I started this blog with one daughter, kept it up with the other, to spend time together doing something we enjoyed.
However, things change and people evolve. My daughters are older, busier, and not as interested in writing.
From now on this blog will be mostly mom with occasional contributions from my daughters and maybe even my husband.
Nothing else will change. We'll still focus on sharing fun places to go, fun things to do, and more, and we would  still love to hear your views too

Monday, August 29, 2016

Monthly Mash-up August, 2016 Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and Adrienne Shelly

Me- My topic for this month is Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. I liked Beautiful. It was a good show. The show is about Carole King and it is also sort of about Gerry Goffin and Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann. I like all of the songs. It has very good music. It's a jukebox musical because the songs were not written for the show. The show features not only Carole King songs but her songs from when she wrote with her ex-husband, Gerry Goffin as well as songs by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. It was interesting to learn about Carole King. I knew some stuff about her before but not that much. I had heard of Carole King before I heard of the show because I knew some of the songs already. I decided I wanted to see the show because my dad took my mom for her birthday last year, and they talked about it and said it was good. I finally got to see it this past Tuesday. I went to New York with my mom. We went on the TKTS line where you can get discount tickets for shows. It was my first time I ever got tickets from TKTS. I had heard about TKTS and seen it, but I had never gotten tickets there before.

Mom - My topic for this month is Adrienne Shelly. She was the writer and director of the movie, Waitress. Waitress is the story of Jenna a pregnant waitress in an abusive marriage who yearns to get away from her husband and open her own pie diner. Adrienne co-starred in the movie as well appearing as Dawn, a fellow waitress of Jenna's. Waitress is now a Broadway musical starring Tony Winner, Jesse Mueller. For more about that see our previous post: Where-To-Go Wednesday: Waitress the Musical. We will also be talking about Waitress the Musical in future posts. The movie Waitress appeared at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007. Although that is, of course, a prestigious honor for a film, in the case of Waitress, it was bittersweet. Sadly, Adrienne Shelly was murdered by a construction worker in her West Village work apartment just prior to the film's acceptance at the festival. I can't stop thinking about how sad that is. I mean here she was about to achieve her dream, and she never even lived to see it. The movie is really touching and sweet with a good story and interesting characters. It showed that Adrienne Shelly had great promise as a writer and a director, and I would have liked to see what she would have could have come up with next. It makes me sad that she never got to reach her potential. It makes me even sadder watching the end of Waitress and seeing Adrienne Shelly's own daughter, who appeared as Lulu in the movie, and thinking  about that poor little girl being forced to grow up without a mother. It's just so sad.

And that's our view. What's on your mind?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Scoop Week of 8/28 - What's Happening This Week or Coming Up Soon

Final Days Game On! Children's Museum of the Arts
103 Charlton Street
New York, NY

Now through September 4 Only!

Featuring work by:

Louisa Armbrust, Zoe Buckman, Dario Escobar, Michelle Grabner, Norm Paris,

David Rathman, Christin Rose, Jean Shin, Steed Taylor, Hank Willis Thomas, and
CMA Permanent Collection 

The world of games - with its inversions of mastery, dependence on chance, and reliance on both verbal and physical play - has intrigued and inspired visual artistssince the first ancient Olympic Games in 776 BC. Don't miss the final days of this critically-acclaimed exhibition! 

For more information go to http://cmany.org/calendar-3/game-on/
Upcoming at the Lakewood BlueClaws
First Energy Park
2 Stadium Way
Lakewood, NJ 

BlueClaws Augtoberfest Coming Up on Next Wednesday

The BlueClaws are excited to host their first Augtoberfest presented by Cape May Brewery onWednesday, August 31st.

They'll be wearing these special jerseys (above) which will be auctioned off for charity. The first 1,000 adults receive a BlueClaws Beer Stein 
(picture) thanks to Cape May Brewery (will be handed out beginning at 5 pm). They 'll have live music from the Ziggy Zaggy Band in the WRAT Trap at 5 pm too!

September 1st - BlueClaws Bobblection (and Phanatic)

Join the fun with the BlueClawsBobblection on Thursday, September 1st. The first 1,000 fans can "vote" by picking a bobblehead of either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Whichever bobblehead supply runs out first (500 of each) wins our precinct!

Plus, it's Thirsty Thursday, the last one, and the Phillie Phanatic will be there too (a make-up appearance from an earlier rain-out).

Next Saturday: BlueClaws Extravaganza of Fun!

Join the BlueClaws on Saturday, September 3rd for their Extravaganza of Fun, presented by Sprint! Gates open at 3:30 pmand they'll have free inflatable rides (until 5:30 pm), a Vendor Village (register here), a petting zoo, caricatures, face painting, football on the big board, live music, dollar beers, and much more.

It's a full day of fun leading into the BlueClaws game that night at 7:05 pm.

Join the fun at 732-901-7000 option 2 or by clicking here.
Back to School Tuesdays This September at iPlay America
110 Schank Road
Freehold, NJ

Every Tuesday in September is “Back to School Tuesday” at iPlay America! Summer may be over but there’s still more fun to be had at iPlay America! EVERY TUESDAY in September, grandparents, parents, friends, and family are invited to join us for Back to School Tuesdays. Enjoy delicious UNLIMITED pizza, pasta, and salad at Game Time Bar & Grill for just $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. PLUS, enjoy UNLIMITED RIDES for $10 too! Make it a September to remember with Back to School Tuesdays at iPlay America!

iPlay America wants to make Back to School great for every student this year! During the Month of September, iPlay America is partnering with Jersey Cares for a Back to School supply drive to help families in need! When you make a donation of Glue Stix, hand sanitizer, paper, pencils, erasers, Kleenex, or any necessary school supply, you’ll get a FREE Prize from the iPlay America Arcade! (Prizes will be awarded in the form of a 250 ticket voucher to be redeemed in the Arcade. Limit one per child.)

News from Boneau/Bryan-Brown

Signature Theatre
Hosts Free TheatreFest NYC on August 30 at
The Pershing Square Signature Center

20 New York City theatre institutions will participate in open house for students

Signature Theatre will host TheatreFest NYC on Tuesday, August 30, from 12pm to 4pm at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues). This free open house is for students who are interested in learning more about New York’s non-profit theatres.

During the event, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about upcoming seasons and productions, sign up for discount and affordable ticket programs, receive information about internships, win free tickets, and socialize with fellow theatre lovers.

Participating organizations include Signature Theatre, Ars Nova, Atlantic Theater Company / Atlantic Acting School, BAM, The Barrow Group Theatre Company & School, Classic Stage Company, Lincoln Center Theater, MCC Theater, The New Group, New York Theatre Workshop, The Pearl Theatre Company, Performance Space 122, Playbill, Playwrights Horizons, Primary Stages, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Second Stage Theatre, Soho Rep, St. Ann's Warehouse and The Vineyard Theatre.

For more information, please contact events@signaturetheatre.org.

Final Week to See The Curious Incident of the
 Dog in the Night-Time

There is just one more week to see the Tony Award-winning production of the National Theatre’s THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME before it closes on Broadway Sunday, September 4 at the Barrymore Theatre, 243 West 47th Street.

Fifteen-year old Christopher has an extraordinary brain; he is exceptionally intelligent but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When he falls under suspicion for killing his neighbor’s dog, he sets out to identify the true culprit, which leads to an earth-shattering discovery and a journey that will change his life forever.

Tickets are on sale by phone 212-239-6200, online at www.Telecharge.com and in person at the Barrymore Theatre box office. Box office hours are Monday through Saturday from 10am to 8pmSunday from 12pm to 6pm. American Express is the Preferred Card Partner of THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME.

Cirque du Soleil Paramour 
Digital Cast Album Available Now
Physical Copies Available Friday, September 16

The Original Broadway Cast Album for Cirque du Soleil Paramour available now, August 26 digitally via iTunes, Amazon music, Spotify, and Apple Music with physical copies available Friday, September 16 via Amazon.

Paramour, a Cirque du Soleil musical began performances Saturday, April 16 at Broadway’s Lyric Theatre, and opened Wednesday, May 25. The show continues to dazzle audiences nightly and is one of Broadway's highest-grossing shows.

For more information on Paramour, visit www.ParamourOnBroadway.com.
News from Michelle Tabnick Communications

Nai-Ni Chen's Raindrops
to be performed by the D'amby Project in
The Thing About Art, See
September 2-4, 2016
The CENTER for Performing Arts at Rhineback

Nai-Ni Chen's seminal work Raindrops will be performed as part of the 4th annual The Thing About Art, See, a showcase produced by the D'amby Project, on September 2 and 3, 2016 at 8pm and September 4, 2016 at 3pm at The CENTER for Performing Arts at Rhineback in the beautiful Hudson Valley.  This annual showcase, featuring dancers from the D'amby Project, brings both local, regional and international choreographers together to create an eclectic & cohesive evening of professional dance. The D'amby Project is made up of artists and collaborators from around the world who gather to explore the gray matter that exists between genres within the arts. The common product of the project is dance material, reflective of principle roots in non-classical training. Company dancers are predominantly trained in Irish Dance, but also perform movement that adheres to a more contemporary aesthetic. The rigor of an Irish dancer can be found in the sharp articulation of our movements, with emphasis on accuracy and unison. By adding breath and life-bearing musicality, we create a new vocabulary, and a unique combination of quiet control and nuance.

This year the D'amby Project is thrilled to be working with Nai-Ni Chen, and exploring such a beautiful, strong, and nuanced style of movement. The show will feature styles such as classic jazz, contemporary, and traditional Irish dance to name a few. Tickets are on sale now for $22-$24, and can be purchased online at http://www.centerforperformingarts.org/dance/ or by calling the box office at (845) 876-3080.


South Street Seaport Museum
Peking's Departure on
the morning of September 6, 2016

South Street Seaport Museum announces that the 1911 four-masted barque Peking will depart from the Street of Ships at the South Street Seaport for the first leg of its journey toward its new home at the Stiftung Hamburg Maritim, the maritime museum of Hamburg, Germany. Peking will officially close to the public on August 28, 2016 at the South Street Seaport Museum (last tour 4:15pm), and will leave on September 6, 2016 at approximately 8am (pending weather conditions) for Caddell Drydock in Staten Island. There she will spend some months in preparation for the dockship journey to Europe in the spring of 2017.  

Say farewell to Peking by joining the Seaport Museum for its Free Fridays program on August 26, 2016 from 3pm-7pm. Each Free Friday is centered around a different theme and continues through October, 2016; the theme for the August program is "Peking" in honor of the famed tall ship currently berthed at Pier 16. This Free Friday kicks off the final weekend of public access to Peking as we prepare for her departure. Special programming includes participatory sail-raising aboard the ship, printing demonstrations at Bowne Printers with free Peking themed take-aways, and a screening of Around Cape Horn at Bowne Printers, with thanks to Mystic Seaport Museum. Admission to the screening is FREE, but reservations are required at https://southstreetseaportmuseum.org/free-fridays/.  
News from DKC/O&M

S M A L L   M O U T H   S O U N D S 


Small Mouth Sounds, written by Bess Wohl and directed by Obie Award-winner Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812), has been extended by popular demand. Originally scheduled to close Sunday, September 25th, the production will now run through October 9thSmall Mouth Sounds was recently published and is now available via Dramatists Play Service.

Small Mouth Sounds will play the following performance schedule: Through September 4Monday - Friday at 7:30pm, Wednesday at 2pm, Saturday at 5pm and 8:30pmBeginning September 5Tuesday – Friday at 7:30pm, Wednesday at 2pm, Saturday at 5pm and 8:30pm, and Sunday at 7:30pm.Beginning September 27Tuesday – Friday at 7:30pm, Wednesday at 2pm, Saturday at 5pm and 8:30pm, and Sunday at 3pm

Tickets, from $75 - $99, are now available and can be purchased through Ticket Central via www.ticketcentral.com, by calling 212.279.4200, or in person at 416 W. 42nd Street (12-8pm daily).
News from Richard Hillman PR

E D W I N,  T H E  S T O R Y  O F  E D W I N  B O O T H



For their inaugural offering, Great Circle Productions (Jane Kosminsky, Artistic/Executive Director) will present the world premiere of EDWIN, The Story of Edwin Bootha dramatic musical that commemorates the 150th Anniversary (1866-2016) of the legendary actor’s return to the stage, as well as the 400th Anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare, with music by Marianna Rosett, and book & lyrics by Eric Swanson.

EDWIN is a unique adventure in music, theater, and history. Edwin Booth was the most famous American actor of the nineteenth century, the Laurence Olivier of his day though his artistic triumphs were marred by public and private tragedy. EDWIN takes us backstage on the night of his courageous return to the stage after his brother assassinated President Lincoln–braving death threats, public outrage, and his own scarred past.

Performances of EDWIN are set to begin on Sunday September 4 for a limited engagement through September 18 at Theatre at St. Clement’s (423 West 46th St.). Opening night is set for September 8.

The performance schedule for EDWIN will be: Tuesday through Friday at 7:30PM, Saturday at 2PM & 7:30PM, and Sunday at 3PM.Opening night is scheduled for Thursday at 7PM.

Tickets are $59 (adults), $29 (seniors), and $15 (students) and can be purchased through Great Circle Productions website  -www.greatcircleproductions.org or by calling OvationTix at 866-811-4111.
And that's the scoop. Tune in tomorrow for another Talking Topic.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Saturday Special - An Interview with Michael McLean, Co-Writer of Fairy Tale Christmas: The Musical

Michael McLean (MM) and his son, Scott are the co-writers of the show, Fairy Tale Christmas the Musical which was presented at this year's New York International Fringe Festival.

Where did you come up with the idea for the show?

MMTHE IDEA FOR THE SHOW was born years ago when Scott (my son who is the co-writer of this musical) was just a little boy.  Then, in 2014 we took that idea and started expanding on it and wrote a book that was published that year and then we went further and wrote the musical of FAIRY TALE CHRISTMAS that is part of this year's New York Fringe Festival.

Was Fairy Tale Christmas the Musical ever performed anywhere else?

MM: This is the FIRST TIME EVER this show has been staged and performed.  We wanted the Fringe Festival audiences to fall in love with the show and the songs in it so we went to Nashville and recorded the instrumental tracks that the actors could sing to and asked the illustrator of the book to create the backdrops we could project on a screen.  

What else have you written?

As a songwriter I've written and produced 30 albums of my songs.  As an author I've written 6 books.  And as a playwright I've written 5 musicals.  

Have any of your plays been produced on stage?

MM: About a decade ago a musical I wrote with my friend Kevin Kelly had a limited run Off Broadway (at 37 ARTS).  The idea behind that musical, THE ARK,  is that the inside of the theatre is Noah's Ark and the audience are the animals.  It's a really fun family show.  

Another show I've written is one that's been going on in various theaters every Christmas for the past 25 years.  It's called THE FORGOTTEN CAROLS, and it's based on a book I wrote back in 1991.  To promote the book I started doing a one man show, playing all the parts, at theaters during the holidays.  Then, as it became more and more popular, the show grew to a full blown musical that's been seen by about  million people all around the United States.  

Have you ever worked with your son before?

MM: Although the Forgotten Carols as a theatrical production has evolved over the years, the current version was adapted for the stage by my son, Scott.  He is not only a great writer but a terrific actor and I LOVE the opportunities I get to write with him.  (I know, I know, I'm his dad, but I think he's awesomely talented).

What other work have you done?

MM: It's interesting, but I keep coming back to Christmas themed shows.  Years ago I produced a little film for television starring screen legend JAMES STEWART called Mr. Kruger's Christmas.  It's been seen by over 300 million people world wide in 7 languages.  Then, back around the time I wrote the book of Forgotten Carols I directed a film with academy award winning actress Celeste Holm called NORA'S CHRISTMAS GIFT.  

Who are some playwrights and composers who have inspired you?

MM: My training to be a writer has come from writing, and being lucky enough to have had some remarkable mentors. When we were working on The Ark back in the day, STEPHEN SCHWARTZ (Wicked, Godspell, Prince of Egypt. Etc. etc.) invited us to be part of the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop here in New York City.  He is not only a brilliant writer, but an extraordinary teacher and has been both an inspiration and a fantastic example.  (Lucky me)

What made you decide to do what you do?

MM: I suppose the reason I became a story teller is because of the stories that have shaped me.  The first time I saw MAN OF LAMANCHA at 15 it blew my mind and I thought, I wonder what it would be like to wear out my life working on something as moving as that show.  As a songwriter with limited singing skills, I loved THE MUSIC MAN and while in high school I lived next door to one of the Buffalo Bills who did that show for the Broadway Run and also the film.  Then I got to play Harold Hill at my high school production and have been hooked ever since. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to do what you do?

MM: My advice is, start doing it.  Nothing is stopping you from writing songs, and figuring out which stories you want to tell.  Most writers love to read great writers for inspiration.  So try to see everything you can that helps you raise the bar in your own creative endeavors.  Find the people who can "light your candle" and inspire you to work harder, do better, reach higher, and stay away from those who would "blow your candle out".   The things any aspiring writer/songwriter/producer/filmmaker/playwright dream of doing are gifts they have to offer the world.  And the greatest gift of all, is the one you give yourself by learning the lessons you may only learn by writing from the most authentic part of your heart.  

We thank Michael for taking the time to speak with us. For more about Fairy Tale Christmas: The Musical see our previous posts:

There will be one remaining performance of Fairy Tale Christmas the Musical at the New York International Fringe Festival today, August 27, 2016 at 12:00 PM.

Tune in tomorrow for this week's Sunday Scoop.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Funtivity Friday - Create A Puzzle: Make Up Your Word Searches

A fun and easy thing to do with your family or friends is make up your own word searches, and then, solve each other's.


What You Will Need

A blank piece of paper
A pen or pencil


1) Choose a theme

2) Make up a list of words that go along with that theme and put them at the bottom of the blanket sheet of paper. 

3) Put all the words into a grid at the top of the page. Words can go across. They can go up and down. They can go diagonally. They can go forwards or they can go backwards. See above.

4) Fill in arbitrary letters in the blank spaces in each line until the entire page is filled.

5) Swap puzzles with your friends or family members and start finding the words.


Tune in tomorrow for a Saturday Special.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

On Location Tours and and the New York International Fringe Festival

We were given a free On Location Tour for review purposes. Any and all opinions expressed here are our own based on our experience.

Me - On Location Tours was fun. We went on a bus and saw places  where they filmed TV and movies.  As we drove by places, they showed clips from movies and TV shows that took place in that location. We also got to get out at three of the locations. They were Washington Square Park, the Friends apartment and the Ghostbusters firehouse.  The Friends apartment house looks a lot different than it does on the show. We also saw the Friends fountain from the opening credits of the show. It is a lot smaller on the show. That is because they did not use the really fountain they made a copy of it. I never knew that so many movies and TV shows were filmed in New York. Our tour guide, Ryan was really nice. My sister, Melia really liked him because he was a stand-in for Corey Montheith when Glee filmed in New York. I enjoyed our On Location Tour, and I would like to find out about what other tours they have.

We were given free tickets for review purposes to the shows discussed below which are part of this year's New York International Fringe Festival. Any and all opinions expressed here are our own based on on our experience.

Me -I liked Fairy Tale Christmas the musical.  Fairy Tales Christmas the musical was about fairy tale villains. They wanted to kidnap Santa and rewrite the endings of fairy tales to get what they want. The actors all played the heroes and the villains too. They wore jackets when they were the villians, and they took them off when they were heroes. So they kept taking them on and off sometimes even in the same scene. It was funny. I liked the story. It was very original. The acting was good. The songs were enjoyable, but I don't remember them except for one about sweet revenge. There was also a song sung by Santa's Elves. I don't remember the song though. The story wrapped up very nicely, and I like that they told what happened to everybody after the story ended.

Me - I liked Swashbuckling Sam and the Tale of Blackbeard's Revenge. It was about this girl, Sam, She went on  a pirate ship and had an adventure. The show was good. The story was good. There were two skeltons in the show. It was funny because one had an ordinary name, and the other was called Bloody Eyeball. There were a lot of funny parts in the show. It wasn't really scary. Long John Silver, the Pirate Captain, kept talking to these two little kids in the front row like they were part of the pirate crew. At the end of the show, he carried one of them up on stage for a curtain call. It was funny because the little boy was looking around like he didn't know how he got there. My favorite character was Sam. She was very brave. There were puppets in the show too. They were birds and a map. They were okay. It was kind of weird that the bird's name was Dog. It was a good show, and I would recommend going.

And that's Aurella's view. Tune in tomorrow for Funtivity Friday.