The Music Man and La Bohéme in Seattle this month

The Music Man and La Bohéme arrive in Seattle this month. The Music Man, my all time favorite musical, will be at the 5th Avenue Theatre Feb. 7 through March 10. Alas, tickets range from $55 for the nosebleed section up to $115 for prime seating.

Maybe it’s just as well I can’t see the play. Might be a disappointment having seen Dick Van Dyke live in the stage production of Music Man many years ago in San Francisco. Fabulous. In the Wells Fargo Wagon is a Comin’ scene they used a real live horse! And of course it’s impossible to top and unfair to compare the Robert Preston-Shirley Jones film version—my favorite film musical. So much more cheerful than that depressing Les Misérables.

Seattle Opera’s production of Puccini’s La Bohéme is coming to McCaw Hall at the Seattle Center Feb. 23 through March 10. Tickets start at $25 and go up to $204, depending on location and time.

“The Language of Flowers” and “State of Wonder” reviews

In a continuing effort to expand my horizons and explore topics I’ve avoided in the past, I picked up two newish novels: “The Language of Flowers,” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and “State of Wonder,” by best selling author Ann Patchett.

“Flowers” is an engrossing story about a girl who spends years of neglect and abuse in foster care and, upon turning 18, has to fend for herself. Set in my favorite city (San Francisco), the book’s topic at first made me squeamish but I soon became immersed in the characters’ problems and passions. Nature lovers will enjoy this book for the intricate descriptions and meanings of flowers woven throughout the prose. Excellent read.

State of Wonder,” is set mostly in the Amazon jungle (of which I knew relatively nothing before reading this novel) and features as its main character Minnesota-born 42-year-old East Indian Dr. Marina Singh. A fabulous tale with interesting plot twists, thrilling adventures, loss, redemption and romance, “State of Wonder” is beautifully crafted­–with lyrical prose that will leave you breathless. It’s a deeply satisfying read. Dare I hope for a sequel?