Unwritten Rules of Musicals

Over the last 2 years, I have seen a LOT of musicals (if you remember, I signed up for season tickets for 2 years just so I could be guaranteed an at-cost ticket to Hamilton, and it was worth it!) which is good for me, because I LOVE musicals! There have been some decent ones, and some AMAZING ones, and one in particular that I still can’t believe ever made it to the stage let alone a tour but I sat thru it anyway (yes I’m clearly still mad at you, Love Never Dies….)

This past season, my musical buddy and I got to see EIGHT shows!!! The Phantom of the Opera, The Book of Mormon, Anastasia, Hamilton (which I saw twice!!!), Miss Saigon, Aladdin, Hello Dolly, and Fiddler on the Roof. Time and time again, I was just blown away with the talent and creativity that we saw! The sets were great (especially Anastasia – those sets incorporated technology in a way that you just don’t get with older, more classic musicals and it was neat to see the difference), the singing was great (even though this is a touring cast they’re just so insanely talented!), and I just loved all of it!

Well… that’s not true. I should say that I loved most of it. The things that I didn’t love were most of the other people in the theater, haha. People just being rude or annoying or not having any sort of social awareness to realize that they’re in a theater and not on the couch at home alone. So because of that, I thought I’d share some unwritten rules of going to musicals that SHOULD BE COMMON SENSE but clearly are not. They so are not.

1. Arrive on time.

Things happen. Unexpected traffic happens. The person you’re picking up isn’t ready on time. Things happen. But just try your best to arrive on time. Not even on time but early!! The rush of people coming in after the opening number using flashlights and cell phones to find their seats in the dark is very distracting!

2. Don’t wear gym shorts.

Things have gotten pretty casual at the theater lately, and I usually end up in jeans and a nice top when I go, but please just whatever you do, don’t show up in gym shorts!!! Being comfortable is nice, I get it, but it’s just hilarious when you see a family all dressed up sitting next to a dude who clearly just came from the gym. Or just woke up.

3. Don’t sing along.

NO! This is not a time for you to showcase how you know every single word to every single song! NO! People are paying money to hear the professionals sing, not you! Save it for your car on the way home when you can enjoy the songs and sing as loud as you want. But please, please don’t sing along during the actual musical itself. (Side note – this rule does not apply to adorable children under the age of 6 who are so genuinely elated that Princess Jasmine and Aladdin are riding on the magic carpet that they can’t help but belt it out. That is forever allowed.)

4. Don’t use your phone during.

Is there a reason that you need to check facebook in a dark theater, lady? Is the singing and dancing happening in front of you just not enough entertainment? Do you need to look at ALL the vacation photos from your cousin’s honeymoon RIGHT NOW?!?!?! Even when screens have the brightness turned down, they’re still pretty bright, so don’t be rude and just keep your phone out of sight until intermission.

5. Eat responsibly.

I love snacks. Snacks are the best. But this theater in Dallas only sells baked goods and candy in the crinkliest, loudest packaging known to man. And I’m pretty sure that people wait for the silent, sad moments in the musicals to CRINKLE CRINKLE CRINKLE their candy open. Maybe try opening your treat before going into the theater. Maybe wait till the end of a song and open it while there’s lots of loud applause happening. Maybe pour a bag of skittles into your empty eyeglass case in your car outside so you don’t have to worry about crinkly wrappers OR spending $4 on a treat. So many options.

6. Don’t leave early.

I know you have VERY important plans you need to get to immediately after the musical and you want to be the very first car out of the parking lot to avoid the extra 10 minutes of waiting, but please please do not think you’re being smart by leaving during the final number! You’re missing part of the show! I even think it’s bad when people start filing out during the curtain call. I’m just trying to stand and applaud for all the talented people, not get my feet stepped on as you try to shuffle out from the middle of the row because you HAVE to be the first one out the door.



Podcasts I’ve Added to My Listening List

Another podcast list is coming your way!! Can you even stand the excitement?!?! I just keep finding more that I like and then listening to them and they’re all just so good!

Ever since I moved, however, I’ve found that I’m listening to podcasts a lot less. I used to have them going CONSTANTLY when I lived alone – while making dinner, while cleaning, while getting ready in the morning – but now that I live with someone else, I just don’t do that as much anymore. I’m up and out the door before my roomie gets going for the day, so I don’t want to blast unnecessary noise, and in the evenings we are chatting! I’m still listening to them at work when I’m doing mindless tasks, but I have to admit, having less time to listen is making me be more selective about the shows I’m listening to and that probably isn’t a bad thing!

Here are 5 new podcasts that I’ve started listening to lately!

You’re Welcome with Hilary Rushford

I’ve loved following Hilary online and on Instagram for years now (she’s the one who had that GORGEOUS elopement in France that I was obsessing over!!) and so when she announced that she was making a podcast, I was SO EXCITED to listen. She’s only released 10-ish episodes so far, so you can go catch up rather quickly if you’d like, and I highly recommend that you do. She gives great advice and just talks about topics like friendship, dating, fashion, fitness, and more with enthusiasm and honesty where I believe that she knows what she’s talking about and she isn’t trying to seem like a know-it-all. Does that make sense? Just go listen, and you’ll see what I mean!

That Sounds Fun

This podcast by Annie F. Downs is genuinely fun!! Annie is a speaker and author that is pretty well known in the Christian women world, and it’s super fun to listen to her talk with her friends and with people that you know and love, like David Crowder, Ben Higgins, Ben Rector, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and more. She’s currently going through “Enneasummer” where she’s talking about each of the numbers of the Enneagram with a male and female person that identify as that number. It’s great insight to hear from both genders, and just to learn more about each number!

Binge Mode

If you love deep dives and details about certain pop culture phenomenons, then Binge Mode is for you. I have been listening to it as I’m listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks. I finish a group of chapters of the book, and then I’ll go listen to the Binge Mode episode for that range of chapters! They do deep dives into characters, themes for the chapters, and things that you might have missed or just not thought about before. They more recently did a deep dive of the last season of Game of Thrones, so if you watched that and wanted to know even more, then go give it a listen!

Minor Adventures with Topher Grace

This one is just silly and for fun! Topher Grace, the actor, has a different celebrity guest for each episode and they learn something new – but the twist is that the celeb has NO IDEA what they’ll be doing before coming on the episode! Sometimes it’s hilarious and both of them are terrible, but a few times it’s worked out where the celeb guest is actually good at or has experience in the adventure already! I just listened to an episode where he and Chrissy Metz were going to learn to beatbox and she said “oh I’m kinda good at that!” – and she was!!

Asking For a Friend

Some of my favorite memories from college are watching The Hills with friends at night in our dorm rooms (oh man that show was so bad but so good!!!!!) and I’ve loved Lauren Conrad ever since. It’s been fun watching her try new things and grow professionally, and she always seems to have it all together… so you can imagine that I was excited to hear that she was starting a podcast where she’d talk to experts in different industries to give tips and advice! So far she’s talked to her hair stylist, an interior designer, an organizing professional, a makeup artist – I can’t wait for more episodes to come out!

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!)

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!