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Sarah Brightman Returns from Space Training for New Album and Tour: ‘I Needed to Earth Myself’

Sarah Brightman is making an astronomical landing with her fifteenth studio album Hymn.

After spending months in Russia training for a trip to outer space that she postponed in 2015, Brightman, 58, opened up to PEOPLE exclusively about the creation of her newest album and the planning stages of her tour.

“I needed to earth myself,” says the soprano singer. “I said I would like to do an album of songs which are full of light, full of hope. Songs that remind me of when I felt safe and familiar with things in my childhood when I sang in my church.”

“If I don’t use and I don’t convey my feelings through it, I feel depleted,” she added. “I don’t function very well and that’s the beauty of having a gift like a voice. You sort of know what to do. You know what direction to take, you know that you want to communicate through it.”

Brightman, who shot to fame after star-turning roles on Broadway musicals Cats and Phantom of the Opera, linked up with producer Frank Peterson for the album-creating process. What came out of two-and-a-half years of planning and recording was the dynamic, choir-filled album, Hymn, out on Nov. 9.

“ is about looking into the good in things because I do believe that good prevails always,” she said, adding that the word “positivity” would describe her album.

“I did experience huge amounts when I was in the space program that actually how precious everything really is on this beautiful planet and how precious that is,” she added.

Now, the “Time to Say Goodbye” vocalist is ready to take Hymn on the road later this fall for a tour that’s “going to be quite beautiful.”

“I have a lot of energy. I tend to before I go on these tours, I become more energetic,” she says. “You create a power for yourself which will protect you because when you go on tour you’re dealing with the hardship of jet lag and moving around continually.”

The “Angel of Music” singer says her set on tour will be divided into two halves. The first will feature a more retrospective aspect to Brightman’s music, which will look like “somebody who is going to the ballet or the opera.” The second will be a bit more modern and feature most of the songs off Hymn.

“I’m wearing all these amazing runway gowns, which I’ve made a little more theatrical by adding things to them. Stones, crystals, all sorts of stuff,” she says. “I’ve got a big choir behind me. Up really high. I’ve got an orchestra on one side, a band on the other side and myself in the middle.”

Brightman’s album is filled with collaborations with artists like French tenor Vincent Niclo on single “Sogni” and Japanese composer Yoshiki on the emotional “Miracle.”

“ is a really interesting guy and we got along very well,” she said. “It was a very interesting collaboration with Japan’s most famous rockstar writing a beautiful contemporary classical piece.”

Along with the collaborations, Brightman’s album jumps from classical and cinematic music to pop rhythms in a cohesive album threaded by its spiritual nature. The album also takes fans back to one of her most famous classics “Time to Say Goodbye” with Andrea Bocelli, which she recreates in a touching English rendition.

“I wrote the lyrics for it but they were very much inspired from the original Italian lyrics when translated,” she said. “It’s quite a grand song, it’s almost like an opera song, but I wanted to do this in a very intimate way.”

Fans can purchase tickets for “Hymn: Sarah Brightman in Concert” through her website.

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TiffinniSaintRanaesAgent posted a photo:

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Bette Midler Is Extremely Confused About Rob Kardashian & Blac Chyna’s Engagement!

We kind of don't blame her!

As we reported in March, Bette Midler threw shade at Kim Kardashian's naked selfie by writing, "If Kim wants us to see a part of her we've never seen, she's gonna have to swallow the camera."

Related: Bette Midler Is Coming Back To Broadway!

Fast forward to Thursday, the Hocus Pocus actress is STILL talking about the Kardashian-Jenner family!

This time, the 70-year-old is confused about the relationships of Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna, & Kylie Jenner and Tyga!

She wrote :


No worries Bette! We made a chart HERE!

To break it down further, Rob got engaged to Chyna, who has a baby with Tyga, who is currently dating Kylie.

Geesh! That was a mouthful!

[Image via WENN.]

George Takei On His Family’s Internment Camp Experience And How It Inspired Broadway’s ‘Allegiance’ [Interview]

It’s rare that a Broadway play staged in the past can be so reflective of the cultural issues America faces currently, but George Takei’s Allegiance pulls that off effortlessly.

The Broadway play, which brings a fusion of big band Americana music with Japanese influences, is based on George Takei’s childhood. Takei was five-years-old when his family was shipped to an internment camp, caught in the thick after shock of the Pearl Harbor attacks. His parents were raised in America, as was George, but since they looked like enemy number one, they were stripped of their American identity and were treated as a threat by the nation they were so very proud of.

Allegiance tells the story within the internment camp and the oppressive nature that the government posed against its own people. The story focuses on a single family — the Kimuras, as their lives are turned upside down when they are moved out of their home and to a camp. While they’re there their loyalty is put into question along with their patriotism to the United States.

George Takei stars alongside Tony award winner Lea Salonga in this powerful musical that recently hit the stage.

The Star Trek actor sat down in AOL’s studio to tell his personal story and explain why Allegiance was his life’s mission.

How his family history lent a hand in Allegiance:

I was five-years-old at the time the soldiers came to our home to order us out. We were taken to the horse stables because the camps weren’t built yet. That was our temporary assembly center. Pearl Harbor had been bombed, and we Americans of Japanese ancestry look like the people that bombed Pearl Harbor. Mass war terror, racism and failed political leadership put us into those camps. The failure of political leadership is important right now because it’s the echo of 70 years ago here.

Back then California had an attorney general, the top of the state, and he was a good man, he knew the law, but he was an ambitious politician, and he saw that the single most popular issue was the “Get Rid of The Japs” movement, and he became an outspoken leader of the movement.

On the offensive nature of “weeding out” “trouble makers” of Japanese-Americans in the United States:

The origami flower (in the show) is made out of a loyalty questionnaire, which was an offensive piece of paper. The most offensive one was 28 – which was one sentence that had two conflicting ideas. It asked, “will you swear your loyalty to the United States of America, and will you foreswear your loyalty to the Emperor of Japan.” We’re Americans — and for the government to the assume we have a genetic inborn loyalty to the Emperor was outrageous.
My mother was born in Sacramento and my father was born in San Francisco, and I as a child didn’t have to respond to the questionnaire, but I was born in Los Angeles. If you answered no for the first part, you were saying no to the very [...]

The post George Takei On His Family’s Internment Camp Experience And How It Inspired Broadway’s ‘Allegiance’ [Interview] appeared first on PopCrunch.

Lea Salonga and Brad Kane Reunite, Perform ‘A Whole New World’ 23 Years Later [WATCH]

Whenever cast members reunite, fans of old movies and shows are thrilled to see them, eager to have them share memories from the old days, talk about their love for their castmates, and yes, reenact some of our favorite moments.

Good Morning America brought us another classic reunion moment, this time with a musical performance.

On October 10th, GMA brought together the cast of Aladdin, one of those childhood movies that are still very close to our hearts. On the show was Scott Weinger (Aladdin), Linda Larkin (Jasmine), Jonathan Freeman (Jafar) and Ron Clements and John Musker (co-writers and directors). But the true magic happened when Alan Menken, Disney’s Oscar-winning songwriter, sat down at the piano.

The musical voices for Aladdin and Jasmine, Brad Kane and Lea Salonga, took to the stage to sing one of our favorite songs, “A Whole New World,” and permit me to say that these two are every bit as mega talented as they were 23 years ago. Their performance was pitch perfect and as moving and breathtaking as the original.

Hearing and seeing the song performed with such emotion and precision over two decades after the movie premiered reminds us all how close Disney movies can get to our hearts. It’s that timelessness that makes Disney recreate its stories, whether for Broadway or the silver screen, and why we’re so anxious to keep living these stories in all of their forms.

Aladdin is on Broadway now, and a prequel live-action film is reportedly in the works, with Genie as its main protagonist. The film was likely document Genie’s journey into the lamp, and his adventures “ten thousand years” before meeting Aladdin.

After that, a live-action Aladdin is likely. In the meantime, we’ll have to keep re-watching the original movie, out on Diamond Edition now, and on Blu-Ray October 13th.

The post Lea Salonga and Brad Kane Reunite, Perform ‘A Whole New World’ 23 Years Later [WATCH] appeared first on PopCrunch.

Rosie O’Donnell Shares What’s Keeping Her Going Amidst Legal Drama With Her Daughter!

Rosie O'Donnell is having a very difficult week.

On Friday, a judge ruled that the former View host's daughter Chelsea O'Donnell is free to be with Steven Sheerer, the 25-year-old man Chelsea was found with after she ran away from home!

[ Related: Rosie O'Donnell Is Reportedly Dating Tatum O'Neal ]

Hours after the judge approved the request from Chelsea to lift a no-contact order with the former drug dealer, Rosie shared a YouTube video of the opening night of the Broadway show Hamilton. She posted on Twitter:

But Broadway isn't the only thing keeping the 53-year-old thinking positive. On Saturday, she posted a picture of a sweet treat with a cute frosting smiley face on her Instagram:

another reason to go on ...A photo posted by Rosie ODonnell (@rosie) on Sep 5, 2015 at 9:00am PDT

Chelsea also recently decided to move to Wisconsin to live with her birth mother, which has been understandably tough for Rosie to come to grips with.

The comedienne definitely has a lot to deal with, so we're glad she's still focusing on the little things to help her through this challenging time.

[Image via Joseph Marzullo/WENN.]

So Sad — The First African-American Actor To Play Jean Valjean In Les Misérables on Broadway Has Died Unexpectedly

This is so sad.

Kyle Jean-Baptiste made history when he became the first African-American actor to play Jean Valjean of Les Misé​rables in a Broadway production, a run on which he had performed throughout the summer.

[ Related: Texts Reveal How Teen Convinced Boyfriend To Commit Suicide ]

Now, though, show spokesman Marc Thibodeau has confirmed Jean-Baptiste died Friday night after falling from a fire escape in New York City. He was just 21 years old.

In addition to making history with his role, Les Mis had been Jean-Baptiste's Broadway debut after graduating from college earlier this year.

Our thoughts are with his family, his fellow cast mates, and all those affected by his death.

[Image via YouTube.]

Jake Gyllenhaal Sounds Like A Taken Man! Actor And Broadway Co-Star Ruth Wilson Seen Locking Lips In NYC!

New couple alert! We repeat, new couple alert!

As we reported, Jake Gyllenhaal and his Broadway co-star Ruth Wilson have been the subject of romance rumors ever since the two were reportedly seen in December smooching at a restaurant in NYC.

[ Related: Jake Gyllenhaal Is Shirtless And Jacked! ]

The 34-year-old actor and the 33-year-old actress both starred in the romantic play Constellations where critics instantly recognized their intense on-stage chemistry!

Well, it looks like art is imitating life and the two are apparently an item!

On Saturday, eyewitnesses saw the photogenic couple at the 10:20 a.m. class at Barry's Bootcamp in NYC getting their sweat on!

According to a source:

"After the class, Jake lingered by the lobby area while he waited for her to shower and change… Ruth and Jake left separately, but while he waited, he was chatting with the people she ended up leaving with. It's clear they have mutual friends. Jake was also very friendly to other people just coming out of the class. No diva behavior at all."

However, before they said au revoir, they just couldn't help but suck face!

"When Ruth came out, they kissed each other goodbye before parting ways. It was more than a peck on the lips between friends. This was a kiss that said, 'We're Dating.'"

All those endorphins must've made them feel pretty sexy!

We've also heard whispers that Mr. Gyllenhaal has already referred to The Affair star as his girlfriend! Oh la la!

We totally support Jake and Ruth as a couple! Get it, you two!

[Image via WENN.]