IT'S BEEN A busy, newsy week for theater. NBC went live with "The Sound of Music" last night. A select group of angry TV watchers railed against Macy's for including the Tony-winning musical "Kinky Boots" in its Thanksgiving Day Parade (hint: Macy's only agenda is to make money). And in the backward little hamlet of Trumbull, Conn., new principal Marc Guarino has decreed that the Trumbull High School Thespian Society cannot perform "Rent" as its spring musical.
Well, just because.
The students are upset, the longtime drama teacher is upset and the theater community across the country, in part due to the writing of Tattle buddy Howard Sherman (former executive director of the American Theatre Wing, so he knows a bit of what he speaks), has rallied behind the students of Trumbull.
But the principal and the school board won't budge.
Well, just because.
Twenty years after its first reading and after it's been seen by millions of people around the world, "Rent," it seems, is controversial.
And let's keep in mind that the students were planning to perform "Rent: School Edition," a tamed-down version of the original, first done in 2008 by Shorewood High School in Wisconsin.
Besides, this is "Rent," one of the most influential musicals of the past 20 years, not some off-off-Broadway production of "Oh! Calcutta!" There isn't anything in this show that a nonhomeschooled high-school student hasn't seen or heard.
Based on Puccini's "La Boheme," "Rent" won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Tony Award for Best Musical and was named the Drama Desk Outstanding Musical. The show ran on Broadway for 12 years and more than 5,000 performances, grossing more than $280 million. That money wasn't all coming from the ooh, scary denizens of New York's East Village. It was coming from good old American fly-over-country tourists. In fact, when "Rent" toured the United States, Playbill reported that the tour grossed an additional $330 million.
And although it may not be suitable for Connecticut, the international tour of "Rent" managed to play Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Seoul, Taipei, Tokyo, Bangkok, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Brussels, Antwerp, Barcelona, Madrid, Stockholm, Reykjavik, Oslo, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Cape Town, Johannesburg, St. Petersburg, Moscow and Budapest.
Last March, the "school edition" of "Rent" was performed by Hillsboro Comprehensive High School in . . . Nashville. The home of the Grand Ole Opry is more progressive than Trumbull.
So before the Trumbull Thespian Society is ordered to perform "South Pacific," but cuts the onetime questionable romance between Nellie and Emile because, you know, they're "different," here's a suggestion: Take "Rent" off campus. Perform it in a barn if you have to.
Or go to principal Guarino and tell him you've decided to instead perform something else.
* A lawyer for Amanda Bynes says the actress has left an inpatient mental-health treatment facility and is back with her parents.
Attorney Tamar Arminak yesterday confirmed Amanda's release after several months of treatment.
Bynes, 27, has been in treatment since July, when she was placed on a psychiatric hold after starting a fire in a driveway in her hometown of Thousand Oaks, Calif. Her mother, Lynn Bynes, was granted a temporary conservatorship over the actress, but the case was dismissed because Amanda's care was being overseen by a mental-health court.
Arminak wrote in a statement to People magazine that Amanda's treatment will continue and she is considering a return to school to study fashion design.
Bynes' release was first reported by RadarOnline.com.
* A handwritten, working lyric sheet for Bruce Springsteen's 1975 hit "Born to Run" sold for $197,000 yesterday at Sotheby's.
The document used to be in the collection of Springsteen's former manager, Mike Appel, according to Sotheby's. It did not reveal the identity of either the seller or the buyer, a person bidding by telephone.
Most of the lines in this rough 1974 version, written in Long Branch, N.J., are apparently unpublished and unrecorded, but the manuscript does include "a nearly perfected chorus," the auction house said.
* Anaheim has Disney's Tomorrowland and now Chicago will have Yesterdayland.
A California couple who bought the house where Walt Disney was born 112 years ago plans to turn it into a historical site and museum. According to a news release, they hope it will serve as a "community resource with a mission of enhancing and exploring childhood creativity."
A spokesman for new owners Dina Benadon and Brent Young said restoration is scheduled to start next month, with the hope that the project can be completed by what would have been Walt's 113th birthday, on Dec. 5, 2014.
The couple announced on their website that they hope to raise $500,000 for the renovations, with donors receiving prizes, ranging from having their names listed in a book in the house to a one-night stay there.
* In the new In Touch magazine, Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag - remember them? - say what life has been like since fame's money faucet slowed to a drip.
"We were immature and we got caught up," Spencer confessed to In Touch. "Every time we'd go out to eat, we'd order $4,000 bottles of wine. Heidi was going to the mall and dropping $20,000 to $30,000 a day. We thought we were Jay Z and Beyonce."
It's hard to have empathy for people that deluded.
- Daily News wire services
contributed to this report
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