Lifestyle Blogger. Promdi. Filipina.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

My Musical Obession: Hadestown

I love my share of musicals. I grew up watching Annie on video, along with other classics such as The Sound of Music and Jesus Christ Superstar. During my high school years I was a fan of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon and more recently I was (and still am) obsessed with Hamilton

A few months ago, I discovered another show that I started to obsess over in the way that I have with Hamilton. It’s the (fairly) new musical called Hadestown. I found out about it when I got a suggested video on You Tube that featured the two leads of the show performing the song All I’ve Ever Known. From there I watched the other videos and started following the Hadestown OBCR playlist to listen to the songs from the musical. 


Much like Hamilton, Hadestown started off as a concept album and has since evolved into the Broadway/Tony Award-winning musical that it is today. It is a retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, two lovers separated by death until the former follows the latter to the Underworld to try to get her back.  

In the musical, the story is retold in the setting of the Great Depression era and is narrated by the god Hermes. It focuses not just on the relationship of Orpheus and Eurydice but also of the god of the Underworld and his wife: Hades and Persephone. If you are familiar with Greek mythology then you know how the story will go and how it will end. It may sound weird to be interested in a story you already know and yet want to see again (albeit in a different incarnation) but as Hermes sings in the musical, even if we know how it ends, we sing it again in the hope that things will be different.


I have not seen the musical in its entirety, just bits and pieces of it that have been shared online, but I am hooked. I am in awe of the actress who plays Persephone — if I could sing like that I would love to play her on stage, that’s how much I loved her performance. I get chills by how mysterious and eerie the actor who plays Hermes is when he is on stage. I think Eva Noblezada, who plays Eurydice is so talented and her voice just glides through the air when she sings. I was also pleasantly surprised about how different Reeve Carney is in this one. I’ve seen him in Penny Dreadful as Dorian Gray and I have to say that seeing him play this na├»ve character who was full of heart was amazing. I was disappointed that he didn’t get nominated in the recent Tony Awards for that.  

I wish that I could get to watch this with the current cast but that is nothing more than a dream for me. I doubt if I can ever make a trip to the US, much less score tickets to the show on Broadway. I hope that like Hamilton, this original cast can record one performance for future video sale/distribution to fans like me who would not have the opportunity to see the show otherwise.  

This is one of those shows that needs to have a movie version in the future. I am hoping that it happens sooner rather than much, much later. I mean, if Lin Manuel’s In the Heights can get acquired for a movie version on the year it was on Broadway why can’t this one not happen too? I’m willing to wait the decade (or so) that it’s taking In the Heights to be made and released. I think it will be worth it!



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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Review: Roswell New Mexico

One of the TV shows that I was watching a few months back was Roswell New Mexico. Based on the book series called Roswell High, this is the second incarnation of the books to TV.  

I was familiar with the older show but I never followed it. I decided to give this new version a shot this time around because it was from the same creator who came up with The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, which were shows that I loved. 

Basically, the show is about a group of aliens who were part of the crash in Roswell, New Mexico in the late 1940s and how they are blending in with the people in the town they now live in. One of the aliens is in love with the daughter of an undocumented immigrant, who comes back to town after being away for a long time. This starts a series of events that threaten to reveal their secret and forces them to come to terms with who they are and where they came from.  


The show very aptly tackled issues that came with being “different” and being “aliens,” which is a good fit for the times in the US. I love that they are able to incorporate talking points about these issues in such a show, considering that it is a series marketed to a younger crowd. The issues get pointed out and is given their screen time without it being preachy or boring. It becomes part of the whole storyline. 

My favorite part of the entire series is Nathan Parsons, who plays the alien Max, who is in love with Jeanine Mason’s character Liz. I’ve seen Nathan Parsons in The Originals and I never paid him that much attention but he shines in this show as part of the star-crossed lovers (pun intended) of the series. I love how he played the younger Max who was in love with Liz even back then – the way he looked at her was very pure and innocent compared to the pained and passionate looks that he gave when he became older and is faced with her again. You can just feel how deeply in love Max is with Liz. I swear, every time he comes up with those swoon-worthy lines about how much he loves Liz I find myself almost falling off my seat every time. The guy is good at this! 

Speaking of swoon-worthy lines, I have to give credit to the writers of this show for all the romantic things that have been said on the show (mostly by Max for me). I sometimes forgot that I was watching a science fiction show and not a romantic drama with the words that were said.  


I feel like I’m disappearing until you look at me. 

Somehow you always stand in the part of the room that the sun hits first.

You touched my lips and I stopped breathing. 


Do you understand what I mean? 

Moving on...I’m very happy to see Jeanine Mason in this show. I still remember her from her dancing days on So You Think You Can Dance. I’ve seen her in several other projects since then but if I’m not mistaken, this is her first lead role. While I can’t say that she’s on the same level as Nathan Parsons, she does hold her own in every scene. 

Honestly, I don’t care much for the other characters in the show because I’m more invested on Max and Liz than anyone else...which is why I was disappointed to find out that Max died at the end of the first season. I know they will bring him back for the second season but I have the feeling that he won’t be the same Max...and I really liked the “deeply-in-love-with-Liz” version of him.  

I’m not sure if I will love the second season if Max is different, but I guess I’ll have to wait and see. I hope the writers will not let me down. 
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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

My Fave RomCom: Never Been Kissed

I am a sucker for romantic comedies. I will always love them, no matter how cheesy they get sometimes. A few months ago I was reminded that one of my favorite rom-coms of all time had just celebrated its anniversary: Never Been Kissed (coincidentally the name of my very first blog from way back) is now 20!


I can’t believe that it’s been 20 years since I was introduced to Josie Geller of the Chicago Sun Times. I can still remember loving this character who had a second chance with high school by going undercover to try to get the inside story on the lives of teenagers. This was also the movie where I fell in love with Michael Vartan, whose career I followed up to his most recent TV show, The Arrangement. I also can’t forget to mention that this is one of the earlier movies of Jessica Alba and James Franco. 

Looking back now that I’m older, I do realize that my hopeless romantic side sort of glazed over the fact that the teacher was interested in his supposedly 17 year old student (which in hindsight is a bit of a red flag when you think about it). I know she really wasn’t 17 and just pretending to be one but still, it is a little disturbing how it was a bit ignored here in favor of getting the romance in. Maybe if they didn’t frame the relationship around that, it would be less of a disturbing thing but I really have no idea what other way they could have done it. Oh and there’s also that thing where Josie dated a high school guy, who I am assuming is also underage and 17. Also not OK. 

The age thing aside, this was one of my favorite movies because it was about a woman finding her voice and her identity. It was about connecting with people and about finding the kind of love that you wanted. Josie always wanted to be a successful writer and that article she wrote at the end of the film helped her to be that. She wanted to fall in love in the way that she dreamed of, and in the end she took a risk and got the man she wanted. 

Drew Barrymore was such a sweetheart in this movie, it was hard not to root for her and want her to succeed. I love how even in the end while she did grow as a person, she was still that lovable and charmingly awkward person that she was in the beginning of the film. 

There were so many quotable lines from the movie. I loved the scene where Josie described the kind of kiss that she wanted to have, to which her co-worker (played by now Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer) remarked that she should be a writer. 

Another memorable line (or should I say lines) in the movie was from Josie’s article, where she talks about the people you meet in high school. The girls, the athletes, the smart kids, your teachers and friends. And yes, of course, that one guy that makes you want to go to school in the morning.

I have to agree with her, although for me it could relate to people I have met in college as well. I guess it has something to do with being young — experiencing things and meeting people at that age, people tend to make a big impression on a person.Things are different when you’re young, when all things are new. It just makes everything extra special and memorable in that way.

Of course, I cannot discuss this movie without mentioning that final line where Josie finally gets her man and he tells her he’s sorry he took so long to get there and she replies that she knows what he means…that was just a classic scene for me. Then that Beach Boys song plays and everything just feels so happily ever after…to this day that song from the end reminds me of this movie and brings a smile to my face when I hear it! 

Never Been Kissed is one of those movies that I’d watch again in a heartbeat if given the opportunity. It’s a classic rom-com and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys the genre. This whole pretending to be someone else in the age of the internet and social media would not have worked in the same way today as it did in the 90s, but it’s nice to go back to a time when social media didn’t matter. 

If you haven’t seen it, it’s probably in at least one of the major streaming services out there. It’s worth the watch!
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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Thank You Boyzone and Good Night!

It finally happened! As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, I managed to get 3rd row VIP seats to Boyzone’s Thank You and Good Night Manila concert AND the opportunity for a Meet and Greet with the band. This was a better opportunity for me compared to last year’s 10th row seat without the chance to meet everyone.


As excited as I was about the show, I was also a tad disappointed that the Meet and Greet was not what I hoped it would be. I felt like we were in a factory assembly line: shuffled in 20 at a time, rushed to pose with the guys so that someone could take our picture and then shooed off so that the next set of 20 could go in and do the same. We were also repeatedly told not to give them anything or hand them anything to sign. I understand that there was very little time and the band did just come in from a flight from Taiwan, but I felt that it could have been handled differently. I was just lucky that I managed to stand near Ronan Keating where I could tap him on the arm to tell him that I loved their music (and the radio show he does with Harriet Scott that I follow online). I also managed a hug from Keith Duffy as I was being rushed out of the room, with Mikey Graham stifling a laugh at the situation.

Photo Credit: Wilson Chua (Sorry had to blur out the other people since I didn't have their permission to share their photo in public!)

In spite of the state of the Meet and Greet, I still had a good time at the concert itself. Former Westlife member Brian McFadden entertained the fans with a bunch of Westlife songs. My sister and I agreed that he had a really good voice which, I admit, I never noticed when he was on Westlife. He was also very good on stage and knew how to handle a crowd. He was very entertaining. I’d watch him if he ever came back to the country to perform because based on how he was as a front act, I know he’d be good to watch again.


The set list for Boyzone was, as they promised, full of the older hits, as it was their good bye to the fans who have followed them through the years. I loved going back in time to the songs that made me love this Irish boy band in the first place, and I enjoyed seeing the old videos that they shared on the big screen as they performed their hits.


As they did last year, they also had a special tribute to Stephen Gately who passed away in 2009. It was good to see the video where they all talked about their relationship with him and equally touching to hear them perform with his voice still included in the track so that he could be there with them.


It was a long show (and based on how they looked at the Meet and Greet the guys all looked like they were very tired from the very long and hectic tour schedule) but they still gave us fans a performance that we won’t soon forget. The energy was very high, with all the guys making the effort to get closer to the fans from the stage. Keith even went straight to the audience area to perform in the crowd!




After the last song it was sad to see it all end, but I am happy that I got those two hours to relive my youth and the good memories that it had for me. It was great to meet people like me who, for those couple of hours, got to be kids again watching our favorite band before we go back to living as adults with careers, families and responsibilities (something that I think Keith also said in an interview about the tour). It was nice to exchange stories with other fans like me who were big fans since the beginning. I was surprised to find out how many of us were unable to go and see them when we were younger and were now watching them from the VIP seats. It's good that we got to see them before they disbanded!


I’m really glad that the band came back for one final show. I actually got a few ideas for my book ( a historical novel that was partly inspired by some of their songs and some actual events in Philippine history) during the concert and from meeting them in person. I can’t wait to start writing it again! Just looking at Ronan made me think of the character I had based on him. It was hard to write before when he looked much younger but now that he's in his 40s, the character just came alive for me when I saw him up close!




On that note, this is me temporarily signing off to write this dream novel of mine. I won't be able to post as often as I used to, but I've written some advance posts that I've scheduled to pop up every now and then in the meantime. I'll be posting updates on my writing when I have something significant to share so please keep stopping by this blog whenever you can.

Thank you again Boyzone for coming back. Thank you for the music and for letting us say goodbye.
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