Laura Michelle Kelly & Jose Llana(Photos: Caitlin McNaney and Emilio Madrid-Kuser) View Comments Let’s all whistle a happy tune for this casting news! Olivier Award winner Laura Michelle Kelly and Jose Llana will star as Anna Leonowens and the King of Siam, respectively, in the upcoming national tour of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s The King and I. The touring production of the Tony Award-winning musical revival will launch on November 1 in Providence, Rhode Island, before continuing to additional cities across the country.“Jose was so superb on Broadway in The King and I that I begged him to join us on the tour and l feel we are incredibly lucky to have him. He brings such joy and virility and strength to the King. And he is one of Broadway’s great talents,” said director Bartlett Sher, in a statement. “Laura Michelle has one of the best voices on Broadway matched with an extraordinary heart. Her work on Finding Neverland and Mary Poppins distinguished both of those shows with her natural grace and joy. She will be an exquisite Anna Leonowens.”Kelly recently starred as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies in the Broadway.com Audience Choice Award-winning musical Finding Neverland. She took home an Olivier Award for the title role in the West End’s Mary Poppins—a performance she later reprised on Broadway. Kelly has also appeared on the Great White Way in Fiddler on the Roof and on the London stage in Speed the Plow, Les Miserables and Peter Pan. Kelly previously starred as Anna Leonowens in a production of The King and I at The Muny in August 2012.Llana returns to the role of the King of Siam after two starring engagements in the Tony-winning Lincoln Center revival of The King and I. His other Broadway credits include Wonderland, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Flower Drum Song, Rent, Streetcorner Symphony and the 1996 production of The King and I, in which he performed the role of Lun Tha. On screen he has been seen in Hitch and Sex and the City.In addition to Kelly and Llana, the cast of The King and I will feature Joan Almedilla as Lady Thiang, Brian Rivera as Kralahome, Manna Nichols as Tuptim, Kavin Panmeechao as Lun Tha, Anthony Chan as Prince Chulalongkorn, Graham Montgomery as Louis Leonowens and Baylen Thomas as Captain Orton/Sir Edward Ramsey.The show’s ensemble will include Heather Botts, LaMae Caparas, Andrew Cheng, Michelle Liu Coughlin, Daniel Edwards, Nicole Ferguson, Marie Gutierrez, Mindy Lai, Darren Lee, Q Lim, Stephanie Lo, Michael Lomeka, Nobutaka Mochimaru, Rommel Pierre O’Choa, Yuki Ozeki, Marcus Shane, Sam Simahk, Michiko Takemasa, Jeoffrey Watson and Kelli Youngman, with Kayla Amistad, Jaden Amistad, Adriana Braganza, Amaya Braganza, Rylie Sickles, Rhyees Stump, Noah Toledo and CJ Uy as the Royal Children.Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical, set in 1860s Bangkok, tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher, whom the imperious King brings to Siam to tutor his many wives and children.Directed by Bartlett Sher, the Lincoln Center revival of The King and I received four 2015 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Costume Design of a Musical.
Remember the young lady who said all she wanted for Christmas was her “two front teeth”?Well, for the moment I have all my teeth, and I don’t need ties, shirts, socks and other useful but predictable gifts. But there are some things for the garden I’d like.Books Top the ListOn my Christmas list are books. Every time I go to the book store, I’m drawn to the gardening-book section. I won’t put any of the northern writers on my list, but not out of any residual feeling from the Civil War.I’ve just had my fill of comments about cool springs, illustrations of lovely, friable soil, and pictures of lilacs and head lettuce. I want books written by Southern garden writers. The ones written by the people on latitude south of Rabun County just may have a better grasp on our climate, pest problems, soil type and growing conditions.Tools That Will LastI want tools that will last. Don’t give me those wimpy little hand tools with painted flowers on them. I want heavy duty ones that endure. Cheap tools are just that, and likely to bend just as I’m opening ground, as daylight wanes, for a bag of caladiums. I want rakes and shovels whose heads will stay on the handles.I don’t want the accessories – Japanese gardening pants, hose carriers in the shape of frogs, or clever garden signs that proclaim my garden the stopping place for the world-weary traveler. Give those to my wife. I want stuff I can use.Gardening Promissory NotesWhen my children were younger, they gave me gardening promissory notes as gifts. Under a gardening chore was the childish scribble, “Daddy, just let me know when you want me to do this.”This is such an unusual gift, so personal, and it always meant so much to me. I probably didn’t collect on some of them (Hmm, I wonder if it is too late?) but they were all the more delightful because they gave me an opportunity to spend more time with my growing gardeners.Put Some Thought Into ItWhatever you want as a gift or want to give as a gift to someone, put some thought into it. Is it useable? Or will it just sit there? A load of compost for a gardener is really not a bad idea.Now that I really think about it, all I want for Christmas is a normal gardening year. I’ve been gardening in Georgia for almost 20 years and am still looking for that “normal season.”But then I might miss the challenge. And that reminds me – given our rain deficit, a drip irrigation system would be nice.
Must-See Sights Blue Ridge Parkway to Waynesboro For craft beer fans, Basic City Beer Co. is sure to please. This kid-friendly microbrewery offers taproom or outside seating for sipping cold brews and enjoying brick oven pizza, shareable small plates, and “fancy-full” hot sandwiches, while the younger set stays occupied with games like corn hole and skeeball. Stable Craft Brewing is another solid option with a beach volleyball court, corn hole golf (yes, you read that right), and horses for the kids to pet. Waynesboro is home to many restaurants with amenities like outdoor seating and kid-friendly menus. Take everyone for BBQ or fried catfish at The Fishin’ Pig where kids eat free on Wednesdays, and there is live music in the outdoor “Pig Pen” every weekend. Benny Stivale’s in downtown serves up 28-inch pizzas that require two plates for a slice! And if your entire party enjoys burgers, try Tailgate Grill for classic beef burgers and shareable portions of crispy french fries. Don’t forget to round out your meal with fresh, custard-style ice cream at Kline’s Dairy Bar or delicious soft serve at Willy’s Ice Cream. Natural Bridge: Stop to gawk at Natural Bridge State Park’s 215-foot limestone arch, discover living history at the Monocan Indian settlement, and hike the seven miles of trails. Kids will also get a kick out of feeding the animals in the drive-through habitats at Virginia Safari Park. Parkway and nearby: Two short but wonderful hikes are Crabtree Falls and White Rock Falls, which travel along or to waterfalls. The Parkway has numerous opportunities to pull over and admire the scenery. Waynesboro is called the Gateway to Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, and at just four miles away from the entrances, it’s an ideal place to rest and replenish after a long day of driving and outdoor fun. Waynesboro has much to offer the road-tripping family, including family-friendly places to eat, a wealth of outdoor experiences, and a downtown filled with shopping, dining, and culture. Where to Stay I-81 to Blue Ridge Parkway There are many great places to pause along this stretch of your journey, but keep an eye out for a few of our favorites… Let the kids get some energy out on a short hike! Visit Shenandoah National Park for the Blackrock Summit hike, which is a 1-mile addition to the Track Trails for Kids program and includes an activity to go along with the hike. Nearby Humpback Rocks can be accessed at Mile Post 5.8 along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The steep mile up to the overlook pays off with heartstopping views of the Shenandoah and Rockfish Valleys. For an easier stroll that gives a look at the geology of the area, try Greenstone Overlook at MP 8.8. Nurture the budding artist in your family with a trip to the Shenandoah Valley Art Center, a working studio and gallery with a gift shop all in one, and the P. Buckley Moss Downtown Gallery. For educational and stimulating activities for both the older generation and kids, check out at the Waynesboro Heritage Museum which features timely, pop-up exhibits throughout the year. Or try the Plumb House Museum, a site along the Civil War Trail, and the Russell Museum which houses the astounding art legacy of Walter and Lao Russell. Download the Traipse app for an adventure that’s part walking tour, part scavenger hunt and discover the thriving mural scene in Waynesboro, which has been nourished in recent years by the annual Virginia Street Art Festival. Outdoor Options Waynesboro boasts a robust park system with walking trails, playgrounds, and a 9-hole, par 31 Frisbee golf course at Coyner Springs Park. Additional golfing options can be found at Waynesboro Golf and Games, which has a par 3 course for both traditional golf and soccer golf, as well as a mini golf course. If fast cars are more your speed, cheer for your favorites during the drag racing at Eastside Speedway on Friday and Saturday evenings. Treat the family to the wholesome experience (and photo opps) of picking pumpkins together at Troyer’s Fruit & Produce Farm. The farm is offering their ten-acre corn maze again this year, plus seventeen acres from which to pick your perfect pumpkin! Another nearby place to catch shots of the family solving a corn maze and enjoying other outdoor activities is Skeeter’s Maze Adventure. Where to Eat Must-See Sights Your whole family will be happy staying at the locally-owned and newly renovated Best Western PLUS. This pet-friendly hotel has an indoor heated saltwater pool and is close to downtown Waynesboro, shopping, and dining. If you’d rather camp, try the North 340 Campground with its sports fields, basketball court, and playgrounds, or Sherando Lake, which has a sandy beach, swimming area, and miles of hiking trails. The South River Greenway stretches 1.2 level miles along the South River and is perfect for a family stroll or bike ride. Take in views of the city, the Blue Ridge Mountains, our river-themed LOVEworks, and the water, which is habitat to many species of fish and birds. Start your adventure by heading north on I-81 through the beautiful Shenandoah Valley to Lexington. Follow Route 11 and then Route 56 west to the Blue Ridge Parkway at Tye River Gap, Milepost 27.2. The magnificent Blue Ridge Parkway stretches 569 miles along the Blue Ridge Mountains. Refer to the interactive map for info about trails, campgrounds, waystops, road closures, and overlooks. Ready to pack the car full of kids, gear, and snacks, and get out of town for the weekend? Load up the playlists and head north along the 1-81 corridor. Explore the sites and towns along the way, making sure to include a leisurely drive along a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Finally, make Waynesboro your home base for a few days of fun before heading home.
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Batesville swimming is off and running for another summer. This program has been a success story for a long time. Nearly 100 kids have fun every summer swimming for the local club. They not only have all these kids on the team, but most of them actually score in most of the meets. Not only do they get the average kid who likes to swim, but they have families whose kids swim at an extremely high level. I am thinking about names like Gryspeerdt, Weiler, Hawkins, Hatcher, and Cox to name a few. Each year the high school program gets better and better and the number of swimmers keeps increasing. I know both programs work hand-in-hand, and the success is phenomenal. Let’s hope that somehow the school gets a pool for these kids to really reach their true potential. Thanks to the local YMCA, they at least can train in town now; and the outdoor pool is scheduled to get some much needed improvements. Drive down Mulberry Street some night and try to count the cars attending one of the outdoor meets. It is quite a sight. Batesville rules the summer swimming season.
Indiana Farm Bureau has announced a new three-year program with Polaris Industries Inc. which is now available for eligible members.“Farm Bureau members in Indiana are accustomed to having exclusive access to superior, high-quality brands, programs and products,” said IFB President Don Villwock. “This generous program from Polaris will help our members save money on high-quality, all-terrain vehicles that can stand up to rugged farm use.”Through the new program, eligible Farm Bureau members receive a $300 per unit discount on all Polaris utility and sport vehicles, $200 per unit on all all-terrain vehicles and $300 per unit on all GEM electric vehicles. Members are eligible for the discounts 30 days after joining Indiana Farm Bureau. Discounts are available for the purchase of specified Polaris off-road vehicles without exclusion in states that participate in the Polaris program.The Polaris program discounts can be accessed through FB Member Advantage!, members website. A certificate will be made available online that must be printed and taken to the dealership of choice for presentation to the sales person. Certificates expire after 60 days.
The following area Basketball players were awarded The Marion Crawley Scholarship from The Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.Congratulations to the following Boys and Girls Basketball players. Sam Sehlhorst – East Central, Staci Fox – South Decatur, Baili Miller – Jac-Cen-Del, and Colton Rector – Lawrenceburg.2017 Marion Crawley AwardsCourtesy of Jac-Cen-Del Girls Basketball Coach Scott Smith.
East Central Volleyball played Madison at home on Saturday. Due to numbers, the freshman only played 2 sets, which they split 1-1. JV won in 2 and varsity won in 3. 25-23, 25-22, 25-18.EC vs. Madison VB (9-2)‘We’ve been in a little bit of a rut lately, still winning but not playing to our potential. We beat a very talented Madison team and that could have only happened by playing solid volleyball. Our defense did a great job at picking up their placement shots and our setters did a great job at feeding our hitters and moving the ball. It was an impressive win on our home court!’ Trojans Coach Cassie Laker.Varsity is now 12-2 on the season and 6-0 in EIAC.Next match is Wednesday at Rushville at 6.East Central JV Volleyball team defeated Madison on Saturday, 9/2 at EC in 2 sets with scores of 25-20 and 25-18. The girls played well as a team to get the victory.Stat leaders for the match: Ace Serves: Grace Egbers 3(11/11) and Alex Disbro 2 (10/12); Kills: Alicia Rosemeyer 6 (15/17), Dani Hall 6 (15/15), Grace Egbers 5(15/17), Faith Fox 2 (11/12); Assists: Allison Huismann 11 (42/43), Ella Fledderman 10 (34/34); Blocks: Alicia Rosemeyer-1 (solo); Digs: Alex Disbro 23/24 Grace Egbers 13/13; Serve Receive: Alex Disbro 11/1, Grace Egbers 9/9, Lauren Foster 9/9.Courtesy of Trojans Coach Debbie Gregg.
At times this season it has almost seemed like Rooney has been carrying his team-mates. While so many others, including Robin van Persie, have found life a struggle, the 28-year-old has been on top form. It made it such a shame for United therefore that he was below peak fitness for those Chelsea and Manchester City games, and in between sitting out the Liverpool encounter completely after having his head sliced open in a freak training ground collision with Phil Jones. Now Rooney is fully fit, although he is adamant United are no one-man band. “I hope I can make a difference this weekend,” he said. “But we have many players who can win us games. “It is not about one person. It is about us all working together to get those three points. “We are starting to adjust to the training and the new ideas from the manager. We are playing a bit better and have been getting good results. “Overall, we are in a good place. I am sure if we can win on Sunday it will make us even stronger and give us that belief that we can go on.” On Sunday, Rooney says the collective effort must involve the Old Trafford faithful. Often derided for a lack of atmosphere, the stadium tends to be at its noisiest for the biggest of matches. For all kinds of reasons, this fixture is among the most important. Rooney just hopes the Red Devils supporters recognise it. “The atmosphere at Old Trafford for big games is great,” he said. “I am sure the fans realise this is a really important match for us and will be at their best. “When they are like that it brings energy into our play. We will need them this weekend.” Press Association Wayne Rooney remains confident Manchester United can retain their Premier League title. Yet Rooney insists that inside the Old Trafford camp, none of these doubts exist. The vibe, he revealed, remains that of champions. “We always believe,” he said. “We believe we can go on and win the league. “We have been in this position before and gone on to win titles so there is no reason why we cannot do it again. We are hitting form at the right time. “If we can continue that and get to Christmas within touching distance, or maybe even at the top, we will be in a great position.” Rooney was speaking at the launch of a three-year partnership between United and their new official timekeeper Bulova. As part of the deal, the United squad will get the chance to design their own personalised watch, which Rooney intends to dedicate to his children – Kai and Klay. Before that though, Rooney and his team-mates have a lot of work ahead of them. United face Arsenal on Sunday, trailing the Gunners by eight points and knowing defeat will put them in a precarious position as they look to keep hold of a crown they won by an impressive 11 points last term. Not only that, it would place a huge question mark over the credentials of David Moyes’ team given they collected a solitary draw from the early season encounters with Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City that their new Scottish manager was so wary of.