Friday, October 31, 2014

10/31/14: Les Miserables at the North Shore Music Theatre

It has been a truly amazing season at the North Shore Music Theatre (NSMT).  We went to see Les Miserables on Opening Night and I was blown away.  This is another show that we didn't bring the kids to as it has some mature subject matter.
All show photos by Paul Lyden provided by the North Shore Music Theatre
The show was so well done.  The acting was amazing, voices were beautiful and set perfect.  First I will start off with Will Ray who plays Jean Valjean who was amazing.  His voice blew me away.  I really can't even convey how good he was.  He had so many great moments.  Particularly when he sang "Who Am I?".  What a talented actor.
Daniella Dalli was also fantastic as Fantine.  She is so beautiful and had a lovely voice.
Cosette played by Siri Howard, Marius played by Blake Stadnik and Eponine played by Lizzi Klemperer were also excellent in the show.  
What I learned after watching the show is that Blake Stadnik is legally blind.  Here is the full article.  What an inspiration!  He was wonderful in the show.
Lizzi Klemperer who played Eponine had a lovely voice and performed a beautiful rendition of On My Own.
Siri Howard who played Cosette was also a lovely actress and did very well with the role.
The children in the show were really good.  Castle on a Cloud was perfromed by Carly Williams as a Young Cosette.  She had a lovely voice and was on stage all by herself.  She did an awesome job.
I also particulary liked Gavin Swartz who played Gavroche.  He had a great voice and his acting was spot on.
 Master of the House was an especially fun number that got some laughs.  Tregony Shepherd who played Madame Thenardier and Gary Try who played Thenardier were hysterical and acted the parts perfectly.
The whole cast was amazing and the show was great to watch.    The show runs until November 16th so get your tickets now.   Here is a video preview of the show: 
More About the Show:
Bill Hanney's award-winning North Shore Music Theatre presents an all-new production of the world's most popular musical, LES MISÉRABLES. The Tony Award-winning masterpiece has thrilled audiences around the world and will now be presented in a unique in-the-round production. LES MISÉRABLES begins performances on Tuesday, October 28 and has been extended thru Sunday, November 16. Press night is scheduled for Wednesday, October 29 at 7:30 pm "I can't think of a better way to conclude our record-breaking 2014 Subscription Season than with an epic production of Les Misérables." said NSMT owner and producer Bill Hanney. "Designed and staged specifically for our one-of-a-kind space, audiences will be able to enjoy seining Les Misérables as it has never been seen before." Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, LES MISÉRABLES tells an enthralling epic story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption. The world's most popular musical examines the metamorphosis of ex-prisoner Jean Valjean who agrees to care for a dying factory worker's young daughter, all the while being hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert. 
Tickets for the LES MISÉRABLES are priced from $50 - $75. Performances are October 28 thru November 16, Tue - Thurs at 7:30 pm, Fri and Sat at 8 pm, matinees Wed, Sat and Sun at 2 pm. Kids 18 and under save 50% on ‘Family Fridays'- October 31 and November 7 at 8 pm. For tickets and information call (978) 232-7200, visit, or visit the box office in person at 62 Dunham Rd., Beverly, LES MISÉRABLES is sponsored by Abiomed.  The 2014 musical season concludes with the return of New England's brightest holiday tradition A Christmas Carol (December 5 - 21), starring David Coffee as Ebenezer Scrooge.
Next season looks just as amazing with all of these wonderful shows including Dreamgirls, Shrek the Musical, Saturday Night Fever, Billy Elliot, Sister Act and A Christmas Carol.
I highly suggest getting tickets to this wonderful show!
Disclosure:  I received 4 tickets to attend a performance of Les Miserables.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

10/30/14: 2014 Hess Toy Truck and Space Cruiser with Scout

Evan loves his Hess Vehicles.  He has been collecting them for quite a while.  He was extremely excited when the new 2014 Hess Toy Truck and Space Cruiser with Scout arrived.  This Hess Truck is the official 50th anniversary truck!
 Here you can see Evan with his collection.  We have even bought him some of the older ones at toy conventions.  He really wanted the Police Car so that took a while to find.
As soon as he saw the green wrapped box he knew exactly what it was and ripped right in.
When he saw it had a Space Cruiser he was very excited as he did not have any trucks with space vehicles.
 Then he saw the little Scout and loved it.
 He loved how small it was but that it lit up brightly.
 The 2014 Hess Toy Truck is a space cruiser, with retractable landing gear, flashing lights and button-activated and motion-activated sound effects, riding on top of a flatbed truck. 
A cargo door on the space cruiser opens to reveal the scout that features folding wings and working lights. The flatbed truck doubles as a launch pad complete with a button-activated launch ramp with hydraulic lift, 3 realistic sound effects and 41 lights.
What I especially love about Hess Vehicles is that they are so well built.  They last no matter how hard kids play with them.
The heavy-duty flatbed is a launch pad and transporter.  The truck has 3 push-button activated sound effects (ignition, horn, ramp hydraulic and launch alarm), 41 lights work in steady or flashing mode, push-button activated launch ramp elevates with sound effect.
The truck sports plenty of chrome detailing, including a bold 50 embossed on the cab side panels that officially designate this as the 50th Anniversary Hess Toy Truck!
A push button activated cargo door opens to reveal the Scout, a flyer with folding wings and working lights. 
The Space Cruiser has 3 button-activated sounds (ignition, fly-by, and land), 3 motion-activated sound effects (climb, dive, and turn), 8 lights that work in flash or steady mode, retractable landing gear and push-button activated cargo door with Scout vehicle inside.

Here is some video of it in action:
There’s also an Official Certificate of Title available for printing at after purchase!
Evan definitely loves this truck and has been playing with it non-stop since he got it.
Hess is celebrating the 50th anniversary in a number of other ways: The first ever limited-edition, individually numbered Collector’s Edition Hess Toy Truck is available exclusively at for $45.99. The Hess Toy Truck Mobile Museum tour will bring the entire holiday toy truck collection to the East Coast starting November 1. Visit for a full schedule. 
The three-in-one Hess Toy Truck can be pre-ordered now at The toy goes on sale November 14 at participating Hess, Hess Express and WilcoHess retail stores.
The 2014 Hess Toy Truck and Space Cruiser with Scout sells for $29.99 plus tax, and includes free shipping and a total of 6 Energizer® batteries – the most ever for a Hess Toy Truck.
Disclosure:  I received this Hess Truck for review purposes.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

10/29/14: Win a PomTree Craft Kit

We love doing crafts!  They are a great way for kids to let out their creative side and have fun making something.  My biggest issue with most crafts is that they are messy!  There is glue involved or glitter and you know that it ends up more on the table and floor than on the craft.  When I found PomTree I was in love as everything has a sticky back so there is no mess!!!  Here are some great craft kids, plus I am giving you a chance to win one of the kits in this post.  Read on to win!
 We received several sets.  I am going to start with the Pom Pals: Mommy and Baby Owl kit.  All the pieces are self sticking so it is easy to use.
 Lauren was having fun with the big eyes.
 Basically you pull the sticky backing off the pieces and put them right on to the big fluffy ball.  I can say is she's so fluffy!!!!
 Evan was getting in to it too and checking out the craft.
We did find on some of the pieces I had a hard time peeling the backing paper off without pulling off the sticky part.  This especially happened on the wings and the feet.  Be extra careful that the backing paper doesn't pull of the sticky piece.  On many pieces I had to help my daughter with this.
It makes the Mommy and Baby.  The baby's beak is very small so make sure you don't lose it.
Here it is as packaged.  At $13 it is an affordable super cute project to do with kids.  All kits can be purchased at Consumer Crafts.
We also received a super cute Felt Pillow Puff Kit: Felt Puppy and Bone Pillow Puff.  This set makes it look like the doggy is stitched together but it is all self stick!  Here is what it comes with.
You start by sticking the white stuffing in to the dog body and putting the ears and tail on.  Then you just stick it together and add the rest of the pieces.  This set we didn't have as many problems with removing the backing paper.
 Here is the finished product.  Again a super cute and mess-free project.
Here it is as packaged and retails for $13.
 Evan decided the Owl and Puppy had to hang out.
Last but not least is a Pom Jewelry Kit.  This set leaves everything to your child's imagination and they can make many different types of jewelry including rings, key chains, bracelets and more.
 It comes with over 400 pieces including pony beads, foam charms, felt shapes, pom pom beads and satin cord.
 Lauren was having fun making all kinds of things.
 She particularly liked her bracelet.
 Now she is making a key chain.
 She really likes her creations.
Here it is as packaged and retails for $10.
 This kit contains hours of fun as there are infinite possibilities as to what you can make.
 Want to win one of these kits?  You can pick any one from this post  or the PomTree Mommy and Baby Bird Pom Pals Kit, or the PomTree Felt Kitty and Mouse Pillow Puff Kit.  Enter below.
Disclosure:  I received these craft sets for review purposes.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.
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