I FINALLY Saw Hamilton!!!!!!!!!

You guys. It happened! It finally happened! After YEARS of obsessing and memorizing every lyric and reading all the fun facts I finally got to see Hamilton! And I didn’t just get to see it once… I saw it TWICE!!! The tour FINALLY came to Dallas and I was hesitant to be too excited because it isn’t the original cast and it’s a touring company, but y’all… THEY WERE SO GOOD!!!!!!! I’m jumping ahead of myself. Let me take you back to January 2017 to when I decided that I wanted to see Hamilton when it came to Dallas.

I’d seen a few musicals in Dallas before, so I received an email from the musical program trying to get people to buy season tickets, which I normally would not do. HOWEVER. They made sure to put in there that Hamilton was coming to Dallas in 2019, and if you wanted to see it at cost, you should buy season tickets for the 2018 season so you can then renew your season tickets for the 2019 season. I decided right then and there that season tickets to see TWO YEARS-worth of musicals would be my birthday present to myself for the next 2 years and I was going to see Hamilton in 2019!

The First Time ||

So then fast forward to this year, my friend and I decided to upgrade our tickets for Hamilton (we got the cheapest season tickets at the VERY back and wanted to sit a little closer) and we actually had great seats to see the show! My friend is also a Hamilton superfan, and so he and I had been looking forward to this for SO LONG! And it. did. not. disappoint!

I’ll share more thoughts about the show itself later, but I was just so blown away by all the great singers and all the great dancers and the story was just SO MOVING, even though I knew it all already! If you’ve listened to the soundtrack before, you know that the end can be a little bit emotional (in a very sweet way) and seeing it in person made it SO MUCH MORE EMOTIONAL and I could not contain the tears!! Ugh it was just so good!

The Second Time ||

Once I had seen the show once, I knew down in my heart of hearts that I just really really really needed to see it again. Ok, maybe not NEED… but… as close to need as you can get without it being essential to daily functioning. I kind of talked about the idea of seeing it again with some friends, and I’ve got some great enablers on my team because they all said what I was thinking – don’t NOT see it again if you think you’ll regret it.

So I began searching every show day and show time to find a good deal. Thankfully Hamilton was in Dallas for almost a full month and I saw it the first time on opening weekend, so I had lots of time to find a great ticket at a great price. I think I found the ONLY non-resale ticket left in the entire venue for the entire run of the show here in Dallas! It was a great price, and oh yeah, IN THE SECOND ROW!!!!!!!! (Since I was planning on going alone this time, that really helped me to find a ticket at a good deal!) I grabbed that ticket so fast and you guys… seeing Hamilton in the second row was BEYOND INCREDIBLE!! I saw them spitting while singing! I saw their facial expressions so well! I saw so many things I missed the first time around! Oh man was it incredible!

I think that being THAT close and seeing ALL the things made it so much more emotional, and I was so proud of myself for not crying during… the first sad part… (I shouldn’t be worrying about spoilers since this is based on real history and all, but oh well). I got to the end and again thought that I was doing so well and keeping it together and then out of nowhere thought to myself “huh, why are my cheeks wet?!?! When did that happen?!!? When did my eyes start tearing up so heavily?!?!?” So yeah, the ending got me AGAIN the second time around.

Thoughts and Things ||

I just have so many thoughts about finally seeing Hamilton live, and there’s really no cohesive way to organize them, so I’m just going to throw them all out there!

  • The singing was just PHENOMENAL. You hear the soundtrack and of course it’s easy to sing well when you’re standing in a recording studio, but these people were jumping all around and dancing and their singing was still so amazing. They’re just so talented! They should be so proud!!!
  • The dancing was also PHENOMENAL. This is an ACTIVE show and they were seriously moving non-stop! The background chorus members literally never stopped moving, and it added so much to the show. But even the main actors were constantly dancing and moving, too. Again, everyone was just so talented!
  • Between the two shows, I got to see a few of the understudies perform (one show it was understudies for George Washington and Angelica Schuyler, the other show it was understudies for Alexander Hamilton and John Laurens/Philip Schuyler) and even the understudies were JUST SO AMAZING! It’s hard to compare, especially the Hamilton role, because each man brought their own flair to the role, but how is there that much talent in one cast?!?!? Crazy!
  • I mentioned it before, but actually SEEING the show while hearing the songs amps up the emotions so much. Yes, it’s devastatingly sad in some parts when you’re just listening, but something about actually seeing them sing and seeing the emotion on their faces… ooooh it really gets you! There were a lot of sniffles in the room! I remember how much I cried listening to it for the first time… so it’s probably good that I’d heard it before so I wasn’t a blubbering mess in my seat!
  • This show is FUNNY! I never really got that in listening to the cast recording, but there was so much humor! A lot of it was in people’s expressions and reactions and things you wouldn’t hear in the soundtrack, but it was a really nice surprise to get to laugh so often and get entertained on that level.
  • The buzz and excitement in the audience was SO PALPABLE and just feeling how excited everyone around me was definitely made me more excited! The room definitely felt different than any of the other musical’s I’ve seen. And if it was like that for the tour in a super old theater in Dallas, TX, I can only imagine how crazy intense the theater would feel when seeing it in New York!
  • The stage only has 1 set! That’s so rare with a huge, big-budget musical! They brought a few props out every now and again, but there were no other set changes. And it all worked so well that you really don’t even notice!

I have a lot more things I could say about this, but I think this is enough for now. You get it. I was obsessed, I saw it twice, and now I remain obsessed! I’ve already listened to the cast recording a few times since seeing it live and now I have MEMORIES of what was happening at different parts, and that is just so fun! Tell me, have you seen it? Did you love it? Do you think that all of this is WAY over-hyped and you just don’t care? Let’s talk about it (and I’ll try and change your mind if you’re in the latter-camp!)

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Five More Podcasts to Check Out ASAP!

For Lent this year (which let’s just get it out there that Lent was never a thing in my house and it’s definitely not a thing in my church but 98% of my friends growing up were Catholic and so I always felt left out when I didn’t give something up, too, and so I still sometimes try to give something up and that’s that) I decided to give up listening to secular music. It’s a nice break from songs I don’t love on the radio and listening to the same 4 artists over and over, and I’ve been loving starting my day with worship music!

But sometimes I’m tired of listening to music, and I don’t want to just clean my apartment in silence, so I’ll throw on a podcast! I keep finding more and more to try out, and some of them have been amazing!! I know everyone has different styles and tastes when it comes to what they listen to (and some people would just rather not listen to other people have a conversation and I get that!) but I am going to share some REALLY REALLY GREAT ones with you today that I think you might like, too!

The Heart of Dating

The Heart of Dating podcast is such a fun one! The host, Kait, and her guests dive into the terrible, fun, confusing, awesome world of what it looks like to date as a modern Christian adult today! She has had great episodes about the Enneagram, what it looks like to start online dating, how to prepare now for marriage later, and more! Her guests are always great and share great nuggets of wisdom.

The Good Place

Yeah, The Good Place The Podcast is definitely my favorite on this list today! I just LOVE this show – it’s so clever and hilarious and has definitely made me cry and it’s just written so well. I also love knowing fun facts and trivia, and THAT’S WHAT THIS PODCAST IS! It’s hosted by one of the actors, and they go episode by episode talking to writers, the creator, actors, directors, and even special effects people about what happened, what happened behind the scenes, and other things that the people (aka me) are dying to know!!! Just make sure that you have actually seen the first two seasons before you start listening, because they didn’t start doing the podcast until well into season 2, and there are major spoilers.

Dr. Death

Dr. Death is one that I feel like EVERYONE has already listened to, but that’s ok I’m still going to put it on my list! It’s a limited-series podcast (so there’s only 11 episodes) about a spinal surgeon in Dallas, TX who basically messed up a lot of people’s lives by performing surgery on them when HE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DOING ANY SURGERY OF ANY KIND ON ANYBODY. I mean, just because of what happened it was sad to listen to… but it was also fascinating to hear just what happened and why it happened and why nobody stopped this guy sooner. Also it took place in Dallas so I felt like I should listen because I live in Dallas and that definitely upped the icky factor while listening.

Cool Playlist

Cool Playlist is pretty much exactly what you’re thinking- a podcast where the host Eliza Skinner and a guest come up with cool playlists that have 10 songs! Each episode centers on a different scenario and it’s a great way to remember songs you used to love or find new songs/artists you’ve never heard before but want to check out! Some of the fun scenarios have been playlists for a “roadtrip to Disney,” “eating fast food alone in your car at night,” “first day in a very cool new outfit,” and “coming home after a disappointing day.” Just a warning, they do NOT play the entire song when adding it to the playlist, just a sample. I made a friend listen to the “waiting in line for Broadway lottery tickets” episode when we were in New England last fall thinking she would LOVE it and she was getting so sad because “I JUST WANT TO HEAR THESE FULL SONGS!!!!!!!!!!!” Fair point, and now you’ve been warned.

The Next Right Thing

The Next Right Thing is an extremely specific podcast that I didn’t think I would like but I’m actually really enjoying so far! I’m not all the way caught up, but I started from the beginning a few months ago and I’d say I’m about halfway there. The host, Emily, has a very soothing voice and she talks about making good decisions and being ok with the decisions you make in such a calm way – it’s just really lovely. I don’t struggle with decision making ALL the time, but I’ve already taken some of the things/practices she’s talked about and implemented them into my process and it’s been great! And y’all, she even has A BOOK coming out about the same topic! And it gets released ON TUESDAY!!! I’m definitely going to add it to my library list and read it!

Yes, Even More Podcasts I’m Loving!

If people could stop making amazing podcasts so I don’t feel like I need to listen to all of them, that would be great… Just kidding! I LOVE that there are so many amazing podcasts out there! And I feel like I’m adding a new one to my “list of podcasts I’ll probably love and will listen to later” list every single day. In fact I added one to my list today. TODAY!!! When will I start listening to it? No idea! But I don’t want to forget about it so on the list it goes!

I definitely go through seasons when it comes to what kind of podcast I’m in the mood for (just like the moods I go through when it comes to reading books) and lately I’ve been listening to a lot more podcasts that have a limited number of episodes. I like that I know there is an end coming, and it makes each episode seem more special. (But I still love all my never-ending, weekly ones, too!) I’ve been doing a lot of good listening and I have FIVE more great podcasts to share with you all!

Dirty John

I’d heard great things about this one, and it was just as intense as I had heard! It would be a crazy story on its own, but the fact that it’s a REAL story about REAL people makes it even more intense! I also saw that some tv channel was making this podcast into a tv series (a limited one) and so I knew I had to listen before I could watch it!! This podcast tells the story of a manipulative guy, John, and how he was a crazy person that basically tricked a woman into marrying him, and it goes into all the things that happened with them and their families. I won’t spoil the ending, but MAN HE WAS SUCH A CRAZY PERSON!!!!!!

Serial (Season 3)

No, this isn’t a new podcast, but after a long wait they finally released season 3, which is now over. Season 3 (which was way better than season 2, btw) took place over about a year and it followed a few cases and people in the Ohio court system. It was fascinating, and upsetting, and frustrating, and eye opening to see how things go in the judicial system. The courts/judges were extremely open and allowed recording pretty much everywhere, so you really get a well-rounded look at how some trials went – before, during, and after. I’m glad that I listened to this one week-by-week as the episodes came out, because it wouldn’t feel super great to listen to all of them back-to-back. So maybe don’t do that…

Surviving Y2K

Here’s yet another limited-run podcast that I’m listening to and enjoying! As of today, it’s still not over yet, so who knows how it will wrap up! It’s from the same guy that made the Missing Richard Simmons podcast, and this one is just as interesting. It goes into different stories about what people were doing leading up to Y2K, it showcases people who did and didn’t believe that computers were going to crash, and more!

Stuff You Should Know

This is definitely not a new one… in fact it’s been around for a LONG time! Somehow I missed it before and I just started listening to it a few weeks ago! Each episode dives in pretty deep about a very specific topic, so you can learn a lot about why people are left-handed, why roundabouts came to be and how to properly use them, who killed JFK, how elimination diets work, and years and years and years-worth of more topics! The hosts do a really great job at explaining things very well and making me feel like I actually understand what’s going on in the episode.

Cool Playlist

This is another pretty new one to me, but it is so much fun!! Cool Playlist is pretty much what you’re thinking – a cool new playlist each and every episode! The host Eliza Skinner contributes 5 songs, and her guest for the week contributes 5 songs to a VERY specific playlist. Some of the ones I’ve listened to so far have been playlists for “Walking Around After A Breakup,” “Waiting in Line for Broadway Lottery Tickets,” “Dropping Off a Bag of Clothes at Goodwill (that you know are out of style but you’ll still deeply miss),” and “First Day in a Very Cool New Outfit.” Definitely some language in this one but it’s fun to hear songs I love and find some new songs I had never heard before!

 

 

I Love Musicals!!!

Back in January 2017, I was at the height of my Hamilton obsession. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still obsessed and I still blast the soundtrack in my car and sing every word at the top of my lungs in the car, but back then it was just fresher. I was just minding my own business when one day I got an email from the Dallas Summer Musicals organization saying that HAMILTON WOULD BE COMING TO DALLAS………… sometime in 2019. Your girl got SO excited. But how would I guarantee to see it and not spend $600 for one single ticket?!?

Well, I kept reading the email and this organization gave me the answer I was looking for. All I had to do was buy season tickets for the 2018 musical season (remember, this is January 2017 at this point), so then I would be able to renew my season tickets for the 2019 musical season, which would guarantee me a ticket to see Hamilton at a “normal” price!

Now, you might be thinking “That’s crazy buying season tickets for TWO YEARS just to see one show!” and sure you’d be kind of right… but you better believe that’s exactly what I did! I did the math, and getting season tickets for two years was still cheaper than what a single Hamilton ticket cost as a lot of the touring shows… so I was ok with it! And so I bought the first set of season tickets A FULL YEAR before I saw the first musical… and now the first year of season tickets is already over! Thankfully I have a friend who is just as obsessed with Hamilton as I am, and I told him my plan and he got so excited and said, “I WAS GOING TO DO THAT, TOO!!!” so we got our season ticket seats next to each other and we have a little friend date to see musicals once a month!

I saw 6 musicals this year and for the most part, they were all pretty great! In fact, I have a hard time saying that any of them were “bad” because the people involved just worked so hard to make the show happen and I’ve got to give them credit for showing up and getting the job done… so I’ve given them all awards!

– Best Children In a Musical –

This hands down has to go to School of Rock! I was kind of skeptical about this one since it was a movie first, but the whole thing was really fun! And the kids were SO AMAZING! They were singing and dancing AND playing their musical instruments live on stage! It was so impressive. I wanted to give all of them individual high fives.

– Biggest Musical Tragedy –

And no… this is not tragic like the story was really sad… this is tragic like WHO IN THE WORLD THOUGHT THIS WAS AN OK THING FOR A MUSICAL?!?!? I have to give the singers credit tho, because ALL the singing was phenomenal. And the sets were pretty elaborate and neat. But guys… this story… it was so bad. The songs… they were so bad. The world did NOT need a sequel to Phantom of the Opera yet here we are with one in existence. Just tragic!

– Best Musical I’d Already Seen Before –

Hands down The Lion King wins for best musical I’ve actually already seen before! I think it had been about 15 years since I’d seen it though, so it was almost like seeing it for the first time again! I had to reschedule when I saw this one, so since my friend and I were changing dates anyway, we went ahead and upgraded our seats to sit just a little bit closer- and I’m so glad we did! Even just that little bit made such a difference and the whole show was just amazing!

– Musical That Should Have Made Me Cry But Somehow I Didn’t Use Any of the Tissues I Brought With Me –

When it comes to musicals, Les Mis is one of the “classics.” I remember my parents going to see it when I was really little, and now that they’ve made it into a movie a lot more people know the story and the songs. I saw the movie in theaters and CRIED MY EYES OUT so I expected the same thing to happen when I saw the musical… which was not the case! Probably because I already knew all the sad parts? Maybe? But it was incredible to see it on stage and I definitely preferred this version!

– Musical That Made Me Dance A Little In My Seat –

I will be honest. I had absolutely no expectations for this musical. It actually seemed like kind of a strange musical to have been made, but I enjoyed it more than I thought I would! The music made me kind of bop around in my seat (not obnoxiously tho – I wasn’t that person) and I even looked up the songs to listen to later the next week!

– Favorite Musical of 2018 –

By far my favorite new-to-me musical of the 2018 season was Waitress! I’m always kind of hesitant when a musical is based off a movie (which in my mind is very different than a musical being based off a book for some reason) but this one really impressed me! The cast did a great job singing, the show was fun, and I loved the music! It was VERY obvious that Sara Bareilles wrote some/part/all (I can’t actually remember…) of the songs because most of the songs sounded very much her style… which I just so happen to love so I enjoyed all of them! The only weird thing about this one… was the accent that the main character used. She has a very normal voice in real life, but when she tried to talk in a Southern accent in the show she got very… mumble-y… and it was honestly kind of hard to understand her… but other than that very tiny thing it was great and I want it to come back to Dallas soon!

Now that the 2018 season is over, I have to wait a few months before the 2019 season starts. Our first show for that season is actually in December (which yes is technically still in 2018 but let’s not worry about that…) and it’s Phantom of the Opera and I can’t wait! Then it’s just a few more months to wait until I get to FINALLY see Hamilton! My tickets are for April 6, 2019 and you bet I’m going to have some sort of countdown calendar going once we get a little bit closer!

Five Podcasts I’m Loving Now!

You guys… I might have a podcast problem… THERE ARE JUST SO MANY AND THEY ARE SO GOOD!!! I keep finding more that I want to listen to, and so then I give them a listen! Sometimes I stop after a few episodes if I’m not really feeling it, sometimes I keep going and listen to new episodes as they come out if I think it’s a fine podcast, and sometimes I love one SO MUCH that I will go back through the backlog and listen to the old episodes!

Since I keep finding new podcasts that are amazing, I’ve got five more to share with y’all! Give them a listen and let me know what you think!!!

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Girls Night with Stephanie May Wilson || This is a newer one for me but I’m really liking it a lot! I first learned about Stephanie when I read her little book The Lipstick Gospel, and she has a fresh, faith-based look at topics that women deal with, like faith and friendships and relationships and working out and having it all! She has her friends come on as guests to talk with her and they’ve all been great so far! Start with: the first episode! There aren’t that many, and it will give you a good intro to herself and the podcast.

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What Should I Read Next || Book lovers rejoice – Anne Bogel (from the blog Modern Mrs. Darcy) talks to guests about books they’ve loved, books they hated, and then gives them some recommendations on what they should read next! I love when they talk about a book that I’ve already read so I can compare our opinions! Start with: Episode 105 where she talks to Rider Strong from Boy Meets World! It’ll be a good intro and a fun bit of nostalgia for you!

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The Bible Binge || This is my FAVORITE one of the list this go round!!! It’s brought to you by the same team from The Popcast (aka Knox and Jamie aka hilarious people that you need in your life ASAP) and they recap bible stories the same way you would recap a movie or TV show. It’s great. The best part is when they cast the bible characters with actors from today. Start with: Episode 1 Adam and Eve. And then prepare to listen to the rest of the episodes immediately. You’re welcome.

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The Sleeping At Last Podcast || I’ve mentioned this podcast before but you need to know about it again!! Each episode takes a deep dive behind a song and what went into making it, what is behind the lyrics, what instruments were used and why, etc. It’s FASCINATING! Start withOne and the Enneagram. It will really show how much care he puts into his songs and it’s just so interesting!

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Punch Up the Jam || Ok, I need to start by saying there is a major language warning with this one. And now that we’ve established that, I can get on to saying that if you like songs you love to hate and parody songs, then you’ll love this podcast! The hosts go line by line through “bad” songs and then “make it better” by creating their own version. Again, the language is not amazing, but it can be pretty darn funny. Start with: Mr. Brightside. Everybody loves this song so it’ll be a good first one to listen to!