Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

WICKED on Broadway

Last weekend I had the opportunity to travel to New York City to attend the She Streams conference. She Streams is for women bloggers who are already, or would like to be, using video on their websites. The conference started Friday morning so lots of people made arrangements to arrive in New York on Thursday. My friend Erin Lane of A Parenting Production asked if anyone was interested in seeing a show. I was definitely interested plus Shannon Ott of Philly Burb Moms and Colleen Padilla of Classy Mommy were up for it so we all made plans to go see WICKED.

Outside of the Gershwin
Erin Lane and I photo by Amy Hodges

Shannon and Colleen at the Gershwin
Shannon and Colleen photo by Amy Hodges

From the official website, WICKED the Musical is "winner of 35 awards including a Grammy and 3 Tony Awards. WICKED is the untold story of the witches of Oz. Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the land of Oz. One, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery, and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious, and very popular. WICKED tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good." It was also, AMAZING. I loved every minute of it. But then the best part happened.

oh fine
Live at the Gershwin Theatre, one night and one night only, ME! photo by Amy Hodges

Erin has a friend who has a friend performing in WICKED right now and we were able to go backstage. I'm not going to give his name here, even though he's ridiculously handsome and one of my favorite people right now. We might have handled some of the props and I would hate for him to get in trouble.

The Wizard's potion
I may or may not be drinking the Wizard's elixir. photo by Amy Hodges

It was a night I will NOT forget.
More to come soon about the conference. In the meantime, if you have the opportunity either on Broadway or a touring show, go see WICKED. It helped me finally put my flying monkey issues to bed.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Muppets ~ Interview with Kermit the Frog!

muppet movie
titles courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

With The Muppet Movie opening this Thanksgiving, Walt Disney Pictures was kind enough to share this interview with Kermit the Frog. I was most interested to hear how he felt about working with Jason Segal and the state of his relationship with Miss Piggy. 
image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures


Why should audiences see Disney’s “The Muppets”?
It’s funny, upbeat and full of laughs for everyone… frogs, pigs, bears… even people.
For new fans, it’s a chance to see the Muppets in action on the big screen. And for old fans, it’s a chance to get together with old friends… and get a little crazy together.

What is Disney’s “The Muppets” about?
Well, it’s the story of this incredible Muppet fan named Walter who comes to Hollywood to meet us… and ends up having to get all the Muppets back together to put on a show and save Muppet Studios.

I guess it’s the first Muppet movie that’s really from the point of view of a fan. Jason Segel, who is a really big Muppet fan in real life, co-wrote the movie. He wanted to show what it would be like if the world’s biggest Muppet fan—along with his brother Gary (played by Jason) and friend Mary (played by Amy Adams)—came to Hollywood to meet us.

What is your role in Disney’s “The Muppets”?
I play me, Kermit the Frog. I’ve played other parts, like Bob Crachit in “A Muppet Christmas Carol” and Captain Smollett in “Muppet Treasure Island,” but I think “me” is my favorite part.

Playing a frog named Kermit might be type casting, but there aren’t a lot of great parts for amphibians, so I was happy to get the part.

In the movie—and in life, really—I’m a humble frog in Hollywood who wants to get back together with his friends and keep entertaining people.  

How does your life differ from the characters you play in the films?
Well, on the big screen. I’m 16 feet tall. But in real life, it’s closer to 18 inches. So, I’d have to say the biggest difference is more height—and better lighting.

Seriously, though, my life on screen and off screen is about the same. In real life and on film, I’m surrounded by chaos, craziness, and romantic pigs—just like any other Hollywood star.

Why did you want to take part in this film?
I understand they considered other actors—George Clooney, Tom Hanks. But in the end, when it comes to playing short, green and amphibious, I’m still Hollywood’s go-to guy. According to director James Bobin, when I read for the role of “me,” I nailed it.

What is the funniest scene in the film?
I like the scene where everything goes crazy and no one knows what to do. It’s total mad chaos…..Hmm, come to think of it, that describes most of the movie.

I can’t pick JUST one scene—all the other scenes would get jealous. But I really do like the big finale. Lots of singing, dancing, laughing… and, I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s happy, too.

What was it like working opposite Jason Segel?
Jason is not only a great comedian, but as a co-writer of the movie, he’s great to work with. If you forget your lines, he can make up new ones.

Jason’s a swell guy. He really loved the Muppets before we worked together…and he still loves us after. That’s a true fan. And he has such a fantastic sense of humor. He can find funny everywhere… even in Fozzie’s act.

…Chris Cooper?
Chris plays the villain, Tex Richman, yet he’s really the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. That’s an incredible feat: being a good guy and playing a bad guy. When it comes to acting, it’s not that easy being mean.

…Amy Adams?
Amy is incredible. She’s so beautiful and talented and funny. I’d love to make every movie with her…. but Miss Piggy won’t let me.

She’s also a great actress: she can sing and dance, and she has three Academy Award® nominations. I’m hoping she gets an Oscar® for Disney’s “The Muppets.” If not, I’m willing to paint myself gold and stand on her mantle.

…Miss Piggy?
I have to say: working with Miss Piggy is always a pleasure. I have to say that ‘cause she makes me say it.

This was a different kind of movie for us. Normally, Piggy and I are together right from the start. But in Disney’s “The Muppets,” Miss Piggy is over in Paris and we have to go get her. That was challenging for me. France is tough for frogs… with legs.

What’s the deal with you and Miss Piggy? Are you still together?
Miss Piggy and I have a professional relationship. I think we’re professionals; she thinks we’re in a relationship.

Actually, Miss Piggy and I are good friends, but just friends. We like each other a great deal, but we are not romantically involved—despite her best efforts.

Describe director James Bobin.
James has a quirky sense of humor. Just watch his work on “Flight of the Conchords” and you can see this isn’t someone who sees the world like everyone else. Not being normal helps when you work with the Muppets. He’s a consummate professional—and we’re not, so we really needed him.

What is your advice for up-and-coming frogs/actors?
Never say croak.

To make a rainbow connection with Kermit the Frog, check out

Don't forget the movie opens on November 23, 2011. I'll see you there!

THE MUPPET Teaser One-Sheet

 image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Sunday, September 18, 2011

More than I can handle ~ Stream of Conciousness Sunday


It's time for Stream of Consciousness Sunday! My friend Fadra at All Things Fadra hosts this weekly meme where you time yourself and write for 5 minutes. Don't edit, just write. If you would like to join in, please visit her site for rules and a link up!

I am being a little crazy today. I'm taking on a beloved person and a beloved quote. Mother Theresa, and "God won't give you more than you can handle" or some variation on that theme. I cannot stand when people throw that one out there. I understand that they are trying to be helpful. They are usually trying to remind a friend that they are stronger than they believe. God believes you are strong enough. I do subscribe to the idea that God believes we are strong, and gives us strength when we have no more left, but I do not believe God gives us certain trials. I believe there are things that are of this world and they are not of God. Cancer is one of those things. I believe that God does NOT choose certain people to give cancer to. I believe that cancer is of our world and born out of decisions made over thousands of years of free will. 

I do believe that whatever trial you are walking through, cancer, financial troubles, depression, ill health of yourself or anyone you know, I believe that God walks through that with you, right by your side. AND I believe that God gives you friends to walk that path with you. At the end of the day, the world will give you terrible things, but God will give you tools and love to walk through it.

Many thanks to Fadra for hosting!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bridesmaids Movie ~ Great Excuse for Girls Night

Title Treatment
Photo credit Suzanne Hanover NBC/Universal

The movie Bridesmaids is being released on BluRay and DVD this Tuesday. THIS TUESDAY! If you didn't see it, I highly recommend that you do. Bridesmaids is the story of Annie (Kristen Wiig) and how her unravelling life deconstructs when her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) gets engaged. Oh yeah, and it's a comedy. It seriously is one of the funniest movies I've seen in a while. Annie is kind of a mess so I relate to her.

Photo credit Suzanne Hanover NBC/Universal

Just like everyone else, my life is a little crazy. Just when I think I have a handle on things, a schedule figured out, my house cleaned up, it seems like a bomb of chaos is dropped on me. Most of the time I get down on myself because I think I should roll with the punches better. BUT, that's not the way real life is. What I have to remember is that everyone has a crazy life. You know what makes this crazy life more fun? Spending time with my girlfriends. I don't do it enough. We are all busy and forget to make time just to laugh with each other.

Photo credit Amy Hodges

When NBC Universal offered to help me host a party for the Bridesmaids release I jumped at the chance. What a great excuse for a Girl's Night. We have a video projector and a huge playroom (we're kicking out the kids for the night.) NBC Universal sent a great box of goodies to help the party along. Using their recipe I made some "Bridesmaids Party Punch" with Yellow Tail Shiraz for tonight. We have put up decorations and made some fun food. Now it's time to wait for my girls!

I'll post later this weekend with pictures of the food and fun!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Marie Callender's Lasagna

The scene is the same almost every day. 5 o'clock rolls around and no one is bringing me a glass of wine, no one is meeting my husband at the door with a martini. The kids probably haven't done their homework, and are probably in need of showers. The pets are even circling the kitchen, knowing that dinner time is approaching. My husband and I look at each other and ask at the same time "What do you want to do for dinner?" Does it happen this way in your house? We don't plan ahead. We usually have the makings for a few of our favorite meals so we can throw something together, but we end up playing Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who has to choose and cook. This week we added a new quick meal to our arsenal, Marie Callender's Three Meat and Four Cheese Lasagna.

Yep, frozen lasagna. My husband and I worked with young people for twenty years and frozen lasagna is one of those "go-to meals" for youth groups. Countless times I have prepared several large trays of lasagna and waited for them to cook through. It took FOREVER and there were always several tall young people surrounding me wondering when they would be able to eat. The lasagnas were edible, but not something I would choose for my family. I was skeptical when I received the coupon from Marie Callender for the lasagna. Could a frozen lasagna win me over?

Photo by Amy Hodges

This past week has been a little crazy in my house. School has started and we are learning the rhythm and routine of a new schedule. 4 different family members had birthdays so we had big birthday dinners. After the hoopla we found ourselves on Thursday needing something for dinner and we were all hungry. I was thrilled when I remembered we had the lasagna in the freezer. I was even more excited to learn it only takes about 19 minutes to prepare (14 minutes in the microwave and 5 to sit before you serve.) This is another place I was skeptical. I have never liked cooking pasta dishes in the microwave. I think it makes the pasta mushy. While the lasagna cooked I had time to make a salad and toast a few pieces of garlic bread.

I actually enjoyed the lasagna. The pasta was firm and there was a good balance of ingredients. Marie Callender's has developed a new baking tray that allows for a more "homemade" taste. There was enough spice to add great flavor without being overwhelming. I was very happy about that because my kids protest if foods are too spicy. I only had one complaint about the lasagna, it was on the small side. I have a growing teenager who is currently a bottomless pit. I would love to have the option of buying a larger lasagna instead of 2 smaller ones.  The one we had was gone immediately with my family of four.

Photo by Amy Hodges (I couldn't even get a picture before someone got a serving)

More information from Marie Callender's about the lasagna,
"According to a national taste test, Marie Callender’s Three Meat and Four Cheese Lasagna is preferred over Stouffer’s 19 oz. Lasagna with Meat & Sauce by consumers two to one. Marie Callender’s delicious blend of meats and cheeses combined with its unique baking tray creates a homemade tasting meal you can be proud to serve to your family" You can find other information on the Marie Callender's Meals website.

I will be buying the Marie Callender's Three Meat and Four Cheese Lasagna again. I like having something hearty on hand that can be prepared quickly. I might even check out some of their chicken dishes.

The Motherhood supplied me with a coupon for the lasagna and is compensating me for my time. As always opinions expressed in my post are mine, all mine.