- - Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The defense for the man accused of killing relatives of Jennifer Hudson told jurors Wednesday in Chicago that prosecutors failed to prove their case, while a prosecutor countered that they had “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” linking him to the crime.

Prosecutor Jennifer Bagby insisted during her closing argument that Hudson’s former brother-in-law, William Balfour, is the killer and showed jurors photos of the victims’ bloody bodies juxtaposed with pictures of them alive.

“This defendant is the one that made [them] into these images,” Ms. Bagby said, glancing back at the photos.

Miss Hudson, who attended every day of testimony in her former brother-in-law’s murder trial, bent forward, her head on her knee, and sobbed as Ms. Bagby described what she called “the execution” of Hudson’s mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew in October 2008.

The boy’s mother, Hudson’s sister Julia Hudson, fiddled nervously with a piece of string as Ms. Bagby described how her ex-husband allegedly shot her son, Julian King, whom she called Juice Box, through the head.

Mr. Balfour “left that innocent child to die in his own pool of blood,” covered by an old shower curtain, Ms. Bagby told jurors, who looked on intently, many of them taking notes.

Public defender Amy Thompson started her closing by pacing the room, walking up to Mr. Balfour and then toward the prosecution table, angrily pointing at the three state’s attorneys.

“They know as they sit there that they have failed to prove the case,” Ms. Thompson said almost at a shout.

“I am offended,” she went on, “that they would ask you to throw your logic away.”

Bacharach, David to receive Library of Congress prize

President Obama is honoring the brainpower behind the unforgettable tunes “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” “Close to You” and others recorded by artists including Dionne Warwick, the Carpenters, Alicia Keys and the cast of “Glee.”

On Wednesday night, Mr. Obama was to present the songwriting duo of Burt Bacharach and Hal David with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. In the 1960s and beyond, their work produced some of the most popular music for movies, television and recording artists.

In return for all the memorable hits and love songs, the 83-year-old Mr. Bacharach said he would love to hear the president sing a few lines. The composer said he’ll play piano for Mr. Obama anytime if he wants to sing to the first lady.

“Nothing would make me happier because the guy can really sing,” Mr. Bacharach told the Associated Press. “I heard him on YouTube sing ‘Walk on By,’ and it just blew me away.”

The Library of Congress awards its Gershwin Prize as a lifetime-achievement award to honor the legacy of the songwriting team of George and Ira Gershwin. Mr. Bacharach and Mr. David truly reflected the Gershwins as a combination of composer and lyricist and have produced one of the world’s “most recognizable and richest multigenerational playlists,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

Past recipients of the Gershwin Prize include Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon and Paul McCartney.

Aretha Franklin heads to Gospel Hall of Fame

The queen of soul is taking her place in the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Aretha Franklin is one of six people who will be inducted into the hall on Aug. 14 in Hendersonville, Tenn. She’ll be joined by bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs, the family group the Hoppers, contemporary Christian singer Dallas Holm, the late TV evangelist Rex Humbard and the Christian rock band Love Song.

Miss Franklin’s gospel roots run deep, starting with her father, who was a prominent Baptist minister. Her 1972 album “Amazing Grace” has sold more than 2 million copies and is one of the best-selling gospel albums of all time.

The GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame was established in 1971. More than 150 members have been inducted, including Dolly Parton and Elvis Presley.

Slow ticket sales shutter ‘How to Succeed in Business’

Nick Jonas tried hard but couldn’t keep Broadway’s “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” in business.

Producers of the musical said Tuesday they reluctantly were handing it a pink slip after several months of lackluster box-office revenue. Its final performance will be May 20.

When it closes, the revival will have played just more than 500 performances since it opened at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre in February 2011. It quickly recouped its $9 million initial investment, thanks to its then-star, Daniel Radcliffe.

Mr. Jonas, best known as part of the Jonas Brothers boy band, took over the lead in January and had committed to stay until at least July 1, but ticket sales took a noticeable hit. Last week, the box office took in just $368,000 out of a potential gross of $1.394 million.

The show was nominated for eight Tony Awards last year, and John Larroquette, in his Broadway debut, won the award for best actor in a featured role in a musical. Mr. Radcliffe was not nominated even though the “Harry Potter” star packed the theater and earned new respect for his energy and enthusiasm.

This “How to Succeed in Business” production celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical and was on Broadway for the third time. The last time, Matthew Broderick played amoral corporate climber J. Pierrepont Finch, the role later played by Mr. Radcliffe and Mr. Jonas.

Compiled from Web and wire reports

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