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Johnny Depp, Amber Heard TikTok trial inspires new ‘Carousel’

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Repertory Philippines’ (Rep PH) “Carousel,” the company’s first live production in over two years, took inspiration from the viral TikTok coverage of the defamation trial between exes Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.

“Carousel” is a musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II which follows the tragic romance of carousel barker Billy Bigelow and millworker Julie Jordan, with a subplot of the relationship between Julie’s friend Carrie Pipperidge and her partner Enoch Snow, an ambitious fisherman.

Rep PH tapped Toff de Venecia to direct a new version of “Carousel,” which he envisioned as “post-modern and contemporary.” It was initially going to be staged in May 2020 if not for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starring in the new production — Rep PH’s 460th live production across 55 years — are Karylle Tatlonghari and Gian Magdangal, also their first projects for Rep PH, as Julie and Billy, while Mikkie Bradshaw-Volante and Lorenz Martinez play Carrie and Enoch.

In a recent talkback session following the gala premiere of “Carousel” at the new Tanhalang Ignacio Gimenez, the show’s assistant director Kyla Rivera explained the show’s contemporary changes, particularly the influence of Depp vs Heard.

“In the original script, you see everybody really come and notice what’s happening… all in the public eye,” shared Kyla. “It’s also commenting on, when you put something out there — your relationship issues — everybody is going to comment on it.”

This particular instance can be seen in “Geraniums in the Winder” scene led by Lorenz’s Enoch, where he asks an audience member to use a phone to document his emotions as the ensemble also pull out their phones to do the same.

Lorenz admitted to having trouble incoporating the phone and relayed such difficulty to Toff when the idea was pitched, “I was like ‘I can’t do this, Toff!’… so  I just committed, sana nagustuhan [ng audience],” he said with a smile.

Collaboration, gratitude

To understand Toff’s vision for “Carousel,” Karylle said that the director gave them all handouts to study, which amused her husband and Spongecola frontman Yael Yuzon, who graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University with an English Literature degree.

“I personally don’t understand ‘post-modern’… when Yael saw me reading the handouts, he was so proud!” shared Karylle at the same talkback session.

The singer compared the experience to being a student again: “You want to be open to new things, to learn and not be insecure about it because I didn’t know half the time what I was reading,” then praising Toff for his collaborative creativity.

Gian added that the cast and crew, having not performed live theater onstage in two years, approached “Carousel” coming from a place of overwhelming gratitude.

“This is the one thing, and I think I speak for everybody on this, we love this… and if you love something, you will really take care of it,” continued Gian. “To share the air together with these people that created [this]… I’m speechless about it, just grateful.”

Noel Rayos, who plays Jigger, mirrored Gian’s view on gratefulness and shared that “Carousel” was the very first play he worked on, and now with Rep PH, he marks his 95th production.

Considered by TIME Magazine as the “best musical of the 20th century,” “Carousel” is famous for the songs “If I Loved You,” “When the Children Are Asleep,” “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over,” “Soliloquy,” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Repertory Philippines’ “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel” runs until December 18 in the Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez Black Box Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

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Chicago prosecutor drops sex abuse charges against R. Kelly

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R. Kelly arrives for a hearing on sexual abuse charges in Chicago on May 7, 2019.Kamil Krzaczynski / AFP via Getty Images file

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx told reporters that her office believes “justice has been served” against Kelly, who has been convicted in federal court.

An Illinois prosecutor dropped 10 charges of sex abuse against the singer R. Kelly on Monday, saying the cost was one of the factors she weighed in her decision.

Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, is already serving a 30-year prison sentence on charges of federal racketeering and sex trafficking after he was convicted in New York last year.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx told reporters that her office believes “justice has been served” with the two convictions. She said her office’s “limited resources and court time” were the ultimate factors, noting that it found the accusations to be credible.

“Mr. Kelly is looking at the possibility of never walking out of prison again,” Foxx said.

Kelly is set to appear Tuesday in Cook County Court, where the charges will be formally dropped. The state has accused Kelly of sexually abusing four people, three of whom were minors.

Foxx announced the state’s case in 2019, saying the incidents occurred from May 1998 to January 2010. Kelly had faced three to seven years in prison for each charge if he were convicted.

The women in the case were identified in the indictment only by their initials. Multiple women have come forward with allegations over the years.

Lifetime aired a six-part docuseries, “Surviving R. Kelly,” in January 2019 in which multiple women alleged Kelly subjected them to mental, physical and sexual abuse. Foxx urged potential victims to come forward to speak with her office about possible criminal activity after the series.

Foxx said Monday that she consulted with the women in the indictment before she decided to drop the charges, acknowledging that some might be disappointed.

“I know firsthand how difficult it is for you to tell your stories,” Foxx said. “Four years ago, I stood at this podium and shared my story of having been a survivor and my full understanding of what it means to have to go before strangers to discuss what is arguably one of the most horrific experiences one could have. And these women, all of them Black, came forward, believing that they would be heard.”

Kelly also faces state charges in Minnesota, where he has been accused of soliciting a minor for sexual purposes and engaging in prostitution with a minor.

In the New York case, Kelly was convicted on nine counts of racketeering and sex trafficking. Jurors found that he set up a criminal enterprise that enabled him to recruit and transport underage girls for sex.

Months later in Chicago federal court, he was convicted on six counts of sexual exploitationand enticement of a minor. He is scheduled to be sentenced on those charges Feb. 23.

Kelly’s attorneys have said he plans to appeal both federal convictions.

Source: NBC NEWS

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50 GB Of Unreleased Michael Jackson Songs Stolen And Leaked

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Renowned music engineer Brad Sundberg’s laptop was stolen this week during a break at one of his “In The Studio With MJ” events in Brussels, leading to the leaks of several unreleased songs by the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

Sundberg’s laptop contained a significant amount of unreleased material by the iconic singer, predominately from the late 1980s and early 1990s. He would play them for fans who attended the events over the years.

The stolen songs, which were recorded during Michael’s “Bad” and “Dangerous” eras, have now surfaced on various online platforms, causing a frenzy among the fans. This is not the first time that unreleased material by Michael has been leaked, but under the circumstance of the theft, it’s certainly the most shocking and disappointing.

Fans have urged others to refrain from sharing or downloading the leaked songs, as they were not intended for public release and may contain unfinished versions of the tracks, as well as damage any plans for potential future releases.

We at MJWN are deeply saddened by the events. We hope those involved will be brought to justice. We will not be posting any links to the stolen material, nor naming the songs that have been leaked.

Michael’s Estate has yet to release a statement on the matter.

Source: MJWN

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‘Addams Family’ Tv Actress Lisa Loring Dead at 64

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Lisa Loring, the first Wednesday in 1964's 'The Addams Family', dies at 64

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