“Hey! I Know You From Somewhere!” – Before They Were Stars, Broadway Edition

I have been meaning to write up a post about this topic for a while. It pops up into my brain from time to time, but there’s usually not enough for me to actually write about (or my usual problem – TIME). So you know when you’re watching an old movie or TV show and then an actor pops up who you totally recognize now but obviously didn’t remember were in said movie/TV show? Like going back and watching Friends and realizing “Holy shit! That’s [insert actor’s name]!” I absolutely love it when that happens!

So anyways, I was putting some stuff away the other day and as I was putting away my program from seeing Cinderella the Musical, I decided to peruse the old programs and Playbills of shows I’ve seen over the years. Little did I realize some of the stars I had seen in person, before I knew who they actually were. Basically some discoveries were made (one big, several small discoveries) in a very short 5 minute time period.

WICKED (November 2006)

This was my first musical I had ever seen. I always liked the idea of musical theater (except as a kid when I was terrified of The Phantom of the Opera), but it’s not like I had much access to it. So much like concerts, I didn’t really enjoy the theater experience until my late teens. Moving the story forward, I went through the program for this touring production and saw that the name listed next to Glinda was…MEGAN HILTY! Obviously I knew Megan Hilty had a Broadway background prior to SMASH and indeed played Glinda on Broadway, but it never occurred to me that I actually saw her nearly 10 years ago in Toronto. Like, WHAT?! And this discovery made after I keep saying, “Man, I would kill to see Megan Hilty live!”? Kills me that I already have; I just didn’t know it!

Also, Adam Lambert was a part of this touring cast as part of the Ensemble/Fiyero Understudy! Again, I knew Wicked was in his background, pre-Idol, but I just never put the pieces together.

BURN THE FLOOR (April 2010)

Everyone knows I’m a huge dance fan, so when this show came to Toronto, I just HAD to go. Besides being just a dance fan in general, I was there for my SYTYCD’ers: Anya Garnis (!), Pasha Kovalev (!!), Artem Chigvintsev, Karen Hauer, and Ashleigh & Ryan Di Lello. But going through the program now and seeing the likes of Sharna Burgess, Emma Slater and Sasha Farber from DWTS in there? Go figure! I knew a lot of past and present DWTS pros have done BTF, so it’s not like I was completely surprised, but it was just cool.

AMERICAN IDIOT (December 2010)

I actually saw this show in New York. It wasn’t at the top of my list of shows to see on this trip, but it was the only one my sister and I could convince my bro-in-law to go see. I had heard great things about the show but I didn’t pay attention to who was actually in it because I knew that I didn’t know anyone at the time. Cut to five years later and realizing John Gallagher Jr. (from The Newsroom) was in the show, as well as Stark Sands (the recent Minority Report), and Tony Vincent (Season 2 of The Voice).


So here’s my story about Spring Awakening. Just like everybody else, I had heard that this was an amazing show and so I HAD to see it when the touring production came through Toronto. I was even more excited about the show because I knew Steffi D (a former Canadian Idol contestant) was part of the cast, as well as (most importantly), Kyle Riabko, a singer-songwriter/actor whom I absolutely love. Imagine my complete disappointment when I got there and got the paper slip in the program saying that Kyle wasn’t performing that day and that the role of Melchior was going to be played by Matt Doyle. [Sidenote: Matt Doyle, if you don’t know, played Jonathan, Eric’s boyfriend on Gossip Girl. It was subsequently funny watching GG and then continuously referring to him as Melchior]. Anyways, that disappointment aside, I didn’t realize that I actually got to see yet another future SMASH alum, Andy Mientus as Hanschen.

[Seriously though, SMASH for all its crazy and kind of terrible-ness, really featured an amazingly talented cast.]


Music Monday: Songs from TV and Movies

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of all things entertainment, so when music intersects with movies or TV, I get super nerdy about it. Last September at TIFF, I saw a movie called Can A Song Save Your Life? and instantly fell in love with it and the music in it. Fast forward some 10 months and the movie finally gets released under a new name Begin Again and I FINALLY got my hands on the soundtrack, so I could just listen to all the songs over and over again. It is certainly something special when the right song (whether written specifically for the movie or not) is played at the right moment and encapsulates the feeling of that entire scene or becomes synonymous with that movie/show.

So with that being said, here are some of my personal favourite songs from TV and movies

  1. Adam Levine/Keira Knightley, Lost Stars [Begin Again] – I’m sure I’ve said it enough at this point, but I LOVE this song. I keep alternating between Adam’s version and Keira’s version. There’s such a sweetness in Keira’s version that plays to how the song was written within the context of the movie. Adam’s more polished version of the song presents itself later in the movie, showing character growth with a slight sense of nostalgia.
  2. Switchfoot, Dare You to Move [One Tree Hill] – I could have gone the easy route and just picked “I Don’t Want to Be” because if you think OTH, you think of that song. With “Dare You to Move,” I actually remember hearing it in A Walk to Remember first, but always associate it with OTH + Nathan & Haley, their memorable kiss in the rain.
  3. Nada Surf, If You Leave [The O.C.] – Again, it would’ve been too easy to put “California” or even “Hallelujah” but instead I had to put “If You Leave.” Who could forget the scene with Seth playing out the cliche of running to the airport, chasing after Anna, thinking that she’s moving back to Pittsburgh because of him?
  4. Gina Rene, U Must Be [Step Up] – Ahhh Step Up, the movie that brought Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan together. It was a pivotal scene, with Nora telling Tyler how she imagined her senior showcase, and then they dance with the sunset in the background. It’s all cute and romantic, and stuff.
  5. Michael Jackson, The Way You Make Me Feel/Ruff Endz, If I Was the One/Jamiroquai, Canned Heat [Center Stage] – So I’m cheating a little bit here, putting three songs for one movie. BUT, these three songs were used for the finale piece in Center Stage! They go together! And I can’t listen to any one of these songs without immediately playing the scene in my head, picturing the choreography.
  6. Gerardo Matos Rodríguez, La Cumparsita (Remix) [Take the Lead] – For some reason, I’ve always loved watching a good tango, so I’ve always loved the song, even if I didn’t know what it was called when I was younger. Then Take the Lead came out and featured this AMAZING trio tango with a remixed version of La Cumparsita, which kind of became my everything. The classic tango song, updated with a hip-hop flavour, which was part of what made the movie unique.
  7. Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova/Steve Kazee & Cristin Milioti, Falling Slowly [Once/Once the Musical] – Just such a beautiful song.
  8. Katharine McPhee & Megan Hilty, Let Me Be Your Star [Smash] – Let this be one of the few good things to come out of Smash. The pilot capped off with this wonderful song, that set the stage for the rest of the show. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. But hey, at least we got this song and Megan Hilty from that mess.
  9. Oscar Isaac, Never Had [10 Years] – Oscar Isaac actually wrote this song for the movie (an underrated gem about friends meeting up for their high school reunion), where he plays Reeves, a musician with this hit song. The song keeps getting talked about throughout the movie, until Reeves gets convinced to karaoke his own song. The song has a great nostalgic tone that was obviously meant to work with the movie. Just watch it.
  10. Dianna Agron & Lea Michele, I Feel Pretty/Unpretty [Glee] – There once was a time when I loved Glee, before it all went to shit. I particularly loved it most when they actually picked songs that worked itself organically into the story, and not just them doing songs for the sake of it. The performance is actually still one of my favourites that they did, which was in season 2, and dealt with Rachel’s want to get her nose fixed.
  11. Jason Segel, You Just Got Slapped [How I Met Your Mother] – Now for something fun and silly. Because creating Slapsgiving wasn’t enough, the HIMYM gang created this tune to commemorate the occasion in season 3.
  12. Orishas ft. Heather Headley, Represent Cuba [Dirty Dancing Havana Nights] – I stand by my “I don’t really like the movie, but I love the soundtrack.” I just love this song.
  13. Sara Bareilles, Breathe Again [The Vampire Diaries] – There once was also a time when I loved The Vampire Diaries. Now season 1, their music supervisor had already established himself with some really good song choices. But I remember distinctly the first half of season 2, where I thought they were just on a complete roll with the music. They used this fantastic Sara Bareilles song as the coda in episode 4.
  14. Jonathan Groff/Kyle Riabko, Left Behind [Spring Awakening] – It’s a poignant song in the musical, with Melchior lamenting Moritz’ death, wondering what led to it including Moritz’ parents’ treatment of him. Obviously I love the original version as sung by Jonathan Groff, but there’s also a soulful quality to Kyle Riabko’s version which he did on his own album.
  15. Florence + the Machine, Cosmic Love [Nikita] – Season 1, Episode 17: Michael goes to see Nikita and realizes she was right all along when it came to Division. They kiss and that was the beginning of Mikita. I sigh just thinking about it.