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Revival of Disney’s ‘Aida’ to premiere at Paper Mill Playhouse in N.J.

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Feb. 1 (UPI) — A new production of Disney‘s stage musical Aida is set to premiere at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse in 2021.

The Elton JohnTim Rice show will play a limited engagement Tuesday through March 7, then embark on a North American tour, stopping in Charlotte, N.C., Chicago, Fort Worth, Texas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

“Paper Mill Playhouse is both thrilled and honored to be partnering on this important reimagining of Aida, which will feel entirely fresh while remaining true to the beloved original,” Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill Playhouse’s producing director, said in a statement Friday. “We look forward to welcoming Thomas Schumacher and Disney Theatrical Productions back to Paper Mill Playhouse to collaborate with this formidable creative team on yet another inspiring piece of theater. Aida is certain to be an unforgettable event.”

Schele Williams — a member of the original Broadway ensemble — will direct the revival.

Aida is the compelling tale of star-crossed lovers belonging to feuding nations, torn between their conflicted loyalties to their countries and to each other,” a press release said. “With its stirring contemporary score and its powerful love story, Aida reveals that we have the power to change history, but only when we make brave choices and embrace our destiny.”

The original show ran 2000-04 and starred Heather Headley, Adam Pascal and Sherie René Scott.

Casting for the new production is expected to be announced later this year.



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‘Glee’ star Naya Rivera presumed dead by drowning, sheriff’s official says

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July 9 (UPI) — Efforts to locate actor Naya Rivera at a Southern California lake have switched from a rescue to a recovery operation, sheriff’s officials said Thursday.

Ventura County sheriff’s deputy Chris Dyer told NBC News that officials believe Rivera died.

“We’re presuming that an accident happened and we’re presuming that she drowned in the lake,” he said.

Rivera, 33, went missing Wednesday afternoon after renting a boat and taking it out onto Lake Piru with her 4-year-old son.

Search efforts were called off overnight and resumed early Thursday with more than 80 people. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said it received help from specialized dive teams from Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo and Tulare counties.

Dyer said there’s been no sign of foul play.

Ventura County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Eric Buschow told reporters Rivera had arrived at the lake and rented the boat at around 1 p.m. Wednesday and the boat was found 3 hours later with her son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, inside but she was missing.

“He is safe with family members,” Buschow said of Josey

Rivera is best known for starring in the TV series Glee. She was briefly married to actor Ryan Dorsey with whom she shares custody of their son, Josey.



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James Corden to adapt ‘Real Pigeons Fight Crime’ for Nickelodeon

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July 7 (UPI) — James Corden and Ben Winston have signed a new deal with Nickelodeon to produce an animated movie and television series based on children’s book series Real Pigeons Fight Crime.

Corden and Winston are executive producing the project through their Fulwell 73 production company.

Real Pigeons Fight Crime, from writer Andrew McDonald and illustrated by Ben Wood, follows the secret life of crime-fighting pigeons who are trying to keep a town safe.

The Real Pigeons series has sold hundreds of thousands of books and has a global fanbase.

McDonald and Wood will be serving as consultants on the film and series throughout development and production. The film and series are being made to air on all Nickelodeon platforms.

“We are so delighted to be working with our great friends at Nickelodeon on this wonderful, charming and funny book, and can’t wait to help bring it to life for kids everywhere!” Winston said in a statement.



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Tom Hanks: ‘Greyhound’ speaks to ‘pressure’ of COVID-19 pandemic

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July 7 (UPI) — Greyhound star Tom Hanks says the film examines the “pressure” people experience in extreme circumstances.

The 63-year-old actor discussed how the movie relates to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during Tuesday’s episode of Today.

Greyhound is based on the C.S. Forrester book The Good Shepherd. The film follows Captain Ernest Krause, a U.S. Navy commander leading a convoy of Allied ships during the Battle of the Atlantic.

Hanks, who wrote the screenplay for and plays Krause in Greyhound, said the film’s themes of struggle and survival reflect the current health crisis.

“It’s 88 minutes of a thematic story that really does speak to what we’re all going through right now,” he said. “We didn’t know that at the time we made the film. We were just trying to make a lean, spare, new version of procedures and behaviors about how difficult it was to stay alive in the North Atlantic in 1942.”

Hanks said Greyhound asks viewers to consider, “What would I do if I was in those same circumstances? How would I deal? Would I crack under the pressure?” He said those questions keep him returning to WWII in his work.

“I keep going back to examine the human condition of how does one deal with a pressure that never lets up? How do you get by that cracking 48 hours or 72 hours where you have no idea if you’re doing the right thing,” the actor said. “That fascinates me.”

Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, tested positive for COVID-19 in March but have since recovered. Hanks encouraged people to help stop the spread of the virus by wearing a mask, social distancing and washing their hands.

“What has lingered here is the societal question really of doing our part,” he said. “Not everything I say has to be tied to somehow the war effort back during World War II, but there was a sensibility that permeated all of society, which was do your part, we’re all in this together.”

Greyhound was originally slated for release in theaters in June but will now premiere Friday on Apple TV+ due to the COVID-19 pandemic.



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