My Top Ten Favorite Musicals

Theater is one of my favorite things in the world. And though I have the talent of a rock, and would never participate in any musicals ever, I love watching them and over the past couple years my obsession with Broadway has grown stronger. So, I decided to compose a list of my favorite Broadway shows and movie musicals and why.

10. Dear Evan Hansen: I haven’t seen this musical yet, but I am obsessed with the soundtrack, and I really hope I get to see it one day.

9. The Lion King: There’s no reason why this musical is low on my list, because I loved it with all my heart. I was in awe during the whole production with the costume design, music, and set, and would recommend it to anyone, but it’s not a show I would go see a second time unless I went with a friend who would really want to go.

8. The Greatest Showman: This is only a musical, but there are rumors that a Broadway production of it is in the making. This was my favorite movie during all of 2017. I loved everything about this musical movie. The music, the actors, the story, all of it. So much so that I saw it three times in the theater within three weeks, and several times after that on the plane.

7. Wicked: This one should definitely be higher on my list, but I have too many musicals to mention, so this had to be right here. I’ve seen Wicked at least three times because every time it goes to my city my family has tickets. It was the first musical I’ve ever watched and it’s been one of my favorites since.

Photo Credit: playbillstore.com

6. Kinky Boots: To describe this musical in one word, I’d say iconic. A Broadway show about drag queens? With a powerful, positive, feel-good story and catchy as heck tunes? I stan it. Plus, Brendon Urie was a part of it over the summer, which started my obsession with the musical, but isn’t the only reason I love the production. The show’s amazing with or without him and I saw it with David Cook and he was amazing in it. I’m gonna miss this show when it closes in April. #Revival

5. Mamma Mia: Anyone who knows me knows this musical is bound to be on my list whether they decide to read this or not. This is my favorite movie. I’ve never seen the live production of it, but I’ve watched the movie at least 100 times and if I could revive any Broadway show it’d be this one (or Newsies).

4. Hamilton: Do I need to explain why Hamilton’s so high up? I’ll probably have to say why it’s not my favorite, but this musical is amazing. There’s a reason why it’s so freaking popular. It’s a rap musical and all the dialogue is done rapping, there’s no simply talking except for maybe two times in the whole production. I was lucky to see this show with my aunt last year in Los Angeles with tenth row seats and it was the most magical three hours of my life. Additionally, history is one of my favorite subjects and this musical was a modern production on a story from almost three hundred years ago with a diverse cast and an incredible soundtrack.

3. The Book of Mormon: I dedicated a whole blog post to this show last year, but it didn’t do it 100% justice for how amazing it was. This show was hilarious and I went into it skeptical that I was gonna like it, but I loved every part of it. The second it comes to California again I’m buying tickets and I’m anticipating the moment I get to go watch it again.

2. Phantom of the Opera: I get to finally see this musical during summer time and I’ve been wanting to see it more than anything since I watched the movie on Netflix last summer. As of now, it’s still the longest running Broadway musical and I still haven’t seen it, but that will change… hopefully. But, it’s still reserved this spot on my list because I am obsessed with the story, despite how high-key toxic the relationship between the Phantom and Christine is. But, that’s what makes the story so interesting and addicting to watch.

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

1. Aladdin: This show is the most underrated popular show in Broadway right now. Aladdin is my favorite Disney movie, but watching the Broadway version was the most magical three hours of my life. I remember at one point I had to close my eyes because the costume and set design were so insane with bright lights and glitter that it was blinding. I never saw so many dancers in sync and so many perfect voices in harmony together in one song. I remember when the show ended, and my aunt, sister, and I were all leaving the theatre and I was in a daze for the rest of the night. Then the next day, I wanted to return.

This was a really long list, but if you’ve made it to the end, I 100% recommend you go to any of these shows and you’ll have the best experience ever.

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One Day Older

At 11:59 p.m., Friday, January 18th in Santa Barbara, I was still seventeen years old.

I spent the last sixty seconds of my childhood in a Lyft with all my best friends going back to my aunt’s house after just watching Escape Room and I was truly happy.

But, as the clock struck 12, I was no longer a minor. I was eighteen years old and officially an adult.

During every single birthday, my family always asks me if I feel older at all. Usually, I don’t, because there usually aren’t any changes that happen that make me feel older. I know that as a sixteen year old I was legally allowed to get a driver’s license, but I didn’t get one and I still don’t have one because I haven’t found any reason for it. At seventeen, I was able to go to a rated R movie, but I always went to those anyways.

Photo Credit: Unsplash.com

However, when I turned 18, I truly, finally felt older right away than ever before.

I know I’m a year older, but it happened only in a day. From 11:59 to 12:00, it suddenly hit me that I was a legal adult.

On my 18th birthday, I went and got a cartilage piercing and I didn’t need my parents to sign my release form. I was old enough to do it by myself. Then, I went and bought a scratcher ticket, and when they asked for my ID, I was able to satisfyingly show it to them and buy it. I didn’t win any money and I don’t plan on buying one again, but it was the experience that made me so happy because I finally can buy one if I wanted to. For the first time on my birthday, I finally felt older.

My birthday itself was amazing too. I remembered last year I was on a train up to Santa Barbara, breaking down because the mudslides kept me from having a birthday celebration with my friends. This year, I spent the whole weekend with my best friends in Santa Barbara and Santa Monica. My two worlds came together and my friends from OVS and my friend from my old school finally met for the first time. We were out until midnight laughing crazily on all the rides at Santa Monica Pier without a care in the world. My birthday weekend was also full of delicious meals, amazing desserts, and all my family and friends. My cousin was even able to come to the brunch celebration on the Sunday afterwards, she usually is never to come to those events because she’s so busy, but it was amazing.

I know my eighteenth birthday will always be one I remember and though I’m horrified about the fact that I’m no longer a minor and that I actually feel older, I’m happy about it.

Inspired

I always go to the movies purely for entertainment. I’ve never gone to a movie where I’ve left inspired about my future.

But after watching On the Basis of Sex on Saturday, I couldn’t wait to be a lawyer.

The movie was based off the life of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She was the top of her class at both Harvard’s and Columbia’s law schools, but she wasn’t allowed to practice law in New York City solely on the basis that she was a woman during this time.

The story followed her through her first case following a male who wanted a care giver tax deduction, but the law stated that only women or widowed men could be care givers.

This case was the spark that started a series of changes in laws contributing to giving women their rights, many cases won by RBG herself.

Photo Credit: Rottentomatoes.com

Ginsberg went from a lawyer fighting sex-based discrimination against people who wouldn’t listen to being a Supreme Court justice with a 96-3 vote from Congress.

If that’s not inspirational for a young female and aspiring lawyer, then I don’t know what is.

Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. I would make up cases and make my family act as the other lawyers and defendants. I went to a mock trial program at UCLA over the summer and most of my daydreams lately have been about excelling in law school.

I’m pretty sure I’m more excited for law school than I am for college.

Watching that movie made me excited for my future, excited to live in NYC, and excited practice law and work on influential cases.

So, thank you RBG. I hope to follow in your footsteps on the path you’ve helped create.

New Year, Improved Me

I started off 2018 with so many resolutions. I was going to lose weight and gain abs, keep straight A’s, save up all my money to go traveling, and I fulfilled none of those resolutions.

Because, whenever I make New Year’s resolutions, I make them so they’re far beyond my reach in such a small time. When I make huge goals, I get disappointed when I don’t reach them in a short time, so I end up quitting along the way.

So, in 2019, I won’t make grand wishes for myself. I’ll make small ones and I’ll keep adding to those small ones until I get the results I want.

Photo Credit: vox.com

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions, but I do have small goals for myself I hope to continue through the year:

Write in my diary. I started writing in a journal at the beginning of 12th grade when I was feeling down, but I suddenly stopped when life got better. I don’t want to stop. I want to write about everything that excites, depresses, or even angers me. But I don’t expect to write in it every day because I get busy or just tend to forget, but I hope to grab my journal and write anything and everything whenever I remember.

Eat healthier. This doesn’t mean I’m gonna completely cut out junk food from my life. I’m still gonna eat my favorite candy and journalism snacks and stop at In-N-Out when I leave LAX. But I’ll also add more vegetables to my plate and avoid gluten when I can. I’ll add better foods to my diet without necessarily taking away all the bad ones.

Dedicate a little more time to playing guitar and piano.

Be more inclusive with my friends.

Work out more. Not full work outs at the gym, but small ones before bed. Sit ups, stretches, squats, etc. all while watching Netflix or talking over the phone with my friends.

Live life in the moment. I want to go to concerts and dance and sing my heart out in the back instead of hoping to be at the front for that one Instagram photo just to prove I was there. Laugh in the moment instead of worrying about the potentially inexistent consequences of the future. Wear the outfit I thought was cute though I don’t necessarily think I look cute in it. Find people who want to be with me instead of waiting on those who don’t. And live.

2019 isn’t a new year for a new me, but it is a new year for an improved me and that’s what I hope to do.

One Year

One year ago I remember clearly.

I had my guitar on my shoulder, leaving the warm dorms to trek across the chilly campus to my weekly music lesson, but the air was different than usual.

Everyone was huddled outside, talking as they saw smoke in the distance and hues of red burning in the sky that felt so distant at that moment.

“Are you really going to your lesson right now? There’s a fire,” my friend asked me.

Of course I would go to my lesson. It was my favorite part of Monday nights. Plus, the fire was nowhere near us, nothing would happen, and nothing would change.

Oh, how I was wrong.

Everything changed.

Photo Credit: pbs.org

Yet, so many things stayed the same.

One year later, I’m getting ready to go to my Monday night guitar lesson.

I have a new guitar, but it means so much more now. I appreciate it more now.

I’m still in a dorm room, wondering what I’ll be getting for secret snowflake tomorrow.

But I’m in a new dorm room, with a new roommate, on a new part of campus.

I don’t have the same clothes I had a year ago. The same photos, yearbooks, or blankets.

But, I have the photos I’ve taken since then.

My stuffed animal and All Time Low pillow I saved from the fire.

I still have the memories of the fire.

The ones that haunt me.

The ones that bring me to tears thinking about what I lost, what my friends lost, and what the whole school lost.

But, the memories remind me of how I became a stronger person since.

How my friends became stronger.

How the school became stronger.

How the county’s stronger.

More united.

More appreciated.

I still remember the day I returned from Christmas break and stepped on to campus and moved into the new dorms.

Being welcomed by overwhelming support, welcome back goodie bags, and hugs from my friends.

Seeing my horse for the first time since the fire and knowing he was safe and healthy. That all the other horses were safe.

The fire was so destructive, so horrible, but so many things came out of it that I’m more thankful now for than ever.

It’s been one year and I’m still sensitive to the scent of smoke and fire, to the sound of news about other California fires on the TV.

But, one year later, the mountains are a little greener.

My home is still stronger than ever.

And that’s the most beautiful thing of all.

Goodbye

Over Thanksgiving break, I had to make so many goodbyes.

To my childhood stuffed animals, the ones I didn’t want to let go, but the ones I knew I wouldn’t really take anywhere with me. So, I gave them away instead.

To the pajama shorts my mom bought for me at Walmart in third grade, the ones that surprisingly fit me all the way to twelfth grade. Even though they still fit, it was time to throw them out when they were ripping away at their fragile seams.

To the room I spent weekends in at my grandparents’ house growing up, Now, it’s being remodeled. Things that meant so much to me back then are meaningless now, packed away in stacked boxes.

But there was one goodbye I haven’t made yet, because I’m too scared to accept the fact that now might be the time I need to say goodbye.

And that’s to my dog. When I was in first grade and my mom went to pick me up from school, she told me she had a surprise for my sister and I. The first thing that came to my mind was candy, but when she was opening the back door to the car, I was not expecting my sister to be holding a six-month-old, Rhodesian Ridgeback-German Shepherd mix puppy rescued from the pound.

Now, twelve years later, that dog is still in my life, but so much has changed.

It started with him being by my side every single day.

Then, when I moved away, I could only visit on weekends.

Then, life went on and visits turned into rare occasions when I’d go to my grandparents house. When I’d enter the house, he’d come running up to me, barking, and wagging his tail.

Now, he’s still there, but he’s older. He doesn’t run, not because he doesn’t want to, but because he can’t. He still follows me around the house, though, his tail still wagging. It’s still wagging even when he lies down, but the pain is still there. It’s obvious and it hurts me knowing it hurts him.

Having pets is one of the most joyful and painful parts about life. Because they bring so much joy, so many happy memories, but, also, so much pain when they’re gone.

But, he fought so hard for so long and I know that it’d be selfish to hold on longer. That if he needs to go and it’s his time, then he should. He should know that he was the best dog I’ve ever had the privilege to have.

I didn’t say goodbye. I gave millions of kisses and hugs, but my goodbye was temporary. It held a promise that I’d be back to see him again, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep that promise.  I don’t know how long he’ll be around and I don’t know how long it’ll be until I visit again.

I’m so scared to say goodbye, so I won’t. I’ll say I love my dog. I’ll say I’m thankful that he lived with me throughout my life and that he is so strong for fighting though he doesn’t have to. And that he’ll always be the best dog, my dog, no matter what happens.

Photo Credit: Wonderopolis.com

What I’m Grateful For

So many things happened in 2018. Shootings, wildfires, and many other tragic events. In the midst of all the chaos and catastrophe the world is facing right now, it’s the small things in life that make me the most thankful and make life enjoyable.

My horse who always waits for me at the end of the school day.

For my roommate, who deals with me screaming in confusion and frustration at Criminal Minds and who also deals with my annoying rants and constant requests for food.

Being able to go home after being away at boarding school and knowing it wasn’t destroyed by the California fires.

For my friends, who are always there for me even if I’m not the nicest friend at times.

Seeing my top three favorite bands in only three months.

And that all those bands have recently released new music.

Opening up my mail box and seeing my first college acceptance.

Getting a $20,000 annual scholarship for that accepted school.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Seeing my dog when I drive back home today, knowing that he’ll be wagging his tail and running towards me when I arrive.

Still being really close friends with the girls from my old school.

That my back fracture doesn’t affect me from riding.

In two months, I’ll be eighteen years old.

The stars that put me to sleep and the sun that wakes me up.

For broadway musicals, that it’s almost been one year since I’ve seen Hamilton.

For living so close to Disneyland and living on the beach.

For getting to learn something new every day.

For becoming a better version of myself every day.

For finally accepting myself for every physical quirk, every mental flaw and knowing that my days where I’m at rock bottom last temporarily. That when those days end, there are still so many things I can be thankful for.