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John Lithgow performs with the PA Ballet as...a lady elephant

Actor John Lithgow talks about being locked up in a museum and the difference between ballerinas and actors.

Actor John Lithgow to join the PA Ballet?
Actor John Lithgow to join the PA Ballet?Read more

ACTOR John Lithgow's next role? Ballerina.

Lithgow, the Tony Award-winning actor known for his time on sitcom "Third Rock," is the narrator of the Pennsylvania Ballet's performance of "Carnival of the Animals," running May 9-12 at the Academy of the Music.

Lithgow collaborated with choreographer Christopher Wheeldon on the story of a little boy who hides in the Museum of Natural History and imagines all of his friends as animals. "It's a wonderful notion, being locked-in," Lithgow said, adding that when he films in museums, he'll often wander off so he can experience the exhibits in peace and quiet. Lithgow said he's excited to check out the new Barnes Foundation when he's in town.

Lithgow narrates, but at one point he ducks behind the curtain and re-emerges as a school nurse who is reimagined as an elephant.

Lithgow had to spend a lot of time around dancers to get ready for the part. The biggest difference between dancers and actors? "Ballet dancers are about 100 times more disciplined than we are, and they're indefatigable. They make me feel like a complete lout. But I love to feel like a complete lout around them," Lithgow said. "They're terrible perfectionists, ballet dancers. They're magnificent perfectionists."

Lithgow is excited to be back in town (he performed "Carnival of the Animals" with the PA Ballet in 2008, as well), mainly because his son and two grandchildren live in the area.

"I'm very anxious for [my grandchildren] to see it," Lithgow said. "I think it's important to give children a magical first experience of ballet, like theater or a concert hall. You want them to come back so they'll become ballet-o-manes."

Getting Rowdy

Wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper will be at the 25th anniversary screening of the 1988 cult classic "They Live," courtesy of this summer's Awesome Fest presented by Parx Casino.

The John Carpenter sci-fi flick will screen Sunday, July 21, at the Trocadero. Prices haven't been announced yet, but founder and artistic director Josh Goldbloom assured me that there will be various meet-and-greet packages at low prices so wrestling fans can get to chat it up with Piper.

"They Live" features Piper as a drifter named Nada who discovers the rich and powerful of L.A. are an alien race. He embarks on a violent spree in order to rid the city of the evil aliens, saving humanity.

Spencer joins NBC10

George Spencer is the newest addition to the NBC10 family, coming from Florida's WFTV. Spencer will be a reporter at the station.

Spencer is a smarty pants, graduating from Princeton with a major in political science, and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. No word yet on how much time he spent in the area while up at that little school in Jersey. Spencer is originally from San Antonio.

'Shoot' to kill

Novelist Duane Swierczynski finished up his trilogy starring ex-Philly cop Charlie Hardie with Point & Shoot, and this one is outta this world. Literally.

Hard-bitten Hardie is up in space this time. "It's like action movie sequels that get more and more and ludicrous. The guy's in space for goodness sakes. This is my 'Moonraker,'" Swierczynski told me.

Hardie may not be at James Bond levels yet, but Swiercynski said that the original Hardie novel, Fun & Games, is being looked at as a possible TV series. Sony and Adam Sandler's Happy Madison own the rights.

The Northeast born, raised and current resident has two comics coming out as well, including Judge Dredd, Volume 1 for IDW Publishing and "X" for Dark Horse, which is basing it in a nightmare version of Philly and Camden.

His next novel, set for a fall release, is his most Philly yet. "Most of my books have been set here, but this one is meant to be a little more epic," Swiercynski said. "An ode to the city I love and hate so much."

Celebrate the release of Point & Shoot at Port Richmond Books from 1 to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Nutter on top

Mayor Nutter partied at the Stratus Rooftop Lounge party on Monday night, even taking to the drum kit to pound out a tune for the other party patrons.


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