Tag Archives: musical

Word Vomit: A Rant About Why I Loved “The Unfortunates”

22 Jun

unfortunates4A little over a week ago my family arrived in Ashland, Oregon, to attend my long-awaited graduation from Southern Oregon University. Along with suffering through two and a half hours of dreadful heat and watching hundreds of students trudge across the stage to receive their faux-diplomas, we also had the opportunity of attending two Oregon Shakespeare Festival plays during our weekend together. My father and I have been attending OSF for going on eleven years now. Hell, OSF was one of the leading factors in my choice to attend Southern Oregon, where I graduated with a BA in both Theatre Arts and Creative Writing (and a minor in photography).

That Saturday, after the graduation commencement had ended, we saw A Streetcar Named Desire, which was quite enjoyable. Kate Mulligan brought a new energy to Blanche I’d never seen before, Jeffrey King was a lovably perfect Mitch, and both Danforth Comins and Nell Geisslinger made a great duo as Stanley and Stella. While Streetcar is not my favorite Williams play, I had a great time seeing this rendition. However, while a great production, Streetcar is not the play I want to focus on right now.

The night before graduation my family went and saw a play entitled The Unfortunates. I knew nothing about this show walking in, except that all my friends raved about it and demanded I buy the soundtrack. Since we were running late, I didn’t have a chance to flip open my program and read the plot synopsis before the play began. So, trusting in the magic of OSF to do no wrong, I sat back and let the players take me down a path I had not quite expected.

Ninety minutes later, my family exited the Thomas Theatre. There seemed to be a general consensus: they didn’t like it. The Unfortunates wasn’t what they had thought it would be and were all sorely disappointed by this fact. My godmother quietly remarked that at least the music was catchy and the performers talented, while my brother and godfather barked about how the plot was unfollowable and how nothing had made sense.

This took me by surprise. Had we been watching the same show? The second the lights had come back up after the play had ended, I immediately turned to my father and told him, “That was one of the best things I have ever seen. Ever.” How was my family going on in this way about such an amazing piece of theatre?

After hearing more squabbles from them, I came to the defense of The Unfortunates. “No, there was definitely a coherent plot,” I insisted, as my brother made a face of disagreement. “There was! You just didn’t get it.”

“Okay, well, what was it then?”

I opened my mouth to speak.

I faltered.

What was the plot?

unfortunates5I had gotten that there was something about being in a prison cell and people being shot, and then there was a bar… but was that bar a flashback? An imaginary realm? And everything else, what about all of that?A gambling game? Something about a plague? A strange love story? Some very hungry rooks? A dead king? An armless prostitute? What was the plot? I threw my brother a quick response about the play focusing on the last moments of a prisoner of war’s life, but even then I wasn’t sure I was in the know.

So why was I so taken with this show; this show that I couldn’t summarize for my family, or even myself? Why had I found myself with a large grin on my face, hands clamped on my cheeks, as I witnessed it unfold in front of my eyes inside the Thomas Theatre’s black box? As I thought more and more about it, I came to realize that this wasn’t a show you could explain in a text or a tweet. It was one you’d muse about with friends over coffee, that you could write endlessly about on your blog or in school essays, or that you could simply think about as you sat alone in your room at night before bed. It was a story that would fester in every inch of you and wouldn’t let you go – at least, not right away.

(Warning: it gets spoilery from here on out, so tread cautiously.)

I found reading the playbill’s pieces on The Unfortunates and, eventually, the script helped me grasp the pieces of the plot I was missing. Little things were brought to my attention that I had missed upon seeing the show, and it was easy to see the entire story after I was done reading. Yes, I had been right in what I had told my family, about the prisoner of war aspect. If we were to assign this show a dramatic statement (dear god, the SOU theatre department is going to haunt me the rest of my life, isn’t it?), The Unfortunates is a play about a man finding solace and courage in the power of music – or, rather, the power of his own song – before he is about to die. It turns out, this show is all about the music. It’s about holding fast to music, even when times are brutal. Joe escapes into his fantasy-bar where he’s king, drawing in parallels to his prisoner of war surroundings (such as his deceased friends taking on new personas and his fists – oh this fists, we’ll get to those fists in a bit), and how he finds comfort in the music. How, even when his fantasies take a harsh turn, the music is there to help him find his way and face his deepest fears (I feel like “Guard the Right” is the number one example of this). Plus the tones of the show were constantly shifting, dragging you along with it at every turn. There was the chilling opening as each man was taken away, the fun vaudeville-feel of the bar numbers, the romantic inclinations between Rae and Joe, the creepy feel of the Doctor’s stage presence, and the overwhelming rush of emotion at the play’s end. If anything, I think The Unfortunates is a show that should be viewed on two separate occasions, so the first time you can find yourself lost in the music, and the second time you can lose yourself in both the story and the music.

This leads into the number one reason I believe I was so instantly taken with this show: the music. Now, I’m a huge fan of musicals. Back when the girls in my class were belting ‘N Sync and Britney Spears on the playground, I was off humming Music Man and Les Miserables songs to myself. Showtunes were all I listened to up until the last couple years of high school, and while my taste in music has definitely expanded in the more recent years, I still listen to showtunes quite often. So, going into The Unfortunates knowing it was an original musical, I expected the usual slew of showtunes that appear in contemporary shows.

unfortunates8I was surprised that a number of the songs in the play were that of rap and hip hop, and, what’s more, that I found I loved them. Really, really, really loved them. Nothing personal, I’ve just never felt a connection with that genre of music before. However, The Unfortunates did such an amazing job taking these musical genres and crafting them to fit the story. Not only that, there’s also a beautiful mix of gospel, folk, r&b, and a capella incorporated into the soundtrack of the show. They all blend together, making for a truly gorgeous musical score.

There is not one song in this show that you cannot hum or snap your fingers along to. Upon leaving the black box, I immediately purchased the soundtrack, knowing full well I’d go crazy without this new music in my life. The recorded songs, though a tad different than the final product you view in the show, are wonderful and great to sing along with. My favorite song changes on a day-to-day basis; however, gun to my head, I’d have to say “Quarantine”, “Good to be the King”, “Down and Out”, “I Want You”, and “Tell Me Where It Hurts” are my five favorites. They’re all unbelievably catchy, and it’s almost impossible not to dance or sing along with certain numbers. It’s also fascinating to read about the history of some of the music; where it came from and how it inspired the playwrights.

Not only is the music beautiful, the dialogue is as well. The style in which many of the characters speak is akin to spoken word, in my personal opinion, which is another reason this show resonated deeply with me, as I have definite ties when it comes to spoken word. There are many magnificent pieces of dialogue throughout the play, but my absolute favorite is a speech Big Joe gives during “Tabs Are Always Open for an Addict”:

“I never wanted nothing more than the breath I was breathin’, the moment I breathed it. I never had nothin’ I wouldn’t mind leavin’, includin’ the breathin’. These fists are a fury, this tongue is a torrent of suffering stuffed like a bittersweet cup. I nearly tore my heart out just to feel touch once, but ain’t nothin’ so bitter as want. I want, I want, I want to rip open these fists, grip a life that’s slipping in between these fingers where nothing else gets, blood flow from my fingertips kissin’ my wrists as it drips, warming a heart that only exists for your lips.”

You read that? That’s fucking poetry right there. Beautiful, mesmerizing poetry.

unfortunates1I’ve also come to love thinking about the symbolism in this show, particularly that found in the characters’ hands and arms. The two forefront characters are polar opposites in that sense: one has no hands and one has giant hands. In the opening, we see Joe’s fists raised in defense, which speaks of him in that reality, trying to defend himself from the inevitable. When we’re taken to the world of the fantasy-bar, suddenly his fists are huge. They allude to Joe being a boxer in the opening song, so perhaps that’s why his fists become five times bigger, fighting being what he knows best, or perhaps it’s his subconscious needing to physically protect himself from the reality that awaits him (ie. his execution). Then we have Rae; beautiful, graceful, armless Rae. Why is she armless? This was the number one question my aunt kept pestering me with the rest of the night, and having no idea at the time what the answer was, I finally just told her, “Character device.” Looking back on this show, I realize there was much more at play than just some arbitrary character device. In Joe’s reality, he clutches a picture. From the whistle the enemy soldier gives we know the photo is of a woman. No doubt it’s the woman in the photo that the illusion of Rae is based off of. To me, her lack of arms symbolizes how she is stuck in a world she cannot escape from; she is being whored by her own father and there’s no way to claw her way out. She is helpless and in need of rescue (again, this is Joe’s fantasy, so her character reflects heavily on him and his wants). What’s more, her state of being contrasts Joe’s completely. He can’t unclench his giant hands to hold her, no more than she can wrap her nonexistent arms around him. It’s not until she dies that she can finally be whole again, just as it isn’t until Joe has finally accepted his inescapable death that his fists disappear; the moment they’re both finally freed (ie. no longer having to be a prostitute and Joe’s acceptance of death) is when they can return to normal. Then there’s the whole sequence where the Doctor’s arms stretch out to enfold Rae – goddamn, that moment gave me chills (and was when I finally started crying) – and just that contrast with everything else going on in the play… It just comes together so magically. I don’t know how else to describe it.

unfortunates7Finally, the performers. Ah, the performers. Each one of them was absolutely brilliant. From those opening moments of the play when you’re not quite sure where the characters are or why, you’re able to pick up immediately from the body language and acting of the performers (and, okay, the offstage gunshots help too) that things are not all right. Each actor, and the musicians too for that matter, are just wonderful. They’ve each got powerhouse voices, and each hone their characters’ personalities and physicalities beautifully. Not to mention all four original creators of The Unfortunates are in this play, which, as someone who considers herself both a writer and a performer, is absolutely fantastic. Everyone in the show used their talents to the best of their abilities, and did a kick ass job doing so. Plus there’s a live band on stage throughout the show, and goddamn if they’re not equally as amazing.


So no, The Unfortunates might not be what you expect when you walk into the Thomas Theatre in the next few months. It’s not your classic My Fair Lady or Music Man musical. It doesn’t abide by the expected showtunes and overdone story structure. But you know what it is? It’s fresh. It’s new. It’s exciting, which I feel has been lacking in a lot of new theatre (especially musicals) as of late. We need more musicals like this one, that’s for sure.

I would like more than anything to see this play for a second time (no big surprise, right?), and I’m not entirely sure if I’ll be able to. I take off for New Zealand in exactly a month, and the time before my departure is going to be quite hectic. I’m planning to go down sometime in a couple weeks with a friend who loves the show just as much as I do, so hopefully that will pan out. If not, hey, at least I got the chance to experience The Unfortunates just once, just as everyone else has or should.

… But seriously, if you’re in Ashland and you haven’t seen this play yet, what the fuck are you doing?

Go buy a ticket to it.

Right now.

Trust me, you won’t regret it.

unfortunates2

unfortunates3

Advertisements

When I Grow Up…

22 Aug

Today I discovered Matilda: the Musical. I had heard word a while back that this was going to be a thing, but I had no idea that it had already hit the west end and Broadway. Upon hearing about it, I was feeling pretty indifferent. It’s not that I didn’t like Matilda as a kid, and it’s not that I don’t think it’s good musical material. On the contrary, I’m very particular about what film/book material does or does not make a good musical. Shrek? Not musical material. Billy Elliot? Definite musical material. Once? Hella musical material. Legally Blonde? Hell no.

I knew right away Matilda would make for a good musical, I just wasn’t feeling up to tracking the soundtrack down. Then my friend Jon went and posted the song When I Grow Up on tumblr, and, well… here are the lyrics, and you might see why I’ve changed my mind:

When I grow up,
I will be tall enough to reach the branches
That I need to reach to climb the trees
You get to climb when you’re grown up.

And when I grow up,
I will be smart enough to answer all
The questions that you need to know
The answers to before you’re grown up.

And when I grow up,
I will eat sweets every day,
On the way to work, and I will
Go to bed late every night.
And I will wake up
When the sun comes up, and I
Will watch cartoons until my eyes go square,
And I won’t care ’cause I’ll be all grown up.
When I grow up…

When I grow up
I will be strong enough to carry all
The heavy things you have to haul
Around with you when you’re a grown up.

And when I grow up…
I will be brave enough to fight the creatures
That you have to fight beneath the bed
Each night to be a grown up.

And when I grow up,
I will have treats every day,
And I’ll play with things that mum pretends
That mums don’t think are fun.

And I will wake up
When the sun comes up and I
Will spend all day just lying in the sun.
And I won’t burn ’cause I’ll be all grown up.
When I grow up…

When I grow up,
I will be brave enough to fight the creatures
That you have to fight beneath the bed
Each night to be a grown up.

When I grow up…

Just because you find that life’s not fair, it
Doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bear it.
If you always take it on the chin and wear it, nothing will change.
Just because I find myself in this story,
It doesn’t mean that everything is written for me.
If I think the ending is fixed already,
I might as well be saying I think that it’s okay,
And that’s not right.

Looking at the lyrics typed out, I can now easily see how the lyrics/music are written by Tim Minchin, which I didn’t know until only a while ago. And, dear me, I fucking love Tim Minchin.

I’ve felt so nostalgic as I’ve replayed this song on constant repeat all day. This song achieves it’s purpose: to make us remember what it’s like to be a kid and to have such fantastic aspirations. I remember going around as a kid swearing, when I was adult, that I’d eat candy all the time, lie around in the sun, climb trees, and essentially still be a child. This makes me sad, because I feel like I’ve lost so much of what made me such a wonderful child. Of course I couldn’t hold onto some of the things, but there’s so much of my childhood I wish I had held onto. My immense imagination. My optimism. My hyper-ness. My energy.

And yet, most of the time I feel like I’ve managed to hold onto more of my childlike wonder than the majority of people I know my age. Everyone takes everything so fucking seriously. People don’t take joy in the little things anymore. I feel like I’m much better at rolling with the punches than everyone. Maybe it’s because of everything I’ve gone through in my life, but I’ve learned to differentiate the little things and the important things. Speaking of which, I’ve always tried to enjoy the little things. Always.

I went and watched Matilda, the movie, today, which was a lovely experience. I think the quintessential difference in being an adult vs. being a child is that when I was a kid I fantasized about being Matilda. Now that I’m an adult I fantasize about being Ms. Honey.

I find the last stanza to be incredibly inspirational, especially the beginning part that goes: “Just because you find that life’s not fair, it doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bear it. If you always take it on the chin and wear it, nothing will change.” It’s just something nice I’m going to have to remember when things get me down.

I’m tremendously excited to listen to the rest of this musical. I know it’ll be a great one.

How I Listened to the Lysistrata Jones Soundtrack Four Times in One Bus Ride.

5 Jul

At the start of every summer I swear to myself I’m gonna start listening to more song artists and bands. Y’know, cut back on showtunes and Disney, and listen to “real” music. That’s what I tell myself… and, every summer, without fail, I fall in love with an entirely new musical. Last summer it was Book of Mormon, the summer before it was the showtunes of Kerrigan & Lowdermilk, then Next to Normal, then In The Heights, then Spring Awakening, etc. etc. etc.

Well this summer, as of today, I am in love with Lysistrata Jones.

This really is a new development, seeing as of twelve hours ago I only knew two songs from the entire show. It’s been sitting on my iPod, unlistened to for a couple weeks now. The only reason I went and hunted it down in the first place was because of the song ‘When She Smiled’ – I’m in love with the Andrew Rannells version of that song – but really had no interest in actually listening to the entire soundtrack… or so it would’ve seemed.

Then today I had a seven hour long greyhound bus ride to deal with. When finally on the bus (after a stressful ordeal of almost missing said bus and having the bus driver yell at me), I was nestled up on my bus seat, tuckered out and wanting to sleep. I realized I had three unheard soundtracks on my iPod: Newsies, Once, and Lysistrata Jones. I was really only looking for music to fall asleep to at the time, so I selected Lysistrata Jones, closed my eyes, and prepared to sleep, figuring I’d listen to the other two soundtracks later on the bus.

I never listened to Newsies or Once.

I’m sure jaws have dropped by now, seeing as I snubbed the two most popular musicals on Broadway this year (based on two of my all time favorite films) for this somewhat shallow seeming musical, but I’ve quite honestly had a hard time getting into these two musicals as well. The film version of Newsies is so near and dear to my heart, that whenever I try to listen to the Broadway version I get angry over the whole purpose of ‘Sante Fe’ being changed, that Max Casella is no longer Racetrack, that Denton’s a chick, and so on. I realize the changes they made were for the better and I have no doubt someday the musical will grow on me, but for now I prefer Christian Bale’s (terrible) singing to whoever the new Jack Kelly is. The Broadway version of Once, on the other hand, sounds just like a bunch of covers of Glen and Markita’s music. What I’ve heard is beautiful, but I guess I just haven’t been in a mood for it much as of late (though, I will say, their version of ‘Gold’ is astonishingly gorgeous).

So, yes, Lysistrata Jones.

I’m sure most of you know the tale of Lysistrata. The story of all the wives of Athenian warriors who hold out on sex until their husbands end the war? Right. Well. Lysistrata Jones is about a college where the boy’s basketball team never wins, so their girlfriends hold out on sex until they win a game. Oh. And a Greek Goddess narrates and also acts as the mistress of a nearby brothel.

I know. It sounds kind of awful, doesn’t it?

That’s what I thought when I turned it on, thinking it was just going to be my background music to fall asleep to, but what follows is clear evidence that it’s more than what its shitty summary leads you to believe (which is probably why it closed so quickly on Broadway).

LISTEN #1 –> CATCHY MUSIC

I did drift in and out of sleep upon my first listen, but I was still lucid enough to grasp that the music was really damn catchy. I wasn’t paying very close attention to the lyrics, just kind of gleaning the bare minimum of what was going on in each song. I caught lines that said things such as “No sexo!” “Do your duty, no more booty!” and “That’s why God invented porn!”, which made me inwardly roll my eyes. It was proving to be everything I had expected it to be, leaving me very unimpressed.

Don’t think Aristophanes had this in mind when he wrote the original.

So I wasn’t paying much attention, dozing a bit and such, not caring much. Cut to one of the last songs, ‘Right Now: Operetta’, and suddenly my interests became peaked. Suddenly these characters became… well, more fleshed out. I had absolutely no clue what was going on in the song (since I hadn’t been paying much attention leading up to it), but suddenly the characters were no longer 2D caricatures of ditzy/jock-y college students. Emotions were being expressed and fears were being concerned. This confused me. What happened to the campy, silly musical I had been listening to?

Then the final number of the show (‘Give It Up’) came on, and suddenly it was uplifting and inspirational and, Jesus, was I so confused.

This is the day we start to fight
This is the moment I’ve been waiting on
For what seems like an eternity

I am a match that you ignite
And letting go of every expectation
Reservation, deprivation, liberation

The song also kept repeating the line: “Give it up, whatever’s keeping you from being you.” It’s such a simple phrase, which left me astounded at how much it literally effected my person. It suddenly dawned on me that maybe this was more than just a musical about girls holding off on their boyfriends.

So I gave it a second listen.

LISTEN #2 –> LISTENING TO THE LYRICS

(The soundtrack, by the way, is only a little over an hour long, hence how I listened to it so many times in one sitting.)

This time through I actually stayed awake for the entirety of the soundtrack and was able to get a (shaky) grasp on the plot. The plot, while still is basically the whole withholding sex story, also has many different facets and subplots to it, which can be kind of confusing when you dive in head first. I didn’t have a plot book to follow and I had no bearings of the relationships between the characters, so I spent most of this listen-through paying attention to the lyrics and music. While I already knew the score was catchy, the fact of the matter is this: Lysistrata Jones has a great soundtrack.

Of course, not every song is a keeper. I could take or leave ‘Party Time’ and ‘Don’t Judge a Book’, I tend to skip the last two numbers on the soundtrack (‘Never Say No’ and the redone ‘Hold On’), and I still have absolutely no idea what ‘Writing on the Wall’ is about because THAT’S how unforgettable that song is.

That being said, Jones has got some absolutely incredible music, such as: ‘Right Now: Operetta’, ‘Hold On’, ‘You Go Your Way’, ‘Where am I Now’, ‘When She Smiles’, and ‘Give It Up’. These songs are, to me, the best of the show, but I think pretty much every number is stellar (and definitely good dance music). They’re very campy and fun, and that’s kind of what I’m looking for in a musical right now. I think ‘Hold On’ may be my favorite as of right now (Jason Tam, I wanna be all up on you), since it has an absolutely lovely message tied in with it.

They marched down Pennsylvania Avenue
Plant a tree! Make it green!
No more carbon! Keep it clean!
They held their banners high till their fingers all turned blue
Well I know mother earth still cries in pain
As long as I can taste the salt of her tears
I know the fight must still remain
See, I know you gotta hold on
Don’t let go
In the morning when the lights are low
You gotta hold on, hold on, hold on

You can watch the awesome Jason Tam perform this song here (and understand why I’d very much like to jump his bones).

So this listen through hooked me with the songs and reeled me back in for more, which explains why…

LISTEN #3 –> TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE CHARACTERS

The most annoying thing about listening to this soundtrack, and let me make this abundantly clear: all of the actors and actresses sound alike.

There were seriously three characters I could differentiate from the group (Cleonice, Cinesias, and ‘Uardo), and that’s only because they had either Hispanic or Brooklyn accents (and also Hetaira, since her voice is a bit older than the rest of the cast’s). Because of this, and because I’ve never seen this show, it made it really hard to understand what was going on at times. It wasn’t until listening to it my fourth time that I realized Robin and Myrrhine were not the same character. Plus the character of Xander is never introduced via song (unlike everyone else in the show) so when he randomly popped up for ‘Hold On’ I was just like, “Ummmm… who is this (gorgeous) voice singing?” I also didn’t realize Xander was singing during ‘Operetta’, and I thought his part was Mick’s, so, yeah, lots of confusion to be had.

Props to casting for having a really ethnically diverse cast.

That being said, I did have a really fun (though at times aggravating) time deciphering the characters and learning all about them.

After I moved past that confusion, I started gathering character’s backgrounds. I was able to match up characters to songs and relationship, grasping their stance in the musical better. My best revelation was when I realized the song ‘When She Smiles’, which I’ve loved so much for so long, wasn’t directed at the protagonist. It made me incredibly giddy, finding out I was wrong after all this time.

And, hey, I had already listened to it three times to make the bus ride go faster, so…

LISTEN #4 –> CONNECTING WITH THE MUSICAL

By now I had gained a better understanding of the musical as a whole, and I now knew that while this musical comes off as a raunchy comedy about girls, guys, and sex, there is definitely an under layer to it. The first act really is the more satirical of the two, but the second act is where the characters become more fleshed out, since that’s where things start to get real for them. I love the character of Lysistrata, because she’s a good example of having a belief and sticking to it. Is it a ridiculous belief? Mayhaps, but it’s still awesome to see her become independent and self-reliant. The characters of Tyllis, Mick, Robin, and Myrrhine all really grew a lot as well.

The character that changed the most for me over the course of the day was Cinesias. Upon first listen he just came off as a white punk who was trying to be a “gangsta” or a “playa”, and he quite frankly annoyed me a lot. I didn’t understand the depth of what his character goes through  in ‘Don’t Judge a Book’ until the fourth listen, but I see that moment in the play as a big revelation for his character. While he wants to seem this certain way to all of his friends, he just can’t because he really is a good guy. The most heart rendering line he has in the show is:

“Just don’t know who I’m supposed to be,
Don’t you understand?
I’m tired of being me.”

The line was almost thrown away, which left me amazed because I think it’s such a crucial line to the show. That’s when it hit me: this is a play about the struggles of maintaining, not only a relationship, but one’s own self-image in a college setting.

While the characters are in this strange situation, and yes the comedy is a bit ridiculous in hopes to gain some laughs, there’s a sense to it of these characters being so unsure of themselves. At the end of ‘Operetta’ there’s a moment where all the students sing of their own, personal fears, their lyrics beautifully intertwining with each others, displaying how this can be a scary age at times for just about anybody. To exemplify this idea even further, Lysistrata ends the first act with the (show stopping) number ‘Where Am I Now?’

Where am I now? How am I here?
Which way do I turn when it’s all so unclear?
I’m standing alone with nothing but fear
Where am I now, now that I’m here?

Maybe I’m digging a little deep, but this to me really is a musical of people my own age coming to terms with themselves, which I find comforting. I know it’s something I’m gonna be dealing a lot with this upcoming year.

Now, I wrote an entry a while back about how Spring Awakening helped me come to terms with my own sexuality, and that’s where this musical differs. While sex is definitely a heavy subject in the show, it’s never really an issue people struggle with (except possibly Robin). It’s an issue, just not of the same magnitude as in Awakening, which I sort of like. It’s nice seeing a musical where there are female leads that have a handle on their sex lives.

Oh Jason Tam… ❤

So is this a musical for everyone? Definitely not. But is this a musical for me? Definitely yes.

Is this all there really is?
Just endless games of making do
Putting up with second best
Always wanting new
Wanting something better
To shake me to my core
Something magic, something more
I want more

Spring Awakening :: How a Musical Changed a Sixteen Year Old’s Life

27 May

Earlier this month, about two weeks ago, I saw a community theatre production of Spring Awakening up in Portland. It was very good for community theatre. The actors were great, the singing was phenomenal, and all the costumes, set, and lighting were superb (not the mention the kid playing Hanschen was sexy as all get out). I had seen Spring Awakening three years prior when it toured nationally, and I had forgotten since then just how enamored I was with the musical.

Spring Awakening is a musical about teenagers awakening to their sexual desires in 1892 Germany. The musical, written by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik, is based on the play of the same name, written by Frank Wedekind. It was a very taboo subject for Wedekind to be writing about in 1906, since the play involves such themes as: abortion, rape, homosexuality, incest, suicide, child abuse, and intercourse amongst teenagers. The musical kept the same themes in it, but updated the dialogue to sound more modern and weaved in a gorgeous pop-rock score.

Continue reading

::thoughts on the new THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL soundtrack::

4 Apr
I was one of the many who purchased the The Devil’s Carnival soundtrack yesterday when it went on sale. Here are my opinions of the best and the worst of the songs. All the “in between” songs aren’t on here, because I quite honestly don’t have a strong opinion on them just yet. I want to like “Grief” and “Beautiful Stranger”, but I honestly don’t know how I feel about them. I think I’ll have to see TDC first. Anyway, to my thoughts!

Here are my six favorites:

6. The Devil’s Carnival – Okay, so I had determined a while ago that I was going to hate this song after hearing just the chorus (repeatedly) in the trailers for TDC. It’s not necessarily because I found it a bad song, it just kept getting stuck in my head and I got super annoyed with it. But man, I love the verses. Plus, oh my god, Bill Mosley’s voice is so silly compared to Luigi. And I love Alexa. So, yeah, it turned out to be such a fun song.

5. A Penny for a Tale – Hobo Clown, you’re okay in my book.

4. Prick Goes the Scorpion’s Tail – I’d never heard of Emilie Autumn until I discovered TDC and I’ve still never seen any of her other work, but this song definitely helps me understand why she’s got such a big following. She’s got a great voice. This song’s really entertaining. Love the implied sexual innuendo.

3. Trust Me – Quite frankly, it’s a really pretty song. I sort of love this dude’s voice (Marc Senter). I’d be seduced by the Scorpion too.

2. Grace For Sale – TERRANCE’S VOICE. UNF. THE THINGS IT DOES TO ME.

1. In All My Dreams I Drown – Yup. No surprise. After watching the video of it over a week ago I knew no other song in the film would top it. It’s just so wonderful and beautiful. I guess I really super love all of the songs tied into all of Tamara’s tale.

Now.

Here are my least favorite songs (no order):

+ Heaven’s All Around – This song was actually the one I was most anticipating, and, well, I was really let down. I love Paul’s voice, but this song is just… boring. Let’s just say this: I was expecting ‘Things You See In The Graveyard’, and instead I got ‘Gold’. Boo.

+ 666 – I don’t know. I don’t want to blame Dayton, but I think if his voice were stronger I’d like this song better… actually, I’m listening to it right now, and I think it’s just not the best written song.

+ Kiss The Girls – This. Song. Is. Really. Damn. Annoying. Love the concept of the Woe Maidens, but this song is just… no.

+ It’s Off To Hell We Go – Skiiiiiiiiiip.

These are my personal opinions. Obviously there are people who’ll agree and some who’ll disagree. I just thought I’d share my thoughts. 🙂