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

September 07, 2002|Lee Margulies

TELEVISION

Twin Towers Disappear From 'Sopranos' Credits

Tony Soprano still is battling crises in both his families, but there is one change in the acclaimed HBO series that begins its fourth season Sept. 15: There is no longer a glimpse of the World Trade Center towers in the gritty opening credits of the David Chase mob drama.

The first two episodes of the new season were premiered Thursday night for the cast, crew, HBO executives and a few thousand guests invited to New York's Radio City Music Hall.

Tony (James Gandolfini) and his pals do not ignore the impact of Sept. 11, making several references to the past year's events. But fans will be pleased to know that the landscape otherwise looks familiar: The Jersey boys are still trying to take their cut any way they can (from a construction project this time), Tony is stashing away the cash and, yes, another Soprano (the third) may be seeing a shrink.

Bergman Preparing to Direct TV Movie

Ingmar Bergman, at 84, isn't resting on his laurels. Later this month, he plans to start shooting a TV movie called "Sarabande"--a project being billed as a sequel to his 1973 miniseries and feature film "Scenes From a Marriage." The title refers to a slow, dignified Spanish dance, Variety points out, hinting at the pace of the film.

The project, created for Sweden's SVT broadcasting, reunites Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson in the lead roles--the first time that the actress has starred in a Bergman film since "Autumn Sonata" in 1978.

Producer Pia Ehrnvall says nothing has changed: Every camera angle has been mapped out in advance--evidence of the director's famed perfectionism.

POP/ROCK

From Radio Contest to Date at the Greek

That "American Idol" sensibility is spreading. When Chicago--a band with a 35-year heritage, two dozen albums and a long list of hits--visits the Greek Theatre on Sept. 20, its opening act will be a band with a far more modest resume: five years, two self-promoted CDs, a lot of club dates and one contest victory.

The band JND, a six-member outfit from San Luis Obispo, was announced this week as the winners of an unsigned artists contest staged by syndicated rock radio hosts Mark & Brian. The group was among six finalists forwarded to Chicago members, who named JND as the most worthy opening act for the first night of their two-night stand at the Greek. JND's jazz-minded members mix R&B grooves and some funk into their sound--and their horn section probably didn't hurt their chances with Chicago, a band long known for its brass.

RADIO

KMZT Offers Daily Fill of the L.A. Phil

Beginning Sunday, the Los Angeles Philharmonic will have a daily presence on KMZT-FM (105.1).

"Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra Festival," showcasing the best of the band's recorded performances, will air Sundays from noon to 2. Every other day of the week at noon, the station will present "The Masterpiece of the Day With the Los Angeles Philharmonic."

QUICK TAKES

The Tony Award-winning musical "Raisin," which hasn't been professionally produced in L.A. since its national tour in 1977, will open International City Theatre's 2003 season at the 349-seat Center Theater in Long Beach, Feb. 7-March 9. It will be followed by a revival of John Pielmeier's "Agnes of God," starring Linda Hamilton and Michael Learned, April 25-May 18.... Garry Marshall, director of such films as "Pretty Woman," "Runaway Bride" and "The Princess Diaries," tells Variety he expects to direct an opera in L.A. during the 2004-05 season, probably Jacques Offenbach's "The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein." ... Whoopi Goldberg will return to Broadway next season in a revival of August Wilson's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," the New York Post reports.

Lee Margulies

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