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Quick Takes: J.K. Rowling will publish her first book for adults

February 24, 2012

"Harry Potter" creator J.K. Rowling will publish her first book for adults, it was announced Thursday. Publisher Little, Brown will bring the book to shelves simultaneously in the United States and Britain at an unannounced date. Neither the genre nor the title was revealed.

"Although I've enjoyed writing it every bit as much, my next book will be very different to the Harry Potter series," Rowling said in a statement.

Will there be crossover from Rowling's "Harry Potter" success? Probably. Although it was written for kids, plenty of adults read the novels. And her loyal readers aren't little children anymore: Those who were 10 years old when the first Harry Potter book was released in Britain are now turning 25.

—Carolyn Kellogg

Soundtrack for London Games

Britain may not dominate the podium at the 2012 Olympics, but it will rule the closing ceremony.

Organizers announced Thursday that the ceremony theme will be "A Symphony of British Music," and will include established and up-and-coming artists performing a jukebox-full of iconic British songs.

"It is, in a sense, the soundtrack of our lives," said film and theater director Stephen Daldry, executive producer of the Olympic and Paralympic opening and closing ceremonies.

The ceremony's artistic director, Kim Gavin, said the Aug. 12 show would be an "elegant mash-up of British music" packed with recognizable songs arranged in a symphonic structure.

The creative team is keeping the names of the musicians involved under wraps, although the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and the Spice Girls have been suggested as possible performers.

—Associated Press

5.4 million watch 'Abbey' finale

"Downton Abbey" viewership keeps expanding.

The PBS hit about the decline of the British aristocracy in the early 20th century wrapped up its second season with a two-hour finale Sunday that drew 5.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

That was up 28% over last month's season premiere and gave PBS its best numbers since the premiere of Ken Burns' "National Parks" series in 2009.

Overall, Season 2 of "Downton" more than doubled PBS' typical prime-time average. And it drew a much younger audience: Women ages 18 to 34 rocketed 251% over the 2010-11 average for the "Masterpiece" banner under which the show airs.

—Scott Collins

'Boots' will walk in Chicago first

"Kinky Boots," a new musical based on the 2005 British movie and featuring a score by '80s rock icon Cyndi Lauper, is expected to open on Broadway next year. But before it does, producers are taking it to Chicago for an out-of-town tryout.

Producers said that the musical is set to open in October at Chicago's Bank of America Theatre. No cast has been announced but a recent workshop production in New York featured actors Billy Porter and Stark Sands as, respectively, a drag queen and the inheritor of a shoe factory that has fallen on hard times.

"Kinky Boots" represents Lauper's first attempt as a Broadway songwriter. She is the latest pop star to write songs for a musical. Other crossover talents include Duncan Sheik ("Spring Awakening") and U2's Bono and the Edge ("Spider-Man").

The musical is being assembled by some of the same talent from the Tony-winning "Hairspray": Harvey Fierstein has penned the book and Jerry Mitchell will both direct and choreograph the show.

—David Ng

Greek museums tighten security

Greece's Culture Ministry said Thursday it is taking extra security measures at museums across the country after two major thefts in as many months netted antiquities and paintings by 20th century masters.

The ministry said that a task force set up to review security at museums and archaeological sites recommended increasing surveillance at archaeological museums, improving guard training and upgrading closed-circuit TV and fire detection systems.

Last Friday, two armed robbers broke into a museum in ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games, making off with 76 bronze and pottery artifacts dating from the 14th to the 4th centuries BC and a 3,200-year-old gold ring. In January, burglars snatched paintings by Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian from the National Gallery in Athens.

—Associated Press

New sculpture in Trafalgar Square

Adm. Horatio Nelson has a new neighbor in London's Trafalgar Square — a boy on a rocking horse.

The golden bronze 13-foot sculpture by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset was unveiled Thursday atop the square's empty "fourth plinth," one of the city's main showcases for public art.

—Associated Press

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