Monday, September 26, 2016


Rainbow Rowellli
St. Martin's Press
New York, New York
ISBN: 978-1-250-04937-7
$ 24.99
310 pages

"Georgie. You cannot be jealous of Dawn- that's like the sun being jealous of a lightbulb."
Wow!  You mean the former girlfriend is a lightbulb, and I am the sun to you?
Relationships are usually complicated, in particular between a husband and a wife.  It takes a rare talent to capture a glimpse of the inner workings of any marriage through the eyes of the masterful author, Rainbow Rowell who neither glamorizes or simplifies the reality of being married.
Georgie McCool has one of those difficult choices in life where whatever she chooses will cause her to have regrets. There is no right here, just the logical solution even if it is at the expense of her family.
Georgie along with her longtime friends, Seth and Scotty, have been together since college.  The three have learned how to capitalize their relationships into writing successful comedy shows.
Their dream is just around the corner with their idea of a new show being possible.  Finally, a network executive is looking at their prospective dream, Passing Time. 
Naturally, Georgie needs to take the leap and devote her next few days to writing.
It is a week before Christmas,  Georgie, Neal and their two daughters have plane tickets to Omaha to share the holidays with her in-laws.  Logically, Georgie needs to stay in Los Angeles to write forcing her to miss Christmas with the family, her husband, and their daughters.
How will her husband react to this choice?   Will this be the beginning of their separation? 
Landline is a masterful narrative revealing Georgie's thoughts, insecurities in a real-life situation.  After many years of marriage, many people value those rare romantic memories of the past while secretly dreaming that they happen again.  They don't.  Over many years, all relationships evolve due to work situations, children, stress, money, and numerous other challenges.    Does that mean that your marriage is over?
Added to that, Georgie possesses guilt that her husband, Neal, gave up his career dream so that she could pursue hers.  Is it Neal's turn for his chance to dream?
Rainbow Rowell is a best-selling author who resides in Omaha with her family.  Her previous novels are Fangirl, Eleanor and Park, and Attachments. 
Landline is a unique glimpse into personal relationships between co-workers, siblings, parents, in-laws, children, spouses, and even former girlfriends without being a romance novel and surprisingly, being utterly fascinating. 
How Rowell weaves this tale is astonishing.  
Landline is one book that you never want to put down while you are reading and continue to mull over long after you complete the last page. 
What can anyone learn from reading this novel?  The answer is to discover what holds a family together and what breaks them.  Could this be what some call love?  Read Landline for the answer.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Elf The Musical Jr.

Santa and his elves love their jobs.   Making toys brings happiness to them.  However, things change.  Santa realizes that his elves are hard-workers, but sometimes even Santa needs a break.   Santa is feeling the stress of the upcoming holiday and needs a break.   It is two weeks before Christmas; the production lines are behind and the holiday spirit is down.
Added to that is one rather large elf, Buddy who is just getting on Santa's nerves.   Buddy is always happy, maybe just a little too much.  Unfortunately, he is also lagging behind the other elves with his toy-making duties.  So far today, he has only made eighty-five Etch-a-Sketches.
There is a reason for this.  Buddy isn't  an elf even though he lives it at the North Pole.   Buddy is human, and he is just discovering the reality of being an orphaned and accidentally falling into Santa's bag when he was a baby.
Elf Jr. is a fun, family-oriented show.  The actual performance time runs about eighty minutes, so this fast-paced production is perfect for children of all ages.
What is special about these "Jr." shows is that the oldest performers are only eighteen-years-old!  These are unquestionably extremely talented youngsters that everyone in this area should feel privileged to see before they become well-known.    Surprisingly there are forty-two performers in this particular show, all under the direction of Denise Putnam and Jerry Gray who was in charge of the music.
As with all shows, the behind-the-scenes support is phenomenal with David Podendorf in charge of the sound system, Darrin Golden with the lighting, Ann Coombs as the costume master, and Ariel Ibsen-Bauer with the inventive choreography.   The scenes, props, backstage and technical crews perfectly blended into the show.
Undoubtedly Matthew Hansen commands the stage in this role of Buddy.   He sings, acts, tap-dances and thoroughly engages the audience making everyone believe this is his real personality.  
The entire Hobbs' family were all phenomenal performers.  Nick Haats as Walter, Riley Pope as his wife Emily, and Atticus Paul Coombs Walker as the son, Michael all are great singers who I would have love to see and hear from in future shows.
Also, notable performers were Kira Watson as Jovie, Kyla Mittan as Deb, Conner Mowery as Santa and eighth-grader Grace Garrigan as the despicable Miss Greenway.
These forty-two enthralling performers unquestionably show the best of today's youth.   These are the future Tony, Oscar, and Emmy winners of tomorrow.
Elf, the Musical Jr., opens this year's Chanticleer season.  Upcoming shows are "Witness for the Prosecution" in November, and in 2017, "Steel Magnolias," a surprise musical, and "Carousel."
The show continues through this weekend on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.  Prices for tickets are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors over 60 and $10 for students and children.  Tickets can be purchased through the box office by calling (712) 323-9955. show .
Why see Elf The Musical, Jr.?   Matthew Hansen is an outstanding talent that likely will be exceptional in future years since he already excels as a performer.   Nick Haats, Riley Pope, and Atticus Paul Coombs are names to know and watch as they age, mature, and grow.  You will be privileged to know that you saw these outstanding individuals.8:35 PM 9/18/2016