniversary U.S. tour is planned for later this year.

Music, Lyrics & Book: Jonathan Larson

BasisLa Bohème, by Giacomo Puccini

Everybody knows about: 525,600 minutes.

I have thoughts: Watching the movie has been on my to-do list for so long that I keep thinking I've done it. I really hope the tour comes to a theatre near me.

Do you think there should be a leap year version of "Seasons of Love"? (It comes to 527,040 minutes.)

20 April 2016

Q us for Q

Avenue Q

Source: Wikipedia
Opened on Broadway July 31, 2003, after a short off-Broadway run

Currently: Off-Broadway

Music & Lyrics: Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx

Book: Jeff Whitty

Everybody knows about: Just because there are puppets doesn't mean this musical is for kids.

I have thoughts: I've seen may references to this show but never the show itself. I think I would probably see it if I were in the right mood--at first glance it's not my kind of thing, but on the other hand I've seen enough sweary and racy musicals that one more probably wouldn't kill me.

P is for Phantom

Hadley!Raoul is my favourite thing about the 25th
anniversary. Yes, even more than Ramin's Phantom.
Source: Pinterest.
Phantom of the Opera

Originally opened in the West End on October 9, 1986

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber

Lyrics: Charles Hart, Richard Stilgoe (additional)

Book: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Richard Stilgoe

BasisLe Fantôme de l'Opéra, by Gaston Leroux

Everybody knows about: He wears that mask for a reason.

I have thoughts: I'm going to see the tour in three weeks' time! Not only me, but also my 83-year-old grandmother, who has never seen Phantom in her life. I'm so excited to share this with her. I tweeted the tour's Phantom, Christine, and Raoul on the day I bought the tickets to share my enthusiasm, and Katie Travis (Christine) was kind enough to respond with a hello for my grandma. Cannot. Wait. (Also: It may be an unpopular opinion, but I'm not wild about Sarah Brightman. I don't own the original cast version for that reason.)

Have you seen any versions of Phantom? What's your favourite part?

18 April 2016

O is for Our

Source: Wikipedia.
Our Town

Originally opened in New Jersey January 22, 1938, moving to Broadway that same year.

Currently: Check with your local high school

Written by: Thornton Wilder

Everybody knows about: The movie has a very different ending than the play.

I have thoughts: As much as I like this show, I'm not sure I could see it live any time soon. The ending is too much. It is, however, Cory Matthews' favourite play.

Have you ever seen Our Town?

16 April 2016

N is for Next

Somewhere, there has to be a pic of
shirtless Aaron Tveit from this show.
But this one works, too.
Also, yes, this is the second time in the
A to Z Challenge that I've shared a pic
of Aaron Tveit.
Source: Pinterest.
Next to Normal

Originally opened on Broadway April 15, 2009, after a short off-Broadway run

Currently: In regional theatres.

Music: Tom Kitt

Lyrics & Book : Brian Yorkey

Everybody knows about: I'm not sure that everybody knows about this show, which is a shame.

I have thoughts: This show is basically my life anthem right now. I went months last year during which I basically couldn't get out of bed without turning the soundtrack on. Some days I still feel like that. Good thing "Just Another Day" is the first song. Since it is a tremendously sweary musical, I'll repeat my usual warnings that I'm not to be held responsible if you choose to investigate and you get offended. I did warn you! (My favourite song, "Light," contains no swearing and is a good one if you just need a pick-me-up.)

15 April 2016

M is for Much

Source: Wikipedia
Much Ado About Nothing

Originally opened sometime around 1600.

Currently: If you're very very lucky, it's playing near you. Go see it! (And if you're not that lucky, check out the fantastic 1993 Kenneth Branagh movie or the equally brilliant 2012 Joss Whedon version. Just don't ask me to choose between them.)

Written by: Shakespeare.

Everyone knows about: They're tricked into falling in love. As well they should be.

I have thoughts: This is, without a doubt, far and above all else, my favourite play. I first saw the Branagh version when I was 15, which was the beginning of my lifelong crush on Robert Sean Leonard, even though I'd choose to be Beatrice over Hero any day. Also, Claudio is an idiot, no matter who is playing him.

Have you seen Much Ado? Actually, if you haven't, don't bother answering. Just pick a movie version and watch it. Now.

14 April 2016

L is for Les

Shirtless Valjean is my favourite
Les Misérables

Originally opened in the West End October 8, 1985 (five years after the French production opened).

Currently: Still in the West End. On its second Broadway revival. Also in Japan, Korea, Manila, Singapore, and Spain.

Music: Claude-Michel Schönberg

Lyrics: Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel (French lyrics); Herbert Kretzmer (English adaptation)

Book: Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, Trevor Nunn, and John Caird (adaptation)

Basis: 1862 novel by Victor Hugo

Everybody knows about: All this for a loaf of bread? (Yes, that's really a Les Mis reference.)

I have thoughts: You must be new here. Well. I saw the Broadway version last summer, and had too many things to say for just one post. Then there's the 2012 movie version, and Chadwick's keen ability to sing all the songs. And that's not even all of them. Suffice to say, I can't stop hearing the people sing.

You don't have to love this musical to be my friend. I'm totally okay with you hating Les Mis, if you like. Just tell me this: what do you think they were smoking when they chose Russell Crowe as Javert for the movie?

13 April 2016

K is for Kinky

My signed playbill from the tour stop in
Austin. The signature next to the K is
J. Harrison Ghee, the amazing Lola in
the current tour cast. In addition to being
a lovely person who is so kind to crazed
fans, he's also definitely worth a follow on
Kinky Boots

Originally opened in Chicago October 2, 2012, then on Broadway April 4, 2013. (The movie predates the musical.)

Currently: Still on Broadway. Also in the West End, Toronto, Melbourne, and touring the U.S.

Music & Lyrics: Cyndi Lauper

Book: Harvey Fierstein

Basis: 2005 film Kinky Boots

Everyone knows about: Amazing. Red. Boots.

I have thoughts: Wow, this is an amazing show. The tour cast that I saw was fabulous, but I'd give a lot to get to see the original London cast (Killian Donnelly, who's been in many things I like, plus has basically played every role in Les Mis, is the original West End Charlie). Or to go back in time a couple months and see Wayne Brady on Broadway. Eventually I'll get the cast album, because it's that good. Never saw the movie version, though. And I was surprised to find out this didn't originate in the West End. All this time I've presumed it did.

Have you seen Kinky Boots? Don't you want to get your hands on those amazing boots?

12 April 2016

J is for Jersey

Source:@JerseyBoysInfo's twitter feed
Jersey Boys

Originally opened on Broadway November 6, 2005, after a successful short run in San Diego

Currently: Still going strong on Broadway. Also in the West End, Vegas, touring the US, and touring the UK. So, see it in a whole bunch of places.

Music: Bob Gaudio

Lyrics: Bob Crewe

Book: Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice

Basis: The Four Seasons' songs

Everybody knows about: It's a movie now.

I have thoughts: I really don't. This is one I'd go see if I had free tickets. I've seen about 10 minutes of the movie.

Have you seen any version of Jersey Boys? Did you like it?

11 April 2016

I is for Importance

Source: Wikipedia
The Importance of Being Earnest

Originally opened in London February 14, 1895.

Currently: in the public domain. Possibly at a theatre near you.

Book: Oscar Wilde

Everybody knows about: “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.”

I have thoughts: I only just saw this last summer. I don't know how I went so long without having ever seen it. It's a delight.

Have you seen Earnest? Did you laugh a lot?

09 April 2016

H is for Hamilton

I wonder how much one of these
runs on eBay?
Source: Wikipedia.

Opened Off-Broadway January 20, 2015 and on Broadway August 6, 2015.

Currently: There's like a nine-month wait for tickets. It's not going away any time soon.

Music, Lyrics, & Book: Known genius Lin-Manuel Miranda

BasisAlexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow

Everybody knows about: It's a hip-hop musical about the 10-dollar Founding Father. He's not throwing away his shot.

I have thoughts: The sooner this show goes on tour, the better. (Most people I know are keen to see the original Broadway cast while they're all still originally casting. That's less important to me; I just want to see it.) In the meantime, let's hear that cast album again.

08 April 2016

G is for Grease

Okay, so the complaints about Aaron Tveit looking
about 15 years too old to be Danny Zuko are
justified. But he's still easy on the eyes and the ears.
Source: Grease Live Facebook page.

Originally opened Off-Broadway February 14, 1972

Currently: Recovering from Grease Live

Music, Lyrics, & Book: Jim Jacobs, Warren Casey

Everybody knows about: The drag race scene in the movie, which is not in the stage version, but inexplicably made it into Grease Live.

I have thoughts: I've seen the school version live, but never the entire stage version, although if all one hears is true, even the regular stage version now incorporates many of the movie elements. Maybe I'll see it someday. In the meantime, whenever any of my friends tell me how excited they are to watch the movie with their young kids, I shriek, "No!!" It's not as clean as you remember, y'all.

07 April 2016

F is for Fiddler

Source: Wikipedia
Fiddler on the Roof

Originally opened on Broadway September 22, 1964

Currently: The fifth Broadway revival opened December 20. The Australian tour just opened in Sydney last month.

Music: Jerry Bock

Lyrics: Sheldon Harnick

Book: Joseph Stein

BasisTevye and his Daughters, Sholem Aleichem

Everybody knows about: It's referenced so often in pop culture it's probably easier to say what everyone doesn't know, but I'm gonna go with "Sunrise, Sunset."

I have thoughts: This was the first musical I ever heard of. My mother has a Fiddler music box that plays "Tradition," and I think she must have also owned a cast album from the show, because I knew it very well long before I even knew what musicals were. I've never asked her, but I would be unsurprised to hear that this is my mother's favourite musical. As for me-- it's definitely in the top five. I love this show so much.

Have you seen Fiddler? Any idea why that guy insists on hanging out on Tevye's roof?

06 April 2016

E is for Evita

Source: Wikipedia.

Opened in the West End June 21, 1978

Currently: Nothing since a limited West End run in 2014. Regional theatres?

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber

Lyrics: Tim Rice

Everybody knows about: Just stop crying, Argentina.

I have thoughts: Have I seen it? No. Would I see it? If it were on stage near me, probably. Did I see the 1996 movie? No. Do I think habitually casting non-Hispanic actors in this show is a dubious practise that merits a bit more critical thought from casting directors? I do.

Have you seen Evita? What do you think about all the crying in Argentina?

05 April 2016

D is for Doubt


Originally opened Off-Broadway November 23, 2004

Currently: Community and regional theatres, high schools, and classrooms, most likely

Book: John Patrick Shanley

Everybody knows about: Meryl Streep was in the movie, because of course she was.

I have thoughts: I read this in an introductory theatre class in college. Haven't seen it, don't really need to. I like that it inspires thought and discussion.

Have you seen Doubt? Who do you think is right?

04 April 2016

C is for Cyrano

Source: Wikipedia
Cyrano de Bergerac

Premiered in 1897 in Paris. The English-language version opened on Broadway in 1923.

Currently: In the U.S., the play is in the public domain. Check a theatre near you.

Book: Edmond Rostand

Everybody knows about: Cyrano had a huge nose.

I have thoughts: I saw a friend in this show a little over a year ago, and there was one moment that I thought was incredibly sad and was getting all misty. Meanwhile, the rest of the audience was laughing, and I still don't know what funny thing was happening then. When I asked my friend about it later, he said there's never any telling how an audience will react to anything. Anyway, for a sad show it's quite delightful.

Have you seen Cyrano?

02 April 2016

B is for Billy

Source: Wikipedia.
Billy Elliot

Originally opened in the West End on May 11, 2005 (the movie preceded the stage show)

Currently: playing in the West End (it's closing next week) and touring the UK

Music: Elton John
Lyrics: Lee Hall
Book: Lee Hall

Everybody knows about: He takes ballet in secret and his family's not happy when they find out. (At least, I hope everyone knows that. It's kind of the basic plot.)

I have thoughts: Not a lot of thoughts, although I do remember the year it ran away with all the well-earned Tonys. I'd like to see this show but wouldn't go out of my way to do so. Sooner or later a high school near me has to take it on, right? I haven't seen the movie, either.

Have you seen the show? What did you think?

01 April 2016

A is for Annie

Source: Wikipedia.

Originally opened on Broadway April 21, 1977

Currently: touring the U.S.

Music: Charles Strouse
Lyrics: Martin Charnin
Book: Thomas Meehan

Everyone knows about: Well, just pick anything, really. It's been made into a movie twice, after all. But if I were to pinpoint a most famous moment, it's probably "Tomorrow."

I have thoughts: Yes, I do. I like it better on stage than as a movie, although in a list of my favourite shows I doubt it would reach the top 20. I saw the current tour (although some of the actors have changed) when it came through Austin a year ago.

Do you like Annie? Favourite song? Favourite actor? Not your thing?