West End Wendy: London Theater Experiences

I’d gladly classify myself as a bit of a theater geek, so I snatched up the chance to see as much theater as possible when I studied in London last fall. In addition to seeing three musicals in my free time, I took a Shakespeare class, which included seeing three plays performed at three different London theaters.

When comparing Broadway and the West End, my winner when it comes to experience would lean towards New York, because I just think it’s on a much grander and faster scale than London. You just can’t get more theater than seeing something on Broadway.

I found London’s theater district more low-key than its American equivalent, which was a common description of London life in my experience.  The people I’ve met who do find London overwhelming usually come from smaller towns or cities further away from Manhattan – meanwhile, New York City is what I grew up with, and London almost felt peaceful to me after knowing New York so well. When I was there, a lot of West End shows had Broadway duplicates, so there wasn’t much I had to see because of availability – all of the musicals I ended up seeing were also on Broadway at the time.

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Emmys 2016: A Reaction

In the last nine years or so of regularly watching award shows, a lot of ceremonies inevitably blend together. When an Emmys ceremony once again has Jimmy Kimmel as host – or any late night comedian, for that matter – it feels like something we’ve seen one too many times. Is it because, even if it’s only happened once before, any late night host at an award show is a safe and familiar prospect? Does our (perhaps daily) habit of watching their interview or viral clips give us the feeling that we’ve seen any and all things a host is capable of?

I found Jimmy Kimmel to be a strong host of Sunday night’s 68th Primetime Emmy Awards. I’ve given up on truly critiquing an award show host simply because, in today’s TV climate, I feel that the same old jokes will be recycled, no matter who is on that stage. This leaves me with no judging system besides equating host success to few cringe-worthy moments.

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News Worthy 9/5 – 9/9

No matter how old I get, the start of school is still one of my favorite times of year. It’s definitely the Hermione Granger in me, but nothing delights me more than that moment when I’ve registered for a new semester of classes and a perfectly arranged timetable appears in my student account. Returning to my campus for senior year means perks like a short walk to get iced coffee and little bumps such as the Internet not connecting in my townhouse.

However, I kicked off Wednesday morning with a visit to the IT office, so now I should have Internet access despite my location – which means more opportunities to find things for a News Worthy post!

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News Worthy: 8/29 – 9/2

Here we go with regularly scheduled News Worthy posts again!

News

Gene Wilder died at the age of 83 this week, and whenever a film icon of my childhood dies, it sort of numbs me for a while – like many others, I grew up watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Wilder’s death marks yet another loss from the 1960s-70s era that I see as the last period in which movie stars maintained an elusive privacy that made you see a character they were playing, not the actual actor. I just think he was so classy and really recognized the difference in today’s film industry versus the time he was most active. I found the interview below a year or two ago, and, about two minutes in, he actually touches upon how loud and unnecessarily crass today’s films can be. Wilder’s Young Frankenstein screenplay was nominated for an Oscar, and I think that detail and his remarks in this video show that he was a very selective person who really understood film.

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21 Years in Movies

In honor of today being my twenty-first birthday (and one year since I arrived in London for my semester abroad, but who’s counting?), I thought I’d revisit my life with a film that came out in each of the 21 years. Obviously, the older films will entail memories of watching them several years after their release, while the more recent ones may have a first-time viewing story behind them. Let’s see how this goes!

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News Worthy: Catching Up

I started my News Worthy posts back in February, and posted weekly updates pretty consistently until April, when I finished school. The posts were a great way to talk about any and every thing I found interesting from that week, and it was a guaranteed addition to my blog.

Working full time this summer swept up any ambition I had to maintain News Worthy, but with the start of the school year in sight, I’m going to try to post weekly posts again. For now, I’m highlighting some recent-ish news / tidbits that was exciting to me!

Theater

I’ve spoken a lot about my love for The Last Five Years, from the original cast album to the film adaptation, so the announcement that Cynthia Erivo and Joshua Henry are starring in a TLFY  benefit made my life. Like the rest of America, I’ve basically become obsessed with Cynthia Erivo through her lead role in The Color Purple revival. Joshua Henry has done several Broadway shows and will be playing Burr in the Chicago production of Hamilton this fall.

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Reactions to 2016 Emmy Nominations

Much like last year, the recent announcement of Emmy nominations wasn’t even on my radar. After seeing the complete list, I understand why – nearly all of the shows nominated are just not on my spectrum at all.

I was out of the country for last year’s Emmys, so maybe I’m just out of the loop about what’s the norm now, but when did these categories widen to include so many slots? Although it’s great that this allows for more deserving people to be recognized, I almost find it overwhelming, particularly with the categories for Best Comedy and Drama. Although I’m terrible at keeping up with current shows, I do like to have at least some exposure to the nominated works and their actors, and that has become increasingly difficult to do with these kind of nominations.

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If These Books Were Movies, They’d Star…

I love sharing what books I think would translate well into films or mini-series, and part of those visions  stem from how clearly I can see a certain actor as a character. Ever since I was little, I remember running a book’s story through my head as if I was directing a movie, picturing people I saw on TV as those in the story. Even now, some of these visions are so strong that I view any movie adaptation of a book I love warily, because it’s almost as if my own movie already exists.

I wanted to share some of my favorite “casting choices” – the actors I quickly adopted as characters when reading – from books that haven’t had any kind of adaptation yet.  That being said, I think all of these stories would be brilliant as films (it may be a secret desire of mine to write a Millicent Min screenplay).

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Bright Star, Theater Groupies, and Live Streams

I didn’t find the online theater community until about three or four years ago (discovering Aaron Tveit through Les Mis may’ve been a huge catalyst), and when I saw The Heiress on Broadway in early 2013, I had just found out that meeting the cast at the stage door was a thing. I then went three and a half years without seeing a Broadway show, familiarizing myself and falling in love with this world from afar. I don’t know anything about acting and singing technicalities, but I believe that simply keeping up on community news and learning about people’s careers gave me pretty resourceful knowledge of Broadway history.

Now with a greater appreciation and love for what these creators, actors, and musicians do on a daily basis,  I would get frustrated about not being able to see shows because of time, price, or (when I was away at school) location. Episodes of Show People and press footage of shows had to suffice – and I know I can’t complain, having been able to see a good amount of shows at pretty young ages. Think about it as the equivalent to the kids’ table at a family event – once you hit a certain age, you know the real goods are at the grown-ups’ table, and it’s so close, yet so far.

But then, back in June, some stars magically began to align.

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