Saturday, December 30, 2017

THE LIST: Eighteen People To Watch in 2018

There are lots of people that bear watching in the new year.
And there are some people you might want to watch barely and others you might be longing to watch bare.
But we'll forgo all of that for a moment and talk about 18 people to keep your eye on in 2018 -- some for all the right reasons and some because you should be very, very wary of them.

In alphabetical order, here they are:

Lauren Ambrose
Never heard of her? You will. When Lincoln Center brings My Fair Lady back to Broadway this spring (for the first time in 25 years) she'll be the new Eliza Doolittle. She's got some Very Big Shoes to fill and we're wishing her the best.

Roseanne Barr and John Goodman
It's been 20 years since the original, iconic Roseanne sitcom but the whole family (see photo, above) will return to ABC in March for a new Roseanne series. Nine episodes just wrapped for this widely-anticipated show and it's rumored Roseanne will skew populist/right with a Trumpian hue. Stay tuned!

Cory Booker
The senator as poseur is twitterized, facebooked and instagrammed to the nines. But don't look for much beyond that from one of the slipperiest characters in Newark, Washington or endless points beyond. Pay attention, lest he socialize you into a dumbfounded stupor.

Tom Cotton
This bright, articulate, reliably conservative senator from Arkansas is really making his mark both inside and outside the beltway. The youngest member of the U. S. Senate he's a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School and a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq. He's the Real Deal!

Ansel Elgort
One of the most talented newcomers on the horizon today. He's an actor, singer, DJ and model who recently won plaudits for his role in the action thriller Baby Driver. He's already been nominated for a Golden Globe best actor award and we're looking for lots more from him in the year ahead.

Nick Foles
When the understudy goes on for the star, anything can happen. In the biggest hard luck town in sports, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles faces the challenge of his life. Can he bring the birds to the Super Bowl and make them soar? The clock is ticking . . . .

Trey Gowdy
Is there ever a reason not to watch this smart, super savvy Congressman from South Carolina? A tough former prosecutor and fearless inquisitor, Gowdy comes across as that scrappy, pugnacious kid who who was always one step ahead of you in grammar school.

Nkki Haley
What a year our redoubtable UN Ambassador has had! Haley has proven herself to be a rapid fire learner and a formidable presence on the world stage. And she manages to do it all while being a genuine patriot. What's next, Secretary of State? POTUS, someday? The sky's the limit!

Kamala Harris
The senator from California is building support for a 2020 presidential run. Hey, we all know the Dems aren't gonna run a white male for the Top Spot anytime soon, right? And Harris has been called the "female Barack Obama". Remember, that's supposed to be a compliment. So, expect to see and hear a lot from her in the coming year.

Tom MacArthur
A bright, shining GOP star, this courageous congressman is carving out a significant place for himself nationally. At home, he stands alone in speaking the truth about health care, taxes, jobs, the role of our military, the economy and other important issues. He faces a tough re-election battle next year but we're betting on a big, media-defying WIN!

Do we even have to say his first name? Do we? This self-righteous lawman sees himself as a champion of justice and an indefatigable righter of wrongs. But he comes pot-marked with erroneous zones and a sloppy trail left by cohorts who can't seem to shoot straight. Which is to say he's not as young, as sharp or as fair as he was once thought to be.

Phil Murphy
Watch him -- but watch your wallet, too. In fact, keep one eye on him and one eye on your pocketbook. He's got big plans for your money and hardly any of it actually inures to your benefit. And, by the time you notice that your pockets are empty, he plans to be out the back door and onto the national stage. Beware!

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
So, here's the guy with the hopelessly abbreviated first name and his friend with the first name as last name. Yes, Pasek and Paul are the most talented songwriters on the planet right now. They've already done the music for Dear Evan Hansen, La La Land and A Christmas Story. In a wink, they've scooped up a Tony an Oscar and a Golden Globe and now they're out with The Greatest Showman. Whew!

Bernadette Peters
Born Bernadette Lazzara, she's a certifiable, multi-megawatt Broadway diva who can play any role, sing like an angel and dazzle you with her irrepressible charm and swoon-worthy figure. Now, she steps into the title role of Hello, Dolly! Can she match Bette Midler who played the same role to capacity houses every night for a year? We're about to find out.

Saorise Ronan
The first name is pronounced SUR-she and she's one of the hottest actresses on the silver screen right now. She garnered an Oscar nomination for playing a homesick Irish girl in 1950s New York in the drama Brooklyn and she's attracting plaudits and renewed Oscar buzz for her portrayal of a restless high school senior in the coming-of-age film Lady Bird. Forget Meryl Streep. Tomorrow is spelled S-a-o-r-i-s-e.

Steve Sweeney
This big, burly iron worker from SoutJoizee may be the state's last hope to stop the runaway tax 'n spend spree that Phil Murphy has in mind. Sweeney has already conquered the powerful state teachers' union and he's the closest thing the majority state Democrats have to a common-sense centrist. Will he step up or cop out?

And here's one more just for good measure: Tim Scott
What is it about South Carolina that produces so many great GOP leaders? Senator Tim Scott is right up there at the top of the heap and he won plaudits this year for his outstanding work on the Trump tax bill. Indeed, he was singled out by the president himself. Look for Scott to play an increasingly big role going forward.

And more to watch: Up 'n coming White House advisors Stephen Miller and Johnny DeStefano; New Jersey State Senator Joe Pennacchio (he may challenge US Sen. Bob Menendez); red hot journalist Ronan Farrow; movie actor Alden Ehrenreich; actress, playwright, screenwriter and director Greta Gerwig; NFL quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo; rising country singing sensation Scotty McCreery and Montgomery County (PA) conservative champ Joe Gale.

Happy New Year, everybody!

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