Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Yes, I saw Hamilton, and in one word.....(Then I use a lot of them)


That really is the only word that I can use to describe this production. It is perfect. Every single element comes together to create a true masterpiece There is nothing extra, there are no flaws. It is simply perfect, and yet not at all Simple.

Let's back up. We purchased our Hamilton tickets in September. I almost didn't go, I wasn't going to pay too much for them. I just don't do that. Yes, I love Broadway but I'm not a fan of paying too much for tickets because if I pay less I see more. The tickets were $179 and that is reasonable. So, yes, as my sister stated "our tickets could have given birth to more tickets." Sadly they did not, but that's okay.

On Tuesday June 14, 2017 I saw Hamilton. I was slightly late to the Hamilton party. I knew it was good, I had heard of Lin Manuel Miranda, but I hadn't gotten into In The Heights, so he actually wasn't on my Radar. Memorial day weekend 2016 I took time to listen. When I listen to a new soundtrack I really try and listen straight through a couple of times. This is a thing that I have done for years, and it works for me. At first I was thinking "okay, it's good" Then act 2 started and I was SOLD!. What did I miss is my favorite number. Lin has been quoted saying "If you don't like Hip Hop, don't worry Act 2 will start soon and that is totally the Musical Theatre number." He is correct. THat is the number that drew in THIS Musical Theatre kid.

Now, I'm rambling a bit because there are spoilers to the show, so if you don't want to know about the show, you really should stop reading. I will try not to give away too much, but you do know that Burr shoots Hamilton right? okay, good.

So, here we go.

We arrived at the theatre. I was very excited to potentially see a high school friend. Mike has worked at the Rogers theatre for a few years as a bartender and he is one of the kindest people that you will every meet. If you go see Hamilton, I highly encourage you to stop at the bar and ask if Mike is working so that you can see him. Tell him you know Betsy, I can promise you will get the biggest smile. Just Like that one !

Mike Made sure that I had a beer, FYI there is a Rise Up Rye that is really good. I really enjoyed it. It was created for the Broadway Brews Project

So, went up to my seat to get settled in. My seat was probably 2 rows from the back of the house, but I never felt I was far from the stage, which is a testament to the design of the Richard Rogers Theatre. Also, to the producers of the show. If you haven't read Hamilton: The Revolution, I encourage you to do so. I personally listened to the book on Audible, it's read by Mariska Hargitay, which is never a bad thing. Anyway, in the book they discuss why the Rogers was so important to them, and it's very interesting.

So, I got to my seat. I had my beer, I had my knitting, and I had my Beads of Courage (more on that later)

I knew what to expect, and yet everything was a complete surprise. At times, I felt that I had to remind myself to breathe. The show is a true roller coaster. Keep your hands a feet inside the ride because it is NOT stopping for anyone along the way. One reason that I really wanted to see Hamilton In New York, and not wait for the tour, is because of the sound design. While I know the tour will be true to the design elements, sound is one that always concerns me. I wanted to see the show in the space where the sound was originally designed for (again, read the book, they spend a chapter on sound design, I promise it's not boring). You don't just hear the sound in this show, you feel it. You feel every bit of the bass that is pumped into that room, and it is incredible.

I was overwhelmed with the intricacy of the choreography, I was amazed at the simplicity of the Costumes, I was (and will continue to be) fascinated at how tight the show is, and if anyone wants to get me a ticket to sit on headset, that would be amazing.

Act one ended, and I wasn't breathing. I was not. I was actually holding my breath.

Things to know about Hamilton if you go. There are no balcony/mezzanine rest rooms at the Rogers. At Intermission, you have to go down three flights, and make it back to your seat. You also have to be sure you GET to your seat in time because they do NOT hold the intermission curtain.

What happened at Intermission, I waited. I was sitting apart from my sister, Mom, and sister's BFF because one of our seats was separate. The couple sitting next to me was pleasant enough, but I did find it HILARIOUS that they were googling Lin at Intermission. While I had not followed him prior to the show, I certainly know who he is no (and pretty sure the rest of the US does as well, but whatev)

Bring on Act 2:

Full disclosure, if I could go back in time to be sure that I saw Daveed Diggs play Lafayette and Jefferson I would.

But I will give James Monroe Iglehart a TON of credit. He won me over. He held his hand out to the entire theatre and said "here, you just sit right here in the palm of my hand while I own this stage" and he did. Now, I knew I would cry watching Hamilton. I cry watching a lot of theatre, so I was prepared for when I might cry. Certain things surprised me, one I will not discuss because it is something that is actually NOT on the soundtrack and therefore I do not want to give it away.

Here is what surprised me.
Maria Reynolds

Yup, You heard me right. So, for those of you that have listened to the soundtrack, and read history books, you know that Hamilton was not the most faithful to his wife. This is portrayed in the number "Say No To This." I am not a person that tolerates unfaithfulness well. When I listened to Hamilton and heard that song, I hated Alexander a LOT, similar to how I hate Jamie in the Last 5 years during the song "nobody Needs to Know."

Until I saw it. I never expected to be sitting in the balcony of the Richard Rogers theatre weeping because I felt sympathy for a man preparing to cheat on his wife. I truly felt for him. I was so confused. This is the moment that stood out to me so much in the show. Maybe it was the chemistry between Javier Munoz and Alysha Deslorieux, I have no idea. But honestly, I was so confused by my own emotions.

and yes, Lin uses the line "Nobody Needs to know" in the song "Say no to this" and yes, that irony of me hating Jamie at that moment, and originally hating Hamilton at that moment, is not lost on me. (Also, I still hate Jamie, I no longer dislike Hamilton)

As I watched more of act 2 I started realizing, every single technical element could be removed from this show and it would still be perfect. The show is staged so simply when it comes to scenic and prop elements. The ensemble carries us through the show bringing on a piece of furniture here or there. You could remove every costume, every prop, every bit of lighting, and yes even the sound that I raved about. You could remove it all and this show would still be brilliant. I think that is what makes it so perfect in my eyes. The complicated simplicity of it all.

The show ended, and yet again I found that I was reminding myself to breathe. It was just so amazing. I did not want it to end, I wanted more. After sitting in my seat for 2 hours and 45 minutes, I still wanted more. I wanted a LOT more. I knew there had to be, but the house lights came up, and here I was not moving from my seat, and not wanting to come back to reality.

My coworker saw the show about a week before me and he created the #HamilCry hashtag, so, this is my #hamicry selfie

We went to the stage door, which was a touch too overwhelming for me, so I took a moment to sit and knit on a couple of hats (more on those in my next post because they are for the next show).

This show will live in history. The theatre world will never let this show be forgotten. It is amazing, it is brilliant, and I am so glad that I let these tickets sit in my possession for 10 months.

Monday, July 24, 2017

So Much Theatre, Decent amount of knitting

The past month or so I have seen SO MUCH theatre. It's sort of unreal.

I have seen

Come From Away
Natasha Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812
Angels in America
Beauty and the Beast.

it's also not over because I'm planning to see High Fidelity this weekend.

I've had so many thoughts about all of these shows, and I will tell you about all of them. I promise.

I will also tell you that there WILL be spoilers. So, if you don't want to know about a show, don't read the post. I will try not to give away too much, but some things I just can't censor. Yes, I will also tell you what I know while I was at the theatre, because there was a LOT of knitting at the theatre.

A lot is happening, and by the time these posts are over, I hope to be able to share more with you. For now know that I will be sharing lots of thoughts. Lots and lots of thoughts.

I'll try and post one show a week so as to not bombard you... But I'll share some pictures so that you can get a sneak peek!!

One thing that I will say is that all of the shows are equally brilliant. If you ask be for a favorite, I won't be able to choose. To compare any of them would be like picking which child is the favorite. I think that is what makes theatre experiences so incredible. Each one is unique. Each one involves so much, each one is it's own moment.

Only pic for now, it properly combines knitting AND theatre. Yes, I made hats for the Cast of Come From Away

Two of the lovely cast members (Petrina Bromley and Astrid Van Wieren kindly modeled the hats ! They, along with the rest of this cast, should be given awards for being the Kindest Cast on broadway. But more on them later.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Thoughts on the Tony Awards before the Tony awards, or why I'm knitting hats for actors

This year in theatre...... what can i say. Last year we watched the #hamiltonys because, well.. It was brilliant. But last year taught me something. Pay more attention. Pay more attention to the other shows that are opening. I missed out on Bright star and Shuffle along because I honestly just didn't know they were there. I would have missed out on Beautiful in the past if mom hadn't wanted to see it. So this year, I paid attention.

I am very aware of what is here this year, and because I am aware, I have never been so excited about a Tony awards since Rent. You heard me.

I love the Tony awards, it's my super bowl. It's my night to be an un-appologetic theatre geek and gush about everything that I love. It's the night where the industry that I have given blood, sweat, and tears (actual blood, actual sweat, actual tears) to for so many years gets acknowledged. I know that not everyone loves theatre, that's fine, more for me.

This year of course means more, and there is an empty place in my heart, because I know that I won't be sharing this night with a wonderful friend. So much about this year reminds me of her. I know she would be Celebrating Groundhog day because her roomate is in it. I know she would Love Come from Away because not only is one of the cast members of Chaplin in the show, but I know she would love the message that it sends. I know she would be quoting Hello Dolly Lyrics. She was able to see Evan Hansen when it was in Previews, and she raved about how wonderful the production was. I know she would be cheering on Great Comet with me, and she would be singing the scenery and lighting just like everyone else.

Cristin, this year I thank you. Because of you, I now longer shy away when people say "oh, you're a theatre person" rather than saying "yeah, I like it" now I will proudly say "yup." So many amazing messages of love and beauty shared this year, and I know you would be celebrating it. In my heart, I know you are with us.

Oh, and in knitting news, yes. I'm knitting hats for the entire cast of Come From Away.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Going to talk about Running, I promise i'll talk about knitting soon

So, today I ran the Cheshire Half Marathon . This was my third half marathon, and 3 is mu lucky number! Everything was perfect about this race.

Yesterday I woke up not feeling great. My stomach was not my friend. It was also 80 + degrees. As I was driving to CT all I could think of was "if this weather keeps up I'm going to run a 5 K." After watching the news, and learning that it would be almost 20 degrees cooler, I made my decision to run the half.

As many of you know I was running this race to support the SARAH Foundation. My family will forever be grateful for the services that they have provided to our aunt Candy.

Finishing my last race was bitter sweet. The race was great, the vacation was fun. As I returned from my vacation I got terrible news. Many tears were shed training for this race as I learned to accept daily life without my friend.

As I started this race I had one goal, finish in the 3:15 course limit.

Early on I met another runner who shared his mantra with me "finish today." Would love that, but today it was 3:15.

I loaded some great music into my spotify playlist. I didn't have my headphones, so I played through the speaker in my fanny pack. The first song that I could hear, as the pack broke up.... We are Family. Yup, that's what I needed early in this race to remind me that I have wonderful people supporting me along the way.

one of the street signs "Watch hill Rd." For many years my family visited Watch hill in Rhode Island to ride the carousel. We'd go out there on my grandfather's boat. These memories carried me another couple of miles.

So many wonderful friends donated for the joy of adding a song to my playlist. Since I had my music playing, other people could here the tracks. At around mile 9 New Kids on the Block came on. 2 Other runners were thrilled to hear it and thanked me for having it playing. It was so great to hear all of the great tracks and remember who added them to the list.

Around mile 10 I was sore. really really sore. I walked, and I was still sore. Not sure why, but I was.

I pushed it really hard to finish, and when I saw the 3:09 finish time I was AMAZED.

This race was truly one of the best!
- well marked
- lots of volunteers
- well spaced water tables
- well spaced porta potties
- LOTS of entertainment
- The Cheshire High School Athletes were all over the course and they were amazing.

Even being at the back of the pack, the services along the route were there for all of us.

(I came home to see that the nephew is wearing my lucky number for little league this year!!)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The people that I knit for

Fact is, I enjoy knitting for other people. I have a number of items that I love that are my own, and the sweater that I am knitting is proof of that. But fact is, I love knitting for other people.

Nothing gives me more joy than a new hat for a baby, a gift for my nephew, a scarf for a friend. Recently I realized the people that I have not knit for, and now I cannot.

In January I lost a friend and coworker. We worked together for 4 years. We spoke every day 5 days a week, frequently more than that. We found joy as our sisters brought nephews and nieces and nephews into our lives. I made a hat for her first nephew. She donated to every event that I participated in. She was the first person to wish me a happy birthday, and she even gave me yarn for my birthday. But never did I cast on something for her.

I'm sure I thought of it. I'm sue I considered it. I'm sure I even found a pattern. Now I cannot.

I know that I cannot go back in time, and in this situation a part of me so wishes that I could. This loss was not one that I was prepared for. It was one that was sudden, unexpected, and sad. When I lost my grandfather is was 92. He lived a life of service, business, and family. He saw his great Grandchildren. He traveled, he saw the world. While his loss was not "expected" I was able to prepare. He fell ill, we knew how sick he was. We knew that he didn't want machines. We knew.. It's possible that even he knew.

When my friend lost he child it was tragic. Madeline was 11 years old. She had battled cancer twice. She was a fighter, correction... she was a tiger. But as tragic and heartbreaking as this loss was, it was one that we could prepare for. Chemo was no longer working. The cancer was taking over. She was in pain.

I never knit for my friend because I always thought there would be time. I always thought I would be able to talk to her. I expected she would be able to tell me he favorite color, and I am sure it would have been a shade of pink. I'm sure it would have been something like a scarf that she could wear in the office because she was always cold. It would match perfectly with her pink boots that she loved so much.

I promise to tell you more about my new sweater that is on the needles soon. But I had to get this out there.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Post where I review InTransit

Let's face it, the name of this blog is Theatreknitter. It has this name because along with being an avid knitter, I am an avid theatre-Goer. I worked in the Theatre industry for over a decade, and I continue to support arts and entertainment organizations.

So, here is where I review In Transit: WARNING: the website will play music (likely my only bad comment for the rest of this post).

What is In Transit:
In Transit is an all accapella musical. yup, you heard me. All of the sounds in the production are made by the human voice. Sign me UP!. The story is a somewhat typical New York Story. How lives interact when you live in a city of millions of people. While we've all heard the story before, I love how it was told. All of the interactions happen on the Subway. We learn early that over 1 month of your life every year is spent in Transit. A lot can happen in one month.

What did I love:
All of it. I loved the staging and how they used the space incredibly well. They did not over do anything on the set, because they didn't have to. The production was definitely about the music, the sounds, and the story. Now, of course there was an evening gown made out of metro cards. Would you expect anything else? While I love a psectacle show with big sets and lots of costumes, and a show that makes me leave humming the scenery, i also love a production that is simple. That truly gets to the heart of the story. That reminds the audience that it's not about the scenery and the lights and the costumes, it is about the story being told. Listen to our story. With In Transit, it's also about listening to the sounds. There were certainly stand out performances from certain actors on the stage.

MOYA ANGELA: : WOW, just WOW. She portrayed multiple characters in the production. My favorites were Althea and Momma, but probably Momma. She was amazing.

STEVEN “HEAVEN” CANTOR : He's a machine. I was blown away.

MARGO SEIBERT : so wonderful. She told a beautiful story.

The cast as a whole performed as a true ensemble, and it is the reason that the ensemble Tony award should exist. The sound design was perfect (oh right, no tony for that either)

Why did I see it?

A good friend had already seen the show, and had gushed about it. We lost her suddenly this month. I was heading into the city for an open house memorial for her, and I knew that I wanted, and sort of needed, to see a show. There was not a lot available on Todaytix for discounts, and it was BroadwayCon Weekend (oh yeah, you didn't know that there was broadway con? now you do...

I saw that tickets were available, and grabbed them. I couldn't be more happy that I did.

On My experience with TodayTix
I was super pleased. Fees were a touch High, but I would 100% do it again. I did not know my seats sin advance, but I was okay with that. The concierge was waiting outside the venue, very polite. I was even running late, and she couldn't have been more polite. I would use it again (and check my social media feed for a discount)

I would love to see this show have a long life. I know that shows at Circle in the square don't tend to be in the space for a long time, but I really really hope this show has a life. I believe it could have a great off Broadway life. I fear that it may not tour well, if only because it is such a new york story, but I certainly hope that it does.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Thank you!

This will likely be my last post before the race tomorrow, so I wanted to take time to say thank you...

To my family:
Thank you for understanding that sometimes my run is not a "choice", but something that needs to be done. Thank you for tolerating my constant conversations about training.... Even if you didn't want to listen. 

To my coworkers:
- thank you for listening to my whining about sore muscles after a tough morning run. Thank you for covering for me during this much needed vacation.

To my friends:
- thank you for inspiring me to go further

To my inspiration:

To the children who continue to fight, to the children that we have lost. To the families that stand by their loved ones as they battle disease.. Thank you for inspiring me to go one step further.