Saturday, April 30, 2016

No WEST SIDE STORY For North Carolina Or Mississippi


Music Theatre International, which handles licensing rights for stock and amateur theater productions of tons of musicals, has announced there will be no productions of West Side Story authorized for performance in North Carolina or Mississippi.

MTI serves as an agent for the rightsholders whose shows we represent. The rightsholders of this show have made their intentions clear and MTI will not issue new licenses for this show within North Carolina or Mississippi until we receive new instructions.

As regular readers of The Randy Report know, both North Carolina and Mississippi have recently passed anti-LGBT legislation in their respective states.

I'm guessing the folks who oversee the rights by the creators of West Side Story (Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein) don't want their work to appear where anti-LGBT animus is apparent.

Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Pippin) has recently made a similar announcement about the rights to his work in North Carolina.

My Bestie, Bruno


I've been away from home for five weeks on business and missing my bestie, Bruno the wonder dog.

But today my friend John (who's dog sitting) shared with me this pic of my guy chilling outside.

#CanYouStandIt? #SoHandsome #DogsRule

Stephen Colbert On Fiorina's Singing: “It’s like Disney gave the wicked stepmother her own song"

I haven't written yet about Ted Cruz's rather gutsy move to announce a running-mate before he actually becomes the Republican presidential nominee.

Mainly because I didn't really know what to make of it. Or what to make of Carly Fiorina's rather creepy singing to Ted's children at the announcement.

Stephen Colbert just about nails it though.

From Towleroad:

“I’m still reeling from the news out of the Ted Cruz campaign. First, that there is still a Ted Cruz campaign….second, that he named a running mate yesterday. That is bold.”

Colbert applauded Cruz’s “huevos rancheros” for choosing a running mate so early in the game, and then proceeded to liken it to the captain of the Titanic announcing a “vice captain” as the ship is going down.

But Colbert saved the most glee to mock Fiorina’s “lullaby” for Cruz’s children: “It’s like Disney gave the wicked stepmother her own song.”

Broadway: Five Burning Questions With Terrance Mann



I've been a fan of Terry's work going all the way back to his rocking turn as the original "Rum Tum Tugger" in CATS on Broadway. I got to know him a bit when I was doing Chicago the Musical with his wife, the luminous Charlotte d'Amboise.

I agree with every answer he gives here - especially his best piece of advice to young actors.

Protect The Children

(via Facebook)

John Kasich: Gay People Are 'Probably' Born Gay

Ohio Gov. John Kasich

CNN recaps this moment from a John Kasich town hall in California when the Republican White House hopeful was asked by 62-year-old Kelly Bryan his position on whether gay people are born gay:

Kelly Bryan, 62, asked Kasich the question at a forum hosted by the Commonwealth of California Club, telling the Ohio governor, “Gay people are human beings and not a lifestyle choice. Please respond without prayer being an answer.”

“In terms of me, I don’t believe in discrimination,” Kasich said. “I think there is a balance, however, between discrimination and people’s religious liberties. But I think we should just try to, like, take a chill pill, relax, and try to get along with one another a little bit better instead of trying to write some law to solve a problem that doesn’t frankly exist in big enough numbers to justify more lawmaking.”

Bryan responded by saying Republicans “don’t believe in marriage equality.”

“Well, no, they don’t tell me what to do about the platform. The Republican Party is my vehicle, not my master,” Kasich replied. “I have a right to define the Republican Party, too.”

Kasich added: “I believe in traditional marriage, (but) I just went to a gay wedding,” Kasich responded. “My wife and I went to the wedding. It was great, it was fine.”



(h/t JMG)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Super-Statistician Nate Silver Predicts Crushing Win By Hillary Clinton


Super-stats guy Nate Silver tweeted out this prediction of the general election (if the voting were held today) predicting a crushing defeat for Donald Trump.

You need 270 electoral votes to win the White House.

Nate Silver predicted 49 of 50 states in the 2008 presidential election.

In 2012, Silver predicted all 50 states in the presidential election.

I'm not nearly the genius Silver is but I'm not so bullish on Georgia and North Carolina.

That being said, Hillary would still win big even without those two states. I do think she will win handily.

We shall see how this all plays out...

Broadway: RENT Opened 20 Years Ago Today At The Nederlander Theater



Because we still love it.

#LaVieBoheme

News Round-Up: April 29, 2016


Some news stories you may have missed:

• Missouri lawmakers vote down anti-LGBT "License to discriminate" bill with 6-6 vote.

• Another day, another lost convention for North Carolina due to anti-LGBT hate law as the American Institute of Architects takes their $1 million in economic impact elsewhere.

• Eighty-six percent of political reporters believe Hillary Clinton will win the presidency.

• Although a million haters have signed a petition boycotting Target over it's trans-inclusive bathroom policy, the super-store is standing strong it's position.

• Bernie Sanders' wife, Jane Sanders, wishes the FBI would speed up it's investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails.

• We all have our inspirations, and for The Randy Report that would be the fab Joe.My.God. which celebrates 12 years of blogging genius for the LGBT community. #MoreWine!

Tweet Of The Day: Chris Hemworth And His Hottie Dad Go Surfing

Alison Janney Surprises White House Press Corp As THE WEST WING's "CJ Cregg"


The beloved West Wing character "C.J. Cregg" returned to the White House press room podium briefly today via the gracious, talented Alison Janney, where she discussed the importance of addressing the growing problem of opiate addiction across the country.

She then took a question - in character - to the delight of the reporters.


Sign This Petition - We #StandWithTarget Against Transphobia


MoveOn.org has launched a #StandWithTarget petition to counter the petition authored earlier this week by the AFA.

From the MoveOn petition: “I pledge to support Target and any other business that stands up for transgender rights and accommodates transgender people in their restroom use.”

I urge you all to hit the link and sign the petition. Show the haters that we outnumber their backwards bigotry.

Billboard Honors Prince With Cover Tribute


Billboard does the Prince tribute thing with several thoughtful essays on the artist's truly grand and unique career.

Well worth the read.

Trailer: Oliver Stone's SNOWDEN


Over 4.6 million views in two days.

Clip description:

Academy Award®-winning director Oliver Stone, who brought Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Wall Street and JFK to the big screen, tackles the most important and fascinating true story of the 21st century.

Snowden, the politically-charged, pulse-pounding thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley, reveals the incredible untold personal story of Edward Snowden, the polarizing figure who exposed shocking illegal surveillance activities by the NSA and became one of the most wanted men in the world.

He is considered a hero by some, and a traitor by others. No matter which you believe, the epic story of why he did it, who he left behind, and how he pulled it off makes for one of the most compelling films of the year.

After the trailer was posted, the real Edward Snowden tweeted the trailer out with this message:



Watch the trailer below:


Cruz Supporter Steve Deace To Trump Supporter: "Stop Lying!!!"


Iowa radio host and Ted Cruz supporter Steve Deace had a meltdown on CNN during a panel discussion about the current state of the Republican primary.

With cries of "Stop lying!" Deace went on a rant accusing Donald Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany of distorting the truth every day on national TV.

Via The Hill:

“Kayleigh, I don’t know you. Seriously, do you have any integrity at all?” Iowa radio host Steve Deace said to Trump backer Kayleigh McEnany as CNN host Brooke Baldwin shook her head. Baldwin interjected to ask Deace to keep it professional as the conservative radio host continued to rip McEnany.

“I am keeping it professional. She’s the one lying,” said Deace, who criticized McEnany for arguing that Cruz had silenced voters in Colorado by winning delegates elected at a convention. “There is no voterless elections. Every delegate is elected. Including Pennsylvania,” Deace continued. “This is the biggest lie and the biggest scam from a guy that lied repeatedly in the entire campaign and whose campaign is built on a lie.” He went on to repeatedly shout at McEnany to “stop lying,” accusing Trump surrogates of misleading the American people.

Watch the fireworks below.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

2016 Drama Desk Award Nominations Announced


The Drama Desk Awards, given annually in a number of categories, are the only major New York City theater honors for which productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway compete against each other in the same category.

This morning Vanessa Williams and Matthew Morrison did the honors in announcing this year's nominees.

Of note:

• The rapturously reviewed Roundabout Theater Company revival of “She Loves Me” received nine nominations, including best musical revival, plus acting awards for cast members including Laura Benanti, Zachary Levi and Jane Krakowski. New musical American Psycho earned eight — although not one for outstanding musical.

• This year's biggest blockbuster - Hamilton - isn't here because it was considered last year during it's off-Broadway incarnation. That will make these awards less of an arbiter for the Tony Awards since they are absent here.

• Also, Shuffle Along earned a total of six Drama Desk nominations. But none for previous Tony Award winners Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, or Billy Porter. Choreographer Savion Glover scored a nod, as did several design elements.

2016 Drama Desk Award Nominations

Outstanding Play


The Christians, Playwrights Horizons

The Humans, Roundabout Theatre Company

John, Signature Theatre

King Charles III

The Royale, Lincoln Center Theater

Outstanding Musical

First Daughter Suite, Public Theater

Daddy Long Legs

School of Rock

Shuffle Along

Waitress

Outstanding Revival of a Play

Cloud Nine, Atlantic Theater Company

Death of a Salesman, New Yiddish Rep

Henry IV, Donmar Warehouse at St. Ann’s Warehouse

Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Roundabout Theatre Company

A View from the Bridge

Women Without Men, Mint Theater Company

Outstanding Revival of a Musical

The Color Purple

The Golden Bride, National Yiddish Theatre Folkesbiene

Fiddler on the Roof

She Loves Me, Roundabout Theatre Company

Spring Awakening

Outstanding Actor in a Play

Andrew Garman, The Christians, Playwrights Horizons

Avi Hoffman, Death of a Salesman

Frank Langella, The Father, Manhattan Theatre Club

Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III

Mark Strong, A View from the Bridge

Outstanding Actress in a Play

Georgia Engel, John, Signature Theatre

Mamie Gummer, Ugly Lies the Bone, Roundabout Undeground

Marin Ireland, Ironbound, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater/Women’s Project Theater

Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Nicola Walker, A View from the Bridge

Outstanding Actor in a Musical

Danny Burstein, Fiddler on the Roof

Robert Creighton, Cagney, York Theatre Company

Michael C. Hall, Lazarus, New York Theatre Workshop

Zachary Levi, She Loves Me

Benjamin Walker, American Psycho

Outstanding Actress in a Musical

Laura Benanti, She Loves Me

Carmen Cusack, Bright Star

Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple

Jessie Mueller, Waitress

Annette O’Toole, Southern Comfort, Public Theater

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play

Bill Camp, The Crucible

David Furr, Noises Off, Roundabout Theatre Company

Matt McGrath, The Legend of Georgia McBride, MCC Theater

Richard Thomas, Incident at Vichy, Signature Theatre

Michael Shannon, Long’s Day Journey Into Night

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play

Brooke Bloom, Cloud Nine

Megan Hilty, Noises Off

Kellie Overbey, Women Without Men

Saycon Sengbloh, Eclipsed, Public Theater

Jeanine Serralles, Gloria, Vineyard Theatre

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical

Nicholas Barasch, She Loves Me

Christopher Fitzgerald, Waitress

Baylee Littrell, Disaster!

Paul Alexander Nolan, Bright Star

A.J. Shively, Bright Star

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical

Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple

Alison Fraser, First Daughter Suite

Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen, Second Stage

Jane Krakowski, She Loves Me

Mary Testa, First Daughter Suite

Outstanding Director of a Play

Rachel Chavkin, The Royale

Sam Gold, John

Rupert Goold, King Charles III

Joe Mantello, The Humans

Jenn Thompson, Women Without Men

Ivo van Hove, A View from the Bridge

Outstanding Director of a Musical

Michael Arden, Spring Awakening

John Doyle, The Color Purple

Rupert Goold, American Psycho

Bartlett Sher, Fiddler on the Roof

Bryna Wasserman, Motl Didner, The Golden Bride

Outstanding Choreography

Joshua Bergasse, Cagney

Spencer Liff, Spring Awakening

Lynne Page, American Psycho

Randy Skinner, Dames at Sea

Savion Glover, Shuffle Along

Outstanding Music

Sara Bareilles, Waitress

Michael John LaChiusa, First Daughter Suite

Andrew Lloyd Webber, School of Rock

The Lobbyists, SeaWife, Naked Angels

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Bright Star

Outstanding Lyrics

Sara Bareilles, Waitress

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Dear Evan Hansen

Glenn Slater, School of Rock

Michael John LaChiusa, First Daughter Suite

Outstanding Orchestrations

August Eriksmoen, Bright Star

Larry Hochman, She Loves Me, Roundabout Theatre Company

Joseph Joubert/Catherine Jayes, The Color Purple

Andrew Lloyd Webber, School of Rock

Michael Starobin/Bruce Coughlin, First Daughter Suite

Outstanding Music in a Play

Billie Joe Armstrong, These Paper Bullets!, Atlantic Theatre Company

Estelle Bajou, Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally, One Year Lease Theater Company

Shaun Davey, Pericles, Theatre for a New Audience

Philip Glass, The Crucible

Tom Kitt, Cymbeline, New York Shakespeare Festival

Outstanding Set Design for a Play

Riccardo Hernandez, Red Speedo, New York Theatre Workshop

Mimi Lien, John

W. Mercier, Head of Passes, Public Theater

Christopher Oram, Hughie

Derek McLane, Fully Committed

Outstanding Set Design for a Musical

Es Devlin, American Psycho

Emily Orling, Matt Saunders, Eric Farber, Futurity, Soho Rep/Ars Nova

David Rockwell, She Loves Me

Outstanding Costume Design for a Play

Jessica Ford, These Paper Bullets!

Martha Hally, Women Without Men

Constance Hoffman, Pericles

William Ivey Long, Shows for Days, Lincoln Center Theater

Anita Yavich, The Legend of Georgia McBride

Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical

Jane Greenwood, Bright Star

Katrina Lindsay, American Psycho

Jeff Mahshie, She Loves Me

Alejo Vietti, Allegiance

Ann Roth, Shuffle Along

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play

Neil Austin, Hughie

Mark Barton, John

Bradley King, Empanada Loca, Labyrinth Theater Company

Tyler Micoleau, Antlia Pneumatica, Playwrights Horizons

Justin Townsend, The Humans

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical

Jane Cox, The Color Purple

Jake DeGroot, SeaWife

Ben Stanton, Spring Awakening

Justin Townsend, American Psycho

Jules Fisher/Peggy Eisenhauer, Shuffle Along

Outstanding Projection Design

Nicholas Hussong, These Paper Bullets!

Darrel Maloney, Tappin’ Thru Life

Peter Nigrini, Dear Evan Hansen

Finn Ross, American Psycho

Tal Yarden, Lazarus

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play

Fitz Patton, An Act of God

Fitz Patton, The Humans

Miles Polaski, Fulfillment, The Flea Theatre

Bray Poor, John

Ryan Rumery, Empanada Loca

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical

Mick Potter, School of Rock

Brian Ronan, Lazarus

Nevin Steinberg, Bright Star

Dan Moses Schreier, American Psycho

Scott Lehrer, Shuffle Along

Outstanding Wig and Hair

David Brian Brown, She Loves Me

Jason Hayes, The Legend of Georgia McBride

Robert-Charles Vallance, Women Without Men

Charles G. LaPointe, The School for Scandal, Red Bull Theater

Mia M. Neal, Shuffle Along

Outstanding Solo Performance

Simon Callow, Tuesdays at Tesco’s, 59E59

Kathleen Chalfant, Rose, Nora’s Playhouse

James Lecesne, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey

Daphne Rubin-Vega, Empanada Loca

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Fully Committed

Unique Theatrical Experience

ADA/AVA, Manual Cinema/3LD/The Tank/

Antigona – Soledad Barrio/Noche Flamenca

That Physics Show

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show

YOUARENOWHERE – 3LD/The Tank

Special Awards

The Humans – Special Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble
Cassie Beck, Reed Birney, Jayne Houdyshell, Lauren Klein, Arian Moayed, and Sarah Steele spend a very special Thanksgiving Day together in Stephen Karam’s play, reminding us that home is indeed where The Humans are.

The Royale – Special Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble
The heavyweight cast of McKinley Belcher III, Khris Davis, Montego Glover, John Lavelle, and Clarke Peters gels as a unit in bringing Marco Ramirez’s story, inspired by Jack Johnson, to unforgettable life, offering a trenchant statement on racism in America.

Sheldon Harnick – Special Drama Desk Award
New productions of Fiddler on the Roof, Rothschild and Sons, and She Loves Me this season remind us that this veteran lyricist’s takes on faith, family and community are as resonant as ever.

Camp Broadway – Special Drama Desk Award
For more than 20 years, this indispensable organization has introduced young people to the magic of theater. Camp Broadway plays a crucial role in creating tomorrow’s audiences.

Danai Gurira – Sam Norkin Award
Whether writing about women in wartime Liberia in Eclipsed or about an affluent immigrant family from Zimbabwe struggling with assimilation in Familiar, Danai Gurira demonstrates great insight, range, and depth, bringing a fresh new voice to American theater.

TMZ: Search Warrant Served On Prince's Home


TMZ is reporting that a search warrant has been issued allowing police to search the home of recently deceased music icon Prince.

The warrant was issued Thursday in Carver County, Minnesota, allowing cops to search the home in Paisley Park Studios, where the singer lived and died. Our sources say authorities want to see if there's evidence of drugs, correspondence, prescriptions and medical information that could help in the death investigation.

The sheriff's office says in the request for a warrant ... they want to keep the information in the warrant confidential because "premature disclosure of the details provided in the search warrant and its accompanying documents may compromise this law enforcement investigation by causing the search or related searches to be unsuccessful."

Translation ... we know authorities are interested in drugs that were prescribed by doctors and filled by pharmacies, and they don't want evidence tampering.

The judge ordered that the sensitive documents be sealed for 6 months or until the commencement of any criminal case.

Liberal Redneck On Haters' Boycott Of TARGET


The "Liberal Redneck" - comedian Trae Crowder - is back with a new message for the folks signing on to boycott Target after the super store issued trans-inclusive bathroom policies for employees and customers.

I love that he calls out the so-called "American Family Association."

To the haters: "Target would love for you to waddle your hateful ass over to Walmart. That's where all the Duck Dynasty shit is anyway."

I previously wrote about the Liberal Redneck here.


John Boehner: Ted Cruz Is "Lucifer In The Flesh"


“Lucifer in the flesh. I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.” - former Speaker of the House John Boehner expressing his opinion of GOP White House hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz

Bernie Sanders Supporter George Takei Calls For Democrats To Unite Behind Hillary Clinton


TV icon and political activist George Takei posted a video to his Facebook page yesterday calling for all Democrats to unite behind Hillary Clinton as the presumptive presidential nominee after her huge primary wins on Tuesday night.

As a Bernie Sanders supporter, Takei points to the obvious delegate math saying Hillary Clinton will most likely be the nominee and we should all take a pledge to #VoteBlueNoMatterWho.

From Raw Story:

“Ultimately, we Democrats know that a bit of a tussle isn’t a bad thing — it makes us stronger. Keeps us sharp,” he said. “And really, it’s like a family squabble, where only family — those very close to us — can truly get under our skin. But remember this, too: it’s precisely because we like and respect each other that the words and criticisms sting as much as they do.”

In the video, he noted that both candidates agree on issues like womens’ reproductive health, LGBT rights advocacy, separation of church and state and supporting the Affordable Care Act. He also recalled Sanders’ statement last November that if Clinton won the general election, she would be “an infinitely better candidate and President than the Republican candidate on his best day.”

“If Bernie believes that, his supporters can, too,” Takei said.

One fan suggested Takei for veep, but he declined saying such duties wouldn't leave him "as much time for cat memes."

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tweet Of The Day: Barbra Streisand

Broadway's HAMILTON Slays SWEENEY TODD At 30th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition


The cast of the Pulitzer Prize-winning smash hit HAMILTON opened this year's annual Easter Bonnet Competition with Lin-Manuel Miranda "Hamilton" take on the Stephen Sondheim classic, SWEENEY TODD.

If you know ST, listen to the clever Miranda lyrics here :)


Tennessee: Governor Signs First State Law Allowing Therapists To Turn Away LGBTs


Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam today signed the first ever state law, hiding under the pretense of "religious freedom," to allow therapists and counselors to refuse to treat clients based on "sincerely held religious principles."

Read that - "turn away the gays."

According to Buzzfeed's Dominic Holden, "House Bill 1840 provides counselors and therapists immunity from liability if they turn away a client whose goals, outcomes, or behaviors conflict with their beliefs. Counselors who decline clients would need to refer them to a provider who will see them."

From AP reports:

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he signed the bill after talking to numerous counselors, including those who were in favor and those opposed.

The American Counseling Association called the legislation an “unprecedented attack” on the counseling profession and said Tennessee was the only state to ever pass such a law.

The bill's sponsor, Senator Jack Johnson, maintains the bill is “not anti-anybody, it’s not anti-anything; it’s just pro-religious liberty.”

Via press release, Art Terrazas, the Director of Government Relations at the American Counseling Association said, “We are extremely disappointed that Governor Haslam has ignored the lessons learned in North Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi and has elected to sign this dangerous bill into law. Plain and simple, this bill codifies discrimination.

"It not only disproportionately affects LGBTQ Tennesseans seeking counseling, but will also have unintended consequences that will reach Tennesseans in all walks of life—whether it’s a veteran suffering from PTSD, a woman suffering from spousal abuse, or a business owner simply trying to attract out of state clients."

Bernie Sanders Announces Huge Campaign Staff Cuts, Shifting Focus To Winning California


Just a day after losing four of five state primaries for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders announced he will be trimming campaign staffers by the hundreds, and shift his focus to winning the June 7th California contest.

Via the New York Times:

Despite the changes, Mr. Sanders said he would remain in the race through the party’s summer convention and stressed that he hoped to bring staff members back on board if his political fortunes improved.

“We want to win as many delegates as we can, so we do not need workers now in states around country,” Mr. Sanders said in the interview. “We don’t need people right now in Connecticut. That election is over. We don’t need them in Maryland. So what we are going to do is allocate our resources to the 14 contests that remain, and that means that we are going to be cutting back on staff.”

When asked how many people would be let go, Mr. Sanders didn’t give an exact number but did say many people would be affected.

“It will be hundreds of staff members,” Mr. Sanders said. “We have had a very large staff, which was designed to deal with 50 states in this country; 40 of the states are now behind us. So we have had a great staff, great people.”

At last count, Sanders trails former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by about 300 pledged delegates.

Super-stats guy Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight website predicts that Clinton currently has an 89% chance of winning California.

Former GOP Speaker Of The House Dennis Hastert Admits To Sex Abuse, Sentenced to 15 Months In Prison


Former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in jail for bank fraud charges after admitting in court that he had sexually abused students during his tenure as a high school wrestling coach years ago.

From Huffington Post:

U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin sentenced Hastert to the jail time, followed by two years of supervised release, and issued him a $250,000 fine. The former speaker must also attend sex offender treatment and will not be allowed to contact his alleged victims, Durkin added.

The statute of limitations for the abuse allegations has lapsed, and the banking charges carry a maximum sentence of five years. The recommended sentence was zero to five months, and Hastert’s defense argued that the 74-year-old should be given probation due in part to his age and his failing health.

While looking into some large, unreported cash withdrawals Hastert had made, federal investigators learned the former speaker had been accused of abusing or having inappropriate sexual contact with at least five students while working as a high school teacher and wrestling coach some 40 years ago.

They determined that Hastert began structuring cash withdrawals to avoid bank reporting rules in 2010, and that he used the money to pay off an alleged victim known in court filings as “Individual A.”

Hastert said in court that he had “mistreated” his students and athletes.

“I’m deeply ashamed to be standing here today,” Hastert told the judge, adding that he is getting professional help.

An alleged victim previously known only as Individual D testified in court on Wednesday, and identified himself as 53-year-old Scott Cross.

“I respected and trusted Coach Hastert,” Cross said. “Coach Hastert sexually abused me in 1979, my senior year in high school.”

Cross described how Hastert offered to massage him after wrestling practice one day under the guise of helping him make weight. He said Hastert asked him to lie down, then removed his shorts and fondled his genitals.

“I always felt what Coach Hastert had done to me was my darkest secret,” said Cross, who was 17 when the alleged abuse took place.

Cross’ brother, Tom Cross, is one of Hastert’s longtime political allies.

As Speaker of the House, Hastert was second in line for the presidency.
Sadly ironic, before Hastert retired from politics, he 'championed' tough consequences for child molesters.

Original Stars Of DREAMGIRLS To Reunite For One Night Only


Squeee!!!!

Celebrating the 35th anniversary of Dreamgirls!

Via BroadwayWorld:

Chris Isaacson Presents in association with Ronn Goswick has announced a Broadway Under the Stars special event, a one-night-only concert starring the original Dreamgirls - Independent Spirit Award-winner Sheryl Lee Ralph, Emmy Award-winner Loretta Devine, and Tony Award and two-time Grammy Award-winner Jennifer Holliday in conversation and song.

This Broadway Under the Stars special event will be at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Boulevard East, in Hollywood, for one performance only on Sunday, July 10 at 8pm. Ticket prices start at $65 and VIP packages are available. A portion of the evening's proceeds will benefit The D.I.V.A. Foundation and The Actors Fund.

I was a music theatre major in college when the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls opened. During it's run, I saw the show 14 times at the Imperial Theater. To this day it remains one of the most impactful productions I've ever experienced.

These three ladies - Ralph, Devine and Holliday - were the perfect balance of raw power, grace and emotion. The original Dreamgirls taught me that theatre could be THAT real and emotionally open.

If you're in Los Angeles on July 10th, do not miss this.Ticket info here.

Funny: Newscasters Don't Know How To Pronounce "Acela"



For the record, it's pronounced "uh-SELL-ah"...

Funny: Seth Meyers Takes "A Closer Look" At Possible Presidential Running Mates


Late Night with Seth Meyers takes a closer look at possible prospective vice presidential candidates for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Best line: “John Kasich picking a running mate is like Vin Diesel practicing his Oscars acceptance speech.”

New Poll: Cinton Leads Trump By 8 Points In Hypothetical Match-Up

HIllary Clinton leads Donald Trump in head-to-head matchups

The latest NBC News/SurveyMonkey tracking poll shows former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would beat reality show businessman Donald Trump in a hypothetical general election contest - Clinton 44 percent to Trump's 36 percent.

The same survey indicates Clinton would best Sen. Ted Cruz by 10 points - 43 percent to 33 percent.

Within their parties, Clinton leads her primary opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders by 10 points — 52 percent to 42 percent; while Trump has reached the 50 percent mark for the first time, as Ted Cruz notches only 26 percent, and Gov. John Kasich bringing in a tepid 17 percent.

Conservatives Question The Current Spate Of Anti-LGBT 'Bathroom Laws'


Using phrases like "crazy false narrative" and "bogus issue," some conservatives are openly suspicious of the true nature of these 'bathroom bills,' even as lawmakers continue to introduce more anti-LGBT hate laws.

The questions come from conservative pundits across the media landscape, even Fox News.


Delegate Counts From Last Night's Primary Results


According to the results above, Hillary Clinton added a net 58 more delegates to her lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders last night.

Donald Trump swept his opponents and added 109 new delegates to his column.

The drama continues...

Pennsylvania: Out Legislator Brian Sims Wins Reelection


LGBT activist state Rep. Brian Sims easily won reelection last night which will send him back to the state General Assembly as the only openly gay legislator in the state.

The woofilicious Sims thanks his supporters immediately via email:

Because of your hard work volunteering and knocking on doors, along with your steadfast generosity, I can announce our campaign was victorious tonight!

This campaign was hard fought, and I am so humbled by your overwhelming support. I am looking forward to continuing the fight in Harrisburg for our shared progressive values and continuing to earn the privilege of serving all of you.

There is so much work to be done to fund our education system, protect women's health care and ensure equality for all Pennsylvanians. I am more motivated than ever to continue the fight.

My most sincere and humble thanks,
Brian

Trailer: Absolutely Fabulous - The Movie


Synopsis:
Appropriate for their big screen debut, Edina and Patsy are still oozing glitz and glamour, living the high life they are accustomed to; shopping, drinking and clubbing their way around London’s trendiest hotspots.

Blamed for a major incident at an uber fashionable launch party, they become entangled in a media storm and are relentlessly pursued by the paparazzi.

Fleeing penniless to the glamorous playground of the super-rich, the French Riviera, they hatch a plan to make their escape permanent and live the high life forevermore!

The trailer reveals the numerous celebrity cameos, including Jon Hamm, Rebel Wilson, Stella McCartney, Joan Collins, Perez Hilton, and many more.

The original TV series was first broadcast in 1992 and continued for five hilarious seasons.

In theaters July 1st.


Ted Koppel Schools Bill O'Reilly On True Journalism


Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly asked his guest, veteran journalist Ted Koppel, how HE would interview GOP White House hopeful Donald Trump.

Koppel did not hold back, explaining that he felt Fox News and their ilk have made the news interview "irrelevant" through their pundity when it comes to the Trumpster.

Via Media Matters:

“You and I have talked about this general subject many times over the years. It’s irrelevant how I would do it. You know who made it irrelevant? You did. You have changed the television landscape over the past 20 years — you took it from being objective and dull to subjective and entertaining. And in this current climate, it doesn’t matter what the interviewer asks him; Mr. Trump is gonna say whatever he wants to say, as outrageous as it may be.”

As he so often does, O’Reilly didn’t actually admit that his guest had hit the nail on the head, so he tried reiterating the same query. Once again, Koppel did not let O’Reilly or Fox News of the hook for their culpability in the rise of Trump:

“The first way you do it is not in the interview — you do it by some reporting. It’s an old-fashioned concept but I think demonstrating who and what Mr. Trump is and what his policies really amount to is something you don’t do in an interview. He doesn’t answer the questions.”

Reporting from Fox News! Ha! Now that truly would be revolutionary.

Finally, Koppel left O’Reilly with this stinging criticism of the candidate they helped spawn:

“When was the last time you have heard Donald Trump spell out a real policy on anything other than, ‘We’re gonna be the best, we’re gonna be the greatest, I’m gonna negotiate the best deals you’ve ever seen.’ There is no substance in any of that, and nobody among his followers seems to care about that.”


My Favorite Thing Today: The Power Of Music


Incredibly touching viral video from Luis Vazquez, who took his young son to watch his favorite band, Coldplay. As the iconic British band played one of the boy’s most-loved songs, "Fix You," he immediately starts to well-up.

The boy becomes so overcome with emotion that he stops dancing and puts his head in his hands.

I get every single second of this short video. And the father's kiss on his son's cheek at the 1:12 second mark blows me over the edge.

First - autism is part of my family. I have a grasp of how it affects not only an individual, but the surrounding family. When authentic joy arrives, it's overwhelming for everyone involved.

Second - Coldplay is my favorite band. Why or how I respond to their music, I don't know, I just do. Some things really are just visceral.

I can watch this over and over again.

The power of music.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Big Wins For Clinton & Trump In NE Primaries








Johnny Manziel Indicted On Assault Charges


While the NFL still can't fathom the 'distraction' of an openly gay football player, yet another straight player is in trouble with the law for domestic violence.

CNN just broke the story that 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny Manziel, has been indicted on an assault charge, according to Dallas County court records.

Manziel's ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, has accused the former NFL quarterback of restraining, hitting and threatening her during an alleged assault on January 30.

Crowley says in a sworn statement that Manziel grabbed her by the hair and hit her, causing her to lose her hearing in one ear.

Cleveland Cops To Tamir Rice Family: Use Settlement Money To Teach Kids How To Avoid Getting Shot


Taking one final swipe at blaming Tamir Rice for his own death (at the hands of Cleveland Police officers for playing with a toy gun in a public park), the head of the Cleveland police union issued a statement saying he hopes Rice's family will use some of the $6 million settlement they receive will be used to teach kids to not play with toy guns around police officers.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Steve Loomis, the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association association, was criticized on a national scale for statements he made to the media in the weeks and months after two officers in his union were involved in Tamir’s death.

The usually talkative Loomis issued a news release that said “we can only hope the Rice family and their attorneys will use a portion of this settlement to help educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms.

“Something positive must come from this tragic loss. That would be educating youth of the dangers of possessing a real or replica firearm,” the release continues.

I call this a real 'dick' move.

As everyone knows by now, Cleveland police officers drove up to a public park in November 2014, where 12 year old Tamir was playing alone in a park with a toy gun. Video clips showed the officers jumped out of their car and shot him dead without pause. Cleveland police maintain the officers' actions were warranted.

Actor Tim Robbins Accuses Hillary & Media Of Voter Fraud


Tim Robbins, actor and Bernie Sanders surrogate, made some noise last night on Twitter where he attempted to make the case that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is stealing the Democratic primary from Sanders based on his observation that actual results don't match exit polls.



Of course, one yuuuge reason exit polls don't match actual results is that Sanders' supporters LOVE to stop and talk to exit pollsters about their candidate any time they are asked.

Sanders supporters believe that if you just pay attention to his message, you too would be voting for him. And the reason he's not winning has to be a massive conspiracy.

Robbins responded to several commenters on Twitter saying "Thank you for following today's talking points. Your check is in the mail," meaning that standing on the side of logic equates being "bought off."

One commenter shared a very important fact from super-stats guy Nate Silver:

Monday, April 25, 2016

Nick Jonas & Demi Lovato Cancel North Carolina Concerts


Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas have added their names to the long list of performers cancelling concerts in North Carolina (Raleigh and Charlotte) due to the recently passed anti-LGBT bill, HB2.

Longtime LGBT rights allies, Jonas and Lovato are undeniably the most influential millennials to stand against the hate law.

Via GLAAD:

After much thought and deliberation, Nick and I have decided to cancel our shows in Raleigh and Charlotte. One of our goals for the Honda Civic Tour: Future Now has always been to create an atmosphere where every single attendee feels equal, included, and accepted for who they are.

North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2 law is extremely disappointing, and it takes away some of the LGBT community's most basic rights and protections. But we will not allow this to stop us from continuing to make progress for equality and acceptance.

We know the cancelation of these shows is disappointing to our fans, but we trust that you will stand united with us against this hateful law.

#RepealHB2

Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, and Boston have all canceled North Carolina shows because of HB 2.

Colorado Supreme Court Upholds Ruling Against Anti-Gay Masterpiece Cakeshop


The haters lose yet again as the Colorado Springs Supreme Court upheld an appellate court ruling that held the Masterpiece Cakeshop violated state public accommodation laws when the bakery refused to sell a same-sex couple a cake for a private wedding ceremony.

From the ACLU:

“The highest court in Colorado today affirmed that no one should be turned away from a public-facing business because of who they are or who they love,” said Ria Tabacco Mar, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT Project, who argued the case. “We all have a right to our personal beliefs, but we do not have a right to impose those beliefs on others and harm them. We hope today’s win will serve as a lesson for others that equality and fairness should be our guiding principles and that discrimination has no place at the table, or the bakery as the case may be.”

In 2012, Colorado residents David Mullins and Charlie Craig, along with Charlie’s mother Deborah Munn, visited Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a wedding cake. Mullins and Craig planned to marry in Massachusetts and then celebrate with family and friends back home. Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips informed the couple that, because of his religious beliefs, it was his standard business practice to refuse to provide cakes to customers for same-sex weddings. Phillips has turned away several other couples for the same reason.

Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act prohibits businesses, such as Masterpiece Cakeshop, from refusing service based on factors including race, sex, national origin, or sexual orientation. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Colorado filed suit on behalf of Mullins and Craig in 2013. In December 2013, an administrative judge ruled that the bakery had illegally discriminated against the couple. In 2014, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission affirmed that ruling. Masterpiece Cakeshop appealed. In a unanimous decision issued on August 15, 2015, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that the bakery unlawfully discriminated against David Mullins and Charlie Craig by refusing to sell them a cake for their wedding reception.

When businesses and other institutions that serve the public have sought exemptions to laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the courts have held that businesses are required to comply with anti-discrimination laws. The courts have ruled without regard to whether LGBT people could have obtained the goods or service elsewhere. Instead the courts have recognized the harm to equal opportunity if lesbian and gay people can be turned away from businesses otherwise open to the public because of who they are.

Hairspray LIVE! Casting News: Harvey Fierstein & Jennifer Hudson To Join Cast


Most excellent casting news for the upcoming live presentation of the Broadway smash-hit Hairspray.

Not only will Academy/Grammy/Golden Globe winner Jennifer Hudson take on the role of "Motormouth Maybelle" (and her show-stopping "I Know Where I've Been"), but Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein will reprise his leading role of "Edna Turnblad."

In my opinion, there's never been a better "Edna."

Via press release:

“We are beyond thrilled with this incredibly talented duo of stars for ‘Hairspray Live!,’” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “Harvey Fierstein created the role of Edna Turnblad on Broadway in an indelible Tony-winning performance that demanded to be memorialized on film, and we’re happy he wanted to step into her shoes one last, unforgettable time. We’re also so grateful that the incomparable Jennifer Hudson will play Motormouth Maybelle and we know her rendition of ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’ will literally stop the show.”

Based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, “Hairspray Live!” takes place in 1962 Baltimore. Teenager Tracy Turnblad’s dream is to dance on “The Corny Collins Show,” a local TV program. When, against all odds, Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight and meets a colorful array of characters, including the resident dreamboat, Link; the ambitious mean girl, Amber; an African-American boy she meets in detention, Seaweed; and his mother, Motormouth Maybelle, the owner of a local record store. Tracy’s mother is the indomitable Edna Turnblad, and she eventually encourages Tracy on her campaign to integrate the all-white “Corny Collins Show.”

Harvey Fierstein, who is also writing the teleplay, will play Edna Turnblad, a role he created and won a Tony Award for in the stage version of “Hairspray.” The quintessential Edna, Fierstein portrayed the character for the show’s first two years of its seven-year run at the Neil Simon Theatre on Broadway.

The production will air live on NBC on December 7th at 8PM ET/PT.

New, "More Presidential" Trump Mocks Kasich On Eating Habits - "It's Disgusting'


Last week, Donald Trump's senior advisors told Republican party leaders that the GOP front-runner would be shifting to a new, more presidential version of Trump in the coming weeks.

This, clearly, is not that week.

Via Business Insider:

During a rally in Rhode Island, the Republican presidential frontrunner said that the Ohio governor should learn from Trump's children, whom Trump has urged to eat modest portions of food.

"Did you see him? He has a news conference all the time when he's eating. I have never seen a human being eat in such a disgusting fashion," Trump said of Kasich.

He continued: "I'd say, 'Children, small, little bites.' This guy takes a pancake and he's shoving it in his mouth. It's disgusting. Do you want this guy for your president?"


Cruz & Kasich Campaigns Join Forces To Stop Trump From Reaching 1,237 Delegates


Via NBC News:

The campaigns of Ted Cruz and John Kasich announced an agreement Sunday night to coordinate their efforts to prevent Donald Trump from winning the GOP's presidential nomination before the Republican National Convention.

"To ensure that we nominate a Republican who can unify the Republican Party and win in November, our campaign will focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico," Cruz's campaign manager Jeff Roe said in a statement late Sunday.

The Kasich campaign sent its own statement minutes later.

"Our goal is to have an open convention in Cleveland, where we are confident a candidate capable of uniting the party and winning in November will emerge as the nominee," Kasich's chief strategist, John Weaver, wrote.

The Trumpster, unsurprisingly, took to Twitter to share his displeasure:

North Carolina: Legislation To Repeal HB2 To Be Filed Today In State House


Four North Carolina House Representatives are set to file legislation this morning with the intention of repealing anti-LGBT hate law HB2 in its entirety.

The North Carolina Democratic Party has sent out a press release, which read in part: “The damage to NC’s reputation and economy has been swift and is growing exponentially. House Bill 2 is bad for all NC citizens and it is bad for all NC businesses.”

The Winston-Salem Journal concurs, and has announced it's support of the repeal:

As the legislature arrives in Raleigh Monday for its short session, we have one important message: Rescind House Bill 2. Rescind it for financial, legal and moral reasons. Throw it away and forget about it. Act like this embarrassment never existed.

Major corporations have withdrawn their investments in North Carolina because of HB2 and threaten to withdraw more. They would prefer to do business in states that welcome and treat everyone with respect. HB2 does the opposite. Hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs are at stake. Rescind it.

HB2 has become the poster child for government overreach, initially promoted as a response to a city bill about bathroom usage, then morphing to impede civil rights, citizens’ access to state courts and cities’ and counties’ ability to regulate their own affairs. Rescind it.

Last Week Tonight Looks At Puerto Rico's Debt Crisis


HBO's Last Week Tonight takes a look at Puerto Rico's burgeoning debt crisis.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, author/star of Broadway's HAMILTON, joins host John Oliver to call for relief for the U.S. territory.

Via TIME:

The U.S. territory is in a massive financial crisis, facing nearly $70 billion in debt, with a poverty rate of nearly 45%. “Puerto Rico is like the last Tower Records: everything’s overpriced, everyone’s being laid off, and there is still a really weird number of Ricky Martin CDs,” said Oliver.

In a somber speech, the governor of Puerto Rico stated that the debt situation was not just an election ploy, saying: “This is not politics, this is math.” That means the situation must really be serious, because, as Oliver noted, “‘This is math’ is one of the most dread-inducing sentences in the English language.”


Sunday, April 24, 2016

News Round-Up: April 24, 2016


• Flight attendant serves up sweet "thank you" to Debra Messing for getting him through "coming out" years.

• People hints that Prince may have died due to complications with HIV?

• On May 1st, the Human Rights Campaign will lead a march on the Mississippi governor's mansion to call for the repeal of the state's so-called "religious freedom" law.

• President Obama says Mississippi's anti-LGBT hate law should be overturned.

• Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker finally signals a position on transgender rights bill with hints that he won't veto the legislation.

• The Republican clerk who wiped thousands off of voter rolls suspended without pay, may be fired this week.

• Add Blue Man Group to the long line of cancellations in North Carolina due to the state's hate law, HB2.

• Where in the world is 'totally-not-gay' former Congressman Aaron Schock?