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Broadway at the Hoboken Public Library, Part 2: Waitress, The Great Comet, and Hello, Dolly!

11 Feb

It’s been awhile since I wrote about my adventures on the Great White Way! (Click here, here, and here for my past posts about Broadway.) I haven’t been to the theater as much as I would like lately (life has been busy, and the Hamilton tickets I bought last year cost beaucoup bucks and wiped out my theater budget) but these are the shows I have seen recently.

Waitress

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“Sugar, butter, flour” are the simple opening lines of this show as well as the basis of many pie recipes. This musical is based on the movie of the same name, written by Adrienne Shelly, about a waitress named Jenna with a talent for baking pies who finds herself pregnant by her deadbeat husband and longs to escape. The musical stays pretty true to the movie, but definitely stands on its own.

The show was created by a team of women, including Sara Bareilles, who wrote the music and lyrics for this show. She released an album (CD and Freegal) performing some of the show’s tunes herself. My favorite tracks from the Original Broadway Cast Recording (on CD and Hoopla) include “Bad Idea,” “I Didn’t Plan It,” and “You Matter to Me.” Ogie has to be the most memorable romantic hero on all of Broadway, who declares his love via a song called “I Love You Like a Table.”

The scent of fresh baked pie wafts through the theater, which will make you hungry. (Don’t worry, the concessions stands sell warm slices of pie for an intermission snack!) What will stick with you long after the show is over is the strong bond between the three female leads, Jenna, Becky, and Dawn. You may also remember a romantic scene that includes some epic Revolutionary War era cosplay.

The Great Comet

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The complete title of this show is Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. Certainly a mouthful to say, and a lot to type. I had no idea what this show was about going in, except that Josh Groban stars as Pierre, and I was pleasantly surprised by The Great Comet.

This is the sort of show that winks at the audience–the fourth wall is gone. The action takes place all around the theater, with the actors making use of the all the space and engaging with the audience. It was fun to anticipate where the actors will appear next, perhaps near you. If you’re lucky, the actors, along their travels, will give you a little box that contains a pierogi for a mid-show nosh. I didn’t get one, but that lady sitting next to me did.

You can hear the soundtrack on Hoopla, and borrow the CD. “Letters”, a song about email’s predecessor, includes the knowing lyric “In nineteenth century Russia, we write letters / we put down on paper what is happening in our minds.” Another standout track is “Charming.” I also recommend any track featuring Brittain Ashford, who plays Sonya. Her voice is delicate but full of emotion, particularly on “Sonya Alone.”

Hello, Dolly!

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Ok, I haven’t seen this show yet. It isn’t due to officially open on Broadway until Thursday April 20, 2017. But I am planning to see this revival, which will feature Bette Midler as Dolly Gallagher Levi and David Hyde Pierce as Horace Vandergelder. I can’t wait to see this show and these talented actors in the iconic roles.

To me, Hello, Dolly! Is one of the most classic Broadway musicals. Barbra Streisand starred in the 1969 film adaptation, but Carol Channing who originated the role on Broadway in 1964 is the best known Dolly. I love so many songs from this show. “Dancing” makes you feel as though you’re spinning with the actors. “Before the Parade Passes By” is wistful. “Elegance” is fun and upbeat. Of course, “Hello, Dolly!” is a showstopper. But my favorite has always been “It Only Takes a Moment,” which is sung in a courthouse of all places. What can I say, I’m a romantic.

Hoopla has several versions of the Hello, Dolly! soundtrack to stream. Borrow the Original Broadway Cast Recording on CD to hear “So Long Dearie”, which features one of the sickest burns to come from Broadway, when Channing as Dolly sneers to Horace Vandergelder, “snuggle up to your cash register”. Shall we adapt that one to the twenty first century, changing “cash register” to “iPhone”? Thoughts?

-Written by Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

HPL Staff: 2016 Favorites

30 Dec

Another year has come to an end. Some staffers at the Hoboken Public Library share something they loved in 2016. Make sure to visit our blog to find out what we’re reading / watching / listening to in the next year.

Cheers to a wonderful 2017!

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Image credit

 

Heidi Schwab, Emerging Technology Librarian and Program Coordinator

This holiday season I have really enjoyed the comedy program based on the Blair Tindell memoir Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs & Classical Music. This Amazon original series takes place in the world of classical music and the audience gets to experience what it is like to be part of a first-class orchestra. The music transforms you but the characters are totally down to Earth. Season 3 takes place in Venice, where we peek inside beautiful villas and amazing concert halls.  It stars Lola Kirke as a young, hungry oboist and Gael Garcia Bernal as the brilliant, exotic new maestro. Many episodes have guest appearances from real world classical music stars like Joshua Bell! 

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Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

I’ve been reading Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series since the beginning with Kitty and the Midnight Hour about a radio DJ that is a werewolf.  You may remember I mentioned it in a blog post about Halloween worthy urban fantasy awhile back. It was therefore with mixed emotions that I read the last title in the series, Kitty Saves the World.  Though I will miss Kitty’s adventures, this was an enjoyable, suspense-filled story and a fitting end to Kitty’s adventures.  Many favorite and beloved characters from previous novels return.  This is a novel that definitely pays off for fans who have stuck by Kitty as she has gone through her many adventures and finally get to find out what the vampire’s mysterious long game was all about. Marguerite Gavin, who performs the audiobook for this and others in the series, does an excellent job and her voice matched the one I’d always imagined in my mind (you can borrow if from Hoopla).  My grandmother will always read the ending of books first since if she doesn’t think the work has a good ending she won’t bother wasting time on it.  Having seen how the Kitty series ends, I can promise that the journey through the books in the series is worth your time.  Check them out from the beginning from BCCLS libraries in print or from Hoopla as audiobooks.

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Kim Iacucci, Young Adult Librarian

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates won the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Written as a letter to his teenage son, Coates discusses his experiences and thoughts about living as an African-American male in modern America. Reading is often talked about as a way to walk in another’s shoes and to discover different perspectives on the world. This book did exactly that for me.

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Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

Yes, Justin Bieber’s album Purpose (on Hoopla and CD) was released in late 2015 but try and tell me you didn’t hear Mr. Bieber on pop radio every single day in 2016! 🙂 I guiltily purchased this album on vinyl because “Sorry” is such a catchy tune. When I confessed this purchase to a vinyl-loving friend and fellow lady over 30, she admitted she bought it too. At that moment I felt less alone in the world. #LadiesOver30forBieber

Back to “Sorry”, my favorite track. My eldest niece made her bat mitzvah this past summer, and I made it my mission to learn the choreography to the song and bust the moves on the dance floor at the party. With the help of a hip-hop dance class in Jersey City and repeat viewings of the YouTube video I (mostly) succeeded. It was one of the highlights of my year. The party DJs, my family, and other guests were super impressed with me. However, my niece did not share those sentiments and said I was “weird.” But it’s difficult to win over a 13 year old who is in general mortified by your very existence. One day, when she gets older, she will appreciate that her aunt can recreate pop dance choreo.

 

 

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