Vanessa Hudgens Talks Gigi & Performs With the Cast

first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on June 21, 2015 C’est magnifique! Gigi’s Vanessa Hudgens stopped by GMA on March 11 and revealed how she was cast (fast!) in the title role and that she is “so excited” to make her Broadway debut as “I love this show so much.” She was then joined by Corey Cott and the company for one of the revival’s iconic songs, “The Night They Invented Champagne.” The High School Musical star also gave us a sneak peek of her solo number, “The Parisians.” Check them out below and then at the Neil Simon Theatre, where the Lerner and Loewe tuner begins previews on March 19 and officially opens on April 8. View Comments Related Shows Gigilast_img read more

An American in Paris Scribe Craig Lucas on Chatty Neighbors and What Makes Him Cranky

first_img An American in Paris View Comments Do you have a writing ritual?I feed the dogs and take them out. I drink my coffee. If I’m really up against a deadline, I will not even check my email. I generally do look at the email, though—it’s nice to get the fingers to start to work. [Fake typing.] “Thanks for thinking of me.” Or, “Oh, I’m sorry a tree fell on your house. God’s a sadist.” And then you’re already typing, so all you have to do is trick yourself into starting. That’s the only hard part.What playwright inspires you?What essential items do you like to have on hand when you write? I just need a computer. Not much else. I have to have a certain sense of play and of being troubled by a situation or a question. I can’t write into something I’m absolutely clear about. I think what you need is both passion and a little bit of disinterestedness. A little oh-f*ck-‘em-if-they-can’t-take-a-joke attitude. I think it helps to have a bit of contempt for conventional thinking. I’m so grateful to audiences, and I write to reach them, but there’s also a part of me that’s just mad at them. I go to the theater sometimes, and I think, “Oh, people!”What advice do you wish your younger self had followed or been given?I was not prepared for how much work you have to do all the time on everything. I don’t think I would have taken advice as a young man because I was so unformed and had so many things I had to get over. I was raised to believe that I was special and I didn’t have to work hard, and that’s just not true. But everything happens the way it does. Sometimes things that seemed terrible turn out to be the best things that ever happened.What was the biggest challenge in adapting such a well-loved movie?There’s no competing with the movie. I was fortunate that the producers really wanted to investigate what the movie didn’t unpack. It’s filled with clues: Why does Jerry stay in Europe? Why does Adam stay? Why is Lise not in love with Henri? Why was she hiding? What do the French make of these people who are embracing their city at such a difficult time?”What’s the reality of the typical writer’s Paris fantasy?For me the writer’s fantasy about Paris is true. Did you know there are more English bookstores in Paris than in Manhattan? One of the things that I loved about New York when I first moved here was all of the bookstores. They’re gone. So I’m cranky now. Paris is absolute heaven. Craig Lucas’ home in upstate New York is filled with sunlight, art, books, dogs and lots of laughter. He is warm, open and unceasingly generous to guests. (Which of the no fewer than four different types of milk would you like in your coffee?) The boxes under his desk (an organizing trick learned from Sondheim, natch) offer a glimpse at his immense and diverse body of work, which includes plays (Reckless, Blue Window, Small Tragedy, The Singing Forest, The Dying Gaul, Pulitzer finalist Prelude to a Kiss and more) as well as screenplays (Longtime Companion, The Secret Lives of Dentists) musicals (the book for The Light in the Piazza), and we haven’t yet mentioned his opera librettos, directing resume or that he started out as a Broadway chorus boy. Here, Lucas talks about his writing process, particularly for his Tony-nominated book for the new musical An American in Paris.What time of day do you get your best work done?The morning. Because of deadlines and the way that people tend to call after a certain hour, I get up really early. Mornings are good for me, but if I have to write at night, I will. With musicals, you’re out of town and they want the changes in the morning, so often I go back to the hotel and write late into the night.Do you write every day?No, but I feel better when I write. The hardest thing is doing a first draft. I have found that the less I say to other people about what I’m doing, the more the need to write comes out. Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on Oct. 9, 2016 How did you feel having the Gershwins as your collaborators?Mike Strunsky [Ira Gershwin’s nephew and trustee] is fantastic. He loves these songs. He was such a champion of what we were doing. The other [Gershwins] were enthusiastic, but they’re very intimidating. They come in a big group and there are lawyers. I kept making jokes as is my wont. [Director] Chris Wheeldon finally slipped me this little note that said, “They don’t get your jokes.”What’s the secret to being so prolific? I’m really happy with the things I get to work on. Some weird thing happened: Everybody woke up on the same morning and said, “Get Lucas!” It started around 2011 and 2012. I was six years sober. I think my reputation for being a giant pain in the ass was starting to lift. How has your life as a writer changed since you got sober?I’m clear-headed. I’m not muddling through. I’m much better at listening to people’s suggestions. The producers on An American in Paris are smart and their notes are smart; you’d be stupid not to listen. I think as a young writer, I was like, “This is MINE! This is the way I wrote it!” Well, who cares? Steal a line from the usher! What play changed your life?What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received about writing?It was from my teacher Anne Sexton. She gave me a recommendation to go to graduate school at Yale and I got in. Then she called me and said, “Don’t go! You are stubborn and you see things your own way.” That was really good advice. I wasn’t ready for graduate school. If I had been in that class with Chris Durang and Wendy [Wasserstein] and those people, I probably would have withered up and died of intimidation. I went off by myself and hung out in a dark corner for a while until I had a self.What’s the nitty, gritty hard work of being a playwright that no one ever told you?It’s very hard for people to understand that when you’re home, you’re working. My neighbors come to the door all the time just to chat. I’m like, “I’m working.” And they’re like, “OK. Can I come in?”What’s something aspiring playwrights should do, see or know?They should know that when I finished my play Reckless, I sent it to a very famous Tony-winning director, who wrote me back and said, “This play makes no sense at all.” I have saved this note. I didn’t give up, but I did get an ally. I met a young director who was my age and liked my work, so I had another person to keep me from jumping off of a building. Find people who are at your stage of development instead of trying to get your play to Joe Mantello or some other high-powered director. Develop an aesthetic with your friends. That worked for me.What’s your favorite line in An American in Paris?last_img read more

This Week’s Picks! Adopt a Pup, Rise and Shine with Taye Diggs & More

first_img View Comments Cast a Spell with Penn & TellerBegins July 7 at the Marquis TheatreFor six weeks, Broadway will get a bit more magical. No, the cabs are getting new air fresheners. Penn & Teller are back! The world-famous magicians are bringing their tricks from their super-popular Las Vegas act, along with their classics, to the Great White Way. It’s not every day you get to see, let’s say, someone run over by a tractor, so don’t let this opportunity…disappear. We’ll show ourselves out. Click for tickets! Hey, you, taking another shower to combat that New York City heat. You look like a human-sized raisin. As long as you have deodorant and a roll of paper towels, you can venture outside and enjoy all the cool happenings. Such as? Well, there’s Penn and Teller’s return to Broadway, a salute to Andrew Lloyd Webber, and another summer of Broadway in Bryant Park. Here come this week’s picks! Start the Day with TayeJuly 7, check local listingsWe don’t want to be critical, but if Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan fail to ask Taye Diggs about his upcoming stint as Hedwig on their show today, they should be demoted to reading the crop report on Topeka public access. Here’s how the conversation should go. Kelly and Michael: “How are you?” Taye Diggs: “Great!” Kelly and Michael: “Aaahhh! Tell us everything about being Hedwig! Spare no detail!” You’re welcome. Witness the Music of the NightJuly 12 at BirdlandAndrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock isn’t due for months, and you’ve seen The Phantom of the Opera so many times that you’re attending the ushers’ birthday parties. Well, we have a fix for you, ALW fans. The current Phantom cast, including James Barbour, assembles at Birdland to sing numbers from Webber’s voluminous songbook. This performance, the first in a series of tribute concerts by the cast, benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Click for tickets! Enjoy the Dog Days of SummerJuly 11 at Shubert AlleyAll these Broadway charitable events get confusing. It’s time for a clarification. Broadway Bares is the stripping revue. Broadway Barks, taking place this week, is the star-studded pet adoption event hosted by Bernadette Peters and Andrew Rannells. It features Christian Borle, Sierra Boggess, and other Broadway headliners presenting dogs and cats for you to take home. So, yeah, leave the tear-away pants and thongs in the bedroom. They’ll be put to better use there anyway. Make Lunch More MusicalBegins July 9 at Bryant ParkForget about lunch at your desk, serenaded by Carol in accounting’s ear-rattling laugh and the printer’s whirring. Head over to Bryant Park to hear selections from It Shoulda Been You and more tuners. Yup, Broadway at Bryant Park returns for another summer of lunch-hour pleasure featuring Broadway (and off-Broadway’s) best talent. Upcoming performances of the free series—which takes place Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. through August 13—including Finding Neverland and Something Rotten!last_img read more

Matthew Morrison Sets Departure Date From Finding Neverland

Our worlds have been turned upside down! Matthew Morrison is scheduled to leave Audience Choice Award-winning new musical Finding Neverland on January 24, 2016. No word yet on who will be replacing him as J.M. Barrie, but there were rumors that mega-producer Harvey Weinstein was eyeing Chris Pine to step into the role. Kelsey Grammer is set to return to the tuner as Charles Frohman on January 19 for a limited engagement through February 28 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, taking over for Terrence Mann.Directed by Diane Paulus and featuring a score by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy and a book by James Graham, Finding Neverland follows the story of J.M. Barrie and his relationship with the family of widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies. Llewelyn Davies’ children eventually became Barrie’s inspiration to write Peter Pan.The cast also currently includes Laura Michelle Kelly, Carolee Carmello and Teal Wicks. Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 21, 2016 Related Shows View Comments Finding Neverland read more

Get a First Look at Jaime Camil as Billy Flynn in Chicago

first_imgJaime Camil and cast of ‘Chicago'(Photo: Jeremy Daniel) Ladies and gentleman, presenting the silver-tongued prince of the courtroom, the one, the only Billy Flynn! Jane the Virgin star Jaime Camil has suited up to begin his stint as Chicago’s razzley-dazzley story swirler. He will play a limited engagement in the role beginning on May 31, and theater fans cannot wait for him to give us that old hocus pocus. Take a first look at Camil going full out Billy Flynn, and be sure to catch him in the toe-tapping revival at the Ambassador Theatre through July 3! Chicago Related Showscenter_img View Comments from $49.50last_img read more

Philippa Stefani on Playing Mimi in London’s Rent

first_img View Comments Philippa Stefani & Ross Hunter in ‘Rent'(Photo: Matt Crockett) Philippa Stefani has a wide-ranging list of musical credits that include Imagine This, Wicked, GhostI Can’t Sing! and In the Heights,  and now the performer is taking on the role of Mimi in director Bruce Guthrie’s new revival of Rent at the St James Theatre. caught the charming actress during her pre-London tour with Jonathan Larson’s era-defining show in time for a chat as all-encompassing as her career has been to date. What is it like doing Rent having been in the revised Rent Remixed almost a decade ago in the West End, alongside Oliver Thornton and Luke Evans? This feels brand new, partly because that was quite a while ago now and also because we’ve really stripped [the show] to the bare minimum to start again. We’ve gone to the core of the characters and started from there.Is it helpful to have had a prior association with so iconic a musical?Yes, in all sorts of ways. I was in Wicked in London with Idina Menzel and at the opening night, I met Taye Diggs, and that was really cool, so these connections keep popping up. Weren’t you understudying Mimi last time out, whereas you get to play her for real now? I was, and I think I went on maybe twice? But I’m not sure all those years ago that I was really ready to go to the depths of the character and do her justice; I don’t think then that I could have done the job that I’m doing now. It feels as if this has come at the right time.Aren’t you too young to have known the show from its original incarnation?Sure, but I was aware of it at college, so from my early 20s onwards, and I certainly knew the songs. I wasn’t that clued-up about the story, but when I got out into the industry, it came on to my radar a bit more. That’s what feels strange to me about approaching it again: although I’ve done it before and know the story, it still feels so fresh and relevant to things that are going on right now.Are you referring to Jonathan Larson’s much-needed celebration of diversity and inclusiveness?Exactly that, as we had with In the Heights, which I just finished at the King’s Cross Theatre. It’s nice again to be in a show with a cast so diverse, especially when we’re not going down the normal Rent route. Characters who were played by black actors before now are white or vice versa—or mixed-race. We’ve got a diverse mix in the show but not necessarily in the way it’s been done in the past. How do you feel about Mimi, having lived with her to varying degrees for so long? I think Mimi wears her heart on her sleeve—she lives for every single second. She doesn’t dwell in the past but lives for the now. I love the fact that she embraces every single second of life, but that she is so fragile as well. When she’s healthy and she’s living life, she’s charismatic and lovable, but as the second act happens, she falls into this spiral of drugs and addiction and loss.Do you find her decline difficult?It’s emotionally draining, which is a challenge in itself, but I just came to the point where I could handle it. The rehearsals were a lot and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to leave it onstage, but since we’ve been performing it, I appreciate that she has such an arc. It’s so rewarding to play because you’ve got to be able to do it all. You have to get at where she is from the start of the show to the very end. It’s a real journey. Have you redoubled your trips to the gym?The show is the gym but I do take care of myself. I haven’t had time for the gym while we’ve been on tour, but I certainly will be getting back to it when I have a bit of space in London. How do you feel about the fact that [original Rent star] Anthony Rapp will be performing downstairs in the St. James Theatre’s cabaret space during the first few weeks of your run upstairs?That’s just crazy, right? When we first found out, it was mind-blowing. I hope we get to meet him because it would just be great to have a chat and talk about it all. Looking back on In the Heights, was that show a game-changer for you?It really was: Daniela was just the most amazing part—she was like an exaggerated caricature of my normal personality, so not too far from me. And it was so much fun as well. We performed traverse-style with the audience on either side, and it was so nice to be able to get into people’s faces and live that moment. What was it like meeting Lin-Manuel Miranda?It was insane. We’d won three Olivier Awards, all of which were a massive deal for the cast, and then [Miranda] came with his wife Vanessa \ and gave a speech at the end. It was incredible. He was the most wonderful man. I’m just in awe of him as a person. Are you keeping an eye on Hamilton, opening in London next year?Auditions are happening at the moment so who knows? You never know. Whatever comes next is not really in my brain at the moment. Do you keep in touch with your I Can’t Sing! castmate Cynthia Erivo?| saw her when I was doing High Society at the Old Vic during summer 2015. She came to my last performance just before she was going to New York to start [The Color Purple]. What’s great about Cynthia is that when you have pinnacle moments like that in your life, you don’t necessarily know how you’re going to handle it, and she’s just absolutely smashing it. To have known someone and watch them fly is the most incredible thing. Are you surprised that you’re often referred to in print as Italian when you sound entirely English?I know but I think it’s that I look a lot more Sicilian than I do English, but it’s true that I was born and bred here.Are you related to American singer-songwriter Gwen Stefani?I’m not, but I get that a lot. Who knows whether someday our paths might cross? last_img read more

04 Vegetable lessons

first_imgOne of the greatest restaurants I’ve ever eaten in is now gone.What made it great? You went in, sat down and ate what Mary had prepared that day. What the boat brought in, she fixed. And if the catch was poor, she would close up with a note on the door.I had to caution my new bride on the first visit that she didn’t want the chicken. Mary always had chicken, but only for those people who didn’t eat seafood.Maybe we all should take a page out of Mary’s playbook: Eat what’s in season. Most of the world does this.Citizens of this country are spoiled with all vegetables available all of the time.But what do we do? We complain all of the other 10 months about tomato flavor. Why do we expect a tomato that’s picked green in California, gassed with ethylene and in transit or storage for five days to taste like the one you bring in from your backyard plant for lunch?Until I was 12 years old, we didn’t have a “chain store.” The vegetables generally available were potatoes, cabbage, onions, garlic (yes, it’s a vegetable in our family) and occasionally carrots. During the growing season, tomatoes, squash or peppers would be displayed in a hamper by the door.Mainly we grew and ate fresh vegetables and canned what we didn’t eat fresh.Seasonality was important. We looked forward to that first tomato in the late spring as we ate canned tomato gravy with biscuits on cold, winter evenings.Vegetables still taste as good as they always did. We just have to raise them and consume them in their season. Don’t mess with Mother Nature. You know it’s not nice to do so.Eat what you have according to the season and cherish the moment.I think that’s the reason we used to line up at Mary’s Place. By Wayne McLaurin Georgia Extension Service Volume XXVII Number 1 Page 4 last_img read more

Ag Innovation

first_imgBy Sharon DowdyUniversity of GeorgiaAll business owners would appreciate a little extra help, especially in these hard economic times. Georgia agribusinesses and farmers have a team working for them at the Centers of Innovation for Agriculture. And, their help is free. From helping a Georgia cattleman find new markets for his beef to courting a Norwegian company to Georgia, the center has one goal: To help the state’s agricultural industries grow and succeed, said Bill Boone, the center’s director based in Tifton, Ga.Huge economic impact The center is collaborating with the CAES poultry science department, the Georgia Forestry Commission, the UGA Warnell School of Forest Resources, FRAM Fuels and other private companies to test the use of wood pellets as a heat source for poultry houses. The process promises to be both cost-effective and beneficial to the chickens, Boone said. To date, the center has led more than 75 projects with existing Georgia agricultural companies and helped 23 new companies establish footholds in Georgia.The agriculture center is one of six Centers of Innovation Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue created in 2003. The other centers concentrate on aerospace, life sciences, manufacturing, information technology and maritime logistics. “We’re just getting underway with a European company, Deep Organic, that wants to grow grain in Georgia to produce a milk-alternative,” he said. “They are working with researchers on the UGA campus in Griffin, Ga., to research alternative southern grains for their product, as well as conduct taste tests to determine North American taste preferences.” He and his staff work as advocates for Georgia agribusinesses.Georgia-made milk alternative “The Centers of Innovation work directly with the industry community to proactively identify problems and solutions through connections to university research, commercialization, innovation and proprietary processes,” Boone said. “These prospects run the gamut from determining which biodiesel feedstocks will grow well in Georgia to which varieties of sweet potatoes and sweet sorghum might grow the best in Georgia for ethanol production,” he said.center_img The center promotes innovation and cutting-edge technology to help Georgia industries compete in the state, nationally and globally, he said. “We find agricultural businesses that need research out of the university system to help their business grow, and we connect them with the university that can best help them,” Boone said. Connecting business owners and researchersThe center is located on the Tifton campus of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, where more than 100 UGA and U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists work. These neighbors directly help the center’s projects, he said. The agriculture center works closely with CAES scientists studying bioenergy foodstocks and value-added uses for agriculture by-products. “Agriculture had a business economic impact of $58 billion last year,” Boone said. last_img read more

AgrAbility Farm

first_imgFarmers with physical disabilities are often a little too self-reliant to ask for help or don’t know where to find it. But help is out there. Soon, they’ll have an entire farm dedicated to equipment and training especially designed to help them farm more comfortably.The groundbreaking for the AgrAbility Farm took place Nov. 18 at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences campus in Tifton, Ga.Once complete, it will be open to the public and available for school groups to visit and for health care and rehabilitation professionals to attend trainings targeted to help disabled agricultural workers. The farm will be virtually available for people to see and interact with on-line, too.“The goal for this farm is for it to become a place where farmers with disabilities can come, scheduled or unscheduled, to try equipment or tools that may be of interest to them or that they may not even know about to improve their ability to farm,” said Glen Rains, Georgia’s AgrAbility director.“It will be unlike any other facility of its kind. From a lift that can aid someone in a wheelchair to get in the tractor, to hand controls that can operate an all-terrain vehicle, there will be a wide variety of displays for people to see,” said Becky Brightwell, AgrAbility program manager in Georgia.Farming is a dangerous occupation. According to the Department of Labor, in Georgia, it is estimated that as many as 35,000 individuals living in an agricultural household have a disability.AgrAbility is a national, free program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is charged to promote independence for members of the agricultural community who have disabilities. In Georgia, UGA Cooperative Extension and the Institute on Human Development and Disability in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences jointly manage the program.”We’d like for farming to stay a vocation for people as much as possible,” Rains said. “This program is one way of keeping farmers farming who don’t want to be rehabilitated into another job. We want to help them do it.”The program is a service that can link someone in Georgia to a chain of Cooperative Extension educators, disability experts, rural living professionals and volunteers across the state and the country, he said.Anyone who works or wants to work in agriculture and has a physical, cognitive or illness-related disability is eligible. This includes many things like amputations, arthritis, cancer, heart problems, diabetes or mental illness.To learn more about AgrAbility and the farm, visit the Web site read more

The Essex Resort earns top honors from Wine Spectator and Fodor’s Travel

first_imgButler s Restaurant at The Essex Resort & Spa has earned distinction from two of the world s most prestigious organizations.  Wine Spectator presented Butler s with a 2009 Best of Award of Excellence, and Fodor s Travel, the foremost name in travel publishing, recognized Butler s as a 2009 Fodor s Choice selection.2009 Wine Spectator Best of Award of ExcellenceLong an Award of Excellence recipient from Wine Spectator, Butler s in 2009 was honored to receive the added distinction of the Best of Award of Excellence for its outstanding wine selection. Butler s is one of only 650 restaurants in the United States and the only one in northern Vermont to receive the award.The award honors recipients for, according to Wine Spectator, having wine lists that exhibit either vintage depth or superior breadth across select regions.The wine list at Butler’s includes incredible depth with over 600 selections of wines from 12 different countries.  Specialties include California Cabernet Sauvignon, Oregon Pinot Noirs, French Burgundy, and selections from the Rhone, southern France, and Italy.2009 Fodor s Choice AwardButler s Restaurant has also been recognized by Fodor s Travel, the foremost name in travel publishing, as a 2009 Fodor s Choice selection. According to Fodor s, This distinction represents a remarkable achievement and recognizes Butler s as a leader in its field for service, quality, and value in the 2009 year.Since 1988, Fodor s Travel has been awarding the Fodor s Choice distinction to only the very best hotels, restaurants and attractions around the world. Every year, Fodor s writers experience, examine, and evaluate thousands of hotels, restaurants and attractions in their travels across the globe. While every business included in a Fodor s guide is deemed worth a traveler s time, only fifteen percent of those selections are awarded the very highest Fodor s Choice designation by Fodor s editors.For information and reservations, dial 1.800.727.4295 or visit: is external)About The Essex Resort& Spa (formerly The Inn at Essex )Nestled on 18 acres between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain, The Essex Resort & Spa is a 120-room resort and spa featuring world-class cuisine in Butler s, our formal dining room, as well as the Tavern. We also provide cooking classes, tennis, golf, hot air ballooning, and are Vermont s only Orvis°-endorsed fly fishing lodge.last_img read more