Recently, one of my cousins asked how many books I had read in my lifetime. According to GoodReads, it’s a little north of 1300 as of right now. Now, not every book I’ve ever read is listed on there (most of my childhood books never made it in there and I was a prolific picture book reader as a kid) so I guessed 1500 for him. He came back that he was surprised it was so low. And I admit, I had the same thought. 35 years (as of next week) and I only had 1500 books under my belt?! I mean, that’s an average of 42 books a year which isn’t shabby but still, I felt like my bookworm credentials were in danger. We discussed that that probably didn’t include textbooks and school books and other readings I’d done along the way so he bumped me up a lot higher that is probably right and moved on. I never even asked why he wanted to know!
Then, over the weekend, I went full-on librarian nerd and made a listing of all my Musical/Play/ Dance souvenir programs which led me to make a list of every show I have any kind of program for (which meant digging into my memory boxes so….that escalated quickly). I was disappointed to find only 56. Though this made more sense. These shows tend to be a bit pricy (especially for me – I want to be as close as possible and those seats cost) so this number is impressive but still. So many I’ve missed. I mean, I’ve apparently seen The Phantom of the Opera 4 times (I remember 3) and The Lion King 3 times (I really only remember 2 so…that was a surprise) but have missed so many shows I wanted to see. I was also really upset to find that somewhere along the way I lost the Playbill from my first Broadway show (Guys and Dolls, 1992) and apparently never had any programs from the Rockette shows I know I went to at Christmas in NYC.
So, do the numbers matter? Of course, the answer is no. In fact, the number of books is sort of obscene in some ways. I fully admit that I don’t remember them all and curse myself now for not keeping better reviews for the books I’ve read so I could look back and be like, “Right…you’re that one.” I am bummed by the show number though. I adore going to musicals; the talent and dance and stories thrill me as much today as they did that awestruck 7 year old watching Nathan Lane play his namesake role from up in the rafters of a New York theatre.
I am lucky to live where there is a lively theatre community and a world renown theatre program and I’ve gotten picky about my shows in my old age (why would I go if I know it’s not music I like?) but maybe then I have only myself to blame for that number. But, I still haven’t quite forgiven Tallahassee for never building that Performing Arts Center they were supposed to so the city could get touring company productions to visit. That said, my annual birthday Broadway Bash is soon; FSU Theatre School is putting on In The Heights so another one gets added to the list soon. 57 here I come!
Update: I realize now I am missing shows I saw at my local high school growing up (because apparently those programs have also been lost to time). That was how I discovered tapping is insane and I want to do that (thanks Crazy for You!) and male duets are swoonworthy (thanks Secret Garden!). I also didn’t list shows I was actually in because…that seemed like cheating.
I am going down the Disney Broadway rabbit hole today after seeing Newsies in the movie theater last night. It makes me wonder why we don’t record and show musicals in theaters more often like that. Not all of us can make it to NYC. Heck, not all of us live in a city where traveling productions even come. They do, sort of, come here but there is no good place for them to perform. My nearest places are Tampa, Orlando and Atlanta for national tours of Broadway shows. So, when they come to my local movie theater or are something I can rent on line, I just start spending money like it’s going out of style.
But, I digress. I started this post to share with you all THE song I think of when I think Disney and Broadway. I first saw Beauty and the Beast performed on stage in Toronto on a surprise trip that Mom and Dad ended up having to tell us about because my sister refused to get in the car until they told her where we going (which pretty much sums up my sister as a kid). I was already a musical theater nerd by this point but I remember, to this day, the closing song of the first act of that exact show. I can still watch this song performed in my mind. How the stage moved, how the Beast acted and that song. That song is what you call a showstopper. It’s the sort of song that when performed well brings you both to your feet and to tears. I think I sat stunned after the curtain closed on the Beast standing over the rose but my dad jumped to his feet to head to the lobby and bought the recording of the show on the spot. It’s that kind of song.
I have since been lucky enough to see this show performed live many times but I still remember this first time I heard this song the best. So, for your Friday enjoyment, I give you “If I Can’t Love Her.”
I am going to take a moment out of my current thread of DC topics to give a brief ode to my favorite company/entity/state of mind. This past weekend I not only saw yet another reason to love the marriage between Pixar and Disney in Wall-E, I was able to attend the opening weekend of The Lion King at Kennedy Center. It was like a brief visit into a world I usually have to fly to Orlando to get to.
In all my attempts to explain my love of the Mouse, I always get that blank look with a vague idea that the person is laughing at me behind their eyes. Why would someone who has gone to Walt Disney World ten times at last count long to go again? Haven’t you seen it all yet? How many more pictures of the Castle does one really need? To which, any Disney fan worth their salt replies, just one more of course. Since being forced to grow up and go off to college and now graduate school, I don’t get to go nearly as much as I used to (at least it feels that way – I think the truth is Mom and Daddy just go more now that my sister and I aren’t home). So any little way I can bring Disney to me, I jump on it. I read the blogs faithfully and download the podcasts to listen to at work while haunting the discussion boards. Every new Disney movie, every time I can watch the Disney Channel for a little while, each time Samantha Brown is on the Travel Channel with a Disney special, I savor it.
So, a weekend where I get a movie and a musical, I am in heaven. Let us begin with Wall-E. I have been watching the trailer for this eons ago it seems and I knew I was already in love with the little guy before I sat down in the theater. For those of you who saw my facebook status later on Friday after I saw it, you know I found my soul mate. It is characters like Wall-E that cements my love for this entity that is Disney. Not too mention, they gave props to one of my all-time favorite musicals, Hello Dolly! How could I not love this?! Yet another reason I have to agree with many of the Disney Bloggers when they say Lasseter is the second coming of Disney.
Next up this past weekend was possible through a stroke of luck that must of used my luck quota up through next year. But it was worth it. My supervisor at work came in on Friday with a single ticket to see The Lion King, which just opened at Kennedy Center this past week. I think it was the fact I practically jumped onto my knees for the ticket that got me the ticket – I must have looked pathetic but put Disney and Broadway together for me and that is near nirvana. So, I ventured off Saturday night to Kennedy Center, a place in and of itself amazing to see a production. The Opera House is massive with an absolutely beautiful ceiling fixture. It was lots of little chandeliers making up the design of a snowflake. I had seen The Lion King before in Rochester, NY, aka on a small stage and from several levels up. This night, I sat second row, three seats in from the aisle. The drummer was right next to me as well and was interesting in himself to watch at times. The first time I took in the spectacle that is the stage show, this time I got to revel in it. To see the facial expressions and to enjoy which was a better cast than my first experience. The opening sequence (recently just played on the Tony broadcast as it celebrating 10 years on Broadway) simply takes your breath away. It was a fabulous production and had that touch of something extra that I can only find from a Disney story – especially one hailing from the second golden age of Disney animation.
So, I just needed to get out an ode to a love of my life. I will now return the regularly scheduled programming of my DC summer.