Woman Crush Wednesday: Laura Osnes

In our Woman Crush Wednesday series, we will feature a woman whom we are fans of and admire. In our third installment, we’re featuring Broadway performer Laura Osnes, who celebrated her 34th birthday yesterday!

Who is our WCW?

Laura Osnes is an American  actress, singer, and dancer best known for originating the role of Ella in the original Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. She competed on the reality television show Grease: You’re the One That I Want!, winning the competition and the female lead role of “Sandy” in the 2007 Broadway revival of Grease. She made her Broadway debut in that musical and went on to originate two other roles on Broadway: Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde and Julia Trojan in Bandstand. Continue reading

Man Crush Monday: Taron Egerton

In our Man Crush Monday series, we will feature a man whom we are fans of and admire. In our third installment, we’re featuring British actor Taron Egerton, who celebrated his 30th birthday yesterday!

Watch the video below for our latest installment of “Testing My Twin” and to see how well Ashley knows Taron Egerton, Amanda’s favorite actor.

Who is our MCM?

Taron Egerton is a rising actor and singer who is best known for his breakout role of Eggsy Unwin in the Kingsman movies as well as playing the legendary rockstar Elton John in the fantasy movie musical Rocketman.

He trained at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and graduated in 2012. After graduating, he was cast as Dennis “Asbo” Severs in the British TV series The Smoke, which led to film producer and director Matthew Vaugh discovering and casting him as the main character, Eggsy, in Kingsman: The Secret Service. Taron’s other notable film roles include Olympian Eddie Edwards in Eddie the Eagle, Mad Teddy Smith in Legend, Johnny in Sing, and Robin Hood/Robin of Loxley in Robin Hood with Jamie Fox. In addition, the Welsh actor has done voicework for animated TV series, such as voicing Moomintroll in Moominvalley and Rian in Netflix’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.

How did we discover him?

Sometime in 2015 when we were home from school for a break, our brother downloaded Kingsman: The Secret Service and suggested we watch it. He thought there was one scene in particular Amanda would enjoy. So we watched the movie together and enjoyed it, from the enthralling action sequences to the fun and witty tone of the movie to the badass characters. Taron, in particular, stuck out to us (or at least Amanda) not only because Eggsy’s an attractive protagonist but because of his top-notch performance as and portrayal of Eggsy. Sometimes it’s hard to believe Eggsy was Taron’s first major role, especially considering the high-caliber actors (Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Hamill, and Colin Firth!) he worked with.

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Impeccable Pedigree. #NationalPuppyDay #Kingsman

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He fell off our radar for a while even though Eddie the Eagle came out not long after we discovered Taron, but that wasn’t a movie we were really interested in or heard much about at the time. Fast forward to 2016, and he’d caught our attention again when we heard him sing Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me” in the trailer for Sing. We did not know Eggsy could sing―let alone sing like an angel! Amanda basically fell in love with his voice at that point and thus her Taron Egerton obsession began. So we watched Sing during the holiday season and were probably the only adults who weren’t parents in the theater when we went but enjoyed the movie regardless.

We’ve since seen every movie he’s been in (yes, even Billionaire Boys Club) and are impatiently awaiting him to make his Broadway debut (or at least his West End debut) because now that we are pretty avid musical theater fans, we need Taron to be cast in a musical, stat! Also, we both met and saw him a month ago at ACE Comic Con Midwest, and we simply cannot wait to continue following his career.

Our Taron Egerton Favorites

Favorite role:

  • Amanda: While Taron did a superb job playing Elton John in Rocketman, and I think that’s his best work yet, I have to choose Eggsy. Eggsy Unwin forever! It’s the role that made me a fan of his, and thanks to Disney buying Fox, Eggsy is now my favorite Disney prince. (;
  • Ashley: Eggsy is easily my favorite role of his, because he’s a cool character. He wears snapbacks, which I like to wear, and Adidas and is a secret agent who’s very loyal. I’m also convinced that, if Eggsy were sorted into a Hogwarts house, it’s be Hufflepuff, which is also my house. So what’s not to like?

Favorite song:

  • Amanda: “Your Song” from Rocketman. His rendition is now my favorite song, and I just love it so much. It’s just such a beautiful, lovely song about how much one person cares about another.

  • Ashley: “Border Song” from Rocketman. I’ve heard this song countless times, because Amanda has been playing the Rocketman soundtrack on repeat for months. Recently, I heard this song while in the car and knew it was my favorite (by Taron) when I heard the lyrics “There’s a man over there/What’s his colour I don’t care/He’s my brother let us live in peace.” The song is well done and has a great message behind it.

Favorite thing about Taron:

  • Amanda: His face. His jawline. His voice. Obviously there are a lot of things I adore about Taron. So while you’d think it would be difficult to pick my favorite thing, it actually wasn’t. Because I love when people make me laugh, I was very close to choosing how he’s a dork who isn’t afraid to not take himself so seriously and jokes around. However, how caring, kind, and sweet Taron is has that beat. First, he treats his mom and little sisters like royalty. Taron does more than invite his mom to his events but often brings her to his premieres and other events as one of his dates. Oh, and he bought his mom a house! No big deal, right? Plus, he just always speaks so highly of his mom. Next, there are his younger sisters, whom he adores and is a great big brother to. I mean, Taron brought them to Frozen on Broadway on his birthday last year and to the premiere of The Lion King earlier this year. Also, just look at my answer for the next question!
    Another example would be how he asked for the glasses he wears in Rocketman during “Your Song” and had Elton John’s reading prescription put in them so Taron could give them to Elton as a birthday present. What a thoughtful, heartfelt gift! Last, but most certainly not least, is how sweet he is to his fans. Of course he would want to be nice to the people who support him and see his movies, but he’s gone above and beyond simple “thank you”s. I remember watching a video of his panel at a comic con he appeared at and was astonished when he remembered some of the fans (by name! not just recognition) asking him questions. I was blown away by how much care he took as he remembered their names and proceeded to name their friends and ask about them. Oh, and then there’s the time I spent with him at ACE Comic Con last month. He not only thanked me for the card I gave him but explained that he would have to read it later, which wasn’t necessary to mention considering I knew he wasn’t going to read it right then and there.  Then he said “Thank you, darling” to me at the end of my photo op. This may just be me obsessing, but I mean, he could have just said a simple “Thank you”. Or he could have just not said thank you at all because there were a lot of other people left in the photo op line, and what else did he have to thank me for?
  • Ashley: I don’t feel I actually have a legitimate favorite thing about Taron just because I don’t follow him as closely as my sister. So what I will say is that I like how well he can portray different types of characters. His work spans various genres, but he manages to take on the various characters easily.

Favorite Instagram post from Taron:

  • Amanda: Taron singing a Christmas song with one of his little sisters is the most precious thing I have ever seen! How heartwarming is this?!

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Merry Christmas from me and my little Sis, Mari. X

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  • Ashley: I’m a big Broadway fan, so it was cool knowing Taron saw Frozen and then met its leading ladies, Caissie Levy and Patti Murin, afterwards.

Entertainment Adventures: ACE Comic Con Midwest

Two weeks ago, we went to our first comic convention, ACE Comic Con Midwest in Rosemont (right outside of Chicago). We only went for one of the three days, but we still had an unforgettable, wonderful time. Since it was our first time at any sort of convention, there was a lot to take in―literally.

First, it took a little while to find parking. We got there about two hours after the convention started at 10 AM on Sunday, October 13, so we pretty much had to drive all the way to the top of the parking garage to find a spot. Then the walk to the convention center via a walkway was much longer than we anticipated, so it honestly kind of felt like a maze. When we finally got to the first floor of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and went inside the exhibit halls, it was overwhelming.

There were so many people everywhere, in addition to so much stuff. We didn’t know where to begin! I mean, literally every hall on the first floor was being used and was full of people and stuff―whether it was the artists hall, the gaming area, the main stage, or the photo op/autograph area. The very first hall had the gaming area and some cardboard cutouts, and other things you could take photos of/with, but mostly people were just sitting around. So we decided to go deeper into the convention center and into the halls with the artists and celebrity guests.

An Abundance of Artists

Immediately upon seeing all of the artists’ tables, we knew we would never be able to see and visit them all. So we decided to walk around and quickly browse to see which ones we definitely wanted to go to. Amanda knew she wanted to go to Erin Lefler’s table, who’s also known as @butternut_gouache, because she had Taron Egerton art―which Amanda found on Twitter from a fellow Taron fan who had already been to ACE that weekend.

After flipping through a bunch of Lefler’s prints, which included so many things from Marvel to Star Wars to Disney Princesses, Amanda bought a pin of Eggsy Unwin in the orange tuxedo from Kingsman: The Golden Circle in addition to an 8×10 print that had Johnny from Sing and Eggsy in the same orange jacket from Kingsman.

Another one of our favorite tables/artists was The Art of Megan Withey, aka 18thCenturyShop on Etsy. We spent way too much time at her table because it was so hard to choose from all of her prints and we couldn’t buy them all. She had so many beautiful prints of Disney Princesses and other Disney characters. As dance and Disney fans, we LOVE her ballerina princess series. And as Broadway/musical theatre fans, we found her artwork of Lin Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton to be awesome as well. Hers was just one of quite a few tables we went to that had good deals where it was better to buy more prints. So we purchased three prints from her, including two Disney princess ballerinas and Belle in her pink winter/Christmas outfit.

Withey’s table wasn’t the only one we saw with Broadway stuff, though. Super Group Hugs had so many cute prints of characters hugging! There was a Hamilton one with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton and Leslie Odom Jr.’s Aaron Burr from Hamilton and a Dear Evan Hansen one with Ben Platt’s Evan Hansen and Mike Faist’s Connor Murphy. There were also Disney ones, from princesses to Lilo & Stitch to lots of Star Wars to all the Marvel. So again, it was also difficult to choose from Super Group Hugs.

We bought one more piece of artwork from this comic con, but we can’t say much about it since it’s a gift. But Tony Poulson aka @thetonus had tons of cool stickers and prints, and he gave us a good deal on a special piece, so shout out to him! And that’s all we can say about that. But all of his artwork was his “Hand Over the Hero” series, which features someone’s arm handing over a hero. It’s unique and pretty comedic sometimes.

Taron Egerton

If we’re going to be honest, the reason we were at ACE Comic Con Midwest was Taron Egerton. Amanda wanted to go see and meet him for her birthday present, so that’s what we did. She wasn’t able to get a VIP package or an autograph with him, but she did get a photo op, which is what she wanted most. When it was almost time to line up for her photo op, we walked over by the screen that had all the times for autographs and photo-ops, and it turned out that we could line up already!

There was a large crowd of people by the screen with the times as well as another large crowd by the metal detectors and security check for the autographs and photo-ops, so it was a bit confusing where to go, but going through detectors again actually didn’t take very long.

We found the line Amanda was supposed to be in, and we were definitely overwhelmed by the amount of people in line just for Taron.  After waiting in line for a while, it finally got moving and photo ops with Taron began. The VIPs and first two groups were ahead of us in line, so we still had to wait some time until it was Amanda’s turn. But the line ended up moving faster as things got going. Amanda eventually and inevitably started panicking in line, because how else would a socially anxious introvert handle meeting their favorite actor?

Knowing this wasn’t a meet and greet and there wouldn’t be time to chat, Amanda wrote a card for Taron and had to make sure to give him the card first so she wouldn’t forget. She didn’t forget when it was her turn, and it’s the first thing she did after saying hello. Also, Amanda didn’t want Ashley in the picture, so Ashley walked into the photo op room, said “She doesn’t want me in the picture, so I just came to say hi,” and then walked out. Taron said hello back and then Amanda got her picture with her fave.

She spent less than a minute with Taron, so there was luckily no time to actually panic because everything happened so fast. She could also go on and on about this despite how short this moment was, but she won’t. So if you want more on Amanda meeting Taron and want to know what he said to her after they took the photo, you can read all about it on her own blog.

Besides meeting Taron, the other true reason we went to ACE was to see Taron’s panel, which was the last panel of the weekend. It started late and went on past the time the convention actually ended, but it was totally worth it and a great way to end the weekend. There were lots of funny moments during the panel that are now iconic moments for Taron Egerton and his fans, and Amanda just happened to record two of them! You can check those specific moments in our video embedded at the top of this post (1:50 and 4:15), but you can also watch the entire panel below.

During the panel, Ashley noticed how often Taron would scratch his back and/or stretch and scratch his back, so she kept whispering to Amanda “He needs a backscratcher!” and “Get this man a backscratcher!” Now we can never unsee how often he does that.

Another part of the panel that has turned into a sort of inside joke for us (since no one else in our family was there to witness this) was when Taron was thinking of an answer to a question, hesitating and saying “Uhhhhhhhh…” While he originally started saying “Uhhhh,” it really just sounded like he was singing it. So now when we listen to the beginning of his cover of “Crocodile Rock” from Rocketman and he sings “I remember,”―the “I” is really long and drawn out and sounds like “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”―we can’t help but think of this moment at the panel. He totally got called out on sing thinking and we all laughed.

Our first comic con was definitely a memorable experience even if we attended only one day of the event. It’s definitely cool to be among so many other people who aren’t afraid to express their passions and fandoms, but it was a lot to take in for us, from the overwhelming amount of people in attendance to the size of the event to the countless tables and booths to see. However, it has piqued our interest in attending comic cons and other conventions like it, so we’re excited to see what convention we’ll go to next!

Man Crush Monday: Aaron Tveit

In our Man Crush Monday series, we will feature a man whom we are fans of and admire. In our second installment, we’re featuring Broadway, film, and TV actor Aaron Tveit, who celebrates his birthday today!

Who is our MCM?

Aaron Tveit is an American actor and singer who is best known for portraying Tripp van der Bilt on Gossip Girl and Danny Zuko in FOX’s Grease Live. He made his Broadway debut as Link Larkin in Hairspray, replacing Matthew Morrison in the male lead role in 2006. Aaron remained on Broadway for the next few years as Fiyero in Wicked and originated the roles of Gabe in Next to Normal and Frank Abagnale, Jr. in Catch Me If You Can before focusing on TV and film in the 2010s.

The Ithaca College alumnus has had major TV roles as Mike Warren in USA’s Graceland and Gareth Ritter in CBS’s Braindead. He has also been in a plethora of movies, but his biggest and most notable film role was Enjolras in the 2012 film adaptation of Les Miserables, starring Hugh Jackman.

After nearly a decade, Aaron recently returned to Broadway, currently starring in Moulin Rouge! as Christian. He has been involved with the musical adaptation of the 2001 film since participating in the developmental lab in November 2017.

How did we discover him?

Considering we weren’t Broadway or musical theatre fans in the 2000s beyond High School Musical, we discovered Aaron like many other non-theatre kids/fans our age: through Gossip Girl. To us, he will forever be Tripp van der Bilt―although that’s certainly not our favorite role of his. We didn’t even know of his vocal abilities to begin with, which is honestly a shame. Sometime between Gossip Girl and the announcement of his casting in Grease Live!, we learned he could sing (and sing well). So when we watched Grease Live! we were formally introduced to the triple threat who is Aaron Tveit.

Honestly, we didn’t really follow his career until recently, though. As relatively new Broadway fans who knew of Aaron before watching any Broadway show, we of course had to go back to watch and listen to his previous Broadway performances and concerts. But his recent return to the Great White Way is what caught our attention now that we have an appreciation for musical theatre in addition to his talents.

Our Aaron Tveit Favorites

Favorite role:

  • Amanda: If Mike Warren ever sang, I might choose Mike Warren because he’s a compelling character that I found to be different from other roles Aaron’s done. But I really love his singing, so since Mike Warren didn’t sing, I’m going to have to choose Enjolras. Enjolras knows what he’s passionate about and isn’t afraid to go after it and work for it. Plus, he’s a bit sassy, which is fun.
  • Ashley: I jokingly want to say my favorite role that Aaron has done is when he played a former basketball player on an episode of Law & Order: SVU. But because I feel my favorite role of his has to be one in which he sings, I have to pick Enjolras. He’s a natural leader who’s respected by his peers and is dedicated to the fight.

Favorite song:

  • Amanda: “El Tango de Roxanne” from Moulin Rouge! The Musical

  • Ashley: “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story from “The Radio in My Head” concert

Favorite thing about Aaron:

  • Amanda: This is almost always a difficult question when we do these, but for some reason, it’s been the hardest for Aaron. I’d have to say my favorite thing about him is how chill and low key he is. In this recent article with Variety, it mentions he “tries to keep a low profile” pretty much whenever he isn’t working, opting to spend his free time watching golf or Netflix. I respect and admire that. And as a socially anxious introvert, I relate to that and would much rather spend and enjoy my time doing something chill like watching TV or read a book than go out somewhere. It makes him give off a very laid-back relaxed vibe that’s enticing.
  • Ashley: If I had more time to think about this answer, I, like Amanda, would probably say something more serious and meaningful. But, for now, I’ll just say I’m glad Aaron is a fellow LeBron James fan. Basketball is a huge part of who I am, and LeBron is one of the players who got me hooked on the game, so knowing about other LeBron fans is always great. It’s even better when a fellow fan is a Broadway performer, because then it’s my two main interests colliding, and I love that.

Favorite Instagram post from Aaron:

  • Amanda: I mean, it’s a picture of Aaron with a dog! It doesn’t get much better than that!

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My. Dude. #nationalpuppyday

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  • Ashley: I love basketball and Broadway. This post is the combination of these two, so how could it not be my favorite Instagram post of his?

Woman Crush Wednesday: Stephanie Styles

In our Woman Crush Wednesday series, we will feature a woman whom we are fans of and admire. In our second installment, we’re featuring Broadway actress Stephanie Styles, who recently celebrated her birthday!

Who is our WCW?

Stephanie Styles is an American actress, singer, and dancer best known for portraying the role of Katherine Plumber in the first North American tour of Disney’s Newsies. She made her Broadway debut earlier this year as Lois Lane/Bianca in Roundabout’s revival of Kiss, Me Kate and had roles in Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart and in Netflix’s Bonding. Continue reading

Theatre Thursday: Watching What Happens at Paramount Theatre’s ‘Newsies’

One of our all-time favorite musicals is Newsies. While we unfortunately never had the pleasure of seeing the show during its Broadway run (we weren’t as into theater at the time) and sadly missed the national tour when it came to Chicago (not once but twice!), we have come to love the show so much―thanks to the filmed live production. In fact, we love the show so much that we watch any production of it that we can.

We first saw a live production of Newsies was in December 2017 at the Marriott Theater in Lincolnshire, Illinois, but we were still excited when we discovered the Paramount Theater in Aurora, Illinois, was going to do Newsies this fall.  Our excitement for the production grew when we found out a fellow Filipino, Jordan DeLeon, was going to be in it. Continue reading

Dance Adventures: Our Favorite So You Think You Can Dance Season 16 Routines

Photos via FOX

As the 16th season of So You Think You Can Dance comes to an end, we’re taking a look back at our favorite routines from this latest season. Our favoritism (concerning contestants, choreographers, and dance styles) is definitely evident in this blog post. Sorry. Also not sorry. Continue reading

Dance Adventures: Our Favorite Male Dancers

Last week, Good Morning America host Lara Spencer became the news story instead of being the news reporter after she laughed at Prince George for taking and loving ballet. This immediately sparked outrage, especially among the dance and Broadway community and fandoms. As dance and musical theatre fans ourselves, we also found her comments to be offensive, insincere, and straight up rude. We are firm believers that dance is for everyone, so teasing boys for dancing―especially coming from a grown adult―is unacceptable.

Most of our favorite dancers are guys, so we are aware of the sheer talent and strength boys and men bring to dance. But this isn’t even about dance. This is about teasing someone for doing what they love, and that’s simply wrong, especially when you’re targeting an innocent child. Thankfully, Spencer has since apologized for her actions, and the dance community has used this as an educational moment to teach and show the world that dance is for everyone.

In light of these recent events, we want to show extra love, support, and appreciation for some of our favorite male dancers. Continue reading

Testing My Twin: Bandstand Edition

Two years ago today, we watched Bandstand on Broadway. It is one of our favorite musicals and has played a key role in furthering our interest in musical theatre. However, Bandstand is Ashley’s all-time favorite musical, so her knowledge of the show is more extensive. She was curious about how well Amanda knew the show. So, in honor of our Bandstand-iversary, Ashley quizzed Amanda on how well she knows Bandstand.