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Morning Report

Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press.

July 18, 1996|SHAUNA SNOW

POP/ROCK

Drummer Ousted: The Smashing Pumpkins on Wednesday fired drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, who five days earlier had been arrested and charged with heroin possession after a backup musician with the group died of an apparent drug overdose. "This may come as a shock to some, to others not; but to us, it is devastating," the band said in a statement. "For nine years, we have battled with Jimmy's struggle with the insidious disease of drug and alcohol addiction. It has nearly destroyed everything we are and stand for." Chamberlin, 32, was with Jonathan Melvoin, 34, when the veteran keyboard player overdosed and died in a New York hotel room, police said. Melvoin's death is the latest in a series of heroin-related incidents that have led the recording industry to launch an aggressive campaign to combat drug abuse among musicians. The Pumpkins' three remaining members--Billy Corgan, James Iha and D'Arcy--said they will seek an immediate replacement and resume their tour after July 27.

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New Chart Princess: LeAnn Rimes, a 14-year-old country singer whose recording of a song written for the late Patsy Cline is a smash single on country radio, enters the national sales chart at No. 4 this week with her debut album, titled after the single, "Blue." The collection sold 124,000 copies last week, according to SoundScan. But the news wasn't good for Prince, whose latest album, "Chaos and Disorder," sold only 38,000 copies in its first week in the stores--landing at a lowly No. 26 on the chart. New York rapper Nas' "It Was Written," with sales of 161,000, was the nation's best-selling album for the second straight week. 2Pac's "How Do U Want It" tops the singles chart for the third week, with about 108,000 copies sold.

VIDEO

The Audrey Hepburn Barbie: Mattel Toys will launch a series of "My Fair Lady" Barbie dolls, including four differently costumed Eliza dolls in Audrey Hepburn's likeness, in conjunction with the Oct. 1 video re-release of the 1964 classic film, starring Hepburn and Rex Harrison. The video, in a new Digitally Mastered THX edition, will be priced at $19.98. The dolls--which include a Ken doll as Henry Higgins--will go for a steeper $82 and $110.

TELEVISION

Sibling Rivalry: Jonathan La Paglia, who has appeared in the movie "The Cure" and on the New York stage, has joined the cast of Fox's police drama "New York Undercover." With his older brother, Anthony La Paglia, taking over the lead in the ABC series "Murder One," that means the two siblings will be going head-to-head against each other at 9 p.m. Thursdays in the fall. "Thursday night at 9 o'clock, if you're a La Paglia parent, you have a choice to make," quipped Fox President John Matoian.

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New 'Melrose' Residents: Fox's "Melrose Place" will get a batch of new residents in the fall in an attempt to spice up the series. Moving in as a married couple who clash with newlyweds Amanda and Peter (Heather Locklear and Jack Wagner) will be former "Days of Our Lives" star Lisa Rinna and Rob Estes of "Silk Stalkings" fame. Other new cast members will include "Baywatch's" David Charvet, as a powerful businessman vying for control of D&D Advertising, and Brooke Langton ("Terminal Velocity"), as Jane's (Josie Bissett) new roommate. In addition, Greg Evigan ("B.J. and the Bear," "My Two Dads") will play a doctor running a drug rehabilitation center where Matt (Doug Savant) gets treatment for amphetamine addiction.

STAGE

Broadway in Long Beach: Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center will fill a programming gap in the 3,062-seat Terrace Theater, caused by the collapse of Long Beach Civic Light Opera, with a series of touring shows produced by Pace Theatrical Group--which also produces the Orange County Performing Arts Center's Broadway series. First up are two Andrew Lloyd Webber shows, "Jesus Christ Superstar" (Oct. 15-20) and "Cats" (Nov. 12-17), offered as subscriber options. Slated for the regular season are the non-musical thriller "Deathtrap" with Elliott Gould and Mariette Hartley (Dec. 17-22), Jerry Lewis in "Damn Yankees" (dates not set), Lloyd Webber's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" (April 29-May 4) and "A Chorus Line" (May 13-18). "A Chorus Line" had been slated for the same dates at the nearby, smaller Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, which on Monday filed a lawsuit over the conflict, suing the show's producers (including Pace), the agency that represents the show, and Spectacor, the company that manages the Long Beach center.

QUICK TAKES

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