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Morning Report

Arts And Entertainment Reports From The Times, News Services And The Nation's Press.



"Lion's" Roar: Disney sold $3.7 million in tickets to the Los Angeles production of "The Lion King" on box office opening day Wednesday, according to sources close to the production. This follows $17 million in advance sales for the show, which opens Oct. 19 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood in its first U.S. production since winning acclaim on Broadway. By comparison, on the day following the 1998 Broadway opening of "Lion King," the show sold a reported $2.3 million. Disney officials declined to confirm or deny any of the figures.


Moving On: Jon Bailey, 60, longtime director of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, will retire at the end of the 2000-01 season, Colin Saldanha, vice chairman of the board, has announced. Following Bailey's retirement in July 2001, he will have led the Gay Men's Chorus, one of the few remaining men's choruses in Southern California, for 14 seasons. "To have participated in the artistic and organizational growth of this dynamic organization, to have been present through years of illness and death, and to have witnessed the healing, powerful gift of music in a community will always be a privilege I shall cherish. . . . I leave the chorus poised to embark on the next decade of its history with vigor, purpose and clear sense of its own voice." Saldanha praised Bailey as "an artist of amazing insight and integrity" who nurtured the 21-year-old chorus from adolescence to adulthood. A national search is on for Bailey's successor.


The Bolshoi Is Coming: The Bolshoi Ballet's international star Nina Ananiashvili and acclaimed virtuoso Andrei Uvarov will perform with the company in the opening nights of "Don Quixote" and "Romeo and Juliet." The Bolshoi, with three casts for each ballet, will have 13 performances in Southern California--June 21-25 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at Los Angeles' Performing Arts Center and June 27-July 2 at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. The touring company also features Sergei Filinand Galina Stepanenko--who were major discoveries during the company's last local appearance four years ago at the Shrine Auditorium. Box offices at both locales open Sunday. Tickets are also available at all Ticketmaster outlets.


Overrun: ABC allowed "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" to run eight minutes long Thursday--overlapping the start of NBC's "ER"--and boosting viewing of a "20/20" interview with Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford to 19.3 million viewers. The celebrity episodes of "Millionaire" ended a record-breaking four-night run with 34.7 million viewers, as ABC beat NBC on a Thursday during sweeps for the first time since 1994. Drew Carey and Rosie O'Donnell topped the prize list with $500,000 each for their respective charities, followed by Queen Latifah ($250,000) and $125,000 for Ray Romano, Emeril Lagasse and Lance Bass.


Sleepless in Seattle: Metallica, Alanis Morissette, Dr. Dre and James Brown are among the music stars scheduled to perform June 23-25 during opening ceremonies of the Experience Music Project, an ambitious new rock and pop music museum near Seattle's Space Needle. On June 23, Metallica, Kid Rock, Dre with Snoop Dogg and Eminem, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Filter will perform at Seattle Memorial Stadium (general admission tickets are $59.50), while the next night's bill is Morissette, Beck, No Doubt, Eurythmics and Matchbox 20 (tickets are $40 to $150). Brown, Patti Smith, Dave Alvin and Taj Mahal are among the other performers on hand for tie-in shows, many of which are free. Ticketed shows go on sale May 13 through Ticketmaster, although starting Friday the purchase of a charter membership will give fans early access to seats. The Experience Music Project, bankrolled by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, is billed as a 140,000-square-foot ode to pop music culture, with memorabilia and high-tech activities (one interactive exhibit gives visitors the feeling of being a rock star on stage).


Actor Jerry Orbach has won a new award established by the Mystery Writers of America for best performance, for playing a police detective on NBC's "Law and Order". . . . City of Angels Ballet, the training program in classical ballet for children, will present its annual benefit performance Sunday at 2 p.m. at Japan America Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. . . . Hillary Rodham Clinton is the featured guest on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" Monday at 3 p.m. on KNBC, on the subject of foster care in the U.S. . . . In honor of World War II's V-E Day celebrating victory in Europe on May 8, 1945, KNX-AM (1070) will rebroadcast producer/writer Norman Corwin's "On a Note of Triumph" Monday at 8 p.m. The hourlong "Triumph" originally aired on that date 55 years ago.

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