By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International  |  March 12, 2003 at 2:00 PM
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A stage show is being planned based on the career and legend of the great entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. The former "Rat Pack" member already is the subject of a planned biopic. Now, according to a publicist, a stage presentation has been given the green light by the singer-dancer's surviving family. Auditions will begin in a few weeks for the lead but casting will be difficult. Davis was a diminutive bundle of energy. The stage show will be called "Mr. Bojangles." The producers -- Robert Peneda and Jimmy Richards, part of R&J Worldwide Entertainment in Chicago, says Davis is a "music icon and there are still a great many fans (who) love his vast catalog of unforgettable music." Davis died in 1990. Over the years he became one of the most versatile performers in show business and got the nickname "Mr. Wonderful." His career spanned a 60-year period.


The folks at the TV Land cable network are about to honor the "golden people" of classic television. The first-ever TV Land Awards show is being held in Los Angeles, with major sponsorship. During the past few months the network has enlisted the help of viewers in voting for the major awards. The broadcast, a 2 1/2 hour event, will be hosted by John Ritter. Kathy Najimy will help out, Dick Van Dyke is expected to be there, along with Bea Arthur. More later about the show and the awards handed out.


The creator of "Rent" is being remembered in his own musical in Minneapolis this week. "Rent," the award-winning Broadway musical, a modern-day "La Boheme," was the brainchild of composer Jonathan Larson, who was stricken with an aneurysm at age 35 and died the night before the show was scheduled to have its first public performance. Eventually a musical about Larson's own trying life was put together. It's called "Tick, Tick ... BOOM!" The show came to Minneapolis this week. The Star-Tribune there says while "Rent" is a loud, brash musical, the Larson tribute, "Tick," is quiet ... "it invites you in calmly." After an off-Broadway run, "Tick" was revived in New York several years ago and has since played on a regional basis. By the way, the Minneapolis venue for the show is the newly renovated Pantages Theatre, one of those classic movie palaces recently brought back to its original glory.


Rapper DMX says he's going out with a flare, combining with the talents of 50 Cent for his final CD. SFGate is reporting DMX and 50 Cent have a common bond, a dislike for a colleague, rapper Ja Rule. The teaming is somewhat of an effort to prove to their foe that DMX still "has the power." The CD is called "It's Not a Game." It's due to be released this coming summer. During the past few years DMX has concentrated less on music and music management and more on religion. He recently told reporters he now has children around and wants to spend more time with them. "I don't want to be a stranger to my children," he quipped.


The man recognized as one of the world's foremost teachers of singing technique will help judge upcoming performing arts contests. Seth Riggs has joined the panel for the 7th annual World Championships of Performing Arts competitions. The contests will be held across the country and also in South Africa and Jamaica. Riggs is respected for the vocal therapy he has given countless singers over the years. He has worked with such stars as Ray Charles, Jennifer Lopez, Barbra Streisand, Stevie Wonder, Anita Baker and Whoopi Goldberg. Riggs will be joined by TV host Bob Eubanks in the opening round in July, which will be held in Burbank, Calif., for entertainers ages 15 and under. Producers have hired more than 70 scouts to look for talent around the country. Shows such as "American Idol" and "Star Search" have brought back the old "Talent Scouts" format that was a staple on radio and TV for decades. More than 50,000 people are expected to audition during the summer months for various competitions.


A troubled love life apparently has sent adult-too-soon Britney Spears into the realm of the psychic. Published reports indicate the singer has been told her problems with relationships are of her own doing. After a breakup with Justin Timberlake, she ricocheted into the company of several heartthrobs and was seen in all the right places with them. Reports quote Spears as having been told by the seer to simply "loosen up." Among those she has dated since leaving Timberlake in a much-publicized, tabloid-smeared separation have been "Daredevil" star Colin Farrell and Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst.


We continue our cross-country bus trip questions by offering you the following seat assignment choice for a week-long trip. Today we ask: "Whom would you rather have sit next to you for the trip, Bing Crosby or Bob Hope (were it the 1940s again)?" Put BUS3 in the subject line and sent to via the Internet.


Last week we asked about theater restoration in your area. From a very random dip into the e-mail inbox we got these comments: DonnaJR says she used to love American Movie Classics magazine for its monthly look at restored theaters. StewFenman says that in Vincennes, Ind., there is an old theater that should be revived. It's the Pantheon. That's where a 10-year-old Red Skelton first saw Ed Wynn (Wynn got him his ticket) and he fell in love with show business. The theater is crumbling; the main floor's slant (rake) was leveled so it could be used as a department store. (When I worked in Vincennes, 25 years ago we all talked about what a shame the decay of the old theater was.) AntonWhet says he knows of no theater in his area that is being preserved, but is sad the old movie palaces have fallen into disrepair. Finally, RolandB says he loves going to the old Paramount Theater in Oakland, Calif. He says it's a classic example of the way things used to be. TOMORROW: What is your favorite classical composition? GBA

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