News Column

Pop Culture Q&A: Sarah Brightman Busier Than Ever

July 9, 2013

Akron Beacon Journal

Q: Can you tell me what Sarah Brightman is doing? It seems like she was touring and made some CDs and just quit.

A: Not according to her website. In April, she released a new album, "Dreamchaser," and more recently launched a world tour to promote it. And the album was inspired in part by her preparation for a trip in 2015 to the International Space Station via a Russian rocket. And, her site says, that trip will make her "the first professional musician to record a song from space."

Q: Why is Chris Matthews' show ending?

A: Let's start by clarifying. "Hardball," the long-running series Matthews has hosted for MSNBC, is not going anywhere. But "The Chris Matthews Show," the syndicated, weekend talkfest he has hosted, will end July 21.

Matthews announced the decision in April after signing a new contract with MSNBC. "There are limits to what I can do in a week," he said in a news release. "Henceforth, I intend to concentrate any time left over from 'Hardball' on writing books like the one I'm committed to now on the relationship between Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan, that and producing documentaries on history and politics." Matthews said he made a similar decision in 2002; when he began the syndicated show, he quit writing a syndicated column. "I will miss having the weekend show just as I missed having the column," he said. "But I can't do everything and still do what I have to do well."

Q: Could you tell me what happened to Nikki Blonsky of "Hairspray"?

A: After starring as Tracy Turnblad in the 2007 screen version of the hit musical (itself adapted from an earlier John Waters film), Blonsky was a TV guest star, showed up in movies like "Waiting for Forever" and had a lead role in the too-short-lived ABC Family series "Huge," But it hasn't all been easy for the actress, now 24 years old. In 2011, Newsday reported that she had gotten a cosmetology license and was working in a Long Island hair salon. Blonsky said on Twitter at the time that she was doing it to help pay the bills but had not given up on her acting dreams. And since then she has been in a couple of episodes of "Smash" and appeared in the movies "The English Teacher," with Julianne Moore, and "Geography Club."

Q: My husband and I are loyal fans of the ION show "Flashpoint." The last show of the season wrapped up all the characters' lives. Will the show return for another season? Or has it been canceled? Hopefully, it will return.

A: It will not, except in reruns. The Canadian-made police drama's two-part episode "Keep the Peace" wrapped up the series after five seasons.

Q: I would like to know if three of my favorite shows will be on in the fall. They are "The Lying Game," "Switched at Birth" and "Arrow."

A: Costumed-crimefighter drama "Arrow" will indeed be back for a second season on The CW. "Switched at Birth" is airing new episodes now on ABC Family, and will have them through Aug. 19; a network rep noted that the series had new episodes last fall as well but "the schedule has not been determined that far out" for this fall.

As for "The Lying Game," no decision on future episodes, another ABC Family rep said. Published reports say the network wants to see how its summer shows do before making a decision. (That's also supposedly the reason why the network has not yet given the go-ahead to the delightful "Bunheads.") But there have been reports that "Lying" cast members are not waiting around; Tyler Christopher recently signed a contract with "General Hospital."

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Do you have a question or comment for the mailbag? Write to the Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44328 or rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com. Please mark the email or envelope with "mailbag." Letters may be edited for publication. Please do not phone in questions. Individual replies cannot be guaranteed.

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