A little more than a week before a new, Steven Spielberg-directed version of West Side Story -- one of his most famous works -- is set to hit the big screen, composer Stephen Sondheim has died. The giant of musical theater died Friday at his home in Roxbury, CT. He was 91.
Marianne Elliott, the director of the current Broadway revival of Company, Sondheim's 1970 musical, tweeted, "We have lost the Shakespeare of musical theater. He was the most generous collaborator with the greatest spirit. The joy of working with him was that he knew theater could and should evolve with time. He was always open to the new."
Considered one of the most influential composers and lyricists of the 20th century, Sondheim's works included A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, West Side Story, Gypsy, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sunday In the Park with George, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd and many more.
Five of his shows won the Tony for best musical, while six won the Tony for best original score. Sunday In the Park with George won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for drama. Sondheim's accolades also included eight Grammys, plus an Oscar for writing "Sooner or Later," which Madonna recorded for the soundtrack of the movie Dick Tracy.
In 1993, Sondheim won the Kennedy Center Honors, and in 2015, President Obama gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2010, a Broadway theater was renamed in his honor.
Among the stars paying tribute to Sondheim on social media: Barbra Streisand, Hugh Jackman, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel, Elaine Paige, Lea Salonga and Josh Groban.
In a statement to ABC News, Steven Spielberg, whose new take on West Side Story opens December 9, said, "Stephen Sondheim was a gigantic figure in American culture -- one of our country's greatest songwriters, a lyricist and composer of real genius, and a creator of some of the most glorious musical dramas ever written."
"Steve and I became friends only recently, but we became good friends and I was surprised to discover that he knew more about movies than almost anyone I'd ever met," the filmmaker added. "I will miss him very much, but he left a body of work that has taught us, and will keep teaching us, how hard and how absolutely necessary it is to love."
According to the New York Times, Sondheim is survived by his husband, Jeffrey Romley, whom he married in 2017, and a half-brother, Walter Sondheim.
Andrew Garfield can be seen on Netflix in Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical film Tick...Tick...Boom!, and he can also now be seen absolutely losing his mind on NetflixGeeked's social media. And it's all thanks to a greeting from the cast of the streaming service's Emmy-nominated Cobra Kai.
The Oscar-nominated actor has said he became "obsessed" with the Karate Kid spin-off series, telling Netflix he unfortunately "had to put that on the shelf" because of how long he's been waiting for the forthcoming forth season.
To get him through, Netflix set up surprise video greetings to Garfield from Cobra Kai's Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, Jacob Bertrand, Mary Mouser and Peyton List.
Via a split-screen, you can see Garfield, arms occasionally flailing, as he nerds out hard while the cast members thank him for being such a "superfan."
Afterwards, Garfield wiped away happy tears, saying "They know I exist." Clearly moved, he observed, "My body feels like Christmas."
"Forget season four," he laughs. "That's gonna keep me going for years."
Fortunately, he won't have to wait that long: Season 4 of Cobra Kai is set to be released December 31.
Will Smith narrates the trailer for Bel Air, the new coming-of-age series he is executive-producing that's inspired by his iconic show Fresh Prince of Bel Air. "This is a story all about how my life got flipped and turned upside down," he says in the promo. Bel Air will premiere on Peacock in 2022.
Halle Berry leads the Thanksgiving weekend TV/film lineup with her directorial debut, Bruised. The Oscar winner stars as a washed-up MMA fighter attempting a comeback. Bruised premieres Wednesday on Netflix.
Kevin Hart makes his dramatic series debut in True Story. The Think Like a Man star portrays the world's most famous comedian in the seven-episode series. Wesley Snipes plays his older brother, and they face a life-or-death situation. True Story premieres Wednesday on Netflix.
The documentary DMX: Don't Try to Understand premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on HBO, and also will stream on HBO Max. The film focuses on when the late Earl "DMX" Simmons was released from prison in January 2019 after serving one year for tax fraud. On Wednesday, DMX received a posthumous Grammy nomination in the Best Rap Song category for "Bath Salts" with Jay-Z and Nas.
Kelly Rowland is reprising her role as Jacquie Liddle in Merry Liddle Christmas Baby, premiering Saturday at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on Lifetime. Rowland previously starred in Merry Liddle Christmas in 2019, and Merry Liddle Christmas Wedding in 2020.
The Soul Train Music Awards airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on BET, BET Her, MTV2 and VH1. Maxwell will receive the Legend Award on the event, and Ashanti will be presented with the Lady of Soul Award.
Finally, Porsha Williams from Real Housewives of Atlanta now has her own reality series, Porsha's Family Matters, which debuts this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.
Yes, the holidays are a magical time, but one guy is about to show you that with a Thanksgiving special that incorporates some actual magic.
Magician Adam Trent, aka The Futurist, has appeared on America's Got Talent and on his own show The Road Trick on Netflix. Now he's using his talents to make everyday people's dreams come true, courtesy of The Magic Maker, airing Thursday night on ABC.
On the show, Trent will use magic to do things like have a soldier "magically" reappear to his family after serving overseas, and help a guy "walk on water" for a special marriage proposal. He also helps surprise attendees at a firefighter's retirement party and helps a pediatrician delight and mystify his young patients.
Trent says he'll go undercover and use his skills to "create the biggest and most emotional moments" of these folks' lives.
Bat-fans are going to have to wait until next year to see it, but until then, they can take some comfort in Zoë Kravitz's new comments about The Batman.
Kravitz plays Selena Kyle/Catwoman in the new film, and while she wasn't giving Variety any spoilers, she tells the trade she's "seen a little" of director Matt Reeves' movie.
"Rob is perfect for this role," she says of co-star Robert Pattinson, who plays the Dark Knight and his alter-ego, Bruce Wayne. "He was incredible. His transformation was out of this world," the actress enthuses.
Kravitz also commented, "[Director] Matt Reeves has a lot of heart, and he cares so much for these characters. I'm just very excited for him to be able to go on vacation because he deserves it."
Zoë adds, "I hope the fans love it because we put a lot of work into this."
Also starring Jeffrey Wright, Colin Farrell, Andy Serkis and Paul Dano, The Batman swings into theaters March 4, 2022.
Mean Girls star and 911 veteran Lacey Chabert is mourning the loss of one of her older sisters.
In an Instagram post Tuesday showing a graduation photo of her "beautiful" sister, Wendy, Chabert captioned, "Our hearts are shattered into a million pieces that I don't know how we will ever put back together again now that you're gone."
"We love and adore you more than we can ever say and we will continue to forever and ever and ever," Chabert expressed. "The shocking loss has left us so broken hearted. Our lives will never be the same without my dear sister, but we cling to the promises of Jesus that we will be together again in eternity. Please keep our family, especially her two boys, in your hearts and prayers. Thank you so much."
Wendy was 46 but no details were given about her death. Lacey is the youngest of three girls; just days ago, she posted a birthday tribute to her eldest sister, Chrissy.
Chabert's message brought sympathy posts from Lacey's fellow Hallmark holiday movie mainstays, including Candice Cameron Bure and Danica McKellar.
"Oh my goodness, Lacey. I love you so much and am sending prayers and love to you," McKellar told the Christmas at Castle Hart star. "I don't know what I could possibly do but please call on me if I can do anything at all."
Bure posted in part, "we are praying for you, your family and Wendy's family. We love you, always here for you my sweet sweet friend."
Amazon Studio's The Wheel of Time launched on November 19, and the sword and sorcery series is performing well for the streaming service, the studio's head Jennifer Salketells Deadline.
The show, which stars Rosamund Pike, is based on a bestselling fantasy book series.
"We can firmly say that Wheel of Time was the most-watched series premiere of the year and one of the top five series launches of all time for Prime Video," Salke tells the trade.
While, like other streaming services, viewer numbers for Amazon Prime are hard to pin down, Salke says, "there were tens and tens of millions of streams in the first three days of its release in the US, India, Brazil, Canada, France, and Germany, in particular."
With its Lord of the Rings spin-off already underway, Amazon Studios is looking to the world of video games for its next big launch, according to Deadline. The studio is reportedly "nearing a deal" to adapt the bestselling video game franchise Mass Effect into a show. The sci-fi game is set in an alternate reality in which humans and aliens band together in an effort to save the universe from an ancient, robotic menace.
Millions of Americans are already in the kitchen, getting things together for the big Thanksgiving feast, but actress Kim Fields isn't among them.
The former Facts of Life and Living Single star has been busy promoting her upcoming VH1 movie, Adventures in Christmasing, which debuts Monday. But promo or no, she's not letting her personal holiday tradition change this year: getting all her food from the good folks at the Honey Baked Ham company.
"My specialty is driving to Honey Baked to get everything I need for the holidays," Kim says by phone. "There is no shame in my game. I am woman enough to say so and I enjoy it!"
She adds with a big laugh, "That's the thing, you know: Be thankful for other people in business!"
Co-written by Fields, Adventures in Christmasing also stars Kel Mitchell, Jonathan Silverman and Eva Marcille. It airs at 9 p.m. Monday on VH1.
(NOTE LANGUAGE) In his latest bit of cinematic "get off my lawn!", legendary filmmaker Ridley Scott says millennials are to blame for his film The Last Duel fizzling at the box office.
Just days after he dissed superhero movies to Deadline as "boring as sh**," Scott chatted with Marc Maron on his WTF podcast, and let millennials have it over the tepid theatrical performance of the Ben Affleck/Matt Damon medieval movie.
"I think what it boils down to -- what we've got today [are] the audiences who were brought up on these f**king cell phones," the director said. "The millennian do not ever want to be taught anything unless you are told it on the cell phone. This is a broad stroke, but I think we’re dealing with it right now with Facebook. There is a misdirection that has happened where it’s given the wrong kind of confidence to this latest generation, I think."
He added, "We all thought it was a terrific script, and we made it," allowing, "You can't win all the time."
Scott commented, "I've never had one regret on any movie I've ever made. Nothing. I learned very early on to be your own critic....Walk away. Make sure you're happy. And don't look back. That's me."
For the record, Scott believes he's made three great superhero movies -- but just not the comic book kind.
"One would be Alien with Sigourney Weaver," he told Deadine. "One would be f***ing Gladiator, and one would be Harrison Ford [in Blade Runner]. They're superhero movies. So, why don't the superhero movies have better stories?"
Steve Burton, who played mobster Jason Morgan on General Hospital, has become the second cast member of the long-running ABC soap over his refusal to comply with the production’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Burton confirmed his departure in a video posted to Instagram on Tuesday in which he said, "I know there’s been a lot of rumors and speculations about me and General Hospital and I wanted you to hear it from me personally: Unfortunately, General Hospital has let me go."
Burton claims he sought medical and religious exemptions to the mandate, but was denied.
The turn of events "hurts," the actor admitted. "But this also about personal freedom to me. I don't think anybody should lose their livelihood over this."
Burton thanked his fans, saying he's "excited to see what the future brings," and said it would be "an honor" if he could return to the show and "finish his career as Jason Morgan" someday, "if these mandates are lifted."
Burton, who taped his final episode on October 27, says he doesn't know when his last airdate will be. Ingo Rademacher recently announced his departure from GH over his refusal to comply with the mandate.
Ready, set, binge! Here are some of the new titles available to stream this weekend:
Bruised: Halle Berry stars in the film about an MMA fighter with one last shot at redemption.
Jonas Brothers Family Roast: Experience a one-of-a-kind comedy specialwhere multi-platinum music stars the Jonas Brothers get a roasting they’ll never forget.
True Story: Kevin Hart and Wesley Snipes star in the new limited series all about a comedian whose life goes into a downward spiral.
Selling Sunset(Season 4): Selling Sunset is back -- and so is the drama. Watch as your favorite Oppenheim Group agents try to sell some of L.A.’s high-end real estate.
HBOMax Gossip Girl: Part two of the first season of Gossip Girl will continue to explore just how much social media -- and New York itself -- has changed in the years since the original series. XOXO.
Disney+ Hawkeye: Watch superhero Clint Barton team up with Kate Bishop in the much-anticipated Marvel series.
The Beatles: Get Back: Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson, The Beatles: Get Back showcases the band’s creative process in January 1969 as they wrote 14 new songs in preparation for their first live concert in over two years.
Lady Gaga is already getting Oscar buzz for her role in Ridley Scott's House of Gucci, which opens today. The film is based on the true story of Patrizia Reggiani, who hired a hit man to kill her ex-husband, Maurizio Gucci -- and Gaga says it's quite the emotional journey.
"I think that this movie is a really wild ride," she tells ABC News. "It's a drama, but it's also a dark comedy, so if you're looking to laugh, it's great to go to the theater and see it. And also...I think it's a really powerful story."
Gaga feels the movie is really about how women are sometimes taught that they have no value unless a man loves them -- and what happens if that loves ends.
"The Guccis...were so focused on the money and the business that they were blind to the thing that they should've been paying attention to, which was the disaster that was [Patrizia]," Gaga says.
"She was disposed of by the family...She was not treated like she mattered. She was treated like she lost her looks and was not valuable," Gaga continues. "And had they not been so focused on their privilege, they would have noticed that a murder was just about to take place."
Gaga says she was hesitant at first to play a real person because Patrizia has two daughters -- but also because of the way Patrizia had been portrayed in the media.
"I was not interested in playing a stereotypical, sexy gold-digging woman that was after his money," she explains.
She adds, "That's not what the truth was. And I remember I sat down with Ridley and [he] said to me, 'You know, they were really in love.' And I said, 'O.K., I'm going to run with that.' And I did."
Encanto, the new animated Disney musical out today, is the first of its kind to be set in Latin America: Colombia, to be exact.
The movie is centered on the Madrigals, a family where all but one child has been granted special powers. Cuban-American actress Jessica Darrow, who voices the second oldest daughter, Luisa, tells ABC Audio this is a movie she wishes she could have seen when she was a little girl.
"I love Disney so much. I've been obsessed with it since I was a baby. I know all these films and I actually felt like growing up I really wanted to meet a family that felt closer to mine," she said. "So to see a family like this on screen feels so important and significant, especially right now, and I definitely wanted to grow up seeing something that felt closer to my own story. And this is it."
Not only does she feel close to the story, Darrow says the family in Encanto resembles her own, a lot.
"There's just this sense of family that is so specific within us," she explains. "We just really appreciate the time that we get to have because, you know, you never know when the next struggle is going to pop up."
She adds, "It's just like, let's turn up the music loud. Let's eat the food now. Let's enjoy the present, baby. It's all we've got."
Overall, Darrow says that Disney got it right.
"All the different roles that the family members play and how many different family members there are," she shares. "I have my little chismosa [gossiping] cousin. I have all these tias, aunts and uncles that are freaking crazy who interject themselves when you don't ask."
With just seven suitors remaining and hometown dates looming, Tuesday's episode of The Bachelorette saw Michelle enlisting some of her fifth-grade students to design and lead the dates.
Ahead of the first one-on-one date, the students peppered each of the men with a number of questions aimed at finding the best husband for their favorite teacher. While Nayte and Rodney both scored points with the kids, Clayton's fort-building skills made him stand out among the others, earning him the first one-on-one date.
However, while Clayton "completely checked every single box" for the qualities Michelle was looking for in a partner, she didn't believe their relationship had progressed to the point where she was ready to meet his family. In one of this season's most heartbreaking eliminations, Clayton was sent home.
Later, the group date ended with a rose and another elimination.
Martin emerged as the new villain after criticizing Michelle's "immaturity" during conversations with the other suitors. Olu, heeding Michelle's request for them to "leave everything out on the table," used his time with her to expose Martin's true character. When Michelle confronted Martin, his attempts to deny the accusations only got him into more hot water, until Michelle finally showed him the door.
Meanwhile, Nayte's declaration that he was "definitely, seriously, strongly" falling for Michelle, followed by her confirmation that she felt the same, earned him the date rose.
A final one-on-one date went to Brandon, who got a tour of Michelle's childhood home, followed by another surprise. While cozying up to each other in the family's backyard hot tub, Michelle's mom and dad "unexpectedly" showed up. Brandon hit all the the right notes with the parents, especially during a private conversation in which he asked their permission for Michelle's hand, should he make it that far. They said yes, and later, Michelle offered him the final date rose.
That left four men competing for the two remaining hometown spots, and each saw they're chances slipping away as hosts Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe announced that Michelle had already made her decision, and would therefore skip the cocktail party and head straight to the rose ceremony.
The remaining roses went to Joe and Martin. Olu and Rick were sent home.
Here are the four men whose families Michelle will meet:
Brandon J., 27, a traveling nurse recruiter from Portland, Ore.
Joe, 28, a real estate developer from Minneapolis, Minn.
Nayte, 27, a sales executive from Austin, Texas
Rodney, 29, a sales rep from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
The Bachelorette returns Tuesday at 8 p.pm. ET on ABC.
Jeremy Renner's Marvel movie hero Hawkeye gets his own eponymous small-screen spin-off starting with two episodes on Disney+ today.
The holiday-themed show that sees Renner's archer Avenger reluctantly taking on a protégé in Hailee Steinfeld's headstrong Kate Bishop.
The series follows the onscreen events of Avengers: Endgame, during which Renner's grief-stricken Clint Barton took out his anger over Thanos snapping away his family by going on an underworld killing spree as the masked vigilante Ronin.
After Tony Stark and Hawkeye's other fellow Avengers saved Barton's family -- along with half of humanity --- Renner's character is trying to get back to a normal life as a dad.
"We start off with a very, very happy step forward into a family vacation into New York at Christmas and taking the kids to go see a musical, and then everything kind of goes sideways from there." Renner said at a recent press conference.
"Sideways" is where Hawkeye fan Kate comes in. "[S]he's inspired by him and motivated by him and wants to be at his level and is very overeager -- and he puts up with a lot," Steinfeld laughs.
Renner says Kate sees past Barton's "veneer of grumpiness."
"It comes from just the weight and the horrors and the tragedies and loss that come with the...superhero game. And the lightness...that Hailee's character brings in kind of counteracts that. It's really cathartic and I think, quite beautiful."
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige sums it up: "Six episode, six days, will Clint make it home for Christmas? Which was fun and a breath of fresh air after world-ending stakes and Celestials bursting out of planets, and Multiverse shenanigans. This is, like Hawkeye himself, a grounded, family-based show."
Marvel Studios is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.