nytimes

A ‘Hamilton’ Star Is to Replace Josh Groban in ‘Great Comet’ (NYT) [x]:

[…] Okieriete Onaodowan, who played Hercules Mulligan and James Madison in the original Broadway cast of “Hamilton,” will succeed the pop singer Josh Groban as Pierre this summer in the musical “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.”

The casting choice is striking. It reflects a bet by Broadway that “Hamilton” alumni have ongoing, bankable box-office appeal (another member of the original “Hamilton” cast, Phillipa Soo, will star in an adaptation of “Amélie” opening in April). And it is the rare instance in which two black actors are leading the cast of a show that is not about black characters: Mr. Onaodowan will star opposite Denée Benton as Natasha.

Mr. Onaodowan, a son of Nigerian immigrants who was raised in New Jersey and took up acting when an injury ended his high school football career, will assume the role on July 3, the day after Mr. Groban’s departure, and has committed to staying until Sept. 4. The musical, set in 19th-century Russia, is adapted from a section of “War and Peace” in which Pierre is a wealthy but dejected member of the Moscow elite. […]

Things I hope are gained from The NY Times article

  • Shipping is a healthy social behavior. It’s not creepy or a demonically homo erotic behavior. It’s something fans of shows, movies, music, etc. can use to express themselves.
  • Queer representation will maybe become more of a thing. The article stated how shippers of Wayhaught helped steer some of the creative decisions of the show. That is HUGE and hopefully other writers and producers take note *cough cough* CW *cough cough*
  • Fans are valid and valued. Let’s remember that while the shows are made just for entertainment and the actors and actresses have almost no control of content, the opinions of their fanbase is important.
  • And finally, as if you already didn’t know, Katie McGrath is queen and I would do anything for her and the fact that she was published in such a reputable media outlet with a quote stating that it’s ok that fans take what they want from the show is amazing.
nytimes.com
Lego Wants to Completely Remake Its Toy Bricks (Without Anyone Noticing)
The Danish toymaker has relied on oil-based plastics for over 50 years. It wants to give them up by 2030. Finding alternatives is a vast project.

A short walk away in its research lab, though, Lego is trying to refashion the product it is best known for: It wants to eliminate its dependence on petroleum-based plastics, and build its toys entirely from plant-based or recycled materials by 2030.

[…]

Lego emits about a million tons of carbon dioxide each year, about three-quarters of which comes from the raw materials that go into its factories…

[…]

The search for a substitute for petroleum-based plastic could yet take years of work…

Why Your Pharmacist Can’t Tell You That $20 Prescription Could Cost Only $8

WASHINGTON — As consumers face rapidly rising drug costs, states across the country are moving to block “gag clauses” that prohibit pharmacists from telling customers that they could save money by paying cash for prescription drugs rather than using their health insurance.

Many pharmacists have expressed frustration about such provisions in their contracts with the powerful companies that manage drug benefits for insurers and employers. The clauses force the pharmacists to remain silent as, for example, a consumer pays $125 under her insurance plan for an influenza drug that would have cost $100 if purchased with cash.

Much of the difference often goes to the drug benefit managers.

Federal and state officials say they share the pharmacists’ concerns, and they have started taking action. At least five states have adopted laws to make sure pharmacists can inform patients about less costly ways to obtain their medicines, and at least a dozen others are considering legislation to prohibit gag clauses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said that after meeting recently with a group of pharmacists in her state, she was “outraged” to learn about the gag orders.

“I can’t tell you how frustrated these pharmacists were that they were unable to give that information to their customers, who they knew were struggling to pay a high co-pay,” Ms. Collins said.

Alex M. Azar II, the new secretary of health and human services, who was a top executive at the drugmaker Eli Lilly for nearly 10 years, echoed that concern. “That shouldn’t be happening,” he said.

Pharmacy benefit managers say they hold down costs for consumers by negotiating prices with drug manufacturers and retail drugstores, but their practices have come under intense scrutiny.

The White House Council of Economic Advisers said in a report this month that large pharmacy benefit managers “exercise undue market power” and generate “outsized profits for themselves.”

Steven F. Moore, whose family owns Condo Pharmacy in Plattsburgh, N.Y., said the restrictions on pharmacists’ ability to discuss prices with patients were “incredibly frustrating.”

Mr. Moore offered this example of how the pricing works: A consumer filling a prescription for a drug to treat diabetes or high blood pressure may owe $20 if he uses insurance coverage. By contrast, a consumer paying cash might have to pay $8 to $15.

Mark Merritt, the president and chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, which represents benefit managers, said he agreed that consumers should pay the lower amount.

As for the use of gag clauses, he said: “It’s not condoned by the industry. We don’t defend it. It has occurred on rare occasions, but it’s an outlier practice that we oppose.”

However, Thomas E. Menighan, the chief executive of the American Pharmacists Association, said that such clauses were “not an outlier,” but instead a relatively common practice. Under many contracts, he said, “the pharmacist cannot volunteer the fact that a medicine is less expensive if you pay the cash price and we don’t run it through your health plan.”

[Source]

Phroyd