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Entertainment Today: Showbiz News

By KAREN BUTLER, United Press International   |   May 20, 2003 at 3:00 AM
'BUFFY' FANS BRACE FOR FINALE

Fans of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" braced for the series finale Tuesday.

Ever since the end of the critically acclaimed television drama was announced earlier this year, members of the show's cult following have discussed, argued and speculated about what would and should be the fates of their favorite Sunnydale residents -- vampire slayer Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), reformed vampire Spike (James Marsters), witch Willow (Alyson Hannigan), sidekick Xander (Nicholas Brendon), former vengeance demon Anya (Emma Caulfield), rogue slayer Faith (Eliza Dushku), and watcher Giles (Anthony Stewart Head.)

Asked what it was like shooting the final scene of the series, creator Joss Whedon told TV Guide Online: "The last scene that I filmed (involved) one day player with no lines, which is great. I actually said, 'I want the last scene to be one day player with no lines, so I don't lose it.'

"We basically wrapped the principal actors over the three days preceding," he recalled. "One at a time the (assistant director) would call out, 'That's a series wrap for Sarah Michelle Gellar,' and there would be talking and crying and clapping, and one by one they went. By the time we got to the end it was sweet. I definitely felt something. And the last shot we did was wonderfully appropriate. But I didn't have the full rush of it all being over at once. It had been going in stages."

At first glance the show is about a group of friends fighting evil in a small California town that just happens to be a portal to hell, but "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" won the hearts of fans and critics alike with the effective way it addresses issues facing young people, as well as its fresh story lines and dialogue.

After four years on the WB, "Buffy" moved to UPN for two seasons. The decision to end the show came after Gellar announced she wanted to concentrate on her new marriage and film career.

Whedon told TV Guide Online he didn't know if there would ever be a film based on the series.

"Sarah has always come down against that idea," he admitted. "But then again, she was spending 10 months a year shooting the show, so maybe... And right now, we're all tired and, I don't want to say can't stand the sight of each other, because actually, the fact is they're most of my best friends. But I think we're all ready to take a breather and spread our wings to other things. I'm definitely not ruling it out. I definitely think the show would sustain it and it would be awesome. But right now, I think everybody sort of wants to hit a different chord."


'LES MISERABLES' ENDS 16-YEAR RUN

"Les Miserables" ended its 16-year run on Broadway Sunday after 6,680 performances, the second-longest running show after "Cats."

Based on Victor Hugo's novel, "Les Miserables" earned eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, when it opened in 1987.

The musical's last audience was restricted to members of the original cast, relatives and friends of the show's last ensemble and members of the show's creative team. At the end of the performance Sunday, red, white and blue balloons and streamers were released from over the crowd.

After curtain calls, producer Cameron Mackintosh, the show's authors Alain Boulil and Claude-Michel Schonberg, and its two co-directors, Trevor Nunn and John Caird, thanked the crowd and bid them adieu.

"Time for au revoir," Mackintosh said.


NEW WOODY ALLEN COMEDY SOLD OUT

The world premiere of Woody Allen's new comedy "Writer's Block" might be sold out but you still can get tickets.

Producers of the show say a limited number of seats will be sold for $50 each -- cash only -- at the box office two hours before each performance on a first come, first served basis and on Thursday, June 12 at 8 p.m., there will be a special performance to benefit the Atlantic Theater Co.'s education and community outreach programs. All tickets to that event are $150 and include a post-performance reception with the cast. They can be purchased by phone at (212) 691-5919 or by e-mail at dbodner@atlantictheater.

Starring Paul Reiser, Bebe Neuwirth and Richard Portnow, this limited engagement of "Writer's Block" runs through Sunday, June 29.


CHOCOLATE EXHIBIT OPENS AT NEW YORK MUSEUM

An exhibit exploring the legends, history, economics and enduring allure of chocolate is to open June 14 at the American Museum of Natural History.

The delicious story of chocolate spans more than 2,000 years and began in the tropical rain forests of Central and South America where cacao trees, the seeds of which are made into chocolate, first grew. Among the more than 200 objects on view at the "Chocolate" exhibition in New York will be pre-Columbian ceramics and ritual objects, European silver and porcelain chocolate services, 19th- and 20th-century cocoa tins and advertisements, holiday and festival candy molds, botanical specimens and agricultural tools.

Exhibit highlights include an interactive Aztec marketplace, demonstrating the purchasing power of a handful of cacao beans; a running ticker showing nearly real-time prices from the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange at the New York Board of Trade; and lavishly designed Mayan vessels for serving chocolate drinks as part of religious and cultural ceremonies, the museum says.

A fully bilingual exhibition, "Chocolate" and its national tour were developed by The Field Museum, Chicago, and is supported in part by the National Science Foundation.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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