Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Tale of Two Cities V.S. A Tale of Two Cities

Guys, you will never guess what I did this week!



If you guess you get a cookie.

Do you give up? Alright, I suppose I will tell you then. This week I undertook the great, bold and slightly daunting quest of reading A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickons.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

*CAUTION!  There will be much fangirling and ranting in this post! There will be spoilers!

*It is also pretty long. 

Why did I choose to undertake this task? Well there were lots of reasons. First of all, I have wanted to read ATOTC for quite a few years, but every time I picked it up the first chapter was so hard I couldn't get through it. This drove me nuts because I pride myself on being able to read anything I open, regardless of writing style or feel. But Charles Dickons stumped me and I could NOT get through that first chapter. It was exhausting and boring and it did not grip me in any sort of way. What was the point in reading something that wasn't gripping?

There was no reason. I proceeded to hunt down a different, more enjoyable story to read.

So what was different this time?

My older sister owns the soundtrack for A Tale of Two Cities; The Musical. It is the Original Cast Recording (because we have a thing for *original recordings*) and every now and again she listens to it. I heard it for the first time a few years ago and I fell in love with the music, the story and - you guessed it - Sydney Carton. He was such a sad pitiful person and he quickly rose to the rank of fabulous. He was right next to Raoul as my favorite male character in Musical Theater. We listened to it a couple times over the next three years or so, but since Kat was the only one who owned it (and it wasn't on youtube at the time) I didn't hear it half as much as I wanted to.

Then my sisters hit their musical high, and we listened to all the musicals again - including, for the first time in ages, A Tale of Two Cities. And I found the soundtrack on youtube (the Original Soundtrack!!) and listened to it four times in the same week. I got teeny bit obsessed, and that obsession has not ENDED. It's still going! It's been over a month - As I am sure most of you know :) I can't help it. I love Sydney, and his story hit me even harder this time. He is such a sad mashed potato :( He breaks my heart. When I am not listening to Phantom I listen to ATOTC.* I am starting to memorize a lot of the songs and can now sing along with most of the musical. (I can sing along with ALL the songs that have Sydney in them 8-D )

*Let me just say, musical theater is the bomb-diggety. It is so fabulous. It makes everything better.

Basically, the more I listened to it, the more I wanted more Sydney. I was on such a  high that I decided now would be the perfect time to try ATOTC - The book - one more time.

And I did. I actually picked it up, started the first line and just kept reading.

Just reading...

I read the whole book in two days (give or take a few hours) and when I finished, at I wasn't sure if I had actually enjoyed it or not. I gave it some thought and finally come to a conclusion:

I liked the book. But I LOVED Sydney Carton, and I really read it for him. I would tell myself, "It's okay. Three Chapters and we get some Carton." So much of that book is just descriptive world building and excessive use of adjective and adverbs of every kind, repeated four or five times in a paragraph. That made the story hard to read - you really have to be in the mood and be committed. There were sentences nearly a page LONG in that book. I'm not even kidding! A Page. LONG. I have never seen so many semicolons and commas! It was kind of exhausting to read so much. There were so many words and just so much everything that it got overwhelming. The characters all tended to be too dramatic (especially Lucie) and the whole story was just a bit too emotional. And in this instance, I don't mean like a FEEEEEEEEEEEELZ! emotional. (though there was that kind too) More like "OH EVERYONE IS SO OVERWHELMED, WHATEVER SHALL WE DO???"

What. Even.

Whenever the story revolved around Sydney Carton, it was Brilliant. I loved all of Sydney's scenes. He is the saddest Mashed Potato. Reading his story made his character even more painful because you learn all this other stuff that you don't really see in the musical - at least not as much. Like, he and his boss had gone to school together, and his boss was obviously a huge bully and really used Sydney and made him feel useless and pathetic. Stryver (the boss) was a Slime-Bag and he treated Sydney like dirt. He had no self-esteem and no one in all the world cared about him. He made me so sad!!!!!!

SO! Back to the reason I started this post. LOL. I didn't stop at just listening to the musical. I bought a copy of it in CONCERT on DVD.* They were on a stage. And acting. And it was fabulous! Sydney was the saddest of mashed potatoes!!

*I wanted the stage production but there wasn't one. So I settled for the Concert edition. It was an abridged production, and it wasn't as good as it could have been on a real stage, but it was still good.

When I finished that (And then listened to the whole musical again,) I decided that I still like the musical better than the book. But there were elements in the book I liked better.

The musical is more from Sydney's point of view, and I LOVE that. There is more Sydney in the musical. In the book it is usually other people meeting Sydney and/or mentioning him in passing. You rarely get a chapter from his point of view, and when you do it seems too short. I think the whole story would have been ten times better if it had been Sydney's story and not Lucie's and Charles'.

In the book I really liked Charles. I liked him in the musical too, but I liked him more in the book. He had a lot of really sweet moments in the book that I don't believe were in the musical. (But then I haven't seen the full thing yet either.) I don't know why so many people think he is flat and silly ....  Well okay. When he was in love he was kind of a dope. But he was a sweet dope. And and he was nice to Sydney. Even when Sydney was drunk (and insulting!) he was nice to Sydney. He welcomed him into his home after his wedding to Lucy. He let Sydney act as a godfather toward his children. He called him his friend and never judged him too harshly, even though he had seen him at his worst. I really liked Charles for that.

In the musical, I really liked Lucie. She was sweet and cute and she was really good to Sydney. But in the book she drove me In.sane. I know she was nice to Sydney and that was all fine and good, but seriously that women was all over the place. She was constantly Over-flowing With Joy, or Completely Distraught about something or other. and usually it was just sooo overwhelming. 

Lucie! Stop falling to your knees! FOR REAL.

I think the Lucie in the musical was more what Charles Dickons was going for in the book, he just never quite made it. They did a good job of highlighting her kindness without making her too good and they filled her out with all these cute little quirks that made her likable. Unfortunately the book didn't do this.

She was annoying okay? Really annoying.

I liked that in the musical they built more with Sydney and Little Lucie's relationship.* I like that they drew that element out and actually showed Sydney with the little girl - and how gentle and different he was around her then with anyone else. Because that was adorable.

"God bless Mama and Papa and Grandpapa.... And Sydney. I don't think he'll ask You for himself.

*Little Lucie is Lucie's daughter.

This being said, I loved the scene in the book where Sydney talked to Lucie about his feelings for her, and how much she inspired him to do good and that for her, and for any dear to her, he would sacrifice anything; including his life. I love this moment, and sadly I don't know if it was in the stage production (Since I can't freakin' see it.) I think something similar must happen because at the end of the musical Sydney writes a letter to Lucie and it's exactly the same as the one he writes in the book, and it was in regard to that conversation.

I really love the scene in the musical where Carton comes over for Christmas (on Lucie's invitation) and receives a present from Lucie. And he is really touched and because he was not expecting a gift, especially not one from her, and he says thank you with this shy little kiss ... and it's so. freakin. sad. BECAUSE SHE IS IN LOVE WITH CHARLES AND HE WILL NEVER EVER BE HAPPY.

"There is something I would like to give you."

*Spoilers ahead*

So... There were a few elements from the book that I wish they could have kept in the musical. Like the bit near the end where Sydney is walking and praying.... "I am the Life and the Resurrection,.." That whole sequence was heartbreaking and I think it would have been cool to do something with it in the musical.

On the other hand though, I loved the song "Let Her Be A Child," which took the place of that. It was essentially the same thing. Sydney is all alone and he is faced with a frightening decision and he is scared and unsure ... and then it's like he hears Little Lucie saying her night prayers and he remembers why he has to follow through with his plans. And he prays with her for courage to do what he has to in order to keep the ones he loves safe. It is SAD. IT HURTS.

"Now, I lay me down to sleep..."

Overall, I enjoy listening to the musical rather than reading the book. It is a lot more fun to witness the story on stage then it is on paper - and I think this is the way with a lot of classics. They work better as a play or a movie. I was lucky because I heard the musical (many times) before reading the book and I was already familiar with the story, so it was easier for me to follow along.  But there were still moments where I got confused and had to re-read a few paragraphs. And there was one scene where this character suddenly appeared in the room and I had no idea when he had shown up or why  he was there - but at this point I was getting close to the sad Sydney parts so I decided it didn't matter and kept reading.

SO! What it all comes down to is this; I really liked the the book, I liked it a lot. It was a fantastic story and I would definitely read it again. But it helped that I had heard the musical and already loved the story. Otherwise I don't know if I would have enjoyed it so much. (Because the musical is the greatest thing ever. I LOVE IT SO MUCH!)

#reading the end of the book

I think it is a shame that not many people have read A Tale of Two Cities. And I think it is even a bigger shame that is closed on Broadway so fast. I firmly believe it deserves a second chance. It would be fabulous to see it return to Broadway and I would go see it in a heartbeat. ( But could we also please get James Barbour back as Sydney? Thank you.) .... Maybe I'll start a petition for the release of the Stage Version  on DVD.

Oh. That is a good Idea!

What are your thoughts on A Tale of Two Cities? Have you ever listened to it or read it? Do you know the story? What do you think of it?

With that I leave you with this FABULOUS trailer over which you can drool.....

And then you can watch this trailer (Which is the copy I have) and you will understand why I want to start a petition and get another DVD.

*Say... If I start a Petiton, would you help me??


*swings around cape and leaps off stage*


Friday, August 14, 2015

Guess what?? MUSICALS!!!!!!!!!

You know those people who have a five-year plan? They're the type of people who know exactly what they're going to do and they have all the details planned out.

I've never thought of myself as that person. I know that I want to try a bit of acting, and that is about as far as I've planned. Thinking about the future freaks me out so I think about it as little as possible. But I do have a few things that I definitely want to do now that I've graduated. And since I will probably face a lot of change over the next few months I figured I'd share my PLAN with you.

1.) I want to audition for the Community Theatre that is just off the hill from where they live.  Theatre is my big dream, it's something that I want to do so badly. I want to at least get my foot in with bigger acting experiences. If I could actually go on Broadway that would be beyond brilliant - even if it is Highly Unlikely. But however hard it is, I have to try, otherwise I will never forgive myself.

2.) One day I want to play Christine Daae. She is one of my favorite females on Broadway and her character holds a very special place in my heart. If I could play her I would be so very happy.

There will never be a day when I wont think of you!

*I'd use the original lyrics though, if they would let me.

3.) I want to see a professional production of The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. Like,  in New York or London.

4.) I want to write a fantasy trilogy and (If at all possible) publish it.

5.) I want to write a musical. This is something I am working on but I am a tad stuck because of RESEARCH. *sigh* WWII.

6.) I want to explore Scotland.

7.) I want to go to Rome and visit all the Churches and the landmarks of Catholic History.

8.) I want to write a whole story in poetry.

It's not a huge list, but these are just some things I want to do over the next few years. It's hard to have plans because life could get in the way, but I don't think God wants me to live my life thinking "But what if?..." I think He wants me to plunge in and just take what it dishes out to me. I need to think of life like a baseball game and fight, no matter what the score. I have to be like, "Hey life! Try me! Just TRY ME!"

Haha! Easier said than done.

As for other news, I am still on a musical high. We watched The Phantom of the Opera again this week - I've actually lost count of how many times we've watched it since January. Don't judge me too harshly. It isn't all my fault. My sister is also on a musical kick and her obsession rubs off on me. We're both on a ridiculous Phantom high. I don't remember the last time I was this OBSESSED with Phantom of the Opera for so long! I've always loved it, it's always been my favorite, but I'm not usually listen-to-it-every-day-non-stop obsessive. I think I know why I am so nutty though. When I really love something and I hear lots of annoying hate about it, it just fuels my love for it even more and I get super defensive. And okay, tons of fans hate Raoul and it makes me mad. He is so brilliant! I honestly wonder how weird people are that they can read his character so wrong! It's annoying and I hate it. Then I get mad and listen to all I ask of you and Little Lotte, and Wandering Child, and the next thing I know I'm reciting the first lines of the Opera for the 100th Freakin' time.

SOLD! You're number sir? Thank you. *distant clapping*

Yeah, I have a problem. And my sister is just like. "Guess what I'm doing."


.... and Treskie is like, "Yep, that's the one. Only more like "ANGEL OF MUSIC WHO DESERVES THIS???" And then we sing the whole final song over the phone.

The one upside to this is that I finally know all of Raoul's parts, and not just the lyrics. (I've known those for ages.) I know his notes and where he comes in and everything. It's great. The only song I still can't sing everyone's part in is Prima Donna. Mostly it's Carlotta. She is speaking so much Italian! I get confused okay?

When I am NOT obsessing over Raoul and Raoul/Christine, I am listening to A Tale of Two Cities, Secret Garden, Jekyll and Hyde or Jane Eyre, depending on the day. It's actually really nice. I get to sprawl outside with my notebook and scribble lyrics and plot devices for my different books, while I aggressively sing along with the different parts.

Prima donna, your song shall live again! Think of your public! - You took a snub, but there's a public who needs you. - Is this her angel of music...? - We get our opera - She gets her limelight!- Is this ghost-angel or a madman?!

I have lots of fun singing all five parts. I end up slurring the words though.


I have a list of NEW musicals but I can't listen to any of them until I can find DVD and the pamphlet so I can read along with the story. West Side Story is the first one I need to tackle. Wish me luck with that!

hmmm. That's it folks. I have no more to say.


*swings around cape and jumps off stage. *


Friday, August 7, 2015

Drumroll please!

In case you don't remember I have teamed up with my good friend Jim and the two of us have decided to write a book!!! *screams* This book is called "The Incredibly Unlikely and Practically Impossible Adventures Concerning Two Girls, A Ship of Pirates, A King and Jester, A traveling Musical Company and Butterflies." And with that title you should be able to tell a LOT about are book. First of all, it's a comedy. Jim and I called it a mix between Oscar and Gilbert and Sullivan. It's kind of ridiculous and pretty much impossible but it's fun and I'm going to post a chapter over on Till the end of the Line every time we get one written out. You can read our first draft AS IT'S BEING WRITTEN!! 


So run along over there and see what there is to see. This should be fun :)


I will be posting again soon. I have STUFF to tell you!!!

Pile of good things

Pile of good things