Category: Theater

Cher, theatrical? Why yes -- enough that there's a show in the works


Plastic surgery jokes aside, it looks like someone is finally turning back time for Cher.

Producer Andy Fickman recently confessed he's developing a "theatrical" piece drawn from the singer's career and epic personal life. 

"We'll be making announcements about that project coming together shortly. She's a fairly phenomenal character. Cher, as a human being, I think she's one of the great icons of all time, a force to be reckoned with," he said.

Details are scarce, but an obvious question is in regards to music -- will the show consist ...

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Whoopi Goldberg leaves 'Sister Act' in London after her mom suffers a stroke


Whoopi Goldberg has put Mother Superior on hold to care for her own mom, a new report says.

Goldberg, on hiatus from her moderating gig at "The View," has been living in London and starring in a West End stage adaptation of her film "Sister Act." Upon learning her mother Emma had suffered a stroke, however, Goldberg departed Friday for the States.

"The thoughts and sincere best wishes of the producers and the entire 'Sister Act' company are with her at this difficult time," producers said in a statement.

Goldberg also serves as a consulting producer on the musical, which she was to star in through month's end. The film version was released in 1992 and saw the comic playing a Las Vegas showgirl forced to hide out in a convent after witnessing a murder.

-- Matt Donnelly

Photo: Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Superior in "Sister Act: The Musical" on Aug. 10, 2010, in London. Credit: Neil Mockford / Getty Images

We have other dispatches from the Office of Celebrity Health and Wellness, plus lots more about Whoopi Goldberg.

Chris Pine morphs from 'Star Trek' hottie into Irish hothead

Chris-pine-zoe-perry Saving the universe can get to be a little, well, meh. So "Star Trek" star Chris Pine is expanding his horizons with a role as a crazed Irish lawman who gets deathly revenge on the murderers of his cat, Wee Thomas.

That can take a lot out of a Hollywood hottie, so naturally Pine was doing a little two-fisted drinking at Sunday's opening-night after-party for the Mark Taper Forum production of Martin McDonagh's black comedy, "The Lieutenant of Inishmore."

"There's a vodka soda," he said, nodding at the glass in front of him, "and there's a Gatorade to replenish my dwindling muscle."

By all means, replenish away.

Pine was still surfing his post-curtain adrenalin rush, which was showing no sign of abating. "I love the character," he said at McCormick and Schmick's in downtown L.A., where the Center Theatre Group had lined up an Irish band called Slugger O'Toole (with Dan Harper of CTGLA's Play Program youth theater) and private bar to re-create the Emerald Isle's je ne sais quoi.

"I don't get opportunities to play wackos, whom I love playing, and this was a great chance to play one," Pine said. "He's become more and more weird as I've played him, to my great joy."

Pine had just come off filming "Unstoppable" with director Tony Scott and Denzel Washington, which opens in November. He compared the experience of working with those heavyweights to movie-making grad school.

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Laurence Fishburne opens in 'Thurgood' at the Geffen Playhouse

JBS_6243[1] Laurence Fishburne has earned plenty of applause and a Drama Desk Award for his bravura turn as the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall since his Broadway debut in "Thurgood" more than two years ago. But on Wednesday, he won the seal of approval from a true master -- Sidney Poitier.

Poitier caught Fishburne's performance at opening night for "Thurgood's" limited run at the Geffen Playhouse, and it's about a subject he knows well -- the veteran actor was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his own performance as the former NAACP lawyer in "Separate But Equal," a 1991 TV film about the landmark school desegregation case Brown vs. Board of Education.

Poitier's verdict? "Exquisite, absolutely exquisite …. I got to know Mr. Thurgood Marshall because I was about to play him, so I had to learn about him. I saw tonight some of the real substantive characteristics of the Thurgood Marshall that I got to know."

Poitier, who was accompanied by his daughter, actress Sydney Tamiia Poitier, said he had been following Fishburne's career for "a long time. I'm considerably older than he, so I've been watching him since he was a baby actor. I saw him in ‘Fences' and other things, and I don't see him as being on a stage -- I see him as being right next to me as I'm watching, as if I know him from the inside."

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Celebrities tweak other celebrities in 'Celebrity Autobiography'

Florence Henderson in Celebrity Autobiography Our trend radar has detected a new wrinkle in the celeb-o-sphere -- seniors with potty mouths.

First it was Betty White on "Saturday Night Live." Now it's Florence Henderson in Monday's cast of "Celebrity Autobiography" at the Broad Stage.

OK, so it isn't Henderson's potty mouth, exactly. It's Madonna's. In the opening-night salvo of the cult hit's one-night-a-month run in Santa Monica, the frisky mom of "The Brady Bunch" read aloud a passage about Madonna's one-night stand with a teenager from her book, "Sex."

"I was so turned on; it was probably the most erotic sex I ever had," Henderson read naughtily. "But he gave me crabs."

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At the Actor's Fund's Tony Awards benefit, Annette Bening gets a second chance to honor Brian Stokes Mitchell

ABBSMTT[1] With all those Hollywood celebs showing up at the Tony Awards in New York on Sunday, doesn't it make sense that Broadway stars would be in Los Angeles watching the festivities on a live feed?

Broadway boy wonder Tommy Tune sailed into town to host the Actors Fund's 14th annual Tony Awards viewing party, honoring past Tony winner Brian Stokes Mitchell, at Skirball Center.

With all the cross-cultural exchanges in the entertainment industry these days, up is now officially down -- and yet, all roads to the event started in Rome, in a manner of speaking. Annette Bening, a movie star who has trod her share of boards in L.A. and New York, was there to present a Julie Harris Award to Mitchell -- whom she'd known since their days at Patrick Henry High School in San Diego. In fact, the two performed together in dance class.

"He choreographed it and taught it to me," Bening said. "We both got the credit, but he did all the work. That's how he lives his life."

Now, Mitchell may be a much-loved guy in the business, and it was nice of Bening to present the award, but frankly, she owed him. By coincidence ...

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In New York, Tony Awards' red carpet looks a lot like Hollywood

Scarlett-Johansson-on-the-rRain couldn't deter the good cheer on the red carpet Sunday in New York, as Broadway celebrated its biggest night, the Tony Awards.

The night was perhaps a bit more glam than in previous years, as Hollywood seemed to move East for the evening. Radiant in green, Scarlett Johansson, nominated for "A View From the Bridge," waved to the crowd, gathered outside Radio City Music Hall.  Her costar and fellow nominee Liev Schreiber arrived with  Naomi Watts. Catherine Zeta-Jones, nominated for "A Little Night Music," was glowing in a powder blue gown.

Hamming it up on the carpet was Green Day -- Mike Dirnt, Billie Joe Armstrong and Tre Cool -- whose Tony-Awards-Gallery show "American Idiot" is up for best musical. Among the others making the trek included Daniel Radcliffe,who appeared in "Equus" on Broadway in 2008; Antonio Banderas, star of  "Nine" in 2003, and wife Melanie Griffith, who appeared "Chicago" that same year; and Bebe Newirth, a star of "The Addams Family" musical.

And, of course, the nominees of the evening were looking their best as they headed into the hall: Laura Linney, up for "Time Stands Still"; Christopher Walken, star of  "A Behanding in Spokane";  grand dame of theater Angela Lansbury, nominated for "A Little Night Music"; Kelsey Grammer, honored for "La Cage aux Folles"; and the evening's host and "Promises, Promises" nominee Sean Hayes

"Glee" was well represented, with star Lea Michelle, who appeared on Broadway in 2006 in "Spring Awakening," prepared to sing "Don't Rain on My Parade"; Matthew Morrison, who will sing "All I Need is a Girl"; Vocal Adrenaline's Jonathan Groff, another "Spring Awakening" alum, who says he'll next be appearing in "Mousetrap" in London; and Idina Menzel, Tony winner for "Wicked" who was seen recently on "Glee" arrived sans husband Taye Diggs.

-- Lisa Fung

Photo: Scarlett Johansson attends the 64th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 13 in New York City. Credit: Bryan Bedder / Getty Images. 

Click and scroll down for more red carpet coverage, or more on Scarlett Johansson. Want the headlines? Follow the Ministry of Gossip on Twitter (we're @LATcelebs) or swing by our Facebook page and 'like' us right into your news feed.

Will Charlie Sheen be sentenced to hard time at a community theater?

Sheen-web Charlie Sheen is due in court Monday afternoon in Aspen, Colo., where he'll likely strike a plea deal regarding his Christmas Day dispute with wife Brooke Mueller that has him facing one felony and two misdemeanor counts related to domestic violence.

Part of that deal, according to the Aspen Times, would find Sheen "performing useful public service at Theatre Aspen, located a short walk downhill from Pitkin County Jail."

Yeesh, in Hollywood, isn't scoring a regular sitcom gig supposed to save a guy from ever having to set foot in a community theater again?

The felony charge would be reduced to third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, the paper reports, and Sheen would be allowed to leave jail periodically to do community service.

Paige Price, the nonprofit theater's artistic director, said Friday that Sheen's lawyers had indeed talked to her about getting a useful gig for their client. Sheen could, she said, work with the theater's education programs or help out with shows for the coming summer season.

"I would be lying [if] I didn't say I wish he was going to jail for a lot of parking tickets,” Price told the Aspen Times, which has lots more detail about the potential plea deal and the conditions Sheen would face in jail. "But what happens in his personal life is his business. That might seem naive, but that's how I see it."

If the judge approves the plea deal, the actor would go directly to jail, where ...

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Delia and Nora Ephron's 'Love, Loss, and What I Wore' takes a bow in L.A.

What's the difference between L.A. and New York?

People in L.A. understand that black rules. People in New York actually wear it.

The opening-night audience of Delia and Nora Ephron's off-Broadway hit "Love, Loss, and What I Wore" showed up in a veritable rainbow of hues to the Geffen Playhouse on Thursday. (OK, a few people wore New York-chic black -- including the playwrights themselves.) Nonetheless, the audience howled when the fashion color to end all colors was hilariously deconstructed in the five-woman reading of women's memories triggered by particular items of clothing.

Funny people run in the same circles, so naturally there were several professionally funny audience members with various connections to the writers and performers -- "Girlfriends'" Tracee Ellis Ross, Rita Wilson, Carol Kane (who won two Emmys for her role on "Taxi"), Natasha Lyonne from "American Pie" and Caroline Aaron, who appeared in three Nora Ephron films, including "Sleepless in Seattle."

Rob Reiner, who directed Nora's screenplay of "When Harry Met Sally," was there. So was Wilson's hubby and Nora's "Sleepless in Seattle" star, Tom Hanks, who ...

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PREACH IT! Kristin Chenoweth does our job for us. Thanks, doll! [poll]

Hayes-chen-web It’s a lazy day here for us here at Preach It! Why? Because someone else stepped up and did our job for us. Thank you, Kristin Chenoweth, for calling out Newsweek writer Ramin Setoodeh as a complete, utter and quite possibly self-hating dingbat, and doing with almost as much panache and verbal jiu-jitsu as we would have mustered ourselves.

It all started when Setoodeh posted an article essentially saying that gay actors should stay in the closet. He cited openly gay thespians like Sean Hayes -- star of the Broadway revival of “Promises, Promises” with Chenoweth -- and “Glee’s” Mr. Vocal Adrenaline, Jonathan Groff. Setoodeh’s general point: Gays can’t play straight, because they’re just too gay, gay, gay.

“Frankly,” Setoodeh writes, “it’s weird seeing Hayes play straight. He comes off as wooden and insincere, like he’s trying to hide something, which of course he is. Even the play’s most hilarious scene, when Chuck tries to pick up a drunk woman at a bar, devolves into unintentional camp.”

Of Groff, Setoodeh says, “When he smiles or giggles, he seems more like your average theater queen.”

Setoodeh also argued that none of this hetero bigotry is anybody’s fault. It’s just, like, how we’re raised: “We are molded by a society obsessed with dissecting sexuality, starting with the locker-room torture in junior high school.”

This ticked off some people, including Chenoweth, who wrote an angry letter ...

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