Wednesday Nov 25, 2015
Fox has released the trailer for its upcoming live one-night-only TV production "Grease: Live."The clip features Rydell High jivers Julianne Hough, Carly Rae Jepsen, Aaron Tveit and Vanessa Hudgens don their dancing shoes in a taste of what's to come. The TV adaptation of the smash hit musical aims to bring the 1950s love story to a new generation. The angelic Sandy is played by Hough, while male lead Danny Zuko is played by Aaron Tveit. Vanessa Hudgens stars as Rizzo, and Carly Rae Jepsen takes on the role of the lovable Frenchy. The show will air on Fox on January 31, 2016. To watch the trailer see https://youtu.be/QdS_yNe02vg Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
Hollywood itself provides the backdrop for the acclaimed writer-director's latest examination of the soulSet to hit US screens in March, "Knight Of Cups" boasts an all-star cast, led by Christian Bale and supported by Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Wes Bentley, Antonio Bandaras and Ben Kingsley . The story focuses on "Rick" played by Bale, and his slow realisation that success in itself is not enough to sustain his life and that he has become a slave to the Hollywood system that once fulfilled him. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
"Fargo" is set to run into a third season after being given the green light by cable channel FX.The Emmy Award-winnning drama, based on the cult Joel and Ethan Coen-directed movie of the same name, is currently halfway through its second season. A date has yet to be set for the third series, Deadline reports. The drama, which is being executive produced by the Coen brothers alongside Warren Littlefield, John Cameron and creator Noah Hawley, has attracted a stellar cast over its first two series. Current stars featuring in the project include Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson and Ted Danson. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Pity TV fans back in the day, eager to buy really cool merchandise tie-ins to their favorite series but victims of bad timing. There weren't 1950s "Team Desi" or "Team Lucy" T-shirts proclaiming viewer devotion to husband or wife on "I Love Lucy." ''The Fugitive" board game of the 1960s pales next to a video game. The 1970s "Flying Nun" vinyl lunch bag was admittedly cute but lacking designer flair. Now, in this oft-proclaimed golden age of television, the goods are as impressive as the shows themselves, and just as legion. Some industry insiders, in fact, are fretting that there's too darn much TV being made and warn that a bubble looms. It may burst someday, but for now the bedazzling amount of TV-related products make shopping for small-screen addicts easy. Here are suggestions, all available from network and cable channel websites: BINGEWEAR: Help a bleary-eyed friend get comfortable while consuming every hour, again, of "Breaking Bad." From CBS' "The Big Bang Theory," consider the Soft Kitty sleepwear set decorated with Sheldon's favorite feline. To ward off the winter chill for the binge-viewer — and summon sitcom nostalgia — there's NBC's "The Office" Dunder Mifflin terrycloth robe, with the company name proudly but tastefully placed on the front. ___ FASHION FORWARD: What gives Raymond Reddington such style? It's not just his wit, private plane and tendency toward violence. It's also the hat that NBC's "Blacklist" star James Spader wears as Red. The Stetson Mercury in brown can be yours for $189.95 to give to someone special. Or keep. A sharp-looking handbag is always welcome. For a devotee of AMC's "The Walking Dead," there's one emblazoned "In Daryl We Trust," carrying actor Norman Reedus' image as the character. In a nice touch for the flesh-eating zombie show, it's billed as a non-leather, vegan-friendly choice. ___ THE PROUD FAN: Know someone who would lay down their smart phone to help Taraji P. Henson's "Empire" matriarch, Cookie? Help them show that loyalty with a "What Would Cookie Do?" T-shirt. For a "Game of Thrones" admirer who's been very good this year, you could fork over $250 for a replica of Jon Snow's longclaw sword — with the caveat that the recipient must avoid taking it out into public, for safety's sake. As a much cuddlier and cheaper alternative, consider a Direwolf cub stuffed animal. "NCIS" fans are plentiful, but perhaps only a few could truly appreciate this: A 19-by-73-inch cardboard cut-out photo of Special Agent Gibbs, aka series star Mark Harmon. CBS suggests the $39.95 "standee" would be "great for your next 'NCIS' party." Where's our invite? ___ THE OVERDUE PRESENT Forgot a pal's wedding gift and can't recall where the couple registered? You can make it up to them with a suitable holiday present. Consider going retro with a set of NBC's "Seinfeld" oversized coffee mugs proclaiming "No Soup for You," or HBO's set of "Girls" coasters, with series' quotes including, "All adventurous women do." A thoughtful added touch: Downton Abbey Afternoon Garden Tea, to drown a fan's sorrow over its looming finale on PBS. ___ Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/lynn-elber and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Lynn Elber from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — It's that most wonderful time of the TV year when we are visited again by the welcome ghosts of classic holiday programs past — hello again, Frosty the Snowman and even mean old Grinch! But there are newcomers as well, with Mariah Carey, Bill Murray and an "Empire" variety special among them. Isn't it greedy to ask Santa for anything more? Among the program highlights (all times EST; check local listings for encore airings): ANIMATION: — "Frosty the Snowman," 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, CBS. The adventures of the snowman (voiced by Jackie Vernon) with the magical top hat and jolly soul, which first aired in 1969, as narrated by Jimmy Durante. — "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, CBS. The 1964 special in which Rudolph and buddies Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Misfit Toys rescue Christmas, with narrator Burl Ives' dulcet tones an added bonus. — "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, NBC. The Dr. Seuss tale of a hostile hermit who threatens Whoville's joy is narrated by Boris Karloff, who also voices the dastardly Grinch in the 1966 program. — "The Little Drummer Boy," 12 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, ABC Family. Young Aaron, who can't afford to buy a present for baby Jesus, discovers that nothing is better than the gift of music. ___ MOVIES: — "A Christmas Detour," 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, Hallmark Channel. Candace Cameron Bure and Paul Greene star as two New York City-bound travelers rerouted to a Buffalo airport hotel and into unexpected territory. — "It's a Wonderful Life," 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, NBC. Filmmaker Frank Capra's holiday fable starring James Stewart and Donna Reed has been reminding audiences about what's important in life since 1946. — "Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors," 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10, NBC. Alyvia Alyn Lind plays the country music legend as a child in a story inspired by Parton's family life in 1950s Tennessee. Jennifer Nettles, Gerald McRaney and Ricky Schroder co-star. — "A Christmas Story," 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24, TBS. A boy and a longed-for BB gun make for holiday cheer in writer Jean Shepherd's wry 1983 tale that stars Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin. — "Miracle on 34th Street," 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10, AMC. Santa Claus goes to court and a little girl stands by his story in the 1947 movie starring Edmund Gwen, Maureen O'Hara and Natalie Wood as the young believer in St. Nick. — "White Christmas," 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10, AMC. Bing Crosby croons the title song and Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen add to the festivities at a struggling Vermont inn in need of help. — "A Christmas Melody," 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, Hallmark Channel. Mariah Carey stars in and directed this story with music about a single mom (Lacey Chabert) forced to close her New York boutique, return to her Ohio hometown and face a former high school rival (Carey). ___ STOCKING STUFFERS: — "It's Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown," 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30, ABC. A celebration of the 50th anniversary of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" with performances by Kristen Chenoweth, Sarah McLachlan and Boyz II Men, followed at 9 p.m. by the digitally remastered 1965 animated special. — "CMA Country Christmas," 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, ABC. Kelsea Ballerini, Jewel, Charles Kelley, Martina McBride, David Nail, Pentatonix, LeAnn Rimes and Darius Rucker join the musical celebration, with Jennifer Nettles as the host and the Grand Ole Opry House as the setting. — "A Very Murray Christmas," Friday, Dec. 4, Netflix. Bill Murray tips his hat to the holiday and classic variety shows with help from buddies including Michael Cera, George Clooney, Miley Cyrus, Amy Poehler, Chris Rock and, as director, Sofia Coppola. — "Taraji and Terrence's White Hot Holidays," 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9, Fox. "Empire" stars Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard host a music and variety special including performances of holiday songs by Mary J. Blige, John Legend, Jamie Foxx and others. — "Lidia Celebrates America: Home for the Holidays," 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, PBS. Chef and author Lidia Bastianich explores the varied backgrounds and holiday traditions of guests including Christopher Walken, Rita Moreno, Ann Curry and Padma Lakshmi. ___ Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/lynn-elber and she can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber . Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Lynn Elber from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
NEW YORK (AP) — Soon, a determined girl named Dorothy will ease on down that road in NBC's "The Wiz Live!" Hers is an odyssey that began in 1900 with the publication of L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," then continued with the classic 1939 movie musical starring Judy Garland, followed by the 1975 Broadway production of "The Wiz" (which, billed as "the Super Soul Musical," won seven Tonys, including best musical) and, in 1978, by the film starring Diana Ross. To transform "The Wiz" yet again, this time into a live TV extravaganza, is anything but easy. For weeks the star-studded cast (including Elijah Kelley, Ne-Yo, David Alan Grier, Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah, Uzo Aduba, Common and newcomer Shanice Williams as Dorothy) has mustered at Long Island's Grumman Studios (the one-time Grumman aeronautics complex where the Apollo lunar module was built that put man on the moon). In free moments, they and the executive producers of "The Wiz" look ahead to 8 p.m. EST on Dec. 3, and their one-night-only trip to Oz. ___ WHY 'THE WIZ': "People think, 'Oh, you're doing "The Wiz" because "Empire" is such a big hit,'" says Craig Zadan, who is producing the show with his longtime partner Neil Meron. "The truth is, staging this musical has been a dream of ours since the '90s, but the rights were tied up. It's just coincidental that, this year, when we were choosing a new musical, the rights were cleared." "Both of us loved the original Broadway production," says Meron. "But 'The Wiz' is a cultural touchstone in the black community, with an emotional connection we didn't really know about until we were doing it. Bottom line: 'The Wiz' is phenomenal entertainment, and even with the racial divide at its highest point in decades, we want to put that on pause and do something for the family and for the spirit, and have a great time." ___ A TIMELESS MESSAGE: Kelley (who co-starred in "Hairspray" and here plays the Scarecrow): "Understanding the ability to conquer your fears is one of the things that propels you to any success you desire. That's what 'The Wiz' is about." Grammy-winning singer-actor Ne-Yo (the Tin Man): "Everybody thinks, 'I'm not pretty enough,' 'I'm not thin enough,' 'I'm not this-or-that enough.' But none of that is true. 'The Wiz' teaches you that everything you need to make your dreams come true is already there inside you." ___ IN DOROTHY'S SHOES: Williams, a 19-year-old New Jersey native chosen from hundreds of hopefuls, had already appeared in her middle-school production of "The Wiz." But she had been "too scared" to try out for Dorothy, instead scoring the part of Addaperle, Good Witch of the North. "But when there was an open call for the TV production, I went, just for the learning experience," she says. "Then they kept calling me back and calling me back. There was finally a point where I was like, 'Hold on! I might actually get this.' Now I'm having the time of my life!" And at her side is Stephanie Mills, who here plays Auntie Em but was the original Dorothy in the Broadway production. ___ DRESSED TO KILL?: Actor-comedian Grier (on his Cowardly Lion getup): "It is SO very hot, sir! I'm a fuzzy stovepipe!" Ne-Yo (on his Tin Man costume): "It's 30 or 40 extra pounds. And it doesn't breathe!" Kelley (on his Scarecrow duds): "The costume isn't heavy, but I have to always stand like this," and he demonstrates an ache-inducing bandy-legged posture. "What I don't have to deal with in my costume, I make up for with muscle contortion." ___ HIGH HOPES: For Ne-Yo, the biggest challenge is "trying to figure out what you can bring to the role. There's no topping Diana Ross or Michael Jackson (the film's Scarecrow) or Nipsey Russell (its Tin Man). Instead, you have to ask yourself, 'How can I add to the legacy of my character?'" Meanwhile, Zadan and Meron hope to continue their partnership with Cirque du Soleil and take this new production to Broadway next year. They have designed it in a more proscenium-like style than their cinematic "Sound of Music" and "Peter Pan" live specials. An important visual device: digital effects played across huge LED panels. Like the tornado: "It's incredible!" says Zadan. "We're going in visual directions that are new to television." ___ NERVES?: Just before airtime, Ne-Yo will be telling himself: "You know what you've rehearsed for, so get out there and do what you know you can do and just be great!" "I'm 'anticipitatious,'" says Grier. "I'm anticipating the anticipation. But that's GOOD nerves. We'll be ready!" "If you don't pray, worry," says Williams. "But don't worry, if you're gonna pray. And I'm praying every day." ___ HIGH STAKES: Two years ago, "The Sound of Music" was alive for a huge audience of 19 million viewers. But last year, "Peter Pan Live!" crashed with less than half that. "Carrie Underwood clearly drove 'The Sound of Music,'" says Zadan. "For 'Peter Pan' we had terrific actors, but not stars, and we did not do nearly as well. 'The Wiz' is contemporary and the music is R&B-cool, plus the cast is amazing — with no shortage of stars!" "We love the tradition of a live holiday musical every year," Meron says, "and the only way that's going to continue is if the numbers are up this year. So the pressure is on for this show." With an upsurge in the neighborhood of "Sound of Music" numbers, "we're assured that NBC will want to do it again next year," says Zadan. "The future depends on how 'The Wiz' does." _____ EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore _____ Online: http://www.nbc.com Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Frazier Moore from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
A new official Star Wars game from EA that combines iconic characters with RPG complexity is now available on iOS and Android.The object of the game is to build a team capable of completing potentially any intergalactic task. Players can travel throughout the recognized Star Wars universe in order to find and recruit a host of characters from the existing franchise, from Luke Skywalker to Darth Maul. "The game is simple to control but has incredible depth and breadth. You can strategize on which characters complement each other most, then make your custom teams more powerful with new gear and loot you win from battles," said John Salera, Executive Producer on Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes. Watch the trailer for the free-to-play game: https://youtu.be/ILVQ-Ly392Y. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
Suki Waterhouse has landed a role in the upcoming movie remake of "Billionaire Boys Club".The UK model-turned-actress joins a star-studded cast including Kevin Spacey, Ansel Elgort, Emma Roberts and Taron Egerton on the project, Variety reports. She will play the role of Egerton's love interest Quintana. The film adaptation of the 1987 NBC miniseries tells the story of a duo running a Ponzi scheme called the Billionaire Boys Club which collapses, leading its founders to turn to murder in order to raise funds. It is being directed by James Cox. Waterhouse has previously acted in "Insurgent" and "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies". Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
Kurt Cobain is back in the charts following the release of "Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings".The record starring the late Nirvana frontman has debuted in the No.1 position in the Billboard Soundtracks chart, Billboard reports. It has also entered the Alternative Albums chart at No.6 and is currently placed No.11 on Top Rock Albums and No.121 on the Billboard 200. The album was created to accompany a documentary of the rocker's life, "Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck", released this year. It features previously unheard material, including a cover version of The Beatles' song "And I Love Her", alongside 12 other tracks. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
The first official trailer for the upcoming Marvel movie "Captain America: Civil War" is now available to watch online.Marvel UK uploaded the teaser, which stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and the rest of their superhero clan on a quest to protect humanity. Continuing the story line of "Avengers: Age of Ultron", the trailer sees the Avengers put under government surveillance following an international incident, while simultaneously fighting a new evil. "Captain America: Civil War" has been scripted by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely and directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. It is set to hit UK theaters on April 29 2016. To watch the trailer see https://youtu.be/21HP6OFn5OE Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
WILTON, Conn. (AP) — Longtime soap opera actor David Canary, best known for his role as twin brothers on "All My Children," has died at age 77. Canary died of natural causes on Nov. 16 at his home at The Greens at Cannondale in Wilton, Connecticut, Paul Pyrch of the Bouton Funeral Home said Wednesday. Canary's career spanned more than five decades, with appearances in the films "Hombre" and "Saint Valentine's Day Massacre" before earning recurring roles on "Peyton Place" and "Bonanza." In December 1983, he joined the cast of "All My Children" as twins Adam and Stuart Chandler. Playing the brothers — one evil and the other good-hearted — brought Canary his greatest fame and five Daytime Emmy Awards. "For more than two decades David Canary defined daytime drama on ABC," the network wrote in a statement Tuesday. "Our hearts go out to his family and we mourn his passing." Despite his popularity on the show, Canary shunned the spotlight and preferred to live quietly with his wife and family. "At the risk of being misunderstood, I'm a real private person," Canary told The Associated Press in an interview in 1993. "I don't make appearances. I don't do fan magazine interviews. My wife and our two children live in a little town in Connecticut, where most of the people don't watch the show and, if they do, don't make a big deal out of it." The actor was at first reluctant to take a role on a daytime soap opera. But after getting a chance to play a madman on "The Doctors," Canary spent two years on the soap "Another World." Then came the opportunity to join "All My Children." "I was reluctant to even sign a two-year contract," he said in 1993. "That seemed like a long, long time." Canary remained on the show until 2011. In addition to onscreen roles, Canary also performed on the stage, appearing in on and off Broadway productions, according to an obituary published in the Wilton Bulletin. Born in Indiana, Canary grew up in Massillon, Ohio, and went on to play football at the University of Cincinnati, where he graduated with a major in music. Canary is survived by his wife, two children and a grandchild. ___ Associated Press writer Anthony McCartney in Los Angeles contributed to this report. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — The film "The Assassin" by the veteran Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien has grabbed five awards, including the best director and best feature film, at the Golden Horse Awards. The Golden Horse awards are considered the equivalents of the Oscars for Chinese-language movies. The awards ceremony Saturday evening crowned the mainland Chinese film director, Feng Xiaogang, as the best actor for his performance as an old gangster who rallied his old-time friends to rescue his son in the film "Mr. Six." The best actress title went to a lesser-known Karena Lam from "Zinnia Flower." Lam edged out Shu Qi, a veteran actress and two-time Golden Horse winner who starred in "The Assassin." "The Assassin" is a martial art film, featuring a trained female killer who is faced with an impossible choice between love and duty. It also won the best cinematography, best makeup and costume design and best sound effects. The best new director went to Bi Gan, a 26-year-old independent filmmaker, for his movie "Kaili Blues," a dreamlike story of a doctor in a rural town in China and his journey along the Kaili River where he finds his present, past and future all woven together. Jiang Zhengke, a well-known mainland Chinese director, won the best original screenplay for his film "Mountains May Depart." Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama recognized 17 Americans with the nation's highest civilian award on Tuesday, including the first African-American woman elected to Congress, one of the greatest catchers in baseball history and a "Funny Girl." "Today we celebrate some extraordinary people: innovators, artists and leaders who contribute to America's strength as a nation," Obama said. Obama presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to filmmaker Steven Spielberg, musicians Gloria and Emilio Estefan, singer James Taylor, composer Stephen Sondheim, violinist Itzhak Perlman and actress Barbra Streisand, who won an Academy award for her performance in the classic film, "Funny Girl." The sports honorees were Baseball Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Yogi Berra. Berra, who died in September, was a famed Yankees' catcher, an 18-time All-Star and 10-time World Series champion. The president noted that Berra also served in World War II. Mays was among the first African-American players in Major League Baseball. "It's because of giants like Willie that someone like me could even think about running for president," Obama said. The politicians bestowed the honor are Democrats: Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, who has championed equal pay and women's health during her 44 years of public service; former Rep. Lee Hamilton from Indiana, a longtime advocate of American national security and international relations; and the late Rep. Shirley Chisholm from New York. Chisholm was the first African-American woman elected to Congress and a founding member of what would become the Congressional Black Caucus. Of Hamilton, Obama said he helped guide the nation through the Cold War and had a consistent commitment to bipartisanship. Obama spoke about each recipient; among the other honorees were: —Bonnie Carroll, a veterans advocate, who founded the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) to support families and loved ones of military heroes killed during their service. —Katherine G. Johnson, a NASA mathematician, whose calculations influenced every major space program, including the flight of the first American into space. —William Ruckelshaus, a former chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, who shaped the guiding principles of the agency, including a nationwide ban on the pesticide DDT and an agreement with the automobile industry to require catalytic converters to reduce automobile pollution. Posthumous recipients include Indian tribal advocate Billy Frank Jr., who led "fish-ins"— similar to sit-ins— during the tribal "fish wars" of the 1960s and 1970s, and civil rights leader Minoru Yasui, who challenged the constitutionality of a military curfew order during World War II on the grounds of racial discrimination and spent months in solitary confinement during the legal battle. ___ This story has been corrected to note that Berra, not Mays, played catcher. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
NEW YORK (AP) — A highly regarded play about a fractious family's Thanksgiving get-together has something to really be thankful for this holiday season — it's going to Broadway. Stephen Karam said Tuesday his dark comedy "The Humans" will jump from off-Broadway to Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre, with performances beginning Jan. 23. It will mark his Broadway debut. "I'd say it feels like a dream come true but it's actually a dream I didn't know I had. I was happy just trying to get the best version of the play out off-Broadway," Karam said by phone. "To be totally honest, I thought I would have a Broadway debut in the distant, distant future, maybe in my 60s or 70s when somebody revived one of my off-Broadway plays with a star." The cast, all of whom are in the current off-Broadway production at the Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre, will make the leap: Cassie Beck, Reed Birney, Jayne Houdyshell, Lauren Klein, Arian Moayed and Sarah Steele. Scott Rudin and Barry Diller are producing. Tickets go on sale Dec. 11 and opening night is Feb. 18. Up-and-coming writers earning such a Broadway transfer were much more common in decades past, but that trajectory is rare these days. "Young American playwrights tend to not get a shot at the real estate of Broadway. So I'm thrilled for him," said Joe Mantello, the Tony Award-winning director who helms "The Humans." Karam was pleased simply to have the show up and running on a stage. "To see it come together — as cheesy as it sounds — that's really the reward. That feels like the prize, when you're able to make the thing that you've been dreaming of for the past four or five years." Both Karam and Mantello credited Rudin, who saw the play during previews and made a commitment to take it to Broadway within 24 hours, not waiting to hear what official critics said. Mantello said the playwright is one to watch. "It's undeniable, in my opinion, that this is a unique, compelling, essential voice for the American theater," said Mantello. "Stephen will go on to write many other great plays and I think it's time for people to jump onboard." The play will be part of a one-two stage punch from the playwright in 2016: His adaptation of "The Cherry Orchard" by Anton Chekhov will start previews in September at the American Airlines Theatre. Karam, a 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist for his drama "Sons of the Prophet," also wrote the plays "Speech and Debate" and "Dark Sisters." A graduate of Brown University, his screenplays of Chekhov's "The Seagull" and "Speech and Debate" are being made into films. "I like creating the illusion that suddenly I've just done five things at once," he said, laughing. "What's funny is I've never had a film made before this year and two got green-lit and filmed at the same time. I'm not joking: The shoots overlapped for two weeks in the summer." Ever humble, Karam, a product of the blue-collar Pennsylvania city of Scranton, said he won't be soaking in champagne to toast his success. "It's so very hard for me to enjoy expensive champagne because I'm thinking how much it costs," he said. "I think it will be awhile before I'm taking a champagne bath." ___ Online: http://www.roundabouttheatre.org ___ Follow Mark Kennedy at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/mark-kennedy Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Mark Kennedy from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
NEW YORK (AP) — Erykah Badu is answering a phone call: her new eyeglasses are ready, and the frames are available for pick-up when she has time. "I figured you'd probably been busy," the guy from the optical shop says. He's right. Badu hosted the 2015 Soul Train Music Awards earlier this month in Las Vegas, and she's been doing press ahead of the show's Sunday premiere on BET and Centric. "I've had this on for about two months," Badu says of the outfit she's wearing — shiny black overalls, sky-high top hat and a chambray button-up with a wooden bowtie that reads "HELLO"). "It was the last thing I had on at Soul Train. (and) I haven't had a break since then." She's also been sharing material from her upcoming mixtape, "BUT YOU CAINT USE MY PHONE," titled after a famous line from her equally famous 1997 single, "Tyrone." It's set for release Friday. In an interview with The Associated Press backstage at "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon," 44-year-old Badu talks about the hosting gig, new music and platinum-selling rapper Drake, whose "Hotline Bling" single she remixed and released in October. ___ AP: You hosted the Soul Train Music Awards in 1998. How was your experience this year? Badu: It was really fun. And this time around they made me an associate producer, so I had an opportunity to write my material, which I think is really cool — to, you know, see my things crystalize — my words and my sense of humor, which is pretty unique and self-serving. AP: What made you say yes to the job? Badu: I thought that, 'Hey, this is a great opportunity to expose myself to this naked place. this place that I had not been welcomed before.' I'm known for the singing, and stuff like that. No one knows that I direct all my videos and write all of the treatments. No one knows that I do all of my own artwork. No one knows that, you know, this is me. I pick my clothes out. No one knows any of those things. So I think that it's a good time to start exposing my art to the air. AP: What's up with the mixtape? Badu: It's really, really, really, really awesome. I first did a remake of Drake's 'Hotline Bling' because I thought it was an awesome song. I actually did it for Big Mike's birthday. Big Mike's my road manager, tour manager. That's his favorite song. as well as a lot of other people's, too. And it came out good. And I just stayed in that studio, in the bedroom, and I just kept writing songs, making songs, writing songs. And about 10 days later, I had this mixtape. AP: Are there any special guests? Badu: Absolutely. AP: Can you tell us who? Badu: I really cannot tell you. All 12 apostles. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. AP: Everyone seems to love Drake — you included. Why do you think that is? Badu: He's a brilliant genius. He's a genius. He's a talented actor. He's a brilliant comedian — comedic timing is perfection. He's a talented songwriter. He's a talented singer. He's an exquisite, extraordinary producer. He's a great person. ...He invited me to Canada to listen to (2011 album) 'Take Care,' and you know, I went there and listened to the album. You know, (I'm) just really proud to see his evolution. He's one of the few artists I can say is really evolving each time he appears. And that's inspiring to me. And that's my challenge. AP: You do a lot of things — make music, write comedy, help deliver babies as a doula. How do you stay so 'unstuck'? Badu: I don't know. I just, I guess I don't judge. You know, that helps you not be stuck. You know, people say hip-hop is dead, and they say soul music is dead and those kind of things, but it won't die if you allow it to evolve. If you allow its essence to grow inside of the young people— because they carry it. As they grow, I grow with them. ____ Online: http://www.bet.com/shows/soul-train-awards.html Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by MELANIE J. SIMS from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.