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Saturday
January 22nd, 2022

mindhunter season 2 spotlight pageCourtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

Back in October 2017, I was searching for something to watch on Netflix and after a little while searching, came across a then-newly released show “Mindhunter,” set in the late 1970s in the early days of criminal psychology and criminal profiling at the FBI. Intrigued by the premise, I clicked on it and was instantly hooked, finishing the season in only a few days. After I finished it, I was so awestruck by how great a series it was and was left wondering when season two would happen. This past Friday, after nearly two years, season two finally happened and was released on Netflix. 

For those unfamiliar with the show, season one  focuses on FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), along with psychologist Wendy Carr (Anna Torv), as they begin developing what would ultimately become the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit and lets the viewers “meet” serial killers from the past such as Ed Kemper, Jerry Brudos, and BTK (albeit through vignettes rather than the interviews seen done by the agents). Season two picks up right after the first and focuses on the tragedy of the Atlanta child murders of 1979–81 and sees interviews with some other known serial killers, including Charles Manson. 

While I’m naturally an impatient person, I ultimately came away from season two glad there had been such a gap in time between seasons because that time allowed the writers and producers to really capture the tone and everything else they wanted, so I’m glad the time was taken to make sure everything was right. And ultimately, it worked because just like the first season, the second season’s writing was smart and sharp and very well done. I also really enjoyed how season two used season one as a jump-off point as far as the agents and investigators actually using what they’d learned in the course of the investigation going on, which allowed for just enough expansion to make the second season interesting. 

hamilton spotlight pageELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

My hometown of Conway Springs is about 200 miles east of Liberal on good old U.S. Highway 54 and I don’t get very many chances to go home and spend time with my family. This past weekend, however, I made the trek on the highway to go to Conway so I could meet my mom because we had plans for a girls’ night down in Oklahoma City to see a performance of the national tour of the  Tony Award-sweeping hip-hop musical “Hamilton.” I had wanted to see this show onstage ever since the first time I heard the soundtrack thanks to YouTube and Friday night, that finally came true. 

For those who haven’t heard of the show or listened to the soundtrack, it follows founding father Alexander Hamilton and focuses mostly on the period from when he immigrated to the U.S. until his (in)famous duel with Aaron Burr. Other founding fathers and historical figures are also featured in the show including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and King George III. There are moments of laughter and there are a few moments that always bring about the waterworks. 

The first thing I absolutely have to give praise to about this show is the choreography. This was a main feature of the show my mom and I  talked about after the show and the reason we couldn’t stop talking about it was because it was amazing. Every step was sharp and precise and all the dancers were also extremely graceful as they were going about the musical numbers. I can’t imagine how much blood, sweat and tears went into perfecting all of that for the national tour. I also really liked how the dancers also served as minor background characters throughout the show, almost like a Greek chorus kind of situation. I actually remarked to my mom if that’s what they have to do for the national tour performances (i.e. the stamina and strength, etc.), I can’t help but wonder how strong the performers with the show on Broadway are. 

broadway collage spotlight pageCourtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m a big musical theater fan and if I had enough money, I’d hop a plane to New York basically every weekend to catch shows. As I do not have those types of funds however, I’ve had to settle for listening to shows’ soundtracks thanks to the magic of YouTube (in fact, I’m actually listening to a musical soundtrack as I’m writing this). In the spirit of that journey I’ve taken, I thought it would be nice to share what I consider my favorite soundtracks from shows. Like always, these are just my personal favorites and I’m not slighting any shows. 

 

“Heathers”

I got introduced to this show  (which follows the same plot as the original 1980s film about the students at Westerburg High School) by some comments on a video of another cast recording I was listening to. At that time I hadn’t heard anything about it and went in basically blind and I ended up absolutely loving it. The songs are fun and catchy (once you listen to “Candy Store” one time, you’ll have it stuck in your head for life, and “Dead Girl Walking” is just awesome) and the cast on the soundtrack (which features Barrett Wilbert Weed as leading lady Veronica Sawyer) is ridiculously talented. I feel like this show is somewhat underrated and if it was given the chance on an actual Broadway stage, it would be a powerhouse. The songs are modern but have just enough of an 80s vibe to appeal to that demographic and in its own subtle way tackles some serious issues throughout the show such as bullying, abuse and school violence. 

 

“Beetlejuice”

This show is an adaptation of the Tim Burton movie of the same name from 1988 about the recently deceased couple the Maitlands, who try to scare the new inhabitants out of their former home and end up asking for help from a devious ghost named Betelgeuse (pronounced "Beetlejuice"). I wasn’t really that impressed with the movie, so I wasn’t entirely excited when I heard about the musical that had been made. But one day the soundtrack came up in my suggestions and thought “May as well see what it’s like” and I was completely blown away. Alex Brightman (who was robbed of the Best Actor in a Musical Tony for this year) gives it his all as the titular character and the rest of the cast on the recording is also super talented. The songs are also great (I catch myself humming “The Whole Being Dead Thing” and “That Beautiful Sound” all the time). And while the show is mostly a comedy, it actually tackles death in an understandable and helpful way, and you can hear that throughout the more serious songs. If you’re a fan of the movie and enjoy a more rock-oriented score, you’ll enjoy this soundtrack. 

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