Legendary performer Elaine stritch dies at 89
Elaine Stritch, the brash theater performer whose gravelly, gin-laced voice and impeccable comic timing made her a Broadway legend, has died at the age of 89. Stritch’s attorney said the actress died July 17 of natural causes at her home in Birmingham, Michigan, where she retired last year after a seven-decade career based in New York City. Most recently, Stritch was known for performances as Alec Baldwin’s acerbic mother on the TV show 30 Rock and Madame Armfeldt in the 2010 revival of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. Among theater aficionados, she was most famous for her role as the bitter, alcoholic housefrau Joanne in the original production of Sondheim’s Company. The song “The Ladies Who Lunch,” a cutting dissection of 1960s Manhattan matronhood, became her signature solo.
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Sherri Shepherd is leaving The View after seven years and freshman co-host Jenny McCarthy said she’s right behind her, a major upheaval for the daytime talk show a month after creator Barbara Walters’ retirement from on-camera duties.
In a written statement June 26, Shepherd said that after “careful consideration” she has decided it’s time to move on.
Cancel Mamet’s ‘Oleanna’
After only one performance, the Alchemist Theatre was forced to cancel its production of David Mamet’s student-teacher drama Oleanna. The playwright’s representatives sent the theater a cease-and-desist letter stating it broke its contract by casting the play’s female role with a male actor. In a statement, Alchemist owners Aaron Kopec and Erica Case said they sought to cast the best talent, not the best talent within a gender. They also maintained that they “stayed true to each of David Mamet’s powerful words and did not change the character of Carol but allowed the reality of gender and relationship fluidity to add to the impact of the story.” Director Erin Eggers added that she had not previously revealed the identity of actors David Shapiro and Ben Parman to avoid making the production just about the casting. The Alchemist is offering full refunds and free seats for a future show.
Mamet’s contracts are strict. A Milwaukee production of Race at Next Act Theatre earlier this year was unable to hold talkbacks due to contract restrictions.
Indian actress Kapoor ready for gay Bollywood film: One of the biggest stars in Bollywood, Sonam Kapoor, said in a recent interview that it’s time for her industry to explore the possibility of a gay love story, especially in the wake of India’s criminalization of homosexuality. Last year, the nation’s Supreme Court upheld a ban on gay sex, which she says is contrary to India’s current culture, in which “it’s completely all right, it’s completely OK to be gay.” Kapoor said she believes depicting gay characters on film could help bring change in her country, simply by exposing Indians to “amazing human beings … who aren’t necessarily only straight.”
‘American Idol,’ ‘The Voice’ finale ratings drop: The sharp decline in viewers for the season finales of The Voice and American Idol raises the question of whether music competition shows on television are fading out. The year’s final American Idol episode, which aired May 21 on Fox, was seen by fewer people than any Idol-crowning moment since the series began in 2002. The Nielsen Co. also said that viewership for NBC’s The Voice was down 25 percent from its 2013 finale. Since 2011, the audience for the American Idol season finale has sunk by a staggering 66 percent. Fox has already announced cutbacks on Idol hours next season, likely by eliminating the poorly rated results show. NBC says it’s too early to consider that for The Voice.
Milwaukee will be one of five cities to receive an advance screening of HBO Films’ original movie The Normal Heart, based on the Tony Award-winning play by Larry Kramer about the early days of the AIDS crisis. Directed by Ryan Murphy of Glee andNip/Tuck fame, the movie features Kenosha native Mark Ruffalo, along with Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, Alfred Molina and Julia Roberts. HBO is partnering for the screening with Milwaukee Film, which previously presented the North American premiere ofMea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God during the 2012 Milwaukee Film Festival. The screening is at the Landmark Oriental Theater at 7 p.m. on May 21, and tickets are available to Milwaukee Film members and invited supporters. The Normal Heart debuts on HBO on May 25.
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Lestat de Lioncourt is back from the dead.
Anne Rice's first Vampire Chronicles book since 2003, "Prince Lestat," is scheduled to come out Oct. 28.
The Milwaukee Public Library announced on Feb. 7 that multimedia artist Ray Chi would be awarded the commission for a public art installation at the library’s new East Branch, still under construction at 1910 E. North Ave.
Chi’s work will take the form of three “interventions” — described as “rack, serpent, and boulder” — that will transform three elements of the urban landscape: a bike rack, a winding patch of grass and the concrete walkway.
Chi, an associate lecturer at UWM, has lived in the city for 16 years, and recently received a 2013 Nohl Fellowship grant.
His proposal was the community favorite, according to a survey conducted by MPL.
RUTGERS OFFERS BEYONCÉ COURSE
The Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University is now offering a course called “Politicizing Beyoncé.” Kevin Allred, the doctoral student who is teaching the class, tells the university’s online news site that he is using Beyoncé’s career as a way to explore American race, gender and sexual poli- tics. The class will include an analysis of Beyoncé video and lyrics with readings from black feminists. Rutgers also has a class examining the theology of Bruce Springsteen lyrics.
Elton John, Lady Gaga and the movie "Dallas Buyers Club" are among the nominees for awards presented by the gay advocacy group GLAAD.
The 25th annual GLAAD Media Awards honor outstanding images of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in areas including music, movies, TV and journalism.