Toni Braxton has been cast as Darlene Love in an upcoming TV movie for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN cable TV network.
The 46-year-old singer-songwriter whose first two albums — 1993’s “Toni Braxton” and 1996’s “Secrets” — each sold more than 8 million copies in the U.S. and whose recent CD, “Love, Marriage & Divorce” (with Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds) hit No. 4 on the Billboard Top 200 and No. 1 on the R&B chart, will play Love for “My Name is Love: The Darlene Love Story.”
Love, one of Phil Spector’s cadre of artists in the ‘60s and the lead singer of the 1962 hit, “She’s a Rebel,” was voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.
Johnny Rotten crowned king
John Lydon, known as Johnny Rotten when he fronts The Sex Pistols, has been cast as King Herod in a new production of “Jesus Christ, Superstar” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. The musical will tour North America this summer.
Others in the cast include Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child as Mary Magdalene, singer Brandon Boyd of metal alt-rockers Incubus as the traitor Judas and N’Sync’s JC Chasez as Pontius Pilate.
Ben Forster, who won England’s ITV “Superstar” competition in 2012 and played the lead role in the British and Australian arena tours of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” will revive his role as Jesus.
The 51-date “Jesus Christ Superstar Arena Spectacular” premieres on June 9 at the 8,933-seat Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, and includes performances on July 17 at the 10,400-seat Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, the 18,325-seat Honda Center in Anaheim on July 20, the 14,800-seat Valley View Casino Center in San Diego on July 24 and at L.A.’s 18,000-seat Staples Center on July 26.
The musical originally premiered on Broadway in 1971.
Springsteen plays CCR with Fogerty, joins Dr. John
Bruce Springsteen has been a busy guy in the Big Easy. At the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, he and his E Street Band were first joined by Rickie Lee Jones on a pair of songs from his 2006 “Seeger sessions” album, “Jesse James” and “O Mary Don’t You Weep” and also on the New Orleans gospel staple, “When the Saint go Marching In.”
Then, John Fogerty joined the Boss and the band during the encore on two Creedence Clearwater Revival classics, “Green River” and “Proud Mary.”
Then, at “The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: A Celebration of Mac & His Music” at the landmark Saenger Theatre, Springsteen surprised the guest of honor by ambling out and joining him for the evening’s opening number, “Right Place Wrong Time.”
He left after the performance, but Dr. John was joined throughout the four-hour concert by The Blind Boys of Alabama, former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell and a few other New Orleans regulars: pianist Allen Toussaint, singer Irma Thomas, and Aaron and Charles Neville.
For the encore, Dr. John was joined by Fogerty, Gregg Allman and Allman’s guitarist Warren Haynes, Mavis Staples, a few members of The Original Meters, and Widespread Panic.
Colorado Symphony’s pot concerts
With marijuana now legal in Colorado, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in Denver is planning a series of “cannabis-friendly” fundraising concerts, reports NBC News.
The orchestra’s management hopes to bring in badly needed crowds and bucks with its “Classically Cannabis: The High Note Series.” Organizers note that attendees must be 21 and the concerts are strictly “BYOC” — bring your own cannabis.
The series begins May 23 at the Space Gallery and will wrap on Sept. 13 with a special concert at one of the most prestigious venues in America, the 9,450-capacity Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Dylan’s lyrics could fetch $2 million
Bob Dylan’s original handwritten lyrics to his 1965 classic, “Like a Rolling Stone” — voted by many as the greatest gong of all time — is expected to sell for somewhere between $1 million and $2 million, reports Rolling Stone.
The “only known surviving draft for this transformative rock anthem” in six pages will by sold by Sotheby’s in New York City on June 24.
The documents reveal a look into Dylan’s mindset with scribbling of unused lyrics such as “dry vermouth/you tell the truth” and in connection with the “How does it fell?” chorus is “does it feel real… shut up and deal… get down and kneel.”
Pink Floyd’s Waters and Mason petition Stones to not play Israel
Bassist-songwriter Roger Waters and drummer Nick Mason, formerly of Pink Floyd, are urging all artists, especially The Rolling Stones, not to perform in Israel.
The Stones are scheduled to play there for the first time in the band’s 50-year history on June 4, one of 23 concerts they have scheduled through the rest of the year. The Stones are anticipated to play for 100,000 fans at Hayarkon Park in Israel’s capital, Tel Aviv,
In an editorial for the progressive news website Salon.com in support of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), a non-violent movement (that has been supported for years by Waters), Mason and Waters urge The Stones to reconsider, “at what is a critical time in the global struggle for Palestinian freedom, and equal rights.”
At press time, there has been no response from The Rolling Stones.
Gregg Allman sues to stop his biopic
Gregg Allman is suing to stop production of the biopic of his live, “Midnight Rider,” after the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones, reports Variety. The film is based on his memoir, “My Cross to Bear.”
Allman, 66, filed the lawsuit against Unclaimed Freight Productions and Allman LLC in state court in Savannah, Ga., alleging the option the rights to his life story had expired. This comes after Allman personally wrote producer-director Randall Miller expressing his hope that film production would cease after Jones’ death. Oscar-winning actor William Hurt, who was to play Allman, quit the film after the accident.
Hurt and the crew was filming a dream sequence on a railroad trestle bridge in Wayne Country, Ga. on Feb. 20, when they were surprised by an oncoming train they weren’t expecting. The 28-year-old Jones was killed and seven others were injured.
A spokesman for Unclaimed Freight said, “The production of the film remains indefinitely suspended as everyone involved continues to deal with this horrible tragedy.”
After 45 years, The Allman Brothers Band, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, announced that it would cease touring at the end of the year.
Steve Smith writes a new Classic Pop, Rock and Country Music News column every week. Contact him by email at Classicpopmusicnews@gmail.com.Tags: actor, concert, director, film, movie, music, producer, singer, tour, tv