Assassins composer Stephen Sondheim attended an early performance—how nerve-wracking was that? We didn’t know he was going to be there, but just before I went onstage, someone said to me, “make sure you’re careful with your signage; don’t hit anybody with what you’re carrying.” All of a sudden I thought, “something’s going on,” and I got very nervous. View Comments We’re very happy to have you at the Menier in one of the finest musical theatre ensembles I can remember. Thank you! This is one of the best companies I’ve ever been part of in my life. The nature of how it’s performed is that we feed off one another. I’m an improviser as well as an actor, so to be fed by Aaron Tveit or Catherine Tate is to be getting a four-course meal of the highest quality. Jamie Lloyd’s blistering production of the Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman musical Assassins is hurtling into its final month at the Menier Chocolate Factory, and is about to welcome two new cast members: Michael Xavier and Anna Francolini, who succeed Aaron Tveit and Catherine Tate, respectively (though Tate will return for the final two weeks). What better time to chat with company stalwart Mike McShane, whose devastating performance as the deranged Sam Byck is among the show’s highlights? Broadway.com caught the comedy circuit and film regular one recent afternoon and found the irrepressible performer in typically expansive mood. Both of whom are leaving the production, though Catherine is coming back for the final two weeks. Will you miss Aaron? I can hardly wait till he’s gone, I f*cking hate him [laughs]. No, of course, I’m real sad. He’s a brilliant actor and a decent dude who happens to be incredibly talented and good-looking and that’s why I hate him so much! We’re all going to miss him. In the decades since, that improbability has become a horrifying reality. Yes, and when I talk about dropping a plane on the president, you can feel the temperature in the audience shift; you can almost hear the Americans in the house holding their breath since that notion means something different to us now. Was Harvey a real mensch? Oh, he was, while also displaying this sharp critical mind about queer history and theater history, and I would just sit there and pick his brains. My cat died during the show, and the cat was 22-years-old so when it went, that was a big deal for me. I was a mess, actually, but Harvey just sat me down and talked to me. I’m especially fond of that memory. What was Mr. Sondheim’s review? He was so generous and sweet, and so affirming about where Jamie [Lloyd, director] and we were going with it. It was a good boost in the arm to us. He’s been back to see it three times, so we’re chuffed. I count myself a very lucky American on many levels and one of them is that I got to have Shakespeare, as I call our composer, come watch me in his work. You bring Samuel Byck to vivid life—do you envision him as an American misfit version of Sweeney Todd? Both Byck and Sweeney Todd—or Benjamin Barker—have that horrible unrequited anger that they don’t know what to do with, and the thing with Byck is that nobody wants to hear or listen to him which only intensifies his need to be heard, so he goes on the attack. It’s all there in what Mr. Sondheim and Mr. Weidman have written. Sondheim is the master, he really is. I don’t envy the Menier box office having to deal with Aaron fans who discover he’s leaving February 8. There are some gals in the audience who are only there to see Aaron and he could be standing there shaving a cat and wearing a dunce cap and they would pay money to see that. But there are others, as well. There was one girl who came up to me afterwards and said, “Are all musicals like this?” and I said to her, “No they’re not. Make a note of the name Stephen Sondheim and have a look at this guy’s music.” Have you bought him a farewell gift? I have, in fact. It’s a really cool David Bowie t-shirt that he’s just the right sort of thin dude to wear. I certainly couldn’t; it wouldn’t give off the right vibe [laughs]. Do you think there could be a Sweeney Todd in your future? [Laughs.] Aside from whether I’d ever begin to be able to sing it, I don’t think so. I’m more Beadle Bamford territory now. It would be wonderful to see this production in New York. Do you think that could happen? That would be great but can’t you just see the Fox News headline: “American-hating British company comes to do American-hating musical written by American-hating Jew.” We live in difficult times. What amazes me is how quickly the cast emerges into the theater bar after the show given how bruising the material is. The Brits have this amazing sensibility about show business probably because they’ve been doing it since some dude picked up a lyre and said, “Here’s a song about Beowulf,” so there’s very little of that bullsh*t. Jamie Parker [the Balladeer] may feel like he’s ripped his guts out and then he goes downstairs and sees his wife and kid. You play a guy who attempted to crash a plane into the Nixon White House in 1974. Do you remember the real incident? I remember us joking about it then, strangely enough. I was 19 and in the service, so I was aware of it only in passing, but at that point in our history nobody had got a plane up in the air in order to crash it as a weapon. If he had succeeded, God knows what would have happened to our country then. Any memories that come to mind about your time on Broadway? I did a play with Matthew Broderick called Taller than a Dwarf [in 2000] where we had two opposing directors: Alan Arkin who was there to direct it and our writer, Elaine May, who tried to direct it. I did La Cage when Harvey [Fierstein] came in with Jeffrey Tambor, who left for reasons that remain locked forever in a secret vault. But what was great was that I got to meet Chris Sieber, who took over. That was the first time they’d actually had two gay men in those roles.
Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 3, 2016 Matthew Broderick is currently headlining Sylvia on Broadway and he recently stopped by the ladies of The View to discuss appearing in A.R. Gurney’s play. It’s a show that the Tony winner was ultra familiar with—his wife Sarah Jessica Parker originated the title role of an exceptionally engaging canine off-Broadway in 1995: “I saw the play a million times back then.” Broderick also revealed that the Sylvia this time round, Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford, was taking the role very seriously, leading the panel to conclude that she was a “method dog.” Check out the interview below and then the production at Broadway’s Cort Theatre. Sylvia Related Shows View Comments
Star Files Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 8, 2017 Cynthia Erivo Today’s already been too beautiful words for the resplendent cast of The Color Purple. The John Doyle-helmed revival received a total of four Tony nominations on May 3, including Best Revival and Best Direction of a Musical. Broadway newcomers Cynthia Erivo and Danielle Brooks also received well-deserved nods for their stunning Main Stem debuts. Already a scene-stealer, Erivo’s powerhouse vocals were that much more divine during her Today Show performance on this landmark morning for the London native. Check out our full list of Tony nom recipients, and enjoy the luminous performance below! The Color Purple View Comments Related Shows Cynthia Erivo
Related Shows An Act of God The Second Coming! An Act of God officially returns to Broadway on June 6. This time the show stars Sean Hayes as the Almighty; the comedy was written by God (stay with us) and has been transcribed by David Javerbaum, who also collaborated with the Holy Father on The Last Testament: A Memoir. Joe Mantello directs.To celebrate this most sacred of events at the Booth Theatre, Broadway.com resident artist Justin “Squigs” Robertson” penned this sketch of the Great White Way’s holy trinity. Front and center is the Almighty Himself (as portrayed by Hayes), as well as David Josefsberg and James Gleason as Archangels Michael and Gabriel, respectively.Happy opening to the cast of An Act of God! Sending you all the Praise Hands emoji. © Justin “Squigs” Robertson About the Artist: With a desire to celebrate the magic of live theater and those who create it, and with a deep reverence for such touchstones as the work of Al Hirschfeld and the wall at Sardi’s, Squigs is happy and grateful to be among those carrying on the traditions where theater and caricature meet. He was born and raised in Oregon, lived in Los Angeles for quite a long time and now calls New York City his home. View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 4, 2016
The heat is on. And if your air-conditioner is off, or just not running efficiently,you or your wallet are suffering.Dale Dorman, a housing specialist with the University of Georgia Extension Service,says good maintenance in hot weather can save you both discomfort and money. “Cooling experts recommend having your system inspected and served by a qualifiedcontractor,” Dorman says. “The best person to call is the one who installed itor the manufacturer’s local representative listed in the Yellow Pages.”Dorman suggests these tips to keep your system running its best:* Shade your room air-conditioner from direct sun. This will reduce its workload.* Clean the filters every month and replace them as necessary. This will save energyand reduce dust and pollen in the air.* Don’t leave your room air-conditioner turned to the coolest setting when you go out.Set the controls to a warmer setting to reduce operating costs.* Because dust can foil efficiency, vacuum air vents regularly. And don’t block themwith furniture, carpet or curtains.* Leaky ducts are prime sources of energy waste. Hire a professional to seal andinsulate ducts.* If your home has crawl space under it, open the foundation vents in the spring topromote air flow. Close them in the winter.* Prune shrubs that may block air flow to your air-conditioner.* Think about installing ceiling fans. The air circulation spreads cooling in thesummer and boosts heating efficiency in the winter.When you buy a new air-conditioning system, “you can save a little or a lot,”Dorman says. “Select the most energy-efficient equipment that meets your needs andfits your budget.”The more efficient a product, the less it costs to run. It reduces air pollution, too,and helps conserve natural resources.So what makes one system more efficient than another?”Most of the differences are on the inside in the motors, compressors, pumps,valves, gaskets and seals,” Dorman says. “Or in electronic sensors that maketoday’s products more ‘intelligent.'”Manufacturers use standard U.S. Department of Energy tests to prove their products’efficiency. The EnergyGuide materials from the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau ofConsumer Protection report the test results.Before you buy, use an energy audit to help pinpoint your needs, Dorman says. Auditshelp detect energy waste and gauge your current system’s efficiency. Do-it-yourself kitsare available.Find out about special offers. Ask your local utility or salesperson about cashrebates, low interest loans or other incentives for buying energy-efficient products. Youmay qualify.If you’re buying a home, ask your lender if an Energy-Efficient Mortgage is available.EEMs allow home buyers to qualify for a larger mortgage. Lenders use the lower monthlybills you’d pay in an energy-efficient house to offset a higher mortgage payment.
Drought stress is often compounded by an increase in insect and disease problems. Powdery mildew, ambrosia beetles and spider mites are three common predators of stressed plants. Photo: Gary Wade Mulching is one of the best ways to conserve moisture in the soil. Fine-textured mulches such as pine straw, pine-bark mininuggets or shredded wood mulch hold moisture in the soil better than coarse-textured mulches. Spread mulch not just under the canopy, but as far beyond the canopy as you can, since roots extend two to three times the canopy spread. Pruning Can Help Mulch Conserves Moisture This summer has been rough. Day after day the heat has topped 95 degrees. Little to no rain has fallen for three straight weeks. And the combination has led to serious, and sometimes fatal, plant stress in Georgia landscapes. Marginal leaf scorching is an easy-to-see symptom of drought and heat stress. Heat/Drought Stress Symptoms Symptoms range from wilting and pale yellow color to marginal leaf scorching, leaf cupping and defoliation. Trees and shrubs planted in the past year and those with other stresses (root damage from construction, for instance) are the most seriously affected. Annuals in nonirrigated areas are a struggle to maintain. They fail to provide an effective color display when they wilt day after day. Droughts stress plants when the foliage demands more water than the roots can supply. The stress usually results from roots’ dehydrating and dying in extremely dry soils. Do No Harm Sudden Death In some counties, restrictions on outdoor water use and irrigation bans make matters worse. A Matter of Balance Some of the plants now showing major heat and drought stress include dogwood, Japanese maple, oakleaf hydrangea, fothergilla and azalea. Sudden death may come days, weeks or even months after the imposed stress. The plant appears to survive, even though the root system is dead, by drawing on water and carbohydrates stored in the roots. Then it dies suddenly when the reserves are depleted. Sudden death in spring following a drought the season before is one of the hardest environmental injuries to explain. How do you help plants cope with heat and drought stress? Do everything possible to conserve soil moisture and prevent root injury or death. Summer pruning may be necessary to reduce the leaves’ demand on the roots. If a tree or shrub wilts or begins to show leaf scorching or other stress symptoms, thin the canopy by one-third to one-half, depending on the severity of the stress. With selective thinning cuts, you can reduce the size of the canopy without destroying the plant’s shape. Annuals and herbaceous perennials showing moisture stress can be cut back to within 6 inches of the ground. Most will return with vigor, assuming they get some moisture to sustain what growth is left. Sometimes one part of the root is affected before another and the plant discards a branch here and there to compensate proportionally for the volume of roots lost. The plant walls off the branch from the remaining live limbs. It shuts down production in that branch in an effort to survive. On the other hand, sudden death syndrome, when an entire tree or shrub dies suddenly, is a most disappointing root-death symptom. It’s particularly disheartening if the plant is an irreplaceable, 100-year-old oak. During periods of heat and drought stress, avoid any further stresses on the plants’ roots. Fertilizing a drought-stressed plant is one of the worse things you can do. Chemically, fertilizers are salts. They will pull water from the roots, dehydrating them further. Avoid disturbing the roots by digging, too, or suffocating them by placing soil over them. When the weather breaks, regular rains return and cooler fall temperatures arrive, apply a phosphorus-based fertilizer, such as Superphosphate, at one-half pound per 100 square feet around stressed trees and shrubs. That will help them rebuild their roots during the fall and winter while the top is dormant.
By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaWhen the holiday guests depart, make sure the leftovers from theholiday feast safely do the same.”Four days is the rule-of-thumb when it comes to leftovers,” saidMichael Doyle, a food microbiologist with the University ofGeorgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.”After that, you should eat them, toss them or freeze them.”Doyle, director of the UGA Center for Food Safety in Griffin,Ga., is a world-renowned expert in foodborne pathogens. CFSresearchers work to develop methods to detect and control harmfulmicrobes in the U.S. food supply. Two-hour limitTo keep foodborne illness away from your holiday parties, Doylerecommends refrigerating or freezing holiday meals two hoursafter serving.”It’s great to spend time with family members after a holidaydinner,” he said. “Just take the time to put away food dishesfirst.”Whether you’re making leftover ham or turkey dishes, be sure toreheat leftovers to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, Doyle said. Cooking, storing temperatures key”Temperatures are critical when it comes to keeping food safelystored and cooking food,” he said. “Refrigeration is so critical,and many home refrigerators are way out of the safe zone of 41 F.A refrigerator set at 50 F is what we microbiologists call anincubator. That’s where we grow bacteria for research.”Doyle says home freezers should be set at zero degrees orbelow.”Setting the refrigerator a little higher is no way to savemoney,” he said. “Your family’s health isn’t worth the energysavings.”
Volume XXXINumber 1Page 9 By Kathryn TaylorUniversity of GeorgiaWhat can you do in five minutes with one tree, a piece of plasticand a pair of pliers? For one thing, you can get bigger, sweeterpeaches. Research conducted at the University of Georgia has shown thatgirdling peaches with plastic cable ties effectively increasesthe size and total sugars in the fruits without hurting the tree.The traditional girdling method involves removing a thin strip ofbark from around the trunk or scaffold of a fruit tree. Thiskeeps the sugars made by the leaves in the upper part of the treewhere the fruit is.A better wayThe problem with this method is the formation of wounds thatinsects can infest or diseases infect.Using cable ties to girdle the tree, though, doesn’t cause anyinjury. Besides making this year’s peaches bigger and sweeter,cable-tie girdling advances the maturity and possibly improvesthe quality of fruiting wood for next year’s crop.Refining the best method for this practice is still a work inprogress. UGA researchers are continuing their work to learn asmuch they can about the technique’s effectiveness.For example, the method relies on having enough time afterplacing the cable tie for the tree’s girth to grow enough for thecable tie to constrict the sugar movement down the tree’s axis.It appears that it doesn’t work as well for early-maturingcultivars as later ones.How it worksCable ties are placed on the trunk or scaffold branches 4 to 6inches below or above the crotch. A rolling motion with pliers isused to completely tighten the ties.The first research used two 3/16th-inch plastic cable ties perscaffold or trunk. But subsequent tests have switched to a single1/3- to 1/2-inch cable tie. Black ties appear to hold up betterthan white ties.You have to remove the ties at or just after harvest so the treecan recover.Studies have been done only with applying ties to fully dormanttrees during the winter. Studies are under way to see if applyingties in the fall, before the leaves fall, will make it moreeffective on early varieties.In Georgia, the method works best on irrigated trees andvarieties that ripen in early June or later. It works best, too,on tree trunks that aren’t damaged or otherwise misshapened,which keeps the tie from making tight contact around the wholetree.(Kathy Taylor is a horticulturist with the University ofGeorgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
Volume XXXIINumber 1Page 23 By Gary WadeUniversity of GeorgiaIf you’re looking for a large, fast-growing, evergreen plant to define property lines, screen undesirable views or serve as a windbreak, look no further than Green Giant arborvitae (Thuja (standishii x plicata) ‘Green Giant’). This 2007 Georgia Gold Medal winner is fast becoming one of the most popular plants in the nursery and landscape industries.Its popularity is partly because it’s an excellent alternative to Leyland cypress, which has serious disease problems in the Southeast. It’s being widely used to replace Leyland cypress hedges and screens across the Southeast.Green Giant arborvitae is a fast-growing evergreen tree. Its rich green summer foliage darkens only a little during the winter. Mature trees have persistent, oblong cones a half-inch long that emerge green and turn brown.Hardy throughout Georgia and the Southeast, Green Giant tolerates almost any soil condition and withstands adverse weather such as ice storms and wind. It has shown excellent pest resistance, too. Almost nothing bothers it. Even the deer don’t browse it.Think bigAs the name implies, Green Giant is a large plant, growing 50 to 60 feet tall and 20 to 30 feet wide. It’s better suited for parks and large yards than for small lots with one-story homes. Once it’s established, it can grow more than 3 feet per year in good growing conditions. That’s another reason for its popularity.If your landscape is too small for a mass planting of this large-growing plant, consider planting just one in the front of the home as a living Christmas tree. It develops a nice pyramidal shape naturally and requires little pruning. The soft-textured, dense foliage makes it easy to hang Christmas lights, too.It was introduced by the U.S. National Arboretum in 1967. By the end of the century, it had captured lots of attention with its blemish-free foliage and exclamation-point form.The original plant came from Denmark as a hybrid cross between Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) and Japanese arborvitae (Thuja standishii).Green Giant is a public-domain tree, so anyone can propagate it, which is easily done with cuttings. That’s another reason so many nurseries are beginning to offer it.For best results, plant Green Giant arborvitae in full sun and a wide range of well-drained soils. It doesn’t like wet, poorly drained soils.Space the trees 15 feet apart in the row for best screening and wind resistance. Fertilize them in late winter and midsummer with granular fertilizer such as 16-4-8.(Gary Wade is a Cooperative Extension horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
By Holly ThorntonUniversity of Georgia Whether you’ve got flower problems or diseases eating away at your small grains, we can help. The Homeowner Integrated Pest Management Plant Disease Clinic is the plant specialist. If you’ve got plant problems your University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent can’t diagnose, they send it to us.The Homeowner IPM Plant Disease Clinic is a diagnostic laboratory operated by UGA’s plant pathology department. It’s managed in conjunction with the Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic. Your plants will be taken care of by Holly Thornton – that would be me. I’m your general lab diagnostician. I am also the homeowner integrated pest management specialist and handle all management recommendations regarding diseased homeowner plant samples. In addition to homeowner plant samples, the following types of plant disease samples are processed in the Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic: commercial ornamental, fruit, and turf; forestry, Christmas trees, legume forages, wood rots, mushrooms, urban ornamental landscapes and small grains. In order to submit a plant sample for disease diagnosis, call or visit your local Extension office. For directions to your Extension office, call 1-800-ASK-UGA1, a number that will connect you directly with your county’s office. It’s best to call first so the county Extension agent can inform you of correct sampling procedures for your specific plant problem. This will help you collect the appropriate type of plant material before driving to the Extension office. Many times, county Extension agents can diagnose plant problems in their offices. County Extension agents attend plant pathology trainings regularly. Many of the plant diseases they identify are common problems here in Georgia. In addition, most county offices are equipped with microscopes and supplies needed to diagnose plant disease problems. Oftentimes, a plant sample is packaged and shipped to the diagnostic lab for diagnosis. This is especially true if the plant disease is an unknown or new disease problem, if a county agent is out of town or if the agent is new to the position and unfamiliar with the plant disease problem. Once the diagnostic laboratory receives the sample, we try to provide a diagnosis and recommendation to your Extension agent in a timely manner. Hopefully, this can be done in a week’s time. The agent then contacts you with personalized recommendations. There is a processing fee of $10 for all homeowner samples submitted to the diagnostic clinic. Additional information can be found at our diagnostic clinic homepage at http://plantpath.caes.uga.edu/extension/clinic.html. Volume XXXIIINumber 1Page 27