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MORNING REPORT

November 08, 1994|ART BERMAN | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

STAGE

Ready for King David, the Musical?: Producer Andre Djaoui says a musical he's planning based on the life of King David will be "the most spectacular and dramatic production ever staged, as well as conveying a message of inspiration, hope and peace to the world." The producer has some impressive talent to back his claims: composer Alan Menken and lyricist Tim Rice, Academy Award winners for their score of the animated Disney hit "Aladdin." They will write the music and libretto for the biblical tale, which is slated to be staged in Jerusalem in 1996 to mark that city's 3,000th anniversary. "King David" is also expected to tour worldwide, including a stop in Los Angeles, before alighting on New York's Broadway and London's West End. Menken also has a current Broadway stage success with the music for "Beauty and the Beast" (he co-wrote the original film score), while Rice co-wrote the score for the latest Disney animated movie, "The Lion King." For Rice, this will be his third biblical musical. He was the librettist for "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." Cast and production crew have not yet been selected.

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Highways Honored: Highways in Santa Monica has won the second annual C. Bernard Jackson Award, presented by the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, for achievement in nurturing local playwrights. The award will be presented Wednesday in a free public program that will feature performances by several Highways artists at the Venue, 600 Moulton Ave., Lincoln Heights. Reception at 7 p.m., program at 8. Information: (213) 957-4752.

TELEVISION

Accentuating the Positive: It used to be that networks announced when shows were being canceled. But now, given the delicate state of prime-time series, it's news when additional episodes are ordered for existing programs. So ABC, which last week canceled "Blue Skies," announced that it has called for nine new chapters of "On Our Own" and six more of "Me and the Boys." "On Our Own" is a Sunday night family show about five brothers and two sisters who have been orphaned; "Boys" appears on Tuesday nights and stars comic Steve Harvey as a widower with three sons. The added shows will give "On Our Own" a total of 22 and "Boys" 19.

MUSIC

Maestro Trebek: "Jeopardy!" game show host Alex Trebek picked classical music for 1,600 (people) and scored. He dressed up in bow tie and white tails Saturday to conduct the Greenville, Pa., Symphony Orchestra for the overture to Rossini's "Cenerentola (Cinderella)." Then he narrated Aaron Copland's "Lincoln Portrait." Trebek, in his first outing as a guest conductor, didn't hold a baton, saying the right to use one is like getting money the old-fashioned way: "You earn it."

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Kirov Festival: For the first time in the United States, Russia's famed Kirov opera, symphony and ballet companies will appear together as a repertory ensemble for "A Festival of Kirov," Feb. 19-25 in St. Petersburg, Fla. (The Kirov companies are based in St. Petersburg, Russia). Maestro Valery Gergiev will conduct the opening night gala performance, as well as three operas, including the American premiere of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Ivan the Terrible (The Maid of Pskov)." The Kirov Ballet will also present three programs, one classical, one contemporary and one featuring highlights from the company's repertory.

POP/ROCK

Jerry Lee Lewis Ailing: Veteran rock 'n' roller Jerry Lee Lewis was reported recovering in a Southhaven, Miss., hospital Monday after being treated by paramedics at his home. Memphis TV station WREG said the 59-year-old performer was stricken with breathing problems and may have choked on food. Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto refused to release any information about Lewis' condition, but his father-in-law, Bob McCarver, said he was sitting up and talking Monday. Lewis had just returned from a concert in Little Rock, Ark., when he fell ill.

QUICK TAKES

Legendary entertainer George Burns will receive the 31st annual Life Achievement Award at the Screen Actors Guild Awards telecast, which will be broadcast for the first time Feb. 25 on NBC. Burns will be 99 on Jan. 20. . . . Actor Tony Curtis will receive the Desert Palm Achievement Award for his lifetime work as part of the Sixth Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, Jan. 5-15. . . . Comedian and KFI radio talk-show host Stephanie Miller has been inked for a one-hour syndicated talk show geared to late-night television starting in the fall of 1995, Buena Vista Television announced. . . . Mickey Rooney, David Hasselhoff, Norm Crosby, Fyvush Finkel and child star Mara Wilson are among the latest additions to the Nov. 27 Hollywood Christmas Parade.

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