May 21, 2015

"Buy a Bunch of Violets, Sir!"~Inkling Explorations May Link-Up

"Violets," the girl calls in a dismal voice as the street conveyances rattle around her on the grungy cobblestones. Spotting a tall young man carrying a chair, she seizes her opportunity. "Buy a bunch of violets, sir?" she exclaims,  "It'll bring you luck this evening."

"Well," he says with a smile in his voice, "A little luck wouldn't go amiss. Or a bit of brightness." 
He digs into his worn pocket for the coins and she watches him with a slight smile. "Thank you, sir."  She counts the coins and takes in her breath. "Very, very handsome."

 Turning to go, a thought suddenly strikes her and she whips around to see the man ascending the steps to a building. 
"Sir?" He turns, and she plasters a bright smile on her young face. Provocatively brushing back her hair, she suggests, "I'll come up for you....if you like." 
Arthur stares, astounded, taking in this young girl, barely in her teens, offering him--he shakes his head quickly, "No-no, no! That's not..." he trails off, seeing such blue, innocent eyes gazing up at him, much like the blue eyes of another young girl he knows.
His brows knit in consternation.

"Do you have somewhere to sleep tonight?"
After a confused pause, she replies, "Oh! Yes, sir. Bleeding Heart Yard, sir."
"Well, you'd best go there--directly." He hands her another handful of coins, his face still betraying the shock and concern he felt for this young girl.

"Thank you, sir, " she says softly with a young smile. "Good evening." She leaves, a bounce in her step with the thought of the food his gift could buy. 
Clennam stares after her sadly, deeply disturbed and rattled. Why must poverty rob children of everything they own-even their innocence?

At her relatively new writing blog, Sharing the Journey, Heidi has created a monthly link up where we share a scene from a book (or a movie, as I'm doing) that has to do with the month's subject. The subject being "violets" for this month, I was immediately reminded of the flower girl in BBC's Little Dorrit. (As a side note I just finished reading Little Dorrit! It was wonderful!)

I can't remember now if the flower girl was in the book, but I flipped through the pages and couldn't find her, so I'm assuming she was a creation of the film. (If I'm wrong please do tell me.)
That being said, I still wanted to use the scene and decided to write my own narrative. 
Along with screen caps, of course. :)

I always liked this scene a lot, because it reveals even more of Arthur's kindness and gentleness-and, in a way, innocence. He doesn't even think for a moment of taking advantage of this girl-unlike many of the men in his social position in 1800's London, I would think.

Instead he gives her even more money and encourages her to go home. He sees her not only as a young, innocent girl, but a young, innocent girl in the same financial position as his own Little Dorrit-Amy-and yet how differently they go about earning their bread!

Thank you, Heidi, for this fun link up!
Do check out Heidi's blog to participate in the link up yourself-and to enter a giveaway!

May 17, 2015

Phantom of the Opera US Tour

Hi everyone! I hope you like my new blog look....I wanted something fresh and cool for spring and I was suddenly in love with the idea of purple and there you go. :)

Now, as some of you may know, I went to see Phantom of the Opera LIVE on April 2nd. I know it's been waaaaaay too long since then, but I am finally here to talk about it--mostly for Evie and Olivia, because they both were so excited for me when they heard I was going to see it!!! :)

First off,
Like, what even. It was so so so so good.
You always hear that "there's nothing like seeing {insert show name here} live!"
Well, it's true folks. So start saving some money and go see your favorite Broadway show because you won't regret it.

Now I'll ramble about it in no particular order. :P

Okay. So when it just started up with the introduction music, I actually teared up. GUYS, I WAS SEEING IT LIVE!!!

I really expected to act like Kermit there, so I was quite surprised when I was relatively calm and subdued on the way there-even once we settled into our seats and saw the ghostly, cobwebbed stage holding all the auction items.

And the chandelier.

Lot 666.

Our "main" cast was Chris Mann as the Phantom, Katie Travis as Christine, and Storm Lineberger as Raoul.

Katie was so sweet and lovely as Christine. She seems pretty young and was just overall an adorable Christine. Even though she totally pulled off the naive, easily led side of Christine, she also did quite well portraying her character growth. She really did seem to grow from a girl to a woman during the show and here are some thoughts I wrote in my journal about the show and Christine's character growth:
After Twisted Every Way, they added a very good "scene" (a very small scene) between Raoul and Christine. It really added to the story of their strained relationship. He runs after her out of the office and she cries out in protest, "I thought you said you'd protect me!" It's such a contrast from All I Ask of You-when she's naive, unafraid, and completely confident Raoul can solve all her problems. As the story unfolds, she is doused with the cold reality that he isn't perfect and she can't look to him to make everything all right. She can't even go to her father, as she realized during Wishing.

But. She accepts that and grows from it, becoming a stronger and braver human being. She doesn't let it turn her bitter or resentful. Instead she once again allows Raoul to protect her in Wandering Child (after he breaks the Phantom's hold over her) and submits to his help and guidance by agreeing to sing in the opera. But, even though she does this, she has a clearer understanding that Raoul isn't superman and can't live her life for her-only she can. And only she can stop all that the Phantom has created.

Sorry if all that is either mixed up or super obvious, but I just got thinking about it and was realizing more of the depth of the story. :)

She did an AMAZING job on Think of Me. I totally agreed with Raoul's brava.

Speaking of Raoul....

Raoul. Was. Epic. Guys, he was pretty much 99% as good as Hadley Fraser, and that's saying a lot because I love Hadley Fraser as Raoul. He even SOUNDS like Hadley Fraser. That being said, he wasn't a carbon copy of H. F., and still put his own spin on Raoul. I just really liked him a lot. He managed to convey Raoul's passion and stubbornness without coming off as a jerk. Plus, on the way out, some of the actors were collecting money for charity and I SAW him about 5 feet away from me. That was pretty cool and made the whole experience even better. :)

And now.....

The Phantom was good, but....not exactly my favorite. I mean, don't get me wrong, he was SO talented and gifted with his voice and all, but I'm so used to Ramin Karimloo it's hard not to compare the two. ;)
With Ramin out of the mix, though, I'll mention some things I loved about his portrayal. First off, he had the more "whiny" sounding Phantom voice. I usually don't like that, but he did it so well and it helped shape the Phantom's character. When he had his mask on he was strong, confident, sure of himself. When his mask was off he groveled about, ashamed, frightened, insecure, and lost.

I have to mention his lair. Since this was the "new" production, a lot of the set was different (there was a rotating cylinder-shaped thingy that had sides for the stairs to the lair, backstage at the opera, a little room that swung open for the manager's office, etc. It was SO cool!) and his lair wasn't blue and black and shadowy like in the 25th version. Instead, it had a really mysterious purple tone to it and lots of golden candles and rich furnishing. (see the above photo of him with Christine) 
I also loved how in the "morning" when Christine wakes up and sings I Remember the lights from above changed to a pale white as if to signify morning light streaming in through a grate. It just really added to the effect and I loved noticing all these little details!

The music sent chills down my back more than once. 
Phantom of the Opera was epic, and when they went down to the lair it was sooooo cool!
See those stairs above? They slowly came out, one by one, as the Phantom and Christine were walking down them. 
Talk about epic.

Okay, back track real quick.

I have to say that Meg and Christine were more adorable here than in the 25th anniversary concert. They hugged and spun around together in happy glee after Meg congratulated Christine on her performance. They were just such adorable best friends. :)

The girls' dressing room was so lovely and sweet. It was an actual room and had a light green color scheme with blue touches and ribbons, bottles, and hairbrushes strewn over the table. I wonder if all the accessories were attached to the table or if someone had to set them all up?

Raoul and Christine were so sweet. <3

Angel, I hear you, speak, I listen....
Stay my me...

I have to admit that Christine's high note at the end of Phantom of the Opera was a bit disappointing because it just blended with the music, and you couldn't really hear it.
Plus, as much as I love Stranger than You Dreamt It, she didn't actually rip off his mask in this version (I guess he took it off himself to.... air out his scars? Wash his face? Conveniently give Christine a moment to sneak up and see him? ). :(

Notes, of course, was hilarious and I loved the bright red room they had for the office.
Firmin and Andre were fantastic, by the way.
Oh, and so were Carlotta, Meg, and Madame Giry. I have to admit I'm focusing on the main characters more, but just let it be said everyone was great. ;)

So, when we went to see POTO, I was just getting over a cold and still had a throat tickle that could start with no warning and have me coughing all over the place. I was doing fine until Prima Donna when it suddenly hit me and I had to lunge for my purse and dig out the Kleenex and throat drops. I was trying really hard not to cough too loudly or conspicuously, but I was a teary eyed mess for a few minutes until I regained control and could see and breathe properly. 
Prima Donna was over.
So, I really have no remembrance of that song except for what I could see through my tear-filled eyes. Honestly, I'm okay with that because Prima Donna is not my favorite song and I'm glad my coughing fit happened during that and not All I ask of You or the Final Lair or something.
THAT would have been terrible!!

Il Muto was funny, especially the guy playing the "poor fool" because he'd stick his head through Carlotta's mirror on her dressing table and watch. hahaha

It made a lot more sense in this one when Carlotta went and sprayed her mouth with some little bottle on her table.....NOW we know why she croaked!!

All I Ask of You was beautiful and lovely and perfect. Guys, they even had snow falling in the background!!! The whole set looked so real, as if you were really watching them on a Paris rooftop just before dawn in the snow. So pretty.

The Chandelier crash was absolutely amazing...
I only wish I had been sitting under it. ;) But even so it was thrilling.

Masquerade was fun, as usual, although I must admit I prefer the 25th version better. The "new" set was elegant and grand, but it seemed so boxed in and small. Not quite as large a party as in the 25th. Plus, the Phantom's costume in the 25th is much more epic and cool. No arguments there.
But-they did actually wear masks in this version!! Finally, they understood the meaning of a masquerade!

Wishing was beautiful and heart breaking and Katie did a splendid job. I also have to mention the set (once again) because they had a pretty backdrop of a road leading away from the graveyard and the "sky" turn softly pink when dawn was approaching!!

And then we had Wandering Child, one of my favorite parts. Raoul melted out of the shadows and guess what? He tried FIGHT the Phantom! It was amazingly epic with him throwing punches but then having to dodge the fireballs and then--


Wow. I could feel the heat of the flames from our balcony seat. SO cool.

Now, whenever I watch POTO on dvd, I skip Point of No Return, so to have to actually sit through it was a bit awkward. None of us truly knew the lyrics so we couldn't pick up on everything they sang, but as my dad said...."we knew what they were singing about." Yeah. :P
It's such a cool song though, if it weren't for the suggestive lyrics....

Final Lair was.......well...
It was even more heartbreaking in a way because when Christine came back to return the ring Erik didn't even see her!!!! He was still crying and singing as she placed it on his desk and turned to leave.
No look of understanding between the two.

I wasn't crying, but I was tearing up and I heard sniffles in the audience around me. heehee 

And they took their final bow. I couldn't yell because of my cold, so I just clapped my hands off.

When the finale music commenced and everyone stood, I was like "we have to leave??" :"(
I kept glancing back for one final glimpse of the stage to hold on to the memory forever. :)
It was an absolutely marvelous experience and I can't wait to see another show live someday!!

Thank you, Chris, Katie, and Storm and all the other stunning cast members (and I really do mean that, everyone was so great)  for such a memorable performance!

And THANK YOU, Evie and Olivia (and any one else waiting for me to post about this) for your patience! Y'll are the best! :)