and i was in the theater for 90 minutes

Before the Show

Type:  Oneshot, Smut, Fluff, Romance

Wordcount:  2464

Summary:  Phil has terrible stage fright before each TATINOF show, and Dan has done everything to try to help his friend, but to no avail.  One day, a few hours before the show, Dan decides to try something a little more…kinky. 


Phil had stage fright.  It was terribly severe, causing him to vomit before each show and causing his knees and arms to shake violently just before they went onstage.  

In the hours leading to the show, he would become tense and quiet, a bad sign that Dan picked up on immediately.  As soon as he saw Phil sink into the car seat and not speak for more than five minutes, he realized what was happening and would try to stop it.

He tried talking, but Phil just responded minimally if at all.  

He tried joking around with Phil, which worked a little better, but still didn’t take away Phil’s panic.

Finally, they both tried doing some relaxation exercises. They downloaded an mp3 of relaxation hypnosis tracks, and played them in the van.  At first, it seemed to calm Phil, but as soon as the track was over, his fear returned and he was shaking in his seat again.

During the shows, Phil was fine.  His adrenaline kicked in and he enjoyed interacting with the audience. But the from 3 hours until showtime until the minute he stepped on the stage, he was in agony and Dan could hardly stand to see his friend in such pain.

Dan, of course, was fine.  He was a theater kid and lived for the stage.  He loved the attention and craved the applause, and was hyped up all day waiting to get to the next venue and step out in front of the crowd.  

He worried about Phil’s noticeable weight loss and his overall health and decided he needed to do something.  

Before their show in Glasgow, Dan was standing behind Phil in the gas station line, and noticed the tension and fear begin to come over him.  He couldn’t watch his friend suffer again.  On a whim, he leaned forward and whispered into Phil’s ear, “I want you”.

“What? asked Phil

Dan leaned forward and again whispered, this time more seductively, ‘I WANT you.”

Phil froze, his eyes large.  Dan never made the opening move in their playtime, and especially, never in  public.  

He turned around to look at Dan and make sure he had understood.  Dan’s face was awash with passionate hunger.  

Phil turned crimson.  He had definitely understood correctly.  

Back in the car, before the rest of the crew got in, Dan grabbed Phil’s neck from the back and held it firmly.  “I want you, Phil.  And I will have you at the hotel.  Be ready.”

He let go just as the doors opened and the rest of the crew got in.  

Phil was left in shock.  Once again, Dan was in new territory.  Phil was definitely the top in their relationship and Dan had never taken such a dominant tone with him.  Phil found himself biting his lip, partially from nerves and thinking about the upcoming show, and partially because he was confused about Dan.  

As they drove through the beautiful countryside, both Dan and Phil looked out the windows and remarked on the brilliant landscapes.  But when Phil caught 
Dan’s eyes, he saw only one thing staring back:  hunger.  He met Dan’s gaze and found himself trying to re-assert his dominance with a subtle look, but Dan did not back down.  What was going on? What was this game?  Phil was completely perplexed, but he was going to figure it out.  

He spent the next thirty minutes devising a plan.  And during that thirty minutes, he didn’t think about getting on stage once.  All he thought about was getting Dan in that hotel room and taking back his control.  

An hour away from the hotel, they stopped at another gas station.  

“Hey Phil, come over here, I want to show you something” Dan called, as Phil was getting back into the van.  Phil crossed over to the side of the convenience store and felt himself violently pushed against the wall with his crotch being forcefully cupped by Dan.   

“This?” Dan said huskily, “This is mine in an hour”.

Then he abruptly let Phil go and jogged to the van.

After Phil had untucked his shirt to hide what Dan had just done to him, he followed to the van and sat in his seat, amazed.  And excited.  And confused.  

As they approached the hotel, Phil decided that Dan must have been joking with him.  There had been no other signs of dominance from him, and besides, Dan was anything but dominant.  He decided to let his guard down a bit, then immediately got shaky.  His face got pale.   Oh my God, he thought, I have to be onstage in 3 hours!  

Dan caught the change and immediately leaned over, lifted Phil’s headphones and whispered into his ear, “10 minutes and counting, bitch”.

The audacity of that whisper in a car full of their friends was astounding and Phil had to forcefully keep his jaw from dropping.  His heart began racing and the color came back to his cheeks.  Was this really about to happen?  Was Dan about to try to take control of him?

They were very quiet in the elevator up to their adjoining rooms, allowing the chatter from their friends to cover the tension between them.  As Phil pushed the keycard into the slot, Dan pushed the door open forcefully and Phil in with it.  The door closed roughly behind them and they were alone.

“Dan, what have you been…” he was cut off by Dan’s tongue thrusting into the back of his throat.  Phil immediately became erect. Dan’s hand found him and began gently caressing him.   He could not believe what was happening to his body.  He was the dominant.  He was always in control.  Who was this young man and what was he doing to him?  

After several minutes, Dan suddenly pushed him away, leaving him breathless. 

“Get on your knees” he demanded, forcefully but quietly.  

And after a moment’s hesitation, Phil obeyed.

“Get me out” he ordered, in the same quiet tone.

Phil began to unbutton Dan’s black jeans, when he felt his hands slapped away.

“No hands.”

Phil looked up at Dan with his jaw hanging open.  He took two breaths and in the silence, he felt his erection growing.   Something was happening to him.  Something new.  Something different.  Something very nice.  

Slowly, he reached up to Dan’s top button and opened his mouth.  It was hard work, but after a minute, he had to top button undone.  

He looked up at Dan, suddenly confused.  His brain didn’t seem to be working correctly.

“Now, the zipper” Dan coached, again in a flat tone.

Phil reached up and took the zipper between his teeth and gently pulled down.  The sound of the links separating echoed through the hotel room.  

Pull them down.  

Phil reached his hands forward, but again found them slapped away.

Dan’s face was stern, serious and towering above Phil’s.  Phil couldn’t believe it.  He was in exctasy.  He grabbed one side of the younger boy’s jeans with his teeth and began to pull them down, lowering his body into a bow as they reached the floor.

“Stay there a moment” commanded Dan, and Phil stayed in a bow, his head resting on Dan’s foot, breathing rapidly and aching between in his belly.  Was this what Dan felt?  Was this the sensation of submission?  Because if it was, Phil began to think he really liked it.

“Now, get me out” said Dan.

Phil didn’t want to leave his spot on the floor, down at Dan’s foot where he suddenly felt he belonged, but he did as commanded.  He slowly raised up out of his bow and used his mouth to separate the opening in Dan’s boxer-briefs.  Then, with great enthusiasm, he reached in with his mouth and had almost reached Dan’s penis when he heard–

“Beg me.”

“What?” Phil heard himself ask.

“Beg me.”

In the silence, Phil tried to think of what to say, He was in a new headspace and didn’t have the vocabulary to express what he was feeling.  All he knew is what he wanted, so he said, simply, “May I please have your cock?”

Dan chuckled.  “Not like that, Phily.  Ask me if you may take my cock out.  You won’t ‘have’ it for quite some time”

“May I take your cock out.”


“Sir”

“Sir” Phil added quickly.

“Yes you may, Phily,” said Dan gently, and Phil slowly reached in with his mouth, encircled Dan’s erect cocks with his lips, and softly pulled it through the slit in his boxer-briefs.  

“Good boy”, said Dan.  “Now, take off your pants, your shirt and your underwear, fold them nicely and place them at my feet. 

Phil did so as if he were in a dream. Soon, he was back on his knees at Dan’s feet, naked except for his mismatched socks.  

“Get on the bed on your hands and knees, head down” ordered Dan.

Phil climbed atop the bed, positioned himself on his hands and knees, and then placed his head down so that it touched the bed.

“Good boy”, said Dan.  “Now back up right to the edge of the bed”.

Phil complied.

The next thing he felt was Dan’s hand on his cock and his lips kissing his back.  The tingles of pleasure travelled through him and Phil thought he might cum right then and there.  He raised his head to turn to look at Dan, but was immediately met with a firm slap to the right cheek of his bottom.

“Head Down, Phil”

“Yes Sir” Phil answered and immediately put his head down.  Dan started milking Phil’s cock as his kisses worked their way up Phil’s spine to his neck.  

“I’m going to cum“ said Phil, breathing rapidly

“Not without permission,” said Dan.

May I cum, Dan?” 

“No” came the answer, and Dan immediately stopped stroking Phil.

“Head up,” ordered Dan, “and turn around to face me”.

Phil crawled in a semi-circle until he was facing Dan.

“Suck me” said Dan

And Phil gently took Dan into his mouth and began sucking softly, moving his lips slowly from tip to base as Dan’s cock began to grow.  

“That’s right.  That’s a good boy,” moaned Dan, who was enjoying playing this part more than he thought he would.  He glanced at the clock.  They still had 90 minutes before they needed to leave for the theater.  Plenty of time.

Phil began to moan.  He felt his cock growing between his legs and could not believe how large it was getting.  Dan reached down and stroked Phil’s head, then gently took it in both of his hands and began to guide him as he sucked.  

When Dan was about to burst, he guided Phil off of him.  “On your back, legs in the air” he ordered, and Phil immediately complied.

Phil lay on top of Dan, taking the younger boys legs on each of his shoulders.  He pressed his cock against Phil’s asshole, something he was almost never allowed to do.  “Relax” he said in a whisper.  “I’ll go slowly.  Spread your legs apart a bit more,” he coached the older boy, ‘There you go, Yes, like that.  Now relax”   

Phil slowed his breathing a bit and Dan applied the lubricant to both of them.  Then, with gentle pressure, he entered his best friend.  Phil’s head immediately arched backward and his eyes rolled into the back of his head.  This felt amazing.  Dan was bigger than he had ever felt him before, but nothing hurt:  he felt like Dan was exactly the right size to fill the ache that was consuming him.  

Dan began to thrust gently, in and out, and his own stomach stimulated Phil’s cock as he moved.  Both boys were close and both knew it.  

“Do you want to cum, Phily?” asked Dan, increasing the pace of his thrusting. 

“Yes, yes!” cried Phil, not caring who might hear.

“Ask permission first” said Dan

“Please?”

“Please, what?”

Phil was using all of his strength to control himself.  He didn’t know if he could hold out long enough to make another sentence.  But he knew he had to.  He knew he wanted to.

“Please, Sir, Please may I cum for you?”

“Yes, you may, baby”

And as Phil shot up Dan’s chest, his eyes rolled back in his head and his back arched as he thrust against Dan’s stomach over and over and over.

Dan began to cum at the same time, emptying himself inside of Phil, something he had never done before and something that caused Phil to gasp and then cum even harder.

Dan collapsed on top of Phil and kissed him hard on the mouth.  Phil held Dan in his arms and kissed him back as best he could, breathlessly.  

“Are you okay?” Dan asked Phil.  “Did I hurt you?”

“I’m okay,” answered Phil.  “I – I don’t know what happened to me..  Or what happened to you!   What was that?!” 

“Just something I’ve been thinking about,” said Dan.  Come on, we need to shower.  

In the van on the way to the show, Phil was chatty and silly–his usual self.  Dan sat back with a small smirk on his face.  It had worked!

The show went smoothly and the fans were lovely and Phil seemed to be having the best time he had had on the entire tour.

After the show, they went back to the hotel and collapsed onto the bed.  The show was fun to do, but very tiring, so the two boys were both exhausted. 

“That was great” said Phil.  “I think that went better than the other ones, don’t you?”

“Yes, I think so too” agreed Dan.  

“I wonder what the difference was?”  said Phil.  “You know, come to think of it, I didn’t really feel nervous at all before we walked onstage.”

Dan began laughing.

“What?”

“It worked, that’s what!” said Dan, laughing harder now.

“What worked?”

Dan gave Phil a knowing look.

“What?  No, we’ve made love before shows before.  That couldn’t have been it. “

“Lester, you spork, I was toying with your mind all day so you didn’t have time to be nervous!  Since when am I a Dom?!”

“Oh My God!” said Phil, “That’s what you were doing?  I–I didn’t understand why you had changed so much. Oh wow.  Dan.  Wow.  Thank you!”

“You’re welcome!   It was kind of fun. I just pretended I was you.  Did you enjoy it?”

“More than I ever thought I could, actually” said Phil, turning on his side to face Dan.  “You did a good job.  I never knew that was how you felt with me.”

“Well, now we both know”.  

Phil pulled Dan close and embraced him, drawing him into a passionate kiss.  

“Just remember, Howell,” Phil whispered, “Who your Daddy really is”.

xaandiir  asked:

I just listened to Assassins for the first time after your recommendation and it's wonderful!! I adore Sondheim's work. What are your opinions on his other shows?

Omg, this is what I live for! Sharing my love of Sondheim with people is one of my main hobbies. 

My opinions on his other shows boil down to: Sondheim is one of the greatest artistic geniuses of the world and all his shows are remarkable. That being said, I’m not super familiar with Saturday Night, Road Show, or Do I Hear a Waltz? 

Out of Sondheim’s 19 major shows, I have seen 10 live. But there are some shows I know very intimately, even though I’ve never seen a production. Assassins is one of those shows - I know it backwards and forwards but it isn’t done very often and I missed the 2004 revival (my dad thought I was too young for it and I’m still not over it). 

So, because I’m clearly a bit of a Sondheim wonk, I will give everyone a primer on what shows to dive into. Here we go. 

If you already love musical theater, but haven’t delved into Sondheim yet, start with: 

  • Into the Woods
  • Sweeney Todd
  • Gypsy
  • Company

If you love classical music and opera, but haven’t fallen in love with musicals, start with: 

  • A Little Night Music
  • Sweeney Todd
  • Passion

If you’re a huge fan of musicals/film, but the whole “linear storytelling” thing is kind of boring you, check out:  

  • Company
  • Follies
  • Pacific Overtures
  • Assassins

If you make literally any kind of art, start with the greatest reflection on making art:  

  • Sunday in the Park with George

And here are the ones you can watch on film: 

  • West Side Story
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum 
  • Company 
    • (PBS recorded the revival with Raul Esparza - find it on streaming) 
  • A Little Night Music
  • Pacific Overtures 
    • (the original was filmed and broadcast in Japan in the 70s, so it’s still floating around on YouTube) 
  • Sweeney Todd 
    • (there are lots of filmed live versions floating around and I think a DVD of the original production. Please don’t watch the Tim Burton movie if it’s your first time hearing the musical because a) Johnny Depp is a garbage person and b) Helena Bonham Carter was the worst possible choice for Mrs. Lovett in terms of vocal ability) 
  • Sunday in the Park with George 
    • (the original production was filmed) 
  • Into the Woods 
    • (again, don’t watch the movie - Emily Blunt is incredible but the whole show sort of falls apart because of the direction. The original 1988 production was filmed and is so fucking wonderful) 
  • Assassins (JK YOU CAN’T FIND IT ANYWHERE AND IT DRIVES ME CRAZY) 
  • Passion 
    • (the original was filmed and OH MY GOD THIS MUSICAL IS SO GREAT) 

And if you want to watch/listen to MY personal favorites: 

  • Assassins
  • Pacific Overtures
  • Passion
  • Sunday in the Park with George
  • Company 
  • Into the Woods

If you just want to listen to some baller songs from the shows listed here: 

  • West Side Story
    • Something’s Coming” 
    • “Maria” 
    • “Somewhere”
  • Gypsy
    • Everything’s Coming Up Roses” 
    • “Rose’s Turn” 
  • Company
    • “Sorry-Grateful” (UGH. the feelings) 
    • “Another Hundred People” 
    • “Marry Me A Little” (here’s a video of John Barrowman singing it, bc I think you guys will be into that) 
    • “Ladies Who Lunch” (a martini song - as in, pour yourself a martini and put on a shawl and parade around singing this very loudly)
    • “Being Alive” (one of the greatest songs ever written) 
  • Follies
  • A Little Night Music
    • “The Glamorous Life” 
    • “Every Day a Little Death” 
    • “Send in the Clowns” 
    • “The Miller’s Son” 
  • Pacific Overtures
    • “Poems” 
    • “Someone in a Tree” 
    • “Pretty Lady”
  • Sweeney Todd
    • “Poor Thing” 
    • “Pretty Women”
    • “Epiphany”
    • “Johanna (Quartet)”
    • “Not While I’m Around”
  • Merrily We Roll Along
  • Sunday in the Park with George
    • “Sunday in the Park with George” 
    • “Color and Light”
    • “Finishing the Hat” 
    • “Move On”
  • Into the Woods
    • “Giants in the Sky”
    • “Moment in the Woods” 
    • “Your Fault/Last Midnight” 
    • “No More” (which they left out of the film version like IDIOTS) 
    • “No One Is Alone” 
  • Assassins
    • All of it. 
    • Jk, jk, it does work best when you listen to the whole thing though
    • “Gun Song” 
    • “Unworthy of Your Love” 
    • “Another National Anthem/Family/Something Just Broke” 
  • Passion
    • “I Read” 
    • “Is This What You Call Love” 
    • “Loving You” 

But honestly, Assassins and Passion are about as perfect as art ever gets. Each of his shows have their strengths and stand-out moments, but I think I would not be the first person to say that Stephen Sondheim sometimes falters in second acts (and Sondheim faltering is still better than 99% of everyone else’s best). Both Assassins and Passion are 90 minute one act shows that are tight and thorough and expertly constructed. The first act of Sunday in the Park with George is like that as well. 

So go listen and explore and fall in love with this incredible composer! And then pls come talk to me about it. And also @personalinsanitymoment, who I am dragging into this discussion because we have different favorite musicals (because they’re all amazing!!), so I could use his input. 

I would apologize for this extremely long post, but I regret nothing.

THIS IS A PSA TO ANYONE PLANNING TO SEE THE MOVIE "SAUSAGE PARTY" (no spoilers)

i saw this movie with my friend tonight. from the beginning it didn’t seem like the type of movie that i’d like, sorta crude/dirty jokes. i assumed it’d be kinda like how family guy is. but it was my friends birthday and it had gotten pretty good reviews on rotten tomato so we figured why not.

this movie is absolutely disgusting. being a new release the theater was initially pretty crowded, but well over half the audience had left by the end of the movie (which lasts only 90 minutes). from the beginning there was a whole lot of unnecessary profanity (trying to be funny but not succeeding) and also a lot of sexual innuendos, both of which i expected. everything got worse and worse over the course of the movie.

i’ve been trying to figure out how to word this but there’s just so much that happened i’m going to make a list of all the things this 90 minute animation about talking food included:
⁃ a violent rape scene (multiple).
⁃ drug abuse (various types of drugs, and lots of them)
⁃ gore (not the food type, there was also bloody human gore)
⁃ racism / sexism / homophobia
⁃ towards the end of the movie there is a huge sex scene. i can’t say that it’s graphic because it’s animated food but i honestly can’t believe it’s not X rated.
⁃ • about half of the remaining audience left the theatre during this scene
⁃ needless to say, everything was also very violent

by the end of the movie there was less than ¼ of the original audience left. i’m pretty sure those of us that remained were only there out of either stubbornness or that (as in my case) they were just too horrified to move. if you still want to see this movie after reading this, i wish you the best of luck, and i’m sure some people out there will enjoy it. for the rest of us, if you’re triggered or upset by anything in the above list, i would highly discourage you from seeing this movie.

~ please message me for any specifics bc i’m keeping this post spoiler-free ~

My Hedwig

He did it again. It doesn’t matter how high my expectations are with Darren, he always manages to exceed them, somehow. I packed my bag and left my own wicked little town for a week and went to sunny LA to see Hedwig, again. I thought he couldn’t be better than in New York. Boy, I was wrong. Maybe it’s because I’m more used to listening to his voice in videos or crackling audio recordings than in real life, but every time I have the rare chance to bask in the richness and beauty of his voice, the reasons why I’ve ever loved this man become clear again in my head.

His voice is loud, bold, deep, rough and sweet at the same time. It’s soft and rich like velvet and it melts like pure honey. And the best part is that his voice is just what titillates your hearing. Everything is brought to completion by how he moves and the expressions his face is able to make. He moves and bends his body as he pleases and it’s strong and fragile, compact and feminine. He has muscles and, trust me, you can see each and every single one of them, and you can see his strenght in all his jumps and push-ups and all those crazy acrobatics he does all round the stage. But he curves his body, he bends his leg, he sits on a lonely stall or a damaged car and he’s suddenly a mean but fragile and beaten up woman who’s been through more shit than anyone could bear, or a little boy molested by his father, or a young kid who still doesn’t know what he wants from life and who’s too afraid to love. He spins his strong figure and he’s a graceful ballerina dancing to a rock ‘n’ roll song. His eyes are pools of deep emotion and he can say more with a raised eyebrow than I could ever say to you with a million words. You can’t take your eyes off of him, Hedwig, Tommy, Luther and all the other characters he has within his own body for the whole 90 minutes. You can see his eyes even from the back of the theater and, surrounded by muddy maybelline tears, smudged eyeshadow and fake lashes, they find you, somehow. Each and every one of you at the same time. The energy you can literally see radiating from him is captivating and with his moves and his voice he takes you by the hand and he leads you through so many characters and so many stories but you don’t get lost. He doesn’t let you. He tells Hedwig’s story so clearly and with so much honesty that you can’t escape it. The funny parts, the sad parts, the dark parts. Parts that you would never want to hear, things that you would never want to see happening to someone. You go through them all with him and you get to the end of the last note and you realize that you didn’t just learn about Hedwig’s story, or Hansel’s, or Tommy’s. No, you also learned a little bit about yourself. In these 90 minutes of silly jokes, sexual innuendos and silent tears, you actually found a little piece of knowledge that you can add to your own story. And this happens every time you see the show. From the moment he puts his golden heels on the car to the one his bare feet lead him out of the stage.

My parents saw the show for the very first time. I want to include this in my little recap for a reason. They have never seen Darren doing anything live, they’ve never seen Hedwig, live or on screen, and they don’t speak English. They loved it. They couldn’t understand how this cute, sweet, little guy they saw talking with fans at stage door could become this stage monster they saw in front of them. My father told me: “I knew he had talent, from a couple of videos I saw from you, but I could have never imagined how much of an explosion of talent and energy he actually is”. His techincal precision, his vocals and his moves hit them, even if they couldn’t understand one single joke. They didn’t understand the innuendoes, the jokes or the rough and poignant dialogues (or monologues I should say) and yes, one could say they missed a lot, but they felt it. They felt Hedwig’s pain and feelings and Darren made them go through the dark turns and noice of Hedwig’s story just thanks to his own passion and talent. Nothing else. And I do think this is all kinds of amazing and remarkable.

The show lack the intimacy of the New York’s show, inevitable since you have almost 3000 people instead of 1000 and the theater is clearly huge, but the energy and the roaring laughs, claps and cheering make up for it. I’ll never forget how proud I felt. Seeing Darren coming on stage taking is bow, the spotlights lighting up again on the audience and 3000 people standing up for him is one hell of a view. He has the power to make 3000 people loudly cheer for him and to have them silently, completely and unwillingly - because he doesn’t give you room for any choice - eating out from the palm of his hand. It doesn’t matter if it’s touching a wig, picking at those fishnets, holding a mic or sending a kiss.

youtube

I realize posting 90 minute long videos to tumblr isn’t really done, but you guys. This is so great.

Darren As Hedwig, My Thoughts

So many things should be said about Darren Criss as Hedwig yet I can’t quite come up with the words that could possibly describe my experience and his performance.

I have read so many times over the past several weeks that you don’t see Darren when he’s on stage. You see Hedwig. I though to myself that can’t be possible, I’m way too aware that its him. I’m going to be sitting in the 3rd row. But last night. I found myself staring at his jaw line just to confirm to myself that in fact the person standing on that stage was Darren Criss. Because yes, at all other times that only person I saw was Hedwig, and she’s beautiful. (I mean Blaine Anderson, who is that???!!)

When I first heard the news that Darren was going to play Hedwig I said there was no way that John Cameron Mitchell trusted this role to him unless he believed that Darren would excel. After all Hedwig is his baby. Well I can confirm that JCM must not be disappointed, as excel he did.

Electrifying might in fact be the best word to describe his performance.

I also said when I heard the Hedwig news that when I saw NPH play this role last year, my thoughts at that time were that a person who could play Hedwig, a role requiring so many things including humor, sadness, a killer voice, and the ability to work both the stage and the audience (not to mention do all of this in make up, wigs, and heels) is the true definition of talent. Well Webster should absolutely amend its definition of talent and add two words- Darren Criss. To say that he completely transforms himself for the 90+ minutes he is on the stage is an understatement.

I have never been more proud to call myself a fan. I don’t think I could love him anymore. I’m so happy he got to add this to his resume and prove all of those haters wrong. Because that boy can act. And sing. And make me laugh. And make me cry. And completely charm an audience (many of whom are theater fans or Hedwig fans and not necessarily Darren fans). And work a stage in a mesmerizing and beautiful, sometime haunting, way. Every hand gesture. Every facial expression. Brilliant.

And not to take anything away from the beginning and the middle (Origin of Love has always been my favorite song from the show and he did not disappoint), but what has been said cannot be more true. His Hedwig’s Lament, Exquisite Corpse, Reprise of Wicked Little Town, and Midnight Radio were the best 20 minutes of live theater I have every seen. And I’ve been lucky enough to see a lot of shows. The emotion that he feels is emitted out of his every pore during the end of this show, it is almost overwhelming.

So Congratulations Darren Criss. You were incredible. Just one more step towards the world domination I know you are targeting. I truly believe there is nothing you can’t do.

If you haven’t seen it and its even within the realm of possibility (I know easy for me to say, I just had to buy a ticket and take a short subway ride to the theater) go to this show. You won’t regret it. I know I am sending a mass email to all of my friends to see who is willing to go with me again before July 19.

I haven’t sat all the way through “Hamilton” for a fourth time. But as a reporter covering the hullaballoo around the final performance of Miranda (and of two of his co-stars, Leslie Odom, Jr. and Phillipa Soo) July 9, I had the chance to get walked in for the curtain call.


I ended up seeing the last 45 minutes or hour of the show that night, standing at the back of the Richard Rodgers Theater. (I came in right around when Hamilton decides to write the Reynolds Pamphlet.)


The engaged excitement of the crowd was palpable, the laughter quick and enthusiastic, and, toward the end, the crying audible and omnipresent. This was an audience savoring every minute, and the same seemed true of the actors. Soo went at her song “Burn” with even more intensity and heartbreak than usual, and Miranda seemed to feel every moment with new immediacy.


It was pretty moving, and it served to remind me how surprised I had been at the show’s emotional power the first time I saw it. It goes a long way to explaining why the musical has proven as resonant as it has, even beyond the accessibility of its super-smart concept.


I also picked out more clearly than ever the influences that Miranda has always worn on his sleeve. I heard Sondheim in “Your Obedient Servant” (“Careful how you proceed, good man / Intemperate indeed, good man”), and recognized “Les Miserables” in the death of Hamilton’s son (which is the show’s own “and rain will make the flowers grow” moment).


I had spent the 90 minutes prior to the performance interviewing the ticket holders and fans who had turned up for the July 9 show, and it was impossible not to be heartened by the sheer volume of young people excited about theater. I suspect we’ll be seeing the ripple effect of that for years.


So to the people who beg me for details about “Hamilton,” I usually say: Yes, it’s great. Yes, you should see it, with any cast you can. And yes, there’s a decent chance I’ll end up seeing it again sometime.

INSIDE OUT (2015)

You know a movie will hit the cultural zeitgeist when the day after you’ve seen it, not only are you and your friends still talking about it, but your conversation looks something like this:

S: So, who do you think is at the control of my mind?

Me: Anger. Most definitely anger.

A: That’s messed up. But true.

S: Funny, haha, Dollins. Who do you think is at his controls?

G: That’s easy. Disgust. All the way.

INSIDE OUT is going to prompt conversations like these around the country over the next few weeks. This movie is so remarkable in how it literalizes the workings of the human mind that people are going to get a major kick taking this clever film and using it to analyze their friends and themselves. After all, after G announced that Disgust is my dominant emotion, I spent a good amount of time reflecting to determine how true that is.

Sadly, it’s very true. I am a critic, after all.

In a social media world in which people take daily Buzzfeed personality tests (Which member of One Direction are you?), the anthropomorphic emotions of INSIDE OUT are due to be Disney/Pixar’s next big sensation. Cue the cuddly toys, character t-shirts, mouse ears at Disneyland, and Happy Meal toys. These little guys – Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust – are primed to be big stars this summer and hereafter. And the biggest reason why is because INSIDE OUT is one of 2015’s most beautiful films.

I don’t gush about certain movies very often, but my eyes were gushing tears as I watched Pixar’s latest masterpiece (yes, I dropped the “M” word). INSIDE OUT touched that deep, emotional spot in my mind and played me like a fiddle for 90 minutes. It is so emotionally resonant that instead of 3-D glasses, theater ushers should be handing out travel-sized packs of Kleenex. At about two-thirds of the way through the film, I could have used a tissue; my hand was already soggy.

INSIDE OUT is the first film I’ve seen that effectively gets me to relate to the experiences of an 11-year old girl. This girl is named Riley. She lives in Minnesota with her family, where she has great friends, wonderful parents, and is a stud on her little league hockey team. We meet Riley on the day of her birth, when her first emotion appears at the sight of her parents. That emotion is Joy, played with effervescent spirit by Amy Poehler. Joy becomes Riley’s defining emotion, and as more emotions are felt, also voiced by the perfect actors (Lewis Black as Anger couldn’t have been more inspired had he written the part for himself), Joy becomes their de facto leader. Her mission is to keep Riley happy. All of Riley’s memories are filtered through Joy’s free-spirited touch, and sent on their merry way to be filed in Riley’s long term memory. Meanwhile, each of Riley’s core memories become the foundation for the islands that represent the dominant characteristics of her personality – her goofiness, love for her family, connection with friends, passion for hockey, etc. Under Joy’s care, Riley seems to be the most well-adjusted youngster in the world.

Complication arises in the form of life itself. Riley’s dad finds business opportunities in San Francisco, so the family has to relocate, which turns Riley’s world upside down. Try as Joy and the other emotions might to put a positive spin on Riley’s life changing experience, it is Sadness who comes to the forefront, causing all sort of problems. She touches a memory and it begins to be filtered through her melancholy lens. Joy works to get rid of Sadness, but in the effort, winds up also getting separated from the control room, leaving Fear, Anger, and Disgust behind to take care of the business of guiding Riley. Joy and Sadness then have to embark on a great journey to get back to Riley’s control room before true disaster can strike.

INSIDE OUT manages to take the ideas of Psych 101 and make them completely understandable to the average joe. Riley’s memories are stored in tiny globes that get filed in giant shelves in her brain. Workers examine her memories to determine which are often used versus those that are no longer unnecessary. Sometimes those workers like to play jokes, and shoot memories of crappy commercial jingles up to control to torment Riley with a little earworm. There is a section of Riley’s brain that handles the processing of abstract thought, an Imagination land, and even a movie studio that produces the dreams she has at night during REM sleep. I can already imagine some kids out there watching this movie and plotting future careers in psychology.

But the power of this film isn’t just in how clever it is. That’s an added bonus. What makes INSIDE OUT a masterpiece is what often distinguishes Pixar from their CGI-animation rivals: the focus on true empathy for their characters (and, by relation, the whole of humanity). Allowing us access to the workings of Riley’s brain forces us to feel for her predicament. Other films might cause us to judge her, or suggest that she’s overreacting. Isn’t that what we often tell children who have a deep emotional reaction to the things that happen to them? Seeing her fight to stay positive when everything seems to be falling apart around her is devastating to watch.

Pete Docter, the director (also behind MONSTER’S INC. and UP), doesn’t just want us to see the world through Riley’s eyes. He also wants us to see the world from other characters, too. The closing credits shows us the inner workings inside the brains of all the major characters, and it isn’t just hysterical, but also revelatory. This is what caused my family and I to question who was behind the control panel in each of our heads. Empathy is one of the greatest things you can teach a person, and INSIDE OUT may be one of the greatest lessons ever provided by the cinema.

I received an email from someone saying that it’s been hard to enjoy Hayden Christensen posts on Tumblr because of so many negative comments about Hayden in regards to Star Wars and Episode VIII rumors.  She suggested that fans use the hashtag #HaydenChristensenAppreciation so those posts are easier to find. I think it could be helpful.

I also wanted to share with you all something I’ve noticed lately.  On Twitter, Facebook and blogs around the web, Star Wars prequel fans have been posting a lot of positive things. There are a lot of Star Wars prequel fans out there and many are fans of Hayden as well.

It’s all starting to feel a lot less one sided.  By that I mean they aren’t going to war over it but posting positive articles and just having fun with posts and pictures and enjoying their love of all things Star Wars including the prequels.

So use the new hashtag but use the others too and people will join you. Just keep having fun and don’t let anyone stop you.

BTW….Hayden isn’t going anywhere.  You can see him in theaters right now in 90 Minutes in Heaven. American Heist and Outcast are available on DVD and Blu-ray.  He begins work soon on Marco Polo for Paramount Pictures.  So there are a lot of things to look forward to. 😍 🎥 🎬 🍁 💞

One of the guys came up to me after the show and said, ‘I have P.T.S.D., and I can’t concentrate on anything for more than 30 seconds. But I just watched 90 minutes of a Shakespeare play. 
That was a very special kind of thing. It’s a reminder of how thin the margin is between our comfortable middle-class lives and a very, very different version of ourselves.
— 

Barry Edelstein, Artistic Director of the Old Globe on the effect of the “Globe for All” initiative. 

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