Ep 181: Brandilyn’s Audiobook Recommendations & Exciting Spring Releases - Big Gay Fiction Podcast

First off, LGBT romance authors nominated for 2019 RITA Awards are congratulated, including Layla Reyne, Amy Lane, Suzanne Brockmann, Melanie Hansen and Aurora Rey. New patron Angela is welcomed. Jeff discusses his second visit to Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen as well as seeing an immersive production of Bare: A Pop Opera. Rather than review books this week, the guys talk about titles they are looking forward to this spring: Arctic Sun by Annabeth Albert, LOL by Lucy Lennox and Molly Maddox, Under His Protection by LaQuette, Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, American Fairytale by Adriana Herrera and Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee, Jeff also calls out the start of a new series from Layla Reyne that he’s looking forward to but can’t discuss. Brandilyn stops by to recommend the audiobook of Badlands by Morgan Brice and talks about some old favorites from Rhys Ford, Jordan L. Hawk and Ethan Stone. Complete shownotes for episode 181 are at BigGayFictionPodcast.com. Jeff's Musical Reviews Here’s the text of Jeff’s reviews of the shows he saw in New York: While I was in New York this past week, I caught two musicals that have the common theme of teenagers looking for a connection to each other, finding their voice and being able to live as their authentic selves. I started off with a return trip to Dear Evan Hansen. We originally reviewed our trip to see the original Broadway cast back in episode 91 in July 2017. I went back this week because I wanted to see the current Evan, sixteen-year-old Andrew Barth Feldman. Andrew won the 2018 National High School Musical Theater Award and was invited to audition for the role. Within a few weeks, he was cast. Before this, Evan’s were in their mid-20s because the role is difficult to sing and requires skills to manage the emotional arc. Andrew blew me away. I watched some clips of other roles he’s posted on his YouTube channel and a pretty good idea he could sing the right range for the show. His vocal performance though was through the roof. In the early songs, he had amazing vocal breaks that conveyed Evan’s anxiety and timidness and as he felt more emboldened by the story he waved the vocals got more confident. By the time he hit “You Will Be Found” at the end of the first act he was a different person, only to come crashing down again for “Words Fail,” which is the show’s 11 o’clock show stopper. The acting too was spot on, at times looking like he wanted to shatter into a million pieces to escape. In the moment where his mom talks to him about what he’d done, he’s pressed so much into the corner of the couch, you know he wants to be eaten by the furniture. It’ll be interesting to see how he continues to grow into the role. He was in week seven when I saw him. The producers are giving him time and training to handle the rigors of a Broadway schedule–currently, he’s playing five out of eight shows a week. Beyond Evan, I look forward to what Andrew’s future roles will be because I suspect he’ll be rocking Broadway for many years to come. The next night I went to see Bare: A Pop Opera for its first performance. I’ve been a fan of this show since the mid-2000s when I saw some clips of it’s off-Broadway run and eventually got its studio cast recording. Through March 31, the show is being presented as a site-aware production in the St. John’s Lutheran Chruch on Christopher Street as part of the church’s theater season that pays tribute to the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. I’m going to give you the synopsis the production wrote as it sums the show up perfectly: Bare, a pop/rock opera, follows a group of students at a Catholic boarding school as they grapple with their sexuality, identity, and the future. As the group attempts to put up a production of Romeo and Juliet, tensions flare, self-doubt creeps in and God’s path blurs. The students’ journeys ring with the sounds of youthful repression and revolt. With an exhilarating sung-through pop score…
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