kristi andrus

Review: PostSecret: The Show

by Kristi Andrus, guest blogger

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All of the stories featured in PostSecret: The Show were true. I didn’t expect that. I guess I understood the concept, but still thought the production would have embellished or taken creative license or something. Huh, I guess that truth is stranger than fiction.

Some of the secrets and stories were funny, some were poignant, some were disgusting, some were heartbreaking, some were ironic, and some were heartwarming. The ones that moved me were people so touched by other people’s secrets that they responded to offer camaraderie, support, even money. The stories of people saving voicemails of their loved ones to listen to after they died were relatable and hard to hear. The postcard I’m not sure I’ll ever forget said: “Everyone who knew me before 9/11 believes I’m dead.”

Why?! Why would he/she do that to people that love them? To people that know them and cared about them and now mourn them? Was it so bad? Is he/she escaping something? It’s got to be made into a book, right? Someone please take that secret and run with it. Write the book, option the rights to a movie, who knows where it could go?

The best parts:

The actors – There were only three, Maria Glanz, TJ Dawe, and Kerry Ipema. They were fantastic and believable. It was so much fun to see them embody the different people from the postcards.

The start – “Listen. Don’t Judge. Use a voice of compassion. Build rapport.” Relevant and riveting from the get-go. It could have been a mantra.

The stats – I pee in the shower is the most common secret mailed in. Tell me who feels the need to confess that? I wish I had someone to share my secrets with is the second most common secret. That’s sad. Vulnerability is powerful y’all. Share with a friend and watch your relationship evolve. You don’t have to share your biggest, worst, darkest secret, maybe start small and see how it goes.

The timing – “In 2004, nothing went viral.” Timing, ladies and gentleman, is everything, and ideas, businesses, and relationships are made and broken on that alone. This concept probably wouldn’t work in today’s world, but it worked when it launched and it’s still going strong. Check out the blog to see how it’s expanded.

The instructions – Take a postcard, or two. Tell your secret anonymously. Stamp and mail the postcard. Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, desire, confession, or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything – as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before. Simple and powerful.

If you missed the show, I’m sorry, it was a great night out. To the fellow audience members with really great laughs, thank you for being a delightful soundtrack to the show.

See you at Lone Tree Arts Center for the next one!

Preview: PostSecret: The Show

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By Kristi Andrus, guest blogger

I vaguely recall this phenomenon from the early 2000s. Approximately 15 years ago Frank Warren conceived of the idea to create an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on a postcard. The secrets were published via a blog, and have since went on to inspire a museum exhibit, several books, a TED talk and more. At the time, it seemed so salacious and brave. Of course, that was mostly pre-reality television, and certainly before the practice of revealing yourself became a strategy for cultivating fame, becoming an influencer, or growing brands.

Imagine, sharing something revealing for the sake of sharing. Perhaps it was to unburden, to atone, to distance yourself from the secret. Maybe it was a silly thrill. Who knows what motivated the participants? The intriguing aspect of the secrets is the anonymity, especially as it seems impossible in today’s world.

I recently read an article that said if you were on Facebook (or substitute your favorite platform here) at any point, or your very closest acquaintances were or are, the amount of data points that exist for you and your network are virtually limitless. The six-degrees-of-separation (Kevin Bacon?) that existed once upon a time is now 2-3 degrees for most people on the planet. I don’t think the article was meant to scare so much as caution that privacy is an illusion to some degree today.

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All that to say, I can’t wait to see this show, billed as an “immersive, poignant journey through the humor and humanity of the personal stories we keep to ourselves” – its concept seems so anti-selfie, pre-Kardashian cool.

Buy tickets at lonetreeartscenter.org for the 7:30pm performance on Thursday, February 8 and let us know what you thought!

Review: Home for the Holidays

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By Kristi Andrus, Guest Blogger

For the holidays, you can’t beat home, sweet home.”

Ok, if you read my preview, you know I’m a confessed Christmas-a-holic and was really looking forward to Home for the Holidays at Lone Tree Arts Center. You also know that the theme this year is holidays through the ages and the show is appropriate for audiences of all ages, so I attended with my five-year-old daughter and she can be a tough critic. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m pleased to report that it lived up to the hype for both of us.

The show opened with a soloist and shadow dancers that spelled out holiday words with their bodies behind the screen, which was an entertaining effect that immediately grabbed the audience. (There was a great band on stage throughout the show too, and other than a guitar solo during the Christmas-fied “Yuletide Bohemian Rhapsody,” the saxophone clearly was the star.)

Emcee (Rob Costigan) provided a funny break between sets and Santa (Colin Alexander) and Mrs. Claus (Margie Lamb) co-hosted, bantered, and regularly burst into song. They both have beautiful voices as they recalled moments from each decade, and my daughter waved and clapped every time they returned to stage. She wasn’t the only child to do that.

Starting with the 50s, the cast danced, sang, drummed, and played their way through the decades. The songs were infectious with surprises and funny moments that kept everyone on their toes. “Blue Christmas” seemed to be a crowd favorite.

The sets were bright and retro, as were the costumes – the black and white mini dresses of the 60s were my favorite. Fair warning…there were a lot of food references: “he puts the chocolate chip in your cookies” for example, so don’t come hungry. At one point, they even called out to the audience to acknowledge their calorific recipes.

After intermission, there was another sax solo as we entered the 80s, and the drummers impressed with buckets and pans, and then beatboxing! Another clever Christmas-fied song was Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” performed by Elves (on Shelves).

Deep bass and hip hop breakdancers reminded me why I loved college. Then, when a young boy (Jonathan Jaramillo) found a Zoltar fortune teller and wished to become a great performer, it was a believable transformation. He had the charisma, voice, and moves of a young star. And special guest Sheryl McCallum from Broadway’s The Lion King nailed “All I Want for Christmas is You.”

The children’s choir spoofed “12 Days of Christmas” by pretending to be adults lamenting the responsibilities of the season: 5 months of bills, fat pants, and no batteries included received many knowing smiles and groans from the audience. The “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” rap felt relevant, not campy, even though (or maybe because?) the stage was filled with dancers in glitter jackets, violinists, drummers with glowing drums, and a Sia-inspired young girl.

The show ended with a dance party and my daughter jumped out of her seat to participate. It was after all, a Christmas version of Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” She literally couldn’t stop. How would any five-year-old resist the biggest Trolls song of the year?

All in all, the show was fun and sweet, nostalgic and current, so truly, there was something for everyone. We loved it and you will too.

Playing now through Sunday, December 17 at Lone Tree Arts Center. For tickets and more information go to: http://www.lonetreeartscenter.org/homefortheholidays

Preview: Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays 2017_headerBy Kristi Andrus, Guest Blogger

I fully admit that I’m a Christmas girl. That’s why I’m looking forward to Home for the Holidays. It’s a hometown favorite filled with holiday comforts – the songs and characters that we anticipate each year, and because it’s a variety show, you can also expect something for everyone – singing, dancing, drumming, Santa, his wife, local musicians, special guest performers, and so much energy.

The theme this year is holidays through the ages and the show is appropriate for audiences of all ages. I’m going on a date with my daughter, who just turned five. We can’t wait to get dressed up and have a mommy/daughter night, just the two of us. We’ll undoubtedly over-accessorize. Brother and Sister will have to wait for their big nights out at another performance.

Santa is played by local actor Colin Alexander, last seen in LTAC’s The Explorers Club. Mrs. Claus (Maggie Lamb) will co-host with Santa, and Rob Costigan, last seen in LTAC’s EVITA, will emcee. I already love it – there’s an emcee! Trent Hines, most recently seen in the Denver Center’s The Wild Party is the musical director. And, Piper Lindsay Arpan, co-host of LTAC’s Reunion ’85, is not only assistant directing, she’s also assistant choreographer, dance captain, and dancing in the show. Doesn’t all that multi-tasking make you want to ask her about her holiday traditions? She’s obviously enormously talented and a scheduling pro, so she’s probably already decorated her home from top to bottom, wrapped stacks of presents with homemade touches, and sent out the most gorgeous holiday card ever.

The show runs from Thursday, December 7 – Sunday, December 17. That’s only ten days folks, and we are in the thick of Christmas chaos, so buy your tickets today. We’ll be going opening night, so look for my review, with perspective provided by my daughter, shortly thereafter.

And don’t forget the advantage of taking in a show at Lone Tree Arts Center, a beautiful state-of-the-art facility without the hassle, parking, and competitiveness of seeing a show downtown. I mean it’s worth it of course, but it’s also a lot on top of a lot at this time of year. LTAC is the opposite of that. It’s almost as convenient as having the performance in your home, without all the furniture rearranging to accommodate and none of the cleanup. Enjoy!

For tickets and more information go to: http://www.lonetreeartscenter.org/homefortheholidays.