Zoo Lights PDX- Open til Jan. 4

Zoo Lights PDX- Open til Jan. 4

Zoo Lights in Portland, Oregon // A Well Crafted Party

Our little family has three different views of holiday light shows. Me, I’m in love… going to see lights was one of my favorite things growing up. I remember being a teenager and driving up to the highest hill in my tiny little town to look out on the city full of lights. It is awe-inspiring to me. My husband on the other hand doesn’t understand it. Now, mushrooms growing out of a tree stump is the most exciting part of his day, but holiday lights that twinkle and glow? He just thinks about how cold it is or how hard it must have been to put out all of the lights. My son is just now at the age where he seems to enjoy them.

Oregon ZooLights in PDX // A Well Crafted Party

Oregon ZooLights in PDX // A Well Crafted Party

When it came to deciding whether or not to go to the Oregon Zoo for ZooLights this year, me and the kid won out! And, I am pretty sure the hubby had just as much fun as we did. The whole family decided to head out to ZooLights for the Media Night and had a brilliant time!

We went on a week night at it was not too busy. The train line was pretty long, but it was my son’s favorite part of the whole thing. Personally, I loved the tunnel of lights! So pretty.

The coolest part about the Oregon ZooLights? It isn’t all “Christmas” themed! There are lots of animal lights, fiction story lights, and more. It was nice to enjoy the lights for the holiday without being inundated with Christmas. It also works out for the after-holiday crowd to still be able to enjoy the lights even though Christmas is over!

ZooLights runs until January 4, 2015. The lights open up at 5PM. However, you can get your tickets as early as 4PM. Check out the Oregon Zoo ZooLights info page for more information.

Oregon ZooLights in PDX // A Well Crafted Party

The Oregon Zoo provided my family with tickets to attend ZooLights media night this year. All thoughts are my own.

Snapshots: Howloween at the Oregon Zoo

Snapshots: Howloween at the Oregon Zoo

Oregon Zoo at Halloween // A Well Crafted Party

Oregon Zoo at Halloween // A Well Crafted Party


Halloween at the Oregon Zoo is “Howloween”

You thought I spelled it wrong in the title, didn’t you? “How”loween was the Oregon Zoo’s costumed, Halloween themed educational scavenger hunt. We visited different areas of the zoo to learn about many of the animals and get stickers and treats! Kiddo dressed as a crab and had a lot of fun roaming the zoo as one of the animals!

This past weekend I had the opportunity to bring my little guy, my visiting mom, and husband to participate in Howloween at the Zoo. The educational scavenger hunt was fun for the kid and kept us moving along throughout the zoo. It is no secret that I’m a fan of the Oregon Zoo. So, I won’t wax poetic.

I will say that it gets my vote as a fabulous way to spend the day with the family. I’d highly suggest renting one of their strollers if you have a little one. It saved us from having to schlep our stroller in and out, the kid thought it was fun, and it made the whole experience much better than the times we’ve gone and tried to walk around with a toddler.

Did you miss out on Howloween? Well, here is some more zoo fun:

Trick or Meat: See an Amur tiger get fed pumpkins at 10:31 AM on 10/31!

Zooliner: The Zooliner is BACK! Well, almost… the Zoo just announced that the Zooliner Locomotive is “on track” to be ready to be back in November. I’m excited that it will be back just in time for Zoo Lights!

Oregon Zoo at Halloween // A Well Crafted Party Oregon Zoo at Halloween // A Well Crafted Party

Oregon Zoo at Halloween // A Well Crafted Party

Portland Center Stage presents Dreamgirls

Portland Center Stage presents Dreamgirls
Art by Julia McNamara

Art by Julia McNamara

Disclaimer: I was provided with complementary tickets by Portland Center Stage so that I may experience Dreamgirls before sharing my experience with you here on the blog. All opinions are my own. Keep reading for a discount so that you can see the show as well! 

Dreamgirls at Portland Center Stage in town until November 2!

A little tidbit about me that you might not of known… I’ve ALWAYS been interested in theater. I love watching the lights go down, hearing the hush of a crowd, and being delighted with the talents of people that have prepped and worked all towards that performance. There is just nothing like watching live theater. I’ve never really been someone to act in a play. I auditioned once in college… let me tell you, an Irish accent is NOT easy. Though I was never really quite right for the onstage talent, I loved participating in the creation of a show and watching how everyone worked together to change reality for the course of a show. So, when Portland Center Stage asked if I wanted to check out their production of Dreamgirls I jumped at the opportunity. I’m so glad I did!

I had never seen Dreamgirls before, either on stage or in movie form. I knew that it was a musical about a trio of women loosely based on The Supremes. But, that is about it! Now I want to see the movie and any and all productions of this show going forward. It was such a treat, and not for the reasons I originally assumed it would be! If you are in the Portland area, and like musicals, then I’d highly recommend this production! But, don’t let your location stop you from reading on… you can always watch Dreamgirls the movie!

Dreamgirls at Portland Center Stage // A Well Crafted Party

L-R: Lexi Rhoades (Lorrell Robinson), Mary Patton (Deena Jones) and Antoinette Comer (Michelle Morris) in “Dreamgirls” at Portland Center Stage. Photo by Patrick Weishampel.
“Dreamgirls” Music by Henry Krieger, Book and Lyrics by Tom Eyen, Directed by Chris Coleman

It is more than just three women singing…

I expected to go into the show and be wow’d by some spectacular female voices. And, while I was wow’d by some pretty talented women (get to that later) I was unexpectedly blown away by some beautiful and FUN male-led songs! The beginning of the show the ladies didn’t quite have their voices yet. (Little did I know, because remember I had never seen this before, that was part of the plan!) I enjoyed the first number with the women being introduced to the stage. But, when Calvin Scott Roberts playing C.C. (Claridge Conrad) White and Rodney Hicks playing Curtis Taylor, Jr. began to sing Cadillac Car with David Jennings playing Jimmy (James Thunder) Early– WOW. I loved each and every song that these three men sang together. Each had great stage presence and really sold their characters all while hitting their songs out of the theater.

Dreamgirls from Portland Center Stage // A Well Crafted Party

The cast of “Dreamgirls” at Portland Center Stage. Photo by Patrick Weishampel.
“Dreamgirls” Music by Henry Krieger Book and Lyrics by Tom Eyen Directed by Chris Coleman

Then you really hear the women sing…

In the beginning I wasn’t entirely impressed with the songs that the women were singing. Little did I know… that was part of the play! As the show goes on the women really start singing. While they clearly had talent in the beginning, they just hadn’t hit their groove as a group! They had me hoodwink perfectly. At the end of the first act when Nattalyee Randall playing Effie Melody White belts out “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” I had tears in my eyes. All the women brought it on stage and I wasn’t disappointed by a single performance. The most exciting performance, for me, was by Mary Patton playing Deena Jones. (I don’t want to give much of the story away just in case you, like me, had never seen anything about the show. I want you to be as surprised as I was!)  When Deena, one of the background singers of the trio is given the opportunity to step up as a lead there is a lot to discover. Patton plays demure, quiet and sweet Deena Jones so well in the beginning and hides her powerhouse of a voice during her first song as lead so well that I honestly didn’t see how this fictional group would ever be convincing as a popular musical trio. As she starts to take hold of her inner diva (just a bit) her voice suddenly takes over the entire room. It is gorgeous and powerful.

See a sneak peek of the show  below:

Dreamgirls: the trailer from Portland Center Stage on Vimeo.

More about Dreamgirls:

  • Fun facts about the PCS production learn how the production included- “49 IKEA mixing bowls, 125 costume looks, 406 pairs of fake eye lashes, 550 lighting units …
    and 1,000 condoms!?!?!”
  • Dreamgirls Review from Jane of In The Pink & Green- “I ended up being really blown away by the talented cast for this show! Seriously, every single person had such an incredible voice and I was extremely impressed by the casting!”

Get a Discount to the Show!

Portland Center Stage is offering my Portland area readers a chance to see Dreamgirls with a discount! Use the code “PDXBLOGS” to get $5 off any showing. Or, select a Tuesday show or the Halloween showing to receive your ticket for just $20! Click here to buy your ticket today!

More from Portland Center Stage:

The Typographers Dream is showing in the Ellen Bye Studio from Oct. 4 to November 16.

The Typographer’s Dream follows the story of a stenographer, a geographer and a typographer. During a career-oriented presentation, it becomes hilariously clear that their personal issues just so happen to correspond with their jobs. As with his hit play The Receptionist, playwright Bock tackles the everyday environment of the workplace from a completely unique, and very witty, perspective.  ”

Tell me, have you ever seen Dreamgirls? What did you think? Comment below.

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