‘Phantom’ returning — to Coney Island
London — The Phantom of the Opera is coming back — but this time, he’ll be haunting the amusement park at New York’s Coney Island.
Star composer Andrew Lloyd Webber announced Thursday a long-awaited sequel to his massively successful “The Phantom of the Opera,” one of the world’s best-loved and longest-running musicals.
“There’s unfinished business,” Lloyd Webber told journalists assembled for a teaser — a new song featuring the titular Phantom, played by Iranian-born Canadian Ramin Karimloo, and his love interest, Christine, played by American actress Sierra Boggess.
“I don’t regard this as a sequel; it’s a standalone piece,” Lloyd Webber said.
The new musical will be called “Love Never Dies.” It is due to open in London in March. It will be staged also in New York beginning in November 2010 and will open in Australia in 2011.
The musical picks up a decade after the original’s conclusion, and has the Phantom trading his customary hideout beneath the Paris opera house for Coney Island, the iconic Brooklyn amusement park known for its roller coasters and “Nathan’s Famous” hot dogs.
Lloyd Webber said he wanted to produce a sequel because the original’s ending, which sees Christine leave the brooding Phantom for his rival, Raoul, was unsatisfactory.
Miley Cyrus quits Twitter, deletes account
New York — Miley Cyrus has quit Twitter, leaving her fans puzzled over her abrupt exit.
The teen pop star was one of the most popular people on the microblogging site, with more than 1.1 million followers. But the account for the 16-year-old Cyrus is no longer available.
In one of her last posts, she wrote that Liam Hemsworth, her co-star in the upcoming film “The Last Song,” wanted her to delete her Twitter account “with good reason.”
Publicists for Cyrus didn’t immediately return requests for comment Thursday.
Fans of Cyrus have organized on Twitter under the heading “mileycomeback,” which was one of the most popular topics on the site Thursday.
Taylor Swift ‘Fearless’ again in 2010
Hendersonville, Tenn. — Taylor Swift isn’t ready for her fairy tale to end, so she’s doing what any other savvy 19-year-old would do — continuing the story.
The country singer says a second leg of her “Fearless” tour will kick off in Australia in February. She’ll also be playing nearly 30 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada.
“We had so much fun on the ‘Fearless’ tour the first time around that we decided that we had to keep going with it,” she says. “So we will be relaunching the ‘Fearless’ tour in February in Australia, and then coming back and doing a bunch more cities in America.”
The 2010 tour opens Feb. 4 in Brisbane. Swift will do five shows in Australia. She’ll also be playing nearly 30 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Kellie Pickler and Gloriana will return as the opening acts.
Her 2009 tour wraps up this weekend, and for Swift.
Scripps changing Fine Living into cooking
Knoxville, Tenn. — Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. is turning Fine Living into the Cooking Channel and moving the cable network from the hills of Tennessee to New York City’s food-oriented Chelsea Market.
Scripps spokeswoman Cindy McConkey says Fine Living employees were told Thursday. The revamped channel will launch in third quarter of 2010.
About 20 jobs will be lost at Scripps’ 1,000-employee headquarters in Knoxville, though Scripps hopes to find other positions for those workers locally.
Scripps Networks created Fine Living in 2002. The channel reaches 55 million households but hasn’t grown as fast as its Knoxville-based sister networks HGTV and DIY Network, both geared to all things about homes.
In New York, the rebranded Cooking Channel will be paired with Scripps’ successful acquisition, The Food Network, in studios the company already owns there.
Spielberg receives Liberty Medal award
Philadelphia — Filmmaker Steven Spielberg has been honored in Philadelphia with the 2009 Liberty Medal for his artistic and humanitarian achievements.
Former President Bill Clinton presented the medal to Spielberg at the National Constitution Center on Thursday evening. The ceremony began with clips from Spielberg’s films being shown on a large outdoor screen.
The medal was established in 1988 to honor those whose actions represent the founding principles of the United States.
Spielberg’s films include “Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan” and “The Color Purple.” He also established a foundation to produce video and oral histories of Holocaust survivors.
Previous winners include Bono, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
‘Project Runway’ to become Wii game
Los Angeles — “Project Runway” is strutting to Nintendo’s Wii.
Atari Inc. is developing a video game based on the popular reality TV fashion competition. The game, set for release next year, will cast players as aspiring fashion designers tasked with creating designs and outfitting models.
Gamers will then be able to showcase their virtual fashions while walking down a catwalk using the Wii Balance Board controller.
“Project Runway” is airing its sixth season on Lifetime.