- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Julia’s warm welcome

The first lines spoken by Julia Roberts in her Broadway debut were drowned out by applause at an eagerly awaited preview of “Three Days of Rain,” Associated Press reports.

The play, which began previews Tuesday and opens April 19, is Miss Roberts’ first major project since the birth of her 16-month-old twins, Phinnaeus and Hazel.

A prop tomato fell onto the floor during the preview, making a noise that prompted laughter from the actress, the New York Post reported in yesterday’s editions.

Appearing in Richard Greenberg’s 1997 Pulitzer Prize nominee, Miss Roberts plays a woman unraveling the truth behind her father’s death, and in the second act, she plays the woman’s mother.

She co-stars with Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper. According to the New York Post, the actress didn’t take a solo curtain call but instead shared the spotlight with the two actors.

Wrong side of the law

Victor Willis, the original policeman in the 1970s disco band the Village People, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to drug possession and giving false identification to a police officer.

His arrest Sunday ended a five-month search for the former hit maker, AP reports.

Mr. Willis, 54, was pulled over by a San Francisco police officer for a routine traffic stop but was arrested after cocaine and drug paraphernalia were found in his car, Lt. Jeff Azzopardi said.

The officer did not immediately recognize the singer, who was the subject of a bench warrant after he failed to appear at his sentencing hearing on drug and weapons charges in October, police said.

Both Mr. Willis and his companion, Staci Brandt, who also was wanted for a parole violation, initially gave false names to the officer, Lt. Azzopardi said. Mr. Willis later was identified through fingerprints. The two are scheduled to return to court on April 10.

Last July, Mr. Willis, the former husband of “Cosby Show” co-star Phylicia Rashad, was arrested for possessing cocaine. He agreed to a plea bargain that would have resulted in a prison term of no more than 16 months, but he never showed up for sentencing. His bail jumping gives a judge the right to impose the maximum four-year, four-month sentence.

Mr. Willis, who co-wrote the hits “YMCA” and “In the Navy,” left the Village People in 1980.

Date with Destiny

The women of Destiny’s Child were back together for a brief moment Tuesday to accept a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Beyonce Knowles, lead singer of the Grammy Award-winning trio, joined former band mates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams at the installation of the walk’s 2,035th star. The R&B; group — whose hits include “Say My Name,” “Survivor” and “Independent Women (Part I)” —disbanded last year to pursue solo careers.

“We started when we were 9 years old, and here we are getting a Hollywood star,” Miss Knowles said.

All that jazz

The families of jazz greats Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk will help kick off the fifth annual Jazz Appreciation Month by donating keepsakes from their careers, including manuscripts and clothing, during a ceremony today at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Among the featured items: Mr. Monk’s skullcap and two music manuscripts, plus a Versace jacket worn by Mr. Davis.

Famed jazz photographer Herman Leonard will enhance the collection with 20 jazz-related images of Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Lena Horne and Tony Bennett.

The event begins at 11 a.m. in the museum’s Hall of Musical Instruments.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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