Friday, May 25, 2018
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Rihanna, Pink, to perform at VMA; Sheryl Crow wants people to vote

Rihanna is back for another performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, along with Pink, Paramore, and T.I., who will be making his first appearance at a major awards show since his arrest right before an awards ceremony last year.

The VMAs are set for Sept. 7 in Los Angeles with British comedian Russell Brand as the host. Performers already announced include the Jonas Brothers, Lil Wayne, and Kid Rock.

Rihanna, who appeared with Chris Brown to sing her song "Umbrella" at last year's VMAs, is slated to perform her No. 1 hit "Disturbia"; Paramore plans to sing "Misery Business"; Pink is to showcase her new song "Say What."

"I can't wait," Pink said yesterday, adding that she plans to "blow stuff up."

The last time rapper T.I. was scheduled to perform at an awards show, he was arrested instead. He was apprehended in the parking last October before the BET Hip-Hop Awards in Atlanta and accused of trying to buy machine guns and silencers; he was sentenced earlier this year to serve about a year in prison after completing at least 1,000 hours of community service. He has a new album out next month.

Sheryl Crow wants your vote - and figures she can get it for a song.

The Grammy Award-winning singer is offering a free download of her politically charged tune "Gasoline" to anyone who logs onto the Rock the Vote Web site or anyone on the group's mailing list.

And the first 50,000 people who register three friends to vote will get a free digital copy of her album "Detours."

Crow's giveaway is a kickoff to Rock the Vote's voter registration drive, said the organization's executive director Heather Smith.

Crow, 46, was one of the founding artists of Rock the Vote 18 years ago. She said the "Detours" album fits perfectly into the group's cause since the lyrics touch on topics such as adoption, breast cancer, the war in Iraq, the environment and Hurricane Katrina.

Rock the Vote aims to register 2 million young people to vote by November - the largest youth voter drive in history by three times, Smith said.

Actor Matt Damon and his wife welcomed their second daughter into the world Wednesday, and all were "doing great," his spokesman said.

"She is a healthy, beautiful baby girl," spokesman Jennifer Allen said in an e-mail.

The couple named their daughter Gia Zavala Damon, but no other details were released.

Damon, 37, star of the Bourne action movies, and his wife, Luciana, 32, already have one daughter named Isabella, who was born in 2006. Luciana has another daughter from a previous marriage.

French actor Jean Reno has been released from a hospital in the Caribbean island of Martinique after falling ill.

Bernard Cavignaux is a director of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Fort-de-France where Reno was attended. Cavignaux says Reno was vacationing in St. Barts when he became sick and was transferred by helicopter to Martinique's capital. He says the actor was advised to rest.

Reno publicist Christina Papadopoulos says the actor went to the hospital as a precaution after getting heartburn and gastroenteritis.

He was released yesterday.

Reno, 60 is best known for his roles in The Da Vinci Code, The Pink Panther, and Mission Impossible.

Former American Idol contestant Sanjaya Malakar has become a pitchman for Nationwide Insurance in a new ad that's part of the Columbus-based company's campaign, "Life Comes at You Fast."

Malakar says that's something he knows from personal experience. In a statement, he points out that he went from an unknown singer to appearing before of millions of people on Idol.

In the ad, Malakar visits a wise man who tells him he needs a retirement plan - and a haircut. He sports a "ponyhawk" hairstyle similar to the one he made famous while competing on the Fox network show.

Other celebrities who have poked fun at themselves for Nationwide include Kevin Federline, Fabio, and MC Hammer.

If the new man looking for love on ABC's The Bachelor looks familiar, that's because he was rejected last season on The Bachelorette.

Jason Mesnick, whose proposal to DeAnna Pappas was spurned during the finale, will search for romance among 25 bachelorettes when the 13th season of the reality series returns in January.

ABC said Wednesday that it is casting for eligible women to vie for the attention of the 32-year-old single father who is looking for a woman who " loves life and can find passion in life's smallest moments."

Mesnick lost out in May during the fourth-season Bachelorette finale to professional snowboarder Jesse Csincsak, who's engaged to Pappas. She herself was rejected by previous Bachelor Brad Womack during the series' 11th season.

Now it's Godspell that is saying "no go" on Broadway.

A revival of the 1970s Stephen Schwartz flower-power musical about Jesus has announced it will not open as scheduled, the fourth production to put on hold plans for a New York run this season.

Godspell had been set to open Oct. 23 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The musical, reportedly budgeted at more than $4 million, joins a growing number of shows that are doubtful for Broadway engagements in a nervous, recession-wary environment.

"There are so many variables in bringing a production to Broadway - theater availability, artists' schedules, and securing capitalization to name but a few," said Howard Sherman, executive director of the American Theatre Wing.

"It's impossible not to be cognizant of the national economy and its potential impact on the theater. But it's also premature to say whether the recent changes in plans by certain shows represent a trend, especially as we're likely to see other productions quickly step up to fill the available theaters in their stead."

The Barrymore, one of the more desirable Broadway theaters for plays, was quickly snatched by the revival of David Mamet's "Speed-The-Plow," starring Jeremy Piven, Raul Esparza and Elisabeth Moss of "Mad Men" fame. It opens there Oct. 23 (appropriating the "Godspell" opening date, too). Previews start Oct. 3.

And it's not the only Mamet on Broadway this fall. His "American Buffalo," starring John Leguizamo and Cedric the Entertainer, has taken the Belasco Theatre, which originally was to have housed "Speed-The-Plow." "American Buffalo," directed by Robert Falls of Chicago's Goodman Theatre, opens Nov. 17 with previews beginning on Oct. 31.

"'Speed-The-Plow' is a play about glamour, sex and power and takes place in Hollywood," said its producer, Jeffrey Richards. "I think 'Speed-The-Plow' is less familiar (than 'American Buffalo') and was overshadowed by Madonna being part of (the original production)."

"American Buffalo," a robbery tale set in a Chicago junk shop, has had several New York productions, both on and off-Broadway over the years. "But both demonstrate the versatility of David Mamet as a playwright," Richards said.

Yet another play revival was not as lucky.

Ntozake Shange's "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf," which was to have starred the Grammy-winning singer India.Arie, collapsed after losing one of its backers and canceled its Sept. 8 opening at Circle in the Square.

Also unlikely to be seen anytime soon are two big musicals, including a revival of Lerner and Loewe's "Brigadoon." The show about a Scottish village that comes to life every 100 years was unable to find an appropriate theater. It had been scheduled for next spring. And in limbo - at least for the moment - is "Nice Work If You Can Get It," a new musical using old Gershwin songs and starring Harry Connick Jr. The project faltered after director-choreographer Kathleen Marshall withdrew from the show. Its producers are looking for a replacement.

Despite the glum news about upcoming shows, summer has been particularly good for long-running productions, from "The Phantom of the Opera" to "Chicago." Add to that list "Legally Blonde," buoyed by the MTV reality series that showcased its new star, Bailey Hanks, and "Xanadu," which got a box-office bounce when Whoopi Goldberg joined the cast in late July.

"The weak dollar has enabled an influx of foreign tourists and they go to see musicals," Richards said.

But what happens after most of the tourists and school children go home after Labor Day is uncertain.

Not much comfort, though, to the folks behind "Godspell."

Said Schwartz, who wrote the score for the musical: "The cast and creative team were poised to create a terrific production and I have no doubt it will be just that when its time comes."

/AP-CS-08-19-08 1801EDT

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