What I’m Listening To: January

Music

As a dancer and choreographer, I am always trying to find new music to inspire me. I sort all of this music into over 65 playlists on Spotify and there is a method to my madness. I usually gravitate to acoustic, singer-songwriter, nostalgic songs and have seen this heavily in my playlist for this month. Here’s my favorite from this month’s playlist:

1. Forever Young by Rhiannon Giddens and Iron & Wine

I actually only heard this version last night on the series finale of Parenthood but I am already hooked. You can’t get better than Dylan’s lyrics and these vocalists just make you want to curl up on your couch and watch old home videos.

2. Benediction by Luke Sital Singh

One of the choreographers from my studio is using this song and whenever I watch the dance I’m transported. This song is eerie but so beautiful. It was also on last week’s episode of Parenthood (they seriously always have the best music) and I found myself crying in my living room all alone. Yes, I will admit that.

3. The Blower’s Daughter & Tighten Up by Alice Kristiansen

Kristiansen is a youtube find and I have been singing her covers in the shower ever since I first heard them. The ease in her voice and stylistic choices have made me completely forget about the originals.

Do you have any favorite singer-songwriters? Let me know! I can always use more inspiration 🙂 — J

On Broadway: What Musicals You Need to See NOW

Broadway, Travel

What would a Seattlite know about Broadway? They only know about coffee, rain, and the tech industry. About two years ago, I would have been one of those people but three trips to NYC and the discovery of Broadway blogs later, I am hooked. Now people come to me when they are heading to NYC to hear about what shows they should see. I realized instead of keeping all this to myself, I should share it with all of you! I will stick to my wheelhouse and only cover the musicals currently on the Great White Way (Dec 2014). So, let’s start with the shows you need to see NOW!

hedwig beautiful ifthen

1. Hedwig and the Angry Inch
I have to be honest, I bought tickets to the show without knowing anything about it. This was when Neil Patrick Harris was first announced as being in the production. When I saw his publicity photos with all the glitter, I called my friend ASAP and got us tickets to see it during our upcoming trip to NYC.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a raucous musical comedy that tells the story of a fictional rock ‘n’ roll band, fronted by Hedwig, a transgender woman and “internationally ignored song stylist” from East Berlin.

The story-telling and music in this production is like nothing that has been on Broadway before. It is fresh, energized, and funny as hell. Since NPH’s tony winning run, Andrew Rannels has taken on the role, and currently Michael C. Hall is taking a whack at Hedwig. On January 21st, the original Hedwig from the Off-Broadway production, John Cameron Mitchell (who also wrote the book) will hit the stage! Also, check out Lena Hall’s Tony-winning performance as Yitzhak. Her voice is out of this world.

2. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

I had heard nothing but great things about Beautiful online so when I booked a trip with my sister to NYC for my birthday, I chose Beautiful as the show to see. This was also my sister’s first Broadway show and I was scared it was going to be her last.

Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of Carole King, from her early days as a Brooklyn teenager (named Carol Klein) struggling to enter the record business to her years spent as a chart-topping music legend.

Luckily, my sister loved it. What is so great about this show is that we realized that we were raised on King’s music without even knowing it! It is one of those shows where nothing could have been done better. The music makes you tap your feet in your seat and you are literally up on your feet dancing during the outro. You need to see Jessie Mueller’s Tony-winning performance before she exits the show on March 6, 2015. Highly recommend bringing your parents and grandparents to this one, but anyone will love it!

3. If/Then

These days, every book is made into a movie, every movie into a musical, and vice versa. It is very rare to find completely new original work on Broadway, but right now there is If/Then. With powerhouse Idina Menzel as the leading lady, this musical ponders the choices we make in life and how it shapes our journey.

If/Then is a contemporary new musical that follows two distinct storylines in the life of Elizabeth, a city planner who moves back to New York to restart her life in this city of infinite possibilities. When her carefully designed plans collide with the whims of fate, Elizabeth’s life splits into two parallel paths. If/Then follows both stories simultaneously as this modern woman faces the intersection of choice and chance.

The simple set design allowed us to focus on the relationships and the emotion. You really don’t need anything more than Idina Menzel singing on the stage by herself. I actually stood up clapping by myself as she sustained her last, powerful note– something I have never done before. However, Idina isn’t the only amazing performance. The fairly newcomer, James Snyder, is SO charming. Idina’s old Rent pal, Anthony Rapp, once again enters a complicated relationship with Idina’s character. Tony award winner, LaChanze, is so powerful, as well as her love interest, Jenn Collela. You need to see it before Idina gets even more famous on her world tour starting this summer.

These are just three of many amazing musicals currently on Broadway. I’ll make sure to punch out a few more of these lists in the coming weeks, but feel free to ask any questions about shows until then! — J