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Entertainment news: Mariah Carey; Sam Smith; 'Ab Fab'; Joan Rivers
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2015-05-06

This article shared 4911 times since Wed May 6, 2015
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For her grand entrance in Las Vegas, Mariah Carey arrived at Caesar's Palace in a classic 1936 pink convertible trailing behind 18 mobile billboards bearing the titles of her number-one hits, including "Always Be My Baby" from 1996 and "Heartbreaker" from 1999, Page Six noted. Gladiator-clad men took it from there, carrying Carey through the casino on a platform fit for Cleopatra. Called "Mariah #1 to Infinity," the show has 18 scheduled performances so far and has been timed with the debut of Carey's newest breakup single and music video, dubbed "Infinity."

British singer Sam Smith has canceled the remainder of his Australian tour due to a hemorrhage on his vocal chords, Reuters reported. Apologizing to his fans, the Grammy Award winner said the decision was taken on doctor's orders. His Australian tour promoter, Frontier Touring, said it was working with Smith to schedule new performance dates in December.

While visiting ITV talk show Loose Women, Absolutely Fabulous creator and star Jennifer Saunders confirmed that the hit British sitcom will officially be back as a film ( with co-star Joanne Lumley ), Entertainment Weekly noted. This is not AbFab's first return: After an initial run on the BBC from 1992 to 1995, the show aired a two-part finale event in 1996, was revived from 2001 to 2004, and aired three TV specials between Christmas 2011 and the London Olympics in the summer of 2012. As for what the film will be about, Saunders would only say, "There is a plot, and that's a miracle."

Melissa Rivers told Matt Lauer on Today that Joan Rivers' death was "100 percent preventable," TheWrap noted. The reality star sat down with Lauer to reflect on her mother's passing after the iconic comedienne and TV personality died last year at 81 after she stopped breathing during throat surgery. "In my opinion, it was 100-percent preventable," Melissa said. "How about paying attention to the vital signs? How about having a properly equipped crash cart?"

Rosie O'Donnell's divorce is taking a bitter turn: Her estranged wife Michelle Rounds has filed for full custody of their 2-year-old daughter, Dakota, Page Six noted. William D. London, the attorney for Rounds, said, "My client Michelle Rounds has decided to start proceedings for sole custody of their daughter Dakota, since it is unequivocally in their child's best interest and general welfare." However, O'Donnell's publicist, Cindy Berger, countered, "This is an absurd and desperate attempt to use a child for her [Rounds'] own gain." O'Donnell filed for divorce against Rounds, her second wife, in Manhattan Supreme Court in February.

In promoting her upcoming movie, Hot Pursuit, Reese Witherspoon said she's quite accustomed to getting attention from her lesbian fans, On Top Magazine reported. In Hot Pursuit, Witherspoon plays a cop assigned to protect the widow of a drug dealer ( played by Sofia Vergara of Modern Family ), and they fake being a couple in one scene. "I have a ton of lesbian friends," Witherspoon told Pride Source, "and I think any kind of women who relates to us or enjoys the movie—that's awesome."

As fans await Britney Spears' recently announced new single, "Pretty Girls," the pop star's throwback collaboration with Italian disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder has leaked, Rolling Stone noted. For Deja Vu, the producer's first album in 30 years, Spears covers Suzanne Vega's 1987 a cappella hit "Tom's Diner." Spears joins a number of Top 40 staples who contribute to Moroder's return to music, including Kylie Minogue, Charli XCX and Sia, who sings on the LP's title track. Spears' last release was 2013's Britney Jean; in the interim, the performer has been headlining her own show in Las Vegas titled "Britney: Piece of Me."

The Spice Girls ( well, most of them ) recently reunited at David Beckham's birthday party, EW.com reported. Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, Geri Halliwell, and Victoria Beckham got together for David Beckham's 40th birthday party—and since Scary Spice ( a.k.a Melanie Brown ) wasn't there, former Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria subbed in for her. "I'm the new Spice Girl!," the actress tweeted along with a photo of the quintet.

The stepchildren of a woman killed in an automobile crash involving Bruce Jenner sued the Olympic gold medalist for wrongful death, claiming they have suffered enormous damages, the Associated Press reported. The lawsuit provides no new details about the February crash, which authorities said occurred when Jenner's sport utility vehicle collided with the woman's car, pushing it into oncoming traffic. Kim Howe, 69, died at the scene. Jenner, 65, has not been charged in the case; an investigation is ongoing.

Heritage of Pride, the organizers of NYC Pride, have announced the grand marshals for this year's march: English actors Sir Derek Jacobi and Sir Ian McKellen, according to NewNowNext.com . The gay actors co-star in the UK sitcom Vicious, and will lead the annual procession on June 28. Joining the longtime friends and colleagues as grand marshals are Christopher Neal, a New York artist and leader of the advocacy group FluidBiDesign, and Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, considered the mother of the Ugandan LGBT-rights movement.

Playbill will celebrate its second annual Playbill Pride initiative with Family Day OUT, a June 13 event that invites LGBT families and allies to attend special performances of Disney's The Lion King and Aladdin on Broadway. A partnership with Disney Theatrical Productions and Family Equality Council, Family Day OUT is sponsored by Amtrak and will bring together LGBT families, friends and allies who believe that all families are equal and deserve the same respect and protections under the law. The event is part of Playbill's second annual Playbill Pride initiative, a monthlong celebration of the theater world's LGBT community, which will return this June.

Alice Eve's recent comments about Bruce Jenner have landed her in the hot seat, according to Page Six. After Jenner revealed himself to be transgender April 24, the Star Trek actress, 33, wrote on Instagram, "If you were a woman no one would have heard of you because women can't compete in the decathlon. You wouldn't be a hero. You would be a frustrated young athlete who wasn't given a chance." Her comments didn't sit well with her nearly 35,000 followers—and she soon deleted the inflammatory posts.

Netflix is taking on a Dr. Seuss classic for its biggest original children's series bet to date, giving a 13-episode order to Green Eggs and Ham from executive producers Jared Stern, Ellen DeGeneres, Jeff Kleeman, Mike Karz, David Dobkin and Warner Bros. Animation, according to Deadline. Production is slated to begin in May for a 2018 premiere. There are no current plans for DeGeneres, known for her work in Finding Nemo, to voice a character.

Out R&B singer Frank Ocean, born Christopher Edwin Breaux, finally legally changed his name to Frank Ocean after being blocked from doing so last year because of the outstanding number of speeding tickets he racked up in Los Angeles, according to Edge Boston. Ocean, 27, first filed to legally change his name in March 2014 but a judge put that on hold in November and said the "Thinkin' Bout You" singer needed to clear up his driving-license issues. Ocean recently hinted that his follow-up to his critically acclaimed record Channel Orange will drop this summer.

An award-winning pro surfer claims film producers denied her a role in the 2011 faith-based biopic drama Soul Surfer not only because she is a lesbian, but also because they believed she starred in gay porn, Courthouse News Service reported. Keala Kennelly, ranked as the second-greatest female surfer in the world, sued Brookwell McNamara Entertainment, Inc. after producers passed her over for a role in the film. Kennelly denies ever making pornographic movies.

LGBT-focused businesses Olivia Travel and R Family Vacations announced a partnership to jointly produce a family-and-friends vacation at the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The week-long event will take place July 9-16, 2016. Travel packages at the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta will begin at $1,499 per adult and $399 per child; accommodations include an eight-day and seven-night stay, meals in six restaurants, beverages, and most activities are included in the price. Packages will go on sale May 6, 2015.

Carey Mulligan, Bradley Cooper and Dame Helen Mirren are among some of the Hollywood stars nominated at this year's Tony Awards. The Audience star Mirren will face Mulligan ( Skylight ), Elisabeth Moss, Ruth Wilson and Geneva Carr in the Best Leading Actress in a Play category, while Cooper ( The Elephant Man ) will vie with Bill Nighy, Steven Boyer, Ben Miles and Alex Sharp for Best Leading Actor in a Play. John Cameron Mitchell will be presented with the Special Tony Award, while Wicked composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz will receive the Isabelle Stevenson Award. Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth will co-host this year's Tony Awards on Sunday, June 7, at the Radio City Music Hall in New York; CBS will host the event live.

Little Wars—a new play exploring the 20-year relationship between one of history's most famous same-sex couples: Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas—will be presented this May at New York City's Clarion Theatre, a press release stated. The production is part of the month-long celebration of five plays by Steven Carl McCasland running in repertory from May 7 through May 31 at the Clarion. Each play focuses on a different real-life story, with a cast of 25 portraying some of history's most intriguing characters. View the trailer at www.tinyurl.com/InRepertory.

People reported that iconic singer Joni Mitchell is expected to make a "full recovery," according to a statement posted on the singer's website. Her team moved quickly to reassure fans after court documents surfaced earlier in the day stating that she is "unresponsive" in the hospital. Per the court documents, the singer-songwriter, 71, remains unconscious at UCLA Medical Center. Her longtime friend Leslie Morris filed the documents to become Mitchell's conservator.

Lambda Legal will honor Amazon's Transparent and its creator, Jill Soloway, at the 2015 West Coast Liberty Awards, according to a press release. Hosted by Wendi McLendon-Covey of Ellen DeGeneres' ABC comedy reality series Repeat After Me and ABC's The Goldbergs, the evening celebrates those working toward Lambda Legal's vision of equality and will be held at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons on June 11. Lambda Legal's previous honorees, participants and supporters have included Viola Davis, Dot Marie Jones, Dan Bucatinsky, Candis Cayne, Wilson Cruz and many others.

Jennifer Lopez was brought to tears during an emotional tribute to late singer Selena at the Billboard Latin Music Awards in Miami, TheWrap noted. The "Waiting for Tonight" singer pulled off what some called the most touching moment of the night as she performed Selena's hit "Como La Flor," while footage of the queen of Tejano music played in the background. Lopez starred in the 1997 musical drama Selena, which chronicled the late singer's life.

There are now five new names added to the six already occupying space on the writing credits for "Uptown Funk," according to a BET.com item. RCA Records gave the Gap Band writing recognition following a claim that British producer Mark Ronson's multi-platinum single is similar to the 1970s funk hit "Oops Upside Your Head." The group owns a total of 17 percent of the song, giving the band an equal split with the Ronson and co-producer Jeffrey Bhasker. The original names credited on "Uptown Funk" were Ronson, Bruno Mars, Bhasker and producer Phillip Lawrence. "Uptown Funk" has sold more than 5 million units, fueled by a 14-week run at the top on the Billboard Hot 100.

Beyonce has found three aspiring singers and signed the teen crooners to contracts totaling $1.5 million, according to Page Six. The superstar is asking a Manhattan judge to approve the five-year deals—a requirement because the girls are minors. The first contract covers L.A.-based sisters Chloe Bailey, 17, and Halle Bailey, 15; they sang Beyonce's "Pretty Hurts" in a YouTube video that has gotten more than 10 million views. Beyonce also signed a third singer, 14-year-old Sophie Beem of New York, to her Parkwood Entertainment company.

Sir Elton John serenaded Leonard Lauder to the stage at the Breast Cancer Research Foundation Hot Pink Party when the billionaire philanthropist received the night's "Sung Hero" award in New York City, Page Six noted. "If he was in England, he would have a sword, he would be Sir Leonard by now," John belted out, drawing applause. Guests included Lauder's grandchildren and Zac Posen, Neil Patrick Harris and Elizabeth Hurley, who told Lauder, "You are far and away my favorite man in America."

Former Baywatch child star Jeremy Jackson was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon after he allegedly stabbed a man in the torso, TheWrap reported. Authorities said Jackson— who recently appeared on VH1's Celebrity Rehab to battle his drug- and alcohol-abuse issues—was apprehended when police were called to investigate an attempted break-in. The burglar was allegedly Jackson, whom police were seeking in connection with a stabbing that occurred the previous day. Jackson claimed self-defense regarding the attack.

Singer Lauryn Hill is canceling a planned performance in Tel Aviv because she wasn't able to also schedule a concert in the nearby Palestinian city of Ramallah, Page Six noted. Hill said she originally intended to perform in both cities in hopes of being "a presence supporting justice and peace." She added that she's hoping for healing in the area and "the openness necessary for lasting resolution and reconciliation."

The Las Vegas stage production of The Duck Commander Musical—based on the popular, yet controversial family from the A&E series Duck Dynasty—will end its run after less than two months of performances, Playbill noted. A closing date has been posted for May 17. The Duck Commander Musical premiered April 8 at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Tickets were originally on sale through June 30.

Sony Pictures will continue to grow its popular Jump Street universe, commissioning dual development of both a female-driven spinoff and a franchise crossover with Men in Black that was originally outlined in its leaked emails, TheWrap revealed. Dakota Johnson actually played one of the young officers in 21 Jump Street before she starred in Fifty Shades of Grey, so it's possible she could return to anchor the female-driven spinoff; also, comedian Amy Schumer is among the others who might be considered.


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