Mike Bennett, a photographer who spent nearly 40 years capturing major moments in Notre Dame athletics history, died Monday after a short battle with cancer, according to a University press release published Tuesday. He was 69 years old.Bennett was a ubiquitous presence at University sporting events, the release said. Photo courtesy of Zach Zeller University athletics photographer Mike Bennett died Monday after a short battle with cancer.“Often armed with multiple cameras and brightly colored shirt-and-tie combinations, Bennett had a warm smile and positive demeanor that made him a beloved figure among student-athletes, coaches and anyone who spent enough time around the Irish program,” the release said.A native of South Bend, Bennett aspired to photograph Notre Dame athletics since a young age and started working in photography in 1974, according to the release. He photographed his first Notre Dame football game in 1982.Since 1986, the company Bennett founded, Lighthouse Images, has “furnished a large majority of Notre Dame athletics’ photography needs,” the release said.Athletics director Jack Swarbrick saluted Bennett’s service to the University, saying the photographer brought a spirit of optimism to everything he did.“Mike Bennett made everything and everyone he touched better — the natural consequence of his uncompromising professionalism and unfailingly positive personality,” Swarbrick said in the release. “Mike’s smile and his willingness to help both were ever-present. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him, but his memory, his impact and the images he captured will remain part of the fabric of Notre Dame Athletics for years to come.”Many current Notre Dame athletics officials, including head football coach Brian Kelly, head women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw and men’s head basketball coach Mike Brey paid tribute to Bennett.“Mike’s impact on people went beyond Notre Dame and our football program,” Kelly said in the release. “He was always willing to lend a hand to the Kelly Cares Foundation and so many other organizations over the years, asking for nothing in return. He was always there to tell a story, which he did through pictures. Paqui and I will miss him greatly, as will the Notre Dame family.”McGraw said Bennett was present for all of her team’s big moments over the years, including two national championships in 2001 and 2018.“I can’t think of a celebration that we have had at Notre Dame in which Mike Bennett wasn’t a part of. He was there for every big moment, from the start of our season with the team photo, all the way to the Final Four,” McGraw said in the release.Bennett wasn’t just the team photographer, McGraw said.“He was always so much more than a photographer to us — he was a part of our women’s basketball family,” she said. “Whenever I think of him it brings a smile to my face. He will always be a part of us and we will treasure his memory every time we see one of his iconic photos.”Brey said Bennett always stood out among the photographers covering a particular event.“After games or at athletic department events, there can be a number of different photographers taking photos, but I always knew to look for Mike and his lens,” Brey said in the release. “He was such a class act.”Bennett married his wife Sue in 1975, and the couple has three daughters.In 2003, the release said, Bennett was presented with an honorary monogram jacket. In a note written the next day, the photographer reflected on his work and expressed a hope that he was contributing, at least in a small way, to the ethos of the University.“I have had the honor and privilege to capture many Notre Dame moments over the past 20 years,” Bennett wrote. “… But Notre Dame has done so much more for me than I could ever do for Her — the roar of the football stadium, the quietness of the Grotto and the friendships. It’s amazing, only at Notre Dame! So if I can capture a moment in time to bring back a memory or stir up an emotion, then I hope I am contributing a very small part to the Notre Dame Spirit, past, present and future.”Tags: Brian Kelly, Jack Swarbrick, Mike Bennett, Mike Brey, Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame Athletics, photography
Courtesy of Steve Toepp Andrew Koppelman, professor of law and political science at Northwestern University, discussed the conflict existing between gay rights and religious liberty.Koppelman began by posing a question.“Should religious people who conscientiously object to facilitating same-sex weddings and who therefore decline to provide cakes, photography or other services be exempted from anti-discrimination laws?” Koppelman said. “This issue has taken on an importance that’s far beyond the tiny number of wedding vendors who’ve made such claims. Each side’s position has become more unyielding.”Koppelman said though both sides of such conflicts regarded themselves as victims of one another, it is important they reach a compromise.“Most Americans would like to live in peace, and are willing to consider the possibility to accommodate other people’s perspectives and fears,” he said.LGBTQ and religious groups attack each other due to the lack of knowledge of the other side, Koppelman said.“In order to to achieve accommodation, the first step is to stop judging others characters from their perspectives,” Koppelman said. “No accommodation can be realized if you denounce others’ personality.”The second step is destigmatization, he said.“Contamination goes beyond discrimination which derogates one’s dignity and should be prohibited,” Koppelman said. “Then, we need to stop using very general principles to argue with each other. Sticking on principle does no good to reconciliation. We only care about principles because we care about people.”He said the right thing to do is to consider others’ interests and work out a solution agreed by all parties.Koppelman referenced the 2018 Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in which a cake shop refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The case evolved into a debate over whether or not the owners of public accommodations can refuse to provide services based on the right to free speech and free exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment. Similar cases have added to the controversy.Koppelman suggested there are many solutions for situations like these.“You can have the exception for small business or religious-orientated business, and make objections clear to public in advance,” he said.Moreover, religious freedom is all about tolerance of ideas, Koppelman said.“Both sexual minorities and religious conservatives want the space to leave out their beliefs and identities,” Koppelman said. “No side stands on moral fundamental, nor should they predicate the others’ life wrong and shouldn’t exist.”Based on this mutual tolerance, Koppelman said he believes in the very dignity, acceptance and equal treatment of LGBTQ groups, but he also believes “society should be a safe place where those who don’t conform to the major norms … can leave their life in peace and security.”While mutual education and tolerance could be a way to accommodate LGBTQ groups and religious conservatives, the more substantial reconciliation reflects on people who identify as LGBTQ and Catholic, he said.Greg Bourke, a Notre Dame alumnus who identifies as Catholic and gay, was one of the plaintiffs of Obergefell v. Hodges which guaranteed the right to marriage to same-sex couples in the United States.Bourke said he struggled with his faith and sex orientation in the ’70s.“I recognized that my sexual orientation was immutable but my faith was important as well,” Bourke said. “The only possibility to remain in the faith was not expressing my sexual orientation at all. I continued to practice my faith regularly but under the don’t-ask-don’t-tell circumstances.”He said he achieved reconciliation between his sexual orientation and faith after “painful deliberation” in 1976.“I was gay because that was the way that God created me, not because of any failing on my part,” he said. “If that was God’s work and intention, I had no business doubting or questioning that. I started to work to have people within the Church slowly change their opinions about LGBT people. I believe that over these 40 years that I have been openly gay and practicing my faith, opinions among Catholics have swung dramatically and that now most believe that LGBTQ people should not be discriminated against and should be fully included in Catholic Church.”Tags: First Amendment, free exercise of religion, Freedom of Speech, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Obergefell v. Hodges, religious liberty, same-sex marriage Andrew Koppelman, a professor of law and political science at Northwestern University, gave a talk dissecting the debate surrounding the conflict between gay rights and religious liberty in a lecture Thursday in Jenkins-Nanovic Halls. The lecture was sponsored by the Constitutional Studies Program and the Program on Church, State and Society at the Notre Dame Law School.
In a statement released Sunday, University President Fr. John Jenkins urged President Donald Trump to halt the remaining executions the Justice Department plans on undertaking in the next weeks.Jenkins specifically named Lisa Montgomery, who is scheduled to be executed Tuesday in Terre Haute, Indiana, and urged Trump to stop what he states is an “inhumane, unprecedented and unnecessary spree of executions.”In 2020, the Trump administration oversaw 10 federal executions, the highest number of federal executions seen in the United States in decades.Lisa Montgomery was convicted in 2004 for murdering 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant at the time. Montgomery strangled Stinnett, removed her baby and kidnapped the infant, leaving Stinnett to bleed to death.With a lifetime history of abuse, Montgomery’s legal team petitioned Trump to commute her life sentence on the basis of her unstable mental state.“The execution of Lisa Montgomery is particularly troubling and illustrates some of the many systemic failures in our system of capital punishment,” Jenkins said in his statement. “The victim of severe child abuse and sexual violence herself, Montgomery committed a crime so heinous and bizarre that it raises serious questions about her mental state.”Jenkins also questioned the inherent discrimination in the justice system.“In a system in which the poor are far more likely to be sentenced to the death penalty, there is serious doubt about the quality of the counsel [Montgomery] received from a public defense attorney,” Jenkins said. “Defendants charged with killing a white victim are far more likely to be executed than when the victim is Black.”Jenkins went on to point out the lack of evidence that threat of the death penalty deters individuals from committing crimes. In addition, he argued for the protection of all human life, a tenent of the Catholic Church.“The most fundamental objection to the death penalty, though, is that it undermines our commitment to the sanctity of all human life — healthy or infirm, talented or ordinary, good or bad,” Jenkins said. “Death row inmates have been convicted of some of the most awful crimes imaginable, yet even their lives do not lose that dignity.”Calling upon all people regardless of faith, Jenkins expressed his desire to end capital punishment not only in Indiana and the United States, but across the world.“To the extent that we accept the killing done by the state in our name, we are all complicitous, and we are all brutalized,” Jenkins said.Tags: capital punishment, Donald Trump, Fr. John Jenkins
View Comments The starry contemporary movie remake of Annie has released its first trailer. With Quvenzhane Wallis in the title role and Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan, we finally get a sneak peak at how the Will Gluck-directed film, produced by Will Smith and Jay Z, has taken several creative turns from the stage show. The re-imagining includes that of Oliver Warbucks’ character as a young mayoral candidate named Benjamin Stacks, played by Jamie Foxx. The rest of the cast features Rose Byrne as Grace, Stacks’ assistant, Bobby Cannavale as a tough political advisor and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Stacks’ lovable bodyguard Nash. Watch the trailer below but, warning: you won’t be able to get “It’s a hard knock life” or “Tomorrow” out of your head for the rest of the day!
Holler If Ya Hear Me View Comments Ready to holler this fine Tuesday morning? The cast of Broadway’s Holler If Ya Hear Me stopped by Good Morning America on July 8 to perform the number “California Love.” Directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon, the new musical, which is inspired by the work of Tupac Shakur, stars Tony winner Tonya Pinkins, award-winning slam poet Saul Williams and Christopher Jackson. Check out the high-octane performance below (although fair warning, you will have the song in your head for the rest of the day), then in person at the Palace Theatre! Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on July 20, 2014
Once your list is published, you can see the overall rankings of everyone on the aggregate list. Pick your favorites, then tune in for the results on the next episode of The Broadway.com Show! Broadway.com is nuts about Culturalist, the awesome site that lets you choose and rank your own top 10 lists. Every week, we’re challenging you with a new Broadway-themed topic to rank—we’ll announce the most popular choices on the new episode of The Broadway.com Show every Wednesday. STEP 2—RANK: Reorder your 10 choices by dragging them into the correct spot on your list. Click the “continue” button. STEP 1—SELECT: Visit Culturalist to see all of your options. Highlight your 10 favorites and click the “continue” button. Last week, we asked you to name the best Grammy-winning cast recording of all time. Although the list of winners contains lots of legendary albums, Broadway.com fans went contemporary and voted Wicked number one (you guys are so predictable). This week, in honor of the premiere of The Last Five Years movie on February 13, we’ve gotta know: Which song from the hit Jason Robert Brown musical is your favorite? Broadway.com Editor-in-Chief Paul Wontorek posted his list of top 10 picks here! STEP 3—PREVIEW: You will now see your complete top 10 list. If you like it, click the “publish” button. (If you don’t have a Culturalist account yet, you will be asked to create one at this point.) View Comments
View Comments Harry Melling in ‘Hand to God'(Photo: Tristram Kenton) Hand to God will close early in the West End. The Robert Askins play will play its last performance at London’s Vaudeville Theatre on April 30; it was originally scheduled to run through June 11. The production, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, opened officially on February 15.In Hand to God, the good children of Cypress, Texas, are taught to obey the Bible in order to evade Satan’s hand. But when students at the Christian Puppet Ministry put those teachings into practice, one devout young man’s puppet takes on a shocking personality that no one could have expected.The West End cast features Harry Potter alum Harry Mellling as Jason, Olivier winner Janie Dee as Margery, Neil Pearson as Patsor Greg, Jemima Rooper as Jessica and Kevin Mains as Timothy.The Broadway production concluded its run at the Booth Theatre earlier this year.
MJ Rodriguez View Comments MJ Rodriguez will return to the New York stage to appear in the previously announced Encores! Off-Center production of Runaways. Joining her are a handful of young actors—some Broadway and off-Broadway alums, along with newcomers found through an open call. Performances will run from July 6 through July 9 at New York City Center.Rodriguez, who played Angel in the off-Broadway revival of Rent and has since come out as transgender, recently shared on Facebook her experience of auditioning for Hamilton as a trans performer. “My goal was to just be seen as the woman I have beome, as well as show I can do the work,” she posted.The cast will also include Frenie Acoba (Matilda), Taylor Caldwell (School of Rock), Sophia Anne Caruso (Lazarus), Aidan Gemme (Finding Neverland), Matthew Gumley (The Addams Family), Sam Poon (The King and I), Jeremy Shinder (A Christmas Story), Ripley Sobo (Matilda) and Chris Sumpter (Matilda).Rounding out the company are Sumaya Bouhbal, Kenneth Cabral, Maxwell Cabral, Xavier Casimir, Joshua DeJesus, Adleesa Edwards, Reyna Guerra, Christina Jimenez, Kylie McNeill, Cele Pahucki, Siena Rafter, Claudia Ramirez, Ren, Deandre Sevon and Maxwell Vice.Runaways, created by the late Elizabeth Swados, premiered off-Broadway at the Public Theater before transferring to Broadway in 1978. The show assembled a team of creators and performers who were actual teen runaways and told their stories through songs and spoken work pieces.The Encores! Off-Center production will be directed by Sam Pinkleton and feature choreography by Ani Taj.Meet the new Runaways cast below!
View Comments Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Watch Fun Home’s Cast Say GoodbyeFun Home will be moving out of Circle in the Square on September 10 and the Broadway company recently got together for this special farewell video. Created by Perry Sherman to the Brooks & Dunn hit “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone,” check out Michael Cerveris (as a cheerleader, really), Beth Malone, Gabriella Pizzolo and the cast in action below. The Tony-winning tuner’s national tour will launch on October 2 at Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio. Get a Walk-On Role in WickedThink you’d nail a walk-on role in Wicked, Beautiful or Phantom? Want to own musical phrases handwritten and signed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Gloria Estefan or Carole King? Or maybe opening night tickets and party passes for Broadway’s hottest shows of the new season such as Hello, Dolly! and The Great Comet of 1812 are more your thing? Pre-bidding is now open on dozens of one-of-a-kind auction packages for the 30th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction. Presented by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the event will take place on September 25, from 10 AM to 7 PM in Shubert Alley, West 44th Street and West 45th Street. Take a look at auction items here.Drama League to Honor David Hyde PierceTony and Emmy winner David Hyde Pierce will be the honoree of the Drama League’s 33rd Annual Musical Celebration of Broadway on November 7. Celebrating the career of the soon-to-be Hello, Dolly! star, the benefit gala at the Big Apple’s swanky Plaza Hotel is set to feature a musical tribute from Broadway and Hollywood stars. We suspect it will be a case of putting on your Sunday clothes (at least!) for this one.Corey Stoll Has Plenty to Chat AboutCorey Stoll will begin performances off-Broadway in Plenty next month and the House of Cards alum stopped by Late Night with Seth Meyers on September 7 to talk his stage and screen work…as well as being “morbidly obese” in school. Stoll recently starred in Shakespeare in the Park’s Troilus and Cressida at the Delacorte Theatre, the “most magical place to perform in the world.” We look forward to having you back on the New York stage soon, Mr. Stoll! ‘Fun Home’
Good luck getting this Alan Manken and Glenn Slater score out of your head. A Bronx Tale, directed by Jerry Zaks and Robert De Niro (who helmed and starred in the original film), opens officially on December 1 at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre. The new musical features a book by Oscar nominee Chazz Palminteri.To commemorate the show’s big night, Broadway.com resident artist Justin “Squigs” Robertson penned this sketch of the cast. Featured in the portrait are Bobby Conte Thornton as Calogero, Nick Cordero as Sonny, Richard H. Blake as Lorenzo, Broadway.com vlogger Ariana DeBose as Jane, Lucia Giannetta as Rosina and Hudson Loverro as Young Calogero.Happy opening to the cast of A Bronx Tale. Here’s to being one of the great ones! About the Artist: With a desire to celebrate the magic of live theater and those who create it, and with a deep reverence for such touchstones as the work of Al Hirschfeld and the wall at Sardi’s, Squigs is happy and grateful to be among those carrying on the traditions where theater and caricature meet. He was born and raised in Oregon, lived in Los Angeles for quite a long time and now calls New York City his home. View Comments Related Shows A Bronx Tale © Justin “Squigs” Robertson Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 5, 2018