Thursday, July 20, 2017

Day 228 Pittsburgh CLO-Disney’s Newsies-Take a Stand

Jack (Joey Barreiro) and Crutchie (Daniel Quadrino) "Santa Fe" 
I was awestruck with the strength of the energetic male focused dancing  which augmented the shows  powerful theme for social change when I saw Disney's Newsies  in 2013 on Broadway.  Pittsburgh’s CLO production had the same energy and forceful movement that I  remembered. 

One  of my blog inspiration books, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Disney Golden Book” reminds us that,  “you [got to] tap into your inner warrior to do what’s right”*.  That is just what Newsies is all about-standing against power to right a wrong.


Reflection
Newsies   is based on the real life story of Kid Blink (Jack Kelly in the musical)  who in 1899, lead  a number of  NYC newsboys to take a stand against the publisher  moguls  Pulitzer and Hearst by refusing to distribute their papers after they increased the newsboy’s price  per  100 bundle from 50 to 60 cents. In 1899, the delivery boys were also not reimbursed for the unsold papers. This  group  of newspaper hawkers led the change in newspaper distribution and paved the way for child labor laws. 

 The musical opened with  Jack Kelly (Joey Barreiro ) emotionally singing "Santa Fe" . He tells his  friend, Crutchie  (Daniel Quadrino), of his dream to leave the tough NYC street life of a newsboy for Santa Fe.  Then a strong vocal and dancing CLO cast of young men playing the orphaned and homeless boys, prepare for another day of work in an explosive dance number, “Carrying the Banner”.

Jack soon meets  and agrees to teach his sales skills to  Davey (Stephen  Michael Langton) and his little brother, Les (William Sendera)  who join the newsboys to support their family when  their father  lost his job  after a work accident.  Together  they lead Newsies in rebellion against the powerful publishers in "The World Will Know".

Katherine (Beth Stafford Lard) with Newsies
Like most musicals there is a love connection between Jack and  an aspiring reporter Katherine (Beth Stafford Laird ) who initially  takes on the boys' cause for her personal career aspirations but latter falls in love with Jack.  She  sings about the importance of covering the strike in the song “Watch What Happens”  singing, “Speak up. Take a stand and when there is someone to write about it, that’s how things get better”.  

Seize the Day”  almost brought the audience to their feet.  It began with the pure voice of Stephen Michael Langton as Davey, who rallies together the boys to fight against the paper distribution price increase.  He sings, “stand down the odds and seize the day..courage is when we face our fears-tell those in power, safe in their tower –we will not obey..” This song crescendos with a fantastic tap dance number that had the  strength of ballet with its jumps and turns, and the rhythm of tap.

powerful dancing 

The powerhouse voices and dancing  in this CLO production kept up in the second Act.   Newsies  captures the fight of a  “David verses Goliath story" through powerful dance. We enjoy the entertainment as we all root for the Newsies as they take a stand!

(Pittsburgh’s CLO production of  Disney’s Newsies  runs from  Tuesday, July 18 to Sunday, July 23, 2017 at the Benedum Center)

Spiritual Refection
“Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

Other sources
*Little Golden Book “Disney’s Mulan



Sunday, July 16, 2017

Day 227 Pittsburgh Symphony POPS –Music of John Williams-Larger Than Life


I grew up loving the excitement of the Star Wars series and my son, who is also a fan, had all the action figures.  Listening to the musical scores  from these films brings me and many of us back to a happy place.  I recently added the Pittsburgh Symphony PNC POPS to my list of favorite experiences so I was eager to hear  the orchestra  play the music of John Williams, composer of  many popular and recognizable movie scores such as the Star Wars series, Harry Potter, Superman, Jaws, JFK and Raider of the Lost Ark sequence, just to name a few.   His music like these movies are in many ways "larger than life”  and truly come alive with the talents of a top notch symphony such as our  very own Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.  

Monday, July 3, 2017

Day 226 Diana Krall- Beautiful and Sultry (Benedum Center, Pittsburgh)


As an “empty- nester”  I have been drawn back to my past love for jazz.  Diana Krall made a Pittsburgh stop during her “Turn Up the Quit” tour recently.  This  jazz pianist is a  5 time Grammy winner with  8 albums debuting on the top of the Billboard Jazz charts.  It’s her sultry sound and her interpretation of many  jazz classics that makes her so unique and appealing to many, including me.

Reflection
Diana Krall is known for her  lower vocal range, sometimes whispering, almost speaking the words. I love the way that she feels the music and her smooth vibe radiates  through her  audience.   She  opened with  the  upbeat, “Do I Love You” and continued with “Look of Love” (Nat King Cole) , “Night and Day” (Cole Porter) and one of my favorites “Blue Skies”(Irving Berlin). Then she continued  for the next 2 hours!  I appreciated that she dedicated “Sunny Side of the Street” to Pittsburgh native Mr. Rogers.

visually beautiful show 

She  travels with a fantastic band who throughout  the show  showcased their talent  during these jazz standards. I loved the violin player who seemed to take the musical  part  usually reserved for a saxophone. He made that instrument sing and even  sometimes  plucked the strings.  It produced a unique musical blend.

I expected to hear good music but I did not expect such a wonderful visual experience at show.  The screen back drop  changed with the feel of the music projecting images and lights that intensified  the musical experience.  During the song “Temptation” it was flaming red  and  then  it had a dreamy effect for “Moonglow”.   Diana Krall created  a truly beautiful  musical escape.
Waiting for the show to start 

(For more upcoming concerts from the Cultural Trust see https://trustarts.org/ )

Spiritual Reflection

Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was excellent in every way (Genesis 1:31)

Other  Sources


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Day 225- House of Blues Myrtle Beach - DJ Biz Markie and Gospel Brunch-Positive Lights


House of Blues Myrtle Beach
I have  been  to  the  House of Blues recently (see Day 222-90’s Grunge Experience-Cleveland) and  two years  ago  the  Gospel Brunch in Chicago (see Day 88).  I  thought  that  I would explore the  House of Blues Myrtle Beach located near  Bearfoot Landing in North Myrtle  Beach. I decided to  try  a Hip Hop experience with  DJ Biz Markie called “Decades Collide-80’s vs. 90’s” and revisit something that I really enjoyed  on this journey -the  famous Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Day 224 - Escape Games, Mirror Maze and Laser Maze –Play like a kid at the Beach (Myrtle Beach)


Legend of Atlantis Escape Game
Often when I am on a beach trip the days consist of  beaching it all day and then going out for dinner. Although there is nothing wrong with that routine this time I decided to try something new- play like a kid with no kid! I found a way to do that at  Broadway at the Beach where you can engage in an escape game, mirror maze, and laser vault  maze.  In my blog inspiration  psychologist Maslow's  theory,  having the ability to be  "child- like" is a characteristic of  a person who is self- actualized or who has reached their personal best,  so  I decided to have a day of  play at the beach.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Day 223- Myrtle Beach-Beach it Relax-A Trip of Many Firsts


First time that I did not drive 


Even though I usually go to the beach at least once a year, having no child or family with me is a new experience.  I like the idea of having  no one to worry about  except myself.  I decided to beach it with a  “chill attitude” and with no set agenda. There is nothing like being at the beach and walking along the edge of the sand and listening to the sound of the cracking waves and wind.  Luckily for me, Spirit and  Allegiant Air both have  very inexpensive direct  flights from Pittsburgh to Myrtle Beach so I decided to  beach it and relax early in the summer with a bunch of new experiences!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Day 222 House of Blues - Cleveland, Ohio-90’s Grunge Experience


I think that I missed the whole 90’s grunge music era. I was stuck in the 80’s during the 90’s except for the songs that hit the top 40 charts.  Since this blog is  all about trying something new, I accepted an invitation to “The 90’s Grunge Experience" at the Cleveland House of Blues to hear three 90’s tribute bands:  Hollow (playing Alice in Chains), Seven Circle Sunrise  (playing Nirvana) and STP2 (playing Stone Temple Pilots). I thought that it might be fun to experience  the music  of  an era that seemed to have passed me by!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Day 221 A Christmas Story (movie) House- Cleveland, Ohio–Follow Your Dreams

A Christmas Story House, restored in Cleveland, Ohio
It's a Christmas tradition for my son and I to watch the the 1983 iconic movie, A Christmas Story, that takes place on Cleveland street, Indiana in the 1940’s (see Day 178-A Christmas Story the Musical).  We laugh every  year at  Ralphie’s quest for a Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred  shot BB gun for Christmas and his dad’s  acquisition of the “major award” leg lamp. I recently learned that  the home  used in the filming of this movie has been  renovated  to look just  like it did in the film, has a museum of the movie props, provides tours, and  even offers overnight stays if you want the real experience.  You can find the Christmas Story House  a few hours from Pittsburgh in Cleveland Ohio. I was off to see this place, learn more about one of my favorite films, and maybe  even pick up a “major award” (leg Lamp) for my son!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Day 220 INXS Experience- KICK tribute band- Hard Rock in Pittsburgh


Cory Massi lead singer with KICK-INXS Tribute Band, Pittsburgh
When we hear music that was popular  during our youth, we  are transported back to that time remembering our past antics and the fun. Maybe that is why so many of us enjoy a good  tribute band.  These bands give us the experience of a concert that most likely would not happen without them because either the band no longer exists, tours, or the front man is no longer with us.  This is the case with INXS the Australian pop/rock band of the 80’s and 90’s who’s lead singer, Michael Hutchence, self -induced his death in a hotel room in l997. “KICK-INXS Tribute Band" from South Carolina was playing at the Hard Rock Cafe in Pittsburgh and I wondered if they really could give me the INXS experience that I remembered.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Day 219 American in Paris-Friendships and Spreading Joy with Beauty


I remember seeing the 1951 film,“An American in Paris” as a kid and loved to watch Pittsburgh native Gene Kelly dance because he was always so full of joy as he moved.  The musical, “An American in Paris” is inspired by the film. According to Maslow, my blog inspiration psychologist, aesthetic needs or the appreciation and search for beauty in the world  is part of the process of obtaining your personal best or being self-actualized. “An American in Paris” is about beautifying   and spreading joy in a dark world.