The Things I Was Into – August 2014

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I might as well call this installment of ‘What I’m Into’ the Musical Theatre Edition, because that’s pretty much what’s consumed my life this past month.

This month has been chalk full of creating theatre on the stage with fellow artists and friends.  Though my schedule has been harried, vacations non-existent, and balanced living a distant memory, I wouldn’t trade any of these days for the world.  Musical theatre performing is my favorite creative passion, and one of the things I feel I was born to do–I am utmost grateful for these beautiful, creative days.

{affiliate links in this post, if used, go directly to support All Manner of Inspiration – thanks!}

Musicals Galore – Phantom & Fiddler On The Roof

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I spent the first 2 weeks of the month finishing the performance run of Phantom to sold-out crowds, had one day off, then went right into rehearsals for a production of Fiddler On the Roof.  

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As I type this post, I am in the thick of  ‘tech week’ for Fiddler – theatre speak for the longer, extended hours of rehearsals the week leading up to opening night.  Its often a tedious, grueling process, but thankfully – this particular company of actors, musicians, and technicians are a wonderful lot of folks – its been a much-more-fun-than-usual tech week.

 

Books

What I Read

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Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs

I still remember standing in the hotel lobby at the Allume conference in 2012, talking and praying with Annie, and getting chills as she described the book she was writing.  I have been eagerly awaiting its release, and it did not disappoint.

Annie’s writing is personal, friendly and the best kind of hilarious.  Many author’s writing styles are described as “personal”, but she really is one of those authors who, when you read her books, you feel as though you she is right there with you, sharing her wisdom over a cup of coffee–and I love that she included the name and locale of the particular coffee shop where she wrote each chapter.  She shares more of her personal life and stories in this book, that yielded some beautiful takeaways for me–I gobbled these words up in a few short days.  This book is a wonderful read I really enjoyed.

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Attachments & Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

After all of the blog-world I read kept waxing on and on about Rainbow Rowell books (especially Rainbow & Park), I had to check them out at the library.  While both of these books are very well written and enjoyable reads, my favorite was Attachments.  (Let’s just say, I’m not one for downer-endings, though I did like the ray of hope at the end of Eleanor & Park).

I read Attachments firstand flew through it.  It was good enough that I had to clear my calendar the morning I finished it, so I could read straight through.  Eleanor & Park seemed to not quite live up to the hype for me, but I loved the in-depth character writing, and really rooted and cared for both main characters, which to me, feels like the mark of wonderful fiction writing.  Both were fun summer reads.

 Unnaturally Green {One Girl’s Journey Along A Yellow Brick Road Less Traveled} by Felicia Ricci

Let me start by gushing and just say, I loved this book.  I hope to one day write a memoir that among other content, shares some of my stories of being a traveling performer.  When I began to research books written in memoir form by musical theatre performers, I was stunned to only find three legit titles on Amazon.  (I realize this could have been a limited search, and but this was my surprising initial finding).   The first one on that list was this book, and I devoured it!

Ricci is a Yale graduate, and a literary  winner for nonfiction, and boy, did it show–her writing voice is fantastic!  (A quick internet and youtube search for her after reading her book turned up her numerous how-to singing videos, but I’m reallllly hoping she writes another book very, very soon!)  In her early 20’s, she auditioned for and got a creme de la creme gig for a musical theatre actress–the ensemble replacement, and soon after, stand-by for Elphaba in the San Francisco company of Wicked.    She shares the in’s and out’s of her personal journey–from the audition process, to rehearsals, performances, cast bonding–the whole wonderful lot of it–with hilarity and wit, while still revealing her vulnerabilities.

She also brilliantly shared the thought process one goes through on stage when in an understudy/standby position in a creative way that I thought was SO brilliant, I fully plan to use her technique (and credit her of course) to share my own story in a future blog post or essay.  {Felicia, if you’re reading this mini-review: I’m referencing pages 179-183–SO. FLIPPING.BRILLIANT.AND.TRUE!!}

If you love Wicked, musical theatre, or just a fun light reading memoir, don’t miss this one!

What I’m Reading

Breathing Room by Leanna Tankersley, An Altar In The World by Barbara Brown Taylor, Speak by Nish Weiseth, Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray & Letters From Backstage: The Adventures of A Touring Stage Actor by Michael Kostroff.

 What I Listened To

I loved discovering the soundtrack to Ragamuffin, the new film about Christian singer-songwriter Rich Mullins.  The album is filled with excellent covers of his songs–my favorites are on the playlist below.    I especially can’t stop listening to the classical trio Time For Three, (that only play popular songs) as well as Ed Sheeran’s  ‘I See Fire’ from the Hobbit movie.

{Follow me and my playlists on Spotify here.}

Favorite Instagram-able Moments

{Follow me on Instagram here.}

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Because the only plants I seem to be able to keep alive are succulents, I picked up a pretty one at Trader Joes for this whimsical planter head I’m obsessed with that I purchased at Homegoods.   I’ve since moved it to a larger shelf in our breakfast nook, but I loved the way it caught the light in this photo on our kitchen table.

 

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I taped up various cards and memorabilia into my stage makeup box YEARS ago, and have pulled it out of storage of late, as I’ve been enjoying performing professionally once again.

During a matinee of a performance when I was struggling a bit with a head cold, and randomly thinking of my Mom, this card flipped open in front of me–no doubt the years old Scotch tape having been jiggled apart from recent use–and I discovered that my card with Dorothy’s Wizard of Oz ruby red slippers on the front was indeed a handwritten note from my Mom!

My beautiful Mother passed away years ago, much too young. I read her words, and smiled as they gave me the warmth and unexpected feeling of her presence.  I love moments like this–Godscidence, my Godmother so aptly calls it–that remind me of the divine presence in my daily life.

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At the Declare Blogging Conference I attended this month, I captured some of my favorite Dayspring product displayed on the wall, their Words Matter line.  I love that various women on the Incourage staff shared both their favorite Scriptures or a quote from their writings, and then artists came up with these beautiful prints.  I took home a couple of these as gifts that I’m eager to find frames and homes for on my walls.

 

 

Blogisphere Reads

 

Emily Miller:  Sacro Speco: Give Your Soul An Occasional Sunday 

I was honored to be even a small part of the inspiration for writer Emily Miller’s Sacro Speco post.  Its been awhile since I’ve taken time on the blog for Sacro Speco – this was a good reminder to begin that tradition anew once again.

Emily Freeman at Chatting At The Sky:  For When You Feel Like A Spectator to Grief: A Reflection On the Death of Robin Williams   

 

Lacy Ellman at A Sacred Journey: Everyday Calls to Prayer: 5 Surprising Invitations to Encounter God, Hidden In Your Daily Life
 Laura Tremaine at The Hollywood Housewife: How I Instagram

 

 Tsh Oxenreider at The Art of Simple Travel: #WorldWideOx  Packing List: Women’s Clothing 
Allison Vesterfelt’s new e-book on writing: 

Everybody wants to be a writer. But not everybody wants to do what it takes to become a writer: to show up without pretense, to listen to themselves, to lean in and wrestle, to let go of control, to speak up and connect with an audience.

The act of writing won’t change you, it won’t even necessarily help you. But the art of writ-ing, the practice of writing—that will turn you into a better you, if you let it.

 

I want to share more goodness from August, but I need to head to the theatre for our opening night performance of Fiddler On The Roof!  It’s the day of the show y’all!  Mozeltov!

What were you into in August?

3 comments on “The Things I Was Into – August 2014

  1. Just checking in to see what you’ve been up to! Are you going to write for the 31 Days again this October? I hope so as I’d love to follow along. I’m planning to, but sure don’t know the topic yet – I know, cutting it close. Let me know if you start up the Sacro Speco again. Sounds like you have been very busy lately!

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