Step One! Kyle Taylor Parker & Steven Booth Will Star in the National Tour of Kinky Boots

first_imgEverybody say yeah! Kyle Taylor Parker and Steven Booth have been cast as Simon/Lola and Charlie Price, respectively, in the first national tour of Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper’s Tony-winning Kinky Boots. The high-heeled and fabulous show is set to begin performances September 4 in Las Vegas before continuing to cities across the country. Additional casting will be announced soon. In Kinky Boots, Charlie Price (Booth) has reluctantly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of Lola (Parker). A fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos, Lola turns out to be the one person who can help Charlie become the man he’s meant to be. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible…and discovers that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world. Other casting includes Darius Harper, Ricky Schroeder, Juan Torres-Falcon, Hernando Umana, Damien Brett, Stephen Carrasco, Lauren Chapman, Amelia Cormack, J. Harrison Ghee, Blair Goldberg, Crystal Kellogg, Ross Lekites, Patty Lohr, Mike Longo, David McDonald, Bonnie Milligan, Horace Rogers, Anne Tolpegin and Sam Zeller. View Comments The design team for Kinky Boots includes scenic design by David Rockwell, costume design by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Kenneth Posner, sound design by John Shivers and orchestrations by Stephen Oremus. Parker, who performed as one of the Angels and as the Lola understudy in the Broadway company of the show, and Booth (Avenue Q, Glory Days, Dogfight) will be joined by Lindsay Nicole Chambers (Hairspray, Legally Blonde, Lysistrata Jones) as Lauren, Joe Coots (TV’s Inside Amy Schumer, The Full Monty national tour) as Don, Craig Waletzko (Guys & Dolls, Young Frankenstein) as George and Grace Stockdale in her touring debut as Nicola. Directed and choreographed by Tony winner Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots opened on Broadway on April 4, 2013 and continues to play at the Hirschfeld Theatre. The musical took home six 2013 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (Lauper), Best Choreography (Mitchell), Best Orchestrations and Best Sound Design.last_img read more

Culturalist Challenge! Who Should Star in the New Production of Joseph?

first_imgThe staff is crazy for Culturalist, the website that lets you choose and create your own top 10 lists. Every week, we’re challenging you with a new Broadway-themed topic to rank. We’ll announce the most popular choices on the new episode of The Show every Wednesday.Last week, we asked you to rank the Broadway dance numbers that get your toes tapping. The results are in, and “A Musical” from Something Rotten! came out on top! This week, in honor of the 50th anniversary production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in the works, we’re dreaming of dreamy dudes who could headline the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Site Producer Joanne Villani posted her list of top ten picks here!STEP 1—SELECT: Visit Culturalist to see all of your options. Highlight your 10 favorites and click the “continue” button.STEP 2—RANK: Reorder your 10 choices by dragging them into the correct spot on your list. Click the “continue” button.STEP 3—PREVIEW: You will now see your complete top 10 list. If you like it, click the “publish” button.Once your list is published, you can see the overall rankings of everyone on the aggregate list.Pick your favorites, then tune in for the results on the next episode of The Show! View Commentslast_img read more

Watch An American in Paris’ Cast Dance for Colbert

first_imgOoh la la! An American in Paris became the first Broadway musical to perform on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on September 18. First up, director and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon gives Colbert a dance lesson (he “nailed it,” apparently). Then Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope took the stage to show the world that they’ve got rhythm. Check out the videos below; the show is playing at the Palace Theatre. Show Closed This production ended its run on Oct. 9, 2016 An American in Paris Related Shows View Commentslast_img

Thumbs Up! Tony Host James Corden Made Broadway’s Biggest Night a Fun, Farcical & Fantastic Affair

first_img View Comments James Corden(Photo courtesy of Theo Wargo/Getty Images) Now that the 2016 Tony Awards are over, let’s take a moment to talk about how perfectly entertaining James Corden was as the evening’s emcee. Corden kicked off the ceremony with a heartfelt message about the devastating attack in Orlando, Florida, saying: “Theater is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is embraced and is loved. Hate will never win. Together, we will make sure of that. Tonight’s show is a symbol and a celebration of that principle. This is the Tony Awards.” Corden then spent the next three hours showing off all of his many talents, including his cheeky sense of humor, his (Tony Award-winning!) singing and dancing chops and, of course, his uncanny ability to keep genuine smiles painted on everyone’s faces. We immediately fell for his early musical number where Corden joyously celebrated all of the theater roles he’s dreamed of playing ever since he was a young boy, including Jean Valjean (Les Miserables), Simba (The Lion King), Danny Zuko (Grease), Maria Rainer (The Sound of Music), Annie (Annie), Tevye (Fiddler on the Roof) and, naturally, Mama Rose (Gypsy). For the rest of the night, Corden kept the show moving right along while also eliciting chuckles from guests inside the Beacon Theatre and audiences at home. His bit about all of the Law & Order acting credits Broadway stars have, especially Danny Burstein (we counted seven!), had us LOL-ing. But most importantly, Corden kept the inclusive message of “This could be you!” at the forefront of the show, and that is exactly the right note for a show that celebrates the magic of Broadway and live theater. Hosting the Tony Awards is a challenging gig, but Corden pulled it off with ease. As far as we’re concerned, Corden has our love, our praise, and we’ll love him till our dying days.last_img read more

Nicholas Afoa, Star of London’s The Lion King, on Finding a Brotherhood of Simbas

first_imgNicholas Afoa in ‘The Lion King'(Photo: Disney) Nicholas Afoa has only ever been in one professional musical ever and it happens to be that globe-trotting crowd-puller The Lion King. Having first played adult Simba in Australia, the 30-year-old New Zealander has now stepped into the same role at London’s Lyceum Theatre for a year-long run in the West End. caught up with the engaging performer about shifting from sports to the stage and his new life in a familiar show away from home.You were a successful rugby player back home when an injury necessitated a change of career, and now here you are starring in arguably the biggest musical of all!Yes, and I feel in a way as if my two passions have come hand in hand in terms of music and sport having both been a huge part of my life. Not everyone gets to make it in both areas, but I’m very lucky that they have both come my way.Did you feel you had to choose?Well, I always thought I would make it in the sporting arena but I was playing rugby in Singapore some years ago when I was 23 when my knee gave way underneath me, and that was pretty much the beginning of the end of rugby. I did rehabilitation and tried to come back [to the sport] but it was never really the same, so I needed to make those tough decisions. I had to make a living, so I decided not to play anymore.What happened next?I have a very loving and supportive family, especially my parents, and having grown up with this rugby dream, I had always been told, “Look, son. This world in sport is not always a given, and you can be injured and it’s all over.” The thing is, I never thought that would happen to me, so when it did, I was kind of like, “OK, let’s see what else is out there.”Did you go straight to the stage?The stage thing didn’t happen right away. I had many years of hardships trying to find out what my next purpose in life was. I went and got a BA in social sciences at university in Auckland [New Zealand] and worked for a while with troubled youth, which was wonderful because it was about giving back. When the opportunity to audition for The Lion King came along, that changed my whole outlook. I never thought it would happen like that.How did you prepare for your audition?I had YouTube’d it a million times and seen any scene or song that was available, and I had read a lot about some of the Simbas that had played the part in the past—like Jason Raize, and how beautifully he portrayed the character. I also watched quite a few others and came to see that there are so many different ways to play the role—so many different qualities—that it wasn’t just a carbon cut-out that they wanted. At the end of the day, they wanted the truth. You needed to look good and to be able to sing, but at the top of the list, you needed a certain truth.What is it about the role that you respond to?Simba’s journey resonates with everybody, which is why the show has done so well not just in America and England but all over the world. It’s universal and timeless.Does the experience feel the same here in London as it did back in Australia?Of course, it’s the same script and the same songs, but the energies are different so in some ways it has felt like an entirely new show. I got tears when I heard the first notes here in London because they reminded me of my friends back home and of my first professional experience in a theater show. But we’ve got a new Nala and Pumbaa, among many other cast changes, so it still feels fresh. After 800 performances, I’m finding new things. It’s great to be able to do that.Is there a community of past and present Simbas?It’s funny you say that: a few months after I started, I contacted all the Simbas and acquainted myself with them. It’s been really nice to connect with people I haven’t ever met but still feel I know because we share a role.Has any particular advice stuck with you?Jonathan Andrew Hume was great in allowing me to put a face to the name. We met up a couple of times, and he kept telling me to be gracious with myself and to give myself more time. I was anxious about doing a good job in the West End, and he assured me that they wouldn’t have asked me to come [to London] if they didn’t think I could do it.Does London now feel like home?Home will always be New Zealand, but for now, I’m contracted here for a year and after three months, I can already say that I could see myself here for another year or so. My wife and I will at some point decide whether London is a place where we could see ourselves [longterm], but I’m keeping my options open.How would you characterize your singing voice?I like to consider myself a crooner and really love Michael Buble and that sort of sound. I’m not quite a classical tenor and can’t hit the Pavarotti notes, but I’m not quite a classical baritone either. I guess you could call me a bari-tenor.Do you see yourself ever returning to professional sports?I don’t think given the impact and contact that come with rugby that my body—and especially my knee—could withstand that pressure. For now, I’m enjoying just running on a stage without people trying to tackle me; I like it like that. View Commentslast_img read more

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Star Matt Barber on Making His West End Debut & Catching Up with Downton Abbey Co-Star Lily James

first_imgMatt Barber in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s'(Photo: Sean Ebsworth Barnes) Breakfast at Tiffany’s is rarely long absent from the stage, or so it seems. Recent London and New York productions in 2009 and 2013 are now followed by yet another incarnation of the classic Truman Capote tale, this one starting previews June 30 at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. Pixie Lott inherits Audrey Hepburn’s 1961 screen role as Holly Golightly, with Downton Abbey alumnus Matt Barber as the young writer who falls under her spell. caught the engaging Barber for a chat while he was driving to an evening performance during the show’s pre-West End tour.How does is feel to be a part of such a time-honored title as Breakfast at Tiffany’s?It’s a fantastic, astonishing opportunity for me as an actor. I get to play these two characters side by side [at different points in the writer Fred’s life] and literally stepping between them mid-sentence so that you see [Fred] 15 years further down the line when he’s established and has had success and made a bit of cash and also when he’s young and unformed, like a sort of grasshopper.Are you excited to make your West End debut?Absolutely! Even having done Downton Abbey, this feels like a new pinnacle: the opportunity to play a lead onstage and particularly at the Haymarket, which is such a beautiful place. It sort of leaves me speechless.How are you, an Englishman, coping with a demanding American accent?Well, this guy is from the South, for sure, but I’m certainly not hitting up the southern accent too heavily. My feeling is that for an English audience that would be just another obstacle. My interest, in any case, is more in the types of characters and how they sound rather than where they’re actually from. I remember at university people’s accents changing from when they started [college] to when they finished.Previous stage versions of this story have featured onstage nudity.We’ve got a bathtub scene as well, but it’s bloody quick and it’s not about getting naked. If you go that route, then that becomes the thing everyone remembers and talks about. This isn’t like [the Peter Shaffer play] Equus, where you can’t get away with not doing [stage nudity] because it’s a fundamental part of the story; here, you can deal with it with a bit of smoke and mirrors, and the audience experience is exactly the same.What do you find intriguing about your character’s dynamic with Holly?The thing with Fred is that he desperately wants to be at the center of his own story, but whenever Holly’s around, he just can’t be because she’s so much more everything than he could possibly be.It’s funny you call him Fred because, in the 2009 London production, he went by the name of William.They must have made the choice to give him an identity in exactly the same way that we sort of haven’t. I think we decided that we might as well call him Fred because that’s what everyone else calls him: the key point is that he knows who he is, especially once he’s older.This is a different text from that earlier London staging: you’re using the Richard Greenberg version that was seen on Broadway on 2013.We’ve also done a lot more work on the text, not to mention that we will have had 14 weeks on tour before we hit London. I feel like the difficulty is staying true to Truman Capote’s book while still turning it into a play. The book is very wordy, very descriptive, and we’ve really tried to strip it back so that the story is as clear as possible.It’s no secret that you’re playing a version of Capote himself.Very much so. This is really Capote writing about his younger self—this young writer who hasn’t had any success and doesn’t know where his sexuality sits and is caught up in this massive explosion of life, which is the girl who lives downstairs.Which brings us to your leading lady, Pixie Lott, in a role immortalized onscreen by Audrey Hepburn.The thing with Pixie is that she’s got obviously the star quality you need to draw upon in a role like this, which is that she is completely intoxicating for any male that comes anywhere near her. You need somebody who has this quality that when they walk into a room, all heads turn—it’s like in Downton Abbey when the cameras went on Lily James [as Rose] and I found myself next to somebody you might link to Marilyn Monroe or, indeed, Hepburn.Lily James will be appearing minutes away from you throughout the summer in Romeo and Juliet. Will you be hanging out between shows?Well, all that was rather a long time ago, and I haven’t actually spoken to [James] in a while, but I’m looking forward to catching up with her.What about the legacy for you of Downton, in which you played the aristocratic Atticus Aldridge?That was an incredible experience and it remains an incredible experience even though it’s over. Everyone was working very hard and at the top of their game. That said, it’s not as if I was suddenly swamped by people as a result of it; it wasn’t a significant profile-builder in that way. The benefit was far more just from the job and the experience.Still, you must feel as if your career is well on its way.Well, I’d love to feel as if I was even off the starting block, to be honest with you. But I’m absolutely adoring now being onstage and feel as if I want to do a healthy mix of everything. View Commentslast_img read more

Growing Garden Seeds

first_imgHis strategy worked for two reasons, said Darbie Granberry, a University of Georgiahorticulturist. One, the beans he bought happened to be from an open-pollinatedvariety. And two, dried beans are harvested much the way you need to pick them ifyou want to save seeds from your own garden. In special cases involving heirloom or hard-to-find cultivars, you may need to saveseeds to keep a supply. A south Georgia gardener not noted for grocery shopping made a special trip to thesupermarket last spring. He brought home a package of dried beans. Even open-pollinated varieties may not be worth the trouble of saving seeds. “You just don’t know whether the beans might have come from a hybrid cultivar,” hesaid. “And if they did, it can be a disaster.” “They will probably be nothing like the hybrid parent from which you saved theseeds,” he said. “Don’t waste time by saving seeds from hybrids.” To save seeds from your garden, pick them only after they’re fully ripe, Granberrysaid. For seeds in fleshy fruits, that usually means when the fruit itself is fully ripe.For summer squash, eggplants and cucumbers, this would be two to three weeks afterthey’re ready to eat. “Edible seeds such as corn, peas and beans usually need to ripen several weeks beyondthe tender eating stage,” he said. The seeds will store best in the freezer. But make sure they’re properly dried and in amoisture-proof container. And when you take them out, allow them to warm up beforeyou handle them. Frozen seeds are fragile. Producing a hybrid cultivar requires specific cross-breeding, he said. The seeds fromthis planned crossing are genetically unique. They can’t be reproduced except byrepeating the cross, using the same inbred lines as parents. “Seeds from open-pollinated cultivars will be true to type,” he said, “if they haven’tbeen cross-pollinated with other, different cultivars.” “Seed costs for a garden are usually nominal,” Granberry said. “Saving good-quality,disease-free seeds may require considerable time and effort. And the quality of thesaved seeds is usually less than that of new, commercially prepared seeds.” To be sure you get true-to-type seeds, he said, plant only one cultivar of a specificvegetable. Or vary the planting dates so different cultivars don’t flower at the sametime. You can keep the seeds of self-pollinating cultivars (including beans, peas andtomatoes) genetically pure by planting them 150-200 feet apart. “We don’t normally recommend planting dried beans from the grocery store,” saidGranberry, a vegetable scientist on the Tifton, Ga., campus of the UGA College ofAgricultural and Environmental Sciences. Separate mature seeds from the fruit, cob, hull or other tissue. Then dry them. Rinseseeds from fleshy fruits with water and allow them to dry on paper towels. Bean andpea seeds are best left to dry in the pods. Store the dry seeds in a moisture-proofcontainer at room temperature or cooler. “I like these,” he told his wife. “I’m going to plant them.” And all this summer, asthey picked those delicious beans, she had to admit he wasn’t crazy after all. “Collected, dried and stored properly, most garden seeds will germinate well for one tothree years,” Granberry said. “Onion seeds, though, may remain viable for only eightto 10 months.” If you plant the seeds of the hybrids, you can’t predict the kind of plants you’ll get. “Insect-pollinated plants usually cross-pollinate unless they’re about a quarter-mileapart,” he said. “That’s not feasible for most gardeners.” As for dried beans from the grocery store, it’s best to look for some commercial seeds.”If you can’t find them, though, give it a try,” he said. “It might work out OK.”last_img read more

20 Wisteria winner

first_imgBut wait. There’s another wisteria.Amethyst Falls wisteria (Wisteria frutescens ‘Amethyst Falls’),is an improved cultivar of our native American wisteria. Plantthis vine and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at its lessaggressive nature.Yes, it will climb 20 to 30 feet. But it’s less vigorous, lessinvasive and much easier to manage than its Asian relatives.Amethyst Falls is hardy from zones 5 to 9. It grows well in fullsun to partial shade.Early bloomerAnd while the Asian types may take 10 years or more to beginflowering, Amethyst Falls wisteria starts at one year old.It flowers on new growth about two weeks later than the Asiantypes. That’s late April to early May in Athens, Ga. Late-winterfrosts seldom affect flowering. And if you lightly trim it afterit flowers, it will produce a second flush of blooms in thesummer.Some people consider this vine a dwarf wisteria. Amethyst Fallshas smaller leaves and flowers than the Asian types. The flowersare fragrant, lavender-blue and borne in 2- to 4-inch-longracemes that cascade from the foliage like a waterfall — hencethe name “Amethyst Falls.”Deer and drought tolerance are other outstanding attributes thatearned Amethyst Falls Wisteria a Georgia Gold Medal in 2006. It’sa perfect choice for pergolas, trellises or fences.A tree?It can be trained as a freestanding tree form, too. Just tie itto a sturdy stake 5 to 6 feet tall and prune the top to encouragebranching. Once a treelike canopy forms and the trunk becomessturdy enough to stand alone, you can remove the supportingstake. This process is somewhat labor-intensive, but the wisteriatree provides an unusual accent to the landscape.Prune an Amethyst Falls wisteria in late winter, if necessary, toshape the plant and remove undesirable growth. Then trim itlightly again after the first flush of blooms to encouragebranching and more blooms.A late-winter application of a complete fertilizer, such as16-4-8, should be plenty for the year.Amethyst Falls is easy to grow and maintain, and it offersterrific seasonal beauty in your landscape. It’s everything you’dexpect a Georgia Gold Medal winner to be.(Gary Wade is a Cooperative Extension horticulturist with theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences.) Volume XXXINumber 1Page By Gary WadeUniversity of GeorgiaWisteria? A Georgia Gold Medal winner? You’ve got to be kidding.Plant a Japanese or Chinese wisteria in your landscape and you’llspend the rest of your life trying to stop what you’ve started.last_img read more

Permit contact

first_imgThe Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission needs updated contact information for farmers who use irrigation in the Suwannee and Ochlockonee watershed in south-central Georgia. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension can help provide it, says a UGA water specialist.Farmers there and across the state are required to place meters on their permitted wells to tally their water usage, said Kerry Harrison, a UGA Extension irrigation engineer. If the SWCC can catch up with them, the state will cover the cost ($1,000 per meter per well).The SWCC generally sends postcards to permit holders a year ahead to let them know about the meter installations in an area, he said. It’s now time to mail those cards to farmers in the Suwannee and Ochlockonee region.The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has an estimated 9,000 permits in the area. All contain contact addresses, but most are outdated rural-route numbers, he said. Those have since been changed to Emergency 911 addresses. But the changes were never shared with DNR.The SWCC wants the updated contact information for at least half the permit holders in the area by June 30. In 2003, UGA Extension agents within the Flint River Basin in southwest Georgia helped with a similar process. Less rushed, the update there took about four years to complete, Harrison said.Funding for this initiative was approved in late January. Depending on the actual number of updated contacts, the initiative will cost between $750,000 and $1.2 million. The money will pay for extra work hours and tools the county agents will need. “The agents already have full plates,” Harrison said. “They need extra resources to get this done within the time frame.”Along with updating addresses, UGA Extension agents will locate the water withdrawal site for each permit. That information will be given to Albany State University in Albany, Ga., to map the area irrigated with the permit.”The use of water in agricultural crop production is a very important element to ensure yields and subsequent farm profits,” Harrison said. “Hopefully, this effort to update agricultural permit contact information will not intrude on any farming operation.”UGA Extension covers information delivery from the UGA colleges of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Family and Consumer Sciences to all 159 Georgia counties. Almost all counties have offices.The same system can be used to provide another government agency information, too, especially one that wants to improve lives or save folks money, Harrison said.Government agencies work best when they pool resources to aid Georgia citizens, he said. But the bureaucratic process can seem muddled, if not comical at times.”Hello, I’m with the gov’ment, and I’m here to help,” Harrison has joked about the initiative and the process when explaining it at meetings. But the initiative is serious. It’s sparked by the “Water Wars,” a decade-old negotiation between Georgia, Alabama and Florida over shared water rights.One skirmish in 2003 resulted in Georgia House Bill 579. It called for all agricultural water users to have a meter installed by 2009. The SWCC was given the task of implementing the metering program.”This effort is being undertaken so agriculture’s right to continue to use water in Georgia will be understood by other users of water in the state,” Harrison said.last_img read more


first_imgThe process of applying for federal grants can be daunting, but extra funding can help farmers diversify their farms or make them more sustainable or profitable. University of Georgia Extension is currently working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Southern Rural Development Center, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture to host two workshops to help farmers apply for grants through the USDA’s Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion programs. The Farmers Market Promotion Program supports farmers markets and other direct-to-consumer marketing activities, while the Local Food Promotion Program supports enterprises that aggregate, store, distribute and process local and regional food, according to the USDA. The Agricultural Act of 2014, better known as the Farm Bill, authorized $30 million be spent each year to develop new marketing opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local and regional markets. This funding will be distributed to local communities through the Agricultural Marketing Service’s Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion grant programs. “The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion (programs) are a key to USDA’s efforts to revitalize rural economies by supporting local and regional food systems,” said AMS Administrator Anne Alonzo. “The grant workshops will ensure that more communities and businesses across the country can participate in the competitive grant process with proposals that create real economic opportunities and help meet the growing demand for locally and regionally produced food.” UGA Extension and representatives from the USDA will host grant-writing workshops, designed to help farmers and local food advocates navigate the application process, on Wednesday, April 15, at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, and on Thursday, April 23, at Fort Valley State University’s Agricultural Technology Conference Center in Fort Valley. Registration is limited to 50 participants per workshop. Pre-registration is online at: The workshops are free and run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Details can be found under ‘Upcoming Events’ at more information, email (Writers from the USDA contributed to this release.)last_img read more