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Quick Takes: Titanic violin found

March 16, 2013

The violin of the Titanic bandleader, who played as he and bandmates went down with the ship, has been recovered, according to a British auction house. The instrument bears a message from the musician's sweetheart.

"For Wallace, on the occasion of our engagement. From Maria."

Like the 1997 James Cameron movie, that story might spur a few tears. As the Agence France-Presse reports, auction house Henry Aldridge & Son says it has confirmed the violin is that of Wallace Hartley. Aldridge tells AFP the message was from Hartley's fiancée.

Hartley was among the more than 1,500 who died when the oceanliner sank in April 1912. The violin passed through a lot of hands over the last century. It was reportedly returned to Maria Robinson, Hartley's grieving fiancée, after it was found strapped to his body following the disaster. At Robinson's death, it was donated to the Salvation Army, the York Press reports, and ultimately wound up in an attic in east Yorkshire, England.

Henry Aldridge & Son said the violin will go on public display at the end of the month at Belfast City Hall, less than a mile from where Titanic was built. The auction house estimates the violin's worth in the six figures.

—Amy Hubbard

Music festival workers injured

Two workers were critically injured Thursday night while helping set up for this weekend's Ultra Music Festival in Miami when a giant LED video screen fell, trapping them under it, the Miami Herald reported.

Fire rescue officials said both men suffered life-threatening injuries. Two other workers were less severely injured by falling equipment; one was hospitalized in stable condition, the other treated at the scene.

"Festival organizers are working with, and supporting, authorities as they investigate the details behind the accident," Ultra officials said in a statement issued shortly after the accident.

Ultra Music Festival is billed as "the largest electronic dance music festival in the world." The lineup includes David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia, Deadmau5, Avicii and Snoop Dogg.

—Randy Lewis

Kilmer to tour his Twain show

Although it seems like Hal Holbrook has owned the role of Mark Twain for decades, another actor has staked a theatrical claim to the white-haired novelist and wit. Val Kilmer has been working on "Citizen Twain," a solo play in which he plays the writer, for the last several years and presented a workshop version at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery last year.

Kilmer — who has starred in "Top Gun," "The Doors," "Heat" and "Batman Forever" — will take his Twain play on the road for a short tour starting in April. "Citizen Twain" will play two venues in Southern California — the Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge (April 6) and the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City (June 28-July 28).

The version of "Citizen Twain" seen last year was a stream-of-consciousness monologue in which Twain, resurrected from the dead, holds forth on issues both contemporary and historic. The show included some musical interludes, with Kilmer displaying vocal skills.

—David Ng

Theo James joins 'Divergent' film

Brace yourselves for the ear-piercing squeals: Theo James, the British heartthrob and current star of the CBS cop drama "Golden Boy," will star in Summit Entertainment's highly anticipated adaptation of the young adult bestseller "Divergent," the studio announced Friday.

The 28-year-old actor will play 18-year-old Tobias Eaton, or Four, as he is called throughout much of the dystopian novel set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago. He will star opposite Shailene Woodley ("The Descendants"), who landed the starring role of Beatrice Prior, or Tris, the protagonist of the film.

Miles Teller, star of the recent "21 & Over," is in negotiations to play one of the villains, Peter; Irish actor Ray Stevenson ("Dexter") is in talks to portray Tris' father, Andrew Prior, while an offer is out to Aaron Eckhart for the role of Marcus, Andrew's colleague, all according to people familiar with the discussions.

—Nicole Sperling

'X Factor's' official spoof

Simon Cowell is bringing "The X Factor" — or a version of it — from TV screens to the London stage in early 2014.

The acerbic judge's firm, Syco Entertainment, is co-producing a musical spoof written by Harry Hill and directed by Sean Foley about the popular televised singing contest.

Syco and Stage Entertainment say that "X Factor — It's Time to Face the Musical!" will be an "affectionate poke" at the talent show.

The firms said Friday the show will include 19 new songs, and that casting and the theater have yet to be confirmed.

—Associated Press

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