Friday, May 30, 2008


is going to be a rockin' day!

--Mel graduates from high school!
--First J&H read (sing?) through at 9
--relatives coming in for the party
--Penguins game!!!

Going to be a long day...up at 7:00....go to bed....whenever....

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A random Hockey Rant

Can one of the NBC analysts at least PRETEND to be neutral?
The Pens are up 2-1 with a 2-0 series deficit. And at the end of the period, the announcer is saying things like "Detroit is only one down" and "the red wings had a lot of good chances that period."

Um, excuse me. Right now, they are LOSING. Can we stop being a cheerleader??? Huh? (We'll see, momentarily, if the Pens can hold the lead...)


[t]here has to be some seduction. That seduction is easier when you have a partner who would like to be seduced...[The] only position to take in an audition--you have to preserve your outsideness as a platform from which yuo seduce others, while at the same time you have to do what it takes to get the job. --Anna Deavere Smith, Letters to a Young Artist

The drive to the audition was 45 minutes long. I was in good voice. To prep, I had the original Broadway Cast recording playing in my car. It's a long CD, so I wasn't too far into it by the time I reached the suburb where the high school was located. As I neared the school, Robert Cuccioli started singing "This is the moment", which has been dismissed in some quarters as "ice rink music" for its over-played appeal. The song is about taking chances, jumping off cliffs, going it alone, "damn[ing] the odds." It was a good song for driving into the parking lot.

I was early; not really early, but early. There were a few other scarcely populated cars in the lot, and the occupants appeared to be younger than me by at least eight years. I managed to console myself with the thoughts of all the times people had asked me when I was going to graduated from high school. I don't look twenty-six.

The audition began at 2:00. At around 1:50, I saw a couple get out of a small green coupe and head toward an entrance. I had never been to this high school so I didn't know where I was going. I followed them. The girl was small and pixie-ish, with short, close-cropped dark auburn hair and wearing a forest-green tank top with her jeans. I relaxed. I hadn't known how to dress for this audition, so I had chosen an Ann Taylor loft top with a scooped neck, jeans, and my ballet flats, in case dancing was required (no, not my technique shoes from dance class--a pair of Steve Maddens I had bought last summer at Macy's). I was comfortable, I felt good. My hair fell in waves and curls around my shoulders. I had gone to Saturday night Mass, so I had gotten to sleep in. My skin looked good.

We entered the high school a few steps away from the theater. The cafeteria was in front of us, and I could see a jungle-like courtyard beyond the glass doors, like my high school had. The doors to the auditorium were on the left.

The stage was bigger than my old high school's, the seating wider. There was little by way of sound absorbing materials on the walls, so I knew my voice would carry. One of the voice professors at Capital called me "the little girl with the big voice." I looked like I could play Laurie in Oklahoma!but a had a voice of a Sally Bowles, a Marguerite, an Elphaba. It's been big since I was a kid.

The director was there, handing out information slips. "Name/address/phone number/email". Easy stuff. Nothing about age or credentials (even though I would've felt fine listing those). "Part you are auditioning for." I scribbled "Lucy/chorus." I knew the chances of me getting the female lead were slim. For one, I'm sort of small (5'3"). I'm a blonde. I look like some 1930s film ingenue. Not a sexy call girl. But what the heck. Really, I would take anything. I had loved this show since I was 14 and had first seen it at the Ohio Theater.

The girl next to me filled in "Emma/chorus" in that slot. She was a junior at Cap and just looked like Emma--small, fine-boned, blonde hair. Perfect.

"Will accept any part?" YES, I circled, almost too enthusiastically.

I had no conflicts to list. My form was complete. I turned it in, as part of the building pile on the edge of the stage, and leafed through my song book. I had brought "Storybook", my no-fail, go-to number for everything. It was from , the show Frank Wildhorn wrote right after Jekyll. The piece was big, bold, and perfect for my voice. It would fill the theater easily. And it had a bit of a sassy swing to it. Also, it had the tremendous benefit of being relatively obscure, which meant the risk of other girls singing it was low.

I was right on that count--by the time the auditions were over, two girls had sung "When I look at you" from the show, but not "Storybook." Since my piece is 18 pages long (with the repeat), I told the accompanist I would only sing the first verse. I wanted to sing the French at the end (It's a key change, too--more impressive), but that would've made it too long. I didn't want to bore them.

The auditions were in front of all 50 some people that had come out that day. There was no assigned order--we just got up when we felt ready. I went in about the middle of the pack. I took my music to the accompanist, explained what I wanted to do, gave my tempo, and took my mark.

I introduced myself to the director and his wife. They shuffled for my audition sheet. The song began.

Even though I was a bit off with the accompanist, I felt like I had it. I made eye contact. My voice filled the room. I heard nothing but me. People were smiling. There was engagement. My body swayed to the quick waltz tempo of the piece; it's a very easy piece to emote. Marguerite is trying to seduce men in order to get information. I was, in a sense, seducing the panel.

At the end the direector asked my last name again. Apparently she'd missed it when I'd given it. When I returned to my seat, the woman behind me said, "that was lovely." I hoped so. It felt solid.

I stayed to read two scenes as Lucy; one with Jekyll, one with Hyde (played by the same actor). That was easy, too. I felt rapor with the man I was reading with. It was comfortable.

As I left the audition and drove home to meet my friends for dinner, I felt confident. At the very least, I'd given it my best effort, which is all you can do. If the director wants you, he'll take you. If not, then he's looking for something else. Which may sound obvious, but is hard to remember when you've given it your best shot. But at least I had that consolation.

Some of the girls were in black dresses and sparkly jewelry. Others had professional head shots with their resumes printed on the back. I had a vocal resume, but I hadn't brought it. I most certainly didn't have a head shot. I felt like I'd fallen into an alternative universe. I had a voice, and I had the experience. In the end, that's what matters. A fancy head shot isn't a substitute for a good audition and stage presence.

New posts!

Up at Poster Girl (yeah, OK, it's been awhile...)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Music time

OK, yes, I may be going a bit overboard with the Theater thing (hey, you can choose not to read this!), but I had to post one of the songs from the show here. Jekyll sings it right before he injects himself with the formula that will turn him into Hyde.

This is the moment.
This is the day.
When I send all my doubts and demons on their way.
Ev'ry endeavor I have made ever
Is coming into play.
Is here and

This is the moment.
This is the time.
When the momentum, and the moment, are in rhyme.
Give me this moment
This precious chance.
I'll gather up my past,
And make some sense at last!

This is the moment!
When all I've done
All of the dreaming, scheming and screaming become one.
This is the day.
See it sparkle and shine.
When all I've lived for becomes mine!

For all these years
I've faced the world alone!
And now the time has come
To prove to them I made it
On my own...

This is the moment!
My final test
Destiny beckoned, I never reckoned second best!
I won't look down
I must not fall
This is the moment
The sweetest moment of them all!

This is the moment!
Damn all the odds!
This day or never I'll sit forever with the gods!
When I look back
I will always recall
Moment for moment
This was the moment...
The greatest moment of them all!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Further stage thoughts...

In the euphoria of the moment, I sort of lost the perspective, didn't I?
Well, not really. I just didn't writethe perspective at that particular moment. It was pure joy.
A chorus part may seem rather insignificant to those of us who know theater, or even those who don't, but can imagine. It's like the corps de ballet--one of the masses. But as Eliza Ganor Miden says in her book, The Ballet Companion,
The reality behind the ballet blancs's beauty is that the corps dancers earn every bit of their applause. Uniformity requires a lot of work and tremendous devotion to detail. Members of the corps leave their individuality in the dressing room...they are the junior dancers in a ballet company, with the lowest pay, the lowest status, and in many ways the hardest work--sometimes eight shows a week. And almost without exception, every great ballerina starts there (92).

Not that I think I'm going to be the next Linda Eder, here. :)
But beyond that, beyond the theatricality of it, is the sheer joy that I am here to do it. The chorus in J&H is on stage for much of the show, and it's an up-tempo show. I am expecting to be "run off my feet." And I am so looking forward to it. It's been years since I've been in a show and I have missed it tremendously. My voice is in better shape now that it ever has been, I think.
And I made the show with the CI! How cool is that?! I mean, a year ago I had just had the implanting surgery. We had no idea what was going to happen. And I've adjusted so well now that I made a musical. If I had been horrifically bad, that surely would not have happened.
Without my donor, this wouldn't have happened.
My performance on July 11 will be dedicated to my donor. I might not say that in the program, but it certainly will be in my heart. Because I would not be there without her. I would not be here without her. Every step I learn, every chorus we rehearse, every move that's blocked and every costume change is possible because she made the Vital Choice.
The next 43 days will have me thanking her constantly. And thanking God that this has happened for me.

:) :)

For more info on the show, go here.

I made it! I made it!

I am in the chorus for Jekyll and Hyde!!!!!
Performance Dates: July 11-13 at Hilliard Davidson High School. Times are TBA here....
I am expecting y'all to come out. :) :)

First rehearsal is on Saturday at 9!!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Annual Book Projects

This year's choices:

Great Russian Novel: Crime and Punishment.

And, of course, The Great Jane Re-Read.
First up (as always): S&S

How to be happy

(Well, in someone's opinion)

In 1820, English writer Sydney Smith wrote a letter to his unhappy friend, Lady Morpeth. He offered his tips for how to be happy – and his suggestions are as sound now as they were practically 200 years ago.

"1st. Live as well as you dare.
2nd. Go into the shower-bath with a small quantity of water at a temperature low enough to give you a slight sensation of cold, 75 or 80 degrees.
3rd. Amusing books.
4th. Short views of human life - not further than dinner or tea.
5th. Be as busy as you can.
6th. See as much as you can of those friends who respect and like you.
7th. And of those acquaintances who amuse you.
8th. Make no secret of low spirits to your friends, but talk of them freely - they are always worse for dignified concealment.
9th. Attend to the effects tea and coffee produce upon you.
10th. Compare your lot with that of other people.
11th. Don’t expect too much from human life - a sorry business at the best.
12th. Avoid poetry, dramatic representations (except comedy), music, serious novels, melancholy, sentimental people, and everything likely to excite feeling or emotion, not ending in active benevolence.
13th. Do good, and endeavour to please everybody of every degree.
14th. Be as much as you can in the open air without fatigue.
15th. Make the room where you commonly sit gay and pleasant.
16th. Struggle by little and little against idleness.
17th. Don’t be too severe upon yourself, or underrate yourself, but do yourself justice.
18th. Keep good blazing fires.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I think (hope, hope, hope) that my interview today went well. I met with the Directors of State and Federal Government Affairs and we talked for about 40 minutes. The office isn't too far from where I am now, so I'd still be downtown, which is nice as I like it down there. Apparently I am one of the first ones they interviewed so it will be awhile until I hear anything else.

But fingers crossed for good things!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pens win! Pens win!`

6-0 to head to the Finals! Detroit, here we come!!!!

Weekend Adventures in Baking

This weekend's new dessert?


It is currently cooling on my counter--I will let you know results.

The Lucky Muffins really ARE lucky!

So the Victory Muffins I wrote about a week or so ago are proving their luckiness--many times over!

--My brother qualified for the Boston Marathon today after running the Cleveland Marathon in a little over 3 hours!
--My sister has a good orientation at Capital yesterday, including doing tres bien on her French placement test, so she can go right into Intermediate French (a class I took, and with the same professor!).
--I have an interview with Children's Hospital for a position in their government relations department on Wednesday!
--Oh, and Big Brown won yesterday.

So make some of these muffins and see if they work for you. :)

Friday, May 16, 2008


After three years, guess what night it is?
Guess what night it is???

Monday, May 12, 2008

Thundercats are Go!

(No idea why I used that title, but oh well!)

Everything is good w/ Dr. A and Co. Weight is good, PFTs are good, everything's good. Apparently the incision issues are various nerves regenerating and firing off. Ballet, yoga, pilates (all those things I do) are good for stretching this area out and making it happy. So yay!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Is another Day with Todd!!
I am sort of ambivalent about this visit.


--I've lost weight, huzzah!

--My incisions have been sore/painful for the past few days. This hasn't happened to me before. I've read it's a sign of rejection. I hope not.
--My appetite has been yo-yoing back and forth.
--I've been nauseous on and off.
--I've been sleeping a lot more than usual, and hard. My naps are not naps--they are like mini-bedtimes. This is not so happy.

So we'll see what the verdict is. I'm also seeing Dr. Hardin (my endocrinologist). I've given The Resort The Entire Day to Do What They Will With Me.


The Lucky Muffins Strike Again!!

Pens-2. Philly-Zip. :-D

Mother's Day

I read a stat the other day. It said that stay at home moms would be worth approximately $117,000 if they were paid according to market demand.

I think my mom would be worth more than that.

Not just because she's my mom, but with me as her kid, you'd have to tack on a nurse's salary, too, which would put her earning power at more than $200,000, probably (beating my dad--sorry dad!).

My parents have split the Emily duties--Dad usually does the ER runs, the surgery runs, the let's go out of town and visit doctors who know nothing runs. He also Handles the Insurance Company (that's a biggie). Mom does the day to day Children's stuff, the meds, makes appointments, takes me to appointments, and does fun stuff like wash my hair, flush my port, change burn dressings, etc., etc., etc. That's a lot of work. Trust me. And we've had to be fairly inventive as the years have gone on. Washing hair with a PICC, for example, is different than washing hair with an accessed port.

Somehow in the midst of all this fun, Bryan and Mel also got raised and fed and taken to soccer, football, marching band, tennis, etc., etc., etc. I had voice lessons and dance classes and choir rehearsals. Meals got made and Christmas presents bought (Mom is, without a doubt, the Champion Christmas Shopper of the World. She is just awesome.). School projects got done, including counting pieces of litter in Blacklick Woods for a 5th grade "cluster" project. We went prom dress shopping and headed to hair appointments.

When people talk about "working mothers," they're usually leaving my mom, and all the other Stay and Home Moms, out. This irritates me. My mom certainly works, and works hard!! She's worked the equivalent of two jobs for, oh, 26 years now. That's not easy. And there's no paycheck, no reward banquets, no bonuses, not even cool lunches at fancy places with The Boss. If Mom had worked at a "real" job, then I have no idea what would've happened to me (or the rest of us). Part of successful CF and post-tx care is having a strong support system. In the weeks after tx, we were at The Resort almost every day. I couldn't drive for three months, and Dad had to work. What were we supposed to do? So mom took me and hung out in waiting rooms while I did PT and OT and all that good stuff. It takes time to learn to change dressings, access ports, and make sure all the meds are going right. I was sort of half there, what with all my drug interactions and such. Someone needed to take charge. And that was mom.

I would put up a pic of mom, but she's picky about that, so I'll just say we look alike. :) That should give you an idea.
Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Baking--Mario's Banana Butterscotch Victory Muffins

Last week, as I was watching the Penguins play an agonizingly close third period against the New York Rangers, I was struck with inspiration.
Cheering for your team (very, very loudly) can make a girl hungry. When the game broke for the intermission before sudden-death overtime, my culinary instincts awoke. I had just gotten Nigella Lawson's cookbook, Nigella Express, and had tabbed the banana-butterscotch muffins as something worth trying. I had two ripe bananas on my counter. I was hungry. I had about 15 minutes before the game came back. So I made muffins.
The Penguins won.
Coincidence? I think not!

The Penguins are 1-0 in the Conference Finals against Philly. There's a game tomorrow. These muffins will be there.

Mario's Banana Butterscotch Victory Muffins
(from Nigella Lawson's Nigella Express)

1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 2/3 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 c. mashed bananas, about 2-3 ripe (I mash them with my hands!)
1 c. butterscotch (or chocolate) chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners (I use silicone).
Measure the oil into a large glass measuring cup and beat in the eggs.
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl and mix in the liquid ingredients, followed by the mashed bananas. (The mixture will look crumbly)
4. Fold in the butterscotch chips, then divide equal quantities into the muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes.

Note: I suppose, since all Pittsburgh pro sports are black and gold, you could use 1/2 c. butterscotch and 1/2 c. chocolate chips, for a theme. That might be going too far. But I doubt it.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Teeter-totters for CF

Gotta love this fraternity:

Phi Delta Theta teeter totter for Cystic Fibrosis

Eighth annual philanthropic event brings positive attention to both the disease and the fraternity

By: Lexie Imhaus

Posted: 5/6/08

The gentlemen of Phi Delta Theta have finished yet another successful year of their annual philanthropy Teeter Totter event that helps raise money for Cystic Fibrosis research. Students may have noticed the presence of a blue and white teeter totter from April 30 to May 1, as well as a big cluster of fraternity guys and occasional girls, but this philanthropy proves to be more eventful than the eye can see.

"Organizing an event like this gives Phi Delta Theta an opportunity to inform the school and community about CF and gives the students a chance to learn and foster good relationships with the public at large and help with such an important cause," said the philanthropy chair Andrew Norwine.

Phi Delta Theta originally put this philanthropy on for Lou Gehrig, a famous baseball player and alumnus of Phi Delta Theta. But when tragedy struck one of their Cal Sigma Brethren, Woody Bolin, who died tragically in August of 2006 from cystic fibrosis, the brothers of Cal Sigma decided to honor him by changing the cause of this philanthropy from benefiting Lou Gehrig's disease to Cystic Fibrosis.

Cystic Fibrosis is a hereditary disease that affects the mucus glands in the lungs, pancreas, liver and intestines in the human body which slowly attacks and disables the patient's body. There is still no cure for Cystic Fibrosis and most people die young from this terrible disease, most commonly in their 20s or 30s. Although there is still hope for people diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. New treatments are continually being introduced and patients now have a possibility of living well past their 40s and into their 50s.

This was the eighth annual teeter totter event. The boys stayed out in the Stevenson quad for 48 hours straight, all the while switching for shifts during the day and all throughout the night to bring awareness and raise money for their philanthropy. The Teeter Totter was originally built by a member named Casey Caldwell in spring 2000 and they have used the same structure ever since, making only slight modifications each year to ensure safety and comfort.

Every year the men of Phi Delta Theta make sure to schedule the philanthropy before the Cystic Fibrosis walk that takes place every year in San Francisco. This philanthropy also includes the women of Alpha Gamma Delta; coincidentally Woody Bolin married an Alpha Gamma Delta. In honor of her husband, Allison Bolin accompanies the Phi Delta Theta's.

During the 48 hour event, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to donate money and members of sororities bring food and baked goods to help promote and support the Phi Delta Theta members in their philanthropic endeavors.

"As president I can honestly say that Phi Delta Theta looks forward to and anticipates this philanthropic event each and every year, and I feel privileged to be a part of such a excellent event," said Matt Haman.

"I think Teeter Totter is nothing short of amazing. It's where all the students can get involved and actively participate. Since it is all night and all day for 48 hours, it shows the dedication the Phi's have towards their philanthropy," said Lauren Morse of Alpha Xi Delta.

Even alumni from Phi Delta Theta show their continued support.

"I'm proud to see the current brothers join alumni supporting this event for Teeter Totter and the CF walk. It's good to see the current brothers carrying on our long time tradition of the Teeter Totter" said alumni Frans Moerbeek.
© Copyright 2008 Sonoma State Star

Thank you, Nurses!

Today is National Nurses day, which coincides fantastically w/ CF awareness month!
Nurses, in both CF and transplant care, are the ones on the front lines with you. They give the drugs, hold your hair when you're vomiting, go to bat with the docs on your behalf. They wash your hair, help you get dressed and set up the tub for you when you want to get clean yourself. They will also come and visit you after hours and sit with you while your lung are collapsing, trying to keep you calm while working swiftly to get you the care you need.
I love all the nurses at Childrens'! Thank you SO MUCH for all you do!
Later today (I hope)--some nursing highlight stories. :)
Off the top of my head, thanks to: Terri, Patti, Barb, Rita, Jenny, Teresa, Karen (!), Cathy, Beth, Julie, Megan, all the CF nurses and TX team nurses that I'm forgetting....thank you!!!

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Butterfly Whisperer

Yesterday at Franklin Park Conservatory

CF posts of randomness

So since May is CF awareness month, I thought I'd do a series of random posts about CF, how it affects my life, etc., as well as debunking any myths that need, well, debunked.

First, a quicky summary for those of you who may be joining us late. I was diagnosed late, for CF standards, when I was diagnosed at the age of 11. Until then I had had no real pulmonary symptoms. I had a constantly runny nose, which was misdiagnosed multiple times, as well as an inability to gain weight. At the start of sixth grade, I weight 58 pounds. Now Ohio, like many other states, includes CF in the mandatory newborn tests that all babies undergo, so I would've begun treatment much faster.

CF affects most of the body, but primarily the pulmonary and digestive systems. Once I started enzyme therapy, I gained weight fairly well (until the ever-present infections showed up), and had a relatively mild case until I was in high school/ college. After being in the ICU for two weeks during my sophomore year (Oct. 2001), my lung function rapidly started to go downhill, and transplant was mentioned. I was listed in May 2005, after finishing my college education at Capital University in May of 2004. Due to a ridiculous amount of Irish and German stubbornness, I graduated with the rest of my class, with majors in Political Science and English Literature.

I was on the list for a little over a month when I received the call for transplant on July 10, 2005. I was the first double lung transplantee at Children's, so I am forever inscribed in their History Books. :) There were many ups and downs, and you can dig around in the archives for that.

Some things about CF that are important to know:
--It DOES NOT affect your mental capacity
--Women with CF can get pregnant. Men are usually sterile.
--Some CF patients develop diabetes, some don't. CF-related diabetes is different than regular diabetes. I developed it post-transplant, which can happen due to the steroids and anti-rejection drugs. I think we've got a pretty good handle on it, though.
--People with CF often look perfectly normal from the outside. Do not assume that they're "fine" if you see them emerge from a handicapped parking space!!! (This is a huge pet peeve of mine)
--The gamut of CF is far and wide. Some people have very mild cases. Others receive transplants while in their teens. Some have feeding tubes, others are on supplemental oxygen constantly. Some people are in and out of the hospital and some are hardly ever there.
--For some reason, the joints can be affected in CF. I had lots of joint pain from my sophomore year of high school until after my transplant. However, when it's cold I still get joint pain. The steroids help a lot here. That's another reason the handicapped placard is my friend.
--Life expectancy, as ever, is an AVERAGE. Some kids die when they're 17, and some are joining AARP. If you know someone w/ CF, DO NOT automatically think you're going to outlive them. It may not be the case.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Poster Girl...

After a hiatus, there's some new stuff up over at the Poster Girl.

Culture Cat: Romeo and Juliet

Last night I attended BalletMet's final performance of the season, David Nixon's Romeo and Juliet, set to the music of Prokofiev. The entire 30th Anniversary season has been spectacular to watch, but this finale was a glorious way to end the celebratory season. While the story is familiar, Nixon's fresh choreography, along with the elaborate sets and gorgeous costumes, create a fresh take on the ancient story and,in some case, even improves upon it.

The ballet is divided into three acts, leading to some initial confusion as to where the intermissions would fall (it comes after Act I--Acts II and III are performed together, with slight breaks in the action for costume and scenery changes). While this is less than Shakespeare's five-act play, I found Nixon's version to be an improvement by focusing more on the essential story and eliminating some of the extraneous scenes found in the play.

The casts, as usual, rotate, but I feel that Friday night's cast was absolutely pitch-perfect in their dancing and interpretation of their parts. Adrienne Benz and Christian Broomhall played our title lovers, and I was enchanted by their dancing the entire evening. They were arresting. I had seen Mr. Broomhall dance in the title role in Aladdin earlier this season, and I greatly enjoyed seeing him tackle a major role again. His Romeo was a bravura mix of passion, melancholy (as he pursues Rosalind in Act I), love and even rage, during his Act II duel with Tybalt.

I had not, however, seen Ms. Benz in a leading role. Her Juliet was the appropriate mix of youthful energy (she is, after all, barely 14) and young love that evolved into deep passion and despair by the end of the evening. In Act III, Juliet is almost constantly dancing. Ms. Benz never for a moment showed the effort that must have taken and was mesmerizing in her Act III solo where she vascilates between taking the poison the Friar (Jimmy Orrante) has given her, or marrying against her will.

The lovers' two grand pas des deux, the "Balcony Scene" in Act I and in Act III, before Romeo's banishment, are intensely dramatic and technically demanding. I cannot say enough good things about their dancing.

The rest of the cast easily equalled the virtuosity of our leading pair. Especially notable were Justin Gibbs as Tybalt (especially in his Act II duels with Mercutio and Romeo) and Christine Mangia as Lady Capulet. Her dancing demonstrated her character's regal bearing, but she was even more powerful in her demonstrations of grief following the deaths of Tybalt and Juliet. Lord Capulet, danced by Company Ballet Master Hisham Omardien, did his best dancing when interacting with Juliet. Their tender relationship in Act I lead perfectly to the breakdown of it in Acts II and III, when Juliet refuses to marry Count Paris (elegantly danced by Jackson Sarver). Nixon's choreography demonstrates Juliet's emotional detachment from her father in a series of steps where he tries to embrace her, only to have her step out of his arms before he can hold her. It is simple, but powerful.

Other standouts among the cast included Jeff Wolfe as Mercutio and Catherine Yoshimura as the hysterically funny Nurse. She and Wolfe had several scenes together and their comic timing was impeccable. Juliet's relationship to the Nurse is critical to any performance of Romeo and Juliet, whether in ballet or the theater, and here it was tender and teasing, with the Nurse serving as Juliet's protector and confidante.

The ballet was truly perfect, and an excellent way to end BalletMet's 30th Anniversary season. Now I have to wait for July to see any new ballet, which seems very far away right now.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Book lists

Here's a book list my buddy Richelle recently forwarded to me; the ones I have read are bolded, the ones I own but have not started are in italics.

• Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
• Crime and Punishment
• Catch-22
One Hundred Years of Solitude
• Wuthering Heights

• The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
• The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
• Ulysses
Madame Bovary
• The Odyssey
• Pride and Prejudice
• Jane Eyre
• The Tale of Two Cities

The Brothers Karamazov
• Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
• The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
• Emma

• The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
• Mrs. Dalloway

• Great Expectations
• American Gods
• A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
• Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
• Memoirs of a Geisha
• Middlesex

• Quicksilver
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
• The Canterbury tales

• The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
• Love in the Time of Cholera
• Brave New world
• The Fountainhead
• Foucault’s Pendulum
• Frankenstein
• The Count of Monte Cristo
• Dracula

• A Clockwork Orange
• Anansi Boys
• The Once and Future King
• The Grapes of Wrath
• The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
• 1984

• Angels & Demons
• The Inferno
• The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
• The Picture of Dorian Gray
• Mansfield Park

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
• To the Lighthouse
• Tess of the D’Urbervilles
• Oliver Twist

• Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
• The Corrections
• The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
• The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
• Dune
The Prince
• The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
• The God of Small Things
• A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
• Cryptonomicon
• Neverwhere
• A Confederacy of Dunces
• A Short History of Nearly Everything
• Dubliners
• The Unbearable Lightness of Being
• Beloved
• Slaughterhouse-five
The Scarlet Letter
• Eats, Shoots & Leaves

• The Mists of Avalon
• Oryx and Crake : a novel
• Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
• Cloud Atlas
• The Confusion
• Lolita
• Northanger Abbey

• The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
• The Hunchback of Notre Dame

• Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
• Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
• The Aeneid
• Watership Down
• Gravity’s Rainbow
• The Hobbit
• In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
• White Teeth
• Treasure Island
• David Copperfield
• The Three Musketeers

There is always, ALWAYS more to read...