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Odds & Ends: Matthew McConaughey’s Theater & More

first_img View Comments Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Matthew McConaughey’s TheaterMove over Frozen, it looks like we’ve a new animated tuner to get behind! There will be 85—yes, 85—songs in Sing, starring Matthew McConaughey as a debonair koala who decides producing a singing competition will help his theater become successful again. Deadline reports that he will be joined by a cast including Tony winner Scarlett Johansson as a punk rock porcupine, Seth MacFarlane as a mischievous mouse and Reese Witherspoon as the stressed mom to 25 piglets. The release date is currently scheduled for December 21, 2016 so we’ll be contenting ourselves with frozen fractals until then.Rumer Willis & Frankie J. Grande Team UpRecent Broadway alum Rumer Willis, Frankie J. Grande, Lorna Luft, Jacob Young and more will sing in the season for Sparkle: An All-Star Holiday Concert on December 15. The brainchild of Scott Nevins, the event is set to take place at Rockwell: Table & Stage in L.A. and benefit the Actors Fund. We love the most wonderful time of year!Close to You Hits a High NoteWhat’s new pussycat?! Off-Broadway hit What’s It All About is enjoying similar success across the pond! Renamed Close to You: Bacharach Reimagined and led by Kyle Riabko, the West End production has extended through February 14, 2016 at the Criterion Theatre.Ian McKellen & Stanley Tucci’s OdysseyBig names including Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, Andrew Scott, Bertie Carvel, Jessica Brown Findlay, Juliet Stevenson and Olivia Williams have been tapped for London’s Almeida Theatre’s Greek season finale. Directed by Rupert Goold and Robert Icke, they will read The Odyssey, translated by Robert Fagles, on November 12. Homer’s sequel will be live-streamed free from unusual and iconic locations across the U.K. capital including Tower Pier.last_img read more

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Odds & Ends: Lily James Talks Romeo and Juliet Nerves & More

first_imgHere’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Lily James Talks Romeo and Juliet NervesLily James’ star may be on the ascendant in Hollywood, but it’s her upcoming role on stage in Romeo and Juliet that’s always on her mind. “‘I think it’s partly to do with the fact that I haven’t appeared in the West End before,” the actress told the Daily Mail about taking on Shakespeare’s classic. James is set to appear as Juliet alongside her Cinderella co-stars in the production, Richard Madden (Romeo) and Derek Jacobi (Mercutio); the show will be helmed by the hit film’s director, Kenneth Branagh. “This is my debut, and I’m working with Ken, Derek and Richard, all of whom I’ve worked with before, and I don’t want to let them—or myself—down.” Romeo and Juliet will begin previews on May 12 at the Garrick Theatre. We’re back to looking into our air miles again!NBC Eyes Live Nativity MusicalNBC is aiming to air a live nativity musical this Christmas. One of the executive producers, Mark Burnett, who is behind both The Voice and The Bible, revealed to TV Insider: “A lot of contemporary music fits the Nativity, but also traditional music.” Added NBC honcho Paul Telegdy: “We want to give the Nativity story an interesting twist.” The tuner would join the previously reported Hairspray Live! in the Peacock network’s December lineup; Fox’s The Passion, following the last hours of Jesus Christ’s life, is scheduled to air on March 20.Zoë Wanamaker Boards Donmar’s ElegyFour-time Tony nominee Zoë Wanamaker (Awake and Sing!, Electra, Loof and Piaf) has been tapped for the Donmar’s upcoming U.K. premiere of Nick Payne’s Elegy. Directed by Josie Rourke, the cast will also include Barbara Flynn and Nina Sosanya, and is set to begin previews at the London venue on April 21. The latest work from Payne, whose Constellations was well-received on Broadway last year, imagines a very-near future in which radical and unprecedented advances in medical science mean that it’s now possible to extend life. We’re keeping a close eye on this one…B’way Alum Mos Def Arrested for False PassportWait, what? Broadway alum Mos Def (A Free Man of Color, Topdog / Underdog) was arrested on January 14 for using a false passport at a South African airport. According to the AP, the actor and rapper, now known as Yasiin Bey, attempted to leave the country using an unrecognized “world passport.” Apparently, Bey had entered the country on his American passport in 2013 and then outstayed his welcome on his vistor’s permit. He now has a fortnight to leave the country.First Look at John Gallagher Jr. in 10 Cloverfield LaneWe’ll soon be able to see Broadway favorite John Gallagher Jr. on the big screen and we now have our first trailer of 10 Cloverfield Lane, which is produced by the one, the only J. J. Abrams! Check out the Spring Awakening Tony winner in action alongside Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman below; the thriller will be released on March 11. John Gallagher Jr. View Commentscenter_img Star Fileslast_img read more

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Celinde Schoenmaker on Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of London’s The Phantom of the Opera & More

first_img View Comments Celinde Schoenmaker in ‘The Phantom of the Opera'(Photo: Joan Persson) Dutch actress-singer Celinde Schoenmaker will mark West End history on October 10 when she appears as Christine Daae opposite Ben Forster as the Phantom in the 30th-anniversary performance of The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre. With only one other London stage credit to her name (Fantine in Les Miserables), an animated Schoenmaker took time early one recent evening to share her excitement in helping celebrate a theatrical milestone.You must be counting down, with just days to go now until Phantom turns 30.Sure, but we always do our best for every show we do, so really there shouldn’t be any difference. The challenge is to stay calm and treat it as any normal night—think about it as just as another Monday with a beautiful party afterwards.Is it “pinch yourself” time?Yes, though I won’t be doing a lot of pinching beforehand. It’s when I am in bed afterwards and everything has been done that I will go, “That was amazing!” Until then, I’ve still got a job to do.You must have known when you took this contract that you would be the lucky Christine during this birthday year.I was aware of that from last year. While I was waiting for my contract to be renewed, I had it in my head that it would be amazing to do the 30th-anniversary performance as Christine. So when they offered it, I was just so thrilledIs there a community of Christines that has built up over time? Harriet [Jones] who played Christine before me and is now alternating and I have become very good friends and my boyfriend [actor Richard Fleeshman] did a piece with Anna O’Byrne, who was Christine, so is there is that sense of connection. The alternate and I share a dressing room and have the same dresser, so we’re like a little team—and there’s no competition, which is lovely.What about Sierra Boggess?I don’t know Sierra but we know of each other. I took over from her as Fantine on the West End in Les Miz. She was right before me and left a lovely card with a small stone for me in my dressing room that contained all these beautiful words and wished me well when it came to freshening the show for myself.That must have been important to hear.It was! Fantine was my very first experience in a lead part, so it was a lovely way of Sierra showing me how the hand-over is done, and so now as and when someone takes over from me, I hope I can do the same for them. I thought that was a really beautiful way of doing it.Do you have a connection to any of the earlier Christines?It can be daunting when you think how many incredible women have played this part; we were thinking backstage that it might be nice to make a little shrine for all the Christines, with headshots of all the women who have played the part. The amazing thing with Claire [Moore] is that I actually studied from her and she helped me so much in preparing for this role.In what way?I think my natural tendency was to take the piece quite heavy and Claire would say, “No, no, think of it as lighter; you need to work on that!” Her whole attitude was about enabling me to take on the role with confidence instead of being scared. She gave me the faith that, yes, I could do it.It’s quite a different assignment from Fantine.Fantine is much more belty. I think if you’re doing Cosette in Les Miz that you can more easily make the switch to Christine, but I was doing Fantine while auditioning for Christine, so during the day I’d be doing all my classical training and then in the evening I would have to belt—which meant the next day was all about working hard to get my soprano back to where it had been the day before.As Christine, you’ve got two men vying for your affections right up until the final curtain.Yes, and it can be really hard to stand up to one that is essentially a murderer and say, “No, no, that’s enough” because at that time especially women didn’t have the rights that men have. What was important then was to be this beautiful housewife or mother but because Christine has this voice, she, in the end, is able to put her head down and say, “Enough!” That for me as an actress is the most interesting thing: to stand up to someone and not just go along with their wishes.You clearly admire her as a character.I actually think I would want to be her! She’s so loving and so seeing the good in everyone, and the decision she makes at the end is beautiful. I know that if I were to get to know her, she would be a really good friend of mine.It’s interesting that you can now study what happens subsequently to Christine by checking out Love Never Dies, the sequel to Phantom.I haven’t seen it. When I started, they said to me, “Don’t look at Love Never Dies,” so for me what happens in Phantom is what happens and that’s that. I actually have two DVDs of Love Never Dies, and I will get to them at some point.I assume it helps that you get along with your Phantom [Ben Forster].We have from the very first day we met, and it helps that we have the same sense of humor. I just love Ben’s physicality in the part, among other things: I always say he’s like a panther!Do you have any messages for your fans?They’re always so lovely and welcoming, and they give me the kindest gifts and drawings. I think you enjoy the whole experience of the part so much more because they’re so in love with the show and with this part. Let’s hope they just keep on coming! last_img read more

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Child Care.

first_imgFor people who work with young children, the Early Childhood Institute will provide a lot of answers. The one-day event will be in three Georgia cities during September. It’s sponsored by the University of Georgia Extension Service and many state child care groups and agencies. The program offers a range of timely topics for child care center employees, preschool and kindergarten teachers and aides, parents of young children and others. It will provide five hours of child care training credit with the Child Care Licensing Section of the Georgia Department of Human Resources. The ECI will be Sept. 11 in Tifton (Rural Development Center), Sept. 18 in Atlanta (Georgia State University) and Sept. 25 in Macon (Macon College). The $45 registration fee includes refreshments and lunch. You must preregister to attend. To learn more about the program, or to sign up, call (912) 386-3416.last_img read more

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Hefty fines

first_imgDriving too fast can get you a hefty fine. Watering your lawn during restricted hours or days can land you a big fine, too.”You typically get two warnings. And the third time, you’re fined,” said Rose Mary Seymour, a water specialist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Big Brother’s watchingKeller knows his system’s users obey the state’s water schedule.”We’re getting our biggest surge of water usage during the times allotted for outdoor watering,” he said. “From 10 a.m. to midnight, we produce as much water as we can. And everyone appears to be watering when they’re supposed to.”His department is seen as a model across the nation, receiving many awards for water management and boasting an unusual reverse curve in water usage.”A reverse curve,” Keller said, “means instead of our water usage going up as our county grows, it goes down.” That trend is the result of water conservation education and physical changes to the water system.”Our residents learned a lot about conservation by living through the drought of 2002,” he said. “They also began looking at water as a premium product instead of a commodity when we raised our water rates 25 percent in 2002 and another 25 percent in 2004.” Hitting where it hurts”The fine can be up to $500,” Seymour said. “The enforcement officers also have the power to turn off your access to public water.” They can charge up to $5,000 to turn it back on.Most local water purveyors don’t have the work force to enforce the law alone, she said. They often have to rely on police officers and other government officials for help.”The local water authority has jurisdiction over those who break the outdoor water-use rules,” she said. “They also have the power to make the rules more stringent for their cities and counties.”To make sure water is available during daily peak hours, Fulton County has reduced the number of permitted hours for users north of the Chattahoochee River. Residents there must water between midnight and 5 a.m. Likewise, in Forsyth County, residents may water on only two days per week instead of three.In Griffin, Ga., Brant Keller oversees the water usage for Spalding County, parts of Coweta County and the cities of Zebulon and Williamson as director of public works and utilities. Keller’s staff also enforces the state’s water codes.Under his system, users get one warning for breaking the law. A second violation is cause for a fine.”The fine can be up to $250. But the last time we issued a fine was 2002,” he said. “Most of the fines we do issue are a result of one neighbor reporting another. We did give some warnings last year.” Reclaiming lossKeller stopped water losses of 10 percent, too, by replacing the system’s leaky water meters.”We were using 7 million gallons a day, and now we’re using 6.3 million,” he said. “We’re in the customer service business, and my goal is to make sure my customers always have a supply of water.”center_img By Sharon OmahenUniversity of Georgia Levels of restrictionThe state’s water schedules are in response to Georgia’s drought conditions. Developed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division, the state’s outdoor water-use plan includes four levels. Level 1 is the least restrictive and level 4 the most.Georgia is now using the level-2 outdoor water-use schedule. Outdoor water uses are allowed from midnight to 10 a.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at odd-number addresses. They’re allowed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at even-number addresses. Outdoor watering is banned all day on Fridays.Level 3 permits outdoor water uses only on Saturdays for even-numbered addresses and Sundays for odd-numbered addresses. Level 4 prohibits all residential outdoor water uses except watering personal food gardens.last_img read more

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Flavor of Georgia 2016

first_imgJudges evaluate each product based on flavor, texture and ingredient profile. Also considered are potential market volume, consumer appeal and product representation of Georgia. The contest, which will celebrate its 10th year in 2016, has served as a springboard for food manufacturers — assisting them in testing new products, reaching a larger audience and breaking into new markets to expand their sales. In 2015, 100 percent of finalists in the Flavor of Georgia contest reported increased interest in their products and an expanded network of business contacts. Some also indicated an increase in full- and part-time employees. For more information or to register, visit flavorofga.com or call 706-583-0347. Follow twitter.com/FlavorofGA on Twitter and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/flavorofga. Registration closes Feb. 5, 2016. Contest finalists will participate in the final round of judging and a public tasting March 14-15 as part of the Governor’s Agricultural Awareness Day in Atlanta. Product categories for the 2016 contest include barbecue sauces; beverages; confections; dairy products; jams and jellies; marinades and sauces; meat and seafood; salsas, chutneys and condiments; snack foods; and miscellaneous products. There is no limit to the number of products an individual business can submit, but only Georgia-based businesses may enter. Over the years, more than 1,000 food products have been entered in the contest. Today, many of those products are sold in national and regional supermarkets. Others have increased their wholesale distribution and Internet sales or experienced better traffic at local farmers markets. center_img “It’s a great experience that provides networking, exposure and learning opportunities you won’t find any other way,” said one of those finalists, Margaret Amos of Columbus-based Southern Straws. Finalists and winners participate in a number of high-profile industry showcases throughout the year following each annual contest, including the Georgia Grown Symposium, the Georgia National Fair and showcase days at the Buford Highway Farmers Market. They also receive industry feedback and use of the Flavor of Georgia logo for their product’s packaging and promotional materials. Whether it’s a specialty sweet treat, small-batch pork sausage or pimento cheese made from Grandma’s secret recipe, the University of Georgia’s Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest shines the spotlight on the state’s craft foods. Registration for the 2016 Flavor of Georgia contest, which is conducted each year by the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, is now open at flavorofga.com. For 10 years, the Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest has supported the food and drink production industry in Georgia, which saw over $45 billion in sales in 2013, according to a Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development study. “Flavor of Georgia is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to gain publicity and exposure for their products,” said Sharon P. Kane, a UGA food business development specialist and the contest’s coordinator. “It’s also a chance for them to network with other food entrepreneurs and industry experts.” last_img read more

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Joro Spiders

first_imgIf northeast Georgia yards seem a little extra spooky this Halloween season, there’s a good reason. They may have a little extra help from a new neighbor who is really into those cobweb decorations. Meet the Joro spider. Known for their golden orb-shaped webs, these little spinners were first spotted around Colbert, Georgia, in 2014. Since then their population has exploded, and they’ve become a common, but still striking, sight across northeast Georgia. The boldly patterned black, yellow and red female can grow up to 4 inches, including her legs. The spiders may appear startling at first, but they don’t pose a threat to people and don’t seem to be causing problems in the northeast Georgia ecosystem. The Joro spider is originally from Asia, and entomologists believe that they first traveled to Georgia a few years ago in shipping containers destined for the Interstate 85 distribution centers in northeast Georgia, said Rick Hoebeke, associate curator and collection manager of arthropods at the Georgia Museum of Natural History at the University of Georgia. The spiders have spread throughout the area by hitching rides on trucks and cars traveling through northeast Georgia, and they’ve now been found in Jackson, Gwinnett, Hall and Madison counties. Edges of the metro Atlanta area are beginning to see them, too, Hoebeke said. “The first hour to an hour and a half of my day is spent responding to spiders people find,” said Hoebeke. “The spiders are here to stay, so we’re trying to get the public to not freak out.”The spiders are not harmful to humans, and for the most part they are pretty timid. They prefer to scamper away rather than confront something that startles them. They do have a neurotoxin venom, but it is not very potent, and only causes some redness and blistering, Hoebeke said. Greg Pittman, Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for UGA Cooperative Extension in Jackson County, has been dealing with spiders for longer than most, and thinks that the spiders are helping more than they hurt. Pittman also noticed that many stinkbugs are getting caught in the webs of these spiders. Consequently, he has received few calls about stinkbug infestations in the area, which are typically very common around this time of year.“Some people are wanting to treat for these spiders, but I think there’s no need for that,” Pittman said. “They are more beneficial to the environment right now.”So before you start complaining about neighbors putting up their Halloween decorations or leaving them up too late, you may want to take a closer look.  To learn more about arachnids and other wildlife in your area, contact your local UGA Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.last_img read more

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Bleu Sky Creative Freshens Look for Two Vermont Businesses

first_imgBleu Sky Creative, a Burlington-based design firm, has redesigned the packaging for Cabot Creamery’s light 8 oz. cheddars, now known as Cabot Reduced Fat Cheddar, found in the grocery dairy aisle. After extensive consumer research, the new design calls attention to nutritional benefits while maintaining a classic look, reflected through hand-drawn illustration and classic typography.Bleu Sky has also helped GVV Architects, a Burlington architectural firm, redesign their web site. Their new site is project focused and articulates the firm’s variety of work in a clean and complementary interface.last_img read more

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$3 million in Northern Border commission funding for economic development

first_imgRep. Peter Welch and leaders from throughout the Northeast Kingdom outlined economic development opportunities presented by the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) during a press conference Thursday morning in Newport.At Newport s Gateway Center, on the shores of Lake Memphremagog, Welch announced the first-ever round of funding appropriated to the NBRC by the U.S. House in July. The $3 million federal investment will help launch the four state regional commission, opening the door for increased funding opportunities for projects in Northern Vermont and its neighboring regions. This groundbreaking regional effort will help northern New England and New York develop a comprehensive economic development strategy and provide significant federal investment to community-based projects in the region, Welch said. By collaborating across state lines and investing in the region s tremendous assets, this effort will help the Northeast Kingdom and the rest of northern Vermont enhance its infrastructure and spur economic development. Most importantly, it will bring jobs to the region.Modeled after the highly successful Appalachian Regional Commission, the NBRC is a federal-state partnership focused on economic development in the northernmost regions of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and New York. Created in 1998 with the passage of the Farm Bill, the NBRC will fund community-based efforts ranging from broadband deployment to renewable energy projects to tourism development.Vermont s Caledonia, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille and Orleans counties are among 36 counties included in the regional development effort. The NBRC will include representatives from each of the states, as well as a presidentially-appointed co-chair.Welch was joined at Thursday s event by a broad range of leaders from the Northeast Kingdom, including Bill Stenger, president and owner of Jay Peak; Jon Freeman, president of the Northern Community Investment Corp.; Dave Snedeker, planning director of the Northeastern Vermont Development Association; Sen. Vince Illuzzi; Newport Mayor Paul Monette; Newport City Manager John Ward; and Trish Sears, CEO of Newport Renaissance.Source: Welch’s office.last_img read more

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New Report: $1 cigarette tax increase would raise $6.7 million for Vermont and cut youth smoking

first_imgRaising Vermont’s cigarette tax by $1 per pack would bring in $6.7 million in new annual revenue to help close the state’s budget shortfall, while also reducing smoking and saving lives, according to a national report released today by a coalition of public health organizations.The report comes as states grapple with unprecedented budget shortfalls and face devastating cuts to education, health care and other essential public services. The report details the revenue and health benefits to each state of a $1 cigarette tax increase.In Vermont, a $1 cigarette tax increase would also:Prevent 3,600 kids from becoming smokers;Spur 1,900 current adult smokers to quit;Save 1,600 residents from premature, smoking-caused deaths; andSave $81.1 million in health care costs.A nationwide poll released along with the report found that 67 percent of voters support a $1 tobacco tax increase, with backing from large majorities of Republicans (68 percent), Democrats (70 percent) and Independents (64 percent).  The poll found that voters far prefer raising the state tobacco tax to other options for addressing state budget deficits. While 60 percent favored increasing the tobacco tax for this purpose, more than 70 percent opposed every other option presented, including higher state income, gasoline and sales taxes and cuts to education, health care, transportation and law enforcement programs.”This report shows that raising tobacco taxes is truly a win-win-win for Vermont. It is a budget win that will help protect vital programs like health care and education, a health win that will prevent kids from smoking and save lives, and a political win with the voters,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.The report was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It is titled Tobacco Taxes: A Win-Win-Win for Cash-Strapped States.Currently, Vermont’s cigarette tax is $2.24 per pack, which ranks 9th in the nation. The national average is $1.34 per pack.  The scientific evidence is clear that increasing cigarette prices is one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking, especially among kids. States will achieve even greater revenue and health gains if they also increase tax rates on other tobacco products, such as smokeless tobacco and cigars, and if they dedicate a portion of their new tobacco tax revenue to fund programs that prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit.Opposition to raising the cigarette tax further typically has come from Vermont retailers, who fear they would lose more business to New Hampshire, where the tax is already lower ($1.78, rank 16th). On the other hand, retailers have been concerned they would lose the advantage on its other borders, particularly losing consumers from New York, where the tax is $2.75 (rank 3rd), or more than 50 cents a pack higher, and consumers from Quebec, where the total cost of cigarettes is also higher than in Vermont.Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States. In Vermont, tobacco use claims 800 lives and costs the state $233 million in health care bills each year.  Currently, 18.2 percent of the state’s high school students smoke, and 2,700 kids try cigarettes for the first time each year.The national survey of 847 registered voters was conducted from January 20-24, 2010, by International Communications Research and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.  More information, including the full report, state-specific information and detailed poll results, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org/winwinwin(link is external).SOURCE: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —last_img read more

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