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Canada: Choir Boy “Sings” in Montreal Before It Hits Broadway

A half century ago, a creative actor/director and immigrant (from South Africa via England), Maurice Podbrey, together with his equal half, Elsa Bolam (and Herb Auerbach and Peter Duffield) managed to knit together a theater company, Centaur, which was and is no easy feat. If that wasn’t nerve wracking enough for a person, Bolam then went on to start another successful one, Geordie Productions.

In an unintentional but perfect nod to the past, Eda Holmes, Centaur’s new artistic director, brings us Choir Boy set in a boys’ prep school while Podbrey’s first production, The Prime of Miss Jean Brody, took place in a girl’s school. The play is written by Tarell Alvin McCraney, who comes with a pretty flashy CV: he’s the Chair of Yale’s School of Drama, where he is also the Playwright in Residence at the Repertory Theatre. and he was also Playwright in Residence for Stratford-Upon-Avon’s Royal Shakespeare Company – and happens to be a member of the renowned Steppenwolf Theatre Ensemble. And let’s just throw in here that he wrote the story of Moonlight which won Oscars for best picture and for the writing.

The story is mostly about Pharus (played by Steven Charles), a gay student making his way through a very traditional private school. Charles commands the stage throughout, and we can’t wait to see where his star takes him (to the Broadway production?). His fellow students talk, yell, fight and sing a cappella as they share intimacies and rivalries when the old school values conflict with our modern world in rules, nepotism, faith, sexuality and school board traditions.  Tight direction by Mike Payette keeps you riveted throughout, while Lighting Designer Andrea Lundy’s magic creatively moves you around the set (loved the purple).

Floydd Ricketts, the musical director and arranger, was the right man in the right place to be able to create new arrangements of spirituals, gospel and jazz songs for a cappella harmonies.  Ricketts notes, “Even though this music comes from pain, there is also joy in it”. Dayane Ntibarikure, assistant director and choir movement facilitator, did a brilliant job of  having the actors move “slave slowly” around the scenes, adding foot stomping  to song and subtly evoking a chain gang in the shower scene.

Holmes has tweaked the play runs slightly this year by adding (less expensive) preview shows to get the performance just that more perfect for opening night. You know how much I like a deal, and Centaur offers much for FREE with behind-the-scenes info to enrich your  theater experience: Talk Back after the shows , Sunday Chat Up, Thursday Pre-Show Convo and the Saturday Salon.

How perfect that this golden Centaur season started by lifting our spirits with the power of music blended with this timely story. See Choir Boy in Montreal before you can’t get tickets on Broadway (Dec 2018)!

Location 453 St-Francois-Xavier
corner: Notre-Dame
Tel: 514-288-3161
Dates: til Oct 28
www.centaurtheatre.com
Metro: Place d’Armes

US: Mount Vernon, VA – Father’s Day Weekend with the Father of Our Country

Spend Father’s Day with the Father of Our Country. General Washington greets visitors and poses for photographs on Father’s Day weekend. Listen as Washington discusses his role as husband, stepfather, and Father of Our Country in the program “Father to the First Family.”

Father's Day Mount Vernon_dsc2475-2At George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill, watch costumed distillers demonstrate how whiskey was made using 18th-century processes. Visitors are taken through the historic process of whiskey-making in this reconstructed 18th-century distillery including operating copper stills, stirring mash tubs, and managing the boiler as they demonstrate 18th-century distilling. A 16-foot waterwheel powers the giant gears and millstones of Washington’s remarkable Gristmill that includes the only operating Oliver Evans Automated Milling System in America.

Father’s Day Weekend takes place rain or shine. Visitor parking is always free at Mount Vernon.

Location: George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, Virginia 22121
Date: June 16 – 17, 2018
Times: 9am – 5pm
Tel: 703-780-2000
mountvernon.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitalexandriava.com

US: Daytona Beach, FL – Rolex 24 at Daytona – Grueling 24 Hour Endurance Race

Since 1962, racing legends from around the world have come to Daytona to compete in a grueling 24-hour marathon.  The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona is infamously relentless on both driver and machine as sleep-deprived crews perform mechanical phenomenons. From sunrise to sunset to sunrise again, witness as both man and machine are pushed to the limit in this twice-around-the-clock marathon.

Car MotorsportsThe Rolex 24 at DAYTONA, a 24-hour sports car endurance race executed on the track’s 3.56-mile road course, is a perfect battle between machine, driver and time.

The four-day event begins with qualifying races on January 25, a BMW Endurance race January 26 and the Rolex 24 January 27-28. Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso brings the driver star power to this most challenging race.Motorsports(1)

Schedule of Events:

Thursday, January 25th
9:00 AM
Stadium & UNOH Fanzone opens
9:20 AM – 10:20 AM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #1
10:40 AM – 11:25 AM
Ferrari Challenge practice session #3
11:40 AM – 11:55 AM
IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge practice session #3
12:05 PM – 12:20 PM
IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge ST qualifying
12:25 PM – 12:40 PM
IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge GS / TCR qualifying
1:40 PM – 2:40 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #2
3:00 PM – 3:15 PM
Ferrari Challenge qualifying #1 group 1
3:20 PM – 3:35 PM
Ferrari Challenge qualifying #1 group 2
3:55 PM – 4:10 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD qualifying
4:20 PM – 4:35 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM qualifying
4:45 PM – 5:00 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship P qualifying
5:00 PM – 5:20 PM
IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge practice session #4
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #3

 Friday, January 26th
8:30 AM
Stadium & UNOH Fanzone opens
8:45 AM – 9:00 AM
Ferrari Challenge qualifying #2 group 1
9:05 AM – 9:20 AM
Ferrari Challenge qualifying #2 group 2
9:40 AM – 10:40 AM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #4
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM
Ferrari Challenge race #1
11:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Carnival Rides at the Boardwalk Experience
12:00 PM – 12:45 PM
Grid opens for fan access to pre-race ceremonies on Pit Road
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
BMW Endurance Challenge At DAYTONA

Saturday, January 27th
6:30 AM
Stadium & UNOH Fanzone opens
7:00 AM
DAYTONA 5K Run & Fun Walk
8:00 AM
Rolex 24 Heritage Exhibition Display at the FPL Solar Patio inside UNOH Fanzone
9:00 AM
Stadium open
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
UNOH Fanzone Kids Zone open
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Motorsports Hall of Fame open in Daytona Ticket and Tours building
9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Daytona Rewards stations open in stadium & UNOH Fanzone
9:00 AM – 12:00 AM
Grassroots Motorsports Experience located at the Grassroots Motorsports tent along Lake Lloyd
9:30 AM – 10:45 AM
Ferrari Challenge race #2
10:00 AM – 12:00 AM
Carnival Rides at the Boardwalk Experience
10:30 AM
Rolex 24 Heritage Exhibition laps
11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Photos with the 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona trophy inside Gatorade Victory Lane
12:00 PM – 12:45 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driver autograph session inside UNOH Fanzone
1:05 PM – 2:20 PM
Grid opens for fan access to pre-race ceremonies on Pit Road
1:05 PM – 2:20 PM
Crossover gates open
2:40 PM
START – 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Wine & Cheese Party – Café 24 Activity Zone
6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Taste of the 24 in Stadium Midway Suites
8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Live band on the Main Stage inside UNOH Fanzone
10:30 PM – 12:00 AM
Karaoke on the Main Stage inside UNOH Fanzone

 Sunday, January 28th
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Café 24 Breakfast Garage inside the Café 24 Activity Zone
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Photos with the 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona trophy inside Gatorade Victory Lane
9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
UNOH Fanzone Kids Zone open
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Fanatics merchandise store open in Stadium
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Grassroots Motorsports Experience located at the Grassroots Motorsports tent along Lake Lloyd
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Motorsports Hall of Fame open in Daytona Ticket and Tours building
10:00 AM – 3:30 PM
Carnival Rides at the Boardwalk Experience
2:00 PM
Rolex 24 Heritage Exhibition parade begins in UNOH Fanzone
2:40 PM
FINISH – 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona

Photo Credit: Daytona International Speedway

Location: Daytona International Speedway, 1801 W. International Speedway Blvd. Daytona Beach, FL 32118
Date: Jan 25 – 28, 2018
Time: Various – See Schedule Above
Tel: 386-253-7223
daytonainternationalspeedway.com/Events/2018/Rolex-24-At-DAYTONA/Rolex-24-At-Daytona.aspx
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: daytonabeach.com

US: Mystic, CT – Spiritual Recharging at Winter Solstice Celebration thru Yoga and a Gong Bath

Winter Solstice is a good time to feed your inner light with  clarity that will prepare you for the New Year. It  is an astronomical phenomenon marking the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year.Yoga 19457606

Winter Solstice Celebration allows you to experience both the power of Baptiste Yoga with Elizabeth Johnstone and also the Gongs with sound healing artist Stephanie Marisca of In Divine Harmony. In this workshop learn to release tension through the powerful principles of Baptiste yoga. Allowing the heart to open the healing sounds of gong tones,  sound relaxation will gently restore harmony to your body, mind, and spirit.Yoga Gong 18525058

Bring whatever you need to be comfortable laying on the floor for the Gong Bath. Suggested to bring a change of clothes and a blanket. Cost: $35 In Advance/ $40 Day of

Location: Mystic Yoga Shala, 80 Stonington Road #2B, Mystic, CT 06355
Date: Sat, Dec 16
Time: 4 – 6 pm
Tel: 860-536-0237
mysticyogashala.com

For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: ctvisit.com/mystic
thisismystic.com

US: Cape Neddick, ME – Whoooo’s There?: Owl Prowl

Bring the whole flock out to the Center for Wildlife’s Owl Prowl; a fun, nature adventurous event and learn a bit about these amazing and mysterious birds of the night.Owl Prowl

Meet under the education pavilion to learn about native owl species, their ecology,  adaptations, hunting techniques, their amazing powers of sight and hearing, learn how to call owls and meet local representatives up close.

Following the presentation, take a short walk into the surrounding habitat to call for owls and listen for whooo might call back.

Owl prowlers of all ages are welcome, but patience and a quiet atmosphere are crucial for owl prowling. There is a $7 suggested donation per person for this event, and reservations are required. Take the Owl Prowl, it’s sure to be a hoot! Owl Prowl 2

Location: Center for Wildlife, 385 Mountain Rd., Cape Neddick, ME 03902
Date: Fridays, Feb 24, 2017 (also: Mar, 31, Apr, 28, 2017)
Time: 4 -5:30pm
Tel: 207-361-1400
thecenterforwildlife.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions:yorkme.org portsmouthchamber.org

US: Daytona Beach, FL – The Daytona 500 Returns for its 59th Edition in Spectacular Form

Hold on to you hats racing fans, February is the return of Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. This nine-day motorsports adventure offers devoted race fans with an action-packed schedule of six of the most exciting races, culminating with the Daytona 500 which will showcase 59 years of history in the world’s only motorsports stadium.Daytona Speedweek -cars

Sat, Feb. 18: Lucas Oil 200 and the Clash at Daytona -Prepare for the ultimate doubleheader with action from the ARCA Racing Series & NASCAR presents a driver pool of experienced veterans and young up-and-comers, while NASCAR rolls out a star-studded lineup to open their season.

Sun, Feb. 19: Daytona 500 Qualifying By Kroger -Every second makes a difference in the group qualifying format that determines the front row for the Daytona 500.

Fri, Feb. 24: NextEra Energy Resources 250 – Annually one of the most exciting races at Daytona International Speedway, this race is well-known for its long list of close finishes.

Sat, Feb. 25: PowerShares QQQ 300 – Young drivers look to make a name for themselves, while established veterans seek to gain momentum before Sunday’s showcase event.

On February 26th, The Daytona 500, also known as “The Great American Race,” is NASCAR’s signature event. Fresh off of a sold-out crowd witnessing the closest finish in Daytona 500 history,  it’s sure to be another for the record books. At a place where the timeline unfolds like the pages of history, a proud new chapter is set to be written at the “World Center of Racing.”Speedweek -Daytona

Location: Daytona International Speedway,
1801 W. International Speedway Blvd. Daytona Beach, FL 32118
Dates: Sat Feb 18 – Sun Feb 26, 2017
Times: Various
Tel: 800-PIT-SHOP
daytonainternationalspeedway.com/Events/2017/Speedweeks-At-DAYTONA/Speedweeks-At-DAYTONA.aspx

For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: daytonabeach.com

US: Bridgeville, DE – Pumpkin Launchings Test Pumpkin Physics

Pumpkins have many uses…as jack-o’-lanterns ,  for baking muffins or pies and believe it or not as a projectile at the signature pumpkin-launching event held each year since 1986. The World Championship Punkin Chunkin is where “backyard engineers” test the limits of pumpkin physics,  fueling innovative engineering and science-based ideas all through a three-day festival in Bridgeville, drawing thousands of visitors to the area and is aired on the Discovery Channel every Thanksiving. punkinchunkin

Teams compete in divisions such as air cannon, centrifugal, catapult, human power, trebuchet, theatrical and torsion. The competition is divided into three classes: Adult (18 and older), Youth (11 to 17) and Youth (under age 10).

Each category shoots 1 of their 3 competition shots each day. The firing of machines starts at 8am each day and continues until dusk. There will be a Cookin’ contest,  a Punkin Chunkin Pageant, an Outlaw Punkin Chunkin Chili Cookin Competition and  awards ceremony, also local bands will provide live music on stage throughout the 3 days of the festivities.

Location: The Woodlands, 18598 Rd 591, Bridgeville, DE 19933
Date: Nov 4- 6, 2016
Time: Gates open at 7am until dusk
punkinchunkin.com

US: Columbia, MD – Stop for a Broadway Show in Columbia

Wow. Instead of a night with the boob tube while you travel, why not get energized by a  live musical production. Located in the heart of Columbia, Toby’s Dinner Theatre offers award-winning Broadway and original musicals with a tasty buffet-style dinner.

The featured production is Sister Act: A woman hiding in a convent helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she rediscovers her own. Sister Act is the feel-amazing musical comedy based on the smash hit 1992 film that has audiences jumping to their feet. Featuring original music by TONY and 8-time Oscar winner Alan Menken (Newsies, Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors), this uplifting musical was nominated for 5 TONY Awards including Best Musical. A sparkling tribute to the universal power of friendship, Sister Act is a reason to REJOICE! sister-act-tobys-dinner-theatre

The quality of the performance would make New York proud.  The dinner buffet offers: turkey, ham, baked fish, chicken, roast beef, onion/pepper mashies, spinach phunque, fresh salad bar and “Make-your-own” ice cream Sundae bar for dessert. Keep an eye on your servers, for they become the performers.

Location: Toby’s Dinner Theatre,5900 Symphony Woods Rd, Columbia, MD 21044
Dates:  running until Nov 13, 2016 (Tues – Sun)
Hours: Tues – Sat Evening – Doors open 6pm, Buffet Served 6:15-7:30, show starts 8pm, Sunday Evening – Doors open 5pm, Buffet Served 5:15-6:30, show starts 7pm
Wed & Sun Matinee Brunch Doors open 10:30am, Buffet 10:30-11:50,  Matinee 12:30
Tel: 1-800-888-6297
tobysdinnertheatre.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visithowardcounty.com