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Quick Takes: Whitney Houston funeral Saturday

February 15, 2012

Whitney Houston's funeral will be held Saturday in the church where she first showcased her singing talents as a child, her family choosing to remember her in a private service rather than in a large event at an arena.

The owner of the Whigham Funeral Home said Tuesday that the funeral will be held at noon at Newark's New Hope Baptist Church, which seats up to 1,500. Gospel singer Marvin Winans, a Grammy Award winner and longtime family friend, has been chosen to give the eulogy, his son said.

The family said no public memorial service is planned at this time. Officials had discussed the possibility of holding a memorial at the Prudential Center, a major sports and entertainment venue that can seat about 18,000 people, but the funeral home said it had been ruled out. Funeral home owner Carolyn Whigham said the church service will be by invitation only, reflecting the family's decision to keep the memorial more personal.

Houston, 48, died Feb. 11 at a hotel in Beverly Hills just hours before she was set to perform at producer Clive Davis' pre-Grammy Awards bash. Officials say she was underwater and apparently unconscious when she was pulled from a bathtub.

After an autopsy Sunday, authorities said there were no indications of foul play and no obvious signs of trauma. It could be weeks, however, before the coroner's office completes toxicology tests to establish the cause of death.

— Associated Press

Interim theater head in Pasadena

The Pasadena Playhouse is gaining the services of a name familiar to the Southern California theater

community. Charles Dillingham, who worked for nearly 20 years at Center Theatre Group as managing director before leaving in 2011, will

join the company on an interim basis as executive director.

A spokesman for the Pasadena Playhouse said that Dillingham will stay with the company until a permanent hire is named. Stephen Eich stepped

down from the executive director position earlier this month after serving 2 1/2 years.

Dillingham is a vice president of Arts Consulting Group, a national company that provides management services to creative organizations. A Pasadena Playhouse spokesman said Dillingham's services are being provided through Arts Consulting Group.

— David Ng

Streep honored at Berlin festival

Meryl Streep was honored Tuesday with the Berlinale's Honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement. At the gala event at the Berlin Film Festival, jury member Jake Gyllenhaal presented Streep with the award, introducing her with a humorous personal reflection, describing her not just as an acting treasure, but as the terrifying "Hank's mom," who disapproved of him as a 13-year-old bad influence on her son, Henry Gummer.

In her acceptance, Streep gave thanks to colleagues, including "The Iron Lady's" Phyllida Lloyd and Jim Broadbent, and called for applause for makeup artist and hairstylist J. Roy Helland, who has worked with her since 1982's "Sophie's Choice." Helland, she said, has "designed every woman — and one man I played in 'Angels in America' — that I've played since then." Helland received his first award for film work, together with Mark Coulier and Marese Langan, for "The Iron Lady" at the British Academy Film Awards on Sunday.

She also praised "some of the great writers and directors on whose shoulders I've been placed tonight," including the late Joseph Papp and Robert Altman.

— Susan Stone

'King's Speech' back on stage

"The King's Speech" is back — only this time, it's a stage play touring Britain in preparation for a possible West End engagement and maybe a Broadway transfer.

Last year's Oscar winner for best picture actually began its life as an unproduced stage drama that playwright David Seidler later transformed into a screenplay. Now Seidler has turned it back into a play, which opened earlier this month in Guildford, England, and is touring the country. No dates have been announced for London's West End but theater pundits say a transfer is all but inevitable.

Charles Edwards plays George VI, the role for which Colin Firth won an Oscar. Jonathan Hyde plays Lionel Logue, the Australian speech therapist who helps the new king to overcome his stammer and played by Geoffrey Rush in the film. The play is directed by Adrian Noble, the former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and current head of the annual Shakespeare Festival at the Old Globe in San Diego.

— David Ng

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