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Wicked Playing at the Aronoff

Last night, as I watched Wicked at the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati, I was simply stunned by the beauty, richness, and depth of this show.  I saw Wicked in Louisville a few years back, and at that time I was caught up in the wonder of the songs that I was so intimately familiar with from listening to the soundtrack repeatedly.  Yes, the music is brilliant.  Yes, the connections to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz are exciting and clever, providing for many “ah-ha” moments. This time though, what really stirred me, was the depth of the story which is so incredibly relevant today. Timeless themes actually.  If you haven’t seen it (yet), I don’t want to give anything away, but this beautifully tragic musical highlights, sometimes subtly and sometimes not, themes such as:

  • The need to be popular; to be liked
  • Creating and then craving a false identity; living behind a mask
  • Greed; the desire to be more and have more
  • Accepting yourself even if you don’t fit societal norms
  • The need to be truly connected to others
  • The richness of friendship
  • The struggle to overcome difficult odds
  • The nature of discrimination

But there are deeper, darker notes that point to the best and worst parts of humanity. So many striking questions that I believe we should be thinking about today.  Do humans bond through hatred for a common enemy?  Do we search for scapegoats to mask our own weaknesses?  Are there people we consider “other than” and therefore not desirable?  Honestly, I could go on.  Just so powerful! 

Luckily, the script is as delightful as it is prudent.  It’s as fantastical as it is honest.  The performance last night was rich and captivating.  From the full, nuanced vocals to the energetic, powerful dancing, this cast had it all.  So much to see at one time.  The sound effects, costumes, lighting, makeup, and set design all worked together in such an impressive way.  I applaud the cast and crew.  

You will not regret seeing this one! My face truly hurt from smiling; well, until I hit the parts that made me cry! Normally, I would say I’m #teamelphaba, and I thought her performance was stellar, but I have to say, I think I ended up on #teamglinda last night.  Her take on the “good witch” was quirky, awkward, and endearing.  I found her truly delightful and engaging.  Our Elphaba, a stand-in, captured the thoughtful intelligence and passion of her character. Wicked runs until October, 15th!  Grab some tickets and enjoy a night out!  

GO THERE (Aronoff)!  TRY THAT (Wicked)  (and then go back to see other shows)!




I’ve been sitting on this experience post because, honestly, I wasn’t sure how to write it.  But, considering Fall is here, I needed to write it now while there is still time to . . . ride.  Yep.  My new love?  Bike riding!  

Please know, I am in no way an experienced biker.  I’m not a cyclist.  I know cyclists and I have much respect for them.  I guess this post is more for people who want to try something new. Who maybe have a bike in their garage or in their basement and just haven’t gotten it out in years. This post is for people who think, hey, I’d like to try that again, but I’m not sure that I can.  It’s for those who last rode their bike in a galaxy far, far away.  Do it!!  Dust the bike off.  Dig it out of the garage or basement. Borrow a bike from a friend.  Take a spin around the neighborhood and fall in love with riding again. 

Riding my neighborhood when I first got my bike.

A year and a half ago, I would not have been riding a bicycle (that’s a whole other story).  But, this past spring I got the itch.  I wanted to explore different forms of exercise that, well, don’t feel like punishment.  I started taking my old, blue, single-speed bike for wobbly spins around the block. Getting the feel for it.  Literally. I would pass my neighbors, wave to them, and holler tidings as I sped by.  I was practicing things like not falling off,  stopping suddenly, going around corners, and getting up and down the sidewalk!  I started as a tentative, white-knuckled rider.

Then, at the end of April, I asked for a new bike for my birthday. That’s my sunshine, three-speed, yellow cruiser!  When I felt comfortable enough I moved to Otto Armleder Park because it’s basically flat and it’s pretty.  Guess what I learned?!  Bike riding is in fact fun.  It is truly an exercise that never feels like punishment.  

There are so many places to ride in and around the city.  Places like Smale Riverfront Park (my favorite park) and Lunken Airport.  At Smale you can pause at the swings and enjoy the river view or stop and play a giant game of chess.  At Lunken you can grab your breath on a bench watching planes fly overhead.  

Riding at Smale Park.

Taking a break to watch the planes at Lunken.

And, oh, the Loveland Bike Trail!  Oh, my stars!  It’s miles and miles and miles and miles and miles of trails that stretch across the city and beyond.  There are locations everywhere!  I often begin in Newtown because that’s the closest location to my house. Now that I’m starting to build some endurance, I love riding from Milford and Loveland as well.  These trails are beautiful.  Each location is covered by trees, many run along the Little Miami, and some slide by quiet neighborhoods or bustling restaurants. And, if you need a break, there are often benches and picnic tables situated along the way.  I’ve said it before- I love this city of Cincinnati. Bicycling has just added to that love. It’s allowed me to see sites I didn’t see before.

The view from the trail at Newtown.

One night, while strolling Washington Park on a date night, we decided, on a whim, to rent Red Bikes.  We rode through the fountains, around the park, and through OTR.  If you’ve ever been tempted, the Red Bikes are easy to ride.  You can grab them in one location and return them to another.  

Renting Red Bikes at Washington park.

My husband rides with me.  My friends ride with me.  It’s community.  It’s detaching from the hustle and bustle.  It’s adventure.  It’s being a kid again.  If you ever want to go for a ride, I’m your girl.  Seriously, the more the merrier.  I might not be a long distance rider (yet), but even as I’m sweating and pushing, I love each of those miles.  I love the sunshine.  I love the cool air.  I love the freedom.  I love being outside. I love quieting my mind.  

Biker Gang!

Want to know more about cruising the city on two wheels?  Check out Red Bikes here.  Don’t have a bike to explore the bike trail?  Rent one!  Biking truly is for everyone.

GO THERE (Biking around the city)!  TRY THAT (Riding the Loveland Bike Trail; Riding with friends)!