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2020 Tony Awards nominations preview: 4 musicals battle for top honors at the virtual ceremony

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With the 2020 Tony Awards going virtual this fall, all eyes are on the prospective nominees. Just four musicals were able to open before the newly announced February eligibility cutoff, so these tuners could wind up with massive nomination tallies. In order to help you sift through the possible outcomes before nominations are announced, I’ve offered my best insights to each of the musical categories below.

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

Best Musical

With four eligible musicals there will only be three nomination slots in the top category this year. “Moulin Rouge!” is a big fat hit, and its sumptuous escapism makes it the frontrunner for now. “Jagged Little Pill” will make the cut for its heart. “Tina: The Tina Turner” musical should find a spot as a pure crowd pleaser. That leaves “The Lightning Thief” as the one tuner left behind. The show is aimed squarely at kids, and as we have seen in the past, Tony voters usually don’t go for shows aimed at young theatergoers (just ask “Be More Chill”). So they will keep poor Percy Jackson at the kids table.

Director of a Musical

This lineup will mirror the Best Musical race. Alex Timbers (“Moulin Rouge!”), Diane Paulus (“Jagged Little Pill”) and Phyllida Lloyd (“Tina”) will all make the cut. Stephen Brackett (“The Lightning Thief”) will have to wait a bit longer for his first Tony nomination. I expect Book of a Musical and the four design categories will also omit “The Lightning Thief” from their nomination slots.

Score

This category has enough contenders for four nominees, but just one will be a musical. As the only tuner with an original score, this is one of the best chances for “The Lightning Thief” to scratch up a nomination.

Plays will take the remaining spots. Paul Englishby deserves a mention for highlighting dramatic and magical moments in “The Inheritance.” “Slave Play” contained the most obvious use of music, so composer Lindsay Jones should make the cut. The last spot is a toss up. This could be the only chance “The Rose Tattoo” has for a nomination thanks to a beautiful composition from Jason Michael Webb. But I have a hunch he will be edged out by Daniel Kluger for “The Sound Inside,” a play which scored much better notices overall. As for the music heavy “A Christmas Carol”? Official Tony rules state that a show must contain at least 50% original music, and the play’s reliance on holiday classics would seem to disqualify it from this category.

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

Lead Actress in a Musical

Adrienne Warren leads the pack for her awe inspiring turn as Tina Turner in “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.” Broadway veteran Elizabeth Stanley will pick up her first-ever nomination for playing a woman battling addiction. And Karen Olivo (a past winner for playing Anita in “West Side Story”) will be nominated for bringing down the house with Katy Perry’s “Firework” in “Moulin Rouge!” That leaves Kristin Stokes of “The Lightning Thief” as the one woman left out. Stokes actually has one of the best songs in this Percy Jackson musical, but the part is really a featured one and producers should have kept her in that race.

Lead Actor in a Musical

There’s just two men eligible for this category: Aaron Tviet (“Moulin Rouge!”) and Chris McCarrell (“The Lightning Thief”). With so few contenders, the voting process is altered. Nominators will vote on a “yes/no” ballot for both Tveit and McCarrell, with each performer scoring a nomination only if they receive a simple majority of “yes” votes. We could have a two nominee category if they both make it, the elimination of this category if neither receives a majority of support, or one man could win by default in the nominating process if he receives a majority but the other contender does not.

Featured Actress in a Musical

Lauren Patten (“Jagged Little Pill”) is the easiest call to make here. Her rendition of “You Oughta Know” stops the show with a thunderous standing ovation night. Her co-star Kathryn Gallagher will likely join her in this category thanks to her heart breaking song “Predator,” the one original tune Alanis Morissette wrote for this musical. It’s a toss up as to who will fill the remaining two slots.

I think Robyn Hurder will take advantage of the open field for a surprise nomination. She doesn’t have a solo song in “Moulin Rouge!” but she’s a fierce dancer who gets some of the best choreography in the show. The Tonys have nominated dance performances on a few rare occasions, and Hurder could be the latest to join their ranks. The last slot could go to Jalynn Steele, who was hysterical in “The Lightning Thief,” or Celia Rose Gooding who has a large role in “Jagged Little Pill.” But watch out for Myra Lucretia Taylor from “Tina.” The actress has a non-singing role, but she share’s a devastating scene with Adrienne Warren as Tina Turner’s ailing mother.

Featured Actor in a Musical

It finally feels like Danny Burstein’s year. The beloved Broadway actor has been nominated six times without a win, and his boisterous role as Zidler in “Moulin Rouge!” is bound to land him a nomination. In order to win, Burstein will have to bypass his co-star Sahr Ngaujah (a past nominee for “Fela!”) in the role of Toulouse. Ngaujah’s entertaining physical performance will also land him a nomination.

Daniel J. Watts (“Tina”) stands a great chance of being recognized for playing the destructive Ike Turner, and Sean Allan Krill (“Jagged Little Pill”) should earn a spot for his emotionally fraught performance. That leaves one slot. It might go to Derek Klena (“Jagged Little Pill”) who sings his face off, but if “Moulin Rouge!” dominates with voters then Tam Mutu or Ricky Rojas could be swept along for the ride. But the most deserving candidate is Ryan Knowles from “The Lightning Thief,” for deftly alternating between several roles. His use of an uproarious Paul Lynde impression to play the god Hades should be enough to score him a spot in this race.

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Things to do in Temecula for Families

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Temecula is a popular resort town in the south of California. Located in Riverside County, the destination is known for its wine and golf courses, but did you know it also makes a great family vacation spot? The beautiful town has a diverse range of activities to entertain the young and young at heart, so consider heading to Temecula for your next family vacation.

Why Temecula makes a great family vacation destination

Temecula is a laidback tourist town that is extremely family friendly. From its various parks and playgrounds to the many interesting attractions, Temecula is sure to offer an experience that the whole family can enjoy. It is also considered to be extremely safe which will make parents feel at ease during their stay.

How to prepare for a family vacation to Temecula

Temecula is sure to provide a fun vacation for the whole family, but as with all trips, you will want to do a little planning beforehand to ensure everything goes smoothly. This is especially important if you are travelling with little ones who may have less patience for any delays or travel mishaps.

USA residents are likely to have a relatively easy journey getting to Temecula. Depending on your location, a short domestic flight might be required. Some families might simply be able to pack their bags and drive there. For international travelers, preparations become a little more complex. You will have to think about time differences, currency exchange and entry requirements.

Entry requirements are one of the most important considerations when travelling to an overseas destination. If you do not have your paperwork in order, you may be denied entry to the USA or even prevent from boarding your plane. Imagine how devastated the whole family will be if you do not even manage to leave the airport?

Most people entering the USA will require either an ESTA America or a visa. An ESTA takes the place of a visa for eligible travelers (i.e. residents of countries that belong to the visa waiver program). If you are not a citizen of one of these countries, you will need to apply for a visa and address any other entry requirements that apply for you.

If you are eligible for an ESTA, the process is straightforward and completed entirely online. It is worth applying for an ESTA a few weeks before you travel to ensure everything goes through smoothly and avoid unnecessary stress. You can monitor the status of your ESTA using the ‘check my ESTA function available on the portal, which will notify you when your ESTA has been approved.

Things to do with kids in Temecula  

Temecula is a great family destination with a heap of fun activities to do with the kids. We have put together some of our favorite attractions to help you plan your days.

Museums in Temecula, CA    

  • Temecula Valley Museum – Now a museum might not be your first thought when considering kid-friendly attractions, but Temecular Valley Museum is great for all ages. The whole family can learn about local history in an engaging way, with interactive exhibits providing great entertainment for children. They can play in the General Store, General Store or even the Ride-A-Pony Station.
  • Pennypickle’s Workshop – Another fun but educational museum is Penny pickle’s Workshop. This hands-on museum is tailored specifically for children and is all about science. Each area explores a different scientific theme and productions are ran on certain days for extra excitement.

Temecula Parks     

  • Ronald Reagan Sports Park – With a playground, 2 football fields, picnic tables and barbecues, Ronald Reagan Sports Park is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. The kids can run around while you cook lunch, and everyone can enjoy some fresh air.
  • Pala Community Park – Is your family really into sports? Head to Pala Community Park. It has football fields, volleyball courts, basketball courts and tennis courts, as well as great on-site facilities.
  • Get Air Trampoline Park – A slightly different sort of park but worthy of a mention nonetheless is Get Air Trampoline Park. This indoor facility has a heap of trampolines, a dodgeball section and basketball courts that will tire your kids out and ensure they have a great time doing so.

Water Parks in Temecula

  • Dropzone Water Park – This water park has something for individuals of all ages. There are 3 large water slides for the big kids, a kid’s zone completes with smaller water slides for the younger kids, and a lazy river for the whole family to enjoy.
  • Lake Skinner Splash Zone – This splash zone is a great place for the little kids to cool off on a hot day. Plenty of water fountains and even a playground nearby.
  • The Wave Water Park – This park is a great family-friendly option. With a lazy river, 4 main waterslides and a wave machine to try out your boogie boarding, the whole family will enjoy it.
  • Legoland Water Park – As the name suggests, everything in this water park is Lego-themed! There are slides, a lazy river, and a huge wave pool!
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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.

Click here to check the best tips on blackjack tournament strategies: https://extra.betamerica.com/casino-news/blackjack-tournaments-rules-strategy-and-where-to-find-them/

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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