Pippin is one of my three favorite musicals.* When we lived in upstate NY in the mid-70's, I used to watch Ben Vereen in the Manson Trio in the ad for Pippin on a small black & white TV. I loved that performance, Fosse's choreography, and Ben Vereen's dancing. However, I wasn't old enough to see Pippin.
Until recently, Pippin was never revived on Broadway, and I haven't had the chance to see it at local theaters.
Two weeks ago, I finally saw Pippin. I'd seen this Tony performance, and I wasn't sure what I though of this. Would the acrobatics be distracting from the story? They were different performers than I'd seen in the DVD of a 1981 performance.
I loved it! I was caught up in the whole thing - it was beautiful, and funny, and totally engaging. There was new choreography so it wasn't as Fosse-esque, but that's what happens with a new production. They did keep Fosse's Manson trio choreography.
I managed to turn off my inner Ben Vereen after the first few numbers!
2013 Tony performance:
Manson trio from the Broadway production:
The touring production we saw had John Rubenstein, the original Pippin on Broadway, playing Pippin's father, King Charlemagne.
One of the best musicals. We've recently seen Debbie Allen as one of our favorite judges on So You Think You Can Dance (starting again this evening). Here she is with the cast of West Side Story on the 1980 Tony Awards.
Gregory Hines is one of my favorite musical theater performers. I love his dancing and energy, and I wish he had been in more musicals. He won a Tony for his performance as the jazz musician, Jelly Roll Morton in Jelly's Last Jam.
Here's "That's How You Jazz" from the 1992 Tony Awards:
GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE tells the uproarious story of Monty Navarro, an heir to a family fortune who sets out to jump the line of succession by—you guessed it—eliminating the eight pesky relatives who stand in his way (each played by Tony winner Jefferson Mays in what The New York Times calls “the year’s greatest musical theater performance"). All the while, Monty has to juggle his mistress (she’s after more than just love), his fiancée (she’s his cousin but who’s keeping track?), and the constant threat of landing behind bars! Of course, it will all be worth it if he can slay his way to his inheritance… and be done in time for tea.
Gentleman's Guide won four Tonys last year: Best Musical, Best Director, Best Book, and Best Costumes.
Earlier this year, they posted a video from a camera on Monty's forehead during a rehearsal:
You're supposed to store amaryllis bulbs in the dark after they're finished for the year and then repot them after a few months' rest. Sometimes mine come back, and sometimes they don't. Last year's bloomed beautifully.* Once the leaves had finished, younger son and I boxed it up and put it in a safe place...
... which we couldn't remember. I was sad, but I bought a new bulb, which I potted in December and which bloomed in February.
Dear husband found the missing bulb a few weeks ago. We had put it in the cabinet in the downstairs bathroom. That makes sense because we also have a number of tall vases in there so it's a flower-y area. We have a wall cabinet for the things that are used more often so nobody had looked in the under-sink cabinet during the winter.
We opened the box, and the bulb had put out a very long, very white stem - and bud! The stem snaked around the small box. I planted the amaryllis in a deck pot immediately. The flowers are still opening.
It makes me happy!
(I tried to prop in up on the trellis, which actually belongs to the mandevilla** behind the amaryllis flowers, but the stubborn amaryllis didn't want to stay there.)
I always get excited by the first daffodils and crocuses of the spring - particularly after really cold winters like this last one.
Daffodils at the bottom of the back steps - March
When we get to the dogwoods and azaleas blooming, I want to squeeze every bit of bloomy goodness out of the season.
Duke Gardens - last Wednesday
Things calm down a little bit in the later spring. Not too much, though - I love the columbines all over the yard.
Columbines in the front yard (all the rest of the photos are from this afternoon)
Forget-me-nots and columbines
Columbine and star of Bethlehem
Later-blooming azaleas in the backyard
I bought this 12 years ago as a 6" tall, pitiful, heavily discounted azalea. It's happy where it is, and it spreads all over
Lily of the Valley is my favorite scent
We ate lunch outside today. Every year, after the first rush of daffodil/dogwood/azaleas blooms is over, it always hits me that this will last until late October. For the next six months, something will be in bloom somewhere in the yard!
There would be tissues left on the floor of the theater after performances of Les Misérables. Members of the production crew would have to clean them up afterwards, but that was actually a happy thing because it meant that the performances were really reaching the audience - causing them to cry. Some of us were teary backstage - watching Eponine die or "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" from the wings - even though we'd seen those scenes over and over at rehearsals and performances.
I've been going to Good Friday and Palm/Passion Sunday Masses/Services for about thirty years. We listen to the events of the torture and death of Jesus - and we're stone-faced. It's part of the central story of our faith, but we don't express emotion about it. I'm not saying that people don't feel emotion (I'm assuming they feel a lot), but it's not part of our tradition to express that.
Our choir often sings "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" for either Palm Sunday or Good Friday. I have to work very hard to sing it at services without having tears running down my face.*
Many of the wonderful cast members of Les Misérables were also excellent in this winter's production of Jesus Christ Superstar. While watching, I was finally able to cry freely while watching the events of the Passion vividly acted onstage - and I wasn't the only one with tissues out.**
I've had various health problems for the last few months, and I had a few weeks where I felt too weak to leave the house at all (I was in the Predni Zone - like the Twilight Zone, but not as interesting). I had planned on singing in choir for the winter and spring. Instead, I only sang one Sunday between New Year's and Easter. I'm still slowly regaining my energy (my adrenal glands apparently decided to reappear last Monday, which means that I no longer have to eat every ninety minutes to keep my blood sugar from plummeting), but I'm not back to normal yet. Even though it exhausted me (and I had to keep swigging blood-sugar-enhancing orange juice throughout), I went to choir rehearsals the last two weeks because the music they were singing was so wonderful.
I finally sang again for the Easter service today! Again, I had to take two naps this afternoon because I was so exhausted, but I had a wonderful time. I was so happy to be singing at a service again that I had tears of happiness running down my cheeks for the first half of the Eucharistic prayer.
After being stuck at home for a large part of the last three months, my priorities seem to have changed. I accepted the tears as a heartfelt response to the blessing of being in choir and let them go their way.