Musical staff

Staff Picks: 7/18-7/22 | Art









what we watch

Luke Amrine, Editor (@amrine_luke)

I am not and have never been described as a “musical theater” person. Sure, I always went to the high school productions put on in my town, and one year I even played in the pit (WF West High School’s production of “Shrek the Musical” in 2017 was quite long), but it does not change anything. count for a lot.

Despite all this, one show that has caught my attention since childhood is “The Phantom of the Opera”. My introduction came with the 2004 movie starring teenage Emmy Rossum and a pretty convincing Gerard Butler.

So when I had the opportunity to attend a matinee performance of the second longest running musical in London’s West End, I grabbed it without thinking twice, except to realize my childhood dream, but also to support live theater as it has, as all of us have been through a lot in the past few years.

To sit and enjoy the show from my restricted-view seat, to see the chandelier crash in person, and to hear Christine Daaé hit an E6 note, one of the highest and most difficult notes in musical theatre, all for an after -wonderful noon.

While it might be scorned for not being cutting edge in performance or for being too touristy, I thought it was a delight, and it’s a performance that I will always carry with me. Here’s hoping the touring production returns to Seattle soon.

What we listen to

Renee Diaz, Writer (@itsreneediaz)

It’s “About Damn Time” for Lizzo’s new studio album, “Special.” The album has been in the works for three years, as Lizzo began writing it during the height of the pandemic, and it’s a celebration of self-love and empowerment. This is his second studio album following his 2019 debut, “Cuz I Love You”. “Special” consists of 12 tracks, opening with “The Sign” and ending with “Coldplay”.

In an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Lizzo explains how this album celebrates loving yourself for who you are, a contrast to her last album which focused primarily on loving who you want to be.

The album is groovy, incorporating pop and R&B into the mix with a hint of Lizzo’s flute skills. “Special” is, without a doubt, one of the best albums of the summer.

I think it’s impossible to be in a bad mood while listening to Lizzo. It’s my go-to cooking album when I want to spice things up. My favorite song is “2 Be Loved (Am I Ready)”, which encapsulates the album’s themes of loving yourself first in order to love others. Listening to this album makes me want to dance in my kitchen and feel “special”.

What we read

Samantha Ahlhorn, Writer (@samahlhorn)

Sitting in my overheated, air-conditioned bedroom looking for something to do, I picked up a novel I had bought several months ago simply for its intriguing cover. I hadn’t read the summary or the reviews, and I didn’t know what to expect.

I immersed myself blindly in this extremely philosophical novel, and I came out of it with the feeling of having found a rare pearl. Sheila Heti’s “Pure Colour” is unlike any book I’ve read before – it’s fiction on another plane of existence.

The narrator is detached, seeing everything from above and commenting on the state of the universe. “Pure Colour” begins by creating its own zodiac system, mentioning three types of people: the bear, the bird and the fish. The world is considered the first draft of God’s creation.

The climax of the novel is when the main character, Mira, is sucked into a leaf. She lives in this leaf with her recently deceased father, and they share existential banter about morality and the meaning of life.

Nothing in “Pure Colour” is too far removed from our world, but nothing too familiar either. Heti creates an alternate universe in which grief, art and love can be freely meditated upon, freed from the confines of life as we know it.

What we do

Skyler Purwins, video editor (@shredskyy)

If you mix an Oklahoma honky-tonk with the county fair, I think you’d end up with something akin to the Wild Hare Music Festival. The dusty fairgrounds of Canby, Oregon were filled with daisies and cowboy hats, lines to buy $7 Coors each lasted half an hour, and accents emanating from the three scenes were perfectly accented by the orange glow of the decor. Sun.

When I arrived, Charles Wesley Godwin was on the main stage. An excellent number on its own with a sadly raw country-folk flair, it was the perfect opener for lead act Zach Bryan.

As Godwin left the stage to thunderous applause, it was not Bryan who replaced him, but rather heavily tattooed artist Morgan Wade. She brought out a twangy country rock style, telling stories of pain, risk and struggle, which could have come out of nowhere but from her own heart.

Finally, the shouts and roars of the crowd indicated the presence of the main event. From then on, Bryan dominated the night. Disputing the wild crowd with gritty stories from the road, he rode their energy spectacularly, much like his character rides the bull in his song “Open the Gate.”

Although his music is not entirely from personal experience, he convinces you of it. The whole crowd seemed to feel this, as they became more and more delighted with every word. Of all the concerts I’ve attended, I’ve never heard such a large part of a crowd shout every lyric alongside the artist, and I don’t know if I will again.

Reach editor Luke Amrine, writer Renee Diaz, writer Samantha Alhorn and video editor Skyler Purwins at [email protected]

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