Sunday, November 30, 2008
On November 9, 2008, our Broadway and Beyond class boarded the bus for New York City for our final trip. This last trip was markedly different than our other excursions, for we got to choose what show we were seeing. Our choices were Boy’s Life and Hairspray; I was in the group that saw Hairspray. We got off the bus, and decided to get some lunch at Applebee’s. Then we headed off to the Neil Simon Theatre to see our show. Hairspray was amazing, despite a few mishaps. It was upbeat and funny, and the sets, lighting, and costumes were tremendous, and, though Link fell in one of the dance numbers, he just got up and kept going, which I thought was really professional. This trip was the perfect ending to our growth and learning through this class, and I’m so glad that I got to be a part of it and will miss it greatly when it’s finally over in a few more short weeks.
For our last tour to the city we boarded the bus and headed toward a new change. We chose what we wanted to see and only had time for the show. It was a good change because there was no bus to catch at odd hours of the morning and we could finally relax because it picked us up right on campus. Couldn't be easier for the long day ahead. We boarded at 11:00 and then we were on our way...for the last time. This was the closer and I could not tell if we were relieved or saddened by the thought of not going to the city with our class anymore after this one. We arrived in the city and had some time to roam then split to go to our desired show. I chose A Boy's Life which was perfect for this point in my life. It was about the transition beween college and the decisions involved and then into adulthood. Put to eighties beats set the mood for this short production. After enjoying the slapstick comedy we met with another person from our group and toured the city for the remaining hour. We caught the bus at six and it was all over. No more trips, no more "am I going to be on time", and no more fantastic shows. It was brought to an end as we drove out of the city and heaed back toward Bethlehem. We arrived back to classes the next day and the normal of our college day-to-day. Our time for the finale was well spent and worth all our hard work and time.
For the last trip our class, Broadway and Beyond, was allowed to choose out of four plays which on we wanted to see. Some went to see a Boy's Life; others saw Hairspray. I was one of the people who went to see Hairspray, and I also had the wonderful duty of handing out the tickets to everyone who went to see this particular musical. Before I went to see the show I watched the movie version, which was different in some aspects, the musical was much more interesting than the movie. In the beginning, the first song, it was really cool. The lead role, Marissa Perry, was standing on a set that was made to give the illusion of her lying down on a bed. The choreography and all the dancers did a tremendous job. The sets were very bright and vibrant to grab your attention. Even with the little slips, this musical is one I would recommend for everyone to see.
As this semester comes to a close, the Moravian Writing 100 Broadway and Beyond class ventured into the city one last time. The group slit up some of us went to see Hairspray; while others went to see Boy's Life. I had not seen Hairspray before and I was looking forward to this final production. When we first arrived in the city we had some free time to wander around NYC. Finally after receiving our tickets and finding our seats, the show was about to begin. Although Hairspray is actually on its way out of the Broadway theater scene, the production appeared as well done as if it were the first. I thoroughly enjoyed this last trip to NYC with my class. Through the opportunities I have been given through this class, I am less anxious and nervous to be off in the city on my own. I look forward to many more trips in the future.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
The last performance that would tie the red knot to the perfectly wrapped present was Hairspray. The fluorescent pink strings of fabric, that combined to form a curtain, illuminated the theatre. I was very excited to see Hairspray, and could not wait till the curtains unveiled the first scene of the 8 Tony Award winning production. Marissa Perry, who played Tracy Turnblad, delivered a strong performance in the first scene. Her voice, hair, style, and size, all coordinated together perfectly. The cast, as a whole, performed with great passion, determination, and just pure talent. Many times I wondered of myself being on a stage, acting with incredible actors, dancing with amazing dancers. Hairspray was not the first production that made me feel this sentiment, in fact, I believe it was my Broadway and Beyond class that opened my eyes to see more clearly of what I love to do. Throughout the production, I was sitting at the edge of my seat, laughing, gasping for air, and releasing sounds of awe. Constantine Rousouli, who played Link Larkin, stole my heart by the end of the production; his breath-taking smile and his implausible dancing, had my eyes opened wide, only blinking when he was off stage. Each actor showed tremendous talent and to me, the performance on stage brought a little more than the performance on television. This production certainly wrapped up the set of productions I have seen throughout this course. I just cannot believe how fast this course went along; from seeing my first Broadway production, I never thought I would learn so much from a single semester. Throughout these months, I have grown to love Broadway in an unimaginable amount and my love for it is continuous; the experiences I have encountered, such as getting an autograph by Daniel Radcliffe, is something I will never forget. What a semester this has been for me. The last trip to New York City, is really not the last, in fact, it is just the beginning of many trips to see Broadway productions.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I have to admit I did not have high hopes for Howard Korder’s Boy’s Life. In fact I was convinced that it would be a non-musical version of [title of show] and as my collogues in my writing class know, I was not really too fond of [title of show] to put it nicely. However, I was pleasantly surprised by Boy’s Life. First of all it starred Jason Biggs from American Pie fame, but more importantly, at least to me, Stephanie March from Law and Order: SVU played a bit part. My college classmates do not know this but when I was a junior in high school I was obsessed with L&W: SVU. I watched every episode-old and new, I knew the names and the minute details about the characters and the actors who played them and Stephanie March was one of my favorite female actresses and even though I have since turned my attention to another actress, it was a pleasant surprise seeing Ms. March on stage. I resisted the urge to run onstage in order to prove to myself that it was really her.
The play centers around three “men” Jack, Don, and Phil who physically appear to be men but their actions and thought processes reveal how immature they truly are. One character, Jack, played by Rhys Coiro is married with a young son but he continues to live as if he were a freshman in college. He flirts with other women and he verbally abuses his son. He spends most of his time with his friends Don (Peter Scanavino) and Phil. (Jason Briggs). Don has severe inferiority issues and has a deep desire to be somebody. Phil, like the others is lost, but in a more enduring way. He’s like a small child trying to find his way in the world. It is a little unsetting that he is a “grown” man and still seems to be at a loss with what to do with his life.
Nevertheless, despite the serious themes in the play, it was quite hilarious. I found myself literally laughing out loud. The weekend of November 9th was not a great one for me, but for an hour and a half I was able to forget my troubles and have a good time.
This was also my last trip to NYC with my writing 100 class and as expected I was sad. I had so much fun with this class and getting to know my classmates a little better. It really did aid me in my transition into college!
Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to go on the last trip of the semester; however, I would like to take a minute to talk about all of the wonderful experiences I have had with this Writing 100 class. Before coming to Moravian, I had only been into New York once, which was when my family went to see the tree and then we left. So, being in this writing class was very exciting because I was able to do something I had always wanted to do, spend time in NY. At first, it was a little nerve racking to walk around the city and have no idea of where I was. As time went on, it became easier to find my way around, and I was able to see a lot of great things. I actually saw my first Broadway show ever in this class, and it was amazing. Every show I went to I thoroughly enjoyed. I also enjoyed the East Side Tenement Museum, the scavenger hunt around Times Square and the San Genaro Festival. Each of these events showed me a different part of the history of NY. To wrap things up, this class made my transition into college even more exciting and helped me to develop relationships with a lot of people.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Our final trip to New York City, was great ! It was kind of sad in the same sense, only because i dont know when the next time I will ever get the chance to travel to New York City with the same group of people. This Class has really joined together as a group and enjoyed each and every experience. On the day of our last trip, we took the Impact bus from the HUB into the city. Once in the City a group of us ate at an Applebee's close to where the bus dropped us off. After lunch, it was on the the theater to see HAIRSPRAY! Hairspray was such a great show, it really wasn't what I expected at all, which I think made the experience even better. After the show we had little bit of time before the bus, so Annie and I tried to fine Barack Obama shirt, this wasnt successful, but it was still fun looking in all the tourist shops. It still makes m
e sad thinking out City adventures are over, but this class really opened up alot of doors for me, because now I feel really comfortable in the city and will definatly take more advantage of what it has to offer.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
For our last broadway show of the class, we got to pick what show we wanted to see. We could see either Hairspray or Boys Life, but I chose to see Hairspray for the second time. I couldn't wait to see it because it is one of my favorite plays on Broadway. I was happy because this time we did not have to get up to get the bus so early. So I slept in got in and then went right to the hub to go on the charter bus. When we got into the city, everyone went to Applebees to get some lunch. I got some barbeque chicken and mashed potatoes enough for three people! After eating all that great food we started to walk to the theater. At the theater we waited for Courtney to give us our tickets and then we went inside and waited for the show to start.
When the curtains opened the first song was "Good Mourning Balitmore" which is one of my favorite songs in the show. The play has so much energy and some great catchy tunes. The play is about a girl named Trace and how her dream of being on the Corny Collins Show. One day they have auditions and Trace try's out for the show hoping she will get in. This fun loving show really gets you going with its great music and dancing. This play is a must see!
Monday, November 17, 2008
I apologize in advance for the dry topic, and I know this isn't the most invigorating post, but I was not able to make a trip to the Great White Way during November, owing to previous commitments with choir. My research paper analyzes the evolution of opera and the parallels that exist between opera and musical theater. With the music department, we went to see John Adams's Dr. Atomic, a Contemporary opera, at the Metropolitan Opera. I was able to use this in my paper while assessing the present conditions of opera and musical theater:
Today's opera is still in an evolutionary stage. Experts consider musical periods in around one hundred fifty-year cycles; the Baroque period lasted from 1600 to 1750, the next era is split in half with the Classical period ranging from 1750 to 1825, and the Romantic from 1825 to 1900, and it is estimated that the Contemporary period will span through 2050, leaving much chance of evolution through this Contemporary period. Many trends have already emerged from Contemporary composers, including experimentation with atonality, minimalism, and New Romanticism. A good example of the Contemporary opera is John Adams's Dr. Atomic, from 2005. This opera focuses on the situations leading up to the first test of the atomic bomb and the reaction of the leader of the project, Dr. J Robert Oppenheimer, who goes through a mental breakdown as the opera progresses. The lyrics of this opera all come from primary sources; for example, a duet between Oppenheimer and his wife uses verses from their favorite poet, Baudelaire, and the aria, entitled "Trinity," which acts as the close of the first act is the text of Oppenheimer's favorite poem of the same name by John Donne. The conversations that take place during the opera come from letters and other documents that were recorded during the testing in New Mexico. The music accompanying these lyrics is an excellent illustration of the Contemporary styles, including a combination of minimalism and the New Romanticism, which creates a style known as post-minimalism. The minimalist style refers to repeating the same melodic, rhythmic, or harmonic patterns, and is known to sound entrancing and frantic at the same time. New Romantic music shows preference to the harmonic accompaniment that was popular in the Romantic period. Dr Atomic reflects all of the ideals of Contemporary composers, with its use of Contemporary trends, as well as contemporary topics; as John Adams says, "If opera is actually going to be part of our lives, it has to deal with contemporary topics," such as the atomic bomb from the World War II era. As for current musical theater trends, there are many revivals of past successes, off-beat musicals, musicals based on films, and musicals based on famous performers. It may be that the American musical theater scene is going through a transitional phase, which will eventually even out to reveal a new generation of great, original musicals that have some sort of unifying theme. It might be that this is the new generation of musicals, where there are only a handful of original works, with majority of the work being a product of combining dramatic elements in order to create a cohesive musical product.
Again, I'm sorry I couldn't produce anything more interesting, but it's the best I could do without getting to New York one last time. Obviously, the research paper includes in-text citations, but I did not want to have a bibliography with this blog post, so I omitted the citations. Also, I'm sorry this is so long, especially with this subject matter.
After a nice weekend home in New Jersey, I got up early to travel back to Moravian to go back on another excursion to New York City for our final Broadway and Beyond trip. I was especially looking forward to this trip for I was spending a nice day with some great friends and seeing Hairspray. Hairspray is one of my favorite movies so I was excited to see it "come alive" on stage at the Neil Simon Theater.
Lunch at Applebee's started off a wonderful day. With our full stomachs, we ventured to the theater and sat on those famous red velvet seats. The lights dimmed on the fluorescent pink curtain as Marissa Perry, who played Tracy Turnblad, belted out the opening song, "Good Morning Baltimore". From there, I instantly fell in love as the actors performed and danced in front of a colorful set that involved buildings like those seen in Baltimore and a brightly decorated television set. My favorite part of the show involved Link, Penny, Seaweed and Tracy singing "Without Love" when Link confessed his love for Tracy and Seaweed confessed his love for Penny. This cute scene was humorous and also "tugged at the heart strings".
After a standing ovation, we ascended the bus once again to travel back to Moravian. On the way home, I could not help but think how sad I was that my trips to New York City had ended. I grew to love seeing the different types of plays and I finally got to know the Big Apple a little better. I cannot help to feel melancholy that these trips are over but I am so happy that I was able to take part in such a fun and interesting class. The friends I made and the memories I created, I know will stay with me for a long time. But for now, it is so long to the "Great White Way".
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
It was a chilly morning and already I was having a darn good day! No waking up at 5:30 in the morning and I actually made breakfast! It was quite a different on sunday because we were not only traveling on the bus with my class but also with other students who wanted to check out the city as well. After leaving at about 11am we arrived in NYC at around 12:45 where it was freezing cold and once again we all were excited to finally see another play. Our class had the option of choosing between about four plays and I chose Boys Life because the leading cast member is Jason Biggs, the histerical character from the American Pie series, and I have always thought he was an amazing actor. Since we had about 2 hours to spare before the show we decided to go to McDonald's, which turned out to be a huge mistake just by looking at the prices. $8.50 for the chicken nuggets combo! Well lets just put it this way, I definitely learned my lesson.
Finally, it came to 3pm and was time to go see the play we were all awaiting. It was just Jen, Christine, Naomi, and I and as we walked in it was so different from any other play we have ever been to before. It was not situated in a huge building with a crazy line or loaded with advertising ,but yet, in a sort of loft space and made me feel as if I was watching a performance in my own home. I found the play to be very unique with its set on wheels and how all of the stage crew was somehow integrated in the play itself. The whole performance in general made me laugh so hard and I believe was an excellent choice especially as a freshman in college right now. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is in need of a good laugh or of a play that is quite underrated.
In the end, nothing could chance the fact it was sad because it was our last trip to the city. I think although it is sad my class will never forget all the good times we had and I will never forget Dr. Shosh's class and what I have learned in Broadway and Beyond(Fall of 2008).
Monday, November 10, 2008
I think one of the best parts of the whole trip to New York City was being able to sleep in on a Sunday. Not getting up at 5:30AM made my day. The Broadway and Beyond class was heading to New York City on the Impact bus. We left around 11 AM and didn't get into the city till about 12:45AM. It was a bit chilly; yet, it was probably the best weather we had since being in the city from previous weeks. Our class had an option of seeing the musical Hairspray or Boys Life, and since I have already seen Hairspray, I decided to see Boys Life with Jason Biggs from the first three American Pies.
As we were walking around the city, it was Joey, Christine, Naomi and I. Paul aka Benny was surely missed. The production played around three o'clock, so we had a bit of time just to hang out till then. We got dropped off at 50th street by the bus, and the play was on 43W Street, so we had a bit of walking to do. Before we did anything, we decided to eat something becuase none of us had breakfast. Everyone picked McDonald's, and let me just tell you, I'm not a fan; but I couldn't wait any longer.
Since I was the captain of our small group, I had to meet up with Dr. Shosh at the theatre around 2 PM to get our tickets so he could give the other's their tickets for Hairspray. We decided to wait inside becuase it was becoming colder and colder every time we stood still. As we headed into the theatre, there were orange walls everywhere. When we walked into the stage where the seats were, the stage was set up like I have never seen before. Every scene was in some type of room whether is was a bedroom or a restuarant and it was on wheels.
This was Boys Life last show to be on Broadway. This production came from the 1980s, so with every seen change, 80s music would play. It was about three guys whom were friends since college, who haven't grown up and are dealing with harsh relationships with women. It wasn't the best play I have ever seen, but it was by far one of the funniest. The production was great and it was a different taste. I recommend any theatre-goer to see it.
As we headed back to Moravian, I thought about all the great times I had with my classmates and Dr. Shosh. I made some great friends, and I feel as a whole our class became really close with each other. I am happy with choosing Dr. Shosh's class, Broadway and Beyond and recommend anybody who enjoys the city and seeing productions to enroll in his class. Thank you for everyone who showed me a great time!
Monday, November 3, 2008
Originally, all I knew about Equus was that Daniel Radcliffe plays the lead role in the most recent revival, and everyone was up in arms over the fact that Harry Potter was traipsing around the London, and now New York City stage with no clothes on.
Before seeing the production on Broadway, I was informed that we would be reading the play, and I was not all that excited, because plays are supposed to be seen and not read. Being the student that I am, I completed the assignment and was completely blown away. I simply could not wait to see Equus. The opening scene introduces everything, including Dysart, as well as the test for the characters to overcome; Alan Strang is brought to the psychiatric hospital, instead of being sent to prison, and Dysart is the doctor whose job it is to figure out why Alan has committed a terrible act of violence. Our class textbook states that drama is synonymous with sports, in that it must include limited time and space, opposing and evenly matched forces, with goals for all participants to keep the action moving through the series of crises. The level of limits in Equus involve the the time, where Dysart reflects on a number of days with Alan, as Alan recounts the time preceding the event that brought him to the hospital. Dysart discovers many opposing forces, including Mr. and Mrs. Strang, who disagree on religion, as well as many aspects of raising their son. Another set of opposing forces is between Mr. Strang and Alan, which somewhat resolves itself in Alan's mind when he learns that Mr. Strang is not infallible, but rather hypocritical. A third opposition exists between Dysart and his wife, who live in an incompatible marriage. The audience never sees Mrs. Dysart, but it is apparent that there is tension between the two that transcends into Dysart's work life and the confusion that he feels over Alan's conviction of his faith where Dysart feels as though he is jealous of Alan for having something that he loves so deeply.
Equus also has a very strong plot, with many flashbacks, but also keeps very good time within itself. The way the flashbacks occur are very interesting, and it is difficult to imagine while reading the play how a director will portray the different scenery. After seeing the production, I found it very impressive that the lights and sound can change the whole mood to illustrate the change in time and setting.
Overall, the play amazing, and the production took what was written and made of it a masterpiece. I was very pleased by all of the actor's performances, and thought that the background people behind the lights, sound, and scenery made the performance that much more incredible.