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Elton John-Madonna feud over; Darren Criss tour
Entertainment news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2013-05-01

This article shared 6856 times since Wed May 1, 2013
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Elton John has said that his feud with Madonna is over, according to Digital Spy. John told Extra that he apologized to the "Like a Virgin" singer for called her MDNA tour a disaster and saying her career was over. "I apologized profusely because what I said should never have appeared in public," he said of his encounter with her at a restaurant in France. "She accepted our apology, and then we bought her dinner. That's over and done with." John added that Madonna was glad to move on, saying, "She was fantastic. She was just like, 'Okay, let's get a move on.'"

Glee star Darren Criss (who plays gay character Blaine on the show) is embarking on a 16-date tour across the United States and Canada, CNN.com noted. Criss will be playing both old and new material, and has been working on a solo album while acting in TV shows and online musicals. Stops on the tour include San Francisco (May 29), Nashville (June 6), Chicago (June 8), Toronto (June 12) and Boston (June 29); see www.DarrenCriss.com .

After battling breast cancer herself, singer Olivia Newton-John has come to the aid of her older sister, who has been diagnosed with brain cancer, according to ABC News. The 64-year-old Grease star, who beat breast cancer 20 years ago, has postponed her upcoming Las Vegas show at the Flamingo to be with her sister, Rona Newton-John, 69. Rona was also an actress and was married to late actor and Newton-John's Grease co-star Jeff Conaway 1980-1985.

Cher is back. According to ABC News, the 66-year-old has knocked out nine new tracks for her 26th album, tweeting, "I JUST FINISHED MY CD." The CD's first single, "Woman's World," is slated for release in June. Cher, who has had a number-one hit in four of the last decades, will bring real-life drama to Lifetime with a documentary about her mother, Dear Mom, Love Cher."

Reality-TV star and former Playboy model Kendra Wilkinson was taken to the hospital following a car accident in L.A.'s Tarzana neighborhood, according to US Weekly. Wilkinson was reportedly "in shock" and "really sore" after the accident, but had no serious injuries. The Girls Next Door star was recently on the celebrity-diving show Splash, but quit, later tweeting, "Big mistake signing up for the show. Sorry I let you down."

Kevin Keller, the gay character introduced in the pages of Archie Comics in 2011, has his own novel, according to Advocate.com . The hardcover young adult novel, simply titled Kevin, is from Penguin Books. The novel is written by comic and children's book author Paul Kupperberg, who also penned the popular Life With Archie issue that depicted an adult Keller marrying his partner.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that the National Football League (NFL) will step up its efforts to fight discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to Yahoo! News. The action comes after at least three college football players said they had been asked about their sexual orientation during NFL recruitment interviews earlier this year. The NFL will display posters in locker rooms that communicate the league's anti-discrimination rules, and all 32 teams in the league will undergo training, including the people involved in hiring and recruitment.

It turns out that Academy Award-winning actress Anne Hathaway will not be part of a reported Broadway revival of Cabaret, according to Playbill.com . London's Daily Mail first published that Hathaway would star as Sally Bowles in a Broadway revival of Cabaret opposite 1998 Broadway revival Tony winner Alan Cumming. Cumming has been attached to star in a 2014 Broadway revival for the Roundabout Theatre Company (in the role of master of ceremonies).

Golden Globe- and Tony Award-nominated Glee star Matthew Morrison will play a two-performance engagement June 2 and 4 at NYC's 54 Below in June, Playbill.com noted. The concerts will celebrate the release of his upcoming studio album Where It All Began. Among the songs on the 12-track album are "Luck Be a Lady," "Singin' in the Rain," "Send in the Clowns" and "As Long as She Needs Me."

Controversial fashion designer John Galliano—fired and convicted over anti-Semitic comments in 2011—is teaching a three-day master class at Parsons The New School for Design, according to CNN.com . "I love Hitler," Galliano said in 2011 in Paris in a video obtained by Britain's Sun newspaper. "Your mother, your forefathers would be f—-ing gassed and f—-ing dead." In his trial, Galliano said that alcohol and drugs were major factors; he was subsequently fired from Christian Dior.

The American Repertory Theater's revival of The Glass Menagerie—starring Tony winner Cherry Jones, Tony nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger, Brian J. Smith and Zachary Quinto—will begin Broadway previews Sept. 5 at a Shubert theater to be announced, according to Playbill.com . The Broadway production will play a limited, 17-week run. Jones, who plays Amanda Wingfield, earned Tonys for her roles in The Heiress and Doubt.

While in Champaign, Ill., at the event known as Ebertfest to promote the movie Julia, actress Tilda Swinton led a dance party, according to the New York Daily News. Swinton appeared on stage with Roger Ebert's widow, Chaz, to lead the audience in a dance in the late film critic's honor while the Barry White song "You're the First, the Last, My Everything" played. Swinton wove through the crowd at the Virginia Theater, encouraging some 1,500 people to get off their seats and move along with her.

Michelle Rodriguez's stock as an actress is rising in Hollywood, but told Cosmopolitan for Latinas she may just need a break from being on screen, the New York Daily News reported. The star of the Fast and the Furious series as well as Girlfight, 34, said, "The truth is I'm about to say goodbye to acting for a minute and move behind the camera." However, Rodriguez will appear in Fast and the Furious 6 (alongside Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker) May 24 and Machete Kills (with Mel Gibson and Jessica Alba) Sept. 13.

Lynda Carter—the singing actress best known for her work on the TV series Wonder Woman—recently performed at The Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, according to Playbill.com . The April 26-27 shows included Carter's takes on songs by musicians including Adele, Hank Williams Jr. and Bruce Springsteen, along with several original tunes. Carter also played Matron "Mama" Morton in the London company of Chicago.

Speaking of Chicago, the Tony-winning, long-running revival of John Kander, Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse's Chicago welcomed the return of Paige Davis in the role of Roxie Hart beginning April 18 at the Ambassador Theatre in New York City, Playbill.com noted. Davis (known as the host of the show Trading Spaces) is scheduled to play a limited return engagement through May 26.

The '90s act Ace of Base is known for its upbeat songs but it has surfaced that founding member Ulf Ekberg was in a Nazi band called Commit Suicide, according to the Huffington Post. Ekberg told the Post, "I did have a band called Commit Suicide but we did not write or perform the songs in question on this demo, and I have never been a member of the Swedish Democrats. However, the teenage mistakes I did make in terms of my chosen ideas at the time were unfortunate and if I were to live through those days again I would have done things very differently!"

Frankie Valenti—aka gay adult film star Johnny Hazzard—is set to make his big-screen debut in the independent feature-length drama Where We Belong," the Huffington Post noted. The film, set in a small California town, is about two estranged gay brothers who struggle to reconnect after the recent death of their anti-gay father.

The NBA's Jason Collins made history today by coming out as gay—the first time an NBA player has done so while still actively playing, according to Sports Illustrated. Collins, a center, finished this season with the Washington Wizards, and has also played for the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets, Atlanta Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies. NBA legend Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers subsequently tweeted, "Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don't suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support #mambaarmystandup #BYOU." In addition, the Boston Red Sox baseball team has invited Collins to throw out the first pitch at an upcoming game at Fenway Park, according to USA Today.

In the wake of Collins' coming-out, he contacted out musician Lance Bass (at the behest of a mutual friend, actress JoAnna Garcia Swisher), USA Today noted. On his Sirius XM show, Bass said that Collins told him he doesn't know many gay people because his life has been all about sports and he's had little time for a private life. Bass advised him to connect with groups like GLAAD before doing any interviews.

Beyonce won't allow publications to send their own photographers to concerts on her "Mrs. Carter" tour, according to Poynter.org . Publications wishing to illustrate coverage of the tour will have to download photos from an approved site. Beyonce's publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, emailed BuzzFeed after it ran photos of the singer at the Super Bowl halftime show that Noel-Schure called "unflattering." BuzzFeed turned the email and photos into a piece called "The 'Unflattering' Photos Beyoncé's Publicist Doesn't Want You To See."

Jennifer Lanier—an actress who played a medical examiner on the nBC show Grimm—has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money so her ill wife, Dustina Haas-Lanier, can spend a month at the Mayo Clinic, according to Advocate.com . Haas-Lanier has a Chiari malformation of the brain and a pseudotumor cerebri, which causes an excessive buildup of spinal fluid—and can be fatal if untreated. To donate, visit http://www.gofundme.com/2ndk3o.

Helen Mirren was crowned queen of the London stage at the Olivier Awards April 28, according to USA Today. Mirren, 67, was an expected best actress choice for her Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience, Peter Morgan's behind-palace-doors drama about the relationship between Britain's queen and its prime ministers. Mirren, who has been Olivier-nominated three times before, said that finally winning "doesn't mean that I was the best actor. There were so many incredible performances out there."

Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was denied parole from the penal colony where she is serving a two-year sentence on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, according to Rolling Stone. Tolokonnikova, who was arrested in March 2012 along with two other members of the band for their protest against Vladimir Putin in Moscow's main cathedral, had been eligible for early release after serving half of her sentence.

Amy Winehouse's father has taken to Twitter to deliver his verdict on a cover his daughter's 2007 hit "Back to Black" by Andre 3000 and Beyonce—and he only liked one of the performances, RollingStone.com reported. "I just heard the Andre part of Back to Black. Terrible," Mitch Winehouse tweeted. "He should have let Beyonce do it all." However, the Daily Mail reported that Winehouse said of Beyonce, "I don't think she brings anything to it." The cover was recorded for the Jay-Z-produced soundtrack to The Great Gatsby.

Actor Tuc Watkins—known for his roles on the daytime serial One Life to Live and the nighttime drama Desperate Housewives—has come out of the closet, according to Examiner.com . Watkins came out on Marie Osmond's talk show on the Hallmark Channel, telling her, "When I was young, I knew three things: I knew I was gay, I knew one day I was gonna be a dad, and I knew that Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was going to be the best movie of all time." Watkins played a gay man on "Housewives."

The reality-competition show Project Runway wrapped up its 11th season April 25—and Tim Gunn called it his "favorite season ever," according to AceShowbiz.com . Michael Kors returned as a judge to help decide which one of Michelle Lesniak Franklin, Patricia Michaels and Stanley Hudson deserved to be the winner. The winner turned out to be Franklin, and she won $100,000, a Lexus GS 350 and the fashion spread in Marie Claire; however, her win might surprise some as she almost gave up in the competition.

Gay singer Ricky Martin—a current coach on the Australian version of the singing contest The Voice—believes the legalization of gay marriage in Australia "will happen," according to On Top Magazine. Martin, 41, shared with his more than 8 million Twitter followers a video of New Zealand lawmakers joining onlookers in a chorus of a Maori love song following passage of marriage equality in the chamber. "I had to tweet about that because love prevailed," he told News Limited. "Love conquers all."

The Normal Heart has added out actor Jonathan Groff and Joe Mantello to its cast, according to a Huffington Post item. The actors join Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons and Taylor Kitsch in Ryan Murphy's adaptation of the Tony-winning play. Mantello will appear as Mickey Marcus, "an instrumental member of the Gay Men's Health Crisis," while Groff will play the closeted banker Bruce Niles' (Kitsch's) lover. "Heart," which is being adapted for HBO, centers on the HIV-AIDS epidemic in New York City in the early 1980s.

Speaking of The Normal Heart, playwright/author/activist Larry Kramer will receive this year's Isabelle Stevenson Award, a non-competitive Tony Award, according to WSJ.com . The Stevenson honor is given to an individual from the theater community who has made a substantial contribution on behalf of humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations. Kramer, 77, won a 2011 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play, for the most recent production of The Normal Heart on Broadway.

The musical Kinky Boots, with a book by veteran writer/performer Harvey Fierstein and a score by first-time Broadway composer Cyndi Lauper, earned 13 Tony nominations, USA Today reported. The celebrated British import Matilda was runner-up with 12. Other productions that with multiple nominations include revivals of Pippin (10) and Golden Boy (eight) and a revised version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (nine). The Tony Awards will be presented at Radio City Music Hall on June 9.

TheWrap.com has listed what it considers the biggest snubs involving the Tony nominations. Among them are Bette Midler for her role as Sue Mengers in I'll Eat You Last; Al Pacino for Glengarry Glen Ross; Jessica Chastain for The Heiress; Fiona Show for The Testament of Mary; Alec Baldwin for Orphans (although co-star Tom Sturridge received a nod); out actor Alan Cumming for Macbeth; and Scarlett Johansson for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Ryan Seacrest is moving his production company into the digital original-programming business for the first time via a shortform 10-episode series with appearances by Gwyneth Paltrow, according to IMDB.com . The Paltrow project emanated from TV development that Ryan Seacrest Prods. was working on with the Iron Man 3 actress. Second Chances, which co-stars fitness guru Tracy Anderson, reveals the stories of women who have overcome adversity.

Masterworks Broadway has announced the release of the original Broadway cast recording of Kinky Boots, according to a press release. Produced by Cyndi Lauper, Stephen Oremus, William Wittman and Sammy James, Jr., the album will be available May 28. Among the songs on the 15-track CD are "Sex Is in the Heel," "Soul of a Man" and "What a Woman Wants."

A spokeswoman for Catherine Zeta-Jones says the actress has "proactively" checked into a mental health facility for treatment of her bipolar condition, according to the Huffington Post. Two years ago, the Oscar winner, 43, checked into a similar facility for a brief stay for treatment of her condition, known as Bipolar II.

Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas are reportedly staging a reunion of the group TLC, according to the Huffington Post. The two remaining members of the famed girl group are set to perform at Hershey, Penn.'s Mixtape Festival in July. Original TLC member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes died in a 2002 car crash at age 30. T-Boz downplayed rumors of a Left Eye hologram in a recent interview on HuffPost Live, though she said that it's still an option.

A feature film from the producers of The Twilight Saga about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's life looks set to come out just as the primaries begin heating up in the next election, according to Deadline.com . Rodham, from writer Young II Kim's 2012 award-winning script, is about the Clintons' early years. As Clinton prepares for a possible 2016 presidential run, big Democratic donors Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Katzenberg are reportedly getting ready to support her.

A new hall of fame—the first of its kind in the United States—has been established to honor individuals and organizations who have enhanced the fields of sports and athletics for the LGBT community, a press release stated. The National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, a 501(c)(3) organization based in Chicago, will recognize those who have stood up to stereotypes and worked to break down the walls of differences to bring people together for the good of the games, according to the group's executive director, Bill Gubrud. The organization expects to accept its first round of nominations this summer, and induct its first honorees at a ceremony Aug. 2.

Out singer Frank Ocean and Grimes were among the winners at the 17th annual Webby Awards, and Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga were also recognized for their impressive social media presences, according to RollingStone.com . Ocean, who opened up about his sexuality on Tumblr last July, scored top honors with Webby Person of the Year; Grimes, who's used Tumblr as a platform to rail against sexism and other issues, picked up Webby Music Artist of the Year.


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