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How Stephen Sondheim changed theater forever -- one musical masterpiece at a time

Stephen Sondheim had a habit of firing off letters to the editor when the book writers of his shows were given short shrift in the media. The sentiment was more than collaborative graciousness. What separated Sondheim, who died Friday at age 91, was his recognition that writing musicals is fundamentally an act of playwriting.

“I think any ...Read more

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Dave Chappelle was called 'childish' during a heated visit to his old high school

Dave Chappelle paid his alma mater a surprise visit earlier this week, and a published report suggests it wasn't all fun and games.

According to Politico, close to 600 students from D.C.'s Duke Ellington School of the Arts packed into an auditorium Tuesday to hear the comedian discuss his controversial Netflix special "The Closer," which has ...Read more

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Bryan Adams tests positive for COVID for second time in a month

Bryan Adams tested positive for COVID-19 as he arrived at Milan’s Malpensa Airport on Thursday, marking the second time this month the famed Canadian singer and guitarist was diagnosed with the deadly coronavirus.

“Here I am,” Adams wrote on Instagram, making a reference to his 2002 hit.

“[I] just arrived in Milano, and I’ve tested ...Read more

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Ridley Scott blames millennials for 'The Last Duel' failing at the box office

Ridley Scott may be throwing out the babies with the bathwater with his theory of why his last movie was a box office bomb.

Following his recent diss of superhero movies (calling them “boring as s—”), the foul-mouthed filmmaker claims millennials are to blame for his film “The Last Duel” dying a fast death in movie theaters.

...Read more

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'American Pie' singer Don McLean congratulates Taylor Swift for breaking his longest No. 1 hit record

Don McLean is singing Taylor Swift’s praises.

The Songwriters Hall of Famer congratulated Swift after her 10-minute edition of “All Too Well” broke his “American Pie” record for longest song to reach the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart.

“Let’s face it, nobody ever wants to lose that #1 spot, but if I had to lose...Read more

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Nina Metz: From 'Succession' to 'Spencer,' Hollywood is obsessed with the lives of the ultra-rich and oblivious

The ongoing saga of a billionaire media oligarch and his blundering offspring clambering for his approval, “Succession” is a hothouse of the rich and damaged, stuck in a trap of their own making. The show functions as an engraved invitation: Come and smirk at their absurdity and enjoy the opulent surroundings while you’re here. Joke about ...Read more

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Richard Johnson: Writing a book may be Rittenhouse's only option to make money

NEW YORK — Kyle Rittenhouse could get more than $3 million for a book about how he shot dead two men and wounded a third during riots in Wisconsin last August, people in the know tell me.

While many Democrats believe Rittenhouse, 18, belongs in jail, most Republicans are treating him like a hero.

He’s being offered jobs by GOP Congress ...Read more

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Adele makes country music debut with Chris Stapleton-assisted 'Easy on Me'

Adele is taking the country music business by storm.

Much like her Columbia Records labelmate Lil Nas X did in 2019 with “Old Town Road,” the British vocal powerhouse has made it to the country music charts with a superstar collaboration.

“Easy On Me” (featuring Chris Stapleton) has debuted at No. 25 on Billboard’s Country Airplay ...Read more

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Members of Boyz II Men, NSync, 98 Degrees tapped for ABC's 'A Very Boy Band Holiday'

ABC must have known it was on to something with last Sunday’s battle of the Boston-based boy bands during the 2021 American Music Awards.

Following the powerhouse performance of 1980s heartthrobs New Edition and New Kids on the Block, the Disney-owned broadcast network is proving there’s plenty more where that came from with its upcoming ...Read more

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'The Beatles: Get Back' review: A band falling apart, beautifully

It's not quite "The Lord of the Rings," but director Peter Jackson has certainly turned "The Beatles: Get Back" into an epic quest, a seven-hour, 38-minute journey into the heart of the Liverpool quartet in its final days.

The film, which is being released in three parts over three days on Disney+, is assembled from footage of the Beatles as ...Read more

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'Licorice Pizza' review: Coming-of-age odyssey is Paul Thomas Anderson's ode to 1970s San Fernando Valley

Gary Valentine is almost famous. This enterprising hustler parlays his demi-fame into a kind of accidental-on-purpose mystique, that of a 15-year-old L.A. whiz kid, with one foot in the Industry as a child actor and the other in whatever he’s cooking up at the moment.

“Licorice Pizza,” writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson’s gloriously ...Read more

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What TV critic Neal Justin is watching this week

'Hawkeye'

Jeremy Renner returns as the dullest member of the Avengers. Fortunately, early episodes focus on a young apprentice, played by Hailee Steinfeld. Her character is as adept with a wisecrack as she is with a bow. But her performance isn't enough to make this effort as memorable as "WandaVision" or "Loki." The plot is more lightweight ...Read more

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'The Waltons' return -- just when we need them the most

TV viewers have accepted a talking horse, an alien from Ork and cops who always seem to emerge from shootouts without a scratch. But nothing was more incredulous than the spirit of "The Waltons."

From 1971 to 1981, audiences embraced a Depression-era family that acted as if it were as rich as the Ewings. It was just the kind of cockeyed ...Read more

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Review: 'The Beatles: Get Back' is a long and winding treat for music lovers

Few music fans would hail "Let It Be" as the Beatles' finest work. But the album marked an important chapter in the band's history. Legend has it that the 1969 recording sessions marked the beginning of the group's demise.

"The Beatles: Get Back," which debuted Thursday on Disney+, neither confirms or contradicts that theory. If anything, it ...Read more

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The 'feminist love story' between Julia Child and her husband, Paul

While Julia Child was busy teaching her loyal public television viewers how to make boeuf bourguignon, her husband could be found crawling at her feet.

From the floor of "The French Chef" set, Paul Child would hold up signs to help his wife during filming. They called them idiot cards. "Move on!" "Wipe brow!" "Don't forget mushrooms!"

Julia ...Read more

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My worst moment: Drew Barrymore and the colleague who yelled on the set of her new TV show

Drew Barrymore was in Chicago recently filming segments that have been airing throughout the month on her daytime talk show “The Drew Barrymore Show,” including stops at Cloud Gate, aka The Bean, in Millennium Park. Why feature Chicago? “It’s just a really important city for me,” she said. “I feel like I have a history with it, ...Read more

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What's on TV this week: 'The Waltons,' 'CMA Country Christmas,' Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga

Sunday

“One Last Time: An Evening With Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga” captures the legendary crooner and the pop star onstage at Radio City Music Hall. 8 p.m. ET CBS

Goodnight, John-Boy: “The Waltons’ Homecoming” re-creates the 1971 TV movie that spawned the 1972-81 Depression-era family drama. 8 p.m. The CW

H.E.R. leads the field with...Read more

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Pa. native teams with Nick Jonas on Broadway play 'Chicken & Biscuits'

PITTSBURGH — How E. Clayton Cornelious got Nick Jonas to produce his new Broadway play is a textbook case of how reciprocating kindness can pay dividends down the road.

Over the last two decades, the 44-year-old Rankin native has been involved with eight Broadway shows and nine national tours. Cornelious' latest ventures include his on-stage ...Read more

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How 'House of Gucci' costume designer helped Lady Gaga, Adam Driver transform into their characters

In a film as fashion-focused as “House of Gucci,” the costumes play a starring role.

It was up to Oscar-winning costume designer Janty Yates to help Lady Gaga, Adam Driver and the rest of the cast transform into the opulent, cutthroat members of the Gucci fashion dynasty.

The outfits featured throughout the movie, in theaters Wednesday, ...Read more

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'Band of Gold' singer Freda Payne on returning to her jazz roots, dishing dirt about her past love life in juicy new memoir

There’s much more to Freda Payne than meets the ear.

Although she gained international fame with the 1970 hit “Band of Gold,” the chanteuse is making new waves in the jazz genre — returning to her 1960s roots.

The Detroit-born diva recently released the album, “Let There Be Love,” featuring collaborations with R&B balladeer Kenny ...Read more