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Beautiful

The first two CDs I bought with my first fancy shmansy CD player in the mid ’90s were a soundtrack to The Babysitter’s Club Movie (seriously? I am amazed and bemused)… and Tapestry  by Carole King.  Besides perfectly illustrating my rather eclectic taste in music, it also started my love of that music.

That album reminds me of my adolescence in a weird way, although it was recorded nearly 30 years before I listened to it.  It’s just relaxing and reaffirming and comforting in a strangely perfect way.

My musical tastes have definitely evolved and have become a bit more refined over the years, but I always return to Tapestry.
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Yesterday, I had the opportunity to see Beautiful The Carole King Musical in San Francisco.  I absolutely loved it.  I will admit it, I am a Broadway snob.  I think the last so-called “jukebox musical” I saw was either Movin’ Out or Jersey Boys, a long time ago.  I am a fan of new composers, of thought provoking shows, of soul-shattering acting.  But, but… sometimes you just need to relax.  Sometimes you just need to not be on the edge of your seat, teeth clenched as Diana Goodman has a mental breakdown in Next to Normal.  Sometimes you can and should have fun at a show!
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I was thoroughly impressed by the song choices, but what I really noticed was how well the show’s “book” (dialogue) was crafted.  It was good! Funny at times, poignant at others, it was just generally high quality.  Interestingly enough, I saw Jessie Mueller, the actress who portrays Carole King, in Into the Woods in Shakespeare in the Park in Central Park in 2012.  Sondheim to King is quite the change, but she clearly is at home in any genre.
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I hope this show does well.  It really struck me, as weird as it seems, as a women’s version of Jersey Boys.  And I say that in the most complimentary way.  A high quality jukebox musical that’s well-acted and well-sung should do well in the current Broadway environment, and I am interested to see how audiences and reviewers in New York respond to this show.

I hope they embrace it, it’s truly Beautiful.

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New York State of Mind

Just got back from a few days in NYC – saw lots of great shows, went to my favorite places and a few new ones, and just enjoyed the city. Saw a few good shows – Murder Ballad, Kinky Boots, and Matilda. None were earth-shattering, but they were all a fun night out at the theatre.

New York isn’t the easiest place for someone with some mobility issues (I walk down stairs at a snail’s pace!) but it’s always worth the struggle and pain to experience everything I love about it.

My attempts to photograph the Murder Ballad theatre failed, so these are the Matilda and Kinky Boots marquees – along with a quick shot of the beautiful set design before the show.

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I did eat some healthy food, too (really!)

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Dog at the WTC site, carriage and police horses. Love seeing contented working animals.

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Freedom Tower, Central Park from the Met rooftop, Schubert Alley.

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Amazing children’s book exhibit at the NYPL

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Crab is a big hit. Hopefully this one will take a bit to destroy!

Missed my dog terribly, and although he enjoyed his time at my parents’, I think he’s happy to be home! (And even happier with this new toy!)

I got sick at the end of my trip, so I’m not doing much today since I can’t exactly breathe right now. Looking forward to some relaxing dog walking when I am able to, I missed it so much! I did see a few guide and service dogs in New York, which made me happy.

Cassius and I will probably end up there next summer, after the Moebius Syndrome Conference in DC. I think I’ve been convinced to present about CCI/service dogs, just gotta find a local puppy raiser (with adorable puppy, of course) to come and be adorable with us!

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Review: Falling

Falling is an apt metaphor for life with challenges of many types. It is also the name of a new play, being presented Off-Broadway and regionally, about a family.

It presents the unique challenges of being a family affected with a condition such as severe autism, and raises powerful questions and doubts that need to be discussed.

For me, art is so incredibly powerful because we can explore so much with it. Falling made me squirm. It made me sigh with relief, then gasp. It made me THINK.

That is what great art is. It asks tough questions that are uncomfortable to answer. It makes you doubt yourself and what you think you would do. It makes you cry.

Falling is a powerful and much-needed piece of theater. I highly recommend it for mature audiences interested in family and disability issues.

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