Odds & Ends: Robert Fairchild Set for A Chorus Line & More

first_img View Comments Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Robert Fairchild Set for A Chorus LineTony nominee and singular sensation Robert Fairchild, along with a host of Broadway faves, will appear in A Chorus Line at the Hollywood Bowl July 29 through July 31. Directed and choreographed by Baayork Lee, Fairchild will take on the role of Mike, with Mara Davi and Jason Tam reprising their roles of Maggie and Paul from the 2006 Main Stem revival, respectively. There’ll also be Spencer Liff as Larry, Sabrina Bryan as Valerie, Ross Lynch as Mark and J. Elaine Marcos as Connie.Julie Andrews Teams Up With Muppet-MakersJulie Andrews is joining forces with Netflix and the Jim Henson Company for Julie’s Greenroom. The icon will star in the new preschool show, which is set to feature an all-new puppet cast of kids learning about the performing arts. Confirmed guest stars include Waitress’ Sara Bareilles, the Broadway-bound Josh Groban, Broadway supernova Idina Menzel, Tony winner David Hyde Pierce, Fairchild (again!) and Stomp. The series will premiere in early 2017.Susan Stroman to Helm Crazy for YouNice work if you can get it! Susan Stroman will direct a 25th anniversary concert performance of the Tony-winning Crazy For You; she received the first of her five Tony Awards for her choreography on the original production. The Gershwin musical comedy is scheduled to take place on February 19, 2017 at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall.New Frank Sinatra Musical in the WorksThey’ll do it their way! The Ambassador Theatre Group, which controls two Broadway theaters, is to produce a new stage musical based on the life of Frank Sinatra, in partnership with Stewart Till and Frank Sinatra Enterprises. The production, which is planned to open in 2018, will feature a number of hit songs from the crooner’s catalogue; script development is set to start shortly.Cursed Child’s Harry Potter Speaks OutAfter those Harry Potter and the Cursed Child pics, now comes a behind-the-scenes video of the shoot, including an interview with the titular star. The play, set 19 years after the end of J.K. Rowling’s original series, will begin performances at the West End’s Palace Theatre on June 7. “It’s just immeasurably exciting and I can’t wait to show it to people,” says Jamie Parker, who plays Harry, below. Muggles the world over quite agree! Robert Fairchild Robert Fairchild(Photo: Bruce Glikas) Star Fileslast_img read more

Throwback Christians

first_img“Those things are not indications of success for us – rather, personal commitment to the Lord and life transformation.” Throwback Christians House churchers view themselves as throwback Christians. They express a nostalgia for pre-Nicean Christianity, before the canons and creeds and clergy. The most oft-cited depiction of first-century Christians comes from the New Testament book of Acts, Chapter 2: “Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Just how quickly house churches are multiplying is a source of debate. A Ventura-based Christian polling organization reported last summer that house-church attendance had grown about tenfold during the past decade, to 20 million, or 9 percent of Americans, up from about 1 percent in 1996. “More believers are going back and looking at the early church, looking at the book of Acts and seeing these people who had such a vibrant faith,” said George Barna, founder of the Barna Group. “There were no positions, there were no salary scales, there were no programs. It was just people meeting in living rooms.” The Center for Missional Research, with the help of Zogby International, followed with its own study that found that most people who attend weekly house gatherings also attend traditional churches. Only 1.4 percent of those surveyed attended house church only. Under the radar Although registered house churches are tracked by various Web sites, countless others operate under the radar. They are structured to spin off new groups as they grow beyond about 20 members. Observers agree the house-church movement is spreading, thanks largely to what they call a post-modern Christianity that has left behind the confines of church walls and traditions. “It is going to be around for a long time and may provide an example for institutional Christianity,” said Todd M. Johnson, director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. “But it’s not going to take over.” Long the norm in Asia, Africa and Soviet-era Russia – where Christians met in homes out of necessity – only recently has house church (also dubbed “home church” and “simple church”) become an American phenomenon. “It is about authenticity,” said Brian McLaren, a post-modern Christian leader and author of “A New Kind of Christian.” “Church services have succeeded at being more characterized by excellence, but one of the consequences of that excellence is artificiality and the feeling that everything is produced and that it is a show.” `Do your own thing’ House church is one of a number of alternatives to traditional church services. It raises questions about the long-term spiritual health of members, said Eddie Gibbs, professor of church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena and co-author of “Emerging Churches.” “This kind of doing your own little thing means you are separated from Christian tradition and wisdom over the centuries,” Gibbs said. “Who is it you are gathering into these groups? Are you gathering malcontents or are you genuinely reaching out to your neighbors and friends who never got involved in the church?” There also is a lack of accountability to outside leadership, critics say. And groups are prone to implosion if leaders burn out or fail. In Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks, the groups spawned by Burton and Adam Finlay gather two Saturdays a month to remain connected and accountable and meet separately each week for church services. With a bachelor’s degree in theology from The King’s College, a small Pentecostal school in Van Nuys, Finlay planned to be a professional minister. Instead, the 27-year-old newlywed said, God guided him to installing home-entertainment systems by day and leading a house church Tuesday nights. After reading through the Gospels, the church at Finlay’s – he intentionally doesn’t call it his church – began studying Acts. Finlay led a recent discussion, but everyone was encouraged to add his or her own religious experience and theological understanding. “Um, if I can just interject something real quick,” Dickran said before drawing a parallel between God’s selection of the Apostle Paul for a specific mission and the divine calling of modern-day Christians to certain tasks. This is one of the benefits of house church. Another Barna study, published last month, reported that house churchers are dramatically more satisfied than traditional churchgoers with their group’s leadership, faith commitment, level of personal connectedness and spiritual nurturing. “I really can’t think of anything that is lacking here that a larger church has because of the intimacy and close fellowship,” said Jeff Savage, 28. “So I really couldn’t say I miss anything about a large church.” [email protected] (818) 713-3634 FYI For more information about house churches, see www.housechurch.org, www.house2house.net or www.ntrf.org.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SIMI VALLEY – The twenty-somethings trickle into the tiny apartment. They laugh loudly and share the previous week’s stories about their spiritual struggles. Two slide into the bedroom to hash out a disagreement while the host busily places snacks on the table. Then the group gathers in the living room to pray. This scene is not unlike a typical Bible study. No altar, no stained-glass windows, no pastor in a purple robe – simply the message of Christ in a small-group format. But this is not Bible study. For these eight refugees of traditional Christianity, this Tuesday night is like Sunday morning. This is their sanctuary. This is where they pray and sing and study and take Communion. This is house church. “You walk into church and people are like, `Hey, how are you? God bless, man.’ Really, inside, you could be completely dead, dying, rotting inside. But you are never going to share that because there is no authenticity about doing life with people in mainstream church,” said Mike Dickran, 25, of Camarillo. “What is so exciting about doing small-group house church is just the chance to be real.” At a time when megachurches are blooming, when the yardstick for success seems to be the fullness of pews and the weight of offering plates, a growing number of Christians are casting aside institution for intimacy and gathering weekly in homes, apartments, parks or wherever the Spirit moves them. “It’s not about where we meet or how big the sound system is or even how many seats we fill,” said Chris Burton, a former college pastor at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village who left seven years ago to begin a Simi Valley house church that has grown into five separate gatherings, including the one Dickran attends. last_img

SA in new deep space collaboration

first_img5 April 2013 As the first results from the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite were being released last week, astronomers at the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) near Johannesburg were working on a new radio telescope that will also shed new light on the earliest moments of the universe. The C-Band All-Sky Survey (C-BASS) is a project to map the sky in microwave (short-wavelength radio) radiation. Like Planck, it will survey the whole sky, mapping out how bright the sky is, and also the orientation of the waves (called polarization). While Planck observes very short wavelengths, C-BASS observes longer wavelengths that are actually easier to observe from the ground. “Because we want to observe at these longer wavelengths, the C-BASS telescope has to be much bigger than the telescope on Planck,” explains South African C-BASS team member Charles Copley. “The C-BASS dish is over seven metres across – much too big to launch on a rocket.” In order to observe the entire sky, C-BASS needs to use two different telescopes, one in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern hemisphere. The northern telescope is already operating in California in the US, while the southern system is now undergoing final commissioning at HartRAO in South Africa. After all the systems have been thoroughly checked out it will be moved to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) site in the Northern Cape, where the full survey will be done.The oldest light in the universe C-BASS is the latest in a long line of efforts to measure the properties of the oldest light in the universe, the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). Tiny variations in the brightness and polarization of the CMB contain information about the conditions present in the early universe, only a few hundred thousand years after the Big Bang. The universe then was nothing like what we see today – there were no planets, stars or galaxies. However, the seeds of all the structures we see today can be seen in the CMB. Understanding these beginnings provides us with an insight into the universe today. The recently released Planck results focus on the CMB brightness, providing more accurate measurements than previous experiments. However, possibly the most exciting data is yet to come, in a year or so when Planck releases their CMB polarization measurements. These measurements may tell us about the physics of the universe when it was a tiny fraction of a second old. However, in order to do this, the Planck mission is faced with a large problem – the Milky Way. Over a large fraction of the sky, any CMB polarization signal is completely obscured by radiation from our very own galaxy, the Milky Way. In order to successfully measure the CMB polarization, it is essential that astronomers understand this foreground radiation.Re-purposing comms technology for science This is where C-BASS will play a key role. Leader of the C-BASS team at Oxford University, Dr Angela Taylor, explains: “C-BASS acts like an extra frequency channel for Planck, hugely extending the range of radio wavelengths we have available. C-BASS will measure the polarization signal from our galaxy with great accuracy, and will hugely improve our ability to remove the galactic signal from Planck data, revealing the true CMB signal.” Both the C-BASS telescopes, north and south, were originally built to communicate with satellites, and have been adapted by the C-BASS team to look into deep space. This re-purposing of communications technology for science is also the idea behind the African VLBI Network (AVN) project, which plans to convert redundant satellite dishes across the continent into a giant radio telescope network. In fact, a twin of the southern C-BASS dish is being re-fitted right now to ship to Mozambique as part of the AVN.South Africa’s growing role C-BASS also highlights the growing collaboration between South Africa and the rest of the world in radio astronomy. South African astronomer Justin Jonas was a member of the group which conceived the project, and two South African students have studied for doctorates at Oxford University in the UK where the radio receivers were designed and built. The southern receiver also uses digital hardware developed by the team working on the SKA precursor MeerKAT radio telescope in Cape Town. C-BASS is a collaborative project between Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory, supported by the SKA project in South Africa, the Universities of Oxford and Manchester in the UK, the California Institute of Technology (supported by the National Science Foundation) in the US, and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. Source: Square Kilometre Array South Africalast_img read more

One new cap for experienced Springboks

first_img5 June 2014 South Africa’s 2013 Sevens Player of the Year, Cornal Hendricks, will make his debut for South Africa in the 15-man code next to ten players who started in the Springboks’ final test of 2013 when they face a star-studded World XV at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday. The speedy Hendricks is the only newcomer in the team as Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer opted for continuity in his team’s first match of the year. The old firm of Bakkies Botha and interim captain Victor Matfield are re-united in the second row. JP Pietersen moves to outside centre. Schalk Burger makes a return to the side for the first time in two-and-a-half years while Frans Steyn, Schalk Brits, Lwazi Mvovo and Johan Goosen are also back after playing no test rugby last year. The five players who started in the 19-10 win over France in Paris last November but are not in the starting team this week, are the injured Jean de Villiers, Jaque Fourie and Eben Etzebeth, as well as Flip van der Merwe and Coenie Oosthuizen, who will both start on the bench.‘Continuity’ “It’s positive to have this kind of continuity in our first start of the year,” said Meyer on Wednesday. “Even though we’ll be starting with a new midfield combination, Frans and JP have both played more than 50 tests for the Boks and with Bryan Habana also in the backline, Cornal will start with a lot of experience around him. “We’re expecting a stern test on Saturday against the World XV and our mindset is to make our nation proud. It should never be anything else when the Springboks play. It will also be a good way to start the season before our first test next week against Wales, but for now we’re only focused on the World XV and playing well.‘Aim’ Looking at the bigger picture, Meyer added: “Our aim for the season is to accelerate and make a step up from 2013. To put ourselves in a position to do that, we simply have to start well.” Of the 23 in action on Saturday, 13 featured in the victory in Paris. One of the new faces is Matfield, who has been named captain with De Villiers out injured during the Castle Lager Incoming Series this month. It will be the 110-time capped lock’s first match in the green and gold since the Rugby World Cup in 2011. Meyer said it was pleasing to see Matfield and Botha re-united, while he was also very excited about the prospects of Hendricks on the wing, Pietersen at outside centre and the return of Burger, Brits and Steyn.‘I wouldn’t have believed it’ “If anyone told me two years ago that Victor and Bakkies would play together again for the Boks, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. They have been great servants of the game in South Africa and now have the opportunity to take it further. “We’re also keen to see what JP can offer at outside centre, where he’s played very well for the Cell C Sharks earlier in his career and for his club in Japan. “Cornal is a player I’ve been following for some time and I thought he made a very good transition from sevens to the 15-man code earlier this year. He’s big and very fast, and hopefully we’ll be able to provide him with some space to attack in. The Springbok Sevens can be very proud of the way in which they aided in his development to a top-class player.‘X-factor’ Meyer also welcomed back two players who he said brought something extra to the Springbok squad: “Frans [Steyn] and Schalk Brits are both special players with the X-factor and it’s wonderful to have them back. Their attitude has been superb and I know they can add a lot in the coming weeks,” he said. “Lwazi has been great for the Cell C Sharks this year and I believe he can make an impact later in the match, while I’ve always rated Johan and it’s good to see him getting back to his best. “This was a tough team selection to make and a couple of players were unlucky to miss out, but I know all of them will keep on pressing hard for selection in the weeks to come. I always like it if players in the team must make it easy for me to leave them in, and players outside the team must make it difficult to leave them out.”SPRINGBOK SQUAD 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Willem Alberts, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Gurthro Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Fourie du Preez, 22 Johan Goosen, 23 Lwazi Mvovo SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Big jump in job program for foreign graduates of US colleges

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Foreign graduate students and postdocs consider leaving the US The study by Pew Research Center in Washington comes as colleges and universities across the country struggle with falling enrollment by foreign students amid the Trump administration’s anti-immigration rhetoric and policies.In 2016, 172,000 foreign nationals who went to college or university in the U.S. got a job through the Optional Practical Training program compared to 45,000 in 2004, according to the report. Participation in the program surged after President George W. Bush and then President Barack Obama extended the length of stay for science, technology, engineering and math majors.Neil Ruiz, a co-author of the report, says the program has been key in attracting foreign students to study in America and keep them here after they graduate. U.S. universities have the largest foreign student population in the world.According to a separate study by the Association of International Educators, foreign students contributed $37 billion in tuition and living expenses to the U.S. economy in the academic year 2016-2017.”It is very important to remember that we are in a global competition for talent,” said Jill Welch, the association’s deputy executive director for public policy. “We do not have to lose these talented and valuable international students to other nations.”But enrollment has been dropping. The Institute of International Education found that the number of new college students coming to the United States from overseas fell by 7 percent since Donald Trump was elected president. The group attributes the decline to his travel restrictions for nationals of some predominantly Muslim countries as well as competition from countries like Canada, Australia and Britain. And the Trump administration is also considering changes to the temporary employment program. Although no details on the changes have been released, Trump generally has championed prioritizing American workers.Rajika Bhandari, head of research at the Institute of International Education, said the program has successfully attracted science and engineering talent to the United States and boosted science research and innovation. If the program is scaled back, she warns, those students might choose other destinations.”The US will significantly lose its edge in science and innovation if international students in the sciences and engineering chose to go to other countries that have very strong and attractive post-study opportunities,” Bhandari said.Brad Farnsworth, vice president at the American Council on Education, a group representing 1,800 college and university presidents, agrees.”It’s good for international students, it’s good for employers, it’s also good for the U.S. institutions that are trying to be more attractive to international students,” he said.But David North, a fellow with the Center for Immigration Studies, argues the program puts Americans at a disadvantage. Workers in the jobs program and their employers don’t have to pay Medicare and Social Security taxes, so the companies would have a financial incentive to hire an OPT student as opposed to a U.S. citizen, he says.”Foreign worker programs in general, including OPT, should not be encouraged because it takes jobs from US workers that they could easily perform,” North says. “They should rethink the program completely, and they should certainly remove the subsidy.” A program that allows foreign students to stay in the United States for temporary employment after graduation has expanded significantly over a dozen years as technical companies stepped up hiring of science and engineering majors, according to a report released Thursday. Citation: Big jump in job program for foreign graduates of US colleges (2018, May 10) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-big-job-foreign-colleges.html © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Explore further read more