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Cappuccino with Jules

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Musical

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Honey, honey, the marvelous movie musical Mamma Mia! returns for a sequel a decade after its release, and it’s a such summer delight you’ll be singing “Andante, Andante” and floating away. In Here We Go Again, we sail back to the fictional island of Kalokairi, Greece and reunite with the original cast while welcoming a number of newcomers to Hotel Bella Donna.

Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is now in charge of Donna’s divine hotel, preparing for its reopening and inviting her three fathers Sam, Harry and Bill (still played by Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård) and mom’s best friends Tanya and Rosie (with Christine Baranski and Julie Walters reprising their roles) to come along while her husband Sky (Dominic Cooper) is learning about hotel business away in New York. As pregnancy is upon her, she reminisces about her mother with the help of Tanya and Rosie, and the film whimsically mixes present situations with flashbacks that feature young, wild and carefree Donna (magnetically portrayed by Lily James) and her adventures that led her to her first encounters with her three beaus.

Meryl Streep is still the heart and soul of the story, and though her presence is limited in this sequel (perhaps we can all pen a letter to the writers asking why they did what they did to Donna), the plot will always revolve around Donna, and Sophie is honoring her mother by keeping the family business running.

Props to the casting team for putting together a convincing group of young actors for the flashback scenes, from Jessica Keenan Wynn and Alexa Davies who look and speak exactly like Baranski and Walters, to Jeremy Irvine, Hugh Skinner and Josh Dylan as young Sam, Harry and Bill. Lily James steals the film as young Donna. Her presence is electric, and her larger-than-life persona makes it truly an iconic role for her. The way she channels Meryl/Donna is completely natural the audiences would be impressed.

With ABBA’s music being the force behind the Mamma Mia! universe, Here We Go Again does a marvelous job delivering the Swedish pop group’s more underrated hits, from “Andante, Andante” to “Fernando” (a major highlight within the film featuring Cher as Sophie’s grandmother Ruby and Andy Garcia as her former lover Fernando) while bringing in songs previously used in the original film like “Dancing Queen”, “Thank You for the Music”, “Waterloo” (a standout scene with young Harry and Donna), “The Name of the Game”, and “I Have a Dream”.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is a great sequel and a wonderful addition to the first. It’s full of joy, electric acting, ABBA-licious tunes, endearing moments and Grecian magic.

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Me and My “West Side Story” Broadway Debut

Boy, boy, crazy boy, stay cool boy…
Got a rocket in your pocket…
Keep coolly cool, boy!

If you told me many moons ago that I was going to be part of a Broadway production, I would’ve laughed at that humor. Never in a million years have I dreamed of seeing my name and picture inside a Playbill. But then West Side Story came along.

Having been a fan of both the Broadway show and Academy Award-winning film, it was a privilege to be able to join the Jakarta Performing Arts Community on its West Side Story adventure (its 8th AND biggest production to date after the success of their previous shows like Burlesque, Fame and The Nightmare Before Christmas). With a global message about acceptance and tolerance, the timing couldn’t have been more right for this timeless musical to be introduced (and reintroduced) to different generations. And so we all made our debut on May 12th at one of Jakarta’s oldest theaters Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM), followed by 4 more shows until closing night on Sunday the 14th.

My time as one of the vocal coaches for the West Side Story cast has impacted my life and opened up a unique path in my music career to always strive to tell stories for the betterment of society through music and lyrics. Thanks Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein and Arthur Laurents for being the ones to start it all and to all the cast and crews who I was honored to embark on this journey with.

For my international friends who didn’t get to see this, I have copies of the exclusive West Side Story program book for the first 3 names who contacted me to request one. 🙂 Shoot me an e-mail or tweet me to get yours. Or simply comment below. You might be one of the lucky ones. “Could be… Who knows…” 😉

E-mail: julesalveria@gmail.com
TWITTER: @JulesOfficial_

To learn more about JPAC, go check out http://www.jpacwestsidestory.com!

Annie on Broadway in Jakarta

You’re never fully dressed without a smile…

And so Annie delighted viewers in Jakarta during the Broadway production’s international tour this past summer.

What started out as a 1924 comic strip called Little Orphan Annie has finally evolved into a phenomenon with the story existing in various forms, including radio shows and three motion pictures – the original 1982 version, a made-for-TV movie in 1999 by Walt Disney Productions (Academy Award winner Kathy Bates played the infamous Miss Hannigan while Alan Cumming and pre-Wicked Kristin Chenoweth took on the roles of Rooster and Lily St Regis) and the latest modernized version with the great Jamie Foxx as big-hearted millionaire Oliver Warbucks. On theater, Annie is now a Tony-winning show with a worldwide appeal, and I had the privilege of seeing its Jakarta debut on August 6th at the Ciputra Artpreneur Theater & Gallery, home to all the Broadway shows that have made their way to Jakarta (beginning with Beauty and the Beast last year, followed by The Sound of Music and Shrek).

Set in 1930’s New York, the plot revolves around Annie as she ventures the city in search of her parents, not knowing Mr. Warbucks is her key to everything. The rags to riches theme couldn’t have been more majestically delivered. Promising starlet Heidi Grey’s portrayal of Annie was fantastic, making her worthy to root for. The girl’s got spunk and charm. All the tunes I’m sure we’re all familiar with also added to my enjoyment. From the timeless classic “Tomorrow” and the glorious “NYC” to Miss Hannigan’s personal anthem about her persistence in finding that “Easy Street” and “Something Was Missing” that emphasizes the bond between Annie and Mr. Warbucks, these songs intertwine with the classic story that still remains relevant today with its ongoing message about bravery and staying optimistic through hard times as it paints a portrait of humanity in Great Depression-era New York.

A number of merchandises were sold at the venue, including a program book, an exclusive T-shirt with the Annie logo on it and a tumbler.

 

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