Musical Moodboards / Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812

Hi all!Musical MoodboardsHow is your August coming along? Is anyone back in school yet? I have classmates and friends already gearing up to leave, which I suppose makes the point known: college is right around the corner! Though the warm weather and activities are still in full swing, my mind is thinking ahead, especially as I make plans for “goodbye parties” with my close friends and learn the names of my dorm neighbors.

I, admittedly, am not quite ready to move in myself: I still have to ponder over fall course selections (the Brown class catalogue is bursting with options, all of which look exciting) and plan Ciao Bella for the autumn months (I’m wrestling with managing blogging with my extracurricular interests and the relevance of blogging given the current news cycle). Before I look too far in the future, however, I wanted to reflect on a few recent summer adventures, one of which was a trip into New York City. Our trip was short – only a day long – but my mom, sister, and I tried to pack in as much of the city as possible: we peeked into the Cooper Hewitt; sampled ice cream from Ample Hills; and, naturally, say a show! I haven’t shared a Musical Moodboard in ages, but Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 quickly proved worthy of its own post. I had a blast putting together images to reflect this production, but if you want to see another musical, do browse the archives HERE :)

Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812Sources: Landscape Painting / Natasha and Pierre Illustration / Prologue Lyrics source unknown / Tolstoy Portrait / Bunker Photograph / War and Peace Illustration / {FYI: I tried my best to provide you with the most accurate and updated sources, but please let me know of any problems or mistakes!}

Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 has been several years in the making: it was first developed at the theatre Ars Nova in 2012, transferred to the American Repertory Theater in 2015, and finally, made its way to the Broadway stage this past November. The date of its closing was announced earlier in the week – and the factors that led to this decision have been well spread throughout the theatre community – but instead of dwelling on the negative in light of the news, I’ve chosen to focus on the accomplishments of such an unusual show: throughout its run, its creators, cast, and crew have championed diversity; the stunning technical aspects all celebrate a unique approach to musical theatre; and the score deftly takes a stab at one of great literature’s central works, War and Peace.

Its originality in mind, I wanted to piece together a moodboard that honored the aspects of the show that make it so special, among them the incredible vocal talents of its 30+ person cast and the immersive experience provided by both the set and the ensemble. The energy-packed opening number is alluded to with a line from the song; the painting-lined walls of the auditorium are captured with a snow-covered Russian landscape; and even the lobby, said to resemble an abandoned bunker, gets a nod. I also included two illustrations: one colorful and modern, the other more traditional and somber, to reflect how easily the musical can weave between the two moods. Finally, one can’t mention Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 without Leo Tolstoy, whose classic War and Peace led Dave Malloy to pen the “electropop opera” in the first place.

Let’s discuss! Have you seen or heard about The Great Comet before? If you have, how do you feel about its closing? Have you read (or, at least, attempted to read!) War and Peace? I’m a bit intimidated!

Have a lovely Friday!
Bella

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Musical Moodboards / Waitress

Hello!Musical MoodboardsLong time, no see, friends! What’s new? Summer is certainly winding down – with only two weeks left in my vacation, I’m doing my best to soak up the remaining time with my friends and family. In previous years, I would be anxious to return to the routine that school brings, but this time around, I’m grateful for the string of days where I have little planned. I think we could all use the slower pace every now and then, particularly as I look ahead to my busy September calendar.

Day trips, on a similar note, have long been my cup of tea: they’re a chance to explore and try something new, but they’re still short enough that I can be back at home and reading before bed. A recent example? My mom, sister, and I spent a day in New York City, walking through the Museum of Natural History, grabbing cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery, and, naturally, seeing a Broadway show. I haven’t posted a Musical Moodboard since last September – far too long of a wait, I know – but after seeing Waitress, I knew a production of that talent deserved a post of its own. If you want to revisit previous moodboards before we chat all things Waitress, a reminder that the archives are HERE for your perusal!

WaitressSources: Diner Photograph / Cookie Sharing / Waitress Illustrated Quote / Blue Gingham Pattern source unknown / Waitress Photograph / Pie Print / {FYI: I tried my best to provide you with the most accurate and updated sources, but please let me know of any problems or mistakes!}

Before it was a smash hit on Broadway, Waitress was a movie, written and directed by the talented filmmaker Adrienne Shelly; the indie favorite follows a young waitress Jenna throughout her pregnancy and the tumultuous marriage that accompanies it. The musical adaptation takes the same story and puts it to the music of Sara Bareilles and direction of Diane Paulus – in other words, an artistic collaboration destined to reach success. And that it has: The show first opened at the American Repertory Theater in Boston, moved to the New York stage in the spring, and captured the hearts of audience members and critics alike.

While both the film and musical tackle heavy themes of abusive relationships and grief, the story itself ends on a hopeful note, a feeling I wanted to carry into the moodboard. I was thus led on a search for pictures and photographs that brought to the mind the heart-warming and heart-healing properties of baking: a charming illustration of sharing baked goods with friends, a still of Keri Russell in costume, and the lyrics to one of my favorite songs in the show. Additionally, the diner is a nod to Jenna’s workplace and the stunning set {the stage manager in me was awed by the design and technical elements of the show}, while the gingham pattern speaks to the simple, yet impactful, costumes. And, finally, what would a Waitress image be without some mention of pie?

Let’s discuss! Have you seen the Waitress film or musical? What’s your favorite flavor of pie? {I’m partial to apple myself}. Finally, do you love Sara Bareilles’ music, or do you love Sara Bareilles’ music?!

Have a terrific start to your week! :)

Musical Moodboards / Beautiful

Hello!Musical MoodboardsI love receiving a new book or a Boden package as much as the next person, but the present of an experience – a weekend trip to the city, tickets to a popular concert, or the chance to see a new musical – holds a different and, perhaps, a more special appeal. My family is no stranger to the gift of the theater; we take advantage of various birthdays and the holiday season to give one another tickets to professional productions, a tradition that has served this theater lover well.

Though we are quickly approaching December, this particular present actually hails from last Christmas: the opportunity to see Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on its national tour. The production kicked off in Rhode Island just last weekend, but only moments into the performance, I knew the wait was entirely worth it. To celebrate its first run around the country, I wanted to create a moodboard around the show and the iconic songwriter that inspired it. Before we begin, a quick reminder that the archives are always HERE to browse, especially if you’re in a musical mood.

BeautifulSources: Carole Writing / Carole King and Gerry Goffin / Beautiful Musical Poster source unknown / Carole Portrait / Album Cover / Record Photograph / {FYI: I tried my best to provide you with the most accurate and updated sources, but please let me know of any problems or mistakes!}

Carole King is most often recognized for her successful 1971 album, Tapestry, but she had a career in music long before then. Beautiful aims to share that story, opening in the late 1950’s when Carole sold her first song, setting her on a long, but rewarding, path of singing and songwriting. The show itself, a classic “biomusical,” debuted on Broadway in early 2014 and was an instant hit with all audiences.

As the musical honors King’s career, I hoped to do the same with the moodboard. Images of Carole at work, whether by herself or with her longtime partner and once-husband Gerry Goffin, seemed a natural fit, as I believe it was her persistence that led to her ultimate success. The show highlights a number of mid-century hits, a fact acknowledged by the picture of records, as well as the advancement of Carole’s popularity {I couldn’t resist the illustrated album cover and the sun-drenched portrait of Carole and her cats}. Finally, style and detail is as important to any production as the book and songs, so I finished this month’s moodboard with a poster advertisement that mimics the retro design found in the show’s set and costumes. What can I say? I like graphic design :)

Let’s discuss! Have you seen Beautiful: The Carole King Musical? Do you have a favorite Carole King song? Finally, did you know Carole made guest appearances on Gilmore Girls?! Fun stuff.

Have a lovely Thursday!