Star Files View Comments It Shoulda Been YouClosing August 9 at the Brooks Atkinson TheatreGot a craving for wedding cake? You’re invited to It Shoulda Been You, the madcap matrimonial musical starring Lisa Howard, Tyne Daly, Sierra Boggess, David Burtka and Harriet Harris. Come for the lighthearted musical comedy about a bridesmaid on her sister’s wedding day…and stay for the show’s wacky twist. Click for tickets! Darren Criss in Hedwig and the Angry InchThrough July 19 at the Belasco TheatreWhat do you do after spending five seasons starring on a hit TV series? Cover your face in glittery makeup, put on a Farrah Fawcett wig and come back to Broadway! There’s only a few more chances to catch Glee fave Darren Criss as internationally ignored song stylist Hedwig Schmidt before Taye Diggs steps into the heels, so get over to the Belasco for a car wash and a glittery kiss, stat. Click for tickets! Fish in the DarkClosing August 1 at the Cort TheatreSeinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm fans, the time is now. It’s your last chance to catch Fish in the Dark starring Jason Alexander, who recently succeeded the play’s scribe Larry David as neurotic protagonist Norman. We’d say Alexander knows a thing or two about playing a neurotic protagonist—plus, he’s a beloved Broadway vet and yadda yadda yadda. Click for tickets! They say all good things must come to an end, and sadly, Broadway shows are no exception. Alas, it’s time for us to say farewell to some stellar shows on the Great White Way and beyond. But wait, there’s a silver lining! You still have a few more chances to catch Fish in the Dark, On the Twentieth Century, Darren Criss in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and more before they close up shop. Bonus: A Trio of Off-Broadway HitsGloria, Heisenberg and Significant OtherDon’t miss these off-Broadway shows taking their final bows soon: Gloria, a gripping drama about editorial assistants trying to climb their way to the top, closes July 18 at the Vineyard Theatre; Manhattan Theatre Club’s Heisenberg, featuring Mary-Louise Parker and Denis Arndt as two strangers who have a life-changing connection, also closes July 18 at New York City Center; Significant Other, starring Gideon Glick and Lindsay Mendez as two best friends both looking for Mr. Right, closes August 16 at the Laura Pels Theatre. Click here, here and here for tickets! On the Twentieth CenturyClosing July 19 at the American Airlines TheatreThe majestic Twentieth Century is only making a few more stops—and trust us, you don’t want to miss this train. From flashy dance numbers to hilarious performances by Kristin Chenoweth, Peter Gallagher and Andy Karl, the Tony-nominated revival about a movie producer who tries to get his former fling to star in his latest musical is a dazzling delight. Click for tickets! Darren Criss
Related Shows View Comments Star Files The Color Purple Jennifer Hudson, who will soon headline the upcoming revival of The Color Purple, stopped by The Today Show on July 21 to talk about making her Great White Way debut. “Broadway is probably the hardest thing to do in entertainment,” the Oscar winner admitted. “You want to live up to the expectation…I just want to do it justice.” We are sure she will! Check out the interview below; Hudson will begin performances as Shug Avery, with Cynthia Erivo as Celie and OITNB’s Danielle Brooks as Sofia, on November 9 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 8, 2017 Jennifer Hudson
The musical adaptation of Amélie is poised to play Broadway in the near future. In a recent interview with NorthJersey.com, Tony-winning director Pam MacKinnon revealed that she intends to bring her production, which recently concluded a run at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, to the Great White Way in about the spring of 2017. The California staging starred Les Miz movie standout Samantha Barks in the title role.Based on the 2001 French film, Amélie features music by Daniel Messé, lyrics by Nathan Tysen and a book by Craig Lucas. It tells the story of a girl with a very active imagination. The show details her life in Paris as she helps those around her try to find love, and ultimately falls in love herself.In addition to Barks, the Berkeley cast featured Adam Chanler-Berat, Randy Blair, Alison Cimmet, Carla Duren, John Hickok, Alyse Alan Louise and Paul Whitty. No word yet on who would bow on Broadway.Take a look at the Berkeley Rep production below! View Comments Amelie Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on May 21, 2017
View Comments Lin-Manuel Miranda Once you’re in the Mickey Mouse Club, you’re in it for life. After writing songs for Disney’s Moana and appearing in the upcoming Mary Poppins sequel, Lin-Manuel Miranda will team up with certified Disney legend Alan Menken. The two will pen tunes (and adapt some familiar ones) for a new live action take on The Little Mermaid, according to Deadline.Menken won two Oscars for his work on the 1989 animated classic: Best Score and Best Original Song for “Under the Sea,” which he co-wrote with the late Howard Ashman. The two were also nominated for “Kiss the Girl.”The Little Mermaid has had a significant impact on Miranda’s life and career; the Hamilton creator credits the film as part of the reason why he and his wife Vanessa named their son Sebastian. He’s also been known to tweet Little Mermaid/Drake mashups.Marc Platt will produce the project alongside Miranda. No word yet on when the new film will hit the big screen, but in the meantime, we’ll at least be able to catch Miranda’s tunes in Moana, premiering on November 23, as well as plenty of Broadway favorites in Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast next year. Star Files Lin-Manuel Miranda & Alan Menken(Photo: Bruce Glikas)
View Comments The West End production of Les Miserables is ready to welcome a host of new and returning faces to the barricade. Beginning December 5, Simon Gleeson, Lucy O’Byrne and Hollie O’Donoghue will assume the roles of Jean Valjean, Fantine and Eponine. Paul Wilkins will return to play Marius beginning December 12, with Charlotte Kennedy stepping into the role of Cosette.Additionally, Les Miz alum Hayden Tee will play Javert from January 9, 2017 through April 22. He steps in for Jeremy Secomb, who is set to cross the pond and star in the off-Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd.The current cast of Les Miserables features Peter Lockyer as Jean Valjean, Secomb as Javert, the Miss Saigon-bound Eva Noblezada and Rachellle Ann Go as Eponine and Fantine, respectively, Craig Mather as Marius and Zoë Doano as Cosette. Continuing in their roles are David Langham and Katy Secombe as the Thénardiers and Chris Cowley as Enjolras.Gleeson has previously played the role of Valjean in Manila, Singapore and Australia. His West End credits include Mamma Mia!, Eureka and The Far Pavillions.O’Byrne makes her West End debut as Fantine. She previously starred as Maria in the U.K. tour of The Sound of Music. O’Donoghue’s time in Les Miz began in 2015 as a part of the ensemble. Her additional credits include The Commitments, Peter Pan and Ragtime.Wilkins is no stranger to Les Miz and the role of Marius; he made his West End debut in the show last year and has since played Marius in Manila, Singapore and Dubai. Kennedy also took her first West End bow in the musical last year.Tee previously played the role of Marius in Les Miz in the West End. He is set to play Javert once again when the show heads to Dubai in November. His additional credits include South Pacific, Little Women, Titanic, Cats and Into the Woods. Simon Gleeson in ‘Les Miserables'(Photo: Matthew Murphy)
Tickets are now on sale for Pulitzer winner Paula Vogel’s Indecent, which will begin Broadway previews on April 4. The new play with music is scheduled to officially open on April 18 at the Cort Theatre.Directed by Rebecca Taichman and choreographed by David Dorfman, the show played off-Broadway’s Vineyard Theatre earlier this year; the cast included Katrina Lenk, Mimi Lieber, Max Gordon Moore, Tom Nelis, Steven Rattazzi, Richard Topol and Adina Verson. No word yet on who will be starring in the production on the Main Stem.Indecent, created by Vogel and Taichman, features music by Lisa Gutkin and Aaron Halva and follows the events surrounding the premiere of the controversial 1923 play God of Vengeance, considered an important work of Jewish culture by some and libel by others.Indecent will be the first work of Vogel’s on Broadway; she won a Pulitzer in 1998 for How I Learned to Drive. ‘Indecent'(Photo: Carol Rosegg) Related Shows View Comments Indecent Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 6, 2017
Photo: Scott Bauer, USDA-ARS Kenaf fibers have been used for years to make paper products and some fabrics. Now a Georgia business wants to use it to make a building material. Perfect IngredientKenaf, he says, is the perfect ingredient for such a product.Rutherford was a guest speaker at the first Symposium on Value-Added Agriculture Dec. 13-14 in Tifton, Ga. He said kenaf, flax and cotton stalks all work well in his product.Kenaf stalks produce two types of fiber: an outer, woody, bast fiber and an inner core fiber.”We need the core fiber to make our product,” Rutherford said. “Kenaf has been researched in Georgia for many years. Farmers know how to grow it. But they don’t have a solid marketing program for selling it.”Up to 11,000 Acres NeededRutherford expects his plant to need 7,500 to 11,000 acres of kenaf within the next two years.”Our Montezuma plant sits on the edge of where kenaf has been grown in Georgia,” he said.Rutherford said farmers could sell kenaf directly to him or establish a cooperative, turn the stalks into a flour and sell the flour to him.”Harvesting it is the tricky part,” he said. “A sugarcane harvester works best. Another good thing about kenaf is you can grow it, store it for several months and then use it.”Not Totally NewKenaf isn’t totally new for Georgia farmers. Four years ago they grew it in Sumter County for use in a new cat litter product and for the paper industry, said David Kissel, a crop scientist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He has worked with kenaf for the past eight years.”The expenses and difficulties that come with a new product were too great, and the cat litter product failed,” Kissel said. “It was a pilot project. And the costs were greater than anticipated on the processing end.”Since the end of that project, no commercial acreage of kenaf has been planted, he said.Biggest ProblemThe biggest problem in growing kenaf is fighting root-knot nematodes. But UGA research has shown that farmers can grow it successfully in soils with high clay content that are free of root-knot nematodes.Kissel doesn’t think harvesting with sugar-cane equipment is the best route for Georgia farmers.”That’s the Texas technology,” he said, “and it would be expensive here because we don’t have that equipment. And it’s expensive equipment. That’s an issue that needs to be addressed. There are other ways to harvest the crop.”UGA has used cotton equipment to harvest kenaf on research plots. “We have all that equipment here in Georgia,” he said. “And dairies have forage choppers, which could also be used.”Still OptimisticHaving worked on the crop for so long, Kissel is still optimistic that it has a place in Georgia fields.”Certainly I’m pleased to hear about this new market,” he said, “because it adds value for Georgia crops. I haven’t given up on it. We’re not talking about a lot of acres in connection with this building materials project, but there’s potential there. And it can lead to other opportunities for the crop.”Kissel says automobile manufacturers are beginning to use the kenaf bast fiber as a replacement for glass fiber in some products.”Glass doesn’t degrade, and kenaf does,” he said. “Automobile companies are interested in using it to manufacture headliners and door panels. And they’re not just using kenaf. They’re using flax and hemp, too.” Georgia farmers may soon grow a new crop to supply the building materials market.Kenaf, a plant related to cotton and okra, is usually grown either as a forage crop for animals or for its fiber. But a middle Georgia businessman wants farmers to grow it for use in building materials.”We’re extruders. We make building materials from wood fibers and plastics,” said Ron Rutherford, president of Integrated Composite Technologies in Montezuma, Ga. “I need cellulose to make a building material that termites won’t eat and that won’t absorb water.”
By Cat HolmesUniversity of GeorgiaUniversity of Georgia scientists have discovered that small amounts of extra nitrogen added to chicken feed produce dramatically leaner chickens. That’s good news for consumers and poultry producers alike.It all started with scientists taking a hard look at high-protein diets.While the Atkins diet has fueled the debate about the safety of high-protein diets in humans, poultry scientists have known for years that when chickens are fed a high-protein diet, they produce less fat.However, feeding chickens a higher-protein diet hasn’t been commercially viable because protein is the most expensive part of chicken feed. Costlier feed would result in costlier chickens at the grocery store.UGA poultry scientist Adam Davis decided to investigate the link between high-protein diets and leaner chickens and discovered a much more economical way to cut back on fat.Fat happensBody fat in chickens is either derived from the diet or produced naturally by the bird. Like other birds, they’re unique among animals in that they produce all of their fat in the liver. However, chickens aren’t unique in where their fat is typically deposited: the abdominal area.The diet-created fat is easy to control, Davis said, because “chickens today are typically fed a very low-fat diet that consists of about 22-percent protein.”But the fat that’s created naturally, “just because,” is harder to control. From both the producer and consumer standpoint, chicken fat is no good.”From the farmers’ standpoint, fat is a waste,” Davis said. “Nobody wants to eat it, so you sure can’t sell it.”Malic enzyme connectionDavis’s first step was to investigate the action of malic enzyme, which is necessary for chickens to synthesize fat. If you reduce malic enzyme, he reasoned, the bird’s ability to produce fat should be reduced. Indeed, his research bore this out.Next, Adams did studies that showed that the reason high-protein diets result in leaner chickens is because they reduce malic enzyme activity.Then, he decided to investigate whether a particular amino acid in protein was responsible for the reduction of malic enzyme. However, all amino acids tested out just fine.”What we discovered is that anything with nitrogen had this effect,” Davis said. “It wasn’t any one amino acid doing it. They all do it.”Why nitrogen disrupts malic enzyme activity is still unknown, Davis said. What is known is that it happens very quickly.”When chickens are fed nitrogen, the fat content of their livers is significantly decreased within 24 hours,” he said.Researchers are now investigating the best way to get that extra nitrogen in chicken feed. The challenge is to find a source that tastes good to chickens and is stable.It looks like a small change in chickens’ diet could literally make a big, fat difference.
By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaAs state agencies struggle to operate under budget cuts andhiring freezes, volunteers can make a big difference in keepingtheir programs effective. At the University of Georgia, MasterGardeners do just that.”We’ve always relied heavily on our Master Gardener volunteers,”said Mel Garber, associate dean for Extension at the UGA Collegeof Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.”Master Gardeners play critical roles in delivering consumerhorticulture information to people across the state,” Garbersaid. “As a state agency, we’re able to make state dollars gofarther by maximizing the use of our volunteer work force.”Marco Fonseca, the Georgia Master Gardener coordinator, said morethan 2,200 people worked for UGA last year for 141,911 hours andnever drew paychecks.Cost of trainingTo become a Master Gardener in Georgia, you have to apply to theprogram, be accepted and complete a three-month training programand a 50-hour volunteering requirement.The classroom and hands-on training costs around $120 (about $6each for 20 twice-a-week sessions) and includes a 600-page MasterGardener manual. The instructors are county agents, UGA Extensionspecialists, Master Gardeners and green industry professionals.Master Gardener volunteers must work at least 50 hours within oneyear of their training. They work with their county Extensionoffice, where the program is administered. The county agentdecides how the Master Gardeners donate their hours.”Many of our Master Gardeners stand in for our county agents whenthe public calls a county office,” said Krissy Slagle, a GeorgiaMaster Gardener program assistant. “It’s important that theyanswer a consumer’s question and answer it correctly. And thetraining program prepares them to do so.”Big in the cityHelping county agents answer phone calls and e-mails isespecially helpful in metro areas, Slagle said.”In Atlanta, some county agents get 150 to 170 horticulture callsper day,” she said. “The heaviest need we’ve had for MasterGardeners is in the northern part of the state, where thepopulation is heavier and agents receive more calls than they canhandle alone. We’re very interested in having the program grow inthe southern part of the state, though.”Master Gardeners work outside of county Extension offices, too.”In Fulton County, the Master Gardeners put in a Gold Medal plantgarden in Centennial Olympic Park,” Slagle said. “Several MasterGardener groups put in ‘Plant-a-Row for the Hungry’ gardens,where the vegetables are donated to the needy. And MasterGardeners are working with Habitat for Humanity, installingplants and teaching the new homeowners how to care for theplants.”In schools, tooFonseca said another new part of the program is the TeacherMaster Gardener Program. Offered in the summer, this condensedprogram trains teachers to develop lesson plans centered aroundhorticulture.”The teachers then go back and coordinate the installation ofschool gardens that are used as teaching tools,” Fonseca said.”We’ve had 150 teachers participate so far.”Surprisingly, you don’t have to have a green thumb to be a MasterGardener in Georgia. You just have to have a giving heart.”Most people assume the Master Gardener program centers aroundgardening,” Slagle said. “Volunteering is the real meat of theprogram. And most of the volunteering centers around gardening.”Yesterday, todayThe program was developed by Extension Service faculty atWashington State University in the early 1970s. Since then it hasspread throughout the United States and Canada.Many county agents are accepting applications now for MasterGardener trainings to begin in January 2005. Contact your countyextension office for details.If you can’t take part in the program, you can still buy theMaster Gardener Handbook. Mail your order to: Georgia MasterGardener Program, 1109 Experiment Street, Cowart Building,Griffin, GA 30223. Include a check for $60, payable to “UGA CES.”(Sharon Omahen is a news editor with the University of GeorgiaCollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
University of GeorgiaGeorgia farmers will be voting by mail March 1-30 in a referendum on whether to continue the Georgia Commodity Commission for Corn and the checkoff that funds corn research, promotion and education in the state.Farmers who grow corn for grain are assessed 1 cent per bushel sold to fund the checkoff. It and the commission must be reconfirmed every three years.Only Georgia farmers who grew corn in 2004 are eligible to vote. These growers planted 335,000 acres of corn last year and harvested an average 130 bushels per acre.