‘The Kid Who Would Be Pope’

first_imgJack Megan was making his way across Harvard’s campus on a bitter January afternoon in 2013 when his brother Tom called, desperate to read him a letter. Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim had written to say that their musical had just won the Richard Rodgers Award for emerging theatrical talent.Megan, the director of Harvard’s Office for the Arts (OFA), didn’t believe a word. “I thought he was joking,” he said, “so I made him fax me a copy of the letter when I got back to the office.”It still seemed surreal several months later as the composing and writing team waited on a New York City stage surrounded by arts luminaries to receive their award from actress Meryl Streep for their touching and humorous coming-of-age musical, “The Kid Who Would Be Pope.” (The show follows the life of Billy, a Catholic schoolboy who falls for his enchanting new drama teacher, Sister Katherine, and decides to become pope so he can change the Vatican’s rules and marry his new love.)Over the past year, that sense of living in a dream morphed into fast-paced reality as the pair fine-tuned their production for a three-day run that kicks off Tuesday in New York’s Ars Nova off-Broadway theater. With support from the Rodgers Award, which helped them secure the performance space and hire seasoned actors, the Megans will stage a stripped-down version of their show for a room filled with industry executives.The work is presented to producers, said Jack, “with the hope that someone options it.”But getting the musical before an influential audience was never the original goal. The show was conceived in the 1990s, when the director of a nearby arts camp needed a summer theater piece in a hurry and turned to the brothers for help. The Megans, both artists and musicians, crammed to craft a story, compose songs, and write lyrics in three hectic months. Their work paid off, and the show was a smash. It was gaining commercial success and traction with local theaters in 2000 when accusations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church shook the world.“Even though our story was really a universal one about growing up and realizing essential truths about your place in the world, because it was in a Catholic setting, the interest suddenly stopped cold,” said Jack. “Nobody wanted to touch the play.”The work sat on the shelf for almost a decade. Then, at the suggestion of a friend, Tom took a chance and submitted it to the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Of the 450 scripts submitted, 12 were accepted for production through the festival’s Next Link program in 2011. “Pope” was one of them.“We suddenly had this new forum in New York with the show,” said Tom. The show again proved popular with audiences. Based on its sold-out run, the brothers applied for the Rodgers Award.On the phone from New York after a long day of rehearsals, the two were at ease as only siblings comfortable with close collaboration, inside jokes, family history, and a shared passion can be. Growing up in a household with six musical kids, the Megan boys spent their early days fighting for the right to play the house piano, and composing songs and shows for family and friends. Though Tom chose a life as a professional composer, lyricist, and librettist, and Jack headed into arts management, they’ve continued to work closely on musical projects.Decades later, musical theater is still child’s play for the brothers. The genesis of their current production was autobiographical, a combination of their love for Julie Andrews, the Beatles, and Stevie Wonder, and their experiences growing up Catholic. “It was also based on this notion of what it was like to be a child and to be enamored of an adult who saw the true you — the you you wanted to be and who made life exciting,” said Tom.When composing, the Megans often take turns getting down the lyrics, the music, or the plot alone, then reunite to compare notes, rework, and revise. Their ensuing conversations can be blunt, and at times brutally honest, but never personal. “I’ve always felt with Jack that we’re always trying to find the best solution moment to moment, and there’s never a moment when it’s about the other person’s ego,” said Tom. “It’s really always been about what’s best.”It’s also about having fun. The Megans are quick to joke, tease, or laugh. They agree they share a comic as well as an emotional sensibility that informs their work, born of their close attachment as brothers, friends, and collaborators. “When there’s an emotional moment in the show,” said Tom, “we feel like it’s an earned moment because we both really do feel that way about it.”“Laughter has helped a lot in this process,” added Jack, “because there have been hard times along the way.”Perhaps the hardest time for Jack has been stepping into the spotlight. Anyone who knows the dedicated OFA director knows how he has shunned attention for the past 13 years, eagerly shining the light not on himself, but on Harvard’s wealth of talented students and his committed colleagues. His brother, said Tom Megan, “diminishes his own artistic gifts.” But Jack, a skilled jazz pianist and composer, recently admitted that there comes a time when you have to take a chance.“I love supporting other people’s art at Harvard. I love that. But there’s safety in not putting your own stuff out there. And at some point, you just say, ‘What the hell.’ ”last_img read more

Butland shines as Stoke draw

first_img After both Cameron Jerome and Wes Hoolahan spurned good chances, Butland produced saves out of the top drawer to thwart Nathan Redmond and then Graham Dorrans twice as Stoke held out for a point. The Potters had won just once from the last 10 visits to Carrow Road, but went into the match having recovered from 2-0 down to draw at Tottenham last weekend. Stoke were in front after just nine minutes when Diouf got goalside of marker Alex Tettey to guide a left-wing free-kick from Shaqiri into the far corner with a fine diving header. Norwich – linked with a transfer move for Stoke winger Jonathan Walters – looked for a quick response but lacked ideas in the final third. With temperatures rising, referee Mike Dean allowed the players a brief drinks break at 25 minutes. When play resumed, Norwich, who won at Sunderland last weekend, got themselves level in the 28th minute. Butland pulled off a brilliant reaction save to deny Martin at point-blank range. However, the ball was not cleared and when Redmond knocked it back into the penalty area, the Norwich skipper this time swept a low shot past the keeper and into the bottom corner for his second goal in as many games. Stoke thought they had regained the lead when Ibrahim Afellay robbed Tettey following John Ruddy’s scuffed clearance and played in Diouf to slot home, but the forward was well offside. Press Association England goalkeeper Jack Butland produced a man-of-the-match display to earn Stoke a 1-1 draw at Norwich. The 22-year-old pulled off a string of impressive saves to deny the Canaries during a second-half onslaught. Stoke had taken an early lead through Mame Diouf, heading in a fine free-kick from debutant Xherdan Shaqiri, only for Norwich captain Russell Martin to level following a drinks break in the sweltering Norfolk temperatures. Norwich full-back Robbie Brady, signed from relegated Hull, whipped a 25-yard free-kick over the wall and just wide. The Canaries should have taken the lead at the start of the second half. First, former Stoke forward Jerome stabbed the ball wide after being picked out by Jonny Howson in the penalty area. Brady then floated over another pin-point delivery, which was headed wide from six yards by Hoolahan. Dorrans then charged into the right side of the penalty area, driving in a low shot which Butland pushed behind at full stretch. On 62 minutes, Redmond got behind the Stoke defence but his low shot across goal was tipped away by in-form Stoke keeper Butland. Another drinks break followed with 20 minutes left and Norwich then pressed for a late winner, but Butland saved Stoke again as he pushed away a fierce, low 20-yard effort from Dorrans. From the corner, Jerome’s acrobatic effort at the far post deflected into the chest of the brave Stoke keeper. In stoppage-time, substitute Bradley Johnson fired over from two yards after arriving to a free-kick at the back post, which just about summed up Norwich’s afternoon. TWEET OF THE MATCH “Brilliant 2nd half performance and only an inspired goalkeeping performance stood in the way of 3pts” – Norwich’s Elliott Bennett https://twitter.com/Ebenno88/status/635117781474770945 PLAYER RATINGS Norwich John Ruddy: 6 (out of 10) Steven Whittaker: 6 Russell Martin: 6 Sebastien Bassong: 6 Robbie Brady: 6 Alex Tettey: 5 Graham Dorrans: 7 Jonny Howson: 6 Wes Hoolahan: 5 Nathan Redmond: 7 Cameron Jerome: 5 Subs Bradley Johnson: 5 Gary O’Neil: 5 Stoke Jack Butland: 9 (out of 10) Glen Johnson: 6 Geoff Cameron: 6 Marc Muniesa: 6 Erik Pieters: 6 Marco van Ginkel: 6 Glenn Whelan: 6 Marko Arnautovic: 6 Xherdan Shaqiri: 7 Ibrahim Afellay: 6 Mame Diouf: 7 Subs Stephen Ireland: 6 Joselu: 6 Charlie Adam: 6 STAR PLAYER Jack Butland. England goalkeeper underlined his qualities with a string of fine saves as Norwich pressed in the second half. Could have done with more protection, but remained composed and showed good delivery to help slow things down. MOMENT OF THE MATCH Xherdan Shaqiri. The £12million Swiss international did not take long to showcase his talents, whipping in a superb free-kick for Stoke’s opening goal. Although he tired as the match went on, there is no doubt the former Inter Milan player will prove a fine addition to the Premier League. VIEW FROM THE BENCH Stoke boss Mark Hughes opted to start with Shaqiri, which proved a sound call as the Swiss midfielder set up the opener. The visitors, though, were forced to defend deep for large parts of the second half, and rely on the counter-attack. Canaries manager Alex Neil had kept faith with the XI which won at Sunderland, but would not have been impressed with poor marking for the Stoke goal or the chances wasted. The Scot later failed to make any telling substitutions and needs some attacking reinforcements. MOAN OF THE MATCH Cameron Jerome. The one-time Stoke striker had a great chance to put Norwich ahead at the start of the second half, but could only stab the ball wide with only the keeper to beat. So influential in helping the Canaries win promotion, but the jury remains out on his Premier League credentials. WHO’S UP NEXT? Rotherham v Norwich (Capital One Cup, Tuesday August 25) Luton v Stoke (Capital One Cup, Tuesday August 25) last_img read more

Israel Adesanya called out by kickboxer Alex Pereira who had knocked him out in 2017

first_img Written By Israel Adesanya is one of those fighters who has seen a meteoric rise in UFC ever since his debut. The undefeated fighter took out everyone in his way before getting his hands on the middleweight title at the main event of UFC 243. There is no doubt that Israel Adesanya looks invincible at the moment and it’s hard to imagine him losing. That said, the Styleblender has also been knocked out in his life. The man who did that claims that he can repeat the same in UFC. So, who knocked out Israel Adesanya?Also Read | UFC: Jon Jones Wants To ‘slap’ Middleweight Champion Israel AdesanyaUFC: Alex Pereira threatens to knock out Israel Adesanya once againAlex Pereira,  the middleweight and interim lightweight champion of GLORY, is not a ‘huge name’ in the sport of MMA. However, the 32-year-old is well known as the only man to hand Israel Adesanya a knockout defeat. The duo locked horns against each other in a kickboxing contest in 2017. In the fight, Israel Adesanya faced one of the biggest upsets of his career. The initial two rounds of the fight were a bit slow as both fighters landed clean shots over each other. However, in round number three, Alex Pereira stunned the world by knocking out Israel Adesanya with back-to-back right hook and left hook. Take a look at the fight. First Published: 21st December, 2019 13:48 IST FOLLOW US SUBSCRIBE TO US Raj Sarkar Also Read | UFC: Nate Diaz Pays A Fan’s Rent Who Had Bet On Him Winning Vs Jorge MasvidalSince his defeat against Alex Pereira, Israel Adesanya has gone on to achieve the ‘impossible’ in MMA. The African born fighter went against some of the finest of the sport and emerged superior. However, his undefeated streak in UFC might be in danger as Alex Pereira wants to fight him once again inside the octagon. In an interview with MMA Junkie, Alex Pereira said, “For the sport of MMA, Adesanya is one of the best strikers in the sport, but for kickboxing, he is like many others – a guy that’s good, but over a long time didn’t evolve. He is just one of many.” The Brazilian further took a shot at the middleweight champion of UFC by saying, “The only place in this world that Adesanya is better than me is in speaking English.”center_img COMMENT LIVE TV Last Updated: 21st December, 2019 13:48 IST Israel Adesanya Called Out By Kickboxer Alex Pereira Who Had Knocked Him Out In 2017 Israel Adesanya got knocked down by a kickboxer (Alex Pereira) in 2017 and he might face him once again at UFC. See how Israel Adesanya got knocked out. WATCH US LIVE Also Read | UFC: David Shaw Says That UFC Will Never Have Children FightAlso Read | Conor McGregor’s DNA Tests Prove Allegations Against Him Were Falselast_img read more

Drake University unveils $63 million housing, retail project

first_imgDES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Drake University says it is selling or leasing more than four acres of land on the east edge of its Des Moines campus to a developer for construction of apartments, townhomes, commercial space and a parking garage.Drake President Marty Martin said Monday the proposed development valued at more than $63 million will create a “walkable, vibrant hub of retail and restaurant options” for the private university located northwest of city’s central business district.Cedar Falls-based Merge Urban Development Group will get federal tax incentives for developing in the federally designated Qualified Opportunity Zone, a program for improving low-income areas.The new announcement follows a new Hilton hotel and restaurant already under construction in the area and a planned $8 million new Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement, a center named after former Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin.last_img read more

Vicky Namuyanja: Uganda’s female pool queen

first_imgKampala,Uganda | AGNES E NANTABA | Vicky Namuyanja is a well-known face in Uganda’s sports arena as a champion in the rare game of female pool. She started competitive and professional pool in 1999 and is currently the only two time winner of the Pool Queen title; the highest in ranking for Uganda’s women’s pool league. Her latest was in 2016, a title that she still holds. She has been on the national pool team for the last five years.She was the East Africa Ladies Champion 2015 and African Team champion with Team Uganda in 2014. She is also one of only four ladies in Uganda to ever break and finish a competitive frame without giving the opponent any chance to play.Numyanja says she forayed in ladies pool out of admiration.“I admired the game but was scared to break into something that most people around me never seconded me to take on,” she says.So she trained and played secretly without mother being aware. But the cat was let out of the bag when her trainer convinced her to take part in a tournament. It was a skills test and Namuyanja recalls being intimidated by the prospect of facing off with one the senior female pool players at the time. In the end she did not go beyond the first game but trainer was impressed with the skill she displayed. They fixed the gaps and Namuyanja was soon winning trophies. When she started winning prize money, she felt it was time to come out. With her mother, Sylvia Kaggwa’s support now, she went professional.In 2009, her first attempt was at Spice shortly before crossing to Hot Pool for three years. It was here she eventually emerged Ladies league runner up in 2012. She then joined Skin Samona on a three year contract. She has won many trophies at Skin Samona, including being crowned Pool Queen Champion 2014 and Ladies League champion 2015. At the beginning of 2017, she joined CKI pool team.Namuyanja is not happy that unlike in other countries where the pool game is highly sponsored and professionalized, Uganda’s pool is still struggling. But she is optimistic as more sponsors come on board to boost professionalism. Her mission, however, is to increase the number of professional female pool players. Currently there are just 64 and Namuyanja wants to train female youngsters to make the game more competitive.  So far she has two girls.“From my observation, they will turn out to be some of the best players in the country,” she says of her charges.Any three things we don’t know about you? I have been a dynamic pool player for sometime so not so much is unknown about me. However, I pride in being a mother to two boys all of whom I have had as an active player.What is your idea of perfect happiness?For me, there is no fun time like family time and winning a pool game.What is your greatest fear?While some people consider me to be fierce, I am scared of physical assault or battering. Even for the pool games, sometimes, fear for the opponent overshadows but I strive to overcome it along the way.What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?I don’t like the fact that sometimes I fail to control my emotions which may block the way for greater happiness.What is the trait you most deplore in others?I can’t stand two-faced people.Share on: WhatsApp Pages: 1 2last_img read more

‘Golf is shining and that’s thanks to you’ – Our CEO’s letter to golfers and clubs

first_img27 May 2020 ‘Golf is shining and that’s thanks to you’ – Our CEO’s letter to golfers and clubs There’s been so many positive stories around the game of golf in the past two weeks that it’s hard to know where to begin.With very few exceptions, the safety measures put in place for golf’s return have been embraced by golfers and golf clubs across England.The ‘course closed’ signs have been replaced by news of full tee sheets.We have witnessed a rise in membership rather than a drop off and last week we were delighted to bring you news of financial aid for clubs in the shape of The R&A’s Covid-19 Support Fund.On a personal level, I’d almost forgotten how good it felt to be up with the lark and out on the golf course.Although I was behind most of the golfers in England on this one, it was still a great feeling to be back out at Marlborough Golf Club last week for the first time in months.Hats off to the greenkeepers for their work! The course was in great nick.After being checked in by my lifelong pal and Head Pro Simon, I’m pleased to say that the new procedures in place to allow us all to ‘Play Safe, Stay Safe’ worked like clockwork.Like many, I anticipated teething problems under the new guidelines. Yet the vast majority of golfers and clubs have seamlessly returned to playing and any problems have been quickly ironed out.Clear guidelines have helped, but golfers and clubs alike have “stepped up”, taken responsibility and applied the unwritten rule of common sense to their actions.We have been contacted by many happy golfers extolling the virtues of social rounds as well as zipping round their course in under three hours.There have also been a great number of enquiries about when clubs may return to three and four ball play outside of household groups.I empathise with this request and understand the point, sharing the frustrations of golfers and clubs.Social distancing can still be achieved in fourball golf not to mention the freeing up of precious tee times, allowing clubs to welcome back guests and visitor green fee income.But as we are all aware, the protection of public health must continue to be our key priority.With no specific government rules for golf, the guidelines exist for outdoor recreation as a whole. Any change will be a change for everyone that we would then apply to golf.Please rest assured we will continue to constructively and passionately promote a speedy, safe return to increased playing numbers as quickly as possible.An additional pressure on golf clubs at the moment is a welcome one…creating space for new members.It’s been wonderful to hear news of lapsed members returning to the game or newcomers embracing the fact that golf is one of the healthiest and safest sports around.On average, each club we have spoken to has recruited a minimum of 15 new members over the first two weeks of golf’s return.It’s great news that many core values of golf club membership – camaraderie, freedom to play and a sense of belonging – once again have new meaning!Looking to maximise this new membership momentum, we will soon be reaching out to all clubs with our national membership growth campaign which will be adaptable to suit clubs of all sizes.We will also be communicating criteria for clubs to apply for our Covid-19 Support Fund, so please keep an eye out for further details over the coming weeks.In among the good and positive feelings, I also want to convey our understanding of the financial strain on golf clubs that have re-opened.You will have heard me speak before of the increased expenditure without many income streams for example bar and restaurant, function fees and retail. In many cases, these are secondary to subscription income, but just as essential to balancing the books.With this in mind, I again ask that we keep the faith. This time, of course, the light we head towards is brighter, but still a little way off.Golf as a sport is shining and, in no small way, that’s thanks to you!And, of course, to all golfers who enjoy “a good walk spoiled” I’d say lap up the sunshine and a continued return to playing the game we love.Jeremy TomlinsonChief Executive Officer, England Golf Tags: Coronaviruslast_img read more