About a year and a half ago, a fellow camp counselor whom I worked with at a summer camp said to me, “I cannot believe you have never watched Crazy Ex-Girlfriend! It’s so up your alley!”
I’ll let you take that as you will.
But knowing I loved musical theatre, they were astonished I had never seen it. So, that night when I came home in July of 2017, I watched it. I liked it, don’t get me wrong, but for some reason I just wasn’t captivated enough to continue bingeing it for the rest of the summer.
Flash forward to February 2019 and here I am, starting to watch it again. If you’ve never seen it, it’s an interesting show (and by interesting, I mean there is literally no other show like it). But knowing what I know now, it’s definitely an additional plot point in one of the most ironic and metaphoric stories of my life. Regardless, though, watching it made me feel a lot better about everything I’ve done and been through these past few months. It’s especially helped make me feel a lot better about the next few days. Last night was not my best night at all. In addition to the standard Sunday scaries we all get, there’s a lot of anxiety I’ve been associating with this particular week. But I’m grateful to a show like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend for helping to de-stigmatize mental illness, for adding to that conversation, and for being there for me at a moment in time I really needed it the most.
Ever since I saw the preview for the upcoming movie last month, I’ve been watching the remainder of what I have left of Downton Abbey. The show transports me to the Britain I have fallen in love with from afar, and even though I’ve technically never been there or been abroad, it makes me feel as though I have been. I love the show in and of itself- it’s dynamic characters, complex plot lines, and it’s ability to depict life as the gray “and” it truly is rather than the “or” many of us wish it were.
But what I also love about the show, especially as of recent, is its ability to motivate me to work toward something I have desperately wanted to do for the past ten years: travel to Europe. There have been many opportunities I have missed out on due to my circumstances, but with where I am now, there is absolutely nothing holding me back anymore. One of my goals for the near future is indeed to travel. I’ve been doing more research than ever before, and I really want to make it happen within the next two years. I want to see the Colosseum, the Swiss Alps, Notre Dame, the West End, and so, so much more. And so I’m grateful for Downton Abbey’s richness and for its helping me to realize one of my biggest dreams.
For now, I’m going to continue doing my researching and budgeting while I pretend to eat crumpets and drink tea along with the characters who inhabit Downton.
Tonight, I will finally be seeing a show that I have been longing to see ever since I fell in love with it a little over nine-ish years ago: Ragtime.
If you have not heard any of this show’s music, I highly encourage you to do so by first listening to the show’s opening number, which I have shared below:
Majestic, collective, and optimistic are just a few of the adjectives that can be used to describe this score. The music in Ragtime is exquisite and brilliantly crafted, representing the promise of a new kind of America longed for by all of the characters in the show. It’s amazing how the same people who wrote the music for Anastasia and Seussical were able to write something so different, yet so exceptionally captivating, and I marvel at their unique ability to be such musical chameleons.
My favorite character in the show is Mother. The adventure she undertakes throughout the course of the show is one that makes me realize both humanity’s implicit biases and our capacity to realize our flaws for the greater good of those around us. It also helps that she was originally played by the luminescent Marin Mazzie, who unfortunately passed away this past September from a long, hard-fought battle with cancer, but whose voice will forever soar with authenticity in my music library. Her character’s trajectory is one I am sure many of my blog’s readers might feel they identify with, and it is one that helps me myself set things in perspective every now and then.
Overall, this particular piece of musical theatre makes me hopeful for the country we all desperately want: a country where change and disagreement is inevitable, but one where we can work together toward the promise of unity our founding fathers made to us when they created our country. Times like these are surely a struggle for many of us, especially for the plethora of disenfranchised groups who don’t feel as though their voices matter and who feel abandoned by their government. I believe seeing a show like Ragtime is musical theatre soup for the soul right now, and I’m genuinely so grateful that I finally get to see what I am sure will be a breathtaking production presented by The Eagle Theatre.
I spent tonight on an adventure. That is, I spent it finding some genuine magic and being pleasantly surprised by each turn it took, and which ended with me making the below pillow:
“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable” – Mary Oliver
It’s become a favorite quote of mine from the recently deceased poet, Mary Oliver. It’s actually a quote I stumbled upon on Pinterest one day, but it’s been making me embrace the unpredictable nature of this hectic, yet precious world we live in.
When I woke up this morning, I thought I would simply go to work and come home. Instead, I spent today connecting with truly amazing people, including my coworkers over an hour long lunch break at Whole Foods in the city where we learned a little bit more about each other, my mom who spent one half hour of her morning taking pictures of my diploma so that I could post it as quickly as possible on social media (because you – or I – just have to), and two great friends over an amazing short rib grilled cheese sandwich and Jersey sangria while channelling our inner artists.
It was a truly unpredictable, unimaginable day, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Let me tell you a short story about something that made me happy to work where I do.
I was sitting at my desk this past Monday working on generating pledge invoices when a coworker came into the Development/Marketing office with an array of wrapped gifts. Though I saw her in my periphery, I somewhat shrugged it away and returned to my work. To my surprise, however, she handed me one of the gifts. I was perplexed, and she continued on by saying how one of our major donors and board members stopped on campus that day to deliver these late Christmas gifts.
After my coworker left, I looked at the label to find both mine and the donor’s name, with a note, “a late thanks”, affixed to it. I opened the wrapping paper as neatly as I could (because this was indeed one of the nicest wrapped gifts I have ever seen and have ever been given the privilege to open) to be welcomed by a sweet, delicious surprise.
Given everything this particular donor has gone through- the pain of losing their beloved spouse a few months ago and mountains of legal matters that have piled up as a result -it’s truly amazing that she thought about me, a relatively new, entry level staff member, and my fellow coworkers for even a second. It’s a strong testament to the kinds of people that truly love Moore, and I am honored to be working at an all-women’s arts college where alumni from decades ago give back out of true gratitude and love for what the school gave them.
Today is my best friend Greta’s birthday. She’s turning 22, and she’ll be graduating from the University of Delaware in the next few months before she inevitably gets a job as a music teacher, a job she was absolutely meant for.
The story of how Greta and I met is one of the most ironic- but it is one hundred percent one of my favorites, and it’s honestly all due to the power of theatre. We technically “met” around the start of my junior year of high school, during summer marching band rehearsals. She was a freshman at the time, but I knew her name because she was the Young Cosette I never got to be. You see, in 2007 my high school, Gateway, was doing a production of Les Mis and was auditioning elementary school girls to play the parts of Young Cosette and Eponine. Being as Les Mis was and has always been my favorite musical, I was ecstatic. No one could have bested me at this opportunity.
And so I auditioned. I was too tall.
She auditioned. She got the part.
I watched in envy, seething in jealousy the entire time as I watched the production a few months later. I wanted that part and to be in that show so desperately, and it broke my sixth grade heart not being able to take part in it. I distinctly remember looking at my program and seeing the two names of the girls playing the parts (side note: the role alternated each performance night between the two, but I had seen both due to an elementary school trip and going along with my mom and brother an additional night).
And so when I saw Greta’s name on the marching band sign up list about four and a half years after the fact, that jealousy crept back. I had my guard up, ready to whip out my deep knowledge of Les Mis in case I ever needed it (ultra-dramatic, I know).
But instead, I found myself laughing, making the most obscure musical theatre jokes I had ever made. And Greta was the only person who ever got them. I’ll never forget that summer, how we basically separated ourselves from the rest of the group with our inside jokes and our ventures over to her house after rehearsals and competitions to watch as many movie musicals as we possibly could.
From there, it was history. She was there to cheer me on when I got the lead in Seussical, and I was there beaming with pride when she played the title role in Mary Poppins her senior year. We’ve gone to so many shows I can’t even count. Greta and I complement each other well. Meeting her was like meeting the musical theatre encyclopedia that I needed to cover those early years all the way from Showboat to classic Rodgers & Hammerstein, whereas I am much more in the contemporary realm of Spring Awakening and Hamilton, the latter of which I took her to see a few years ago (sitting behind Barack Obama, mind you- yeah, I’m pretty much the GOAT of theatre friends 😉 ).
I’m grateful to have a friend like Greta, one that I know will be in my life forever, and who will always be my right-hand when either of us want to go see a show. Our story is one of those stunning examples of something that seems horrible at the beginning, but which turns into something really amazing and beautiful in the long run. I’m grateful for finding my person when I did, and for a friendship whose story is one that makes me a firm believer in ordinary miracles.
Continuing on with my last post about warmth, I felt it appropriate to detail how the warm weather always motivates me to exercise. Now, I did not actually take advantage of the gorgeous weather, but rather chose to do so inside by doing one of my favorite activities (Just Dance) for about forty five minutes (I know it makes absolutely no sense, so take that logic as you will).
I was pretty diligent about my diet and exercise regimen last April through July, and I did indeed witness some progress. My doctor actually took note of it at my annual check-up that summer, and I felt really proud of myself. It was honestly a refreshing change of pace for me. But sadly, with my busy schedule and lack of motivation, I fell off the wagon again. I’ve fallen off the wagon many, many times, finding some excuse to make up for it.
I splurged on some activewear I fell in love with that will hopefully keep me focused. I don’t want to make anymore excuses or explanations. I’m tired of it. And so I’m grateful for today, the day I get back on track, and am also grateful for all the fulfillment exercising brings.
Following the bitter cold we endured this past week, we finally had a bit of a break: we had warmth.
Let me tell you, it was really, really nice to be able to walk the 20 minutes from work to the PATCO station with only a light rain jacket on. No scarf, no hat, no gloves. Nada. And on top of that, it was even nicer when I was able to take my jacket off while on the train. It was also nice walking from the Woodcrest station to my car without one on, too, until I realized I was literally the only person walking back to my car without a coat or jacket on. (I know I’m crazy and weird already, but-?)
Regardless, it was warm. I enjoyed it. I reveled in it. Days like these remind me of when I was in high school and college and the teacher/professor would either suggest we go outside for class or would cancel class altogether. It was as if we were in April or early May, my favorite time of the year, so I was very grateful for the day.
Maybe you really can predict the weather, Phil, and maybe this week is the early spring we (mostly I) desperately want. I know it’ll end eventually, but thank you for the short, yet very much needed reprieve from the cold.
I spent yesterday and this morning dusting and cleaning our living room in preparation for our annual Super Bowl party. I’m not someone who is necessarily known for being the cleanest nor the most organized, but lately I’ve been pretty good, especially since buying my car a little over a month ago.
I think when I eventually move out and get my own place, I’ll be a little bit more diligent about it. At least I hope so (fingers crossed). But here is to cleaning, to the satisfaction it gives you when you are finally done, and the clean space you get to live in after the fact. And also for the apple scented candle you light at the end of your cleaning adventure (because I always do).
Due to a slight change of plans, I’m spending my Saturday night doing it up the same way I am sure a lot of other 23 year olds are: seeing a show I have been longing to see for awhile, Fun Home, presented by Haddonfield Plays & Players.
(In case you couldn’t tell, that was a joke- though I am sure many of you are very much like me and would jump at the chance to see it, too…..)
I’m somewhat aware of the plot and I have the original Broadway cast album downloaded in my music library, but it’s a musical with which I’m not as familiar as I am others. For that alone, I’m excited to immerse myself in this kind of show and for me to learn something new, as I always do from these types of theatre experiences.
I’m grateful to live in an area where community theatre is prevalent and where I have easy access to it so that I can see a show whenever I want, essentially. Thank you for your magic, theatre, and for always giving us the chance to see another point of view. Thank you.