The Buddy Holly Story

The Buddy Holly StoryI have never been a big fan of jukebox musicals. They can be fun but in general it’s lazy musical theater, meant for audiences afraid to try anything new. The shows take a collection of already published music from one particular person or band or genre, and either loosely connect them in an effort to form a story (Mamma Mia!, Movin’ Out, Rock of Ages) or use them in telling the story of the singer/band (Jersey Boys, The Boy from Oz). Critically, occasionally they work well and often they fall flat, but audiences (particularly those not familiar with or appreciative of the more original work on Broadway) tend to love them. Producers do to, because they come with an established fan base ready to splurge on tickets to see music they already know performed by people who remind them of the musicians they already love, and they get to say they saw a piece of theater. For those of us who prefer edgy, sexy, and original music (Cabaret and Pippin are two of my favorites), it’s frustrating to see more and more popping up on Broadway when there is plenty of original work to use, but at the same time I love any reason to get people in theaters. And one of the best parts of these types of shows, particularly the smaller casts of touring productions, is that you get an impressive group of extremely talented people playing multiple roles and multiple instruments. Big Bopper

The Buddy Holly Story is one of the original jukebox musicals, originally opening in 1989 and running on London’s West End for 12 years before a successful Broadway run and international tours. It was critically acclaimed and popular before the more formulaic eye-roll-inducing Mamma-Mia-inspired flops took over the Great White Way (Lennon, Good Vibrations, Ring of Fire, Hot Feet). The production I saw last night, currently playing at The Laguna Playhouse, is a cast of 14 dancers-singers-actors-musicians, many of whom have been playing these roles in multiple productions. For Todd Meredith, this marks his 15th time in the title role, in addition to performing all over the country in a Buddy Holly tribute band along with bassist (and trombonist) Bill Morey, who is in his 5th production of TBHS. Pinch-his-cheeks-adorable Emilio Ramos reprises his role of Ritchie Valens (almost stealing the show with his La Bamba, my favorite performance of the night), and a boisterous Mike Brennan plays the Big Bopper for the fifth time. This isn’t just a job for these guys, these are parts they were born to play and they are killing it up there. I am not ashamed to say that when it came to the end of the story, the night the proverbial music died, I got a little teary-eyed. And I KNEW how it would end! This little jukebox musical and its stars grabbed at my heartstrings.

The Buddy Holly Story

Why not go? If you hate Buddy Holly music (and who hates Buddy Holly music?!) you won’t like this, because that’s pretty much all it is. If you prefer shows with elaborate sets, precision choreography, deep plots or spectacle, this show is not for you.

Why go? Do you find yourself tapping your feet or singing along every time Peggy Sue, That’ll Be the Day, Chantilly Lace, or Johnny B. Goode comes on the radio? Are you AT ALL interested in the history of American music? Do you need a wholesome show to take your kids or in-laws to? Most importantly do you (like me) enjoy  watching really talented people doing what they do best and having a hell of a good time doing it? Then go. Go, sing along, get up and dance, and leave the theater with your cheesy cardboard black geek glasses remembering the short life of the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll.

SIDE NOTEif you see it at The Laguna Playhouse, or ANYTHING at The Laguna Playhouse and you measure 5’4″ or below, don’t get balcony seats. I had to sit on the edge of my seat to see anything below the performers’ shoulders. Petite problems. 

The Buddy Holly Story is playing at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach, California through August 10th. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.lagunaplayhouse.com. For other productions around the country and the world, visit www.buddythemusical.com.

 

 

 

Sundays in the Park

Jayne and Inara in Bluebird Park, Laguna BeachFresh air, laughing children, food and wine, dancing neighbors and live music; there are few things that elicit a more favorable response than a classic summertime music concert in a park, especially when it’s free. A quick Google search shows how many options there are nation-wide for experiencing free musical concerts in public spaces, and we are all better for it. My family has enjoyed performances in Central Park in New York and Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, and now thanks to the Laguna Beach Arts Commission we have this opportunity again in our new home of Laguna Beach.

Fifty-two year old Bluebird Park is enclosed by fencing and surrounded by quiet neighborhood streets. The park includes a soft grass lawn, picnic tables and barbecues, drinking fountains, shade trees, sidewalks, curvy slides built into a hillside, scooter/tricycle paths with tunnels and bridges, big kid areas for climbing, spinning and playing basketball, little kid playing area with sand and baby swings, and clean and safe restrooms. As a parent, if you are anywhere in the middle area of the park you can see almost everywhere else. Dogs are not allowed so although they are missed, it makes it even more comfortable for parents to let all the munchkins run loose. Situated in Bluebird Canyon, only 4 blocks inland from Coast Highway (that’s PCH for most of California), it gets enough of an ocean breeze that it doesn’t get too hot, and it’s inland enough that the wind doesn’t get too cold. In short, add the music and all the fun residents of Laguna Beach with their food and wine, and you get a family paradise in 1.7 acres. Bluebird Park Laguna Beach

When my husband and I were dating, he brought me to this beautiful town by the sea every opportunity we got to get away. Usually we had to fly out Sunday afternoons and would miss the opportunity to experience the Sunday evening concerts in Bluebird Park, with the exception of one time. I remember how happy he was then and how romantic the evening was, with our packed picnic dinner we had prepared earlier that day and a few bottles of wine, laid out on our picnic blanket on the lawn. I’m sure I fell more in love with him then. The acoustics in the canyon were perfect for the music, played on a tiny hill on one end of the park with little amplification needed. We loved being there together but we both hoped to be back one day with my daughter so that we could attend the affair as a family. This past Sunday night, five years after we met, we finally had that opportunity as they kicked off their 31st season of music. Grateful Dead fan at Music in the Park, Laguna Beach

The genre is different every week, and this season started off with a Grateful Dead tribute band, Cubensis. We hadn’t paid attention to the schedule in advance, but we figured it out fairly quickly by the crowd. The people-watching was a blast and seeing my little Manhattan baby twirling around with adults in tie-dye handing out stickers and “Free Hugs” was priceless. With our picnic blanket nestled amongst early-afternoon campers on the front row with only the dance area between us and the band, my husband and I held each other and chatted with new neighbors, once again enjoying a picnic dinner we’d cooked together. But this time we also watched my daughter as she danced and played around the park, slid down the hillside and played tag with neighborhood kids. We followed her to the monkey bars holding hands, glasses of wine in the others, and in a perfect moment he admitted how happy he was to be back in Bluebird Park, this time as a family, for the occasion. It really is that special.

If you live in Orange County or will be visiting this summer, make time in your schedule for music in Bluebird Park Sunday evenings. The bands play from 5-7pm and you can claim your picnic spot no earlier than 3pm. The park is located at 798 Blue Bird Canyon Drive, Laguna Beach and parking is limited so walk and/or take public transportation if you can. Next week (July 20th) we look forward to Zydeco with Lisa Haley and the Zydecats (of course- we got married in New Orleans!), then Soul with Stone Soul (7/27), Beatles music with Beatroots (8/3), Irish with The Fenians (8/10), Reggae with Lesterfari & Kings Music (8/17), and finally Blues with Tom Nolan Band to close out the season on August 24th. Suffice it to say that if we are in town, we’ll be there. And in the Laguna spirit, we can always make room for one more.

Music in Bluebird Park Laguna Beach 2014 Schedule

Tony! Tony! Tony!

Tonys Rap Music Man

T.I., Hugh Jackman, and LL Cool J rap “Rock Island” from The Music Man at the 2014 Tony Awards

It is so beautifully fitting that my first post for Real Posh Mom be about the theater, specifically last night’s Tony Awards. As a little girl in Pennsylvania, the Tonys were my connection to a world that few around me understood, much less appreciated, yet that I was entranced by. I would watch transfixed, knowing that a place existed that was full of people for whom live theater and both raw and finely tuned talent were the purest expression of the strength of the human spirit, something which is very true in my heart.

Last night’s awards show was more difficult for me to watch than in year’s past. Last week my family relocated to California, making this the furthest I have lived from the Broadway community and the furthest away I’ve been while watching the broadcast. For ten years I lived in New York and had many brushes with many of the people on that stage last night, but it’s been years since I was seeing the hottest shows before they were featured, giving me favorites to root for. In Dallas I was just starting to find my people again with my involvement with the fabulous Dallas Theater Center, but after only one year on the board I had to resign due to this move. Being new to town now I’ve not yet had the opportunity to find a new theater family, and so with my jet-lagged munchkin asleep on my lap and my husband being a trooper trying to appreciate what I loved so much on the Radio City Music Hall stage, I watched a delayed-for-Pacific-Time show. Here I touch on some favorite highlights, as well as a few Posh Mom suggestions for what to see when you go to New York City this year both with and without the kiddos.

Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday

Hugh Jackman is a brilliant and beautiful showman and even my husband commented that it was unfair for a man to be that talented and successful and  attractive. But there is no doubt that Neil Patrick Harris was a perfect host for this event and was missed by many of us last night. Thankfully even as an audience member and nominee he seemed to get as much airtime as Hugh, so there’s not much for any of us to complain about. You’re both very pretty in your own ways, gentlemen.

Bryan Cranston as LBJ in “All The Way”

The awards were very spread out this year, with not one show sweeping. This is very good for Broadway and a sign that the right shows won in their respective categories. The biggest non-surprise winners included NPH, Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston for his role as LBJ in “All the Way,” and Audra’s MacDonald record-breaking sixth Tony for her performance as Billie Holiday in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” Kenny Leon’s direction of the recent “Raisin in the Sun” revival starring Denzel Washington (closing in 6 days) brought the show 3 Tonys, and the witty musical comedy “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” took home top honors in its category, with director Darko Tresnjak seamlessly working his native Serbo-Croatian and shout-outs to both his mom and husband into his acceptance speech.

The musical performances, which I watched again this morning with a more alert version of my almost 6-year old, were, as always, the best part of the evening. The show opened with an energetic number from “After Midnight” starring Fantasia, Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle. Winner Jessie Mueller as the lead in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” performed “I Feel the Earth Move” along with King herself. Frozen fans got their Idina Menzel fix when she performed a song from her new musical “If/Then,” there was a number from the new Rocky musical (which I found awkward and misplaced on a stage), a big spectacle number from Disney’s Aladdin featuring deserving winner James Monroe (who had one of the best speeches of the night), and in strange déjà vu moments there were performances from new revivals of old musicals Les Miserables and Cabaret, and an anniversary nod to Wicked. Strangely, there were also performances from shows still in development, featuring Sting and Jennifer Hudson in what I can only assume were very expensive sponsored spots.

Neil Patrick Harris as Hedwig

I was happy overall, with my personal favorite moments including the LL Cool J/T.I./Hugh Jackman rap version of “Rock Island” from The Music Man, my lifelong celebrity crush since childhood Kenneth Branagh in a shiny tux introducing the authors of the nominated best plays to each introduce their clips, and performances from and accolades given to two of my all-time Broadway favorites, the risqué Hedwig and the Angry Inch (especially when Neil Patrick Harris in drag licked Samuel L. Jackson’s glasses and gave Sting a lap dance) and Cabaret. Both are obviously recommended for mature adults only, but I intend to make a NYC trip this summer just to catch them and will guarantee you will get your money’s worth if you do the same.

As for the family-friendly options currently on the Great White Way? There are plenty of options. I intend to take my first-grader to see last year’s winner Matilda the Musical, and/or Aladdin, The Lion King, Wicked, Newsies or Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella (if I can stand Fran Drescher as the stepmother). Possibly even the positively magical Pippin, which snuggled into my second-best-show-ever slot after I caught it in December but has a more mature theme.

Aladdin Broadway

James Monroe Iglehart and the cast of “Aladdin”

As for the opening shot of Hugh Jackman bouncing around Radio City before breaking into “I love the Tony’s”? Many were left wondering. It was an homage to Bobby Van’s bopping routine from the 1953 musical, Small Town Girl. You’re welcome!

Jonah Wins Our Hearts and Entertains The Whole Family

JonahSightSoundI have heard a lot about Sight & Sound Theatres. My friend Scott Vann said, “Sight & Sound is on par with the theater experience in NYC.” Well then, I MUST check it out. My family recently took our first trip to Branson, Missouri, and our first stop was to Sight & Sound Theatre, which tells stories from the Bible with a high-tech, spectacular spin.

Sight & Sound Theatre gave my family tickets to see their show, “Jonah,” about the man who gets swallowed up by a giant, spectacular fish. There are some huge set pieces in “Jonah,” including an almost life-size ship, a gorgeous underwater world and the imperial fortress city of Nineveh. Film is also used creatively and seamlessly to bring certain aspects of the story to life. More importantly, the story (which is extended to fill two hours) is told well.

The biblical story is well known. Jonah gets a prophesy from God to go to Nineveh to declare the city’s wickedness and impending destruction, but there’s a problem. Jonah hates the Ninevites. So, Jonah attempts to flee “the presence of the Lord.” This stage production of “Jonah” adds depth to the character by giving him a backstory to why he struggles following God’s will.  He gets passage on the ship, which is amazingly life-like. Perhaps the most spectacular portion of the show is watching the storm that rages, and the ship being battered by it.JonahShip

Jonah, knowing the storm is God’s will, insists the sailors throw him off the ship. Instantly, the storm is calm. Jonah falls deeply into the water. Jonah’s time in the big fish is done beautifully. He survives his three days ordeal, this time resigned to do as God asks. But, God’s demands become even stronger. Jonah must help the people of Nineveh find redemption. Jonah keeps trying to avoid God. So, how can he help them seek redemption?

What I liked about “Jonah” is that Jonah is quite funny, but he’s not too heroic. He whines. He wonders why God is bugging him. He’s a bit demanding, too. Yet, we stick with him…even like him. The actor who plays Jonah is both funny and frustrating, but keeps you liking him throughout the show. I’m in awe of the powerful voice of the Queen of Nineveh, as she sung herself into my heart. The costume design is stunning and the show is brilliantly produced and directed. Did you know that it takes 25 stage technicians who run the show and 48 actors who star in it? “Jonah”  remarkably brings the story alive both as a spectacle and as a Biblical message. You won’t be disappointed with either.

Just For Kids Rocks into SeaWorld This Spring

Just_For_Kids_Logo Disclosure: SeaWorld Antonio selected me be to be a “Wildside Blogger,” which provides my family with an annual pass to SeaWorld and Aquatica San Antonio. This post was not reviewed by a 3rd party. All opinions are mine and may not reflect those of the company. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. All photos are mine and are subject to copyright.

SeaWorld San Antonio’s Just For Kids festival returns on Saturdays starting April 26 through May 18, 2014.KidzBop This Saturday, April 26, 2014, Kidz Bop brings the party to SeaWorld San Antonio! Come sing and dance along to today’s biggest hits sung by kids, for kids! Concert will take place at 12:45PM and again at 3:15PM.

Your kids will line the stage and interact through songs and movements. The artists, like Kidz Bop are geared toward children, and they know how to do all the things that kids want to see and hear and do, so even older kids will jump, high-five others, stomp and clap with the music. The line-up will be announced each Monday before the saturday performances. All show times 12:45PM and 3:15PM. Plus, see the Elmo Rocks! show in Nautilus every Sunday.

When you enter the enter the park, grab a Just for Kids brochure. It’s a bright yellow flyer with a map of all the interactive learning opportunities for your kids. Next, you need a wristband per person to enter the concerts, so get this as soon as you can, as space is limited. SeaWorld’s Just for Kids festival also have other interactive things throughout the park that my kids loved, such as visiting four locations and collect the corresponding cards. My 8 year-old daughter loves this the most, as she is naturally curious and loves collecting things. There is also Shamu’s Party Zone, located near the concert venue. This area features a live DJ, games, crafts and character appearances.
IMG_2328 CookieMonster IMG_2332Remember to also grab a SeaWorld program guide to see all the other amazing shows and be entertained with your favorite animals and characters!
IMG_2249 Catch Just for Kids before it’s gone with a Fun Card and come back for a year full of fun when other great seasonal events will be happening! Take advantage of the BOGO Fun Card offer. Click here for more information!

Elizabeth Toon Charities Concert

ElizabethToonCharitiesElizabeth Toon Charities is gearing up for the 8th Annual Elizabeth Toon Charities Concert on Thursday, May 1, 2014 from 7PM to 10:30PM at The Rustic. Tickets are available for $50 by clicking here. The Sporting Clay Tournament follows on Friday, May 2 at the Dallas Gun Club.

 
Concert highlights include:
· Mockingbird Sun will open for our surprise headliner, which in past years has included names like Jack Ingram!
· Kendra Scott will host a “Mystery Box” that benefits Elizabeth Toon Charities during the concert. For $100, you can purchase a mystery box that contains Kendra Scott Jewelry and gift cards to various stores and restaurants around Dallas.
· They will have a live auction and raffle for a chance to win prizes such as golf retreats and tickets to prime sporting events and concerts!

Elizabeth Toon Charities is dedicated to helping children in need in all areas including health, education, therapy and children facing challenging disabilities and terminal illnesses. Each one of these charities are doing to their best to improve the lives of children in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Beneficiaries for 2014 include:
· Behind Every Door Ministries
· Catch Up & Read
· ChildCareGroup
· Children’s Medical Center (Foster Care Program)
· Foundation for the Education of Young Women
· Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support
· ManeGait
· Mental Health America of Greater Dallas
· Promise House
· Camp John Marc
· Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center
· Rise School of Dallas
· Scottish Rite Hospital

Journey Under the Sea with Dallas Summer Musicals

LittleMermaid_Photo2.SMjpgInspired by the darker and more cautionary Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, The Little Mermaid was Disney’s first animated film to feature a newly empowered breed of heroine who gets the prince but doesn’t need saving by him. In a magical kingdom fathoms below, we meet Ariel, the little mermaid (played here by Chelsea Morgan Stock) who is tired of flipping her fins and longs to be part of the fascinating world on dry land. Joining her are Sebastian (Alan Mingo, Jr.), Ariel’s crabby sidekick. She defies her mighty father, King Triton (Steve Blanchard) to pursue the handsome human Prince Eric (Eric Kunze). To do so she must enlist the aid of Ursula (Liz McCartney), the evil sea witch, who transforms Ariel’s fish tail into human legs — but at what price?LittleMermaid_Photo1.SMjpg I’m not going to give you any more plot. If you want to know more, go see the musical. If you cannot get enough, rent Disney’s The Little Mermaid movie. My family was invited by the Dallas Summer Musicals to be entertained by The Little Mermaid showing now until March 2, 2014 at Music Hall at Fair Park, and we laughed and sang to familiar songs.

This production is more unique than other Dallas Summer Musicals productions because it is not a part of a national tour. It was produced here in Dallas! The story focuses on Ariel’s feelings of being an outsider in her own family. It also emphasizes King Triton and his relationship with his daughter Ariel – and was less about the love story. Triton learns how important it is to support Ariel in her dreams and tries hard to understand her. Now, this is such a timeless tale. I know my husband doesn’t want to think about this day when our daughter leaves home.

I should add that my daughter performed in this musical last summer. Here’s she is as a pink flamingo performing in the number “Kiss the Girl.”Pink Flamingos

Dive on in! Life is the bubbles, under the sea!

Run Time: 2 hours 30 minutes (including intermission)
Content Warning: recommended for ages 6 and up

The Music Hall at Fair Park
909 1st Ave.
Dallas, TX 75210

Dinosaur Zoo LIVE! Travels to Dallas + Giveaway

Dinosaur Zoo LIVE!Journey all the way back into a prehistoric world to visit a remarkable dinosaur zoo! See this exceptional performance featuring a cast of large-scale dinosaur puppets brought to life by sophisticated design, electronics, and theatrical presentation. The talented team of zookeepers and rangers takes the audience on an interactive journey to introduce an incredible cast of dinosaurs that inhabited Australia (and beyond) including the adorable baby dryosaurs to the awe-inspiring giant allosaur and the hungry Tyrannosaur. These amazingly life-like dinosaur recreations, developed in consultation with paleontologists, are based on the most up-to-date science and specialist interpretations of fossil evidence.


Enter to Win a Family Four Pack to Dinosaur Zoo LIVE! At the Majestic Theater on Saturday, January 18th at 10AM, Prize is valued at $200. Erth’s DINOSAUR ZOO Live! brings an awesome array of prehistoric creatures to life on stage. Observe and interact with extraordinary, life-like dinosaurs in this entertaining and educational live show. Enter by Tuesday, January 14, 2014 for your chance to bring the Family to this one-of-a-kind event!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

RAIN Showers The Beatles with Love in Dallas + Giveaway

Rain_300x250Dallas Summer Musicals brings RAIN direct from Broadway to Dallas on Saturday, November 23 through Sunday, November 24, 2013! Associated Press says RAIN is “the next best thing to seeing The Beatles!” RAIN performs the full range of The Beatles’ discography live onstage, including the most complex and challenging songs that The Beatles themselves recorded in the studio but never performed for an audience.

Together longer than The Beatles, RAIN has mastered every song, gesture and nuance of the legendary foursome, delivering a totally live, note-for-note performance in this multi-media concert, that’s as infectious as it is transporting. From the early hits to later classics (I Want To Hold Your Hand, Hard Day’s Night, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Let It Be, Come Together, Hey Jude and more), this adoring tribute will take you back to a time when all you needed was love, and a little help from your friends!RainRun Time: 3 hours 30 minutes (including intermission)
Rating: FAMILY FRIENDLY from young to old who want to “Twist and shout!”

The Music Hall at Fair Park
909 1st Ave.
Dallas, TX 75210

GIVEAWAY: One lucky readers will win 4 tickets to RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles for their opening Saturday show at 1:30PM. First, make sure to “like” Dallas Summer Musicals and follow them on Twitter for news on what is happening on stage in Dallas! Now, post a status on Facebook or Twitter what your favorite Beatles song is, and please make sure to tag Real Posh Mom/@RealPoshMom. Good luck! Winner will be announced on Monday at 12PM.image001 (1)

The Lord of the Rings Pops With Dallas Summer Musicals

LOTR at DSMTravel to Middle Earth with Frodo and the rest of the fellowship for a LIVE concert on November 8-10, 2013. Join my family, thanks to the Dallas Summer Musicals, as we see the Dallas POPS perform the entire Howard Shore’s score for Lord of the Rings-The Fellowship of the Ring with the full movie projected on a larger than life screen.

My whole family is SOOO excited to experience one of our favorite movies in a completely new way! This one-of-a-kind concert event includes the Dallas POPS, 150 person chorus, full movie and more. The concerts will take place at the Music Hall at Fair Park on November 8-10, 2013. Buy your tickets here.

Run Time: 3 hours 30 minutes (including intermission)
Content Warning: Rated PG-13

The Music Hall at Fair Park
909 1st Ave.
Dallas, TX 75210

DSM 13/14 Schedule