Friday, November 17, 2017

Day 247-Pittsburgh Broadway Series- Color Purple-Resilient and Strong

Celie and her sister Nettie

The musical The Color Purple is based  on the 1982 novel by Alice Walker. It  is a story about a  women (Celie)  who triumphs over life’s hardships  in the American south.  As  my blog inspired physiologist Maslow would say, she self-actualized or became her personal best.  I loved her  story (I was a sap and cried tears of joy on her behalf  during most of the play's second act) when she  triumphed over adversity with the strength and resilience given to her from God. 

The Color Purple was packed with fantastic jazz, soul, gospel and blues musical scores. It opened on a Sunday morning with a powerful  gospel song “Mysterious Ways”, reminding  all  to “make a joyful noise” because “the good Lord works in mysterious ways” in all our lives.   The story exuded so much emotion, and the music was so good, that you that it did not need much of set (a simple backdrop with chairs) to take go on Celie's powerful journey. 
In the first act, the extreme hardship of Celie’s life was revealed.  She had  to give up both of her children which were fathered by her step father. She sings “Somebody Gonna Love You” to her son as he is taken way from her.

There is a loving bond between two sisters Celie (Andrianna Hicks) and Nettie (N’Jameh Camara).  We learn about Nettie's dream is to become a teacher and explore the world as they both sing “Our Prayer”. Celie’s  love for her sister is is so strong that sacrifices her life  by marring   Mister (Gavin Gregory)  so that Nettie can fulfill her passion to teach. By doing so, Celie endures being called ugly,  beatings, neglect  and being worked like a dog. Mister shows his cruelty when he hides all of Nettie's letters and allows Celie to believe that her sister is dead.  

Through it all Celie remains kind and loving. She  even nurses Mister’s mistress, Sung (Carla R. Stewart), back to health. Sung, a flamboyant singer, sees Celie’s “heart” singing that she is  "To Beautiful for Words".  
Celie triumphs with her own business and independence
In Act II Celie  evolves and finds the strength needed to leave Mister.  I was ready to give her a standing ovation when she left him and the audience burst into applause. We were all routing for her.   She  gained her independence  becoming a success  business women  and she triumphed emotionally.

 I was in tears when  she sang  “Here I am”.  We all strive for  the confidence expressed in this song. She belted, “ I don’t need you to love me, I don’t need you to love. I got my sister, my children,  my house, my hands ...I  am gona take a deep breath, hold my head up …I HAVE IT INSIDE OF ME TO LIVE AS I WIL.... am loving who I really am..I’m beautiful and I’m here!"

Celie’s   journey  is all about being triumphant in the mist of adversity  but remembering that God has equipped us to do so.  The musical ends with song “Color Purple” that states, “God is inside of me and everyone else. I came into this world with God ..when I finally looked inside I found it.." 

I loved this musical that shows resilience and strength to have the victory over
life’s punches which what  this blog is all about!
 (Color Purple runs from Nov 14 through 19 at the Benedum. For Ticket go to 

Spiritual Source
Through him all things were made;without him nothing was made that has been made (John1:3)

Other sources 

Monday, November 13, 2017

246 Marriage of Figaro-Pittsburgh Opera-Lovely Comedy

Figaro and Susana, Countess and Count
There is nothing better than a good laugh, especially when there seems to be an endless trail of “doom and gloom” stories in the news. The Marriage of Figaro with music by Mozart and sung in Italian, is an operatic  comedy.   I was excited to experience my first opera  where someone did not meet their demise in the name of love!


I have discovered  a new interest in the opera during  my empty-nest period (see Day 239-Tosca). They all seem  to be such “larger than life” productions with extravagant  sets,  powerful voices, and beautiful symphonic music.  The Marriage of Figaro was less extravagant than  my past experiences but it  was  filled with wonderfully whimsical music. Much of  Mozart’s 1786 composition, especially the overture, has been played outside of this opera  and thus the  music was familiar to my ears. (listen here)

In this four act opera no one died. In  fact, most of  the action centered round the playful antics during a 24 hour period before the impeding marriage of Figaro (the Count Almavia’s head servant) to Susana (the Countess Rosina Almavia’s maid).

 The Count (Christian Bowers)  had a thing for Susana (Joella Harvey) and wished to exercise his noble right to take the place of his servant on his wedding night. He continued to try to delay their wedding. He also  tried to force the marriage of  Figaro  to an old women, Marcellina (Leah de Gruyl) to satisfy his debt. Then in Act 4 Marcellina discovers that Figaro (Tyler Simpson) is her long lost son.   

Figaro gets the girl, Susana

The Countess (Danielle Pastin) fearing that her husband has lost interest in her, schemes with Susana  and Figaro to teach him a lesson. They convince the page  boy, Cherubino (Corrie Stallings) to dress up as Susana in order to trick the Count. You get the picture, there  is a lot of  twist and turns and mistaken identities  that result in laughter but in the end the Count and Countess fall back in love and Figaro gets his girl!

There were 12 strong characters in this opera and many shared the stage together in song. Since there was so much  movement,  I often just stopped trying to follow the action and English subtitles and enjoyed the music. Especially in Act 3 when both Susana (Joelle Harvey) and the Countess  (Danielle Pastin) produced such beautiful soprano melodies.

This light- hearted opera with familiar music and  a twist of laughter was a welcomed new operatic experience.  I intend to keep the Pittsburgh Opera Season in my survival toolbox because thus far, I have enjoyed the diverse  variety in their shows.  

(Their next show in  January, The Long Walk, is a contemporary American Opera about a solder's struggles after his return from the Iraq war.)

Other Sources

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Day 245 4x4 Ephemeral Architectures -Ballet and Juggling-Beautifully Intimate

Juggling  and ballet is not something that  you often experience  together but renowned juggler, Sean Gandini and Royal Ballet dancer, Ludovic  Ondiviela combined their talents in the show, 4x4 Ephemeral Architectures  at Wilson Center recently.   This show continues to  receive rave reviews since it opened in 2015 at the London International Mime Festival.  Luckily, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust  brought this merger of two different art forms to Pittsburgh.   I thought that this would be my first contemporary  circus experience but this was something much better- something beautifully intimate!   

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Day 244 The NEW Arcade Comedy Theater –Improv, humors spontaneity

New Arcade Comedy Theater, Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh
Bringing  humor and laughter to Pittsburgh  is a great way to circumvent some of the unpleasant current events in the news lately and to combat the impending shortened daylight this time of year. Arcade Comedy Theater  is a new comedy venue with a non-profit mission to, “elevate and advance the art of comedy” and  “present fun accessible and affordable live comedy to Pittsburgh every weekend”.  I was  ready to experience some  spontaneous  humor   through the art of improvisational comedy during the  Grand Opening of the New Arcade Comedy Theater!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Day 243 My Great Stress Cook- Off

My blog inspiration book, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from, a Little Golden Book recommends, “Learn to cook”. I never thought that I would use that book page in this blog because I am such a bad cook and I actually really hate to cook. I know it’s shocking -an Italian girl that does not know how to cook. I wish I had a dime for every time I heard, “You’re Italian and you don’t cook”! 

Today my happiness meter went into the “critical red zone”. Why my stress  level  was in the red zone: whether it’s a product of work, my relationships, or my child is irrelevant, but what matters is the way I choose to circumvent  potential despair. I don’t drink, use drugs, shop much, or sleep it off, so I decided to try something new –cook!

Friday, November 3, 2017

November Preview of Upcoming Events

Since this blog is  all about keeping a forward trajectory in mist of change and reaching your personal best, I wanted to preview some of my planned experiences in  the hope  that it will inspire some to join in. As Dale Carnegie once said, "Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." Let's all get busy!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Day 242-Pittsburgh Ballet Opens its Season with Dracula-Beautifully Eerie

What better way to spend Halloween weekend than with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theather (PBT) Season Opener, "Dracula".  One of my favorite things is going to a ballet because of the beauty  but his time the show is based on something mysterious- Bram Stoker’s 1887 novel.  The last time that PBT preformed this show was in 2011, so I did not want to miss the experience of something beautifully eerie!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Day 241 Pittsburgh Broadway Series Opens with "School of Rock" - Powerhouse Kids-A Voice

The Pittsburgh Broadway 2017-18 season opened with "School of Rock”, the musical, with music by Andrew  Lloyd Weber. The play is based on the 2003 movie with the same name.  If you like kids then you will love this lighthearted play because the best part of the show is experiencing the kids' powerhouse musical talent as they perform rock n roll live. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Day 240 Black Violin-Create your own path

My Blog inspiration book, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book” reminds us to “be unique” and unique is  just what  you get with Black Violin. Classically trained violist (Wil B) and violinist (Kev Marcus)  fuse  classical music with hip hop, pop and rock. They call  their new musical genre “Classical Boom”. Their music is not just about a new sound but as Wil B  said during their show, it is about  “breaking stereotypes, thinking  outside the box and creating your own path.”

Friday, October 13, 2017

Day 239- Pittsburgh Opera –Tosca-Romance, Loyalty, Love, and Deceit – An explosive musical experience

Mario and Tosca 
I have seen several  operas, some  modern (Day 212) and some classical (Day 143), but they have all been larger than life productions. What I love about the opera  is that it is not really about the story but about the way the set, voices, and symphony  combust  to produce the overall "operatic experience."  The best way to describe Puccini’s "Tosca" was a powerful  vocal and musical explosion!