Peasantry and Pleasantry: A Fractured Fairy Tale

The following is a short story I wrote for my English 287 (Creative Writing) class at NC State University in the spring of 2010. Rupert Windelbaum was a fine young man, poor but proud. Not that he was proud of being poor, but he was determined to provide for himself. He wasn't going to be one of those beggars on the side of the road. Rupert was what they call a subsistence farmer – that is, he grew enough food to feed himself. He lived on a small plot of land on the western edge of Hackenshire, in a small thatched-roof cottage he had built himself nearly three years earlier. He would have liked to have a family, but that would mean he'd have to make more money to take care of them. The only money he made was from scrounging together some leftover crops and taking them to market in Hackenshire every Saturday, and most of that money went to paying homeowner's taxes and market booth rent. It was a simple life, but Rupert didn't mind. He had his panflute to keep him oc

Hear the screams of a dream being born

In the spring of 1969, during his senior year at Amherst College, Jim Steinman debuted his epic rock musical The Dream Engine . In the spring of 2019, I got to attend the 50th anniversary performance. I shall now recount to you my experience. But, as is my style, I had a few other adventures along the way. My flight from Raleigh landed in Boston around 10AM on May 29th, and my first order of business was to google "best donuts in Boston." The top result was Kane's, so a quick trip on the T and I was in the Financial District devouring a decadently massive Boston cream donut. Faneuil Hall was just a short walk away, so I popped over to browse the shops and admire the historic architecture. Next I picked up my rental car and visited the JFK Library, and then across the street to the state archives where I saw rare documents such as the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. After a quick stop in Dedham to see the Fairbanks house -- the oldest wooden house in North

Review: Bat Out of Hell at New York City Center

Disclaimer: I am an independent writer, not affiliated with any media company. My credentials are that I have seen more than 400 different artists live in concert, as well as a variety of theatre shows ranging from Broadway ( Waitress, If/Then, Rock of Ages, The Lion King ), to Off-Broadway ( Atomic, Skintight, Application Pending, Mary Page Marlowe ), to local productions ( The Sound of Music, Little Shop of Horrors, Twelfth Night, Once ). I attended Jim Steinman's Bat Out of Hell: the Musical at New York City Center (NYCC) on two consecutive nights in August 2019. Here are my thoughts. (This post may contain spoilers.) First let's talk about terminology, because I was confused. Is this show Broadway? Is it Off-Broadway? Well, it's neither. Generally theatres are defined in terms of number of seats. More than 500 is Broadway, fewer than 500 is Off-Broadway. So by that definition the NYCC should be Broadway, right? The capacity is 2,257 while the largest official Broadw

There's always gonna be some light

This post chronicles my trip to England in February 2017. The main purpose of my trip was to attend the opening of Jim Steinman's Bat out of Hell musical, although as you'll see I had a few other adventures as well. All photos by Ben Miller unless otherwise noted. I took an overnight flight from home (Raleigh, North Carolina, USA) and landed at London's Heathrow Airport around 7:00AM local time on Thursday, February 16. After going through customs and passport control, I boarded the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station, where I bought an all-day London Underground pass. My first ride on the Tube was on the Bakerloo line to Baker Street, where I found the Sherlock Holmes Museum fittingly at address 221B. I then checked into my hotel, the Ibis at Euston Station, to drop off my luggage and then ventured on to the British Library around the corner. My favorite part was the Treasure Room, which houses original manuscripts ranging from Michelangelo and da Vinci