November didn’t contain as many theatre adventures as October, but I still managed to have a great time! Let’s go through last month’s theatre happenings and see how it all went.
November 1st was Dallas Summer Musicals’ Annual Gala, held to raise money for all of the education and community outreach programs they support. We aren’t big bucks donors, so we don’t get invited to the dinner portion, but we were able to get (cheap seat) tickets to the performance. This year’s show was hosted by Chita Rivera, featuring performances from Kelli O’hara and Amber Riley. Everyone was super talented and put on a great show. Kelli O’hara had me both laughing and crying with her stories and songs and Amber Riley has a powerhouse voice too. There are always unannounced special guests, and this year’s guests were Adam Pascal and Caissie Levy! Adam Pascal is the nicest guy (I was fortunate enough to meet him at the Something Rotten! tour stage door a few years ago) and it was awesome to see him perform the songs from Rent for which is he so well-known. Caissie Levy may be the original Elsa in Broadway’s Frozen, but I first saw her onstage at my first professional show as Maureen in the 2002 tour of Rent. It’s cool to follow someone’s career like that! It was a great night and I’m definitely sold on attending these gala events in the future!
The 2019-2020 season at Dallas Summer Musicals kicked off this month and the first show of the new season was Cats. Aiden and I went on October 16, since Jonathan is not a fan of Cats. Aiden loved it and I enjoyed it as well. Cats gets a lot of flack and I get it – it’s weird. But I love the choreography. In general, I think people who first see Cats as kids tend to like it and adults who are seeing it for the first time tend to hate it. The touring cast does an amazing job with the intricate moves and exhaustive vocal score. If you have never seen it give it a try! Just don’t take it too seriously – it’s not a thinker, it’s just for fun.
Rarely do we get two season shows in one month, but November is when it happened this time. Dear Evan Hansen came to Dallas Summer Musicals at the end of the month, and Jonathan and I went on November 29.
* Spoiler alert ahead if you haven’t seen this one.*
This show wrecked me in every way. As someone who has dealt personally and professionally with many of the situations characters face, it’s a whole lot of emotion. I’ve seen many people over the years express concerns about all the lies Evan tells and the emotional manipulation at play for him to “get the girl”. As someone who works with teenagers, it’s not neat/happy/kind, but it sure is realistic. Teens make mistakes in coping with depression, anxiety, divorce, loss, and social situations all the time – and sometimes they screw up big. Those who are living with mental illness and contemplating suicide tend to screw up even bigger. Some others express that Evan doesn’t have any consequences. I mean Evan obviously loses the girl, which is no small thing when he’d already said she was his literal only reason for living. I would wager that the creatives felt it was more important to end the show with hope, grace, and a reminder of our connectedness as humans than a punitive scene. No show can ever tell a complete story and sometimes it doesn’t need to. Plus Alex Lacamoire is an orchestral genius and can do no wrong on my book. But my face was so wet. Bring tissues – I forgot mine!
November was a great month for theatre! Looking forward to the shows December will bring!