- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 10, 2005

King of comedy

Steve Martin will add the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor to a long list of accolades on Oct. 23, the Kennedy Center announced yesterday.

Mr. Martin, a celebrated actor-comedian and part-time novelist, is the eighth recipient of the prize.

The ceremony will be taped for broadcast nationwide at a later date. Tickets go on sale to the general public Aug. 10.

“The Kennedy Center is pleased to give Steve the Mark Twain Prize for an extraordinary career,” said KenCenChairman Stephen A. Schwarzman. “His creations, be they onstage, on film or in a book, have created a collective memory of humor and joy for all Americans.”

On learning that he had won the prize, Mr. Martin said, “I think Mark Twain is a great guy, and I can’t wait to meet him.”

Stage left

Wake up, Maggie, Stephen Daldry has got something to say to you: The director of “Billy Elliot” would love former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to see his new musical, a graphic portrayal of her bitter clash with coal miners in the 1980s.

In bringing his hit film to the stage, Mr. Daldry opted for a highly politicized adaptation of the movie, about a working-class English boy who becomes a ballet star.

“I think, absolutely, Maggie Thatcher should come,” Mr. Daldry told Reuters Television as he put the finishing touches on the $9.5 million musical, which premieres tomorrow in London.

‘Idol’ fallout

And on it goes. Corey Clark’s lawyer said the 2003 “American Idol” contestant has “explicit” and “incriminating” evidence of the affair he claims he had with judge Paula Abdul.

Associated Press quotes Richard B. Jefferson as saying the 24-year-old singer hasn’t expressed “any plans to voluntarily reveal additional incriminating evidence, which he possesses, to the general public that undoubtedly proves the extent of their involvement because of its explicit nature.”

Oh, dear.

Love parkway

People all over the world, join hands and form a “Love Train” with your cars: Members of the Canton City Council voted to rename part of a street for the O’Jays, who got their start in the northeastern Ohio city.

The street will be called the O’Jays Parkway. Eight council members voted for the change, with two abstaining and one voting against renaming the street, AP reports.

Council member Greg Hawk was one of the abstainers, saying he would have trouble telling his 83-year-old mother that he changed the name of the street where he was born.

“I don’t believe the O’Jays ever asked to have the street named after them,” said Jermaine Williams, brother of O’Jays member Walter Williams.

A Stone’s throw

Mick Jagger revealed at the Rolling Stones’ tour-kickoff press conference in New York yesterday that in cities where the band plays stadium venues, the production design will include about 400 seats built directly into the stage for the most intimate of views.

Unfortunately, the District won’t be one of those cities. An itinerary made public yesterday has the Stones playing the MCI Center Oct. 3 and Charlottesville’s Scott Stadium Oct. 6. You might have to sell plasma to see them: Premium tickets for the MCI show, which go on sale Saturday, top $400.

‘Mission’ aborted

Starring opposite Tom Cruise turned into a truly impossible mission for Scarlett Johansson, according to E! Online.

Concerned over a slew of delays and script changes, Miss Johansson ditched “Mission: Impossible III,” which was due to begin shooting this summer.

Her publicist said the actress had to move on to other obligations, purportedly including a Woody Allen film.

“Matrix” actress Carrie-Anne Moss also split from director J.J. Abrams’ “Mission” sequel, citing the same concerns.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from staff and wire reports.

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