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.
Newly-single Evan Rachel Wood has returned to Twitter.com to slam "lies" suggesting she "hooked up" with fellow actress Michelle Rodriguez following her split from husband Jamie Bell.
The Wrestler beauty logged off her social networking page on Wednesday (28May14), revealing she was stepping away from Twitter "for a while", hours before news of her marriage breakdown was announced. However, the bisexual star decided to break her Twitter silence on Friday (30May14) to dismiss false reports linking her to Fast & Furious actress Rodriguez after they both attended the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center's 2014 An Evening with Women fundraiser, which took place in early May (14).
Wood tweeted, "Looks like someone is already trying to start a rumor that I 'hooked up' with Michelle Rodriguez at 'an evening with women'. "I have never even said 'hello' to Michelle Rodriguez. I think it's convenient someone chose to make up the story now and not that night." Sharing a video clip from the event, she added, "If 'a source' saw us leave together, why am I seen here leaving alone?"
She continued, "This is 'journalism' at its lowest. Complete lies made up to exploit a public separation, as if that isn't hard enough. Disgusting. Also just because you are in a photo with someone doesn't mean you spoke or slept together. Really guys?"
Wood and British actor Bell wed in October, 2012 and welcomed a baby boy last July (13).
Michael Jackson returned from beyond the grave to wow fans at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday (18May14) by performing onstage in hologram form, five years after his death. Producers of the Las Vegas prizegiving used virtual technology to make it appear as if the King of Pop had been brought back to life to sing and dance his way through new track Slave to the Rhythm.
Dressed in a white and gold jacket and red pants, he began the eerie appearance seated in a throne before joining a string of dancers to show off his fancy footwork, including his signature moonwalk, by strutting across the stage at the MGM Grand Garden Arena as he appeared to belt out the tune. The stunt, titled the Michael Jackson Xperience, left the audience in awe and earned a standing ovation from everyone in attendance.
Stars also took to their Twitter.com accounts to share their feelings about the performance, with newlywed Kelly Rowland writing, "We miss you Michael!", while actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler tweeted, "I have chills watching michael Jackson performance. Makes u (sic) realize there will never be a performer like him", and rapper Nicki Minaj commented, "Dat (sic) was mike?"
The virtual performance almost didn't happen after Jackson estate executors and Billboard Music Awards producers were slapped with legal action in an effort to put a stop to the show. Businessman Alki David, who claims to control the rights to the hologram technology, filed suit in Nevada on Thursday (16May14), insisting the Billboard gig would likely violate his patent, but his motion was dismissed on Friday (17May14) due to a lack of evidence, allowing the show to go on.
The Michael Jackson Xperience, organised to celebrate the release of his new posthumous album Xscape, beared similarities to the resurrection of Tupac Shakur at the 2012 Coachella music festival in California, where the dead rapper appeared onstage alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg in hologram form. The Thriller hitmaker died in 2009.
Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend's funeral was held in Leicester, England on Friday (02May14). Townsend died in April (14) aged 68 after suffering a stroke. More than 500 friends and family attended the service, including British actor Stephen Mangan and TV chef Jamie Oliver.
The Amazing Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield delighted children at an elementary school in the Bronx, New York on Friday (25Apr14) by swinging by to pay them a surprise visit. The actor, who plays Peter Parker and his superhero alter ego in the rebooted movie franchise, dropped in on kids at Public School 43 with director Marc Webb to encourage the young students to exercise their inner superheroes too as part of Sony Pictures' Be Amazing campaign.
During the visit, Garfield took over the school's public address (PA) system and led the children in a recital of the Pledge of Allegiance of the U.S., but quipped, "This is Andrew Garfield, also known as Peter Parker, also known as Spider-Man, also known as the British guy who doesn't know the words of the Pledge of Allegiance."
He also read his favourite book, Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Places You Will Go, to one class of students and recruited a handful of kids to shoot a public service announcement for the Worldwide Orphans Foundation, a charity which provides help and support for orphans.
At the end of the two-hour visit, Garfield told the New York Daily News, "Spider-Man is not an alien like Superman or a rich bazillionaire (sic) like Bruce Wayne (Batman's secret identity); he's a kid and a kid doing his best. I think that's why we all feel like Spider-Man."
The Be Amazing campaign was launched in conjunction with officials at the NYC Service volunteer organisation to mark the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Garfield's co-stars Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan also embarked on similar school missions throughout the Big Apple on Friday, before they all reunited to attend an assembly at the Joseph Pulitzer Middle School in Queens, New York.
Garfield previously pulled off a similar charity surprise for kids at an after-school programme in London.
The driver allegedly involved in a fatal car crash which killed four people at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas last month (Mar14) has been hit with four more charges of aggravated assault. Aspiring rapper Rashad Owens, 21, was due to perform at the music and film event but was arrested on 13 March (14) after reportedly losing control of a car he was driving and steering into a crowd of music fans waiting outside The Mohawk Club.
As a result of the crash, Steven Craenmehr, 35, and 27-year-old Jamie Ranae were killed, while a number of others were hurt.
Two victims, DeAndre Tatum and Sandy Le, died from their injuries days after the tragedy.
Earlier this month (01Apr14), Owens was charged with one count of capital murder, as well as 20 counts of aggravated assault.
Local police filed four new charges on Friday (18Apr14), with injuries ranging from scratches to a fractured neck, according to jail records obtained by the Austin American-Statesman newspaper.
The additional charges brings a total of 24 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, while $500,000 (£297,707) was added on to Owens' existing $5 million (£2.98 million) bail.
TV detective series Broadchurch was the toast of the Broadcasting Press Guild (BPG) Awards in London on Friday (28Mar14). The show, starring David Tennant, picked up three honours, including Best Drama Series.
Olivia Colman was named Best Actress and creator Chris Chibnall picked up the BPG Writer award.
12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor landed the Best Actor prize for his role in BBC drama Dancing on the Edge, and Jamie Dornan, the star of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie adaptation, scored the Breakthrough Award for The Fall.
Meanwhile, longrunning BBC competition show Strictly Come Dancing was named Best Entertainment Programme, and Pride and Prejudice screenwriter Andrew Davies was awarded the Harvey Lee Award for his outstanding contribution to broadcasting.
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
Oddly enough, the body-swapping genre has been one of the most consistent in Hollywood. This somewhat campy story tradition focuses on two characters, often a parent and child but occasionally friends, swapping bodies unexpected, leading a comedy of errors to ensue. It may be hard to believe that this entire genre began with an 1800s novel titled Vice Versa. People might also not connect the countless Freaky Friday remakes with an actual children’s book by Mary Rodgers. This genre may be slowly dying as people’s interest in magic requires teenage wizards or shiny vampires. However, there have quite a number of films that have played to, played with, or played against this popular trope.
Here’s some of the most famous, and forgettable, Body Switching Movies:
Freaky Friday (1976)
Fans of Oscar winner Jodie Foster will remember her as a tomboy in this classic Disney movie. Based on the popular kid's book, Foster’s character swaps places with her housewife mother (Barbara Harris) after the two simultaneously wish to switch places (Boom! It happens just like that). This was before the days of assigning rules or logic to magic. That may be why it’s only the one Freaky Friday and not a franchise. Prepare yourself for the inevitable Thowback Thursday movie.
Like Father Like Son (1987)
Dudley Moore is best known for his role as Arthur. However, he and the now controversial Kirk Cameron starred in this body swap comedy. The two ingest a bizarre South American potion and switch bodies. This film was released in theaters but has a distinct made-for-TV feel. It’s also a lot darker and less fun than you’d expect from the genre. It’s one of the few non-Hallmark channel acting roles of Cameron… though that isn’t saying much.
Vice Versa (1988)
This film doesn’t credit the classic Victorian story but is a modern retelling of the father/son body swap novel. Fred Savage switches places with his uptight father (Judge Reinhold) after the two conveniently yell they wish to swap places while holding a Buddhist statue. Savage is great as at playing the outspoken adult despite his diminutive stature. Reinhold was also pretty childlike in his role in Beverly Hills Cop, so this isn’t much of a stretch. There are also great appearances by Swoosie Kurtz and Jane Kaczmarek.
18 Again! (1988)
George Burns stars with Charlie Schlatter in this comedy that is a little twisted. 81-year-old Burns switches places with his 18-year-old grandson, putting his life at risk, and allowing Schlatter to do a convincing old-timey accent. Don't confuse it with Zac Efron's film 17 Again... although that's its own kind of body swapping film.
Prelude to a Kiss (1992)
People may forget this Alec Baldwin/Meg Ryan romantic drama. Based on a play of the same name, Ryan goes against type as a misanthropic eccentric who falls in love with Baldwin’s lonely conservative. It channels Dharma & Greg until the film makes a sharp turn. At the couple’s wedding, Ryan gets a kiss from an old man and becomes a different person. You guessed it: they switch bodies. The film then goes on an existential journey about life, love, and youth. Despite being a little depressing, it had surprisingly great performances by Baldwin and Ryan.
Freaky Friday (1995)
In this remake, Shelley Long and Gaby Hoffmann play the mother daughter duo that switch bodies because of matching magical necklaces. In the book and original movie, the mother is a married homemaker, but in this film Long plays a divorced workaholic.
Wish Upon a Star (1996)
Disney also released this other Freaky Friday-themed kid’s movie. A young Katherine Heigl plays a high maintenance pretty girl (sound familiar?) whose younger sister, played by Danielle Harris of the Halloween franchise, wishes on a star to see what the former's life is like. The two learn, through really high-stakes magical roleplay, to appreciate how tough one another has it. It’s a halfway decent movie but pales in comparison to the two other Disney bodyswap films.
This film takes a darkly, starkly real take on body swapping. FBI Agent John Travolta literally has his face taken off and attached to the head of his mortal enemy, played by Nicolas Cage. Despite the implausibility of face swapping and the fact that no one points out the vast differences in their bodies, this action movie is amazing. There’s a ton of suspense, a lot of campy fun, and some prime crazy Nic Cage.
Virtual Sexuality (1999)
This British romantic comedy really plays with the genre. A persnickety virgin goes into a machine and designs the man of her dreams. The problem, after an explosion, she wakes up in his body. Talk about loving yourself. This film is fun and focuses on the interesting dating differences between men and women, so the “magic” of body switches doesn’t get too distracting.
The Hot Chick (2002)
If Mean Girls never happened this, might be the role that Rachel McAdams would have been remembered for. She plays a Regina George type who, via a magic earring, swaps places with a thief played by Rob Schneider. Let's just say that Schneider has definitely made worse. It also features Anna Farris and Tia and Tamera Mowry.
Freaky Friday (2003)
This film established Lindsay Lohan as a teen icon. The Parent Trap was a great remake, but this new edgier, raspier Lohan is the girl who went on to rule the early 2000s. It also was Jamie Lee Curtis’ unofficial Activia audition. The actresses play the same feuding mom and daughter that swap bodies after opening up magic fortune cookies. If you haven’t seen this classic, check it out to remember when Lohan became a star.
It’s a Boy Girl Thing (2006)
This forgettable film is on Hulu if you doubt it ever existed. Kevin Zegers, best known for the recent Mortal Instruments movie, and Samaire Armstrong, who is on Resurrection, swap bodies and genders in this incarnation. This film blends the body-swap with the popular gender-bender genre. This means a ton of going into the wrong bathroom jokes.
The Change-Up (2011)
Just a few years ago, when Ryan Reynolds was everywhere, this film was a pit stop on his journey out of the limelight. He plays a wild bachelor who switches places with his married best friend (Justin Bateman). The film feels like lesser Happy Madison rather than a great comedy, despite the talented men at the head of the cast.
Magnolia Pictures via Everett Collection
It's Friday evening, that surreal few hours in which your work self evolves (or devolves) into your weekend self. You're feeling that bizarre mix of tired and excited. You're hungry for something fun, something relaxing, something... weird. And a good old-fashioned piece of oddball cinema — be it a mind-bending mystery, a psychological thriller, or just your standard trippy horror film — is the way to go. For this week's Freaky Friday, Netflix Hand-Picked Flix recommends Mister Foe.
Jamie Bell stars in this creepy, voyeuristic thriller as Hallam Foe, an eccentric loner who is obsessed by the idea that his stepmother (Claire Forlani) is responsible for his mother's recent death. After his stalking goes too far, his father (Ciaran Hinds), kicks him out of the house, and he escapes to Edinburgh, where he hops from roof to roof, spying on the inhabitants of the city. However, once he discovers Kate (Sophia Myles), a woman who happens to be the spitting image of his mother, she becomes the sole focus of his obsession.
A strange, twisted film that is, at times, reminiscent of Vertigo, Mister Foe is the kind of film that will make you squirm uncomfortably in your seat while ensuring that you are unable to look away. Much of that is due to the standout performance by Bell, who isn't afraid to play up Hallam's Oedpial fixation or creepy hobbies, while still somehow making him a compelling, somewhat sympathetic character. Although the film's ending is rather divisive, Bell's spectacular acting turns Mister Foe into just as much an awkward coming-of-age tale as it is a freaky thriller that will leave you excited and unsettled. Just make sure nobody can see through your windows first.
Mister Foe is available to stream instantly on Netflix. Check back tomorrow for our Saturday Night Fever suggestion.
A third person involved in the car crash tragedy before a Tyler The Creator gig at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas has died. Suspect Rashad Owens is charged with speeding into a crowd outside The Mohawk Club late on Wednesday night (12Mar14).
His actions cost two people their lives at the scene and left 23 others injured, some critically. One of those people has now died in hospital, according to Billboard.com.
The identity and sex of the latest victim have not yet been released. Dutch music executive Steven Craenmehr and 27-year-old Jamie Ranae West were identified as the two people who died at the scene last week. West's husband Evan was still recovering from his injuries in hospital on Friday (14Mar14).
Owens is currently being held on a $3 million (GBP1.9 million) bond in Texas' Travis County jail.
Meanwhile, SXSW organisers have set up a fund, SXSW Cares, to help the survivors of the tragedy cover medical bills.