Sunday, July 6, 2014

Blind Sided by Love

I’m falling in love. I’ve never really been in love before. At least not like this. I’m finding myself smiling at the strangest times of day and giggling over the craziest things. The strangest thing about the whole deal is that I feel like I’ve been blind-sided by the whole experience. They say that it usually happens that way. You like someone well enough and end up going out on a date. It’s not a terrible date, so you go out on another. The next thing you know you’re in major crush territory.

Don’t panic. There is no knew significant other in my life… at least not in the traditional sense. I feel like I’m falling in love with my new town. I’ve always liked Nashville well enough. I knew that I wanted to be in a city larger than where I grew up. I also knew that I didn’t want to move terribly far away from my family and my hometown. So I agreed to go out on a date with Nashville.

When I moved here 7 months ago, I knew that I would enjoy it. I wasn’t sure how long it would last or where it would lead me, and in many ways I’m still unsure. But the more I’m here and the more I find out about my new home, the more I love it. I find myself smiling at the Nashville skyline every single day on my commute to work. I find myself being a tourist and heading to places I’ve never been before, in spite of growing up less than three hours away from here. I find myself looking for new places to eat and new places to find theatre and music.

I’m slowly finding friends, some I’ve known online, others I work with, and some I’ve met since I moved here. I’m learning my way around town and I now can say I successfully travel without my GPS more often than with it. I am learning the little things about this place. The public transit is lacking (hey, Nashville, let’s work on this, k?), traffic during rush hour is ridiculous, but you always know you can find some good music almost anywhere you go and that people are generally kind-hearted and courteous. I’m learning the best (and cheapest) places to park downtown and how when the best times are to eat at certain restaurants. I’m finding the places that the tourists aren’t (thanks in part to many of my new friends), and enjoying every second of it.

Over the holiday weekend Nashville had a Fourth of July fireworks show (appropriately titled “Let Freedom Sing”) at Riverfront Park downtown. I decide to brave the crowds (estimated afterwards to be around 215,000) and headed with a friend to see what was named by the American Pyrotechnics Association at #2 in the nation. I’m so glad I went. It was a spectacular show, but it was also when I realized that I was falling in love with Nashville and WHY.

Despite the fact that there were over 200,000 people descending on a very small area of Nashville this may have been the most laid back and calm I’ve ever seen at a large event like this. I’ve been to a lot of things like this in several different cities. There were police everywhere on the Fourth, but no one seemed stressed. No one was in a hurry. No one was pushing or being rude or inconsiderate. Even compared to CMA Music Fest, this was a whole different creature. I chalked that up to the fact that CMA Music Fest was mostly tourists, while the Fourth of July celebration was mostly locals.

Even more shocking was how easy and calm it was to get out of downtown after the event. Again, there was no rushing, shoving, pushing, or stress. Obviously it did take a little while, with so much traffic, but it still wasn’t stressful. All in all, the experience was what sums up Nashville: laid back with plenty of the courtesy that Southerners are known for.

I can’t tell you if my major crush on Nashville will develop into full-fledged love (though I’m inclined to think that it’s already there). I don’t know if it will be a long term love, or if it may fizzle out over time. I don’t know what the future holds for me and my new beau. But I can say that I am enjoying every second of this new relationship and all the joy it is giving me along the way.

Author’s note: I apologize that I haven’t been blogging more often, but the last year has been a year of changes and crazy for me. Perhaps I’ll be able to get back into it slowly. I can promise I’ll never abandon it completely, but I can’t promise how active I’ll be in my blogging. Either way, I’m always around. You can email me or find me on facebook or twitter. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

First Date

So, it may be five months late, but I’m finally getting around to writing about all the shows I saw when I was in New York in November. I kept meaning to do it and things just got crazy (new job, new town, new house, new life). I figured since Tony time is sneaking up on us (Tony nominations are Tuesday), I ought to write about the shows that I DID see, so I can remember WHY I think some of them need to have Tony nominations (or wins).

I spent several days in NYC back in November and was lucky enough to see several different shows. The first show I saw was the second night I was in town. Some friends and I had made plans to get together to seeFirst Date. An original musical is something I love. A comedy is even better. I’d heard things, both good and bad, about First Date, but I wanted to see it to decide for myself. One of the great things about the show was that during its run, they offered $35 seats in the balcony, making it a show that I didn’t have to do rush, lottery, or TKTS for.

My friends & I before the show!

First Date is a 90 minute musical with no intermission, set around a blind date between two New Yorkers with a somewhat jaded idea of relationships. Aaron is a workaholic who is straight laced and nervous about going on a blind date after having had a disastrous relationship in which he was left under the Chuppah, alone. Casey is a serial dater who has a history of losers in her little black book. She is essentially the total opposite of Aaron. With a book by Austin Winsberg and music & lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, First Date explores so much of what singles experience while they are in the dating scene. The bad, the good and everything in between.

Played by Zachary Levi and Krysta Rodriguez, Aaron and Casey have a most interesting first date, including all the typical awkward moments, strange “getting to know you” moments, and the continual interruption of friends and family (whether in their imaginations or actual interruptions). Levi and Rodriguez had great chemistry and good comedic timing, playing off each other in a very natural way. Watching their interactions made me convinced that the characters had potential as a couple, if they could get past the first date mess.  

So I'm short. And Zachary Levi is VERY tall.
The small ensemble cast of only five play all the other roles in the show, including the waiter, Aaron’s dead grandmother, Casey’s sister, both Aaron & Casey’s best friends, Casey’s ex-boyfriends, and Aaron’s ex-girlfriend, along with a host of other roles. Kristoffer Cusick and Bryce Ryness make a their most notable roles as the best friends of Casey and Aaron, respectively. Kate Loprest’s most notable role is that of Aaron’s ex-girlfriend, her comedic expressions reaching even the back of the balcony. Black Hammond makes a hilarious waiter, and turns into the even more funny character of Casey’s father. Sara Chase is at her best when playing Aaron’s Grandma Ida. I laughed so hard during that little bit that I’m sure my neighbors got sick of my snorting.

In truth, there were some very creative things going on in this show. Directed by Bill Berry, I love that all the characters in the show stayed on stage through pretty much the entire show, either as patrons in the restaurant where the date was taking place, or as characters in the lives of Casey and Aaron. I liked that all the costume changes happened on stage by simply adding a hat, or a headband, or some other small piece of costuming. It made the sudden transitions of the characters happen more seamlessly.  

Krysta was super nice.
There were some strange things too. It almost seemed as though the overall feel of the show was awkward. The scenic design was great, bringing the feel of a NYC eatery, but the way that media was incorporated in was a little over the top. It was cool, for sure. David Gallo did well in both set and media, but the media design didn’t really seem a necessary part of the show. The entire thing could have happened without the strange projections of “google” (Google had eyes. It was weird.). Then again, I have a slight bias toward projections in staged productions. Sometimes they are okay… even needed. But overall, I don’t really care for them.

Truth be known, I really, really enjoyed the show. The music is catchy and the premise of the overall show is creative and something I’ve never seen before. The book is funny and clever and a week rarely goes by when I don’t listen to the cast recording two or three times. I think First Date will do fantastically in regional and community theatre. In fact, I look forward to the first local production I get the chance to see. I can’t wait to see someone else’s take on First Date.

Sadly, I can’t tell you to go see it. The show closed at the Longacre Theatre in January. But I can tell you to pick up the cast recording. You won’t be sorry. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Christmas Story

A little late on this blog, but here's my review of A Christmas Story (the play; not to be confused with the musical) at Tennessee Repertory Theatre

The Absinthe Cabaret: Johnny Rodgers & Stephanie Adlington

Back in November, The Absinthe Cabaret had their second event headlining Johnny Rodgers and Stephanie Adlington. I was lucky enough to get to interview both of them and then see the concert. It was lovely. 

To read my interview with Johnny Rodgers, you can go HERE

To read my interview with Stephanie Adlington, you can go HERE

To read my review of the event, you can go HERE.

Our Country's Good

My review of Our Country's Good at Clarence Brown Theatre back in October can be found on 

Falling Behind and Catching Up

So... cut me some slack my very few readers. I've been...busy in the past several months. I've interviewed for a new job, got a new job, taken a vacation, moved across the state, started a new job in a new town with almost no one I know around me, AND I've seen way more theatre than I've had time to write about.

My plan is to spend the next several weeks catching up. I'm going to be posting all the shows that I've written about and posted on on posts here. Then I'll be reviewing the 5 shows I saw while I was in New York. Sadly, most of them aren't running anymore, and for that I apologize. But I'll be writing about them all anyway.

Give me some time, and be patient with me. I'll get caught back up and get 2014 started off right!