Welcome back to my blog, friends! I’ve had a crazy month and a half or so of schoolwork, internship projects, and freak-outs about life that kept me from blogging regularly, but with summer on the horizon, I’m trying to get back into a nice writing routine!
Recently, I purposely made a post about my Tony nomination predictions so it was out before award announcements, and am planning on a reaction post to seeing the Broadway musical Bandstand. For now, as a nice catch-up to get the blog back in order, I wanted to do a News Worthy-esque post about recent cultural news or events that excited me!
Jessie Mueller and Joshua Henry are starring in a Broadway revival of Carousel next year. The sound that came out of my mouth when I saw this headline was not human. I love Jessie Mueller, and recently fell in love with my birthday buddy Joshua Henry through his HamJams on Instagram. I love how this is a pairing no one would have really considered in casting speculation but now that it’s happening, everyone loves it! The fact that a black man was cast as Billy in Carousel is also huge and amazing. With a My Fair Lady revival already announced for next season as well, the 2018 musical revival category is looking pretty strong.
Sanne, one of my favorite YouTubers, made a video over the summer about which female book characters she’d pick for her own “bookish girl squad.” She came up with certain characteristics to follow when picking girls, which I decided to list below and use to build my own bookish squad!
Honestly, the idea behind squads kind of intimidates me (blame Taylor Swift’s ever-growing posse), but because imagining book characters were real is the best thing ever, I had no issue putting together this fun group!
Someone who will force you to go out when you want to stay in – Louisa Clark (Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes)
I seriously need a friend like this, but anyone who tries can never manage to break my very tough aversion to the “going out” scene. Lou would be the ideal person for the job because, as seen with persuading Will to do things, she can make things happen when she really wants them to. She’ll go to the ends of the earth to make sure you’re having a good time, even if it creates some awkward moments at the horse races, as the book shows.
Unlike last week, today’s News Worthy is far more aligned with my typical format for the series!
Like so many others, I was so excited for the premiere of This Is Us back in September. My roommate and I even watched the first few episodes live, which, if you’ve been around here long enough, you’ll know is a privilege usually reserved for PBS dramas. After the pilot finished and that big twist was revealed, I even felt motivated to write a blog post in response (which never happened – whoops). We fell behind on watching when the semester’s work piled up, but I caught up over Christmas break and was finally convinced of the show’s power by the time I finished the mid-season finale.
I quickly fell in love with Into the Woods after seeing the film, and have become very familiar with the original Broadway cast recording. The show was revived in 2002, and what with that production hitting its 15th anniversary this year, I think another Broadway revival is well overdue.
In a new feature that I think I may keep doing because of how fun this post was, I picked some of Into the Woods’ main roles and matched them with Broadway actors I can easily envision playing the role in the near future.
Baker – Santino Fontana
I see Santino Fontana as an everyman, and the role of the Baker is that of an ordinary man thrust into this quest that’s asking so much of him. It’s hard to pick someone for this role when Chip Zien was so great in the original production, but I think Santino both fits the mold Zien set and has differences that could make his portrayal unique.
Speaking as a kid raised on a lot of PBS and now-extinct cable channels (I miss you, Discovery Kids), some of my favorite programs growing up were things other kids rarely knew about. Essentially, you could call me a TV hipster before the word was even a blip on the radar.
Aside from the occasional Spongebob references someone may make in random conversation and my first “celebrity” crushes being boys on Zoom rather than somebody on Disney Channel, a lack of exposure to well-known shows didn’t deepen my home under a rock too much. A lot of the young people involved in my old shows still pop up in other TV projects, so it sort of becomes like hearing news about a kid you went to high school with but didn’t really know on a personal level – in this case, it’s actors popping up, and you get to feel special that you “knew them when.”
Discovery Kids was a branch of the Discovery Network and, after 2010, morphed into other networks until it finally became a completely different entity in 2014. The programming style could not be more different from the types of shows aired when I was young. I think its typical schedule includes a My Little Pony rerun and random kids’ movies from the ’80s. While we still watched Disney Channel in the mid-2000s, Discovery Kids was still a strong contender for the channel that got the most airtime in our house. The first two shows I’ll talk about aired on Discovery Kids, which I think displays just how diverse its programming used to be.
1) Endurance (2002 – 2008)
Is it too early to start getting excited about all of the new releases / premieres / openings of 2017? As far as I can remember, I’ve never really known of so much stuff that excites me this ahead of the new year. Most of my list relates to the first half of the year, meaning that time should fly leading up to these dates!
1) After Anatevka
I first mentioned this in my post about seeing Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway, and after seeing the cast’s emotions online after the production closed on Dec. 31, I’m even more excited for this book to come out. Written by the revival’s Tzeitel, Alexandra Silber (who also played Hodel in the last London production), After Anatevka explores what happens to Hodel and Perchik when they’re together in Siberia. I love historical fiction, and although it is one of my favorite musicals, Fiddler on the Roof has a pretty sad second act, ending with all of the characters’ fates up in the air. Even if this book does have a grim ending, I think this is such a cool and personal project for someone like Silber to take on. The book comes out on the Fourth of July, and I’ll definitely be trying it out!
Like with my Favorite Books post (2016 is here), I’ve made a Favorite Movies post both in 2014 and 2015, and this year is no different. Once I had put together this list, I did notice that 2016 wasn’t a year when movies I watched became favorites immediately (with the exception of one), which has happened in the past. The movies that do pop up below were stories that stuck with me long after I watched them and may have been different from what I normally watch. Just like with the Favorite Books posts, these are movies I saw for the first time this year and not necessarily films that came out this year.
This year felt like a light reading year for me. Funnily enough, three of my four favorite books I read in 2016 were assigned for school reading, and my overall schedule actually allowed me to really read them when I needed to. I definitely had a lot of reading slumps this year, even happening as early as January, but I’ve gotten a lot better about only finishing a book if I’m really invested in the story. The online book community can go a little crazy about reading as much as possible in a year, and while I may not have read as much this year as I have before, a lot of books read in 2016 just stuck with me in that very rare, special way.
You can check out this year’s favorites below, and I also have posts on past years’ standouts as well (2014 and 2015). Remember, these books weren’t necessarily published in 2016; I just read them for the first time this year.
To be honest, the films I can get away with watching in December are some of my favorite parts of the Christmas season. Every year, once I finish finals, the week leading up to Christmas is full of bingeing all of the holiday films. A tradition I kept through all of high school and some of college was watching Notting Hill on the afternoon of my last final, and while I still usually end up watching it right before Christmas because Richard Curtis movies just make me feel all the feels, I wanted to share my favorite, solely holiday-themed films that I love to watch this time of year.
There’s a line Meg Ryan says in You’ve Got Mail that warms my heart every time. She plays a bookstore owner (can I run a bookstore when I’m retired someday?) and says, “When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.”
Nothing rings truer to me than this line. Obviously books from early childhood always stay with you no matter how old you are, but even more important to me are the books I chose to read from about fourth through eighth grade. At this point, you’re developing your taste in books and figuring out what you like, and if you’re anything like me, the books from this period are the ones you reread constantly.