11Dec

Giving Women in Prison a 2nd Chance

WOMENS PRISON ASSOCIATION

This post was written by Alysia Reiner, actress, producer, writer, spokesperson, activist and someone I am proud to call my friend. Alysia is currently starring on Orange is the New Black, one of my favorite shows, about a group of women in prison.  Today she graciously lends her voice to the blog to talk about a project that's close to her heart. This has been a year of crazy gratitude for so much. Nothing like pretending to work in a prison to make it real. I feel so insanely blessed, and at the same time, more aware than ever of the inequities Read More

10Dec

Revisiting Broadway’s “Wicked”

wicked

In September, 2010, I took my daughter to see Wicked The Musical on Broadway. I remember that night well - the buzz I felt when we walked into the theatre together...the talent on stage...the music....the creativity...but most of all, the complete spectacle of a show that felt bigger than life. About my daughter's reaction to the show, who was only 7 at at the time, I wrote: As for my daughter, I was concerned about the lateness of the evening. During intermission, I asked her if she was going to make it.  She looked at me with a big grin on her face Read More

07Dec

My “The Sound of Music Live” Post-Mortem

soundofmusicnbc

Over the last two days since the airing of "The Sound of Music Live," I have observed harsh criticism and cackling about Carrie Underwood and the actual production itself.  I just jumped on Twitter and found these tweets knocking the performance, for example:   I could post thousands more pieces of negative criticism about the show, and I won't deny taking part myself. On Thursday night, my friends and I were gasping at the poor acting on Facebook.  We were questioning the hissing sound in the background. The comparisons to the original film were Read More

05Dec

A Trip to the North Pole in Saratoga Springs

polarexpress

Do you know the story of the Polar Express? It's about a boy's journey to the North Pole to rediscover his belief in Santa Claus.  It was book turned major motion picture starting Tom Hanks and is meant to teach both kids and adults that it is never too old to believe. Well, apparently Polar Express rides to the North Pole have become a tradition for many families and tickets are in huge demand. I had never heard of the rides until my family and I were invited to ride the Polar Express on the Saratoga & North Creek Railway last weekend.  Right now Read More

05Dec

Sound, Fury, and Frustration Over Macbeth

macbeth

I have loved Ethan Hawke since he so charmingly sparred with Winona Ryder in Reality Bites. So I went into the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center the other night to see him in the titular role of Macbeth with high hopes. Well, I wasn’t completely disappointed. The production, under the direction of director Jack O’Brien, is visually arresting. There are tableaux, rather than scenes. For instance, the feast Lady Macbeth serves to her guests toward the end of the play looks like Rembrandt might have painted it. It is beautifully lit, and its Read More

02Dec

Giveaway: Joffrey Ballet School’s Nutcracker

joffreyballet

Joffrey Ballet School, a world-renowned dance center offering the most versatile and highest quality training, will once again present Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker this holiday season with 355 dancers – the largest cast in the school’s 60-year history. Returning to the Skirball Performing Arts Center, Joffrey Ballet School will perform five performances of the holiday favorite with three casts, December 13 – 15, 2013. In addition to delighting in the timeless tale of The Nutcracker, audiences will also enjoy its rich legacy of culture, with dances Read More

02Dec

Shakespearean Ecstasy with Julie Taymor

midsummer

    Julie Taymor is back.  After disappearing for a short period following the Spiderman on Broadway collision (she recently settled in court with the producers), she has returned to her Shakespearean roots with A Midsummer Night's Dream in the recently built  Polonsky Shakespeare Theater in the heart of BAM. The experience exceeded my expectations. Any theatergoer who is fascinated by Taymor's creative mind and passion will not be disappointed. Having just visited Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London, I was happy to be to find a similar space Read More

29Nov

Giving Tuesday with Mommy Nearest

mommy nearest

I've written about a lot about advocacy and how helping others is an important part of my family life. I once read that it’s important to start teaching how to give back at a very young age, as young as age 3, and that it’s best to treat the act of helping as a family activity. I actually started to encourage the act of volunteering when they were both less than a year old. Every week we would go to an old age home and play on a rug in the middle of a roomful of the elderly.  It filled my heart with pride knowing how much our presence was appreciated Read More

27Nov

Holiday Gift Ideas for Tweens

kidzv

Last weekend I went to the Kidzvuz Holiday House Party and got the complete low down on truly awesome picks for holiday gifts for tweens. If you've been wondering what to get this year, look no further.  They had all the right bases covered for the two kids in my house, starting with... Travel: We are a traveling family, so I was happy to find out more about Hilton Homewood Suites, for extended travel or residential style visits.  As a family, we always like spreading ourselves out, making our own meals, having a swim and chilling out with comforts. Read More

25Nov

Passports with Purpose: Supporting Education

Passports with Purpose

Two years ago I participated in a travel blogger's fundraiser called Passports with Purpose.  The goal was to raise money for Room to Read, an organization I have close attachment to as I work for them in my local chapter. The program funded the establishment of two libraries in under-served communities in Zambia.  The program put books in the hands of kids that don’t have them and it was very, very rewarding. Last year I wasn't involved, but they raised money to build wells in Haiti with Water.org. Not only did they exceed their fundraising goal of Read More