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Cher writing musical about her life; Jennifer Hudson joining 'Smash'
Entertainment news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy CIty Times..

This article shared 4945 times since Tue Jun 26, 2012
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Superstar Cher is writing a Broadway-bound musical about her life that will feature herself and two other actresses in the title role, noted. A young performer will portray the singer from before she met Sonny Bono through the Sonny & Cher years; a second will follow her solo career from 1977 through the 1999 Believe tour; and Cher herself will play a "wise" character looking back and communicating with the younger versions of herself. Cher has won Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Golden Globe awards—but has never snared a Tony.

Jennifer Hudson is joining the NBC musical drama Smash in its second season for a multiple-episode arc, according to the Chicago Tribune. Hudson will play Veronica Moore, a Tony Award-winning Broadway star who affects the lives of Karen (played by Katharine McPhee) and Ivy (played by Megan Hilty). Hudson won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Effie White in Dreamgirls, based on the hit musical.

There is more trouble for John Travolta, According to, former Royal Caribbean cruise-room attendant Fabian Zanzi has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that, in 2009, the Pulp Fiction actor stripped off a robe and pushed against him. Zanzi also claims that Travolta then offered him $12,000 to keep quiet. Zanzi is seeking unspecified damages for assault and battery as well as emotional distress.

Rumors are swirling about the sexuality of Jennifer Lopez's boyfriend, Casper Smart. According to, fellow dancer Joshua Lee Ayers has tweeted that Smart is gay and claims that Smart is using Lopez for fame and fortune. Ayers—who has collaborated with Smart in movies such as Step Up 3D—posted a photo showing Smart in a supposedly compromising position with men clad in only their underwear. Smart's spokesman denied the claim.

Abercrombie & Fitch model Benjamine Bowers is suing the retailer and modeling agent for $1 million, claiming he was forced to masturbate before a photo shoot, according to Reuters. Bowers claims he worked retail at an A&F store until the company's casting director referred him to a modeling agent in June 2011. At a photo shoot in Mississippi, Bowers claims the agent told him to strip and masturbate to look more relaxed; Bowers complied—and then the agent allegedly exposed himself as well, making comments about their genitalia.

Sir Elton John, Rihanna and Jay-Z were among the musicians who performed at the London 2012 Festival, a cultural celebration across Britain tied to the Summer Olympics that kicked off June 20. The festival—which runs through Sept. 9—includes 12,000 events and performances across the country in celebration of the Summer and Paralympic Games. Organizers say there will be 10 million tickets for events in such fields as film, music, theater, fashion, dance and art.

Simpsons creator Matt Groening is ending the gay-inclusive comic strip "Life in Hell"—his first claim to fame—as alternative newspapers' budgets dwindle, according to . The 1,669th and last "Life in Hell" installment went out June 15. The strip featured, among others, the characters Akbar and Jeff; when asked in 1995 if they were gay, Groening said, "Akbar and Jeff are either brothers or lovers—or both. Whatever offends you most, that's what they are." After pausing, he added, "Yeah, of course they're gay!"

The New York Times profiled the recent death of 30-year-old gay-porn star Erik Rhodes, who the publication said was "an unlikely celebrity in some New York social circles." The newspaper mentioned that Rhodes (real name: James Naughtin) spent time with designer Marc Jacobs and shot an ad campaign for Loehmann's. However, it also discussed Rhodes' steroid use, fights with boyfriends and his discovery that he was HIV-positive.

Frenchie Davis—who has competed on American Idol and The Voice—has come out of the closet, according to a item. Davis told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she's been dating a woman for the past year: "I wasn't out before the relationship, but I wasn't in. I dated men and women, though lesbians weren't feeling the bisexual thing. Now I'm in love with a woman I think I can be with forever." Of her gay fans, she said, "I love the gay boys. They have that awesome, masculine energy, but there's also something else going on as well."

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, singer Katy Perry said that she is launching a record label, according to the New York Post. However, Perry added that she wants her new business to help the musicians she signs to see the profits. She also weighs in on her split from ex-husband Russell Brand and even the Kim Kardashian-Kris Humphries marriage, saying, "I still believe in love and marriage. I've just learned lessons along the way. I regret nothing."

Glee is enlarging its guest-star roster—by adding an American Idol finalist. The show is negotiating with Jessica Sanchez, the runner-up from this past season, to appear in a multi-episode arc, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Sanchez would join Kate Hudson and Sarah Jessica Parker, who are slated to appear next season. Also, Glee will move from Tuesdays to Thursdays in September, pairing it with "Idol."

Speaking of guest stars, Kim Kardashian and Nancy Grace will return to the Lifetime series Drop Dead Diva for an episode scheduled to run in August, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Kardashian will reprise her role as relationship guru Nikki LePree and join Grace, who will play herself for the third time on the show. Cameron Mathison, who starred on the daytime soap All My Children, will join the pair on the series' 12th episode of the fourth season.

Anderson Cooper cut short his interview with the so-called "Human Barbie," telling the British plastic-surgery addict he thought she was "dreadful," the New York Daily News reported. "I honestly have nothing more to talk to you about. I've got to be honest," Cooper said on his syndicated daytime show Anderson, as his studio audience applauded loudly. "I just think you're dreadful and I honestly don't want to talk to you anymore." Sarah Burge, 51, recently announced she'd given her 7-year-old daughter a "voucher" for breast implants when the child turns 18.

Lifetime has picked up Marc Cherry's pilot Devious Maids, according to . The network has handed a 13-episode order to the project that was originally developed for ABC; however, it missed the cut to series on ABC. Devious Maids—which stars Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty), Susan Lucci (All My Children) and Judy Reyes (Scrubs)—is scheduled to launch on Lifetime in 2013.

Film manager/talent manager Nick Celozzi is suing two cast members of Mob Wives Chicago, saying Renee Fecarotta Russo and Nora Schweihs owe him money, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. He claims that the women broke their contracts with him after his company, Family Ties Management, arranged for both women to attend a casting call with the show's production company, JustJenn Productions.

Singer and breast-cancer survivor Olivia Newton-John was the guest of honor at the media opening of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia, reported. The center will open to its first patients July 2. As part of Austin Hospital, which has provided cancer care since 1882, the facility will have extensive cancer services, and will utilize the research facilities of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, which is also on-site.

Financial wizard Suze Orman dedicated a recent episode of The Suze Orman Show to discussing marriage equality in time to coincide with New York and San Francisco Pride celebrations, according to . At one point, Orman said, "Here I sit in front of you, a 61-year-old woman who has been gay my entire life, who has been in a committed relationship for the past 12 years, and I will die in this relationship a woman who pays more taxes than most—that is, a contributing member to the economy in more ways than most. Yet, I am not treated equally."

General Hospital, ABC's only current daytime soap opera, won Best Drama Series at the 39th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards June 23, reported. Days of Our Lives' Chandler Massey—whose character, Will, just came out of the closet—won for Younger Actor in a Drama Series. Former All My Children diva Susan Lucci went on stage to express her gratitude for being able to portray Erica Kane for 41 years.

A film that's generating some buzz is The Standbys, a documentary that follows a variety of undiscovered Broadway performers for several years through their professional and private lives, according to its website. Among the big-name stars featured in the movie are Zachary Quinto, Daniel Radcliffe, Bebe Neuwirth, Jonathan Groff and Cady Huffman.

Apparently, the romance between Glee star Jonathan Groff and Star Trek/Heroes actor Zachary Quinto is getting serious, according to the Daily. What's one sign that the couple—reportedly dating for a year—might be taking it to the next level? They're sharing clothes; they've both been photographed on different days wearing the same rainbow striped T-shirt.

Madonna has reportedly hired a "sterilization team" to remove any traces of her DNA, according to a San Francisco Examiner item. "We cannot even look at the dressing room, after it is ready, or even open the door," a Portuguese concert promoter reportedly told the U.K.'s Daily Mirror. "We can only enter after her sterilization team has left the room." The "Borderline" singer, 53, is not a germaphobe; reportedly, she doesn't want anyone making a souvenir of her hair, skin or saliva.

The Skinny—Patrik-Ian Polk's movie about five young gay friends who reunite at New York's Pride Week—will make its world television premiere Sunday, July 8, at 10 p.m. ET on Logo, according to a press release. Centered on a group of recent Brown graduates who come together for New York Pride Week, the film explores the intersection of sex, promiscuity, monogamy, drugs, HIV and love in each of their lives. The film recently won the 2012 Fusion Achievement Award, which recognizes LGBT people of color in film.

The Give a Damn Campaign has teamed with celebrities such as Alan Cumming, Jane Lynch, Chelsea Handler and Idina Menzel to offer new designs of its popular "Give a Damn" T-shirt line, according to a press release. This is part of the organization's ongoing efforts to inspire everyone to get involved in advancing equality for the LGBT community. Made possible by the support of Van Gogh Vodka, all of the proceeds of this limited-edition T-shirt will go to support the campaign. See .

New York Knicks star Amar'e Stoudemire is being criticized after allegedly using a gay slur to fire back at a critic on Twitter, the Huffington Post reported. After a fan with the Twitter handle @BFerrelli criticized the Knicks' last season, Stoudemire reportedly wrote, "Fuck you. I don't have to do anything fag." The athlete apologized for the comment the next day, adding, "Sorry bro!! No excuses. Won't happen again." The NBA will reportedly investigate the exchange.

A new book claims that singer Adele's bisexual ex-boyfriend dumped her for her gay best friend—spurring the heartbreak that inspired her to write her Grammy-winning music, the Huffington Post reported. The doomed relationship is the focus of Marc Shapiro's Adele: The Biography, an unauthorized book that also traces the singer-songwriter's early childhood in London. A 2011 interview in Out magazine noted that Adele had written two songs—"Hometown Glory" and "Daydreamer," which ended up on her debut album, 19—about a bisexual boy she had fallen in love with.

Cyndi Lauper has released "Sex is in the Heel," a remixed selection from the upcoming musical Kinky Boots, according to a press release. The track is available for free download at . Lauper debuted a live performance of "Sex is in the Heel" at NY Pride Parade June 24. Kinky Boots, the new musical that brings together four-time Tony winner Harvey Fierstein (book) and the Grammy-winning Lauper (music and lyrics), will have its pre-Broadway world premiere in Chicago this fall.

The male-stripper movie Magic Mike might be headed to Broadway, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Reid Carolin—who wrote the script for the Steven Soderbergh-directed movie, which he also co-produced with star Channing Tatum—has plans to spin off a musical. "I think we should all do the opening night," co-star Alex Pettyfer said of his castmates, who also include Matthew McConaughey, Joe Manganiello and Matt Bomer.

The Spice Girls reunited briefly to launch a new musical based on the band's biggest hits, Reuters reported. The joint appearance occurred 12 years after they split and seven years after their reunion tour. "Viva Forever!", written by British comedian Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous) and produced by "Mamma Mia!" creator Judy Craymer, opens at the Piccadilly Theatre in London's West End Dec. 11.

White Collar actor Matt Bomer said that he evaded questions about his personal life for years—but not because of any shame regarding his sexual orientation, according to US Magazine. Bomer, 34—who can be seen on the big screen in the male-stripper movie Magic Mike—subtly acknowledged his longtime partner, publicist Simon Halls, back in February when the Desert AIDS Fund honored him. Bomer told US, "Everybody thinks that equality comes from identifying people, and that's not where equality comes from. Equality comes from treating everybody the same regardless of who they are."

Kristin Chenoweth is moving from a church to a law firm. The diminutive star of the cancelled show GCB will match wits with Julianna Margolies on the CBS show The Good Wife, according to . "Chenoweth will match wits with both Alicia and Peter in her role as a top-of-her-game political reporter who wants to know more about the Florrick campaign and marriage," according to . She will make her first appearance in the season premiere.

Andy South—a contestant during the eighth season of the Lifetime show Project Runway—is now living as a woman, the Huffington Post reported. South now identifies as female on Facebook, and has changed his name to Nong Ariyaphon Southiphong. "Thank you to my fans and friends who have supported me all the way. To my family for seeing me for me and for all the love I am surrounded with," the 25-year-old Hawaii native wrote on June 3, according to RadarOnline.

Former Will & Grace co-stars Eric McCormack and Debra Messing reunited June 25 at a Trevor Project event, according to the Huffington Post. The reunion took place six years after the series' finale. At one point, McCormack joked, "[Vice President Joe Biden] said that Will & Grace did more to educate the public than pretty much anything else. ... You'd think this would've gotten us a dinner invitation to the White House, but whatever—that's not important. I just think it's weird."

This article shared 4945 times since Tue Jun 26, 2012
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