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SHOWBIZ Elton John, Whitney, Disney, Broadway items, Niecy Nash
by Windy City Times staff
2022-02-13

This article shared 1408 times since Sun Feb 13, 2022
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Sir Elton John and husband David Furnish's annual Oscar-viewing party for the Elton John AIDS Foundation will return as an in-person event on March 27 after going virtual last year due to the pandemic, Variety noted. The AIDS organization announced that Grammy winner Brandi Carlile will perform during the festivities, which take place in West Hollywood Park. "We want to remind people that while the coronavirus has consumed headlines for the past two years, HIV/AIDS is still a global epidemic," Furnish said. "It remains paramount to continue raising funds and awareness toward issues affecting people living with and at risk of HIV, and there is no better platform than our annual Academy Awards Viewing Party to do just that."

Whitney Houston's estate and its partners at Primary Wave Entertainment have produced a quadruple growth in earnings a decade after the singer's death, Variety reported. The first salvo in the company's stewardship was a 2019 Kygo remix of Houston covering Steve Winwood hit "Higher Love." Also, there's the Dec. 23 premiere of the Kasi Lemmons-directed biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody, which portrays Naomi Ackie as Houston. In addition, two new Houston albums will arrive in 2023 during a campaign honoring what would be the artist's 60th birthday, with a Broadway adaptation of the biopic and a Las Vegas tribute show in the works for subsequent years.

Disney+'s previously announced musical prequel series Little Town—set to follow the misadventures of Gaston (played by out heartthrob Luke Evans) and his best friend LeFou (Josh Gad)—has been put on hold, per out.com . Gad, who played Gaston's infamous sidekick LeFou in the 2017 live-action Beauty and the Beast film in which he was portrayed as gay, took to Twitter shortly after the development was announced to break the news to Disney fans. Gay actor and Marvel Studios' Hawkeye alum Fra Free was also cast to play Prince Benoit Berlioz—described as "a childhood friend of Tilly who has grown into a handsome, charismatic, confident prince."

The upcoming Broadway revival of Funny Girl has unveiled the complete company as it begins its official first day of rehearsals, per Playbill. The production, starring Beanie Feldstein as Fanny Brice and Tony and Olivier nominee Ramin Karimloo as Nick Arnstein, begins March 26 at the August Wilson Theatre ahead of an April 24 opening night. Some of the other cast members include Jared Grimes, Emmy winner Jane Lynch, Peter Francis James and Ephie Aardema.

Also, full casting has been announced for the Broadway revival of Neil Simon's Plaza Suite, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, according to Playbill. The play, originally scheduled to begin previews March 13, 2020—one day after the pandemic shutdown—will return with that full 2020 cast. Tony winner John Benjamin Hickey directs the production, which will now begin previews Feb. 25 at the Hudson Theatre for a limited engagement through June 26. Opening night is set for March 28.

ABC has ordered a two-episode backdoor pilot arc of their show The Rookie that will introduce a new character, played by LGBTQ+ actress Niecy Nash, that they hope to spin off into her own show, according to an Out Magazine item that cited Deadline. The Rookie, currently in its fourth season, stars Nathan Fillion as John Nolan, the oldest rookie in the LAPD. This season will feature two back-to-back episodes guest-starring Nash as Simone Clark, a "force of nature, the living embodiment of a dream deferred—and the oldest rookie in the FBI Academy."

Shortly after announcing that filming of the upcoming third season was underway, news emerged that Hulu's teen comedy series Love, Victor's new season will also be its last, per out.com . The show's eight-episode final season will premiere June 15. All eight episodes will debut on Hulu at the same time.

Destinee LaShaee, the first transgender star of TLC's My 600-Lb. Life, has died at age 30, E! News reported. She weighed 699 pounds when she started on the show and made serious progress in getting healthy; by mid-2020 she was showing off her new body in frequent posts on Facebook and Instagram. In a Facebook post, her brother Wayne Compton misgendered her, saying, "No no no I'm sorry bro. I accept you for who you are, I accept every flaw that come with you, I'm sorry you felt alone, I'm sorry you felt you had nobody else to turn [to], I'm sorry you felt you had no other option[.] Destiny [another sibling who passed away] wouldn't [have] wanted this, lord why keep taking my siblings away, how much can I take[?]"

Real Housewives of Orange County's Heather Dubrow and husband Dr. Terry Dubrow have another member of her family who is part of the LGBTQ+ community. In a People Magazine exclusive (people.com/parents/heather-dubrow-daughter-kat-comes-out-as-lesbian-exclusive/&, daughter Kat, 15, revealed she's lesbian—one year after her eldest daughter Max, 18, came out as bi. "We've got four kids, they are different genders, different sexualities, and all at interesting places in their lives, figuring out who they are and where they belong as humans," said Heather Dubrow,

RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Bosco came out as trans in an intimate message and said they are the "happiest" they've "ever been," Gay Times Magazine noted. "After filming wrapped this summer, I began focusing on figuring out what medical transitioning would look like for me," Bosco wrote. "I started HRT [hormone replacement therapy] after getting back from Drag Race. I also plan to start exploring some surgical options in the near future." Several Drag Race alums, including Jorgeous and Gottmik, showed support in the comments section of the Instagram post.

At least three LGBTQ+ individuals made the cut as the nominees for the 57th annual Academy of Country Music Awards were announced recently, per out.com . TJ Osborne, of Brothers Osborne, was nominated for Duo of the Year alongside his brother and bandmate John; Lily Rose was nominated for New Female Artist of the Year; and songwriter/producer Shane McAnally was nominated for four awards. McNally had been nominated 24 times before this year's ceremony, already winning four awards—including Songwriter of the Year in 2014 and 2019. The ACM Awards will be held Monday, March 7, and will be live-streamed on Prime Video.

Jorja Fox has decided not to return for a second season of the CSI sequel, EW.com noted. She cited citing the exit of Petersen, who previously shared that he only signed on for the first season's 10 episodes. (Petersen will remain on the series as an executive producer.) Fox and Petersen reprised their beloved CSI: Crime Scene Investigation characters Sara Sidle and Gil Grissom, respectively, in the first season of CSI: Vegas, a new iteration set in Sin City. Mel Rodriguez also announced he won't be returning for the sequel's next season. However, Marg Helgenberger will be there, reprising her original role of Catherine Willows, per Deadline.

This May, queer video essayist and debut author Rowan Ellis will release Here and Queer: A Gay Girl's Guide to Life (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)—a book that contains everything young queer kids need to embrace their identity, per a press release. Ellis uses her personal experiences to take readers through queer life, from coming out and dealing with tough issues, right through to finding friendships and celebrating Pride. There are also guest essays from contributors across the LGBTQ+ spectrum including Hafsa Qureshi, Mikaela Moody, Annie Segarra and Maz Hedgehog.

Out gay CNN journalist Anderson Cooper announced the birth of his second son, Sebastian Luke Maisani-Cooper, on air, per Page Six. He posted a photo of the baby boy who's the little brother of Cooper's 21-month-old son, Wyatt Morgan. Cooper co-parents Wyatt with ex Benjamin Maisani, and Sebastian has also been given Maisani's name. The couple split in 2018.

On the heels of a UK band tour, Rufus Wainwright announced a North American tour that brings him from the West Coast to Eastern Canada on April 13-May 21, a press release stated. The tour is in support of his 2020 Grammy- and Juno-nominated pop album Unfollow the Rules. Since then, Rufus has released two more albums with BMG. Unfollow the Rules — Paramour Session, released in September 2021, is a live recording of a stripped-down version of Unfollow the Rules plus some new tracks. Rufus Wainwright and Amsterdam Sinfonietta is a live recording of a 2017 tour with the famed Amsterdam-based 21-piece string orchestra featuring covers of Jacques Brel, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen plus Wainwright classics as well as previously unreleased songs in new arrangements.

Tibet House US announced that Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Stephen Colbert, Jesse Paris Smith and Camerata: Queensland's Chamber Orchestra will join the lineup for the 35th Annual Tibet House US Virtual Benefit Concert on March 3, per a press release. This year's special virtual edition of one of the longest-running live cultural events in New York City, and will celebrate Philip Glass' 85th birthday; it is streaming for the second year in a row via Mandolin. Tickets are $25-$250 each; visit https://mandolin.com/events/6c1fbe48-499b-4209-8bfa-03874371ffcd.

Just three days after debuting on Prime Video, Amazon has renewed Reacher, Variety noted. Alan Ritchson stars in the title role of the action-thriller series as Jack Reacher, a veteran military police investigator who has just recently entered civilian life; when Margrave, Georgia, deals with its first homicide in 20 years, he becomes a prime suspect—and Reacher works to clear his name. Tom Cruise played the character in two films, Jack Reacher and the sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, in 2012 and 2016, respectively.

Blackberry Rose, Lavender Country's sophomore album self-released by the band in 2019, is being released by Don Giovanni Records on Feb. 18, according to USA Today. Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Patrick Haggerty's 1973 self-titled LP under the Lavender Country banner is generally considered to be the first openly gay country album.

CBS has ordered a primetime game show reboot of the long-running format Lingo—with RuPaul Charles (RuPaul's Drag Race) to host, Deadline reported. The series, which will premiere this year, is a cross between bingo and a word guessing game. Charles will serve as host and executive producer.

Coming 2 America—the sequel to the film Coming to America—will make its Blu-ray/DVD debut on March 8 from Paramount Home Entertainment, per a press release. In the sequel, newly crowned King Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and his trusted confidante Semmi (Arsenio Hall) traverse the globe from their African nation of Zamunda to the borough of Queens, New York, when Akeem learns he has a long-lost son in the United States. In addition to Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall, the film features a cast including James Earl Jones, John Amos, Louie Anderson, Shari Headley, Wesley Snipes, Tracy Morgan and Leslie Jones. The Blu-ray includes commentary by director Craig Brewer and an exclusive featurette entitled "From Queens to Zamunda."

Court documents showed that talk-show host Wendy Williams has lost access to all her money and can't pay her bills, per Queerty, which cited Radar Online. The news came just one week after Williams' filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo. Williams no longer has control over her own assets as part of an ongoing dispute with her former financial advisor, Lori Schiller; Schiller previously told Wells Fargo that Williams wasn't of sound mind and shouldn't have access to her own accounts. Although The Wendy Williams Show remains in production, a series of guest hosts have filled in for Williams' absence while she battles health problems.

Also regarding Williams, she reportedly will not be returning to her daytime talk show this season, but the future of her show remains in flux, Variety noted. Sherri Shepherd—who is slated to host the show the rest of the season—is in advanced discussions with Lionsgate's Debmar-Mercury for her own daytime talk show that could potentially replace Williams' series.

Jessica Chastain issued a statement on her Oscar nomination through Searchlight Pictures. She said, "This morning [Feb. 8] felt like a dream. As Tammy Faye would say, WE'RE BLEST!!! To be acknowledged by The Academy amongst all of the other incredible actresses that were nominated this year feels surreal. I am incredibly honored to have been recognized along with our brilliant makeup and hair team. This project holds such a special place in my heart. Tammy Faye, thank you for sharing your love with the world, I am so excited to celebrate the amazing person you are with a new generation. THANK YOU to everyone who helped bring her story to life and to The Academy for acknowledging my role as Tammy Faye. I am over the moon!"

Electronic artist Diplo is set to release his first full-length in 18 years, per a press release. The self-titled album, set to drop March 4, will include collaborations with Miguel, Busta Rhymes, RY X, WhoMadeWho and Lil Yachty, among others. Diplo recently made news for completing the 2022 Life Time Miami Half Marathon with no preparation—and directly going to a club afterward, The Miami Herald noted. His time on the 13.1-mile course was approximately one hour and 45 minutes.

Pop star Shawn Mendes is set to voice Lyle in Will Speck & Josh Gordon's Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile for Sony Pictures, per Deadline. Javier Bardem, Constance Wu and Winslow Fegley also are on board to star. Published in 1965, the venerable children's tale centers on the title reptile who lives in a house in New York City.

Paramount's upcoming Bob Marley biopic has found its leading man in Kingsley Ben-Adir, according to Variety. Ben-Adir, fresh off of playing Malcolm X in One Night in Miami, has been tapped to portray a different icon: the music legend credited for popularizing reggae music. The studio has not disclosed specific plot details, but the film will focus on Marley's life and career. Marley managed to have a profound impact on the music landscape before he died of cancer in 1981 at the age of 36.

Actor Bruce Willis now has his own category at the Razzies, which honor the worst movies and acting of the year, Paste Magazine noted. The category includes the eight feature films Willis made in 2021. Leading the field with nine nods is Netflix's Diana: The Musical, according to The Wrap. Joining Diana on the list of Worst Picture nominees are the thrillers Karen and The Woman in the Window, each with five nominations, as well as LeBron James' Space Jam: A New Legacy and Paramount+'s Infinite. Some of the acting nods went to Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen), Ruby Rose (Vanquish), Ben Affleck (The Last Duel) and Jared Leto (House of Gucci). The Razzies will be awarded the night before the Oscars on Saturday, March 26.

On Feb. 9, Peacock, Executive Producer Will Smith, Westbrook Studios and Universal Television hosted a star-studded drive-into experience and premiere pull-up screening for the series premiere of Bel-Air at The Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, a press release noted. The premiere of the streamer's new drama series—inspired by Morgan Cooper's viral trailer that reimagined the'90s sitcom—launched with a star-studded event. The drama series dropped on Feb. 13 on Peacock.

Clive Davis announced that his starry annual pre-Grammy celebration isn't happening this year, virtually or in-person, Page Six noted. Davis canceled the bash "due to the logistical obstacles caused by the ongoing pandemic, including the unavailability of an appropriate venue," he announced in a joint statement with Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. Past attendees have included Jay-Z, Beyonce, Janet Jackson, Paul McCartney and Barbara Streisand, as well as political officials including Nancy Pelosi.

Lionsgate will distribute a new Michael Jackson biopic that will be produced by Bohemian Rhapsody's Graham King, Variety noted. The film is being made with the cooperation of the Michael Jackson estate, which may impact how it deals with the multiple allegations of child sexual abuse that were brought against the King of Pop over the course of his career and following his 2009 death.

Chris Huvane, a partner and manager at Hollywood firm Management 360 and former magazine editor and PR executive, died by suicide at age 47, Variety reported. He is survived by two brothers: Slate PR partner Stephen Huvane and CAA managing partner Kevin Huvane. Chris' clients at Management 360 included Margot Robbie, Julianne Moore, Zoey Deutch, Zach Braff, the late Chadwick Boseman and Margaret Qualley.

Sotheby's sold 200 pairs of sneakers designed by the late Virgil Abloh for a "record breaking" collective $25.3 million—more than eight times the initial $3 million estimate, CNN.com noted. The special-edition Louis Vuitton and Nike "Air Force 1" sneakers were designed for the Louis Vuitton spring-summer 2022 collection. The auction marked the first time the sneakers were released for sale.

Martha Is Dead—the upcoming game from Wired Productions and LKA—has had content removed in the PS5 and PS4 versions of the game, according to Video Games Chronicle (VGC). Martha is Dead is described as a "dark first-person psychological thriller" set in 1944 Italy, that "blurs the lines between reality, superstition and the tragedy of war." In one part of the game, according to VGC, "the player has to physically cut off someone's face (in unflinching, graphic detail) and wear it as a mask." The game also requires the player to take pictures of his/her/their sister's body as she lies in her open casket.

Sting has sold his entire songwriting catalog to Universal Music Group, NBC News noted. The acquisition includes hits like "Roxanne," "Every Breath You Take," "Message in a Bottle" and more of both his solo work and songs he wrote for The Police. The deal, which is reported to be worth around $300 million, encompasses the copyrights to more than 600 songs, as well as future royalties on the catalog.

Also, Alice in Chains members Jerry Cantrell, Sean Kinney, Mike Inez and William DuVall reportedly sold their catalogs with the band to Round Hill Music for $50 million,Variety noted. The Round Hill deal does not encompass copyrights belonging to the estates of original singer Layne Staley or original bassist Mike Starr, who passed away in 2002 and 2011, respectively; their respective estates announced they had sold their music rights to Primary Wave.

On the Allison Interviews podcast, out gay And Just Like That… actor Mario Cantone weighed in on various topics, according to a press release. Regarding Whoopi Goldberg's Holocaust statement (and her subsequent apology and suspension from The View), Cantone said, "You can't say shit anymore. You can't say anything. They come after you. I wouldn't want that job. I would never do it. … This cancel culture has ruined entertainment, the world and comedy. I don't understand this world anymore, and that is why I don't really want to do stand-up anymore." Cantone also talked about Tammy Faye Bakker's son, Jay, marrying Cantone and his husband, Jerry Dixon; gay actors playing gay roles; Sarah Jessica Parker; and the loss of his And Just Like That… co-star Willie Garson.

Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale is to host the intimate conversation series E.A.T. with Gavin Rossdale, which will see the musician invite celebrities to his home in the Hollywood Hills where he will design, prepare and serve them three-course meals, Deadline noted. Shooting is underway and guests so far include iconic singer Tom Jones and 30 Rock and Late Night With Conan O'Brien star Jack McBrayer.

Patrick Morris, Phil McGraw's personal attorney, spoke out against accusations of a toxic workplace environment against the long-running daytime talk show Dr. Phil, Variety reported. "It is a clickbait story because, as everyone knows, Dr. Phil sells tickets," Morris said in a statement. A dozen current and former employees of the long-running series spoke to BuzzFeed News about the verbal abuse, fear, intimidation and racism they faced behind the scenes of the production—prompting Morris to say, "BuzzFeed was offered dozens of current and former staff members to talk to but when BuzzFeed started hearing the truth, which ruined their salacious narrative, [it] declined."

After years of criticism for using a "blaccent," Asian-American actress Awkwafina, born Nora Lum, addressed her usage of African-American Vernacular English (AAVE), per Page Six. "As a non-Black POC, I stand by the fact that I will always listen and work tirelessly to understand the history and context of AAVE, what is deemed appropriate or backwards toward the progress of ANY and EVERY marginalized group," she shared in a letter on Twitter. "But I must emphasize: To mock, belittle, or to be unkind in any way possible at the expense of others is: Simply. Not. My. Nature. It never has, and it never was." She also announced that she'd be leaving Twitter, but plans to keep her other social-media pages.

Kanye West, or Ye, reportedly is refusing to perform at Coachella unless fellow headliner Billie Eilish apologizes for comments she made regarding safety during her Feb. 5 concert at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Page Six noted. Eilish recently stopped her performance on the second night of her "Happier Than Ever" world tour to locate an inhaler for a distressed fan in the audience; at one point she said, "We're taking care of our people, hold on. I wait for people to be OK until I keep going." Despite not mentioning Travis Scott by name, West took Eilish's comments as a direct insult after the Astroworld Festival tragedy in November left 10 fans dead and countless more injured. Eilish responded, "Literally never said a thing about Travis. Was just helping a fan," per Variety.


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