To Roger Huang, the infrastructure of one of the nation’s top business schools looks a lot like the global financial markets he has spent his career studying. On March 1, Huang shed the word “interim” in his title to take on responsibilities as the Martin J. Gillen Dean of the Mendoza College of Business, succeeding Carolyn Woo. A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 2000, Huang taught in the Finance department and specializes in international financial management and financial market microstructure. Huang said the interactions within a given financial marketplace are very similar to the educational transactions that take place daily in the College, except the participants trade teaching and learning instead of stocks and bonds. “The financial market microstructure involves the study of how participants in financial markets of all kinds interact to transact with one another,” Huang said. “It has to do with questions like what are the trading costs, what structure would promote these transactions [and] what are the rules and regulations that are needed for a fair and orderly market.” Huang studied the international market system for his doctorate at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and he said he sees the parallels between the market participants and the people involved in the educational system. “In fact, [the financial market microstructure] has a lot of relevance to what I’m doing today as dean in the sense that you talk about processes, about rules, protocols, best practices, operating rules and incentives,” Huang said. “We have multiple marketplace participants here, interactions between students and teachers, between staff and alumni and benefactors and supporters. “Of course, we are not transacting currencies or bonds and stocks, but here we are partaking in the learning process and how to best support the education process for our students.” Before coming to Notre Dame, Huang taught at Vanderbilt University, the University of Florida, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University. He said as a Catholic, Notre Dame has “a special place in [his] heart” and a connection with Woo first brought him to the University. “Carolyn Woo and I both came to the United States from Hong Kong in the same year, we both graduated from Purdue in the same year with our bachelor’s degrees,” Huang said. “We parted ways for awhile [after Purdue] and then Notre Dame brought us back together.” Huang said he was invited to give a seminar at Notre Dame, and when offered the chance to join the faculty, “it didn’t take much” to persuade him. Bloomberg Businessweek has ranked Mendoza’s undergraduate program as the nation’s number one for three consecutive years and the MBA program ranked 20th overall in their system. Huang said these numbers are not the foundation of the College’s identity, though, and Mendoza’s defining goal is to share the idea of commerce as service to mankind. “The vision or mission that was given to us by our founder [Cardinal John O’Hara] in 1921 is to make the world a better place,” he said. “When we teach our students, it’s not just about learning the tools of the trade, so to speak, but also how to use them properly for the benefit of society.” While other universities might express similar aims for their programs, Huang said Notre Dame is unique in its consistent commitment to this vision. “From the time we were founded until now, we have never wavered from our vision. It’s not a fashion thing for us,” Huang said. “Other schools have made this a calling card since, say, after 2008, saying they’re about business for good, … but we have been doing it long before it was fashionable, and we will do it when one day the other schools might abandon it.” During his time as interim dean, Huang finalized a partnership between Mendoza and Renmin University in Beijing, China, to train Chinese graduate students pursuing careers with nonprofit organizations. This partnership, part of Mendoza’s unique Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA) program, will begin next year to bring students from Renmin to Notre Dame to complete a dual degree program. “In Mendoza, we have a competitive advantage in our Master of Nonprofit Administration program and we are very proud of the program,” Huang said. “It’s one of a very few that are housed within business schools in the United States, which is very important. Nonprofit organizations need to be profitable in order to be sustainable, hence the need to be able to understand business, so it is crucial to be housed in the business school.” Huang said the pilot program will be small at first, but Mendoza hopes to eventually accommodate between 12 and 20 students. “China nowadays is experiencing a huge growth in nonprofit organizations, and all the people over there need to have some training in nonprofit administration,” he said. “This program will enable them to participate in that quest.” Mendoza’s elite reputation among the nation’s business schools is exciting, Huang said, and he plans to leverage it to share O’Hara’s vision and give students an opportunity to make a difference in the business world. “I hope we share [with our students] a Notre Dame brand of business education that will give them not only the tools to change the world, but hopefully also the commitment to changing the world,” he said. “They can make the world a better place to live in with those tools, and that’s exactly the hope I have for them.”
Notre Dame community members have the opportunity to make a Michiana-area child’s wish come true by attending Make a Wish Notre Dame’s first annual Variety Show on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Carey Auditorium. All proceeds from the event’s $10 admission charge will go to fulfilling the patient’s wish.Editor’s note: Sophomore Megan Crowley, one of the organizers of the event, spoke to The Observer with the assistance of her nurse, KC Buder, who is quoted below.“The event is specifically to raise money for Make a Wish, so every dollar they raise goes directly to Make a Wish, not to the club,” Buder said. “All of the money that they’re raising at this event and all the events they’ve had … will go to a wish for a kid.”The inspiration for the Variety Show came from a desire to engage students across Notre Dame’s campus, Buder said.“They originally wanted to do a gala, but it was a lot of work,” Buder said. “A variety show could include more students. They wanted to make the club a lot more well-known on campus, so by including a lot of acts from different students around campus, that could help them spread the word about Make a Wish.”Make a Wish is a national organization with the goal of “[granting] the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experiment with hope, strength and joy,” according to the nonprofit’s website. The Make a Wish Notre Dame club seeks to do so on a smaller scale by raising money to help fulfill these wishes.The show will feature about 12 acts, including Irish Dance, Harmonia, the Notre Dame Student Standups, Humor Artists, junior musician Kieran Kelly, the Notre Dame Dance Company and an original Keenan Revue skit by residents of Keenan Hall. Crowley said she is most excited to see the Keenan Revue act. Since the sketch is being written exclusively for the Variety Show, even the organizers will not see it before the event, she said.This year is Make a Wish Notre Dame’s first year as a full club on campus after being a probationary club as a newly proposed organization last year. This variety show being one of the club’s first official events makes the event especially exciting for the club members, Buder said.“This will be their first real, big event,” she said. “It’s going to be really fun, entertaining and exciting to see it come to life because they’ve been working on it all semester.”The club’s goal for this year is to raise money for one Wish kid, Buder said. Since the club must wait for the Make a Wish chapter of Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky to let them know which wishes are available for fulfillment, the club members did not know the specifics of the Wish they were fulfilling until the middle of the year, and will not have any specific information about their next Wish kid until well after Friday’s event.“They try to aim for a Wish kid to be from the area, whether it be Notre Dame, Mishawka [or] South Bend,” she said. “They try to make it more local.”Make a Wish Notre Dame hosted a Superhero 5k run last semester, as well as a concession stand during a football weekend to raise money for wishes. Crowley said the club is also organizing a fundraiser to host at Commencement.Tags: Make a Wish, Make a Wish Notre Dame, variety show
Observer File Photo Former Irish head coach Ara Parseghian reacts to a play from the sidelines during Notre Dame’s undefeated championship season in 1973. Parseghian died at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday at his home in Granger, Indiana, according to the release.University President Fr. John Jenkins said Parseghian’s legacy as a legendary coach and mentor will remain at Notre Dame.“Notre Dame mourns the loss of a legendary football coach, a beloved member of the Notre Dame family and good man – Ara Parseghian,” Jenkins said in the release. “Among his many accomplishments, we will remember him above all as a teacher, leader and mentor who brought out the very best in his players, on and off the field.”In Parseghian’s 11 seasons at Notre Dame, he led the football program to a 95-17-4 record, and won two National Championships in 1966 and 1973. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980.Notre Dame director of athletics Jack Swarbrick was a student at the University during three of Parseghian’s seasons.“As a student, I enjoyed the thrill of being on campus for Ara’s last three years as head coach, including the 1973 championship, and saw firsthand the profound impact that he had on my classmates who played for him,” Swarbrick said in the release. “When I returned many years later as athletics director, Ara was unfailingly generous with his time, and his counsel proved to be invaluable.”Notre Dame football head coach Brian Kelly said Parseghian was a “remarkable man.”“We come across thousands and thousands of people throughout our lives, and most of the time, they come and go, but there are certain people from the moment you meet them, you realize they’re truly unique,” Kelly said in a tweet from Fighting Irish Athletics. “That’s Ara. His wit, his charm, his patience, his kindness, his foresight and his humility truly define him.”Friend and fellow former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz echoed Kelly, saying “we have lost one of the most remarkable men I have ever known.”“He was a role model for me in every facet of life, as a husband, father, coach, businessman and genuine friend,” Holtz said in a tweet from Fighting Irish Athletics. Observer File Photo Former Irish head coach Ara Parseghian is carried by his players on to the field following Notre Dame’s 23-14 win over USC on Oct. 27, 1973. Parseghian compiled a record of 95-17-4 over his 11 seasons at Notre Dame.One of Parseghian’s players from the 1966 title team Alan Page said the “world needs more people like Ara Parseghian.”“Ara was an exceptional human being, in both his professional life and his private life,” Page said in a tweet from Fighting Irish Athletics. “I learned a great deal from him about discipline and keeping focused on the task at hand.”Jenkins also said he remembered Parseghian’s work with the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation, which Parseghian started in 1994 to search for a cure for Niemann-Pick Type C Disease (NPC) after three of his grandchildren died from the illness.“He continued to demonstrate that leadership by raising millions of research dollars seeking a cure for the terrible disease that took the lives of three of his grandchildren,” Jenkins said in the release.The foundation raised more than $45 million in funding to research a cure for the disease, according to the release. After forming a partnership with the foundation in 2010, the University created the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund and “moved the administrative functions and granting process of the foundation” to Notre Dame in May 2016, the press release said.“Whenever we asked for Ara’s help at Notre Dame, he was there,” Jenkins said in the release. “My prayers are with Katie, his family and many friends as we mourn his passing and celebrate a life that was so well lived.”Parseghian received an honorary degree from the University at the 1997 Commencement ceremony. According to the press release, funeral arrangements are pending, and contributions can be made to the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund at Notre Dame in lieu of flowers.In another University press release, Notre Dame announced Wednesday that the University will hold a Mass for the Feast of the Transfiguration and in memory of Ara Parseghian on Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. According to the release, Jenkins will preside at the Mass, which will be followed by a memorial celebration in Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. The release said former players, colleagues and family members will speak at the memorial, which is open to the public along with the Mass.Tags: Ara Parseghian, Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foudation, Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund, coach, football Former Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian died Wednesday morning, according to a University press release. He was 94.
Editor’s note: This is the first story in a four-part series examining the effects of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and its potential repeal at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s. Today’s story focuses on a Notre Dame alumnus’s experience as an undocumented student at the University.Cesar Estrada, a member of the class of 2017, has called a number of places home. Born in Manzanillo, Mexico, Estrada migrated to the U.S. when he was 8 years old and grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He then called Notre Dame his home for four years, graduating after double majoring in political science and theology and caring a supplementary major in Latino studies. Now, Estrada works just a few paces from the congested intersection of Broadway and Canal in New York City as a trial paralegal in the New York District Attorney’s Office.Having lived in so many regions of the U.S., Estrada at various points in his life could call himself a Southerner, a Midwesterner and, most recently, a New Englander. As of about a year ago, he officially added another title to his growing list — an American citizen. “I migrated when I was 8 years old, in July of 2003,” Estrada said. “I came here with my mom and my brother, and I had an aunt who was living in the U.S. at the time.”Estrada said his mom brought his brother and him into the U.S. to escape danger in Mexico and a government that would do little protect them. He said his mom came in using a tourist visa, while he and his brother entered illegally. They then lived in a Hispanic neighborhood in Dallas. “School itself wasn’t much of a shock because all my teachers and classmates spoke Spanish and my community was mostly Mexican-Hispanic. … It was an immigrant-family environment,” Estrada said. “The hard transition, though, was the lifestyle change.“We couldn’t go to the movies, or go to the mall, or go shopping. Being undocumented does confine you to a certain space, usually your home, most of the time. Just because you’re trying to keep a low-profile.”On Sept. 8, 2016, 13 years after Estrada initially came into the U.S., Estrada finally gained his citizenship — through a slight technicality, he said.“Because my mom came in with a tourist visa, even though I came in illegally, my mom didn’t technically come in illegally, she just overstayed her visa,” he said. “Because I was a minor when I came in, I was pardoned for that, and since [my] parents had legal status, I could derive [it] from my parents.”As a punishment for overstaying her tourist visa, Estrada’s mom had to go back to Mexico for a period of time. When she came back, she married Estrada’s stepdad, an American citizen, and derived legal permanent residency, which carried over to Estrada.Estrada said many of the recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a policy that allows individuals who entered the country illegally as minors to receive a two-year period of deferred action from deportation and permit them the opportunity to work, are children of parents that came in illegally. Estrada said he could have very well been a recipient of DACA if it was not for the stroke of luck that his mom came in through a tourist visa.“It’s not like my mom knew,” he said. “It’s not like you decide beforehand how the way you enter is going to affect your future. It’s something that I’ve thought about a lot, just that it is incredible luck. Providence even — that for whatever reason, because of a technicality, I wasn’t a recipient of DACA.“I think about it all the time, thinking something could have changed. There really wasn’t any difference between me and undocumented immigrants in my community.”During his time at Notre Dame, Estrada’s interest in immigration grew through his classes and a Summer Service Learning Project (SSLP) through the Center for Social Concerns. Through his SSLP, he worked at a homeless shelter with the undocumented population in El Paso, Texas. “After that, I dropped my science major, picked up political science. Decided I wanted to be a lawyer that summer,” he said. “Because it really focused on the Catholic perspective on immigration, it also helped me declare a theology major.”Estrada said it was during his freshman year that Notre Dame announced they would begin admitting undocumented students the following year. In regards to the recent news that DACA would be rescinded, Estrada said he fears it will force the 800,000 recipients back into isolation and fear.“I do have some friends that are affected by this,” he said. “Rescinding DACA won’t get rid of 12 million people, but I think it makes it a lot more difficult for immigrants, the Hispanic community and other marginalized communities to be able to trust in the government.”In regards to University President Fr. John Jenkins’ recent statement on DACA, Estrada said he hopes the University follows through with it.“I think it’s the right position for the school to have, it’s the right position for the Church to have and I really hope that if DACA is rescinded, that Father Jenkins will go through with what he said and prove that it wasn’t just a meaningless statement, but rather, show Notre Dame’s support for the undocumented population nationwide,” Estrada said.Growing up, Estrada said he was told to exercise caution by his mother, who was afraid of what the law would do to him for being undocumented.“You lived a very precarious life,” he said. “I knew something was wrong because my mom always said, ‘Don’t tell anyone you don’t have papers.’”Now, Estrada sits at the other side, not fearing the law, but working for it as a trial paralegal helping collect evidence and draft subpoenas for cases.“I think because of my past and my immigration story, I want to be a lawyer,” Estrada said. “Notre Dame, through the SSLP and my theology major in particular, they basically did help me realize that what I want to do is work with the immigrant community because I am part of it.”Tags: alumnus, DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Immigration
Senior FTT major Zoë Usowski will present the original theatrical production “Dymphna,” which tells the story of a 1930s mental ward nurse struggling with issues of morality, for the first time Friday evening in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center as part of her senior thesis.Usowski said she first proposed the idea behind “Dymphna” because she wanted to call attention to issues of mental health and its treatment throughout history.“I really wanted to highlight things I felt were missing in theater,” Usowski said.Usowski began working on “Dymphna” in February of last year while in a playwriting class taught by associate professor of Film, Television and Theatre Anne García-Romero, who later became her spring thesis advisor. Usowski said she found the playwriting process intense but rewarding.“We spent two months just talking about characters and what I wanted from them, and their voices and how they exist in the world,” Usowski said. “I think I wrote the entire first act in one day. I just sat in Starbucks and typed.”Usowski said she also made a deliberate choice to have “young, college-aged women at the forefront of the play,” feeling it important to create female characters who deal with issues other than romantic relationships.Senior Teagan Earley, the actress who plays the protagonist, said she appreciated the complexity of her character.“She is young, only 21, and new to the psych ward, and she wants so badly to make a difference in these people’s lives,” Earley said.Earley’s character also deals with personal issues outside the psych ward, struggling to establish herself as a successful nurse to avoid being forced to quit once she gets married.While the project is labeled a creative thesis, Usowski said the research component actually took up most of her time.“I wanted it to be grounded in realism, so that meant I needed to do research,” Usowski said. “I found handbooks in the library that were given to asylum workers in the early 1940s, and I read over those to see the language they used. They used terms like ‘moron’ that we no longer use in defining their patients. I had a whole stack of books in my room.”“The challenge in writing a play based on a particular time period is balancing research with writing,” García-Romero echoed.Usowski was in charge of all the writing, directing and design for the play. The cast and crew is small — the performance will feature five character actors and a sixth actor reading stage directions, she said. “Dymphna” will also feature visual elements inspired by Usowksi’s research.“At the performance, there will be boards featuring photos taken at asylums at the time,” Usowski said. “It’s really saddening to look at them — they’re really cramped situations, often alone.”Despite the play’s challenging subject, Earley said she found the process of acting and rehearsing enjoyable.“The cast and creatives were incredible to work with,” Earley said. “It’s so exciting knowing you get to be part of telling an important story for the first time.”Overall, Usowski said she hopes the project promotes awareness of mental health issues at Notre Dame.“Mental health care at ND can be pushed farther than its current iteration, so I just wanted to really humanize it — to make it present at the forefront of people’s minds,” Usowski said.García-Romero agreed with Usowski and she said she hopes Notre Dame students will attend the performance to learn about the issues Usowski hopes to highlight.“Mental health awareness is an issue that is crucial for our campus and our country,” García-Romero said.“Dymphna” will premiere Friday at 7:00 p.m. in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC). Tickets can be purchased either at the box office in DPAC or at performingarts.nd.eduTags: Department of Film Television and Theatre, Mental health, Playwright
Natalie Weber | The Observer Students gathered at the grand opening for Pizza Pi on Friday.According to its website, Pizza Pi will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight Wednesdays and Thursdays. On Fridays and Saturdays, it will stay open until 2 a.m. and on Sundays, it will operate between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. On Mondays and Tuesdays, the restaurant will be closed.Campus Dining hosted an evening of games, music and giveaways Friday to celebrate the opening of Pizza Pi. Serving hand-crafted pizzas, piadinas and salads, the restaurant also features a bar, which will be open during the evenings on weekends.“For a lot of our students last year, they weren’t able to see this after we closed Reckers,” director of Campus Dining Chris Abayasinghe said. “So, we just felt, especially with the first weekend back, that we’d also tie this in. So maybe seniors can come here and enjoy their pizza and those of age can enjoy their beverage of choice and then maybe go to Flick on the Field and kind of have a very wholesome experience.”During roughly the first hour of the event, about 50 students stopped by, senior Katie McGuire, a Campus Dining brand ambassador, said.After about the first hour of the event, juniors Auna Walton and Jordan Brown came to Pizza Pi with a group of friends to try the food.Between bites of a ‘Perfect Pesto’ pizza, Brown admired the design of the restaurant, whose new booths, tables and redecorated walls come in a grey, black and navy color scheme.“The interior’s real nice,” she said. “It has a more modern [look].”Walton, who ordered a pepperoni pizza, was also happy with her experience at the restaurant.“I got my food quicker now than I did in Reckers,” she said.Mesecar, who came to the restaurant with juniors Mary Treacy and Michelle Tapp, thought the quality of food was better at Pizza Pi than its predecessor, but said the new restaurant was on the pricier side of campus food joints.“A lot of the dining options we have on campus are in a higher-tier price range, with the exception of Taco Bell and Subway,” she said. “I think Reckers was also a little bit more homey. This feels a lot more restaurant-y which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but you might not get as many students coming in here to do homework.”Sophomore MJ Haak said while he was not happy when Campus Dining decided to close Reckers, he was impressed by Pizza Pi. He added that he hopes the new restaurant will fill the void of the old food joint, which was known for its late hours, even after it announced it would no longer be open 24/7.“That was definitely the nicest thing about Reckers, that no matter when, you could always go there and get a snack,” Haak said. “So I hope this place provides that same kind of service.”Tags: Campus DIning, pizza pi, Reckers When Monica Mesecar heard there was a new pizza restaurant opening on campus, she was a little skeptical. But after the junior tried a ‘White’ pizza during the grand opening of Pizza Pi on Friday, she was sold.“I originally wasn’t sure because we already have so many options for pizza on campus but they have some different ones,” she said. “I do like ‘White’ pizza and unless I go over to Blaze on Eddy Street, I can’t get one of them.”
University President Fr. John Jenkins released an apology statement in an email to the Notre Dame community Monday for his actions which appeared to violate University health safety protocols Saturday at the White House, during the nomination ceremony of Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett.A video which circulated on social media showed Jenkins in the Rose Garden not wearing a mask and shaking hands with a number of individuals. Courtesy of WSBT University President Fr. John Jenkins maskless at the White House Rose Garden during Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination.Jenkins said in the email once he arrived at the White House, a medical professional obtained a nasal swab for a rapid COVID-19 test from him in an exam room.“I was then directed to a room with others, all fully masked, until we were notified that we had all tested negative and were told that it was safe to remove our masks,” Jenkins said.Rapid antigen tests are not fully accurate, however — as many as 50% of rapid tests can produce a false negative result for COVID-19.Jenkins said he was seated with other attendees in the Rose Garden who had also undergone the same testing procedures. Marcus Cole, dean of the Notre Dame Law School, was seated next to Jenkins and appeared to be wearing a mask.Vice president for public affairs and communications Paul Browne previously said in a statement every guest was tested by nasal swab prior to entering the ceremony.However, according to a Saturday report from CNN, “Two of Barrett’s colleagues at Notre Dame, who attended the Rose Garden event and were seated toward the front of the audience, said they were not tested for the virus by the White House.”Jenkins apologized for not wearing a mask and shaking hands with others in the Rose Garden.“I failed to lead by example, at a time when I’ve asked everyone else in the Notre Dame community to do so,” Jenkins said. “I especially regret my mistake in light of the sacrifices made on a daily basis by many, particularly our students, in adjusting their lives to observe our health protocols.”Jenkins said he consulted the Notre Dame Wellness Center after returning to campus and was advised to monitor his health for any COVID-19 symptoms.“In an abundance of caution, I have decided also to quarantine in accordance with University protocols,” Jenkins said.Tags: Amy Coney Barrett, COVID-19, University President Father John Jenkins
Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Photo: PixnioWASHINGTON – The Food and Drug Administration is authorizing the use of a decontamination system for N-95 Respirators.Those are devices healthcare workers can use to protect themselves against the novel Coronavirus.The FDA says more than 6,000 hospitals already have the decontamination system produced by advanced sterilization products. In total, they could clean about 4 million respirators per day.This is the third such emergency authorization from the FDA this year.
Legendary actor, comedian, author and perennial Oscar host Billy Crystal’s one-man show 700 Sundays, which was filmed at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre last month, will premiere April 19 on HBO. The Tony-winning show, which opened on November 13, 2013 for a return Broadway engagement, ended its blockbuster run on January 5. 700 Sundays is Crystal’s sixth HBO solo special. Star Files Billy Crystal View Comments Directed by Tony winner Des McAnuff and performed and written by Crystal (with additional material by Alan Zweibel), 700 Sundays takes an autobiographical look at the actor and perennial Oscar host’s life and the people and events that shaped him. Crystal’s dad, who died when the comedian was just 15, worked two or three jobs, leaving only “700 Sundays” for them to spend together. The solo show deals with Crystal’s youth, growing up in the jazz world of Manhattan, his teenage years, and finally adulthood. 700 Sundays originally opened in 2004 at the Broadhurst Theatre and ran for 163 performances. The show broke the house record for highest weekly gross at the Broadhurst Theatre in its opening week, and continued to top its own record in subsequent weeks. 700 Sundays won the 2005 Tony Award for Special Theatrical Experience.
The Force Might Be with Matthew James Thomas It looks like J.J. Abrams is eyeing Pippin star Matthew James Thomas for a Jedi role in the next Star Wars movie. Thomas is under consideration along with Ed Speelers, John Boyega, Jesse Piemons and Ray Fisher to fight already-cast bad guy Adam Driver in Star Wars: Episode VII. Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. More Stars Are Gonna Go Backwards Broadway faves Norm Lewis, Roger Rees, Julie White, Rachel York, Andy Kelso, Jose Llana and Kyle Dean Massey have joined the glittering roster of stars participating in Broadway Backwards benefit on March 24 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. Going Backwards has never felt so sure-footed. Judy Kaye Will Lead the Mission Two-time Tony winner Judy Kaye is replacing Jane Houdyshell as the intimidating General Matilda B. Cartwright in the upcoming one-night-only concert of Guys and Dolls at Carnegie Hall. Directed by Jack O’Brien, the concert stars Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally, Patrick Wilson and Sierra Boggess on April 3. View Comments