Today was the summer recital for my voice lessons and it was another success. There were about 12 performers plus both of the Hale teachers Amanda and Dave. Everyone did great! We have 3 recitals a year and it is neat to see how each girl or boy improves during the intermittent months.
For this recital I sang “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Like always, it wasn’t perfect but it showed improvement. I think it was one of my best performances of the Broadway belty style of singing. I can’t say enough about how thrilling it is to see my voice get better and better. It’s a childhood dream coming true. I hope you enjoy the video. It is a bit tough to hear in points, so turn up your computer!
ps. I was wearing practically the same outfit in May and you can definitely see the weight loss! Wahoo!
As I have mentioned many times on this blog that the last summer has been crazy for me. I have gone from having one job, to thinking I had no job, to having 4 jobs! In the next few weeks things should down as we have 3 of the vacation rentals converted into long term rentals. I am glowingly proud of my work with these rentals. I think it is amazing I found 3 long-term tenants in under 2 months without a real estate license. All I did was use Craigslist and KSL classifieds! It has also been shocking at the level of interest in a 6 bedroom furnished rental. We are easily getting 3-4 calls a day on the house. If I had my license I would go around Suncrest and call all the homes for rent or for sale and offer to manage their property. I certainly have experience to brag about! I finally had to mark the homes as sold on the old ads because I felt bad at disappointing people. In addition, the two families moving into our homes in Draper are very nice. They are great people- the best.
With all this work, (I have only begun to describe everything- it has been 7 days a week, long hours!) I was eagerly awaiting our family trip down to Southern Utah. I think I could have been happy going just about anywhere but it was a particular treat to go to Cedar City and attend 3 plays at the Utah Shakespearean Festival. It is a Tony Award winning festival with a traditional outdoor theater, renaissance food and a green show with entertainment before the plays. It is one of my favorite things in Utah. In fact, attending the festival is one of the first theater experiecnes I remember. When you are from a big family there isn’t a ton of alone time with parents. This made it particularly special when my dad took me at 8 years old to see Taming of the Shrew, Blithe Spirit, Merchant of Venice, and Volpone. I am not sure why it was just me but it was a great memory. I still have the old programs. Since that first trip I have been 5 or 6 times and just love it!
Before arriving at the festival things were a bit bumpy. The original plan was to take the Greyhound down to Cedar and meet up with my family who would be arriving from California (they had to make the trip anyways because Anna was coming out to BYU). Tuesday night (the night before their expected departure) Madeline got very sick. We were even afraid she might have the swine flu but it was a different infection (still not fun but better than the alternative). At first we thought the entire trip would be off, but after a restful day and antibiotics she was able to travel comfortably in the car.
This delay meant I arrived on the Greyhound (which despite all the horror stories was quite pleasant and affordable) and saw the first play by myself. It worked out great because the hotel had a shuttle, and I had food ordered to my room. It was nice to have one day of vacation all to myself. That night I saw Henry V, which was excellent. It was probably just as well that the kids couldn’t make it because it was a pretty serious and war-torn play. I don’t know if they would have liked it.
On Friday the rest of my family arrived and we saw 2 plays- Comedy of Errors and As You Like It. The former was our favorite. It was funny and in an air conditioned auditorium. (As much as I love the quaintness of the outdoor theater, it was brutally hot and muggy). I have heard the festival is loosing funding and the shows aren’t able to get the professional actors they used to get. I saw a little of this in As You Like It. You think with all this stimulus money programs like the festival could get a little stimulus. It is after all a tourist attraction to the city and generates income while being an artistic gem. Oh well, that’s a topic for another post (btw, I have been selected to write a guest post for the blog http://rightwingchicky.wordpress.com. Still working on it but if you have any ideas let me know).
After the festival we set off to see Bryce National Park and Capitol Reef National Park for 2 days. Even with the car sickness, it was beautiful-red rock formations bursting of more than just red. Purple, orange, yellow, black, white and more. We even saw some petroglyphs and laughed about an ancient pictionary game gone array. Can’t you just picture someone carving in the stone and their wife saying “that’s supposed to be a warrior?”.
It was a lot of driving and we did grow weary of it after a while, but it was still a nice trip overall. The one hick-up we had was on Sunday my dad decided to take a dirt road to show us some of his favorite camping sites. Naturally I asked “why are we taking this road, when we can take the regular road”. My dad responded “Because it is beautiful and it is a smooth road”. I still can’t believe that a grown man was debating with me about taking a dirt road vs a regular road. To me it makes as much sense as selecting a horse and carriage over a car!
So, we are going down this dirt road and all of the sudden I hear a hissing noise- almost like a rattle snake but it keeps going.
My dad stops the car and yes, you guessed it- we had a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. To make matters worse we had borrowed the car from a friend and didn’t know where the jack was or any other items. We also had tons of stuff in the car, which we had to remove in order to the get the jack. It was one of the more complicated spares I have ever been a part of changing, but in fairly quick time my dad had it figured out and changed. Unfortunately as we were getting back in the car dad checked out the other tires and noticed a bubble in the another one. Clearly we only have one spare tire. I can’t over-state that we were in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road. It was the kind of place where you would expect to see a flying saucer!
We only had one car pass us on the dirt road as we changed the tire and they didn’t even stop to see if we are ok. Can you believe that? Rude! My dad kept saying we could camp out overnight but we had no tents or pillows. I am sure all of you can just see me camping out in the middle of nowhere waiting to be rescued. Naturally I prayed extra hard we would get out alive and without having to camp out. Thankfully we did just that, finally ending up in Price, UT.
There is a canyon going from Price to Spanish Fork and we were so nervous about the bubble in the tire that we decided to stay the night. It was just too risky going on a narrow highway without a shoulder on a bad tire. We ended up at the Price Holiday Inn in a double suite. The room was nice and we even got to swim before the night was over. Big O Tires was open at 8 am Monday morning, so we had the tires fixed early and got on our way early. As much as I enjoyed the trip, I was definitely grateful to be back home, safe and not stuck on a dirt road in Southern Utah. I certainly will not need to take the scenic route again for a while!
My family has been in town the rest of the week helping get Anna checked into college at my Alma matter Brigham Young University. It was so great getting her settled into her apartment. Today was the last day before my parents left and it was quite the goodbye. It brought back so many memories of my first year at BYU. It was a happy time in my life. I was so excited and ready to be out on my own. I am almost envious of Anna and all the great experiences she is going to have.
So, this has been a long, rambling travelogue. My apologies, but it was an eventful couple of weeks. Now I am back to work on sales tax, vacation rentals, real estate school, and Grabber events. Busy, busy, busy, but happy.
“All the world ‘s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts” William Shakespeare in As You Like It
In this blog I have written about music, film, and books but have yet to add my thoughts on my favorite medium- live theater. I have loved attending shows my whole life. I am not sure how it got started but the earliest memory of the theater that I have is when my dad took me to the Utah Shakespeare festival. I believe I was 9 because it was before Anna was born (that’s brave to take a 9 year old to Shakespeare). We saw Taming of the Shrew and a couple other plays and I enjoyed it so much that I saved the programs. The first musical I recall going to was when my dance teacher in 5th grade played Anybody’s in a local production of West Side Story. We went to see it and I remember crying along with Maria and loving the experience. I also remember going to see Phantom of the Opera with my grandmother around the same time and that was like nothing I had ever experienced. Amazing!
When I got to high school I embraced more theater by appearing in 5 school productions (A christmas medley, The Wiz, Up the Down Staircase, Bye Bye Birdie, Scenes from Shakespeare plays). Each production boosted my confidence and made me feel alive. I have often said that they should have recovering addicts participate in the theater. That may sound strange but it is so rewarding working together and then when the final applause comes it is one of the best highs I have ever known. Of all of the productions I was in my favorite was The Wiz. It’s fun music, lively sets and great cast made it memorable.
In addition to appearing in live plays I also took a huge step in high school. In 9th grade I made my first trip to New York City, and I’ve been hooked ever since. There are so many things I love about New York that I will have to do an entry solely devoted to the city. However, the most incredible part of the Big Apple is Broadway! The first show I saw there was Les Miserables and it was beyond words. I saw it again a couple of years ago and was reminded of how moving the story is and how beautiful the music. When I went to see Les Mis I had seen the PBS concert many times and knew the soundtrack almost by heart and yet it did not disappoint. If anything it exceeded my expectations. In fact, it got me hooked on Broadway. Since that first visit I have been 5 more times seeing the King and I, Music Man, Beauty and the Beast, the Rockettes, Light in the Piazza, Drowsy Chaperon, Lion King, Hairspray, 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee, Les Mis (again) and Wicked. There is no doubt but that I have been abundantly blessed.
Each time I see a live show I feel excited. It’s hard to explain but even the comedies move me. I love everything about a Broadway musical. I love the songs, the voices, the melodies, the stories, the acting. It’s magic!
One of the things I actually like about living in Utah is the great local live theater. In Maryland there was one local theater in our town. Aside from that you had to go to DC or Baltimore and there was no guarantee that it would be family friendly and it was expensive. In Utah you get all 3- family friendly, inexpensive and high quality. There have been productions I have seen at Hale Center Theater (Orem and West Valley) that are Broadway level quality. I saw the Secret Garden there last year and it was fabulous. The little girl playing Mary was outstanding.
It’s interesting because I know people that feel the theater is a rare luxury. For me, I would give up a lot before giving up my chance to see great productions (or even mediocre ones. I love it all!). I used to have a little theater group that got season tickets to the shows at Hale and it was always fun. Unfortunately, the other members of my group decided to give it up for financial reasons 😦 Hopefully I can form a new group and if any of you are interested call me. It adds so much to my life that I try to go as often as possible.
I suppose I must close this entry by saying my favorites. It’s hard to say but when push comes to shove my favorite musical is probably still Les Mis. It’s the only one I’ve seen on Broadway twice and still loved. It’s just so moving. I also loved Wicked and the Drowsy Chaperon is my favorite comedy. Other favorites are My Fair Lady, Hairspray, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Fiddler on the Roof, Little Woman, and West Side Story. I love Sound of Music but actually more as a film than play (its a rare exception and Julie Andrews! Amazing). As far as plays go my favorite is Death of a Salesman for its penetrating character development. I also love the Christmas Carol every holiday season and any Shakespeare.
My love for musical theater has also introduced me to great talent on the stage. Some of the many voices that amaze me even on the soundtracks are Julie Andrews, Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Sherie Renee Scott, Pattie Lupone, Bernadette Peters, Laura Benanti, Sutton Foster (who I saw in Chaperon- amazing), Beth Leavel (who I also saw in Chaperon), Brian Stokes Mitchell, Adam Pascal, Raul Esparza, Kristen Chenoweth, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Idina Menzel, Laura Bell Bundy, Heather Headley, Kellie O’hara (who I saw in Light in the Piazza- amazing), Victoria Clark (who I saw in Light in the Piazza) , Audra McDowell, Anna Gasteyer (who I saw in Wicked- incredible) and more. They are such talent. I highly recommend checking out their CDs at the library or on ITunes and enriching your life by their truly marvelous music.
If you get a chance go see live theater. It may be expensive but look at it as a chance to support the arts in your community and it may teach you something, make you laugh or cause you to ponder.
And remember when it comes to the theater…
“Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?”