[THEATER REVIEW] ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ (West Valley Performing Arts Center)

One of the things I’ve missed the most in quarantine is live performance, live music. It’s just not the same over zoom as much as we try to make it so! So it was with great anticipation I made my way to the West Valley Performing Arts Center (former home of Hale Center Theater West Valley) to see their production of Ain’t Misbehavin’. This show is new to me and it was a rollicking good time!

Ain’t Misbehavin’ isn’t really a musical in the traditional sense. It’s billed as a musical revue and is made up of 30 songs from the jazz musician Thomas ”Fats” Waller. Previous to this show I had only heard of a couple of Fats songs particularly ‘I’m Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter’ and ‘I Can Give You Anything but Love’. However, part of the fun of an experience like this getting to know and enjoy new songs.

The production at West Valley is small with only 6 actors who are very talented and put their all into the singing and dancing. I particularly enjoyed Krispin Banks as Ken and Daysha as Nell Carter. My favorite part of the evening though was the pianist Mark Johnson who gives a marathon of a performance along with the live jazz orchestra! What a treat!

West Valley has Footloose next on their roster and it probably would have been wise to start their season out with something more accessible and popular (a known IP and all). I went to Ain’t Misbehavin’ opening night and the audience was pretty sparse. Hopefully the word will get around and people will give it a try because it deserves to have an audience.

COVID-wise this was a very safe evening at the theater. They went above and beyond to ensure distancing, masks and even checked my temperature upon arrival. It was much better than what I experienced at Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy. So if you are concerned in that regard this one is the way to go.

8 out of 10

Hello I’m 40…

Hey everyone! I hope you are all doing well. I am writing this having been in isolation for pretty much the last 3 months as I am trying really hard to not get the caronavirus. There is a side of me that wonders if isolation is worse than the virus but I don’t want to test out any theories. I have been able to leave my house for a few errands and to spend time with my parents (and my brother Sam has moved back home!). One of those occasions was to celebrate a big birthday for me! The BIG 40!

Yes ladies and gentleman I am now 40 years old. I have been on this earth for 4 decades. It’s honestly pretty surreal but I am feeling good about my spot in 40. Of course I had grand plans for my 40th Birthday but like most plans the last year they had to be put on the back burner. I wanted to go on a cruse, maybe even the Disney cruise, and that obviously isn’t happening right now. Hopefully someday but not right now.

Instead of going out we had a virtual murder mystery party that was a play on the Great British Bake Off called The Great British Bump Off. It was pretty fun and I appreciated how everyone got into it and did voices and got into their characters. My niece was even taking detailed notes so she could accurately guess the murderer. I hope we can do it again because I had a great time.

Of course such a milestone definitely makes a girl think. As I have pondered starting my 40s I feel pretty good about where I’m at. I think starting my 30s was a lot harder. Back a decade ago I hadn’t accomplished much and felt like I was still in the same spot I was when I graduated from college in 2002. Now I’ve purchased my own home. I have 2 successful podcasts and am a film critic on rottentomatoes. I feel like I actually have something to show for my life which I don’t think I had at 30.

Naturally there are things I expected to have which I don’t. I have yet to fall madly in love and get married. Who knows if I ever will? I don’t have any children and unfortunately I live far away from my nieces so I don’t get to see them often except for virtually. I wish I had more of a legacy when it comes to young people but I try to at least be a good example to my young followers online whether it be on youtube, podcasting or on twitter.

Most importantly I have wonderful friends who support me and hopefully I support them. I am so grateful to all of my cohosts for my various podcasts and all the guests and friends I’ve made through collaborations. There are too many to name. I know social media gets a bad rap and it can be toxic but I have been so buoyed up by my connections whether it be on twitter, instagram, discord or more. I would definitely say the good outweighs the bad in that department.

So there you have it! 40 has come and I am here to celebrate it! Let’s hope my 41st birthday I’m not isolated and am able to travel and get out of my house more often! That’s the dream these days. What’s your greatest advice for someone turning 40?

Sunday Devotionals and Life Update

It has been an unconscionable long amount of time since I wrote in this blog and I apologize for that. I have been still keeping up on my movie blog at rachelsreviews.net and on my podcasts but for some reason I have not felt the desire to write in this personal blog for a while. It’s been such an unsettling time and I think there is a part of me that expects it to be over and then it keeps stretching out more and more. Now this week in Utah it is quite possibly at its worst ever. It’s exhausting.

What’s also exhausting is my projects as a podcaster and critic. Somehow Hallmark and Lifetime made their full slate of holiday films in 2020 so I am as busy as ever working for the Hallmarkies Podcast. I am extremely proud of every last interview and recap we have produced and I hope if you haven’t you will take a look. I am also very busy as a film critic and podcaster for my own content at Rachel’s Reviews.

I think part of the reason why I haven’t felt much need to write a personal blog lately is I haven’t had any personal life to write about. My whole life has become work/my creative enterprises. Anything that I had to pull me away from those goals has gone away. Church? Gone. Movies? Gone. Friends? Gone as far as time goes. Book club? Gone. You get the idea. Luckily I am very fulfilled by my work and it is a lot of fun (and interactive) so it’s a pretty good situation to be in. It just doesn’t give me that much to opine about here. Maybe I will try and do better. If there is anything you’d like to hear from me on let me know. If not, keep watching me talk and talk and talk (and write and write and write) on my other platforms.

In the meantime, I have created a series of Sunday Devotionals with my friend Chris. We are each of different faiths but religiously inclined and so after church was canceled we created 28 devotionals to discuss God and Christ-centered themes in a non-denominational environment. It was a great experience and I miss it since we stopped. It’s only on hiatus now so we will be back for a Thanksgiving and Christmas episode. Still, I’d love for you to check them out and respond in the comments. I put a lot of heart and soul into each one of them so let me know what you think .

I’m very thankful to Chris for doing the devotionals with me and for anyone who did listen to them. They really helped me get through a tough time.

What have you been doing to keep yourself afloat during these times and have you found it strangely difficult to write about them like I have? I will try to do better. I really do love this little personal blog. Let me know how you are doing. Sure love ya! Rachel