Sara Bareilles Star Files View Comments Sara Bareilles(Photo by Caitlin McNaney) Sara Bareilles, who has penned the upcoming Broadway musical Waitress, has a new stage project lined up…The SpongeBob Musical! It’s also been announced that Yolanda Adams and Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros have joined the previously reported roster of artists who will contribute songs to the show. Co-conceived and directed by Tina Landau, with a book by Kyle Jarrow and music supervision by Tom Kitt, the Main Stem-aimed production will make its world premiere on June 7 at Broadway in Chicago’s Oriental Theatre.The end is near. Only one sponge can save the day. But he’s going to need help from some of the greatest songwriters in rock and pop music history. The production will also feature work from artists including including David Bowie and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Jonathan Coulton, Dirty Projectors, The Flaming Lips, John Legend, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants and T.I.The characters will be human and are not set to don puppet type outfits as seen in Times Square. “The DNA is the same but the form is so radically different, we’re not approaching it literally,” Landau told EW. “We’re not trying to take the cartoon and put it onstage. We’re trying to create a live theatrical event.”Ethan Slater, Lilli Cooper, Gavin Lee, Nick Blaemire, Danny Skinner and more will appear in the Chicago incarnation of the show, which will run through July 3.
13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr In case you haven’t tuned in to a presidential debate in the last six months, here’s a news flash: People are increasingly alarmed about the rising cost of higher education in America. But hundreds of thousands of parents are doing something about it. In fact, 400,000 Americans opened new college savings accounts in the last year.That’s one of the findings in a new report from the College Savings Plans Network. In December 2015, the total number of 529 college savings plans in America reached 12.5 million, up from 12.1 million the year before.The total amount invested in these plans rose as well, hitting $253 billion in 2015. That’s up $5.3 billion from the year earlier, and it represents an increase of more than $100 billion compared to a decade ago. continue reading »
McCOOL JUNCTION, Neb. – Junction Motor Speedway sports four IMCA divisions on Saturday race programs beginning this season.Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modifieds, Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods, IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks and Mach-1 Sport Compacts will run weekly at McCool Junction, formerly NASCAR sanctioned. “There are a lot of local IMCA cars that we’ll be able to share with other tracks,” explained promoter Delmar Friesen, citing sanctioned tracks in the area that run on Thursday, Friday and Sunday nights. “We didn’t have anyone around to share with when we were NASCAR. Probably 90 percent of the cars around here are IMCA.” A test and tune session is now scheduled for April 2. The tentative IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing point season at Junction Motor Speedway runs from April 30 through Sept. 3. All four IMCA divisions take the place of classes that ran in 2015 at McCool Junction and will be on the card for a mid-August special.“Most of the responses we’ve gotten (regarding the change in sanction) have been positive,” Friesen said. “The drivers are looking forward to having another track where they can race for IMCA points.” Weekly Modified points earned at Junction Motor Speedway figure in IMCA’s Jet Racing Central Region. Hobby Stock points count in the Big Daddy Race Cars Northern Region. A foot of dirt was added all the way around the 3/8-mile oval two years ago; Junction Motor Speedway opened in 2004.
Follow Lauren on Twitter @LJonesSports Student-athletes are well-known and well-respected for their performance on the field, and occasionally commended for their academic achievement. But many have talents that even the most diehard of fans would not know about.Sparkplug · Freshman safety Leon McQuay III hasn’t played many snaps on defense this year, but he’s been a special teams standout. McQuay is on the team’s kickoff squad and forced a fumble against Washington State. – Courtesy of Dan Avila, USC Athletics During the 2013 Under Armour All-American game, freshman safety Leon McQuay III was able to put one of his many talents on display for the main stage — but not his football skills. He was acknowledged for his participation on the field, but McQuay was also highly touted for producing a song -— “I Will,” featuring Florida rapper Infinite Skillz — that debuted during the game.“I didn’t really know how to feel,” McQuay said modestly. “I was just like ‘Wow, my beat is really on TV.’”McQuay says Corey Long, an ESPN reporter who knew of his musical abilities, approached him.“He asked me if I wanted to make a beat for the Under Armour game and of course, I said yes,” McQuay said. “He hooked me up with a rapper, I went to Corey’s house because he had an in-home studio and I made the beat.”As he awaited the approval of ESPN, McQuay said he was so excited that he did not really think about compensation at the time.“ESPN didn’t pay me for having the beat aired during the game, but the song is on iTunes and I do make money off of that,” McQuay said.McQuay began making music in his sophomore year of high school back in Seffner, Fla. His cousin recommended that he buy Free Studio, a beat-making software program. From then on, McQuay began researching how to use the software and started honing his craft.He said his mother was supportive from the beginning, but his father was skeptical at first.“My mom bought me the equipment and a lot of the different programs,” McQuay said. “But my dad took some convincing. He told me, ‘If you are going to do it, then you need to take it seriously.’”Once McQuay’s father saw how much time and energy his son was dedicating to his newfound love, he encouraged him to make it official.“My dad told me to make it a business before I got to college,” McQuay said.McQuay listened to his old man and created LM3Beats (Leon McQuay III Beats), his own beat production company. LM3 Beats is a limited liability company, which is not considered a corporation. Instead, it’s a legal company that has elements of corporate structure. Because McQuay created LM3Beats during his senior year of high school, he is able to profit from any beats he produces under his company while at USC.“I’m setting myself up for post-football,” McQuay said.McQuay credits a pair of musical mentors for helping him get on track. While still in high school, McQuay visited the University of Michigan. There, he met JDK and Rey, the Michigan football music duo who gave McQuay advice on how to balance football, school and music.“They inspired me,” McQuay said. “If they can do it, I know I can; they have a pretty big fan base.”McQuay said he wanted to start by sharing his passion with the people closest to him — his teammates.“I was nervous,” McQuay said. “I was like, ‘I hope they like it.’”“Like it” was an understatement; his teammates were left in awe after the freshman revealed his musical talents at the annual rookie show during fall football camp at USC. Freshman wide receiver Steven Mitchell still vividly remembers the performance.“He had the best rookie show, hands down,” Mitchell said. “He literally showed us the process of making a beat, step by step. He put all these small beats together and it came out to probably the best beat I have ever heard.”Mitchell was not the only one who left with a lasting impression of McQuay’s talents. All-American junior wide receiver Marqise Lee said all the veteran players were impressed with how much talent the young freshman has.“We were all sitting there shocked,” Lee said. “He started off with one simple beat and I was already impressed; he kept adding to it, and by the end we were all in there going crazy, dancing. Much respect!”After sharing his talent, he was overwhelmed by his teammates’ support. Some players even surprised him with their freestyling skills.“[Freshman wide receiver] Darreus Rogers and [freshman offensive lineman] Khaliel Rodgers are mainly the guys that will come over and freestyle over my beats,” McQuay said.McQuay can easily be called a jack of all trades. Not only is he a musical genius in the making, but also one of the many athletes who takes the “student” portion of his title just as seriously.After achieving a 4.7 GPA in high school, McQuay was named one of five finalists for the 2013 Watkins Award, given out by the National Alliance of African-American Athletes. The award is presented to student-athletes who demonstrate outstanding community leadership, football performance and academic achievement. McQuay is one of two current Trojans to qualify as a finalist, following in the footsteps of redshirt freshman offensive tackle Zach Banner, who did so in 2012.But McQuay has forged his own path by being the only music industry major on the football team, and he wants to minor in technology. He was elated to hear that hip-hop artist Andre Young, better known as Dr. Dre, donated $35 million to create an Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, and plans to apply for the program.McQuay can boast a long list of accolades, but what’s most impressive is that he is one of the most humble, modest and poised young men at USC.“I Will” by Infinite Skillz is available on iTunes.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Riding high at 6-2 and owning a share of the AFC North lead with the Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens hope to continue the offensive momentum built over their last six quarters of play that have produced 47 points when they travel to Seattle this Sunday.The passing offense is trending upward after back-to-back 300-yard performances by quarterback Joe Flacco, but a byproduct has been the sputtering nature of the running game in recent weeks. In fairness, Flacco’s 98 passing attempts over the last two games have squashed opportunities on the ground, but the Ravens have struggled to run the football since a good first quarter of the 16-game schedule.The Ravens rushed for 495 yards through their first four games — including a 170-yard performance against the Pittsburgh run defense in Week 1 — but that total has dipped to just 321 yards over their last four contests. Baltimore currently ranks 22nd in rushing offense and is 25th in yards per attempt at 3.9 yards per carry.“There are some simple things we’ve got to get cleaned up,” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. “It’s mostly technique stuff. It’s not the line. It’s not the backs. It’s not the tight ends. It’s just a combination of things we have to continue to get better at. We’re going to get some pretty challenging defenses against the run; this week is another one.”The absence of left guard Ben Grubbs has certainly been a factor as former Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode filled in for five games despite having never played the position at the professional level. Grubbs’ absence and the late arrival of starting left tackle Bryant McKinnie — known more for his pass blocking — in the preseason have led to struggles gaining ground on the left side of the offensive line.The run woes — and frustration — came to a head when the Ravens ran for a paltry 34 yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Rice received only eight carries.“We don’t have to force the run game,” Rice said. “One thing about it now, I told Cam, I told the guys, I am not going to be a guy that begs for the ball. I want it to be a situation where he is calling the game, and he is comfortable. Any time you try to force any situation, bad things happen. We are where we are. The run game, I think, is still effective. Guys have to go into the game respecting it.”The Baltimore rushing attack has struggled more noticeably against the 4-3 defense, with its two lowest rushing totals this season coming against Jacksonville and Tennessee (45). The Ravens’ only other opportunity against a 4-3 attack came against the St. Louis Rams, who own the league’s worst run defense. In their 37-7 Week 3 win, the Ravens were able to run for 168 yards, but have found no other success against four-man fronts.A 4-3 defense typically includes more athletic defensive linemen as opposed to a traditional 3-4 scheme with bulkier defensive linemen. The Ravens will face Seattle’s 4-3 defense a week after facing Pittsburgh’s traditional 3-4 alignment.“You have to attack them,” Rice said. “The thing is with the 4-3 fronts, obviously it’s a different structure of defense. You can’t run the same kind of runs against a 3-4 that you are going to run against a 4-3. A lot of the stuff, blocking assignments are probably a little bit more downhill rather than east and west. A lot of the stretch and cut things still apply, [but] you can’t go into the game plan thinking that you are going to run the same plays you ran against the Steelers – or any 3-4 team – that you are going to come in and run the same against a 4-3. It’s a totally different defense.”Though ranked 16th in total defense, the Seahawks have shown the ability to play well against the run. Ranked 13th in ground defense, Seattle is allowing only 3.4 yards per attempt, which ranks third in the NFL. With the Seahawks owning the 29th-ranked offense in the NFL, opposing teams have decided not to take chances and have attempted 257 rushes in eight games, third-most in the league. Seahawks middle linebacker David Hawthorne leads the team with 54 tackles while safety Earl Thomas is right behind him with 53.Playing at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, labeled the “loudest stadium” in the league by Cameron, the Ravens hope to control the tempo of the game via the ground attack and to avoid the need to go to the no-huddle attack as they did in Pittsburgh — mostly out of necessity. And with a 40 percent chance of rain and a predicted high of 49 degrees in Seattle on Sunday afternoon, unleashing Rice and backup Ricky Williams would be the best weapon to combat any inclement weather.“We’ve got good backs,” Cameron said. “Especially as the weather turns and we’re heading down the stretch here, we have to pick up our running game a little bit.”