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SHOWBIZ Rippon retires, 'Moulin Rouge,' Katy Perry, trans actresses
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-11-27

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Olympian and U.S. national figure skating champion Adam Rippon told CBS News he will no longer skate competitively—meaning the 29-year-old will effectively retire from professional skating. Rippon competed for the United States in the Winter Olympics in South Korea this year. He was one of the first openly gay U.S. athletes to qualify for the Winter Games, where he won a bronze medal in the team event.

The Broadway adaptation of Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! will begin its run on the boards next summer, producers announced, with previews starting June 28 and opening night set for July 25 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, Deadline noted. As in the film, Moulin Rouge! celebrates some of the greatest popular music of the last 50 years. The stage musical features many songs from the movie ( which stars Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor ) and also includes recent hits released since the movie premiered in 2001. Cast members from the production's run last summer in Boston will transfer to Broadway, including Karen Olivo and Aaron Tveit.

Forbes reported that Katy Perry is music's highest-paid woman, earning $83 million ( pre-tax ) in 2018, USA Today noted. Perry's windfall comes courtesy of her recent "Witness: The Tour," with Forbes reporting she grossed more than $1 million a night, as well as from her judging stint on American Idol. Taylor Swift came in second with $80 million.

As TV's first transgender superhero, actress Nicole Maines—who portrays Dreamer on the CW show Supergirl—wants to break the mold of trans characters on television, People.com noted. "What I'm really excited for is to see the evolution of trans characters and see more diverse stories be told, so that every time we're on screen we're not really playing the part of educator and having to explain the experience to the audience, because it will have already been normalized," Maines ( who is transgender herself ) said.

Transgender actress Josie Totah, 17, recently told Forbes, "I want to continue to use my platform to tell my story to let young people that are struggling with their sexuality or identify know they are not alone and it will get better. I also want people to understand and celebrate our differences." In August, Totah wrote in Time, "My pronouns are she, her and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female." Totah starred as the precocious queer teenager Michael Patel in Mindy Kaling's NBC series Champions, and has had roles on Back in the Game, Glee and Jessie as well as in the movies Other People and Spider-Man: Homecoming, Forbes noted.

The 28th annual IFP Gotham Awards offered a few surprises to kick off awards season, honoring dark horse The Rider as Best Feature, Deadline noted. First Reformed and Eighth Grade each took a pair of competitive awards. Also, The Favourite took home a previously announced ensemble acting award, and star Rachel Weisz received a career acting tribute. The Best Actress award, in another twist, went to Toni Collette for the horror hit Hereditary.

Actor Taron Egerton ( Kingsman movies; Robin Hood ) has said he's not gay after an October Instagram post stirred rumors about his sexuality, SDGLN.com noted. Egerton initially uploaded a candid snapshot on his Instagram page of a young man, captioning it "Cutie. My boy [heart emoji]." On UK's Radio One, the actor—set to appear as the out pop icon Elton John in the biopic Rocketman next year—said, "I'm not gay but two of my mates came out when I was 15 and it was a joy to support them because, as a group; we are all secure in who we are."

Regardless of what the blogosphere might say, singer Shawn Mendes has once again denied claims that he is gay—but he does feel the need to prove his sexuality, as per his new feature store with Rolling Stone magazine, according to iHeart.com . "This massive, massive thing for the last five years about me being gay," he said. "In the back of my heart, I feel like I need to go be seen with someone—like a girl—in public, to prove to people that I'm not gay." Since the interview, Mendes took to social media to apologize for his use of language. "Of course i have my insecurities and struggles but that's just one part of me," he tweeted. "Sometimes the positive side of a story doesn't always get fully told and I wish it had here. I love what i do and i love you guys so much."

Dame Julie Andrews will voice a key role in Aquaman, the franchise hopeful from DC Films and Warner Bros. and starring Jason Momoa, according to Australian publication The Advocate. The Sound of Music star will voice Karathen, a mythical sea creature that helps Momoa's waterbound hero broker peace between Atlantis and the residents of dry land. Aquaman will open Dec. 21 in the United States—two days before the release of Mary Poppins Returns, when Emily Blunt will take on a role Andrews originated in the 1964 Disney classic.

Out actress Briana Venskus—perhaps best known for the role of Beatrice on The Walking Dead—discussed being told that she doesn't look "authentically LGBTQ" enough for a role, LGBTQ Nation noted. She wrote on Instagram, "So…I was just informed that I was not cast in a role on a show because I wasn't seen as 'Authentically LGBTQ' enough," adding, "I'm so tired and frustrated with this Hollywood stereotype of LGBTQ." She didn't elaborate on which role it was.

FX has rounded out the cast as production begins on Fosse/Verdon ( new official title ), its high-profile eight-episode limited drama series starring Oscar winner Sam Rockwell and Oscar nominee Michelle Williams in the title roles, Deadline noted. Joining previously announced Rockwell and Williams as series regulars are Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz ( Bloodline ) as Paddy Chayefsky and Margaret Qualley ( Novitiate ) as Ann Reinking. Some of the other actors in the series are Paul Reiser, Ethan Slater, Bianca Marroquin and Nate Corddry.

Emma Roberts has departed Spinning Out, Netflix's recently announced figure-skating drama series, Deadline noted. A rep for the actress told Deadline that Roberts is not proceeding with Spinning Out due to a scheduling conflict with another project. On Spinning Out, Roberts was to have played the lead, Kat Baker—an up-and-coming, high-level single skater who's about to turn in her skates after a disastrous fall took her off the competition track.

After bringing the songs of Masseduction to fans via her lights-and-electronics-heavy Fear the Future Tour, St. Vincent shared stripped-down versions of those songs ( found on MassEducation ) at an intimate concert at Brooklyn Academy of Music on Nov. 20, Billboard.com noted. Accompanied by pianist/BFF Thomas Bartlett and a glass of tequila, Annie Clark put on a more casual show—and, at one point, Clark credited Bartlett with helping introduce her to "downtown queer New York City" when she met him approximately a decade prior.

Fox already has settled on a date for the 2019 Emmy Awards, according to TheWrap.com . The 71st Emmy Awards will be broadcast live coast-to-coast on Sunday, Sept. 22, the network announced. The ceremony will once again be held at the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in Los Angeles. Hosted by Saturday Night Live's Colin Jost and Michael Che, the 2018 show drew just 10.2 million viewers—a nearly 11-percent decline from the previous year.

Daniel Radcliffe has been avoiding seeing J.K. Rowling's acclaimed sequel play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child—and now he's explaining why, according to EW.com . Appearing on Late Night With Seth Meyers, Radcliffe said his reluctance is because the experience would "not be a relaxing evening at the theater" because the actor would "feel like I [was] being watched for my reaction. And maybe that is completely conceited and egotistical and people wouldn't care, but I do feel if I was just surrounded by Harry Potter fans, it would be a little odd."

The influential Italian auteur Bernardo Bertolucci—perhaps best known for epic The Last Emperor, which won nine Oscars, and groundbreaking works such as Last Tango In Paris and The Conformist—passed away in Paris Nov. 26 at 77 following a battle with cancer, Deadline noted. Bertolucci caused some controversy this year when he criticized fellow filmmaker Ridley Scott's decision last year to replace Kevin Spacey in All the Money in the World with Christopher Plummer after Spacey was accused of sexual assault by more than a dozen men, per The Hollywood Reporter. Bertolucci later clarified that he agreed completely with the #MeToo movement and praised it for bringing awareness to violence against women around the world.

Devin Lima, whose pop band LFO ( Lyte Funky Ones ) released the hit "Summer Girls" in 1999, has died following a yearlong battle with cancer; he was 41, Rolling Stone noted. In October 2017, fellow LFO member Brad Fischetti revealed that Lima had been diagnosed with stage four adrenal cancer and he underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his adrenal gland, CNN reported. Lima's death comes eight years after LFO lead singer Rich Cronin died at 36 after a lengthy battle with leukemia.

Ariana Grande had some strong words for Piers Morgan after the journalist launched a Twitter tirade against the U.K. girl group Little Mix and her own mother, Joan Grande, Variety.com noted. After Morgan targeted Little Mix, Joan tweeted, "Honestly what is wrong with you @piersmorgan ? Didn't your mother ever teach you, if you have nothing nice to say, don't say it!" Morgan quickly responded to Joan Grande, calling Ellen DeGeneres a hypocrite ( for objectifying men for International Men's Day ), and denouncing both Little Mix and Ariana Grande for using their nudity to sell albums. Ariana then stated, "Ellen is an incredible & kind human being.. I use my talent AND my sexuality all the time because i choose to. women can be sexual AND talented. ... i say this w all due respect but thank u, next."

Dolce & Gabbana fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana issued a video apology after their planned over-the-top show was canceled in Shanghai amid accusations of racism, Page Six reported. The promos featured a Chinese woman attempting to eat Italian food with chopsticks and racy commentary, which many viewers called out as racist. Then, private messages surfaced that called Chinese people "Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia"—but the brand's official account claimed, "Our Instagram account has been hacked. So has the account of Stefano Gabbana."

Bette Midler's recent social-media post about Melania Trump made her a Twitter target again, USA Today noted. Following a controversial tweet last month in which she asserted "women, are the n-word of the world," Midler tweeted a photo of Trump from a steamy flight-themed shoot with British GQ in 2000—which the actress/singer captioned, "The dry cleaning bill for the upholstery on Air Force One must be insane." Despite blowback from Twitter users, Midler hasn't apologized for the Trump post, although she has apologzied for the "n-word" tweet.

Justin Bieber reached out to Aaron Carter, JustJared.com noted. The 24-year-old "Friends" pop star reacted to the 30-year-old "Aaron's Party" singer, who recently responded to a tweet comparing the success of the two pop stars. I'm not Justin Bieber I'm Aaron Carter. I'm also in construction—I paved the way. These kids have NEVER paid me homage," Carter replied. Bieber later posted, "Aaron carter i had your album when I was little. And bumped the song Aaron's party. I was like 7. if you need a hype man I got you."

In other Aaron Carter-related news, he and girlfriend Lina Valentina have a baby on the way, according to an ExtraTV.com item that cites E! News. He previously dated Madison Parker, but they called it quits last year—just before he came out as bisexual.

In an exclusive new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Danny Roberts—from The Real World: New Orleans—came out as HIV-positive, NewNowNext.com noted. "I spent so long battling and beating myself up for my own misconceptions and bigotry," he said. "It is difficult to admit the negative feelings you had about a set of people and state of being based on made-up stories." Roberts—who recently moved to New York City with his 2 1/2-year-old adopted daughter—also revealed he found out he was HIV-positive in 2011.

Celebrity Autobiography—the long-running comedy series that features a cast of performers reading from the autobiographies and memoirs of the famous and infamous—will now play three performances on Broadway this holiday season instead of the previously announced four, Playbill noted. Dec. 10 and Dec. 17 performances ( in addition to the completed Nov. 26 show ) will go on as scheduled at the Marquis Theatre. Tony Danza joins the rotating cast for the Dec. 10 installment; other stars appearing include SNL veterans Alec Baldwin, Rachel Dratch and Cecily Strong as well as Lewis Black, Mario Cantone, Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski and Emmy-winning soap star Susan Lucci.

Actress/talk-show host Busy Philipps had an unexpected encounter at Disney World—with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, JustJared.com noted. On Instagram, Philipps posted, "Guys, we just went on the Rock-N-Roll roller coaster and scarier than that, is when I get off, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was there and she had security guards so we didn't say anything, but I did do this," she said before making a mean look. "Honestly, I didn't want to say anything because I didn't want to get kicked out of the park and we were not with our kids, they were waiting for us with someone else. I gave her such a mean look, and she saw it. She saw it."

Tennis star Venus Williams has settled a wrongful-death lawsuit related to a 2017 fatal car crash in Florida, Tennis.com reported. Terms of the agreement between Williams and the estate of Jerome Barson, 78, weren't included in the documents. Palm Beach Gardens police previously cleared both Williams and Barson's wife, Linda, in the June 9, 2017, crash that fatally injured Barson.

Maya Rudolph ( Bridesmaids ) is expanding her relationship with Amazon Studios, signing a first-look television deal with the studio along with her creative partner Natasha Lyonne ( Orange Is the New Black ) via their new Animal Pictures production company, according to Deadline. Under the pact, the Emmy-nominated duo will create original series for Amazon Studios via Animal Pictures for Amazon Prime Video.

Actor David Arquette was recently hospitalized—after tweeting he was injured in a "wrestling death match," ExtraTV.com noted. Arquette said he wanted to address what happened after bloody photos and videos of him wrestling Nick Gage surfaced online. He added, "I have zero plans to be involved in a match like this again."

CBS is developing a restart of the Emmy-winning 1990 dramedy Northern Exposure, EW.com noted. Rob Morrow is back on board to star and executive-produce, along with series creator Joshua Brand. Morrow's co-star John Corbett will be back as his popular character Chris Stevens "from time to time" as well.

Malibu natives Brody Jenner, Cisco Adler and Caroline D'Amore DJ'd a Thanksgiving fundraiser for Malibu wildfire-relief efforts at Santa Monica's SHOREbar, Page Six noted. The event was produced by One Love Malibu, which is throwing a music festival Dec. 2 in which Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani and Coldplay rocker Chris Martin will perform.

Andie MacDowell—star of the hit 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral—is set to guest star on the Hulu limited series inspired by the British romantic comedy, according to Page Six. She will play a new character in the project. Game Of Thrones co-star Nathalie Emmanuel will head the new "Weddings."

Reports claim that Paris Hilton's ex-fiance, actor Chris Zylka, wants their $2 million engagement ring back—even though he reportedly didn't pay for it, Page Six noted. The Leftovers star proposed to Hilton with the teardrop-shaped rock in January in Aspen, Colorado, but they split recently. Asked about where Zylka came up with the cash for the ring, a spokesperson for the couple told The New York Post in January that Zylka had taken up art and was making pieces that had "become very valuable and lucrative. He has very high-end clients from all over the world who continuously seek out his work."


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