TV Moments That Moved Me to Tears: ‘ONE LIFE TO LIVE’

Without further ado, the top TV Moment That Moved Me to Tears is…

This moment deserves a little photo creativity!

This moment deserves a little photo creativity!

#1 – MEGAN GORDON (One Life to Live, ABC Network):  When Megan died from the effects of lupus in 1992 it left an impression on me that’s lasted twenty-three years. I saw and appreciated what brave storytelling and brilliant acting could do.

BACKSTORY

Megan burst onto the scene, full of life, energy, and confidence. She quickly became one of my favorite characters, thanks in large part to her portrayer – Jessica Tuck. As sometimes occurs in the interesting world of the soap opera, Megan was revealed as the long-lost daughter to the show’s beloved matriarch – Viki Buchanan. This connected a popular character to an established one, only intensifying Megan’s role in the fictional town of “Llanview, Pennsylvania”.

Despite receiving a kidney from her mother, Megan’s body could no longer hold off the damage lupus had done. I remember so vividly the moment I first cried during this storyline: Megan’s sister, Sarah, sat at her bedside and tried to remain happy and positive. The two acknowledged the reality of the situation and said a tearful goodbye. From there, the tears continued as she said goodbye to her younger siblings, former flames, and newly-found mother. I thought about my own siblings, parents, and loved ones. How would I react in that situation? Reflecting upon those ideas made the storyline all the more impactful.

Her missing husband (held captive and found just in time) arrived to share some final tender moments with his ailing wife. Jake helped Megan to the hospital room window to show her their wedding tree he had transplanted the hospital lawn for her. Attached to the branches were heart-shaped paper ornaments, tied by ribbons, blowing in the wind.  She held one of the hearts that he gave to her in the hospital room and as Jake spoke about the future, with beautiful music swelling, the paper heart fell from her hand and her body went limp.

LASTING IMPRESSION

It was the first time I recall crying as a result of a fictional character’s death.  This storyline remains etched in my memory, and I have lasting respect for the writing team, directors, actors, and music supervisors who created so many moments of television excellence.  One Life to Live introduced us to memorable characters, educated us about social issues, and created a world that viewers wanted to visit Monday through Friday.

Though gone from the world of daytime dramas, OLTL will live on through the fans who loved it and the actors who graced the screen.

*DISCLAIMER: No endorsement by anyone associated with One Life to Live, its parent company, affiliates, or artists implied!*

TV Moments That Moved Me to Tears: ‘ANGEL’

We’re so close to revealing the top moment! The runner-up is…

Angel

#2 – FRED (Angel, S5 Ep15, “A Hole in the World”): When Joss Whedon kills off one of his characters, it’s not just for the ‘hellmouth’ of it nor is it pretty.

The gifted writer/producer/director always introduces us to a wide variety of characters: rebels, villains, and flawed heroes/heroines. Then there were the ones that held them all together: Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Kaylee in Firefly, and Fred in Angel. Putting any of those three in dangerous situations upped the ante for the rest of the characters and tugged on the viewer’s emotions.

Portrayed to perfection by Amy Acker, Winifred Fred’ Burkle became the heart, soul, and innocence of the team.  A character full of so much heart, joy, intelligence, and compassion added balance amidst the tormented souls that surrounded her.  From the moment she was introduced on the show, Fred’s journey was one we wanted to follow. Over the course of the next three years we watched her come into her own and flourish. So, when Fred died in the arms of the man she loved I wept along with the characters. “No, not Fred.  She can’t die,” I thought.  “She’s too important.” I didn’t have long to mourn the loss of such a beloved character, because in true Joss fashion, Fred’s death opened a portal (wink, wink) to a new character. Fred’s spirit ceased to exist and Illyria took over, thus, providing Amy a new acting challenge and giving the show added conflict. We lost Fred but still had Amy, and she continued to impress.

This TV moment ranks high on my list not only because Fred is one of my favorite TV characters, but because of the episode as a whole. Written and directed by Joss Whedon, “A Hole in the World” paid tribute to a character we all came to love and admire. As her friends rushed to find a way to save her, we felt the fear that they wouldn’t be able to and the disappointment in realizing that they couldn’t. This stunning hour of television remains embedded in my memory due to the talents of those in front of and behind the camera.

Dramatic television series can inspire, motivate, educate, and empower. However, they also have the ability to reach us on an emotional level. They do so by creating characters we enjoy watching, and rooting for, only to take them on journeys that make us reflect on our own lives and choices. While I’ve cried many a time during TV shows, there are five TV moments that not only had me sobbing like a baby but impressed me on a creative level. 

*DISCLAIMER: No endorsement by anyone associated with Angel, its parent company, affiliates, sponsors, or artists implied!*

TV Moments That Moved Me to Tears: ‘GENERAL HOSPITAL’

The next item on our countdown is…General Hospital  (ABC Network)

Dramatic television series can inspire, motivate, educate, and empower. However, they also have the ability to reach us on an emotional level. They do so by creating characters we enjoy watching, and rooting for, only to take them on journeys that make us reflect on our own lives and choices. While I’ve cried many a time during TV shows, there are five TV moments that not only had me sobbing like a baby but impressed me on a creative level. 

General Hospital

#3 – ZANDER SMITH (General Hospital, portrayed the role from 2000-2004): I’m accustomed to characters dying on daytime dramas; after all, I’ve been watching them for over thirty years. Given the numerous and impactful deaths that occurred on General Hospital over its five decades on the air, Zander’s death may seem an odd choice for this list. Emotional storylines like B.J.’s death in 1994 and Stone’s a year later changed the canvas of the show. I cried along with the characters and applauded the artistic choices. As emotional as those deaths were for the other characters, the show, and the viewers, Zander’s death affected me for a much different reason.

Behind-the-scenes changes (i.e. head writers, executive producers, network reorganization) affect the daytime dramas too, sometimes more significantly and not always in ways that do justice to the show, the characters, or the gifted actors. The hard-working teams that bring daytime dramas to the screen five days a week have responsibilities that many of us can’t fathom. I respect the art form and those involved, and write this from a viewer’s perspective.  To clean the slate, or erase storyline choices, interesting yet complex characters get used as scapegoats. Their actions become unstable and very quickly shift to dangerous. From my perspective, they were vilified in order to wrap a storyline and find a character on which to lay blame. Within a year’s time, General Hospital killed off three such characters: Stefan, A.J., and Zander.

Zander’s arrival may not have intended to prompt such passionate reaction from the viewers, but the on-screen chemistry and acting prowess of Amber Tamblyn (Emily) and Chad Brannon (Zander) created a relationship that we wanted to see develop. And that it most certainly did. When Amber left the show and Chad remain, this beloved on-screen twosome had a bittersweet goodbye that showcased the growth of each character and the beautiful love story that developed over time. Emily was recast some time later and the relationship changed. Zander quickly became the “not-as-popular” love interest for new Emily and his character started making choices that were unusual, confusing, and head-scratching. Ultimately, they wrote him into a corner, having him hold Emily hostage (a cyclical choice, as that’s how their storyline began) only then to be gunned down by the police. I knew it was coming, yet I sobbed uncontrollably.  I cried over the death of a character I enjoyed watching, the frustration over storyline choices that did a disservice to the show, and for all the character development opportunities missed.

*DISCLAIMER: No endorsement by anyone associated with General Hospital, its parent company, affiliates, sponsors, or artists implied!*

TV Moments That Moved Me To Tears: ‘THE VAMPIRE DIARIES’

Next up on our list…The Vampire Diaries (The CW Network)

Dramatic television series can inspire, motivate, educate, and empower. However, they also have the ability to reach us on an emotional level. They do so by creating characters we enjoy watching, and rooting for, only to take them on journeys that make us reflect on our own lives and choices. While I’ve cried many a time during TV shows, there are five TV moments that not only had me sobbing like a baby but impressed me on a creative level. 

Moment 4

#4 – AUNT JENNA (The Vampire Diaries, S2 EP21 “The Sun Also Rises”):

While binge-watching The Vampire Diaries, I realized very quickly that the writers on this drama series knew how to create strong, conflicted, multi-layered characters. Rooting for and against a character frequently interchanged and you never knew when the tables would turn. Case in point…

After the death of her parents, Elena Gilbert’s family consisted of her brother, Jeremy, and her Aunt Jenna. Elena did all she could to keep her loved ones protected from the danger, violence, and supernatural beings that infiltrated their lives. While Jeremy encountered the danger early on, Jenna remained an outsider to the reality of witches, werewolves, and vampires. The relationship between Jenna and Elena became one of my favorites, as you watched the elder try to mentor, guide, and parent the younger though they weren’t far apart in age.

Putting either of Elena’s family members in danger immediately raised the emotional stakes for the show’s heroine.  Losing either of them would be a life-changing moment for Elena. So, when Jenna’s journey came to an end, I knew the stakes had changed.  Elena stood helpless as her aunt, who only recently discovered the truth about her supernatural community, turned from human to vampire. Elena offered comfort to her aunt in those last final moments, and in an instant, the fictional town of Mystic Falls was changed.  It was a moment I didn’t expect, and the sobs escaped.  I understood how painful this death was for Elena, yet it was even more emotional given that Jenna’s final act was to protect her niece as much as she could, trying to thwart the plan that required Elena’s death.

I applaud Nina Dobrev (Elena) and Sara Canning (Jenna) for their hauntingly beautiful work. They embodied the essence of not only their individual characters but the importance of that relationship.  It truly was a stunning scene that won’t soon be forgotten!

The Vampire Diaries writers excel where others do not by getting us to care for characters we love and those we love to hate. We know that no character on the show is safe, but we go along for the ride each week.

*DISCLAIMER: No endorsement by anyone associated with The Vampire Diaries, its parent company, affiliates, sponsors, or artists implied!*

TV Moments That Moved Me to Tears: ‘REVENGE’

Dramatic television series can inspire, motivate, educate, and empower. However, they also have the ability to reach us on an emotional level. They do so by creating characters we enjoy watching, and rooting for, only to take them on journeys that make us reflect on our own lives and choices. While I’ve cried many a time during TV shows, there are five TV moments that not only had me sobbing like a baby but impressed me on a creative level.

First up…REVENGE (ABC Network)

TV Moment 5

AMANDA CLARKE/EMILY THORNE (Revenge, S2 EP14, “Sacrifice”): When two women, connected through shared juvenile experience, swap identities, neither one’s life is the same.

Years after her beloved father is framed for a crime he didn’t commit and ripped from her young life, Amanda Clarke embarks on a plan of retribution. She enlists the help of fellow juvie inmate (Emily Thorne), though their relationship is fractured, and the two start their lives anew.  Not always liking one another, or trusting the other, Amanda Clarke and Emily Thorne ultimately formed a familial bond; one that the show’s protagonist came to appreciate as her “sister” lay dying in her arms. The woman who first answered to the name Amanda wept at realizing her long-time friend sacrificed her life for the other’s. When “I’m so sorry” broke out through choked emotion, handled exquisitely by the talented Emily VanCamp, tears ran down my cheeks. The strong, independent, and resilient Emily Thorne cradled her alter ego while I sat on my couch sobbing. I cried because the death affected the main character so tremendously, and I give credit to the writers, to Ms. VanCamp, and her talented co-star (Margarita Levieva) for such a heartfelt moment.  Many more emotional/heartbreaking scenes followed in the past two years, but “Amanda’s” death remains at the forefront of great storytelling, acting, and plot twists.

*DISCLAIMER: No endorsement by anyone associated with Revenge, its parent company, affiliates, sponsors, or artists implied!*

Have you heard about 2016 BroadwayCon?

Calling all Broadway fans! We’re getting our own convention!!!!

As you can tell from my overuse of exclamation points, I’m just “slightly” excited about the announcement of this event. I love theatre and am passionate about it’s ability to entertain, inform, and inspire. I support the art form and have great respect for the gifted artists on stage and behind the scenes who bring these shows to us 8 days a week for months, years, or decades.

Photo credit: Permission from 2016 BroadwayCon helpers!

Photo credit: Permission from 2016 BroadwayCon helpers!

The first-ever convention for Broadway artists and their fans takes place at the New York Hilton Midtown hotel from January 22-24, 2016. Tickets go on sale March 15, 2015 but check out the website to learn more about the ticket package options. Don’t delay or ponder, as you just may miss an opportunity to share in this inaugural event.

The BroadwayCon team just announced the first thirteen guests, which include artists I’ve seen perform live (Gavin Creel in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jason Tam in A Chorus Line, and Andy Mientus in the recent revival of Les Misérables) and ones whose names I know but haven’t witnessed their talent firsthand. I’ve waited at the stage door after many a performance and saw the mutual admiration between the fans and the artists. The performers stop to sign souvenir books, take selfies, and say “Hello” to theatre-goers of all ages. I’m always grateful for the opportunity to tell them their work is appreciated and that they did a great job.

This conference sets the stage (*wink, wink*) for fans, artists, producers, and more to interact with and learn from one another. What an amazing opportunity for all of us!

Please visit the BroadwayCon website for the full range of details about tickets, special guests, hotel info, and more.

*DISCLAIMER: No endorsement from the BroadwayCon organizers, their affiliates, sponsors, or artists involved is implied.*

Entertainment Blogging Questions

*I reached out to one TV network and received what amounted to a non-answer.  Hmm, I have a feeling this is going to take a lot of research and someone who understands legal-speak.*

Visit kellydeeny.com to read the Artistic Spirit Pledge entries.

Visit kellydeeny.com to read the Artistic Spirit Pledge entries.

As you can tell from the large gap between blog entries, I haven’t written any new “insights” about my favorite films, television shows, or theatre performances in a while.  Part of the reason is due to the 111 Day Artistic Spirit Pledge that I focused on from October until the end of January (the full list can be found on my author website). For 111 days, I wrote about the link between art (in its various forms) and spirituality.  Given my love for film, television, and theatre, many of the pledge entries were entertainment-focused.  Here are just some of the ones relevant to entertainment:

The other reason I haven’t written anything new is an admitted lack of knowledge and information about blogging rules and guidelines.  The idea that I could be infringing on copyright laws or improperly citing a TV show or film title (unintentionally, mind you) worries me enough to delay posting.  I went out into the great, wide world of the internet to search for “blogging about TV” or “entertainment blogging guidelines”, but found a lack of helpful information.  So, what do I want to know?

  • PHOTOS:  Including images in blog posts adds an extra layer of professionalism and helps catch a reader’s attention.  Yet, when writing about a film, tv show, or musical/play, can I include a photo?  If so, where do I find them and do I need to request permission in order to embed the image?
  • VIDEOS: Similar to photos, can I include clips of shows or movie trailers in my blog posts? If so, do I need permission or are they notified when I copy/paste an EMBED link?
  • TITLES/NAMES:  Whenever I mention a TV show, film, or musical/play, I always include a hyperlink (whenever available) to the original/official website.  I want to make sure that readers interested in learning more about the titles I write about can easily find the original source.  Are there guidelines/rules in place for including links to official sites of using the names or shows/performers?
  • TAGS:  Are there any restrictions to including a television network or actor’s name as a meta tag in a blog post entry?

I hesitated writing about this topic for fear that I would appear unprofessional or come off as an amateur.  Then, I realized there are probably many more entertainment fans (like myself) who are as interested in blogging about their favorite shows as I am.  I sincerely doubt I am the only one wondering about how we can best promote and support the industry without violating any copyright or infringement rules.

I’ve obtained some helpful feedback from fellow writers, but I am interested in expanding my knowledge of this specialty in the ever-advancing blogosphere.

 

Musical Theatre Review: Les Misérables

A haunting re-telling of a Broadway classic, the current staging of Les Misérables embodies all the aspects of the show that fans love with a rawness that adds a new perspective.

Throughout 25+ years and many adaptations, Les Misérables remains a beloved musical. With the newest Broadway revival gracing the Imperial Theatre’s stage, an entirely new generation of theatre-goers get to experience the sweeping music, powerhouse vocals, and moving story.

I was thoroughly impressed and moved to tears during a recent Saturday matinée performance, and here are just a few reasons why:

  • MUSIC AND LYRICS: Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil’s tremendous score and profound lyrics lives with you long after the curtain closes.  This treasured musical makes in indelible impression on not only the performers but the audience, due in large part to the incredible music.  The melodies float as needed, like during the instrumental “Bring Him Home” reprise in Act Two.  The stunning harmonies of “Turning” echo the voices of not only those lost but of the ones left behind.
  • VOCALS:  The music of Les Misérables demands incredible vocal prowess.  You must be able to do justice to the beautiful yet powerful melodies while infusing emotion into the meaningful story.  Each cast member, principal and ensemble, achieves that and much more.  Just try not to cry during “Bring Him Home” or sympathize with his plight during “Who Am I”.  Bring a sweater, because you’ll get chills when Caissie Levy belts out “I Dreamed a Dream”.  When Will Swenson sings “Stars”, you understand what motivates Javert while also fully aware of his tormented soul.
  • GIFTED ARTISTS: If you are well-versed (pun intended) in musical theatre talent, then you’re already familiar with some of the gifted performers. The following actors excel in their craft, creating performances that are both memorable and heartfelt: On the day I saw this show, the Jean Valjean understudy, Aaron Walpole went on in the starring role and was tremendous. Given Aaron’s phenomenal job, I’m look forward to seeing Les Miz again to experience Ramin Karimloo’s award-winning interpretation of Valjean.  Will Swenson’s Javert embodies anger, righteous determination, and a conflicted soul, all of which this well-respected artist handles with ease and talent.  Caissie Levy breaks your heart as she balances Fantine’s unwavering love for her daughter and determination to keep fighting. Nikki M. James’ exquisite range is on display in her role as Éponine. She grabs hold of Éponine’s fiery personality, infusing fragility, tenderness, and selfless love to this iconic role.  As Marius, Andy Mientus takes us on a journey of self-discovery.  Marius’ youthful energy, adventurous side, and naïveté early on brings home the severity of what’s to follow. When Marius is thrust into situations that require him to re-examine his beliefs and what’s worth fighting for, we believe his plight due to Andy’s adept handling of the role.  Remember the names of Keala Settle (Madame Thénardier) and Samantha Hill (Cosette), as these two talented actresses will both surprise and impress.  The ensemble cast members enrich the production with subtle nuances and powerful moments, adding depth to each scene.  Pay close attention to the student rebel scenes, as these young men are both impressive and heartbreaking.
  • STORY: Based on Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name, this musical is not only a story about forgiveness and redemption but one about love. Whether that love takes shape in the form of friendship (rebels), family (Fantine/Jean Valjean/Cosette), or romantic entanglement (Éponine/Marius/Cosette), love guides the actions and intentions of the characters. As we sit in the audience, we’re invited to examine our own choices and perspective.  Do we choose hate instead of love?  Do we reach out to those in need or pass judgment?  Are our decisions based on a need for power and control, or are they guided by love for ourselves and others?

 

As soon as the lights dimmed and the familiar opening chords reverberated through the room, I smiled. This amazing theatrical work affects me not only on a musical level but a spiritual one as well.  I venture to guess that many of you would say the same. You may have seen the 2012 film version or saw Les Misérables during an earlier run, but I recommend experiencing this modern stage telling of Victor Hugo’s novel.

 

*DISCLAIMER: I do not have affiliation with any of the afore-mentioned talent or anyone associated with this production. No endorsement by the artists or musical mentioned is implied! I’m simply singing their praises!*

 

Musicals to My Ears

I saw my first musical, Annie, when I was four-years-old.  I distinctly remember the elaborate stage, adorned with a massive Christmas tree and a winding staircase.  I don’t remember the music, just the image and the sensation that I wanted to see more. Thirty years later and I’m still in awe of how profound an experience live theatre is in my life.

Artists known for their musical theatre careers are some of the ones I hold in very high regard.  Their musical talent shadows so many other in mainstream music.  Their voices reach the back of the house, leaving me moved to tears and utterly impressed. Despite the overwhelming power of their vocal gifts, it is the sheer spiritual experience of being in a theatre during a show that moves me.  My soul transports to a dimension filled with artistry, passion, and unwavering purpose when the music swells and the vocal talent pierces the room with their abilities.

Given my passionate affinity for Broadway musicals, I made it a priority to buy a ticket to this year’s Tony Award broadcast on Sunday, June 8th.  I had it all planned – watch the nomination announcements online, blog about my thoughts afterward, buy a ticket to the award ceremony, and go to NYC numerous times in May to see the nominated shows.

I got excited as I pictured how amazing it would be to sit in Radio City Music Hall and watch some of the most brilliant talents perform.  “Could you imagine,” I’d say to friends, “how awesome it would be to be in that audience when Ramin Karimloo sings with the Les Miserables cast or see Idina Menzel win another Tony?”  I expect the chances that both will occur to be high, but I won’t be there to see it; the tickets sold out before I even knew they were on sale. (**Yes, there may have actually been some tears.**)

I’ll still go see the shows on my “must-see” list and will likely go to Times Square and watch the award show live on the massive TV screen – surrounded by my fellow theatre aficionados. It wasn’t Plan A, but perhaps an even more exciting option is around the corner.  Now I’ve got the soundtrack to Thoroughly Modern Millie playing in my mind.  (Kudos if you understood that musical theatre connection.) Apropos given Sutton Foster’s nomination for VIOLET this year.

Musical theatre may not be your “thing”, but it’s certainly mine.  And that’s one role I’m proud to play!

If you have not heard of the musical theatre artists I referenced above, stop reading and go download the cast albums.  You’re missing out on incredible talent!!

 

 

*DISCLAIMER: No endorsement from any of the above-mentioned artists or corporate entities intended or implied. I seek to share my appreciation of the industry with fellow theatre fans or those who don’t yet know they are one.*

 

 

Revenge Season 3 Finale Recap

Season 3 of ABC’s Revenge started with a bang and a splash, keeping our interest the entire season through.  So, it’s no surprise that the finale would not only match the opener but take it to the next level of anticipation and intrigue!

Let’s recap, briefly, because there’s a great deal we need to discuss:

  • David Clarke was framed for a crime he didn’t commit
  • He was framed by Conrad and Victoria Grayson
  • David’s 9-year-old daughter Amanda was there the night her father was forced to the ground and taken into custody.
  • David Clarke died while in prison
  • Amanda Clarke, now grown, returns to the Hamptons as Emily Thorne, moving in next door to the Graysons.  Her plan – seek revenge for those who framed her father.
  • She married Conrad and Victoria’s son, Daniel, only to be intentionally shot by him on their wedding night (long story involving a fake pregnancy, alcohol, and a subplot about an ex-girlfriend).
  • Along the way, Emily/Amanda was helped by a handsome trio – David’s protegé (Nolan Ross), another revenge-seeker due to the David Clarke set-up scheme (Aiden Mathis), and her childhood sweetheart who only learned of her true identity during last year’s jaw-dropping season finale (Jack Porter).

WARNING: Spoiler alert!  Spoiler alert!  If you are not up to date on the last two episodes of Season 3, be forewarned that spoilers will follow.  Proceed at your own entertainment “peril”!

 

When we last left the Hamptons, Victoria had figured out that Emily was not all she claimed, Emily and her trio of helpers successfully trapped Conrad into admitting his long list of crimes and he was arrested, Charlotte Grayson Clarke (product of Victoria and David’s affair) finally opened her eyes, metaphorically speaking.  Oh, and Jack informed Emily that there’s a teensy-weensy possibility that David’s still alive.  And that brings us to tonight’s phenomenal season finale…

An entire hour of twists and turns, all lead up to a final few minutes that set an entirely new game in motion.  In summary, Victoria killed Aiden (I sobbed), Charlotte realized Jack was the “kidnapper” (darn it), and Emily had Victoria hospitalized in a mental institution (well played, Ms. Thorne).  Oh, wait…did I forget something – or someone?  A very much alive David Clarke climbed out of that van and revealed himself to a flabbergasted Conrad.  That is, right before David stabbed his former employer and drove away.  This sets up a multitude of directions for the show to take when it returns in the fall.  And I, for one, can’t wait!!  When does the full Season 3 DVD set come out, so I can watch them again? :-)

Television programs receive my high praise when they keep my interest each week.  They hook me in with intriguing characters and surprising plot twists that ultimately create an added level of dimension to the story and the players.  Revenge is one such television drama series.  I’ve seen every episode from the pilot on through and look forward to seeing what happens next!