- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Rockin’ the mike

Call it Radio Free Whoopi.

Whoopi Goldberg announced Monday that she’ll be joining the growing ranks of celebrity radio voices this summer when she begins her live syndicated program, “Wake Up With Whoopi.”

“I’m going to talk to people. People are going to talk to me. I’m going to be singing and dancing in my chair. I’m going to wake people up,” the Oscar-winning actress told Associated Press.

The show will air weekday mornings from 5 to 9 a.m., says John Hogan, president and chief executive officer of Clear Channel Radio. He didn’t indicate which markets it would be in when it debuts July 31.

Besides taking calls and doing comedy bits, Miss Goldberg plans to play music. She also hopes she’ll be allowed to select some tunes of her own.

“I’ve got all kinds of great wonderful things on my IPod,” she said. “Everything from Shaggy to Pavarotti to Tony Bennett to Warren Zevon.”

A tribute to Stern

Violinist Sarah Chang will perform a new composition next year in memory of her friend, violin legend Isaac Stern, AP reports.

Mr. Stern died in September 2001.

The Linda and Isaac Stern Charitable Foundation has commissioned a work by Richard Danielpour for violin and piano, expressly for Miss Chang.

The young violinist, who has appeared with major American and European orchestras, will perform the work on a nationwide tour tentatively planned for March 18 through April 10. The final performance will take place in the Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall. She’ll continue to perform the work during a subsequent European tour.

“I first encountered Isaac Stern when I was 6 years old, and from that moment, he became a musical godfather to me,” Miss Chang says.

“He was a constant source of inspiration in so many ways.”

Ambitious pursuit

Phil Collins has won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a mantel full of Grammys.

Now, what he wants is a Tony.

The 55-year-old musician tells the New York Daily News that he hopes his score for Disney’s lavish new musical “Tarzan” — Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic tale of an orphan raised by apes — is his ticket to Broadway’s top trophy.

The musical, opening tonight at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, stars “American Idol” alum Josh Strickland in the title role. It reportedly cost $15 million to stage and is based on Disney’s hit 1999 feature-length cartoon featuring Mr. Collins’ Oscar-winning tune “You’ll Be in My Heart.”

According to the Daily News, the show reportedly has amassed an elephant-size $20 million in advance ticket sales.

“I didn’t do this show for pats on the back,” Mr. Collins says. “A Tony would be lovely. I’m a strong, confident lad. I’ve worked really hard. But I’m not holding my breath.”

Nominations for the 60th annual Tony Awards will be announced Tuesday. The honors will be presented June 11 during a live telecast on CBS.

Pearl pic in the works

A movie based on a book about the slaying of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is scheduled to begin filming in the fall.

Beacon Pictures has signed Josh Lucas for the starring role. Kip Williams, who directed “Door in the Floor,” will helm the as-yet-untitled movie, Associated Press reports.

The film is based on the book “Who Killed Daniel Pearl?” in which French author Bernard-Henri Levy details his one-year investigation into the circumstances behind Mr. Pearl’s kidnapping and slaying in Pakistan in 2002. In his book, Mr. Levy describes his own risky journey to Pakistan to investigate Mr. Pearl’s disappearance and outlines his theory that Mr. Pearl may have uncovered complicity between the Pakistani secret services and al Qaeda, Agence France-Presse reports.

New York Times Magazine foreign correspondent Peter Landesman wrote the script, which focuses on an American TV reporter because Beacon Pictures wanted to avoid infringing on another upcoming film based on a book by Mr. Pearl’s widow, Mariane.

“I am really pleased if this can contribute to the memory of Daniel Pearl and to the debate and the roots of terrorism,” Mr. Levy told AFP.

Production on the film is scheduled to begin in the second half of this year, and location scouts already are eyeing areas of Morocco, Dubai, India, Libya and Tunisia for filming, Daily Variety reports.

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

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