Top 5 Reasons to Watch #Galavant: Joshua Sasse, Alan Menken and More! #ABCTVEvent

exclusive galavant no spoilers

reasons to watch galavant

Back in November 2014, Disney and ABC flew me out to LA for a little Disney press trip that I might have mentioned one or two times 🙂 The trip was amazing in a ton of different ways, and I’ve been waiting to share my exclusive experience about ABC’s new show, Galavant!

‘Galavant’ is a medieval musical comedy that follow sthe adventures of Galavant, a dashing hero who is determined to reclaim his reputation and his “Happily Ever After” by going after the evil King Richard, who ruined it the moment he stole the love of Galavant’s life, Madalena.

The episodes will chronicle Galavant’s journeys (and the twists and turns that go along with them) through musical numbers composed and written by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater.

As soon as I found out I was going to get an inside look into Galavant, I found this teaser trailer:

As a gigantic musical theater fan, it’s no surprise that the little video blew me away. It also left me wanting so much more, including details on how I could convince everyone else to watch Galavant with me!

After my meeting and interviews with these people, I have tons of reasons why everyone will want to watch Galavant! Here’s who I had the pleasure of interviewing:

  • Alan Menken: Academy and Tony Award-winning composer of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Aladdin, Little Shop of Horrors and more.
  • Glenn Slater: Grammy Award-winning lyricist of Tangled and stage adaptations of The Little Mermaid and Sister Act: The Musical.
  • Dan Fogelman: Writer from films like Tangled, Cars, Cars 2  Bolt. 
  • Joshua Sasse: Stage and film actor with roles in various films, television shows and musical theater productions.

5 Reasons to Watch Galavant:

1. The concept!

One YouTube commenter put it perfectly:

“So, if Monty Python and the characters from The Princess Bride walked into Disney World, this is what would happen, right?” 


Dan Fogelman, the writer for Galavant, also said, “If you like Princess Bride, Game of Thrones and Monty Python, you’re more likely to like this show than those that don’t.”

2. The music!

When I first read about Galavant my inner 14 year-old was squealing. Alan Menken is the composer for this show. He’s the man responsible for making the music that shaped my musical history.

alan menken galavantDreams of playing in the orchestra for scores from films like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid motivated me to play the French horn and play it well. That music was also the gateway to my theater fandom.

As it turns out, Alan Menken creates more magic than can actually ever be used. I learned that the volume of his compositions far exceed what can ever be used. The thought of all that music left on the cutting room floor makes me want to cry a little bit, but I can’t wait to hear everything that was kept. Since there are 33 musical moments in just eight episodes of Galavant, so there will be plenty to listen to!

3. The scenery! 

Every episode of Galavant is filmed on location in England and the scenery is real. Remember, the show is set in Medieval times. That means castles. And the castles that you see in the show are real. You’ll be seeing a lot of true historic sites as you watch Galavant.

4. It’s written with families in mind! 

Galavant was written with the understanding that families would be watching it together.

That’s not to say that there’s not humor aimed at adults. But Dan Fogelman said, “We try to make adult jokes that kids won’t understand. It’s adult humor that adults can watch, but hopefully there’s nothing that crosses the line.”

I think that kind of humor is something we see in a lot of contemporary animated films, and it’s fun to be on the side of getting both meanings!

5. The cast and guest stars! 

Galavant is played by the incredibly charismatic Joshua Sasse, and we were lucky enough to meet him:

galavant joshua sasse spoilers

Further, the eight episodes that are showing this month are packed with guest stars we all know and love. Watch Galavant and you’ll be seeing: Weird Al Yankovic, John Stamos, Ricky Gervais, Hugh Bonneville and Rutger Hauer among the talented cast!

As I stated at the beginning of this post, Galavant premieres January 4th at 8:00 pm EST and you can watch it every Sunday night in January!  

Follow Galavant on social media to stay caught up with all the news!

Photo credits: Staci Salazar and ABC Television.

Meeting Fergie to Talk about Life, Motherhood and the #AMAs #ABCTVEvent

fergie 2014 singleA last-minute addition to the ABC and Disney press trip I was recently on was a huge surprise: Fergie – THE Fergie – was going to visit ABC and meet with us.

Wait. What?!?

Like it wasn’t enough that we were going to the premiere of Big Hero 6, touring the set of black-ish, going to Dancing With the Stars, playing the part of a voice actor at Disney Animation Studios, getting an art lesson from a Disney animator, and so much more!

But there it was. We walked into a conference room at the ABC building, sat around a table and Fergie walked in.

I was instantly starstruck. She looked perfectly gorgeous and happy to be there, and, while she was entirely positive, she was also candid. I’m pretty sure she didn’t pull any punches when she answered our questions and talked about her life.

fergie 2014First, did you know Fergie’s last single (from The Dutchess) was released in 2006? That’s all changing in just a few days! Fergie is set to take the stage at the 2014 American Music Awards to perform her new single, L.A. LOVE (la la).

The AMAs will broadcast live on Sunday, November 23rd at 8:00pm ET/PT on ABC! Scroll down to the end of this post for more details about the AMAs.

disney mom bloggers press trip

Listen to a sample of Fergie’s new single, LA Love (la la) before you watch her perform it live at the AMAs!

Back to meeting Fergie: I really do LOVE hearing about a celebrity’s life and all those “other half” details. But it was even more amazing (and surprising!) to listen to Fergie gush about her baby and bring almost every question back around to her family.

We had a few minutes to ask her questions, and I felt like she was incredibly real and honest with her answers. Here’s what we talked about:

As much as she values her time with her son and her husband, the first thing she told us was that personal “me time” is extremely important to her. She has time set aside every day to read the print version of WWD (Women’s Wear Daily). She also uses the time to prep for the day, and she feels that it all gives her inspiration for future projects.

I mentioned earlier that Fergie’s last single was released in 2006. It’s been a while since she’s been immersed in the music scene, but that time away has been deliberate. She had her son, Axl, in 2013, and she wanted to make sure she had restructured her life as a mom. She wanted to keep her life simple, and she said, “I was really blessed to have that time at home and just be with my baby.” As a mom, I could wholeheartedly relate to what she was saying!

Like every other woman in the world, we wanted to know how Fergie “does it all.” In addition to putting her baby before her career, she had a very simple, practical answer to the question: iCal (Apple’s digital calendar)! She said that she schedules and color codes everything, and that she was ready to add more colors and categories to her calendar! Everything from exercising to writing lyrics to date nights has a place in her calendar. She also kept it real with this statement: You can have it all, just not all at once.

In addition to her upcoming appearance on the AMAs, Fergie will also be co-hosting Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest on ABC on 12/31 starting at 8pm EST!

About the 2014 American Music Awards:

dick clark productions announced today that Fergie, Lorde and One Direction will join the growing list of superstars set to perform at the 2014 American Music Awards.

Fergie will take to the stage to make her worldwide television debut performing her first single, since 2006, “L.A. LOVE (la la),” from her upcoming album.

After stealing the music scene in 2013, Lorde will be performing for the first time at the 2014 American Music Awards.

International sensation One Direction will perform a song off of their highly anticipated album, FOUR. In just four short years, the band has achieved a staggering 94 number one tracks and over 46 million records sold.

Also scheduled to appear at the world’s biggest fan-voted award show are previously announced 5 Seconds of Summer, Charli XCX, Mary J. Blige, Sam Smith and the evening’s host, Pitbull.

The 2014 American Music Awards will broadcast live from the NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE on SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 23 (8:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC. 

Photo credit: ABC and Staci Salazar from 7 on a Shoestring

Disclosure: ABC and Disney flew me to LA to participate in this interview and other activities.

My Behind-the-Scenes Visit to the Set of ABC’s black-ish #ABCTVEvent #BlackishABC

blackish cast with logoJust two weeks ago I spent a day at ABC’s Studios taking in a ton of entertainment information. It was so fun meeting with the creator of black-ish and getting to know more about the kids on the show.

If you haven’t seen black-ish yet, it’s a fantastic comedy that airs Wednesday nights on ABC. I highly recommend it!

Just before those interviews, our group of bloggers had another great experience; we visited the set of black-ish and got an inside look at where most of the show is filmed!

Maxine Shepard, the Production Designer for black-ish, gave us the tour, shared lots of details and answered questions about what we were seeing.

Let me tell you, the black-ish set blew me away! This was the second set I’ve had the chance to visit (I went to the Mistresses set last summer) but this one, actually a permanent set on the ABC lot was an entirely different experience.

If you’ve seen black-ish, you know the family on the show lives in a nice home. The set for that home is literally just as big as a real home, and it’s even nicer in person than what you see on the show!

blackish set abc

The fixtures are permanent and the floors and walls are real. The frames on the walls and the mantle hold photos of the show family:

laurence fishburn on black ish

It’s kind of funny to be walking around a fake family room and find a picture of Laurence Fishburn on the mantle!

There were so many things to see on the set of black-ish, I know I missed some details as I made my way through the house. But what I did take in impressed me over and over again!

Here are some shots from the rooms:

black ish bedrooms

I loved seeing the clothes scattered in the laundry room and the haphazard ways the books and toys were arranged on the bookshelf in the kids’ room.

It was a funny experience to know that it was someone’s responsibility to place all those items in the right position to make them look real and lived in. I wish someone paid me to do that so naturally in my own home 🙂

One detail that I loved learning about was where everything on the set comes from. I thought there would be tons of custom-made items and special orders to outfit each room. Nope! They actually need furniture, accessories and props right away, so there’s no time for any of that. Almost everything in the house comes from stores that most of us shop at for furniture. Ikea, Target, Crate & Barrel and West Elm were a few of the stores she named.

The fun thing about taking a close look at a set of a contemporary family sitcom was the familiarity. I could relate to the house. It felt warm and comfortable. It was very tidy, but it also seemed lived-in and inviting. It was sort of like taking a tour of a universal dream house!

On This Week’s Episode of black-ish:

marsei martin black ish“Oedipal Triangle”- Dre’s mother, Ruby (guest star Jenifer Lewis), comes for a visit. She smothers her pork chops with gravy, Dre with love, and would like to flat out smother Bow, who feels the same way about her. Dre tries to find a way to get the two most important women in his life to get along, on “black-ish,” 

AIRS WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19 (9:31-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

Disclosure: Disney and ABC flew me out to ABC studios to participate in this set visit and interview. All opinions are my own.

Being In the Live Audience for Dancing with the Stars: It’s Amazing!

dancing with the stars logoWhen I found out I was going to a live taping of Dancing with the Stars for the Disney ABC press trip I was on two weeks ago, I was fairly excited. But I wasn’t jumping up and down over it. I didn’t know the show well, and I was overwhelmed with excitement about all the Big Hero 6 stuff that was planned.

Now that I’ve done it, if you asked me, Would you go to a live taping of Dancing with the Stars? I guarantee I would jump up and down and say, Yes, YES a million times yes! 

The first thing that started getting me excited was when I found out I’d need a cocktail dress for the show. I love dressing up, and I was ready to find something cute and fun to wear! As it turns out, I pulled the dress I wore to Dancing With the Stars out of my closet:

max and cleo ruched dress

It’s a turquoise Max and Cleo dress that I bought a few years ago. You can see the color better in this group shot below:

[Read more…]

The Kids of ‘black-ish’ talk Family, Comedy, Grandparents and More! #ABCTVEvent #blackishABC

blackish kids with kenya

Have you been watching this season’s new hit comedy, black-ish? I was assigned some pretty fun homework prior to last week’s Disney press trip to Los Angeles: Watch all available episodes of black-ish before a scheduled morning of touring the black-ish set, screening an unaired episode and interviewing cast members.

Disney press trips are awesome. 

My husband and I started watching black-ish fairly from the beginning of the season, and now we’re hooked! The show is real. It’s incredibly funny, fairly realistic and simply well-written. If you like 30 minute situation comedies like Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory, I’m certain black-ish is right up your alley!

abc blackish cast

About ABC’s black-ish:

Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson (Anthony Anderson) has a great job, a beautiful wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), four kids and a colonial home in the ‘burbs.  But has success brought too much assimilation for this black family?

With a little help from his dad (Laurence Fishburne), Dre sets out to establish a sense of cultural identity for his family that honors their past while embracing the future. 

black-ish stars Anthony Anderson as Dre, Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow, Yara Shahidi as Zoey, Marcus Scribner as Andre Jr., Miles Brown as Jack, Marsai Martin as Diane and Laurence Fishburne as Pops.

Miles Brown Marsai Martin blackish kidsMiles Brown and Marsai Martin who play Jack and Diane on ABC’s black-Ish

The best part of the morning was definitely interviewing the four kids who star on black-ish:

  • Yara Shahidi plays Zoey
  • Marcus Scribner plays Andre Junior
  • Miles Brown plays Jack
  • Marsai Martin plays Diane

Highlights of interviewing the kids from black-ish

Each of your characters has something kind of special [about him or her]. Zoey is into technology, Andre Jr. is sporty…how close is that to your true personality? 

YS: I’m not so close to Zoey. I’m the kind of person who’s always reading-I spent my summer at Oxford taking two history classes. I usually forget my phone. I’m pretty different from Zoey.

MS: Well, I play Lacrosse and I’ve played since I was in second grade. I guess that’s pretty similar to field hockey. I also play basketball, which I guess is a “culture sport.” But I’m pretty into sports, so that makes me close to Junior. I think most of the conversations in the show have happened to me in real life. 

MB: Same as Marcus. I’m mostly close to my character as myself in real life. I’m also into basketball and sports and acting, too. 

MM: My character, Diane. I’m pretty into social media. I’m also pretty quirky. I don’t have siblings, so that’s kind of new to me. I like theater very much. I’m kind of sporty–I played gymnastics and I did cheerleading for a year and a half. So that’s me!

Yara Shahidi and Marcus Scribner blackish kidsYara Shahidi and Marcus Scribner of ABC’s black-ish

What is it like being on the set with those amazing actors? 

YS: It’s absolutely hilarious being on set, and being able to work with such amazing comedic veterans is amazing. I feel like I’m learning so much from being on set, but it doesn’t even feel like work…it just feels like another enjoyable experience. 

MS: Working with all the veterans…it’s awesome to come to work and learn something new from them. Let’s be honest: they’re all comedic geniuses. It’s just pretty awesome. 

MM: They’re like our mentors at acting now because we actually feel like a real family. It’s fun stuff. Acting with Anthony, Tracee and Laurence feels like a real family. We bond as a family. Like, together we’re unstoppable! 

What do your friends and family have to say about all of this? 

YS: They’re extremely supportive. I have substitute teachers who I’ve never even been in class with and they’re tracking the show and its numbers! My school did a little thing in the newspaper for black-ish. My family has been extremely supportive. Everyone in my family has been saying, “that’s what we do everyday. This is real”

MS: When the show was just taking off and there were billboards up and everything, My grandmother, she’s in sales, everytime she would make a sale she’d be like…”Look at this necklace, but GUESS WHAT? My grandson, Marcus, is going to be on the new show black-ish!

MM: My family is like, amazing. After the pilot, my grandparents called me to tell me “We have it on DVR, we have it on Hulu and every TV in our house it tuned to black-ish!”

The show’s creator, Kenya Barris, joined the four kids in the room to take a few questions.

Can you explain, generalize what black-ish actually is? 

KB: “black-ish” is a word we came up with that, from our characters’ point of view, the world is a lot more homogenized than it was when I was a kid. I have five kids. I look at my kids and the way I grew up-My definition, the way I thought “being black” was is not what my kids are living. 

At the same time, they’re “black-ish” a little bit lesser version of what I was when I was growing up. then I looked at all their friends, most of whom primarily are not black, and they were a little bit more than what I thought “black” was.

I just don’t think there’s a black or a white kid left in America. They’re all just sort of a blend of everything else. Asian, Latinos. We’re all just sort of blended into this homogenized new layer of what America is.

As a father, [the character] Dre is dealing with that. His father dealt with something different. So the show is three generations talking about where we are today. 

At the end of the interview the kids of black-ish were nice of us to take a photo with us:

disney mom bloggers press trip

I’ve seen several episodes of black-ish. That, combined with the above interviews, brings me to summarize black-ish as a relatable show about a family.

Personally, I can compare aspects of that show’s family to my own in several areas. I grew up very close to my grandma and my parents always made a big effort to be involved my life. They worked very hard to provide for their family.

As the next generation, it’s easy to see how different my life is because of all my parents have done to keep my struggles to a minimum. And it’s worked! My parents are amazing and still make sure my kids, my husband and I are able to have everything we need.

Yet I want my kids to be instilled with a good work ethic and a sense that family is the most central part of their worlds. So I get how changes for the better raise new questions about parenting and a comfortable lifestyle.

Be sure to check out black-ish on ABC to see how funny and relatable it really is! 

Photo credits: Staci Salazar and Jen Burg.

Disclosure: Disney and ABC flew me out to ABC studios to participate in this set visit and interview. All opinions are my own.

Meeting Jes Macallan and Justin Hartley on the Set of ABC’s Mistresses #ABCTVEvent

Mistresses Season 2 spoilersLast week I shared that I had an inside look at Mistresses when I was in LA for a variety of Disney events in May 2014. In addition to meeting Jason George, winning a beautiful necklace and learning about how the costume designer works with the latest trends, we also got to visit the set and go on location with the cast and crew!

The second episode of the second season of Mistresses is on tonight, 6/9 on ABC at 10pm EST. I’ve said all of this before:

If you haven’t watched Mistresses yet, I promise you won’t be lost if you jump in to watch the show tonight before seeing any other episodes. It’s a light drama, so most of the storylines are easy enough to follow without prior knowledge.

I also want to say that the title Mistresses definitely shouldn’t be taken 100% literally. If the title turns you off, I want you to know that the show does not glorify cheating. While the characters aren’t wild with deceit and infidelity, it’s definitely there. But their actions come with consequences and the show’s stories depict the (soapy, dramatic and sometimes humorous) fallout and aftermath of those actions.

April's store on MistressesIf you’re a fan of Mistresses, I’m pretty sure you’ve dreamed of shopping in April’s store. We were lucky enough to walk through the set of the store, and it was pretty much just like walking through a unique Anthropologie combined with real storefronts for Modcloth and Ruche. In short, it was amazing!

We also learned that Mistresses is filmed on the same set that’s used for ABC’s Cougar Town. I think it’s great that even locations are repurposed to save money, and it looks like someone was having a fun time with that fact. Look what I spotted when I was examining a deliberately arranged messy desk used in Mistresses:

cougar town and mistresses


After our tour of the Mistresses set we all hopped into a shuttle to take us to an “undisclosed location” to see where the show was currently filming.

As we approached the house in a gorgeous California neighborhood, Jes Macallan (who plays Joss in the show) came bounding out of the house.

Jes Macallan from MistressesJes was super-friendly and incredibly energetic, and she really, really wanted to give all of us the full set experience! She invited us into the house (but was immediately told that we couldn’t go inside), she started talking about what she was filming (and was told not to share any secrets), she wanted pictures and started connecting with a blogger from her hometown.

Jes was also super-eager to have us meet her costar, Justin Hartley, so she ran back inside the house and came back with him.

While I had never seen him before, another blogger, Dusty, told him that she loved his prior work and he immediately surprised her with a hug. It was so friendly and she was so happily surprised, I’m kind of in love with this picture I snapped of them:

justin hartley hugging Dusty Bastian


Let’s be honest: Justin Hartley is an incredibly good-looking guy. He had all of us eating out of the palm of his hand within minutes of meeting him. He made us give a group of random people a round of applause and we sang Happy Birthday to him, even though it wasn’t his birthday!

At the same time, he was just as nice as Jes, and they both went above and beyond what I would ever expect for a meet and greet. They both posed for tons of pictures, answered questions and were generally happy to interact with all of us. Justin even took on the job of actually taking a selfie with each of us while holding the camera:

Justin Harley selfie


To be completely up front, Both Jes Macallan and Justin Hartley were so nice it makes me like Mistresses even more because of them! Meeting both of them was a great experience, and I can’t wait to see what they’re up to when their storyline appears in Season 2!

Follow both Jes and Justin on Twitter at these links:

Be sure to tune into Mistresses at 10PM EST on Mondays on ABC!

Disclosure: Travel and expenses were provided by Disney to participate in this press trip. All opinions are my own, and all experiences were real.