#Musical Monday Review #22 Fiddler on the Roof

Overview: A Jewish family living in a poor village, just trying to live their lives. Tavye, the patriarch has five girls to we’d and give a dowry to but he just sells milk and delivers it with a lame horse and trailer. The oldest daughter is able to marry the man she loves, while a Yente tries to fix the younger girls up with eligible bachelors. They rebel their suitors and break tradition, a very powerful thing Tavye holds very dear. All while fearing the Czar doesn’t invade their little Russian town.

Opinion: I first watched this in high school, and instantly fell in love with it. Tavye is such a great dad, wanting the best for his daughters as long as it follows tradition. He is also funny! I respect the traditional dances but to an uncultured high schooler, his shimmying (can’t believe that’s an actual word) during my favorite song, “Rich Man” is hilarious.

It’s not just the dancing that he does that is funny, but some things he says or the way he says it. I particularly enjoy his questioning of God, without actually questioning his existence. It’s something I’ve always been told not to do. If you believe in God, you can’t question his actions…or in-actions.

Another favorite song is “Matchmaker.” It is the Yente’s job to find husband’s for girls. However this Yente has a problem of making matches the girls don’t like. The girls go from wanting her to find them a match to not being in a big hurry.

Tzeital, the eldest daughter, reminds me so much of Barbara Streisand. However i find the middle daughter’s voice sounds clearer.

Comedy aside, I see the tragedy of losing special traditions and tearing a family apart as the result. My family has always been close but never as close or held many traditions as those of any faith let alone the Jewish faith.

I love the choreography of the Russian dancers during “L’chaim To Life.”

#Musical Monday Review #19 Beauty and the Beast

Overview: A selfish prince is cursed by a witch for not helping her. His curse is for him to be disfigured as a hideous beast, and all those who dwell within his castle are also transformed into animated household items until his 21st birthday. In town Belle is a normal girl who enjoys reading more than trying to attract suitors, so the other townspeople believe her to be odd. Her father is known as a crackpot inventor, and is believed to be the source of her weirdness. Gaston, local playboy and jerk, has set his sights on Belle simply based on her beauty. Spurring his affections, she focuses more on helping her father look after the farm while he goes to an investor’s convention. Belle’s father soon becomes trapped by the Prince and sends his horse, Phillipe to find Belle and rescue him. Gaston plans to have him committed once he is back in town, after Belle trades places with him. Once the beast has Belle, he tries to be nice but she only sees a kidnapping monster and he sees a stubborn girl. Over time they grow close and learn to love each other, but Belle has to leave to save her father from Gaston. Finding the beast is real and won the heart of Belle, Gaston leads a mob back to the castle in order to kill it. The house fights back, but the beast has been mortally wounded. With one kiss from Belle, the curse is broken and everyone lives happily ever after.

Opinion: Who doesn’t love a good Disney Princess Movie (DPM)? This one is my mom’s particular favorite. As a kid, I would watch it over and over but I can’t say it was my ultimate favorite. I do think it was my first DPM though.

It is a good story to learn that appearances don’t matter, don’t be selfish and that people are different. Then if you look past the Disney filter, things become a bit creepy. For instance, Belle has wicked sisters in the original and the beast allows her to go home for a visit as long as she is only gone a week. The sisters become jealous and try to talk her into staying longer, so when she returns the beast will (hopefully) eat her. Then there’s the witch cursing a boy of 10 or 11 because he wouldn’t let her into the castle. This why they invented “Stranger Danger?” It’s a bit excessive if you ask me. Disney covered it up by making it seem as if the boy was a teenager or so, but the original story says something about a ten year gap between the beginning of the curse and the time Belle goes to him. If the spell has to be broken by his 21st birthday, given the time gap, the curse began at 10 or 11.

While Disney tried to cover the creepy, they made it creepy by making the beast seem evil. In the original he was kind and giving to Belle and asked her to marry him every night, only to be turned down because she regarded him as a friend.

Back to the movie.

Being the practical child I was, Cogsworth has always been my favorite character. He is the one person that seems to make any logical sense as everyone else is trying to manipulate Belle or her father in the beginning. He was the voice of reason and I identified more with him then the others for that reason. Plus he was smart and because of him I wanted to learn more about the baroque period and have flying buttresses in my house.

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Before I reveal my favorite song, I’d like to rant for a minute. The Special Edition that was released in 2003, and the version I happened to watch for this post, irritates me. Back on the cutting room floor a song was taken from the film and released without it because it didn’t add to the show and just stalled the story line. When they released the Special Edition, the editors decided to add the song in order for the consumers to get more for their money. The movie was perfect with out the song “Human Again” and instead of just adding it as a special feature they put it on the main feature forcing you to watch it. I know it’s not that big of a deal but it is annoying to fast forward through it. Then I feel sorry for the little children who won’t be able to see the movie in all of its original glory, instead being subjected to the pointless scene.

Favorite song is ” Something There.” It’s a short song when they are starting to fall for each other. They are running around and playing in the snow, genuinely getting to know one another. It is such a sweet scene and the song is beautiful.

Favorite choreography has to go to “Be Our Guest.” One there isn’t much choreography to begin with and two it is just an amazing scene. Silverware, pots, pans and flower vases dancing and putting on a show for Belle for dinner.

Favorite scene is the battle at the end because I love it when the wardrobe let’s out a battle cry, jumps through the air and lands on a man who comes out dressed as a woman.

#Musical Monday Review #18: I Kissed a Vampire

Overview: Dylan is bitten by a Vampire and started transforming into one. He struggles with his new fangs, weird dreams and not biting the girl he loves. Then Tray shows up to teach him how to be a Vampire and get the girl. His girl Sarah is bitten and starts changing too. She wants to embrace new life, but than also wants to find a cure, while Dylan is in denial and trying to stop it. They go to see Dr. Dan Helsing and find that the Vampire who bit Dylan wasn’t too powerful so he may not change completely. Sarah on the other hand was bitten by a very powerful very Vampire and will change as well as belong to Tray. In order to make the cure, they just need a drop of Tray’s blood. The two are pulled apart in their quest for blood and giving into their true selves. In his love for Sarah, Dylan’s powers start to emerge and we learn Tray is obsessed with Sarah because he has mommy issues. Sarah breaks the the spell and they are able to create a cure. Sarah almost died but is brought back with a kiss. The cure failed, but the couple found happiness together.

Opinion: Though the lyrics leave a bit to be desired, the music is cool. For a girl who wanted to break away from the goody-two shoes personality, she really wanted to find a cure and change back to normal. Its like here is her chance and she chickens out. I thought that was a little unrealistic or uncharacteristic of her. Rocky Horror Picture Show comes to mind with the duality if Sarah’s fighting good vs evil inside of her, compared to Janet’s similar struggle.

Really over all it looks like something Disney would put out during their 13 Days of Halloween. For me that’s good, I love those movies.

Lucas Grabeel shows a darker side than when he was in High School Musical. He embraces the emo look, foregoing his scary pink attire.

“Just a Little Bit of Nibble” is my favorite favorite choreography. We see Tray teasing Phillip about getting his first kiss and Phillip struggling between kissing, biting and keeping Tray away from Sarah.

“Just a Drop” is reminiscent of “Your the One That I Want” from Grease. I’m not sure why, it just popped in my head as I watched Sarah, the good girl next door type, sing about how she wants to break out of her shell and take a bite out of life (pun intended).

Note: Some people may have seen the mini episodes on YouTube or another website, but a lot of people have had issues finding the whole musical. I found it on Hulu if you are wanting to check it out.

#Musical Monday Review #17: Guys and Dolls

Overview: Nathan Detroit is strapped for cash and looking for a place to hold a floating crap game. In a desperate attempt for quick cash, he challenges Sky Masterson to take a missionary to Havana because he believes all “dolls” are the same. Nathan picked a girl so different from Sky’s usual norm, he is sure he will win the $1,000 bet and be able to host the game. In order to get Sarah to Havana he bets that if she will go to dinner with him, he will deliver a dozen sinners ready to repent in two days time. As Nathan faces problems from his long time girlfriend and an officer in New York, Sky finds himself falling in love with Sarah in Havana, but she isn’t interested in the good-natured gambler. Believing it is all part of a bet, she is only in it for the promised sinners to save her mission. In the end there is a beautiful impromptu double wedding in the streets of New York.

Opinion: Opening is great, all the gamboling and thievery going on under the cops noses is comical and sets the mood for the rest of the show. Though there is a love theme, I believe it is portrayed a bit funny. Nathan believes to be a man they hey have to have a girl by their side. Sky agrees, but any girl will do because they are all the same so you shouldn’t get tied to just one. In the end the boys learn a lesson. Though who could resist Marlon Brando? He seems to be the smoothest manĀ  in the world.

Favorite choreography has to be when Sky and Sarah are dining in Havana. The dancing is strange to begin with, then a fight breaks out and proper little Sarah holds her own.

Sorry the video cuts the fighting part, I couldn’t find a better one.

Too many good songs to pick just one!

#Musical Monday Review #16: Yentl

Overview: A young Jewish girl disguises herself as a boy in order to study the Torah. Problems arise when she falls in love with a fellow student and can’t confess her love. Yentl is then forced to marry a young woman because of Jewish law and find reasons to keep from consummating their marriage.

Opinion: I understand that it is traditional for Jewish women not to study religion, but I find it a tad sexist. Women should be able to learn what they want the same as men, that doesn’t mean that women will give up their “womanly duties” they will just be able to have a better conversation with their male counterparts. Is that a bad thing? Not unless you enjoy a dull and boring life.

That said, this musical is wonderful in challenging the archaic laws put down for women of the times, pre-world war I, and shows that woman came be just as good as men. Even if it portals Yentl’s thirst for knowledge stems from the fact she was raised by a single father. The storyline reminds me much of Disney’s Mulan, where a daughter runs off to fight in place of her father. In both cases it was illegal for women to speak their minds or fight wars or study religion. These women taught girls that they can do whatever they put their minds to and I think that is great. I remember when when I was younger, this was my favorite musical by Barbara because of the strong message behind it.

I do find it sad that because of the life Yentl chooses, she has to give up finding a husband and having children with the man she loves. Had she been able to be a scholar as a woman, things would have turned out differently. Obviously it would not have made as good of a story but still makes you feel for her.

Barbara is spectacular as always. Not only is she a beautiful woman, but makes a handsome man. Pulling off both parts well. One thing I’m not quite sure about is the music. Don’t get me wrong, I love her voice, but it seems as if the songs are actually one long song. There is not much difference in tempo or melody. At least to me it all seems the same just different words.

Papa vs The Way He Makes Me Feel

Because of that I find it difficult to pick a favorite song. And as there is no dancing there is no favorite choreography. Which I feel was a bit of an justice because I love Jewish dances. Actually for a long time I’ve loved different cultures and one prominent in my mind is the Jewish culture so not having a lot of dancing I find was a disservice and would have enriched the musical.

#Musical Monday Review #15 Mamma Mia (The Movie)

Overview: Sophia is getting married and wants to invite her dad. Problem is her mom never told her who he was, because she secretly doesn’t know. So she sends an invitation to the three possible candidates, not explaining the reason behind it. Thinking she will automatically sense the right one when they show up. When the men arrive, without mom’s knowledge, Sophia doesn’t feel a fatherly connection with just one but all three. Hidden from her mother, the men set out to find her and are surprised to find she didn’t know they were coming or why they were there. Laughter ensues as the wedding draws closer and minds are changing. In the end there is a wedding, and a few unexpected connections are made leaving the “Little Island” a bit upturned.

Opinion: Love it! But who doesn’t love ABBA? Throw in a girl who wants her dad for the biggest day of her life? It just makes your heart melt. Then who knew Colin Firth, Meryl Streep and Pierce Bronson could sing? Meryl Streep’s rendition of “Winner Takes It All” was heartbreaking.

“S.O.S.” was also frustrating and resonates too truly. So close to each other, and yet so far apart they can’t see each other right in front of them.

Of course ABBA’s most iconic song (at least for me and I wasn’t acquainted much with them before the movie), “Dancing Queen,” is in it. Performed by every extra woman they could find.

However, my favorite would happen to be “Honey, Honey.” Sophia reading her mother’s diary is so sweet and devilishly childish.

A close second would be “Does Your Mother Know?” A little secret about myself, I’ve always had a thing for older guys. So this song featuring a young man being spurned by an older woman is hilarious.

The scenery is beautiful, a Grecian island. Turquoise water everywhere and fantastic multi-colored buildings. Always wanted to go and the movie just entices that urge to travel again. While the songs don’t seem to depend on a specific local, I’m glad they chose Greece when it could have been filmed anywhere.

May #WrapUp

CLTBRChallenge15 and GoodReads Book Challenge Progress- 21 of 65 and 30 of 65 books read. I really need to start reading books from my TBR pile again! But I have the next Night School preordered and an ARC of RSVP From Heaven to read as well. I am a failure at diving into my long list of TBR.

May books:

Night School: Resistance

Pines non-CLTBR

Wayward non-CLTBR

The Last Town non-CLTBR

Spearwood Academy Vol 6 non-CLTBR

Spearwood Academy Vol 7 non-CLTBR

My Camp NanoWrimo book, #LoveandDrugs has been sent off to a Beta Reader (no word back yet). If there is anyone interested in Beta Reading it, I would happily send you a copy for honest feedback!

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I continued #Musical Monday Reviews and will continue them into May. Sanctuary Edits is still open for new clients. Sadly I think my guest post author has backed out, but if anyone else would like to step up send me a message and we can talk. Any topic you would like, I don’t mind. Also still taking author interviews!

As you saw there have been some posts from my creative writing class and I’ll continue to post them. I have also posted my poems and there may be more in the future…I’m not sure as I don’t write them that often.