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Elphaba understudy meets 'Wicked' audience challenge

December 11, 2009

'Wicked' challenge is met

An understudy who was getting a chance to play the green witch Elphaba in a touring production of "Wicked" didn't let screaming and swearing in the audience ruin her performance in Cleveland this week.

The show's tour manager, Steve Quinn, said a drunken brawl broke out at the performance Tuesday night. Understudy Kaye Clark was on stage during one of the show's quietest moments when the scuffle started.

Clark broke into the song "I'm Not That Girl" and kept on singing even as police handcuffed and removed a screaming woman.

The audience gave Clark a standing ovation.

-- associated press Hermitage buys Popoff portraits

Russia's State Hermitage Museum has purchased 92 watercolor portraits valued at about $4.8 million from the Paris-based Popoff Collection after the works failed to sell at auction this year.

In October, Christie's International in London offered about 100 watercolor portraits of the Imperial family and Russian aristocracy by artists such as Karl Briullov, Orest Kiprensky, Petr Sokolov and Vladimir Hau. Only five of these lots sold.

-- bloomberg news Van Dyck sets auction record

The last self-portrait by Anthony van Dyck doubled its estimate to set an artist auction record at Sotheby's in London on Thursday.

The painting was sold for $13.5 million to Alfred Bader, a veteran Milwaukee-based art investor, and the London-based dealer Philip Mould. They beat eight other bidders, Sotheby's said.

The oval-shaped canvas, showing the head and shoulders of the Antwerp-born painter dressed in a black and white silk doublet, had been executed in London in 1640, the year before Van Dyck's death, and had been in the family collection of the Earls of Jersey since the 18th century.

-- bloomberg news Oprah effect on Kennedy book

The e-book for Sen. Edward Kennedy's "True Compass" is coming out on Christmas Day, more than three months after the hardcover release. But the paperback, thanks in part to an Oprah-inspired surge in sales, will not appear until 2011.

Weekly sales for the late senator's memoir more than doubled after Kennedy's widow, Vicki Kennedy, appeared on Winfrey's television program for a show that aired the day before Thanksgiving, according to publisher Twelve.

The interview was her most extensive since her husband died of brain cancer Aug. 25.

Citing numbers from Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 75% of industry sales, Twelve spokesman Cary Goldstein said "True Compass" sold 11,000 copies the week before the Winfrey show, more than 22,000 the week after and more than 32,000 the next week, bringing the total to more than 400,000.

Paperbacks usually come out within a year of hardcover publication.

"We are confident that 'True Compass' will continue to perform well through next year and have decided to hold off on publishing a paperback edition until 2011," Goldstein said.

-- associated press 'Early Show' exec is named

A day after Zev Shalev departed as executive producer of CBS' "The Early Show," news division President Sean McManus named a replacement Thursday: David Friedman, who spent six years working on NBC's rival "Today" show.

More recently, Friedman had been executive producer of NBC's late-night "Last Call With Carson Daly."

Alluding to the change of personnel at ABC's "Good Morning America," where George Stephanopoulos is replacing Diane Sawyer as co-anchor, McManus said, "The change in the competitive landscape is a terrific opportunity for us to bring on an experienced and creative EP with a fresh approach and a demonstrated track record of success."

-- Lee Margulies Backhoe art theft charged

A Pennsylvania man used a backhoe to break into a museum owned by his father -- the pioneering fantasy artist Frank Frazetta -- in an attempt to steal 90 paintings valued at $20 million, police said Thursday.

State police charged Alfonso Frank Frazetta, 52, of Marshalls Creek, with theft, burglary and trespass after they said he was caught loading the artwork into his trailer and SUV.

The elder Frazetta, 81, is renowned for his work on characters including Conan the Barbarian, Tarzan and Vampirella. He was in Florida at the time of the theft.

-- associated press

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