Viva La Vie Boheme

Rent Live aired on January 27, 2019 on Fox (or CityTV in Canada). I’ll admit I was hesitant about this one. From the moment it was announced I was worried I’d be disappointed. (I’ve written before about my love of Rent, which you can read here https://dreamingofthoseneonlights.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/cause-everything-is-rent/) I knew I would still watch it though. And then I was hearing some good things about this production. I did not get to watch Rent Live when it aired on 27th but got the chance to watch it a few days later when it was uploaded to the CityTV website. Somewhat surprisingly to me I was able to go into it with a fairly open mind. Once it started I was able to just let go and enjoy it. And enjoy it I did! It’s actually been a little while since I last watched Rent (either the movie or the Filmed Live on Broadway version) but this was a really nice reminder of how much I love the show. Now I want to go off and watch all of the versions, including rewatching this one.

Let’s get this out of the way first. It’s fair if you didn’t enjoy this production. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But. If your biggest complaint is that it wasn’t “live,” that they aired the dress rehearsal, I don’t feel that is anything worth complaining about. Sure you can be a little disappointed but, unless you were there for the filming, in the end, whether it was filmed on Saturday or Sunday, it doesn’t really matter. I feel bad for Brennin (and the rest of the cast) and I wish him a speedy recovery. It is such a shame that this happened and they didn’t get to do their full final performance but we, the home audience, still got a production that was filmed live. Not broadcast live, but still a filmed live production. I would love it if they released a recording of the concert they did in lieu of the full production (like as a bonus feature on a DVD release or as a bonus with the digital release, like on iTunes) but I am glad we still got to see basically the whole show as they had intended it to be! It’s lucky that at the end of the show it actually works for Roger to stay in one place. I do wonder if now these live musical events will actually have understudies, should anything like this happen again. I guess we’ll see! But like I said before, I enjoyed this production and that is going to be my main focus for the rest of this post (ok, with some minor criticisms here and there)!

Overall I thought the casting was pretty good. Some roles were maybe not as strong as others but overall everyone was effective in their roles. I was particularly a fan of Jordan Fisher as Mark. There were a couple of times when I thought his Mark might just be a bit too cool but I think it worked for him and I really enjoyed his performance. Brandon Victor Dixon was also an excellent Collins (yes, “I’ll Cover You (Reprise)” made me cry). I was happy to see Keala Settle in such a featured role too! In general I’m always going to be a fan of the theatre people that are cast in these shows. And I hope they continue to cast more theatre people in these productions, and in the leading roles in these productions. They are getting better with it, so I hope it continues.

It was so nice seeing the original cast back together at the end. I knew they were going to be there- I’d seen all the posts about it so it wasn’t a surprise- but it was still great to see! It would have been nice if there had been a way for them to move Brennin forward to be with everyone else, but I understand why they couldn’t (and it was kind of fun seeing Adam sitting with Brennin on the table).

I was a fan of the larger ensemble for this production of Rent. I knew there was going to be more dance in this version and I had been curious as to how that would work out, since Rent isn’t typically a very “dance-y” show but I think it actually worked really well here and in that space. I loved the moment during “Rent” when the ensemble were all drumming on the scaffolding. I do wish we could have seen more of ensemble (at least in the background) during “Tango Maureen” because the glimpses we did get looked very cool.

I also loved the set for Rent Live. I thought it was really effective and, well, cool, with good reminiscences of the original set (ie the scaffolding and the Christmas tree). I found the use of the space to be quite effective.

I think it’s good that they’re continuing to include live audiences with these live TV productions. There were some times in this production however, that I thought the audience, or rather the audience reactions, might be a bit too much. It might just be that we need to find more of a balance with the audience, a balance between the sort of “rock concert” vibe and a typical theatre audience vibe. I think the loud cheering and screaming worked better for Jesus Christ Superstar with Jesus being the sort of celebrity figure, but Rent is different and it seems a bit more out of place for these characters to be acknowledging the audience. All that being said, maybe it was a bit “more” because it was the dress rehearsal audience- the first real audience for the show, everyone’s excited to be there, it’s a different energy, and no one went in expecting it to be aired. Maybe it would have been more subdued (for lack of a better word) if it had been the “actual performance” (though I’m thinking probably not).

As with each of these live TV musicals I can’t wait to see what happens with the next one(s) as they keep learning and trying different things. Now that Hair has been cancelled, I’m even just interested to see what the next musical will be, let alone how they’ll do it. I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

 

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Just Sing A Christmas Song

Since I made one of these posts for Halloween, how could I not make one for my favourite holiday: Christmas!

I find this to be the best time of year when it comes to seasonal music. There are just so many songs, artists and shows to listen to! Like my Halloween post I’m going to include a list of cast recordings and full albums followed by a playlist of individual songs. These lists will branch out from just the world of cast recordings. Yes, there will be Christmas themed shows and Christmas themed songs from shows, but I’m also including the solo work of Broadway stars and the Broadway Cares Carols for a Cure albums that are released each year.

If you’re looking for some tunes to go with the season why not check these out for your holiday listening pleasure!

Full Albums:
Some of these are annual favourites, others I haven’t actually listened to and some I’ve just heard in part, but they are all fitting for the season and I thought they’d be worth sharing in this post!

  • Elf: The Musical
  • A Christmas Story
  • Make the Season Bright– Matt Doyle
  • A Merry Little Christmas- Megan Hilty
  • Simply Christmas– Leslie Odom Jr.
  • Auld Lang Syne- Brittain Ashford
  • Noël– Josh Groban (hey, he’s a Broadway star now!)
  • The Norm Lewis Christmas Album– Norm Lewis- I haven’t listened to this one much yet, but how can you go wrong with Norm Lewis?!
  • All of the Carols for a Cure Albums (1999-2018)- I haven’t heard this year’s album yet but I’m looking forward to giving it a listen! I love the variety of song you get on these albums as they include a mix of traditional Christmas carols/songs sung traditionally, traditional carols/song sung untraditionally and original holiday songs. I particularly like the ones that use music from the show with a more traditional carol (If/Then and American Idiot both did good songs like this)
  • BONUS: Nativity- This is one of my favourite Christmas movies. Martin Freeman plays a teacher who is put in charge of the school Nativity play and with a ridiculous teaching assistant, lies that get out of hand, and some catchy songs, it makes for a very entertaining movie and I highly recommend checking out the songs from the movie. However, making it even more appropriate for this list, the movie was also recently turned into a stage musical in the UK and the cast recording is definitely on my “to be listened to” list!

Christmas Playlist:

For this playlist I’ll try to limit it to a few songs per album, with a possible exception for Carols for a Cure songs and there will likely be some repeat songs on the list- there are just so many good versions of some songs, but again I will try to keep duplicates to a minimum.

  • “Little Drummer Boy”- If/Then cast- Carols for a Cure Vol. 16
  • “All I Want 4 Xmas (Freakin’ b’way Show)- Shrek cast- Carols for a Cure Vol. 11 (one of the most accurate Christmas songs)
  • “Twelves Days to Christmas”- She Loves Me
  • God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”- Newsies cast- Carols for a Cure Vol. 14
  • Sparklejollytwinklejingly”- Elf: The Musical
  • “Do You Hear What I Hear”- American Idiot cast- Carols for a Cure Vol. 12
  • “O Holy Night”- Matt Doyle
  • “One Star”- Les Mis cast- Carols for a Cure Vol. 17
  • “What Child Is This”- Josh Groban
  • “Go Tell It On the Mountain”- First Date cast- Carols for a Cure Vol. 15
  • “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”- Orfeh
  • “Joy to the World”- Hamilton cast- Carols for a Cure Vol.17
  • “A New Deal For Christmas”- Annie
  • The Holly and the Ivy”- Wicked cast- Carols for a Cure Vol. 15
  • “There’s Always Tomorrow”- Megan Hilty
  • “Love Is Christmas”- Waitress cast- Carols for a Cure Vol. 18
  • “In the Bleak Midwinter”- Matt Doyle feat. Nicolette Robinson
  • “What Child Is This”- Spring Awakening cast- Carols for a Cure Vol. 9
  • “Winter Song”- Leslie Odom Jr.
  • “O Little Town of Bethlehem”- Spamalot cast- Carols for a Cure Vol. 8
  • “Christmas Is My Favourite Time of Year”- Catch Me If You Can
  • “My Love Brought Me Summer on a Grey Winter’s Day”- Beautiful cast- Carols for a Cure Vol. 18
  • “Santa Baby”- Megan Hilty
  • “I Saw Three Ships”- Les Mis cast- Carols for a Cure Vol. 16
  • “Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy”- Lion King cast- Carols for a Cure Vol. 11
  • “Christmas Song”- Elf: The Musical
  • I Can See the Light”- Hamilton cast- Carols for a Cure Vol. 18
  • “River”- Matt Doyle
  • “First Noel”- Leslie Odom Jr.
  • “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”- Rock of Ages cast- Carols for a Cure Vol. 13

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season (whatever you celebrate)!

This Is Halloween (On Broadway)

I love holidays and Halloween is one of my favourites (after Christmas of course) and I am one of those people who likes listening to music that is holiday/season specific. Today we’re looking showtunes perfect for Halloween. My list will be divided into two part: full show and a playlist of individual songs. Some of the shows referenced I have seen, others I’ve just listened to, some I’ve just heard a few songs from and some I’ve found listening to other playlists (Playbill’s “Magic and Mayhem playlist on Spotify is a go-to), but they’re all fitting for the season in one way or another. Some deal with magic, some with witches, ghosts, monsters and other creatures one thinks of around this time of year. Death and murder are also common occurrences throughout the list. The full albums are a bit more overtly Halloween related whereas I pull from more of a variety of sources for the individual songs (some shows just have really good villain songs- I’m looking at you, Disney). If you’re looking to add a little Broadway* to you Halloween, here are my suggestions!

(*Ok, so not all of these shows have actually been on Broadway, but you know what I mean!)

Full Albums:

  • Sweeney Todd
  • The Phantom of the Opera 
  • Love Never Dies
  • Jekyll and Hyde
  • Young Frankenstein
  • The Rocky Horror (Picture) Show (I know “Picture Show” is the movie and just “Show” is the stage version, but I’m still counting the movie soundtrack here)
  • Little Shop of Horrors
  • Evil Dead
  • Reefer Madness
  • Carrie
  • Jasper in Deadland

Halloween Playlist:

  • “The Ballad of Sara Berry” from 35MM A Musical Exhibition
  • “Epiphany” from Sweeney Todd
  • “Timewarp” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • “Do the Necronomicon” from Evil Dead
  • “Little Shop of Horrors” from Little Shop of Horrors
  • “Reefer Madness” from Reefer Madness
  • “Confrontation” from Jekyll and Hyde
  • “The Phantom of the Opera” from The Phantom of the Opera
  • “When You’re an Addams” from The Addams Family
  • “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” from Sweeney Todd
  • “No Good Deed” from Wicked
  • “Hellfire” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • “Bit Part Demon” from Evil Dead
  • “Masquerade” from The Phantom of the Opera
  • “Transylvania Mania” from Young Frankenstein
  • “Be Prepared” from The Lion King
  • “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid
  • “Finale: There’s Always A Tomorrow” from Dracula The Musical
  • “I Will Prevail” from Wonderland
  • “The Beauty Underneath” from Love Never Dies
  • “Life After Life” from Dracula The Musical
  • “Your Fault/Last Midnight” from Into the Woods
  • “Kiss of the Spider Woman” from Kiss of the Spider Woman
  • “Why Are All the Dy’Ysquiths Dying” from A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
  • “No One Mourns the Wicked” from Wicked
  • “Munchkinland/Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead” from The Wizard of Oz

Do you have any Broadway songs or albums that are part of your Halloween music listening? I would love to hear what they are! (I’m always looking to add to my own playlists!)

Broadway Bucket List

I’ve been thinking recently about what my Broadway-related goals are, or rather, what I’ve decided to call my Broadway Bucket List. Some of these thing I’ve been thinking about for a while and some are more recent ideas/additions that have come to mind as I’ve been thinking about the list and the possibility of making a post about said list. Some of the things on this list are more achievable than others but when it comes to Broadway I think you’re supposed to dream big! So without further ado, let’s get to it!

  • See a show in every Broadway theatre
    • This is probably my biggest Broadway goal. There are 41 Broadway theatres at this point in time and I have seen shows in 13 of those theatres. This is a goal that will take a while to complete so I am interested to see how the number of theatres changes- if some are added, if some are closed either permanently or just for renovation. Along those lines, I am really glad I got to see a show at the Palace before it closed for its big renovation. I look forward to adding more theatres to my list on my future trips!
  • Continue going to BroadwayCon every year
    • I’m very glad that I have been able to attend BroadwayCon every year so far since it started in 2016 and I am hoping that I will be able to continue to do so as the convention continues to take place each year.
  • See a Broadway Show during its out-of-town tryout (not in Toronto)
    • I would love to see a show in its early stages before it heads to Broadway. I know these shows are sometime performed in Toronto but I would like to go to another city ( such as Chicago, Boston, Washington, etc) where you can frequently find these pre-Broadway runs.
  • As an addition to the previous goal I would love to see a show out-of-town and then on Broadway to see the changes that are made
  • See the first preview of a Broadway show
  • Attend Opening Night of a Broadway show
  • Go to the Tony Awards
    • I will likely never be in a position to be nominated for Tony and I know there are public ticket sales for the event, but I’ll admit I would love the opportunity to go as someone’s plus one (another unlikely scenario, but a girl can dream).
  • Go to the Broadway Flea Market
  • Attend Elsie Fest
  • Go backstage at a Broadway theatre
  • Have an actual conversation with Jennifer Tepper
    • I’m very much inspired by Jennifer Tepper and I’ve had the privilege of meeting her at autograph panels at BroadwayCon, but I would love to have a full conversation with her. I have no idea what I would say, but as this is another thing I don’t anticipate happening for quite some time, if ever, I have a lot of time to think about it.
  • See a Broadway Princess Party show
  • Go on every Broadway Up Close Walking Tour
    • So far I’ve been on 3 of the 5 tours they offer. I’ve been on the Act I and II tours and the Hamiltour. I still have to go on the Act III and Ghostlight tours!
  • Performers I would like to see live
    • Some of the people on this list, I just want to see in any capacity (show, concert, whatever) and some I really want to see in a show. I’m sure there are many more people as well, these are just the ones that currently come to mind
      • Matt Doyle (I saw him at 54 Below but really want to see him in a show); Aaron Tveit, Jeremy Jordan, Laura Benanti (I saw her at a BroadwayCon panel but would love to see her in a show), Lin-Manuel Miranda (another person I’ve seen at BroawdayCon but want to see in a show), Gavin Creel, Leslie Odom Jr, Laura Osnes (OK, yes, I have seen her in a show, but I want to see her again!)

Welcome to the Rock

Come From Away is such an amazing show and I thought it would be worth talking about on here! I have seen Come From Away twice now, both times seeing the Toronto company at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, and both times I was blown away. I actually missed the show during the inital, pre-Broadway Toronto run but when it came back I knew I couldn’t miss it again! I did have the pleasure of seeing Jenn Colella sing “Me and the Sky” at BroadwayCon and then I saw the Broadway Company perform “Welcome to the Rock” when I went to Stars in the Alley. Both of those performances made me regret even more missing the show the first time it was in Toronto and reaffirmed that I needed to see it when I could! And now I’ve had the pleasure of seeing it twice. If you are not aware, Come From Away is based on the true story of when 38 planes were diverted to the small town of Gander in Newfoundland on September 11, 2001. The actors play multiple characters including those who live in the town as well as people who were on the planes. There’s no denying it is a very emotional show. I found myself on the verge of tears throughout but didn’t let them fall until closer to the end- if you’ve seen the show, you probably know the moment(s) when I couldn’t hold it in anymore (admittedly I do also cry fairly easily at things). But it’s also a very heartwarming story about people from different backgrounds coming together in the face of tragedy, and what happens when this small Newfoundland town of 9000 is doubled in size from the passengers of those planes. The show moves very well between light, humourous moments and the more serious, emotional moments of the situation. The show runs without an intermission which is very much for the best. It never drags and runs so smoothly from start to finish.

The actors move seemlessly between their characters- whether they’re a Newfoundlander or one of the “plane people,” whether a named character we see throughout or someone only present for one scene- with just a slight change of costume (like the addition or subtraction of a piece like a hat or jacket) and/or a change of accent. It could easily be difficult to keep track of the characters and who is who when but it’s really not, it’s always clear, which is a testament to the actors, the direction, and the writing.

I love the simplicity of the show’s design (at least in terms of set and costume). Yes, there is a revolve on the stage, which adds to the technological complexity, but the set mainly consists of some chairs and tables, and a couple of doors in the back wall. The cast are the ones who move the furniture around the stage. I do love when the movement of the set becomes a part of the story, part of the choreography. The costumes too are quite simple each actor wearing one outfit throughout with hats, jackets, sweaters and/or props being used to differentiate the characters. They have to move so quickly between the characters that’s all there’s time for, but more than that, it’s all that’s needed. I love the simplicity of it and all of the actors do such a great job!

Then there’s the music. It’s such a wonderful story and the music they use to tell it is beautiful. (You know a show is emotional when it still gets you when you’re just listening to the cast recording!) The use of the band in the show is really great. The band members themselves are a part of the show being positioned (visibly) at the sides of the stage and being brought into the action on the stage in some scenes. Considering the strong presence of music in East Coast culture it makes sense and is just another significant element of this greatly successful show.

It’s so exciting that there is a Canadian show, a Canadian story written by Canadians, that is doing so well, and doing so well on a global scale. There’s the Tony nominated (and Tony winning for Best Director) Broadway production, the Toronto production which will be transferring from the Royal Alexandra to the Elgin theatre next year to keep the run going (there’s certainly a reason it keeps getting extended), the National Tour that’s about to start, and they just announced the cast for the London production. And there are plans for a movie as well.

If you get the chance to see this show, whichever production you can see, I would highly recommend it!

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Life is Better With Showtunes

On Sept. 22 Tim Federle tweeted “Life is so much better when you unapologetically love and accept showtunes,” and I couldn’t agree more.

It should come as no surprise that the majority of the music that fills my life, and my iPod (yes, I still have an iPod), is from the theatre world. More than half of the songs on my iPod are showtunes, and there are a lot of songs on there. Honestly, if I had to pick one genre of music to listen to for the rest of my life it would be showtunes, but with so many different types of musicals, with shows like Hamilton, Rent, Phantom of the Opera, Into the Woods, SpongeBob (the list goes on and on), there is no shortage of variety within that genre. And that is just one of the great things about musical theatre.

There are songs for every mood. Songs to make you smile, laugh, cry (from happiness, beauty, and/or sadness). There are songs you listen to when you’re feeling down, either to cheer you up or just to match your mood. There are songs to get you fired up, songs to motivate you. There are songs to get you moving, even if that just means dancing around your house when there’s no one else around.

Cast recordings allow you to re-live experiences of seeing show and they allow you to experience shows you have not seen. They allow closed shows to have a longer life and they help to make theatre/musicals accessible to those who don’t live near it or don’t have opportunities to experience it. Cast recordings are how I’ve been able to experience shows like Bonnie and ClydeWonderland, Tuck Everlasting, and more that I didn’t and likely (unfortunately) won’t get to see live.

Cast recordings are a great way to share the shows you like with your friends and family. Even if they can’t actually see the show itself, you can share at least part of the experience with them. And it’s always fun singing showtunes with your friends!

I feel like every musical theatre fan and star has stories and memories of listening to cast recordings. There’s a reason performers are so excited when they get to be part of a recording (I know there are many other reasons too, but I’m sure that’s a big one). There is so much meaning associated with cast recordings. I have my own memories attached to various recordings: remembering when I saw the show(s), remembering the sets, costumes, lights, the actors (sometimes the ones who are actually featured on the recordings). I can picture those scenes being played out as I listen to the songs at home or on my way to work. There are memories from working on productions of those shows. There are memories from when I heard certain recordings for the first time. I remember discovering Wonderland through the cast recording in my 2nd year of university, listening to it and You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown while working on an end of year assignment at a time when I was also a sound op for a production of You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown.

Sometimes a show introduces you to a cast recording and sometimes a cast recording introduces you to a show. Sometimes you find it because you are familiar with one or more of the artists involved and sometimes it is the writers/composers with whom you are familiar. Sometimes it starts with an individual song that you hear listening to a playlist or radio-type station (I frequently use Spotify and AccuRadio). You might fall in love with it the way you would any popular song on the radio. You hear it, think, “I like this song,” and then you listen to it on repeat. You may have no idea of the context of the song at first, but it doesn’t really matter. That individual song can then inspire you to listen to the rest of the album and sometimes it just stays with that particular song, which is OK too. Sometimes you see a performance of a song or songs (at a concert, BroadwayCon, Stars in the Alley, awards show, etc) and that’s what inspires you to listen to the full album. And sometimes it’s from actually seeing the show. I’ve found it to be even more exciting when I’ve seen the cast that is featured on the recording, and I love that I’m getting to experience this more and more!

Some shows even have multiple recordings for you to listen to. Between original Broadway casts, revivals (sometimes multiple for one show), West End productions, and movie musical soundtracks there are so many options for your musical theatre listening needs. It can be interesting to compare and contrast, to see what changes were made, if any, from the original production to the revival or any subsequent productions, between Broadway albums and West End recordings, or between stage and movie versions. And now you can throw the live TV musicals into the mix too.

Listening to a cast recording can also change depending on whether or not you’ve seen the show and in which order you experienced them. You may think you know the story/how things will happen from listening to the cast recording but there can still be surprises when you do see it live. And sometimes the song you always skip on the recording can end up being part of your favourite scene in the show. Sometimes something as seemingly small or simple as the harmony during a particular line (not that harmonies are small or simple) can have a greater meaning when you see the live production (I found some of those moments in Rent). Sometimes I do wait to listen to a cast recording until after I’ve seen the show. Sometimes this is a deliberate decision and sometimes it’s just a case of not having gotten around to listening to it, and sometimes it’s a mix of the two. That was the case for me with A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. I had heard a couple of the songs but hadn’t listened to the full album. Then when I knew I was going to see the show (when the tour came to Toronto) I decided I would wait to listen to the rest. Come From Away was another one I held off listening to in full. Then there are the shows I listened to right away. Even though I still hope to see them some day, I did not want to wait to experience them through their recordings. Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen both fell into this group. Of course there will always be surprises if/when you get to see a show after you’re already familiar with the recording. Sometimes even a full song is left off the recording. Like how you won’t find “The Wicked Witch of the East” on the Wicked cast album (I do wish it was on there though).

What are your cast recording listening habits? Do you listen to them in chronological order or do you play them on shuffle? Do you listen to every song or do you pick and choose? Me, I go back and forth between all of these options depending on my (musical) mood. Sometimes I want to get fully immersed in the recording and listen to the whole thing from start to finish and sometimes I just want to listen (and if I’m home alone sing along) to my favourites. More often than not I’m likely listening to a playlist of my current musical obsessions (a list which currently includes SpongeBob, Once On This Island, Dear Evan Hansen, and Great Comet, to name a few).

I do honestly think some of the best voices belong to people in the theatre world and I love being able to listen to those voices via cast recordings. One of the great things about it is that when you hear someone on a cast recording, you know they will sound just as good in person (something you hope but don’t always know with popular recording artists).

With each new show there is the potential for a new cast album and I love that! It is disappointing that there are some shows that don’t have recordings and won’t get to live on in that way. But I do like that we’re getting to a time when a closing notice doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be a recording. Even a lot of the shorter lived shows in recent years have gotten recordings which is great for the fans, for those who didn’t get to see the shows, and for theatre history. And with each new release I look forward to adding more songs to my playlist!

For any of you reading this, I would love to know what your favourite cast recordings are! Are there any shows or particular casts that you wish had gotten recordings that didn’t?

 

It’s a Community Feeling

Whether in big groups or small the theatre has a way of bringing people together (literally and figuratively).

When you go somewhere like BroadwayCon this impact is is abundantly clear and being there you are smack dab in the middle of the Broadway community, a community made up of professionals and fans alike. But the community isn’t limited to events like this or being in New York City. When you’re sitting in the audience in a darkened theatre, wherever that theatre happens to be, with a few hundred other people, for those two and a half hours you are all seeing the same story playing out before your eyes, reacting to the same things, sharing in that experience. Even when you’re just among friends, theatre and musicals can still bring people together in a room.

I love watching musicals with my friends whether it’s watching and singing along to a show we all know and love, introducing friends to one of my favourites, being introduced to their favourites or watching something none of us have seen. It’s always such a great experience. Just recently I was hanging out with a bunch of friends and we ended up watching Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (yes, the Donny Osmond movie). Looking at the group who were watching the movie, we’re all at varying levels of musical theatre fandom, and varying knowledge levels with regards to Joseph– some having seen the movie, some knowing the musical but not having seen the movie, and some not knowing the show at all. And it was so much fun! People were singing along, some having previously performed in productions, and talking about the costumes and the cast and the music. It’s no secret that I love watching movie musicals and a lot of the time I’m just watching them at home by myself (not that there is anything wrong with that). But it’s a different experience when you’re watching them with other people. It’s fun to share that experience with your friends. Going to the theatre is such a communal experience, so why not when you watch a musical in the privacy of your own home? Plus when you’re watching it at home, whether alone or in a group, it is perfectly acceptable to sing along and talk through it (as long as everyone one is on board with that), though it can also be a bit intimidating to sing along when your friends are very talented singers and performers and you’re more of a sing in the shower but only when you’re home alone type.

To be honest I’m not even really sure what the “point” of this post is. I just had so much fun watching Joseph with my friends and it reminded me just how much fun it is to watch movie musicals with friends and that you can experience that theatre/Broadway community feeling anywhere. And it’s a lot more fun to sing along to show tunes with other people, whether it’s in a room of hundreds at BroadwayCon or with a group of friends sitting around a TV (or laptop).