They should rename the Fall 2015 semester here at Rider the semester of Hamilton in honor of all the phenomenal guest stars we have been able to host. Recently, ANDY BLANKENBUEHLER came to talk to all of the musical theatre majors. I have attached a picture of him along with my professors Robin Lewis and Carol Bentley; who both danced with him earlier in their careers. Andy is known for choreographing "In the Heights" and "Hamilton," along with both directing and choreographing "Bring It On." He is also an incredible dancer and is known for his roles in "Fosse", "Saturday Night Fever", "Man of La Mancha", and more. I'm officially running out of words for how incredible everything has been, and Andy was no exception. His brilliance left every student in the room awestruck the entire time he was speaking. His theories on the development of choreographing were insanely inspiring and filled me with so much passion to create my own work. He is one of the many artists who sees the importance of what we do. He told a story about his time in "Fosse," and quoted the amazing Ann Reinking with this "When Bob Fosse loved, it was scary." That one sentence rocked my world. Because being an artist sucks. Having to always be searching for a new job sucks. Having to meet all the right people and hope you get lucky sucks. But it's not a choice. It's a fire within your soul that eats you alive if it's not being fueled. But the moments where you make a difference are beyond any other secular experience. When an artist has something to express, it overpowers them and they have to share it. Andy is obviously so inspired by everything he does, and being there while he shared gave me a whole new perspective on my purpose. As much as I loved meeting Andy, he wasn't the most important visitor I received recently. My parents came to New Jersey!!! This past weekend was the official parents weekend here at Rider. I was so happy to share my new life with my favorite people on the planet. (If it isn't clear for any reason, my parents are and always will be the most important thing in my life. I don't have words for how much I love them, and how grateful I am. They are the rock that keeps me grounded when I feel out of control.) They were able to see me perform with all of the other freshman MT majors along with some upperclassmen. We did a few pieces from our musical theatre practicum course (think choir, but only Broadway tunes!) i attached a video of our show. We spent a evening in Philly were we went to tea time, one of our favorite things to do, and shopped until we dropped (or at least until we ran out of money!) They also explored Princeton with me, a must-see if you are ever up here. The Princeton campus is absolutely stunning. And they accompanied me to not one but TWO Broadway shows. We saw "Finding Neverland" and "An American in Paris." I adored both productions. Neverland was beautifully done. Mia Michael's choreography was so inventive and intriguing. The costume design just enhanced the artistry of Michael's movement to perfection. The music is so sweet and really has the childlike feel of wonderment. The cast was stellar and the show kept all three of us on the edge of our seats for its entirety. Just beautiful! An American in Paris was very different and just as beautiful in its own right. The dancing, my gosh, the dancing!!! Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope blew my mind. They had the best chemistry between dance partners I have seen since Fred and Ginger. Momma and I were breathless from how gorgeous the movement was. Not to mention the way the dancers moved the sets and the fluidity of the transitions between scenes. The show did not have one dull moment. It was absolutely some of the best dancing to ever grace the Broadway stage. I'm so glad my parents got to come share the experience with me. It was so exciting for them to meet my friends and some of my professors. I just so proud to be a Bronc.
Tu Me Manques, McKenna