My Friday Five: Big Shake Up & My Fave Musical Returns

Chris White
1. Castle Shake Up

The hits just keep on coming for 2016. It's been, quite frankly, a not so good year for me. So much is going on that my head is about to lift off into orbit. The TV side of things hasn't been better, with the cancellation of American Idol by FOX and some of my new favorite shows hanging on the cusp of renewal or cancellation. Then came some extremely surprising news.

On Monday, Deadline Hollywood reported that Stana Katic and Tamala Jones - who play Kate Beckett and Lanie Parish, respectfully - on Castle would not return if there's a ninth season for the show. I thought that the two ladies had decided to move on but was I ever wrong. According to DH, the two were not approached by ABC execs to renew their contracts. But it was through no fault of Katic's and Jones', apparently. According to DH, the pair were cut due to "budgetary reasons" at the show.

Seriously? This apparent decision by network execs is a deplorable one to say the least. The news did not sit well with many other fans of the show either with most I saw commenting on social media that they would no longer watch if a ninth season does happen. As for me, I'm not sure. Castle is one of my all-time favorite shows. I started watching it back in a forensic science class I took in high school. I've been hooked on it ever since. I understand the show is called Castle for a reason - named after Nathan Fillion's character, Richard Castle - but watching it without two of its main characters would be strange. I have a feeling that this is the beginning of the end for Castle. It's a crying shame.

2. The Inspectors

In other TV news, there's a new show that I've really started getting into. I'd describe The Inspectors as a crime-solving, "whodunnit" type show except it centers on Postal Inspectors. I happened to come across the tail-end of an episode one Saturday morning while watching CBS. I wasn't sure about it at first but I recorded the episode on the following Saturday and got hooked on the series after watching.

The Inspectors follows Amanda Wainwright (Jessica Lundy) who's a U.S. Postal Inspector and her son, Preston (Bret Green), who's a forensics lab intern. Each episode focuses on some case that needs solving - everything from counterfeit sports memorabilia to sending a poisonous substance in the mail. Most of the Saturday morning shows are just not that good but The Inspectors is an exception to the rule. Not only is it entertaining but also informative and educational. Apparently the critics agree as the show has been nominated for a record breaking six Daytime Emmys. Congrats!

Be sure to catch The Inspectors on your local CBS station Saturday mornings at 11;30 a.m.

3. In the Heights Comes to Durham

Okay, it's no secret that my favorite musical of all time is In the Heights. This was the first, widely popular musical created by Lin-Manuel Miranda - the mastermind behind Hamilton. ITH was also the first of any kind of musical I saw. I won a trip to New York City in 2010 and the group I traveled with had the privilege of seeing ITH at the Richard Rodgers Theater right smack dab on Broadway! At the time, Corbin Bleu (of High School Musical fame and more) starred as the musical's lead character, Usnavi. I fell in love with the show immediately. Everything about it was brilliant: the music, the dialogue, the story. I saw ITH again a few years later in North Carolina while it was on tour.

Needless to say, I was completely stoked to find out that a local high school was doing its own production of the show. The guys and gals who performed in the production did a fabulous job. I've never seen the book - a little Broadway lingo for ya - or anything but I can tell that ITH is one tough musical to perform. Each character, from Usnavi to even the Piragua Guy are complex and take a lot of time to master. The music is beautiful but extremely complex and difficult. By listening to it, I can tell there are a lot of free flowing parts, meter changes, the list goes on. When it all comes together, though, it's a thing of beauty!

Check out a clip of one of my favorite songs from ITH: "96,000," performed by the original Broadway cast. In the song, Usnavi, Sonny, Benny and the rest of the residents of Washington Heights fantasize about what they'd do with a $96,000 lottery payout after learning Usnavi's store sold the winning ticket.


4. Roddy Chong at Grey Stone

So, this is exciting! Several months ago, Trans-Siberian Orchestra violin concerto, Roddy Chong, performed at a marriage banquet at my church (Grey Stone). Me not being married meant that I wasn't allowed to attend. I was pissed to say the least. But, soon after, I learned that Chong would be returning to my church to perform in 2016. That day is this Sunday! Not only will he perform but he'll also hold a workshop/Q&A session for any interested musicians. As a musician myself, this is an incredible opportunity! I mean, in addition to being apart of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Chong has also toured with the likes of Celine Dion and Shania Twain and has performed for dignitaries such as the Pope. Needless to say, this is a big deal - and I'm totally stoked! I'll have more next week.

5. Talk with Matthew Fitzpatrick

Let's rewind to 2014 for a minute. I attended the final round of the U.S. (golf) Open at Pinehurst No.2 that summer. I'd seen plenty of golf on TV but that was my first in-person experience - and what a first experience to have! After the Martin Kaymer was crowned the champion, I patiently waited by the 18th green to see if I could snag some autographs on my ticket. Some golfers would have nothing of it - cough, cough Rickie Fowler - but some took time after playing a grueling round of golf on arguably one of the most difficult courses in the world to greet the fans and sign autographs. One of those golfers was Englishman, Matthew Fitzpatrick, who had just been honored with the low amateur award for the tournament. I've been a fan of Fitzpatrick since that day and he's done pretty well for himself in the years following.

Fast forward to this week. Fitzpatrick tweeted out that he'd do a quick Q&A while waiting to board his flight. I got in on the action and asked him what was his favorite golf course to play at. His response was Harbour Town in South Carolina which, coincidentally, just held a PGA event last week.
It may not seem like a big deal but it is to me when people in a position like celebs, or pro athletes take time out of their busy lives to interact with their fans. Thanks, Matt!

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