- The Washington Times - Monday, September 14, 2009

No more ‘Mamma’

Swedish musician Benny Andersson says his pop group ABBA will not create music for a sequel to the popular “Mamma Mia!” musical and film.

Mr. Andersson said during an interview with Britain’s Sunday Telegraph that there are no plans for ABBA to create new music for a highly anticipated sequel to the musical, which was turned into a film in 2008. He did not entirely dismiss the possibility of a sequel, only the chance that he would allow ABBA songs to be used, according to United Press International.

Actress Meryl Streep started rumors of a possible “Mamma” sequel after she commented that she would be open to rejoining her fellow “Mamma Mia! The Movie” co-stars for a second film.

At the top again

Dubbed the “Forces’ Sweetheart” during World War II, Vera Lynn bolstered spirits with optimistic songs such as “We’ll Meet Again,” striking a chord with service members heading to war and the families they left behind.

Now 92, Miss Lynn beat the Beatles‘ 12 remastered editions and box sets and songs by other artists to top the British charts on Sunday, becoming the oldest living singer to have a No. 1 hit album. The Beatles claim four spots in the top 10, but not No. 1, Agence France-Presse reports.

“We’ll Meet Again — The Very Best of Vera Lynn,” a compilation of 24 of her best-loved recordings, has been rising through the charts, about 70 years after she recorded the title track.

Obama’s mom

President Obama often is greeted like a movie star, but his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, will be the subject of an upcoming documentary.

“Stanley Ann Dunham: A Most Generous Spirit” should go into production next year, with an expected 2011 release, executive producer Mary Aloe says. It’s unknown yet whether it would air on television or appear in theaters, Associated Press reports.

Miss Aloe said Wednesday that she thinks the president knows about the project and the filmmakers are trying to secure an interview with him.

The movie will focus on Miss Dunham — who went by Ann — for her role as the president’s mother, raising him in Hawaii and Indonesia. But it also will be about her work with microfinance, helping women in Third World countries. She died of cancer in 1995 at age 52.

Presents premature

Spanish actress Penelope Cruz is denying rumors she is pregnant with longtime boyfriend Javier Bardem’s baby.

“I start getting some presents from friends saying, ‘Congratulations, you’re pregnant.’ And I say, ‘No, I’m not, so return the presents,’” Miss Cruz told USA Today at the Toronto Film Festival on Thursday. “It’s amazing.”

Miss Cruz’s latest film, “Broken Embraces,” is being screened at the festival.

Whitney’s No. 1

Like a true diva, Whitney Houston returns to the Billboard 200 in grand style. “I Look to You” becomes the superstar’s fourth No. 1 album on the chart, debuting with 305,000 copies, says Billboard.com, citing data from Nielsen SoundScan. The album was released Aug. 31.

It’s by far Miss Houston’s best opening sales week since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. Her previous best opening week since that year came when 2002’s “Just Whitney” bowed at No. 9 in the thick of the Christmas holiday shopping season with 205,000 units sold, Billboard noted.

“I Look to You” is also the singer’s first chart-topper since the Houston-fueled “The Bodyguard” soundtrack spent 20 weeks at No. 1 in 1993.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse and Richard Slusser from Web and wire reports

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