Actress and singer Vanessa Hudgens' Broadway dreams have been realised - she has been cast as the lead in a new production of beloved musical Gigi.
The High School Musical star will play the title role in the Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe production, which will be directed by Eric Schaeffer, the man behind Follies and Million Dollar Quartet. Gigi has previously been played onstage by Audrey Hepburn, and French actress Leslie Caron portrayed the character in Vincente Minnelli's Oscar-winning 1958 film.
British playwright and BAFTA-winning screenwriter Heidi Thomas will revamp the story for the new production, which will open at the Eisenhower Theater at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. from 16 January to 12 February (15) before its big New York debut.
Hudgens, who played the role of Gigi in recent readings in New York, says, "I started performing in musicals from a young age, and it has always been my dream to be on Broadway. I cannot wait to get back on stage, singing and dancing these songs and living in Gigi's glamorous world." She adds, "I think it's (musical theatre) the true test. There are no second takes. You've got to bring everything you've got for the most critical of audiences. It's an honour, if anything. I'm over the moon."
Gigi was originally brought to life on the Broadway stage by Days of Our Lives actress Karin Wolfe in 1973, but that production only ran for 103 performances.
The original novel was turned into a 1951 play, starring Hepburn.
Blues legend Johnny Winter's final album will be a star-studded affair featuring famous friends including Eric Clapton, Ben Harper, Billy Gibbons, Dr. John and Joe Perry. The guitar great passed away suddenly in Switzerland in July (14), but not before he had completed work on a last album, titled Step Back.
His longtime bandmate Paul Nelson has produced the record, which also features Joe Bonamassa and Brian Setzer, and ZZ Top star Gibbons admits it was a dream come true to work with his idol.
He tells WENN, "I never had the opportunity to jam with him (and so) I was content to remain in awe and admiration."
Aerosmith star Perry adds, "If it was not for Johnny Winter, I would have never picked up the guitar."
Highlights of the album include Perry and Winter's collaboration on Lightnin' Hopkins' Mojo Hand, and Winter's cover of Bobby 'Blue' Bland's Don't Want No Woman with Clapton.
If you haven't heard of the ALS "Ice Bucket Challenge" yet, you've probably been offline for the last week or so. Hello, here to fill you in! The challenge is meant to help raise awareness, and donations, for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. To participate, you are supposed to videotape yourself while pouring a bucket of ice water on your head, then nominate your friends to take the challenge. Recently, more and more celebrities have been participating and nominating their celebrity friends. It's been raising a lot of awareness, as well as creating a lot of hot men in wet t-shirts.
Draco Malfoy (I'm sorry, Tom Felton)
Nominated: Ron Weasley (okay, sorry again, Rupter Grint), Josh Gordon, and Paul Hodge
Nominated: His 3rd grade teacher Don Padget, his first acting coach in New York Bob Luke, and his teacher Pat Jackson.
Nominated: Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, Jamie Bell, Frank Grillo, Anthony Mackie, and Sebastian Stan
Nominated: Irving Azoff, Kanye West, and Susan Sarandon
Nominated: Prince Harry
Nominated: Sophia Smith, Pharrell Williams, John C. Reilly, and Will Ferrell
Nominated: Cub Swanson, Peter Tunney, and Olivia Culpo
Nominated: Nick Jonas, Alex Pettyfer, Nelly, Alanna Masterson, and Diplo
Nominated: Guy Pearce, Mia Wasikowska, and Marilyn Manson
Nominated: Robert Pattinson, Matthew McConaughey, and Eric The Actor
Nominated: Woody Harrelson, Josh Hutcherson, and Matt Niven
Eddie Redmayne & Jamie Dornan
Eddie Nominated: Sally Light and Jamie Dornan
Jamie Nominated: Andrew Garfield
Nominated: Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, and Mark Ruffalo
Robert Downey Jr.
Nominated: Chris Hemsworth and Vincent D'Onofrio
Nominated: Louis Tomlinson, John Terry, and Novak Djokovic
Post by Chris Pratt.
Nominated: Gregory Smith, Nick Offerman, and Dave Bautista
Nominated: Benedict Cumberbatch and Luke Evans
Nominated: John Green, Nat Wolff, and Dylan O'Brien
Nominated: Joe Maganiello
Nomiated: Jimmy Fallon, Steve Higgns, and The Roots
Nominated: Mark Wahlberg, Channing Tatum, and Brad Slater
Check back to see if some of these other Hollywood hotties have taken the challenge! Tweet us which celebrity you want to see take part in #ALSIceBucketChallenge!
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Funnyman Steve Martin has led tributes to his pal Robin Williams, following the Mrs. Doubtfire star's death on Monday (11Aug14). Williams was found dead in his home in Marin County, California. He was 63. Reports suggest he committed suicide.
Martin took to Twitter.com on Monday afternoon, shortly after the sad news broke and wrote, "I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul."
David Steinberg, Williams' manager for 35 years, said in a statement: "Nobody made the world laugh like Robin Williams. My brother, my friend, my soul mate, I will miss you."
Cher added, "Oh Robin... He was Sweet LOVELY,Man. He ran high voltage,Mind Always Going, It was who he was.I Know Well..Many X's from High There is Only Low.So Sad", while Williams' Mrs. Doubtfire co-star Mara Wilson writes, "Very sad, very upset, very glad I did not have to hear about this though Twitter. Probably going to be taking some time off it for a while."
Genie. You're free. pic.twitter.com/FWQWPDPP42
— Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) August 11, 2014
Other Twitter tributes have come from Johnny Depp, Michael J. Fox, Rihanna, Rita Wilson, Steve Carell, Jared Leto, Morgan Freeman, Kristin Chenoweth, Jon Cryer, John Cusack, Jenny McCarthy, Logan Lerman, Evan Rachel Wood, Sharon & Jack Osbourne, Pink, Ellen DeGeneres, Rose McGowan, Shannen Doherty, Josh Groban, Eddie Izzard, Eric Idle, Ashley Tisdale, Marlee Matlin, Mandy Moore, John Krasinski, and Mia Farrow, who posted, "No! Robin Williams you were so loved."
Miley Cyrus never met Williams, but admits the news of his death hit her hard: "I can't take the Robin Williams news. I've never cried over someone I've never met but I can't stop."
And Lindsay Lohan adds, "Mr. Williams visited me the first day of filming The Parent Trap. I will never forget his kindness. What an enormous loss. My condolences."
His former co-stars Henry Winkler and Minnie Driver were also among the first celebrities to pay tribute to Williams. Happy Days star Winkler wrote, "To watch him create on the spot was a privilege to behold... Robin you are an angel now !!! REST IN PEACE", while his Good Will Hunting castmate Driver added, "My Heart's broken. Robin was a beautiful, kind soul. Can't bear that he's gone. So incredibly sorry for his family."
One of the late funnyman's final co-stars, Joel McHale, states, "RIP @robinwilliams. You were one of the very best that ever was. You were one of my heroes."
And Williams' Mork & Mindy co-star Pam Dawber, who recently reteamed with Williams in U.S. TV comedy The Crazy Ones, has revealed she's "devastated" by the sad news of her longtime friend's death. The actor's The Crazy Ones co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar simply posted nine photos of herself with Williams on Twitter.com.
Other thoughtful words came from Glee stars Chord Overstreet and Lea Michele, who wrote, "So heartbreaking to hear the terribly sad news about the amazing Robin Williams, thank you for bringing so much laughter and joy to us all", and Kevin Spacey, who added, "Robin Williams made the world laugh & think. I will remember & honor that. A great man, artist and friend. I will miss him beyond measure."
He made us laugh. He made us cry. He ended up touching every element of the human spirit. #RIPRobinWilliams pic.twitter.com/kbEq7OwPOf
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 12, 2014
U.S. President Barack Obama also acknowledged the entertainer's impact to people all over the world in a statement which reads: "Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan and everything in between. "But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien - but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most - from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalised on our own streets. "The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin's family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams."
Meanwhile, a tribute has been posted on a billboard outside Los Angeles' Laugh Factory, where Williams often performed. It reads: "Robin Williams. Rest in Peace. Make God laugh."
Broadway's Tupac Shakur musical Holler If Ya Hear Me failed because producers refused to build up anticipation for the show with a national tour, according to star Saul Williams. The production, based on Shakur's music, closed on Sunday (20Jul14) after just six weeks, and Williams, who played the lead character John, insists producer Eric Gold always knew the show would fail on the New York stage.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, he explains, "They (producers) wanted that Broadway stamp. This is the cost of that stamp... When you do something fresh and new, you're going to face obstacles and I promise you this story isn't over."
Williams claims critics failed to get how important the musical was: "There's actually a generic response when I don't think critics realise they're playing into the hands of something that runs deeper than how this made you feel. I am speaking to that American race psyche; that thing that Harry Belafonte said to me after he saw the play, which is, 'You took an Afrocentric-themed play and placed it on a Eurocentric stage. The problems you'll face are larger than you think'."
Broadway's Tupac Shakur musical Holler If Ya Hear Me is to close early due to disappointing ticket sales.
The stage show, based on the music of the late rapper, officially opened at New York City's Palace Theatre on 19 June (14) and less than two months after its debut, the curtain will come down for the last time on Sunday (20Jul14).
Producer Eric L. Gold made the announcement on Monday night (14Jul14), attributing declining sales to the show's ultimate demise. He says, "We are so proud to be a part of this ground breaking production... My hope is that a production of this calibre, powerful in its story telling, filled with great performances and exciting contemporary dance and music will eventually receive the recognition it deserves."
"It saddens me that due to the financial burdens of Broadway, I was unable to sustain this production longer in order to give it time to bloom on Broadway. Tupac's urgent socially important insights and the audiences' nightly rousing standing ovations deserve to be experienced by the world."
The production reportedly cost $8 million (£4.7 million) to stage, and, after receiving mixed reviews from critics, box office figures have been declining ever since the show began previews on 2 June (14).
Singer Jessica Simpson shed a few extra pounds in the lead-up to her weekend (05Jul14) wedding by adopting a strict vegan diet.
The blonde beauty has been showing off a slimmer figure in recent months after losing the pregnancy pounds from carrying her second child, son Ace, last year (13) with the help of a food plan from Weight Watchers, for which she is a spokeswoman.
However, Simpson wanted to make sure she looked her absolute best when she exchanged vows with former American footballer Eric Johnson in California on Saturday, so she temporarily cut out all animal products from her diet. A source tells UsMagazine.com, "Jessica did a vegan diet for about two weeks leading up to the wedding."
The newlywed also reportedly boosted her vitamin levels by getting "quite a few" B12 shots to help maintain a healthy brain and nervous system.
Simpson has since returned to her meat-eating ways - at a pre-wedding Independence Day bash on Friday (04Jul14), guests were treated to a feast of beef brisket, smoked barbecue baby back ribs, fried chicken and grilled shrimp, as well as a variety of pies and watermelon.
Simpson isn't the first superstar to go vegan - Jennifer Lopez recently adopted the plant-based diet to get her in tip-top shape for the release of her new album AKA, while Beyonce and her rapper husband Jay Z also tried a 22-day vegan challenge last year (13).
Legendary comedy troupe Monty Python sealed their live comeback in front of 16,000 fans in London on Tuesday night (01Jul14). John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin kicked off their Monty Python Live (mostly) residency at the O2 Arena in front of a sellout crowd, marking their first public performance together since 1980.
They tackled classic sketches including the famous Dead Parrot gag, their I'm A Lumberjack song, and a rousing rendition of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.
The show also featured a live cameo from Stephen Fry, while TV star Professor Brian Cox and Stephen Hawking appeared in a taped segment, which included the revered physicist being pushed into a river.
However, the first gig sparked lacklustre reviews from critics, with many suggesting the act relied too much on old jokes and video sequences.
Peter Bradshaw of Britain's The Guardian writes, "Monty Python Live (mostly) isn't bad: it gives the crowd exactly what they want but relies pretty heavily on the fan love and makes a hefty withdrawal from the reputation bank... This live show won't make any converts. But it sends the faithful away happy."
The Independent's John Walsh writes, "I was a fan of the Monty Ps from the start, and it pains me to criticise them. But this is desperately lazy production, resting on its laurels, uninterested in showcasing new material, relying on TV footage and the whooping adulation of an audience who know all the words," but adds, "Elderly, much-loved and much-seen sketches are revivified in their mid-70s glory."
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail's Quentin Letts writes, "Once they were the sharpest thing in satire. Last night, quite often, they looked and sounded like a dodgy tribute band."
Hugh Grant, Christoph Waltz, David Walliams, and Emma Thompson were among the celebrity guests who caught the show, which runs through until 20 July (14).
Rolling Stones stars Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts have filmed a skit to promote the Monty Python comedy troupe's live comeback. In the sketch, posted on YouTube.com on Monday (30Jun14), Jagger jokes that the comedians planning for a string of London reunion dates may be past their prime.
He asks bandmate Watts, "Monty Python? Are they still going? Who wants to see that again? They're a bunch of wrinkly old men trying to relive their youth and make a load of money."
The joke is a reference to criticism aimed at the Stones, who are still touring in their 70s.
Meanwhile, the five surviving members of the British comedy troupe - John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin - have revealed that astrophysicists Stephen Hawking and Brian Cox will feature in filmed skits and comedian David Walliams will conduct red carpet interviews at their final show on 20 July (14).
Rap veterans Public Enemy stunned revellers with a surprise performance at a New York block party hosted by director Spike Lee on Saturday (28Jun14) to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his movie Do The Right Thing. A slew of celebrities, including Wesley Snipes, rapper/actor Mos Def, comedian Dave Chappelle and singer Erykah Badu, took part in the event, which was held on the same block in Lee's native Brooklyn where the cult film about racial tensions was shot back in 1999.
Lee documented the occasion with a series of snaps on Instagram.com and alongside one image, he wrote,"10,000 people showed up, danced, sang, rap (sic) and had a great time. Thank you to everyone that showed mad love for the 25th anniversary of Do The Right Thing".
He later posted a picture of Public Enemy's Chuck D onstage and added, "For the finale Public Enemy was the surprise guest artists. When (they) came on stage... people went nuts."
Lee will have more to celebrate on Monday (30Jun14) after Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams declared 30 June Do the Right Thing Day.
The Brooklyn block party took place a day after Lee attended a special screening of Do The Right Thing at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where he signed autographs and took part in a question and answer session with director John Singleton.
The film was introduced by the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, and also featured a pre-recorded video message from U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, who reminisced about watching the movie on their first date.
The President said, "I took her to this new movie everybody was talking about, directed by a guy that not that many people had heard of... So Spike, thank you for helping me impress Michelle, and thank you for telling a powerful story...
"Do the Right Thing still holds up a mirror to our society, and it makes us laugh, and think and challenges all of us to see ourselves in one another."