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August 18, 1995|SHAUNA SNOW | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press


Animation, Fox Style: 20th Century Fox has recruited Meg Ryan to supply the title character's voice for its first feature-length animated musical, "Anastasia." The film, from the new Phoenix-based Fox Animation Studios, is produced and directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, who teamed for previous animated projects including "An American Tail" and "All Dogs Go to Heaven." Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, who did the Broadway musicals "Once on This Island" and the upcoming "Ragtime," are the composer and lyricist, respectively. The story explores the legend of the lost princess Anastasia, the surviving daughter of Russia's last czar, who must overcome adversity to find her true identity. The film is targeted for a spring, 1997, release.


More From Stephen King: Horrormeister Stephen King is scheduled to tape a cameo appearance in Maine next week for his latest novel-turned-movie, "Stephen King's Thinner." The Spelling Films project, about an overweight attorney who rapidly becomes thinner and thinner because of a gypsy's curse, has just been acquired by Paramount Pictures.


Early Emmys: NBC's "ER" and ABC's "NYPD Blue" garnered what could be their first of many Emmy Awards with the announcement that they had each been voted special trophies for casting. Recognized for "ER," which leads the nominations for all series with a whopping 23, were casting executives Barbara Miller and John Levey. Winning the award for "NYPD Blue," which holds the second most nominations at 13, were Junie Lowry-Johnson, Alexa L. Fogle and Susan Bluestein. The rest of the Emmys will be announced Sept. 10, when the awards are televised on Fox.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Friday August 25, 1995 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 14 Entertainment Desk 2 inches; 39 words Type of Material: Correction
Emmy winner-- Casting executive Donna Ekholdt is one of four Emmy winners for casting for ABC's "NYPD Blue." Because of an omission by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, her name was not included in an item about early Emmy winners that ran in last Friday's Morning Report.


Starting Up Windows: The Rolling Stones, ending their ban on selling song rights to advertisers, will let Microsoft Corp. use their hit "Start Me Up" in commercials for Windows 95. British newspapers put the group's price tag for the song rights at as much as $12 million. The deal apparently marks the first time Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the Stones songwriters, have allowed their songs to be used in a commercial (although earlier Stones songs, for which others control the copyrights, have appeared in ads). Microsoft chairman Bill Gates apparently felt "Start Me Up" would be perfect for advertising Window 95 because a key new feature is an on-screen "start" button to launch programs. The commercials will begin appearing next Thursday in the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Australia.


Barbie, Exhibition Star: One of the stars of the upcoming art exhibition season is none other than Barbie, the world's most famous doll. "Art, Design and Barbie: The Evolution of a Cultural Icon" will open Dec. 1 at the Liberty Street Gallery in New York's World Financial Center and appear next March at the Los Angeles Central Library. The three-part show will include sections on "Barbie's Ancestry" and "Barbie's History." The largest segment, "Barbie: Fantasies and Realities," will feature interpretive works by contemporary architects, designers and artists, including John Baldessari, Andy Warhol and William Wegman.


An Operatic Arson Plot?: Police are investigating a suspected arson at a Roman amphitheater in Verona, Italy, where Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli is staging Bizet's opera "Carmen." A theater employee found an incendiary device Tuesday in a storage area for the opera's brightly painted backdrops. Police defused the rudimentary device, which they said was timed to go off in the early evening and would have started a fire around the scenery. "We are excluding any political motive for the attempt. It seems it was just intended to damage the scenery," a police spokesman said, adding that there were no suspects. Zeffirelli, whose films include "Romeo and Juliet," is a senator for the Forza Italia party of ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Zeffirelli's version of "Carmen" is the highlight of this year's summer opera festival in the ancient arena that attracts thousands of tourists to the city where Romeo and Juliet lived.


KABC-TV Channel 7 midday anchor Marianne Banister is leaving the station to anchor the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts at Baltimore's NBC affiliate, WBAL. Banister has been at KABC for 6 1/2 years. Her last day at the Los Angeles station has not been determined, but she starts in Baltimore on Sept. 18. . . . NBC's "Tonight Show With Jay Leno" won all five nights of the late-night race for the first time last week, to wind up with a winning average of nearly 4.7 million viewers as opposed to 4.2 million viewers for CBS rival "Late Show With David Letterman," according to national ratings figures released Thursday. . . . Actors Co-op's just-announced 1995-96 season at the Crossley Theatre in Hollywood will include Horton Foote's "The Trip to Bountiful" (Sept. 29-Nov. 5), the Frank Loesser musical "Guys and Dolls" (Nov. 17-Dec. 24), Ibsen's "A Doll's House" (Feb. 9-March 24) and Moss Hart's "Light Up the Sky" (May 3-June 30).

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