Here are 10 New Books That Should Be on Your Radar This Summer

Summer is just starting to arrive and my TBR’s only gotten longer. Whoopsies. But, I have managed to read 86 books this year so far (as of early May when I wrote this blog post). But, I feel like I’m just getting started for the year. After all, I still have the likes of People We Meet on Vacation by Emily HenryCirce by Madeline Miller, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, If This Gets Out by Cale Dietrich & Sophie Gonzales, and wayyy more left on my TBR book cart (yes, I indeed own a book cart for my TBR and it’s packed).

Out of all the upcoming releases I’ve been reading this spring/early summer in ARC form, there are some good ones that I’ve been obsessing over ever since I read those final pages. We even have three five-star reads on this list! So, without further ado, welcome back to Miranda’s Book Nook; apologies for the delay. But what can I say, I had books to finish first… Keep reading for even more 2021 book releases that I haven’t been able to get enough of that should definitely be on your radar this summer. Beach reads, anyone??

Gutter Girl by Kelly Anne Blount, Lynn Rush

I really enjoyed these authors’ collaboration on the teen hockey romance, In The Penalty Box and so, I was excited to check this new YA novel out.

Told in dual perspectives, we follow star football player Jace who writes fantasy romance stories, and outsider McKenna. Jace loves writing these fantastical romances with action, adventure, swordplay, and kissing yet no one knows he’s written one of the most popular stories on Scribbles (a fictional version of Wattpad). Certainly not his overbearing parents, the other kids at school, or his thousands of fans who read it online each week. When his teammate grabs his notebook and starts to read out a kissing scene, McKenna (who typically hates the spotlight) jumps in to save him and claims the notebook is hers. He convinces her to keep up this ruse and keep his secret for a price, and he’d do anything to keep this under wraps. As the duo starts to fall for one another, he knows he has to keep the biggest, darkest secret to himself: The main villain that his fans love to hate is based on goth girl McKenna before they got to know one another.

The action kicks off right away, and I’m immediately drawn into this story, and it’s fun and I like it. The characters are deep and complex, yet still tell a light, fun, enjoyable, and emotionally vulnerable YA story. It’s so cute and so precious, and I just want more to their story like right now.

Rating: Four Stars

Available:


One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

I was beyond, beyond excited to receive an advanced galley of this book after I devoured her first book, Red, White & Royal Blue. My galley came in audio-form from MacMillian Audio, and I swear, I would have taken this ARC in literally any format if it meant I could read this one as soon as possible. So, yes, I’m so pumped to start listening to this one. And now that I’ve read it (well, listened), guys, my fellow RWRB obsessives: y’all are going to go nuts because it’s that good.

Here, we follow 23-year-old August who just moved to New York City as a way to prove to herself that magic and true love doesn’t exist, because after all, she’s a skeptic and a closet detective. One day she spots a gorgeous girl on the subway, on the Q train to be exact. This girl, Jane, is dazzling and mysterious who shows up to save August’s day when she needs it most. So, obviously August develops a little subway crush on the girl that makes every single day better, but soon she realizes that Jane is actually displaced in time from the ’70s, and August sets out to help her remember who she is and beat this curse/problem. It’s billed as a magical, sexy, and bighearted romance, which is definitely an accurate depiction. The language has humor in spades, like laugh-out-loud lines. August is described in a way that makes her an authentic and realistic main character, which makes me super into her story.

It feels unlike anything I’ve read before, including RWRB, but it’s still a fun sapphic New Adult romance with a sweeping romance sprinkled in. It’s fun, and I was so curious to keep reading to find out what would happen next. Plus, Jane+August are so flipping cute, like I couldn’t stop smiling for a minute while listening. This slow-burn romance is also a love letter to NYC and good friends, too. Plus, it has this fun mysterious element to take it out of the realm of *just* being a romance novel; it’s way more than that. If I had to categorize this book, I’d say it’s Veronica Mars meets time-travel meets sapphic romance, which seems like an odd combination yet it completely works, and I’m sold. The language is witty and funny, too, and I love, love, love it and yes, it totally lives up to all the hype it’s already been racking up.

As an audiobook, I found the story so immersive and compelling. The narrator puts you in August’s head and what she sees. She uses different voices to effortlessly capture all the different characters and their various personalities. It feels realistic, yet engaging and bubbly. Between the story and the narration, I just want to keep listening to this story to find out what would happen next. It’s impossible not to get wrapped up in this story thanks to such compelling language and vibrant narration. Plus, there’s so much diverse representation that feels authentic and real, which is another win in this book’s column. Everything is brilliantly planned out, interconnected, and woven together in terms of the story organization. All in all, it feels so original and unlike anything I’ve read prior, which is a very good thing.

Also, I just have to say: 🚞 🌶 🚞, which, like, I know, right?!?!

Rating: Five Stars

Available:


Better Together by Christine Riccio

This book is pitched as Freaky Friday meets The Parent Trap, which immediately intrigued me. Then, I started this book and just couldn’t put it down. Told in alternating viewpoints between two sisters, there’s aspiring comic Jamie and ballerina Siri who live on opposite coasts and just meet for the first time thanks to meddling accomplices and a bit of magic. The two estranged sisters meet at a wellness retreat in Colorado, where they each discover that the sister they haven’t seen in 14 years is there, too. After a rocky time and grudges aplenty, they decide to switch places with a dash of glittery magic to meet the parent they barely knew.

This was such a fun read from the get-go, giving me similar vibes to You Have a Match by Emma Lord, yet it’s still very much its own thing. The author uses fun and authentic language that pulls me into both girls’ worlds. It’s just so light and fun, which makes it easy and quick to get sucked in and just keep reading.

Rating: Four Stars

Available:


Of Princes and Promises by Sandhya Menon

I’ve been a fan of this author’s previous works for just about a year now, and so, when I heard of this novel and the fairytale adaptation it was, I was intrigued.

In this contemporary retelling and twist on The Frog Prince, Caterina is the queen of St. Rosetta’s Academy who is determined to continue her reign after being dumped when her boyfriend Alaric cheated on her. Then, there’s the adorkable Rahul who’s harbored a crush on Caterina ever since they shared a dance at the school winter formal months ago when she was the most heartbroken. When Caterina finds out Alaric is taking some supermodel to a big gala, she needs a ringer on her harm. She enlists the clueless Rahul to be her fake date, and she’ll even dress him up to go with her. She uses a mysterious and magical hair gel that alters the wearer into whatever his heart desires, which for Rahul was RC who’s a charming and debonair guy. However, transformation comes with a price and the line between his two personas blur together as RC gains popularity in town.

Told in dual perspectives. it’s such a cute and fun YA romance novel. It’s definitely a quick read that’s so enjoyable and hard to put down.

Rating: Four Stars

Available:


Live Your Life by Amanda Kloots, Anna Kloots

After following Amanda Kloots’ and Nick Cordero’s heartwrenching coronavirus story and her inspiring positivity last year, I was very much interested in reading her memoir about the ordeal. She reflects on love, loss, and life with her husband, Broadway star Nick Cordero.

It’s the story of their life together and his fight against COVID-19. It’s a beautiful, heartfelt, and emotional story of her entire journey with Nick, from the first time they met, their wedding, the birth of their son Elvis, through COVID and her unimaginable loss. It’s such a poignant and honest first-person account that makes your heart break even more than it did while reading the news stories.

You can feel all her raw, vulnerable emotions from this period come through while reading. It’s a well-written and honest memoir to read that, yes, makes me tear up. With Kloots’ positive spirit, her memoir shares an unplugged look at this awful period along with her strength, support from loved ones, and it provides a tribute/lasting memory for Cordero to assist with her grief.

Rating: Five Stars

Available: June 15


Blush by Jamie Brenner

This was a compelling women’s fiction/general fiction read that I could hardly put down. This book is set at the Hollander Estates vineyard in Long Island. After years as a tourist destination and wedding venue, the Hollanders family fortune has dwindled and the threat of sale brings secrets and old wounds to life. This book, full of captivating language and complex characters, focuses on the women in the family throughout one summer: matriarch Vivian, daughter Leah, and granddaughter Sadie.

Each lady is searching for an escape from her current life, so they decide to start a book club together and re-read the old romance novels that Vivian’s own former book club had read so many years ago. It turns out reading these so-called trashy romances illuminate the life, love, and career (with the future of the vineyard) they wanted all along. In this story of love, family, and second chances, we get to see each of these three perspectives in a novel that is easy and quick to read, plus it’s engaging and intriguing that you don’t want to put it down.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: June 22


When Stars Collide by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

This novel is like part women’s fiction, part romance, and part mystery/thriller, and odd combination in theory, yet it works here. Here, Thad Owens is the backup quarterback for the Chicago Stars team who has a low tolerance for divas, and especially Divas with a capital letter D. Olivia is an international opera star and a hugely driven Diva.

The two are paired for a national tour to promote a luxury watch brand, but obviously, they aren’t fans of one another. Along the journey, the trash talk, soul search, and deal with all sorts of dramatic, behind-the-scenes drama and threatening fans. Told in dual perspectives, it’s set up to be a fun, light forced-proximity and enemies-to-lovers romance with a twist. There’s a major mystery element that takes this book out of just a romance novel category and into something else. However, there are actually like three mysteries going on, which seems like a lot. Then, of course, you get that sweeping, grandiose, romantic ending to make this a read I could hardly put down.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: June 29


The Turnout by Megan Abbott

This book is described as a “revelatory and mesmerizing new novel set against the hothouse of a family-run ballet studio,” and now that I’ve finished, I concur that it’s a thrilling, intriguing piece of literary fiction. Sisters Dara and Marie grew up as ballerinas, under the tutelage of their professional dancer mother who owned a dance studio. After their parents tragically died, the two sisters took over the studio along with Dara’s husband Charlie. After a suspicious accident right before Nutcracker season, an interloper arrives to disrupt their delicate three-person balance.

This book is full of engaging language that draws me in right from page one. It’s so intriguing and thrilling. Then, once the interloper (contractor Derek) arrives in town, it adds a whole mysterious and cunning element. So, once you get into it, it’s hard to put down with its many, many bombshell twists and turns. Oh woah, it’s just so good yet so surprising.

Rating: Four Stars

Available:


The Betrayed by Kiera Cass

After I read The Betrothed earlier this lockdown, I admit I was unsure about the story and the ending because something just didn’t vibe with me as I read it. Yet, I was intrigued to learn about this sequel and figure out how things ended. I’m so glad I gave this series another chance because I did quite enjoy this action-packed novel.

Here, it picks up quite literally where Book 1 ended up with Hollis fleeing Coroa after her husband Silas’ death, where she’s been living with his mom, sister, surly cousin Etan who’s distrustful of her and all Coroans, aunt, and uncle in Isolte. While attempting to move forward with her life, a growing distrust in the Isoltean kingdom threatens the future of her new country and her old one. As tensions rise, she learns that the Eastoffe family could unseat the tyrannical Isoltean king and take over, but only with her help to stage a revolution among the people.

From the minute it started, exactly where we last left off, it is full of exciting language that pulls me back into this fantastical world. It’s a quick YA read and way more action-packed than the first book (to me, at least), which helped to keep my interest.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: July 6


Meant to Be: If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy

I’ve been waiting for this book for over a year, and so, I’d like to offer a massive, massive, massive thank you to Disney Hyperion and NetGalley for this advanced galley. Even though, my Amazon preorder is already confirmed, oops.

Julie Murphy, who’s killed the YA game with her Dumplin, Puddin, and Pumpkin novelsis kicking off a new series, titled Meant to Be that’s a bunch of modern fairytale adaptations and romances with body-positive leads. One, I love seeing more diversity of any kind in romance. Two, Murphy is a master at authentically writing plus-size characters. Three, it’s a Disney fairytale retelling. All in all, this book has everything I want, and this is before I’ve started it! This book wasn’t meant for my March TBR considering its August release date, but within a day of my galley approval, I was rearranging the rest of the TBR to start this as soon as possible.

Then, I started it. And oh boy, it’s juicy, engaging, unputdownable just by the first couple of chapters! Here, Cindy’s just graduated with a degree in shoe design and trying to get her career off the ground. So, she takes a job working for her stepmother, the executive producer on the popular reality show “Before Midnight.” When a spot on the show opens at the last minute, Cindy volunteers hoping it could help jumpstart her fashion career or give her something to do while her classmates land high-fashion jobs. But being the only plus-size competitor on a dating competition show makes a big splash and her a body positivity icon. The only thing she didn’t expect was to find inspiration and love in this crazy process. What, who would have thought that huh?

I’m immediately drawn into this world, just as I was in Murphy’s previous books, and it’s just so fun and makes me want to keep reading and find out what would happen next. As time goes on, it gets cheesy cute that gives me butterflies, and I swear I feel my heart turning all swoony as the feelings between Cindy and the suitor Henry grow and develop. This read was so hard for me to put down because I just didn’t want it to end! Initially, I wasn’t sure if this was a 4 or 5-star situation, but after finishing it, I think it’s definitely a five-star romance read and I’ll definitely be reading this one again when I have the chance. Murphy has delivered her next series post-Dumplin, and I’m pleased to report that whenever the rest of this series drops, I’ll be first in line to order a copy. And if Cindy+Henry pop up and still has their HEA, all the better.

Rating: Five Stars

Available:


Advance reader copies of the books listed were provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Definitive Ranking of Every Song From ‘Julie and the Phantoms’

In case you’ve been living under a rock this autumn, Kenny Ortega (the visionary director behind High School Musical and Descendants) has returned with his latest project. It’s a nine-episode Netflix Family series about a girl, Julie, who plays a CD of the tunes from ’90s boy band Sunset Curve (who sounds eerily similar to 5SOS, just saying) when the band — now [cute] ghosts — appear to her. So, naturally, they form a band together because they are all musically inclined. This show is one of my new favorite Netflix obsessions even though I’m way older its suggested demographics. But, oh well, it’s just that good. Part of the reason, I’m loving JATP is due to its bop-worthy soundtrack because all 15 tracks are massive hits, I promise you.

So, for all my fellow JATP-loving fans and unapologetic Sunset Curve stans, here’s my official, definitive ranking of the entire soundtrack.

15. “All Eyes on Me”

Sure, this track has a catchy beat that makes me want to dance like the girls of Dirty Candy, and Alex too, but that’s about it. Now, when the pandemic is over, who wants to join me and choreograph our own dance to this track and become our own version of Dirty Candy?


14. “I Got the Music”

Yes, these young ladies are absolutely, incredibly talented, but this just isn’t my type of music. It’s the hip hop-py vibe and yelling thing that I just can’t get into. But, it’s very upbeat and has me wishing I could be in a flash mob every day of my life.


13. “Wow”

Seriously, Carrie is poised to be a miniature pop star already. Girl has the drive, determination, and precision to be the leader of a girl group. Flawless, that’s right.


12. “You’ve Got Nothing to Lose”

What do you get when you put Broadway veteran Cheyenne Jackson in a musical TV show? A fabulous musical number, obviously. This track has a big-band feel that makes me want to get up and dance. Also, Dancing With the Stars producers are seriously lacking if they don’t give one of their couples a quickstep or something to this number. I need to see it.


11. “Wake Up”

Madison Reyes was born to sing and be a star, that’s for sure, and this track proves that tenfold. This is only No. 11 because it’s less catchy than some other tunes, and I’m less likely to have this stuck in my head, singing and dancing along at every aspect. It’s still incredible, because of her voice, just wow.


10. “Edge of Great”

Here’s pure proof that this band was meant to play together. Like, their chemistry as a group is just electric and gives me chills every time. Also, I just want to stand on all my furniture and belt out their tunes. Seriously, if there’s a concert, I’ll be first in line to buy tickets next to all the teenybopper fans.


9. “Flying Solo”

This ode to best friends is beyond precious, but also makes me wanna sing and dance along throughout my entire apartment. Next time you want to tell your besties how much you appreciate them for always supporting you, just send them this link and that alone will say a lot.


8. “The Other Side of Hollywood”

But this Cheyenne Jackson number is pure Broadway and I love this track for that exact reason. It has a 1920s-inspired groovy beat, and it’s everything us theater nerds love. It’s flashy, has killer vocals, and perfect dance breaks. Yes, please!


7. “Perfect Harmony”

This ballad is absolutely pure and romantic from the very first moment that Luke appears through the mirror to dance with Julie, and gah, I’m a puddle. It’s so freaking cute, my heart has melted for these two and this beautiful duet.


6.”This Band is Back (Reggie’s Jam)”

This feels like a backyard jam sesh and is just plain, good fun! It starts with my favorite line, “Come on, Reginald” which, of course, I say every time I listen to. It’s just such a fun, cute line because Reggie is so lovable and underrated as a character. This track is just for fun, I dig it.


5. “Now or Never”

The opening number of the entire show gives off so much 5 Seconds of Summer vibes, and as a 5SOS stan, I’m on board. It has that rocking boy band music type that makes me want to stan Sunset Curve as a massive fangirl (oops, too late). Now, excuse me as I go blast this track and dance around my apartment while I do my chores.


4. “Bright”

For the first time the band played together in front of a crowd, I have chills. Their chemistry together is electric, pure poetry, and I’m obsessed; just call me a Fantom already!! This band was just meant to play together, and then, uhh, Luke, his voice is like an angel.


3. “Finally Free”

I think the section where Luke and Julie share a mic, look deep into each other’s eyes, and repeat “I got a spark in me” is why I love this so much. They ooze chemistry and it just makes me melt, like gah, it’s so perfect. Other than that, it’s an upbeat track that makes me want to sing along and dance around. I love it. Also, I saw a TikTok theorizing that Kenny Ortega included this song as the follow-up to HSM‘s “Breaking Free,” which, ahhhh, that would be amazing.


2. “Stand Tall”

This song is now my go-to confidence-building, empowering track to power pose to before I have to do anything important. Seriously, hit play and then power pose for the duration of the track, it works every time. When the song ends, you’ll feel so freaking empowered and fierce, ready to conquer the world. Which, like, yes, we need more of that especially as women in today’s world. Plus, each of the guys’ solos make my heart race, and then Luke’s grand entrance, after nearly giving me a heart attack, was everything to see him get there and it made me smile.


1. “Unsaid Emily”

Here’s the big one. The all-time best. The one that makes me cry literally every single time I hear it. And if Spotify is on shuffle and this comes on, then I’m a goner. It’s so vulnerable and raw, but so beautiful and authentic that I’ll always stan Charlie Gillespie and his character of Luke because look at his range! Look at what this boy can do! Now, considering the emotional impact of “Unsaid Emily” and Luke’s backstory, I’m gonna need all the tissues when Season 2 (please, please, please renew this, Netflix!) gives us songs and moments about both Reggie’s and Alex’s backstories.

We Now Know Who Will Be Playing Our Faves in Mean Girls The Musical

These characterizations are so fetch!

Before Regina George scolds me for trying to make fetch happen, I need to say one thing: Who can’t wait to see Mean Girls the musical?

Not only is it one the most quotable movies of all time, it also comes with a golden message about how we should be treated. What could be better? I know, having movie scribe Tina Fey write a Broadway musical version of her hit 2004 film.

And as of today, the auditions have concluded and the staging is ready, because we have our new Plastics, full of Broadway superstars. Here’s a breakdown of who’s who when North Shore takes over the Great White Way:

Cady Heron: Erika Henningsen

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Henningsen was last seen on Broadway in Les Mis as the youngest Fantine ever and will step into Lindsey Lohan’s iconic teenage shoes to play the new girl in school.

Regina George: Taylor Louderman

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Princess Party! 💙💙💙

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Making her Broadway debut in Bring it On, Louderman is ready to take on another iconic teen film adaptation, fresh from her performance opposite Brendan Urie in Kinky Boots. She’s certainly come a long way from her summers as a Muny teen in the St. Louis humidity. (And doesn’t she look like a young Rachel McAdams in the film’s homecoming scene??)

Gretchen Weiners: Ashley Park

Ashley Park, most recently in The King and I and Sunday in The Park With George, is definitely so fetch.

Karen Smith: Kate Rockwell

Another Bring it On The Musical alum, Rockwell is ready to have ESPN visions and apply bedazzled initials onstage.

Rounding out the North Shore gang:

Janis: Barrett Wilbert Weed

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Movie night at home featuring my nose 💕

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One guess: she won’t be wearing a wig from mom’s chest hair?

Damian: Grey Henson

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because you're worth it

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One of the coolest people you’ll see in the show! (As per the clique map.)

Aaron Samuels: Kyle Selig

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Be cool. #cops #timessquare #newyears

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The only question: will his hair look sexy pushed back?

Ms. Norbury: Kerry Butler

Big shoes to fill if you’re playing the role that the script writer originated.

Kevin G: Cheech Manohar

Looks like he’s ready to tackle the shoes of a young M.C. and mathlete…

Principal Duvall: Rick Younger

He didn’t leave the South Side for nothing…

Here is everything Tina Fey has said about the musical before today’s big announcement.

I can only imagine how some of the most iconic lines and scenes will play out on stage. Will we see Mrs. George? A whole song about infinite limits? A recreated version of the talent show number? I want all the details.

All in all, this musical is shaping up to be so great. I know I’ll be quick to get tickets once it hits the New York theater scene. Until then, the musical will play D.C.’s National Theatre from October 31-December 3.

Seems like Gretchen was right after all…

One week in and it’s been all about theater and fashion… But is that a bad thing??

As this post title suggests, it’s been exactly one week for my second Manhattan summer and basically everything I’ve done involves fashion and Broadway. But, that’s not a bad thing at all, right?!?

To start, on Wednesday I decided to try my luck at the Ham4Ham lottery (though I knew it’d be fail, as it was last summer.) To clarify, the Hamilton lottery is best described as a needle in a haystack, where thousands of people head to the Richard Rodgers for the sole in-person Wednesday matinee lottery for $10 front row seats or a few standing room options, where they put their name in a huge barrel of a basket— yeah, chances are slim. Knowing it’s highly unlikely that I’d win, I mostly went to see the Ham4Ham show. So, two hours before creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted a New York Times article about the Hamilton softball team in the Broadway league, which was “required reading” for the lotto… Unsure what that meant, I went anyway with no thought of what would be performed.

I wanted show you all what it’s like to go to Ham4Ham, so enjoy the video below. (Sorry if it’s hard to see– it was really crowded and I’m vertically challenged.)


After I lost the lottery (as expected), I still felt like seeing a matinee, so I walked one block over to Waitress. I heard they had Standing Room seats, but the show wasn’t quite sold out, so I decided to get the cheapest available option in the mezzanine– and I’m so glad I did, because the show was great! (Been listening to the cast album on repeat all week!)

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Then at the stagedoor:

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Cute sisters McKenna and Clair sign Playbills for their split role as Lulu, Jenna’s daughter in the epilogue. #tooprecious

 

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Oh, hey- Chris Fitzgerald! I just had to congratulate him on his TONY NOMINATION!

I went home to get ready for my first day of work in the morning.

If you don’t know, I’m a Styling Intern at Brandon Maxwell (if you don’t know who he is, he runs a luxury fashion label and is a stylist.) What’s life as a fashion intern like? I’m hear to tell you… So, on Thursday (my first day), tasks included unpacking and packing garment bags and trunks of clothes, picking up a giant crystal pennant from Swarovski, dropping off and picking up garment bags, and at the end of the day, drop off gifts for models at IMG and Women Management. I also learned that heels are great aesthetically, just fashion interns are on your feet all day, both standing and running errands, so let’s just said I had some bad blisters… by lunchtime. Yea…. Then, on Friday my tasks included, drop offs, organizing the design studio, creating PDFs of the looks, running to Barneys to find 11 pairs of Manolos  (such a hard life, right???), sending out trunks and packing. Very busy, but I love being deeply immersed in the fashion industry!

When I got home, I made dinner and promptly went to bed. Then, my alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. (See I had a logical reason!) I got up, got ready and headed to 45th Street (aka Broadway) and planted myself on the sidewalk outside the Gerald Shoenfeld theater where I was tenth in line for day-of rush tickets to American Psycho, closing June 5. After waiting for three hours in the longest rush line on 45th street (it went passed the Booth and looped into Shubert Alley!), I was able to get a ticket for the evening show.

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It was a really great show! Ahead of time, I knew nothing about the musical, the book or movie– and I think that’s better. If you don’t have any expectations, you’ll enjoy it more and can’t get let down. Every aspect was phenomenal, it’s a shame it only got Tony nods for lighting and set (well deserved, but still…) and that it’s closing…

Side note and brief theater rant: It’s a shame how so many amazing Broadway productions are closing because of low ticket sales and no Tony love (probably because Hamilton got everything); just because a show is completely original, artistic and different from anything I’ve ever seen (yes, I’m talking about Psycho here!) doesn’t mean it should close…. Sad face that Broadway can’t keep the greats…

And after the show, of course I had to stagedoor– getting autographs and even a photo! (And at the stagedoor, I noticed Bob Lenzi aka Miles from Tuck waiting there for his girlfriend at her stagedoor– talk about an adorable Broadway couple.)

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A photo with Jen Damiano!

And later, guess who I learned also went to that show? Why none other than LEA SALONGA. SHUT UP, that’s so legendary– that I was in the same room as her, watching a show!

So, I’d say fashion and theater will be the major themes of this summer!

Until next time…

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Manhattan, I’m Back Again!

Well, I’m finally back in NYC for what is sure to be another amazing summer! And with that, this category of my blog is back up and running! Yay!

So, here’s what’s been going on before my internship officially starts this week! (Aside from the boring and expected errands and unpacking.)

Backstory time: About a week ago I read a tweet saying that Tuck Everlasting the Musical was closing on May 29… which happened to be the day my flight landed in New York. My flight landed at noon, and there was an evening show (the last one EVER) at 7:30, so it was perfect. Thanks to TodayTix, I was able to reserve a rear mezzanine seat (view was still very good at the Broadhurst in the second-to-last row!)

After arriving in NYC, checking into my student housing and unpacking, I then headed to the theater district to get my ticket, where I saw most of the cast arriving before showtime (including 11-year-old Sarah Charles Lewis who was just sobbing to her mom and brother… Sad face.) At 7:00, I went to get my ticket and find a position in line to enter the Broadhurst. I walk past the Broadhurst entrance, past the Shubert entrance (Matilda), past Shubert Alley and all the way in front of the Minskoff (Lion King)… Such a long line. By the time I was settled in line, I swear Alexa Chung (famous fashion person if you don’t know who she is) walked passed me, deep in conversation. #celebspotting

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The show was absolutely amazing!! Truly a magical, special piece of musical theatre and such a shame it had to close. To Casey Nicholaw and the entire creative team, cast and crew: you created a brilliant, magnificent musical, Bravo!

Stagedoor? But, of course…

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Carolee Carmello was amazing as Mae Tuck! (Way different from Madame duMarier in Finding Neverland– and she excelled.) Side note: I was in the crowded in her last Instagram video of the stagedoor! 😉

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Terrance Mann, the comedic Man in the Yellow Suit!

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Mike Wartella as Hugo the detective! Um, #TeamHugo anyone?!?!?

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11-year-old Sarah Charles Lewis absolutely killed it as Winnie Foster!

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Michael Park was a great Angus Tuck, the Tuck family patriarch.

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Robert Lenzi as Miles Tuck, Jesse’s older brother. Anyone else #TeamMiles???

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And last but not least, it’s ANDREW KEENAN-BOLGER as Jesse Tuck!!! He was phenomenal and so sweet! And noted, there’s still one more Forever17 Broadway.com vlog left! 😉

Such an amazing show, it’s such a shame it’s over! 😦

Then, on Memorial Day, I decided to engage my inner fashionista and went to see this year’s HUGE Met Costume Institute’s Manus X Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology exhibit, was was so breathtaking.

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Dior

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Saint Laurent

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That detail!

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BREATHTAKING.

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The classic Chanel suits! Except only the far left one is tweed– the rest are 3D printed!

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Dior

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Perfection.

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A 3D Printed haute couture dress— WOW.

And finally, the showstopper. Located in the center of the exhibit, an exclusive wedding dress designed by the icon himself, Karl Lagerfeld. THAT TRAIN, THOUGH. WOW.

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The entire exhibit was pure perfection. Stunning. Flawless. Amazing. If you’re in New York, you don’t want to miss this exhibit! #fashion

Well, be sure to keep checking back here for all of my latest updates from Manhattan once again!

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The 13 Best Moments from “Grease Live”

It’s Sunday, and while most people are focused on the Superbowl and all that sporty stuff, I’m still obsessing over last Sunday’s, in my opinion, more exciting televised event. That’s right: I’m referring to Grease Live. So, I thought I’d recap the best moments below.

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1. First, Grease is the word with Jessie J.

It is a cool way to embrace how it was filmed on a soundstage and the live audience in attendance, it makes it more interactive for the viewers. I do miss the cartoon Danny from the film though.

2. Next, I don’t think that anything could ever top Summer Nights.

The Pink Ladies, Sandy and Patty Simcox– eh.  The T-Birds: YES PLEASE. Best part of the number, from vocals, choreography and characterization. Plus, all the Broadway vets in the production!

3. I wish some of the characters tried to make the characters their own rather than simply copy what been done to death, and honestly can’t measure up to the original film. (I mean– Jan, Kenickie, Frenchy, Putzie– you couldn’t have been any more original?)

4. Best number of the show, hands down! Is it systematic, hydromatic, ultramatic, or…?

The choreography alone is stunning! Zach Woodlee (“Glee” fame) did a phenomenal job, as did legend William Ivey Long on magic costume and set changes… during the song! Truly is movie magic. Except the word changes… those were quite apparent, because the meaning didnt exactly line up.

5. And for the character/song, we didn’t know we needed…

Jordan Fisher’s Doody crooned the originally-forgettable ballad while everyone on camera and at home swooned. Not going to lie, this is my current alarm sound in the morning… I had never heard of Fisher prior to Grease Live, but wow, boy’s got pipes. Also, Aaron Tveit nailed John Travolta’s sports montage– live and on camera!

6. MVPs of the performance: Blanche, Eugene, Patty. Bringing humor, Noah Robbins, Elle McLemore and Haneefah Wood entertained us thoroughly with new lines of dialogue and nonverbal moments in a scene.

7. ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC [hilarous] SCENES…

It’s just very humorous. Nothing else to report, just enjoy! 🙂 (But, why the need to change Putzie and Jan’s conversation to make ‘less offensive’?? Especially, since they left the whole teen pregnancy story in…)

8. Original music? Yes, please!

In a brand-new Frenchy tune, penned by Broadway composers Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey– who most recently wrote the amazing musical If/Then– is just— wow. It’s so Broadway, and very much in the same style as If/Then, which makes sense considering the composers… But, wow, it’s so beautiful. Also, the Frenchy-Frenchy moment between Carly Rae Jepsen and Didi Conn (aka the ORIGINAL Frenchy)– amazing! I wish the two Doody’s got a similar interaction (Jordan Fisher and Barry Pearl)!

9. THOSE RIFFS…

Seriously? Such an inventive remake on the Frankie Avalon classic with Boyz II Men! Great job from everyone! Except, Jepsen– her acting wasn’t quite believable: it felt like she got nervous that Boyz II Men was serenading her and forget she wasn’t herself, but a specific, beloved character.

10. Another iconic dance scene…

And I loved it, except how they changed the hand jive!! How could you change such as classic?? But, who else was laughing at Joe Jonas (of Disney fame) as Johnny Casino… Too funny.  But all the partner choreography was incredible: congrats Zach Woodlee!

11. SUPERSTAR ALERT.

Seriously, such a superstar moment. Vanessa Hudgens was flawless, especially considering her personal loss that morning. A true star.

And Vanessa? A few people want to say congratulations for this role and performance… And Broadway wants you back.

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        (I’m sorry, I had to put this here again…)

12. Grease, WE GO TOGETHER LIKE RAMA LAMA LAMA KA DINGA DA DINGA DONG.

And the finale? Was truly perfect. Love the similar vibe from opening with weaving through the sets, and singing while on the golf carts, ala James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke masterpieces.  Loved it. I was singing along— oh wait, what just happened? Ensemble member hit the curb. Oops, second golf cart. Also, the cast’s facial reactions= priceless.

13. The show was done to Broadway caliber… Tommy Kail (Director Extraordinaire of this AND a little show called Hamilton) did a brilliant job at making a Broadway-worthy moment available on television. And having every single ensemble member get a curtain call? Bravo. (Who caught the original Pink Lady and T Bird jackets that Didi Conn and Barry Pearl brought out?? Too adorable!)

THE BAR HAS BEEN RAISED, future live televised musicals… No idea how NBC or future FOX productions can compare…

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Once we get going, we’re never gonna stop…

Hi everyone, I’m back. So, we left off with my relaxing Sunday. Monday I had class stuff… very boring. Tuesday I had a cool intern event hosted by Marie Claire, where I even got some new headshot taken! Love it! #updated Then, I researched vintage-inspired board games for my boss until the end of the day. After work, I walked around Shubert Alley and even spotted Laura Michelle Kelly (She’s in Finding Neverland!!) on my way to my repeat showing of the hilarious It Shoulda Been You! Then, my friends and I celebrated with ice cream after the play ended.

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Need a prop?

The next day was spent prop shopping! Then, I got back and had some editorial brainstorming to do and running quick errands for upcoming craft pieces for fall issues. Thursday, I also had some craft errands for upcoming shoots followed by research. At 4pm, the mag had some extra Magnolia Bakery cupcakes which provided a nice afternoon treat. #yummy

Friday was another research day, however there was some exciting events! 🙂 First, I was able to get free tickets to Good Morning America’s summer concert series in Central Park on Tuesday! (So, watch for me on your TV!) Then, there was a beauty sale at ELLE. It was insane, but good deals on tons of beauty products!

IMG_4284Saturday was particularly exciting because, after weeks of failed attempts, I ended up winning the Aladdin lottery!!!! (First name called too, I was so excited! I kept alternating between crying and smiling/screaming internally!) Ahhh so exciting because I was desperate to see the show: which was great! I then went to the stagedoor to meet the ahmazing cast of the Disney play.

 

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Great show! Loved all the jokes and references, dancing, singing and costumes!

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I met Adam Jacobs (Aladdin)! I told him how I was sobbing during Proud of Your Boy, and he responded, “Good. That means I’m doing my job…”

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And Courtney Reed or Princess Jasmine!

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And James Monroe Iglehart who won the TONY last year for his role as Genie!

After my stagedoor adventures, I decided to walk over to the Richard Rogers theater to check out the #Ham4Ham lottery performance… and it was an In the Heights reunion! Ah so cool! The crowd was insane as soon as they started singing  96,000 (hence this blog title).

It’s all about theater… Because, shouldn’t it be?

I left off my last post with my exciting theater weekend, but let’s face it: that’s like every weekend I’ve been here… And isn’t that obvious? Hello, I’m in MANHATTAN aka home to the Great White Way! How could I not absorb all that I can?

Monday during our theater week class we visited Lincoln Center (stood on stage where the Philharmonic plays!), the famed nonprofit Manhattan Theater Club, AKA advertising (they’ve done Matilda, Hand to God, First Date, etc etc etc and then an alumni panel.) They were cool to see! At lunch, my entire group of friends decided to go kid-friendly: ordering grilled cheese, chicken fingers, waffles and french fries… because were are children obviously… haha, jk we’re all 20. Then, we had an MT alumni panel, which included the understudy for Alex Sharp in Curious Incident, Fiyero in Wicked (!!) AND the woman who plays Gretchen in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” And while all their advice was primarily focused on theater, it was still cool to hear from alums living out their dreams in the crazy NYC. After that, I had some crazy, unbelievable visa application problems, which I had the whole week. 😦

At work this week, I helped organize our craft closet, research and finding plaid products and rooms. Also, the Hearst cafe makes really yummy homemade sushi for lunch. 🙂 #internperks Wednesday night, my friends and I decided to celebrate New York Restaurant Week by going to a fancy restaurant, however I was a bit unsure over the ice cream flavors I was eating (What? Watermelon? Mint? Hmm… those don’t seem right…)

Thursday I began trying for the Hamilton lottery, because it’s Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jonathan Groff in an ahmazing show and tickets are $10 for front-row.  AND because Lin always comes out to entertain the fans… so sweet.

Also, I am now addicted to Cutthroat Kitchen (it’s like Chopped, but crazier!)

Friday I got off work early, so #Ham4Ham? But, of course. And I had a great view.

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Jon Groff spotted!! (And the only one who saw him waiting!) And look it’s Lin introducing some of the cast for “freestyle friday!” And yes, he did hold his phone up to the bullhorn to play the music… After that second day of lottery with failed results, I left and went to dinner at Shake Shack and browse the theater fan selections at Shubert Alley. (OH MY  GOSH, the sheet music they have! I don’t need it– but then again, I kind of do…)

That night, I was able to get a good deal for rush to that night’s show of Hand to God. It was hilarious! Wow, so good! And then, I met the talented cast:

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Love her outfit! So chic!

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IMG_4242On Saturday, I embraced my theater nerd again for a more well-known show, The King and I (student rush.)!! Though Tony winner (finally!) Kelli O’Hara was not performing yesterday, the show was still ahmazing and incredible! Also, the guy who played Lun Tha also plays Oliver in HTGAWM!!! Ahh I love him and that show, especially the show’s OTP of Conner and Oliver!!!! Ah, so exciting!

That night and Sunday was spent writing essays… gross. Then, I decided to go see Trainwreck, the new comedy with Amy Schumer. Haha it was hilarious.

Well, I’m off to do some more class work…

Until next time, Miranda xx

A whole lot of nothing and then a whole lot of theater.

Hi everyone. Sorry it’s been a while, but as the title suggests, nothing really cool has been happening: I pretty much just go to work (I have a routine now.)

So, my last post left off with how amazing Hedwig and the Angry Inch with Darren Criss was!  That following Monday was yet another boring financial visit, blech. Tuesday was a prep day for a big fall cover shoot, so I was packing, organizing and running last-minute errands. July 8 was the big shoot so, in addition, to organizing and running to Whole Foods for some specific eggs for a shot, I had to burn down candles… for the shoot (Hey, they have to look like people actually used them! Believability!)

The rest of the week was unpacking, organizing and writing papers due… ew. But, enjoy these cool shots from the top floor of my office building.

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IMG_4074That weekend was uneventful, as I spent most time either writing papers or hanging out with friends. Then, on Monday began our theater week. And I got to go to William Ivey Long’s costume shop! It was so cool to see the office of the legend who designed costumes for Cinderella, Caberet, Chicago, Guys and Dolls, It Shoulda Been You (!!) and On the 20th Century! Wow! That was cool. Then, we had a theater panel with stage managers of shows like Wicked and Kinky Boots.

Tuesday, July 14 started  off with a run to this huuuge prop warehouse to pick up items for a shoot, Then, I had to find where to buy pumpkins for the next cover shoot… real ones. Did you know those are hard to find in summer? Then, at 3 pm we had this super cool editorial intern panel with all these digital editors from 17, Marie Claire and Cosmo: so so so cool! #dreamjob

IMG_4079That night we went to Wicked. Loved it as always, except bummed Kara Lindsey was out of town. 😦 (She was fantastic as Katherine Plumber in Newsies!)

Then, I learned the guy who plays romantic male lead Fiyero went to my school! How cool!

And then, we were able to go on a backstage tour of the theater (we passed Real Housewife of Orange County Tamra leaving her tour, as well) and got to chat with Fiyero and even….

IMG_4082                                            Stand on the Gershwin stage!!!!! What, oh my gosh!

The rest of the week was same old, same old research, packing, etc.

IMG_4092Friday night my friend and I had gotten tickets to see the one and only SUTTON FOSTER live in The Wild Party! And she was ahmazing to see live (as well as the rest of the cast.) We went to stagedoor and got autographs from the rest of the cast, and then I spotted Ms. Foster, however, she only signed a select few, so I only got a quick, blurry shot of her and her husband leaving the theater. BUT, I did talk to her show costar Miriam about how I am obsessed with their show Younger and cannot wait for season 2! She was very sweet about that.

IMG_4098_2Saturday morning I wrote my whole paper in two hours flat and then walked around the Central Park Zoo for a while. First, we couldn’t find it in the huge park and then we thought the children’s petting zoo was the whole thing. Glad that was a no.

Then, a bunch of friends and I went to grab a quick bite for dinner. After that, around 8 pm, my friend and I went to go get flowers and cards from the store because we decided to show up and support Darren Criss at the stagedoor at his final night. Because he literally is off to Italy on Monday to shoot a film, ‘Smitten!’ We got there soon after and waited until 11:30 before he started to sign autographs. But, here’s my experience through photos:

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just looked up and saw this in lights.

 

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Look closely: it’s Harry Shum Jr from Glee there to support his buddy!

 

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Brad the pianist from Glee, Gilmore Girls, Bunheads, etc!!!

 

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Darren talking to us!! So, first he came to tell us he’ll be there soon. Then, here: he’s telling us to “put our f**king phones away” because he’d rather have a human moment with us. Such a sweetie that Darren is. ❤ Also, it is evident that “f**k” is clearly his fave word…

 

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Aww, cutie pie Darren. 🙂

 

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Got to congratulate him on a truly amazing run, compliment his blue sparkly nail polish and ask if he’d miss all those shows in heels. 😉

 

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He wrote my name on the Playbill! Eee! He also asked if it was spelled with an “Mir…” Yep, he got it right! Smarty pants! 🙂

IMG_4160SUCH AN AMAZING NIGHT. A little too hot and in cramped quarters, but so worth it to meet sweetie pie Darren.

On to Sunday. I woke up planning to do the lottery for Aladdin. Total bust. Sad face. However, across the street was On the Twentieth Century with Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher! So why not? I learn it’s their LAST show, like the very final one AND they have student rush. Yes, I’m in. So, I was able to get a half-off orchestra seat to the last performance! So much better than Aladdin, for sure!

The show was amazing, and to be able to see Ms. Chenoweth live on stage: oh my gosh, I could hardly believe it! After a lengthy, and well-deserved, bow, I headed out to stagedoor and who was first to come out?

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Ah Kristin Chenoweth! So petite and so pretty!

 

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Loving her perfect summer outfit! And I told her that! She responded, “Oh thank you, I hope I can rock it.” Oh yes, you can.

 

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Got a Playbill signed by the incomparable Kristin Chenoweth! (And two ensemble members, who took a picture of me and a few other fans waiting!)

Wow, what a whirlwind! After that, I had about seven minutes at home before my friend and I walked to dinner in Little Italy (when in NYC, I guess?). We came back and I was so exhausted, but decided to write a blog post, so here we are.

Tomorrow is another day of class within the theater section, so we’ll see how that goes. Also this week is big time visa app prep before I go abroad (I’ll be blogging there too: haven’t decided on a site yet: will keep you posted.)

Until next time, Miranda xx

How a theater nerd spends the Fourth weekend…

Hi everyone, I left you last time as I was uncertain about my holiday plans… Well, they were good ones. I’ll recap below.

IMG_3923_2On Thursday, after I finished my assignments due, I decided to make it a Broadway night, and went to see “It Shoulda Been You.” On the way to the theater, as I was exiting the subway, I did randomly run into a girl from my hometown that I hadn’t seen since tenth grade… Small world. The show was absolutely hilarious! Tyne Daly plays the perfect Jewish mother (Note: Mom, that will be you in a few years time for sure.) It was so funny and a heartwarming musical comedy about a couple’s wedding day when their families do not approve… But, I absolutely do approve of this show! (You see what I did there?? Okay, back to my tale now…)

The show ended and you know what that means? (Or you follow me on social, which would have spoiled this post for you.) STAGEDOOR! Want to see my photos?

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The bride played by talented Broadway actress Sierra Boggess! (She was in Phantom, Little Mermaid, etc)

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Lisa Howard who was amazing as the bride’s older sister.

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Aaron Finley who played the groom! (He understudied David Burtka in the role and previously starred in Rock of Ages.)

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Josh Grisetti who played the bride’s ex Marty.

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All of the cast signed my playbill! (Except Tyne… she was too exhausted to come out to the stagedoor.)

That was fun! Note, the twist in the show was very unexpected! My jaw nearly dropped to the floor! While at stagedoor, I made a new friend (us theater nerds are pretty friendly while waiting at stagedoors…) who I then walked with to two other stagedoors.

First, we went to Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime and I got autographs from the whole cast (didn’t see the show… yet.) And even a photo:

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I met this year’s Tony winner, Alex Sharp! (and he signed the playbill with a smiley face besides his name…)

Off to the next stagedoor: Finding Neverland (sans a playbill). But, oh look, pictures!

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IT’S MR. SHUE FROM GLEE, MATTHEW MORRISON!

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Love Teal Wicks’ outfit! (pants from Zara)… And she played Matt Morrison’s wife in the show…

IMG_3963IMG_3967I got home via Uber at midnight and promptly set my alarm for 5:45 a.m. (No work Friday either…) So, Friday I arrived at the theater by a little before 7 and that made me the first in line for rush tickets! Yay!!! So, the box office opened at 10 and I promptly received my front row ticket to “Finding Neverland” for that evening! The show was so incredible! And to see it from right in the front was crazy! I loved it! Can’t wait to get the cast album in a few weeks! I even was a part of the number “Stronger!” So, during that song, there are ropes suspended from the ceiling at the front of the stage and one of the ensemble members (dressed as a pirate) kind of tapped me on the shoulder (pirate-like) like I was in the show with him! Crazy!

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My view. Right down in front.

Next up, stagedoor. I got my playbill signed by pretty much all of the cast, and even got to chat with two of the children in the show and Melanie Moore (who played Peter Pan and even won SYTYCD season 8… so naturally we talked about the Stage/Street season going on now… We’re both rooting for Travis Wall’s stage team, obviously!)

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Oh look, it’s Matt Morrison making a repeat appearance on this blog post… (See, different days: different shirts!)

Saturday was the 4th of July! And I decided to celebrate by visiting the stagedoor of Something Rotten at its matinee performance. I got my playbill signed (first autograph/ photo with all the actors!) and even had a short conversation with CHRISTIAN BORLE about how I loved him in Legally Blonde and still listen to the soundtrack all the time, to this day!

Here’s where all my fellow theater nerds fangirl immensely:

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SELFIE WITH CHRISTIAN BORLE!!!!

That evening my friend and I got dinner at a chocolate shop nearby, and even had to split dessert (when in rome?)

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Our GIANT s’mores sundae.

Stuffed from dinner, we decided to go watch the Macy’s Fireworks display. So, we walked down to the East River park for a nice viewing-ish. On our walk there, we made a new friend from Wales; so naturally I told him I was headed to London in the fall… The fireworks, while a bit long, were still very pretty and patriotic! (They even had ones in the shape of smiley faces!)

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‘cuz baby you’re a firework!

IMG_4036Sunday morning, my friend and I decided to go put our names in for the Aladdin lottery… we didn’t get it, but still wanted to see a matinee. So, where else did we end up?The Belasco Theater to see Darren Criss in Hedwig!

TKTS gave us pretty good seats, and we were seated at orchestra level: not bad at all! The show was great, as well as seeing Darren live in the flesh with his insane thigh muscles. Loved the show; Darren was incredible! And I’ll definitely be back to stagedoor it, before his run ends…

Well, I’m exhausted: better go rest up for a full day of class tomorrow.

Until next time, Miranda xx