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A Dream Filled Year Gives Way to a Magical New Beginning December 31, 2010

Posted by Matt Wargo in Haphazard Happenings.
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Two fireworks shows, parades, and tens of thousands of eager park guests cramming together with their Mickey hats and horns waiting to countdown to a new year full of hope and joy.

What could top a magical celebration at the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort to help send out 2010 and ring in 2011?

(I’m still stuck myself; I am in line for Big Thunder Mountain right now for a second ride today.)

From my family to yours, Happy New Year.

Thanks for following ‘Studio M’ in 2010!

In 2011, it will be my pleasure to provide more great posts for readers like you. Stay tuned in early January for a five-part series about my trip to a place ‘Where Dreams Come True,’ along with more exciting posts looking into what’s going on in my world.

Have a magical evening! I am.

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Barbers, Bees, and Operas: Exploring Philadelphia’s Theater Scene December 15, 2010

Posted by Matt Wargo in Haphazard Happenings, Travel and Explore.
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Eight shows in 12 weeks will open anyone’s eyes to the world of theater in Philadelphia. From large-scale musicals, Italian Operas, and small-theater drama, we heard, saw, and experienced it all.

As part of the General Education program at Temple University, the Dramatic Imagination course requires students to explore the theater scene around the city. Take a look below at how some of this city’s most talked about fall performances ranked in the STUDIO M’ys.

1. “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” by Philadelphia Theater Company

The first-place STUDIO M’y goes to this laugh-out-loud musical; ‘Spelling Bee’ breaks down the fourth wall and mixes the world of show business with those in the audience. Funny songs and dances: Check and Check! Weird middle school sexual humor: Check! This musical showcases teenage interaction on their road out of eighth grade and on to adulthood. The show will time warp you to when getting that word correct was E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

2. “The Threepenny Opera” by Arden Theater

In this show, adapted from Bertolt Brecht’s ‘The Beggar’s Opera,’ Mack  the Knife is on the run as London’s most sought after thief, enjoying some of the city’s ‘friendly ladies’ and finest stolen goods. This racy and rule-bending musical will surely draw a smile to your face.

3. “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” by Temple University Theater

Would you like a pie, Sir? How about a fresh shave? Are you sure? In this thrilling musical, Sweeney Todd returns to London to find things have changed since he left his barbershop on Fleet Street. Now, he’s back and it’s all about revenge in this dark, mysterious show.

4. “Iron” by Theater Exile

A mother and daughter reunite after being separated for 15 years by a iron-clad prison cell and family tragedy. Fay and Josie struggle to reconnect amid “a life sentence of isolation with literal bars and figurative walls.

5. “Silverhill” by InterAct Theater

Alden fights to keep the communist and complex marriage spirit alive in his community founded around Bible-communism. After one young member goes on a business trip, the utopia must combat  a new interest in capitalism. The show is based on the 19th century Oneida Community from upstate New York.

6. “Otello” by Opera Company of Philadelphia

7. “The Belly” by Temple University Theater

8. “Macbeth” by Wilma Theater

No Grinches in Philly; City Declared Most Spirited for Holidays December 9, 2010

Posted by Matt Wargo in Haphazard Happenings.
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Oh, there’s no place like Philly for the holidays. Really? It’s true, no Grinches or Scrooges here.

A survey published by U.S. Airways Magazine names the City of Brotherly Love the ‘best city in the world to celebrate the holiday spirit.’ Philadelphia beat out 15 other cities including New York, San Francisco, Rome and London.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York apparently has nothing on Macy’s Christmas Lights show, its been running since 1955 inside the Wanamaker Building, and Dickens Christmas Village.

Of course, the city’s had some bah, humbug moments this holiday season; Temple football got coal in its stocking from the BCS and ‘several complaints’ almost shutdown Christmas Village on Dilworth Plaza outside City Hall.

Ho, Ho, Ho, who would have guessed? Philadelphia is the City of Christmas Spirit.