My Favorite Musicals and My Favorite Recommendations

My Favorite Musicals and My Favorite Recommendations

I often have friends traveling to New York or wanting to buy tickets to a touring show ask me, “What are your favorite musicals?” Or “Which one should I see?”

Well, I’ve seen over 100 professional production shows (either Broadway or on tours), so I do know a thing or two about being in the audience at a show. However, I love most shows (a few I haven’t loved, I’ll be honest), but I do have favorites and ones that I can recommend.

Naming my top 8 musicals is sort of like picking a favorite child. I love them all for different reasons. So these are NOT in any particular order.  Shows became my favorites because they make me feel something- either make me laugh until I cry or make me feel deeply. Some are amazing productions, and others have music that moves you to the soul.

My Top 8

Rent.  This is probably the first show I was legitimately obsessed with.  I saw it on tour as a young teen and then played the soundtrack NONSTOP.  So seeing it again this year was awesome. It was like seeing a favorite relative again.  The show is moving with stories of love, loss and finding yourself. The production is so modern and captivating. Parts of it are funny, other parts make me cry. I love it. Dream role is Mimi, for sure.

Spring Awakening. I saw this when it toured while I was in grad school. It’s controversial- with teen sex sort of being the central theme. But it’s a story of a young girl figuring out the world, and again, it has parts that make you cry. The version I saw (not sure if it’s similar to the original) was so captivating and mesmerizing. The music is hauntingly beautiful.

Dear Evan Hansen. Y’all.  I ugly cried at the end of this show. Incredibly moving. It’s the story of a young high school boy making mistakes and working through them. He deals with issues like depression and anxiety, and a scene at the end moved me to absolute tears. The music sounds new, but the lyrics and expression are classic and so creative.

Hamilton. The whole experience of seeing the Hamilton original cast was unreal. I cried upon entering the theater, cried when Lin-Manuel Miranda came out. But the musical itself lands it here on my list. It’s funny, moving (I keep saying that, but I feel so moved by these stories), and UNREAL with the lyrics and rapping. The cast is amazingly talented, the choreography beautiful and the story captivating.

Annie Get Your Gun. I saw Reba McEntire play Annie on Broadway. I was just completely enthralled with this show.  I LOVED the soundtrack and the music. It’s funny and has my favorite love song in it (“I got lost in his arms”). The production is awesome, with the traveling performance troupe being a spectacle in itself.

Disaster. This show is ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS. The creator, Seth Rudetsky, is a radio host on Broadway XM that I had loved listening to. It’s a kitschy production that’s supposed to be funny, and we were ROLLING.  The music is 70s classics, but the talent was unbelievable. So thankful we got to see it during it’s short run.

Avenue Q. Another funny show that tops my list. It’s puppets finding their way in the world (and y’all, to be honest includes the funniest puppet scene where they are making out and messing around). The music and lyrics are GENIOUS and I love everything about it.

The Little Mermaid. Seeing my favorite cartoon characters come to life was so special. I sat in the theater and cried watching Ariel. The production on this one makes it top my list. The way they brought the underwater world to life was gorgeous. So many of the fish were wearing skates so they could swirl around the stage. It was just so neat.

Recommending a Broadway Show

Just because those shows are my faves, those aren’t always what I recommend.  So here are some of my recommendations:

Wicked. This is the big Broadway experience you want. It’s got a huge cast, a neat (but familiar) story, big songs, and fantastic costumes. I’ve seen it like 6-7 times, and it’s always great. See it on Broadway or on tour- it’s always worth it.

Jersey Boys/Beautiful. If you want music that’s familiar and less show-tunes, these shows are for you. They both use popular (older) music that will give you ear worms. The stories are still captivating and fun.

Newsies/Lion King/Other Disney Shows. These shows are always grand and amazing to see.  Take your kids. They are always awesome. They will be familiar, like the cartoons, but they have new elements to make them exciting.

Come From Away. If you want to see a show, but aren’t sure about all the showtunes and dance numbers, this show should be great. It’s a true story about passengers who were flying on 9/11 and got grounded in Newfoundland, Canada. It’s got people in everyday normal clothes, a true story (which is very touching) and some dancing, but not like tap-dancing dance numbers….more just choreography and dancing for effect.  I have recommended this to people who are hesitant to see a show.

 

 

Do you love musicals? I’d love to hear about your favorites!

 

 


21 Months Old

21 Months Old

Oh my goodness.  3/4 of this year is over.  Sadness is my first initial reaction, but then I’m happy because of all the fun we’re having. She’s learning so much and is such a joy to be around.

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So many fun things to update this month, but let’s start with some measurements because I actually took some! She weighs 24.5 lbs and is 31.5 inches tall.  Wearing size 5 diapers and anywhere from 12-18 to 2T clothes depending on the brand/style (still mostly 18-24m stuff).  Officially in a size 4 shoe- we got to get a bunch of the ones I’ve been hoarding done from the closet to wear!

She’s talking SO much. She loves to know names and knows all of her teachers, her family and some friends at school.  She also LOVES to name the dogs often. She also knows and uses the names of some of her toys (Abby, Bah Bah the sheep, Lovey).

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She loves buckling herself in to high chairs and the stroller.  Then she wants to play with it, asking you to “opoo” it for her.

She’s an amazing fearless swimmer- jumping in and putting her face in the pool.

She loves animals- fish, geese, the hummingbirds outside. Loves watching them.  Still a big puppy fan.

She loves big kids still and will play great with them. We went on vacation to Big Cedar and she played in the kid’s pool with some older girls. She just doesn’t like when they treat her like a baby and want to carry or hold her.

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She’s still SO busy and on the move, but she will sit still for movies (Zootopia and Cars are the faves) and she sat still while I was at the chiropractor.

She HATES when you cut some of her food (unless she asks). Want it all whole. But she’s eating great. Some favorite foods are cherry tomatoes, turkey lunch meat and apples.

She LOVES to sing along with songs now. We get the ABCs, Twinkle Twinkle, Bah Bah Black Sheep, Jolly Good Fellow, and more.

Some words she’s using often are: the body parts (she talks about her belly, cheek, arms, neck so often), please, flower, fireworks, lovey.  She also talks about her prayers at bedtime.  She says “Pwayers” and folds her little hands and then says “Amen” when we finish. It’s the sweetest.

She now knows that cooking is hot, but she’s still very interested. She will get up in her little countertop tower and help me cook. She likes to play with her toy knives and plates and play with food.

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She (tries to) dress herself, working on her shirts and pants.  She can get shoes and socks on by herself, and she often will take socks out just to play putting them on.

She will ask to “pway” (play) in the mornings when we get ready, and I try to always let her have a few minutes.  I’m never too busy to let her learn and explore.  I am not a perfect mom, but I try to give her patience and grace to be little.

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She calls herself “Rere” which is THE BEST.

Remington Grace, you are the highlight of our days. You make us laugh, you test our patience, and you teach us about God’s grace. We are so excited to keep exploring this world with you.

 


4th of July Fun!

4th of July Fun!

We were all set up to have an amazing 4th of July!  Tyler was off work, family was in town, and we were going to have a great day.

Our town hosts an AWESOME all-day festival with music, food, games, inflatables, events and fireworks. We LOVE it. It’s such a small hometown thing. You see everyone down there, the kids play, you eat delicious food, listen to live music and all watch fireworks together in the town square. It’s perfection.

The morning started off with the Miss Freedom Fest pageant, which Remi was participating in. We ran into Krue, who was born the same night as Remi in the next room. 🙂 She tried kissing him, but he wasn’t feeling it. ha!

She’s been eating apples like crazy, and HAD to bring one with her.

Before the pageant, she hung out with family, being passed from person to person and running around with everyone.

She did SO good in the pageant!  I went on stage with her because the stage was only a couple feet deep and I worried about her trying to jump off.  She waved, blew kisses and did a twirl.

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She won her age division and got some fun trophies and a crown! She was most interested in the sash and has played with it since.

She looked so big with all the queens on stage afterward.

After the pageant, the fun really began because we just enjoyed the festival (well, until naptime).  We saw our “boyfriend” James. He’s a little sweetheart- and his momma is a Hanson fan, so he’s already met Taylor Hanson. 🙂

We grabbed a pickle-sickle and watched the band play. She did a LOT of dancing.

After lunch at the square and a nap at home (a loooong nap, thank goodness!) we went and swam with the fam.  This silly girl loved playing with everyone.

Then we all got dressed and headed back to the square for dinner, music and fireworks.

We ran into Uncle Sam (our amazing mayor).

We all ate dinner (of course, Remi had a “hoddog” and listened to Ricochet (the country band from the 90s).  They were FANTASTIC live. And the music was LOUD, but we put Remi’s earplugs in and let her go.  She wanted to be up front dancing, so we sat up front so we could watch her.

It was a wonderful family day together (even if it was a little hot).  I dream of WAY more days together like this if Tyler gets the school officer job next fall.

This little peanut danced by the stage all night.

She was getting a little tired, but perked up when neighbors around the square started shooting fireworks. She wasn’t scared at all, and in fact, kept asking for more “firewys” She LOVED the big show. She moved around a lot, going from person to person, but she kept her eyes on the skies and kept “oohing” and “ahing” It was precious.

It was a late night, but we all slept good that night!

 

We are so thankful to celebrate independence, for those who have fought and continue to fight for it.


Mexican Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Mexican Chicken Salad Sandwiches

One of my favorite summertime no-cook meals is chicken salad. I love all forms of it, sweet and savory. A local bakery makes a cranberry pecan chicken salad that they serve on a fruit and nut bread- and it’s amazing.

Tyler recently went out of town for a week, and I knew I wasn’t going to want to cook every night for just Remi and I, so I made a batch of Mexican chicken salad.  It was refreshing and flavorful. If you wanted to make it spicy, you could easily add some chopped jalapenos or chipotle powder. But for the little lady and I, we didn’t add any heat.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups shredded chicken (you could use storebought rotisserie- I did!)
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can diced green chilis
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup enchilada sauce or salsa
  • 1/4 cup mayo (I used light mayo)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro

This would also be delicious with additions like a can of black beans, some fresh chopped tomatoes or bell peppers or even sliced black olives.

Mix everything together in a big bowl.

Serve on toasted buns with a side of tortilla chips or fruit.

 

Remi loves to just eat it with a spoon!