Friday, May 12, 2017

"It's a Musical!" Blog Tag

I was looking for a blog tag a while ago that had to do with musicals, since I'm just a liiiittle bit obsessed with them lately, and I couldn't find one that was quite what I had in mind. So what did I do? I created one. It's a little weird, because it's like I'm interviewing myself, but I can't wait to see the answers from other people. Let's gooooo.

1. "I Dreamed a Dream" (your dream role)

If I weren't such a scaredy cat about singing by myself, these would all be roles I'd love to have:
1. Angelica Schuyler in "Hamilton" (because Angelica is a badass and I want to be her when I grow up)

2. Eponine in "Les Misérables" (because despite being a more minor character, she totally steals the show)

3. Roger in "Rent" (because he has the coolest songs in the entire show, and yes, yes I do realize the most obvious reason why I could never play him)

2. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (your favorite musical, stage actor, and musical-to-movie adaptation)

Favorite musical: "Hamilton" (Did anyone not see that coming?)
Stage actor: HOW CAN I CHOOSE ONE?! Why do I come up with these difficult questions?! For now, I'll go with Adam Pascal for an actor and Reneé Elise Goldsberry for an actress, but those are subject to change on an hour-to-hour basis.

Musical-to-movie adaptation: "Rent" and "Les Misérables" were both pretty spectacular.

3. "Hard to Be the Bard" (your favorite lyricist)

Lin-Manuel Miranda!!! You can dissect his lyrics for days and still find new references, recurring themes, and intricate wordplay. It's what makes his work such a treat to revisit.

3. "Think of Me" (a song that describes you/fits you perfectly)

"Hard to Be the Bard" was the first one that came to mind, minus the more annoying/arrogant bits that Shakespeare sings. But I think most writers can empathize with these lyrics in particular:

"And you're trying to find
An opening line or a brilliant idea
And you're pacing the floor
And hoping for just a bit of divine intervention
That one little nugget that one little spark
Then Eureka! You find it you're ready to start
So now you can write, right? Wrong!
You're not even close, you remember that damn it,
Your play's gotta be in iambic pentameter!
So you write down a word but it's not the right word,
So you try a new word but you hate the new word
And you need a good word but you can't find the word
Oh where is it, what is it, what is it, where is it!
Blah-blah-blah, ha ha, ah-ha -UGHHHHHHHH!"

"Something Rotten!" is a treasure and you should all go see if it you ever get the chance.

4. "Those Were the Good Old Days" (the first musical you were exposed to)

I don't know for sure, but I'm pretty sure it's "My Fair Lady." My parents tell me I loved it when I was little, but I don't remember that far back. "Damn Yankees" and "The Sound of Music" are both movies I remember watching pretty young, too.

5. "Out Tonight" (musicals you’ve seen live)

Within the past couple years, I've gotten to see a few on Broadway or through touring companies that came close to where I live, and they've all been amazing experiences, each one for different reasons:

1. "Les Misérables"
2. "Something Rotten!"
3. "The Book of Mormon"
4. "Hamilton"
5. "Into the Woods"
6. "Company"
7. "Rent"

My mom and I also have tickets to see "Waitress" next week with Sara Bareilles!!!

6. "Sincerely, Me" (your favorite musical protagonist)

Belle from "Beauty and the Beast" would definitely be toward the top of the list. She's bookish and smart and doesn't care if she strays from the crowd to follow her heart. I also love Hamilton from "Hamilton." Even though he drives me crazy and I want to slap him during multiple parts of the show, he's an incredibly complex character who's tons of fun to watch/listen to.

7. "Dancing Through Life" (a musical with great choreography)

Again, "Hamilton" was pretty amazing here, especially during songs like "Satisfied" and "My Shot" when there was so much going on. I never knew where to look because there was always something happening on different parts of the stage.

You've probably seen it already, but in case you haven't, here's a little taste of the choreography from the Tony Awards last year when the cast performed "Yorktown."

8. "The Story of Tonight" (the musical soundtrack you have on repeat right now)

"Beauty and the Beast" since we're coming up on dress rehearsals for the show I'm in and the songs I'm in are the fastest/most complicated (like "Gaston" and "The Mob Song"). I also have "Waitress" and "Rent" on a lot.

9. "What You Own" (autographs you have from Broadway actors)

I really, REALLY love the autographs I have and I fangirl over them frequently.

From "Les Mis," I have an autograph from Ashley Dawn Mortensen, who played Madame Thénardier (she was great and hilarious and super nice when we went outside to meet her).

From "Something Rotten," I have one from Adam freaking Pascal, who reached over a crowd of adults to grab my program and sign it for me. I managed to somehow formulate the words "I loved you as Shakespeare and also in 'Rent!'" to which he smiled and shouted "Thank you!" back over the crazy big mob of people also trying to get autographs.

From "Hamilton," I got an autograph from Nicholas Christopher (at the bottom of the star) who played George Washington. He was super happy and great with the fans (and there were lots of them). Then I got one from Michael Luwoye (to the left of the Hamilton silhouette), who played Burr in the particular performance my family saw, and he was just as nice. He had to fix his coat and find his pen before he could sign my autograph, and in that time he complimented the Gryffindor scarf I was wearing, which just made him that much cooler.

10. "On My Own" (a song you sing in the shower)

I usually hum whatever's in my head at that time without even realizing I'm doing it. Sometimes I go through a whole medley of songs from different musicals.

11. "The Mob Song" (a song you love to sing with friends)

A bunch of friends from writer's camp last summer and I sang "Non-Stop" all the way from our dorm rooms to the cafeteria for breakfast, and it was epic. Much better than me trying to sing all the parts by myself, which never ends well and usually involves me doubling over for breath at some point.

12. "It Only Takes a Taste" (a musical you fell in love with from the very first song you heard)

I'd love to say "Hamilton," but the first time I listened to it I was in the middle of doing schoolwork and only halfway paying attention, so by the time I got to "The Schuyler Sisters," I was mostly confused and had no idea what was going on. Technically I'd heard the first song during the Grammy Awards, but at that point, my only thought was "this is pretty cool, I could get on board with whatever it is they're doing."

However, after becoming a Lin-Manuel Miranda fan, I fell in love with "In the Heights" from the first few notes. I was so glad to have something else by him to listen to.

13. "Right Hand Man" (your favorite supporting musical character)

I think we've already established Angelica Schuyler as being amazing.

14. "Words Fail" (lyrics you misheard)

In "Alexander Hamilton," I heard "took up a collection just to send him to the mainland" as "took a book collection just to send him to the mainland," which I always thought was kind of weird, but never thought too much about it until I read the lyrics. I guess I figured Hamilton read and wrote a lot, so maybe he brought a bunch of books with him to America?

15. "Turn It Off" (your least favorite musical)

"The Wiz." Oh so cheesy. Oh such terrible lyrics. Oh what a drag of a movie.

16. "It Takes Two" (your favorite onstage couple)

Collins and Angel from "Rent" and Nigel and Portia from "Something Rotten!" Both couples are super sweet and adorable together.

17. "Never Ever Getting Rid of Me" (a song that always gets stuck in your head)

It's hard to pick just one, because I think every musical has at least one earworm on their soundtrack, but "I Know Things Now" from "Into the Woods" was in my head for weeks after seeing the performance, and trust me, that song gets annoying fast if it's on repeat in your mind.

18. "One Song Glory" (your favorite powerful solo song)

Depending on my mood, "Burn," "On My Own," and "One Song Glory" are all on my list.

19. "Popular" (a musical everyone else likes that you're underwhelmed by)

Ironically, "Wicked." I like it well enough, but I'm not obsessed with it like a lot of my friends are.

20.  "Left Behind" (a character death you're still not over)

Spoilers for "Les Mis":

21. "Blow Us All Away" (a live performance from an actor that blew you away)

John Owen-Jones as Jean Valjean, Adam Pascal as Shakespeare, and basically the entire cast of both "Hamilton" and "Rent" were phenomenal.

Tag, you're it!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Beauty and the Beast Book Tag

I was tagged by Lara at "Another Teen Reader" and since I'm mildly obsessed with "Beauty and the Beast" at the moment, I couldn't resist doing this one.

Be Our Guest
(5 characters you'd invite to your dream dinner party)

I'm banning myself from mentioning any Harry Potter characters, because otherwise I'd end up inviting all of Hogwarts, and there's no way they'd all fit in my house.

So now that I have it narrowed down (sort of), I'd invite:

1. Simon from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, because he'd be so easy to talk to about everything nerdy, namely Harry Potter. And if he were coming, I'd totally make some sort of Oreo dessert.

2. Iko from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, because she's literally the nicest to everyone and would chat us all up about the latest net drama and who she ships.

3. Nina from the Six of Crows series by Leigh Bardugo, because she'd appreciate all of the food and go back for seconds and thirds. And she's hilarious and would be a nice energy to add to the group.

4. Cath from Fangirl, because we'd have so much to talk and fangirl about. And with all the other talkative nerds at the party, I think she'd be able to break out of her shell a little and join in on the fun.

5. Celaena from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, because she'd also appreciate all the food and bring a nice element of snark to the conversation.

(A character whose dreams of adventure inspire you)

Leslie from Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. She went on all sorts of adventures without ever even leaving her hometown thanks to her wild imagination. Her dreamworlds were so vivid and creative.

The Beast / Prince
(A character who went through an unexpected transformation)

Karou from Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. I won't give anything away because there are some massive spoilers, but that ending, WOW.

The Enchanted Rose
(A book with a terrible curse at the heart of the story)

This was a tricky one, but I guess Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater would count? What with everyone telling Blue she's destined to kill her true love if she kisses him.

Tale as Old as Time
(A classic romance story that you love)

It's not exactly a classic, but it's become a modern classic (if that makes any sense at all), so I'll say The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I fell in love with it the first time I read it and every time after that.

The Dance
(Your favorite romantic scene from any book)

It's hard to pick just one, but one that comes to mind right now is from Cress by Marissa Meyer. Again, more spoilers, but for those of you who have read it, it's toward the end of the book when Thorne keeps a promise he made. (Do you know what I'm talking about?)

The Last Petal
(A book character who managed to break a terrible curse)

More curses??? I'm having a hard time thinking of any. Help?

Beauty and the Beast
(Your bookish OTP)

UGH, DECISIONS. I'll make it easier and pick my current OTP instead of my all-time favorite OTP. So Aristotle and Dante from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz it is!

Tag, you're it! Feel free to take this for your own blog and/or do it in the comments. Have fun! :)

Monday, May 1, 2017

March Wrap-Up/April Wrap-Up


Books I Read

A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen


Another required play for my theatre class and . . . eh? It wasn't terrible, just very boring and oh my god every character drove me crazy. They were either annoying, misogynistic, or lacking a personality. None of those are good things, guys.

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas


Was anyone else super confused by lots of things that happened in this book? Because I was. I felt so, so lost several times. And the beginning was unbearably slow. It had issues. BUT. Everything else made up for it. There were new, sassy characters (Rowan) and new, sweet characters (Sorscha) and I loved them both and I shipped several people (except this is an issue, because my main ship was sinking and I also sort of started shipping the anti-ship to it, and if this sounds confusing, it's because it is help). And there was pain, oh so much pain, and backstory explanations. A+ to all of that. (But somebody please tell me why we had to read stuff about Mannon and wyverns. *yawns* I shamelessly skimmed all of that.)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


I was so, so, so excited for this book and it did not disappoint one bit. The family dynamics were great and I loved all of the characters, even if it was me loving to hate some of them. It's painful and raw at times and fluffy and funny at others, but most of all a perfect blend of all of those things. It had a lot of good messages I think everyone needs to hear right now. Did I agree with everything Starr did or thought? No. But I appreciated hearing everything she had to say and listening to characters I've never seen portrayed in any other YA book. And it's super addictive, you guys. I stayed up into the early morning to finish it.

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry


This was funny and easy to read with characters that leapt off the page. I really liked it, but it was long in comparison to your typical plays. There were some scenes that could have been shortened and the story would've survived just fine. The ending was a little anticlimactic, too, but I'd still recommend it to anyone interested in reading a script.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros


The book had really great writing and a unique voice, but holy crap, there had to be over thirty characters in this teeny tiny book. I had no clue how most of them were related to each other or who the heck they were, so most of me reading this involved me thinking, "Wow, this is some fantastic poetry, but what is happening?" It's a super short read, though. You could easily finish it in an afternoon.

Movies I Watched

"Beauty and the Beast"


YOU GUYS I'M OBSESSED. It was so. freaking. good. If I had it on DVD I'd watch it again right now. I loved every single casting choice, but Emma Watson and Josh Gad were particularly excellent. Every song was just as good as the original ones, if not better, and I adored the new song additions. "Days in the Sun" was in my head for weeks after watching it. Go see it ASAP.

Quotes I Wrote

I started a new novel (because I have a problem with not finishing projects in order to begin new ones) called Captain Zahira and her Wayward Crew. It's weird and snarky and has a lot of characters, but I'm only a few pages in and I love it. Especially the parts where I get to write about Lincoln being grumpy. You can check out the pinterest board HERE.

Lincoln was the first to emerge, stepping into the sunlight, though somehow he still seemed to be shrouded in perpetual shadow. He wore black clothing like another layer of skin. God forbid he added a little red or white to his ensemble. The scar near the corner of his mouth deepened whenever he scowled, which was always.
            “Aren’t you chipper this morning,” Zahira said with a dazzling grin, just to annoy him. “It’s good to see you finally woke up on the right side of the bed. Ready for some adventuring fun?”
            “It still boggles my mind that a captain such as you who uses the word ‘fun’ for something other than evisceration or dismemberment exists,” he grumbled. Even when he didn’t grumble, he muttered or grunted or ranted.
            “I need to take pleasure in activities besides drawing blood. If I didn’t, I’d be no better than anyone aboard The Vicious Serpent.” She patted his shoulder, which made him twitch and sneer. Lincoln wasn’t exactly what you’d call a teddy bear, especially when it came to human contact. “We’re pirates, not monsters. We need to keep our interests well-rounded.”
            “Are you telling me we’re no longer dismembering?” Lincoln asked.
            “Oh, God no, I wouldn’t ask you to give that up cold turkey. Let’s just look at all the options, yeah?”

“I beg to differ,” Lincoln said, because he was Lincoln, and he begged to differ on everything.

“Lincoln, darling, sunshine,” Zahira cooed, because she knew it drove him crazy. Lincoln clenched his jaw. “Do you see that flag up there?”
            “Don’t give me the ‘we toast death’ talk—”
            “That raised glass on the flag means we toast death!” Zahira cut him off. She thrust her fist in the air as if she were raising a glass of her own, like the one emblazoned in gold on the otherwise black flag. “We have nothing to fear, but death has everything to fear from us. Whether or not there’s trouble in that cave, we’ll be ready to meet it. Understood?”
            “Fine,” Lincoln muttered.

“We stick together,” Zahira said. “We won’t want to split up in case some of us get lost.”
            “And by some of us, you mean—” Lincoln started.
            “Cas, yes,” Zahira confirmed.
            “What?” Cas looked over at them, tearing his gaze away from the sky where he’d been watching puffy white clouds float past.
            “My point exactly,” Zahira said to Lincoln, as Cas got distracted by a butterfly.

Finch prodded the rubble with the tip of his knife, but nothing budged. “I don’t know if it’ll move.”
            “That’s because you actually need some muscle to move it.” Lincoln rolled up his sleeves and puffed out his chest as he strode over. God, here we go, Zahira thought as she pinched the bridge of her nose. Lincoln had the hint of a smirk on his face as he grasped the sides of a boulder and pulled, grunting.
            Slightly pink, Lincoln turned and cleared his throat. “I don’t think it’ll move.” 

Obsessions I Acquired

"Beauty and the Beast" - The soundtrack has been on repeat for several weeks now, especially since I'm part of the musical with a local theater group. It's been so much fun to pull a project like that together with a bunch of other people who are as excited to be there as I am.

Picture of the Month 

Goofy pictures for my mom's beach-themed birthday party.
We went to the award ceremony for all of the Scholastic silver and gold key winners!
How was your March?



I wanted to like it, you guys, I really did. Every single person in the blogosphere seems to be head over heels with this book, but I couldn't get into it. After 50 pages, I marked it DNF and returned it to the library. It felt too juvenile to be a YA book and there was no plot compelling enough for me to be invested in. Sometimes even if I'm hating a book, I'm curious about how something will turn out and push through and end up liking it. I didn't even have that to hold onto with this. It wasn't horrible, just boring and not my cup of tea.

Doubt by John Patrick Shanley


Probably my favorite script I had to read for theatre class. There were three characters that drove the plot, and only four that appeared onstage at all, making for a simple setup but a great story. Even after you finish it, there's some mystery that doesn't get resolved, leaving you to keep wondering what happened, which I like, but drives some people crazy. There are a lot of subtleties to the script I hadn't noticed before, but after getting to dissect a scene for my final project performance and paper, I realized so many other little hints between the lines.

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King


This is my favorite book by A.S. King, and I've read a lot of her books. Astrid's story is simple and heartfelt and raw. Something about her voice and the way she narrates made me feel really connected to her. And like all A.S. King books, there was a great blend of weird with complicated family dynamics and teens trying to find their way in the world. I loved it.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli


Guys, Becky Albertalli is the newest and greatest up-and-comer in the YA genre. Both of her books have been 5-star reads for me. This was so adorable. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. Read my full review HERE.

Movies I Watched



I already knew I liked the music from "Rent" a lot, but seeing it physically played out helped to solidify my understanding of the story. It's hard to keep track of all the characters when you can only listen to their voices, which might get lost the more people sing all at the same time. I highly recommend seeing the movie. And you get to see Adam Pascal in action, which is always a plus.

"Grosse Pointe Blank"


Cheesy and goofy as heck, but fun. I didn't think I could like a cold-blooded assassin as much as I did, but John Cusack made it work. A lot of the characters are super awkward in different ways, which made every scene quirky and interesting.

Obsessions I Acquired

"Rent" - Like I mentioned before, I love the soundtrack so much more now that I've seen the story played out. Plus, we got to see it live!!! Which was amazing!!! This show is full of energy and every actor was fantastic.

Picture of the Month 

Got to see Charlie again, this time for a few days in New Jersey! It was tons of fun to hang out with her and her family.
My friends from writer's camp came for a sleepover and "Fantastic Beasts" viewing for my birthday. There's plenty of fun and laughter whenever they're around, plus conversations about everything from fan-fiction to politics.

How was your April?