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Quick Takes

March 08, 2013

Princess Leia is onboard

Carrie Fisher has said "yes," she will reprise her role as Princess Leia in "Episode VII" of the "Star Wars" franchise. Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford may be close behind.

George Lucas says that three stars of the first trio of "Star Wars" films were in "final negotiations" months ago to appear in the film that Disney is preparing.

They'd "already signed," he told Bloomberg in an article published Thursday, or were "pretty much in final stages" of negotiations.

Then, Lucas stopped short, seeming to fear he'd spoiled the surprise. There's probably a plan to break the news with "some big whoop-de-do," he said.

Fisher confirmed her participation to Florida's Palm Beach Illustrated.

—Amy Hubbard

Dudamel to pay Chavez respects

Gustavo Dudamel was planning to attend Friday's funeral for Hugo Chavez and might lead a concert tied to the death of Venezuela's president.

The Venezuelan-born music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic will miss Friday night's performance of "The Gospel According to the Other Mary" at Walt Disney Concert Hall but is expected back in time for Sunday's matinee. Grant Gershon, the artistic director of the L.A. Master Chorale, will take his place as conductor Friday evening.

Dudamel was a product of Venezuela's El Sistema program, which provides free music education to poor students. Chavez, who died this week at 58 after a battle with cancer, was a vocal supporter of El Sistema.

—David Ng

O.C. Bard troupe losing its leader

Ending a 34-year run that made him one of the longest-tenured artistic directors on the Southern California theater scene, Thomas F. Bradac has announced he'll retire as leader of Shakespeare Orange County after its coming two-play summer season at the Festival Amphitheater in Garden Grove.

The company's future is uncertain, with no immediate plan for replacing the 65-year-old Bradac. Its board chairman, Roland Bye, said Wednesday that he'll end his own involvement because "I'm not interested in keeping Shakespeare Orange County going without Tom."

Bradac and Bye said that others on the board and in the acting troupe will reach their own decisions about whether to try to continue Orange County's only professional classical stage company.

—Mike Boehm

Ringo Starr exhibit planned

The Grammy Museum in downtown L.A. will put up its third salute to a Beatle with the June 12 opening of "Ringo: Peace and Love," billed as "the first major exhibition to explore the life of Ringo Starr."

Museum officials have gathered previously unpublished photos, correspondence and film footage as well as iconic items from Starr's career.

Some of the notable artifacts include the drum kits he played when the Beatles performed historic concerts on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and at Shea Stadium in New York, his military-inspired costume from "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and the red jacket he wore on the group's 1969 farewell concert on the rooftop of Abbey Road studio in London.

"Ringo: Peace and Love" will run through November and then tour select cities.

The museum has previously hosted shows dedicated to the lives and careers of John Lennon and George Harrison.

—Randy Lewis

From ancient Babylon to U.S.

A nearly 2,600-year-old clay cylinder described as the world's first human rights declaration is being shown for the first time in the United States.

The Cyrus Cylinder from ancient Babylon will be displayed beginning Saturday at the Smithsonian's Sackler Gallery in Washington. It will be there through April 28, on loan from the British Museum.

A yearlong U.S. tour will follow, with exhibitions planned in Los Angeles, Houston, New York and San Francisco.

The cylinder carries an account, written in cuneiform, of how Persian King Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539 B.C. and would allow freedom of worship and abolish forced labor.

The account also confirms a story from the Bible's Old Testament, describing how Cyrus released people held captive to go back to their homes, including the Jews' return to Jerusalem to build the Temple.

The football-sized cylinder was buried under a foundation wall of the city of Babylon. When it was discovered on a British expedition in modern-day Iraq in 1879, it was considered the first physical evidence of the biblical account.

—Associated Press

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