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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Oprah on Broadway; Cheyenne Jackson is engaged
Entertainment news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2014-02-12

This article shared 9132 times since Wed Feb 12, 2014
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Oprah Winfrey is in talks to make her Broadway acting debut in a revival of 'Night, Mother, according to Deadline. The TV legend and OWN founder would star opposite Tony winner Audra McDonald in a new production to be helmed by Broadway veteran George C. Wolfe that's targeting the 2015-16 season. Marsha Norman's Pulitzer-winning drama about a woman trying to persuade her daughter not to commit suicide premiered in 1983, earning four Tony noms including best play, and had a brief revival in the mid-2000s.

Actor Cheyenne Jackson is engaged to marry fellow thespian Jason Landau six months after ending his 13-year relationship with husband Monte Lapka, according to US Weekly. This will be Jackson's second marriage. He and Lapka married in New York in September 2011 after 11 years together; they announced in August 2013 that they had "mutually decided to divorce."

Writer/director Del Shores ( Sordid Lives ) is releasing his latest film, Southern Baptist Sissies, in a limited theatrical run beginning Feb. 21, according to a press release. Among the cities the movie is hitting are Palm Springs, Calif. ( Feb. 21 ), Detroit ( March 21 ), Philadelphia ( March 13 ) and Los Angeles ( March 7 ). More dates and engagements will be announced for the film that features openly gay actor Leslie Jordan ( TV's Will & Grace; American Horror Story: Coven ).

Kris Jenner has spoken out about rumors that estranged husband Bruce Jenner is undergoing gender-reassignment surgery, The New York Daily News reported. When Bruce, 64, recently stepped out with manicured nails and bandages on his throat, alleging he had surgery to reduce his Adam's Apple, reports claimed he was in the midst of a sex change. "Ninety-nine percent of the stuff in the tabloids is made up," Kris told Entertainment Tonight.

Elton John's Rocket Pictures has procured the film rights to Joseph And the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the first produced musical Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote, according to Deadline.com . Rocket plans to team with the Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group to produce an animated feature from the show, which started as a pop cantata written for schools before it became a concept album; it eventually reached the West End and, ultimately, Broadway. John will executive-produce with Rice—they teamed on the 2000 Broadway hit Aida—as well as Lloyd Webber.

A heckler harassed actor/singer Jared Leto at an award honoring the entertainer, according to Gay Star News. At the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Virtuosos Award tribute honoring Leto, an unidentified woman yelled, "Trans misogyny does not deserve an award!" When Leto ( who plays Rayon, an HIV-positive transgender woman in the film Dallas Buyers Club ) asked what she meant, the heckler said, "You don't deserve an award for portraying a trans woman because you're a man." Leto then said, "Then you make sure that people that are gay, people that aren't straight, people like the Rayons of the world would never have the opportunity to turn the tables and explore parts of that art." The audience applauded.

Sherlock actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have revealed that they shot a scene in a gay nightclub for the second episode ( "The Sign of Three" ) of the third series, according to Gay Star News. The scene was to be part of the pair's epic pub crawl for John Watson's stag night which ended in them getting locked up in jail but ended up on the cutting room floor because Sherlock writer and co-creator Steven Moffat had too many scenes to fit into the episode. Cumberbatch said it had been fun for him as an actor to imagine how a drunken Sherlock Holmes would have reacted to the situation.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Dick Clark Productions will present the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, according to TheWrap.com . Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will co-host the event for the third consecutive year. Last month's "Globes" handed NBC its largest audience in the Sunday 8-11 p.m. ET time period in 10 years, excluding sports.

The CW show Arrow has added a lesbian twist, according to E! Online. Leader Ra's al Ghul's daughter Nyssa ( Law ) revealed she and Sara/the Black Canary ( Caity Lotz ), who Nyssa had been sent to Starling City to bring back into a killer group, were in a relationship. As for making Nyssa gay and Sara bisexual, show boss Andrew Kreisberg said, "It just felt like something new and different. At the same time, we didn't do it to be salacious."

Three cell phones containing the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman's number were found in the building where cops made four drug arrests, but it's unclear whether any of the suspects are tied to his fatal supply of heroin, The New York Daily News reported. At least one of the phones found at a rundown building at New York City's 302 Mott St. belonged to alleged heroin peddler Robert Vineberg, a struggling jazz musician who was busted. Vineberg, who faces 25 years in prison if convicted, made his living playing the saxophone under the name Robert Aaron, performing with musicians such as David Bowie, Paul Simon, Wyclef Jean, Tom Jones and the late Amy Winehouse.

David Bar Katz, the screenwriter who found Philip Seymour Hoffman dead, has denied a supermarket tabloid's claim that he and doomed actor were lovers—and he's suing for $50 million, according to The New York Daily News. A National Enquirer story that John Blosser, Brette Trost and Robert Hartlein wrote had claimed Hoffman fell off the wagon and began shooting up heroin because he was confused over his sexual identity. "There was no interview," Katz's lawyer claimed in the suit. "Bar Katz and Hoffman were never lovers. ... Bar Katz never saw Hoffman use heroin or cocaine."

Mario Lopez reportedly threw a tantrum at Puerto Vallarta's airport recently after a stormy flight from Los Angeles, according to The New York Daily News. The veteran TV star was seen cutting line in front of a group of people, yelling, "I'm a celebrity!" After arrival, he got stuck in an hours-long line in customs and almost fought with another passenger because of airport backups.

Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children, starring Tony and Academy Award nominee Kathleen Turner, officially opened at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 6, according to Playbill. Making her professional singing debut, Turner ( Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? ) stars as Mother Courage. Helmed by Arena Stage artistic director Molly Smith, performances of the David Hare translation continue through March 9 at the Mead Center for American Theater.

A Colombian politician has slammed pop star Shakira for "promoting lesbianism" in her latest steamy music video with Rihanna, according to The New York Daily News. Marco Fidel Ramirez is calling on Colombia's National Television Authority to ban Shakira's "Can't Remember To Forget You" clip from being broadcast on any of the nation's channels. The Public Option party councilor, from the capital of Bogota, said the video "damages the moral character of the youth of Bogota, Colombia and Latin America."

Lady Gaga has spoken about her struggles in the last year, Digital Spy noted. Speaking to Harper's Bazaar, she said: "I became very depressed at the end of 2013. I was exhausted fighting people off. I couldn't even feel my own heartbeat. I was angry, cynical, and had this deep sadness like an anchor dragging everywhere I go." She added that she has since pulled herself out of her depression, saying, "Depression doesn't take away your talents—it just makes them harder to find. But I always find it."

Against Me!—a band headed by trans Chicago singer Laura Jane Grace—is touring to support the CD Transgender Dysphoria Blues, which was released Jan. 21. Among the cities on the North America tour are Austin, Texas ( SXSW festival; Denver; Vancouver; Indianapolis; Asheville, N.C.; and Las Vegas. See www.againstme.net .

James Franco is starting his own acting school, according to Deadline. He has teamed with Playhouse West to run his own school, Studio 4, at the Sherry Theater in Los Angeles. The school offers courses twice a week to train aspiring actors in the Meisner technique as well as several advanced classes and projects following Franco's creative visions.

Cher's son, Elijah Blue Allman, has eloped with his fiancee after his megastar mother reportedly shunned their engagement, according to The Daily Mail. The renegade offspring of the "Believe" singer and rocker Gregg Allman married Marieangela "Angie" King on Dec. 1, 2013, by the fireplace at their new Beverly Hills home. Elijah said, "I wasn't going to wait for anyone's approval and congratulations, just like I've never waited for any of that my whole life."

Speaking of Cher, she says her record label "hasn't got a great deal of interest in my CD" and that the "decision makers" at the company "don't seem to care that much," according to Billboard. Cher released her most recent album, Closer to the Truth, last September on Warner Bros. Records. It debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 chart, marking the diva's highest charting solo album ever. However, she recently complained on Twitter that gripe about her label, but noted that "not all" of the folks at the company are unsupportive.

Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' halftime performance at the Super Bowl attracted the largest audience in the history of the Super Bowl, nabbing 115.3 million viewers, Billboard noted. That figure surpasses the prior record of 114 million set by Madonna two years ago and the 110.8 million who tuned in to see Beyonce last year. Mars sang "Give it Away" with the Peppers; executed James Brown dance moves and Police riffs; and closed with his hit ballad "Just the Way You Are" at halftime of a game the Seattle Seahawks won 43-8 over the Denver Broncos.

Viva Glam by MAC, a subsidiary of Estee Lauder, signed Rihanna as its new face last week and won the endorsement of Michel Sidibe, executive director of Unaids, the United Nations agency fighting HIV/AIDS, according to The New York Times. Sidibe noted when he posed with Rihanna in a SoHo makeup shop, she has 34 million Twitter followers; by comparison, Unaids' Twitter page, which he posts on, has fewer than 100,000. Two gay Toronto men started the MAC makeup brand in 1985; the line's celebrity faces have included RuPaul, K. D. Lang, Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga.

Openly gay actor George Takei doesn't get why Ryan Gosling is considered "hot stuff," The Huffington Post reported. When asked if he feels twerking of selfies are overrated, Takei responded, "I think selfies are fine. I get asked all the time to take a selfie. ... But what's overrated [are some] actors. I don't know what all this hoo-ha about Ryan Gosling is about. He's more often boring than not. I mean, he's an alright actor, but I don't think he's as gripping and compelling as people like Matt Damon or George Clooney."

Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson are officially returning for Pitch Perfect 2, the planned sequel to the surprise 2012 blockbuster about the fierce 'n' funny world of collegiate a cappella competition, according to E! Online. Elizabeth Banks, who also played a judge on the a cappella circuit in the original, has already signed on to direct. Universal Pictures and Gold Circle Films have set a release date of May 15, 2015.

A male "streaker" crashed the runway at New York Fashion Week, according to TheWrap.com . A man ran through Prabal Gurung's show during fall fashion week wearing nothing but red tube socks, a leopard-print thong, an open trench coat and a crown.

Fox announced that it is canceling the musical-competition show X Factor after three seasons after judge/creator Simon Cowell decided to return to the British version of the program, Today.com reported. "I've had a fantastic time over the last 12 years, both on 'The X Factor' and 'American Idol,'" Cowell said in a statement. "And apart from being lucky enough to find some amazing talent on the shows, I have always had an incredible welcome from the American public ( most of the time! )."

There will be fewer hours of Anderson Cooper on CNN this year, according to Radar Online, as the cable network has canceled AC360 Later, Cooper's 10 p.m. panel discussion show. It's the newsman's second cancellation in the last year, following the yanking of his syndicated talk show. His other show, AC360, remains on the schedule.

Rosie O'Donnell returned to the daytime show The View for one day on Feb. 7, according to TheWrap.com . O'Donnell weighed in on various hot topics, including Dylan Farrow, who has accused her father, director Woody Allen, of sexual abuse. "I totally believe her," O'Donnell said, adding that she's "very good friends" with Dylan's mother, Mia. O'Donnell also discussed Justin Bieber ( with whom she was sympathetic ) and Philip Seymour Hoffman ( "It's about time we stopped shaming addicts and we understand that it's a disease" ).

Music icon Cyndi Lauper will celebrate the anniversary of her record-setting debut album with She's So Unusual: A 30th Anniversary Celebration, which will be released through Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, on April 1, according to a press release. The 2-CD deluxe edition will feature the original album, rare demos, live concert recording as well as remixes by DJs and producers such as NERVO, Bent Collective and Yolanda Be Cool. The collection will also be made available as a solo CD as well as a one-LP vinyl. In addition, Lauper will be joining Cher as a special guest on 36 dates of her upcoming "Dressed To Kill" Tour.

David O. Russell is in negotiations with Fox 2000 to come on board an untitled biopic about Joy Mangano, the inventor of the Miracle Mop, Variety reported. Russell has indicated that he's looking to cast Jennifer Lawrence as Mangano. Russell directed Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle. "Hustle" has been nominated for 10 Oscars, including Lawrence for supporting actress, and Russell for best director and original screenplay.

Trainer Bob Harper has responded to the controversy surrounding The Biggest Loser winner Rachel Frederickson and her dramatic weight loss, according to Extra. Frederickson dropped 155 pounds from her 260-pound frame, winding up at 105 pounds. Harper admitted during an interview on Rachael Ray's show that he was in shock when Frederickson took the stage: "I was stunned. That would be the word. ... What people don't understand is, when the contestants leave to go home—they're in charge of themselves."

Neil Patrick Harris—dressed in a wig, lingerie and red heels—took the stage at Harvard University to accept the 2014 Man of the Year Award from the country's oldest undergraduate drama troupe, People magazine noted. The openly gay How I Met Your Mother star cast a few spells and sang a jingle from Rent before being awarded the Hasty Pudding Theatricals' annual Pudding Pot. The Emmy Award-winning actor has spent 25 years in entertainment playing roles in TV, in film and on stage, and has hosted the Tonys and Emmys.

NBC has been criticized for editing out a major portion of the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Olympics—including an emphatic antidiscrimination statement from International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, according to Advocate.com . The website Deadspin published a transcript of Bach's full remarks, indicating in bold those parts NBC removed before airing the ceremony in the United States. Some Twitter users criticized the network, although GLAAD Vice President of Communications Rich Ferraro declined to comment on this specific instance of editing.

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, by Kirstin Cronn-Mills and published by Flux, an imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.; and Fat Angie, by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo and published by Candlewick Press are the 2014 recipients of the Stonewall Book Awards—Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children's & Young Adult Literature Award, according to a press release. The Stonewall Book Awards are given annually to English-language works of exceptional merit for children or teens relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience. The award will be presented to the winning authors or editors at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas in June.

Houston Astros pitcher Jarred Cosart has apologized after he reportedly used a gay slur to describe pop star Justin Bieber when he tweeted a message to a former teammate, Edge on the Net reported. The 23-year-old baseball player deleted the offensive tweet from his account and apologized for "a very poor choice of words." He also says in a tweet that the earlier post does not reflect who he is as a person.

Shirley Temple—the movie and television actress, and former adorable curly-haired child star—died at her home in California at age 85, USA Today reported. Publicist Cheryl Kagan said Temple, known in private life as Shirley Temple Black, died Feb. 10 surrounded by family at her home near San Francisco. Temple was the country's top box-office draw from 1935—the year she turned 7—until 1938. She was credited with helping save 20th Century Fox from bankruptcy with films such as Curly Top and The Littlest Rebel.

Chicago Fire star Monica Raymund confirmed she is bisexual on Twitter when she tweeted an article about a Norwegian artist's protest against Russia's gay propaganda law, according to SheWired.com . The actress wrote, "So proud to be Bi and excited about this movement during the Olympics." Raymund garnered a devoted lesbian following playing the attorney who connived and flirted with Kalinda ( Archie Panjabi ) on The Good Wife for a season before moving on to play strong, sexy paramedic/firefighter-in-training Gabriela Dawson on NBC's Chicago Fire.

Dolly Parton has announced the release of her new album, Blue Smoke, which will be released by Sony Music Masterworks and Dolly Records May 13, according to a press release. Achieving 25 RIAA-certified gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards, she has had 25 songs reach number one on the Billboard Country charts, a record for a female artist. Following the album release the "Blue Smoke World Tour" will hit select dates in the United States, England, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden.

Patrik-Ian Polk—the creator of the gay African-American series Noah's Arc—talked with Out.com about his latest movie, Blackbird, which includes Mo'Nique and Isaiah Washington. Polk said that Washington—embroiled in controversy years ago after an anti-gay incident on the set of Grey's Anatomy—is one of his favorite actors, and that it was through him that Mo'Nique became attached to the film. Polk added that he "never bought the story that the press was selling about that whole thing because the Isaiah Washington that I know was not only an amazing actor, but he was known for doing daring, bold, provocative work. He played a gay character in Spike Lee's Get on the Bus."

Channing Tatum is getting to work on Magic Mike 2, the upcoming sequel to the hit 2012 movie in which he starred as an exotic dancer, The Huffington Post noted. Tatum is writing the script with his producing partner Reid Carolin, and also eyeing a chance at directing the film. Tatum recently posted a photo of himself looking serious in a feather-adorned hat with a pen in his mouth—and is joined in the photo by a bust of his Magic Mike co-star, Matthew McConaughey.

The half-sister of Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts died from a possible drug overdose, according to Reuters. Nancy Motes, 37, was found dead in a bathtub full of water at a Los Angeles residence. Prescription drugs and indications of a suicide note were found at the residence, which was not Motes' home.

Twilight star Taylor Lautner will join the cast of BBC culture-clash comedy Cuckoo, replacing Andy Samberg as the lead male actor, according to the UK Guardian. Lautner is to play a mysterious young stranger who shows up in Lichfield, Staffordshire, where the show is based. The second series is set two years after the title character Cuckoo—played by former Saturday Night Live comedian ( and current Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor ) Samberg—disappeared while researching a book in the Himalayas, leaving his wife Rachel ( Tamla Kari ) to forge a new life.

Openly gay rocker Bob Mould is among the musical acts at South by Southwest ( SXSW ) 2014, according to Rolling Stone. Among other acts that are slated to perform at the March 11-16 event are Chance the Rapper, Flosstradamus, Kate Nash, Julian Lennon, Tech N9ne, Betty Who and Macaulay Culkin's pizza-themed Velvet Underground cover band. In past years, big-name artists have been announced at the last minute, including Prince and Justin Timberlake.

Comedian Margaret Cho and Billboard Top 20 recording artist Adam Barta have teamed to release a new pop-music single called "See You Next Tuesday," according to a press release. In the song, Cho does her famous impression of her mom as well as bits on Miley Cyrus and twerking. The song is described as "an infectious dance ode to fun, campiness and dance music."

Ninety-two-year-old Betty White did something new recently: host the pro-wrestling show WWE Raw, according to The Hollywood Reporter. White took to the ring with seven-foot-tall WWE superstar Big Show at Staples Center in Los Angeles and told the screaming crowd, "I'm gonna kick some ass!" "I can't possibly tell you how thrilled I am to be a guest here on Monday Night Raw," said White, dressed in a neon-green blouse and checked scarf, before screeching at the crowd like a banshee.

Hugh Jackman will return to host the 68th Annual Tony Awards for a fourth time, according to TheWrap.com . Jackman, a Tony winner for The Boy From Oz, takes over from Neil Patrick Harris, who has served as emcee for the past three shows. Jackman previously hosted the 57th, 58th, and 59th Annual Tony Awards ( 2004-2006 ), winning an Emmy Award for hosting. This year's show will be broadcast live on CBS from the Radio City Music Hall on June 8.

Steven Tyler, Sting, Don Henley, Ozzy Osbourne, deadmau5, Mick Fleetwood, Joe Walsh and Britney Spears are among the musicians fighting a copyright law that could allow mash-ups, TheWrap.com noted. The Office questioned whether existing copyright law needed to be updated to reflect innovation in the digital economy in a task force report last year and asked for comments on a large number of different copyright issues, including the question of mash-ups. Most of the comments had to be filed by Jan. 8, but artists groups got special permission to offer late comments.


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