Picture of the week: Duke Chapel

Last weekend I took advantage of the nice weather and went for a run around the campus at Duke. Durham offers many great spots to run, but one of my favorites is along Campus Drive leading up to Duke Chapel. I had to stop for a moment and admire the view and grab this photo. This is graduation weekend at Duke so the chapel will be pretty busy with commencement ceremonies, but I highly recommend you check it later this summer when the campus is a little more quiet. To learn more about Duke Chapel visit https://chapel.duke.edu.

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Weekend Picks: May 12th – 14th


Reginald Cyntje peforms at Beyu Caffe this Friday Night
(Photo courtesy reginaldcyntje.com)

The weather is little iffy this weekend, but I’m hoping things hold off and don’t interfere with weekend plans too much. Here are my top picks for things to check out this weekend.

Friday – May 12th

Music at Beyu Caffe in Durham
Reginald Cyntje is a trombonist, educator, producer, and composer. On Friday night you can catch him at Beyu Caffe for either a 7pm and 9pm show. Reginald’s music is a combination of tradition and calypso style jazz influenced by the Caribbean music he heard growing up in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the social-justice missions that are a part of his persona, and grooves from the D.C. jazz scene. You can purchase tickets here.

Saturday – May 13th

Grow a Food Movement: Pizza in the Garden 
On Saturday
 take part in a community garden party complete with wood-fired pizza, local brews, and live music, to support the Raleigh Food Corridor! Hosted by the Irregardless Cafe and supported by Crank Arm Brewing, the event supports healthy food systems and healthy neighborhoods in Raleigh. Location is Well Fed Community Garden, 1321 Athens Dr. Learn more at raleighfoodcorridor.org. Tickets are $25 per person or $10 for Friends of the Corridor and can be purchased here.

Ritmo Latin Festival in Cary
Ritmo Latino is a free family festival that showcases Latino music, dance and arts. The festival includes live music, vendors, artists, Latin foods, dance lessons for adults and activities for children. All the fun goes down on Academy Street in Downtown Cary saturday from 12-7pm.

The Loose Strings Band –  Bond Park in Cary
The Loose Strings Band is an all female bluegrass band from Galax, Virginia, that has been together for 11 years. They are known in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and beyond for their tight vocal harmonies and sweet rhythms. This concert is FREE and open to the public! Performance is outside at the Sertoma Amphitheatre in Cary’s Bond Park 7-9pm. For more information visit https://pinecone.org/events/loose-strings-band.

Sunday – May 14th

Geek Craft Expo at The Armory in Durham
This is a FREE curated craft market featuring awesome handmade geek goods created by local artisans! GeekCraft Expo RDU will be held at the Durham Armory on Sunday from 11am to 6pm. For more info visit http://www.geekcraftexpo.com.

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‘Chicago’ Brings All That Jazz to DPAC May 12th through 14th!

Chicago 1

The Cast of Broadway’s CHICAGO
(Photo by Jeremy Daniel)

Chicago” recently celebrated its 20th anniversary on Broadway in March. It’s now the longest-running American musical in Broadway history and you can see it right here in the Triangle next week when the touring production comes to the Durham Performing Arts Center with performances Friday, May 12th through Sunday, May 14th.

This a musical that tells story of  murder, greed, corruption, exploitation, and treachery set against the turbulent backdrop of prohibition era Chicago. The musical is based on a play of the same name by reporter and playwright Maurine Dalls Watkins  who covered the 1924 trials of accused murderers Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner for the Chicaog Tribune. At the time the press and public became mesmerized by the subject of homicides committed by women.

The story centers around nightclub sensation Velma (Terra C. MacLeod) who murders her philandering husband, and Chicago’s slickest lawyer, Billy Flynn (Eddie George) who comes to her aid to defend her. Things get complicated when Roxie (Dylis Croman) ends up in prison as well for murdering her lover. Billy takes on Roxie’s case as well and turns it into a media circus. Velma is not happy to see Roxie, who is stealing not only her limelight but also her lawyer and neither woman will be outdone in their fight against each other and the public for fame and celebrity.


Roz Ryan1

Roz Ryan Plays Mamma Morton in the national touring company of “Chicago”

The Cook County Jail cell block Velma and Roxie are sent to as they await trial is presided over by the corrupt Matron “Mama” Morton (played by veteran Roz Ryan). Mamma runs a tight ship and keeps a list of those who owe her favors and those who have fallen in line and are on her good list. She helps Velma become the media’s top murder-of-the-week and acts as a booking agent for Velma’s big return to vaudeville.

Ryan is a Broadway and Hollywood veteran and I reached her by phone last week and had a wonderful conversation with her where she shared about what it is like to play this iconic role and traveling he globe with the production.

How long have you played Mamma Morton?
I’ve played Mama Morton on Broadway and in the touring production off and on for more than 18 years now. I never get tired of playing Mama. I started after auditioning for the first national tour. Spent a few years on Broadway then hot the road with the tour. I kind of view the role as Mama as mine. 

How did you land the audition to play Mamma?
It really is a Cinderella story. I was performing in Detroit and a musical director saw me and had me come in for an audition. I hadn’t seen the show at that point. So it was new to me when I was signed for the job. I saw it and a week later I was on stage performing in it. Ever Since then over the past 18 years, I’ve become the reliable ‘go to’ girl for the show. 

Playing such an iconic role for so many years, how do you keep it fresh?
It’s a little different each night. The character and performance is never exactly the same. Depending on the city you are in or the crowd in the theater there may be a different energy from night to night and performance to performance. My character gets to talk directly to the audience at some points during the show and that allows me to ad lib a little so I can always keep it fresh!

Where are some of the favorite places you have traveled with the show?
Oh we have been all over the world from Dubai to Australia. We are getting ready to visit Japan, Korea and the Philippines. They are all wonderful. One of my favorite pastimes is to scuba dive and take pictures of dolphins and whales. I’ve actually gotten quite good at photography. One of the benefits of traveling is not just seeing these wonderful places, but it provides me the opportunity to scuba dive in exciting locations. I actually received my scuba certification in Australia!

Do you have any other projects coming up you would like to highlight?
Well, I am always up to so much. Right now Chicago is my focus. But don;t forget I do a lot of voice-over work for cartoons and I love that too! Ultimately though I focus on the task at hand. I don’t make plans. God makes plans for me and I follow his plans.

CHICAGO opens at DPAC on Friday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 14th. For tickets visit https://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/mamma-mia-1.



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Weekend Picks: May 5th – 7th


Gonza Taco Truck Makes its First Appearance at the Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo Sunday May 7th

Plenty of fun events going on this weekend. In addition to my picks below there are several other fun events going on this weekend I recommend checking out. These include opening night of “Mama Mia!” at DPAC on Friday (shows all weekend long). Also there is Wake Forest “Meet in the Street“, Triangle “Race for the Cure” 5k , and the Out! Raleigh Festival – all on Saturday. Then on Sunday check out the Grand Opening Celebration at 41 North Coffee in Wendell. Happy Exploring!

Friday – May 5th

Cinco de Mayo Celebration at Gonza Taco

Each Gonza Tacoa y Tequila location will be open for both lunch and dinner serving from a special taco only menu and featuring live music, face painters, and street performers.

Pine State Coffee PopUp at Drink Drank Drunk
Friday night is First Friday in Raleigh. In addition to seeing art throughout galleries downtown make sure you stop by the Atomic Salon and their neighbor Drink Drank Drunk. Ry Watson will have paintings on display in Atomic while new local coffee roaster Pine State Coffee will be doing a pop up at D3’s front bar to serve some of their delicious coffee drinks! Fun starts at 6pm.

Saturday – May 6th

Compass Rose Anniversary Party
Compass Rose Brewery in North Raleigh is celebratin their 2nd Anniversary this Saturday. The party will include  live music, food trucks and a cornhole tournament.

Sunday – May 7th

Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo
Downtown Raleigh will be filled with Food Trucks this Sunday from 12-7pm with 50+ trucks from across the state including 10 trucks making their first appearance at the Raleigh Rodeo. As always I recommend getting there early to avoid the lines. You can veiw the list of food trucks for this event here

Midtown Bluegrass Series at North Hills
Kick off the Midtown Bluegrass season at Midtown Park in North Hills with veteran bluegrass band The Boxcars and rising stars ShadowGrass! You won’t want to miss this exciting pairing of musicians, where you can see for yourself how bluegrass continues to inspire future generations to play music. The afternoon will begin with a facilitated youth jam with local musicians Lynda and Jamie Dawson. View the performance schedule here.

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‘Mama Mia!’ Farewell Tour Comes to DPAC This Weekend


Pictured, from left, are Cashelle Butler, Betsy Padamonsky, Sara Smith
Mamma Mia Farewell Tour – Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia, 2016.

This weekend “Mamma Mia!” is coming to the Durham Performing Arts Center for a limited engagement with performances on Friday May 5th through Sunday, May 7th as part of its farewell tour across the US.

The show is filled with songs by the popular 70’s group ABBA, featuring some of their greatest hits like “Dancing Queen” and “Take A Chance On Me.” It is one of the most successful musicals of all time and the eighth longest running show in Broadway history. The musical is an upbeat display of song and dance that tells the story of a young woman about to be married on a beautiful Greek island. She invites three of her mother’s ex-boyfriends to the ceremony, thinking that one of them is her father, whom she’s never known. Things get complicated quickly.

“Mamma Mia!” closed on Broadway in September 2015, after a 14-year run and announced that it would embark on a “final farewell tour” in the 2016-17 season that would hit some 30 cities across North America. This is the third and final time Mama Mia will grace the stage at DPAC. Don’t miss your chance to see it!

Mama Mia! opens at DPAC on Friday, May 5th and runs through Sunday, May 7th. For tickets visit https://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/mamma-mia-1.

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