Tag Archives: Broadway Musicals

AG Halloween Costume, Part 2: Dress with Shoes!

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At first I thought I would make a pair of red shoes for the dress out of the extra fabric I had, but I think shoes are hard to make.  I discovered from Say Hello To My Little Friends about Tree House Studio doll shoes sold at Hobby Lobby.  I went to see if the particular Hobby Lobby store I go to carried them.  They had about 12 different pairs!  Also, I was pleased to find that they were only $5.  I bought the red sparkly flats to go with my Thoroughly Modern Millie Halloween dress.  They aren’t exactly 1920s period shoes, on the other hand they are red and AG dolls can’t wear 1920s high heels anyway.

They fit my American Girl Doll great!  I didn’t expect them to fit my Kidz n Cats doll, however I tried them on for kicks.  They are obviously not designed for Kidz dolls.  Like I said, I didn’t expect them to, so it’s okay!

I am quite pleased with the inexpensive foot covering for AG.  I will probably definitely buy more pairs in the future.  As long as the shoe stays intact, I am not too concerned by quality in general.  They do not have to be practical – they are for a doll! – , they just need to look the part.  That’s the way I see it.

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AG Halloween Costume Part 1: Dress

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I have completed the dress for my AG Doll’s Millie Dillmount costume!  The dress is inspired by the Thoroughly Modern Millie Broadway poster.  Thoroughly Modern Millie (the musical) was based on the 1967 film by the same name starring Julie Andrews as Millie.  The musical rendition of the film opened on Broadway in 2002, starring Sutton Foster as Millie.  The show won 6 Tony Awards and ran for 903 performances with 32 previews.

The costume will eventually consist of the dress, shoes, necklace and possibly headband.  This is part one!

To make the basic shape of the dress, I used this tutorial.  After cutting the fabric, I cut the armholes 1/4 inch all the way around, and lowered the neckline.

The length was perfect for this 1920s flapper dress.  When using this tutorial for nowadays outfits, leggings underneath would be most appropriate 🙂

The inside lining is a smooth fabric, which I forget the name of at the moment.  The outside of the dress is 2mm sequin fabric.  The red poly chain fringe was 4″ long when I bought it, but I cut it down to 2″.  Each row of fringe is 1 and 3/4 inch below the last, allowing the rows to overlap slightly.  I used about 55 inches of this fringe.  I bought 1.5 yards, and used almost all of it.

The back closes with Velcro.

Scroll down for more pictures!

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Original poster

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Back of dress

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Front of dress

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Next Season at The 5th Avenue Theatre

What’s up next at The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle?  The most successful theater in the Northwest announced their 2014-2015 season last week.  Here’s the line up!

A Chorus Line

Kinky Boots (Tour)

A Christmas Story

Carousel

Something Rotten!  (A New Musical)

Jacques Bell is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (Co-production with ACT)

Grease

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The 5th Avenue Theatre SPAMalot Rising Star Project

“After The 5th Avenue Theatre wraps up its professional production of Monty Python’s Spamalot, the curtain will rise again for an all-student production, featuring more than 70 students from across Washington State. The Rising Star Project: Spamalot is not only a brilliant artistic collaboration between some of the area’s most promising up-and-coming young talent, but an educational program unlike any other in the country.”

Teen performers have the opportunity to rehearse with sets and costumes from the mainstage production as they learn the responsibilities of working in a professional theater. Meanwhile, students produce, develop, and market the student production under the mentorship of The 5th Avenue staff. The program is tuition free and open to all who wish to participate.”

There is no other educational program like this in the country,” said 5th Avenue Theatre Producing Director Bill Berry. “What makes this project truly unique is the opportunity young people have to be mentored by professional artists, staff and crew, at no cost to the student.”

– BroadwayWorld.com

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Thoughts on ‘Little Women’ Part 4

Introduction

After discussing the character of Beth March in the last part, I am led into talking about Mr. Laurence.

My Interpretation

I was surprised when reading the book that Mr. Laurence is rather kind.  Although he does have his rough spots, (he doesn’t like Laurie to practice piano and he keeps Laurie shut in the house a lot) he justifies these, with what he believes to be, good reasons for his actions.  He is also generous.  He gives to the March family many things including a Christmas surprise before the two households are good friends, help when members of the March family are ill, and he gives Beth a piano.

Neither the musical nor the movie justly represents the character of Mr. Laurence in the book.  The shaping of her characters was done very well by Louisa May Alcott and perhaps those who write the adaptations cannot recreate the character.

The movie character is simply not seen very often.  He plays a large part in the book, however.  Perhaps the writers of the movie did not see his role as vital.

The musical character of Mr. Laurence is hostile.  For instance, when Jo chops down a tree on his property to use as a Christmas tree, he arrives shortly at the March home.  He demands that the tree be returned and Jo offers to chop wood for him for two weeks to pay for the loss of the tree.  He immediately counters ‘A month!’, which she agrees to.  He does eventually have a change of heart.

Part 4 temporarily concludes ‘Thoughts on Little Women‘.  If you have anything to add, post a comment!

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Thoughts on ‘Little Women’ Part 3

Introduction

The second character I’ll look at will be a bit more in depth.  This is the character of Beth.

Beth in the Novel

Her character includes much more characteristics than those that meet the eye.  Throughout the novel, she is described by these nicknames and adjectives:

*        dear

*        patient

*        quiet

*        rosy

*        bright-eyed

*        Mouse

*        peacemaker

*        “Little Miss Tranquility”

*        bashful

*        housewifely

*        shy

*        gentle

*        timid

*        round

*        very good

*        the best of little creatures

The character of Beth is made quite clear by Louisa May Alcott through these words, as well as the actions Beth takes in the novel.

From these words we could that she is more of a fixture in the March household for others to reap from.  However, notice ‘bright-eyed’ which means ‘alert and lively’.  If you read the novel you can easily spot that Beth can be an excited and energetic person around her close family.  It is strangers and acquaintances she is frightened and shy of.

She is quite scared of Mr. Laurence.   At one of their first meetings, he was unaware of her fear of people and looked closely at her and said ‘Hey’ rather loudly, which caused her to ‘run away’ in fright.

To sum it up, Beth in the novel is good, shy, and quiet.  Being quiet does not necessarily mean you are shy.  Beth is both quiet and shy around those she is not well acquainted with.

The definition of the word shy, according to the New Oxford American Dictionary is as follows:

1 being reserved or having or showing nervousness or timidity in the company of others…”

The word quiet is defined:

2 making little or no sound 2. tranquil and reserved by nature; not brash or forceful”

So you see, ‘shy’ and ‘quiet’ really are two different things and are not interchangeable words when used properly.  It is possible, and this is Beth’s case, to be quiet because of being shy.

After acquiring scarlet fever, Beth becomes an ill wisp and doesn’t fully recover from the sickness.

Beth in the Movie

This takes me into talking about the Beth in the 1994 movie.  Beth in the movie does not seem so frail and weak during and after becoming ill.  She looks like a strong girl throughout the movie.  Now, you may notice the adjective ‘round’ above.  This does not indicate that Beth resembled a circle.  Dozens of times in the novel we can see the word ‘round’ used in place of ‘around’. For instance ‘glancing round the room’, ‘tiles all round it’, and ‘turned her round’.  Yet, this doesn’t fit Beth’s character.  One definition of the word ‘round’, according to the New Oxford American Dictionary:

“…4 (of a person or their manner of speaking) not omitting or disguising anything; frank and truthful”

I can see the above definition very fitting to Beth’s character.  The part of the book that describes Beth as being ‘round’:

“…At seven o’clock, the four members ascended to the clubroom, tied their badges round their heads, and took their seats with great solemnity.  Meg, as the eldest, was Samuel Pickwick, Jo, being of a literary turn, Augustus Snodgrass, Beth, because she was round and rosy, Tracy Tupman, and Amy who was always trying to do what she couldn’t, was Nathaniel Winkle…”

In this passage quoted above are two usages of the word ‘round’.  Both are being used in different ways.

Before moving on, I want to define ‘rosy’.  Below are two definitions of the word.

New Oxford American Dictionary:

2 promising or suggesting good fortune or happiness; hopeful”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

2 characterized by or tending to promote optimism”

Obviously, Louisa May Alcott did not mean to imply that Beth was red or pink in facial tone.  She meant that Beth was hopeful and optimistic.

Words in the English language have many meanings.  Until researched, things assumed should not be accepted as facts.  So instead of saying ‘round and rosy’ you could say almost the same thing by saying ‘truthful and optimistic’.

Beth in the Musical

Lastly, her musical character is kind and selfless.  She, before passing away, tells Jo in the song Some Things are Meant to Be:

ALL MY LIFE I’VE LIVED FOR LOVING YOU
LET ME GO NOW

She does not seem as shy and quiet in the musical, though, and that is Beth’s main characteristic.  Losing that   does not make it completely Beth March.  She speaks rather boldly to Mr. Laurence in an exchange I already mentioned but shall mention again.

Beth is playing the piano when Mr. Laurence enters the March home.  He looks at her and says ‘Which one of the dreadful March girls are you?’ she replies, dropping a quick curtsy ‘Dreadful Beth’.

That does not seem like a shy, quiet, and frightened person, which Beth is around strangers.

In the Next Part

Tomorrow, we will look briefly on the character of Mr. Laurence.

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Thoughts on ‘Little Women’ Part 2

Introduction

When I first read the book Little Women, after having seen the movie and musical beforehand, I was very interested to see the characters in the book compared those in the adaptations.

The Main Character

The novel is evenly focused on each of the characters of interest, yet we still get the impression that Jo is the main character.  In the musical, the audience can be made very certain that Jo is the main character.  Although Marmee has two solos, one is aimed towards Jo and the marriage that John Brooke and Meg decide on in More Than I Am affects Jo.

I would like to now focus on some separate roles in the book, movie, and musical.  I will not look into Jo, because her character seems very obvious and simultaneous throughout most of the adaptations.  All you need do to learn the character of Jo is read the novel and perhaps its following sequels Little Men and Jo’s Boys.

What Makes a Character?

What makes a character?  Those that are involved with plays and musicals contemplate this deeply.  A character is made by their characteristics, personalities, and quirks.

To begin, the main roles of Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy all share one thing between all the renditions of the novel.  They all have the same name in each version.

Just because the roles in Little Women share the same names in each adaptation does not mean they are entirely the same character.  This goes for any characters that have been adapted. The perception of character is different for each reader or audience member, but the majority of deductions made by people are extremely similar.  This is the goal of the author of a character, to place its characteristics before people rather than leave it open for the imagination of the reader.

Character Comparison of Theodore Laurence III

The first character I’ll look at is Theodore Laurence the Third, better known as Laurie.  In each comparison I will start with the original character in the novel, the musical character, then the movie character.

The novel character is jovial in a childish way.  When Jo finds him he is distressed, bored, lonely, and unambitious.  He is altogether an enjoyable person after he finds affections in his Grandfather and the March family.  He attempts to marry Jo, and, after a while, is able to get over the fact that she sees him only as a friend.  He finds Amy in Europe and they marry.

The musical character seemed a bit too far on the silly and jovial side. Rather than a happy person, he seemed overly and unnaturally immature.  It is quite a stun when he proposes to Jo, because he acts like such a child.  The marriage to Amy later on makes him a bit more mature.  This attitude may have to do with the actor who portrayed Laurie when I saw the musical, but I believe the script gives the actor full opportunity in the way it is written to act thus.

Why did the writers change things the way they did?  There are good reasons.  In the case of Laurie, I think that musicals these days need the ability to make an audience laugh.  Laurie acts, in the musical, as the comedic relief.  Such as when Laurie awkwardly meets the March girls and says, ‘I play the piccolo!  I can hold my breath for two minutes before passing out!’.

The movie character is the most serious of the trio of characters.  He has a playful attitude, but at the same time it seems aloof and uncomfortable.

In the Next Part

Next up, I will go into the deep character of Beth March and her characteristics throughout each adaptation of Little Women.

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