Tag Archives: playhouse square

Dear Evan Hansen Review

Standard
Dear Evan Hansen Review

Howdy! This past weekend, I enjoyed an outing with an old theater friend, Sabrina, to see Dear Evan Hansen at Playhouse Square in Cleveland. Despite both of us not loving the musical, it was still a fun day filled with good food, drinks, and wonderful company. I was so happy when Sabrina invited me to see the show because our schedules never work well with each other so it was really nice to make up for lost time. As we are both theater nerds, we were able to have a great discussion about the show afterwards so here is what we thought as well as a brief synopsis (Without giving too much away!)

So, what you need to know about Dear Evan Hansen is the following: A troubled teen who is an outsider at school has homework from his therapist where he has to write letters to himself explaining why it’s going to be a great day. As Evan is printing his “homework” out in the library, an even more troubled teen named Conner snatches the letter and confiscates it after seeing his sister’s name in it. She just so happens to be the object of Evan’s affection but doesn’t know he exists.

A few days later, Conner commits suicide and the letter that Evan wrote is found in his pocket. A web of lies then begins because Conner’s parents obviously want to know who Evan is and he begins to spin a tale of how him and Conner were best friends. This quickly raises his popularity at school with the offset of The Conner Project and, suddenly, Evan exists because of his fake friendship with the kid who just died.

Okay, so the story line isn’t bad, but the writing and staging left a lot to be desired as well as lackluster performances from the cast as a whole. It was interesting to see the phenomenon of everyone instantly becoming “best friends” with someone who just passed. However, the main culprit of this was a girl named Alana and she was SO. FUCKING. ANNOYING. Omg, the scenes with her were just unbearable and I couldn’t stand it.

Another character who really didn’t do it for me was Evan’s mom. It was very tough to invoke sympathy for the mother of a struggling teen when she was so unlikable and all of her slow ballad songs felt lame and drawn out. Honestly, I didn’t feel any type of way about any of the characters because it just felt like they were there saying their lines and singing their songs and then the applause happened and it was on to the next scene. The play felt very disjointed and the flow was off.

A lot of this disconnect felt due to a poor choice in staging. It went from social media news feeds plastered all over moving walls and banners to a tiny room on a rotating circle in a matter of minutes. This felt very high school theater for a Broadway level show and didn’t create any visual interest on stage.

The quality of the script and songs just weren’t that good, either. A powerful message of looking out for the mental health of our teens was overshadowed by plot points that weren’t fully realized and writing that was subpar, at best. I understand that this show got a lot of hype but, frankly, I don’t understand why because I left the theater feeling very unsatisfied with the finale and the plot holes that never got filled.

I never say no to a night at the theater but, I think I could have passed on this one. I would rate Dear Evan Hansen with a five out of ten stars and I can’t say that I would recommend going to see it. If you’re into sappy teen musicals, though, I say go for it!

What were your thoughts on Dear Evan Hansen? What is your favorite musical? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: TrustArts

Advertisements

Weldon Carpenter: A New Friend

Standard
Weldon Carpenter: A New Friend

Hey everyone and happy Sunday! I hope all of you are having a wonderful, relaxing weekend. This past Thursday, I had to venture out to the Tri-C campus in Parma, Ohio for an extra credit lecture. Because I’m literally never in Parma since I don’t attend that campus, I decided to make a post on my Facebook to let my friends in the area know that I will be there for the afternoon in case anyone wanted to meet up afterwards. My friend, Danielle, replied and we decided to meet up at the bar that she works at in Lakewood which was about fifteen minutes away.

Because Danielle’s work didn’t open until four, we started at a bar that was down the street called The Patio. Danielle was treating me to twenty-first birthday drinks even though it’s over a year late so that’s what made me justify drinking at the bar at three in the afternoon! About halfway through our time at The Patio, an older gentleman walked into the bar and within ten minutes he came up to us and asked if we liked Playhouse Square (the beautiful theater in Cleveland).

Being an avid lover of the theater, of course I replied with an enthusiastic “YES”. This sent who I now know was Weldon Carpenter off to his car to retrieve a photo album and a surprise treat. While Weldon was at his car, the bartender explained to us that he was a historian and photographed Playhouse Square and the surrounding theaters since their openings. She also told us that he used to work as the personal chef to the one and only Miss Judy Garland.

Just as the bartender was finishing up her briefing on Weldon, he came walking in with a thick photo album and two teddy bears for me and Danielle. He told us that he has over one hundred and fifty little stuffed animals that he keeps handy just to make people smile. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a stuffie sitting on the bar that he must have gifted to the bartender when we weren’t looking. “Aren’t they beautiful?” he asked as Danielle and I held our new bears on our laps. And they really were. The beauty lied in the gesture and the bear he picked for me couldn’t have been any more perfect considering it was sporting a black t-shirt!

After we settled in with our drinks and teddies, we began to look through Weldon’s album, page by page. With every picture of each theater, there was a story or memory that went along with it and I was just mesmerized. To watch him smile and speak enthusiastically about the memories that he loved so much was something that was really special to me. None of my grandparents are alive so I haven’t conversed with someone in that age range in quite some time. Speaking with Weldon felt good and safe. It made me want to curl up in a blanket and hear more.

With every page turned, Weldon insisted on either one of us taking whichever photo we liked. “Don’t worry, I have plenty of copies and I give them all away for free”. His gentle prodding led to both of us picking out a photo that we loved and you could tell how pleased he was that we did. This man genuinely loved sharing what he felt was beautiful – and it was.

After we finished looking at Weldon’s photo album and listened to a few stories about how he met Judy Garland at his friend Mae West’s party we unfortunately had to part ways. Danielle had to be at work so we had to head down the street to the bar for a night of serving for her and more drinking for me. But all evening, I was still enraptured by the kind stranger who we spent a half hour with in the bar. The man who bore gifts and treats for complete strangers and left them feeling like they had just met their guardian angel or long lost friend.

When I got home, I Googled Weldon and found so many articles boasting that he was one of Lakewood’s local legends. Pages full of articles telling tales of theaters, photos, and stories similar to the one that I just told you. I felt proud. I felt proud that the city that he seemed to love so much loved him back. I felt proud that he was sharing his beautiful spirit and stories with the world. I felt proud that I just met him.

Will I ever see Weldon again? Maybe, if I head up to Lakewood around three or so, I’ll find him at The Patio enjoying a glass of red wine that he will be diluting with shaved ice. Maybe I’ll see him sharing a photo or a stuffed bear with another person at the bar. But until then, I’m so happy to consider Weldon Carpenter as A New Friend.

Christmas Gift Night – Sister Style!

Standard
Christmas Gift Night – Sister Style!

Hellooo everyone and happy Tuesday! This Saturday I was surprised with the literal best Christmas gift ever…Two tickets to see Elf the musical with my beloved big sister, Kristen! My sister purchased us two tickets for a night on the town to see one of our favorite movies turned into a musical at Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio. Take a look at us being pretty (!!) and then let’s discuss:

27dc7f4b-39f7-4709-b204-632e9833ed5e

Last Friday night when Kristen asked me if I had plans for the following evening, I didn’t think anything of it. But when Saturday came around the next day and she texted me with meticulous plans for when to pick her up, I started to get suspicious. When I called her to ask her where we were going for our hang out she told me it was for my Christmas gift and asked if I wanted to know what it was. The thing about me, though, is that I HATE surprises with a capital H and a capital ATE – so of course I wanted to know! That’s when she told me that she got us two tickets to see Elf the musical at 7:15 sharp this evening! I was blown away!!!

After I came out of my happiness coma we began to make plans for when I could pick her up and where we would go for dinner. We settled on our favorite…Taco Bell! Afterwards, she treated me to a full tank of gas and we went on our merry way to Playhouse Square in Cleveland. The drive was easy peasy and once we were in the downtown Cleveland area we got to enjoy seeing all of the buildings lit up beautifully for the holidays – it was awesome!

We arrived at the theater in perfect timing and Kristen managed to get amazing tickets for our date night. We were about twelve rows away from the stage and smack dab in the middle so our view was spectacular. While we waited for the show to begin, we took lots of sister pictures and I also took a picture of the stage, which is my featured image photo. I couldn’t take any pictures during the show, of course, but rest assured that it was incredible!

Elf the musical was simply fantastic. The actors were sublime, the music was catchy, the set was darling (it was storybook themed), and the choreography was superb. Kristen and I had a blast watching one of our favorite films come to life on the stage. The story from the movie was modified a little but all of the changes were clever and made perfect sense. We were in stitches the entire show and spent the whole car ride back to  her apartment quoting the musical.

Before we returned to Kristen’s place, we stopped at Giant Eagle to pick up some holiday gifts for her coworkers. The Giant Eagle that I live by is open twenty four hours and I found so much joy in just roaming the aisles with her at ten o’clock at night. We found gifts that suited our needs, as well as some treats for ourselves, and then headed back to her apartment.

Once we arrived at her place we crawled into our pajamas ASAP. As soon as we were comfy we made further preparations for our sister sleepover because this was the first night that I spent the night in her new apartment. Afterwards, I drove back to my house quickly to grab my sleeping pills and morning medication. It was no biggie, though, because we live a whole three minutes away from each other!

By the time I arrived back at her place, we were both beyond ready to hit the hay. We got tucked into her super comfy queen size bed and turned on the tube to fall asleep to. It was the absolute perfect ending to a perfect sister Christmas date night.

I can’t begin to tell you how much fun I had on Saturday night with my big sister. She completely surprised me with my Christmas gift and it will be a memory that I’ll cherish for forever. Everything that we did from our dinner and the show to even just driving around to our locations was a blast and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend our Christmas Gift Night with each other. I love you, Kristen! Thank you for treating me to an amazing evening – Sister Style!

So there you have it, my Saturday Christmas Gift Night – Sister Style! Kristen and I had a glorious time wrapping up the holiday season together and starting 2016 on a wonderful note. Have any of you seen a musical lately? What is your favorite Christmas movie to watch? I wanna hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Monday Update: A Night at the Theater Edition!

Standard
Monday Update: A Night at the Theater Edition!

Helloooo everyone and happy Monday! I’ll tell ya what, my day has been a major pain in the ass so far. It’s cold, I’m tired, and Starbucks was majorly lacking in their WiFi game today. I went down the street to my homework destination to work on my assignments for the week and their WiFi was straight up unusable. It was slow as molasses, which never ever happens! I spent an hour trying to connect and reconnect to the internet, finishing minimal work and growing more frustrated by the minute. Eventually I just got so fed up that I went back to my annoying house to sit on my bedroom floor and read about psychological disorders for my Psychology class…#fun haha It’s such a dreary day in Akron, Ohio right now and all I want to do is crawl back into bed and sleep for forever. But that’s neither here nor there because I wanna tell you all about seeing Beauty & The Beast in Cleveland this weekend! Photography was naturally prohibited at the show, but my featured image was what the stage looked like before the musical started and during intermission. Master photography skills, I know. My parents, my brother, my best friend Kate, and I all packed into the family car to go to Playhouse Square for the show. The car ride there was annoyingly awful, but everything was much better once we got to the theater where I wasn’t forced to talk to my family! Ha. We had really good seats for Beauty & The Beast, we were about ten rows from the stage and were seated right in the middle, which was awesome! The musical was jolly good fun, it had a darling set that looked very storybook-esque, with lots of witty dialogue, and creative choreography. Frankly, the actors who played Belle and the Beast were somewhat disappointing…it was the supporting characters that really made the show! The guys who played Gaston and Lumiere absolutely KILLED IT! The young man playing Gaston was hilarious, had a great voice, and looked exactly like the animated cartoon. My favorite number from the musical was the song describing what an amazing guy Gaston was. The song took place in a pub, and the choreography was SO terrific. All of the actors on stage had two mugs, one for each hand and the choreography was almost like a line dance with all of the actors clinking each others mugs at the same time. It was so clever and effective and I loved every minute of it! The dance must have took so much practice to make sure everyone was clinking on time, and it paid off because no one missed a beat. Lumiere was also so fantastic as well. He was perfectly tall and lanky as a candlestick should be, and his French accent was spot on! He had great physicality and the chemistry he had with his feather duster girlfriend on stage was palpable. The show also had some really great use of puppetry for the wolves in the woods and the enchantress who turns the prince into a beast at the beginning of the show, so that was very cool to see. I haven’t been to a musical in ages, and what better show to go to for the first time in years than one of my favorite Disney movies?! I, like my mamma have loved Beauty & The Beast since I was a little one, so it was especially enjoyable to go to the show with my mom since it’s one of her favorites too! Despite some annoyingness that occurred with the family, it was still a great night! I had an absolute blast, and the Jack & Coke that Kate got me from the bar also helped immensely! 😉 It was also so cute to see all of the little girls in the audience dressed as Belle! #precious The company that put on the show is still touring, and if you have the opportunity to see it you definitely should take advantage of it! Beauty & The Beast was wonderful, lighthearted entertainment for the entire family!

I hope all of you are having a wonderful Monday! Where are all of my fans of The Following at?! How excited are you for tonight’s new episode?? I wanna hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah