The Phantom of the Opera: Theatre Review

14 Apr


Date of Play: April 12, 2014

Theater: Academy of Music, 420 South Broad Street Philadelphia

Entrance and greeters: The greeters are polite, informative and friendly. If you forget your tickets, you can have them reprinted at the counter instead of walking all the way back to your car. You can only do this if you already purchased tickets via the Kimmel Center and your seats are reserved.

Theater: This theater is rich in color and boasts in the colors of burgundy and gold. The temperature is not too cold nor too hot. The chandelier hanging above is the star of the room.

Seating: Balcony Box Seats 3 and 4, Section 31

View: Amazing view, although seats 3 and 4 you might have to turn your chair slightly to the right as to not strain your neck. Once the chairs are turned, the view is perfect and no neck strain.

Main Cast members: Cooper Grodin as the Phantom, Julia Udine as Christine and Ben Jacoby as Raoul.

Favorite Song(s): I had waited to hear “All I ask of You” all night and was not disappointed when it finally arrived. However, the songs “Music of the Night” and the “Theme” song were so captivating and powerful, I thought I was in the movie of the Phantom of the Opera from 2004. The cheering and clapping of the audience after it was performed showed that the singers did their job in taking us into a musical journey. It was pitch perfect and right on point.

Overall opinion: This play was a dream come true for me and one I can now cross off my bucket list. I had waited many years to see this play and I was so happy when it came to Philadelphia. I was overly impressed by the strong voices from the cast members, albeit this was their last show here in Philadelphia. Cooper Grodin was amazing as the Phantom and captured his every essence-he truly was spell binding and mesmerizing. Julia’s strong yet feminine voice carried out throughout the theater in a crisp manner. Ben’s role as Raoul was sweet, romantic and strong. The remaining cast members contributed nicely to the main cast members in the play. There were many funny moments in the play and the audience was part of it in several points of the night. I found the costumes beautiful and well made. The staircase that the Phantom and Christine walk down on was interesting and high tech. During the play, cast members appear in the audience for a scene in the play. Where we sat, we were literally 2 feet away from one of them and that was a fun experience. Overall, the entire songs sung were breathtaking and beautiful. I was impressed by the cast.

Orchestra: Under the direction of Richard Carsey.

Parking: We parked on Samson Street off of Broad Street. It is a 2 block walk to the theater.


JavaGirl’s Journal week 18: End of a chapter

14 Apr

Dear Journal,

It’s been a quite some time since I last wrote in your. So much has happened and I purposefully kept quiet to process and take care of business. Yesterday, was the big day to completely move everything that I wanted into storage before the buyers look at the house Monday. Initially, three people bailed out on me last minute to help me move. Everything worked out and 15 teens on a retreat stopped by and helped us. This has been a huge relief for me as I have been working almost every single weekend since the last week of December at my mom’s house.

My emotions have been on pause for most of these months. My mom’s picture hangs up on my wall and I would tell her between tears that I was trying my best in taking care of everything (on my own), but that it has been hard. Gone are those days when I would cry driving home on Fridays as those were the days we would talk and plan our weekends. I now just look at the sunset and wonder what she is doing up in heaven-and I smile I talk to her anytime of the day as I feel her spirit is always near me.

It is a surreal and strange feeling to be walking through her house with all the furniture gone. The house echoes. Memories of laughter, loud tv, hustling and bustling of the three of us are vanished. I remember when she moved into her house. When she was looking at her new home, it was empty and the walls were of different colors. I remember walking around the house with her and she was smiling so much already telling everyone what walls were going to be. I could see her eyes light up with all the decorations she had in mind. My mom had a talent of making any home to feel absolutely cozy. Before we knew it, her house was all decorated and candles were lit. When she knew Adventure Boy and I were coming to visit her, she’d make sure we were always welcomed with the scent of candles or something cooking in the oven. Now the house is odorless. Completely a shell now. Ready to make memories for the next family that moves in. That house was good to her. It kept her safe and brought in many friends and family.

A new chapter of my life began after 11:30 am on Thanksgiving morning and ended yesterday. It was a short chapter of my life and yet it’s something that I had to go through. I was looking forward to ending this chapter as it was difficult and frustrating to me in some ways. I feel a great relief now. I can feel as though I can begin a new chapter in my life, one with less headaches and on the spot decisions. It has felt like a long toothache.

I must admit though, I’ve learned a lot of human behavior and the true meaning of serving others with a pure heart. The act of selfless love, care and concern. I have also seen the selfishness, nonchalant ways and ill intended behavior of people too. People I thought were going to be there for us were nonexistent and didn’t show much concern for us. There are cliques of people and if you are outside of their circle, not one of them, they don’t make much of an effort to reach out to you either. It’s true people forget about you after a month. The calls stop. The cards stop as well. No invites to dinner or drop ins. Feeling alone and forgotten would besiege me once in a while (it still does), but then I would remember the people who cared throughout this entire time. With that, I was grateful. A simple hug and huge smile would make me feel that there were still good people in this world. I now understand it just takes consistency from people to check in their loved ones to see how they are. Just a simple “Hey, how are you today” is a gold mine of love. It does make a difference. Getting on with life does take time. My cousin, Hope, has been amazing and walking me through all of this. I know I am strong-stronger than I thought. I think my mom would be proud. I know she is proud.

I’m evolving.

I have my friends to thank too. I love them so much. All of them. Especially when they took the time to write long emails, call, text, comment, taken me out to Dennys or make me laugh. It has helped me get through a tough day. Such angels they are to me.

So what does this next chapter look like? I don’t know, but I am already smiling at some of the things that it will include. My new camera is ready to start taking pictures for the WordPress challenges. I haven’t had time on the weekends to join in, hence the lack of photo challenge photos.

Spring is here and the freshness of the air, the birth of new beginnings awaits me every morning.

I am evolving.

I am.

I don’t want a knight in shining armor.

3 Apr


Because who wants a knight that doesn’t want his armor to get dirty? Am I right ladies? :)

World’s quietest room. You can hear yourself blink.

3 Apr


Credit: Orfield Laboratories

Several things went through my mind when I read this. First of all, if I can hear myself blink in this room, that alone is enough to drive me a bit bananas. What does the sound of blinking sound like? Like an eagle’s flap of wings? What would my blood sound like as it flowed through my veins? A river? The sound of a hungry belly would be funny at first, but perhaps it would then suddenly turn into a horror show of creepy whale and lion sounds.

They say not many people can stay longer than 45 minutes in this room and slowly I am understanding why (blink, blink). This opens up a maze and endless hallways of questions and input of how we as humans are adaptable to sound. Imagine people who already live in a very quiet environment and thrown into the loud sounds of NYC. They would not be able to deal with it. The overstimulation of sounds of honking horns, noise, banging would drive them crazy. Then take a person who has lived in a very noisy environment such as NYC and put them in the bowels of the South Pole where one can hear your heartbeat as loud as a shout.

Does the sound of our environment have connection of how we behave or tolerate noise? I know it emphasizes our senses to someone who lives in an extremely quiet environment compared to another person who lives in a noisy environment. Our brain adjusts itself to bring out the survival senses to live in that environment. How quickly can our brain adjust to levels of noise or lack thereof? Do we need sound to survive? Can one slowly wean themselves to adapt to complete lack of sound? What if they put a deaf person in that room? What would they experience?

I know I’d whistle to just make noise, but I’m sure I’d be quickly banging on the door pleading for someone to let me out.

Would you take the challenge? How long would you last? How would you distract yourself?

What if they turned off the lights in that room?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life

1 Apr


This was taken a few years ago when we went to hang out in NYC. There was a scaffold above me when I took the picture which made a unique and unconventional border; we all know I am untraditional and unconventional when it comes to pictures. If you’ve never been to NYC, scaffolds are as common as hotdog stands. A scaffold is a platform that is suspended from above that construction workers use as they do their job working on a building. You are constantly walking under a scaffold at some point while walking in the heart of NYC. A simple, but realistic look at street life in one of the busiest cities in the world-people walking around either as a tourist or going to or from work. Or in my case.



The eagle has landed

28 Mar


JavaGirl’s Life in the comics.

27 Mar

*Just a quick message to my new subscribers*

Hello darlings,

A great big hug to you! Thanks for wanting to know what is happening in my life and subscribing. Usually I post a lot more than you see here, but I’ve been extremely busy getting things done (watch my last blog post of December 2013 and you’ll understand why). Believe me, I’ve got great things planned for this blog, so just hang in there for me just a bit longer. It would mean a lot to me. Trust me.




The snow keeps coming and coming. I love seeing all the tulips and green grass-rabbits running freely through the fields….butterflies decorating the sky and overall warm air. (Sarcasm). Oh well. Que sera, sera.



My reaction at the black dress I just bought for the show “Phantom of the Opera”. So in love with it.


Had my yearly physical with my doctor. I actually spent more time waiting to be seen (or even signing in the sheet) than I did seeing my doctor. Overall, I’m actually normal. In good health. Yay.


We continue to box up things at my mom’s house every weekend. I’ve missed sleeping in on Saturdays.


At the end of the day, I am so sore and my back hurts. :(


Remind me not to go into Pier 1 Imports after working 5 hours straight packing and moving boxes. It’s so easy to fall asleep on their sofas. Pier 1 Imports is my wonderland. I get easily lost in the labyrinth of bright colors, mirrors and exotic looking candles.


The buyer of my mom’s house will be paying in cash!


Me, just trying to outdo Godzilla. Adventure Boy and I are waiting for this movie.


Senor Pizza always has to be so dramatic about everything. Especially on nights when I don’t feel like cooking.


I got a new camera! I got it for my vacation coming up in July where we will be seeing 4 countries. I also got it because it’s waterproof and I’ll be filming underwater as much as I can. It doesn’t hurt either if it starts raining and I don’t have to worry about my camera getting soaked. Although I must admit, this camera does need special attention just airing out after it’s been in salt water. It’s very detailed, but I can live with it. Slim, small, but packed with what all the other cameras can do too. It’s a powerhouse! I originally wanted a GoPro Hero, but remembered I had wanted this camera for a lot longer and the movie mode isn’t too shabby.


So, that’s basically what has been happening with me lately. Just busy and doing a lot of grown up things. Not necessarily fun, but they must be done. Thanks for reading. Talk soon!


Amanda xoxo

The next time you see a chicken cross the road…think this!

15 Mar



The Phantom of the Opera is beckoning me.

9 Mar


Guess who is excited beyond words for April to come? I can hardly contain my excitement! I have been meaning to see this play for several years now and finally my dream is coming true! Growing up being in school plays and even being Assistant Director for one play in High School, I am in my element when it comes to theater. I was fortunate enough to have a cool mother who took me to numerous plays growing up. One year, my two friends and I went a year just seeing as many plays in Philadelphia as we could. Seeing the costumes, seeing the lights, hearing the music and songs in a professional setting is a setting I feel extremely comfortable in. I can relate from both ends in that I know what it’s like to be on stage, but also from an audience’s point of view. I love walking around and seeing the marble stairs, looking up at the ceiling molding, touch of the cool golden bars by the seats, the sensation of the carpet under my feet walking down to my seat, the velvet cushion seats…the crystal lights gleaming above me, the orchestra tuning their instruments below the stage, the sudden hush in the theater as the lights dim. I love it all!

The play will be shown at the Academy of Music theater here in Philadelphia. The theater is 150 years old. From what I’ve read of it, the beautiful chandelier hanging in the theater was recently renovated and it was sent to France to be cleaned back in 2008.

Here is the play I’ll be seeing next month. We have box seats, so the view is going to be simply glorious. The cast is touring the United States and by the trailer, it looks amazing!


Video credit: Phantom of the Opera

Motivational Monday

3 Mar


What may look like not much to someone in how they would define “success”, is probably that person’s lifetime of determination. Whatever you are doing, just keep at it. Don’t give up. Don’t compare yourself to others who may appear to boast at their success. Sure, there is a time and place for appreciation, but know that you are tending everyday to your success in life and that your own determination, discipline and persistence will pay off. Those qualities are rich, especially for success that is inward and not visually obvious to the eye.

What defines success to you? Do you find yourself comparing your successes in life to others? Does it motivate you to do better or makes you feel hopeless when you see someone else who seems to “have it all”? Success is such a general word to begin with. People often attribute money to success, but sometimes it’s the ones that are unspoken or unseen that are the most powerful.


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