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SHOWBIZ Theater items, Lady Gaga, 'Justice League Queer,' Tom of Finland
by Windy City Times staff
2021-11-14

This article shared 790 times since Sun Nov 14, 2021
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Eighteen months after he died of COVID, the life of playwright Terrence McNally was celebrated in a packed house Nov. 1 at the Schoenfeld Theatre, Gay City News noted. Tributes poured in from theater artists, while McNally's own words from his plays, speeches and personal communications with friends were highlighted. Jonathan Groff set the tone for the service with a scene from McNally's And Things That Go Bump in the Night, while Audra McDonald had trouble composing herself as she reflected on McNally.

NYC's Abingdon Theatre Company produced the sold-out return of "Broadway on the Bowery: Red, Hot & Vaxxed" on Nov. 3, a press release noted. Artistic Director Chad Austin directed the event at Duane Park, with music direction by Nick Wilders. The evening marked Abingdon's return to live programming and the start of its 29th season. Burlesque figure The Maine Attraction hosted; performers for the evening included Nick Adams, Audrey Cardwell, Pearls Daily, Micaela Diamond, Jonathan Hoover, Marisa Rosen, Justin Sargent, Carrie St Louis, Katie Thompson, Rema Webb and Teal Wicks.

Lady Gaga revealed to British Vogue that she actually wore a bulletproof dress to sing at President Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20, The Daily Mail noted. Calling her performance at the 59th presidential inauguration "one of the proudest days of my whole life," she revealed the navy-and-red Schiaparelli dress she wore was ironclad. "When I was at the Capitol, the day before the inauguration, I remember walking around and looking for evidence of the insurrection," the "Paparazzi" singer said of the riot that took place Jan. 6. On Jan. 20, she sang the national anthem before the swearing-in of Vice President Kamala Harris.

In comic-book news, Justice League Queer (JLQ) is coming back in time for the holidays, out.com noted. The JLQ first debuted in DC Pride #1 this past summer and were a part of a tournament held by DC Comics to pick the next comic series; although JLQ lost to eventual winner Robins, the team proved too popular with fans to leave behind. JLQ is back in the all-new, 80-page holiday special 'Tis the Season to be Freezin' (out Dec. 14). In the preview, readers get to see Extrano, Tasmanian Devil, Crush, Traci 13, the new Aquaman and his boyfriend Syl, Bunker, Tremor and The Ray team up to fight Minister Blizzard and an ice goddess.

A rare, complete set of signed drawings by illustrator Tom of Finland will be offered at auction on Nov. 18 by Phillips Auctioneers in New York City, out.com noted. Entitled "The Motorcycle Series," the 11 commissioned drawings represent an early period in the iconic artist's development and will be sold as a set. Phillips estimates the sale to be worth anywhere between $180,000 to $250,000. The series will be on view in New York through Nov. 17 at 432 Park Ave., the company's new headquarters. The auction will welcome in-person bidding; see www.phillips.com .

The transgender-focused documentary Little Girl will be available on digital/VOD on Tuesday, Nov. 16, a press release noted. The movie, which Sebastien Lifshitz directed, looks at the life of 7-year-old Sasha, who has always known that she is a girl. Sasha's family has recently accepted her gender identity, embracing their daughter for who she truly is while working to confront outdated norms and find affirmation in a small community of rural France.

Will Smith leads the final list of honorees for the Critics Choice Association's Fourth Annual Celebration of Black Cinema & Television, according to Deadline. Jennifer Hudson was previously announced as the recipient of the Actress Award for her role as Aretha Franklin in Respect, while award-winning writer, director, producer and film distributor Ava DuVernay will receive the first-ever Melvin Van Peebles Trailblazer Award. Antoine Fuqua—whose latest film, The Guilty, stars Jake Gyllenhaal and is currently running on Netflix—will receive the Director honor; Ruth Negga will receive a Special Honoree award for her role in yet another current Netflix film, Passing; and Halle Berry will receive the Career Achievement Award. The live in-person event will take place Monday, Dec. 6 at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel.

D.C.'s Duke Ellington School of the Arts is postponing for five months its plan to rename its theater after comedian Dave Chappelle—a graduate of the acclaimed performing arts high school—following complaints about his comments about LGBTQ people, particularly transgender people, in a Netflix special program, according to The Washington Blade. In a statement, the school said it would go ahead with the renaming at a ceremony rescheduled for April 22, 2022.

Speaking of Chappelle, Jay-Z called him a "super-genius" despite the comedian's widely panned special The Closer, The New York Post noted. Jay-Z shut down any questions about Chappelle's Netflix show (which features anti-trans comments) and simply stated, "I don't want to answer to Dave Chappelle so I'm not speaking specifically to his work but I think great art is divisive. When you're making great art, you have to be fearless and create something that you believe in." Chappelle recently introduced Jay-Z upon the latter's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

TJ Osborne, of the country-music duo Brothers Osborne, kissed his boyfriend after winning the Country Music Association award for vocal duo of the year, out.com noted, citing People magazine. Osborne kissed his partner Abi Ventura, while brother John Osborne shared a kiss with his wife, Lucie Silvas. Brothers Osborne performed "Younger Me" at the awards; Osborne wrote the song about how he came to accept his sexuality. Per a press release, some of the other winners were Luke Combs (Entertainer of the Year), Chris Stapleton (CMA Album, Single, Song and Male Vocalist of the Year), Carly Pearce (Female Vocalist of the Year), Jimmie Allen (New Artist of the Year), and Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney (CMA Musical Event of the Year and CMA Music Video of the Year).

The series In My Skin has returned for its second season, on Hulu, a press release noted. The second series finds Bethan embarking on her last year of school, entering an exciting new relationship and planning to fly the nest, all while still desperately trying to hide the reality of her home life. This award-winning five-part series—distributed through BBC Studios, and from writer Kayleigh Llewellyn—continues to follow the story of Bethan (Gabrielle Creevy), a Welsh teenager leading a double life as she negotiates a mentally ill mother and an abusive father, friendships and sexuality.

Tony winner Patti LuPone (soon to return to Broadway in the revival of Company), Rachel Bloom, Ben Kingsley, Peter Serafinowicz, Rob Delaney and Mark Heap have been cast in Netflix film adaptation of The School for Good and Evil, Playbill noted. They join the previously announced Sophia Anne Caruso and Sofia Wylie as Sophie and Agatha, respectively. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the cast also includes Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, Jamie Flatters, Kit Young, Michelle Yeoh and Laurence Fishburne, all of whom were attached to the project earlier. Based on the book series by Soman Chainani, The School for Good and Evil follows Sophie and Agatha: two best friends who find themselves attending a school where kids are trained to be fairy-tale heroes and villains.

Music icon Missy Elliott received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, WJLA.com reported. Earning her star in the "Recording" category, Elliott was recognized for her illustrious career and contributions to hip-hop. "Through the grace of God and faith, I've kept going. If I hadn't, I wouldn't be standing here," Elliott said in the speech recorded by Variety. "I'd come here 20 years ago and used to walk past all these stars and imagine."

Brian Michael Smith, of 9-1-1: Lone Star, has been included in People Magazine's "Sexy" issue in the lineup for Sexiest Men on TV—and became the first trans man to be accorded the honor, out.com noted. This year's list also included other queer stars like Smith's Lone Star co-star Ronen Rubinstein and Pose star Dyllon Burnside. Also this year, Lil Nas X was included in People's Sexy Guys of 2021 countdown leading to their announcement of Paul Rudd as the choice for Sexiest Man Alive. X was included on the list alongside men like Christopher Meloni, Bad Bunny, Jason Momoa and Daniel Dae Kim.

In an episode of The Simpsons airing Nov. 21 on Fox, Waylon Smithers—the nerdy and loyal right-hand man (voiced by Harry Shearer) of the show's benignly evil Mr. Burns—is swept off his feet and taken around the world on a whirlwind romance by billionaire fashion mogul Michael De Graaf (voiced by the veteran actor Victor Garber), out.com noted. Smithers came out in a groundbreaking 2016 episode, but has remained single. Both episodes were penned by longtime series writer Rob LaZebnik, who revealed to the New York Post he was helped by his gay son, Johnny.

Kim Cattrall has joined the cast of Peacock's Queer As Folk in a recurring guest role, Deadline noted. The Golden Globe winner will portray a martini-soaked, high-society Southern debutant in the series, which was picked up by the streamer in April. The series, a reimagination of the hit British series of the same name from Russell T Davies, follows the lives of a diverse group of friends in New Orleans whose lives are transformed in the aftermath of a tragedy. A U.S. remake, set in Pittsburgh, aired on Showtime during 2000-2005.

MRC Live & Alternative and ABC announced the first set of performers for the 2021 American Music Awards, airing live on Sunday, Nov. 21, Rolling Stone noted. Olivia Rodrigo will make her AMAs debut performance as the most nominated artist of the night with seven nominations. Other performers will include Bad Bunny, Megan Thee Stallion and BTS; the latter two will be performing together. Cardi B will host the event.

The national tour of The Prom has started, Broadway World noted. Kaden Kearney (they/them) will star as Emma, Kalyn West as Alyssa Greene, Courtney Balan as Dee Dee Allen, Patrick Wetzel as Barry Glickman, Emily Borromeo as Angie Dickinson, Bud Weber as Trent Oliver, Sinclair Mitchell as Mr. Hawkins Ashanti J'Aria as Mrs. Greene, and Shavey Brown as Sheldon Saperstein. Just a few of the stops are Cleveland (through Nov. 21); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Dec. 14-19); St. Louis (Jan. 25-Feb. 6, 2022); Providence, Rhode Island (March 8-13); Chicago (April 19-24); and Los Angeles (Aug. 9-Sept. 11).

The ABC Owned Television Stations Group has renewed the daytime talk show Tamron Hall through 2024, Deadline noted. The nationally syndicated show is in the middle of its third season. It airs in New York, LA, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Raleigh-Durham and Fresno, and is syndicated by Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

L.A. post-punk feminist band Agender announced their forthcoming sophomore album, No Nostalgia, which will be out Feb. 24, 2022, per a press release. The band has publicly shared the title track with a brand-new video, at www.youtube.com/watch. No Nostalgia is Agender's sophomore album and arrives seven years after releasing their first record, Fixations.

Drag musician Donna Slash prompted blistering backlash after dressing up as Britney Spears during a mental health crisis for Halloween, according to PinkNews. Joshua Vogelsong, whose drag persona is Slash, posted photos of the Halloween costume to Twitter on Oct. 30; he was dressed as Spears in 2007, when she lashed out at paparazzi with an umbrella after being hounded all day during a mental-health crisis. He wrote on Twitter: "HAPPY HALLOWEEN from our unwilling yet resilient queen of mental health visibility, 2007 Britney Spears! May she finally be free!"

Billy Porter apologized to Harry Styles for criticizing his Vogue cover shoot in which the former One Direction singer wore a dress, NME.com noted. Styles made history in December 2020 as Vogue's first-ever male solo cover star, and he was pictured wearing a Gucci dress and skirt; Porter later told The Times, "I created the conversation [about non-binary fashion] and yet Vogue still put Harry Styles, a straight white man, in a dress on their cover for the first time." However, on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Porter said, "Harry Styles, I apologize to you for having your name in my mouth. It's not about you. The conversation is not about you."

Tens of thousands of people have signed a new Change.org petition begging Universal Studios to "Keep James Corden out of Wicked the movie," out.com noted. Corden's performances in recent musicals have been some of the worst-reviewed of any actor in the 21st century. In Cats, critics said he ruined a song celebrating how much everyone loves fat cats by making fat jokes and looking into the camera as he said the word "cats." Then, queer critics thought his lisp and limp wrist in The Prom (for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe) was homophobic and relied on archaic gay stereotypes.

The Max Original cooking show Selena + Chef, starring Selena Gomez, has been renewed for a fourth season on HBO Max, a press release noted. The final four episodes of season three debuted Nov. 11; they feature chefs Jamie Oliver, Sophia Roe, Esther Choi and Gabe Kennedy.

Marissa Gialousis and Summer Mitchell, two of the stars of the new lesbian reality show Tampa Baes, are officially engaged, out.com noted, citing People. The couple has been together for over three years now, and are overjoyed to share the news. "It's a feeling I think we've both struggled to put into words," Gialousis told People. "It's so surreal and we're overwhelmed with the amount of support and congratulations we've received."

Former child actor Coronji Calhoun—who played Halle Berry's son in the movie Monster's Ball, for which she won an Oscar—has died at the age of 30 from congestive heart failure and lung problems, The Daily Mail noted. Berry is said to have helped cover some of the costs for a "sacred celebration" of his life. Berry once spoke to SF Gate in 2002 about how difficult it was for her to pretend to be abusive to Calhoun on camera, saying, "It was a lot harder than even the love scene because Coronji was really 10 [years old] and obese. I worried that I would somehow damage him emotionally, not just in doing the scene, but down the road. So I talked to him a lot and hugged and kissed him a lot." Calhoun earned his major part—which would be his sole acting credit—when he attended an open casting call in Louisiana.

Talk-show host Wendy Williams provided a health update on Instagram, Extra noted. She posted, "I'm making progress but it's just one of those things that's taking longer than we expected. I'm a woman of a certain age, and I know enough to listen to my doctors and will return to my purple chair as soon as we all agree I'm ready." The latest season of The Wendy Williams Show was delayed and kicked off Oct. 18, but Williams has not been able to host due to ongoing health issues, including a breakthrough case of COVID-19; stars like Sherri Shepherd, Leah Remini, Michael Rapaport and Jerry Springer are stepping in to guest host as she recovers.

British duo Tears For Fears announced the first leg of The Tipping Point World Tour in 2022, with Garbage as support, a press release noted. Kicking off in Cincinnati on May 20, the tour will see the band performing in more than 20 cities across North America before capping off with their last show in Wantagh, New York, on June 25. (Some of the other stops are slated to include Dallas, San Diego, Chicago, Boston and Atlanta.) The run will mark Tears For Fears first U.S. tour since 2017.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Deana Carter's five-time platinum debut album Did I Shave My Legs for This?, Capitol Records/UMe released 25th-anniversary editions of the groundbreaking album, a press release noted. Carter is also releasing a new music video for the remake of her breakout double-platinum, award-winning, debut hit single "Strawberry Wine." The 2021 version of the song also features Terri Clark, Sara Evans, Ashley McBryde and Vince Gill.

On Disney+ Day, the studio announced that its new Predator movie is set to drop in summer 2022, and will be titled Prey, Deadline noted. For some time, the film was shot under the title Skulls. Prey will debut on Disney+ sister streaming service Hulu. The movie will be set in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago, following Naru—a skilled female warrior who fiercely protects her tribe against a highly evolved alien predator.

Rapper/podcast host Joe Budden (possibly) came out as bisexual, according to The Source. Some critics wondered if Budden was being sarcastic or trolling his fans on his podcast. However, he appeared to confirm his sexual orientation on Twitter, tweeting: "Ahhhhhhh, i see the word got out!! Continue to spread the word pls." The comments came during a discussion about a prominent LGBTQ advocacy group working on healing with rapper Da Baby following his comments that many called homophobic. While many still questioned the rapper's authenticity about his statement, his tweet was largely met with support on social media.

Alanis Morissette, the singer/songwriter behind the multimillion-selling album Jagged Little Pill, is to be the inspiration for a new ABC sitcom, Deadline noted. Relatable will parody the family life of a '90s rock legend.

Diplo shared the video for "Promises" with Paul Woolford and Kareen Lomax, and created by Actual Objects (Travis Scott, Yves Tumor), a press release noted. The new song follows the success of the trio's first collaborative hit "Looking for Me" from last year, which has amassed more than 210 million global streams to date and reached number one on the U.S. Dance Radio chart. The video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuGPLqjqeGE.


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