The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on December 4, 2001 · Page 190
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 190

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Tuesday, December 4, 2001
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F2 TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2001 I.OS ANGELES TIMES Morning Report ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT REPORTS FROM THE TIMF.S, NEWS SERVICES AND THE NATION'S PRESS. 'j , f I Associated Press George Harrison POPROCK Harrison's Ashes to Be Scattered in Ganges George Harrison's wife and son were in India on Monday to scatter the former Beatle's ashes at the Ganges River. Harrison, 58, died of brain cancer in Los Angeles on Thursday and, according to Britain's Press Assn. news agency, was cremated hours after his death. Olivia Harrison and the couple's 23-year-old son, Dhani, were to be accompanied by two Hare Krishna devotees who performed Hindu rites on the ashes with the family in London. According to Hindu tradition, immersing one's ashes in holy waters releases the soul from the body for its heavenward journey and frees it from the cycle of reincarnation. London's Sunday Times, meanwhile, reported that Harrison secretly recorded a final album in the months before his death, playing some of the 25 tracks for family and friends while he was in the hospital. There was no word if or when the album, which he gave the humorous working title "Portrait of a Leg End," would be released. Locally, a John Lennon and George Harrison public remembrance and tribute will be held Saturday from noon until 3 p.m. in front of the Capitol Records Tower Building, 1750 N. Vine St., in Hollywood. Fans are asked to bring flowers to create a giant "floral peace symbol." Rimes, Curb No Longer at Odds Over Contract Singer LeAnn Rimes has ended her yearlong legal standoff with Curb Records signing a new contract. Terms were not released. Rimes sued the label a year ago, shordy after turning 18, claiming that she didn't understand the original contract signed when she was 12. In 1996, when she was 13, the hit "Blue" turned her into a star. Curb released the Rimes album "I Need You" in January against the singer's wishes. In March, a chancery judge ruled against Rimes' request to be released from the contract. MOVIES Cruise Not Gay, Court Rules in Actor's Lawsuit Tom Cruise dropped a $100-million , defamation lawsuit against a magazine publisher after the publisher stated he does not have a videotape showing the actor having sex with another man. "Cruise does not appear on the videotape to which said defendant referred," said a Superior Court stipulation approved by Los Angeles Judge Emilie Elias. "Cruise is not, and never has been, homosexual and has never had a homosexual affair." Liz Smith The Cover Story on Aniston NEW YORK-Now you, dear reader, may be like the rest of the people in the United States who are almost uniformly in love with Jennifer Aniston of TV's "Friends." But here's the drill if you want to put her on a magazine cover. You must get the dreaded PR titan Stephen Huvane to talk to you in the first place just so he can say, "No way; nothing doing." (Huvane has replaced Pat Kingsley and Nancy Seltzer as the most feared flack in Hollywood.) But just in case Huvane softens up, you must then promise not to publish a smiling photo of Aniston. She isn't crazy about her teeth showing. And no profiles. Aniston doesn't like the way her nose looks from the side. There will be absolutely nothing doing if her hair in any way resembles the hair of her TV character, Ra- Cruise's lawsuit, filed June 4, accused Michael Davis of Bold magazine of sending news re leases to at least a dozen U.S. media organizations alleging that the actor had engaged in a homosexual relationship during his marriage to Nicole Kidman. Under terms of the settle mcnt, Davis is barred from mak ing statements contrary to the finding and must pay his own legal fees. Both sides claimed to be pleased with the verdict. "My client was sued for $100 mil lion," said Davis' attorney, Ed ward Pilot. "As it turned out, he did not pay Mr. Cruise a penny." No matter, retorted Cruise's at torney, Bertram Fields. "The story was false," he said. "Cruise is not gay, and the judge so ruled." 'Amelie' Wins at European Film Awards Jean-Pierre Jeunet's quirky romance "AmfHie" was the big winner Saturday at the 14th annual European Film Awards, handed out in Berlin. The picture walked off with four prizes, including best film and best director. Still, newcomer Audrey Tau-tou, who played the lead in "Amelie," failed to snag the best actress award. That statuette went to Isabelle Huppert for "The Piano Teacher." Ben Kings- ley was selected as best actor for his acclaimed performance as the psychotic gangster in "Sexy Beast." The screenwriting prize went to Danis Tanovic for "No Man's Land. " And Baz Luhrmann's pop musical "Moulin Rouge" won the award for best non-European film. TELEVISION 'Brian's Song' Remake Hums for ABC ABCs remake of "Brian's Song" drew the "Wonderful World of Disney's" highest rating among adults age 18 to 49 in more than a year, with an estimated 15.2 million'viewers overall Sunday, based on preliminary estimates from Nielsen Media Research. . "Brian's Song" won its time slot, as viewing steadily built over the two-hour telecast, dropping CBS' first-year drama "The Education of Max Bick-ford" to under 9 million viewers, its lowest rating thus far. CBS also premiered the mini-series "Jack and the Beanstalk," which climbed to a respectable 13.4 million viewers Sunday. QUICK TAKES R&B singer Toni Braxton, 33, gave birth to a 5-pound, 12-ounce boy, Denim Cole, on Sundaythe first child born to her and her husband, Keri Lewis of the Minneapolis-based band Mint Condition. . . . Talk show host Rosie O'Donnell will host a Dec. 30 fund-raiser for Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former U.S. Atty. Gen. Janet Reno, a campaign spokeswoman said. O'Donnell owns a home on Miami Beach's Star Island. . . . Miramax Films has picked up another movie from Majid Majidl, the Iranian director of "Baran," Iran's contender for the best foreign language film Oscar, opening here Friday. Majidi's "The Color of Hope," a documentary filmed undercover in Afghanistan in November, focuses on that nation's children.... Sean Penn will receive the Modern Master Award at the 17th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival running Feb. 27-March 3. Elaine Dutka Agence France-Presse Jennifer Aniston chel, What Aniston really likes is a picture of herself smirking slightly. She likes to smirk. Listen, we can't blame Aniston if she's like the 2,000-pound gorilla, sitting wherever she likes. She is universally adorable. I ley, maybe you can get a picture of Stephen Huvane to put on your magazine cover, instead. fejj I j I .- i, ... i ,, I KEN HIVELY Los Angeles Times Tess Hartman, left, Jason Edwards, Emily Mikesell, Linda Kerns, Johnny Hawkins, William Mesnik and David Hemsley Caldwell, at the podium. i Staying in Tune With the Times 'Sanders Family Christmas' reconciles the season of joy with World War II in an upbeat show that resonates today. Theater Review By DON SHIRLEY TIMES THEATER WHITER On paper, "Sanders Family Christmas," at La Mirada Theatre, sounds like a bland holiday TV special. Yet in the theater, this show has an irrepress-ibly puckish quality, and it's also surprisingly timely. It's Christmas Eve 1941, a few weeks after Pearl Harbor, in a Baptist Church in a small North Carolina town that's best known for its pickle factory. The singin' Sanders family is performing, but it may be 'Grinch' Entertains Without Stealing Heart j The Globe Theatres' production Ms short of the very high standard set in the book by Dr. Seuss. Theater Review By MICHAEL PHILLIPS TIMES THEATER CRITIC When Globe Theatres director Jack O'Brien referred to "our Green Friend" in his program notes for "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" he was no doubt aware that green means more than one thing. Now in its fourth profitable go-round at San Diego's Globe Theatres, this musi cal version of the Dr. Seuss classic means green, as in cash. Which is fine; who doesn't need cash? Amazingly, the famous Boris Karloff-narrated TV version came very close to being just as wonder ful and slyly funny as Seuss book. The Globe's musical version, with a libretto and lyrics by Timothy Mason and music by Mel Marvin, may be better than the recent 70-ton Jim Carrey film (though Carrey himself certainly had his moments). But you want more. And in another way, less. Guy Paul's Grinch isn't much to write Whoville about. Paul has played this role both in San Diego and, in Minneapolis, at the Children's Theatre Company, where the MasonMarvin adaptation originated. Maybe he has put on the green fur once too often. But Paul, strong actor in the right role, hasn't much of a voice for these songs; his physical comedy is ad equate at best; and he goes in for 'some obvious and sluggishly timed (or else weirdly rushed) line readings, heavy on the sarcasm and anachronisms. (Anyone who does De Niro's "You talkin' to me?" at this point should probably be fined by Actors' Equity.) Family-Pleasing Holiday Tale in 'Wales' IheaterJteview ByLYNNEIIEFFLEY TIMES STAFF WRITER "A: Child's Christmas in Wales," Dylan Thomas' vibrant, day-in-the-life look back at childhood Christ-mases In a small Welsh town, is a theatrical holiday staple with good reason: The humor and poignancy in this full portrait of time and place resonate with adults; children respond to its lively reminiscences of rowdy play and its dreamlike sense of Christmas magic. In ActionReaction Theater Company's staging of the piece, directed by Michael Holmes, Welsh narrator Clive Rees does loving justice to Thomas' words with expressive warmth and tenderness. In HOLIDAY THEATER ROUNDUP 1 'J 551 a farewell concert young Dennis Sanders has enlisted. References to the new war are strewn throughout Connie Ray's script. They sound familiar these days, though a few telling differences exist, such as when the minister asks God to bless Mr. Roosevelt, Mr. Churchill and Mr. Stalin. Those who saw this show's pre-quel, "Smoke on the Mountain," , earlier this year at the same theater, know that the amusing human foibles of the characters are on display as much as their bluegrassy gospel singing. Burl (William Mesnik) and Vera (Linda Kerns), the mom and pop of this act, are back. Their children are all young adults now, though Vera isn't averse to treating them like kids. One of them, June (Tess Hartman), is the only member of the family who can't sing. So she signs for the deaf, using her own brand of sign language though The cast of "How the Grinch Stole man, left, Scott Dreler, Mellnda This "Grinch" is narrated by Old Max (Julian Gamble, very good), the dog who long ago was forced to don those antlers and play a reindeer in his master's nefarious scheme. According to the Marvin Mason score the Grinch's cold, cold heart is melted by a ballad, "Santa for a Day," sung by Cindy-Lou Who (Arianna Ayesha Afsar at the performance I saw). The song is very much in the "Tomorrow" vein, a vein that may or may not make you want to open one of your own. On some level, any "Grinch" is failure-proof, and this 75-minute Holmes' bare-bones staging, the rest of the cast Jason Cramer, Jill Durso, Joseph M. Hoffman, Steve Jarrard, Walter Lawson, Kathy Pearson and JC Wyckoff offers serviceable support to Rees' lilting performance. In the tiny, black box theater with its cozy seats and microscopic lobby, the actors portray the characters of all ages that are so alive in Thomas' poem. They act out romps in the snow and wild games of indoor and outdoor pretend; the child-pleasing, lengthy opening of presents; a ghostly thrill or two, and the keenly observed, curious and comical goings-on of hearty uncles, and small, quietly tippling aunts and other adults, Unfortunately, this holiday offering is a double bill, The seemingly under-rehearsed, uninspired "Dear Santa" opens the show. r. t v. jVt'V" r.w ' t there are no deaf congregants. Denise (Emily Mikesell) has stopped drearrung of being the next Scarlett OTIara and instead is planning new adventures in the USO. Her twin Dennis (Johnny Hawkins) isn't certain whether he should be a chaplain or a fighter. Burl's brother Stan (Jason Edwards), who was last seen when he was fresh out of prison, went to Hollywood in the interim, playing a small role in a Gene Autry movie. The family's host, pastor Mervin Oglethorpe (David Hemsley Caldwell), who just returned from burying his mother, is a little insecure, because his substitute in the pulpit proved so popular. The pastor casts a romantic eye on June when no one is looking. The cast is almost identical to that of La Mirada's "Smoke on the Mountain." But Edwards, who played Burl last time, is playing Stan. The actor who previously CRAIG SCHWARTZ ChrlstmasI' Includes Eileen Bow Gilb and Robert MacAulay. edition delivers the mail. O'Brien's traffic is very nicely stage-managed. But there's a grating quality to the shtick here, not much in the way of actual charm. And Marvin's melodies lack distinction. (He keeps changing tempos and whole styles mid-tune.) I liked the four-part vocal harmony on "Last Minute Shopping," led handily by Me-linda Gilb as Mama Who, but even this ditty fits the story somewhat oddly: It's all about consumerist madness and commercialism, which to some degree all the Whos down in Whoville should tran- Hoffman plays Santa, clad in red long johns, reading children's letters with cloying sweetness; the rest of the actors play the child authors and elves. The "letters" are mundane and the actors' cutesy portrayals of how young children speak are wince-inducing. The opener also includes a tale about a scary Christmas cat, punctuated by loud shrieking from the actors, and, more likable, a rendition of "Twas the Night Before Christinas," during which Hoffman's Santa distributes candy canes to the audience. "A Oiild's Qiristmas in Wales," ActionReaction Theater Company at the diandler Studio, 12443 (handler Blvd., North Hollywood, Saturdays and Sundays at 4 p.m. Ends Dec. 16. $10. (818) 908-4094. Runnlngtime:lhaur. Si played Stan was otherwise en-, gaged, and Edwards knew the role. , Replacing Edwards as Burl, Mesnik looks a little closer to the right age.', of someone with adult children. , The cast sounds swell, not onyi as singers but also as a country, band (each plays several instru- j ments). Some of the spoken mono-1 logues work better than others j Kern's is again the funniest, as another of her children's devotional sessions goes awry. ,i Conceived by Alan Bailey and," staged by Caldwell, this show is a disarming combination of country, comedy and Christmas. 1 "Sanders Family Qiristmas," la Mirada Theatre, 14900 La Mirada i Blvd., La Mirada. Titesdays-Fri- days, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2:30 and 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Ends Dec. 16. (562) 944-9801, (714) 994-6310. $35. Running time: 2 hours. scend, even before the Grinch! eroil c oiranrKnrlir'c nrornntr I As a family holiday diversion, this one's OK. And "OK" does not apply to anything Seuss himself wrote. "How the Grinch Stole Qmstmas!" The Globe Theatres, Balboa Park, San Diego. Tuesdays-Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays-Sundays, 2 and', 7:30 p.m.; 10:30 a.m. matinees, Wednesdays-Thursdays (limited' availability). Call for Christmas', New Year's week schedule. Ends Dec. 31. $15-$50. (619) 239-2255. Running time: 1 hour, 15 minutes. Guy Paul ................ ................ The Grinch ! lullan Gamble .................................. Old Max ) Rusty Ross ................................... Young Max i Mary Frances McOay Arianna Aycsha Afsar Cindy Lou Who , Eileen Bowman Grandma Who I Mcllnda Glib .......................... Mama Who ' Book and lyrics by Timothy Mason, based on Dr. Seuss. Music by Mel Marvin. Directed t by lack O'Brien. Scenic design by lohn Lee Beany. Lighting by Pat Collins. Costumes by' Robert Morgan. Sound by Paul Pelcrsonj (based on left Ladman's design). Stage man-, agcr loci Rosen. These Reindeer i Ham pc Arpn't ; Crxt?-,. JU -Lllgdglllg By DON SHIRLEY TIMES THEATER WRITER (( A ntler Days," at Theatre; Za Theater, plays like a pro-j JL - longed skit put together by a bunch of teenagers just fori fun. As is often the case with suchj projects, the participants look as if they're having more fun than the audience. 1 Set in a reindeer high school, Nick Olney's play has very little to! do with Christmas until the last five minutes, when Santa Claus finally' shows up. ; i Instead, Olney is parodying teen,' dramas. A new boy, whose antlers J are deformed, shows up and' arouses the hostility of the local! bully. The girl deer gossip and," emulate '80s Valley diction. In the; least coherent section, a teacheri stages a school play. Hardly any-! thing is as funny as Olney appar- ently intended. t The set green synthetic turf that isn't well secured looks shoddy, probably deliberately so. i "Antler Days" is preceded by the abysmal "Zeitgeist!," which ap- pears to be a parody of pretentious' German drama; most of the dia-l logue is in German. Bring earplugs! for the bit in which an actorj screams into a microphone. t "Antler Days," TheatreTheater,'t 6425 Ilollyivood Blvd. Thursdays- Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Fridays-Satur- days, 8 and 10 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. $14. (323) 871-9433. Running tune: 1 hour, w minutes.

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