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Tag: Anna Nicole Smith (1-4 of 4)

'Brokeback Mountain,' Sarah Palin and Klingons: 10 operas based on pop culture

Opera has always been a reflection of the cultural zeitgeist of Western society. Historical events, popular stories, real people—they’ve all inspired musicalizations which allow patrons to connect directly with cultural moments in artistic ways.

But while opera may have stopped being the most popular art form, it never stopped being a relevant one. Hats off to the contemporary composers who continue to devote themselves to breathing life into the art form (because if they don’t, who will?). Opera is an endangered species, much like pandas or stenographers, and it continues to thrive creatively by reflecting the pop culture moments—movies, novels, reality stars—that you perhaps didn’t expect to be made operatic.

You may not have known that there’s a Brokeback Mountain opera opening January 28 in Madrid. Or that New York City Opera ended its decades-long run with an opera about Anna Nicole Smith. In fact, there are a slew of recent pop culture-inspired operas you might not know about: READ FULL STORY

This Week On Stage: Orlando Bloom takes on the Bard and a Return to Oz

Everyone’s back to school and back to work, and that includes theater folk, as EW reinstates its This Week on Stage column to let you know what’s going on all over the country and what you should be spending those ducats on. The past week has seen a variety of new productions, from a new tour of a beloved family classic and the newest by one-half of the acclaimed Coen brothers to an unlikely opera chronicling a tragic pop culture figure and Legolas on the woo in the first Broadway revival of Romeo and Juliet in 36 years (click on the links below for the full reviews):

Anna Nicole  The late Playboy centerfold and troubled pop icon gets her very own opera, debuting at Brooklyn Academy of Music after a debut at London’s Royal Opera House in 2011. Could our Kyle Anderson resist the buxom beauty? He asks, “Are we meant to have sympathy for Smith or is she a figure of scorn? The show can’t decide.” but has nothing but praise for Sarah Joy Miller in the title role, countering, “[The show] is held aloft by Sarah Joy Miller’s performance in the title role.” EW grade: B-

PopWatch Viewing Party: Lifetime's 'Anna Nicole'

Last night, Lifetime premiered its destined to be Peabody-, Emmy-, Golden Globe-, and (why not?) Nobel Prize-winning film Anna Nicole. A prestigious (and I must add, courageous) group of EW staffers convened at my apartment to see whether the biopic could give Citizen Kane a run for its money. Read on for a sampling of our reactions to Anna Nicole. READ FULL STORY

Lifetime plans Anna Nicole Smith biopic -- but what's left to say?

Only one woman in history has inspired a production at London’s Royal Opera House, a truly awful direct-to-DVD biopic, and an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent: pioneering train wreck Anna Nicole Smith.

Even five years after her death, something about Smith still fascinates a certain subset of the public. Perhaps it’s because her rags-to-riches-to-overdose story seems simple, but boasts plenty of weird wrinkles: Smith was obsessed with Marilyn Monroe before it became trendy. Her relationship with billionaire J. Howard Marshall led to a case that eventually reached the Supreme Court. She was one of the first washed-up stars to attempt a reality show comeback, and her disastrous series set the template for dozens of copycat shows on VH1 and E! Anna Nicole wasn’t just an inexplicably famous celebrity; she was, for better or worse, a sort of icon, though what she represented is up for debate.

It makes sense, then, that Lifetime — home of Smith disciple Lindsay Lohan’s big comeback — is casting a new biopic about Playboy‘s most infamous centerfold. The call sheet, as reprinted by TMZ, lists the players tabloid readers now know well: Anna Nicole, “a pretty, but plain girl growing up in small town Texas” who “transformed herself though sheer willpower” into a sort of celebrity; Marshall, an 80-something magnate with a “pointlessness” replacing “the glint that used to be in his eyes”; Smith’s confidante Howard K. Stern, a “lawyer-guy-friend-weirdo”; and a few other characters, including Smith’s beloved son Daniel and her mother Virgie.

This all seems par for the course: If Prince William and Kate Middleton’s romance can inspire dueling TV movies, why shouldn’t Lifetime produce another version of the Anna Nicole story? Still, when I saw the news about the upcoming flick, I had only one question: Why?


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