Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Center Theatre Group Event Honors Carl Reiner

Special Event Included Staged Reading of
“Enter Laughing, The Musical” Based on Carl Reiner’s First Book
Profits Benefit CTG Programs That Support Emerging Artists

In honor of comedy legend Carl Reiner’s 75 years in the business, Center Theatre Group presented a staged reading of “Enter Laughing, The Musical,” which is inspired by Reiner’s experiences as a young man struggling to break into theatre in New York.  The one night only event directed by Stuart Ross (“Forever Plaid”), was performed at the Mark Taper Forum on Monday, January 28, 2013.
Box office receipts were $290,000 and proceeds from this special event benefit CTG programs that support emerging artists.
A pre-show cocktail tribute was hosted by Billy Crystal and Rob Reiner and the evening continued with an exclusive cast party following the performance.
            Adapted from Carl Reiner’s first book, a semi-autobiographical work of the same name, “Enter Laughing” features book by Joseph Stein (“Fiddler on the Roof” and “Zorba the Greek”), music and lyrics by Stan Daniels (“Taxi,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”) and orchestrations by Matt Castle. It was presented by special arrangement with Dan Whitten and Tiger Theatricals in association with Carl Reiner.  The cast featured Deborah S. Craig, Erick Devine, John Grisetti, Sharon Lawrence, Michele Lee, Alan Mandell, Gerry McIntyre, Gina Milo, Sara Niemietz, Kevin Odekirk, Stuart Pankin, Rob Reiner, Darcie Roberts, John Rubinstein and Robb Sapp.
CTG board member Dante Di Loreto, president of Ryan Murphy Television, was the chair of the event. The event’s committee included (in alphabetical order) Rich Appel, Billy Crystal, Robert Greenblatt, Brad Hall, Larry Karaszewski, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jane Lynch, Aimee Mann, Steve Martin, Michael Penn, Lily Tomlin and Betty White, along with CTG board members – Debra and Norris Bishton, Frances and Terry Flanagan, Barbara and Peter Fodor, Brindell Roberts Gottlieb, and Eva and Marc Stern.
Enter Laughing, The Musical,” set in the 1930s, follows a young, hapless shop boy from the Bronx as he pursues his dream of becoming a leading man on stage while facing mounting pressures from his despondent girlfriend, dismissive boss, distracted best friend, disgusted acting coach and disapproving though loving parents. “Enter Laughing,” the stage play, written by Joseph Stein the same year he wrote “Fiddler on the Roof,” won a Tony Award for Alan Arkin in 1964.  Under Stuart Ross’s direction, “Enter Laughing, The Musical” broke box office records at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, N.Y., and New York City's York Theatre Company.
Carl Reiner’s long career in show business includes co-starring in the legendary television show “Your Show of Shows,” creating and co-starring in “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” winning a Grammy Award with Mel Brooks for the comedy album “The Two Thousand Year Old Man In The Year Two Thousand,” directing more than a dozen feature films including “The Jerk,” “All of Me,” “Oh, God!” and “Where’s Poppa?” and appearing in many films and television shows. He has a total of 12 Emmy Awards, and was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1999, and received the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2001. Reiner is also the author of more than 10 books; the latest, “I Remember Me,” was published this month.
The Mark Taper Forum is located at the Music Center at 135 North Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. 
Center Theatre Group, a non-profit organization, is one of the largest and most active theatre companies in the nation, programming subscription seasons year-round at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and the 1,600 to 2,000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center of Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to providing theatre of the highest caliber to the rich, diverse communities of Southern California and beyond, CTG supports a significant number of play development and arts education initiatives. For further information, please visit www.CenterTheatreGroup.org.

'Black Nativity' Begins Principal Photography

Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson,
Tyrese Gibson and Jacob Latimore Star
Cast includes Luke James and Nas
Kasi Lemmons directs and writes based on Langston Hughes play;
Music by Grammy® Award-winner Raphael Saadiq 

LOS ANGELES, CA, January 29, 2013 – Fox Searchlight Pictures announced today that principal photography for the timeless holiday musical drama BLACK NATIVITY began on January 29th in New York. The film stars Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker (THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND), Academy Award® nominee Angela Bassett (WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT), and Academy Award® and Grammy® winner Jennifer Hudson (DREAMGIRLS), along with actor and Grammy® nominee Tyrese Gibson (FAST FIVE), and RCA recording artist Jacob Latimore. Additional cast includes Grammy® nominee Nas and Grammy® nominee Luke James. Kasi Lemmons (EVE’S BAYOU, TALK TO ME) directs from a screenplay she wrote based on the celebrated play of the same title written by American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist Langston Hughes. The music for BLACK NATIVITY will feature original lyrics and arrangements from Grammy® winning singer, songwriter and record producer Raphael Saadiq.  The film is produced by William Horberg’s Wonderful Films, and Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray’s Maven Pictures, and will be financed, marketed and released worldwide by Fox Searchlight Pictures. 


“The ‘Black Nativity’ story has been an integral part of American theatre and culture since 1961 and it remains a significant work today with productions staged each year all across the nation,” said Claudia Lewis, President of Production, Fox Searchlight Pictures. “We are elated to bring a contemporary version of this timeless work to the big screen under the direction of Kasi Lemmons and with a tremendously talented cast.”
“‘Black Nativity’ has a been a part of my life for many years and I am so excited to be teaming up with Fox Searchlight to bring this unifying and transformative experience to the movies,” said writer/director Kasi Lemmons. “This is a universal story of faith and family, a marker of our times, and an endearing Christmas tale, infused with music from hip-hop to R&B to gospel.”

In a contemporary adaptation of Langston Hughes’ celebrated play, BLACK NATIVITY follows Langston (JACOB LATIMORE), a street-wise teen from Baltimore raised by a single mother, as he journeys to New York City to spend the Christmas holiday with his estranged relatives Reverend Cornell and Aretha Cobbs (FOREST WHITAKER and ANGELA BASSETT). Unwilling to live by the imposing Reverend Cobbs’ rules, a frustrated Langston is determined to return home to his mother, Naima (JENNIFER HUDSON). Langston embarks on a surprising and inspirational journey and along with new friends, and a little divine intervention, he discovers the true meaning of faith, healing, and family. Zola Mashariki, Senior Vice President of Production, along with Director of Production Richard Gold and Creative Executive Taylor Friedman are overseeing the project for Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Forest Whitaker received the Academy Award® and Golden Globe® for his performance in THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, and his critically acclaimed body of work includes PLATOON, THE CRYING GAME, GHOST DOG: THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI, PANIC ROOM, THE GREAT DEBATERS, as well as roles on the television series’ “E.R.” and “The Shield.” Angela Bassett received the Golden Globe® and an Academy Award® nomination for her performance in WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT, and her critically acclaimed body of work includes MALCOLM X, WAITING TO EXHALE, AKEELAH AND THE BEE, NOTORIOUS, and the Broadway production of “The Mountaintop”. Academy Award® and Golden Globe® winner Jennifer Hudson launched her film career with her critically acclaimed debut performance in DREAMGIRLS, and has since appeared in films like SEX AND THE CITY and THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES. She can also be seen in a guest starring arc in the second season of the hit NBC television series “Smash.”  Tyrese Gibson is a Grammy® nominated R&B singer and actor, best known for his roles in the TRANSFORMERS franchise, as well as a noted author and former international model.

Kasi Lemmons has written and directed three feature films including her award-winning directorial debut EVE’S BAYOU, for which she received the Independent Spirit Award for “Best First Feature” and the National Board of Review’s “Outstanding Directorial Debut Award.” Lemmons’ other films include THE CAVEMAN’S VALENTINE, and TALK TO ME, for which she received an NAACP Image Award© for “Outstanding Direction.” Prior to directing, Lemmons began her career as an actress appearing in films such as THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, THE FIVE HEARTBEATS, and SCHOOL DAZE.


‘Black Nativity’ debuted off-Broadway at the 41st Street Theatre on December 11th, 1961. Penned by Langston Hughes, the celebrated poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist who was a central figure during the Harlem Renaissance, ‘Black Nativity’ opened to rave reviews. It has been in continuous production across the nation with theatre companies, churches, college campuses and more for over 50 years.

About Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Searchlight Pictures is a specialty film company that both finances and acquires motion pictures.  It has its own marketing and distribution operations, and its films are distributed internationally by Twentieth Century Fox.  Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment, a unit of Fox Entertainment Group.

Little Miss African American Scholarship Pageant

Nationwide Registration Announced
For 20 Year Anniversary!
Jay Leno Gives a Nod
 to Little Miss African American Scholarship Pageant
on The Tonight Show
  photo by Louis Nettles

Los Angeles - It was 1993 when actress/ choreographer Lisa Ruffin caught the vision that she would positively impact the lives of aspiring little African American girls, instilling in them a strong sense of self-esteem and purpose.  She produced her very first Little Miss African American Scholarship Pageant and has never looked back. Today, twenty years later, she has not only influenced thousands of lives, but several of those little girls are now grown women who credit the pageant as a focal point in their lives.

The Little Miss African American Scholarship Pageant will celebrate 20 years of success on Sunday, August 4, 2013 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, CA.  Ruffin has announced a Nationwide Registration and will select 50 young participants, between the ages of 6 and 12, for this landmark celebration.

The pageant has seen a host of celebrity participation over the years including Laila Ali, LL Cool J, Jamie Foxx, Tarji P. Henson and Chandra Wilson.  Jay Leno even paid a holiday visit to Ruffin and the pageant participants this past Christmas, acknowledging the wonderful work Ruffin has done over the years with a surprise visit from China Ann McClain, the star of the Disney Channel's "A.N.T. Farm" and Tyler Perry's "House of Payne."  The visit aired during a special holiday highlight segment on "The Tonight Show." 
LMAA pageant creator/producer Lisa Ruffin and Jay Leno 
                                             (photo credit : Louis Nettles)    

"I am humbled that God has allowed me to continue to do this work for 20 years now," reveals Ruffin. "I'm so proud of all my girls and am so looking forward to this pageant being a extra special celebration!"
Young hopefuls, age 6 - 12 can submit their application for participation at
www.Littlemissafricanamericainc.org.  For further information call 818-570-0631 or email
Littlemissaa2013@gmail.com. Please include a picture of the contestant with her name, brief information and any available links.
For a visual overview of the pageant and its impact on contestants, go to 

Monday, January 28, 2013

U.S. Premiere of "Backbeat" Opens Wed., Jan. 30

Performances Continue Through March 1, 2013

“Love, Love Me Do
You Know I Love You
I’ll Always Be True…”
John Lennon and Paul McCartney
The U.S. premiere of “Backbeat” opens this Wednesday, January 30 at 8 p.m. at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre. The dramatic new play with music about the birth of one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands in history, the Beatles, continues through March 1, 2013. (Preview performances began on January 20.)
Featuring the all-time rock ‘n’ roll classics that the Beatles cut their teeth on – “Money,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Twist and Shout,” “Good Golly Miss Molly,” “Please Mr. Postman,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll Music” and more, “Backbeat” is set in 1960 when John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best (the drummer before Ringo Starr joined the group) and Stuart Sutcliffe (the band’s original bassist) embarked on their journey from the docks of Liverpool to the red light district of Hamburg. There they worked in the clubs of the tawdry Reeperbahn, performing rock ‘n’ roll covers night after night, all the while honing what would become the Beatles’ sound. 
“Backbeat” is also the compelling story of Sutcliffe, who falls in love with the striking German photographer Astrid Kirchherr, and must choose between being with her and resuming his painting, or staying with his best friend, John Lennon, and playing in the band.  This triangular relationship became an intrinsic part of the Beatles story, and the decisions made and the music played put them on an unstoppable trajectory onto the world stage.
The cast features Nick Blood (as Stuart Sutcliffe), Leanne Best (Astrid Kirchherr), Andrew Knott (John Lennon), Oliver Bennett (Pete Best), Daniel Healy (Paul McCartney) and Dan Westwick (George Harrison).  Rounding out the rest of the cast are ensemble members Edward Clarke, Josie Dunn, Sam Ford, Mark Hammersley, Perry Ojeda, Charlotte Palmer, Phil Pritchard, Dominic Rouse, Louise Shuttleworth, Adam Sopp, Charles Swift, James Wallace and Miranda Wilford.
 “Backbeat” is co-written by Iain Softley and Stephen Jeffreys, based on the 1994 Universal Pictures film by Softley, Michael Thomas and Stephen Ward. “Backbeat” is directed by five-time Tony Award nominee David Leveaux.
Design for “Backbeat” is by Andrew D. Edwards from an original concept by Christopher  Oram, lighting design is by Howard Harrison and David Holmes, and sound design is by Richard Brooker.   
            “‘Backbeat’ is a backstory to cherish,” said Fiona Mountford of The Evening Standard. Michael Coveney of Whatsonstage.com called “Backbeat” a “. . . beautifully wrought . . .  evocation of an era, and a particular place, as the Beatles found their inimitable voice through the grit and virility of the pounding music they loved still to play even as their own more lyrical, musically complex compositions poured forth over the next decade.  For once, you really do feel like dancing in the aisles at the end.”
            “Backbeat” is presented by Karl Sydow in association with Glasgow Citizens Theatre, where it first opened in February 2010.  “Backbeat” made its West End debut in London in October 2011 and played Toronto in July 2012. 
Tickets for “Backbeat” are available by calling (213) 972-4400, visiting online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org, or in person at the Center Theatre Group box office at the Ahmanson Theatre. Tickets range from $20 - $110 (ticket prices are subject to change). The Ahmanson Theatre is located at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cartoon Network's Annual Hall of Game Awards

Shaquille O’Neal and Nick Cannon Hosts
Premiering on Cartoon Network Monday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. (ET, PT)

Cartoon Network announced a slew of athletes and celebrity presenters including Jessica Alba, star of upcoming animated film Escape from Planet Earth, Ryan Lochte, Olympic gold medalist in swimming, Mario Lopez, host of EXTRA, McKayla Maroney, Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics and NFL Pro-Bowl starters Victor Cruz and JJ Watt for the third annual Cartoon Network Hall of Game Awards, premiering Monday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. (ET, PT).  Hosted by basketball legend and TNT NBA analyst Shaquille O’Neal and America’s Got Talent host Nick Cannon, the Cartoon Network Hall of Game Awards is a high-energy, off-the-wall, multi-platform experience that lets viewers vote and honor their favorite sports stars and sports moments of the year. 
Some of the additional celebrities and athletes set to appear at this year’s Hall of Game Awards include:

Aimee Carrero (Level Up)
Allyson Felix (2012 Olympic gold medalist Track and Field)
Antonio Gates (San Diego Chargers tight end)
Brandon Soo Hoo (Incredible Crew)
Bridgit Mendler (Good Luck Charlie)
Carmelita Jeter (2012 Olympic gold medalist sprinting)
Chanelle Peloso (Incredible Crew)
Chris Hughes (Extreme BMX rider)
Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans running back)
Cody Hagar (Extreme skateboarder)
Connor del Rio (Level Up)
Crenshaw Marching Band
David Price (Tampa Bay Rays pitcher)
Gaelan Connell (Level Up)
Hunter Pence (San Francisco Giants outfielder)
Jeremy Shada (Incredible Crew & Adventure Time)
Jessie T. Usher (Level Up)
JJ Watt (Houston Texans defensive end)
Jonny Gomes (Boston Red Sox outfielder)
KC Wolf (Mascot from the Kansas City Chiefs)
Kerri Walsh Jennings (2012 Olympic gold medalist beach volleyball)
Kyla Ross (2012 Olympic gold medalist gymnastics)
Laura Marano (Austin & Ally)
Lennie Westfall (Extreme BMX rider)
Lou Seal (Mascot from the San Francisco Giants)
Louie (Mascot from the St. Louis Blues)
Mario Lopez (EXTRA host)
McKayla Maroney (2012 Olympic gold medalist gymnastics)
Mitchie Brusco (Skateboarder)
Ndamukong Suh (Detroit Lions defensive tackle)
Raini Rodriguez (Austin & Ally)
Rebecca Soni (2012 Olympic gold medalist swimming)
Rico Rodriguez (Modern Family)
Rocky (Mascot from the Denver Nuggets)
Sanya Richards Ross (2012 Olympic gold medalist Track and Field)
Shameik Moore (Incredible Crew)
Shauna Case (Incredible Crew)
Street Drum Corps
Swin Cash (Chicago Sky WNBA player)
Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever WNBA player)
Toby Turner (Annoying Orange)
Tristan Pasterick (Incredible Crew)
Tyler Mumma (Extreme skateboarder)
Victor Cruz (New York Giants wide receiver)

Additionally, voting has opened up for five new categories on HallofGame.com.  Fans can log on to HallofGame.com and now vote for their favorites in the Amped-up Anthem, Most Viral, Whoa-ment, Fanatic Fanstars, and Dance Machine.
The nominees are:
Amped Up Anthem (The award for the song that gets you the most psyched)
Psy “Gangnam Style”
Carly Rae Jepsen “Call Me Maybe”
The Script feat. Will.i.am “Hall of Fame”
Philip Phillips “Home”

Most Viral (The award for the video that came from obscurity to infamy)
High School kicks 67 yard field goal
College baseball player’s leaping catch
Tennis ball boy one handed catch
Girl running back- youth football powerhouse

Whoa-ment (The award for the moment of the year that had you saying WHOA)
Josh Hamilton gets four homers in one game
USA Women’s Olympic Swim Team sets World Record in 4x100m medley relay
Adrian Peterson comes within nine yards of
All time single season rushing record
Mitchie Brusco lands first 900 in X Games Skateboard Big Air

Fanatic Fanstars (The award for which sports team has the most intense fans)
New York Yankees (MLB)
Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA)
University of Notre Dame: Fighting Irish (NCAA)
Dallas Cowboys (NFL)

Dance Machine (The award for the best on-the-field dance moves)
Jason Pierre-Paul doing Gangnam Style
Ezekial Kemboi dances after winning gold
Denny Hamlin does the Dougie
Ray Lewis does his famous squirrel dance

In addition to these new categories, voting continues in the following categories on HallofGame.com: 
Most Awesome Mascot
Kansas City Chiefs “KC Wolf” (NFL)
St. Louis Blues “Louie” (NHL)
San Francisco Giants “Lou Seal” (MLB)
Denver Nuggets “Rocky” (NBA)

Alti-Dude (Top action sports high flyer)
Kelly Clark (Snowboarding)
Nyjah Huston (Skateboarding)
Kelly Slater (Surfing)
Shaun White (Snowboarding)

That’s How I Roll (The award for the most stylish athlete.)
Jonny Gomes, Oakland A’s (MLB)
Brett Keisel, Pittsburg Steelers (NFL)
Ryan Lochte, Team USA (Swimming)
Serena Williams, WTA (Tennis)

He’s Got Game (The award for the best male athlete.)
Usain Bolt (Track)
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers (MLB)
Arian Foster, Houston Texans (NFL)
LeBron James, Miami Heat (NBA)

She’s Got Game (The award for the best female athlete.)
Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever (WNBA)
Gabby Douglas, Team USA (Gymnastics)
Alex Morgan, Team USA (Soccer)
Serena Williams, WTA (Tennis)

Dynamic Duo (The award for the best teammates.)
Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA)
Eli Manning & Victor Cruz, New York Giants (NFL)
Michael Phelps & Ryan Lochte, Team USA (Swimming)
Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh, Team USA (Volleyball)

Gnarliest Newcomer (The award for the top rookie.)
Missy Franklin, Team USA (Swimming)
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (NFL)
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (NFL)
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels (MLB)

We Got Game (The award for the best team.)
Los Angeles Kings (NHL)
Miami Heat (NBA)
San Francisco Giants (MLB)
US Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team

Super Siblings  (The award for best related athletes.)
Pau & Marc Gasol (NBA)
Peyton & Eli Manning (NFL)
Eric, Marc, Jordan & Jared Staal (NHL)
Venus & Serena Williams (WTA)

Best Foes Forever (Award for the greatest rivals.)
Rory McIlroy vs. Tiger Woods (PGA)
San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB)
Jimmie Johnson vs. Brad Keselowski (NASCAR)
Duke vs. University of North Carolina (NCAA)

Hosted by Shaquille O’Neal and Nick Cannon, Cartoon Network Hall Of Game Awards is the first-of-its-kind, sports award and entertainment event for kids, and will once again be produced by IMG Media, the production arm of global sports, entertainment and media company, IMG.  Time Inc. Sports Group’s SI KIDS franchise will be serving again as an official media partner. Veteran, award-winning television and special events producer, Michael Dempsey, and Steve Mayer will again serve as executive producers.  Viewers can expect a star-packed red carpet, on stage celebrity surprises, superstars from television, film, music and sports, and hilarious hijinks all wrapped up into one awesome awards show.
This year’s Cartoon Network Hall of Game Awards is presented by a roster of industry-leading sponsors including: Hasbro’s NERF FireVision Sports brand, presenting sponsor of the “That’s How I Roll” voting category; Wii U from Nintendo, presenting sponsor of the “He’s Got Game” voting category; Pepperidge Farm Cheddar Goldfish Crackers, presenting sponsor of the “Most Awesome Mascot” voting category; and Chef Boyardee® and the new movie Escape from Planet Earth from The Weinstein Company, both as general voting sponsors. 
Among his many accolades during his 19-year playing career, O’Neal was chosen as one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players, ranks fifth all-time in NBA scoring history (28,596 points scored), won the Rookie of the Year award (1993) and MVP award (2000) and was named All-NBA 14 times.  Additionally, his career includes four NBA Championships—three with the LA Lakers (2000—2002), where he was named NBA Finals MVP for all three championships, and one with the Miami Heat (2006).  The 15-time NBA All-Star and three-time NBA All-Star MVP (2000, 2004, 2009) also won two scoring titles (1995, 2000).  He appeared in 1,207 regular season games, averaging 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.3 blocks in 34.7 minutes per contest throughout his career, which included playing for the Orlando Magic, LA Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics. He is currently an NBA analyst for TNT’s Sports Emmy Award-winning Inside the NBA studio show and also offers analysis on NBA TV, which is jointly managed by the NBA and Turner Sports.
Nick Cannon, executive producer of the upcoming Cartoon Network sketch-comedy series Incredible Crew, made his television debut as a teenage sketch comedian on the series All That where he was also a writer, making him the youngest staff writer in television history at the age of 17. Cannon catapulted onto the big screen in 2002 when he appeared alongside Will Smith in Men in Black II before landing a leading role in Drumline. He hosted Wild ‘N Out, a show that he created and executive produced for MTV, which was the network’s highest-rated comedy series in its history.  In the fall of 2006, Cannon was featured in the film, Bobby, where his performance earned him a 2007 SAG nomination as well as being the first African American actor to be honored at the Cannes Film Festival with the “Breakthrough Actor of the Year” award. Most recently Cannon can be seen as the host of NBC’s America’s Got Talent as well as a series regular on Up All Night, which earned him recognition at this year’s 2012 NAACP Image Awards for “Outstanding Supporting Actor.” 

About Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network (CartoonNetwork.com) is the #1 U.S. television network among boys 6-11. Currently seen in 99 million U.S. homes and 194 countries around the world, Cartoon Network is Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.’s ad-supported cable service now available in HD offering the best in original, acquired and classic entertainment for kids and families. In addition to Emmy-winning original programming and industry-leading digital apps and online games, Cartoon Network embraces key social issues affecting families with solution-oriented initiatives such as Stop Bullying: Speak Up and the Move It Movement.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

About IMG Media
IMG Media operates from over 30 offices worldwide and distributes content across all forms of media including TV, Audio, Fixed Media, Inflight and Closed Circuit, Broadband and Mobile. IMG Media Production generates 6000 hours of programming, over 200 projects in locations around the world. These include coverage of: 2012 Olympic Tennis, New York City Marathon, Masters, PGA Championship, ATP and WTA Tennis, Professional Bull Riding Wimbledon, Premier League Soccer. IMG Media also has produced entertainment specials and events such as: NHL All-Star Game, NHL Awards, Ryder Cup, Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials, World’s and Year’s Funniest Commercials for TBS, Christmas in Rockefeller Center, and Boston Pops 4th of July Spectacular. IMG Media also maintains the world’s largest sports archive with more than 250,000 hours of footage.

About Time Inc. Sports Group’s SI KIDS Franchise            
Sports Illustrated Kids, the first sports magazine written for kids ages 8 and up, connects with its readers through their passion for sports. The magazine offers kids the access to athletes and sports information that they want with in-depth reporting, action photography, first-person athlete accounts and other features. The magazine, books, and web site sikids.com, promote positive values, good sportsmanship and the fun of reading.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mosley and Saint-Victor Join 'Bold' Soap Opera

Karla Mosley Headshot CROPPED.jpgLawrence Saint Victor Headshot.JPG

January 24, 2013…Los Angeles, CA…Actress Karla Mosley joins THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL in the contract role of “Maya Avant” and actor Lawrence Saint-Victor joins THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL in the contract role of “Carter Walton“, Executive Producer and Head Writer Bradley P. Bell announced today.  “Maya” arrived on January 22, 2013 as a mysterious woman from “Dayzee Leigh Forrester’s” (played by Kristolyn Lloyd) past on Skid Row and “Carter” arrives on January 29, 2013 as “Marcus Walton Forrester’s” (played by Texas Battle) adoptive brother.

Although their characters are not related on THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, Mosley and Saint-Victor previously portrayed characters that were married on Guiding Light.

Mosley’s other credits include roles in the films, Men in Black 3, Burn After Reading, and For Love of the Film. Her television credits include TLC-Discovery Kids’ Hi-5, Law & Order: CI, Gossip Girl and Nate the Great. Having earned her B.F.A. in Drama from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Mosley’s theater credits are extensive.

In addition to Guiding Light, Saint-Victor’s other credits include guest-starring roles on For Better or Worse, Ugly Betty, Law & Order: SVU, Wed Locked and The History Channel’s Honor Deferred. Saint-Victor graduated with a B.F.A. in Acting from Purchase College, State University of New York.

In 2011, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL received its third consecutive Emmy® award for “Outstanding Daytime Drama Series”, and was named the Most Popular Daytime Soap Currently on TV by Guinness World Records®.  In 2012, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL received its seventh consecutive Golden Nymph Award at the International TV Audience Awards in the “Telenovela/Soap Opera” category at the 52nd Monte Carlo Television Festival.  THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL is the most watched daytime drama series in the world, seen daily by more than 35 million people in over 100 countries.

THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, which will celebrate its 26th anniversary on March 23, 2013, is a Bell-Phillip Television production, broadcast weekdays (1:30-2:00 PM, ET; 12:30-1:00 PM, PT) on the CBS Television Network. Bradley P. Bell is the Executive Producer and Head Writer. THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL is the first and only daytime drama to simulcast in Spanish utilizing SAP (Secondary Audio Program) technology.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mary Mary Wins Big At 28th Annual Stellar Awards

Marvin Sapp Takes Home Four Awards Including Artist Of The Year And Male Vocalist Of The Year Honors; Le'Andria Johnson And The Williams Brothers Also Earn Awards

Two-Hour Special from Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House Airs in Syndication from January 24 to March 3 in over 130 Markets 

28th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards hosts Mary Mary and Kirk Franklin. (Photo Credit: Randi Radcliff, Courtesy of Central City Productions /
The FrontPage Firm)
NASHVILLE, TN (January 23, 2013) - Veteran Gospel duo and Stellar Awards co-host Mary Mary and newcomer Charles Jenkins emerged as the top winners Saturday at the 28th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards, winning five awards each. Jenkins, whose debut CD "The Best of Both Worlds" garnered nominations in eight categories, received the coveted Song of the Year, CD of the Year and Choir of the Year among his five awards.  Winning the top group honors, Mary Mary snagged Group/Duo of the Year, Contemporary Group/Duo of the Year and Contemporary CD of the Year along with two additional trophies.  Also emerging as a big winner, Marvin Sapp took Artist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Traditional Male of the Year.
Song of the Year winner Pastor Charles Jenkins. (Photo Credit: Randi Radcliff, Courtesy of Central City Productions / 
The FrontPage Firm) 

Presenting nine awards during the first-ever live telecast, which aired GMC TV from Nashville's famed Grand Ole Opry House, the Stellar Awards were hosted by Kirk Franklin and Mary Mary, whose high-energy performance of their nominated hit song "Go Get It" brought the sold-out audience to its feet.  At the pre-show ceremonies on held Friday twenty (20) additional winners received awards

Traditional Group/Duo of the Year and Quartet of the Year went to The Williams Brothers, who in a gracious show of appreciation gave their award to Tim Rodgers and The Fellas, and acknowledged them as the new generation quartet.  Newcomer Le'Andria Johnson was awarded Contemporary Female of the Year and New Artist of the Year for her debut album "The Awakening of Le'Andria Johnson."

2013 Stellar Awards opening act Tye Tribbett.
(Photo Credit: Rick Diamond, Courtesy of Central City Productions /  The FrontPage Firm)

Tye Tribbett opened the show and set the tone for a memorable evening with a rousing, energetic delivery of his song "If He Did It Before, He Can Do It Again."  Full of dynamic, spirit-filled performances and collaborations,
other key Stellar Awards show highlights included a special tribute to the late Inez Andrews, this year's recipient of the Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones Legends Award.  The moving segment was presented by Dr. Jones and followed by a medley that featured "Indescribable" by Kierra Sheard, "Jesus Will" by Anita Wilson, "I Promise" by Y'Anna Crawley, and "So In Love" by Amber Bullock.  Original Caravans Shirley Caesar, Dorothy Norwood and Delores Washington then delivered a powerful, uplifting arrangement of "Mary Don't You Weep" as the Andrews family looked on from the front row.  A longtime Stellar Awards supporter, Andrews passed away last month.

"The live telecast of the 28th annual Stellar Awards was precedent setting in many ways and far exceeded all of our expectations," said Executive Producer and Central City Productions Chairman Don Jackson. "The anticipation of 'going live' for the first time in the 28 year history of the Stellar Awards created an air of excitement with our entire production crew, co-hosts Kirk Franklin and Mary Mary, as well as all of our nominees, performers and presenters. As a result, it was a historical evening in many ways - from the sold-out seating, to our live backstage online stream and full-to-capacity red carpet and media center, it was a night of 'firsts.'  I applaud my entire team for the countless hours spent on pre-production which enabled us to have a smooth and on time event."
Tamela Mann performs at the 2013 Stellar Awards. (Photo Credit: Moses Robinson, Courtesy of Central City Productions /  The FrontPage Firm)
Other big moments in the show included Tamela Mann's soul-stirring rendition of "Take Me to the King"; a holy-spirit infused traditional medley featuring "I Got This" by Dottie Peoples, "Awesome God" by Maurette Brown Clark, "Draw Me Close" by Marvin Winans and a rousing duet of "Who Would've Thought" by Donnie McClurkin and Marvin Winans that became a foot-stomping, hand-clapping revival. In addition, Marvin Sapp, Charles Jenkins, Israel Houghton & New Breed all delivered powerhouse performances to the delight of the full-to-capacity crowd.

The show recognized the great accomplishments of some of Gospel's brightest stars and extraordinary individuals who have made an impact on society. Global inspirational leader, author, producer, philanthropist and entrepreneur Bishop T.D. Jakes received the Thomas A. Dorsey Most Notable Achievement Award for his 35 years of ministry and humanitarian work.  In a moving acceptance speech, Bishop Jakes expressed his heartfelt appreciation for the honor, acknowledging God, his wife, family and supporters for making this day possible.

Thomas A. Dorsey Most Notable Achievement Award winner Bishop T.D. Jakes. (Photo Credit: Moses Robinson, Courtesy of Central City Productions /  The FrontPage Firm)
"It has been amazing. When I think back 36 years ago, I would never have imagined I'd be standing here today and I want to say thank you," said Jakes. "In the words of my mother, whenever you see a turtle sitting on a fencepost, always remember he didn't get there by himself."

Kurt Carr, protégé to the renowned Reverend Cleveland, received the James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award for his accomplishments, presented by Bishop Paul S. Morton and serenaded by Byron Cage and the Kurt Carr Singers.

"To God be the glory, what an incredible honor this is," said Carr.  "It's a privilege to write Gospel music and stand on this stage in front of my peers receiving this award," he added. "I thank all of you and Reverend James Cleveland who gave me my start." 


Acquisition Joins Friday Night Classic Comedy Block
SILVER SPRING, MD – January 23, 2013 -  As part of its growing aggressive program strategy, TV One will add the half-hour sitcom Family Time to its Friday night classic comedy block it was announced today by Maureen Guthman, SVP Programming Strategy and Acquisitions.  The half-hour comedy created by Bentley Kyle Evans (The Jamie Foxx Show, Martin, Love That Girl) and produced by Evans and partner Trenten Gumbs, will premiere Friday, January 25 at 9:00 PM/ET with two episodes back to back and then settle into its regularly scheduled time slot of Fridays at 7:30PM/ET beginning February 1.
Family Time centers around the life and times of the Stallworths, a working class African American family who get lucky with a scratch-off lottery ticket and makes the leap to middle class status overnight. Starring Omar Gooding and Angel Conwell as parents Anthony and Lisa Stallworth, and Jayla Calhoun and Bentley Kyle Evans, Jr as their children, the Stallworths represent a true-to life African American family working to pursue the American dream.  The series follows the family as they move to a middle class community in southern California resulting in classic comedic moments tinged with humorous drama.

“Having worked with Bentley Kyle Evans and his creative team on the TV One original Love That Girl, we were happy to partner with him again on Family Time,” remarked Guthman. “The storytelling is a terrific fit with our programming sensibilities and a strong creative asset in the growth of our Friday night classic comedy block.”
"I'm honored to be back in business with TV One and to have Family Time, a scripted sitcom, as part of the network’s programming line-up." commented Evans.

Evans and Gumbs are the producers of Love That Girl currently running on the TV One network.  Evans has been in the unique position of executive producing two hit shows simultaneously, serving as the show-runner of FOX-TV's smash hit Martin starring Martin Lawrence and The Jamie Foxx Show for The WB.  As an actor Evans has appeared in such theatricals as Robert Townsend 's Hollywood Shuffle, Keenan Ivory Wayans ' I'm Gonna Get U Sucka, and House Party and guest appearances on such television series as Family Matters, Head of the Class, and Doogie Howser MD.

Gooding is best known for appearing in television shows such as Hangin' with Mr. CooperSmart GuyDeadwood, and Barbershop: The Series and Playmakers and also the films Ghost Dad and Baby Boy.  Conwell played Meshach Taylor’s daughter on the CBS series Dave's World and has guest starred and recurred on dozens of hit shows including NYPD Blue, Moesha, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and 3rd Rock from the Sun.  She was also in the theatricals Baby Boy and Soul Plane alongside Kevin Hart, Sofia Vergara and Monique.

Launched in January 2004, TV One (www.tvone.tv)serves more than 57 million households, offering a broad range of real-life and entertainment-focused original programming, classic series, movies, and music designed to entertain, inform and inspire a diverse audience of adult African American viewers.  In December 2008, the company launched TV One High Def, which now serves 14 million households. TV One is owned by Radio One [NASDAQ: ROIA and ROIAK; www.radio-one.com], the largest radio company that primarily targets African American and urban listeners; and Comcast Corporation [NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK); www.comcast.com], one of the nation's leading providers of entertainment, information and communications products and services.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Civil Rights Era Highlighted In 'The Good Negro'

The civil rights era was a volatile, stressful, dangerous, powerful and important time in American history.  The movement to end segregation was full of threats, violence and uneasiness.  That period in history can also be called heroic and full of revealing and emotional narratives.

One of those stories is told in Tracey Scott Wilson’s drama, The Good Negro, currently playing at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre in Hollywood.   The production, which strategically opened days before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, also commemorates the 50th anniversary of 1963’s civil rights struggle.  

The Good Negro tells the story of one particular community in Birmingham, Ala., circa 1962, struggling to fire up a movement to move the Negro race forward. 


At the helm of this story is Rev. James Lawrence (Phrederic Semaj) a married, charismatic leader ala Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with a very particular character flaw. He loves the ladies about as much as he loves the notion of equality for Negroes.

The Reverend’s right hand man and fellow clergyman Henry Evans (Al Garrett) is a bit high-strung, but has his eyes on the prize.  He doesn’t appreciate when an outsider named Bill Rutherford (Stephen Grove Malloy) who just arrived from Europe, comes to town with some fresh ideas about reenergizing the movement.


The docudrama’s plot thickens when Claudette Sullivan, a doctor (Latarsha Rose) and her four-year-old daughter are arrest for using the wrong restroom.

To bolster their case for equality and to highlight the plight of the Negro and the need for justice, Lawrence, Evans and Rutherford plan to spotlight the well-educated and well-spoken Sullivan as The Good Negro in their strategic public relations campaign.

Sullivan’s husband, Pelzie (Hawthorne James) isn’t too keen on the idea and has grown tired of the movement’s rhetoric. He has no desire to put his family in the eye of the storm.

Watching all of this unfold are two FBI agents who have planted a bigoted snitch within the KKK with a mandate to ward off any violence that could bolster the Negroes’ case and to keep an eye on their community. The FBI tapes the offices of the movement, spreads rumors and even leaks various stories to the press. 
The audience is like the fly on the wall listening in on and becoming privy to the behind closed doors strategies of both the movement and the FBI.

There are some stand-out performances by Hawthorne James, Al Garrett, Phrederic Semaj and Stephen Grove Malloy, who are all effective and emotive as they keep the story moving.  The aforementioned actors display the various layers of their characters. James, who envelops the stage, is brilliant in his interpretation of Pelzie, a no-nonsense, simple man who is skeptical of the civil rights leaders and their intent. 

Yetide Badaki as the tolerant wife of Rev. Lawrence gives a good performance, especially when she and Semaj go toe-to-toe in a scene where she confronts her husband about his infidelity.

There are solid performances from the remaining cast members.

Director Michael Phillip Edwards effectively uses the entire theater. His direction is fluid and crisp. However, the play was a bit disjointed in areas opening night due to several technical miscues.   The staging is a bit awkward, the script a bit long and the lighting doesn’t add any depth, yet abled actors sell Wilson’s The Good Negro as a poignant, powerful story.  

The Good Negro, written by Tracey Scott Wilson, produced by Sam Nickens and directed by Michael Phillip Edwards, has a Red Cast and a Blue Cast.

The Red Cast includes: Hawthorne James, Al Garrett, Stephen Grove Malloy, Yetide Badaki, Kristopher Lencowski, Latarsha Rose, Darius Boorn, Phrederic Semaj and Greg Winter.

The Blue Cast includes: Roger Bridges, O’Neil C. Cespedes, Kevontay Jackson, Hilary Ward, Keiana Richard, Geno Monteiro, Peter Rothbard, Tyson Turrou and Christoff Lombard.

This is a review of the Red Cast’s opening night.

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable) O (OK) and E (excellent). The Good Negro gets an O (OK).

The Good Negro, The Hudson Mainstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA; 8 p.m. Thur.-Sat, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday through Feb. 24; $25; www.plays411.com/goodnegro or 323 960-7774.

All photos by Ian Foxx.