Saturday, February 26, 2011


As some of you know, I taught a lesson last Sunday in Relief Society on "Sacrifice". This lesson really humbled me and made me consider ultimately what would I be willing to sacrifice for eternal life? I thought a lot about this and had an experience before teaching the lesson that showed me that I need to question my level of commitment to God. I did not instantly respond when my neighbor needed help- I ultimately came back, but I am sad to report that I left first and then came back. The part of the lesson that connected with me was a scripture from Romans 12: 1: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." One phrase in particular struck me with such force that I am still thinking about it, even though I am "done" teaching that lesson (though obviously I haven't fully mastered that lesson myself)- a LIVING SACRIFICE. What am I doing to make myself a living sacrifice to God?

I wish that this article would have come out LAST Thursday so that I would have been able to share it during my lesson. This article is about the life of Clayton Christensen that was on the cover of Forbes magazine. Christensen was one of William's Harvard Business School professors as well as being one of the area authority seventies for our church while we were in Boston. I knew that he was an incredible man- very kind and brilliant- but this article has given me a new perspective on what it means to be a "living sacrifice" to the Lord. I did not know that he had diabetes for a good portion of his life and I was particularly shocked by what happened to him over the past 3 years. He suffered a heart attack, cancer (lymphoma), and a stroke. To me this was beginning to sound kind of like what some of what Job went through health wise. In particular, the heart attack story particularly touched me as he was in Montreal and was supposed to speak to a congregation. He woke up early that morning with chest pains and prayed to the Lord to help him be able to be able to fulfill his meetings with the members that day. And the Lord granted his wish- he didn't have his heart attack until the next day when he was back in Boston. What a selfless man- he wasn't worried about his own health but more about the spiritual well being of the members in fulfillment of his calling. To me, this exemplifies what it means to be a "living sacrifice"

My old roommate in Boston, Natalie, wrote a great follow-up piece that talks about how he truly is one man who, despite all that he has been through, shows his devotion to the Lord through serving others and furthering the work of the church. When Natalie congratulated him on making the cover of Forbes, he laughed and said: To me, this completely encapsulates what it means to be a "living sacrifice" to God.

“My face may be on a magazine today, but tomorrow I get to wake up, get out of bed, and find someone to help.”

Again, he provides another example that completely encapsulates what it means to be a "living sacrifice" to God. I wish that I would have been able to share this during my lesson, but at least I can share it with some of you. The experiences over the past few weeks have convinced me of the importance of sacrifice in my life and that I need to be doing more of it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hogle Zoo Lights

My in-laws were kind enough to take us to see some more holiday lights- and these were my personal favorite :-) With our Little Caesar's pizza purchase in Utah, we gained $3 each admission to the Hogle Zoo Lights- what a bargain for a great event! It was a light misty rain for part of the time we were there, chilly, and crowded, but well worth it. Get there as close to opening as possible because the lines only get longer as the night goes on.

Again, many of the displays were animated. Here are a few of my favorite light displays
The Unusual- scorpion and snake

Exotic birds

A tender moment between giraffes

All creatures helping in the holiday spirit

And some time Under the Sea

I liked these cute elephant ornaments

But, the nostalgia was greatest for the lion water fountain. This is really the icon of the zoo as I have many memories of taking a drink from the lions mouth when I was growing up.

Some of the other great light displays was the animated 12 days of Christmas (and its best watched under the heat lamp) and the skunk using his magic to frighten away a bear

Besides the lights we were even able to see some of the animals, like monkeys and porcupines- but the tigers were particularly active. This one was stalking the fence and eying us like he wanted to eat each of us for a snack! It was a little unnerving to think that a mere chain link fence separated us.

Salem and Thanksgiving Point Holiday Lights

My in-laws were sweet enough to indulge my love of Christmas lights by taking us to several light displays in the area.

My brother-in-law Chris showed us the amazing display in the little town of Salem where most of it occurs over the water and so the reflections made it even more magical- and it was FREE!

A few days later, we battled the LONG line of cars (we waited for over 30 minutes to enter) to see the Thanksgiving Point Holiday Lights. We were able to get in half price since my mother-in-law is a member so that made it worth it. Also, it was funny to watch people try to "cut" into the lines and the "lack of holiday spirit" that emerged. The neat part about these lights are that many of them are animated.
Elves building a house

The houses got even more elaborate as we drove along- looks like those elves were pretty busy

But of course, my favorite was this "sweet" house

And the display would not have been complete without a jolly Santa

The "highlight" of the display was the following- which actually was the favorite of everyone a few years ago when they came (I apologize for the blur- we were laughing too hard)

The above is showing how the cycle of food occurs with deers- from feeding until it is expelled. Not the first thing that I would think of to be part of the "holiday lights".

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Carl Bloch: The Master's Hand

William and I were lucky to be able to see the exhibit "Carl Bloch: The Master's Hand" twice with our families while over Christmas break. It is a great exhibit and it is FREE -as long as you reserve your tickets. It was incredible to see so many of his beautiful altar paintings and some of his etchings. However, I was quite disappointed by some of the lighting of the pieces- particularly the one of "Christ at Bethesda". I was at BYU when they first acquired this piece and it was truly breathtaking in the right lighting. The lighting was terrible and made the picture just look ok. Whereas they managed to get the lighting right for the painting of "Christ at Gethsemane"- it truly evoked the incredible emotion that Bloch put into his work. My mom was kind enough to buy me and my sisters a book with lithographs of many of his pieces- I used a few of them for my Relief Society lesson. The exhibit also had some images from Fredriksborg Castle where some of his paintings are and it made me really want to visit one day (yet some place else to add to the ever growing list)

My adorable nephews Stanley and Charles found a much more entertaining exhibit at the museum where they were able to create the art with their running around. It was so fun that they actually cried when we left- I say that it the sign of a fairly successful museum trip :-)

The Brain:The Inside Exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History

Thanks to some great around town advertising, William and I were able to enjoy "The Brain: The Inside Exhibit" at the American Museum of Natural History. We LOVED this exhibit- the picture on the right is of all of the neurons firing in your brain. We walked through the area and it provided a great visual to get your excited about what you would be learning. They had a great video about what portions of your brain are involved in preparing for a dance audition as well as hands on demonstrations to test your abilities. The brain is so amazing and there really is so much potential for our improving it and possibly repairing things in case of problems. Half a million neurons form every minute during the first five months in the womb. They are using electromagnets for treatment major depression when no other treatments work and this can possibly help with many other mental illnesses. This was by far our favorite part of the museum. We also saw some of the permanent collection of Dinosaurs, Gems and Minerals, and some of the taxidermy animals which were cool, but not as fascinating as the Brain exhibit. It will be there through April 15th so check it out if you are in NYC.

William and I went to this museum and then to Yoshinoya- a yummy fast food chain from Japan and it was a good thing it was our short day because it was FREEZING. Bitterness filled our souls with the biting wind- it made me very happy that we were going back to the warm Bay area.

This is my last NYC post- now I can move back to posting about the things that happened in my lengthy blogging hiatus :-)

Monday, February 21, 2011

More NYC Toy Store Fun

As you can tell from my earlier posts, we really LOVED the toy stores around NYC as they definitely go above and beyond in their decorating the stores.

We went to LEGO store just outside Rockerfeller Center and William was "surprised" by the life-sized Chewbacca.

But the LEGO model of Rockerfeller Center truly captured our full attention for a few minutes

They placed such detail into the activities of the surrounding crowds- with many taking photos of each other, or riding a bike through the crowd, but my favorite was the couple kissing

I also LOVED the new Disney store that is in Times Square. I loved the rainbow lights of these iconic NYC buildings

and Mickey and friends riding around a giant sky carousel that really spins

But, what I was most blown away with was their section with all of the princess dresses. They were housed inside the castle pictured below and they are some of the most beautiful dresses that I have ever seen. They even had a Disney brides dress up collection, as well as sometimes several different dresses for each Disney princess. And these were super fancy but also super pricey. They were even tempting me to buy one- I don't know who for, as we only have nephews, but I will keep them in mind. Definitely do not take your girls there unless you are going to buy one of those dresses because I can only imagine the meltdown of leaving the store without one.

And I couldn't resist a shot of M&M Lady Liberty

And we managed to not buy anything from these stores- that is only because there were no special type of M&Ms to try (they sometimes have a special flavor, but no such luck for us)

The Addams Family Musical

We saw the Saturday matinee of The Addams Family Musical starring Nathan Lane. I saw him before in a play in Boston and he truly steals the show. He is such a brilliant musical theater genius. I am just sad that I missed seeing him on Broadway in the Producers. I saw the show a few months after his run was over. I think that this show wouldn't be the same without him. Morticia was Fraiser Crane's psychiatrist wife from Cheers and The first half of the musical was HILARIOUS- it was funny, classic Addams Family with the Broadway twist. Sadly the second half completely fell short, instead focusing too much on one/two person songs rather than further delving into the complete family dynamic, which was what made the first act so good.

At the end of the curtain call, Nathan Lane actually silenced everyone and made a special announcement about the Pugsly. The matinee performance was this kids first EVER showing on Broadway and so Nathan Lane wanted to make sure that this kid got an extra round of applause for doing such a great job. How cool would it be to get singled out like that by Nathan Lane! To me, that would have meant the world- I truly was so touched by that act.

Overall, I'm glad that I saw the show but I don't think that I would see it again- though I might if Nathan Lane was in the show.

Valentine's and William's Birthday 2011

For the past two weeks, we have been fairly low key (well, at least compared to our normal routine :-) as William was first sick the weekend before Valentines. He managed to get better enough to take me out to dinner on Valentine's to Black Angus where we were able to use a coupon to get an elaborate 4 course meal for $40. Of course it was packed and we had to wait 15 mins even with a reservation but it was worth it. William was also such a sweetheart and bought me these beautiful orchids- they are still super beautiful over a week later.

Unfortunately, I also caught William's cold and so I was sick all of the rest of last week- I still managed to go to work but wasn't motivated to do anything else (aka prep for my class and blog). But, I managed to recover by the weekend so that we were able to celebrate William's birthday over 3 days :-) On Friday night, we went to dinner with my friend from work, Jamie and her boyfriend Norm, to P.F. Chang's to celebrate. William was thrilled that they did not sing to him- and that he got red velvet cake :-)
The adorable birthday boy

Many thanks to Jamie for taking the photo for us :-)

Saturday was POURING rain but we managed to venture over to Shabuway for one of his favorite meals- shabu shabu, bringing back memories from Japan. We enjoyed it despite the fact that the restaurant still had their AC on- I wore my coat the whole time.

Sunday, William's actual birthday, was busy with me teaching about "Sacrifice" to the Relief Society and William doing his calling as treasurer for Lehi Park. Today, we relaxed and spent the day reading, running errands, and my sister Sarah treated us to Subway Philly Cheesesteaks per William's birthday request. Now that we have recovered from our colds, I should be back to a more regular blogging schedule :-)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Toys R Us Times Square

Even more than FAO Schwartz, we loved the Toys R Us in Times Square even more. We spent an hour and a half walking around.

Knowing the two of us, William and I spent a significant amount of time in Candy Land

Where we yet again learned what we already knew- that NERDS rule the world!

We had fun seeing toys from our past- although this updated Strawberry Shortcake looks more like a bobble head doll- kind of creepy

And the "creativity" of some others

But, we were also DISTURBED by some of the toys that they have come up with. This Barbie below looks innocent enough- her looking cute with a puppy- until you see the bottom right corner.

It's pretty small so in case you can't read it, it said "Barbie Poop and Scoop." Yup, I guess that there is a Barbie for everything (although I'm not sure that they really should have gone there in this case)

The real shocker is that we did NOT buy anything- not even any candy (though we were tempted by the mints in a case that looked like an old school Atari joystick that you could actually move).

Shake Shack

I had heard many great things about the Shake Shack and it lived up to the expectations. We went to the location in Times Square on Saturday for lunch after checking into Hotel Edison (it is very art deco aka older but it is still nice and the location in Times Square cannot be beat- along with the price. Many thanks to my sister for the suggestion). We lucked out and got a table quickly, probably because we beat the lunch rush at 11:30. The burger was delicious- the beef was very well seasoned and I particularly liked the "shake shack sauce" (kind of a thousand island type). The fries with cheddar were good and the custard vanilla shake was good (though it was a little too runny- I prefer my shakes thick like at Neilsen's Frozen Custard). William got the peanut butter salted hot chocolate and it was good- very rich though so my vanilla custard helped us to drink the whole thing. And it is quite reasonably priced- especially for NYC.

Mary Poppins:The Musical

I had very high hopes for the musical Mary Poppins and I was not disappointed. It was a great classical musical- very fun and I liked the new songs that they added, especially "Practically Perfect." I had an incredible seat- Row H on the right hand side. Mary Poppins even came flying literally over my head at the end of the performance! (Side note- the little girl next to me had fallen asleep and her mom was desperately trying to wake her up to see Mary Poppins fly over us but she just wouldn't wake up :-) I absolutely love the songs "Chim Chimery" and "Step in Time" as I performed a competition clogging dance to them back in my later junior high/high school days (sad that I can't remember exactly when!! I guess it is a good thing that so many memories are competing for space :-) But, the best part was during "Step in Time" where Bert was in a harness and walked up the wall and then started tap dancing AND singing UPSIDE-DOWN while a little board moved across the stage. It was one of the most amazing things because he was doing an incredible job at all three things. Again, it was very good and I would highly recommend it to all fans of musicals :-)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Crumbs Bakery

After my day of museums, I stopped off at another cupcake bakery that I had heard of- Crumbs- to try their special cupcake of the month- White Chocolate Hot Chocolate. I love their packaging for each individual cupcake. They are pretty big- this one was covered with white chocolate chips and marshmallows and was filled with whipped cream.

The cake and the whipped cream center were AMAZING. I also liked the texture of the whole marshmallows on top. HOWEVER, their frosting was gross- it tasted to me just like grocery store frosting which is definitely not my favorite. So, yet again, Sprinkles is still my favorite (although I haven't been there since the summer!!)

Metropolitan Museum of Art

I have never taken a ride on a public bus in NYC- but, given the cold and the snow, I was more than happy to ride one directly from the Cloisters to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Ahh, the Met. I was there for 2 visits over two days for 5 hours total :-) I was able to see the Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand photography exhibit, Filippino Lippi's Restored Madonna and Child as seen below. The blue is even more vibrant and striking in person.

This was one of my favorite of the four Vermeer's that they had on display

My photo of one of Rembrandt's many self-portraits turned out blurry so I'm not including it

The Monet Sunflowers- which have a different feel to them than Van Gogh's sunflowers

I was in absolute HEAVEN in the impressionist-post impressionist section. I am glad that I read the panels next to the paintings in this section because I learned something new about Renoir.
Take a look at this painting-

Beautiful isn't it- but what makes it even more incredible is that Renoir painted this towards the end of his life when he was suffering from severe arthritis. His hands were so crippled that he had to sit in a wheelchair with a brush strapped to his hand to paint this. This painting is even MORE incredible to me after learning this. It shows just what a true artist he was, continuing to create even up until his death. His story reminds me of Matisse who was similarly affected by age and produced these amazing paper cutouts when he could no longer paint.

Here is an earlier painting from Renoir- just to compare and show how amazing talented he still was suffering from arthritis

The piece below is made up of several hundred (maybe even thousand) little mirrors which produce unique reflections when people stand in front of them. This is the type of modern art that I like.

Even with the two visits, there is still so much that I wasn't able to see. I bought a guidebook of the collection- which was quite helpful for the early 16th century European art- and I can't wait until I can visit again and see more of this amazing museum :-)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

SF Ballet: Giselle

On Tuesday night, I decided that I wanted to go see the San Francisco Ballet's production of Giselle. I had not bought season tickets because I wasn't sure what my teaching schedule would be but I definitely say that it is best to buy them in advance, otherwise you end up paying a higher price. I only wanted to see their "Classical" ballet package with 3 plays- Giselle, Balanchine, and Coppelia- and of course, the side orchestra seats for $80 were SOLD OUT so my sister Sarah and I did the more expensive seats in the Dress Circle. So, I ended up paying more for 3 shows than for 5 shows last year. At least I was certain that I would be able to attend these performances :-) The nice part about being farther back is that you can see the beautiful formations and just how well the dancers maintain these positions. The bad part is that you can't see their facial expressions, which is something that I liked about being so close. But, I am thrilled to be able to go to the ballet and NOT be in the balcony nosebleeds.

I have actually never seen Giselle which was first performed back in 1841 and it thus one of the classic ballets. I was not a fan of the first half- it was set in a country hamlet and while the dancing was good, it was just nothing out of the ordinary. It really was just like most of the classic ballet town showcases that I have seen before. BUT, the second half was MAGICAL. I would have been happy just seeing the second half. These ghost brides were so ethereal with these elaborate veils over their faces and hands that they swirled all around. And the formations of the corps de ballet were just beautiful. Giselle had movements as if she was in a dream (instead of dead :-) The costumes, scenery, and choreography were all just so incredibly well done- definitely worth it :-) And it was fun to see the show with my dancer sister who could tell me when she saw some steps that she had never seen before. I'm looking forward to the other two shows to come :-)

Workin 9 to 5

Following the trend of most things in my life of feast or famine, I have experienced a "feasting" of my work situations (yes, there is a plural). A few weeks ago, my boss at my primary research job asked me if I would be willing to go up to 40 hours a week (from my 30). Seeing that I am not teaching this quarter and that I really do love my boss and the research, I decided to accept and go up to 40 hours a week. The next day (and I'm not joking about this), Santa Clara contacts me about teaching a class for Spring quarter starting at the end of March for Intro to Sociology again. Fortunately, the time of the class is on Tuesday/Thursday 3:40-5:25 so I should be able to continue working 40 hours when that happens. My boss is very understanding if I need to go back down to 30 when that happens- there are some grant deadlines coming up and so she wants as much work done as possible. I think- at least for now- that it should be do-able (fingers crossed) since I have already taught the class before. I revised the syllabus and will be revising my lectures before classes even begin in an attempt to make things easier to cope with. But, we'll see :-)

To further complicate things even more, Santa Clara came back to me a few days later saying that they have an additional Social Problems class that they want me to teach that would happen right before my already scheduled intro class. This was a tough decision for me because I really love teaching, but I ultimately decided that even if I was back at 30 hours, there is no way that I could teach both classes and be able to complete all of the grading. As much as it pained me to do it, I have just stuck with one class which I know will still keep me busy enough :-)

I completed my first full week of working 40 hours in an office cube and . . . I survived. Friday at noon was pretty tough for me- I was SO ready to be done but I managed to switch gears from writing to coding, something that I enjoy more, and so I made it :-) While I might slightly whine about the increased amount of work, I truly am grateful for it as both jobs are things that I enjoy and are in the field I got my PhD in so I am VERY happy for these opportunities :-)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Cloisters

I am one of those people who absolutely LOVES all of the cathedrals in Europe. During both of my study abroads, particularly my one to Spain, I found each one fascinating and different. Professor Sherman was one of my Spanish literature teachers and he too shared my love of cathedrals and he told me that I would have to visit the Cloisters museum sometime in NYC. It has taken me about a decade to make it there, but I finally did. And it was definitely worth the trek.

It is clear up on the Upper West Side at about 190th Street. It is in the middle of a park and so it was about a 10 minute walk through the park from the subway which normally would be fine, but it snowed the night before and most of the park had not been plowed and the park is on top of a hill so there was snow blowing EVERYWHERE. It was freezing. I was just happy that I had the internet on my phone so that I was able to take the bus directly from the Cloisters to the Metropolitan Museum of Art after my visit.

The outer tower of the Cloisters

The cloisters has moved not only artifacts but even portions of cathedrals inside the museum. My favorite was the inner cloister below.

An old chapel

Many beautiful stained glass windows

All of these bricks are original (the white plaster in between is new)

If you are a fan of churches, I highly recommend this museum. If you aren't, it is probably one that you can skip.

South Street Seaport TKTS Booth

I have used the Times Square TKTS Booth many times and it works fine, but I have now found an EVEN BETTER option. With a little bit of research, I discovered that there is ANOTHER TKTS booth in Manhattan- the South Street Seaport. I'm a huge fan of this as they begin selling tickets for evening performances at 11 am and then the day before a matinee, you can buy tickets for that as well!! I arrived at the booth at 10:50 am and I was only about 15th in line so I was able to buy 1 ticket for the Friday night Mary Poppins and then 2 tickets for the Addams Family Saturday matinee. I was completely done by 11:10 am. Amazing. I felt like it was definitely worth the extra subway trip.

And, I was able to explore the surrounding area which I have not done before. Here is one of the ships associated with the South Street Seaport Museum (I didn't attend it but just walked around)

and then the Brooklyn Bridge. On all of my NYC trips, I have never seen the Brooklyn Bridge. It was pretty windy and cold so I didn't walk across it but at least I can now say that I have seen it :-)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Curious George Saturday

We have had BEAUTIFUL weather lately in the Bay area- Saturday it was 75 degrees, even in San Francisco!! It was also the first weekend of the month, meaning that I get into select museums for free with my Bank of America card. William was such a sweetheart to come with me to see the "Curious George Saves the Day: The Art of Margret and H.A. Rey" exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. I loved the Curious George books but I had no idea about the couple who wrote them. They actually spent some time in Brazil which is where their looking at all of the monkeys began to inspire them to create George. George was actually first named "Fifi" but the publisher changed it to Curious George, the name of one of the 9 monkeys named in their earlier children's story "Raffy (or Cecily G.) and the 9 Monkey's". H.A. Rey said that he initially placed tails on the monkeys in the illustrations in this story, but it was just too busy with all of those tails getting in the way. Thus, he just got rid of the tails. When the story was released in Great Britain, the book changed names again to Zozo since King George was the reigning monarch. It was their illustrations that they carried with them that helped to save them from punishment when escaping from the Nazi's in WWII. Their escape provided the basis for the Curious George books, where he is also able to save the day/work out the situation before getting in trouble. H.A. Rey was not formally trained as an artist; Margaret did attend art school but she ended up doing most of the writing of the stories. Given the limited printing process at the time, H.A. Rey would make each drawing 4 times and provide different colors on each of them to make one final composite image. Some of his original watercolors were saved and they have actually reprinted the first Curious George book using this technology. What I also loved about this collection was that they showed a few of their Christmas cards. H.A. Rey would design special ones highlighting interesting things that happened to them throughout the year. How fun would it have been to have gotten one of those cards. I bought the following book that illustrates their story "The Journey that Saved Curious George" since that seemed to be the special part about this exhibition.

On our way home, I really wanted to go miniature golfing at this place off the 101 called Malibu Grand Prix which has go karts and mini golf. It was just SUCH a beautiful day outside that I wasn't ready to just go home yet so William was kind enough to indulge me in some mini-golf :-) I am happy to report that the game ended up in a TIE between the two of us- and I even had 2 holes-in-one!! That usually never happens and I didn't even have to take the forced "6 stroke" maximum (I did hit 6 strokes once though but I wasn't over that limit :-) So I would like to think that I was improving. I actually like the Golfland course better, but what is fun is that when you turn in your putters, they give you a token and so we were able to play one round of Skee Ball each. Unfortunately, William schooled me in this.

We also tried Wing Stop for dinner. We got the Hawaiian strips- it's like a sweet and sour sauce- since we do not like spicy stuff and it was good, but William put it best by saying that it wasn't something that he would seek out/crave.

It was a fun weekend full of adventures, and fortunately, NOT the kind that George usually gets himself into :-)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark

The moment you have all been waiting for (well, some of you :-)- my review of the new musical "Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark". I have been wanting to see this musical since I heard about it a few months ago not due to the "technical difficulties" they were having (eg. actors falling from the sky), but for the MUSIC. The soundtrack (both lyrics and music) are written by Bono and the Edge of U2- only my favorite band of all time. I managed to get ORCHESTRA row H tickets to their Thursday night show and let me tell you that while it was the most expensive musical that I saw ($90 for my ticket), it was my favorite musical of the 3 I saw on this trip, and one of the best I have ever seen.

The musical is still technically in "previews", meaning that there are a few things that they are still working through to make sure that it is the absolute perfection demanded of Broadway. I was prepared for this but knowing that Bono and the Edge had gone to see a performance the week before I did, I figured that if it was good enough for them, then it was good enough for me :-) Opening night was supposed to be Feb. 7 but they pushed it back until mid March because they didn't feel ready to open. The show was INCREDIBLE and in my opinion, near perfection, up until the last scene. But first, let me tell you more about the show.

The musical expands upon the movie and adds several new elements. The first, which I don't particularly care for was these additional college students who were creating the story of Spiderman. They introduced my FAVORITE character of the show- Arachne- based upon the Greek myth. She had the most INCREDIBLE voice and some of the most beautiful numbers. The choreography of her being in the air and spinning webs made for some gorgeous aerial numbers. The rest of the story is much like the movie- with how he becomes Spiderman, MJ, and the villians that he faces, but all of the costumes, staging, and flying work was unbelievable. Multiple times throughout the show, I had Spiderman and the villians flying over my head. There are several stuntmen who are Spiderman and do amazing fight scenes and flying. I really was just blown away by the musical up until the last scene. And that made me realize why they are still in previews- and why they extended the previews.

The primary singer/actor of Spiderman was only ok- my main issue with him was that he sometimes tried to have a gravely rock star voice, but that is not his natural voice so it just sounds awkward. He sounded better on the higher notes when he really sang. But, he was definitely the weakest link in the final scene. They want HIM (not the stuntmen) to finally fly around the audience showing his face and being in the normal human form. He was in the harness around his waist with a wire supporting him on both sides. When he started to fly, he grabbed one of the wires with BOTH HANDS and was literally holding on for dear life! It didn't look heroic but actually quite pathetic! It was painful to watch him because he literally just seemed to be barely keeping it together while flying around. It totally detracted from the show because everything else was just top notch. Thus, the reason why it is still in previews for awhile.

The show was just so good. I absolutely LOVED it- particularly the music and I cannot WAIT for the soundtrack to come out (unfortunately, it will still be several months). I would definitely see this musical again- I would have during the trip but it was all sold out- and I highly recommend it. As far as where it ranks among the musicals that I have seen, I would have to say that Phantom of the Opera is still my all time favorite, but this is definitely up there among the top shows that I have ever seen.

P.S. Funny story from the show. The usher right by my section was super talkative to me and a few people behind me. There is absolutely NO photography allowed at all in the theater even before and after the show. He said that a couple of weeks ago, during one of the performances, some one had a camera out and so he went over and tapped that person on the shoulder and told him that he had to put away his camera. The guy turned around and it was Jim Carrey! Several patrons later came up to this usher and said how happy they were that celebrities did not get special treatment/were exempt from keeping the rules of the theater.