November/December Theater and Life Report

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! As usual I was extremely busy with my work at Hallmarkies Podcast covering 125 Christmas releases (and I didn’t even watch everything released!). I also had my first year voting in 3 critics groups. This meant I had to have all the Oscar contenders watched before mid-December.

Combining both was very challenging but I’m proud to say I accomplished it. All together I watched 125 Christmas movies, 212 feature films, and 564 movies old and new in 2021. That’s almost 2 every day! You can see my whole list here.

Theater Report

Despite the crazy movie-watching schedule I did make the time to see some shows. It started on Nov 3rd when I went to The Hunchback of Notre Dame with my friend Jen who’s brother had a free ticket. I had just seen the show at the HopeBox theater and considering I don’t like the movie all that much the musical is a vast improvement. It was done about as well as it could be done in my opinion. Incredible performances by the entire cast.

Then on Nov 19th I went to a new to me theater On Pitch Performing Arts Center in Layton to see Rent. I had never seen Rent and with the recent release of tick, tick…Boom (which I loved I jumped at the chance to see it!). Obviously I don’t have anything but the movie to compare it to but they did an incredible job and I will definitely make the drive up there again to see what they have to offer.

I saw the Broadway adaptation of Anastasia at Syracuse High School on Nov 22nd. I don’t normally see high school shows but as a lover of the movie I have been wanting to see the show for some time. The teens did an incredible job but I was disappointed in the adaptation. They took the material so seriously that it felt dull and missing the spark of the movie.

Other shows: I saw Mean Girls at Broadway at the Eccles which was fantastic on Dec 4th.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever– I’ve always loved this story and it was a joy to see it again on Dec 10th at the Pleasant Grove Players (I’ve loved both shows I’ve seen there). Nice to see something nativity themed during this time of year

Elf: the Musical– this was my first time seeing Elf: the Musical and my second show at Lehi Arts Center (although a much smaller venue this time). The cast did an incredible job especially with a show with so many set changes to manage as this one! The songs weren’t the best but I still enjoyed it.

A Christmas Story at Center Point Legacy on Dec 17th, which was a very good screen to stage adaptation and my friend Camille let me see the sets!

Jodi Benson with the Utah Symphony on Dec 18th- I love Jodi and so it was a thrill to see her and her daughter Delaney sing with the Utah Symphony. They always have the best concerts

A Christmas Carol at Hale Center Theater Orem- this is my annual tradition and they had a new adaptation which I think is a definite improvement over the old musical version. Everyone was incredible and I’m so glad I got to see it.

The Nutcracker– I’m not the biggest ballet person but I wanted to support Ballet West and it ended up being an enchanting evening. What a great way to end off my season of theater and the arts!

Other News

On November 10th I was accepted into the Hollywood Critics Association which is a great honor. I also got accepted as press for this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Let’s just hope they have the festival with the omicron variant scare making people freak out. They moved the HCA Awards banquet to February which I am going to LA to take part in so we will see!

I got to get dressed up when my colleague and friend Valerie Cameron had a masquerade wedding. I also had a Christmas party for my family and friends in November and we had a really pleasant Christmas with the family with our traditional German meal we always have.

Valerie invited me to be on the radio on B98.7 each week to talk Hallmark movies and that ended up being a ton of fun. I hope we keep doing it even after Christmas.

Finally I kept my tradition alive of designing my own Christmas card (executed by my brilliant friend Joan at Bitsy Creations). This year is a travel theme because of all the trips I took (and am currently taking. More of that to come later). I know I am biased but I think it turned out really cute!

So that is my November and December. It’s been a very busy time but I accomplished a lot and had some great experiences along the way. I hope you have too! I am planning on doing a best of local theater post in the next few days and a 2021 Highlight post but until then I hope you have a great week and a Happy New Year!

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