Sunday, December 30, 2012

DLR LotD 12/30/12

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Sunday, December 30, 2012

"I don't want to be here!!!!"  -- Miss O, many, many times before she finally calmed down, on It's A Small World Holiday

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Barney vs. Marshall

OK, all of the Les Miz business has reminded me of this clip of "How I Met Your Mother" stars Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel singing "Confrontation".  I only wish that the audience would have let them finish the song, because it's awesome.

I love these guys.  I love this song.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry ChristMiz!

When I first found out that a movie version of my favorite musical would be made, I was a bit apprehensive about it.  I was worried that they would butcher it and I would hate it.  But then they released the trailers, and announced that all of the singing for Les Miserables was done as the cameras were rolling (instead of being recorded in a studio and lip-synced on camera), and I was eager to see the movie.  So here we are, Christmas Day / Opening Day, and I made sure to see the film.  The showing that I aimed for sold out while I was in line, so I took the next time, and it seemed to have sold out, too, because the theater was packed.  I was armed with my tissues!  Here we go!  I took a deep breath,

  • The opening scene of the prisoners/slaves pulling the ship into the dock was more than I ever imagined it to be when I saw this on stage.  Their ships were that big?!  No wonder Jean Valjean was described with the strength that he had!  
  • Hugh Jackman.  My goodness gracious.  His portrayal of 24601 had me crying already when the bishop saved him....and I cried in almost every scene in which he was sang.  AMAZING.  When he hit the last note in "Bring Him Home" and held it there, I wept for his triumph.
  • Also:  Anne Hathaway.  I never doubted that she could sing this thing, because I've heard the quality of her voice in little things, like at the Oscars.  She hit this out of the park and into outer space!  The emotion she exuded made me love the character of Fantine more than I ever did before.
  • Amanda Seyfried, with her beautifully lilting soprano voice was quite a lovely Cosette.
  • Russell Crowe does not have a Broadway-style voice.  His voice is more pop/rock, so I would have preferred someone else in this role, but he held his own.
  • While we're on the word "own", let me just say that Samantha Barks remained true to my favorite character of Eponine, which makes sense as she sang the part for the theatre version's 25th Anniversary Concert.  Loved her "On My Own" and everything else she did.
  • I like this Eddie Redmayne guy.  He's cute.  Also, he had a great story about telling Tom Hooper a long time ago that he could ride a horse for "Elizabeth I", and when put to the test, he fell off.  It took Mr. Hooper many years to hire him again, and when he did, he placed Redmayne on a horse, probably as an act of retaliation.  I like Redmayne's voice, too.
  • Ah, the Thenardiers.  Sasha Baron Cohen is hilarious as usual, and he and Helena Bonham Carter are a much-needed comic relief for the story.  I do wish that they could have done a little bit more with them stealing stuff at the wedding reception, though.  I love how, in the stage productions, she has silverware and stuff falling out of her dress.
  • Aaron Tviet also has a very nice voice as the ever-earnest Enjolras.
  • The new song, "Suddenly" is a nice addition to the score, and I'm glad that they shortened "Turning", because that song always seemed too long for me when sung on stage.
  • Colm Wilkinson!  YES!!!  I'm so very happy that he got to play in this movie.  His voice is pretty much what made me love Les Miz in the first place, as I have listened to him over and over and over again on the CD.  
  • Oh, wow, Frances Ruffelle was in this, too?  I wish I could have recognized her, the original Broadway Eponine.
  • Ugh, the exit music is blech.  It was hard for me to sit through, but I stayed out of respect for the film. 
  • What is up with that huge elephant statue?
  • Because I'm a purist, I know how a lot of the diehard Les Miz fans feel about this cast, and the singing.  But I think it should be given a chance despite the Hollywood treatment.  The acting is top notch, the sets and cinematography are amazing, and it's still a great story.
  • Bring tissues!  I cried buckets, partly because it's my favorite musical and they were doing it justice, and partly because of all of the raw emotion.  INCREDIBLE.
I need to watch something lighthearted now.  Oh, look!  "The Princess Bride" is on the Sundance Channel right now!  "Anybody want a peanut?"

Thursday, December 20, 2012

DLR LotD 12/19/12

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"She's singing again." -- Jenn and Sher, many, many times, after Sher bought her niece's birthday gift.

Friday, December 14, 2012

DLR LotD 12/12/12

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"I feel like I'm going to fly away." -- Dick Van Dyke, at a rainy Candlelight Procession

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Luscious Harmonies

Take 6 - "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"
Saturday, December 1, 2012
Lewis Family Playhouse - Rrrancho Cucamonga, CA

As I drove to church for Mass, I saw that that the street on which my alma mater is situated was full of school buses.  It made me melancholy, because I really wanted to go to the SCSBOA Marching Band Field Show Championships taking place there that night.  (It's been 6 years since they've been in the championships, and they were competing on their home field, and, well, look at this promo!).  But it was drizzling.  And I had a ticket to see Take 6.  When I heard the rain pouring outside during Mass, I figured that it was a reminder that I really, really like Take 6, and it's inside, and I would get to see my friends.  But I did come very close to calling Liz and telling her to bring Joe with her to use my ticket.  

I arrived at the venue with plenty of time before the doors opened, so I went to the restroom to turn around my mayo-stained shirt.  Dangit, that's one of my favorite shirts!  But at least it's a turtleneck and it doesn't matter which side goes in front.  I met up with Wendy, Jeff, Aura, Aura's mom and Aura's friends, and Liz in the lobby.  Wendy and Jeff had scored front row apron seats for us (right side of house).  THANK YOU!  Liz and I informed each other about whomever were new members to us.  I told Wendy that Liz and I were at the same Take 6 concert when I saw them for the first time in the early 1990s, but we hadn't met each other yet.  Liz and I were meant to be friends.  :)  Wendy and Jeff had never seen them before.  I told her that they would have audience participation, just for Jeff.

Take 6 took the stage, and as soon as they had sung their first chord, I had forgotten all about the band championships and got into the Christmas spirit.

I did not take notes during the show, but here is the set list and what I can remember the next day.

We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Yup.  First chord.  

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Weird not to hear Kevin Wright singing the lead on this.

Hark The Herald Angels Sing
This is one of the first Christmas songs I had ever heard them sing, from their "He Is Christmas" CD.  Claude enjoyed saying "Rancho CUC-amonga!"  What is it with the high tenors loving the name of this place? ;)

Let It Snow
Claude said that he grew up in Buffalo, which is known for snow, so he thought they should bring some musical snow to So Cal for Christmas.  He even showed us how to imagine the snow with some finger motion. 

Claude told Alvin that he wanted to sing bass on this one, and asked if they could both sing bass.  So they each sang lead on every other verse.  Since they took it at the original tempo, I wasn't very jarred about them not being Rockapella with Santa Hats.  Their rendition is jazzy, like the original, but with much better harmonies.  Claude could hit those low notes, and the high ones at the end.  Crazy range.

The Sugarplum Dance
Mark arranged "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from The Nutcracker.  I was hoping that it wouldn't be like Scott's arrangement on "Simply Having..." because I try to keep the groups separate from each other.  Mark did not disappoint me one bit.  Their arrangement is amazing and totally virtuoso for all of them.  

I'll Be Home For Christmas
A tribute to our troops.  Mark was looking for mistletoe to point to, but there wasn't any.  I liked that he enunciated "presents under the tree", because it makes more sense than "presents on the tree".  Wouldn't the tree fall over if all of the presents were on its branches?

This is not a Christmas song, but it is the title song from their new CD.  I wish they had their actual CDs in the lobby instead of stuff that they only produced.  I have some catching up to do on their CDs.

Alvin is from So Cal, and said he's been trying to get the guys to tour here for a long time.  Thanks, Alvin!

Stand By Me
Always a crowd favorite for the a cappella groups.  Joey sang lead, and pointed to a lady that she should stand by him on stage. She didn't.  I almost got up myself.  I mean, he was RIGHT THERE!

Old School stuff that included Earth, Wind & Fire, Nat King Cole, The Doobie Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson
At this point, some of the guys shared their musical influences.  The Nat King Cole was pretty much just Claude doing an impersonation of "When I Fall In Love", all by himself, while sitting on the piano bench.  Loved their "Taking It To The Streets", and they sang Stevie's "I Wish", which is just so Stevie/T6.  Then Khristian shared that he was born in 1982 and wouldn't know an 8-Track if it hit him in the face.  His influence was Michael Jackson, and he danced and sang and talked like MJ.  He did snippets of a bunch of songs, and frightened the women sitting front and center with the crotch-grabbing scream.   Can't remember who on stage told him, "This is a family show."  He was great, though.  He also played some piano during one or two of the other songs, which, I think, is the only time a piano was used in the show.

So Much To Say
Ah, the song that I first heard them sing live.  But oh, what a change they made!  OMG, the vocal acrobatics with the scatting and the vocal percussion and the melismas!  Good golly, Miss Molly, they have arranged this song to new, explosive heights, and I am happy to go up there with them!

Joy To The World
Back to Christmas songs now.  APPARENTLY, they have 3 Christmas CDs.  Why did I only know about one?  

Sweet Little Jesus Boy
So pretty, and it's Mark's favorite.  

Lamb of God
Joey did some preaching, and we all went right there with them.  This song is gorgeous, and has a bit of the old Danish "Holy Holy Holy" in it.  Nice.

Come On
Yeah, because we weren't all crazy enough (we were), here we go with some call and response.  YEAH!  

They announced that they'd be signing CDs.  I stole a set list from the stage, and confessed to Alvin that I did so, but he didn't mind, and they all signed it.  What's cool about their set list is that each song has the key that they used.  Aura said that she never saw anyone use a pitch pipe, and neither do I, so some of them must have perfect pitch.  They're so totally amazing!  I told Mark that he sings my favorite Take 6 song, "Something Within Me", and the first time I heard him sing it, he was sick.  I told him that I said that night, "I wish I could sing like that when I'm sick!"  They're all very nice, but I was too shy to ask for pictures.  I was kind of the same way with Rockapella, although I did get a picture with them the first time I met them at a meet and greet.  Oh, Pella, how far we've come since then!  :)

We bid goodbye to Aura and Liz.  Wendy, Jeff and I went to Cheesecake Factory, and who shows up but Aura and her guests!  Aura's mom told us that she went crazy when she saw Rockapella and they sang "Folger's".  So THAT'S where Aura gets her fangirl-ness!  Later, we ended up leaving at the same time, too, and they said that the Kibble brothers were sitting at the next table.  Cool!  I probably wouldn't have been able to eat if I saw them there.

So here I am now, feeling the Christmas spirit like I'm supposed to be doing.  It's the most wonderful time of the year!