Dream Casting: Into the Woods

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.

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News Worthy 1/9 – 1/13

I haven’t written a post for my weekly News Worthy feature since the beginning of September, but I’d like to try and get back into it – a semi New Year’s resolution, if you will. I had a pretty busy semester in the fall, and while there are definitely more gaps in my schedule this semester (my last of college – uhh…), I feel like they’ll fill up quickly, so committing to News Worthy is a good way to write at least one post every week. Let’s see how this goes!

Essays 

I finished reading Sarah McCoy’s The Baker’s Daughter last week and checked out McCoy’s website afterwards. She has a page for all of the essays she’s written over the years and this one, “Author Epiphany: I Film-Track My Novels” was great. McCoy explains that, instead of listening to music when she writes, she’s often typing with old black-and-white movies playing in the background.

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3 Obscure Childhood TV shows 

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) 

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What Entertainment I’m Looking Forward to in 2017

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

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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!

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My Favorite Movies of 2016

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.

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My Favorite Books of 2016

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.

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My Must-Watch Holiday Films

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.

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More “If These Books Were Movies…”

It was so fun sharing some of my own book-to-movie casting choices here and here that I couldn’t help but write about even more of the actors I pictured as certain characters when reading their stories!

1. Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo as Ifemelu and Obinze (Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)

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“Ifemelu was not sure when something happened, but in those moments, as Kayode talked, something strange happened. A quickening inside her, a dawning. She realized, quite suddenly, that she wanted to breathe the same air as Obinze.”

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5 Favorite Books from Late Childhood 

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.

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Read All About It: Favorite New York Times Profiles

One of my biggest pleasures is reading the physical weekend papers of The New York Times. I have an online account with the Times, so when I’m at school, I check its site on a daily basis for both breaking news and feature articles. I pass its office building in Manhattan a lot, and get a bit of chill whenever I see the newspaper’s classic font sprawled above the entrance. When I’m home, going through all of the special weekend sections is the perfect way to start my day. My favorite sections include the Sunday Styles, Arts & Leisure, Travel, and Metropolitan, and I love the “What I Love,” “Sunday Routine,” and “Modern Love” series. While I obviously appreciate NYT for the hard news it covers, its profiles of people are my absolute favorite things. I’ve talked a little bit about my love of well-written profiles, and longer profiles in magazines are great, but nothing beats a short and sweet profile in The New York Times. 

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