18 Jan

Phantom’s Jeremy Hays on How Shakespeare Transformed Him From Shy Stutterer to Broadway Star

first_img Related Shows Star Files Jeremy Landon Hays Age & Hometown: 32; Henrietta, OK View Comments Coast to Coast: After earning his degree in musical theater from Oklahoma City University, Hays and his buddies took a road trip to the Big Apple. “I don’t know why we drove; it was miserable,” he says with a laugh. “What a stupid idea.” But the actor fell in love with the city and became an official resident when he nabbed an ensemble role in Les Miserables, later playing Enjolras on the 25th anniversary tour. He even got to sing “One Day More” on the Oscars with the film’s cast. “There were no egos. We were all there because we loved and believed in the show,” Hays says. “That’s all the way from the little people in the back, like me, to Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway. It was an amazing experience.” Current Role: A passionate star turn as Christine’s faithful beau Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera. Shakespeare to the Rescue: Growing up in an “idyllic, Mayberry small town” 45 minutes south of Tulsa, Hays had to create his own fun. “I played baseball on a makeshift diamond in the middle of a cow pasture,” he remembers. After a shoulder injury put baseball on the back burner, he reluctantly tried out for a high school production of Much Ado About Nothing on the recommendation of his drama teacher. When he got the part of Leonato, he was terrified. “I stutter, and I was scared to death—I actually have to speak onstage? But my teacher pulled me aside and said, ‘We are going to fix this.’” Performing gave Hays a new confidence, and his stutter dramatically improved. “It might sound corny, but Shakespeare completely changed my life,” he says. from $29.00 The Phantom of the Opera All I Ask Of You: Hays describes his whirlwind debut as Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera as an “out-of-body experience.” After two weeks of rehearsal, the actor faced 18 friends and family members on his very first night. “They couldn’t wait and give me a month to figure it out,” he jokes. He has been welcomed into the fold by co-stars Hugh Panaro and Mary Michael Patterson, and he’s impressed by the cast’s ability to stay positive and energized in Broadway’s longest running hit. “Everyone is eager to do the show every night, and it’s so inspiring to see that,” he says. Four months later, Hays admits he sometimes still has to pinch himself. “Having had spouts of unemployment for up to 18 months, I wake up and think, ‘It’s OK, I have a job tonight,’” he says. “It’s truly a dream come true.”last_img read more

20 Nov

Biden names Ron Klain, a decades-long confidant, as his chief of staff.

first_img“His deep, varied experience and capacity to work with people all across the political spectrum is precisely what I need in a White House chief of staff as we confront this moment of crisis and bring our country together again,” Mr. Biden said.- Advertisement – WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. named Ron Klain, a veteran Democratic operative and a decades-long confidant, to be his White House chief of staff on Wednesday, the first step toward putting in place his administration’s senior leadership.Mr. Klain, a lawyer with deep experience on Capitol Hill, advising President Barack Obama and in corporate board rooms, served as Mr. Biden’s chief of staff when he was vice president and has been seen for months as the most likely choice to manage his team in the White House. Known for steady nerves, he also has a fierce wit, which he has frequently unleashed on President Trump on Twitter.- Advertisement – Advisers have said that Mr. Biden will announce other top White House staff members in the coming days, even as Mr. Trump refuses to accept the results of the election, tweeting “WE WILL WIN!” on Wednesday evening. – Advertisement – He was particularly critical of Mr. Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, having served as the “Ebola czar” under Mr. Obama during an outbreak of the deadly disease in 2014. A video of Mr. Klain lecturing Mr. Trump about the pandemic was widely viewed during the campaign.In a statement, Mr. Biden called Mr. Klain an “invaluable” adviser, noting in particular the work they did together during the economic crisis in 2009 and the Ebola outbreak. Mr. Klain has gone in and out of government over the past several decades, at times practicing as a lawyer and later working with Steve Case, the founder of AOL, in a venture capital investment firm called Revolution.Mr. Klain thanked his well-wishers in a tweet on Wednesday night, saying that he was “honored by the President-elect’s confidence” and that he would “give my all to lead a talented and diverse team in a Biden-Harris” White House.The choice of Mr. Klain, 59, who first went to work for Mr. Biden in the late 1980s when Mr. Biden was a senator from Delaware and Mr. Klain was a recent graduate of Harvard Law School, signals that the president-elect intends to rely on a tight circle of Washington insiders who have been by his side for years.- Advertisement – Mr. Biden is not likely to reveal his cabinet picks until around Thanksgiving, several people close to the transition said.last_img read more

12 Jan

AFC seeking to support cocaine usage

first_img…hoping for backing on decriminalisation of small quantities of cocaine The Alliance For Change (AFC) is of the view that if so advised by an advisory council, they would consider decriminalising possession of not only small amounts of marijuana, but also cocaine.At a press conference at the AFC’s headquarters on Friday, AFC Member of Parliament Michael Carrington addressed the issue. Carrington, who is spearheading the bill to decriminalise possession of small amounts of marijuana, was asked about the drug’s notorious counterpart.“When I was looking at the law in terms of Section 5, you have small amounts of cocaine, like two grams, in terms of possession. When I was looking at it, I said watch, we deal with this one first, in terms of the cannabis. We deal with this first, and then we go to the advisory council.”“If we get the advisory council established, then they will do a lot of studies to see how we could deal with the other areas. Because to jail someone in terms of the two grams or one gram of cocaine, for that period of time, I think the best place for that individual is in a rehab centre.”Meanwhile, the AFC is hopeful it will receive unilateral support for its bill seeking to decriminalise possession of marijuana in small quantities. This is notwithstanding recent statements made by coalition partner A Partnership for National Unity.Minister of State Joseph Harmon had struck a note of caution when speaking on the matter. On the other hand, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had made known his support for the non-custodial sentences for persons caught with small amounts of marijuana.However, according to Carrington, there was likely to be support from both sides of the house for the bill.“I’m looking for a conscious vote in Parliament. We’ll have from both sides, AFC will support the bill but we will have votes coming from both sides. I don’t know how much. But whatever takes place in Parliament, I hope good judgement takes place in terms of the individuals. Because some people see a person smoking as a very bad thing… but people drink and do all sorts of things.”“And there will be a percentage of people who will do things that look bad. But we have to find a way in terms of shaping them back into reality. We know smoking is not good. But jailing a person for smoking is also not good. I think we’ll have persons from both sides coming across, in terms of supporting the bill.”Carrington noted that provisions for rehabilitation and education will have to accompany the measure. This, he said, includes the setting up of a fund to aid in rehabilitating former drug addicts.CocaineAccording to Section 4, (1) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, “Any person who has in his possession any narcotic or any substance represented or held out by him to be a narcotic, shall be liable (i) on summary conviction to fine or not less than $30,000, together with imprisonment for not less than three years nor more than five years.”Section 5 (2) goes on to state that “In any prosecution for an offence under this section, where any person (other than those allowed by law) found in possession of more than (b) one gram of cocaine, the burden of proving that he is in possession of the narcotic for a purpose other than the purpose of trafficking shall be on him.”It was only in March 2018 that the United States’ Department of State, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), volume two report had raised concerns about Guyana being a transit point for narcotics.According to the US report, “Guyana is a transit country for South American cocaine destined for Europe, the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. Cocaine is concealed in legitimate commodities and smuggled via commercial maritime vessels, air transport, human couriers, or the postal services.“Traffickers are attracted to Guyana’s remote airstrips, porous land borders, and weak security infrastructure. Largely unregulated currency exchange houses, used to transfer funds to and from the Diaspora, pose a risk to Guyana’s [anti-money laundering] AML regime,” the report states.There are a few countries, like Bolivia, that have taken the bold step of decriminalising cocaine. Other advanced countries, like the United Kingdom, have not dared go this route… although it can be used for medicinal purposes in certain jurisdictions.last_img read more