- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Damage control

Arena Stage is so concerned with the public image of its latest play, Edward Albee’s “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?” that it has set up a special Web site to both amuse and inform viewers.

“A lot of people are put off by the show,” reports Arena spokeswoman Denise Schneider, “and we wanted to demystify the play but have some fun with it, too.”

Meetsylvia.com touches on prejudice, bestiality and a few other conversational topics.

“My hope is that when you meet Sylvia … you will allow yourself to examine your own profound capacity for understanding and compassion,” the Web site quotes “Goat” director Wendy Goldberg as saying.

Ann Geracimos

Lord’ of the stage

A musical based on “The Lord of the Rings” will premiere in Toronto next year, the show’s producers said yesterday.

The $22 million show will open in March 2006 at the Princess of Wales Theatre with a largely Canadian cast, producer Kevin Wallace told Associated Press.

Mr. Wallace had hoped to open the show in London this fall, but he said no theater large enough to accommodate the technically complex production was available.

The three-hour stage adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel will feature book and lyrics by Shaun McKenna and Matthew Warchus and music by A.R. Rahman and the Finnish folk group Varttina with Christopher Nightingale.

Mr. Warchus said the audience will be “plunged into the events as they happen.”

“We have not attempted to pull the novel toward the standard conventions of musical theater, but rather to expand those conventions so that they will accommodate Tolkien’s material,” he said.

Scarlett’s new Jones

Harrison Ford may have a pretty young sidekick when he returns to the big screen as Indiana Jones — actress Scarlett Johansson.

According to Australia’s NW magazine, via the Internet Movie Database, Tom Cruise championed the “Lost in Translation” star for a part in Steven Spielberg’s fourth Indiana Jones installment during work on Mr. Spielberg’s forthcoming “War of the Worlds,” in which Mr. Cruise stars. (Mr. Cruise has been working with Miss Johansson on the third “Mission: Impossible” movie.)

“Steven was saying there is a shortage of young actresses who can carry off a strong role,” Imdb.com quotes an unnamed source as saying. “He considered Natalie Portman, but she’s too connected with ‘Star Wars.’ Tom suggested Scarlett.”

Movin’ in

Singer-songwriter Billy Joel has checked into a rehab clinic for treatment for alcohol abuse, according to reports published by E! Online and Scotsman.com.

“Following a recent bout of gastrointestinal distress, Billy Joel checked himself into an undisclosed rehabilitation facility for treatment of alcohol abuse,” his publicist said.

“Mr. Joel has asked that his privacy be respected.”

Mr. Joel’s last stint in rehab was in June 2002, when he checked into the Silver Hill Hospital in Connecticut for treatment of a substance-abuse problem just days after crashing his Mercedes on Long Island and suffering minor injuries.

Cavalier confessions

Usher is a hands-up kind of NBA team owner.

The Grammy-winning R&B; artist, part-owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, has unveiled a symbol from his floor seats that he calls the “Double C.”

During the team’s game Sunday, Usher crossed his arms over his head and curled his hands to form C’s. Fans made the symbol as the Cavaliers downed the Indiana Pacers, 98-86.

Usher said his hometown, Atlanta, has a special sign called “A-town down.”

“This is my way of showing my Cleveland Cavaliers pride,” he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from staff and wire reports.

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