- - Sunday, November 6, 2011

Alicia Keys raises money to help kids with HIV/AIDS

Alicia Keys performed hit songs, covers and collaborated with Usher and will.i.am at her charity’s annual event, but the singer also played the role of a charmer.

During an auction Thursday to raise money for Keep a Child Alive, Miss Keys took off two 18-carat gold bracelets and put them up for bid, the Associated Press reports. Once a bidder agreed to buy the items for $14,000, a light bulb seemed to switch in her brain.

“Wait a minute, I have an idea. I was just thinking, since I have two that we could sell one to you for $14,000, and one to you for $14,000,” she said, pointing at two different people. “Isn’t that a great idea?”

The crowd cheered her on.

Her charm and talent helped the singer raise $401,500 through auctions at her Black Ball event, which celebrates Keep a Child Alive, her 8-year-old organization that helps HIV/AIDS victims in Africa and India. Overall, the charity raised $3 million Thursday night.

A dinner party with Edward Norton and Naomi Watts went for $25,000 and a trip to Paris Fashion Week to see shows by Givenchy sold for $15,000. The top bid was a lifetime membership to all Donald Trump golf properties, selling at $180,000.

Miss Keys was joined onstage by Usher, Richie Sambora, Norah Jones, Gary Clark Jr., and others at the event at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom. She closed the night with Black Eyed Peas’ leader will.i.am, singing Fergie’s verse on the hit “I Gotta Feeling,” which had Miss Keys’ mom and younger brother dancing happily onstage.

The event honored the charity’s commitment to India, showing videos of children in the country battling with HIV/AIDS, and being kicked out of their homes as a result.

‘Funny Girl’ Broadway revival scrapped by producers

Producers of a revival of “Funny Girl” aren’t laughing - they’ve had to scrap plans to mount the Broadway-bound show, according to the Associated Press.

“We have made the extremely difficult decision today to postpone our production of ‘Funny Girl,’ ” read a statement released late Thursday by Bob Boyett, one of the show’s producers.

The musical, which was to star “Six Feet Under” star Lauren Ambrose as Fanny Brice alongside theater veteran Bobby Cannavale, had been slated for an out-of-town tryout at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles before transferring to Broadway in April 2012.

“Given the current economic climate, many Broadway producing investors have found it impossible to maintain their standard level of financial commitment,” Mr. Boyett’s statement said. “This was not the right time to bring ‘Funny Girl’ to the stage.”

The show was to cost $12 million - the producers said it would be “one of the most expensive revivals in Broadway history” - and would have been the first full Broadway revival of the show since Barbra Streisand starred in it on stage in 1964. That production played for 1,348 performances, according to the Broadway League. It was adapted for the big screen in the 1968 film of the same name.

‘Spider-Man’s‘ Taymor eligible for directing Tony

Julie Taymor might have been fired from the “Spider-Man” musical, but she still could walk away with a Tony Award next year for directing the stunt-heavy megashow, the Associated Press reports.

The Tony Awards Administration Committee said Thursday that Miss Taymor will be considered eligible in the best direction of a musical category for “Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark.”

Miss Taymor, the original book co-writer and director, was let go in March after delays, accidents, poor audience reaction and money woes turned the musical into a punch line.

Philip William McKinley, who directed the Hugh Jackman musical “The Boy From Oz,” in 2003, was hired to steer the ship. He was billed as creative consultant when the musical opened in June. Miss Taymor was credited with original direction. The decision by the Tony committee means only Miss Taymor will be eligible for the “Spider-Man” directing Tony.

Rick Miramontez, the show’s spokesman, said the production wouldn’t comment “on the particulars of any of today’s rulings,” but added, “We’re looking forward to an exciting spring.”

During the show’s overhaul, another new addition, writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, toned down the story’s darker themes and expanded the romantic angle between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. Most critics said Mr. McKinley and Mr. Aguirre-Sacasa had helped focus the story and made it more commercially viable.

The $70 million extravaganza finally opened in June - two days after the Tony Awards, meaning it can be considered next summer for the awards - and has been doing brisk business, easily grossing more than $1 million most weeks.

Country star Keith Urban facing surgery on throat

A spokesman for Keith Urban said the country star will undergo throat surgery later this month to remove a polyp on his vocal cord, the Associated Press reports.

A statement from Mr. Urban’s publicist, Paul Freundlich, said the surgery is a minor outpatient procedure. It will require complete vocal rest followed by an indefinite period of recuperation.

Mr. Urban is postponing his “All For The Hall” concert to benefit the Country Music Hall of Fame. It originally was scheduled for Jan. 18. He is substantially scaling back appearances that require him to sing multiple songs. They will be rescheduled in 2012.

Until his surgery at the end of the month, Mr. Urban will honor his commitments that require only a one-song performance. He is scheduled to perform at the Country Music Association Awards on Wednesday.

Mr. Urban is nominated for CMA entertainer and male vocalist of the year.

Compiled from Web and wire reports.

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