Sunday, July 7, 2019

Hairspray, the musical, is great date night fun

It's entertaining, energetic, and toe-tapping fun. Go see it!

From the minute the curtain opens you find yourself smiling and cheering for Tracy Turnblad, the social outcast turned social activist. 



(L - R) FRONT: Melissa Momboisse ("Penny Pingleton"), Cassie Grilley ("Tracy Turnblad") and Lauren Meyer ("Amber Von Tussle"); BACK: Bonnie Lafer ("Prudy Pingleton"), 
Scott Di Lorenzo (“Edna Turnblad”) and Sarah Sloan ("Velma Von Tussle") in Bay Area Musicals' 2019 Production of HAIRSPRAY. Photo: Ben Krantz Studio.

It's 1962 in Baltimore, and the lovable plus-size teen, Tracy Turnblad, has only one desire – to dance on the popular "Corny Collins Show." When her dream comes true, Tracy is transformed from social outcast to sudden star. She must use her newfound power to dethrone the reigning Teen Queen, win the affections of heartthrob, Link Larkin, and integrate a TV network... all without denting her 'do!



Lauren Meyer ("Amber Von Tussle"), Cassie Grilley ("Tracy Turnblad"),  
Kamren Mahaney (“Link Larkin”) and Company in Bay Area Musicals' 2019 Production of HAIRSPRAY. Photo: Ben Krantz Studio.

The last time I saw Hairspray the musical it was the live TV version featuring some of Broadway's biggest stars (Harvey Feinstein, Kristin Chenoweth, Jennifer Hudson, Derek Hough). This San Francisco production does not disappoint! The voices of the cast are amazing and the dancing is wonderful and non-stop. Just wait until you see Dave Abrams fly through the air and shake his booty as Seaweed.




Dave J. Abrams ("Seaweed J. Stubbs") and Company in 
Bay Area Musicals' 2019 Production of HAIRSPRAY. Photo: Ben Krantz Studio.

The talent in the Bay area is impressive! Matthew McCoy and Leslie Waggoner have produced an amazing show. 

Bay Area Musicals’ production of HAIRSPRAY is directed and choreographed by Matthew McCoy, with music direction by Jon Gallo. Leslie Waggoner will serve as Assistant Choreographer. 

"I have been wanting to stage HAIRSPRAY ever since I first saw the show on Broadway," said Matthew McCoy. "I had never before seen a musical packed with so much heart, joy, laughter, exciting choreography, and electrifying music.

“If life were everything it should be, it would be more like HAIRSPRAY. 
It’s irresistible!” 

– The New York Times

It signified a bright new era for the book musical comedy, and it was clear that the entire audience was having a ball. Now, almost twenty years later, the show has become a beloved classic. And with the specters of prejudice and intolerance increasingly front and center in our politics and news media, the message of HAIRSPRAY is more timely than ever: that all of us can walk together, hand in hand, no matter our size or the color of our skin. The big wigs, bright lights, and flashy dances will all be front and center in our production, with heart (and a few tears) sprinkle throughout as we look at where we've been, how far we've come, and how far we still must go." 


Cassie Grilley ("Tracy Turnblad") and Company in Bay Area Musicals' 2019 Production of HAIRSPRAY. Photo: Ben Krantz Studio.

What: Bay Area Musical’s production of HAIRSPRAY
When: Sat., July 6 – Sun., August 11, 2019
Where: Victoria Theatre (2961 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103)
Run Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission.
Tickets: $35 - $65 and may be purchased online at www.bamsf.org/hairspray

Bay Area Musicals’ upcoming 2019-2020 season will include:
GYPSY (November 9 – December 8, 2019)
THE FULL MONTY (February 15 - March 15, 2020)
A CHORUS LINE (April 11 - May 10, 2020)
TBA (July 11 - August 9, 2020). 

Subscriptions to the 2019- 2020 season are available now at www.bamsf.org

Bay Area Musicals (BAM!) is a professional, non-profit theatre organization dedicated to presenting the highest caliber of musical theatre in San Francisco. Founded in 2014, the Company strives to stimulate and inspire the San Francisco Bay Area community through high-caliber musical theater ranging from familiar classics to challenging new works; to produce professional musical theater at accessible ticket rates; and to engage the community through performance, outreach, and educational opportunities. 

For more information, visit www.bamsf.org

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Once the musical is a must see!




Last night Don and I went to Opening Night of the Tony award-winning musical Once performed by the 42nd Street Moon at the Gateway Theatre in San Francisco. 

The play is amazing.

The music is wonderful.

The cast is extremely talented.

You have to go see it.

You'll find yourself lost in the story and falling for the characters from the first scene.



Lucky for me I received an invitation from the theatre to attend Opening Night and boy am I glad I opened that email.

We got there early enough to watch their pre-show jam session of which the audience could participate in. We didn't get on stage. But it was wonderful! What a fun way to welcome the audience to the theatre. The energy on the stage was electric. I knew we were in for a great evening.

The most amazing part of the play is the musical talent all the actors have. Not only do they act, but they sing and play instruments. It's incredible.

I can see why ONCE was awarded the 2012 Tony Award for “Best Musical”!

I want to go again and take Elli - I know she will love it.

The play will be at the Gateway for just a few weeks. Don't miss out on your chance to see it.

DATES: June 12 – 30, 2019

WHERE: Gateway Theatre, 215 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94111

TICKETS: $28 - $75 and may be purchased online at www.42ndstmoon.org or by calling (415) 255-8207.



Once The Musical

42nd Street Moon’s production of ONCE is directed and choreographed by Cindy Goldfield, with music direction by Eryn Allen (Moon debut). The cast will accompany themselves on instruments. The cast of ONCE will feature Emma Berman as “Ivonka,” Matt Davis as “Bank Manager,” Jake Gale as “Švec,” Devin Renée Kelly as “Réza,” Corbin Mayer as “Guy,” Brady Morales Woolery* as “Andrej,” Ariela Morgenstern* as “Baruška,” Bryan Munar as “Eamon,” Olivia Nice* as “Girl,” Christina Owens as “Ex-Girlfriend,” Rob Ready as “Billy,” Colin Thomson* as “Da” and Myra Chachkin as “Emcee.” With the exception of Colin Thomson* - recently seen in in the title role in 42nd Street Moon’s FIORELLO! – all cast members are making their Moon debuts!

In addition to Ms. Goldfield (who will also be serving as Costume Designer) and Ms. Allen, the creative team will include Michael Palumbo as Lighting Designer, Brian Watson as Scenic Designer, Travis Rexroat as Sound Designer/Mic Operator, Lauren Howry* as Assistant Stage Manager and Alicia Lerner* as Stage Manager. 

“A love affair with music” – The New York Times

Based on the 2007 movie, ONCE tells of an Irish musician who learns to love and dream again through a fateful week with a Czech immigrant. Heart-breakingly romantic but also bursting with joy and humor ONCE features a lively folk score - with the onstage actors playing their own instruments - and is the only score to have won an Oscar, Grammy, Tony, and Olivier Award. ONCE demonstrates the power that music has to connect us all.

“ONCE is the kind of show that gets inside you and rattles you with recognition,” said Director Cindy Goldfield. “In addition to the themes of immigration and cross-cultural migration, we watch the two characters connect and find a shared passion and sensibility, and while doing so, we remember our own version of this universal heartache. This is driven home by the presence, witnessing and participation of the ensemble. Not only are they there to create the gorgeous sound and add the various characters that populate the world of the play, but they are also an intrinsic part of the experience....while the actors themselves experience the recognition of just missing out on the ‘real thing.’ As John Carney (the director of the original source material film of the same name which stars the composers of the music, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglova) commented, “It’s the ones who are gone who haunt you for the rest of your life. Instead of saying, ‘I love you’ or ‘I miss you,’ they just disappear.”

ONCE runs about two hours and fifteen minutes, including one intermission.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Better Way to Fundraise

by Kris Mulkey


I found a new fundraising company and I can't wait to tell you about them. 

I remember when I was a kid going door-to-door selling cookies, popcorn, ugly candles, gift wrap, and schlepping around the Current catalog. Do you remember their products? I dreaded asking people to buy something. And I really didn't look forward to going back to everyone to deliver the products they bought. In fact, one year I didn't. I hid the ugly candles in my closet. My mom found them tucked away in my closet hidden under stuffed animals. She was furious with me and had me deliver them immediately. I can imagine all the laughs the women in the neighborhood had getting their ugly Christmas candle at Easter. Not my best moment. 

No one really wanted anything. You could see it in their faces as they scanned the product sheet. I could tell they were just looking for the cheapest thing on the list. They wanted to help me out but didn't want to waste money on something that they would immediately turn around and sell in a garage sale or just donate to Goodwill. 

So I was super excited when I recently met Lily Kanter, the founder of a new company called Boon Supply. 

Her mission is to "Power the #Doer" to make it easier for people to get involved and give back to their communities.

She and her team have put together a product list of super cool stuff and they donate 40% of every sale. So far she has connected with dozens of schools, non-profits, and individuals. 

"Boon Supply was founded to make it easy for people to get involved and give back to their communities in meaningful ways."  

The products are cool. So cool that you'll shop there even if you aren't trying to help out a fundraiser. The bonus is that 40% of your purchase will support someone. 

I use notebooks like this every day. Why not buy it here? $20 bucks.


Here are more of my favorite things.

Love this vegan wallet. The tassel is my favorite part. $22


I bought this and keep it in my backpack. No more tangled cords! $12


Love these motivational pencils. $12


I need this phone holder stat. $14


Love these motivational totes. $22


Scented Soy Pomegranate candle $24 
(So much better than the candles I hid in the closet!!)



I immediately signed Elli up to raise money for her trip to Europe. I was thinking about a college fundraiser, too. We'll see how the Europe fundraiser goes. Shop > HERE. (please!!!)


Registering a fundraiser is super simple. 

1. Go to boonsupply.com
2. Fill in your info
3. Write a short message about what you're raising money for
4. Upload a picture
5. Share the link with friends, family - all your connections

That's it. 

Think of BoonSupply when you are shopping for any product, gift, birthday present, anniversary gift, housewarming gift, Christmas, Hannukah, Valentine's Day, back-to-school shopping, office gifts....I could go on and on. Why not?! Right?

And guess what!? Elli is starting an internship with Boon Supply this month! Can't wait to see what she does. She's super excited to be working with a brand that gives back to others. 

Click here to check out their catalog.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

5 Fun Things To Do With Your Family On Spring Break

Guest post by Stephanie Bates, Military Travel Mama.




Have an Adventure

Just because you're not in college anymore doesn't mean you can't celebrate. Check out these five Spring Break ideas. It’s not too late to plan something for your family this year!

1. Go big and go on an International adventure
Have you always wanted to go to the jungle, desert, white sandy beaches, visit an international city, and amazing national parks? Consider splurging this year and go to Australia! It may be a little hectic traveling so far, but it will be the family vacation you’ll talk about forever. And you will love all their theme parks, too!

2. Shop budget flights to find your next destination
Don’t have the budget for a trip to Australia? That’s ok! Check out last minute flights and travel packages from all major airlines. There are always budget flights available for spur-of-the-moment trips. It may not be anywhere you were planning to go, but then again, you might make a discovery of your new favorite place. Be open-minded and see what you find! Maybe you’ll find yourselves on a beach in the Philippines!

3. Road trip to an amusement park, beach, or shopping area
There are so many fun amusement parks, remote beaches, and great places to shop it’s a fun option for families on a budget. Make a list of 3 fun things that are within a few hours drive from where you live. Then ask your kids and spouse to vote on what they'd like to do. Support the idea with park tickets, spending money for a shopping trip, or great beach treats. Add in a night or two in a hotel and you’ve got a super fun trip.

4. Plan a staycation and have some fun family time
Sometimes relaxing at home is what you need. Your youngsters may not always want to take a trip. Check out some local entertainment and activities in your own backyard. Play tourist in your town for the weekend! You’ll be surprised how much fun you can have. Especially if it involves a trip to a local candy store.

5. Ideas for “too cool” teenagers
Teenagers never want parents around or to be involved in their plans, but they might feel differently if you sprung to cover the cost of their activities! Work with a few other parents to pool funds to pay for bowling night, movies, dinner out, or tickets to an amusement park. They may act too cool. But they’ll appreciate the gesture and will have a ton of fun, even if they don’t show it.

Choose What Works for You

Whether you travel out of the country, just stay home, plan some teen activities, take a road trip, or seek out family entertainment at amusement parks, beaches, or elsewhere, there is ample opportunity for a spring break adventure this year on any budget! Think outside the box and try something new!



About the Author

Stephanie Bates is a travel and food blogger, wife, and mother of two great kids. She's got great tips on traveling, food, parenthood and all things related to life in the military. Check out her site Military Travel Mama.



Sunday, January 6, 2019

7 Reasons Why January is the Best Time To Join a Gym or Health Club



This is me doing a plank challenge. Two and a half years ago I thought a plank was a piece of wood (which it still is.) I had no idea there was another type of plank. And here I am today doing a plank challenge to help strengthen my core. Which is also another term I didn't really think too much about. I would have said "core" is something you find in the center of an apple. I got my exercise outdoors by hiking, biking, and swimming.

This year I'm on a mission.


I'm on a journey as thousands of other people are to live a healthier and happier lifestyle which means exercising regularly and eating better. I don't want to be a bodybuilder. I just want to be less giggly so my clothes fit better. And I'm not looking for a diet. I'm looking for a lifestyle change. Something that is sustainable. Something I can manage every week and maintain without too much torture. And I like to eat. So I need a nutrition program that is more than eating lettuce and celery. I want real food. And an occasional glass of wine.


Sound familiar?


So why are the media so negative?? I’ve been reading all these articles about why you shouldn’t join a gym in January. That you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment and you won’t keep your resolution to get in shape beyond the end of the month. 


Full disclosure......I currently work for a chain of health clubs based in California. In the 2.5 years that I have I worked at In-Shape Health Clubs I have learned so much about what motivates people to work out. So even though I have all this insight and knowledge, I am just like you. I have the same issues with time constraints, willpower, diet, and motivation. I too decided this is my year. Only for me, I started my journey on November 15th. That was my day. I am now on a diet program with Jumpstart MD and am regularly working out 3-4 times a week. I am seeing the change already - and it's so motivating! I know I will reach my goal because I have made up my mind to do so. There are temptations all around me. But I'm staying strong. I'm doing this for myself. And it is so rewarding!!


1. Join a gym, health club, studio, Bootcamp or exercise program – find something that interests you. If you’re not sure what you like to do, then give some different things a try. Almost every single program out there allows a free trial. My biggest tip is to make sure it is convenient to get to (less than 10 minutes away). And has childcare if you have young kids.


2. Join now– all of the clubs and programs are offering great deals in January. You’ll get the lowest dues, or additional perks because they know that so many people have set resolutions for January. So, take advantage of their offers. Don’t wait. Don’t let the rain or snow be an excuse. Get off the couch and go now. Seize the day!


3. Ask for advice – every fitness company has people on staff to help you set goals and develop a program. They want you to succeed. And they’ve been trained to help you. All you have to do is ask.


4. Find a buddy – I work best when I have someone to work out with and to hold me accountable. We all have those days when we want to skip our workout. Your buddy will keep you going. And you’ll keep them going. Plus, it’s way more fun. All the laughs together help your core, too!


5. Buy some new workout gear - nothing makes a workout like a new pair of leggings and a cute top (for us gals.) I love the compression leggings (keeps everything tucked in!) I'm a huge fan of the clothes at GAPFIT, Old Navy and Target. You don't have to break the bank on cute stuff. And don't forget the shoes! Invest in a good pair of sneaks. I love my Nike's. Just find a pair that works for you. 


6. Step outside your comfort zone and try new things – you may be shocked to find out that you really enjoy doing something that you’ve never tried. My favorite thing in the club is the Les Mills BODYPUMP class. I always thought that dance/cardio classes were my thing. Not anymore. I love the weight/resistance training classes.


7. Set goals and track your progress – there is nothing more personally motivating then tracking your results and seeing your measurements and/or weight change. Find the tracker that works for you. There are a lot of apps and fitness trackers out there. I’ve been tracking my diet and exercise with an app called CARB MANAGER. I like it because I can track food, water, activity – and be part of a chat group if I want.


Finally, if you have set your mind to do it than you will succeed. Keep the faith. And remember slow and steady wins the race. Give yourself 3-6 months to start seeing real results.


Stay strong and good luck!


ps. Keep me posted on your goals and progress!