Miller Movies with the Campus Activities Board

By: Tony Rastigue

MkPhVwso

 

Western Michigan University’s Campus Activities Board (CAB) stays busy all throughout the year as they provide entertainment for the students of WMU. The board’s committee members program comedians, movies and engaging hands-on activities. “Miller Movies,” in particular, bring students together for only $1 to enjoy a popular movie on the big screen at Miller Auditorium. A big theatrical setting such as Miller provides the ultimate movie-going experience that certainly tops streaming a movie on your phone or laptop.

While movie theater attendance has seen a decline with the rise of streaming services, it is worth the experience of actually setting aside time to go out and see a movie. With the immersive atmosphere that Miller offers, movies can be enjoyed on an entirely different level. CAB is able to enhance the movie-watching wonders as they also offer popcorn while kindly greeting students at the door. If you missed a popular movie while it was in theaters, CAB’s Miller Movies grant the opportunity for you to either revisit a favorite movie on the big screen or experience it for the first time with your fellow students.

CAB members work hard year round to excite students with events to add to their experience here on campus. They recognize the need for entertainment among Bronco students and aspire to deliver on all of their needs through careful planning and excellent coordinating. They never seem to slow down and, after decades of being one of WMU’s most popular student organizations, we’re sure they will seek to keep students engaged and amused with more enjoyable events for years to come!

Visit WMU CAB’s main website: https://www.wmucab.com/

Learn more about Miller Movies: https://www.wmucab.com/miller-movies

 

50 Years of Abbey Road’s Brilliance Celebrated On Stage

By: Tony Rastigue

The-Beatles-Abbey-Road-Album-cover-web-optimised-820-820x600

The Beatles, one of the world’s most influential groups of musical talent, have been entertaining fans with one of their most celebrated albums, Abbey Road, for over 50 years. While the album was a major hit in 1969, many years later, The Beatles’ music still resonates with artists worldwide.

My parents never introduced me to The Beatles since they grew up loving songs from the late 70’s and 80’s, but still recognized The Beatles as pioneers of their time when it came to exciting the masses. When Abbey Road was first released on iTunes in 2010, I checked out the album since I was not only familiar with the iconic cover featuring the four crossing the street, but also a few select songs.

Upon listening to the celebrated work of art, I was not only entertained, but also intrigued at all that The Beatles have done to influence generations of music. From catchy choruses to immersive instrumentals, the famous foursome have truly become legends of their craft. I was immediately hooked and proceeded to listen to the rest of their albums and appreciate their brilliance. As a fan of multiple genres of music, it is clear that the impact The Beatles have had is massive. My excitement continues with the upcoming show at Miller Auditorium, RAIN – A Tribute to the Beatles: The Best of Abbey Road.

This show brings together the celebrated hits that everyone knows and loves. This performance will transport audiences back in time to when the Fab Four dominated musical culture. In RAIN – A Tribute to the Beatles: The Best of Abbey Road, Steve Landes, Paul Curatolo, Alastar McNeil and Aaron Chiazza embody and master the original foursome down to every detail. Each cast member considers this performance a  tribute to the group that proved just how powerful and innovative music can really be.

Learn more about RAIN at http://www.raintribute.com/rain/

RAIN – A Tribute to the Beatles: The Best of Abbey Road comes to Miller Auditorium on April 5, 2019 at 8 p.m. and tickets are available now at https://tickets.millerauditorium.com/11372

Phantom Phacts You Probably Didn’t Know!

By: Tony Rastigue with information provided by THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

2018phantom-slide.jpg

As we enter our final weekend of the spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at Miller Auditorium through Feb. 17, here are a few Phun Phacts about the show!

  1. Total Broadway attendance is over 17 million and the show recently marked its 31st anniversary on Broadway.
  2. Over 65,000 performances have been seen by 140 million people in 35 countries and 160 cities in 15 languages.
  3. This show has won more than 70 well-deserved major theater awards.
  4. 20 trucks are used to move the production from city to city (16 trucks in the building and 4 more trucks for the advance).
  5. This new production uses over 1,200 costume pieces and each ballet girl goes through a pair of ballet shoes every 2-3 weeks.
  6. Over 120 wigs travel with Phantom and about 50 of them are used in the show every night. Plus, all the wigs are made from human hair except for 5.
  7. Over 200 speakers are used in the production and 50 of those are used just for the surround sound package.
  8. The famous chandelier has over 6,000 beads on it and weighs 1 ton.
  9. The new chandelier was designed by Howard Eaton, who designed the Olympic rings for the London ceremonies.
  10. The main scenic wall weighs 10 tons and rotates around the stage.

Want to learn more about THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA? Visit https://ustour.thephantomoftheopera.com/

Tickets for THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, playing through Feb. 17 at Miller Auditorium, are still available: https://tickets.millerauditorium.com/11316?psn=11316

Back to the ’80s with Rock of Ages

By: Tony Rastigue

12_Sam Harvey, ROCK OF AGES National Tour - Jeremy Daniel, 2018.jpg
Sam Harvey in ROCK OF AGES National Tour – Jeremy Daniel, 2018

As I eagerly anticipate my first ever experience with Rock of Ages: 10th Anniversary Tour at Miller Auditorium on Jan. 16, it is easy for me to reflect upon my love for classic rock music from the 1980s. While I may have been born years after this “tubular” decade, the music that emerged from that time continues to stick with and energize me more than any other genre.

I was introduced to the genre by my father at a fairly young age. As he would drive me to school, he’d always play the greatest hits by his favorite bands that he frequently jammed to while in college. I favored the works of Van Halen, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Queen, Poison and Scorpions, many of which were formed in the 70s and ultimately created a vibrant culture in the 80s. My dad would always associate a fun and crazy memory with every song and it would allow him to recall times of spontaneous and rebellious fun.

He would always tell me how he preferred to listen to this type of music specifically because each song always took him back to the fun of his youth. It made me realize that the enlivening and powerful music of anyone’s youth has the power to resonate with them for years down the line. 80s nostalgia has continued to be popular as multiple forms of entertainment immerse audiences into the radical decade of mullets and power ballads.

The 80s were a time where American youth were often less supervised and laid back which allowed for them to thrive in a decade of exciting times echoed by timeless music. It is easy to see why the 80s culture has carried into new generations as a reminder for how distinct and unique that time was and how our current generation can be inspired to bring back that enthusiastic atmosphere for both the youth and reminiscing adults to continue enjoying.

Learn more about Rock of Ages on their official site and tickets for the Miller Auditorium performance are available now at https://www.millerauditorium.com/rock-ages.

American Girl Memories

By: Tony Rastigue

American-girl-webslide.jpg

When I was 12, my family and I ventured off to explore Chicago. Upon experiencing a shopping spree unlike any other, one particular stop intrigued me–especially since an upcoming Miller show made me think back to that time. My younger sister was beyond eager to enter the American Girl store and while any other doll store would’ve bored me, this specific brand has held my interest even to this day.

It was a pretty big deal for my parents to purchase an American Girl doll for my sister. As I got older, I recognized the importance that the brand brings to its line, which showcases cultural significance as a doll’s American personality is carefully implemented. Since each doll comes with a set of books that detail their life in America, young girls are easily immersed into the doll’s life. More importantly, these books depict specific time periods of historic social issues and how the doll’s character deals and overcomes these issues. Each doll’s story complements relatable topics that younger girls appreciate and provides uplifting elements of femininity, racial identity, ethnicity and what it means to be an American.

As American Girl Live, an all-new musical coming to Miller on Jan. 5, 2019, brings some of these fictional characters to life, I anticipate that this show will warm the hearts of many in a way similar to the joy I saw in my sister’s eyes after she first held her Kit Kittredge doll. Conveying can-do attitudes and inspiring emotions aligns beautifully with true American spirit. American Girl’s fictional stories in historical settings can beautifully inspire young girls with confidence and lessons in American history.  It astonishes me that these dolls have the power to accomplish these wonders, which makes them not only a part of brand, but a cultural sensation.

You can learn more about American Girl Live at http://americangirllive.com/ and at https://www.millerauditorium.com/american-girl-live

Cirque Dreams Holidaze: Uniting An Audience

CDH 2017 Tour 01.jpg

By: Tony Rastigue

Preparing for the holiday season is both intense and exciting. Aside from hanging lights and enjoying holiday films, a particular experience at the theatre has been crafting a unique holiday spectacle unlike any other. Cirque Dreams Holidaze brings about a combination of both family-friendly entertainment and seasonal wonder that founder/director Neil Goldberg proudly presents. Goldberg has stated that he aims to “unite the audience” and immerse them into a 2-hour sensation that’ll feature 300 imaginative costumes, 20 world-class astonishing acts, the finest singers and original music. It’ll have everyone feeling the true warmth and enjoyment of the holidays.

“Uniting the audience” is a very unique way of going about presenting audiences with this particular show. Since Christmas and New Year’s only come around once a year, the anticipation leading up to those days are meant to be full of heart and joy, and Cirque appears to offer just that! Maintaining an audiences’ attention is one thing, yet uniting them altogether is certainly a difficult accomplishment I’d imagine. Goldberg has allowed his creation to fully captivate audiences through the formation of such a magnificent sense of awe-inspiring and uplifting production that instantly emerges as the ultimate holiday gift.

The tactic of “uniting the audience” is certainly a powerful and effective strategy when discussing this show, as it perfectly aligns altogether with the emotional theme of this time of year. Having the audience collectively experience delight and astonishment will surely enrapture families together with a sense of community engagement. The spirit of Christmas and New Year’s will instantaneously expand and carry on within everyone that unites themselves among a show like Cirque Dreams Holidaze. Learn more at https://www.millerauditorium.com/cirque-dreams-holidaze

 

Five Ways to Survive Finals Week

By: Tony Rastigue with Lauren Hufford

1. Make yourself at home at Waldo Library
From Monday, Dec. 10 through Thursday, Dec. 13, WMU’s Waldo Library is open for 24 hours. Finals week can be hard to bear when you are set up in your own space – there are so many distractions! Head to the library to avoid all of that. Just remember your headphones and some snacks.

2. Be sure to verify details with your professors
Most professors are happy to verify your grade so far in the semester and reiterate the deadlines and expectations for the final. They want you to do well just as much as you do. Meeting with them will give you extra insight into what you need to work on, and they might even drop a few hints about what to really need to focus on while studying.

3. Acquire productive study groups
Sometimes you don’t have a choice on who you study with, but when you have the choice, make sure you make good decisions. Don’t just pick classmates or friend who you can have fun with, but also people that will help you. If you know section A really well and a friend knows section B, get together and teach each other. Not only will you have a tutor, but you can solidify the knowledge you already have by teaching it to someone else.

4. Silence those social media accounts
Change your Facebook password, delete the Twitter app for a few days, go to the computer lab and refuse to log in to anything other than your email. Social media is a fun and easy distraction, but that isn’t what you need right now.

5. Reward yourself for all the hard work
As you study, it can feel like you will never get through everything you need to. It’s a good idea to give yourself some mini goals. If you finish a unit of your chemistry class, watch an episode of your favorite show on Netflix. After a hard exam, head over to a campus café and buy yourself a hot meal! In the unforgettable words of Parks and Rec’s Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle: “Treat Yo Self.”

Good luck this Finals Week, Broncos!

TreatYoSelf.png

Spamalot Fun Facts

Compiled by: Amelia Manley with information provided by MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT

SPAMALOT_0572.JPG

MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT comes to Miller Auditorium in just a few weeks, so we wanted to share some fun facts in advance of the show.

What is SPAM?

SPAM is a canned “shoulder pork and ham/spiced ham” pork product made by the Hormel Food Corporation. SPAM luncheon meat, like most other luncheon meats, is precooked. However, SPAM is often pan-fried or otherwise heated through again to add texture.

How Monty Python Gave the Word a New Meaning:

SPAM was one of the few meat products excluded from the British food rationing that began in World War II (and continued for a number of years after the war), and the British grew heartily tired of it. The British comedy troupe Monty Python used this as the context for their Spam sketch, which gave rise to the term spam.

In the Python sketch, a restaurant serves all its food with lots of SPAM, and the waitress repeats the word several times in describing how much SPAM is in the items.

When she does this, a group of Vikings in the corner start a song:
“SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, lovely SPAM! Wonderful SPAM!” That is, until they’re told to keep quiet!

Thus the word SPAM became a term to describe something that keeps repeating and repeating to great annoyance. Today, the term “spam” also means network abuse on the Internet, particularly junk e-mails and massive junk postings.

Hormel, the maker of SPAM, does not object to the term, but insists that it be spelled in lower case so as to distinguish it from the capitalized SPAM trademark.

Where is most of the SPAM in the U.S. made?

Austin, Minnesota is home to the plant that produces the SPAM for most of North America and Europe. That is also where the SPAM Museum is located.

What state consumes the most SPAM?

The state of Hawaii and the territory of Guam consume the most SPAM per capita.

What is the SPAM Club?

The SPAM Club is a group of devoted Eric Idle and Monty Python fans. SPAM Club members get exclusives throughout the site, such as e-mailed issues of The Daily Dirty Fork newspaper, Adopt-An-Eric, access into virtual parties, and, such club events, as “The SPAM Bag” and “Get Well Soon Eric.”

…But what exactly is a Grail?
In the Medieval Legend, the Grail is the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper. The origin of the “Legend of The Holy Grail” is believed to belong to the ancient Britons probably of Welsh and Celtic heritage. There are two explanations for the term. One is that the term “grail” itself is believed to originate from the Latin “gradale” meaning a dish used during a meal. This Latin term evolved into the Old French word “grail” meaning a “broad and capacious dish or slaver.”

What is so magical about The Grail?
It supposedly possesses the ability to heal the sick, or in King Arthur’s case, the mortally wounded. It also has the power to ensure all who are worthy to approach it remain youthful; and the power to provide sumptuous food of any type except for those who are not worthy to eat from it or approach it, as they were regarded as cowards. In Christian terms this means only those being strong enough and pure of mind, body and spirit are able to seek and approach it. Anyone else approaching it would simply see it disappear before their eyes.

Christian Grail romances became popular during the late twelfth and early thirteenth century, with “Robert de Borron” being the first poet to bring the legends of King Arthur seeking The Grail to print. The Quest for similar vessels that have magical, mythical powers like The Holy Grail can be found in most ancient belief systems such as ancient Greek mythology.

Come learn more about SPAM and the quest for The Grail when MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT comes to Miller Auditorium for four performances from Nov. 9-11, 2018. Learn more at https://www.millerauditorium.com/monty-pythons-spamalot.

Staff Profile: Amelia Manley

Name: Amelia Manley

Amelia photoTitle: Marketing Assistant

Years at Miller Auditorium: About a year and a half.

Hobbies: I don’t really have hobbies. I just do graphic design… Which is my major. I don’t have time for hobbies.

Favorite Miller Shows: I’m really excited for The Phantom of the Opera this spring! My favorite show that I have actually attended (and haven’t worked) was Kinky Boots this past season.

One of the craziest experiences you’ve had while at Miller: During the The Lion King last year, I got to go backstage and look at the amazing costumes, puppets and props. I was really surprised that the hyena costumes weren’t made of just a patterned fabric, but were hand painted.

-Compiled by Lauren Hufford

From Stage to Screen

By: Amelia Manley

Over the years, many a musical has been adapted to be featured on the silver screen. Here are a few of the more popular stage to screen adaptations.

HairsprayMusical635886069317406863407796552_Hairspray-movie-678x381

Hairspray
Hairspray is a bit of a unique situation. This story started as movie, then was adapted into a stage musical and then readapted to become a movie musical–and most recently, a live TV musical. Hairspray follows the trials and tribulations of Tracy Turnblad in 1960’s Baltimore. She may not be the best student, but she does have a passion for dancing. She auditions for the Corny Collins Show, although she does not quite fit their ‘ideal,’ being a plus-sized young woman. She soon makes friends with Seaweed J. Stubbs and gets involved in the Civil Rights Movement in Baltimore.

A classic, in my opinion. It is rather lighthearted, considering the heavy subject matter it tackles. For those whom have only seen the original John Waters movie, there are some great songs in the musical including “Good Morning Baltimore,” “Welcome to the 60’s” and “You Can’t Stop the Beat.”

Les Misérables
Les Misérables began on the page and the popular musical adaption was based upon the 1862 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo, but there have also been eight film adaptations and the most recent was the 2012 movie musical starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway. Jean Valjean is the main character, however, this Les Misérables has an ensemble cast. Several different story lines occur at once and the plot spends time with each character. The central conflict of Les Misérables follows Valjean’s 30 year game of cat and mouse with the righteous Inspector Javert.

The musical, to some people’s surprise, is sung from beginning right up until the end–there is no spoken dialogue. Having seen both the 2012 movie and the stage musical, I prefer to see Les Misérables on the stage because it is so much more dramatic to see the events of the novel play out live.

Mamma Mia
First a 1999 musical based on the songs of ABBA, movie adaptation of Mamma Mia followed in 2008. The story centers on Sophie Sheridan in the days leading up to her wedding. She finds her mother’s diary and in it, three names–one of which may be her father. Sophie then invites all three of these men to her wedding, without her mother knowing, in the hopes that she will be able to recognize her father at first sight. This eventually gives way to chaos, which peaks during the wedding.

My parents went to the Mamma Mia musical while they were still dating. They’ve always raved about how much the stage musical was like a concert. The movie and musical, in my opinion, are both pretty fun. Other than slight differences in plot, both of these are great productions and a great way to enjoy ABBA’s classic hits.

Little Shop of Horrors
Initially a 1960 film, then a 1982 musical and finally a 1986 movie musical, Little Shop of Horrors has gone through some transformations. First and foremost, this is a dark comedy. Little Shop of Horrors follows the happenings at Mushnik’s Flower Shop. Seymour Krelborn and Audrey are co-workers at Mushnik’s. They both lament their situations in life. Seymour has a secret crush on Audrey, and when he comes across a strange plant, he eagerly names it Audrey II. This plant is soon revealed as a man-eating plant with the song “Grow For Me.” The plant soon gains a consciousness of its own, forcing Seymour to do things for him. But along with its appetite, Audrey II’s fame keeps growing throughout the show.

There are major differences between the stage musical and the 1986 movie. I won’t ruin it for you, but the ending is quite different in each, so if you haven’t had a chance, it’s worth checking both out. All in all, I like both versions, but one is definitely more uplifting than the other.