Veteran music producer Bob Crewe has died, aged 82. Writer/producer Crewe, who was portrayed on the stage and screen version of Jersey Boys, passed away on Thursday (11Sep14).
The cause of his death has yet to be revealed, but he was unable to attend the film premiere of Clint Eastwood's film adaptation of the hit musical in June (14).
Crewe's music career took off in the 1960s when he worked with The Four Seasons member Bob Gaudio on many singles for the popular rock 'n roll group as both a producer and co-lyricist.
Together, they created hits such as Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry, Walk Like a Man, Bye Bye Baby, Rag Doll and Can't Take My Eyes Off You.
In addition to his work with Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, Crewe also wrote Patti LaBelle's 1975 number one hit Lady Marmalade with Kenny Nolan, and produced popular singles for artists including Michael Jackson, Diane Renay, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.
Crewe was also praised for his philanthropic work, having founded the The Bob Crewe Foundation in 2009. The organisation funds fellowships, scholarships, training and mentorships for aspiring young artists and musicians, and also provides funds for AIDS research and supports LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) rights and initiatives.
Country music icon Alan Jackson is lending some of his most personal artefacts to the Country Music Hall of Fame for a special exhibit celebrating his 25-year career. The Grammy winner's most notable items will be featured in Alan Jackson: 25 Years of Keepin' It Country at the country music Mecca in Nashville, Tennessee.
Beginning 29 August (14), fans will be able to visit the exhibition chronicling his rise to fame, and view items such as his handwritten lyrics to hits Livin' on Love and Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning), and various awards he's won throughout the years.
Also on display will be the Harley-Davidson motorcycle featured on the cover of Jackson's A Lot About Livin' (And a Little 'Bout Love) album, the water ski from the Chattahoochee music video, and his childhood bicycle.
In addition, Jackson was also named the Country Music Hall of Fame's Artist-in-Residence for 2014. With the honour, he will perform a number of intimate concerts for fans this autumn (14).
Musicians such as Kenny Rogers, Vince Gill and Kris Kristofferson have previously been named the Hall of Fame's Artist-in-Residence.
This will mark the first time an Artist-in-Residence has a corresponding special exhibition at the museum.
Country music legend George Strait wrapped up his performing career on a real high in Texas on Saturday (07Jun14) by setting a new indoor concert attendance record. Over 104,700 fans showed up at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington to witness the final show of Strait's The Cowboy Rides Away Tour, helping him steal the record from the Rolling Stones.
Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney and Vince Gill joined the singer onstage for his last hurrah.
Strait wrapped up the show by telling fans, "This has been such a special evening for me. Thank you for all the years of support."
Brad Pitt brought Hollywood to New Orleans, Louisiana on Saturday (17May14) for a gala fundraiser in support of his foundation. The Fight Club star hosted the event to raise money for the Make it Right organisation, which aims to build environmentally sound homes in areas of the city devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Comedian Chris Rock served as the emcee for the evening, while Bruno Mars and Kings of Leon took the stage to perform.
Pitt's fiancee Angelina Jolie was also in attendance, as well as Sandra Bullock, Modern Family star Sofia Vergara and funnyman Jim Gaffigan.
Meanwhile, Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey was across town for a benefit concert at the House of Blues to support his charity, the Just Keep Livin' Foundation. The event was a joint fundraiser with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his organisation, The Brees Dream Foundation.
Country singer Kenny Chesney served as headliner for the show, while Reese Witherspoon surprised concertgoers when she took the stage to sing a duet of Johnny Cash's song Jackson, which the Oscar winner performed in her hit film Walk the Line.
Earlier in the day, Pitt was spotted chatting with McConaughey from opposite hotel balconies in New Orleans and even tossed the Dallas Buyers Club star a cold beer.
The release of Michael Jackson's posthumous new album Xscape has brought back a special memory for superfan Zac Efron - he once spoke to the King of Pop at the height of his High School Musical fame. Efron, who grew up worshipping the Thriller singer, never got the chance to meet him, but they did share an emotional phone chat one time when the actor was dining with Jackson's director pal Kenny Ortega.
He recalls, "One time I was at dinner in France with the cast of High School Musical 3... and Kenny got a phone call from the other end of the table, and he answers it and he looks at me... and he goes, 'I got somebody who wants to talk to you... Come here Zac,' and I grabbed the phone. "I go, 'Hello', and he goes, 'Who's this?' and I said, 'It's Zac', and he goes, 'This is Michael, hi'.
"I just started crying, I don't know what to say, my mouth won't work... I'm just going, 'I have so much I wanna say (to you). You're the reason...' and I start crying. It was a short conversation. He goes, 'Thank you, thank you...' and I hang up and handed the phone back to Kenny. Kenny's like, 'Wow, you messed that up'."
However, the young star got the chance to redeem himself moments later when a confused Jackson rang back: "He goes, 'Wait, is this Zac?' and I go, 'Yeah!' and he goes, 'Zac, hi, I didn't know who I was talking to'. I go, 'You know who I am?' and he goes, 'Yes, I love you'. And I'm like, 'Oh my God, don't say that to me...! You're the reason I'm in music, you're the reason I do what I do, you've been the inspiration to me since I was a little boy... I love you', and I started crying again. "I had to leave the room, everybody was laughing... and then he started crying... We were both crying for, like, a minute to each other, like, uncontrollably, and then he said, 'See Zac, dreams really do come true'... I will never forget that."
Efron, who reveals he drove around Hollywood from audition to audition listening to Jackson's music when he first started getting acting offers, was one of the first people to pick up a copy of the King of Pop's new album when it was released on Tuesday (13May14).
Singer/actor Saul Williams has been tapped to lead the cast of a long awaited stageshow inspired by the music of late rapper Tupac Shakur. Williams will star alongside Tony Award-winner Tonya Pinkins, Christopher Jackson and Ben Thompson in Holler If Ya Hear Me, which will chronicle the struggles of two friends surviving inner-city life in the American Midwest.
The musical will be directed by Kenny Leon, who is currently winning acclaim for the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, starring Denzel Washington.
Holler If Ya Hear Me will begin previews on 29 May (14) at Broadway's Palace Theatre.
Denzel Washington's return to the Broadway stage has won him rave reviews. The Oscar winner is leading the cast of a revival of race drama A Raisin in the Sun, and the critics love his performance as chauffeur Walter Lee Younger.
Variety has called his latest role "a personal triumph", while USA Today insists Washington's portrayal is "riveting".
British actress Sophie Okonedo also won praise in her Broadway debut as Washington's onstage wife.
New York Times critic Ben Brantley writes, "Despite the central presence of a movie megastar, the 2014 Raisin has a welcome egalitarianism," while The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney adds, "Washington is the star attraction, but it's the harmonious balance of an impeccably matched ensemble that makes (director) Kenny Leon's lovingly staged revival of A Raisin in the Sun so alive with authentic feeling."
He continues: "Washington slides and swaggers around with the physicality of a still-young man who refuses to let go of his dreams."
The latest production of Lorraine Hansberry's award-winning 1959 drama, currently playing at New York's Ethel Barrymore Theatre, also features Sean Patrick Thomas, Anika Noni Rose and Samuel L. Jackson's actress wife Latanya Richardson Jackson.
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
Tomorrow has finally arrived, and it has brought with it the trailer for the upcoming Annie remake, starring Quvenzhané Wallis as the titular orphan and a supporting cast that includes Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan and Jamie Foxx as the modern-day Daddy Warbucks, Will Stacks. In this version of the classic story, Wallis' Annie lives with her evil foster caretaker (Diaz) and several other over-worked, unappreciated girls in Harlem before she is plucked out of her apartment by the billionaire mogul Stacks, who is running for mayor and looking for an attention-grabbing photo opp. After she moves into his penthouse apartment, the two grow closer and both of them find the family they've been searching for.
Of course, any time a beloved classic is remade or updated, people are bound to be apprehensive. But no matter how you feel about the score getting a vaguely hip-hop remix or Diaz chewing the scenery as the obnoxious Miss Hannigan, Annie fans can take comfort in the fact that the trailer shows the new film featuring an important staple of musical cinema. We are instead referring to the scenes of Wallis and the rest of the cast dancing around the rooftops of New York City, which has long been a feature of films, movies and musicals.
In honor of the new Annie trailer, we've decided to salute Wallis and her castmates for their bravery and and well-executed choreography with a list of ten great rooftop dance sequences from film and television. Although please, don't actually try this home. We really don't want to be responsible for inspiring a wave of severe injuries just for the sake of a light-hearted dance routine. We're including clips, just live vicariously through them.
Empire Records After you've damned the man and saved the Empire, what better way to celebrate than with a rooftop dance party? Joe owns the store now, everyone's forgotten about Lucas stealing the money, Warren has a job, Corey and AJ are officially together, Gina and Deb are finally getting along and Mark... well, he's Mark, so everyone gets to spin around the roof in the glow of the newly-fixed sign. If you're looking for a way to celebrate Rex Manning Day, this is it.
10 Things I Hate About You If we've learned anything from the teen movies of the '90s, it's that a story has never properly ended until someone gives a rooftop performance while the credits roll, and 10 Things I Hate About You wrapped up the love story of Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles by having Letters to Cleo perform a Cheap Trick cover on what appeared to be the tallest castle spire in all the land. And lest you worry that this scene doesn't fit the "dancing" criteria of this list, we'd like to remind you of the two guys in this band whose sole purpose it is to arm-dance behind the lead singer. Don't shatter their dreams.
The Princess and the FrogTeen movies aren't the only ones that like to wrap up a story with some well-lit, rooftop dancing; Disney has fallen victim to the same urge, and The Princess and the Frog ends with Tiana and Naveen dancing a giddy Charleston in the skyline over New Orleans at sunset. You know how people say that Disney films have given them unrealistic expectations about love and life? This scene is one of the reasons why.
West Side Story Yes, the main character of this film is technically sweet, innocent Maria, but everyone knows the real star was Anita, who was played to perfection by Rita Moreno. The scene that established her dominance over the movie musical genre is the rooftop-set dance off "America." She gets all the best lines, all the best dance moves, and once she starts sassing the boys and twirling her skirt, it's impossible to care about Tony and Maria's sappy romance anymore. If you watch carefully, you can pinpoint the exact high kick that earned Moreno that Oscar.
Friends, "The One With the Ballroom Dancing" In order to keep the superintendent, Mr. Traeger, from evicting Rachel and Monica, Joey sucks up to him by helping him learn how to dance for "The Super Ball," which culminates in a tender, beautifully choreographed dance sequence between the two on the roof of the building. Who knew Joey was so smooth?
Mary Poppins When you think "dancing on the roof," it's almost impossible not to think about the chimney sweeps tap dancing and high kicking around the roofs of London. Thanks to the repetitive lyrics, everyone can learn to do this dance (once you figure out what Dick Van Dyke is saying through that terrible accent), and everyone did when they were little, stomping and twirling their way around the living room along with all of the chimney sweeps. And if you were really adventurous, you probably threw in some couch-hopping as well.
Clerks IINo matter how foul-mouthed your characters are, there's always an opportunity to work in a romantic rooftop dancing scene, and so Kevin Smith managed to work on into Clerks II with Becky attempting to teach Dante how to dance to "ABC" by the Jackson 5. Unlike the rest of the films on this list, this one turns into an all-out, elaborate dance party, but it all started with Rosario Dawson shimmying around the roof.
High School Musical 3 Sometimes the rooftop dance sequence is important to the plot, sometimes it's a fun moment of celebration, and sometimes it's just there to look pretty, which is the case with Troy and Gabriella's number in High School Musical 3. Theoretically, it's part of Troy asking her to the prom, but mostly it's just in there because Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens hadn't sung a touching ballad to each other since the pervious movie. However, we do give director Kenny Ortega bonus points for managing to work in a second rom-com staple: dancing in the rain.
Victorious, Multiple Episodes What can we say? Tween movies and television shows love to feature people dancing on top of roofs. No show made more use of this trope than Victorious, where seemingly every performance took place on the school's roof, including a prom number featuring Victoria Justice and a pre-pop stardom Ariana Grande singing a song about having a crush on your best friend's older brother. Again, bonus points to Dan Schneider for managing to work a thunderstorm into this performance, which surprisingly doesn't concern the kid playing the electric guitar at all.
Moulin Rouge In a film that featured characters singing, dancing and falling in love all over Paris, it's no surprise that the biggest, most romantic moment occurred on a rooftop that was covered in flowers, fairy lights, and a giant windmill that was often utilized for dramatic moments. We are, of course, referring to the "Elephant Love Medley," which is less formally known as the moment that everyone fell head over heels in love with Ewan McGregor. Forget "Come What May," this is the dance sequence that teenage girls the world over dream about.
Samuel L. Jackson's actress wife Latanya Richardson has been given a second chance to strike Broadway gold after she was picked to replace Diahann Carroll in A Raisin In The Sun a decade after she passed on the same role. Carroll was cast as the mother of Denzel Washington's character in the latest version of Lorraine Hansberry's play, but the physical demands of the role forced her to bow out earlier this month (Feb14), leaving director Kenny Leon with a big problem.
He turned to Richardson, who reminded him that he had originally offered her the role when he staged the play with Sean 'Diddy' Combs and Phylicia Rashad.
Washington explains, "Kenny called LaTanya and said, 'Would you do the play...?' She said that he had actually offered the role to her 10 years ago and she couldn't do it, so Phylicia Rashad took over... and Phylicia won the Tony Award, and so now, 10 years later, LaTanya's coming to do it with us.
"She's a brilliant actress. She and I have worked together many times... She's already tearing it up."
The show marks Richardson's first Broadway play since she starred in a 2009 revival of August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone.
Previews for A Raisin in the Sun begin on 8 March (14).