October Show Recap

So originally when I looked at October a few months back to evaluate which shows I might see, there really wasn’t much going on. I thought I wouldn’t be seeing much of anything at all. But then I was made aware of some opportunities and the details started falling into place, and before too long October was filled with theatre! Let’s rewind through October together.

On October 4th, I headed up to Denton to see North Central Texas College’s production of Be More Chill. I just can’t get enough of this story and the music and I’m still very sad about it closing so early on Broadway. The company did an incredible job with this show and I really enjoyed it. Definitely catch this show in any format you can – it’s so, so good.

In the same weekend on October 6th, my school was hosting their fall showcase of shows. They do three one act plays back-to-back and I had students in each of the shows to support. This year’s shows were Our Country’s Good, White Buffalo, and 1984. Each show was different – redeeming, reverent, and intense. I’m always so proud of our students and I love seeing them on stage!

there wasn’t a physical program for this show, but this was the flyer used to advertise!

Because my school’s theatre department never seems to rest, I went to another of our school’s productions on October 10th. Our school teamed up with another school in our district to present Romeo & Juliet. Our school represented the cast of the Capulets and the other school represented the cast of the Montagues. They only completed three combined rehearsals before putting up the show and it was so great! I’m really proud of our theatre kids and how they always rise to new challenges.

there was a QR code to scan for a digital program this time, and this is a screenshot of the cover

Later that weekend on October 12th, we had a late-night theatre night at Oh Look Performing Arts Center to see Evil Dead the Musical. We purposely purchased seats in the splatter zone, meaning we got splattered with a heavy dose of stage blood anytime a character died or was injured onstage. The show is slapstick comedy full of adult language and lots of horror-genre appropriate gore. We left looking like we’d committed murder, but we had a great time.

October 17th was our last Hamiltunes Dallas event of 2019. It was unintentionally timed after Miguel (of Hamilton Chicago) & Kelly Cervantes lost their little girl Adelaide to complications related to epilepsy, and because we’ve worked so much with Miguel’s family in the past, we knew this was a time to act. We donated our ticket sales to CURE (Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy) and encouraged our attendees to make a donation in Adelaide’s honor as well. If you would like to make a donation, please click here.

On Saturday October 19th, I took Aiden to Artisan Center Theater to see The Hunchback of Notre Dame. One of the teachers at my school was in the show, so that was a surprise (the program showed that he was in the opposite cast than was on that day). I love shows at this theater because it’s an intimate setting and every seat is quite close to the action. It was a great performance and Aiden really enjoyed it.

So the next day on October 20th I got together with several of my friends to support our friend Gayla as Little Red in Into the Woods at the Repertory Company Theatre. Gayla was great and it was so good to see her in her element! She’d previously taken a few-years break from acting so this was the first show she’s done since we’ve been friends.

I thought that was it for October. At the very least, it was all I had planned. Then my mom told me she had an extra ticket to the national tour of Menopause the Musical due to a friend who couldn’t attend. So on October 27th, I joined my mom and another friend of hers at the show. It’s a one-act musical that explores the various ailments of menopause through parodied versions of 60s and 70s hit songs. The show is hilarious, and the cast is really talented! It’s definitely a show targeted at women, but the few men in the audience seemed to enjoy it as well.

October was a blast! November is slated to be much simpler, but I guess you never can tell. Come back next month to see how it turned out!

September Theatre/Show Recap

So here we go, another theatre recap of the previous month. But I’m making an amendment officially. In the past I’ve included things that weren’t purely theatre, like the Ben Platt concert and Hamiltunes events. I’m going to continue that pattern this month so let’s call it what it is – a show recap! So every month I’ll definitely talk about the theatre I’ve seen, but I’ll also unapologetically include all other kinds of live performance shows as well. Buckle up y’all, September was fun!

On September 8th I drove to Houston to see Renee Elise Goldsberry sing with the Houston Symphony! I met up with some other listeners of The Hamilcast podcast (aka other Hamilton nerds like myself) so we could eat lunch before going to the show together. Renee gave a beautiful performance, even singing a few songs from Hamilton and Rent! If she is singing with a symphony near you, get a ticket! The encore had me in tears – totally worth the 4.5 hour drive.

A month or so ago, I learned that Booker T Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts would be doing Bring It On the Musical in September. I usually don’t make it a point to go see high school shows where I don’t know any of the actors, but BTWHSVPA is the performing arts school that Broadway-bound Dallas teens attend. And Bring It On is a Lin-Manuel Miranda show I’ve never seen. So we got tickets as a family for September 15th and went to see the show. I was familiar with some of the music from the cast recording, but seeing it live helped with context since the plot is drastically different than the Bring It On movie. There were a couple of standout performers that I would not be surprised to see as up-and-comers in New York in the next 10 years. It was definitely a worthwhile experience!

The next event was a concert – the Jonas Brothers concert at American Airlines Center on September 25. Ok, please don’t roll your eyes at me. Yes I, a 35 year old woman, went to the Jonas Brothers and scream-sung through the entire show. I went with Susan (my college roommate and long-time friend) and her friend. We were introduced to the Jonas Brothers whilst spending many late dorm room nights watching Disney Channel (because we’re super cool, obviously) and I got us tickets to their 2009 tour for Susan’s birthday 10 years ago. Now that the band is back together, we had to go again. I remembered why I love these guys so much. Yes, there’s the poppy, fluffy “I-love-you-girl” boy band standards, but there are also some more mature songs and I’d forgotten how much they’d resonated me at certain points in life. In two days’ time, I’d bought a ticket in a much closer seat for their December 6 show when they return to Dallas. #sorrynotsorry

Our final show in September is one I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Dallas Theater Center is currently hosting a regional production of In the Heights. We bought family tickets for September 29 as soon as they went on sale. My friend Rachel also grabbed a ticket for the same day, so it was good to catch up with her too. Dallas Theater Center earned a regional Tony Award in 2017 and you can take pictures with it in the lobby for a $10 donation (which I obviously did). This cast is incredible. I’ve seen a high school performance that was pretty freaking amazing, but this is the first professional cast I’ve seen and WOW. I love this show so much anyway but it really touched me hard and my face was so wet, especially in Act 2. Then after the show, the cast comes out and does a heartfelt talkback about the show and involves the audience in sharing their feelings related to the performance. This show is open through October 20, so if you are in the Dallas area, make it a priority to go see it. It will change your life at least a little. I’m hoping to see it again at least once before it closes!

Well that’s it for September! October is already shaping up to be full of shows so I can’t wait to come back and share with you how it goes.

August Theatre Recap

August was a lot like July in that theatre performances were a little sparse. School started, and my job is a mess for the first few weeks of school, so I try not to over schedule us in August. But in the end, there was an extra show that I was not anticipating, so we’ll get to that little surprise in a minute. Let’s get down to talking about it!

August started with our son Aiden finishing a week of Drama Kids theatre camp. For the end of camp show, he performed as Rocky the Space Rock Collector in Martian Mystery. It was a big part with a lot of lines – he’d only had the one week of half-day camp to learn it. He did very well, and his performance got some laughs from the audience too (which he loves – he LOVES being the funny guy). It’s always a joy to see him onstage, enjoying what he’s doing.

Aiden as Rocky the Space Rock Collector

On August 8, we had another Hamiltunes Dallas event at the Peticolas Brewery in Dallas. We had lots of new singers join us this time, which always makes things so much fun! I missed the June event because of illness, so it was nice to be among my usual Hamilton nerds, singing through my favorite show again. Here’s a few photos from the night:

On August 9, Jonathan and I went to our final touring show of the 2018-2019 season (good thing the next season starts in November!) – Fiddler on the Roof. This is one of those shows that I’ve always known about and known the songs, but I have somehow never found myself in the audience of a single production. It’s a really touching story and the music is beautiful. The highlight is really the choreography! It’s not a favorite show for me, but the performances were great and it’s definitely worth seeing sometime.

I thought Fiddler was where our theatre adventures would end in August. On August 29, I received the notification that I had won the Hamilton ticket lottery for the next day to see the Philip Tour Company again, this time in Tulsa, Oklahoma. So, on August 30, my friend Lynette and I drove up to Tulsa to see the show – my 10th Hamilton viewing – for the cost of only $10 per ticket. We had great right orchestra seats and the cast had some new actors that have joined since the tour left Dallas a few months ago. We finally got to see Joseph Morales on as Alexander Hamilton; he’s the principle in the role, but he was out of the show all 3 times I saw the show in Dallas. Warren Egypt Franklin joined the cast as the new Lafayette/Jefferson and Neil Haskell joined as King George III (though I’d seen him previously as Charles Lee in the Broadway company). We saw Desmond Ellington in Dallas as both Burr and Washington, but he’s since moved up to be the principle Mulligan/Madison, so it was cool to see him in a third role. We met a lot of people at the stage door for autographs afterwards and I took pictures with the cast members that I hadn’t met previously. Guitar player David Matos gave me a cool Hamilton guitar pick too! The whole experience was totally rad and worth the lack of sleep after arriving back home at 4:30AM.

That’s it for August! Stay tuned for our September theatre adventures – we have a few planned but August has proved that plans can change, for the better!

July Theatre Recap

July was a fairly brief month in terms of theatre attendance. I went back to work mid-month, so there wasn’t so much time for play. Still I managed to fit in 2 shows in July somehow!

For some backstory, I bought a ticket to Broadway’s Be More Chill for January 2020 during my trip for BroadwayCon. Unfortunately, Be More Chill is now closing August 11 and my ticket was refunded. Soon after the closing announcement, I learned that a local community theatre was doing the pre-Broadway version of Be More Chill. On July 14, I went to North Texas Performing Arts – Plano to check it out. This theatre company is specifically for those under 18, so all the roles were played by high school students. Because it was a community theatre rather than a school-sponsored theatre, the salty language and typical teenage topics related to sex, drugs, and alcohol didn’t have to be censored. The kids did a great job with the show and I was really impressed by their performance. I’m glad that I got the chance to see Be More Chill in any format, even if it wasn’t the Broadway version.

On July 19th, we went to the next touring show in our Dallas Summer Musicals subscription – Hello, Dolly! I’ve never seen this show (other than clips of the movie version from the WALL-E movie), but now that I have, I know why it’s a beloved favorite of many. It’s definitely an old-fashioned Broadway musical in style, but with plenty of engaging comedy. The dance numbers were beautifully staged as well. Dallas-Fort Worth Native Betty Buckley starred as Dolly Gallagher Levi and she was incredible! I heard story after story of people who knew her through one relative or another since she’s a local gal. I wanted to stage door this one (even though I’d heard Betty was not making it out due to her large number of guests every night) but we had to pick up Aiden from my mom’s after the show, so we didn’t stay. I really enjoyed this show and I recommend seeing it if it comes near you!

That’s it for July’s theatre adventures! Come back next month for what I’ll be seeing in August!

PlanCamp 2019 Highlights

At the end of June, I flew to Orlando to attend this year’s PlanCamp – a plan and play retreat. I’ve attended a variety of planner conferences and workshops, but this is something different and something special. PlanCamp is a small, intimate, all-inclusive event held annually. This year there were 44 attendees and we stayed in two giant houses at the Encore Resort at Reunion. I mean GIANT. Like we were two campers to a bedroom and each set of roommates had a private bathroom to share. PlanCamp gives attendees time ACTUALLY PLAN as well as play in many ways as we got to spend time with friends old and new. The best part is that the fee is truly all-inclusive; the only additional expenses are transportation to the event site (it’s not always in Orlando – the location changes each year!) and any personal shopping you might want to do. Lodging, food, drinks, and activities are all included. Here are a few favorite pictures:

I could write forever about how amazing this event is, but I decided it was best to savor the memories in a YouTube video! Check out my full recap of this amazing 4 days of fun in the sun with planner friends:

If you’ve never heard of or attended PlanCamp, definitely get this event on your radar! I hope to see you there next year!

PlanCamp Website: https://www.plan-camp.com/
PlanCamp Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/plancampretreat/
PlanCamp Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/plancamp/

June Theatre Recap

June brought some excellent theatre opportunities! Let’s rewind through them together.

On June 7th, Jonathan and I went to see the national tour of Disney’s Aladdin. We are members of the Dallas Summer Musicals Associate Producers group, and this particular night was Associate Producers night during the run of Aladdin, meaning we had a meetup before the show and were invited to stay for the cast party after the show. The show itself is very high-energy and entertaining! I heard complaints about the monkey and tiger characters being absent in the stage show, but since they are non-speaking characters, it doesn’t bother me that they were missing. Everyone onstage was incredibly talented and very kind in person at the party as well. It was a great night!

We also had tickets to Aladdin on June 15th as part of our subscription package. I was supposed to take Aiden, but I was violently ill that weekend, so Jonathan took him instead. Aiden chose a Genie teddy bear from the merch stand, of course. He really loved the show as well!

The next week we all traveled to Chicago (which I’m sure you read about in my Chicago Trip Recap post) and saw two shows. On June 18th we saw Six the Musical at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. This incredible 80-minute one act show started out in the UK and Chicago is the North American debut! The show is staged sort of like a pop concert, with each of the six wives of Henry VIII represented and telling their stories in an updated way from a female perspective. I have been obsessed with the UK studio cast recording for a little while now, but there was nothing like seeing the show in person. I was unexpectedly crying during the opening number (which is not at all sad, btw). I think it just hit me that women in history are often framed by men and their stories were recorded by men, and here are the lives of these six women being told in an empowering way by women. I can’t get the songs out of my head and I am just dying to see it again. Aiden enjoyed it too! He asks to listen to it all the time. Catch it through August 4 in Chicago, or this fall in Boston. It’s also still running in the West End of London and touring the UK as well.

And of course, we went to see Hamilton while in Chicago as well. June 19th marked my 4th time to see the show in Chicago (it was Jonathan’s 2nd and Aiden’s 1st). I love this cast so much and have seen it evolve so much over the last two years, but it remains my favorite group that feels like home. Miguel Cervantes, who plays Alexander Hamilton, has become a friend over the years as he and his family have worked with us at Hamiltunes Dallas to raise money for CURE (please donate if you are led to do so). He was generous enough to help us get some great seats for Aiden’s birthday and he brought us up onstage after the show. Aiden was just glowing the whole night. In Dallas our seats were much farther away and it was really cool to be close and see the actors’ expressions so clearly or have them look you right in the eye. You do miss the lighting effects on the stage when you’re that close, so I wouldn’t recommend it if it’s the only time you’ll ever see Hamilton – but it’s a fun vantage point for a subsequent viewing. Thanks again to Miguel for his kindness and time!

Our last theatre experience in June was at the movie theatre! Fathom Events hosted a filmed live from the West End version of Kinky Boots on two dates in June. On June 25th, we went to the nearest theatre showing it (which was 40 minutes away). I missed the Kinky Boots tour when it came to Dallas a couple of years ago and it’s already closed on Broadway, so this is probably the only way I’ll ever see a professional version of this show. It’s so fun and Aiden enjoyed it as well. I just saw it announced that it will be streaming exclusively on the Broadway HD service, so if you missed it at the movie theatre, you can watch it at home now!

is this the movie version of a playbill pic?

June was another great theatre month! July should be much tamer by comparison but I can’t wait to see how it unfolds. Tell you about it soon!

Chicago Trip Recap

Last week we took our son to Chicago as part of his birthday present. It was just a short trip, but it was jam-packed with adventures. This was his first time being on a plane (that he’s old enough to remember) so he quickly claimed a window seat so he could take it all in.

Once we dropped our luggage at the hotel, we headed out to lunch at Portillo’s. I had a chili cheese dog, Aiden chose a cheeseburger, and Jonathan had the polish sausage dog; cheese fries and a chocolate cake shake were shared by all. Then we headed to an afternoon at the Lincoln Park Zoo. If you’ve never been, this is probably my favorite zoo I’ve ever visited. It’s free, it’s gorgeous, there are lots of atypical zoo animals, it’s intermingled with city park amenities, and there are some truly breathtaking views of the city skyline. Did I mention it’s FREE? The weather was perfect for a day outside too!

After relaxing and refreshing at the hotel, we headed out for the evening. First we ate dinner the at Navy Pier location of Giordano’s. Deep dish pizza is such a quintessential Chicago thing and Aiden had never tried it! This location can have a long wait, but they will let you pre-order pizzas while you wait since they take longer to cook. We got a table quickly, but ordered mozzarella triangles and a caesar salad while we waited for our pizza. Everything was great!

After dinner we went to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater to see Six the Musical. It was such a fun show and I’ll talk more about it next month when I recap all the theatre I’ve seen in June. Aiden got pizza on his shirt at dinner and we had to pick him up a new shirt at a Navy Pier souvenir shop. Oops.

The next morning we had breakfast at Yolk, which was right around the corner from our hotel. I had the cheesy egg sandwich, Jonathan went with the chicken & waffles, and Aiden went with the happy cakes and a side of eggs. Apparently there are some Yolk locations all over the place, even not too far from home. Highly recommended!

We spent most of the morning at the Hamilton Exhibition on Northerly Island. It’s a 360-degree immersive museum-like exhibit that combines real history with the scenes of the musical. IT IS A MASTERPIECE. We spent about 2 hours going through it and I could have spent more time if Aiden had been up to it. There’s a fun surprise at the end too. It’s just breathtaking. I hope I get the opportunity to visit again.

Next we headed to find lunch! We went to Frontera Fresco inside the Macy’s on State St. I had the chipotle steak quesadillas, Aiden had cheese quesadillas, and Jonathan had the chipotle steak tacos. It was all very good and full of flavor. After lunch, we stopped at a couple of stops for necessary shopping – Garrett Popcorn and Fairgrounds Coffee – before walking over to Millennium Park to see the Cloud Gate sculpture (aka The Bean).

We did another afternoon of resting up at the hotel before heading back out. For dinner, we didn’t go anywhere too special – just Corner Bakery. It’s a simple casual dining chain and we have them at home, but it was nearby to our main attraction, Hamilton. We attended the evening performance of Hamilton and got to go onstage after the show with A. Ham himself, Miguel Cervantes. I didn’t tell Aiden about the onstage bit until intermission, so it was one last surprise. Aiden was so excited and also a little nervous to meet Miguel. It was so sweet!

All good things must come to an end. The next morning we grabbed some breakfast from Stan’s Donuts, packed up our stuff, and headed to the airport. Like I said, it was a quick trip – but it was great!

I love Chicago! I can’t wait until the next time I go back!