‘Les Miserables’ opens at TPAC; delivers powerful performance

‘Les Miserables’ opens at TPAC; delivers powerful performance

Les Miserables brought in a large crowd to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, for its opening night. The award-winning show made its way to Nashville as a part of the national tour. The musical follows the fictional Jean Valjean on his journey from a prisoner to a successful businessman. The show tracks his sorrows, his moral triumphs and his place in the French Revolution. Valjean’s life is a portrayal of redemption and growth through God and the kindness of God’s people. He exhibits the traits of a forgiven man who is secure in his relationship with God. Les Miserables is an informative production that displays the terrible climate of France during its revolution. It highlights the suffering and injustice of the time and applauds the citizens’ thirst for equality and justice throughout the country. The raw emotion of each scene is touching and has the audience contemplating what is most important in life. There are Christian themes throughout as well as themes of integrity and true love. The messages portrayed throughout the entire show are timeless and can touch any heart no matter the circumstance. The show was creative and elaborate for a traveling production.  The actors’ voices were amazing but the acting itself was underwhelming. Many of the songs were vocally astounding but were unequally accompanied by tired acting. Though the acting was dull, the well-designed set was the opposite. The elaborate, French set was dynamic and eye-catching. The war scenes were beautifully crafted and the smooth transitions between scenes kept the audience’s attention. The production was well received by the audience.  Most scenes were met with cheering and laughing. The cast was given a standing ovation at the end of the night. It was clear that the show was a...
Nationwide gun violence; a need for regulation

Nationwide gun violence; a need for regulation

The recent shooting of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs has resurfaced the conversation of gun control. The gunman, Devin Kelley, was able to purchase firearms after being dishonorably discharged from the Air Force for domestic violence in 2014. To purchase a gun, the individual cannot be dishonorably discharged or convicted of domestic violence. An article from the New York Times reports that the Air Force did not enter Kelley’s court martial in a federal database used for background checks. If that was put in the database, it would have prevented him from purchasing the guns. The background check system should be stricter than what we have now. A study done in 2012 showed that three quarters of the guns that were used in the shootings were purchased legally. It also revealed that the most purchased weapons were semiautomatic handguns and assault rifles. Background checks are necessary, but they are not extensive enough to filter out those who will not cause harm from those will. Certain weapons that are offered in gun stores, such as assault rifles, should not be allowed to be purchased at these stores. This regulation would reduce the legal purchasing of these weapons and would heighten the price of the weapons, therefore making them harder to purchase. There are places like gun shows where background checks are not required to purchase guns. That can be seen as careless to assume that because you are at a gun show, you don’t have a negative reason for buying guns. An assumption that is usually made when talking about gun violence is that the shooter suffered from mental illness....
Lebron Hill reveals experience of living in homeless shelter during holiday season

Lebron Hill reveals experience of living in homeless shelter during holiday season

With the holidays coming up, people will often spend some time giving back. One of the most popular ways to do this is by visiting a homeless shelter. Once being homeless myself, this time of the year brings back memories of my personal experience in the shelter. When I first arrived at the shelter at the age of 18, I began to fall into a depression. The cold and dark November days represented how I felt — alone and without a home. The shelter was just a house, filled with strangers from different walks of life who were there through a common experience of abandonment. We would spend time around the table, talking about our favorite Thanksgiving memory. The table had people from all walks of life. There were soldiers who came back from war to no home, and homosexuals who were kicked out of their home due to their sexual orientation. My heart was still hurt by the actions of my family, so I did not add a memory during this time. Instead, my focus would be on their stories, seeing the happiness hit their faces, hearing the joy in their voices as they would share. For that designated time, we were not homeless or abandoned; we were a family who came together on the premise of joy. During the week of Thanksgiving, many people came to the shelter, either to give food or spend time with us. I was ashamed to be there, afraid that I was going to see someone I knew. Families brought their kids with them to show them the “other side” of society. I...
‘Thor: Ragnarok’ delivers another action-packed movie experience

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ delivers another action-packed movie experience

The third installment in the Thor series, Thor: Ragnarok once again delivers fans an action-packed, visually-stunning movie experience. In the Taika Waititi directed film, viewers first find Thor (Chris Hemsworth) attempting to prevent Ragnarok — the prophecy of darkness to destroy Thor’s beloved city of Asgard — by killing the demon beast, Surtur. After killing Surtur, Thor comes back to Asgard to find that his father has been replaced by his brother, the god of mischief, Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Oden (Anthony Hopkins) tells his sons that Ragnarok is still coming in the shape of their sister, the goddess of death, Hela (Cate Blanchett). While attempting to escape Hela, the two demigods get knocked out of the portal and into another planet where warriors are forced to fight against each other. The ruler of the planet, only known as the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), forces Thor into fighting, claiming that he will let Thor go if he defeats his champion. A fellow Avenger, The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), soon appears, which sets up a new dynamic duo within The Avengers franchise. The film does a remarkably good job at completing Thor’s journey to becoming King of Asgard. In the past two movies, viewers have seen Thor find himself be the hero of Earth. Now that his relationship with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has ended, and Earth is protected for the time being, Thor sees this as a good time to focus on his home world and his people. Nevertheless, Jane Foster’s abrupt departure lacked any emotion. The couple dated for nearly two years, so there should have been more explanation as to...
‘An American in Paris’ thrills with lovely, complex production at TPAC

‘An American in Paris’ thrills with lovely, complex production at TPAC

Music City has been beautifully transformed into the City of Light this week. The anticipated production of An American in Paris has officially come to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, featuring a jaw-dropping array of color, dance, music and emotion, sure to delight any hopeless romantic or musical-enthusiast. A ballet set in Paris right after WWII, An American in Paris tells most of its story through striking musical numbers, complete with big sets and authentic-looking costume work by Bob Crowley that will take you straight to 1940s Paris. Real-life husband and wife duo Matthew and Kirsten Scott steal the show as Adam Hochberg and Milo Davenport, who both convey a groundedness to round-out the overall mysterious and lush-nature of the show. K. Scott’s timing is spot-on, and M. Scott gives an endearing and down-to-earth performance as an ex-GI living in Paris. The story centers on an American soldier, Jerry Mulligan (McGee Maddox), who decides to stay in Paris after the war and focus on his artwork. Here, he meets Adam and Henri (Ben Michael), and the three immediately become the “Three Musketeers,” as they aptly put it during one of their song and dance numbers. Although intending to focus on his artwork, Jerry is, after all, in one of the most romantic cities in the world, so of course he meets Lise (Allison Walsh, who served as the Lise alternate in the Broadway production), a mysterious yet beautiful ballerina who has an interesting and complex past with Henri. Meanwhile, Milo, an American heiress, also joins the picture, and a complicated love triangle ensues, which will keep unfamiliar playgoers guessing....
‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ is poignant look into the relationship between father and son

‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ is poignant look into the relationship between father and son

Goodbye Christopher Robin chronicles the relationship between author A.A.“Alan” Milne and his son, Christopher Robin “Billy” Milne, who inspired the beloved children’s books, Winnie the Pooh. Directed by Simon Curtis, the biography-drama, which stars Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie and Kelly MacDonald, offers a poignant look into the life of a family impacted by the children’s book’s success. In the beginning of the film, viewers meet Alan Milne (Gleeson), a successful playwright living in London’s West End in 1916. Alan, who has just returned from fighting in World War I, is clearly haunted by his time in service and suffers from shell shock. Alan’s wife, Daphne (Robbie) decides the way to cheer him up is to have a child, but she is left distraught when she has a son instead of a daughter, telling Alan she refuses to get attached to a child who will just be sent off to fight in a war later. Initially, both parents are distant with their new son, Billy, leaving him in the care of his nanny, Olive (MacDonald) while jaunting off on holidays and attending social events. But, when Alan’s PTSD from the war becomes too much, he moves his family to the English Countryside to start fresh and live a more relaxed life. When the opportunity arises for Alan to get to spend some time with Billy, the father and son begin to bond, and, through their adventures together, inspiration strikes for Alan’s next work, Winnie the Pooh. The stories immediately become a hit, bringing enchanting tales of comfort to post-war England, but as Winnie the Pooh reaches world-wide success, it takes a...