Yo Broadway! It’s Rocky the Musical

Rocky The Musical On Broadway

Photograph by Steven Laxton

Andy Karl knows what you’re thinking. He had the same reservations before agreeing to play Rocky Balboa. How do you turn that film—“Yo Adrian!” and Art Museum steps and all—into a Broadway musical? Stick to the script. “He loses at the end, but his loss is his win,” says Karl, sipping water at a dim midtown Manhattan hotel bar. “He goes the distance; he’s found love. Love is a huge part of what musicals are about. When you think of it, Rocky is all about finding love, finding dignity.” The fights? Merely bookends of the show. But, he adds, “They’re spectacular.”
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The Rookie: Michael Carter-Williams

sixers rookie michael carter williams

Photograph by Steve Boyle

My knuckles are white as I grip the steering wheel, trying in vain to keep up with Michael Carter-Williams, who’s burning serious rubber up ahead. The Sixers’ rookie point guard agreed to meet me here at Dave & Buster’s on the waterfront for a head-to-head competition. As we walked through the arcade, he chose our first event—a racing game, “for Paul Walker,” he said, a nod to the Fast and the Furious actor who just died. Carter-Williams is a pop-culture hound; if he has Sunday night off, he’d rather watch Homeland than SportsCenter. He tells me he’s not a gamer, though. I think I may actually have a shot at beating MCW, as he’s known—something not many people can do these days.

Carter-Williams laughs as his hot rod leaves mine in the dust. He speeds through turns with ease, weaving in and out of traffic with abandon. My foot’s on the floor, and I still can’t keep pace with him. He takes the checkered flag in second place. I finish last.
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This Is Not a Dallas Cowboys Fan

Undercover Philly Fan

Photo By Dale May

Booooooo! To outsiders, that sound is a war cry, a clarion call for action, a howl of barbarism. For Philadelphia sports fans like me, the boo feels like home. On this October afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field, I’m walking into an Eagles game, as I’ve done more times than I can count. But there’s something about the boos today that feels wrong. I ascend the stairs into section 211, high above the southern end zone, and the faithful all around rise up, like a tidal wave of green and white. They cup their hands and scream like hell. There’s no action on the field right now.

Today, those jeers are for me.

Nothing inspires more sports hatred in this town than the star that is the Dallas Cowboys logo. That symbol can be seen prominently on either side of my head, thanks to the silver-and-blue Mexican wrestling mask I’m wearing for today’s contest against America’s Team. In case it wasn’t already clear from my Tony Romo t-shirt, I’m rooting for the visitors. I am not a masochist. I didn’t lose a bet. This is the final act in a theatrical—and potentially life-threatening—investigation I’ve dubbed the Ultimate Philadelphia Fan Experiment.

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The Death Of The Gift Box

Gift-boxes

Something is missing from the holidays this year. Over the weekend, I thought I’d finished my shopping. But after taking inventory of what needed wrapping before Christmas, a question hung over me:

Where the @&%# are the gift boxes?

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Anyone Missing Andy Reid and Joe Banner Right About Now?

USATSI_ANDY-REID-isaiah-j-downing-usa-today-sports

Two things kept me from wanting to hurl after the Eagles lost an ugly game to the Minnesota Vikings: the Cowboys’ epic fail and my fantasy football teams.

Just as important as Tony Romo’s latest choke-job (at least in my mind) is that I pulled off a first in my roughly 15 years of pretend-sports management — both of my teams advanced to the championship. In one league, that wasn’t a surprise, as I had Jamaal Charles. The Kansas City running back scored five touchdowns on Sunday; the 51 points he spotted me was virtually impossible to overcome. By comparison, Shady McCoy’s team-record-setting Snow Bowl game the week earlier netted 34 points.

But Charles’ gonzo performance got me thinking about someone else who’s in Kansas City these days — Andy Reid, who clinched a playoff berth with Sunday’s win.

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Kobe Bryant and 6 Other Folks Who Should Retire Like Doc

halladay-retirement-940

With the announcement of Roy Halladay’s retirement yesterday, I was reminded of Robert Frost’s bittersweet poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” If you watched the ace labor through every start last season, you saw the end was coming, and in this case, a walk into the sunset is merciful and just. But not everyone knows when it’s time to call it quits. In tribute to Doc, here’s a list of Philly-connected folks who would follow his lead if they knew what was good for them. Read more »

Cole Hamels on the Phillies: “You Have to Know When to Start Over.”

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels (35) sits in the dugout in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on Aug 12, 2013. Photo | Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels (35) sits in the dugout in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on Aug 12, 2013. Photo | Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Ever wonder what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the Cole Hamels stare? You know the one — that withering look he’s known to give on occasion when the home plate umpire’s being stingy with strike calls, or an outfielder makes a bonehead play. I felt that same chill as Cole looked me in the eyes and said, “I’m not talking about the kids.”

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Comcast Vs. FiOS: Is There Really a Difference?

Photo | Shutterstock.com

Photo | Shutterstock.com

I have met the devil I didn’t know, and his name is FiOS.

After nearly 13 years of living in Center City, I moved to the ’burbs in September. Along with ample parking and more Wawas than I know what to do with, the relocation also brought a new kind of freedom — release from the shackles of Comcast for my television entertainment needs. I’ve taken my shots at the cable giant on this site, usually after receiving an enormous bill or enduring a lengthy customer service call. If only Verizon’s FiOS was an option, I’d say to myself (and sometimes, loudly, to a Comcast phone operator). This fall, my wish came true. I’m almost three months into living my fiber-optic dream.

And guess what? Sit down for this, because it’s a real shocker:

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Heidi Hamels Is More Than Just Mrs. Cole Hamels

Photo by Christopher Gabello.

Photo by Christopher Gabello.

Heidi Hamels will hate the way this story begins.

But this is where her story must begin, because without it, the farm girl never becomes a celebrity, which is how she meets a handsome young man with a wicked changeup who asks her to marry him, and that handsome man doesn’t win a World Series, or tell his wife that her passion is his passion and yes, to take briefcases full of his money and create a foundation that will, without exaggeration, save the lives of children in a far-away country he’s never stepped foot in, and to adopt an orphan from another far-away country, and while she’s at it, to give a little hope to the rundown public schools in the city they now call home.

So the story starts here: Heidi Strobel, as she was known then, standing on a wooden perch in the middle of a blackwater river in the Amazon, hungry and exhausted in the way that makes you do strange things, preparing to take her clothes off for Oreo cookies and peanut butter and a soda in front of what would later be a national television audience. To everyone watching—maybe even herself—it seemed as though she’d traded her dignity for a snack and a morsel of fame, without knowing she was actually about to take her first step toward something much bigger. Naked and unafraid, Heidi jumped.
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Has Riley Cooper Been Forgiven for Using the N-Word?

Riley Cooper

Riley Cooper. Photo | Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

 

A year ago, most football fans couldn’t pick Riley Cooper out of a lineup. In July, he made national headlines after he was caught on video using the mother of all racial slurs, the “n word.” Since then, Cooper has transformed from borderline practice-squad player to an essential weapon in Chip Kelly’s offensive arsenal.

About the offensive part — some fans seem to think it’s time to move past his vulgar choice of words and simply be thankful Nick Foles likes throwing to this guy. But just as the Cooper controversy seemed to fade away, that word kept making headlines in the sports world. Exiled Miami Dolphin Richie Incognito used it as a tool in his seemingly bottomless toolbox of harassment against teammate Jonathan Martin. Last week, Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes dropped it on Twitter after being ejected from a game. (The tweet has since been deleted.)

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