I arrived full circle with “The Phantom of the Opera.” This granddaddy of a musical is still playing some 26 years after its 1988 opening at the appropriately named “Majestic Theater” and remains the longest running show on Broadway. I can’t envision anything topping this fantastic record, although should it ever happen, I hope “Chicago” inherits the crown simply because it seems right that an American musical hold this title.
I was quite fortunate to catch this landmark show soon after it opened in early 1988 to somewhat reluctant raves from the critics, but thunderous applause from its mesmerized audience. Yes, I was young and impressionable (that’s a good thing!) and found this show intensely romantic (if only!) yet I was old enough to appreciate the new musical theatrics, both vocally and visually, at work here. Like everyone else, I bought the album… yes, on vinyl, those were the days…. and wore it out along with my vocal chords! Whatever made me think I was a soprano?
So I jumped at this recent opportunity to see how I would perceive “Phantom” so many years later given that my world has altered in every way possible.
In 1988 this show…
Here are some fabulous events and activities for the Big Apple over the next six months for your bucket list. They include festivities and events in all of New York City’s Boroughs!
- The Radio City Christmas Spectacular will charm locals and visitors November 7–December 31. In addition to the show, Radio City Music Hall offers visitors a chance to make the experience more memorable by upgrading to an exclusive show package that includes dancing with the Rockettes (radiocitychristmas.com).
- THE RIDE’s Holiday Edition offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy New York City’s holiday festivities and cheer, from the comfort of a multi-million dollar motor coach. The experience will be hosted by two on-board New York City experts, and will feature live street performers, seen through floor-to-ceiling windows. Holiday tours preview on November 10, with 70 additional tours taking place November 17, 2014–January 4, 2015 (experiencetheride.com).
- New York City Ballet will present one of the season’s favorite annual productions, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, complete with marching toy soldiers, a one-ton Christmas tree that grows before the audience’s eyes and crystalline snowflakes. The show will run November 28–January 3 (nycballet.com).
- This holiday season, Carnegie Hall
Recently I went to the Boston Ballet. A childhood ballerina myself, I had no doubt I was going to adore the dances going in, but had little hope for the hubby. ”Please just stay awake, and I promise we’ll go to The Smith afterwards and order all your favorite things!”, I pleaded.
Come to find out, the Boston Ballet at Lincoln Center was a game changer. He LOVED it*. And honestly, I had never seen a ballet quite like it, it reminded me of the edgier troupe at the end of Center Stage that stole the audiences heart…a little less ballet that we think of in the traditional pink tutus and toe shoes, double pirouettes sense, and more theatrical performance art accompanied by techno rock music that keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering, “What’s next?” We saw the performances The Second Detail (my fave), New Work, and Cacti (the hubby was completely enchanted by this one!)
As promised, we did stop by the UWS’s Smith for a dinner of all his favorite things: cheesy grits, french fries, gnocchi, and baguettes. Carb-loading for a full night’s sleep, darlings!
The very first movie my mom ever took me to see in theaters as a kid was The Jungle Book, setting the stage for my love of all things Disney and musical. In 1992, the Disney version of Aladdin came to the screen, and my siblings and I must have watched that VHS copy, oh, a proper 1,572 times over the years.
Flash forward to 2014 when Aladdin comes to the biggest off-screen of NYC, Broadway! My hopes were high, and only to be exceeded by the brilliant directing and choreography (Casey Nicholaw, Tony award winner for directing The Book of Mormon), music (by composer Alan Menken), design of the massive sets, glittery costumes, and other worldly-lighting (Bob Crowley, Gregg Barnes, and Natasha Katz) and the crazy-talented cast (seriously, James Monroe Iglehart who played the Genie just blew the performance out of the park!
He also took home the Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, just FYI.) A special shout out to the special effect team (led by illusion master Jim Steinmeyer) who was charged with everything from creating magical books to materializing Genies to creating flying carpets
Ever since I heard about the Fes Festival of Sacred Music
, I wanted to go. I love devotional music of all kinds, the less I understand the words, the better. I coincided my trip with the festival so I could experience it for a few days. I knew I couldn’t hit up everything I wanted to see but even if I saw a few shows and was just in the atmosphere, I would be satisfied.
The Fes Festival of World Sacred Music
is one of the signature events of the Spirit of Fes Foundation
. The aim of this Festival is to harness the arts and spirituality in the service of human and social development, and the relationship between peoples and cultures. The 20th edition of the Festival ran from June 13 to 21 2014, with: The Conference of the Birds, “Journey of Cultures…” as its theme.
I had heard many stories from other travelers about Fes: the hassles, hustles, and fake guides were legend. I arrived by bus from Chefchauen and promptly hopped in a taxi. Wandering around the labyrinthine medina was my favorite. I never got hassled the entire time I was there.
The concerts were mostly
For those of you have visited South Africa, you know that the music, dancers and the singers, are as much of the experience as the nature and wildlife is regardless of what time of year you’re visiting the area. Have a look at the warmth and energy you can experience.
A leader, a warrior and protector.
A spirit of Africa, rich in culture and heritage.
One of thousands of stories told around the fire over the years.
The choir in full swing.
The charm of the choir around the fire.
A matriarch, Lina Lamula shows her talent.
A rhythm felt by dancers and guests alike. Simon Smit
A profile in the low light of the fire.
Photographed by: Mike Sutherland and Simon Smit. First photo of fire dance Simon Smit, Photos 2-5 photos: Mike Sutherland. Charm of the Choir and Matriarch photo: Mike Sutherland. Last shot/profile in the low light of the fire – Simon Smit.
I’m back today with a guide to fun (and somewhat funky) places to listen to music in New York City. Of course there are plenty of concert halls and traditional places to catch your favorite band, however I’ve gone for a bit of the unconventional here. Some of these places offer live music as a backdrop, for others it’s the main event, but either way, listening to music at any of these “venues” will definitely give you something to talk about the next day.
- The Subways: One of the most amazing things about this place is that music is absolutely everywhere. You don’t always have to pay for it — you don’t even always have to want it! — but it’s there, all the same. The subways here are seriously alive with the sounds of music. From solo singers to Mariachi to 10-piece bands, you might be surprised with the talent you’ll be subjected to just when trying to get from one place to another. If you’re seeking out the music, try some of the big stops like Grand Central, Union Square and Times Square. Those are always happening.
- Terminal 5: This place is also somewhat
The 15th annual Rocky Mountain Tea Festival is set for August 2 and 3, 2014, in the Dushanbe Teahouse, 1770 13th Street, Boulder, Colorado.
First up is a workshop “The Art of Blending Tea” with Sara Martinelli, teahouse owner, at noon August 2, 2014. Following a discussion of blending fundamentals, each participant will create a personal blend and take home a tin of their own tea.
Others include “Cooking with Tea”, “A Journey Through India”, “Tea Leaf Reading”, “A Japanese Tea Ceremony”, “The Tao of Tea”, a “Taiwanese Oolong Tasting” and “Rare Teas of China”.
There’s a Tea Bazaar from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. August 2, 2014; a Tea Dinner August 2, and a Children’s Teddy Bear Tea Party August 3, 2014.
(Photo courtesy of Dushanbe Teahouse)
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