Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Play of the Week: Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Even on tour, the Christmas Spectacular pays rousing homage to the place where the magic started:  New York City!  Be dazzled as the Rockettes bring you the twinkle of Times Square and the bustle of the Big Apple in the show stopping "New York at Christmas."To a twinkling tune that delights the ear, the famous 'Parade of the Wooden Soldiers' has wowed audiences, year after year, since 1933.  The accuracy and precise formations give the audience the rare joy of entertainment creating art - everybody's favorite, polished up and brighter than ever!
For those who love to be in the Christmas spirit (and even for those Scrooges out there), I have the show for you.  Every year, the world famous Rockettes strut their stuff across the stage for millions of people all in the name of Christmas.  The play combines both the sacred and secular elements of the Holiday; Santas and presents are included, of course, as well as a Nativity scene. Classic Christmas stories are also included, such as the Nutcracker Suite.  Not only is it a fantastic and well-performed show, but it is also one of the cheapest.  Tickets can be purchased for only $55.  However, these are for the seats in the third mezzanine.  Tickets in the orchestra can be as expensive as $105, but here’s the thing: there is not one bad seat in that theater.  I myself have watched the play from the third mezzanine, and I had a perfect view the whole time.  If New York isn’t in your near future, the play may be coming to a town near you.  This play does in fact have a traveling company and shares the holiday magic all over the country.  The show is only 90 minutes long, and it does not have an intermission.  It is a show fit for the whole family.  It will warm your hearts and put a smile on your face.  I personally give this show five stars.

Every holiday season... The lights dim.  The curtain rises.  The audience hushes.   The stage bursts to life with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular - filled with wall-to-wall dance numbers.  Here, the Rockettes enchant us with a rhythmic, rousing tap rendition of "The 12 Days of Christmas.".

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

 Craving a good movie to watch while cuddling under a blanket this Friday night?  Then you're in luck; check these out for yourself.

Toy Story 3 (Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack) June 2010: If you're from my generation and you followed the first two Toy Stories, you'll love the third.  The last movie left off with Andy reunited with his toys while he was still a small child.  Now, Andy is all grown up, and he's headed off to college to start the next chapter in his life.  While Andy is coping with his upcoming leave just fine, the majority of his toys are having a rough time, especially when they find themselves (accidentally) left on the curb for the garbage truck.  Only Woody finds himself among the things to be taken to college. After breaking free, the remainder of the toys find their way to Sunnyside Daycare, a place that seems like a safe little haven, with Woody close behind trying to get his friends back.  However, things soon take a turn for the worst.  The toys must escape their worst nightmare to get Woody home, all before Andy leaves in a few days.  Many new characters joing the crew for a wild ride, full of ups and downs.  This movie will make you shout with laughter, but it will also melt your heart. Rotten Tomatoes gave this movie 5 stars.

Killers (Ashton Kutcher, Katherine Heigl) June 2010: In therory, this movie sounded great.  Two young, gorgeous celebrites, constant action scenes, romance, hilarious comic relief scenes... it sounded perfect. However, when I watched this movie for the first time, I was extremely let down.  The beginning was good; the two meet in Nice, France while she's on a vacation with her family, and he is carrying out a mission for the CIA.  As time goes on, they develope feelings for each other.  Soon, they are celebrating their one year anniversary and things seem perfect.  Spenser (Kutcher) has given up his spy work, but things start to rapidly  fall apart when everyone and their brother start hunting the couple down.  They quickly find out that Spenser has a $20 million bounty on his head, and their friends and neighbors will stop at nothing to get the money.  The movie itself was of average time: 93 minutes.  However, the plot took forever to get through.  The movie mainly consisted of short battles with faces seen earlier in the movie, and the end was extremely dissappointing.  Rotten Tomatoes gave this movie 1 star.

Grown Ups (Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock) June 2010: If you like comedies that lack a plot, have absolutely no serious moments and do no require a brain to understand, then this is the movie for you.  Even though the movie had no substance, it was funny! Sometimes a complicated drama is to difficult and a shallow comedy is needed.  In this shallow little comedy, five buddies reunite after years of seperation after they learn about the death of their childhood basketball coach who, in essence, brought them together.  The movie goes through the reunion and the time they spend together at a rented lake house, while showcasing that not everyone grows up when they're supposed to.  The story does have a little more depth than that; the plot complicates a bit when the buddies find out they've been challenged to a basketball rematch by the team they beat under their coach's direction all those years ago.  While this movie won't enrich your knowledge, will will put a smile on your face and keep you entertained for a while.  That is, if you're into a bunch of guys shooting at each other with arrows and a toupee that just won't stay attached. Rotten Tomatoes gave this movie 1 star.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Red Curtain vs. The Silver Screen

Growing up with a musical-loving mother has led me to become a Broadway baby.  I started performing when I was just five years old, singing for my church congregation.  After years of begging to take a little excursion to New York, my mother finally agreed to take me when we scored tickets to see Beauty and the Beast on broadway; a bus was taking a load of people to the big apple and two seats were left.  I saw it as fate. I was in fourth grade.

The splendor of the show, the dazzling and cheery music, and the imaginative atmosphere had me hooked.  From the minute I stepped into the theater, I knew I would never be able to get enough of Broadway.  It was my new addiction- my new drug of choice.  To this day, I still cannot get enough. At one point, I even wanted to be a Broadway star.  I've seen many shows, some even twice.  After Beauty and the Beast, I saw Mary Poppins (twice), Mamma Mia! (twice), the Lion King (twice), Hairspray, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular (at Radio City Music Hall. of course!), and The Wizard of Oz, and in April, I will be venturing to the city that never sleeps to see Jersey Boys.  New York is not the only place to see shows; I watched the Lion King on both Broadway and in Pittsburgh, PA, as well as the Wizard of Oz, and I watched Hairspray in State College, PA.  Traveling companies go just about everywhere at some point; when we don't have the time and/or the money to traverse to New York, we wait and see what's happening locally. It makes things more convient for us, and it is much easier on the family wallet and car tires.

Sadly, not many people in this area feel the same way that I do .  Most people would prefer a good movie (and sometimes not so good) to watch for some entertainment, and it's usually not a musical. (Don't forget: not all Broadway shows are musicals either!)  It's a crying shame; people really have no clue what they're missing out on.  It really is hard to beat the shine of all the marquee lights, the thrill of the city, and the excitement of the shows.  If you ever have the opportunity to go to NYC and see a show, DO NOT pass it up!  You could not possibly make a greater mistake.  While you are there, there's many other attractions, too, such as Fifth Avenue (where all your fashion dreams come true), Central Park, many museums, and food galore.  Movies may be cheaper, but they lack the thrill that live performance has.  Any show performed on or off Broadway, with a traveling company, in your high school auditorium, or any live show in general will never be the same show twice.  Actors can do any number of things during a performance: improv, mess up their lines, forget to make an entrance (which has happened to a play I worked with, and it was rather scary), or do whatever the heck they want!  Once they do it, they can't take it back. That's what makes live theater so spectacular: you never see the same show twice.  You can't experience that with a movie.

So next time  you're looking for something to do, why not try a play?  You could possibly find a new favorite pastime, like me!