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Acropolis partial restoration planned

November 26, 2009

Stage set for Acropolis fix

Greek authorities say they will partially restore the ruined marble theater under the Acropolis, where the works of Euripides and other classical playwrights were first performed about 2,500 years ago.

The Culture Ministry said Wednesday that the $9-million program was set for completion by 2015 and would include extensive modern additions to the surviving marble seats of the Theater of Dionysos.

Built on the southern slopes of the Acropolis Hill, the theater was first used in the late 6th century BC. It hosted the opening performances of tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, as well as Aristophanes' comedies.

A small section of the 4th century BC seating -- which could hold up to 15,000 spectators -- survives in place.

-- associated press Osmond dances off with prize

An estimated 19.2 million people watched Donny Osmond win "Dancing With the Stars" -- the smallest audience for the show's finale since the first season.

This was the ninth edition of the contest, one of television's most popular shows. The Nielsen Co. said ratings have been down all season for the show, an indication that viewers weren't as attached to the contestants as they had been in the past.

Osmond said the show has been a highlight in a career of ups and downs. He competed during the show's finale Tuesday against singer Mya and Kelly Osbourne, daughter of rock star Ozzy Osbourne.

-- associated press 'Louis & Keely' songs to live on

People are starting to call it the musical that keeps on giving.

The team behind the popular "Louis & Keely: Live at the Sahara" is mounting a revised version of the stage show at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. The production, retitled "A Vegas Holiday! Songs From 'Live at the Sahara,' " will run Dec. 19-31.

The El Portal said that the new version will be different from the Taylor Hackford-directed production that recently closed at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood following an eight-month run. But it will feature the same two lead actors, Jake Broder and Vanessa Claire Smith -- who are currently rewriting the book in preparation for a planned national tour -- as well as the same band members.

Hackford is not participating in the new version of the show.

Jay Irwin, a co-manager at El Portal, said Smith told him the actors will be performing all of the songs in character from the original show plus some of the onstage banter. But it will contain none of the offstage scenes that audiences saw in the Geffen production, including scenes in the characters' apartment.

-- David Ng

Kingsley tries on the ruling class

Ben Kingsley, famous for his Oscar-winning portrayal of Indian independence hero Mohandas Gandhi, is reaching deeper into the country's history with a new role as the Mogul emperor who ordered the construction of the Taj Mahal.

Kingsley will star as Shah Jahan in "Taj," 27 years after his award-winning performance in "Gandhi." Indian superstar and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will play Mumtaz Mahal in the $25- to $30-million production, said the British actor's production company, SBK Pictures, on Wednesday.

The Taj Mahal was built by Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan between 1632 and 1654 for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died while she was giving birth to their 14th child. Soon after its completion, Shah Jahan was deposed by his son and imprisoned at the nearby Agra Fort.

The company said it was recruiting a director for the script penned by British writer David Ashton and was scheduled to meet with Indian investors in the next few days.

-- associated press 1837 painting bears slight scars

A major work by French painter Paul Delaroche, thought to have been virtually destroyed during a World War II German air raid on London in 1941, has been unrolled and found to be in good condition.

"Charles I Insulted by Cromwell's Soldiers," depicting the British king shortly before his execution in 1649, was damaged in a May 1941 bombing. The 1837 canvas was taken down, rolled up and moved to a country house in Scotland, where it has remained unseen for nearly 70 years.

Representatives of the National Gallery in London and the National Gallery of Scotland asked if they could inspect the work ahead of an exhibition on Delaroche to be held in London from Feb. 24-May 23 next year.

They discovered about 200 tears caused by shrapnel but, contrary to expectations, the painting was "almost entirely legible and has lost none of its emotive intensity."

-- reuters Finally

Groovin': The Los Angeles-based dance group known as the Groovaloos will play off-Broadway at the Union Square Theatre beginning Dec. 8. The show, titled "Groovaloo," combines street dance, hip-hop and aspects of poetry, and began its life in L.A. around 2003.

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