Thu, Jan 20, 2005 - Page 14 News List

Planet Pop

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Millionaire musical composer Andrew Lloyd Webber may soon be singing all the way to the bank after getting an offer for his Really Useful Group, worth up to US$934.2 million.

The man who transformed musical theater with hits like Cats and Starlight Express has always been happier sitting at a piano than in a board room and he may get his wish in what could be one of the biggest buyouts in British theater history.

Lloyd Webber's wholly owned Really Useful Group, founded in 1977, is a global entertainment group that stages musicals worldwide. It recently released the feature film The Phantom of the Opera and has rights to the composer's songs and shows.

"Andrew Lloyd Webber has received an enquiry in relation to the acquisition of some parts of his businesses," a spokeswoman for the composer said on Tuesday.

The king of reality television Donald Trump was tempted to go for a "royal wedding" broadcast on live television until his supermodel bride insisted some things should remain private. But not everything. Melania Knauss vetoed the plan for a live broadcast of her wedding to property mogul Trump last Saturday, but that didn't stop her from breaking another tradition by revealing the wedding dress a week before the big day.

Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings couple Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh plan to bring the grim saga The Lovely Bones to the big screen in 2007 after they have finished King Kong, Daily Variety reported in its Tuesday edition.

The trade paper said the New Zealanders have reached into their own pockets to option the feature film rights to Alice Sebold's debut novel from Britain's FilmFour movie production company, and will start adapting the screenplay with their Rings partner Philippa Boyens next January.

Global music sales slipped again last year, but after four years of declines the record publishers will see the return of growing revenues this year due to online stores and music DVDs, a survey found on Monday. Hit by piracy, Internet song swappers and saturated markets, music sales fell in 2004 by 1 percent to US$32.1 billion. But 2005 will make up for the damage with a 1 percent increase, said research group Informa.

Modern clothes are unwearable and the fashion industry has been disfigured by big business and nudity, says legendary designer Pierre Cardin. In an interview at his offices overlooking the French presidential palace, Cardin said true haute couture, the French phrase for the most exclusive work produced by a big fashion house, had vanished. Veteran Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis and Rome's famed Cinecitta Studios have teamed up to create CLA Studios, which stretches over 371 acres with two shooting stages.

Kinky Friedman, the best-selling author, country singer and friend of the stray dog, next week will officially toss his ten-gallon hat into the ring for the 2006 Texas governor's race, his campaign said on Tuesday. Friedman will announce his bid to run as an independent on Feb. 3 near the Alamo from a hotel where former US President Teddy Roosevelt founded the Rough Riders.

Actress Ruth Warren, who made her Hollywood debut, as the wife of the title character in Citizen Kane, has died of complications from pneumonia at her home in New York. She was best-known for the long-running soap opera All My Children as a meddling busybody and in Peyton Place as a mysterious housekeeper.

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