Understudy Billy Eugene Jones stood in again Sunday for Sean Combs, the hip-hop mogul who stars in the hit Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun.”

Combs left the production during intermission of the Saturday matinee because of a stomach ailment, said Bob Fennell, a spokesman for the play. Jones finished the performance and did the Saturday evening show as well.

Jones, a recent graduate of the Yale School of Drama, has a small role in “Raisin” which also stars Phylicia Rashad and Audra McDonald. The women recently won Tony Awards for their performances in the play about a working-class black family in Chicago in the 1950s.

Combs, 34, hopes to return Tuesday to “Raisin,” in which he portrays a frustrated limousine driver, Fennell said.

The production has been doing strong business at the Royale Theatre, where it has broken the house record several times since opening April 26. Its limited engagement ends July 11.



On the Net:

Raisin in the Sun: http://www.raisinonbroadway.com/



LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – TV reality star Anna Nicole Smith – recovering from two broken ribs – considered canceling an appearance at an HIV/AIDS benefit for children but showed up after all.

Smith said she was “very much in pain” when she arrived in Lincoln. But, “I love children. I’m doing this for the kids.”

The 36-year-old model appeared at the Rococo Theater for Saturday’s fund-raiser with Jerri Manthey of “Survivor,” Hilarie Burton of “One Tree Hill,” and Lincoln native Jon Kelley, who appears on television’s “Extra.”

Smith suffered two broken ribs in a fall from a water craft while filming “The Anna Nicole Show.”

During her visit, Smith also participated in three hours of “celebrity karaoke” at the Rococo Theater.



LOS ANGELES (AP) – The late Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia was many things: musician, artist, writer, composer.

Wine connoisseur wasn’t really one of them, even though J. Garcia wine, released last year, sold out its first shipment of 22,000 cases in just 30 days, according to the Clos du Bois winery, which is producing it with the approval of Garcia’s estate. A second batch of wines, more than 30,000 cases of merlot, zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon, recently arrived in stores.

“Quite honestly, Jerry was not really a big drinker,” said Grateful Dead biographer and longtime Garcia friend Dennis McNally. “But he did have his occasional glass of wine.”

Garcia, who died of a heart attack in 1995, also had a somewhat tenuous relationship with Sonoma County, where the wine is produced.

“Sonoma County is where Jerry dropped out of high school,” McNally said with a chuckle.

He surfaced fairly soon afterward in a jug band in Palo Alto that eventually changed its name, electrified its acoustic instruments and helped change popular music.

Renowned initially for his music, Garcia began to gain attention toward the end of his life for his abstract paintings, and examples of the latter are included on each bottle of wine.



LAS VEGAS (AP) – Comedian Don Rickles has been inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame.

Rickles, who made his first appearance in Las Vegas in 1959, accepted the honor Friday during a ceremony at the Green Valley Ranch hotel-casino.

“In the 45 years I’ve worked in casinos, I dreamed of being honored by an organization like the American Gaming Association, especially since I don’t even have a hunting license,” Rickles joked.

More than 50 people have been inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame, including Wayne Newton, Merv Griffin, Barron Hilton, Kirk Kerkorian and Donald Trump.

During his acceptance speech, Rickles reflected on the state of comedy today.

“Compared to what some of the young comics use for material today, I’m a priest,” Rickles said.



NEW YORK (AP) – One of Manhattan’s most famous French restaurants, whose patrons have included Frank Sinatra and former presidents, is going to move and change its name, its owner says.

Le Cirque 2000 will leave its current home in the Palace Hotel on 50th Street on Jan. 1, a year before its lease was to end, according to owner Sirio Maccioni.

“Le Cirque is not closing, Le Cirque is moving out,” he told The New York Times for Sunday editions. “But anything I do after Jan. 1 will not be called Le Cirque 2000 because 2000 is already past.”

Maccioni said plans aren’t yet final, but he is considering returning to the East 60s, where the original Le Cirque opened in 1974 at the Mayfair Hotel.

“Some of my customers still wonder why I went downtown,” he told the Times. “I had to convince them to come.”

Along with Sinatra, Le Cirque’s guest list has included Henry Kissinger, Princess Grace, Bill Blass, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, Diana Ross and Nancy and Ronald Reagan.

Maccioni said his decision to move was spurred in part by a change in the Park’s management.


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