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SHOWBIZ Trans actor, 'Judy,' 'Concert for America,' Dolly Parton
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-10-01

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Trans actor Brian Michael Smith was one of three casting announcements made ahead of Fox's 9-1-1 spinoff, Lone Star, which debuts in January, Out.com noted. This next installment in Ryan Murphy's burgeoning franchise will take place in Texas, and star Rob Lowe and Liv Tyler as first responders. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Smith will play a "transgender male firefighter with a gift for observation worthy of Sherlock Holmes." Smith—the first Black trans male regular—joins Natacha Karam and Rafael Silva, who are playing Muslim and Latinx firefighters, respectively.

Harry Connick Jr. hosted an intimate screening of Judy at New York City's Crosby St. Hotel for stars Renee Zellweger and Finn Wittrock, a press release noted. Directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Rupert Goold, the Broadway luminaries in attendance included Bernadette Peters, Jessie Mueller, Amber Gray, Rosie Perez, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Adam Kantor, Michael Urie, Paula Wagner, Michael Benjamin Washington, Celia Weston and Brian Hutchison.

Months after Liza Minnelli publicly denounced the upcoming biopic about her mother, Judy Garland, Judy director Rupert Goold admitted he understands why she's so upset, Page Six noted. "It's an invasion of privacy at some level, I suppose," Goold told Entertainment Tonight. "And that's the complexity of being a child of a star... It's somebody you want to own in an intimate personal way, yet is sort of in a gaudy way, like, public property." In June, Minnelli refuted reports that she was bonding with the film's star, Renee Zellweger.

On Sept. 21, SiriusXM's Seth Rudetsky and his husband, producer James Wesley, were joined by stars of the stage, screen and dance floor in L.A. for the latest iteration of their Concert for America, a press release noted. Among those who performed were Chris Wood and Melissa Benoist, Grammy winner Melissa Manchester, Kate Flannery ( along with Jane Lynch ), Emmy winner Eric McCormack, Wayne Brady, Grant Gustin, Liz Calloway, Gina Torres, Laurie Metcalf and more. Greg Berlanti, Robbie Rogers and their Berlanti Family Foundation co-presented the event, which raised more than $110,000 for the National Immigration Law Center.

Dolly Parton has inked a book deal—although it's unclear if it's a memoir, Page Six revealed. However, the hot property by the singer went to smaller indie publishers Chronicle Books and Recorded Books in a joint pact, despite interest from the larger publishing houses. She reportedly went with Chronicle and Recorded so she could get better terms on the book's audio rights.

Kino Lorber Studio Classics announced the release of new restorations from pioneering independent filmmaker Ida Lupino: Not Wanted ( 1949 ), Never Fear ( 1949 ), The Bigamist ( 1953 ) and The Hitch-Hiker ( 1953 )—which has the distinction of being the only classic film noir to be directed by a woman filmmaker, a company press release noted. These movies were directed by Ida Lupino for her independent production company, The Filmakers [sic], which she co-founded in 1949 after striking out on her own following her Hollywood acting career at Warner Bros.

Speaking of Kino Lorber, it has launched Kino Now—the arthouse distributor's new VOD platform showcasing more than 600 new releases, classics and international films, a press release noted. An additional 600 films will be added over the next several months, all from the company's library. The site will be annually refreshed with more than 50 new theatrical releases from Kino Lorber's first run and repertory divisions, and more than 500 yearly additional titles as "festival direct" exclusives and indie art-house digital premieres.

The 20th anniversary of the cult film Jawbreaker has it coming to Blu-ray on Nov. 19 via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, a press release noted. Cast members include Rose McGowan, Rebecca Gayheart, Julie Benz, Judy Greer, Chad Christ, Ethan Erickson, Carol Kane and Pam Grier—and there will be a retrospective commentary featuring director Darren Stein, Gayheart, Benz and Greer.

Cyndi Lauper—the Grammy-, Emmy- and Tony-winning icon and advocate—announced that her annual benefit concert, "Cyndi Lauper & Friends: Home for the Holidays," will take place in Los Angeles for the first time, a press release noted. The ninth edition of this star-studded evening benefiting True Colors United features Lauper, her band and special guests. The concert will happen at The Novo at L.A. Live on Tuesday, Dec. 10. The artist line-up will be announced soon and tickets will go on sale on Friday, Oct. 18, at AXS.com .

Frank Ocean was tapped to write the foreword for a new book on the Oscar-winning film Moonlight—and A24, the company behind the movie, provided a glimpse at the 224-page book on social media, according to Complex.com . The work will include an essay by writer/theater critic Hilton Als, movie stills, Barry Jenkins' screenplay and Academy Award acceptance speeches. Moonlight walked away with three trophies at the 2017 Oscars: It received the award for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor ( Mahershala Ali ) and Best Picture ( after the infamous Oscar-night flub by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway ). The limited edition books str available to purchase for $60 at A24's online shop ( at shop.a24films.com/ ).

Hours after her Vulture feature was published, singer Fiona Apple posted a video that addressed a portion of the interview that was left out—and it involved Lil Nas X, Complex.com revealed. "One thing that the lovely Rachel Handler didn't mention that I did say in the interview which I would just like to say now is that Lil Nas X—you're probably really great, but you used my song 'Every Single Night' ( 2012 ), too," Apple said. "You sampled that song, too, in a song called 'Kim Jong Un,' I think. And, um, hey, where's my money, you cute little guy? Where's my money?" Lil Nas X sampled "Every Single Night" on "Kim Jung," a song from his 2018 mixtape Nasarati. The project doesn't appear to be available on any streaming services, so it's unclear if Lil Nas X has pocketed any money from the track.

Singers Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will headline the halftime show at next year's Super Bowl LIV, Deadline reported. The NFL's annual championship game is set for Feb. 2, 2020, at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. The show hails from the league and Jay-Z's Roc Nation, which recently signed a broad deal for the company to oversee the league's entertainment auspices. The last woman headliner was Lady Gaga, in 2017.

Ricky Martin announced during the 23rd annual Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in Washington that he and husband Jwan Yosef are expecting another child, USA Today noted. Martin was being honored with the National Visibility Award for his advocacy of LGBTQ rights and his philanthropy. The couple's 11-year-old sons were in the audience. He also gave a shout-out to his 8-month-old daughter, Lucia, who stayed with her grandma. Martin called her "the light of my life."

Taylor Swift's newest album, Lover, received platinum certification in just four weeks from the RIAA in recognition of more than 1 million U.S. sales, a Republic Records press release noted. In addition, Swift held the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Songwriters Chart for three straight weeks anchored by "Lover," "You Need To Calm Down" and "ME!" featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco. She also emerged as the most-streamed female artist globally on Spotif, and all 18 tracks from Taylor's new album Lover charted on the Billboard's Hot 100 upon release.

Interscope/Darkroom Records artist Billie Eilish has announced her 2020 arena Where Do We Go? World Tour, produced by Live Nation, a press release noted. Starting March 8 in Miami, the tour will take her live show to some of the world's biggest arenas including New York City's Madison Square Garden on March 15. Eilish earned her first number-one song on the Billboard Hot 100 with "bad guy," taken from her multi-platinum debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

Actor/director/writer Tyler Perry said he cannot "just up and leave" filming in Georgia despite Hollywood's backlash against the state's "heartbeat" abortion law, Page Six noted. "Atlanta has been the dream. It has been the promised land," he said to the Associated Press while discussing the upcoming opening of his Atlanta-based studio. "So when I got here, this whole state and city has been amazing to me and I wouldn't trade that for anything. Also, I put $250 million in the ground here and in the studio. So when you have a quarter of a billion dollars sat down in the ground, you can't just up and leave."

Beyonce has been entangled in a legal battle with Wendy Morales over trademarking her daughter's name, Blue Ivy Carter, Complex noted, citing The Blast. Morales believes Beyonce shouldn't be allowed to trademark "Blue Ivy" because she herself has an event planning business of the same name ( which started three years before the celebrity child was born ). According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Beyonce feels that she should have trademark rights to the title because her daughter is a "cultural icon." Beyonce and Jay-Z first applied for the trademark in 2012, and were denied.

Transparent star Alexandra Billings will join the cast of the Broadway production of the Stephen Schwartz-Winnie Holzman musical Wicked on Jan. 20, 2020, at the Gershwin Theatre, Playbill noted. Billings, who was last on Broadway in The Nap, will succeed Tony nominee Nancy Opel in the role of Madame Morrible.

Orange Is the New Black co-star Danielle Brooks—who's currently expecting her first child—is hosting a new Netflix Family series called A Little Bit Pregnant, People.com noted. The new four-part series ( which will be available on Netflix's main YouTube channel as well as all Netflix Family social media channels ) will follow Brooks' pregnancy journey as she asks and answers all the questions that are on soon-to-be parents' minds.

Fresh from his Emmy win for Best Directing in a Drama Series for Netflix's Ozark, Jason Bateman is in early talks direct Ryan Reynolds in Clue, the live action feature adaptation of the Hasbro board game for Fox/Disney, Deadline reported. Bateman, who won the Emmy for the episode "Reparations," will develop the Clue script with Reynolds.

Survivor: China winner Todd Herzog recently proposed to boyfriend Jess Hermansen while swimming with the dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida, People.com noted. Herzog had hand-picked a group of fellow reality stars to watch the proposal. In addition to his Survivor: China castmates Peih Gee Law, Denise Martin and Leslie Nease, he also asked Amazing Race winner Scott Flanary to be on hand.

Ruby Rose revealed to fans that she was seriously injured and required emergency surgery after doing her own stunts on the set of her new CW series, Batwoman, NewNowNext.com noted. In a graphic Instagram post, Rose shared a time-lapsed video of her surgeons at work. She posted, "I had herniated two discs doing stunts, and they were close to severing my spinal chord [sic]. I was in chronic pain and yet couldn't feel my arms."

Stars and loved ones gathered in Paris to pay respects to famed fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh, who died Sept. 3 at age 74, People.com noted. Bradley Cooper, Julianne Moore, Naomi Campbell, Salma Hayek, Kate Moss, Karen Elson, Cindy Crawford, Gigi and Bella Hadid, and Anna Wintour were just some of the famous faces photographed leaving the funeral service for Lindberg, which was held at the Church of Saint-Sulpice in France. Lindbergh worked on campaigns for brands like Dior and Louis Vuitton, shot covers for high-profile publications like Vogue, and even shot the album artwork for Beyonce's I Am … Sasha Fierce.

Renowned opera star Jessye Norman—who won four Grammy Awards and the National Medal of Arts—has died at 74, the Chicago Sun-Times noted. She reportedly died from septic shock and multi-organ failure secondary to complications of a spinal cord injury she sustained in 2015. She pursued formal music studies at Howard University, the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Michigan; her opera debut came in 1969 in "Tannhauser" at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

Rapper Cardi B sat down with radio host Angie Martinez during an episode of We TV's Untold Stories of Hip Hop—and the musician opened up about being sexually assaulted at a magazine shoot, USA Today noted. "I will never forget how I went to shoot for this magazine and the photographer, he was trying to get close to me, like, 'Yeah, you want to get in this magazine?' Then he pulled his [penis] out," Cardi said during a preview clip from the episode, which aired Sept. 26. She added, "I was so [expletive] mad, and I was just like, 'This is crazy.'" The "Bodak Yellow" rapper said she reported the incident—but, to her surprise, the owner wasn't phased by the photographer's inappropriate behavior.

Placido Domingo agreed to withdraw from all future performances at New York's Metropolitan Opera in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against him made by multiple women, Variety noted. The singer, 78, had been scheduled to sing the title role in the season debut of Verdi's Macbeth, which would have been his first performance in the United States since news of the allegations broke. The company said in a statement, "The Met and Mr. Domingo are in agreement that he needed to step down."

Nearly two years after Matt Lauer's exit from the Today show, an explosive New York Post report claims that his accuser is ready to come forward and that there are new allegations of sexual misconduct against him, ExtraTV.com reported. The new information will reportedly be revealed in Pulitzer Prize winner Ronan Farrow's new book, Catch and Kill. Farrow's publishers—Little, Brown and Company—would only tell the Post that the team was "extremely proud" of the book and that it has been "meticulously fact-checked and vetted."

Days after Christie Brinkley called out Wendy Williams for accusing her of faking serious injuries on Dancing With the Stars, Brinkley's daughter Sailor Brinkley-Cook has stepped up to defend the former supermodel as well, Page Six noted. Brinkley-Cook said of her mother, ""She spoke the truth. Wendy really has supported her through a lot of crazy stuff and for her to come out and say something negative about this situation really was shocking. Like I was like, 'Really?'" Because of their history, Williams did apologize for hurting Brinkley's feelings, although she stuck to her guns, claiming that Brinkley's rehearsal fall didn't look severe enough to seriously injure her wrist and arm.

Tom Hiddleston revealed that he was punched by his on-screen Marvel brother Chris Hemsworth while shooting a scene for the first Avengers movie, according to Heroic Hollywood. The relationship between Chris Hemsworth's Thor and Tom Hiddleston's Loki has been a contentious one ever since they made their debut in the god of thunder's first movie in 2011. Hiddleston mentioned on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that he suggested Hemsworth actually punch him to sell a scene, adding, "[It was] a terrible idea. I went down like a stone."

Cirque du Soleil continues its partnership with Fathom Events to bring the Cirque du Soleil show LUZIA to cinemas across the country on Oct. 29, following a nationwide in-cinema broadcast of Cirque du Soleil's KURIOS-Cabinet of Curiosities last year, a press release noted. Fathom Events and Cirque du Soleil will present LUZIA in nearly 800 select movie theaters on Tuesday, October 29 at 7 p.m. local time, through Fathom's Digital Broadcast Network. See FathomEvents.com for a list of locations.

The Pretty Little Liars ( PLL ) franchise is coming to an end for now, as Freeform did not renew Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists for a second season, Deadline noted. "Perfectionists" had PLL alums Sasha Pieterse and Janel Parrish reprising their roles and hailed from the same auspices as the original series, writer/executive producer I. Marlene King, Alloy Entertainment and Warner Horizon Scripted Television.

It was a tense part three of The Real Housewives of Potomac reunion night when Ashley Darby's husband, Michael Darby, was blindsided by more sexual misconduct claims, Yahoo! Entertainment noted. About a year ago, Darby was suspended from filming after he was faced with misconduct allegations by a cameraman, who claimed Darby "grabbed and groped" his butt during filming; the claim was dismissed due to insufficient evidence. Some of the housewives, and their husbands, brought up additional claims that they either saw, or heard about, Darby also grabbing producers' butts.

Erika Jayne—of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and 2007 dance hit "Roller Coaster" fame—will make her Broadway debut as Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago, Playbill noted. She'll begin performances Jan. 6, 2020, at the Ambassador Theatre, playing a limited engagement through March 29. Jayne is the latest star from the Real Housewives franchise to step into the long-running musical, following Atlanta's NeNe Leakes and Kandi Burruss as well as Beverly Hills' Lisa Rinna ( albeit five years before joining the series ).


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