A Night at the Theater Review

I recently went to An Evening of Song with Lesli Odom Jr. at Tampa’s Straz Center for the Performing Arts, and talk about incredible! For those who don’t know, Lesli Odom Jr. is a Tony Award and Grammy Award Winning actor and singer best known for his unforgettable performance as Aaron Burr in Broadway’s Hamilton.

I had the pleasure of seeing him in Hamilton a little over a year ago and man is he talented. Being out of the 8-show-week grind, he has focused on recording his own music and is now on tour performing music from his albums as well as Hamilton.

Lasting about an hour, An Evening of Song was a show that provided the audience with a taste of what he’s all about. He was accompanied by his three band members that are so insanely talented, my jaw was dropped probably the entire time. His jazz album is all around good for the soul. It’s the kind of music you feel throughout your whole body and makes you so thankful for this wonderful life. The bass, the drums, the piano…it was breathtaking. You could feel their energy and passion oozing from the stage and each song brought me deeper and deeper into his world of music.

In addition to his insanely talented band, his renditions of his own songs from Hamilton took the performance to a whole other level. Most people know him for that performance and seeing him perform in a completely different setting compared to New York’s Richard Rodgers Theater was a treat. The biggest difference was that the accompaniment consisted of three people rather than an entire orchestra, and yet he still created magic in a more intimate performance.

The only downfall of the evening was how short it was. However, the hour was filled to the brim with feel good music that left me in awe. I was already a huge fan and I left the Straz Center not only wanting more, but with an even deeper appreciation for his art. He has a glow about him that lights up the entire room and his talent is undeniable. I’m blessed to have attended his evening of song and look forward to seeing him perform once again.

I encourage anyone reading to listen to his music! You will not be disappointed. A personal favorite of mine is his version of “Winter Song” from his Simply Christmas album. Enjoy 🙂

Apple Music Preview: iTunes

His Single: iTune’s

Debut Album: iTunes

Christmas Album: iTunes

 

Photo Credit: By Brittani Schiller

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Mark Your Calendars!

The summer is full of things to do, places to go, and people to see. Here’s a few events coming up near me that make the summer months so great!

First Friday St. Pete – July 7th, 2017 

Free block party downtown St. Pete between 2nd and 3rd streets on Central Ave. The fun is from 5:30-10pm. Live music, dancing, and yummy food. What more do ya need!?

St. Pete Second Saturday Artwork – July 8th, 2017

St. Pete’s art scene is one you don’t want to miss. Galleries and studios stay open late as the event is held from 5-9pm. Not only is there cool art, but also free trolleys to bring people around the city to scope out the good stuff. More information can be found here.

Sunsets at Pier 60 Festival – Clearwater – Daily 

Clearwater Beach always has things happening and each night there are artisans, crafters, street performers, live music and entertainment 2 hours before sunset and 2 hours after. It’s free, it’s fun, and it’s beautiful.

Safety Harbor Third Friday – July 21, 2017

Safety Harbor’s Main Street is a great place to be on the third Friday of the month. There’s shops, vendors, live music, and delicious food. From 6-10pm, this free event is perfect whether you’re with friends and wanting a fun, relaxing night or want a family friendly atmosphere.

Largo Cultural Center – A Chorus Line

Largo Cultural Center puts on some amazing shows and this month they are doing A Chorus Line! Shows will be July 14-16, 20-23, Thursday-Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. Ticket prices vary from $16-26 and it is reserved seating so don’t miss your chance! Trust me when I say it will be good!

 

Photo Credit: By Brittani Schiller

Question of the Day

What is something that brings you joy?

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of something that excites me and brings me joy is theater. Whether that’s going to a show or performing in a show, I am my best self while in a theatrical atmosphere.

Thinking way back, I remember always wanting to sing and perform (side-note: being a performer at Disney is my ultimate dream). Unlike Florida, when I lived in Chicago we had basements, and my basement was pretty much my own little stage. I would go on our dial-up computer for hours on end with my microphone in hand and YouTube karaoke blasting away. I did a little dance back in the day, some shows in middle school, choir performances and then was able to discover musical theater on a bigger scale in high school.

Now, I feel like majority of my heart belongs to theater and everything that it is comprised of. In simple terms, it’s an art form. It’s all about people coming together to create and share a story and communicate with each other and the audience. Music alone has a way of transporting you into a world that seems limitless, and theater is that on another level. Being on stage allows someone to jump outside of their comfort zone, create a character, be a different person, live in a new world, and explore everything the stage has to offer. There’s truly no limits and it’s a beautiful form of expression that I have fallen in love with.

One of my main focuses for this blog is that it acts as a reminder to not only notice the things that bring us joy, but appreciate them to the fullest. However big or small they may be. Whether I’m laying in bed listening to a cast recording or getting ready backstage, theater is one of those things in my life that reminds me how incredibly wonderful this life is. I sadly haven’t been in a show for about two and a half years now, but have taken several classes at school and it’s still a major part of me. It’s a very rare day when I don’t listen to my jams and belt a little too loud. With that said, I hope to get back on stage in the very near future (fingers crossed for Disney, ladies and gents).

No matter who you are, where you come from, where you want to be, we all have things in our lives that bring us joy, make us smile, make us laugh, make us cry (yes, ugly cry too), and make us feel like we belong. Those things that make you hold your hands to the sky and thank the universe for its existence. The things that make you take an extra deep breath to soak up all of its goodness.

I invite you, reader, to comment on this post and answer the same question. What is something that brings you joy? While we are all different, we are all very much alike and connected. We all have passions, and I’d love to read about the things that you love most.

 

Photo Credit: By Brittani Schiller

 

A Talented Little Star

I’m sure many of you have seen this video. I couldn’t help but share it myself and all of its pure bliss. This little girl is singing for her LIFE, and I don’t think someone can watch this without smiling the entire time. She’s feelin’ it and makes you feel it too.

Finding these types of videos (which can be pretty easy thanks to Facebook) makes me so so happy. And a lot of the time, these videos pop up when ya need it most. A little laugh is always helpful, especially when it involves kids and their abundance of joy and energy.

I can seriously watch this on repeat and it continues to fill me up with goodness. She’s not holding anything back and if we want to get a little deep real quick; it’s a good reminder we should never hold anything back. We may be on a bigger stage (hello, life), but that’s the exact reason to go for it and give it our all. We only have one to live so let’s make it rock (hey, Hannah Montana). All in all, shoutout to this little girl for reminding me of that and hopefully you as well.

 

Photo Credit: By Brittani Schiller