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Monster Mash: Breaking arts news and headlines

October 10, 2008 |  9:36 am

Soundofmusic_2 • The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization is up for bid, with the families of the legendary songwriters hoping to bring in at least $250 million, according to a report. The privately held company controls the rights to such classic -- and profitable -- stage properties as "South Pacific," "The Sound of Music," The King and I" and more. (Pictured: Julie Andrews in a scene from the film "The Sound of Music.")

• An Italian politician is trying remove several items from an Oct. 15 antiquities sale at Bonhams London, citing concerns that the items were looted. The main item in question is a 4th century BC red vase from Apulia, Italy, which was once owned by Robin Symes, a British dealer who has served jail time. In the past, Symes acquired looted artifacts from the Italian dealer Giacomo Medici and sold them to many Western museums, including the Getty.

• Rupert Everett is joining the cast of the upcoming Broadway revival of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit," which is scheduled to open  Feb. 26.  This will be the Broadway debut for Everett, who has appeared in the films "My Best Friend's Wedding" and "An Ideal Husband." He joins the previously announced Christina Ebersole in the Michael Blakemore-directed production.

• The much-delayed Grand Avenue project in downtown L.A. is facing continued problems as the global credit crisis continues to loom large. Financing, which was due to be completed by next year, is now up in the air, according to a report. The Grand Avenue project would see the construction of a $2.5-billion Frank Gehry-designed complex featuring hotel space, restaurants, housing and more.

Basquiat • Singapore is proving to be the anomaly in the falling global art market. According to a report, paintings and sculptures by emerging artists from Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries are defying the trend of slowing auction demand.

• Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich is selling a Jean-Michel Basquiat portrait of a boxer at Christie's International in New York on Nov. 12. Christie's estimates that the 1982 painting will sell at about $12 million. "Untitled (Boxer)'' (pictured at left) was part of the 2005-06 Basquiat retrospective that toured several museums, including MOCA.

• The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena has named an interim president following the abrupt departure of Richard Koshalek, who was denied a four-year extension on his contract. Frank L. Ellsworth, who most recently served as president of New York's Japan Society, will take over immediately and continue through the ongoing search for a permanent president, anticipated by the end of 2009.

— David Ng

Photo credits: Top, Twentieth Century Fox; bottom, via Bloomberg News