Posts tagged musical

INTERVIEW: Annie Chen on Dancing, Acting and Playing Frenchy in Grease, The Musical on Stage

Talented and hardworking, Annie Chen was born and raised in Taiwan and found her passion for the performing arts at a very young age. Annie trained at the prestigious School of Toronto Dance Theatre and started her career with a bang— she danced with Lady Gaga on stage at the 2011 Much Music Video Awards and Korean pop star, PSY at the 2013 Much Music Video Awards. Despite her success in dance, Annie is also currently pursuing a growing acting career. Read our interview with her to find out more about her journey.

Hi Annie, thanks for speaking with us! You have had an interesting creative journey, can you tell us more about how you got into acting?

I had always wanted to be an actor as a kid but didn’t think it was something that I could do for a living because I didn’t see many representations of myself on screen. Two years into my career as a professional dancer I decided to go for it and paid for my first acting class. It was exhilarating, and from there on I have been pursuing it professionally and of course, always updating and training. It was not an easy transition especially coming from a strong dance background. I was put in a box and not taken seriously as an actor. On top of all that I was also a female ethnic actor and would often audition for roles that required an accent or spoke mandarin. However, the industry is slowly evolving. There are more female directors, writers, and the lack of diversity on screen is being acknowledged.

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Ep. 187 Muzzled the Musical

Podcast2013-web-imageThis is a very different episode! The first part of the show is a guest-filled with Matthew Mercer and Jason Charles Miller of Muzzled the Musical. This is a fun web series that will have Kevin Sorbo SINGING! Support it! The last half is SPQ and Gizzy B babbling incoherently as per usual.

CONTEST: Les Misérables Giveaway!

Les Miserables

One of the more famous stage musical has been adapted into a movie, starring some of our favorite people — Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway. Les Misérables is a story of unrequited love, passion and sacrifice. The songs are timeless and we are giving away a copy of the soundtrack among other prizes!

Want to win? Read more below!

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We Are The Music-Makers

I don’t know about you, but I was a musical geek. If I could, I would live my life like a musical in a heartbeat. During my adolescence and teen years, I would often dance around singing about my life and as if it were a musical. I still remember being eleven and coming home from school to pop in my The Little Mermaid VHS and playing Part of Your World over and over just so that I could make sure I hit every note correctly and embracing the emotions the Ariel felt. I want to be part of that world too, Ariel! Me too!! Although, I rarely sang and danced in public, I have to admit, I was a wallflower. I usually sang in the privacy of my own home, even more privately, in my bedroom. Every now and then I would belt out, “WILL YOU PASS ME THE RIIIICE!!!” in vibrato, at my parents, during dinner. Even though my family has a great sense of humor, they’re also Asian, so they would often call me crazy for doing that. As a way to release some of my inner artist, I joined choir. But once again, wallflowers don’t do so well in public. I was only comfortable living my musical life with family and friends, but I have to say that choir did help to break me out of my shell a bit. As I got older, the music faded, although, it remained in my heart and soul.

To live life out like a broadway musical would be any music geek’s ultimate dream come true. Movies from the 50s, old variety shows, Disney’s classic animated feature films, all have brought music, singing and dancing to the masses from beyond the broadway stages. But like many things, during a certain period, mainstream musicals became a thing of the past… However, American culture has a certain soft spot for bringing “fads” back to life. So, like many classics, mainstream musical was once again the new “in thing” like you’re mother’s hippie 70’s dress. If you could turn any movie into a musical, it most likely would happen. Some of them were successes on the broadway stage and others, let’s just say you probably didn’t know it was even made into a musical. Everything is constantly being reinvented and brought to a newer generation to appreciate. That’s how broadway does it, so now the film and television makers are doing the same. One show in particular has come out on top… And no, I’m not talking about High School Musical.

Three years ago, a television show created by Ryan Murphy (Nip/tuck), Brad Falchuk (Nip/tuck), Ian Brennan aired on the FOX network. This show became every music geek’s, including myself, dream  come true. I actually can’t vouch for other music geeks, but I know for me, it has been the best thing to come to primetime! Of course, I’m talking about GLEE!


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Batman Live!

Last Saturday I went and saw Batman Live at the O2 Arena in London. I’d booked the tickets months and months ago and had almost forgotten about it. When I first heard about the show, I was dubious. Live action Batman? I was imagining some of those kids TV show live action things. You know, the ones with Bananas in Pajamas or Barney. But, I was willing to take a risk, it’s Batman, after all. And I’m so glad I did.

First off, the stage was AMAZING. I loved what they did with the space.

It started off with a mini Gotham City, but it morphed to so many different things and so well. They used trap doors and sky rigs and made it work with an audience surrounding them on three sides. That is no small feat when the act involved circus acrobatics, magic tricks, and stage combat.

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I recently saw Wicked in London. I had read the book several years ago and had been given the soundtrack by a friend. Trying to work out the plot of the musical in relation to the songs was interesting. I realised very quickly that lots had changed from the book, but I was ok with that, as I hadn’t been thrilled with how the book had ended (even though I knew part of it was inevitable, it was how the author handled the inevitable.) At any rate, I really fell in love with the songs and wanted to go see it properly.

I hadn’t been to see a musical in a long time. I used to work in theatre so more often than not I was working the musical rather than seeing it. So, watching it properly was in itself an interesting experience.

The set design was really interesting. It was sort of a frame, with a large mechanical dragon at the top (No, there is no dragon in the play or in Oz at any point in any book, but it looked cool.) Then kind of gears and metal work down the sides with rope lights intertwined. The rest of the sets were generally minimal, but that was ok. It didn’t need to be overly complex, it worked better with the simplicity of the original Oz story.

Now, as soon as the musical started, it was clear that you need to view it as an entirely different entity to the book. It has practically nothing but names in common with the book. It’s one of the more interesting interpretations really. Bear in mind, the book Wicked is an interpretation of a children’s book. The musical is an interpretation of an interpretation, and in some ways comes full circle and becomes more like a fairy tale of the original story.

It has the mixture of the book turning the original Oz world on it’s head and looking at it differently, but it gets rid of the darker side that Gregory Maguire wrote about. It’s also added greater depth to some of the relationships than there ever were in the book.

What I think is the final interesting point is that it is truly a musical reflective of the time it was written in. So many of its themes are about political themes current today. It is, in many ways, an allegory, but a well done allegory. It’s not subtle, but it’s not a hammer to the head either.

I’m not going to give away the plot, because I think everyone should go see it. Yeah, so it’s only in London right now, but if it ever comes your way, go see it. It seems simple on the surface, but look a bit deeper and go down the rabbit hole. Or tornado, whatever.