La Bamba star Lou Diamond Phillips is to make his Australian stage debut in the royal role that helped launch his theatre career almost 20 years ago. The actor will replace Jason Scott Lee in the Melbourne production of The King & I.
A torn calf muscle has forced Lee to withdraw from the show.
Reports suggest Phillips flew in to start rehearsals on Monday (30Jun14), and he'll hit the stage as the King of Siam, opposite Lisa McCune, on 10 July (14).
Phillips made his Broadway debut as The King in 1996, opposite Donna Murphy. Phillips played the role for more than 550 performances and won a Theatre World Award. He was also nominated for both a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award.
The actor cannot wait to hit the stage when the show opens, stating, "I am honoured to once again inhabit the role of The King... I have great passion and respect for the role and am especially excited to bring my interpretation to a new continent."
The news comes a day after it was announced Japanese actor Ken Watanabe would be making his Broadway debut in a revival of the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein musical about the real-life relationship between the King of Siam and a British schoolteacher, who he enlists to tutor his wives and children.
Frozen writer/director Jennifer Lee will have quite a task on her hands if she wants to recruit Josh Gad for the stage version of her hit movie - he insists he'll only return to Broadway for something truly special. Lee has made it clear she wants Gad, who was the break-out star of The Book of Mormon and picked up a Tony Award nomination for his role, to reprise his animated part as singing snowman Olaf onstage, but the actor insists that's not part of his immediate future.
He tells WENN, "How do you follow up Book of Mormon? I never expected it to become what it became, and it changed my life. It has become such a pop cultural touchstone that inevitably anything I do to follow it up will be a failure in comparison!
"At least from a commercial standpoint it would fail, so it's about artistically what do I want to do onstage and I don't know what that is yet. Mormon just opened up so many doors and it made me, in a weird way, a household name... It was a game changer.
"I get called a lot to come back to theatre but it just has to be the right thing. I haven't quite found that yet. It may be an original thing or a revival so we'll see."
The former stars of defunct Welsh rock group Lostprophets have returned to the spotlight as No Devotion to release a new single on Tuesday (01Jul14). The Streets of Nowhere hitmakers split in October (13) shortly before their frontman Ian Watkins pleaded guilty to a string of sickening sex offences, including the attempted rape of a baby.
The singer was jailed for 35 years, and his former bandmates - Lee Gaze, Mike Lewis, Stuart Richardson, Jamie Oliver and Luke Johnson - have gone on to form a new group without him.
They returned as No Devotion, fronted by former Thursday star Geoff Rickly, and released their debut single, Stay, on Tuesday. They plan to head out on tour later this month (Jul14).
Nick Cannon has sparked rumours he is to portray comedy icon Richard Pryor in a new project after dropping a number of hints on Instagram.com.
The rapper/actor shared a picture of Pryor online on Friday (27Jun14) with the caption, "I'm feeling his spirit. I hope y'all (sic) ready for the next level in my career. #GameChanger #Pryor (sic)."
After showing off a retro hairstyle and beard at the BET Awards on Sunday night (29Jun14), fans began commenting on Cannon's new look, and a photo comparison to Pryor appeared to hit home. Cannon re-posted the shot with the caption "Now y'all (sic) get it!"
The America's Got Talent host continued to fuel the rumours on Monday night (30Jun14) by sharing a picture of Pryor smoking, and suggesting he is imitating the bad habit to get into character, writing, "Picking up smoking cigarettes for the next few months so forgive me if I smell like an ashtray. #KidsDontTryThis #CancerSticksSuck #AnythingForTheCraft #HopeIDontGetAddicted #LeftHandChainSmoking #ActorLife #NotAGame #Ncredible (sic)."
Cannon has not given any further details about the project. Director Lee Daniels has previously been attached to a potential biopic of the Brewster's Millions star, with Eddie Murphy and Michael B. Jordan rumoured to be in the running for the role.
Cabaret performer and songwriter Michael Brown has died at the age of 93. The musician lost his battle with lymphoma at his New York home on 11 June (14).
Brown began his entertainment career in the late 1940s after landing a gig at legendary Big Apple cabaret mogul Julius Monk's Le Ruban Bleu venue and penned songs for all of the guru's revues, including Four Below in 1956, Dressed to the Nines in 1960 and Dime a Dozen in 1962.
He also worked on Broadway, writing tunes like Lizzie Borden for Leonard Sillman's New Faces of 1952, which was later adapted into a film directed by Harry Horner, and Indoor Girl, which was performed by singer/actress Pearl Bailey in a 1954 production of Harold Arlen and Truman Capote's House of Flowers.
Lizzie Borden was later recorded by the Chad Mitchell Trio vocal group, which also popularised another of Brown's songs, The John Birch Society.
Brown's success allowed him and his wife, Joy Williams Brown, to support author pal Harper Lee financially for a whole year while she completed work on her literary classic To Kill a Mockingbird in 1956. They broke the news to the writer with a Christmas note which read: "You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas."
To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee's only published book, was released in 1960 and earned her the Pulitzer Prize.
Singaporean pop star Jj Lin and Malaysian singer Penny Tai were the toast of the Golden Melody Awards in Taiwan on Saturday (28Jun14) after taking home top honours. Lin was named Best Mandarin Male Singer for his 10th album, Stories Untold, while Tai claimed the female equivalent for her release Unexpected.
Accepting the prize at the Taipei Arena, Lin told the audience, "I was prepared that I would have to wait 11 years to get (the award) but I got it today. I want to thank my parents for giving me musical talents... I want to thank my fans."
Tai was a double winner after also landing Best Producer for her work on Chinese star Liu Sihan's debut Je t'embrasse, while Taiwan's Jonathan Lee earned Best Song of the Year and Best Lyricist.
China's Li Ronghao walked away with the Best New Performer title for his album Model, and aboriginal musician Chang Chen-yue's I Am Ayal Komod was declared Best Mandarin Album of the Year.
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."
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
Spike Lee's critically-acclaimed 1989 film Do The Right Thing may be headed to Broadway. The drama—which centered on race relations and the cultural experiences of individuals and families living in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York—could be adapted as a play, not a musical.
But in case you were curious as to what the musical version might sound like, check out Spike Lee's hilarious response below:
Actually, that sounds kind of amazing. But we'll trust Spike Lee to take the more practical route and stick to a stage play.
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Musical theatre composer Mary Rodgers has died, aged 83. The daughter of Broadway icon Richard Rodgers passed away on 26 June (14), according to Playbill.com.
Rodgers grew up with her father's enormous success in the theatre, and she wrote the music to Once Upon a Mattress, the musical adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson tale The Princess and the Pea, in her 20s.
The production, which debuted in 1959, gave lead actress Carol Burnett her big break and her first Tony Award nomination.
Once Upon a Mattress closed less than a year after opening, but found success with a TV special in 1964 and 1972, both starring Burnett, as well as a Broadway revival in 1996 starring Sarah Jessica Parker.
Rodgers also composed the music to such shows as A to Z, Hot Spot, and Working.
She later became a children's book author, and wrote A Billion for Boris, Summer Switch, The Rotten Book and Freaky Friday, which was adapted for the big screen in 1976, featuring Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster, and again in 1995 and 2003, when it starred Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan.
Rodgers' son with her second husband Henry Guettel, Adam Guettel, is also a musical theatre composer. He earned two Tony Award wins for Best Score and Best Orchestrations for his 2003 musical The Light in the Piazza.
Rodgers is survived by her sister, Linda Rodgers Emory, five children, seven grandchildren and step-grandchildren.
"My mom and all her sisters sang gospel music my whole life, and they're amazing. They made a record in Nashville. I'm going to send a tour bus to pick them all up in South Carolina in July and bring them to my house, and I'm going to make a new record on them. We're going to sing classic gospel songs and have them sing in the background. I cannot wait." Country singer Lee Brice plans to record a family gospel album.