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Friday, February 3, 2017

Top 10 Theatre Experiences of 2016

We're already a month into 2017 (how did that happen?), but I wanted to look back on my Top Ten Theatre Experiences of 2016. I was so lucky to spend the summer in New York City, where I could easily see shows at discounted rates. It was hard to narrow this list down to ten, but I think these were the highlights (in my particular order).

Let me know what your top theatre experiences of the year were in the comments!

Hamilton 

I have to admit that nothing quite compares to Hamilton. I was extremely lucky to get to see it in both March (with the original cast) and in August (with some of the original cast and some replacement cast). If I had to pick one top theatre experience of 2016, I would choose seeing Lin Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton because it was definitely one of the most magical moments of my life.

Bright Star
I knew very little about Bright Star other than that it was set in North Carolina and starred Paul Alexander Nolan when I got rush tickets to see it. It was one of the best shows that I've ever seen and one of the best stage door experiences I've ever had. Everyone in the cast was SO nice! I'm so sad that this show closed (I was actually there the night closing was announced), but I'm definitely looking forward to the US Tour.

Laura Michelle Kelly's "All I Know Now" Concert 

It was hard for me to leave Finding Neverland off of this list, but I had to include going to Laura Michelle Kelly's concert and meet-and-greet. It was such a wonderful experience to share with my friends Kimmy and Julie and Laura was so incredibly kind. She even gave us candy!

Seeing Laura Benanti (in She Loves Me
Laura Benanti has been my favorite Broadway actress for years and I adore her witty and intelligent tweets. So getting to see her four times in She Loves Me this summer was absolutely wonderful (as was meeting Zachary Levi four times at stage door!). I feel so lucky that I got to see this incredible show so many times and that I got to witness Laura Benanti sing "Vanilla Ice Cream" in person.

Getting a backstage tour at the US Tour of Cinderella
My little sister, Hannah, and I had the very special treat of getting a backstage tour of Cinderella at DPAC. Johnny Link (our Prince Topher) and Tatyana Lubov (the lovely Ella herself!) showed us around the stage area and even let us stand on the palace steps! It was truly a dream come true.

Seeing my first show off-Broadway (Daddy Long Legs)
I had never seen a show off Broadway before this summer when I went to see Daddy Long Legs on the recommendation of a friend. I am so infinitely glad that I did because the album became the soundtrack to my summer. This charming little show was so well suited to its intimate venue and I will always treasure having seen it.

Seeing John Owen Jones as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables

I have wanted to see John Owen Jones as Jean Valjean for years and this summer I got to not once, but twice. His Valjean was absolutely every bit as great as I expected...and better! Hearing him sing "Bring Him Home" was honestly a spiritual experience for me.

Taking an acting class
This fall, I took Acting for Non-Majors with my friend, Jenna, and we had such an amazing time. Not only did I get to perform a scene from an incredible and challenging play, The Proof; I also got to do a monologue that a friend of mine wrote for a show called Bridge Over Oblivion. It was a challenge for me because I hadn't done any acting since high school, but it reminded me how much I used to love performing.

Meeting Daveed Diggs
There are no words to describe how incredible Daveed was as Lafayette/Jefferson in Hamilton when I saw him in March. He was also an absolute sweetheart at stage door and happily chatted with me and my family. My sister's lock screen for her phone is still their selfie! An absolute gent and someone that I feel honored I got to meet.

Ramin Karimloo's Broadgrass Concert

I'm not sure if I ever mentioned it on this blog before, but Ramin Karimloo was the reason I got into theatre in early high school after seeing the Les Mis concert video. So getting to see his Broadgrass concert (with special guests Andrew Kober and Tam Mutu, who are two of my favorite actors) was such a treat. I'm not afraid to admit that I cried because it felt like everything was coming full circle!

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