How to Maintain Fitness and Wellness Habits: Tips and Techniques

How to Maintain Fitness and Wellness Habits: Tips and Techniques

Maintaining your fitness and wellness habits can be challenging, especially when life gets
busy. However, developing simple and effective strategies will help you stay on track and
keep your health a priority. This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to
staying fit and healthy, complete with tips and techniques that you can implement in your
daily routine.

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Goof Review: Cinderella

Goof Review: Cinderella

It is no surprise that Broadway musicals have embraced the world of multimedia.  In my review of Ghost:The Musical, I even prefaced how as appealing as it is, it sometimes is a detriment to the overall production.  The installment of more mediums on stage has increased to a point where sometimes the actor and music play second fiddle to the videos, music tracks and special effects that take to the stage.  They almost become a character themselves.  It begs the question, how were musicals produced before the digital age?  Cinderella, at the Straz Center in Tampa, Florida, answers this question, and successfully I might add.


Entering the lobby of the Straz Center, on Tuesday night, felt as if I was going to be attending a Grand Ball myself.  Numerous families had brought their young girls whom were dressed up like princesses about to attend a coronation.  Therefore, it was a wonderful sight as fewer and fewer productions, that are completely family friendly, are being produced.

Carol Marsoni Hall was fired up with opening night energy which allowed me to reminisce  about my own time on stage.  The aura was intoxicating and the addition of the youthfulness, in the theatre, just made it more so.  But of course, I digress.

As I took my seat I could see on stage what looked like a forest with several trees and greenery painted on set.  It greeted the audience with a nice surprise.  The set was not, in any way shape or form, trying to pass itself off as reality.  While it was done professionally, it foreshadowed a different place and time where the suspension of belief could easily be ensued.  As the show began it did just that.  Transported us to a different land where magic could exist and the most fantastical dreams could come to life.


The tale is the same.  Cinderella, having been orphaned by her father after he died, is a slave to her surviving step-mother.  With her biological children, she continues to keep Ella (the name she goes by at the start of the show) busy while continually find ways to ridicule her.  At the castle, Prince Topher has just completed his schooling and has come of age to be crowned king.

In order to marry him off, Sebastian, his trusted advisor, organizes a ball. It gave the prince an opportunity to meet all of the eligible ladies of the kingdom.  Of course Cinderella’s step-mother will have no part in allowing her to attend. With the help of Ella’s Fairy God Mother, Marie, she is able to appear at the ball anonymously.  The problem is, the magic used for her dress and carriage will only last until midnight, at which time her dress will return to her rags, the carriage will return to being a pumpkin and her footman will return to the forest as a raccoon and fox.  The Prince and Ella meet, and before she can even give her name, midnight arrives and she rushes into the night.  The Prince, now completely obsessed with finding Ella, spends days and nights looking for her.

There are some slight detours from the original story and some modern comedic language added. The outcome is the same and some nice additions are made that include some wonderful lessons for the youngsters and adults as well.



To get to the point, I absolutely loved this production.   It especially resonated with me because the production was almost completely, for lack of a better term, analog.  There was no digital media.  There were no videos, and nothing seemed to move automatically.  Everything was done via human locomotion.  From the Cinderella’s rags turning into her fabulous gown, to Marie (the fairy godmother) flying.  It was completely, done via “old school” theatre, using ropes & pulleys, under-dressing, and wheels with the help of the stage crew and the actors.

Paige Faure’s portrayal of the naïve, kind and generous Cinderella, was as sincere of a performance I have ever witnessed.   Her incredible singing carried her emotion through the house where the audience could do nothing but root for her to the very end.Cinderella3

With a different naiveté came Prince Topher, played by Andy Jones.   His voice not only beautifully melded with Paige, but it also showed the maturity of harmonizing with the rest of the ensemble.  While this show was completely family oriented, there was no doubting the attraction between the two leads.  I couldn’t help but being held with anticipation awaiting for the two to finally find each other.


This was a full ensemble piece and what was so intriguing was every member of the ensemble allowed for each of the characters to stand out.  This includes the incredible resonating voice of Adrian Baidoo portraying a page with some short solos that were very memorable.  Every actor was fully committed to their characters where it seemed like character and actor became one in the same.

The dance numbers were executed to perfection with no one single dancer pulling focus from the ensemble as a whole.  Every member of the dance ensemble appeared to be classically trained which made every movement jaw dropping and attracted the focus of every eye in the house.


Blake Hammond’s Sebastian was ruthless but fun. Crazy Marie/the Fairy Godmother, played by Kecia Lewis, had a voice that carried through the audience. It brought us back to our childhood when we actually believed in magic.  Step mother, Beth Glover was hilarious as was her daughter Charlotte, Aymee Garcia .  The comedic choices created a duplicity for the audience to choose to like them instead of just wishing them to be gone.


I can go on and on about this performance and I have nothing bad to say.  The only small, tiny, petty thing I could  point out, was a technical issue.  The sound in the first number “Me, Who am I?” which was a solo with ensemble harmonies.  It was very difficult to hear the solo lyrics. However, the balance between soloist and ensemble was corrected for the following numbers. As a former performer, designer and director, I would chalk that up to opening night adjustments.


Cinderella at the Straz Center is a production that is a must see for every one of all ages. I highly recommend attending a production before it leaves the area.

Cinderella plays at the Straz Center, through Sunday October 26th, Wednesday & Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2 and 8pm, and Sunday at 2 and 7pm.

STOMP – The Goof Review

STOMP – The Goof Review

Special effects seem to be at a the crux of human entertainment these days, doesn’t it?  Every episode of almost every studio made episodic drama, situation comedy and major motion picture is loaded with some flavor of special effects.  Even shows like, “Big Bang Theory” or “How I Met Your Mother” have increased their effects budget with effects of dream sequences, stunts or layered images to help draw in the audience.

Pop-culture does not seem to have room for TV shows, movies or even plays that have to completely depend on the integrity and talent of the performers.

This was evident as I walked into the Carol Marsoni Hall of the Straz Center for the opening night performance of STOMP last night.

The house was littered with empty seats.  The mezzanine and balcony were completely empty.

All I can say is to the lovers of music and theatre that decided to skip out on this performance, it is your loss.  The simplistic cohesiveness of this ensemble show is something that does not come around all that often.


STOMP is a percussive music, comedy and movement performance that is matched by nothing I have ever seen.  This group of seven performers make music without the use of musical instruments as we would define them.  They basically use junk you may find in a dumpster in New York City.  Garbage can lids, plastic tubs, match boxes, zippo lighters, are just a few of the items these talented performers use to make a beat come alive in a way that I was not only riveted, but I couldn’t help but want to move my feet with the beat.

The use of the artifacts along with their feet and the movement was visually stimulating as well.  Within the first few numbers, all I could think of, was this group is making music with everything except the kitchen sink, and of course in the very next number four of the performers came out with kitchen sinks strapped to their torsos.  Water in the sinks plus, cups and utensils seemed to come alive as the ensemble mixed their sounds together in one cohesive unit.

There is no special effects, no extra special lighting, no words, no special costumes just the performers and their props.  Simple entertainment at it’s finest and extremely riveting.


Percussion was not the only thing used for entertainment.  There was many parts of each number where comedy was used to infiltrate the performance with the laughter of the audience.  Comedy alone is not easy, but comedy without one audible word for the entire show is extremely difficult and this group pulled it off with precision and ease.

This was one of the most entertaining ninety minutes I have had in a long time.  What made it even more fun was the ensemble incorporated the audience within the show.  Patterns of clapping, foot stomping, and finger snapping made for an interactive experience that just compounded on the immense fun this show had to offer.

In simple terms, STOMP was outstanding and I highly recommend everyone take the opportunity to go see it.


STOMP is playing at the Straz Center of the Performing Arts April 30 – May 3.  Please visit the Straz Center website for more information.


Goof Review: Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Goof Review: Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Can you feel the magic of Christmas in the air?  With all the urgency of completing our shopping before that December 25th deadline sometimes we don’t slow down enough to enjoy just the simplicity of the holidays.  I spent a majority of my life in the Midwest, so living here, in this snowless climate, I usually find myself missing the aura of the holiday season.  Not this year, Baby.   I was lucky enough to be an audience member for the opening of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes at the David A. Straz Center here in Tampa.IMAG0030

Out of all the time I spent in New York City, I never had the privilege of seeing the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.  I’ve been missing out.  Even this former performer was amazed with the synchronicity and precision of not only the dancing of the Rockettes themselves, but the remarkable coexistence with several different types of media.

The festivities started an hour before the audience was even allowed into their seats, with the Rockettes marching from the stage door to the red carpet outside Carol Morsani Hall.  With pure elegance and grace each Rockette took an arm of an uniformed Tampa Police Officer and were escorted into the theater.  It was a pure showing of honor to our civil servants that was so simple yet so powerful.  I cannot begin to explain why.  I imagine that is the limitations of my writing ability.  The honor didn’t stop there.  The Tampa Police Chief took an opportunity to read “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, on stage, to a group of children at the opening of the show.  Again, it seemed like such an honor to the chief and our civil servants.

The night consisted of 12 different numbers lasting about 96 minutes including a 20 minute intermission, but it flew by so fast.  The night was narrated by Santa Claus, who also sang with a booming baritone voice that projected proudly throughout the arena.

Shine compressed

All of the numbers were not strictly performed by the Rockettes and Santa Clause.  A few numbers included short plays that not only included singing and dancing, but also small life lessons as well.Parade of the Wooden Soldiers -- Fall

One number had Santa and two young boys with a lesson on faith and believing, another was a brilliant combination of the Rockettes and the Radio City Singers about Christmas in New York City.New York at Christmas

My personal favorite had to be a scaled down performance of the Nutcracker with a little girl playing Clara, that was an absolute phenomenal dancer, not to mention other incredible dancers in oversized animal costumes.  I have no idea how the dance so gracefully with those huge heads.

This show was brilliant, funny, emotionally moving and just plain fun for the whole family.  The Rockettes give a performance worth seeing in this wonderful holiday show.

I give it Five out of Five Goofs.

12 Days compressed

Carpe Viam!

The Radio CIty Christmas Specatacular plays at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, December 12th through the 29th Tues thru Sunday.  See the Straz Center Website for details.


Goof Review: Elf The Musical

The Tampa Bay Bloggers had an opportunity to see Elf the Musical on opening night and as a new member I was thrilled at the chance to take part.  Now as I am a new member I am not sure of the background of my fellow bloggers, but I do have a modest amount of training and experience in theater (, so I may be just a tad more specific especially on the acting, but nevertheless I hope my review will be informative enough to help you decide whether to see it or not.  Just a little foreshadowing….go see it.

Elf the Musical is based on the 2003 holiday movie Elf starring Will Farrell about a human baby who found his way into Santa’s bag during his Christmas visit to a local orphanage.  Since the boy was already an orphan, Santa and his elves decided to raise the child at the north pole just as they would any elf child.  The problem was Buddy, the human boy, grew to be over six feet tall.  After a small slip of the tongue by one of the other elves, Buddy learns that he is indeed human and asks Santa about his parents.  It is then that Buddy decides to go and find his father in the big city of New York.

NETwork Presentations LLC’s production of this family Christmas musical was alive with high energy musical numbers, colorful set pieces and smooth transitions from scene to scene.  In the past decade or two, Broadway and national tours have started to move toward high tech sets and stage work which include hgh intensive set changes, creative light and sound effects, and even some pyrotechnics.  Very recently I have noticed a small shift back to a more classical route where the set pieces are simple but painted well, the lighting is simple and the music and sound are achieved by a live orchestra instead of musical tracks.  This musical is a perfect example.  This simpler style has shifted the responsibility of the quality of productions back to the performers and less to the designers of sets, sound and lighting.  In my opinion it makes for a better show, but I may be a little biased.

The play opens up with Santa (Gordon Gray) sitting in his living room fighting with his television set.  He opens the fourth wall and greets the audience as if we were sitting on the floor right in his living room.  After subtly turning off his cell phone, he opens a book and prepares to tell us the story of Buddy the Elf.  At the point the living room is whisked away to Santa’s workshop where the elves are preparing for Christmas.   Gordon’s depiction of Santa throughout the play is wonderful.  His energy and boastfulness helped me to get lost in the show and actually believe I was at the north pole.

Matt Kopec’s characterization of Buddy is spot on as his high energy, child like characterization makes the audience believe this six-foot boy really does believe he is an elf and is horrified when he finds out he is actually human.  Matt’s singing voice is pure musical theater and was a joy to hear every time he opened his mouth.  I found myself waiting impatiently for his next number.

The real treat came from the character of Jovie (Kae Hennies), who captures Buddy’s heart the moment he sees her in the office of his biological father, Walter Hobbs (Drew Culver).  Jovie has to be coaxed in to singing during the number “A Christmas Song”, but when she finally decides to sing out, her voice beautifully resonates throughout the theatre and when paired with Buddy’s the duo create pure musical brilliance for any ear.

Other notable performances were by Michael, Buddy’s half brother played by Connor Barth who even as a young actor, had a mature voice for his age.  He tended to get a little pitchy in the upper registers, but because of his characterization was easily missed and forgivable.  Julia Louise Hosack played Emily Hobbs, Buddy’s step mother, also had a fantastic musical voice and she was able to lead Michael into musical duets that gave me the “warm fuzzies”.  The connection and chemistry between these two well trained actors allowed me to believe they were really mother and son.

The only drawback of this production that tugged me out of my holiday nirvana, was the voice of Drew Pulver whom played Walter Hobbs, Buddy’s father.  His performance was not inferior, it just did not mix well the rest of the ensemble in my humble opinion.  It was obvious to the audience that most of the ensemble were trained in contemporary music or musical theater   When Walter sang it was clearly operatic, to a point where the words were garbled and I couldn’t make out the lyrics.  Unfortunately, every time he sang it was distracting and his voice did not meld with the rest of the ensemble.

This show is classical musical theatre with simply painted sets, wonderful acting, and is sure to bring a smile to you and your family should you decide to see it.  It is a true Holiday treat.

Elf the Musical is playing at
Straz Center for the Performing Arts
1010 North W.C. MacInnes Place
Tampa, Florida 33602
November 20-25
Wed. 7:30 p.m.
Fri. 2 and 8 p.m.
Sat. 2 and 8 p.m.
Sun. 1 and 6:30 p.m.