Tag Archives: Carnegie Hall

Kristina At Carnegie Hall Hits Stores Finally

Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson of ABBA first let audiences in on their masterpiece, “Kristina Från Duvemåla,” in Malmö, Sweden on October 7, 1995, then record buying audiences were able to obtain the 3-CD cast recording in September of 1996. Almost immediately there was talk about translating the work to English and bringing it to an American audience, particularly because the story of “Kristina Från Duvemåla” (translating to Kristina From Duvemåla) is just as much a story about Sweden as it is a story about America. However, it seems a lot of the work in bringing “Kristina” to America would have to wait due to the surprise success of a little show launched in London in 1999, called “Mamma Mia!” would demand a lot of time and attention for Björn and Benny.

The story for “Kristina” is based on Vilhelm Moberg’s “Emigrants” series of four novels, which follows the lives of a group of Swedish settlers which include Karl Oscar and his wife Kristina, as they make the tough decision to pack up and take their chances settling in the unknown wilds of America in the mid 1800’s. While the books follow the group, the show has singled out Karl Oscar and Kristina to be the central focus of the show. The novels are considered to be some of the finest works in Swedish literature, which is what attracted Björn and Benny to wanting to tell the tale of Kristina. Their earlier musical effort, a collaboration with Tim Rice on an original idea by Tim Rice resulted in the musical “Chess.” As much as “Chess” is praised for it’s incredible songs, it’s also panned for its relatively weak plot, which left Björn and Benny looking for a well crafted story to transform into a musical. Björn and Benny felt for their second musical, they didn’t want plot to be one of the problems to plague the show.

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Ryan’s 10 Most Incredible Things About About 2009

Now that 2009 has come to a close and 2010 has begun, I can safely say that it’s a year that has been very challenging and although I am not the least bit sad to see 2009 go, it certainly was not without some really incredible experiences for me that I would like to highlight before wipe the slate clean and start fresh with 2010.

This list was especially difficult to narrow down since 2009 was the year I kicked my blogging into high gear. I had started Ryan’s Incredible World in 2007 didn’t actually start blogging until 2008 and I would maybe make no more than five entries a month. So picking my highlights of 2008 was relatively easy since there wasn’t so many blog entries to go through to pick out the defining moments.

I had joined a couple of 30-Day blogging challenges which requires 30 blog entries in 30 days and it essentially got me into the habit of making almost daily blog entries. Now it’s pretty safe to say that each month sees about 25 new blog entries. The constant blogging has actually helped bring a bigger audience to my blog, so if your first time reading any of my writing has been in 2009, then no doubt something I wrote in 2009 caught your eye and is why you’re here reading this entry now. I am grateful for the many folks who’ve read my blog and left me comments, it’s been a pleasure to hear your feedback throughout the year. In any case, I looked through every post of 2009 to select what I feel were the 10 Most Incredible Things about 2009 that happened for me. You’ll note I combined a few complimentary things to narrow it down to 10.

I do hope you enjoy my reflection on 2009 and continue to join me on my quest to find the most incredible things of 2010. Without further ado, in no particular order.

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Kylie Minogue Finally Lights Up The Hollywood Bowl

Kylie Hollywood Bowl SignI know this review is a bit late and I still need to get to my reviews of the “Kristina” shows from Carnegie Hall, but I’m trying to fit in the time when I can. So apologies to my readers anxiously anticipating my reviews.

I wasn’t expecting my chance to see Kylie Minogue in person to be such a last minute affair, but I had been hoping my new Blackjack Training program I am I developing would not only be released long before this concert, but it would also help brining in the funds to purchase much better seats for the show. But as the concert has come and past and the project is still not yet ready to launch, I ended up scrambling last minute to make sure I had the night of October 4th off work, and purchased some tickets. I decided I wasn’t that fussed about having great seats, as I felt it was just more important to be there. So I bought a couple of the cheapest tickets available so my good friend Rod Reynolds and I could see the Australian pop diva bring her first ever United States tour. I didn’t know it at the time I bought the tickets but they were second row seats……second row from the back.

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My Proudest Moment On Jorge Cruise’s Belly Fat Cure

Belly Fat Cure Proudest MomentWhen I first met Jorge Cruise in April, one of the things I said to him was that one of my goals when I joined his Belly Fat Cure program was to be able to get on one of the smaller commuter planes and be able to latch my seat belt without having it stretched out to it’s widest point and still having to suck in my gut or contorting myself in such a way so that I could just get the belt latched. The reason why this is was a goal for me is because those 30 seater commuter planes have shorter seat belts than the ones you find in the bigger jet planes.

What I didn’t tell Jorge was one time I had to suffer the embarrassment of having to ask for a seat belt extension from the flight attendant one time because no matter how much I tried to suck in my gut, I still couldn’t get the seat belt latched when a few days before I was able to successfully do it. The flight attendant made no big deal about it but I was absolutely crushed and shamed. And if it wasn’t for the fact there were people around me that could see me, I probably would have shed a few tears over it at that moment too. I was extremely embarrassed by it.

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Amazing Sugar Free Cheesecake From Junior’s Cheesecakes

Junior's Sugar Free CheesecakeMy mom is an avid fan of QVC and about a month ago, I somehow ended up on QVC’s website and one of the items that popped up to look at was a Sugar Free Chocolate Mousse Cake from Junior’s Cheesecakes of New York. I ended up clicking on it just to check it out and it looked amazingly good. There were endless reviews of how wonderful the cake was, so I was intrigued. I saw they also had a Sugar Free Cheesecake listed that also was highly reviewed. As I am on a low sugar program I thought it might be worth trying one of these, but I was a bit hesitant to spend $30-$35 plus another $11 for shipping for a whole cake and QVC also charges tax, so a few more dollars on top of it for something I haven’t tried. Plus that’s a huge chunk of money for a single cake.

Well since I had an upcoming trip to New York, I decided I was going to wait on these expensive cakes and take advantage of the fact Junior’s has restaurants in New York and hunt one of the restaurants down while in New York and try a slice of their cheesecake. I looked up Junior’s website and found they have several restaurants in the New York area and it looked like for my visit to New York, my best option was to find the one in Times Square, so I added it to my agenda for New York.

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Ramada Limited In Jersey City Offers Excellent Service

Ramada Jersey CityOn my recent trip to New York City, my fellow San Diego travel companion (who likes to remain anonymous) and I opted to stay at the Ramada Limited in Jersey City as opposed to a more expensive option inside New York City. Some of the nice benefits of staying there is that they offer complimentary airport shuttles to Newark’s Airport (which we were both flying into, albeit on separate airlines), free Wi-Fi, and complimentary continental breakfast all for about $100 a night. ($110 with all the taxes and fees.)

Another key selling point for booking here was the fact it’s located a block away from the PATH trains which head right into New York City. I used Google Maps to run public transportation estimates on how long it would take to get to Carnegie Hall from the hotel and back, and of the reasonably priced options in Jersey City, this one allowed for easy public transportation options twenty-four hours a day with approximately 45 minutes travel time each way, which is roughly the equivalent of getting a hotel about two miles away from Carnegie Hall and walking but at less than half the price. I absolutely had to do this trip with as much savings on cost as possible so that pretty much ruled out an in the city hotel for this trip for me.

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ABBA Fab Brings Unique ABBA Tribute Show To Escondido

ABBA FabHaving literally just gotten off the plane from New York where I spent two nights with the real Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus as they presented the first English language performance of their musical, Kristina at Carnegie Hall, I took the opportunity to attend the ABBA Fab tribute concert at Escondido’s California Center For The Arts. As the author of the eZine article, “ABBA Tribute Bands – 8 Tips To Improve Your Show” I often like to check out ABBA Tribute Bands to see which ones are worth recommending and which ones are worth avoiding.

ABBA Fab bills themselves as “The Premiere ABBA Experience” on their posters for the event and on their website at ABBAFab.com as “The most amazing tribute show you will see anywhere.” which are some pretty grand statements for a tribute band that has never been seen or heard by me or any of the other ABBA fans I am in touch with around the globe. So I was a bit skeptical of their claim as I have seen some truly great ABBA tribute performances and some truly appalling performances as well.

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On My Way To New York To See Björn & Benny’s Kristina

Kristina Carnegie Hall InfoLater today I will be boarding a couple of flights that will take me to New York City. My flights are “Red Eye” flights that will deliver me to New York first thing tomorrow morning. I’m excited to be seeing the new English translation of the epic musical, Kristina, written by ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. The show is based on Vilhelm Moberg’s epic novels in “The Emmigrants” series which chronicles the adventures of Swede Karl Oskar and his wife Kristina as they move their family from famine stricken Sweden to the wild’s of America in the late 1800’s.

Kristina is not being staged as a complete show, it is being staged in a concert style at the famed Carnegie Hall. The purpose of which is to record the show as well as gauge the reaction to it to see if there’d be interest in a fully staged version. The original Swedish epic was a definitely considered an epic masterpiece by those who saw it, but at a four hour running time, is going to have to undergo some trimming if its ever going to be staged fully here in the United States. The concerts will be a good indication of where some of the trimming has been done.

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Remembering September 11, 2001

New York City Cop October 2001In some ways it’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since the tragedy of the World Trade Center towers in New York City falling due to two terrorist highjacked passenger planes aiming for and crashing into each tower. In other ways its hard to believe it hasn’t been longer. In any case, this year it seems a little more poignant to remember the tragedy of September 11, 2001 or 9/11 as it seems to be commonly referred to.

I think the reason why I feel like I need to honor the memory of September 11, 2001 is that I had my first trip to New York in October 2001 to attend the Mamma Mia! premiere on Broadway, and this year, in a couple more weeks I will be returning to New York for the first time since 2001 to see Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson of ABBA launch the English language concert version of their musical, Kristina. Kristina is the musical Björn and Benny wrote that tells the story of Swedish immigrants coming to the United States in the late 1800’s. The story is based on the book series known as “The Emigrants” by Vilhelm Moberg. The New York performances are being staged as a concert version of the show instead of a fully staged production at Carnegie Hall. This will be in many cases the public’s first chance to experience the show in English. A workshop version of it was worked on a couple years ago but never heard if it actually had any public performances.

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Elaine Paige Interviews ABBA’s Benny & Björn on BBC Radio 2

Elaine Paige BBC Radio 2Elaine Paige, often dubbed, “The First Lady Of British Theatre,” for her impressive stage career as one of Britain’s musical theatre stars. Some of the highlights of her career include being the first woman to star as Eva Peron in “Evita” and was the first to ever belt out the song “Memory” from London’s stages in “Cats.”

In addition to her stage career, she hosts a BBC Radio 2 program highlighting music from theatrical shows. On the April 5, 2009 broadcast to mark the 10th anniversary of “Mamma Mia!” on London’s West End, Elaine interviewed Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus ABBA to talk about “Mamma Mia!” as well as 25th Anniversary of “Chess” (Benny and Björn’s musical from the 1984 that they co-wrote with Tim Rice and coincidentally also starred Elaine Paige). Elaine joined Benny and Björn at Benny’s Mono Music Studio in Stockholm for the interview portion of the program.

In addition to spending time discussing both “Mamma Mia!” and “Chess” with the boys from ABBA, Elaine also got them to discuss their other musical “Kristina Från Duvemåla.” which up until now has only been in Swedish. One of the highlights from the discussion was the first presentation of “Du Måste Finnas” in English as performed by Helen Sjöholm, who played Kristina in the original Swedish cast. In English, the song is entitled, “You Have To Be There” and the lyrics were said to be a draft version and are not yet set in stone as the final version of it. If everything goes according to plan, New York audiences will be treated to a concert version of the new English translation of the show on September 23 and 24th at Carnegie Hall.

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