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Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty: In My Dreams

I have been trying to get out and go see more shows. I feel like I spend a lot of time in the 3 block radius of The Juilliard School  and I used to go to the theater more when I lived in New Jersey than I do now.

I recently saw Anastasia and this song was one of my favorites. As musicals are created there’s so much new music to explore. I love experiencing the new music live so I can get the entire emotional experience from it. When I saw this performed I instantly fell in love with this song. It helps the progress of the story line but out of context it still has some very relevant lyrics. “And my dreams seem to say- “Don’t be afraid to go on, don’t give up hope come what may” –  I know it all will come back one day”.

This has to be my favorite lyric in the entire song.

To close out this weeks journey of music that continues to impact my life I wanted to put this song because it’s current and relevant for anyone who is chasing after a dream. I’m still learning and growing through the arts and sometimes everyone needs the reminder to keep pushing forward.

Lin-Manuel Miranda: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story

Given how much I love Lin-Manuel Miranda, I had to include another one of his amazing shows. Many people have heard about the musical Hamilton. Winning award after award, it’s an international phenomenon. It is definitely one of my favorite shows, even though I have not had the pleasure of  seeing it live yet. I think one of the most amazing things about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s music is that he always writes such poignant lyrics.

Kander and Ebb: I’ll be Here

As I grew I continued to explore musicals and contemporary music. When I was 13 I was  introduced to classical music and auditioned for Juilliard Pre-College. Now in a completely new genre I tried to grasp the differences and I wanted to learn from someone who was a crossover artist. This is how I happened upon Audra McDonald. I became so interested in her career and I would continuously listen to the musicals she performed. She is still my idol. I still remember the day my mom called me in the middle of the day and told me I was finally seeing her live. Going to her concert was a life changing experience. I went through a full range of emotions that night. This song, “I’ll be Here”, grabbed my full attention and by the end I was in tears. I had never experienced one person being able to take you through an entire journey within a few minutes. This has to be my favorite song she sings.

Lin-Manuel Miranda: When You’re Home

I saw In the Heights about 5 times when it was on Broadway. I love this duet and the role of Nina. At a young age I always felt connected to Nina. I was born in the Bronx and I moved to New Jersey when I was young but as I grew up I wondered how different things would have been if we never moved. Would I be more connected to my Latin heritage? Would I have gone to performing arts school? Would I be where I am today? In the end I love this song because though those questions exist it does show that you can go home and be welcomed back with open arms.

Lebo M. and Hans Zimmer: Shadowland

Anyone who creates art remembers the pivotal moments in their life that led them down this path or maybe that’s just me. I remember each stepping stone that launched me to the next stage and helped me become a better performer. I want to go through some songs, that helped shape the performer I am today. Many of them which I still listen to.

After a few years of watching ballet and musical theater  I believed in the idea that it was something you could only do when you were older until I went to see The Lion King. Finally getting to see The Lion King on Broadway was a dream that my mother and I had. When I got into the car after the show  I told my parents “I want to be that little girl who performed tonight.”  It was the first time that I saw a little boy and little girl that looked like me and they both were performing  on Broadway! My mom and dad said ok well you can do whatever you set your mind to, so that’s what I did. I looked for an open call for about a year and when the day came my dad stood on line and held my place at the Apollo theater. I missed my dance class for the first time in my life and my mom brought me to the audition. I remember being number 23 and they pointed at me to get me to sing.  It was the first time I ever sang in front of  someone. I got a callback and in a year I was performing my first role in a musical and I was on Broadway.

Though I never sang “Shadowland” it has always been a goal of mine to go back and play the role of adult Nala and sing this song.

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