Broadway Adventures: How Lyric Opera Made Us Say ‘Te Adoro, West Side Story’

Ashley and Amanda at Lyric Opera of Chicago for West Side Story

In middle school, we were obsessed with High School Musical. We bought all the magazines, every edition of all the movies, got all the soundtracks, and made our mom buy us all the shirts. We learned the songs and could sing them by heart. We learned the dance moves and would perform them as the movie played. It was the first time we loved a musical. But, despite our love for the High School Musical trilogy, we surprisingly didn’t develop an interest in musical theatre because of it.

It wasn’t until 2011 that we first became a fan of a non-Disney musical/movie musical, West Side Story. In season three of Glee, West Side Story was the musical being performed on the show, so we were exposed to the show’s basics and some of its songs. Sometime after that, our brother bought Amanda a DVD of the West Side Story movie, so we got to fully experience that story. It was cool to hear the songs in the context of the show’s narrative instead of song covers in the context of Glee’s storylines. A few years later, we had expressed an interest in seeing a live production of the show when the national tour returned to Chicago, but it never became a reality. Instead, nearly a decade would pass until we got to see a live production of the show.

On May 2, we saw our first live production of West Side Story when we were invited by Lyric Opera of Chicago to attend the final dress rehearsal as social media insiders for their production of the iconic musical. We had been waiting for this production for over a year and were thrilled to finally see the show live—especially considering our relatively newfound love for Broadway musicals. (It only took us a decade to finally realize how great musical theatre is, but better late than never, right?)

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Dance Adventures: Our Favorite Routines from World of Dance Season 3

It’s been a few weeks since season three of NBC’s World of Dance ended and crowned a new winner, and in that time, we’ve finally been able to choose our 10 favorite dances from this past season. Narrowing it down to 10 routines was by no means an easy process because of the immense talent that was on this season, but we were able to choose a good variety of styles and refrained from picking more than one routine from any act! Continue reading

Broadway Adventures: My My, A Whole New Journey To the Past!

The last few weeks have been rather busy for us as we ended March by going to an Alan Menken concert, began April with watching the national tour production of Anastasia, and watched a regional production of Mamma Mia! about two weeks ago.

On March 30, we attended “A Whole New World of Alan Menken” to hear the legendary composer and songwriter―best known for his work with Disney―perform some of his most popular songs at the Auditorium Theatre in downtown Chicago. He played a little bit of everything, from “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid to “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors to the skit song Captain America and the dancers perform to in Captain America: The First Avenger. He also told some stories about his career, how he collaborated with other well-known songwriters, how various songs came to be, and how he got to work on certain projects.

A lot of what we already knew about Menken concerned his involvement with various projects, but we didn’t know much about the collaborations he had or much about his personal life. So it was really great to learn more about a person whose music has brought us so much joy throughout the years. It was also cool learning more about his work that were unfamiliar with, such as Sister Act the Musical and the television show Galavant. We’re especially appreciative of the time he took to perform a show in Chicago, because he said his mom had just passed a few days prior.

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Entertainment Adventures: ‘Five Feet Apart’ – Book vs. Movie

When we first saw the trailer for Five Feet Apart and proceeded to see lots of TV spots for the movie, we were intrigued by story. However, we knew it was based on a book and, as bookworms, wanted to read that first before watching the movie.  Now that we’ve finished reading the novel and seeing the film, we’re comparing the two to see how they stack up. Continue reading

Broadway Adventures: Lottery Luck with ‘Dear Evan Hansen’

Dear Amanda and Ashley,

February 20 was a good day, and here’s why: because on that Wednesday, that Wednesday you watched Dear Evan Hansen at the Nederlander Theatre and sat in the orchestra after winning the ticket lottery. And it’s a good thing , because you both knew it would be the only way you’d get to watch the national tour production during its Chicago stop.

When the presale started, neither of you had enough money to buy tickets, so you had to wait for the general sale. But then you saw the ticket prices, and they were absurd. Neither of you could afford to pay over $100 for a single seat in the balcony―on a weekday! And then you kept checking ticket availability, and it was basically sold out with the exception of a few Wednesday matinees. So you both decided the lottery would be your best bet at getting tickets. Who knows how many people you’d be competing and entering with, but why not try?

Fast forward a few months to February 11, and you both set daily alarms on your phones to ensure neither of you would forget to enter the lottery right when it opened at 9 a.m. every single day (except Sundays because there are no shows on Mondays, so why would you waste your time to set a useless alarm only to realize there was no lottery to enter that day?).

Eight days, nine shows, and twenty-one rejections later, one of the emails finally said something other than “Lottery Results: Try Again”. Rather, one of Ashley’s said “STANDBY”.

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Broadway Adventures: Songs of Female Empowerment

Photo credit Joan Marcus

Songs in musicals are not only entertaining but play integral roles in telling stories, explaining situations, and detailing how characters are feeling. In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re featuring some songs from Broadway musicals that are sung by female characters and show strong emotions while conveying a message of feminism and female empowerment. Continue reading

Food Adventures: Oreo Snacks Taste Taste

When it comes to snacks and sweets, we have always been partial to Oreos. Cookies and cream has always been a go-to ice cream flavor, and Oreo products are always a must-have.

Interestingly enough, while we’re always up for a classic Oreo cookie, we prefer to have Oreos as a featured component in other snacks. We love making Oreo cupcakes, toss Oreos in brownie batter before baking it, and have even put Oreo pieces in our pancakes. When we find out about a new Oreo snack product, like Oreo churros, we make it our mission to find and try that snack. When we found out that Disneyland has cookies and cream bread pudding at Disney California Adventure, we found a recipe for it and made some for ourselves.

With such a love for an iconic sweet treat, we’re celebrating National Oreo Cookie Day with this taste test of as many Oreo snacks as we could find (and afford). Continue reading