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2020 Tony Award nominations preview: a slew of critically acclaimed plays take aim at top Broadway honors

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The 2020 Tony Awards may represent a shortened Broadway season, but there is a wealth of contenders to consider for the play categories. Fall and winter on the rialto is chock full of non-musical dramas, which will make for plenty of tense races at this year’s ceremony. To help you predict which productions and performers might come out on top this year, you’ll find my best insights into the potential nominees for the play categories below.

SEE 2020 Tony Awards: Every eligible contender from the shortened 2019-2020 Broadway season

Best Play

There are ten eligible dramas from the 2019-2020 season, which should give us five nomination slots. The two biggest conversation starters of the fall were “The Inheritance” by Matthew Lopez and “Slave Play” by Jeremy O. Harris. Both should easily land a spot. I’m also betting that Adam Rapp grabs a slot for “The Sound Inside.” He’s won acclaim for years Off-Broadway, and nominators will be eager to highlight his Broadway debut.

The final two slots could go several ways. I think the love for Tracy Letts will help propel “Linda Vista” to a nomination, even if some audiences found the main character too unlikeable. “Sea Wall/A Life,” two short plays from Simon Stephens and Nick Payne, respectively, is a possibility. But voters may opt out of rewarding one acts. “A Christmas Carol” was praised for the new adaptation by Jack Thorne and it’s engrossing visuals, but a holiday themed play has never competed in this category. “My Name is Lucy Barton” and “The Height of the Storm” seem to be remembered for star performances more than their script, and this category has increasingly been tied to the writer in recent years. So I think “Grand Horizons” by Bess Wohl will fill out the category. The play depicts marriage issues in an aging relationship in a way that isn’t often seen.

Revival of a Play

With just four contenders, this will be a three nominee category. “Betrayal” was a box office hit thanks to the star power of Tom Hiddleston and Charlie Cox. “A Soldier’s Play” features powerhouse performances and feels more “important” than the other revivals. “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” didn’t get the audience turnout it deserved, but the production should still make the cut thanks to two dynamite performances and the desire to honor the late Terrence McNally. That means “The Rose Tattoo,” which received a chilly reception, will get left out in the cold.

Director of a Play

The three perceived frontrunners for Best Play should easily get their directors nominated. Stephen Daldry had the most massive undertaking of the bunch with “The Inheritance,” Robert O’Hara helped chart the wild tonal shifts of “Slave Play,” and David Cromer crafted an almost uncomfortable sense of intimacy with “The Sound Inside.” They all should look out for “A Christmas Carol” director Matthew Warchus. Even if the play fails to make the top category, the massive cast and sprawling set he had to wrangle make Warchus a huge threat here. I suspect Kenny Leon will take the remaining spot for “A Soldier’s Play,” but there are several directors nipping at his heels. Leigh Silverman (“Grand Horizons”), Jamie Lloyd (“Betrayal”), and Arin Arbus (“Frankie and Johnny”) are all poised to make a surprise.

SEE 2020 Tony Awards: The show will go on virtually this fall

Lead Actress in a Play

Mary-Louise Parker gave a career defining performance in “The Sound Inside” and leads the pack here. She faces tough competition from Laura Linney, who is looking for her first Tony win with the solo show “My Name is Lucy Barton,” and Joaquina Kalukango, who became a critical darling for a brutally raw performance in “Slave Play.”

The final slot is a close call between Audra McDonald (“Frankie and Johnny”), Zawe Ashton (“Betrayal”), and Eileen Atkins (“The Height of the Storm”). In a close race, I’m leaning towards all time Tony Awards champ McDonald in a baity Terrence McNally role.

Lead Actor in a Play

This is a race without a clear frontrunner. “The Inheritance” has three eligible lead actors, and the big question is how many of them will get in? Andrew Burnap seems like the safest bet thanks to his explosive and tragic role, and Olivier winner Kyle Soller should also make the cut for his sympathetic performance. Samuel H. Levine played two characters which allowed him to show range. However, the role feels like it belongs in the Featured Actor race, which could push him out of contention. “Betrayal” presents a similar prediction conundrum with both Charlie Cox and Tom Hiddelston contending in this category. If only one can make it, I give a slight edge to Hiddelston. Both men were widely praised however, and nominators might just check off both names.

One contender who won’t have to worry about splitting support with costars is Ian Barford. Even if his character makes dubious choices in the play, Barford should easily land a nomination for his towering performance. If any of these contenders falter, Jake Gyllenhaal (“Seawall/A Life”), Jonathan Pryce (“The Height of the Storm”), and Michael Shannon (“Frankie and Johnny”) would make worthy nominees.

Featured Actress in a Play

Lois Smith is the early favorite here. The stage legend has never won a Tony Award, and this small but mighty role gave her the perfect opportunity to show why she’s long been treasured by New York audiences. But plenty of women had roles with more stage time than Smith this season, and could provide stiff competition. Chief among those actresses is Sally Murphy, excellent in “Linda Vista” at portraying hopeful highs and heartbreaking lows of a doomed romance. Annie McNamara should also score here for “Slave Play,” thanks to her comedic moments dealing with white guilt and a wild sex scene.

There are four major contenders, from two plays, looking to fill the remaining two slots. In “A Christmas Carol,” Tony winners Andrea Martin and LaChanze embody the Ghost of Christmas Past and Ghost of Christmas Present, respectively. It’s usually a bad idea to bet against these women when it comes to Tony nominations, but I’m going out on a limb for two performances from “Grand Horizons.” Ashley Park is quickly proving to be one of the most versatile Broadway performers and should snatch a nomination for her scene stealing work. And most pundits thought Jane Alexander would be placed in Lead Actress for this role, but now that she’s in Featured she might just have the largest role of the bunch.

Featured Actor in a Play

The expected showdown here is David Alan Grier (“A Soldier’s Play”) vs. Paul Hilton (“The Inheritance”). I have no idea who will win that close race, but safe to say I’d be shocked if either actor missed a nomination. Of course, the four men of “Slave Play” might have something to say about the race. But their chances at winning may come down to just how many of them are nominated. I’m betting that Paul Alexander Nolan (who shares the brutal final act with Joaquina Kalukango) and Ato Blankson-Wood (who is asked to do plenty of emotional heavy lifting) make the cut. James Cusati-Moyer and Sullivan Jones are certainly in the running, but it’s difficult to score four nominations in a single category.

Who takes the last slot? John Benjamin Hickey (“The Inheritance”) would make a great choice, but his role is fairly subdued for most of the play. If voters are looking for more of a scene chewer they might opt for Michael Urie or James Cromwell of “Grand Horizons” or Will Hochman for “The Sound Inside.”

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The Advantages of Online Casino Welcome Bonuses

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When it comes to online gambling, the industry is thriving in 2020. Although casinos are banned in many countries, people still find ways to enjoy their favorite games of chance. However, considering the level of competition on the market, it may be difficult for a beginner to find a good online platform and take advantage of all offers. In this article, you will learn the benefits of casinos’ welcome bonuses.

What Is a Sign-Up Bonus?

As we have already established, the industry is growing rapidly and companies are desperately looking for new ways to attract customers. A welcome bonus is often used by online casinos to get new leads and players in the future. However, the best casino bonuses can be easily used to the player’s advantage. Here are the main reasons you should not neglect this offer.

  1. It saves your money

Quite obvious, right? Well, this is the main reason why you should always use welcome bonuses in online gambling: it is always better to not risk your own money. It is especially true for beginners. Since they have no experience, it is fairly common for beginners to lose their initial investment and be done with gambling for good. However, if you use your welcome bonus as a way of getting the basics skills, the chances of success will rise significantly.

  1. It allows you to try several games

Another common issue beginners face is a lack of understanding of which types of games they want to try: slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, etc. If you use your sign-up bonus, you will be able to play several games and choose the ones you like better. Moreover, you can take advantage of a welcome bonus on several online gambling platforms. That way you will try out even more options.

  1. It will make future gambling more profitable

Besides beneficial sign-up bonuses, good online casinos usually have great loyalty programs. For instance, the company may double up to five first deposits on the platform. If you invest 100 USD, you will get 200 USD to your account. More money — more games — more chances of winning.

Although a welcome bonus is a great way of upping your gambling game, there are a few things you should pay attention to. Firstly, a good bonus does not equal a good platform. Before choosing a casino, make sure that the company is legal and trustworthy. Since there are many scams right now, it is essential if you want to save your money. Moreover, check the available deposit/withdrawal methods and their terms.

We hope that this article has shown the true power of online casinos’ welcome bonuses and how you can use them to your own advantage. Follow our tips while choosing a platform and enjoy the best gambling experience.

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3 Key Mistakes to Avoid When Playing Blackjack

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Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world. The card game, sometimes referred to as ‘21’, accounts for an average of 31 percent of all casino table traffic – this is consistent both online and in physical casinos. For reference, the second most popular is roulette (24%) followed by poker (21%).

It’s easy to understand blackjack’s popularity. It’s a simple game to grasp and offers players a mix of luck and skill: luck in the cards that are drawn, skill over how those cards are dealt and a player’s eventual hand. Compare that to roulette, which is based entirely on luck, and poker, which has a huge skill element to it.

However, while the beauty of blackjack is in its simplicity, there are also a number of complexities to the game, and as is the case with almost anything in life, you learn more from mistakes than successes.

With that in mind, here are three key mistakes to avoid when playing blackjack that can significantly increase your chances of winning, while limiting your losses.

Choosing the Wrong Table

Before a single card is drawn, being at the wrong table – whether live or online – is the first mistake to avoid.

First of all, each blackjack table will have different minimum bet requirements so avoid choosing one that is out of your budget. For instance, if you choose a table with a $100 minimum bet and your budget is $200, you might only play two hands.

Secondly, check the payout odds on the blackjack table. These are typically 6:5 and 3:2 and will affect how much gets paid out when you hit blackjack and land other bonus wins. Where possible, choose a 3:2 table as it pays out higher.

Thirdly, choose between a virtual and a live table. This is not so much a mistake to avoid but more comes down to personal preference. Virtual tables allow players to play against an automated computer, so you can play at your own pace, while live tables are usually quicker paced as human dealers are keen to move the game along.

When to Hit and Stand

As a general rule, most blackjack players know to hit when the hand is 12 and to stand when the hand equals 17. However, there are plenty of variables to consider that could influence when to hit and stand. Getting these right can really boost your chances of beating the house, while getting it wrong could prove costly.

One key move to implement is to always hit on a soft 17 – when the two cards are an ace and a six. This means that if you draw a 10 or picture card (jack, queen, king), then you convert your hand into a hard 17. It also gives greater flexibility if you draw a smaller value card as the ace can be used as a one.

While many players adopt a strict ‘never bust’ policy, meaning they always stand when their hand equals 12 or more, this can be ill-advised as it depends almost entirely on the dealer going bust.

Instead, analyze the value of your two cards compared to the dealer’s first card and weigh up the risk factor in drawing another card before the dealer draws their second. As a strict rule, if your first two cards equal 17 or more, then stand – anything else can be hit depending on the situation.

When to Split and Double

If you are playing in a blackjack tournament, either online or live, learning when to split and double can make all the difference to your chances of success. The same also applies to individual games of blackjack.

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Splitting is when you split two cards when dealt the same value cards, so a pair of eights for example. Doubling is when you are given the option to double your bet after being dealt your initial two cards.

While it can be tempting to split and double at every opportunity to increase your winning, doing at the right time is the key.

It is not recommended to split when:

  • You are dealt two picture cards or two 10s
  • You are dealt two 9s
  • You are dealt two 5s
  • The dealer holds a 10 or picture card

It is best to split when:

  • You are dealt two 8s
  • You are dealt two aces
  • The dealer holds a 5 or 6 (as this is the highest probability of a bust)

Similar to knowing when to hit and stand, take a brief moment to assess the dealer’s drawn card compared to your own two cards and determine whether the probabilities are in your favour.

Likewise, knowing when to double down – when not to double down – can change the complexities of your blackjack game. A simple rule to know when to double is if your two cards equal 10 and the dealer’s card is between 2-9. Additionally, if you hold an ace, you can consider a double as these have the flexibility of playing as 11 or 1. But if the dealer’s card is an ace, ignore the double.

Conclusion

Blackjack may be a simple game but there are some important strategies to keep in mind next time you head to the virtual or live table. The game itself is still rooted in luck so there are never any guarantees to long-term success. However, by keeping these three important rules in mind, you can at least avoid making avoidable mistakes.

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Top 5 Entertainment Activities for College Students

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The life of college students is sometimes too complicated. They have to face tons of homework assignments that steal their time. Many students get stressed because of continuous learning. They seem to forget how to relax. If you’re a busy student, you should remember that you’re still young and shouldn’t waste this precious life stage. You can undertake some entertainment activities sometimes. Take your friends and organize funny games to unwind and let off some pressure. We asked writing experts from a professional essay service Smart Writing Service to share their ideas and provide you with top-5 entertainment activities for college students you may like. 

Who Are You?

Students, especially freshmen, don’t know each other perfectly. They may be taken by surprise when some of them tell something quite unexpected about their hobbies, preferences, and so on. If you want to know other students better, suggest playing a game called “Who Are You”.

Form at least three teams. If there are many folks, you can form more teams. Choose a speaker of the game. It may be even one of your teachers or professors. All groups will be given topics to discuss. The speaker is supposed to announce a new topic every few minutes. You may discuss and answer the following topics:

  • What is the greatest challenge you are facing?
  • What do you like or hate most about yourself?
  • What is your greatest value in life?
  • What emotions do you express easily?
  • What is the most valuable thing in friendship?
  • Who you want to become in five years?
  • What is your major objective for next year?
  • Is there something you want to improve about yourself?
  • What motto do you try to live by?
  • Where would you like to travel?
  • If you were to study abroad, what country would that be?

Students should write their answers on index cards. The speaker should gather the answers of every student and shuffle them. Afterward, he/she redistributes them randomly to students. Each person should guess whose card he/she is holding. Play this game after you spend some time together and already know at least something about one another.

Sentence Completion

Another fun activity is “Sentence Completion.” Most people like it because it’s commonly accompanied by laughter and good mood. It’s necessary to prepare a list of sentences. Those sentences should have a beginning, but with no end. Every student should finish the sentence he/she gets. Oftentimes, students give funny answers. At times, they are quite serious, and we can learn something important about other students. Here are several sentence beginnings you may choose:

  • Before I came to college, I was interested in…
  • When I was a child, I wanted to become…
  • The best moment I remember most about high school is…
  • My favorite pet is…
  • The things I value most are…
  • Five years from now I hope to be…
  • My greatest personality trait is…
  • My favorite subject at high school was…
  • If I could change one thing in the world, it would be…
  • My greatest fear is…
  • After I graduate from college, I…

The Reception Line

You may likewise try another entertaining activity for college students. It is called “The Reception Line.” Gather all the mates eager to participate. Divide yourselves into two groups. If you form more, it won’t fit the rules of the game. Each person talks to the person in front of him/her until he/she must move. The person at the end of one line goes to the end of the other line. This method makes it possible to meet new people. Thus, students will learn more about each other. You can make shifts every next topic or set a limit. For example, the pair should discuss 5 topics and afterward move to change partners. Here are some interesting topics to discuss:

  • Where would you like to travel?
  • What motto do you try to follow?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What music do you like?
  • What is your favorite hobby?
  • Why did you choose this college?
  • What do you like about college life the most?

Take Sides

You can likewise suggest a game, which offers only two options. It’s called “Take Sides.” Create a list of questions with two answers. Students should obligatorily choose one of them. Afterward, you may discuss the answers. Let everyone explain his/her choices. Thus, you’ll learn more about each other, and it will bring you closer. Here are several suggestions:

  • Watermelon or banana?
  • Sweat or bitter?
  • Short trips every weekend or a journey around the world for three months?
  • Partying or hiking?
  • Listen or speak?
  • Rock or pop?
  • Morning or night?
  • Superman or Batman?
  • Robocop or Terminator?
  • Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings?
  • Los Angeles or New York?
  • Liberal or conservative?
  • American football or ice hockey?

My Most Embarrassing Moment

You can likewise tell each other about the most embarrassing moments. It’s important to be honest and don’t imagine a story that never took place. All the participants should agree on this term. Commonly, it is a very entertaining activity. Students tell funny stories they’ve been through. It commonly makes them closer.

These activities for college students are very simple to follow. They are really entertaining. Mind that we have mentioned only 5 of them. However, you can try a hundred activities more. Use our examples to have fun and relax. They may inspire you and your friends to look for other entertaining activities.

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