News Column

SINCE YOU ASKED [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA)]

June 29, 2013

YellowBrix

"I kind of feel like I dodged a bullet. I'd rather be happily single than unhappily married. In the meantime, I'm having a lot of fun."

HEATHER GRAHAM tells Vegas Magazine that despite high-profile relationships including with Health Ledger and James Woods, she's glad she's remained single.,Zach takes aim at B'Way

Zach Braff will make his Broadway debut next year in a musical adaptation of Woody Allen's crime caper "Bullets Over Broadway." The only person who might be more excited than Braff is his dad.

"If my father loved two things most, it was Woody Allen movies and Broadway musicals," Zach said by phone from Los Angeles. "When I called my father, I said, 'Are you sitting down?'"

Written by Woody and Douglas McGrath, the story follows a struggling young playwright who is forced to cast a mobster's talentless girlfriend in his latest drama. Zach will play the hero, portrayed by John Cusack in the 1994 film.

"It's thrilling," Zach says. "I keep waking up expecting it to be a dream."

Five-time Tony Award-winner Susan Stroman will direct and choreograph the show, which will start performances in March 2014 at the St. James Theatre. The show will feature a full orchestra playing music of the 1920s.

The musical sees Zach return to his acting roots: He played Woody's son in one scene when he was 18 in the film "Manhattan Murder Mystery" before going to Northwestern University to study film.

"If you would have asked me a couple months ago, 'What are your dreams as an actor?' I would have said, 'I'd love to do a Broadway musical one day and I'd love to work with Woody Allen again.' When I got the call from Woody and Susan Stroman, my head sort of exploded."

-- Associated Press,I was watching an episode of "The Wire" again recently and really liked Dominic West. What will he be in next? -- B.W.

Dominic, whose Baltimore accent in that HBO series did not reflect his native English one, stars next as Richard Burton to Helena Bonham Carter's Elizabeth Taylor in the British TV movie "Burton & Taylor," destined to air in the United States. He also might be coming back to cable TV. He just signed to star in a drama pilot for Showtime, "The Affair," playing a married New York high- school teacher whose life is disrupted when he meets the woman of his dreams.

I really like actress Kate Walsh and was a big fan of "Private Practice." What will she do now? -- N.V.

Kate is set to shoot the TV movie "Bad Judge" and to co-star on the TV series "Full Circle," set to premiere on DirecTV in the fall; Minka Kelly and Julian McMahon co-star. She's also set to co-star in the movie "Hello I Must Be Going," to be directed by Courteney Cox.

-- Robin Adams Sloan, King Features Syndicate,ND may buy Welk home

North Dakota's State Historical Society is considering a plan to buy Lawrence Welk's boyhood home to bring in tourists and preserve the musical legacy of one of the state's most famous sons.

The Legislature this year included $100,000 in the historical society's budget to buy the six-acre parcel in tiny Strasburg. The site would also highlight the importance of agriculture and the region's German-Russian heritage.

The idea comes two decades after Congress earmarked $500,000 to develop a tourist industry in Strasburg. The money included a museum of German-Russian heritage that was intended to draw visitors to the bandleader's birthplace. Lawmakers later withdrew the money when the idea was mocked as a symbol of wasteful spending.

-- Associated Press,Oprah tops Forbes list,After two years as a runner-up, Oprah Winfrey was named the most powerful celebrity by Forbes, heading the six women and four men who make up the top 10.

It was the fifth time the former talk show host who runs her own TV network has headed the annual ranking of 100 celebrities.

Singer Lady Gaga came in second, followed by director-producer Steven Spielberg and singers Beyonce and Madonna.

"There is nobody else with that kind of consistency and power," said Dorothy Pomerantz of Forbes.com. "There are only three people who have been on every single one of our lists since 1999. It is Oprah, Howard Stern and Steven Spielberg."

Singer-actress Jennifer Lopez, who was No. 1 last year, dropped to 12th place.

With earnings of $77 million from June 2012 to June 2013, Oprah was not the highest-earning celebrity, an honor that went to Madonna, who made $125 million. But Forbes said Oprah's position in Hollywood and her presence in the press, on television and in social media propelled her to the No. 1 spot.

"She still wields an enormous amount of power, which is really what we look for. ... She is taking this cable network and turning it around just through the sheer force of her will, her connections and her ability."

Despite hip surgery, which forced her to cut short a tour, Gaga earned $80 million in the past 12 months which, along with her army of fans and powerful social-media presence, assured her second place.

"She is still a huge force in pop music. Even when she is not playing, people are talking abut her and speculating about her," Pomerantz said.

Steven, with earnings of $100 million in the last year, was the top man on the list, ahead of rock star Bon Jovi at No. 7, Swiss tennis champion Roger Federer, who makes $400 million each year from 10 sponsors, at No. 8, and Canadian-born singer Justin Bieber, the youngest member of the list, at No. 9.

"Between the money and the influence, he has had a good year," Pomerantz said of Roger, the only athlete in the top 10. Golfer Tiger Woods was No. 15.

Although only 23, sixth-place singer Taylor Swift, made the list for the first time and rounded out the top 10, along with Emmy- award winning TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Forbes based a celebrity's earnings on income from tours, books, contracts, endorsements, movies and residuals. Each celebrity was given a marketability score, developed by California market- research firm E-Poll.

It gauged fame and influence by how often celebrities appeared in the media and used Starcount, a Singapore-based company that looks at 11 social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to determine their presence in social media.

"In today's world, celebrities have this enormous ability to reach out to their fans, who really are their customers, and to sell their product, which is really themselves. If they don't take advantage of that, it hurts them," said Pomerantz.

Pop stars, most notably Biebs, Gaga and Rihanna, are particularly good with handling social media, according to Forbes, whose full list can be found at www.forbes.com/celebrities/

Newcomers to the list included Oscar- winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, at No. 49, Australian model Miranda Kerr at No. 100, and E.L. James, the author of the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy, at No. 42.

"(James) made $95 million last year," said Pomerantz.

-- Reuters

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