Nascar race ace Tony Stewart will return to the track this weekend (30-31Aug14) for the first time after he struck and killed rival Kevin Ward, Jr. during a sprint car race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York on 9 August (14). The three-time Sprint Cup Series champion will rev up at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Georgia after missing three races following the track tragedy.
Ward was hit and killed after exiting his car following a crash.
As a result of the incident, NASCAR officials have implemented a rule stipulating what drivers who are involved in accidents should do if they can no longer compete in a race. Drivers now are required to remain strapped in their cars until safety crews arrive and can escort them from the scene. No driver is allowed to walk onto the racing surface.
Pop star Jessie J has been tapped to contribute a song dedicated to the people of Boston for the Finding Neverland musical's upcoming concept album.
The musical adaptation of the 2004 film starring Johnny Depp as Peter Pan playwright J.M. Barrie is currently having a successful run at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Prior to its move to Broadway next March (15), the show's producers, including Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein, are planning a concept album featuring some of music's biggest stars. The Price Tag singer is among the artists to be featured on the album, singing a track called Stronger, which Weinstein has dedicated to the people of Boston in light of the Boston Marathon tragedy in 2013, according to the New York Post.
Other singers rumoured to have tracks on the album are Alicia Keys, Taylor Swift and Jennifer Hudson, who performed the song Never Neverland at the Tony Awards in June (14).
The Finding Neverland musical, which stars Jeremy Jordan and Laura Michelle Kelly, has broken attendance records for a single production in the theatre's 34-year history, and will run until 28 September (14).
Veteran crooner Tony Bennett is throwing his support behind a new campaign encouraging children to stay in school and graduate. The legendary singer will take part in a day long broadcast on American Graduate Day next month (27Sep14) from the Corporation of Public Broadcasting and U.S. TV station WNET New York.
The broadcast will attempt to boost school graduation rates, and a number of other celebrities will also be taking part, including Girls actress Alison Williams, actor Edward James Olmos, American statesman Colin Powell, and U.S. Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
It will include interviews and performances celebrating the work of groups helping youth to succeed at school and work.
We got 86 hours of genre-defining television to digest, examine, ruminate on, live in, and yet we’ve still barely managed to pull our minds away from the last three seconds. The Sopranos may be regarded as the greatest dramatic TV series of all time, but four out of five conversations about the show these days surround its divisive ambiguous ending: “So what do you think,” we inevitably say to whomever we’ve found ourselves trading Sal impressions and praise of the “Pine Barrens” episode, “is Tony dead?” On Wednesday, the world found Sopranos creator David Chase’s — so fed up with the resilience of the question that he finally caved in a conversation with Vox writer Martha P. Nochimson — perspective on the matter: (and here’s his answer, for those wishing to stay in the dark)
Of course, Chase maintains that his is not the definitive ruling, that each and every viewer has equal authority on the case of Tony’s survival. Personally, I’ve always held to the belief that the family man/family man never made it out of that Italian restaurant, though I’ve had friends plead the alternative with terrific cases. More important to you than what anyone else thinks (be he a fellow viewer or even the creator of the series in question) is what you think, as your experience and relationship and with the show is yours to understand as you see fit. So what do you think about The Sopranos, and other shows and movies bearing likewise ambiguous conclusions? Let us know!
THE SOPRANOS: Did Tony die?
Yes: As Bobby Bacala said about death, “You probably don’t even hear it when it happens, right?”
No: That would be a thematic copout! Tony lives on with the demons he’s collected.
INCEPTION: Does the movie end in a dream?
Yes: Leo finds himself stuck in the prison (or paradise) of his own subconscious, destined to live forever with the mental projections of his children.
No: Cobb puts the incepting game behind him and returns home to the loving embrace of his children.
BLADE RUNNER: Is Deckard a replicant?
Yes: Just follow the unicorn.
No: But the jury’s out on Harrison Ford himself.
AMERICAN PSYCHO: Was it all in his head?
Yes: The Bret Easton Ellis adaptation is just a metaphorical glimpse into the menace and greed that lines our materialistic society.
No: That much Huey Lewis could turn anyone into a murdering lunatic.
SHUTTER ISLAND: Was it all in his head?
Yes: Man, Leo really needs to start playing folks with a better grip on reality than these dudes seem to have.
No: Trust us, Ashcliffe ain’t no Maui.
TOTAL RECALL: Okay, but was it all in HIS head?!
Yes: The whole thing was a falsified memory… just like we choose to believe about the remake.
No: We don’t want to live in a reality where “Consider this a divorce!” never happened.
BARTON FINK: Speaking of heads, was there a head in Barton's box?
Yes: What else could it be? John Goodman practically told us that outright!
No: The whole episode was a conconction of the writer's own imagination anyhow.
DAWN OF THE DEAD: Do Peter and Francince make it to safety?
Yes: There's gotta be somewhere out there that they can lay low to wait out this nightmare.
No: Humanity is doomed. They're no exception.
LOST: Were they dead the whole time?
Yes: Plane crashed. Passengers died. Island gave them the sort of afterlife they don’t tell you about in Hebrew school.
No: What, you can’t believe in a few smoke monsters, teleporting polar bears, mystical numeric patterns, omnipotent lighthouses, and a pair of immortal twins?
THE SHINING: Do you have any idea what happened at the end of that one?
Yes: Sure, it’s clear as day! He — whoops, gotta go!
No: For that matter, what the hell is going on in this scene?
Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett are continuing their unlikely friendship by starring in fashion retailer H&M's 2014 holiday campaign. The two singers are releasing their collaborative album of jazz standards, Cheek to Cheek, this September (14), and their new music will be featured in television commercials for the popular clothing brand starting in November (14).
Gaga and Bennett will also be featured in accompanying print, outdoor and online advertisements, according to Women's Wear Daily.
The Born This Way hitmaker is no stranger to H&M, having made a personal appearance at the opening of the company's Times Square flagship store in New York last year (13).
The duo joins the likes of Gisele Bundchen, Beyonce, Gary Oldman and Johnny Depp who have previously been featured in the brand's campaigns.
Here are this week's highlights from VH1, Celebuzz, Flavorwire, and Hollywood.com.
Some words of wisdom from George TakeiSince the Star Trek legend, social media mainstay, and LGBT rights activist is the subject of a new documentary, To Be Takei, Flavorwire felt it appropriate timing to round up a healthy sum of Mr. Sulu's inspiring quotes about tolerance, love, and forward thinking.
The day the shark was jumpedEven the best television series hit a dropoff point somewhere down the line. VH1 gathers together a handful of classic TV dramas and comedies, aiming to pinpoint exactly when each of them began to lose its edge. Hey, if it happened to Tony Soprano, it could happen to anybody.
Olivia Wilde puts a different twist on the Ice Bucket ChallengeNowhere in the Ice Bucket Challenge bylaws does it say that you must douse yourself with freezing cold water... the former House star opted for another liquid, as you can see in this Celebuzz post.
These movies cost how much?Showbiz is an expensive industry, but this list of the most expensive movies ever made is positively baffling.
A new musical tracing Gloria Estefan's life will hit the Broadway stage next year (15). Previews for On Your Feet! will begin in October (15) and the production will open on 5 November (15).
Prior to the Broadway run, the show will open at Chicago's Oriental Theatre in Illinois for a five-week summer run from 2 June (15).
The musical will chronicle Estefan and her husband Emilio's journey from Cuba to Miami, Florida and her rise to superstardom. The show will be directed by two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo, the man behind the dance steps on Jersey Boys and Memphis.
Announcing the latest news about the much-anticipated musical, producers have also launched an international online talent search for wannabes to fill roles in the production, while open casting calls will begin next month (Sep14) in New York and Miami.
Estefan says, "Finding the right performers to tell our story on the Broadway stage is the most important step in this project. Our own journey together started in Miami, a city that has been such an inspiration to us both, and it only felt right that the city be a cornerstone of our search for the next generation of bright talent."
Broadway actor James Monroe Inglehart celebrated Robin Williams' beloved role as Aladdin's Genie during Tuesday's (12Aug14) production of the hit stage adaptation by leading the audience in a touching sing-a-long. Inglehart, who recently won a Tony Award for his incarnation of the Genie in the New York show, returned to the stage after the final curtain came down at the New Amsterdam Theatre and belted out the film's Oscar-nominated song Friend Like Me in honour of the man who brought the Disney character to life onscreen.
Crowd members were encouraged to join in by using song lyrics that had been stuffed inside each copy of the show's Playbill programme.
Williams was no stranger to Broadway - he last performed on the Great White Way in 2011 in the play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.
Broadway theatre bosses will pay tribute to the tragic actor by dimming their marquee lights for one minute on Wednesday night (13Aug14).
Williams died in an apparent suicide at his California home on Monday (11Aug14), aged 63.
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
Movie legend Lauren Bacall has died after suffering a stroke at her home in Manhattan, New York. The 89-year-old star of classic films The Mirror Has Two Faces, How to Marry a Millionaire and Key Largo was married to two other big screen greats, Humphrey Bogart and Jason Robards, and she famously romanced Frank Sinatra. Bacall first emerged as a leading lady opposite Bogart in 1944's To Have and Have Not and enjoyed success onstage as well as on the big screen. She scored Tony Awards for her Broadway shows Applause and Woman of the Year, and Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for her role in 1996's The Mirror Has Two Faces. She received an honorary Academy Award in 2009. Her autobiography, By Myself, won a National Book Award in 1980. Born Betty Joan Perske in New York, Bacall's mother was a Romanian immigrant and her father was a New Jersey salesman. After studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, she landed a handful of small off-Broadway productions while making waves as a young model. Rumour has it that the wife of moviemaker Howard Hawks was so taken by the one-time Miss Greenwich Village's beauty when she appeared on the cover of style bible Harper's Bazaar, she suggested her husband should screen test her. That meeting led to her breakthrough as Marie Browning in To Have and Have Not, which became the first of many projects that teamed her up with Bogart. The 'Bogie-Bacall' romance is still considered one of Hollywood's greatest love stories. The stars wed in 1945 and were inseparable until the actor's death in 1957. She also appeared in Bright Leaf, opposite Gary Cooper, and teamed up with fellow big screen pin-ups Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable in 1953's How to Marry a Millionaire. Her leading men also included Henry Fonda and Tony Curtis (Sex & the Single Girl), Paul Newman (Harper), John Wayne (The Shootist) and Jack Lemmon and James Garner (My Fellow Americans). Bacall's voice was used in 2012 Oscar-nominated animated movie Ernest & Celestine and she was reportedly filming crime drama Trouble Is My Business at the time of her death on Tuesday morning (12Aug14).
Easy A screenwriter Bert V. Royal is adapting composer Jason Robert Brown's teen musical 13 for the big screen. The writer has been tapped to turn the Tony award winner's stage show into a movie musical for CBS Films, studio bosses announced on Tuesday (12Aug14).
It centres around a 13-year-old boy who moves from New York City to a small town in Indiana, detailing his struggle to win acceptance among his peers.
The production ran on Broadway for four months before it closed in 2009, and it starred singer/actress Ariana Grande. The musical has since been performed around the world, including a brief run in London's West End in 2012.