Month: November 2013

Music Monday … The Years

(for directly going to the song go to 3:15 min – before that Scott Alan talks)

Well, I feel a little bad for two Music Mondays in a row being about the same composer and the same musical. But today was crazy workwise – I’ve worked for 13 hours straight at Bundeswettbewerb Gesang (btw. wanna read something about that?) and when I got home I happenend to think about Scott Alan’s Home and Willemijn Verkaik. Well, and here we are. Listening to her sing that song.

And: Today was annouced that Home is headed to West Ende for 2014. Maybe I another reason for me to go to London next year?

Yet another thing: If you want more than the usual blog-updates on here go ahead and like my blog’s Facebook-Page to never miss anything anymore!

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My Week #16, Nov. 17th – 23rd

what I saw
I went to see 10 (or something like that) interpretations of Le Sacre du Printemps at HAU with some class mates. And I saw three criminal dinner entertainment-performances (the three ones I managed this week…)

what I read    
some fashion magazines and random stuff.

what I listened to
Beethoven’s 9th symphony. Shrek, Matilda, Songs for a New World….

what I bought 
dried mango. lots of that.

what I did  
I worked. A lot actually but not as much as planned.

where I travelled
to and from work, mostly.

My Top 5 Male Voices in Musical Theatre

Here’s the male version of last Favourite Friday! Again, the mentioning of the guys is in no particular order. 😉

1) Norbert Leo Butz – if you have been following my blog for quite some time, you probably will have recognized that there’s one man in musical theatre business I could go crazy about. I mean, he’s just amazing. End of story. 😉

2) Christian Alexander Müller – number 2 on my list and the second one of the guys who once played Jamie in The Last 5 Years. I travelled to Chemnitz to see the production in played in. I love his voice – it’s more classical than most of other musical theatre actors’ in my opinion (which is a result from his classical voice training). And as you’ll see as we’ll be getting more into the list I have a soft spot for classical trained voices. One of the most poweful examples of his voices is his interpretation of “Stars” from Les Miserables from back in 2004 when he was about 23 years old. I recently even got to know one of his students and he has kind of the same voice and – well – that was beautiful.

3) Brian Stokes Mitchell – just like with LaChanze who was featured on the female version of that list I was introduced to him at the concert of songs by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty at 54below in September. His voice is – like Christian Alexander Müller’s – more on the classical side. And: Hell, yeah!

4) Günter Papendell – and here it comes! Another classical trained voice! I met Günter years ago when I sat in on a production of Beethoven’s Fidelio where he only was Don Fernando who is on stage for like three minutes (and directed to sleep most of that time in our production). He’s in the ensemble of Komische Oper Berlin and I saw him in quite a few productions, most recently as Olysses in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria where not only he was a brilliant Ulysses but the production was pretty beautiful all over. Oh – and his Don Giovanni!

5) Martin Wölfel – guess what! Another opera singer! Martin Wölfel is a countertenor and I saw him perform as Edgar in Reimann’s interpretation of King Lear (which is fact is a gorgeous opera and had an equally gorgeous staging at Komische Oper Berlin a few years ago) and – BOY! – that was some performance! Wölfel is here more an expression of my love for countertenors. But he’s pretty amazing, too!

Who’s your favourite?

Music Monday … Never Neverland

This week’s Music Monday is about Scott Alan, the first composer I somehow “found out about” back when NOBODY here in Germany knew him. Nowadays most of the musical-theatre-business-people over here know his music.

Anyway, this is my favourite song his and I like both the solo version and the one with four singers. But as it is meant to be sung by four singers I share that one as my (main) Music Monday!

Have fun listening. And I would love to hear what you are listening to this week!

My Week #15, Nov. 10th – 16th

what I saw
another bunch of Youtube-vids, a performance created by one of my friends and I really wanted to go and see “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” in Potsdam, but it was sold out….(because I was too lazy to call and get tickets….) – but I FINALLY watched Sherlock.

what I read    
stuff. nothing specific. Sadly.

what I listened to
Some “Shrek” and I did some ‘binge’-listening with “Time Stops” and “Fight the Dragons” from Big Fish.

what I bought 
a new pair of black jeans, you can always use some of those.

what I did  
a small performance with some of my classmates that included lighting matches. working. preparing stuff for the finals of Bundeswettbewerb Gesang.

where I travelled
to a far away part of the city for a house warming party yesterday night.

 

My Top 5 Female Voices in Musical Theatre

for this Favourite Friday I’ll be covering my top 5 female voices in modern musical theatre in no particular order….

AND with each and every of theses ladies combined we all can have a nice, never ending Youtube-marathon – which definitely will be worth it. 🙂

1) Pia Douwes – one of the musicals that “kicked off” my kind of professional thinking about that genre was “3 Musketiere” (3 Musketeers) in Berlin. There I was to whitness a stunning performance of Pia Douwes playing Milady De Winter. – I recently took the time to re-listen to the recording and yes, she was stunning. And she had been stunning everytime I saw her on stage ever since! The last time as Diana in the first German production of Next to Normal.

2) Stephanie J. Block – for me Stephanie J. Block is one of the only people in theatre business I’m fangirling about. Because her voice is just incredible, sometimes I wonder where that sound comes from, you watch her performing, singing and suddenly there is that sound and I can’t help but wonder. And I saw here live. At 54below. I’m still excited about that night!

3) Sabrina Weckerlin – as well as with Pia Douwes I first saw her in “3 Musketiere” where she was about 19 years old, her first ever production and caught a glimpse of her every now and then. Her vocal performance is always stunning, that girl can sing! Again, I just saw her as Natalie in Next to Normal and boy, she has matured (that’s funny to write about a 27-year-old since I’m only 22…) even since last year’s perofrmance of Magrid Arnaud in Marie Antoinette by Michael Kunze.

4) LaChanze – I first hear her sing at that concert at 54below (which is kind of legendary on my blog, right? it get’s referred to so much by myself). She sung Sarah Brown Eyer from Ragtime and I was AMAZED. With her singing that whole venue was silent as hell. Afterwards I went to a little LaChanze-youtubing and found out that I already had listened to her voice repeatedly – she’s Celie on the OBC of “The Color Purple”.

5) Linsay Mendez – the only one of these ladies I’ve never seen perform, but nevertheless I was obsessed with her the minute I heared her singing “Bless the Lord” from a rehearsal footage of the Godspell revival two years ago. Since then I’m buying CDs as soon as her name is mentioned with it. Because: Just listen, please.

I’ve limited myself to 5 – of course I could go on and on about great female voices….Liz Callaway, Willemijn Verkaik (who I saw back in Stuttgart before everyone in the US got crazy about her ), Patina Miller, Krysta Rodriguez….well I might be seeing another female-voice-top-list coming in the future. 😉

But still I have a bonus one for you – since this is a mucial theatre blog and a whole lot of what I watch/want to watch is opera I have a classical voice for you I deeply adore (especially when she sings new music, Reimann, Kurtag and stuff):
A great soprano and a dear friend of mine – Caroline Melzer. Fancy some Hindemith? Or something newer, a video installation of Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments she participated in? In the later one she totally took me off guard – there was so much story in these fragments sung by her and space and depth.

A nerd’s guide to New York City Pt. 1

When I returned from NYC I promised a more general post about my trip and what I did in the city because when I was prepping for the trip I couldn’t find much information that suited my needs. (I’m not saying that there are many people with needs and interests as complex and random as mine, but…)

Location, Location, Location
Somehow I hadn’t much knowledge about how big Manhattan was – and I mean the more touristy things up to 82th street or something. When I’m saying it’s not that huge I definitely don’t talk about everything north of 82nd street. That actually is HUGE (we did a full circle cruise and it took almost 3.5 hours). But south of that and especially south of central park you can pretty much walk everywhere (given enough time). We did some crazy ammount of walking and my mom’s feet didn’t look too pretty from time to time, but not only did it save us a lot of money we otherwise would’ve spend on the subway, but also we got to see the city (the thing with subways is that they are below the surface, right?). And as a runner/work-out-lover I loved to walking from a fitness perspektive, too. Nevertheless we stayed in a hotel at West 45th Street between 6th and 7th Av. The Room Mate Grace Hotel was a nice small (mostly Spanish speaking) hotel with a pool almost right in the lobby – it’s a shame we didn’t use it, but we simply didn’t. 😉 With that location we had like the shortest walks to the Broadway theatres (maximum distance: 7 blocks to Neil Simon, and 9 to 54below.) and we were very close to our beds after the shows. And I really learned to love Times Square. I mean it’s packed with tourists and lights and sounds and I’m usually not a person liking thoses kinds of things, but with Times Square is somehow was different. And we don’t really have to talk about the theatre district “magic”. When we first came to Manhattan from the airport after a whole day of travelling, we got off the subway and when we first set our feet on 44th street between 7th and 8th the first person I saw was so clearly a Broadway actor and I was like: Yay, I’m there!

Eating
Since this is a theatre blog not many of you (not many of the 5 of you reading that…) might know of my weird eating habits. I like salad and smoothies and coffee and fruit. I’m a vegetarian, almost egg-free and dairy free exept for milk (I can’t even imagine putting soy milk in my coffee ever again). When I travel I know I have to change my habits to match the offer at my destination. We had breakfast at a deli like next door from our hotel. They offered oat meal (with sugar and whole milk, without sugar and with skim milk and finally sugar- and milk-free) and smoothies which were actually made with milk and joghurt but not that much and they were tasty. That usually was our breakfast, most of the days we’d have a coffee going with that and we paid about 17 dollars for both of us. In the afternoon we usually (there were few eceptions like when we were still getting used to the location and forgot to get something to eat in time and a ‘trip’ to the Westway Diner and our Downton-Day) hit Whole Foods. I’m very much into that organic thing and I read about the prepared food section at Whole Foods stores. And YES. OH. MY. GOD! I usually had a salad made of baby spinach, roasted tomatos, mushrooms, avocado and carrots. And it was sooo yummy. We usually would get a box of fruit and a dessert as well (the tiramisu is AMAZING) and couldn’t eat everything for a late lunch/early pre-theatre dinner, so we usually ate the left-overs for a after theatre snack.
For our special splurge-dinner we went to 54below on our third night (Thursday) and it was amazing, as you can read in my special blogpost about our visit there.

Music Monday … Your Daddy’s Son

When I worked at Bundeswettbewerb Gesang (National Competition for Singers) three weeks ago, suddenly lots of people had “Your Daddy’s Son” from Ragtime in their repertoire. I don’t where that urge to try to battle down Audra McDonald (who, by the way, was born in Berlin!) comes from and only one of all these ladies sung that song iin the end – and she did very well!

I just recently listened to Ragtime for the first time (was it was the case with most of the Aherns/Flaherty-musicals, because of that fabulous concert I went to in NYC) and I fell for “Wheels of a Dream” instantly – I mean who could say no to Brian Stokes Mitchell’s voice? So it took me a little longer to be able to appreciate “Your Daddy’s Son” to full extend.

Let’s just take a listen and appreciate!

My Week #14, Nov. 4th – 10th

what I saw
people. and a whole bunch of Youtube-Videos.

what I read    
texts for my studies. random stuff on theatre websites.

what I listened to
Man of no Importance, Shrek, 3 Musketiere….

what I bought 
yarn.

what I did  
I caught a cold and now I’m coughing like nobody’s business. Managed two performances in a row, went to some lectures of a summit being held in my school, had extensive coffee time with a lovely friend! And I got some knitting done.

where I travelled
to and from Rostock for work.

I promise, next week’s recap will be much more interesting theatre-wise because I’ll start to see things again next week.

My Top 10 Websites for (Musical) Theatre Lovers

For the first ever Favourite Friday on this blog I want to share my top 10 websites for musical theatre lovers, German and English ones, in no particular order.

1. playbill.com is my number one source for Broadway news. Most of the things I knew before we travelled to NYC this fall I knew from reading playbill.com. They have loads of news and photo coverages of opening nights, recording sessions and special events. They have a database with a kind of playbill-archive and cast information for a ton of Broadway shows, from time to time when I want to know about a certain actor’s Broadway credits I will visit that page and lose track of time while doing some exessive research.

2. musicalzentrale.de is kind of a German-speaking version of playbill.com. They do small reviews and are open for comments from users, they have a forum where fans and ‘experts’ can share thoughts and from time to time they will publish an interview or something like that. Mostly it’s a database for productions being staged primarily in Germany, Austria and the German speaking part of Switzerland.

3. broadwayspotted.com For everyone who already forgot: That’s were I got the inspiration to do Music Monday from. On top of that they have a ton of interesting features on there!

4. broadway.com While playbill.com is my go-to-source for news I love broadway.com primarily for their fantastic vlog-series shot by Broadway actors being in the lastest shows sharing their (performance) routine and the even better ‘show’ by Paul Wontorek called “Show People” in which he sits down for 20 to 30 minutes to chat with Broadway stars. Basically it’s a talk show. With theatre actors. What more can we possibly want?

5. youtube.com is on that list for obvious reasons. I means – whereelse can you get an almost scary ammount of concert videos or recordings of promotional gigs or show cases. If you want something more illegal you obviously can get that, too. There is the one or the other full show to see on youtube. Anyway, I’ve found some amazing singers over the years. Natalie Weiss for example and Mallory Bechtel and in the end I even discovered my love for Scott Alan’s music over there years ago!

6. thatsmusical.de another German news-website for musical theatre. They concentrate more on the news aspect. Nice.

7. newmusicaltheatre.com is a page where new musical composers/writers offer their sheet music, but also have a blog where they post funny to interesting posts. I know the music of everyone posting there and it’s worth a (maybe even longer) visit!

8. twitter.com for almost as obvious reasons as youtube. Basically everyone, especially in America, is on twitter (in Germany not sooooo much right now, I hope it changes one day, I love twitter and it’s concept of limitation in times of What’sApp and unlimited text service) and you can follow a ton of people for news and updates.

9. nachtkritik.de is more a page where professional critics publish their reviews of straight plays or performance productions in Germany and Austria (partly). They also sum up other reviews. Great page for the serious academic side of me.

10. livekritik.de is a mixture of nachkritik.de and some kind of open review-blogging platform. Basically everyone can write reviews and comment. To be honest I’m not that frequent visiting that page, because mostly the reviewed productions are just not my taste. But still I like the concept and many people seem to enjoy it very much.

Did I forget something? Leave me your favourite as a comment, tweet me at @Spiralblog or write me on my Facebook page!