Hi there.

I realize I really haven’t posted much in the past few weeks. I was out of town until the other day, and then just too busy/tired to post on here.

I’m toying with the idea of ending this blog and starting up a different one. Or, keeping this one and posting on it every now and again, but not as much as before. Last week I spoke with a friend/my mentor from undergrad and she gave me some suggestions for new blogs and I might take those ideas and run with them. 2012 is going to be my year, and in order to achieve what I want to achieve, I’m going to need to narrow my focus a bit.

That being said, while I am still on here, I should say that last week was one of the best weeks of my life. Besides having all of my Leave of Absence paperwork and scheduling epically screwed up by my workplace so I was stuck going back to work 3 days before I was technically supposed to, I had the best week ever.

For stress-related purposes, I took some time off of work to recharge my batteries after the crazy year that was 2011. I somehow managed to finish my thesis, defend it and graduate from Grad School. I completely lost contact with some of the people I was closest to. I’m going through a quarter-life crisis where I’m still trying to figure out who I am, what I want to do and where I want to do it. I have been job hunting like whoa, trying to earn myself a position at a place that will challenge me, but also utilize the skills I have honed through my higher education.

But, alongside the obstacles 2011 threw at me, I somehow found a new group of friends who I love and who somehow love me right back. These people were strangers to me when I met them in August, but by last week, we were meeting up and hanging out together in my favorite city in the whole wide world. I cannot put into words how lucky I feel to know that there are people outside of my family and friends from college who have my back and genuinely care about me. This might sound strange, but I haven’t had that kind of security system in awhile.

Anyway… during this lovefest of a week with my friends, I managed to see Darren Criss in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying three times in five days. He was awesome as J. Pierrepont Finch.

H2$ is one of my favorite musicals of all time, and Darren Criss has quickly become one of my favorite performers. Not only is he one of the nicest people I’ve had the privilege of meeting (long story short, I got the chance to meet him backstage at his Market Days Concert in Chicago over the summer… we chatted for maybe 2 minutes. He’s super nice and extremely handsome… two of the biggest understatements of the year, for sure.), but he is a really, really engaging performer.

I saw him perform at Glee Live and his concert in Chicago, but this was my first opportunity to see him act on stage as opposed to on TV.

I was impressed. Sure, he wasn’t projecting very well on his opening night (probably a combination of mic problems and nerves, is my guess), but that boy appeared to leave everything out on the stage.

Since I saw the musical three times in five days, I was able to see progress in his performance and various obstacles he had to overcome within mere fractions of seconds. On opening night, one of his props (an electric shaver) malfunctioned during a song, he quickly fixed it and went on like nothing happened. During the second performance I saw, another prop (a rocket) malfunctioned during one of his fast-paced monologues and he ended up throwing it onto the higher part of the set instead of launching it like he was supposed to, had it worked properly. The third time I saw the show, I had box seats and could see his parents and all of his college friends from where I was sitting. It was neat to watch their reactions as he danced his ass off. I am ashamed to admit when I found out he was going to be in the show, I was worried he wouldn’t be able to handle the choreography. I stand corrected like whoa… Darren Criss can DANCE. I’m still trying to wipe the smile off my face from “Grand Old Ivy” and “Brotherhood of Man.” Holy shit, it was amazing.

Besides dancing and singing well, he has a fantastic sense of comedic timing. By the third show I saw, you could tell he knew exactly when to play it up. There were some solid laugh-out-loud moments that got funnier and funnier by the third time I saw it. Even though I knew every line/song/move that was coming, he managed to mix it up or bow just *that much* deeper.

Darren’s performance was both flawless and flawed, but that’s to be expected. The poor kid’s only in the show for 3 weeks, so it’s not like he can possibly have that character as finely tuned as previous Finch’s. There are just so many ways to play this guy – Finch can be perceived as aggressive or back-stabbing, but at the same time he’s naive and clueless. He wants to get ahead (“succeed in business,” if you will) and he’ll do just about anything to do it… but at the same time, he’s not very in tune with his emotional feelings or the feelings Rosemary has toward him. The love story plot is not the main plot of the show (which is kinda weird for a musical romantic comedy, if you think about it…), so maybe that’s why that part of the show suffers more. I mean, Rosemary is singing about marrying Finch and keeping his dinner warm, like, a minute after she meets him. Finch figures out he’s in love with Rosemary after kissing Heddy, even though he hasn’t been out with Rosemary very much, let alone kissed her or even made a pass at her. A lot of the plot loop holes are the way they are because of the time period and setting. But, I will gladly overlook these things because I love the book and songs for this show, and I have since I was a little girl.

When I was younger, the high school I would eventually go to put on this show. I didn’t see it when they performed it, but I did end up seeing the movie version because my sister saw the musical and then wanted to watch the movie. Ever since I have been listening to the OBC recording of the show. When I was in 5th or 6th grade, my parents got me the 1994 revival recording on CD for me for Easter. (It’s in my car and has been since I could drive…). When I found out that DanRad was going to be in the 2011 revival, I acquired that soundtrack too. Unfortunately I was never able to see him in the show. HOWEVER, when I found out that Darren was going to take over for DanRad, I knew I had to see it. It was a sign – H2$ is one of my favorite musicals of all time, and Darren is one of my favorite performers… I had to see him in it.

And so I did. Thrice. And it was magical.

Here’s a few pictures that I took whilst in the area…

For the record, I did do a bunch of other things in NYC besides see H2$ three times…

I also saw:
Follies (w/Bernadette Peters!!!!!!)
Anything Goes (w/Sutton Foster and Joel Grey!!!!!!!!!!)
Mandy Patinkin and Patti LuPone (I cried when Patinkin sang “Oh What a Circus”!!!!!!!)
Seminar (I f-ing met Alan Rickman and had a super awkward photo encounter with Jerry O’Connell!!!!!!)
Memphis (uh-may-zing show)
I saw JMOMS twice (JMOMS = Joe Moses One-Man Showses … Joe Moses played Snape in AVPM/AVPS)
I saw the Theo Katzman/Charlene Kaye/Shoot the Freak concert
I went to the Museum of Natural History and laid down on the floor under the giant whale
I hailed a cab for the first time in my life (on the first attempt, no less)
I rode the subway for the first time in my life
I had Breakfast at Tiffanys
I threw up in Central Park at 12:02 am on New Years (btw – I was NOT drinking. I had no alcohol in my system. I was dehydrated and exhausted. So ha.)
I met a bunch of awesome people and had an awesome time.
I read The Hunger Games and loved it.

So yeah… it was amazing.

But, now I’m back to reality. I worked three days thus far this week. I’m still applying for jobs. I went to the movies with my mom today. We saw The Descendants. It was good, but it didn’t knock my socks off.

Here was my FB status after I got home from the movie…:
“George Clooney does not deserve this year’s Best Actor Oscar for his work in The Descendants. Go ahead and nominate him, but give the award to someone else. Clooney turned in a solid performance, but the Academy shouldn’t just hand the statue to a man who showcases internal struggle well all while having nice hair. I’m pulling for DiCaprio, Dujardin or Fassbender on this one…”

I just saw that Clooney won the Critics Choice Award tonight for his performance in The Descendants. Like, he’s an AMAZING actor, but I don’t think his performance was the best male performance this season. What about Ryan Gosling in Drive or Ides of March? What about DiCaprio in J. Edgar? What about Michael Fassbender in everything he does?

So… Golden Globes are on this weekend. Awards season is my crack.

Anyway… I should get to bed. I am way tired and have a shit ton of chores to do tomorrow.

Have a good one