- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Battle royal begins

Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills returned to court yesterday in an attempt to agree on terms for their divorce.

The fight over the wealth of the former Beatle, who is estimated to have as much as $1.6 billion, could produce Britain’s largest-ever divorce settlement.

Mrs. McCartney, 40, looked tense and said nothing as she entered a courtroom at London’s Royal Courts of Justice, Associated Press reported. Mr. McCartney, 65, arrived at court after his estranged wife. He said “good morning” as he entered court carrying a large black case.

The hearing before Justice Hugh Bennett is scheduled to last five days, AP said. The terms of any settlement would not become public record unless it moved to the Court of Appeal, or either of the parties chooses to reveal details.

Press reports have suggested that Mr. McCartney has offered his wife around $50 million, and that she is seeking at least double that amount.

Mrs. McCartney intends to represent herself. She fired her lawyers in November after a series of interviews in which she accused Mr. McCartney of failing to protect her and their 4-year-old daughter Beatrice from abuse, which she says ranges from lies and slander to death threats.

The couple married in June 2002 and announced their separation in 2006. Mr. McCartney filed for divorce claiming “unreasonable behavior” by his wife.

Dolly sidelined

A back problem has forced Dolly Parton to postpone a concert tour she planned in support of her new CD, AP reports.

Miss Parton was scheduled to kick off a 13-show tour Feb. 28 in Minneapolis, two days after the release of “Backwoods Barbie,” publicist Marcee Rondan said yesterday. Doctors advised Miss Parton to take up to eight weeks off to recover from the unspecified problem.

Keith advises Amy

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards offered up some free advice to newly minted Grammy winner Amy Winehouse, says MTV.com, citing a report from Reuters news agency. “She should get her act together,” the former addict said during an interview at the Berlin International Film Festival on Friday. “Apart from that, I have got nothing to say to [her].” Miss Winehouse entered a London rehab clinic last month, to deal with her addictions.

New ‘Show Boat’ cast

Initial casting has been announced for the upcoming concert staging of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s “Show Boat” at Carnegie Hall, Playbill.com reports.

Directed by “The Little Mermaid’s” Francesca Zambello, the June 10 benefit for Carnegie Hall will boast the talents of Jessica Bogart (as Ellie May Chipley), Carolee Carmello (as Julie LaVerne), Nathan Gunn (as Gaylord Ravenal), Marilyn Horne (as Old Lady on the Levee), Gavin Lee (as Frank Schultz), Alvy Powell (as Joe) and Celena Shafer (as Magnolia Hawks). Additional casting will be announced at a later date.

“Show Boat,” with music by Mr. Kern and book and lyrics by Mr. Hammerstein, is based on the novel by Edna Ferber. The original Broadway production opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Dec. 27, 1927. Harold Prince directed the most recent Broadway production of the musical, which opened in 1994.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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