Day 90 – Come From Away

I know I’ve written at length about my love of theatre before, so I won’t spend too much time rehashing it again. Just know that when I say I’m obsessed with live theatre, I’m not exaggerating, particularly musicals. I’m mesmerized by the talent of the actors and musicians, and absolutely astounded by the sets and lighting and costumes that make the productions come to life. If I had unlimited funds, I’d buy a seat at a different show every night–Broadway, Off-Broadway, community playhouses–I’m in for it all.

When I first saw ads and TV spots for the new show Come From Away, I knew I needed to see it. I’m always drawn to stories of the “helpers”–the people who show up in the face of loss and tragedy to help recover and rebuild. If you’ve looked at any of my social media feeds in the last two weeks, you’ll see the dozens of stories I’ve been posting of exactly this type of selfless compassion taking place right here in my home state in the wake of the devastating Midwest floods.

But even more than that, it’s the story of Beverley Bass, the first female captain of an American Airlines aircraft–a woman whose persistence and tenacity helped break down barriers, a woman whose dream of flying led her to the sky. And with a long line of strong women in my own family (including my Grandma Kay who was one of the first females to fly for US Airways), this was a story that spoke to me on a very personal level.

Mom got us tickets and we headed to the Orpheum this afternoon for the show.

And I gotta say, folks…I might have a new favorite show.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not an overly-emotional person. I tend to let a lot of things roll off, and it’s not often that my emotions really get the best of me. But every now and then, something that hits really close to home will choke me up, and there were several moments during Come From Away that I found myself tearing up and taking deep breaths to keep it under control. Anything 9/11 related always hits me hard, and in the opening moments of the show when they sing about remembering exactly where they were when the news broke. Yep, that got me. Then later when the beautiful souls in Gander, Newfoundland began to open their lives and their doors and their homes to the airplanes full of strangers without a second thought or a moment’s hesitation. Yeah, you know that got me too.

It just seemed fitting (one of those moments when the universe perfectly aligns) that I was watching this show today while this same sort of selfless compassion is happening all around me right here in Nebraska in the wake of the devastating floods just as it happened in the hours and days and months that followed the attacks in 2001.

And it’s moments like these that make me really happy to be alive and be a member of this human race.

If you believe everything you see on TV, you might have a pretty grim view of humanity. But if you can tear yourself away from the 24-hour news cycle and get a glimpse of the things that are happening right outside your front door and in communities around the world (you know, the every day sort of things most people aren’t going to bother to mention on the nightly news because it doesn’t have a flashy headline) you just might see that most of us are just regular people trying to do our best and squeeze a little happiness out of this life while we’re here.

And what a blessing to have a chance to love and connect with others at the same time.

If you get a chance to see Come From Away, DO IT!! And in the meantime, be kind to each other every chance you get.

P.S. The amazing folks from the show (including several Nebraska & Iowa natives) donated a portion of the ticket sales totaling more than $30,000 to flood relief. And many of us in attendance donated even more to the collection buckets on our way out the door. What a great way to spend the day!

#NebraskaStrong #WeComeFromAway

Project Life 365 – Day 82 – Musical

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I am ridiculously excited about the new Les Miserables movie/musical. Saw it in the theater (well, most of it…Cadence just couldn’t quite make it to the end), and made sure we pre-ordered it so it would be delivered to our doorstep as soon as it was released. Worth every penny.

PL365Day82Musical

Elf on the Shelf – Day 6

Music is one of the things in this life that I just don’t know I could ever live without. Life just doesn’t make much sense to me without a soundtrack. I think that if the human soul could ever truly be captured, caught in a net or bottled up in a little glass jar, the first thing you would notice is the sound of it–some sort of beautiful melodic vibration resonating from the inside out. I think there is music in all of us–in the way we think, the way we speak, the way we move. It doesn’t matter if you can’t play the piano or sight read a song. It’s there, somewhere, and it’s the reason that we can’t help but nod our heads and tap our feet and hum along with the radio. Music speaks to us in a way nothing else can.

I think it must be the writer in me that makes me so partial to musical theater. Sure I love rock concerts, and I can get chills sitting in the audience and listening to an orchestra. Hell, I sometimes even feel myself getting overwhelmed with emotion just listening to the way a hundred voices intertwine while singing hymns in church. I know, I’m a weirdo, but there is just something so inexplicably awesome that happens inside when there’s music involved.

And, for me, there is nothing more magical than musical theater. The story, the sets, the costumes, the lights, the colors, the way the actors moves as they deliver their lines. If there was ever a way to pluck a story directly from the brain of a writer and show it to the world, I think it would probably end up on a Broadway stage. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen a show, whether I have memorized every word or could recite the story from beginning to end in exquisite detail, I always lose myself as soon as the theater lights dim. If there is anything that I am going crazy waiting to share with my daughter, it’s musical theater, because the way she loves music and movies and performing already, I know it’s only going to take one show to get her hooked.

Of all the shows I’ve seen (and seen over and over again) through the years, Wicked is at the very top of my list of favorites. Les Miserables is a very, very close second (which is why I am so obscenely excited for the new movie musical being released this Christmas), but there is just something about Wicked that caught me and refused to let go. I think part of me always thought there was just something a little too good about Glinda in the original Wizard of Oz story. I’ve never really been a pretty blonde, glitzy, glittery, dress-wearing princess sort of girl, so I knew that Glinda the Good and I would never really see eye to eye. I knew girls like her in high school and let’s just say they aren’t exactly on my Facebook Friend List.

I also think I always felt a little bad for the Wicked Witch. I mean, her sister dies in a tragic accident and some whining brat from Kansas comes along and steals her shoes. Nope, that just never sat well with me. So when Gregory McGuire decided to rewind the story and show the world what happened in the Land of Oz long before Dorothy and Toto landed there, and when the book was eventually adapted into a Broadway musical, I was right there in line for tickets. And what I love most is that it is not just a story about black and white or good and evil. Instead, like real life, it is a story about about the gray areas between the black and white, a story about friendship, betrayal, circumstances, choices, consequences, right and wrong, appearances and reality, standing up for what you believe in, and discovering (and learning to love) who you are.

If you’ve never seen it, find a way. If it’s possible to get a ticket, go. You won’t regret it. And now, I’d like to share one of the songs from the show with you, because it was the first thing I thought of when we woke this morning and discovered what our little Elf had gotten herself into while we slept. So, take a moment to watch before you continue…

After returning from her nightly visit to the North Pole to file her Cadence Report, Cosette was greeted by Cinderella Barbie who, after giving the little Elf a once over, decided that it was time for a makeover. Not that Cosette doesn’t look cute in her little red elf costume, but Cinderella Barbie just thought that maybe a fresh, new look might help Cosette overcome a little of her shyness.

Luckily, there were a few bags of old Barbie clothes packed away down in the cellar. Some were pretty dated (I mean, come on, it’s only been like a quarter century since I’ve played with a Barbie), but fortunately, some of the old fashions have been staging a comeback, so Cinderella was able to put together a little something semi-fabulous for Cosette. And this is what Miss Cadence found when she woke up this morning…

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