Monday, September 30, 2013

September CE: Issachella & Lyndee

 "One forty-five to four fifty is four hours and five minutes, not three hours."

"Huh? What?" I look at my computer screen again. "Oh, you're right." I highlight the incorrect number with my cursor and type in the righted digits. 

"And you spelled recalibration wrong in that paragraph." 

I sigh. "And I have to fix those the's. I put the 'e' in the middle again instead of the 'h'."

Princess Issachella gives me a smile, not smug, but with just enough jollity in the gesture to make my lips curl in mock irritation. The black puppy sitting on her lap yips happily and tries for the umpteenth time to jump on top of my laptop.

"Oh, no!" Issie makes a wild scramble for the naughty pup, her blonde hair flying. "Ollie, you are behaving very badly today. If you give us any more trouble, I shall send you back to your kennel." But she cannot stay angry at the dog for long, because as soon as she finishes the ebony head a kiss. Ollie, the rascally pet that he is, returns her love in a very wet and sloppy kiss of his own.

"Do you see any more mistakes before I send this off to my dad?" I peruse the document before me, daring myself to find that which I had just asked of Issie.

"No, I see nothing more that should concern you." Yet, even as she says it, a wrinkled furrow claims her brow. 

"Now what?" I groan.

"What do all these words talk about anyway? I see many words I do not understand. Electrical. Engineering. Indutrial. Combustion. Am I saying them correctly?"

"Yep, your phonics teacher did very well, Issie."

She blushes and makes a pretense of scratching Ollie's neck. She's been in that position most of the afternoon as I've been working, bent over her pup, cuddling him and whispering in his furry ear. I invited her to sit with me as I worked because she wanted to listen to some soundtracks with me, an easy invite, in my opinion, because I always play soundtracks while I type. Unfortunately, I couldn't hook her on my favorites, like HTTYD, but we were content to compromise and play the soundtrack from Ever After three times. Seems Issie likes George Fenton's score as much as I do.

"This is a typing job I'm doing for my dad. See, here?" I hold up the stapled papers sitting on my knee. "This was all handwritten out and for my dad to include it in the website that he's designing, I have to type it all out so he can just copy and paste it. And the paragraph," I throw my eyes over what I have brightened on my computer screen, "talks about alternative energy systems." 

"You got that from your title at the top of the page, Kiri."

"Yeah, guilty, but I'm not an energy expert, Issie! This says stuff about gas and coal and ash and bio-fuels, and I don't think I could tell you what the economical and practical differences of those are! My brain is already fried from trying to figure out all the times and schedules that I had to add up." I rub the aching spot on my temple. "Too many numbers. And I had to teach two math classes this morning."

"Fried? Like chicken?"
Issie releases a startled yelp and almost drops Ollie as she jumps up. I don't scream, but in my haste to view the speaker, my hands slip on my laptop, but I catch it before it hits the ground before turning around.

A short, honest-faced little girl with black hair blinks at us expectantly. "Well?"

"Well what?" Issie asks while Ollie barks simultaneously. 

"She said 'er brain's fried." The girl responded solemnly. "My sister fries chicken, an' it comes out all brown an' crispy. Is 'er brain like that?"

"No, no, Dee. It's not like that at all." I try to keep the smile off my face, knowing that if I laughed it would not go over well. "I only meant my brain is tired from thinking too much."

"Then why did ya say fried?" Dee plants her fists on her hips.

"It was only a figure of speech," I explain.

Dee cocks her head. "Well, I don't get it, so maybe ya shouldn't use it. It ain't good."

"Isn't." Issie corrects. 

"Isn't what?"

"You are not supposed to use the word ain't because it isn't a real word. Instead, say isn't."

"Is too a real word. My pa uses it all the time."

"And who is your father?"

"Teslan Bon'ostel. Best innkeeper in Yartella!"

"And you are..." Issie raises her eyebrows.

"Oh, botheration." I heave a sigh. "Where are my manners? This is the first time I've ever had characters from two different stories visit me at the same time. Issie, this is Lyndee Bon'ostel of Dron."

"I'm eight!" Dee chimes in.

"And Dee, I'd like to introduce Princess Issachella Fierte of Findenland and the Twelve Kingdoms."

Issie drops in a curtsey befitting one of her rank, but Dee only gapes, her little mouth hanging wide open. "She's a princess?"


"A real princess?"

"Yes, a real princess."

"I ain't met one o' those before!" Dee gives me an awe-filled stare. "She's right pretty."

Issie mouths isn't under her breath, but a genuine smile steals over her face at the little girl's words.

"An' who's this?" Dee points at the black ball of fur under Issie's arm.

"This is my dog, Ollie." Issie holds him out so Dee can pet him. Ollie, at first, objects to the new position as he had grown rather fond of his spot under Issie's arm, yet when he sees it's all for some new attention, he settles down happily and yips with delight.

"Kiri, why don't we got princesses in Dron?"

"Well, Dee, that's because while Dron is a kingdom like Findenland, it's ruled by a lord instead of a king."


I give her a blank stare. Why? "Uh... because it is. I don't know why. You'd have to ask the government officials and the people who founded Dron that. They haven't told me yet."

"But Dron is made up. You made it up! Why doncha know?"

I shrug. "There are a lot of things about my stories and my fictional countries, and even my characters, that I don't know. I find them out as I write the stories."

"Well, ya should 'ave figured it out 'fore ya wrote the stories. An' ya should put a princess in Dron. We need a princess." Dee gives Ollie another fond rubbing. "I 'afta go back. Pa will be lookin' fer me, an' I ain't got time..." her eyes dart quickly to Issie and she backtracks on her words, "isn't got time ta stay. Don't ferget ta write ma story, Kiri. That's what I really come fer. Ta tell ya that." Then she slips away.

"I isn't got time ta stay?" Issie giggles. 

"Yeah, she's not that good with grammar."  

Issie grins at me. "I noticed." 

I give her a grin in return. "She's only eight."

God bless!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

"Except One Uncle Who... Well, Maybe Let That Pass."

It was my intention this week for Amy's Celebrate Musicals Week that I swarm the world of blogger with wondrous posts about BatB. However, seeing as I don't like to fangirl nor do I consider myself a great author of inspiring posts, time slipped away before I realized it, and here we are at the end, and I have only four posts up to show for it. 

But! Never fear! I am finding time for one last post. I had wanted to post a BatB Dream Cast, along with a comparison of the Original Broadway Cast (which shall henceforth be referred to as OBC because I don't feel like typing it all out) with the London Cast (likewise, LC). I wanted to incorporate the Australian Cast in this as well, but I regret to announce that I have heard only select songs from that performance. For the point of haste, I'm going to combine the two posts into one, smash all my paragraphs together, and then only spend time on those things that I like. (Bonus points to anyone who read that in Emma's voice.)

Now that I think of it, I probably should have saved Gaston's "You've been dreaming just one dream" line for this post. But we mustn't cry over spilled milk. Besides, the above that I used for this post's title is one of my favorite sung lines in the BatB musical, so I must use it somewhere during the week. And it works for today's post.


I never thought much about dream casts until just recently because it was until just recently that I was content to leave musicals as they were. Granted, I did have more or less favorite songs based on what the singers sounded like, but I really wasn't partial to one singer over another. Yet, now I've been learning to appreciate the singer as well as the song. I know a good voice when I hear one, and it's always a pleasure to have one's favorite songs sung by those who actually know how to sing. Did I say that out loud *coughNJinHeartFullOfLovecough*? 

So, whom do I wish to play whom? (That sound awkward to anyone else?) 

I mentioned in Amy's tag that I posted on Tuesday that I thought Aaron Tveit would make a good Beast and the more I think on it, the greater I like the idea. I've only ever heard him sing in the 2012 Les Mis, but he did an incredible job in that! Seeing him portray Enjolras, could give some seriousness to the character of the Beast, and at the same time be able to pull of his gruffness and his anger, but yet his hopefulness and his love.

I like Terrence Mann's (OBC) and Alasdair Harvey's (LC) voices well enough for the Beast, but there are parts where they annoy me and make me think that they're poking fun at the role. In the Something There segment, for example, both of them turn the Beast into an almost comical role when giving Belle the library and again when she asks for a second chance at dinner with him. Since when is the Beast comical?? I realize that is part of the musical, but I don't like it. The Beast is a man (if we can call him that in such a physical state) who suffers the consequences of his rash anger. He has a temper, but as he spends more time with Belle, he learns to soften and love. That's not a comical character, peoples. That's growth, something never to be laughed at. At least, not in a hilarious aspect. 

Wow, some comparison, Kiri, criticizing both men who played the Beast. Truthfully, I don't think I could choose between Terrence Mann and Alasdair Harvey, even though I disliked them both for making me want to laugh at the Beast. Terrence truly captured the Beast's sadness when he sang, but Alasdair, I felt, lent a little more hopefulness to the role. So, readers, you get to decide between the two. I cannot.

Whom for Belle? Whom for Belle? This one I've struggled with for a while, not exactly sure whom to choose, one because I'm extremely picky, two because I really cannot pinpoint that many Broadway singers. So, I'll have to settle for Laura Osnes. She has the spunky personality that Belle exhibits, and she's got an A-class voice, too. I've just been listening to snippets of her singing from Cinderella on Hayden's blog (so, Hayden, if you're reading this, thank you for posting your Cinderella sampler), and the more I hear of her, the more I like. 

She sounds similiar to Julie-Alanah Brighten who sings Belle in the LC, as both have a softer quality to their voices. Susan Egan from the OBC is usually pinpointed for her role in BatB, but I'm not a huge fan of her. Never have been, suspect I never will. Belle is a young woman, yearning for adventure, ready to make friends who will stay by her side, and I felt that Susan Egan didn't get that across. Sure, Belle is different from everyone else in her town, but she didn't have an ego. Not like Gaston. But I digress. Julie Brighten captured more of of the true Belle, even though it made me laugh to hear her sing certain lines. British singers, folks, singing an American musical set in France! Is this a international musical, or what? 

As soon as I told myself to post a BatB Dream Cast, my mind settled on one person to play the part of Gaston, and I haven't been able to talk myself out of it. So, I present his name here to you for your consideration. Ramin Karimloo. Wouldn't he make a great Gaston? He's got the deep voice, and he played the part of the Phantom in PotO, so I think he'd make a great villain. Just give him a gun, some of those "nobody-clomps-around-wearing-these-like-Gaston" boots, and he'd be good to go!

Burke Moses played Gaston in both the OBC AND the LC, so it hardly seems fair to compare him to himself. However, I can compare him to another Gaston. In the Australian cast, Hugh Jackman himself played the part of Gaston and, although I'm still having trouble getting my brain to process Jean Valjean being the bad guy in a red tunic and a ponytail, he did an admirable job. He gives a liveliness to Gaston that no other Gaston had given the role before, however, I'm not totally pleased with his vocals. He's a bit softer than I'd imagine Gaston to be, and he lacks a power behind his voice. Burke Moses, on the other hand, definitely captured the power of Gaston in his performance, so I'd have to pick him over the bread-thief-turned-French-villain. Or would that be the other way around?

Well, that's the last of the Dream Cast that I can think up at the moment, so the rest will be quick comparisons, for I fear time is escaping and I still have to publish this post. 

Lumiere is probably my favorite character in BatB, just because I love characters who can make me laugh. Gary Beach sang as the candelabra in the OBC, and Derek Griffiths took the role in the LC. To keep this simple, I prefer Derek because Gary sounds like he's trying to force a song over that rock he calls a tongue.

Cogsworth, another worthy person Enchanted Object of fame, is another great character for fun, even when he does not want to be. Actually, Cogsworth doesn't have a large singing portion in the musical (being too busy to get the castle to obey him, no doubt), so you don't hear much of Barry James's (LC) and Heath Lambert's (OBC) voices. They sound very similar to me, so I don't think I can decipher between the two.

Mrs. Potts. Well, who dares to follow in the great footsteps of Angela Lansbury who gave the character the iconic voice in the 1991 Disney film? Beth Fowler (OBC) and Mary Millar (LC), that's who. And of the two, I'm more inclined toward Beth Fowler's performance, liking the motherly way she acts toward Belle, and she does a marvelous job in the song. So, there.

Okay, are we done? *looks back over what's written* Looks good, peoples. So, now I say good-bye and...

God bless!
P.S. I apologize for the lack of pictures in this post, but my internet and my blog have banded against me in making it a year and a day to upload pictures to one of my posts. It's a pain, and I'm working on the problem, but for now, you'll have to content yourself with much-worded blog posts on Lianne Taimenlore.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"And We Provide The Rest..."

Yesterday, Amy posted a video of The Phantom of the Opera in ten minutes, and if you haven't seen it, you should. Link here. Go watch it. Now.

Seen it? Insert Mr. Bennet's "Excellent." Moving on...

I was greatly inspired to search out BatB videos of my own to share with you all, so off to the depths of youtube I traveled (okay, it wasn't that deep of a search, but it's a scary place, I'm sure you'll agree). Guess what, peoples? I found a BatB in ten minutes. Granted, it's not nearly as funny as PotO in ten or even P&P in ten (which Amy posted a while ago on Sink Me!), but it's pretty spiffy. Please enjoy.

And then I couldn't stop there, so let's add a few more videos, just because, okey dokey?

I usually skip the first minute of this just because the triplets are so annoying, so feel free to start at about 1:00 or so. 1:01 works, too. This has got to be one of the best renditions of "Me" that I have seen! I love the choreography and how perfectly Gaston and Belle play off one another. Her little pointing off into the distance to distract Gaston and then trying to flee behind his back makes me crack up every time! Just to give credit where credit is due, this video is from a school's (it's only listed as SCA, so I apologize for not knowing the name) 2009 production of BatB, featuring Kaden Forsberg as Gaston and Stephanie Pennar as Belle.

This is snippets from the 1994 Original Broadway Cast starring Susan Egan and Terrence Mann as Belle and the Beast (two persons that I'm certain you recognize by now if you've read any of my previous posts). Gaston is played by Burke Moses, Lumiere by Gary Beach, and Mrs. Potts by Beth Fowler. I apologize for the poor quality of the video, but I had a hard time finding just Be Our Guest from the 1994 cast, so we're settling for this just because I wanted to include something from Be Our Guest in this post and I felt like slipping in the movie clip was cheating because it's not technically part of *the* musical. 

Also from the 1994 cast and sung by Susan Egan and Tom Bosley, one of my favorite songs: No Matter What. I am disappointed that this version doesn't include the intro to the song where Maurice sings, "No, we're not odd, it's true. No family could be saner, except one uncle who, well... maybe let that pass. In all you say and do, you couldn't make it plainer. You are your mother's daughter, therefore you are class." You don't get the deepness of the relationship between father and daughter in the 1991 Disney movie because they put most of the focus on Belle's relationship with the Beast, but I love how they gave Maurice those extra scenes in the musical. That's when you start to fully understand why Maurice was so intent on achieving fame with his invention and why Belle willingly offered herself in exchange when the Beast had Maurice locked up. A strong family that sings together... what's not to like?

God bless!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"Who Can Make Up These Endless Refrains As Gaston?"

Very many sugar-coated, cherry-on-top thanks to Amy for hosting this wonderful event known as Celebrate Musical Week and you can click here in this abnormally long link to visit Amy's blog and see the musical she's spotlighting this week.
I knew at some point during the week I'd have to post a review of the musical recording, and then came the complication of which one. I have listened to the entirety of both the Original Broadway Cast Recording with Susan Egan and Terrence Mann as well as the London Cast Recording with Julie-Alanah Brighten and Alasdair Harvey. And then I've heard a few songs from the Australian Cast which, many of you probably didn't know, starred Hugh Jackman (yes, Mr. 2012 Movie Jean Valjean himself) as Gaston. However, I settled with the Original Broadway Cast being as that was the first BatB musical recording that I heard.

1. Prologue (The Enchantress): The traditional beginning to BatB, with the story of how Prince Adam became the Beast. Does the narrator sound similar to the narrator from the movie? Yes? Well, it's the same guy - David Ogden Stiers, who, coincidentally, also voices Cogsworth in the film. I love the music playing in the background. Almost wish that there was a track you could get with just the music, and not wit the narrator talking over all the beautiful instrumentals. But the story he tells is fun to listen to. Mysterious.

2. Belle: I will admit that Susan Egan isn't my favorite Belle ever, but she does the job creditably enough, and besides, this song is never boring. I love the way the townspeople pop in with their "Bonjours!" and "This fish... it smells!" And I always laugh when the triplets scream, "Oh! He's so CUTE!"

3. No Matter What: This song between Belle and her father is one not in the movie, and it's one of the best from the musical, IMHO. It's sweet the way the two interact with a strong father-daughter relationship, not something you see a lot in Hollywood. Tom Bosley sings Maurice's part perfectly, and Susan Egan complements him nicely.

4. No Matter What (Reprise)/Wolf Chase: A short reprise by Maurice on his way to the fair, a rather funny bit, followed by the familiar wolf chase music from the movie.

5. Me: I've listened to this song I don't know how many times. It's a perfect portrayal of Gaston's character, and Burke Moses singing the proposal is epic. Honestly, I've loved every version of this song that I've seen. I really don't have anything else to say on the subject. You need to listen to it. 'Nuff said.

6. Belle (Reprise): Now we get to where I don't like Susan Egan very much. Paige O'Hara (movie Bell) made this reprise iconic in the movie (I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, anybody?), but I felt that Susan just... didn't get it. She's got a pretty voice, granted, but she seems a bit too heavy for my Belle. I will give her this: she spits out a good "ugh" after she sings "Madame Gaston, his little wife" though.

7. Home: Belle has traded places with her father and now is locked in the Beast's castle forever! What should she do?! Sing, of course. This is a musical, after all. This is a beautiful monologue on Belle's thoughts, all set to Alan Menken's memorable score. And she ends on a high note. *grins*

8. Home (Reprise): Short, but thoughtful, reprise sung to a forlorn Belle by the motherly wardrobe, who in the musical actually gets a real name: Madame de la Grande Bouche. Ain't that a mouthful?

Gary Beach and Susan Egan

9. Gaston: Who can do anything like Gaston? After this song, no one can compete with him! And with reason, too, for who would want to digest five dozen eggs? In the middle of the song is a rather long instrumental part where, I assume from the oohs and aahs, Gaston is showing off his matchless skills. Burke Moses seems to stick more ego into his performance than Richard White (movie Gaston) ever did, if that's possible.

10. Gaston (Reprise): "Lefou, I'm afraid I've been thinking." "A dangerous pastime." "I know." (I couldn't help it, folks! It slipped in!) This reprise is longer than the movie's, and my post's title borrows from this added bit, which happens to be some of the best lines EVA.

11. How Long Must This Go On?: Terrence Mann definitely captured the Beast's devastation and frustration. "Left me in this STATE!" Short, but powerful.

12. Be Our Guest: Just gonna say it here, peoples: Jerry Orbach is Lumiere forever and ever. Period. Gary Beach lends a fun atmosphere to his rendition, but he can't hold a candle to Jerry. Sorry, no pun intended. Nevertheless, this song is epic to listen to and a great favorite of mine. All six minutes and fifty-five seconds of it. Yes, it's extended from the movie by almost a full three minutes. I love having that much more Be Our Guest! Though, I'm still trying to convince myself that "diner" rhymes with "china." Oh, well.

13. If I Can't Love Her: I think I'm starting to sound redundant by saying, "Oh, this is another one of my favorites." But it's true! When watching the movie, I didn't get much from the Beast other than anger. Supreme anger. This song has Terrence Mann singing about his crushed dreams, his devastated state, and his hopes for a possible future. A great deal of the melody actually repeats itself in the historic Transformation scene at the end, so the tune many people should recognize.

14. Entr'acte/Wolf Chase: A BatB medley/overture of sorts for the intermission, although I can't see why anyone would want to go grab popcorn while this was being played by an orchestra (even thought I LOVE popcorn!).

15. Something There: I've always loved the Christmas-like chimes at the opening of this song, and this version doesn't disappoint. The musical includes the bit in which the Beast gives the library to Belle, although I think Terrence Mann may get a little too ecstatic about the surprise, as well as Mrs. Potts giving hope to her sad son, Chip. In the movie, the extended scene of Human Again (the following song) shows Belle reading Romeo and Juliet to the Beast, but in the musical they stuck this scene into this song and changed the book to King Arthur, a much better tale, IMHO. And I love how the Beast gives Belle that smug "Told you so," at the end.

16. Human Again: "Little push, little shove, they could whoosh fall in love!" The enchanted castle sings about the glories of Belle breaking the spell and turning them all back into humans. *ahem* Another favorite. And here, Belle also finishes reading King Arthur, and then asks the Beast for a second chance to be friends again.

17. Maison des Lunes: With evilly amazing harmony, Gaston, Lefou, and Monsieur D'Arque plot to lock up Maurice to get Belle to marry Gaston. This song has the uncanny ability to get stuck in your head. Fast.

18. Beauty and the Beast: The classic song and tale older than time. It starts out with a snippet of If I Can't Love Her, a touch which I appreciate as it reminds you of the Beast's hopes for the night. Mrs. Potts provides the vocals, just like in the film, although I think I prefer Angela Lansbury (movie Mrs. Potts) to Mary Millar (musical Mrs. Potts). Lumiere's and Cogsworth's "Dance with her!" always manages to give me the giggles.

Susan Egan and Terrence Mann

19. If I Can't Love Her (Reprise): The Beast has let Belle go back to her father, and he laments that he couldn't have done more, knowing that he will spend the rest of his days stuck in his terrible form.

20. The Mob Song: This song plays out differently than the movie version, but I like how they added the bit between Bell and Maurice, showing the father's determination to protect his daughter. And Gaston's Shakespeare reference "Screw your courage to the sticking place" makes me grin. Only Disney.

21. The Battle: Pretty much the battle in the castle set to music, only no one ever sings. It's funny to listen to the screams and moans of Gaston's men. "You look like you could use a good cup of tea." "Oh, thank you. AHH!" Oh, yes, and *wince* excuse Lumiere's French. Literally.

22. End Duet/Transformation: Susan Egan sings a short reprise of Home, begging him not to die and telling him that *boom* she loves him. Insert the epic and spine-tingling music. Then *poof* the Beast turns back into Princes Adam. There's not much more I can say, lest I detract from the amazingness of this song.

23. Beauty and the Beast (Reprise): A short, but epic (yes, that word again) reprise of the all-familiar tune, concluding the entire show in a glorious, happy ending. 

God bless!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"You've Been Dreaming Just One Dream..."

And now, my answers to the tag Amy posted that I promised you yesterday... 


1.  What musical did you pick to "spotlight" this week and why? Beauty and the Beast; and if you'd like to know why, please read THIS post. I think I covered all the basics there.

2.  How did you discover the musical you picked (hereinafter referred to as "your musical")? I was first introduced to Beauty and the Beast at a very young age by watching the Disney film, and I instantly loved it. But it wasn't until about a year or two ago that I was searching BatB (abbreviated for my convenience) songs on Youtube and discovered a video containing clips from the movie during Gaston's proposal put to a song called Me. After listening to it only once, I was hooked. It was that awesome. From there, I found out that BatB had been turned into a full-fledged musical a few years after the film had been released, so I looked up the cast recording on Amazon and listened to all the 30 second snippets the site allowed. And now I have the entire CD on my computer. And yes, the snippet I have for my title is from Me. *grin*

3.  If you had to pick three favorite songs from your musical, which ones would they be? Definitely Me would fall first on that list, followed then by....hmm... so many, so many... No Matter What and Home. All three of those songs aren't in the animated Disney film, but they're all beautiful.

4.  What's your least favorite song from your musical? Hmm... the first one coming to mind is Prologue where the narrator tells the backstory of the Beast (a.k.a. Prince Adam). It's not really that I *don't* like it, but there are more songs that I prefer due to containing singing rather than just talking.

5.  Who are your favorite characters (choose up to three)? Lumiere, Clogsworth, and Belle. The first two because they're so hilarious together, and then of course, we couldn't leave out the main character.

6.  Which versions of your musical have you seen/listened to, and which is your favorite? Actually, I've never *seen* any adaption of the musical other than the 1991 Disney film, but I've got that basically memorized, and I've done loads of research on the Broadway musical so I think I've got some right to boast. The most popular version is the Original Broadway cast which ran in 1994, featuring Susan Egan and Terrence Mann as the lead roles.The other big recording in the 1997 London Cast recording with Julie-Alanah Brighten as Belle and Alasdair Harvey playing the Beast, but I have yet to listen to all of that recording. The funny thing is that both those casts had Burke Moses playing Gaston! 
As for my favorite, I'd have say that although I love the extra songs in the musical, that position would fall to the actual animated movie. Paige O'Hara and Robby Benson pretty much captured the iconic Belle and Beast voices, and I love listening to them sing.

7.   Is this your favorite musical of all time?  If not, what is? Nope, it's not. But I can't tell you which one is. Why? Because I have too many favorites! I don't think there is actually just one that sticks out and stands above all the others. Besides BatB, I love Cinderella, Les Mis, My Fair Lady, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Singin' in the Rain, The Happiest Millionaire, etc. etc.

8.   Which cast album/musical soundtrack in your collection do you listen to the most? Truthfully? I think that's actually been Alan Menken's The Little Mermaid featuring the Original Broadway Cast with Sierra Boggess and Sean Palmer. At least, the most I've listened to recently. I don't endorse that story, nor do I recommend *all* the songs from that recording (I think I have barely over half of the tracks in my Media Player), but Alan Menken composes such beautiful songs! Part of Your World, Her Voice, One Step Closer, and If Only are my favorites and probably the ones I've played the most from that recording.

9.   What is your favorite costume from your musical? No contest there! Belle's blue dress!

Belle from the Broadway tour 

10.  If you could change anything about your musical, what would you change? Probably the fact that there's kissing on-stage and also a few low costumes. Other than that, I'm good!

11.  Which role(s) would you most like to play in any musical, if you had the opportunity to do so on stage? So many choices! Actually, I learned not too long ago that they're turning one of my favorite animated movies into a musical: Anastasia. 20th Century Fox made this film back in 1997, and again, while I don't whole-heartedly endorse it, it's a beautiful musical, and the two songs Anastasia sings (Journey to the Past and Once Upon a December) are absolutely beautiful, and I'd love to sing those on-stage! However, I don't know what other songs Anastasia would be required to sing, so I can't say that she's my biggest dream role. 
Eponine from Les Mis is more my voice range because I sing better lower than higher, but other roles I fancy include Meg from The Phantom of the Opera, the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz (what? we said dream roles, didn't we?), Belle from BatB (duh!), Eliza in My Fair Lady... pretty much any role that wouldn't require me to do something I consider wrong (kissing, swearing, immodesty) just because I love acting and singing. However, I will say that roles such as Christine from PotO and Cosette from Les Mis would be less desirable because I don't like those high notes, mostly because I cannot hit them.

12.  If you could choose one performer to play any part in your musical, who would you choose and which part would you have them play? Haven't given them much thought... it would be interesting to see Aaron Tveit play the Beast; he's a great singer and I'd love to hear him do If I Can't Love Her. By the way, does anyone know anything more about Aaron Tveit singing the part of Dmitri in the Broadway Anastasia that I mentioned above? I know he read for the part, but I haven't heard anything else since.

13.  Do you consider yourself a musical theatre fan in general or do you just like a few musicals? "In general" doesn't even cover it. If it's a musical with good music, I'll love it. I have a bunch of favorite musicals, I have many more favorite songs, I.. yeah. I can be picky with absolute favorites, but music is an occupational hazard.

14.  Are you tired of the word "musical" yet? Never. How could you even suggest that?!

15.  Turn your music playing device on shuffle (or utilize Pandora if you don't have one) and tell us the names of the first three show tunes that come up-- no cheating!  How do these rank on your favorites/most-listened-to list? Who Am I? from Les Mis, A Bit of Earth (Reprise) from The Secret Garden, and I Whistle a Happy Tune from The King and I.  
Who Am I is from the 2012 film and is sung by Hugh Jackman; I don't have this song memorized yet, so it's not the best Les Mis song, in my opinion, but I do enjoy hearing Hugh Jackman sing this. The conflict he fights with himself is so... wow. It's not every day that someone can put that much emotion into a song. Definitely part of my most-listened-to list.
A Bit of Earth (Reprise)... well, I quite forgot about that musical. I heard someone sing A Bit of Earth and couldn't help thinking, "Wow! That sounds like it should belong in The Secret Garden!" So, I looked it up, and guess what? It's from the Broadway musical, The Secret Garden! The reprise is barely a minute long, but it is very nice to listen to. Good, but not an absolute favorite.
And finally... I Whistle a Happy Tune my family says is my motto. I am constantly whistling, and yes, I think I'd break into whistling to prove I wasn't scared. Marni Nixon sings this song from the film, and I will admit that this is probably one of my two favorite tracks from The King and I. The other is Shall We Dance? This song ranked? Favorite.

God bless!

Monday, September 23, 2013

"Tale As Old As Time..."

When Amy of Yet Another Period Drama Blog announced that she would be hosting a Celebrate Musicals Week, I immediately knew that I had to join in the fun. After all, music is an occupational hazard in my family, so how could I not? 

But the tigers come at night, and Amy then dashed my bubble of happiness by saying that we had to pick one musical. ONE, peoples. Read it: ONE.

Which one, which one, which one?

The most popular musical right now ~ Les Mis. I do love that one. Oh, but there are songs I skip, and some swearing, and I wouldn't count myself a big enough fan to do it credit.

Ummm... Cinderella. That's a big one! Beautiful music, too! Yet... I don't know all the songs, and I only have 3 total from the musical on my computer. Nuts.

The Sound of Music. The basic, everyone-knows-it musical. Every song memorized, and I even saw this one onstage (which, even though it was only a local highschool, was amazing). But I don't know if I'd classify this one as my absolute favorite.

Mary Poppins! Who doesn't love Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? Bother, I don't know that much about the actual musical. My big Mary Poppins experience is mostly with the Julie Andrews film, other than knowing a few Broadway songs.

Oklahoma... very fun, but I'm not a cowboy.

The Little Mermaid... love most of the music, but again, songs to skip, swearing, and on the whole, I really don't endorse that story.

The Phantom of the Opera... the musical everyone has heard of due to music in the night and asking of you only one lifetime, but again, not a favorite. *huff* I annoy myself with my pickiness. And yes, spellchecker, I'm making "pickiness" a word.

Newsies has a great story, but some songs... ehh... that and the Broadway musical isn't that familiar to me.

My Fair Lady... very familiar as I sing these songs almost on a regular basis, but...

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. Amazing musical! Definitely a favorite! Yet, there could be a better one...

Annie Get Your Gun is absolutely hilarious! I just discovered this one, so again, not a big enough expert to do it justice.

Oliver!, Meet Me In St. Louis, Singin' In The Rain, The King and I, The Music Man, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Wizard of Oz.... none of them really stood out to me as MY musical. Amy, I must say, you really threw me a curveball. I was up a tree with a creek and got stuck on a limb without a paddle. Or something like that. So, I opened up my Media Player and browsed through the musicals I have downloaded onto my computer. Surely I could find something.

And then I found it. And if you know anything about musicals and how to identify them by snippets of songs (such as I used for the title of this post), then you probably already know which one I chose. Pat yourself on the back and have some virtual gingerbread, courtesy of me.

My dear readers, I'm doing...

Beauty and the Beast

So, why Beauty and the Beast? For as long as I can recall, Belle has been my favorite Disney princess (replaced only recently by the long-haired, blonde Rapunzel), so it was natural for me to run around the house singing "Be Our Guest" at the top of my lungs. Belle wears a blue dress, a lovely shade which happens to be my favorite color, and she is extremely fond of books. Helllo, don't most of us love her for only that reason? 

Yet, the story of Beauty and the Beast is unlike most fairy tales, a fact which I am most appreciative of. For instance, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty both are, in the original tales, woken with a kiss and instantly marry their kisser, or, in the famous Disney film adaptions, fall in love with a prince after a single, romantic song. In all cases, their marriage was based on love at first physical appearance, something that drives me batty. Note: I'm not saying I don't believe in love at first sight, but I do think it's wrong to base an entire lifetime on a single meeting with someone whom you believe has awesome looks. Granted, it is a fairy tale, and I do like to believe in the impossible and suspend my disbelief, but let's keep some reality in here, people, please.

But Beauty and the Beast was different. Disney actually took the time to develop Belle's character, one of their first female characters who was actually real. She had hopes and dreams, and she wasn't afraid to learn how to change. If we stuck Belle in Snow White's place, she'd have fallen in love with the first handsome singer and would have ended the movie in fifteen minutes married to Gaston. Instead, she determined that she would be looking for a friend not a lover, and waiting for the adventure that life would bring. Sure, she doesn't seem very patient about it, a trait with which she is flawed and grows from, but she knows that while she is a woman and meant to be a wife someday, she's not wasting her time moping at the lack of suitable husbands. I would say potential there, but Gaston was stalking her in her hometown, so there wasn't a lack of potential.

And then when Belle went to the castle to take her father's place (I'm assuming here that we all know the basic storyline of Beauty and the Beast so I won't give you a play-by-play commentary on the plot), she was frightened, but she loved her father so much that she was willing, pretty much, to give her own life so that her father, the only family she had in the world, to go free. It was more important to her that the ones (or one) that she loved most were well than for her to look after her own interests. Yet, the time in the castle proved to be most interesting with dinner and a show, a snowball fight, and a whole bunch of other fun and lighthearted stuff that one would never expect in a dark, gargoyle-guarded castle. For it was here that she learned to love for more than physical appearance. Belle fell in love with the Beast (who, if you didn't know, is really named Adam... Prince Adam; you're welcome, that was free) because of his character rather than his bulging muscles and dashing brow. The Beast saved her life, he was gentle with the most delicate of creatures, he was eager to ascertain that she was happy and well-taken care of, all of which was a lot more than boisterous, random-people-knocking-out Gaston ever did. 

I could go on and on about this, as I'm sure you all should know by know, but I won't prolong things and make this post an epistle. Certainly by now all of you should be tapping your computer screens and saying, "Uh, Kiri? This is Celebrate MUSICALS Week, not Celebrate MOVIE week. Why are you still talking about the movie?" Elementary, my dear Watson. Beauty and the Beast: The Broadway Musical was based on, inspired by, named after Beauty and the Beast, the 1991 Disney film adaption. If you noticed, most of the songs, in fact, I believe ALL of the songs in the movie are present in the musical. For the most part, the storyline of the musical is the same as the movie's, with only a few minor differences, as well as seven new songs, songs that I will discuss in a later post. However, the point of this post here was to establish my love of musicals, my gratitude to Amy for hosting such a fun celebration, pinpoint my own musical, state the reasons why it was my favorite, and move on. I think I did all that, so...

God bless!
P.S. Yes, I do realize that most posts today concerning this great event will be answers to the tag Amy posted earlier, but I wrote this before and wanted to post it as my introductory to the week. I have no further explanation to give. Don't worry; you'll see the tag popping up later on Lianne Taimenlore.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Homeschool Tag

If any of you are familiar with the sisters I have in the wonderful world of blogging, then you might have seen this tag recently on Jessa Bri's blog, Freckled Adventures (swell blog, by the way, so you must visit there if you haven't already).
1. You must be currently enrolled in homeschool or a homeschool graduate.
2. Answer all the questions in a blog post of your own.
3. Comment here on my blog to let me know you have done a post.

Are you currently enrolled in homeschool or are you graduated? Currently *not* in school. I graduated back in 2011, and wow! Does that seem like a long time ago! I don't feel old enough to be going into my third year out of high school!

What is (or was) your favorite school subject? History or Geography.

Do (did) you usually finish school before lunch? Sometimes. When I was in fifth grade, I used to get up at 6 and teach myself and get all of my school done before breakfast. Ah, those were the days! However, getting into high school with its nasty, huge assignments, I was often at my desk still at 5 o'clock. Not all the time, mind you, but it felt that long some days.

Do (did) you get a recess? I know not this word recess. What dost it mean?

Snow days? A snow day for a homeschooler only means they get to go out and shovel the driveway before going back inside to do school. 

What subject(s) do (did) you get the best grades in? History and Geography. Actually, US Government wasn't bad, either. I aced all three of those grades. My worst was grammar, surprisingly, because I absobloominglutely love English. I just hated taking the tests.

Are (were) you one of those students who follows (followed) a schedule, gets (got) all your assignments done on time, and does (did) the optional activities? Or do (did) you 
not really care how and what gets (got) done? For the most part, I got all my assignments done on time. It was rare I handed in something late. There were some things that I'd finish a week before the due date, and yet there were some things that I got done the day I had to hand it in. I suppose it really depended on what subject it was; History and English homework was often a cinch (save for the English tests); it was the Science stuff mostly that had me stumped. Math assignments weren't too bad, though I often had to teach myself the lesson because the teacher on the DVD course we watched was rather... well, let's just say I didn't learn much from the DVDs. Did I do optional activities? Depended on the activity. If I thought it worth my while, then yes, I did it. If not, I left it with the tag optional and ignored it.
God bless!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sweet... Well, Not Sixteen Exactly... Just One

I must say this is embarrassing. Rose gave me this award back in May, and I'm finally getting around to posting about it. Please do not interpret my neglect as apathy. I didn't even realize I had an award stuck in this draft of a post until now. 

But, thank you, thank you, Rose for awarding me! I appreciate it muchly!
1. Thank the person that gave to the award.
2. Answer the three questions.
3. Nominate four bloggers.
4. Notify the bloggers you nominate.

1. What famous person would you like to meet? Famous living or famous dead? C.S. Lewis would probably be near the top of the list for me if the latter category was acceptable. Or, if not... umm... let's just say Peter Jackson only so he could cast me as an extra. Psst, Kiri. They've finished filming The Hobbit. Dash it all. Well, then an extra when he does The Silmarillion. ;)

2. What's your favorite flower? Is it just me, or is this a redundant question? I think this is about the fifth time I've answered it on this blog, so you should know by now: Kosteletzkya

3. What is your least favorite food? I immensely dislike spinach. Don't know if it's my least favorite considering I still eat it when Mom serves it, but it's something I don't care for much at all.

And because I'm such a horrible blogger in the respect of posting about things at decent times, I'm taking it a step further and snagging the questions Rose posted in the same post she awarded me for a tag to answer here. Don't we all just love tag questions? They make for such easy blog posts. *ahem*

1.  You're eating ice cream, when you get a nice big dollop in your nose.  Do you wipe it off with a napkin, ignore it, or try to lick it off with your tongue? I'd probably try to admire it before doing anything to it and result in making myself cross-eyed and a little sick. I'm not that weird that I'd go after it with my tongue (my tongue's not that long, anyway), but I would most likely use my fingers to clean my nose and then lick them clean as well. 
2.  What is your favourite candy? It used to be Kit-Kat, but since those pesky little things known as allergies arrived, I've had to change over to Swedish Fish.
3.  What book are you reading now?  Or what was the last book you read? I'm in the middle of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, my favorite Dicken tale on-screen and what I hope will become my favorite Dickens period. I haven't finished it yet, so it can't contend for favorite spot, and Our Mutual Friend currently holds that honor.
4.  What's the most exciting that that has happened to you while blogging?  (Nice comment, hit a certain number of followers, etc.) Reaching 60 followers! I never thought I'd get that many! Thank you, all you wonderful readers! Cyber hugs all around! Virtual confetti! HTML cake! ... Wow, what a party. Sure wish it could be real.
5.  Artsy (drawing, writing, creating) or sporty?  Or both? More writing artsy than anything else, I guess, but I rather enjoy some sports (namely baseball, volleyball, and a few others).
6.  Describe the perfect ocean scene. (For instance, I'm one for rocky beaches and stormy, mysterious skies). That really depends on where I am. If I'm on the shore looking out, bring on the windy gale and the grey skies! Crashing waves and the spray of the ocean! Rocky beaches against a stormy atmosphere make for a great story! However, if I'm on the sea, let's keep it calm, shall we?  
7.  Red & white or blue & yellow? Probably blue and yellow. Unless we're talking about candy.

8.  What are your favorite kinds of books? (Historical fiction, fantasy, classics, etc.) Fantasy first and foremost. I am a big fan of epic adventure and castles and the like. However, I do enjoy the classics muchly, particularly Dickens and Austen, and historical fiction has quite a draw when it's American history.

9.  Favorite color for a house? Yellow brick? Most of the houses I've lived in have been yellow brick, so I guess I'm partial to it.

10.  Cooking or baking? Normally, I'd say neither, but I'm becoming rather fond of making mug cakes (only because they're not that hard to mess up and I can be trusted with a microwave), so let's say baking. Mug cakes count as baking, right?

11. Dickens or Austen? Not fair! Dash it all! Fine, Dickens only because I prefer mystery to romance. Although, the two are rather tied on characters and dialogue. If we considered those factors, I don't think I could choose between the two.

God bless!