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Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Internet Finds

Happy Friday everyone! I hope that final exams are going well for everyone who has them right now. Who else is excited for summer?

1. In case you somehow missed it, Lin Manuel Miranda was on John Oliver last Sunday to talk about the debt crisis in Puerto Rico. (His part of the video starts at about 18:57).

2. Ever wondered which house you would be in if you lived in the Game of Thrones universe? This quiz can tell you. #housetyrell

3. My lovely friend Fletcher (whom you might recognize from this video) wrote a lovely blog post about me!

4. Many of you may know George Blagden from the Les Mis film or from the TV show, Vikings, but he's also playing King Louis XIV in a new series called Versailles. This Marie Claire article made me love him ever more (wasn't aware that was possible!).

5. I just now came across this video from the end of March that interviews Anthony Ramos and the Oak. If you need more convincing that they are both just absolute rays of sunshine, here it is.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review: In the Heights Original Broadway Cast Album

I know, I know, I'm way late to the game. But I finally bought the In the Heights Broadway Cast Recording last Friday and I am absolutely obsessed. (How could I not be? It's Lin Manuel Miranda.)


For those who don't know, In the Heights was Lin Manuel Miranda's first show and opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theater in 2008. The story follows the lives of a cast of mostly Dominican-Americans over the course of three days. It was nominated for thirteen Tony Awards and won four, including Best Musical. Lin not only wrote the show, but stared in it as Usnavi.

The show covers a variety of plot lines from Usnavi's attempt to woo the beautiful Vanessa, Benny's fledging relationship with Nina, Usnavi's decision to leave New York for the Dominican Republic or stay, and Nina's sense of failure at losing her college scholarship.

The show is highly influenced by Latin music and the neighborhood in which Lin himself grew up, Washington Heights. It's a beautiful portrayal of a group of immigrants that has me longing for New York City as I write this.


Some of my favorite numbers include the title song, "In the Heights"; Nina's heartbreaking "Breathe"; the highly danceable "The Club"; Nina and Benny's lovely duet "Sunrise"; and Camila's sassy "Enough." I still can't listen to Nina's song, "Everything I Know," without crying because somehow Lin perfectly captured the feelings I had cleaning out my grandmother's house this past summer. In short, it's another masterpiece written by Lin Manuel Miranda.

Fans of Hamilton who haven't experienced In the Heights before will also appreciate that Benny is played by Chris Jackson, who you might recognize as George Washington. 

I think that anyone who is a fan of Miranda's work, likes a blend of musical theatre and Latin music, or is an immigrant themselves will appreciate this beautiful album. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Accent Challenge with @FeistyFletch

My friend Fletcher and I filmed the Accent Challenge (like Zoe Sugg and Marcus Butler do) and we had a lot of fun doing it! Enjoy x

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Internet Finds

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a great week and are rewarding yourself with some me-time to mess around on the Internet :)

1. Need to know which rom-com you should watch tonight? This Buzzfeed quiz can give you suggestions.

2. In case you somehow missed the announcement, Hamilton won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama! It is the ninth musical to ever win the award.

3. I love Kendi's latest outfit post, featuring floral shorts. How do you guys feel about dressy shorts?

4. Ever wanted to see the perfect princess birthday party for a little girl? Look no farther than these shots from the party of Darcy Watson, or Baby Glitter (Sprinkle of Glitter, Louise Pentland's adorable five-year-old)!

5. This interview with Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi (the voice of Flynn Rider!), the stars of She Loves Me, is just too cute.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Saying Goodbye to Supergirl (For Now!)

Monday night was the season finale of Supergirl's first season. With no word on renewal yet (though I'm optimistic on that front), it's goodbye to Supergirl for now. I've spent the past twenty episodes watching every Monday night with bated breath and then scurrying to write recaps for BroadwayWorld.com's TV section by 10 p.m. You can read my recap of the season finale here.

Photo Credit: CBS
In all honesty, I started watching Supergirl because Jeremy Jordan and Laura Benanti had been cast on it. I didn't expect much more out of it than to see Jeremy on my TV every week (and that would have been enough!). But as soon as I watched the first episode, I knew that this show was something special. Strong women (who are also sensitive, complex, and so varied), a focus on family (and not just the family that you're born to, but the family that you choose), a love triangle that was actually compelling, and a strong undercurrent of female empowerment...all with amazing guest stars? What more could I want from a TV show?

I loved the last scene of the season because it reminded me of what I love most about Supergirl: that it's first and foremost about the love of a family. I have cried so many times this season over Winn finding his family through Kara, about J'onn J'onz/Hank Henshaw becoming a father figure to both Alex and Kara, and of course about the sisters themselves. I don't want to give away too many spoilers in case one of you hasn't watched the final episode yet, but the phone call scene between Alex and Kara absolutely tore me apart. As someone with a little sister, I loved this portrayal of such a real relationship -- something we don't always get from TV today.

I couldn't talk about Supergirl without talking about Winn and James, played by Jeremy Jordan and Mehcad Brooks respectively. I loved Winn from the moment he first came on screen. The IT department best friend with amazing cardigans absolutely stole my heart. But throughout the season I came to love Winn, regardless of the fact that he's played by one of my favorite actors of all time. I have to say that Jeremy's performance as Winn has been absolutely flawless and he's made his unrequited love for Kara so heartbreaking without being annoying or "nice guy"-esque.

It took a while for James to grow on me, despite Mehcad's lovely voice and acting. (Seriously, that man's speaking voice is drool-worthy.) But while it took me a bit longer than it took Kara to fall for him, I eventually did. Mehcad brought something so vulnerable to his character that I've really appreciated.

One of my favorite things about Supergirl is the strong roles it allowed to older women like Laura Benanti and Calista Flockhart. Now, I feel a bit strange referring to Laura as an "older woman," but we often aren't allowed compelling female characters who are out of their twenties on a show aimed at a younger demographic. Both gave stunning performances as Astra/Alura and Cat Grant. Cat Grant's biting one-liners and confidence in her own skills have inspired me and I continue to be astonished by how well Laura played two characters on this show.

(On a side note, I've already bought tickets to see Laura Benanti in She Loves Me this summer on Broadway and I can't wait to tell her how much I've loved her on this show.)

Not knowing if we're going to get a second season of this show that found such a special place in my heart makes me so sad, but if this is all we get, then I know that I will cherish it and rewatch it for years to come. I feel so honored that I got to write about the show weekly for BroadwayWorld.com and that I got to interact with the cast on Twitter. (My reaction to Jeremy Jordan responding to my tweet during one episode is a running joke with my friends.) If you haven't watched Supergirl yet, I honestly cannot recommend it enough. If you have, I'd love to hear all your thoughts in the comment below or on Twitter at @nicoleackman16. xx

Monday, April 18, 2016

Ipsy Glam Bag Review April

I'm so excited about what I got in this month's Ipsy Glam Bag! Don't forget to let me know what you got in yours if you're signed up for this amazing monthly subscription.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday Internet Finds

Happy weekend, everyone! This week seemed like it lasted forever to me...anyone else? I'm doing something very exciting today that I can't wait to show you next Wednesday. (If you want to see it today, check out my Twitter or Instagram!)

1. Anyone else looking forward to Daniel Radcliffe's return to Broadway? Read more about it here.

2. This Buzzfeed quiz can tell you which Hogwarts house you're in based on your favorite TV characters. #itknowstoomuch #notsureifilikethis

3. I've never been a fan of pointy-toed shoes before but I'm actually starting to like them and they're so in this season. Check out this article for styling tips!

4. Sometimes, it's hard being a person who feels everything deeply (yes, I'm overly emotional; no, I'm not ashamed of it). Anyone else relate? This article can make you feel better.

5. I'm not quite as excited as everyone else for the new musical, "Waitress," but I am pretty excited about Carrie Hope Fletcher covering this song from it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Review: Dear Emma

I love all things Jane Austen, but Emma Woodhouse has always been my favorite character and the character that I relate to the most. So when I saw a modern adaption of Emma called "Dear Emma" by Katie Heaney, I knew I had to read it. The novel follows Harriet Smith, a shy college student who gives out advice to the student populace in her newspaper column, "Dear Emma."


It's a clever premise for an adaption of Emma, though I missed Emma herself being an actual character. The book's true power though is its ability to portray college students and college relationships in a humorous and real way. Harriet's chatter about boys with her roommates reminded me of my friend group. And when's the last time you read about a character who Facebook stalked her crush? #sorelatable

It's a fun light read, though not necessarily one of my favorite books. At points, it drags a bit and the romantic lead is more annoying than interesting. Plus, Pemberley Digital's Emma Approved is a much better adaption of "Emma." That said, it's well worth a read.

Fans of lighthearted romance, college students, and those who love the character of Harriet Smith would enjoy this novel.

Monday, April 11, 2016

NYC Haul

Check out the couple of items I bought at Topshop while I was in New York City and all my new Hamilton merchandise!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Friday Internet Finds

Hello everyone! Who's excited that it's finally the weekend? I'm just looking forward to sleeping...but if you need some fun things on the Internet to check out, I've got you covered. x

1. This College Fashion article of outfits based on Kinky Boots is amazing. Has anyone else been listening to the new West End Kinky Boots cast album?

2. I was on my friend Christina's TV show, "Love It or Hate It" recently. You should check it out our super cute episode!

3. If you're not already following 'hamilton text posts' on Twitter, you should be. They're hilarious!

4. Alyssa Campanella and Torrance Coombs' wedding looked so beautiful. This article by The Knot shows exactly why they've redefined my idea of a dream wedding.

5. I am so excited for Eva Noblezada to be playing Eponine in the West End production of Les Miserables...check out her first time singing "On My Own" from the Olivier Awards.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hamilton Review || March 24

I was lucky enough to get to see Hamilton on Broadway on March 24 to celebrate my sister's birthday. My family had seats in the balcony, but I have to say for the Richard Rodgers theatre, the visibility from the second to last row of the top balcony was surprisingly great. I can't truly put into words what an incredible and important experience seeing Hamilton was, but I will try to share some thoughts.

Eliza and Angelica bows by Viscountess
First of all, I have to say that the staging of this show is mind blowing. The use of the upper balcony pieces on the stage, the dancing, the costuming...there's nothing that I could imagine being any better. The ensemble works together flawlessly. I got to see most of the original cast, with Sydney James Harcourt as Washington and Alysha Deslorieux as Angelica (more on her later!). I do have to give a shoutout to how hilariously funny Jon Rua was as Charles Lee.


Lin Manuel Miranda is an incredible actor. Not that I doubted his abilities, but he absolutely blew me away (heh? get my reference?). His Hamilton is such a fully formed character, so complex and human. His voice was nearly flawless and at times even better than on the album. Even from the back of the balcony, seeing his facial expressions in "It's Quiet Uptown" tore me apart. (Ugly, ugly sobs.)

Anthony Ramos was the biggest surprise of the night for me, by far. Not that I didn't know that he was amazing, but WOW. He gave me a whole new understanding of John Laurens' character (also the tension between Laurens and Hamilton was palpable). And Laurens' and Phillip's death scenes? I don't want to give anything away, but I have so much respect for Anthony's acting ability. (And I blame him for my body's dehydration after the show from all my crying.)

The Schuyler Sisters are Lin's real gift to Broadway, in my opinion. Jasmine Cephas Jones is a force to be reckoned with. Her Peggy is so lovable that I'm actually feeling a bit torn as to who my favorite sister is. (And "Say No To This" was an experience.) Phillipa Soo was incredible as Eliza: she was adorable in "Helpless" and fierce as hell in "Burn." I truly understood the character of Eliza for the first time...she's not the cinnamon roll of the show (that's John Laurens), but rather a complicated and sometimes selfish woman who doesn't necessarily want to share Alexander with the world. Eliza and Peggy's dynamic was one of my favorites in the show. Also...can I just say that both Jasmine and Pippa are stunningly beautiful?

I was so lucky to see Alysha Deslorieux as Angelica Schuyler, since Renee Elise Goldsberry was on vacation in the Bahamas. I was a little concerned at first, since Angelica is my favorite character but Alysha was everything I could have wanted. She's a bit of a softer Angelica than Renee is and her voice is lovely. Alysha portrays Angelica exactly as I would want to. And while we're on the subject, the blocking for all of the scenes between Hamilton and Angelica is so beautiful. I really felt Angelica's pain and longing combined with her complete devotion to her sister.

Daveed Diggs managed to be even better than I expected. His Lafayette and his Jefferson are equally perfect. But more than that, he's a lovely individual. I went to stage door both Thursday and Friday nights and Daveed was there both nights. He spent at least 45 minutes each night talking to people and signing playbills! He was so kind and funny too, plus he takes great selfies.


In case you haven't seen it, here's my video about how much Hamilton means to me. I have to admit I sobbed through a lot of the show....and really broke down at the end. As a history student and a woman, this show resonates with me very deeply and I feel so blessed I got to see it. Plus, for the rest of my life I can say that I saw Lin Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton and no one can ever take that away from me.


If you have any questions about the show (from blocking to character interpretations), make sure to leave them in the comment section below. x

Monday, April 4, 2016

New York City Vlog

Friday, April 1, 2016

Friday Internet Finds

Sorry I've been a bit MIA the last week...we'll be back to regular posting this coming week! With my NYC vacation (more on that later) and a busy first week back to school, I haven't had much time.

1. This might be the most important Buzzfeed quiz yet: "Are You More Thomas Jefferson or Lafayette?"

2. Louise Pentland's (Sprinkle of Glitter) latest post about being a mummy to her adorable daughter, Darcy, warmed my heart. Okay, and it made me cry so it's definitely worth a read.

3. I love the way Alyssa Campanella paired a blouse and a sleeveless dress in this post. I would never have thought of that! Would you try this?

4. I love this column from my university newspaper to the "dinosaurs of the 21st century." (If you hate those people who say the Internet is the downfall of the world, you'll love this.)

5. I absolutely love Ragtime, so Ramin's cover of "Make Them Hear You" is my new jam.

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