Signing Off

Hello readers! I spend several frustrating hours trying to update this blog and having my photos distort, duplicate, or flat-out not load. In the process of doing that and getting nowhere, I decided that even when it works, the process does not give me much joy and it takes of my time. So, I’m done. Maybe forever, maybe not – but certainly for now. I’ll still be sharing snippets of my theatre experiences and travels on Instagram @kelliplansitall, so feel free to join me over there! I do love sharing my experiences online, but it’s not a thing I ever want to take over my life or become my work. And for now, it’s too much work! See you around!

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February 2022 Show Recap

February was a pretty simple month when it comes to shows – there was only one. Twenty years ago this year, I saw my first professional theatre show – the 2002 national tour of RENT. This month, I saw the 25th anniversary tour of RENT in what they are claiming is the final tour.

Our tickets were for February 19 at Dallas Summer Musicals’ venue, Music Hall at Fair Park. They had some cute little photo spots set up in the lobby, so we took our turn taking photos (notice my nod to Jonathan Larson’s other works in wearing my Moondance Diner t-shirt from tick…tick..BOOM!). The show itself is just as special and socially relevant as ever. I loved what this group of actors brought to the characters, managing to make these well-known people & tunes completely their own. It was a perfect way to spend a night of Jonathan Larson’s birthday month.

No day but today, y’all. See you next month with what is shaping up to be a lengthy show update from March.

January 2022 Show Recap

Happy 2022! I am off and running to see shows early in the new year. Let’s recap the theatre I took in during January.

I literally started off 2022 with a night at the theatre, to see the national tour of Jersey Boys at Dallas Summer Musicals. Lots of familiar songs and a story I was not at all familiar with made for an entertaining show. Not a favorite for me, but definitely worth seeing and a great way to start off the year!

On January 9th I took myself to AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas to see the national tour of What the Constitution Means to Me. I’d previously watched the recorded live on Broadway version on Amazon Prime Video, so I knew what I was in for. The show was even more meaningful in person and I was really glad I made time to go see it during it’s short one-week stop in the metroplex.

The next week, I watched two live simulcast shows. First on January 10th was Jeanna de Waal’s show at Feinstein’s/54 Below, which has recently started offering live virtual tickets. It was like being in the room since it was all happening live. Then Clyde has been playing at the Helen Hayes theatre on Broadway this fall and was set to close January 16th. They decided to do the last two weeks of the play with live simulcast tickets, which allowed me to see a live Broadway play in my living room without paying for the expense of a trip to NYC. I bought my ticket for January 15th’s matinee and it was such a good show (I also bought a playbill from the show on ebay in advance of the viewing).

On January 21, we finally got to see the national tour of Hadestown as part of our Dallas Summer Musicals subscription at AT&T Performing Arts Center. It was so interesting to see the changes in staging for the touring production, and I loved the different interpretations this cast brought to the characters. Having now seen the Broadway company and the touring company, you really can’t go wrong with either. This is an absolutely MUST-SEE show!

And to finish out the month, we went as a family to see the Angelica Company of Hamilton at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth. We bought these tickets back in November 2019, and due to the pandemic, the tickets were rescheduled from June 19, 2020 to January 30, 2022. I was thrilled to see some actors in new-to-me roles this time – it’s honestly what I love about seeing this show over and over again.

That’s it for January – a pretty theatre-heavy start to the year! February will be much lighter, but I’ll be back next month to share how that happens.

2021 Theatre Recap

Normally I only count live, in person theatre on my show list of the year but in 2020 I started counting virtual productions that were filmed live onstage or required a ticket to view. Movie musicals (such as West Side Story) did not count and only the first viewing of the year could count. For 2021, once I saw my first professional show in person, I stopped counting digital productions unless they were current shows that had not yet reopened at the time of release. Here’s my 2021 show list:

1/1/2021 – Ratatouille the TikTok Musical (Virtual Musical, Streamed via TodayTix)

1/15/2021 – Rent (Filmed live on Broadway, streamed via Movies Anywhere)

1/21/2021 – Lizzie (at Ray of Light Theatre, Streamed via Ticketed Event)

1/29/2021 – Anjou (Virtual Musical Concert, Streamed via YouTube)

2/10/2021 – Haley at Therapy (Virtual Musical Concert, Streamed via YouTube)

2/13/2021 – Slava’s Snowshow (Filmed Live in London’s West End, Streamed via BroadwayHD)

2/19/2021 – Hamilton (Filmed Live on Broadway, Streamed via Disney+)

2/27/2021 Upon These Shoulders (Virtual Performance)

3/3/2021 – Rent: Measured in Love (Virtual Concert & Documentary)

3/17/2021 – The Last 5 Years (Virtual Musical, Out of the Box Theatrics)

3/20/2021 – Something Grim(m) (Dallas Theater Center Interactive Walk-Through Experience)

3/27/2021 – Miss Saigon (Filmed Live in London’s West End, Streamed via BroadwayHD)

3/30/2021 – Broadway Backwards (Virtual Performance, Streamed via YouTube)

4/2/2021 – Amour (Virtual Musical, Streaming via Playbill)

4/10/2021 – Allegiance (Filmed Live on Broadway, Streamed via BroadwayHD)

4/15/2021 – School Virtual Arts Festival (Virtual Performance, [Name Redacted] School)

4/18/2021 – Musical of Musicals (Virtual Musical, York Theatre Company)

4/24/2021 – The Toxic Avenger (Filmed Live in London’s West End, Streamed via BroadwayHD)

4/29/2021 – People Places And Things (Central High School)

5/7/2021 – A Killer Party (Virtual Musical, Streamed via Vimeo)

5/14/2021 – Breathe (Virtual Musical)

5/16/2021 – Miscast Gala (Virtual Concert, MCC)

5/22/2021 – First Date (Virtual Musical, Streaming via BroadwayHD)

5/30/2021 – Lights on the Radio Tower (Virtual Musical, Streaming via Five Ohm)

6/11/2021 – Selections from Hamilton (Oh Look Performing Arts Summer Camp)

6/18/2021 – Grease (Garland Summer Musicals)

6/20/2021 – After Midnight (Virtual Performance, Signature Theatre)

6/30/2021 – Ann: The Ann Richards Play (Filmed live on tour, Streaming via BroadwayHD)

7/1/2021 – Carousel (Filmed live at Lincoln Center, Streaming via BroadwayHD)

7/3/2021 – Fame the Musical (Filmed Live in London’s West End, Streamed via BroadwayHD)

7/8/2021 – Brooklyn the Musical (Virtual Musical, Streamed via BroadwayHD)

7/12/2021 – 42nd Street (Filmed Live in London’s West End, Streamed via BroadwayHD)

7/15/2021 – She Loves Me (Filmed Live on Broadway, Streamed via BroadwayHD)

7/16/2021 – An American in Paris (Filmed Live in London’s West End, Streamed via BroadwayHD)

7/16/2021 – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Virtual Musical, CollaborAzian)

7/16/2021 – Working (Dallas Theater Center)

7/23/2021 – Improv Scenes (Oh Look Performing Arts Summer Camp)

7/29/2021 – The Office Musical Parody (Off-Broadway)

7/30/2021 – Drunk Shakespeare (Off-Broadway)

8/1/2021 – John Cardoza: Things I Learned from My Roadtrip Playlist (Feinstein’s/54 Below)

8/7/2021 – Wicked (National Tour)

8/26/2021 – Wicked (National Tour)

9/10/2021 – Come From Away (Filmed Live on Broadway, Streamed via AppleTV)

10/2/2021 – Diana (Filmed Live on Broadway, Streamed via Netflix)

10/8/2021 – Fall Showcase (Central High School)

10/16/2021 – Freestyle Love Supreme (Broadway)

10/16/2021 – Ain’t Too Proud (Broadway – Re-Opening Night)

10/17/2021 – Chicago (Broadway)

10/18/2021 – Six (Broadway)

10/29/2021 – The Addams Family (Repertory Company Theatre)

11/10/2021 – Matilda Jr ([Name Redacted] School)

11/11/2021 – Matilda Jr ([Name Redacted] School)

11/12/2021 – Matilda Jr ([Name Redacted] School)

11/19/2021 – Hamilton (Dallas, Angelica Tour Company)

11/20/2021 – Hamilton (Dallas, Angelica Tour Company)

12/1/2021 – Hamilton (Dallas, Angelica Tour Company)

12/4/2021 – Hamilton (Los Angeles, Eliza Company)

12/12/2021 – The Spongebob Musical (Central High School)

12/20/2021 – ‘Twas the Night (Radio Play, distributed via The Hamilcast podcast)

December 2021 Show Recap

December brought a few more live theatre experiences to round out the year! Starting off December 1st, I was back at Dallas Summer Musicals for Hamilton #15 with the Angelica Company. The night started with a pre-show meetup of the DSM Associate Producers at Pizza Lounge across the street from the Music Hall. Then before the show started, I ran into my good friend Ashley. There were lots of people on that I hadn’t seen before and it was so cool to see new people onstage even though this was the third time I’ve seen this company during the Dallas run.

I took a one night trip to Los Angeles to see the Eliza Company of Hamilton on December 4th. IT seems strange to take a one-night trip for a show, but I had airline credit that expired at the end of December and this ticket was cancelled and rebooked from 2020 as well, so the only “new money” I had to spend was on a hotel and a couple of meals. This company is comprised of Hamilton veterans from other companies, some who I have seen and some who I’ve always wanted to see. The Hollywood Pantages Theatre is also absolutely gorgeous. It was a wonderful night and a great performance. The short trip was well worth it!

On December 12, I took Aiden to see my school’s production of The Spongebob Musical. I’d previously seen the recorded on stage version and didn’t really love it, but it was so good live! I think it helped to see all of the students I work with onstage and how hard they work and how talented they are. They put together a really phenomenal show for this one!

That was it for December! I’ll be back soon with a full run-through of all the shows I saw in 2021 before getting into all the planned shows for 2022. See you at the theatre!

November 2021 Show Recap

Hold on to your hats, y’all – November 2021 marks my return to Hamilton after 22 months since seeing the Broadway company in January 2020. The Angelica Company started a three-week run in Dallas at Music Hall at Fair Park and naturally, I had to be there! In November I actually went twice!

But first, I have to talk about the other show I saw before Hamilton. Our son was in the school musical, Matilda Jr., earlier in the month. I was in the audience for 2 performances, and worked the popcorn machine at the concession stand for the 3rd performance. Aiden was cast in three roles (Michael, Mechanic, and Cook), so he was the only actor making multiple quick changes. He and the other students did a great job bringing this story to life and improved their performance with each show. They will perform again during the school day for their classmates later in December.

My first visit – my return to Hamilton for my 13th viewing – was with Jonathan on Friday November 19. I had never seen this tour company prior to that date, and was thrilled to be back in the room where it happens to take in the performance. The show was crisper, sharper, cleaner, more dynamic than I’ve ever seen it. I immediately found myself visually following certain performers who stood out as exceptional or engaging. I noted the changes in choreography at the top of Act 2 (referenced in this article) and I felt like the new movement still really felt seamless like it had always been done that way. I miss getting to stage door, but I loved the opportunity to see the show again.

Then I turned around and went right back to see Hamilton the next day, November 20th – now my 14th performance. I took my friend Erin, who has never seen the show live. We went on what is actually Dallas Summer Musicals’ annual gala night, only we didn’t have the budget for the high-priced fundraiser dinner that happened before the show. We went across the street to Las Almas Rotas, a Mexican restaurant that offers a pre-show menu with cocktails themed to whatever show is in town. For the gala night, DSM set up a Barbie-box style Playbill photo prop, allowing us to step inside and grab a photo of us as though we were on a Hamilton Playbill cover. I loved the show, Erin loved the show, and we had lots of great nerdy theatre conversations all the way to Dallas and back. It was such a great night!

Also of note, I have officially made it! Well, kind of. I am serving my second year on the board of the Dallas Summer Musicals’ Associate Producers, our young professionals group. They put our names in the Playbill this year, so am officially in a Hamilton Playbill. Don’t give up on your dreams, y’all!

I’ll be back with a December recap before you know it! This year is really flying by!

Trip Recap: Mother-Daughter NYC

Last month I took my mom on her first-ever visit to NYC! We had just a long weekend to cram in as much as possible, and while we barely scratched the surface of what the city has to offer, we did lot. I always do a lot on my trips though, I’m not a sit-by-the-pool-and-relax kind of traveler.

We started on a Saturday with a 6AM flight. After quite a bit of road traffic, we finally made it to our hotel, Hotel Edison, at lunch time. Our room wasn’t ready, so we stored our bags and went to Patzeria Perfect Pizza for the NYC pizza slices I’ve been missing. We took a little walk around Times Square and stopped by the Broadway Up Close booth for a photo with the Broadway sign, then walked up to shop at the Drama Bookshop. We walked back down on 8th Avenue and stopped for a treat at Carlo’s Bakery. Once our room was ready, we freshened up and headed back out for the evening. We went to two Broadway shows (Freestyle Love Supreme and Ain’t Too Proud – details in my October show recap post), and in between we grabbed sandwiches and chips for dinner at the Star Lite Deli. It was a full first day!

Our Sunday was jam-packed as well. We headed downtown to Leo’s Bagels for breakfast. There was a bit of a line, but it was well-worth the wait. We took a short stroll over to board the Staten Island Ferry and enjoyed beautiful views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan during our trip to Staten Island and back. Once we returned to Manhattan, we took a walk through the historical sites downtown on our way over to the 9/11 Memorial. After spending some time there, we hopped on the subway to Chelsea Market, where we did some shopping (mostly browsing) and ate lunch at Creamline. We then headed back to the hotel for the afternoon to refresh for the evening. We ate dinner at The Mean Fiddler before heading to see Chicago at the Ambassador. We finished the night with a half a cinnamon raisin bagel saved from the morning’s trip to Leo’s and it was perfection!

Monday was our last full day in the city and we made the most of it. We started with breakfast at the Brooklyn Diner (57th St location). Then we took a 2 hour pedicab tour of Central Park, which I highly recommend! It’s the best way to see the whole park and cover a lot of ground quickly. After our trip, we went shopping at Bergdorf Goodman. I bought beautiful Christmas ornaments and some pieces of Victoria Beckham’s new makeup line. Then we went up to the Bergdorf Goodman restaurant for Afternoon Tea service. We each chose our own pot of tea and then shared a 3-tiered tray of finger sandwiches, scones, and miniature desserts. It was a fun experience to have together! We walked back to our hotel to refresh for the evening and start packing to head home the next day. For dinner, we went to one of my favorites, Bond 45, before heading to see Six. It was a lovely way to close out the trip.

Then on Tuesday morning, we grabbed a quick breakfast at Carve Unique Sandwiches and headed to the airport. It was a whirlwind trip, but a great time. We enjoyed our time together and I was able to see some new things in the city.

Until next time!

October 2021 Show Recap

Y’ALL. WE ARE BACK TO MONTHLY SHOW RECAPS. I’m so excited to be seeing live performances regularly again, and I’m even more thrilled that most venues have some kind of safety measures in place (outdoors, masks required, and/or vaccinations/testing required). It gives me hope that all my friends in the theatre industry will be able to work safely for a long time without worrying about another nearly two-year unemployment stint. Let’s dive right in to the shows I saw in October.

On October 8th, I went to my school’s fall showcase of shows. Over that weekend, they performed 4 plays total, but three on each day. On the day I went, I saw A Monster Calls, Holes, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Some of the seating was on the stage (where I opted to sit) and the overflow was in the traditional theatre seats. It was so great to see my students back in their element. I really enjoyed all three shows and felt super proud to work with these amazing young people.

I was fortunate enough to squeeze in a short 3-night trip to NYC with my mom this month (more on that in another post soon), and we saw a few shows, naturally. First up, on October 16th we went to the 5pm show of Freestyle Love Supreme at the Booth Theatre. If you are unfamiliar, this is a completely improvised freestyle show; they have a set format for the show, but the content, the words, the music are all made up on the spot at each performance. Unlike when I saw the show in January of 2020, there were no yondr pouches for phones – not really very practical for sanitizing in pandemic times. We submitted words via google form instead of handwriting them on index cards. Christopher Jackson hopped into the cast for this show and he does what CJack does and makes people cry with his smooth tones and touching insights. The show was hilarious as usual. I LOVED every minute of it and it was the perfect first Broadway show for my mom. If anything, it makes me jealous of those who live near enough to take advantage of rush and lottery options to see each nightly version of this show.

After a quick dinner, we went to the re-opening night of Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations at the Imperial Theatre at 8pm. The house was packed and frenzied with the excitement of the reopening. The show was incredible (my first time seeing it) and Nik Walker led the show as Otis Williams brilliantly. After the bows, they called up the real Otis Williams onstage and had us all sing Happy Birthday to him as he was celebrating his 80th birthday. If you haven’t seen this show, DO IT – either on Broadway or in the upcoming national tour.

The next evening, October 17, we headed over to Ambassador Theatre to see Chicago. I love the music of this show, but I had only ever seen the movie version before now. If you’re expecting the splashy costuming of the movie, you’re gonna be disappointed – but I was not. I love the sleek black, the band onstage, and the iconic Bob Fosse choreography. Lillias White killed as Mama Morton and I’m glad we got to see the show during her run. This one is a classic for a reason!

Our last Broadway show was on October 18, Six at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. You may remember me sharing my first experience at Six during their pre-Broadway run in Chicago in the summer of 2021. The queens are on Broadway now and the costumes got an upgrade for the affair. The show is still as cheeky and captivating as it ever was and I love seeing the actresses’ incredible vocal and dance talents showcased in such a skillful way. I am not able to pick a favorite queen/actress – they are all phenomenal in their own right. This one is a lot of fun!

In addition to theatre, I also threw a concert in the mix in October. I was able to take my 11 year old son to his first ever concert – the Jonas Brothers’ Remember This Tour – on October 22. This tour was held exclusively at outdoor venues and required either proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter, which made me feel better since 11 year-olds still cannot be vaccinated (though it will be soon! maybe within a week!). The JoBros put on a great show as always, and it was so fun to watch Aiden jam out and sing along. It was a night to remember for us both!

And finally, I went to see my friend Gayla as Alice Beineke in The Addams Family at Repertory Company Theatre. I went with my friends Lynette and Lila. I’d seen a high school production of this show before, but it’s always elevated when someone you know is in the play. It’s such a fun and funny show, and I love being able to support and spend time with friends after the last two years we’ve had.

That’s it for October! It was A LOT! But I wouldn’t trade the busyness of the past month for the world. I’m just so excited to be back at it. Stay tuned for November, when I return to my favorite past-time: seeing Hamilton!

Spring/Summer Show Recap

Reopening in-person theatre has been a precarious notion throughout the later stages of the pandemic. School and community theatres seem more eager to reopen than professional productions, but as we move into fall, there are all levels of theatre reopening. I was able to experience a few in-person theatre productions this spring & summer, and I wanted to relive those experiences with you.

Back on April 29, my school’s theatre department held socially-distanced, masks-required performances of their one act play selection, People, Places, and Things. It was so strange and amazing to be back in a theatre seat waiting for the lights to go down. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a few tears about it. The students put on an excellent production and I know they were thrilled to be performing for an audience again.

On June 18, long after school was out, I went with some coworkers to see one of our school’s choir directors in Garland Summer Musicals‘ production of Grease. This was my first time seeing a musical since February of 2020 and to be in a packed community theatre was a little weird. It turned out to be a great experience and the show was really great!

Then on July 16, Jonathan and I went to Dallas Theater Center‘s production of Working. This regional theatre company performed at an outdoor theatre space in Texas in July, and what they were able to do in that kind of heat was incredible. They took the original concept of the show about the working people of America, and added in interviews from local front-line workers and really tied the show into the experience of local workers during the pandemic. It was really well-done and even despite the sweat rolling everywhere and the mosquitos, we really enjoyed the show.

Then in late July, I went to NYC with my friend Lynette. Broadway wasn’t really open yet (except for Bruce Springsteen, and we’re not dropping that kind of money), but we still found some shows to get into for that trip. On July 29th, our first night in the city, we went to the off-Broadway production of The Office! A Musical Parody. Masks were required for this performance at the time (and now full vaccination is required for all shows in NYC). They somehow squeezed 9 seasons of characters and gags into two acts with a very small cast. It was hilarious!

The next night (July 30), we went to see a different kind of off-Broadway show – Drunk Shakespeare. As the show’s title suggests, one member of a company of actors takes a few consecutive shots of alcohol and the company performs a work of Shakespeare (Macbeth at this performance) whilst hilarity ensues. This show required all attendees to be fully vaccinated, so masks were not required. The stage and seating area is small and intimate and we were sat on the edge of the stage. I was even handed a puppet to play Lennox for a few minutes! It was really a fun night!

Our final show in NYC was August 1st at Feinstein’s/54 Below for the cabaret style performance of John Cardoza entitled Things I Learned from My Roadtrip Playlist. The evening was a musical and storytelling journey that made us laugh and cry. John invited several Broadway friends to join him onstage including Lauren Patten, Sam Gravitte, Christiane Noll, and Gabrielle Carrubba. It was a truly magical night of music. If you’ve never seen a show here, you absolutely should! Food & drinks were great, and the intimate atmosphere is just incredible.

Wicked was the first national tour to reopen, and they happened to reopen here in Dallas. Being back at Music Hall at Fair Park as Dallas Summer Musicals subscribers was pretty special. We went as a family on August 7th, and then I went again on August 26th as a social event with the Associate Producers, the young professionals group for DSM. Somehow I had never seen Wicked before this, and though I had heard enough music to know I would love it, it hits as especially relevant in this time of racial reckoning during a pandemic. It was a wonderful show.

Fall is shaping up to have more incredible live theatre experiences so be sure to come back for those updates. They will probably be monthly now that things are picking up!

Trip Recap: NYC

If you read my last post, you know that I recently went to NYC for the NYC Planner Addicts Expo. Of course, for my first post-Covid vaccination trip, I had to do more than just the event. I went with my friend Lynette for a few days before and stayed a few after, taking in old favorites and new experiences in the city. We even got an extra day in NYC due to storms at home and flight cancellations.

Normally I would walk through the trip day by day and share photos and stories, but wordpress is not playing nice with all my HEIC photos and it doesn’t even like them when I converted them to jpeg format. I’m over it! But if you want to see how it all went down, I’m going to link you to a few places for highlights!

Youtube Recap & Trip Memory Keeping

Day 1 Instagram Post

Day 2 Instagram Post

Day 3 Instagram Post

Day 4 Instagram Post

Day 5 Instagram Post

And I’m also sharing a quick photo dump of what wordpress WILL allow me to post. Enjoy!