Originally created 05/06/04

People in the News



NEW YORK -- "Bug," Tracy Letts' dark drama of paranoia, has received the 2004 Lucille Lortel Award for best off-Broadway play and "Caroline, or Change" was chosen best off-Broadway musical.

Both productions received four awards Monday, with "Bug" also picking up prizes for best director (Dexter Bullard), sound (Brian Ronan) and lighting design (Tyler Micoleau).

Tonya Pinkins was chosen best actress for her performance in "Caroline." The show, written by Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori, also received prizes for choreography ope Clarke) and featured actress (Anika Noni Rose).

The best-actor prize was given to Brian O'Byrne, who portrays a serial killer in "Frozen." The featured-actor prize went to Will McCormack of "The Long Christmas Ride Home."

The awards, administered by the League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers, are named for the producer of many off-Broadway and Broadway productions.

On the Net:

http://www.lortelawards.com

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is suing an Ohio bobblehead company, alleging it unlawfully used the former Hollywood actor's image for a toy plastic doll.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court lawsuit says the governor's image holder, Oak Productions Inc., "does not permit Schwarzenegger's name, photograph, likeness or voice to be used on commercial products, on packaging of commercial products or in advertising for commercial products or services" unless authorized.

The lawsuit was filed Friday but served on the doll's makers Tuesday.

The makers of the bobbleheads contend the governor is a public political figure and can no longer control his image.

"He's no different than any other politician," said Todd Bosley, an owner of Ohio Discount Merchandise Inc. in Canton, Ohio. The company has produced a variety of bobbleheads of public officials.

Schwarzenegger's attorney, Martin Singer, did not return calls seeking comment.

Legal experts said it could be a close call whether Bosley and his brother, Toby, were stealing Schwarzenegger's right of publicity.

"This will depend on what it is people are buying: a bobblehead of Schwarzenegger like they would buy one of Britney Spears, or is the bobblehead making a political statement, which would be protected by the First Amendment," said Los Angeles attorney Robert N. Benjamin.

On the Net:

www.bobbleheadelection.com

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ALBANY, N.Y. -- Montel Williams threw his support behind legalizing medical marijuana in New York, saying pot helps him cope with multiple sclerosis.

Williams, who was diagnosed with the neurological disease in 1999, said he uses marijuana every night before bed to relieve the pain in his legs and feet.

"I'm breaking the law every day, and I will continue to break the law," Williams, host of the syndicated "Montel Williams Show," said Tuesday.

Williams recalled during a news conference how prescription painkillers and even morphine failed to control his tremors and spasms.

Nine states - Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state - allow medical marijuana use.

Williams, 47, said he can legally obtain marijuana in California, where he owns property, but argued that as a New York state taxpayer, he should have the same right there.

Opponents of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes fear rogue doctors or patients may abuse it.

A proposed law in New York to prescribe marijuana to terminally ill patients to treat pain advanced in the Assembly Health Committee earlier this year, but the measure has yet to reach the floor of the state Legislature for a vote.

On the Net:

http://www.montelshow.com

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and conductor Elgar Howarth will award the 2004 Polar Music Prize to bluesman B.B. King and composer Gyoergy Ligeti, organizers said Tuesday.

Page will read the prize citation for King and Howarth will do the same for Ligeti at the May 24 prize ceremony. King Carl XVI Gustaf will hand out the award to both winners.

The award was founded in 1989 by Stig Anderson, manager of Swedish pop group ABBA, through a donation to The Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

King and Ligeti will each receive $130,887.

The prize is typically split between pop artists and classical musicians. Previous winners include Paul McCartney, Isaac Stern, Bruce Springsteen, Pierre Boulez and Quincy Jones.

On the Net:

http://www.polarmusicprize.se/

http://www.bbking.com

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NEW YORK -- Tom Selleck stars as Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower in the A&E original movie "Ike: Countdown to D-Day," set to air May 31.

The June 6, 1944, Allied assault on the beaches of Normandy in northern France turned the tide of World War II, beginning the liberation of Europe.

Selleck, 59, starred as Thomas Magnum in the '80s TV action-drama series "Magnum P.I." His films include "Three Men and a Baby" and "In & Out."

On the Net:

http://www.aetv.com

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HONG KONG -- Spending $12.8 million on a concert series featuring the Rolling Stones to lift spirits after a SARS outbreak may not have been cost-effective, said Hong Kong's financial secretary.

"We may have overestimated the impact of organizing 16 concerts," Henry Tang told a legislative panel investigating the government's handling of last year's event.

The Rolling Stones drew a good turnout, but overall the concerts were plagued by poor ticket sales and lineup flip-flops. Other performers included Carlos Santana, Prince and British R&B singer Craig David.

A recent government audit report said surveys showed the event "was on the whole not perceived by the public as good value for (the) money."

On average, 43 percent of the tickets were sold. Officials had expected the public to be more interested, Tang said Monday.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome sickened 1,755 people in Hong Kong last year, killing 299.

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NEW YORK -- Pop singer Jessica Simpson is scheduled to perform at the Play Safe in the Park Concert set for May 22 in Central Park.

Proceeds will benefit the nonprofit Skin Cancer Foundation, which provides education and raises public awareness of the need for sun protection and reducing the incidence of skin cancer.

The event, to be held at Rumsey Playfield, is sponsored by Allure magazine.

On the Net:

http://www.jessicasimpson.com

http://www.allure.com