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SHOWBIZ Ben Platt, Billie Jean King, Megan Thee Stallion, 'Horror Stories' series
by Windy City Times staff

This article shared 829 times since Sun Aug 15, 2021
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Queer Grammy, Tony and Emmy-winning artist Ben Platt has dropped his new album, Reverie, via Atlantic Records, per a press release. Platt will mark the arrival of Reverie with his biggest North American headline tour to date, set to kick off Feb. 23, 2022 at Orlando's Amway Center and culminating with the tour finale April 8, 2022 at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl. Among the tour's indisputable highlights will be Platt's first-ever headline show at New York City's Madison Square Garden, set for March 6, 2022; a few of the other stops include Atlanta (Fox Theatre, Feb. 28), Toronto (Coca-Cola Coliseum; March 11) and Chicago (Wintrust Arena; March 19).

Tennis legend Billie Jean King revealed in a new interview with People and in her upcoming memoir All In (on sale Aug. 17) that she and longtime love Ilana Kloss secretly married almost three years ago. They were secretly wed Oct.18, 2018 by former NYC Mayor David Dinkins in his apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Not even their closest friends and aides knew until they received an advance copy of All In from King. "It was their gift to all of us to read it in the book," said King's publicist of 30 years, Tip Nunn. The full People interview is at

In a recent interview with People Magazine, Grammy-winning "WAP" rapper Megan Thee Stallion opened up about the need for more acceptance when it comes to LGBTQ+ folks in mainstream music, per . "It is about time," she said about more LGBTQ+ acceptance. "Representation is important, and it is really crucial for us all to have compassion and acceptance of every human." Megan's comments come on the heels of controversy regarding fellow rapper and collaborator DaBaby, who received backlash after he recently made homophobic comments.

Also regarding Megan Thee Stallion, she and singer Justin Bieber led the field in nomination for MTV's 2021 Video Music Awards, Deadline noted. Bieber has seven while Megan has six nods; Billie Eilish, BTS, Doja Cat, Drake, Giveon, out rapper Lil Nas X and first-time nominee Olivia Rodrigo are next with five nominations each. Bieber and Megan are up for Artist of the Year against Doja Cat, Rodrigo and Taylor Swift. The trophy show is set for 8 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 12, at Barclays Center in New York City; it will be simulcast live on the CW, CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV2, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, Pop, TV Land and VH1.

FX is further expanding the American Horror Story franchise with a second installment of spinoff anthology series American Horror Stories, set to premiere in 2022, according to Deadline. The renewal, announced during FX's portion of the summer TCA virtual press tour, happened less than a week before the American Horror Stories season-one finale, "Game Over," is slated for FX on Hulu release Aug. 19.

And Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have even more shows coming. Aside from American Horror Story, American Horror Stories and others, there are American Sports Story and American Love Story spinoff limited series, per Deadline. American Sports Story is a scripted anthological limited series focusing on a prominent event involving a sports figure and re-examines it through the prism of today's world, telling that story from multiple perspectives. American Love Story is a scripted anthology series of sweeping true love stories that captured the world's attention. The first installment depicts the whirlwind courtship and marriage of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette.

Former Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir responded to former top Trump official Jenna Ellis after she insulted him, LGBTQ Nation noted. "#WokeOlympics closing ceremony clown," Ellis tweeted with a picture of Weir, who was announcing for NBC. "Bring back the days when boys cared about growing up to be actual men," she wrote. "Biblical masculinity over woke fragility." In part, Weir responded, "The man I've grown into is a human that embraces the strength of the man & woman who raised me to be myself. If you feel squashed by the boot of someone else's beliefs, remember you are free to live your life the way YOU believe."

The 19-year-old child of Marshall Mathers III, better known as rapper Eminem, came out as genderfluid in a TikTok video, according to . Captioned "forever growing and changing <3," the video follows the journey of Eminem's child Stevie. What follows is a series of pictures in rapid succession taking viewers along the transformative process for Stevie, who Eminem legally adopted from a previous marriage in 2005. The captions track the change in pronouns along the way as well; currently, Stevie uses all pronouns.

Netflix released the first four episodes of the seventh and final season of its comedy Grace and Frankie on Aug. 13, Deadline noted. The four episodes already were in the can when production on season seven was halted March 12, 2020—along with work on so many other series—as the COVID pandemic engulfed the country and the world. The 13-episode sixth season hit Netflix Jan. 15, 2020, making these the series' first new episodes in 19 months.

While she only had five concerts on the books for 2021, Stevie Nicks decided to cancel them all, Variety reported. "These are challenging times with challenging decisions that have to be made," Nicks said in a statement. "I want everyone to be safe and healthy and the rising COVID cases should be of concern to all of us. While I'm vaccinated, at my age, I am still being extremely cautious and for that reason have decided to skip the 5 performances I had planned for 2021." Nicks was scheduled to perform at the Jazz Aspen Festival in Colorado and BottleRock Napa Valley over Labor Day Weekend (Sept. 3-5), both weekends of the Austin City Limits Music Festival (Oct. 1-3 and Oct. 8-10), and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (a.k.a. Jazzfest, Oct. 8-17).

West Side Story, executive-produced by Scott Rudin, will not reopen on Broadway, the New York Post noted. Producer Kate Horton announced that the 2020 Broadway revival of the Leonard Bernstein classic will not return, which came after months of no official announcements. Last year's run was only 21 performances, with opening night Feb. 20, 2020, and the COVID lockdown closing Broadway March 12. Because the musical was so short-lived, it was ineligible for Tony Awards consideration.

Also regarding Rudin, FX announced a season-four renewal for Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi's vampire mockumentary series What We Do In the Shadows—but Rudin is no longer an executive producer, Deadline noted. Rudin's involvement in What We Do In the Shadows came under scrutiny in April, following allegations of systematic abuse against him.

Actor Ronen Rubinstein (TV's 9-1-1: Lone Star) said he's grateful for all of the love and support he's had since publicly opening up about being bisexual earlier this year, noted. During the opening festivities of Outfest (the annual LGBTQ+ film festival) in Los Angeles, Rubinstein said, "It's just been overwhelming. at times. I get emotional thinking about it because the beauty about it is that it's people reaching out from all over the world and saying, 'Your story helped me in so many ways,' 'Your story has saved my life,' or Your story has made me comfortable and safe to come out to my family or my friends.'"

Radio airplay of Dua Lipa and DaBaby's "Levitating" remix is decreasing, according to Pitchfork, citing a new report from Billboard. The report found that, on July 27, shortly after DaBaby's homophobic comments at Rolling Loud Miami, 70.2% of the radio stations that played "Levitating" opted for DaBaby's remix instead of the Future Nostalgia original; by Aug. 2, that number was down to 49.5%. Dua Lipa condemned the rapper's initial comments; later—after being tossed from the Lollapalooza line-up, he apologized for his "misinformed" comments.

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the horror classic Scream will be released for the first time on 4K Ultra HD and in a newly remastered Blu-ray on Oct. 19, from Paramount Home Entertainment, a press release noted. Directed by Wes Craven and written by out scribe Kevin Williamson, the film is described as "a brilliant deconstruction of the horror genre that pays homage to the conventions of slasher films while upending them with clever twists and witty dialogue." The new Scream 4K Ultra HD, Limited-Edition 4K Ultra HD SteelBook and Blu-ray include a brand-new look back at the film and Craven, featuring archival behind-the-scenes footage and new interviews with stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, as well as Williamson—and the directors and other cast members from the new installment in the franchise scheduled to premiere in theaters in 2022.

Billie Eilish's sophomore album, Happier Than Ever, officially debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in the United States, as well as in Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, a press release noted. Happier Than Ever also now officially holds the record for highest vinyl sales upon release over the last 30 years. The album's essence, artwork and color palette was inspired by some of her all-time favorite recording artists—Julie London, Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee—as well as their 1950s and '60s "golden era."

Alan Cumming mentioned to the Telegraph that he told Harry Potter producers to "f—k off" when they offered him a role in the billion-dollar franchise, the New York Post noted. Cumming was in the running to play Hogwarts professor Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2002, alongside actors Rupert Everett and Hugh Grant. Cumming said he and Everett had the same agent—but that Everett would be paid more for the role; however, "they f—king gave it to Kenneth Branagh, came out of the shadows," he added.

EGOT winner Rita Moreno has been cast in a starring role in the dark-comedy feature film The Prank, Deadline noted. The Prank follows two high school students who play a prank on their physics teacher, Mrs. Wheeler, played by Moreno. When she fails them on a test, they teach the imperious, demanding, insulting instructor a lesson by falsely accusing her of the murder of a missing student.

Tim Drake, one of the DC characters to go by the name Robin, is bisexual, according to . Drake came to this realization in Batman: Urban Legends #6, the latest installment of DC Comics' ongoing Batman Family anthology series. Drake (played by Jay Lycurgo) joined the cast of HBO Max's Titans live-action series when the show returned for its third season Aug. 12.

Searchlight Pictures announced the start of principal photography on Andrew Ahn's feature film Fire Island, starring a previously announced cast composed of Joel Kim Booster, Bowen Yang and Margaret Cho, per a press release. The movie, set in the iconic Fire Island Pines, is a modern day rom-com inspired by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. The story, from a screenplay by Joel Kim Booster, centers around two best friends who set out to have a legendary week-long summer vacation with the help of cheap rose and a cadre of eclectic friends.

Facing a flood of potential legal filings to come and the explicit declarations of his daughter, Jamie Spears decided to step down from Britney Spears' extremely restricted conservatorship, per Deadline. "This is a major victory for Britney Spears," her lawyer, Matthew Rosengart, told Deadline. "We are pleased that Mr. Spears and his lawyer have today conceded in a filing that he must be removed. We are disappointed, however, by their ongoing shameful and reprehensible attacks on Ms. Spears and others."

Oscar winner Emma Stone closed a deal to star in the sequel to Cruella, Deadline noted. Cruella, due to the pandemic, was released in theaters and on Disney+ PVOD tier on May 26, earning more than $222 million in worldwide ticket sales.

Booksmart star Beanie Feldstein has been set to star as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, which will serve as the first Broadway revival of the iconic musical that premiered in 1964 with Barbra Streisand in the role, Deadline noted. It is scheduled to begin performances in spring 2022 at a Broadway venue to be announced.

Page Six revealed that two-time Tony nominee Laura Osnes was let go from a Hamptons show because she refuses to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Osnes—who shot to fame when she won the talent search show Grease: You're the One That I Want! in 2008—was set to perform in front of a star-studded audience for a one-night production of "Crazy For You" at the Guild Hall in East Hampton on Aug. 29. She's been replaced by Sierra Boggess, who played Ariel in the Broadway adaptation of The Little Mermaid.

Modern Family actress Julie Bowen recently helped a woman who collapsed during a hike, the New York Daily News noted. The woman, Minnie John, wrote on Facebook that Bowen and her sister Annie, a doctor, came to her aid after she fainted during a trip to the Arches National Park in Utah. John said she recognized Bowen but couldn't quite place her, and that the actress smiled and told her she starred on Modern Family.

Duran Duran frontman Simon LeBon called for streaming services to reform their payment models so that emerging artists receive a larger share, noted. The new-wave icon warned that a "hole" in the next generation of artists could emerge if musicians fail to receive a higher rate per stream. At present, the majority of streaming services pay less than a penny per stream.

SPOILER ALERT: The winner of the Amazon design-competition show Making the Cut was named, Newsweek noted. Andrea Pitter edged Gary Graham and Andrea Salazar to win the $1-million prize, , an Amazon fashion mentorship, the chance to sell two collections on Amazon and a three-year lease on a Los Angeles store. Graham and Salazar were also awarded the chance to sell their collections on Amazon's Making the Cut store.

Johnny Depp is slated to receive the San Sebastian Film Festival's (Sept. 17-25) Donostia Award, its highest accolade, per Deadline. The festival described Depp as "one of contemporary cinema's most talented and versatile actors." The ceremony celebrating the U.S. star will take place Sept. 22 at the festival's Kursaal Auditorium.

WarnerMedia will require its U.S. employees or anyone entering one of its offices to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Deadline noted. Along with the vaccine policy, which matches that of several large U.S. companies, the AT&T division will also reopen its offices Sept. 6. New York City, where WarnerMedia is headquartered, is the first major U.S. city to be enacting a vaccine mandate, requiring proof of it for all indoor activities.

One of the stars of The Suicide Squad obtained a restraining order against a former sex partner and posted about the situation at length on Instagram, Deadline reported. Joel Kinnaman said on Instagram that Gabriella Magnusson—a Swedish model who goes by the name Bella Davis—was allegedly "threatening to publicize false information" about him, including that he raped her. Kinnaman acknowledged that he "had a brief romantic relationship" with her in late 2018, but she later "resorted to threatening to publicize false information about me—including that I had sex with her against her will—unless I capitulated to her demands." In a statement to People magazine, Davis denied having "ever threatened or asked for money."

A judge upheld Kelly Clarkson's prenuptial agreement with Brandon Blackstock in their highly contentious divorce, Page Six noted, citing TMZ. The agreement reportedly segregated all assets and income derived during her marriage to the former entertainment manager. Blackstock had been fighting the prenup in order to split their accumulated properties, including the Montana ranch where he now resides. Upon receiving an email confirming her victory, Clarkson reportedly let out a scream on the set of The Voice and celebrated. She also has filed to restore her famous last name.

Mike Richards—the new Jeopardy! host as well as the game show's resident executive producer—spoke out about his role in past discrimination lawsuits from a decade ago, per Page Six. Richards, 46, was previously an executive producer on The Price Is Right when the CBS show was slapped with two bias suits in 2010 and 2011. In an office memo, Richards said, in part, "I want you all to know that the way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on The Price is Right." later reported that Mayim Bialik will be the host of occasional prime-time episodes of the game show.

Facing 140 years behind bars if found guilty of multiple sex crimes, Harvey Weinstein saw a California judge toss out one of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's sexual battery charges against the producer, Deadline reported. Affirming a ruling she made July 29, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench rejected an attempt by the D.A.'s office to re-argue the matter.

Vincent Kartheiser—a new addition to the HBO Max show Titans (as Scarecrow) and a Mad Men alum—is not in the poster for the new season and was not actively involved in publicly efforts for the new season after his stint on the show triggered at least two complaints and two internal investigations by Titans studio Warner Bros Television, per Deadline. The allegations—believed to have included disruptive, juvenile behavior and inappropriate comments—were investigated by WBTV's Labor Relations department, which interviewed the relevant parties.

Carre Sutton (formerly known as Carre Otis) is claiming in a lawsuit that she was raped as a teenager by a modeling executive, NBC News reported. The New York's Child Victim's Act gives Sutton—now 52 and a resident of Boulder, Colorado—an avenue to pursue legal recourse against defendants Gerald Marie, the head of Elite's European division; and Trudi Tapscott, a company executive who oversaw models in New York. Marie told The New York Times last year in a story about four women accusing Marie of rape or sexual assault that he "categorically" denied the allegations and that he could not comment further; Sutton was among the four women.

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