Thursday May 28, 2015

Marco Rubio grabs some Vegas pizazz for campaign

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Tourists and shoppers idled outside the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop on Thursday, while the setting of the reality show "Pawn Stars" hosted an even odder spectacle: the 2016 Republican presidential campaign. Inside, Rick Harrison, the...
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TV

Marco Rubio grabs some Vegas pizazz for campaign
Thursday May 28, 2015
Marco Rubio grabs some Vegas pizazz for campaign

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Tourists and shoppers idled outside the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop on Thursday, while the setting of the reality show "Pawn Stars" hosted an even odder spectacle: the 2016 Republican presidential campaign. Inside, Rick Harrison, the bullet-headed star of the History Channel show, led Florida Sen, Marco Rubio to a small scrum of reporters and television cameras crammed into the back of the shop, where the Picassos and Chagalls hang. "This is a great guy right here," Harrison said of Rubio. "I'm good at reading people — you've seen my show — and this guy honestly cares about people." Campaigning in Las Vegas can verge on the surreal, and Rubio's quick swing through town to celebrate his 44th birthday met that criteria. In the pawn shop — sandwiched between two bail bond outlets on a gritty stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard — Rubio admired a Super Bowl ring as he ambled through the narrow space, past gold records, Elvis posters and display cases full of knives and fancy jewelry. Rubio tied the success of "Pawn Stars" into his campaign theme. "In almost any other country in the world, this story would have been impossible — both mine and his," Rubio, a son of Cuban immigrants who once worked in a Las Vegas casino, said as he stood with Harrison. Hours later, Rubio celebrated his birthday at a private party at Harrison's five-bedroom, 4,600-square-foot home in a comfortable neighborhood at the northwestern edge of Las Vegas' sprawl. Attendees were asked to donate at least $1,000 to Rubio's campaign. Because this is a presidential campaign, there was partisan counterprogramming. Democrats tried to get in on the pop-culture game by circulating online memes claiming Rubio is trying to "pawn off" old Republican ideas. Three high school students stood outside Rubio's fundraiser, hoping to talk to the candidate, who has been targeted by immigration activists for his changing stances on the issue. But when Rubio emerged from an SUV, all the teenagers did was shout, "Happy Birthday, Marco Rubio!" He waved back. Rubio spent six years of his childhood in Las Vegas, and Nevada is both a pivotal early-voting state in the competitive GOP primary and a critical swing state in the general election. The Florida senator has a more sober schedule Friday: a tech start-up round-table in Las Vegas followed by a meeting with conservative activists in Reno. Rubio said he'd be spending plenty of time in Nevada in the coming months, and was open about the main reason he was there Thursday. "We're going to do what we've been doing, and we'll probably do for the next year — raise money," Rubio told reporters at the pawn shop. "All these people you work for charge us money to run commercials." Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Nicholas Riccardi from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Michael King, innovative syndicator of 'Oprah,' dies at 67
Thursday May 28, 2015
Michael King, innovative syndicator of 'Oprah,' dies at 67

NEW YORK (AP) — Michael King, an innovative TV syndicator who helped make stars of Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil McGraw and Rachael Ray, has died. A family member confirmed King died Wednesday in Los Angeles of complications from pneumonia. He was 67. With his brother Roger, Michael King inherited King World Productions in 1972 from their father, Charles King, who had founded the company eight years earlier to syndicate classic "Our Gang" theatrical comedy shorts. Under the brothers' management, King World rose to be the industry's leading distributor of first-run syndicated programming, bringing such shows to TV as "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "Dr. Phil." "Anyone that knew Michael knows what a passion he brought to everything he touched. He and Roger certainly had a profound impact on my life personally and professionally," McGraw said in a statement. The King-syndicated "Wheel of Fortune" paired host Pat Sajak and letter turner Vanna White. It has remained a hit for decades, as has the syndicated "Jeopardy!" that King World re-introduced, having obtained the rights to both game shows. King World also launched the long-running syndicated news magazine "Inside Edition." In 2000, King World was acquired by CBS. Roger King died in 2007 at age 63. Michael King is survived by his wife Jena, two sons and two daughters. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Frazier Moore from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

ABC's latest 'Bachelor' Chris Soules splits from his fiancee
Thursday May 28, 2015
ABC's latest 'Bachelor' Chris Soules splits from his fiancee

NEW YORK (AP) — Another couple from ABC's "The Bachelor" has broken up. Chris Soules and Whitney Bischoff have split two months after the finale of the reality dating show where the couple got engaged. At the time, the 33-year-old Soules, a farmer from Arlington, Iowa, was gearing up to immediately head to Los Angeles to compete on "Dancing With the Stars." He and Bischoff, 29, a Chicago fertility nurse, released a statement saying they've "amicably decided to end their relationship" and "part with nothing but respect and admiration for one another." In a recent interview, "Bachelor" host Chris Harrison acknowledged that seeking the limelight after the show might not be the best for a new relationship. "I don't begrudge anybody for taking advantage of any opportunity. ... It's good money to be on 'Dancing With the Stars.' But, the couples that have been successful, you know they got what they came for and now I'm out of here. ... I always tell them, 'Let the show ... let the experience enhance your life, don't let it change your life.' Those that really allow it to change your lives, it's tough." He added: "I hope that Chris and Whitney can now disappear ... and really start building and thinking about themselves." Us Weekly was the first to report the breakup. ABC just began airing "The Bachelorette," with Kaitlyn Bristowe (who competed for Soules' affection last season on "The Bachelor") looking for a suitor among eligible males. ___ Follow Alicia Rancilio online at http://www.twitter.com/aliciar ___ Online: http://www.abc.go.com/shows/the-bachelorette/ http://abc.go.com/shows/the-bachelor/ Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Alicia Rancilio from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Hulu pulls '19 Kids' after allegations against Josh Duggar
Thursday May 28, 2015
Hulu pulls '19 Kids' after allegations against Josh Duggar

NEW YORK (AP) — Hulu has pulled the reality series "19 Kids and Counting" from its lineup, following reports of sexual misconduct allegations against one of the stars, Josh Duggar, stemming from when he was a juvenile. Although the streaming-video service didn't confirm removal of the TLC series, episodes weren't found Thursday on the Hulu site, where they had been available as recently as Wednesday. The show's banishment follows TLC yanking the series from its program schedule last week. The 27-year-old Duggar is the oldest of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's 19 children. The family is featured in the show, whose 10th season concluded May 19. TLC hasn't addressed whether its popular show will return for a new season. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Trevor Noah will take over ‘The Daily Show' on September 28th
Thursday May 28, 2015
Trevor Noah will take over ‘The Daily Show' on September 28th

Comedy Central has confirmed when the South African born comedian will take up his seat on the channel's prime time satirical news and current affairs show.And, along with the announcement, the channel released a teaser video of what to expect when Noah takes over from John Stewart, who will bid his own Daily Show farewell on August 6. Watch it, here.  Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Movies

Can quake thriller 'San Andreas' shake box office?
Thursday May 28, 2015
Can quake thriller 'San Andreas' shake box office?

California's long-feared mega quake hits movie screens this week with "San Andreas," but the big-budget movie has thrown up a fault line between critics and filmgoers even before its release.The movie, which stars Dwayne Johnson, has only a 41 percent critics' rating on the Rotten Tomatoes film review website -- although 96 percent of cinema-goers say they want to see it. All eyes will be watching whether the flick, with its $100 million budget, can shake the box office after a lackluster week or two at the start of the traditional summer blockbuster season. The movie, whose title refers to the San Andreas fault -- the geological rift feared mostly likely to produce a mega quake in California -- depicts San Francisco in ruins. But those behind the film say they hope it moves beyond the traditional disaster movie by bringing emotion and personal stories to the screen. "It is an opportunity to redefine the genre," Johnson said ahead of the film's US release this Friday. "This is a fantastic epic... it raises the bar of the disaster movie." "Generally when you watch this kind of movie you remember the action, the hero, how cool they were. In this one we'd like you to remember the characters," he added. Johnson, whose past action credits include the "Fast and Furious" franchise, plays rescue chopper pilot Ray, whose wife, Emma (played by Carla Gugino), recently left him for a rich architect. When a massive quake hits Los Angeles and a seismologist predicts another imminent and even bigger one in San Francisco, the pair are forced to set aside their differences to rescue their only daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario). - 'Not exactly earthshaking' - Although the film is certainly visually spectacular -- making full use of the latest computer generated imagery (CGI) effects -- some critics have not been kind. "California crumbles spectacularly in an action movie that quickly degenerates from blissfully stupid to fatally stupid," wrote industry journal Variety's Andrew Barker. "Not exactly earthshaking," added the Hollywood Reporter's Justin Lowe. Some were more positive, although barely. "Does for San Francisco what 'Jaws' did for the ocean," said Kam Williams of Baret News. "Thankfully, the action set pieces are exciting enough, and come at such a successive clip... that it's only afterward that you have the chance to pause and ask questions about the plot," said Alonso Duralde of TheWrap.com. But whatever the critics say, the movie is hoping to do big business at the box office. Variety reported Wednesday that the Warner Bros movie is on course to make $40 million domestically in its opening weekend, while also rolling out across some 60 countries worldwide. The journal said the movie hoped to "provide a jolt to the summer box office after (last weekend's) Memorial Day ticket sales barely registered on the Richter Scale." The film follows a long line of earthquake movies coming out of Hollywood, where fear of a mega quake is rarely far below the surface -- the risk of a magnitude 8 or larger temblor in the next 30 years is about seven percent, according to the US Geological Survey. The gold standard was set by 1974's "Earthquake" starring Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner, with several TV movies following, including 2006's "10.5: Apocalypse." "San Andreas" screenwriter Carlton Cuse himself recalls the 6.7-magnitude Northridge quake outside Los Angeles which killed 72 people in 1994. He and his wife were woken by the overnight temblor and couldn't initially find their daughter. "It was very traumatic," he said. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Review: Jim Parsons can't save mindless 'An Act of God'
Thursday May 28, 2015
Review: Jim Parsons can't save mindless 'An Act of God'

NEW YORK (AP) — Latecomers, be warned: Miss the start of the new show at the Studio 54 theater this summer and you will be heckled by no less than God Almighty. "How ya doin'? I am the Lord thy God, King of the Universe, but I'll wait. You good?" the Divine — played by Jim Parsons — says to sheepish stragglers from the stage. Unfortunately, it's one of the few moments in an "An Act of God" that is genuinely funny. Summer on Broadway is when the weakest of authors somehow find a home. This year, it's apparently God. The play, with one strange song at the end, is a chance for the Almighty to set the record straight — like that he doesn't hate gays and he can't help anyone sing better — and update his 10 Commandments. "The reason masturbation is a sin is not that it's intrinsically evil. It's that every time you do it, I have to watch," God says at one point. At another: "Do you remember the Irish potato famine? It killed over a million people in the 19th century. Do you know why I sent that? I wasn't mad at the Irish. I was mad at the potatoes." It was written by David Javerbaum, the former head writer and executive producer of "The Daily Show" and a producer of "The Late Late Show with James Corden." He's also the power behind the Twitter handle @TheTweetofGod. Javerbaum is obviously pretty good at droll, bite-sized humor. No so much with a 90-minute play. This one seems more like a lounge act cooked up by someone who thinks his Facebook updates are totally hilarious. Javerbaum has based his play on his book "The Last Testament: A Memoir by God." No one tried to stop him. Where is God when you need Him? Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory" star, is game playing a sort of overworked divine bystander with anger management issues, forever exasperated at humans and their endless stupidity. He's aided by two angels played by Christopher Fitzgerald and Tim Kazurinsky. The whole thing is directed by Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, who has apparently taken his summer vacation early. The usual tired selection of celebs that get roasted on late night TV get goofed-on here, including Shia LaBeouf, Kanye West, Sarah Palin, Adam Sandler and Bruce Jenner ("The first Kardashian woman I can actually tolerate," God says.) One bright spot is Fitzgerald as the Angel Gabriel, who peppers God with questions about heavenly inconsistencies and the nature of evil. Their tension is really the only thing that keeps this lame thing even slightly going. It truly needs divine intervention. ___ Online: http://anactofgod.com Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Mark Kennedy from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Bond is back, and so is Pussy Galore
Thursday May 28, 2015
Bond is back, and so is Pussy Galore

The next authorized James Bond novel will be called "Trigger Mortis" and as well as resurrecting one of Ian Fleming's most iconic Bond girls, the new book will also feature elements from a treatment that Fleming himself wrote before his death in 1964.Written by Anthony Horowitz -- the novelist behind the highly successful "Alex Rider" spy novels for young adults -- "Trigger Mortis" will pick up quite literally where 1957's "Goldfinger" left off and will make its official debut on September 8 when it is published by Orion. The information about the latest authorized Bond book was revealed on Thursday, the day that would have marked Ian Fleming's 107th birthday. And along with the cover design, title and major characters, Horowitz also revealed that some of the book is based on a discarded treatment for a Bond TV script that Fleming had written -- "Murder on Wheels" which sees the British spy caught up in a Formula One Grand Prix at Germany's Nurburgring. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Beyblade' to become a live action feature
Thursday May 28, 2015
'Beyblade' to become a live action feature

Paramount Pictures, the company that turned Hasbro toys 'Transformers' and 'GI Joe' into feaure franchises is back at it with 'Beyblade.'A live action feature starring the customizable toys that represent traditional Japanese fighting tops is to be produced by Mary Parent through her Disruption Entertainment banner along with Paramount, who has aquired the rights, reports Deadline Hollywood. 'Beyblade' toys are manufactured by Takara-Tomy, the same creator that conceived 'Transformers,' and they have already inspired several TV series, cartoons and video games on an international scale. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Review: Bujalski bulks up with a starrier cast in 'Results'
Wednesday May 27, 2015
Review: Bujalski bulks up with a starrier cast in 'Results'

In Andrew Bujalski's directorial debut "Funny Ha Ha" — the film often cited as the first "mumblecore" movie — its aimless protagonist Marnie, recently graduated from college, writes a to-do list charming in its modest ambition: "Make friends with Jackie." ''Learn to play chess?" ''Fitness initiative!" Bujalski's last film crossed one of those off the list (the '80s-set black-and-white mockumentary "Computer Chess"), and now he has taken his characters to the gym. The fitness world, where Bujalski's latest, "Results," is set, might seem like the most unlikely place for the Austin-based indie director to turn; his scruffy, nerdy characters would probably only blink stoically if presented with a treadmill. But, as with Marnie's list, Bujalski has always been both stirred and amused by the impulse for personal growth. "Results," itself, is a bulking up for Bujalski. Though still a low budget independent film, it cost more than his other four films combined and stars big name actors, including Guy Pearce and Colbie Smulders. This is a radical shift for Bujalski, who's synonymous with Cassevetes-like lo-fi productions made with non-professional actors. The (seeming) lack of polish in his films isn't merely a stylistic preference but an aesthetic principle: He favors natural, awkward behavior — familiar and mundane — over more mannered, movie-like performance. "Results" embodies both approaches in two totally opposite characters. Guy Pearce is Trevor, the fit, uber-positive owner of the Power 4 Life gym, where in stumbles Danny (Kevin Corrigan), a slovenly, divorced New Yorker who has inherited a huge sum of money and is now lazily living in an unfurnished Texas McMansion. "I want to be able to take a punch," he mumbles to Trevor. Trevor assigns him his top trainer, Kat (Smulders), an obsessive believer in fitness who shames anyone who drops out of a routine and (literally) chases down a suburban mom behind on her payments, cursing her as a "deadbeat." Despite their differences, she and Danny hit it off, and a kind of romantic triangle develops, along with Trevor, who has a vague history with Kat. It's a rom-com setup but one that disintegrates. The movie, which Bujalksi also wrote, instead follows more unpredictable story lines as Trevor, Danny and Kat each struggle in their own way to find fulfillment. Danny, unkempt and slovenly but honest and easygoing, upends the prescribed wellness programs of Power 4 Life. "We may disagree on the definition of health," he tells Kat, lighting a joint. They make an appealing triad. When younger, Pearce was a bodybuilder in his native Australia, and the character — composed, genial — suits him. Corrigan has long been one of the best character actors around: a laconic, deadpan presence who brings a sweet melancholy to even the smallest of parts. Nothing proves Bujalski's smarts as much as casting him in a leading role. But it's Smulders who takes hold of the film. Her angry intensity animates the story, prodding it along. Smulders has excelled as a member of ensembles ("How I Met Your Mother," ''The Avengers"), but "Results" suggests she can lead, too. Bujalski balances each character, shifting between perspectives in a way that doesn't always feel natural (some background is revealed artificially late in the movie). But the pleasure of "Results" is that it does something few movies do by sensitively burrowing into the foolhardy but admirable hopes and aspirations of regular people trying to improve themselves, whether it means a "fitness initiative" or something else. Change may be impossible, but progress isn't. "Results," a Magnolia Pictures release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for "for language, some sexual content and drug use." Running time: 105 minutes. Three stars out of four. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Jake Coyle from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Events

Review: Jim Parsons can't save mindless 'An Act of God'
Thursday May 28, 2015
Review: Jim Parsons can't save mindless 'An Act of God'

NEW YORK (AP) — Latecomers, be warned: Miss the start of the new show at the Studio 54 theater this summer and you will be heckled by no less than God Almighty. "How ya doin'? I am the Lord thy God, King of the Universe, but I'll wait. You good?" the Divine — played by Jim Parsons — says to sheepish stragglers from the stage. Unfortunately, it's one of the few moments in an "An Act of God" that is genuinely funny. Summer on Broadway is when the weakest of authors somehow find a home. This year, it's apparently God. The play, with one strange song at the end, is a chance for the Almighty to set the record straight — like that he doesn't hate gays and he can't help anyone sing better — and update his 10 Commandments. "The reason masturbation is a sin is not that it's intrinsically evil. It's that every time you do it, I have to watch," God says at one point. At another: "Do you remember the Irish potato famine? It killed over a million people in the 19th century. Do you know why I sent that? I wasn't mad at the Irish. I was mad at the potatoes." It was written by David Javerbaum, the former head writer and executive producer of "The Daily Show" and a producer of "The Late Late Show with James Corden." He's also the power behind the Twitter handle @TheTweetofGod. Javerbaum is obviously pretty good at droll, bite-sized humor. No so much with a 90-minute play. This one seems more like a lounge act cooked up by someone who thinks his Facebook updates are totally hilarious. Javerbaum has based his play on his book "The Last Testament: A Memoir by God." No one tried to stop him. Where is God when you need Him? Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory" star, is game playing a sort of overworked divine bystander with anger management issues, forever exasperated at humans and their endless stupidity. He's aided by two angels played by Christopher Fitzgerald and Tim Kazurinsky. The whole thing is directed by Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, who has apparently taken his summer vacation early. The usual tired selection of celebs that get roasted on late night TV get goofed-on here, including Shia LaBeouf, Kanye West, Sarah Palin, Adam Sandler and Bruce Jenner ("The first Kardashian woman I can actually tolerate," God says.) One bright spot is Fitzgerald as the Angel Gabriel, who peppers God with questions about heavenly inconsistencies and the nature of evil. Their tension is really the only thing that keeps this lame thing even slightly going. It truly needs divine intervention. ___ Online: http://anactofgod.com Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Mark Kennedy from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Bonhams to host Robbie Williams charity auction
Thursday May 28, 2015
Bonhams to host Robbie Williams charity auction

British solo singer and erstwhile Take That member Robbie Williams is offering 150 personal items for sale with all proceeds going to the Donna Louise Children's Hospice.The auction, appropriately called "Doing it for the Kids," will take place on July 15 in Knightsbridge, London and lots up for grabs include a set of handwritten lyrics to "Let Me Entertain You" and an MTV Video Music Award from the singer's Take That days. Of the sale, Williams said: "It's a privilege for me to be a patron of The Donna Louise Children's Hospice, it makes a real difference to these children whose lives have been tragically limited. The sale gives a great opportunity for bidders to know their money will go to such a fantastic charity, whilst also taking home some of my most prized possessions that have been personal markers of my career so far." Viewing of the lots commences on Saturday, July 11 and the auction itself will be streamed live via the Bonhams website.  Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Kanye West says he was 'over-censored' at Billboard Awards
Wednesday May 27, 2015
Kanye West says he was 'over-censored' at Billboard Awards

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kanye West is apologizing to TV viewers who saw his performance on the Billboard Music Awards. The rapper released a statement Tuesday saying he was "grossly over-censored" during his performance on the show. He says some of his lyrics were muted for 30 seconds, which misrepresented his voice and performance. The audience at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena booed as West performed his songs "All Day" and "Black Skinhead" at Sunday's ceremony, which was broadcast on ABC. West's statement apologizes to the television audience, who he says was "unable to enjoy the performance the way he envisioned." ABC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Win or not, Tony-nominee Brian d'Arcy James feels victorious
Wednesday May 27, 2015
Win or not, Tony-nominee Brian d'Arcy James feels victorious

NEW YORK (AP) — Brian d'Arcy James throws some serious shade at William Shakespeare in the Tony-nominated musical "Something Rotten." And it has paid off, nicely. Playing the great Bard's fictional adversary in the comedy set in the 16th century has earned James his third Tony Award nomination. But unlike his character, Nick Bottom, win or lose, James already feels victorious. "It's just as thrilling and exciting to be nominated because these things don't happen every day," James said. Nominated twice before — most recently in 2009 for "Shrek the Musical" — James feels happy to be part of a show that earned ten nominations, including nods to co-stars Christian Borle and Brad Oscar. Recently James sat down with The Associated Press to discuss his musical, laughing at Shakespeare, and his friend Jeanine Tesori, the composer of a rival musical, "Fun Home." AP: This is your third Tony nomination. Is being nominated enough? James: It is, actually. I mean, the truth is it is enough. Again, this comes from having gone down the road a couple of times and knowing that you know having been nominated for a Tony twice and not having won doesn't mean the door shuts and it's over. It just means that is an amazing accomplishment, a feather to stick in your hat. AP: 'Something Rotten!' is something really funny. How do you not laugh while onstage? James: It's hard not to, in fact, and I can't say that I haven't been snickering on the side or in full view sometimes... These actors that are inhabiting these roles are all extraordinary, from Gerry Vichi to Peter Bartlett, Heidi Blickenstaff, Brooks Ashmanskas, John Cariani. It's like an all-star team of comedic actors who understand the function of their role, but more importantly, they've all been given this historical text and these characters have been so well drawn and individually created. AP: Is it fun to poke fun at Shakespeare? James: I love this aspect of the show... my character sings a song called, 'God, I Hate Shakespeare.' So for anybody who's gone to see a play by Shakespeare and has been intimidated by the fact that they might not be able to grasp it or latch on to it as quickly as some other people, it's nice to throw some pebbles at him... It takes away the mythic status and shows a guy really good at his job. AP: What's it like to be in a musical that hilariously pokes fun at the idea of a musical? James: I like the idea of trying to imagine a world without musicals, especially in the show. My character is trying to create something that is better than Shakespeare... it's a love letter to all musicals. Though we poke fun at it and say, in 1595, this is what's coming down the road. We're doing it because we absolutely love it. We wouldn't be here if the musicals that preceded it didn't exist. AP: Musicals this season have been like an endangered species. James: That's the bad and the sad news, but the great news is that the difference of options that people have in terms of going to a musical this season are pretty extraordinary. You have very unique interesting shows. Our show is a great, big, classic, original musical comedy. You have 'Fun Home,' which is very interesting beautiful piece of contemporary issues. You have 'An American in Paris,' which is a beautiful ballet by Christopher Wheeldon. AP: What are your thoughts on Jeanine Tesori, along with Lisa Kron, potentially being the first female duo to win a Tony for best original score? James: I love Jeanine Tesori. I've worked with her many times. I was in her workshop production of 'Violet.' She was the musical director for 'Titanic' in the workshop stages. I worked with her very extensively on 'Shrek.' I love her music. I love the way she composes. I love the way she thinks about theater. There's no stone unturned in terms of the sculpting that she does with the song and then those incredible melodic tunes.... I'm very chemically in tune with what she's writing. I love it... She's a real leader and she does it not only by how she works, but who she is. ___ Online: http://www.RottenBroadway.com ___ Follow John Carucci at http://www.twitter.com/jacarucci Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by John Carucci from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Natalie Portman urges new Harvard graduates to take chances
Wednesday May 27, 2015
Natalie Portman urges new Harvard graduates to take chances

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Natalie Portman advised graduating Harvard seniors Wednesday to use their inexperience to their advantage, saying she has learned that taking calculated risks can lead to life-changing rewards. The Academy Award-winning actress, speaking at Harvard College's Class Day, cited her work in "Black Swan" as an example of a time she didn't know her own limitations — and it paid off. Portman, who won an Oscar for best actress in the 2010 film, said she might not have taken the role if she had known how "woefully unprepared" she was to pull off the movie's ballet moves. "The point is, if I had known my own limitations, I never would have taken the risk," she said. "And the risk led to one of my greatest personal and professional achievements." The 33-year-old actress also met her husband, choreographer Benjamin Millepied, on the set of the movie. Portman, who graduated from Harvard in 2003 and starred in the most recent "Star Wars" movies, also cited another personal example: her first experience writing, directing and acting in a movie. The film, "A Tale of Love and Darkness," recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. "Make use of the fact that you don't doubt yourself too much right now because, as we get older, we get more realistic," she told the graduating seniors. "Accept your lack of knowledge and use it as your asset." Portman's address was a highlight of Wednesday's events, which also included award presentations and student speeches. Harvard seniors receive their diplomas Thursday. Harvard's tradition of inviting a guest speaker to address graduates the day before commencement began in 1968. The first invited guest was civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. His wife, Coretta Scott King, delivered the speech after his assassination. Last year, Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg delivered the address. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.