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Young singer works with her idol
Saturday, May 30 2009

Brandi Carlile can't escape Elton John. But, really, it's not like she'd want to.

The singer-songwriter from Ravensdale, Wash., who turns 28 on June 1, 2009, makes no secret that she's a big fan of Elton and has been since childhood. He read it himself in a story a couple of years ago, and he responded with a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of wine from Carlile's birth year, a gift that "totally blew my mind for, like, a year," Carlile says.

And it gets better for Carlile: Elton joined her on a new song for her album, "Give Up the Ghost," which is set to come out in the fall. Grammy winner Rick Rubin (Dixie Chicks, Red Hot Chili Peppers) produced "Ghost," the follow-up to Carlile's 2007 hit record, "The Story," which was produced by Grammy winner T Bone Burnett (Roy Orbison, Elvis Costello). For that album, the band performed live-to-tape using Burnett's vintage instruments, with little extra added to the songs.

ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" featured several songs from the album, and a full-length video for the title track aired after one episode. The song, which was featured in a GM Olympics commercial, is best known for Carlile's now-famous voice crack and is her biggest hit.

Having recently returned from performances in Europe, Carlile is touring the United States this summer, making three Bay Area stops in 10 days. She chatted with The Chronicle recently from a tour stop in North Carolina, where she talked about "The Story," recording and, of course, Elton John.

Q: What kind of effect did the success of "The Story" have on you, personally and professionally?
A: It just meant that I was going to spend more time on the road, which I love. And, I don't know, it felt really good to have that kind of success for a record that was made live and that was made with the intention of being as close to who I really am, who we really are as a band, as possible.
Q: I read that you were a big fan of Elton John's, and that you were going to collaborate on this album for a single.
A: Yeah, he did! He did collaborate with me. It's so killer! I can't wait for you to hear it. We recorded a song together called "Caroline." It was amazing.
Q: What was it like to work with him?
A: It was insane. It was like an out-of-body experience. He's been my hero since I was 11 years old. To get to work with Elton, it was just crazy. I don't even know how to describe it. He was amazing. He nailed the piano in one take. It took him an hour and a half to sing and play piano on this song, and then he stuck around and absolutely schooled me on new music for two hours and gave me a music lesson, basically. It was wonderful.
Q: This is your third studio album, and you've already worked with T Bone Burnett and Rick Rubin. How common is it for someone in your position to get to work with people like that so early in your career?
A: It always seems like the most normal thing in the world when it's happening. It's just one of those things where I guess, looking at it from a bird's-eye view, it's pretty crazy. ... There have been a couple of times where I'll kind of look around and go, "Oh my God. I'm playing guitar and records in his living room," or sitting back and listening to mixes with T Bone when he puts his sunglasses on, like, "Oh, my God. That's T Bone Burnett." But while it's happening, they're just, like, friends and collaborators and musical heroes. I don't know; it's like being inside of a tornado. I'm sure you really don't know the magnitude until you're outside of it.
Q: It seems like every interview you do, you're always asked about that note on "The Story," and how you hit that note.
A: (laughs)
Q: Is that a question that you ever get tired of hearing?
A: (laughs) It's a question without an answer, because my voice, it just gets f- up when it gets loud. It does weird things. ... I could not do that again if I tried. In fact, it's never happened since then. Ever. (laughs) But every night I always sense this vortex right before I hit that note. Everybody gasps, you know what I mean? Can she do it? Is she gonna do it? And I never do it. I've never hit it again. But my voice always gets crazy right there. It'll scream or it'll slip, go out of key or get f- up. The more distorted my voice is, the better that note sounds.

To hear Brandi Carlile's music, go to www.brandicarlile.com.

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Killers frontman thanks Elton for Killers success
Friday, May 29 2009

The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers has credited Elton John with the band's success - insisting they wouldn't be where they are today without his inspiration.

Flowers cites the Rocket Man as a major influence on the rockers' performances, as they have always aimed to emulate the star's extravagant style and showmanship.

And the singer admits he has always wanted to add a little bit of Elton's "glamour" to his life - even before he shot to fame with the Mr Brightside hitmakers. Brandon tells Elle UK, "We wouldn't be here if it weren't for Elton John! Coming from very ordinary backgrounds, the glamour was an exciting thing when we started out. It still is.

"It just seems natural for us to be drawn to ostentation. Putting on a suit, a little make-up... it feels the right thing to do."

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    Tony Awards Telecast to feature Elton John
    Friday, May 29 2009

    The 2009 Tony Awards, to be held on June 7, 2009 at Radio City Music Hall and aired live on CBS-TV from 8:00pm to 11:00 pm, has announced the show's featured performances.

    Each of the Tony-nominated Best Musicals and Best Musical Revivals -- including Billy Elliot, The Musical; Guys and Dolls; Hair; Next to Normal; Pal Joey; Rock of Ages; Shrek the Musical; and West Side Story -- will perform.

    Additionally, there will be special performances from the touring productions of Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde The Musical and Mamma Mia!, along with special appearances by Elton John and Dolly Parton.

    Neil Patrick Harris will host the ceremony. Presenters will include Lucie Arnaz, Kate Burton, Kristin Chenoweth, Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, Edie Falco, Will Ferrell, Carrie Fisher, Jane Fonda, Hallie Foote, James Gandolfini, Lauren Graham, Colin Hanks, Marcia Gay Harden, Nicole Kidman, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Lange, Frank Langella, Angela Lansbury, Audra McDonald, David Hyde Pierce, Piper Perabo, Oliver Platt, Susan Sarandon, Kevin Spacey, John Stamos, and Chandra Wilson.

    Billy Elliot, the Musical leads the field with 15 nominations, including Best Musical. Other shows with multiple nominations include Next to Normal (11), Hair (8), Shrek the Musical (8), Mary Stuart (7), The Norman Conquests (7), God of Carnage (6), and Joe Turner's Come and Gone (6).

    In addition, for the first time ever, fans in the New York area can watch the Tony Awards simulcast in Times Square on the Clear Channel Spectacolor HD Screen, from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. The screening will feature the pre-telecast Creative Arts Awards and the Tony Awards broadcast. Seating will be provided in Duffy Square.

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    Elton John takes the stage in ‘Guitar Hero 5’
    Friday, May 29 2009

    For anyone who has wanted to rock like Elton John, “Guitar Hero 5” will give you that chance.

    Activision, publisher of the best-selling music game series “Guitar Hero,” is looking to expand its audience with this fall’s game, which will have new features designed for casual players and die-hard fans alike. “We’ve enhanced the entire experience around social play,” said Activision senior vice president Will Kassoy. Players will be able to jump in and out of songs and change the difficulty level on the fly.

    “GH5” also will allow any combination of fake instruments, so if everyone wants to play drums, they can. Elton is one of the classic rockers new to the franchise. Tom Petty and John Mellencamp join the part-time Atlanta resident on the 82-band roster. It also includes the usual suspects (Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, Queens of the Stone Age) and some fresh faces (Band of Horses, Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend).

    “Guitar Hero” is also enjoying its status as a star-maker for bands like Wolfmother, which got a boost when its “Woman” appeared on “Guitar Hero II.”

    “Guitar Hero 5” will reach stores September 1, 2009, a week before “The Beatles: Rock Band” from rival MTV Games.

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    Elton John and Billy Joel performed in Toronto on May 26, 2009
    Thursday, May 28 2009

    Fan report by Rainer Preuss.

    The truth comes often too short (and they are both kind of short). But still there has always been at least some rivalry between them. So let’s put it right down. Billy is the social worker, humorous, joking, hammering x-rated comments onto the audience, and fighting for every syllable of every of his great songs that he delivered on May 26, 2009 at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.

    Billy is the entertainer, no matter if he spits on Liberty De Vitto (Quotation: „This piece of shit [talking about Scenes from an Italian Restaurant] has obviously been written by my ex-drummer“) because just that very day the Toronto Star was publishing about Liberty suing Billy and stating that Billy’s career hadn’t been possible without him, Liberty, the greatest drummer in the universe (Well, what a kind of understatement: Has he ever heard about Nigel?)

    Okay, I try it again: Billy is the entertainer, and Elton? He came last night to Toronto, saw blue and pink, refused to socialise with the crowd (in the manner Billy did) but contributed a 75-minute-set with versions of "Madman Across the Water" and "Rocket Man" with such extraordinary playing and voice that it took a while for the people to recognize what was delivered here.

    One should also say that Davey is about to climb up to the pop-Olympus of which Elton is not getting tired having the sole ownership (even without sweating like the entertainer did last night).

    Few weeks ago Billy was celebrated for having edged out Elton, and Billy might edge Elton out. But that is at first impression, one day later you just sit there thinking about the night before (like I do it right now) and wondering how the older guy of them could have been so impressive. It must have to do something with what is called ingenuity and seriousness!

    You don’t wanna know the set list. It is not likely to change ...

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    Does Elton John's yellow brick road lead to Caledon?
    Wednesday, May 27 2009

    Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty stood momentarily frozen in the middle of a crowded room, smiling the helpless half-smile of a ninth-grader whose gym shorts have been pulled down in front of his crush by a popular prankster.

    Elton John had made fun of him. Elton John can make fun of premiers for the same reason he can wear blue-tinted sunglasses at indoor press conferences: He is Elton John.

    He wed a nice Scarborough boy in 2005. And he may or may not have a house in Caledon. He has no such house, Elton's partner David Furnish said on May 26, 2009. "No! We have no home in Caledon," he said, shaking his head vigorously. "I have no idea where that rumour came from."

    He has such a house, said the people of Caledon, who are probably where that rumour came from. Elton, who met Furnish at a dinner party in the early 1990s, performed at the Air Canada Centre on May 26, 2009 with Billy Joel. They will hold a second concert on May 30, 2009.

    In the meantime, Caledon residents eagerly await reports of the arrival of a limousine at the remote-controlled front gates of a mysterious mansion off Hwy. 10. The sprawling house on a large estate adjacent to the Devil's Pulpit Golf Association has been widely rumoured to belong to Elton and David since construction began about three years ago.

    The house may be larger than 20,000 square feet. It is mostly obscured by trees and it is surrounded by barbed wire. Though nobody in its vicinity seems to have actually seen Elton there, much of the town appears convinced it belongs to him.

    When Elton has concerts in Ontario, security around the estate increases noticeably, says John Corby, owner of Orangeville's Blighty's Tuck Store. The shop, which sells products imported from England, is a short drive from the mansion. "I'd just love for him to walk in here and order his chocolate," he said. "But it hasn't happened yet."

    He understands. Elton John is, after all, a busy man. Wearing a dark blazer, he appeared alongside McGuinty at the Starz Animation Toronto studio to tout Gnomeo & Juliet. John and Furnish's Rocket Pictures is a producer of the Starz-animated film.

    Before McGuinty discussed his government's decision to give the studio $23 million as part of an effort to create high-value jobs, he sang the singer's praises. Earring glistening, Elton reciprocated the kind words. Sounding very much the true-north patriot except for when he called Ontario a "state," he thanked McGuinty for trying to create jobs for animators.

    "I have a new opening in my cabinet for a minister of economic development," McGuinty then joked. "Are you available, Sir Elton?" Elton laughed, then listened impassively as a reporter asked if McGuinty's views on the funding of cultural businesses had been affected by the 2006 failure of the Lord of the Rings musical, in which his government invested $3 million.

    Later, Elton said he would pass on the cabinet position but would be happy to serve as a McGuinty adviser. "If he'd have given me a call," Elton said, "I could have told him not to invest in Lord of the Rings, the musical."
    The premier tried to chuckle.

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    Visit from Elton John, $23M funding boost for Toronto 3D studio
    Wednesday, May 27 2009

    The crew at Starz Animation Toronto had a brush with celebrity and received a financial boost on May 26, 2009, with new collaborator Elton John dropping in for a visit and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty pledging an investment of $23 million to the growing company.

    "Starz is helping make Ontario a hotbed of innovation," McGuinty said during a gathering at the 3D animation house for the funding announcement. "It's is amazing what's possible when you get the ingredients right," said David Steinberg, who is head of the Starz Toronto studio, a veteran animation producer and artist as well as a children's author. "This is a recipe, truly, for something great and we've only just begun."

    Starz Toronto, which the international parent company opened in 2007, has been adding major movie, TV and advertising projects to its growing list of credits — including being enlisted by Elton and David to animate their forthcoming Miramax film Gnomeo & Juliet.

    Based on Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, the animated movie will tell the story of a love affair that blooms amidst two duelling garden gnome families. According to reports, James McAvoy and Emily Blunt are to voice the title characters.

    "This film ... it's been around for a long, long time. We've seen it die. We 've seen it come alive again," Elton told reporters. When he and the Toronto-born Furnish finally got the green light to hire an animation studio, Elton said they were "overwhelmingly blown away by the facility at Starz here. It was a no-brainer to come here to do this."

    Echoing McGuinty by describing Canada as a "hotbed of talent," Elton added that he thinks Tuesday's $23 million in funding — earmarked for expanding the Toronto studio and creating new jobs — will help draw back Canadian animation talents who have had to leave the country to find work.

    "It's great to see something so positive," he said, quipping that given the British economy, Ontario could very well see a flood of workers coming over from England. He also said he hopes to be able to return to Canada more regularly.

    "Canada is very connected to what I'm doing at the moment," he said, pointing out other projects like his collaborations with Alberta Ballet's Jean Grand-Maître and with Elvis Costello for the CTV chat-and-performance series Spectacle.

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    Prop 8 reactions: Elton John chimes in
    Wednesday, May 27 2009

    Elton John, who married his Canadian partner David Furnish the first day civil partnerships were allowed in England, spoke to etalk in Canada about the ruling.

    “That’s just awful. I mean when you see places like Iowa saying yes and there’s now five states [in favour] in America … and California is supposed to be a progressive state it just defies logic to me and I’m very disappointed with that.”

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    Elton John and Billy Joel performed in Cleveland on May 23, 2009
    Monday, May 25 2009

    Following is the complete set list of the Cleveland show on May 23, 2009.

    Elton John/Billy Joel (solo)

    • Your Song
    • Just The Way You Are
    Elton John/Billy Joel (bands)
    • Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
    • My Life
    Elton John set
    • Funeral For A Friend
    • Love Lies Bleeding
    • Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)
    • Burn Down The Mission
    • Madman Across The Water
    • Tiny Dancer
    • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
    • Daniel
    • Rocket Man
    • Levon
    • I'm Still Standing
    • Crocodile Rock
    Billy Joel set
    • Prelude
    • Angry Young Man
    • Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)
    • Allentown
    • Zanzibar
    • Don't Ask Me Why
    • She's Always A Woman
    • Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
    • River Of Dreams
    • We Didn't Start The Fire
    • It's Still Rock'n'Roll To Me
    • Only The Good Die Young
    Elton John/Billy Joel (Bands)
    • I Guess That's Why The Call It The Blues
    • Uptown Girl
    • The Bitch Is Back
    • You Maybe Right
    • Bennie And The Jets
    • They Say It's Your Birthday
    • Back In The U.S.S.R.
    Elton John/Billy Joel (solo)
    • Candle In The Wind
    • Piano Man

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    Can Elton John become a grand-slam awards champ?
    Monday, May 25 2009

    So far only ten people have won the grand slam of showbiz peer-group prizes — the Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony: Mel Brooks, John Gielgud, Whoopi Goldberg, Helen Hayes, Audrey Hepburn, Marvin Hamlisch, Mike Nichols, Rita Moreno, Richard Rodgers and Jonathan Tunick.

    All of Gold Derby's award seers predict that Elton John will win the Tony Award on June 7, 2009 for his music score for inevitable best-musical champ "Billy Elliott." Having already won an Oscar for best song of 1994 ("Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" from "The Lion King") and five Grammys, all he'll need soon to join the grand-slam pantheon is an Emmy. He's not only eligible this year, but he's also campaigning aggressively to nab it.

    Elton and his partner David Furnish could win Emmys as co-producers of "Spectacle With Elvis Costello" on the Sundance Channel, which competes for best variety series. The show features Costello hosting interviews with, and performances by, music icons such as Smokey Robinson, Herbie Hancock and Diana Krall.

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    Ben & Jerry’s relaunches limited Elton John flavor
    Saturday, May 23 2009

    After launching a one-week, limited edition flavor to recognize Elton John’s first trip to Vermont, and to raise money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF), Ben & Jerry’s has relaunched its Goodbye Yellow Brick Road ice cream flavor.

    Fans of Elton John’s music and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream sent hundreds of e-mails and many more phone calls to Ben & Jerry’s Vermont headquarters calling for the return of the popular flavor, which features chocolate ice cream, peanut butter cookie dough, butter brickle and white chocolate chunks.

    A portion of the proceeds from the sales of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road will go to support the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

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    Elton to appear in Toronto for announcement
    Saturday, May 23 2009

    Elton John is teaming up with one of Canada's largest 3D animation studios for his latest project - an animated spoof on Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet."

    He will be in Toronto on May 26, 2009 to make an announcement at Starz Animation Toronto, a company that specializes in high-end computer-animated films. While a spokeswoman for the company would not reveal details of the announcement, Starz's website says it is currently in production on "Gnomeo and Juliet".

    Elton and his Toronto-born partner David Furnish have long been working on the musical comedy through their film company, Rocket Pictures. In an interview in April 2009, Elton described it as the story of Romeo and Juliet - but with garden gnomes.

    He said it will He also said production had begun in Toronto after roughly 11 years of planning.

    "It's the story of Romeo and Juliet with garden gnomes and it's very funny," Elton said. "Bernie and I are writing the music, we're using a lot of Elton John catalogue in it as well."

    Voices will reportedly be provided by "Atonement"'s James McAvoy, for Gnomeo, and Emily Blunt of "The Devil Wears Prada," for Juliet. "Gnomeo and Juliet" was originally conceived of as a big-budget project at Disney Animation. It's now under the helm of Disney's specialty unit, Miramax.

    "It takes a long time to get these things together," Elton said of the lengthy process to get his vision to the big screen. Starz Animation Toronto recently wrapped production on the computer-animated fantasy "9," produced by Tim Burton.

    A spokeswoman for Starz said more details would be releasedon May 25, 2009.

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    Happy Birthday, Bernie!
    Friday, May 22 2009

    Elton's lyricist Bernie Taupin turns 59 today, May 22, 2009.

    On behalf of the Hercules team and the Elton John fans all over the world, we would like to wish him a happy birthday!

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    Elton John frustrated about attitudes towards AIDS
    Wednesday, May 20 2009

    Elton sat down with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta before speaking on May 19, 2009 at the Bio International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. Here is an edited transcript.

    CNN: What are you doing here today?

    Elton John: I'm doing a speech about the situation with AIDS in America basically, and how we need to address what's going on. We seem to be falling a little behind in America.

    I find this disease very cyclical. Every 10 years or so, after we spend a lot of money trying to educate people -- a new generation of people -- and we tell them to have safe sex and to abstain sometimes but have safe sex, wear condoms, we find that after 10 years another whole group of people come along. And we have to start all over again, which is really, really frustrating because it takes money for education. And we find that if we could get into the schools at a grass-roots levels, which we do in places like Africa where we get to kids at a young age and we tell them about preventive measures for not getting HIV, we find the success rate is tremendous.

    CNN: Sometimes in medicine, you can actually be a victim of your own success. When the medications are pretty good, you see a resurgence of high-risk behavior. How do you affect that?

    Elton John: I'm a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. I know that when I used to use and drink, that my mind situation was altered completely. Your caution goes out the window and you think, "Oh, well, we'll gamble, we'll have..." and luckily, I was so lucky enough to not be HIV infected.

    Once you have that drink and that drug, your mind-set goes out the window and a lot of people think, "Oh yeah, because there's medicine available now," as you say, "We're going to be OK, and we have to take now one pill a day maybe," which is incredible, because initially people had to take God knows how many pills a day, various cocktails to get them through this disease.

    Now, people are going back into the work force, they're becoming alive again, they live for a much longer time, which is great. But, this is incredibly toxic medicine you're taking, and it doesn't work for everybody, and you're really playing... Russian roulette with your life. And it's sad -- you think that after all this time, and all of this education that has gone down, and with all the statistics and deaths that people have seen, and the Ryan White situation going down, that people would be a little bit more careful. But we're finding they're not.

    CNN: When you look at your foundation, and you're talking to the people who work with you, how do you measure your success?

    Elton John: We're very small, and I've kept it small because I've always wanted to keep an eye on what was going on. We have two people basically running the organization in America and about seven or eight in Britain plus volunteers. In America for the last four years, I've measured the success by the fact that we have a four-star rating from the Charity Navigator for the last four years, which means that we are doing a fantastic job. We don't waste any money, we don't gamble with our money.

    CNN: You go to South Africa every year, I understand?

    Elton John: Every year at the beginning of the year, we start the year on safari, we go and visit our AIDS projects, and as soon as you go there and see -- and you have to visit your projects from time to time, wherever they are, whether it's in America, South America, West Indies, whatever -- we go and visit these projects on a regular basis to see the results that we're doing, to see if it's working, to see if our money's being spent the right way, and to come back and feel "yes, we're working, its working, so let's do more." When you see something that's working, you want to do more. You say, "This is fantastic."

    CNN: What are some of those success stories?

    Elton John: Well, in Kalicha, in Cape Town, there was a woman we visited about five years ago. Somebody left a baby on her doorstep one night, and the mother had thrown herself in front of a train, the baby was orphaned, and they gave it to Rosalia. And she took it in, and then everyone started leaving babies on their doorstep.
    So there were about 120 kids sleeping in a shack, her home, like six to a bed. And we were reduced to tears -- one woman and volunteers were looking after all of these kids. We said, "One day, this whole street where you're living, we'll build you some homes, proper homes for these kids to live in." Now there are six "cluster homes," they call them, where they have running water, showers, proper bedrooms, they're like beautiful little houses. So that street now, there's no original shack left, it's got all beautiful houses for these kids to live in. You go there, you see how happy they are, and you think, God this is amazing.

    We were inspired because of this one woman. We do good work, but these people on the ground, these people that are actually in the trenches every day who are looking after AIDS patients, who are looking after orphans, they're the heroes -- we're not. We're just trying to make their lives a bit easier, and because they're doing such great humanitarian work.

    CNN: What is your routine like?

    Elton John: Well lets put it like this: I have a musical nominated for 15 Tonys, I'm doing an animation movie for Disney that I'm writing the music for, I'm producing, we have a show called "Spectacle" which is on Sundance which is with Elvis Costello, which is an incredibly well-received show.

    I'm going to do an album with Leon Russell next year, I have a ballet going to be done by the Alberta Ballet, I have the AIDS foundation, I have my management company [in] which we manage lots of young artists, and I still have free time. I love my life and I'm 62, I've never felt better. I've never had more joy than I have in my life right now, and the AIDS foundation is a huge part of that.

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    Meet Elton backstage!
    Wednesday, May 20 2009

    The Liberty Hill Foundation is auctioning off a meet & greet with Elton.

    Place your bid until May 24, 2009. This auction includes two tickets (valued at $181.00 each, including tax and fees) to an Elton John/Billy Joel concert in North America between June 1 and November 30, 2009. There will be a meet and greet experience for both guests with Elton John either before or after the performance. This does not include a meet and greet with Billy Joel.

    The performance is at the venue of the winner's choosing. The meet and greet will take place in a special backstage green room area.

    Liberty Hill Foundation partners with innovative and effective Los Angeles grassroots organizations to combat poverty and injustice, and help transform the "City of Angels" into a place that promises safety, equality and opportunity for everyone who lives here. Their motto is "Change, not Charity." Charity is important, but their dollars go the next step - organizing, advocating, and creating change for the long term.

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    Elton delivered keynote at 2009 BIO International Convention
    Wednesday, May 20 2009

    Elton John might have been wearing rose-tinted glasses, but his keynote speech at the 2009 BIO International Convention in Atlanta on May 19, 2009 was anything but rosy.

    Despite medical advances, Elton told the hundreds of biosciences executives lunching on steak salad and key lime pie, that HIV/AIDS "is still winning."

    “It continues to devastate populations in the developing world,” Elton said. “But the epidemic is also worse than we thought in this very city and in this very country -- the richest and most powerful on the earth.”

    Elton implored the assembled executives to not just fight the disease with science, but also help change perceptions and public policy. Fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Elton said, must be done not just with miracle vaccines, but by fighting stigma and breaking down barriers.“There are long standing stereotypes and prejudices that inhibit our efforts to combat AIDS,” he said.

    Since 1992, the Elton John Aids Foundation (EJAF) has raised $150 million toward fighting and preventing the HIV/AIDS epidemic. EJAF is the largest AIDS foundation in the United Kingdom and one of the largest in the United States.

    “We are not endowed like the Ford Foundation or the Gates Foundation,” Elton said, adding that every dollar spent is raised privately. “We are the David of non-profits, fighting the Goliath of diseases.”

    Elton said he launched EJAF, partly out of guilt. “I needed to face the reality that during the 1980s I should have been on the frontlines," said Elton, who has lost 60 friends to the disease. "I should have spoken out, I should have done more. And I did not."

    In his speech, Elton took world governments and the medical industry to task for not doing enough to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. “We are in the third decade of this epidemic,” Elton said, “and shockingly the American public health establishment isn't resourced enough to fully deploy the testing, treatment and technologies that are proven to save lives.”

    While HIV/AIDS has fallen off the radar of many Americans and governments, Elton suggested the disease is far from beaten. He noted some statistics to support his point:

    • More than 1 million Americans, today, are living with HIV and more than 500,000 lack the necessary treatment to survive, John said. About a third of new AIDS cases are among people under the age of 30.
    • AIDS is one of the leading causes of death among young black women and prevalence rates among middle-aged black men in Manhattan equals those in sub-Saharan Africa.
    • About 41 percent of HIV-positive Americans live in the South. Yet, fewer than half of those are on treatment.
    To help make a dent in those stats, Elton said, his foundation is funding education and advocacy programs. The organization is also funding needle exchange programs and AIDS education for students. But the David of non-profits cannot alone take down AIDS Goliath.

    “All of us must confront the reality of the AIDS epidemic,” Elton implored the audience. “You are uniquely positioned to lead the way in shaping how this disease is perceived and addressed.”

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    Make a Face Campaign
    Wednesday, May 20 2009

    The 'MAKE A FACE - transform a life' campaign sees internationally renowned personalities lending their support to Education Africa by painting blank masks for auction.

    The completed masks were exhibited in London earlier this year, but can still be watched online.

    The mask created by Sir Elton John and David Furnish (shown here) was bought by a private buyer for £130,000.00! (approx. US$200,000.00).

    Established in 1992, Education Africa strives to reach and uplift the poorest of the poor children of South Africa. Their aim is to assist disadvantaged South Africans in our quest to achieve a level of education which will ensure that they are in a position to become global citizens and a competitive, productive element in the local job market.

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    Hornets reunite to relive Final
    Wednesday, May 20 2009

    Watford relived their FA Cup moment of glory on May 19, 2009 at a special reunion to mark the 25th anniversary of the club’s only appearance in The FA Cup Final to date.

    Players, management and staff who played a part in the Hornets’ Wembley outing on May 19, 1984 gathered at Vicarage Road to renew old friendships and recall the day when one end of Wembley was a sea of yellow, red and black.

    The day, however, ended in a 2-0 defeat to Everton, coincidentally contesting this year’s Final against Chelsea on May 30, 2009.

    The 1984 Final was the culmination of an unbelievable six-year run for the Hornets. Under Graham Taylor’s stewardship, they went from the bottom tier of the domestic game (Division Four) to the top flight, and it didn’t end there. They finished runners-up to champions Liverpool in 1982-83, before playing in Europe the following year and contesting The FA Cup Final.

    Elton John was the club’s Chairman at the time of the Wembley visit and the cameras caught him wiping an emotional tear from his eye during the singing of ‘Abide With Me’. The dream of taking the club he had supported as a boy to a Wembley Final had become a reality.

    A quarter of a century on, on May 19, 2009 the dream was relived.

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    Calgary music foundation lets visitors try out old instruments
    Wednesday, May 20 2009

    The upright piano once used by Elton John is white and weathered. Above the keys, in fading letters, a message has been scrawled by his songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin: "Within this piano lays the ghost of a hundred songs. Take care of them, they love you."

    The instrument, on display at the Cantos Music Foundation, is almost close enough for visitors to reach out and test for lingering vibrations. Elton's piano, which he used to create the hit single "Your Song," is among 200 instruments, some hundreds of years old, that have been donated to the foundation or purchased by it.

    The organization aims to bring people face-to-face with the music and instruments in its collection, so they can see Supertramp's synthesizer, test out a hurdy-gurdy or pluck and plunk their way through centuries of history.

    In most cases, except for items such as Elton's piano and some pieces so frail they need to be protected, people can actually sit down and try the instruments. "A big part of our mandate is to have a living collection," said Cantos spokesperson Camie Leard. "It's not just going to see a bunch of instruments. You can put your hands on them, touch, feel, hear them."

    The six-year-old non-profit foundation, tucked away in a grey and red stone building near Calgary's downtown, was created by the merger of the TriumphEnt Foundation, which focused on organs, and the Cantos Music Museum, which aimed to develop a collection of musical instruments.

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    Elton zings Madonna
    Tuesday, May 19 2009

    Elton John couldn't resist a playful jab at Madonna during his Drama League Awards acceptance speech on May 17, 2009.

    "I heard about this from my office," he told the audience after receiving his Distinguished Achievement honor. "They said, ‘They want to give you an award from the Drama League.' I thought, I've been a member of the drama league for years. They went, ‘No, no, no. Not the Madonna drama league. The OTHER drama league!'"

    All kidding aside, the five-time Grammy winner is just happy to contribute to consistently successful Broadway shows like "Aida," "The Lion King" and "Billy Elliot."

    "I find it quite easy to write songs for theater because you have a story line," Elton said. "You have characters to write songs for. But you do have to swallow your ego because some of your songs don't make it. The director usually decides that. You present some things to the team and they go ‘yay' or ‘nay,' and sometimes you go away sobbing. But that's part and parcel for the experience."

    Related News

  • Elton attended Madonna show in France
    Wednesday, August 27 2008 at 18:02:32

  • Elton John, Madonna to collaborate on album
    Saturday, September 29 2007 at 15:33:45

  • Madonna and Elton burry the hatchet
    Wednesday, September 5 2007 at 15:29:32

  • Madonna and Elton top Ivors list
    Monday, April 23 2007 at 18:10:03

  • Madonna bites back
    Thursday, November 10 2005 at 11:14:47

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    Elton John and Billy Joel performed in St. Louis on May 14, 2009
    Saturday, May 16 2009

    Following is the complete set list of the St. Louis show on May 14, 2009.

    Elton John/Billy Joel (solo)

    • Your Song
    • Just The Way You Are
    Elton John/Billy Joel (bands)
    • Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
    • My Life
    Elton John set
    • Funeral For A Friend
    • Love Lies Bleeding
    • Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)
    • Burn Down The Mission
    • Madman Across The Water
    • Tiny Dancer
    • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
    • Daniel
    • Rocket Man
    • Levon
    • I'm Still Standing
    • Crocodile Rock
    Billy Joel set
    • Prelude
    • Angry Young Man
    • Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)
    • Allentown
    • Zanzibar
    • Don't Ask Me Why
    • She's Always A Woman
    • Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
    • River Of Dreams
    • We Didn't Start The Fire
    • It's Still Rock'n'Roll To Me
    • Only The Good Die Young
    Elton John/Billy Joel (Bands)
    • I Guess That's Why The Call It The Blues
    • Uptown Girl
    • The Bitch Is Back
    • You Maybe Right
    • Bennie And The Jets
    • They Say It's Your Birthday
    • Back In The U.S.S.R.
    Elton John/Billy Joel (solo)
    • Candle In The Wind
    • Piano Man

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    Billy Elliot tops Outer Critics Circle
    Tuesday, May 12 2009

    "Billy Elliot" and "Shrek the Musical" topped the list of winners of the Outer Critics Circle Awards, with "Billy Elliot" picking up seven kudos including new Broadway musical, score (Elton John and Lee Hall), director (Stephen Daldry) and choreographer (Peter Darling).

    "Shrek" nabbed two design awards for Tim Hatley's sets and costumes, plus thesping nods for leads Brian d'Arcy James and Sutton Foster (who shared her lead actress award with Josefina Scaglione of "West Side Story").

    The seven honors for "Billy Elliot" also included two supporting thesping laurels (Haydn Gwynne and Gregory Jbara) plus a shared award for the three boys who alternate in the lead role of Billy.

    And the winners are:

    "God of Carnage"

    "Billy Elliot the Musical"


    "The Toxic Avenger"

    NEW SCORE (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
    "Billy Elliot the Musical"

    REVIVAL OF A PLAY (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
    "The Norman Conquests"

    REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL (Broadway or Off-Broadway)

    Matthew Warchus - "The Norman Conquests"

    Stephen Daldry - "Billy Elliot the Musical"

    Peter Darling - "Billy Elliot the Musical"

    SET DESIGN (Play or Musical)
    Tim Hatley - "Shrek the Musical"

    COSTUME DESIGN (Play or Musical)
    Tim Hatley - "Shrek the Musical"

    LIGHTING DESIGN (Play or Musical)
    Rick Fisher - "Billy Elliot the Musical"

    Geoffrey Rush - "Exit the King"

    Marcia Gay Harden - "God of Carnage"

    Brian d’Arcy James - "Shrek the Musical"

    Sutton Foster - "Shrek the Musical"
    Josefina Scaglione - "West Side Story"

    David Pearse - "The Cripple of Inishmaan"

    Angela Lansbury - "Blithe Spirit"

    Gregory Jbara - "Billy Elliot the Musical"

    Haydn Gwynne - "Billy Elliot the Musical"

    Lorenzo Pisoni - "Humor Abuse"

    Amelia Bullmore, Jessica Hynes, Stephen Mangan, Ben Miles, Paul Ritter, Amanda Root - Cast of "The Norman Conquests"

    JOHN GASSNER AWARD (Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)
    Gina Gionfriddo Becky Shaw

    David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish for their performances in "Billy Elliot the Musical"

    Related News

  • Billy Elliot leads Tony Award 2009 nominations
    Tuesday, May 5 2009 at 19:35:02

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    Special Letter from Elton
    Monday, May 11 2009

    Kindly provided by Martin M. Aamand.

    To celebrate their 25th birthday, Gay Times recently asked a few celebrities to do the following: »Write your 16-year-old self a letter.« Among the letters was one from Sir Elton John offering the 16-year-old Reginald Kenneth Dwight some advice on life.

    Following is the letter in its entirety as transcribed from the current May 2009 issue of Gay Times:

    Atlanta, March 8th 2009

    Dear Reg,

    You are a very young 16. You know nothing about sex – you don’t even know what a ”queer” is. Trust me when I tell you – you are ”queer”; you are a gay boy. I made the mistake of not having sex until I was 23! I loved being with another man and felt relieved that I finally knew who I was. I made the mistake of falling in love too soon because I was naive and romantic. My advice to you is never to chase love – it will find you when you least expect it. Have fun, have lots of safe sex and enjoy your sexuality. Be proud of who you are and, as you get older and wiser, fight for gay rights – I’m 46 years older than you are, and we have a long way to go. In certain countries we are still not treated as equals, especially by the so-called ”Christian” church. I made a lot of mistakes. Stay away from drugs, they’re a waste of time. Stand up for every human being’s rights. Be loving, kind and strong. Set an example. You’re going to have a hell of a life!!

    Love you, Elton


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    Happy Birthday to us!
    Friday, May 8 2009

    The international Elton John Fan Club Hercules, also known by its internet domain eltonfan.net, has been serving the Elton John community since 1988.

    Founded as Rocket Fan back on May 8, 1988 with a focus on German-speaking fans, the club has soon turned into a worldwide organization with Elton admirers from all over the planet. In 2009 we are celebrating our 21th anniversary.

    For the past six years Hercules has been offering all of its services on eltonfan.net free of charge. The site is maintained on a voluntary basis, however, there are costs involved in hosting the site on a high-speed and reliable server. If you like the services provided on eltonfan.net and if you feel like supporting this website, we would be grateful if you would make a small donation.

    With this we would like to thank Elton for his persistence and everlasting presence, the management and record company for their support, and last but not least the fans for their loyalty.

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    Who wears these shoes?
    Wednesday, May 6 2009

    Until May 10, 2009 you have the chance to bid on shoes signed and formerly owned by Elton John as well as all of his band members.

    100 percent of the sale will support Hillside, a charity organization focusing on abused, abandoned, neglected and mentally ill children need special care. Hillside is giving them back their childhood and building brighter futures through comprehensive treatment/innovative care.

    Click here for a full list of shoes available for auction.

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    Happy Birthday, Davey!
    Wednesday, May 6 2009

    Davey Johnstone turns 58 on May 6, 2009.

    On behalf of the visitors of eltonfan.net and all Elton fans around the world, we would like to wish him a Happy Birthday.

    Davey will be back on stage with Elton & Billy in Madison, WI on May 7, 2009.

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    Billy Elliot wins New York Drama Critics' Circle Award
    Tuesday, May 5 2009

    Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined and Billy Elliot the Musical, with music by Elton John and book and lyrics by Lee Hall, were named winners of the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award (NYDCC) for Best Play and Best Musical, respectively, of the 2008-2009 season.

    The award for Best Foreign Play was given to Gregory Burke'sBlack Watch. The announcement was made May 4, 2009. A ceremony will be held May 11, 2009 at the Algonquin Hotel.

    The selections were made at the 74th annual voting meeting of the organization at the Manhattan offices of Time Out New York. Special citations were awarded to current Blithe Spiritstar Angela Lansbury for her contribution to the American theatre; Matthew Warchus and the cast of Broadway's The Norman Conquests; and Gerard Alessandrini for Forbidden Broadway.

    The award for Best Play carries with it a cash prize of $2,500; the award for Best Foreign Play carries a cash prize of $1,000.

    The New York Drama Critics' Circle comprises 20 drama critics from daily newspapers, magazines, and wire services based in the New York metropolitan area. The New York Drama Critics' Circle Award is the nation's second-oldest theatre award, after the Pulitzer Prize for drama; it has been awarded every year since 1936 to the best new play of the season (with additional awards for musicals and foreign or American plays as well as citations for special achievement).

    For more information visit www.dramacritics.org.

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    Billy Elliot leads Tony Award 2009 nominations
    Tuesday, May 5 2009

    Billy Elliot topped the list of the 2009 Tony Award nominations with a total of 15, equaling the record number previously held by The Producers.

    The new musical Next to Normal picked up 11 Tony nods, including Best Musical. Nominations in 27 competitive categories were announced on May 5, 2009 at the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center by Tony winners Lin-Manuel Miranda and Cynthia Nixon. The awards ceremony will be held at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2009 (live on CBS).

    As usual, musicals led the tallies (Hair and Shrektied for third with eight Tony nominations each), but a quartet of plays also drew healthy numbers: The revivals of Mary Stuart and The Norman Conquestspicked up seven Tony nominations each, and the revival of August Wilson's Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage drew six each, including acting nominations for all four stars of Reza’s dark comedy, Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden.

    The morning’s biggest surprise was the strong showing of Rock of Ages, which picked up five 2009 Tony nominations, including Best Musical, Best Director, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Design and a Best Actor nomination for American Idol alum Constantine Maroulis.

    And the nominees are...

    Best Play

    Dividing the Estate Author: Horton Foote
    God of Carnage Author: Yasmina Reza
    Reasons to Be Pretty Author: Neil LaBute
    33 Variations Author: Moisés Kaufman

    Best Musical

    Billy Elliot, The Musical
    Next to Normal
    Rock of Ages
    Shrek The Musical

    Best Book of a Musical

    Billy Elliot, The Musical Lee Hall
    Next to Normal Brian Yorkey
    Shrek The Musical David Lindsay-Abaire
    [Title of Show] Hunter Bell

    Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

    Billy Elliot, The Musical
    Music: Elton John
    Lyrics: Lee Hall

    Next to Normal
    Music: Tom Kitt
    Lyrics: Brian Yorkey
    9 to 5: The Musical
    Music & Lyrics: Dolly Parton
    Shrek The Musical
    Music: Jeanine Tesori
    Lyrics: David Lindsay-Abaire

    Best Revival of a Play

    Joe Turner’s Come and Gone
    Mary Stuart - New Version: Peter Oswald
    The Norman Conquests
    Waiting for Godot

    Best Revival of a Musical

    Guys and Dolls
    Pal Joey
    West Side Story

    Best Special Theatrical Event

    Liza’s at The Palace
    Slava’s Snowshow
    Soul of Shaolin
    You’re Welcome America. A Final Night with George W. Bush

    Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play

    Jeff Daniels, God of Carnage
    Raúl Esparza, Speed-the-Plow
    James Gandolfini, God of Carnage
    Geoffrey Rush, Exit the King
    Thomas Sadoski, Reasons to Be Pretty

    Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play

    Hope Davis, God of Carnage
    Jane Fonda, 33 Variations
    Marcia Gay Harden, God of Carnage
    Janet McTeer, Mary Stuart
    Harriet Walter, Mary Stuart

    Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical

    David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, and Kiril Kulish – Billy Elliot, The Musical
    Gavin Creel, Hair
    Brian d’Arcy James, Shrek The Musical
    Constantine Maroulis, Rock of Ages
    J. Robert Spencer, Next to Normal

    Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical

    Stockard Channing, Pal Joey
    Sutton Foster, Shrek The Musical
    Allison Janney, 9 to 5: The Musical
    Alice Ripley, Next to Normal
    Josefina Scaglione, West Side Story

    Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play

    John Glover, Waiting for Godot
    Zach Grenier, 33 Variations
    Stephen Mangan, The Norman Conquests
    Paul Ritter, The Norman Conquests
    Roger Robinson, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

    Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play

    Hallie Foote, Dividing the Estate
    Jessica Hynes, The Norman Conquests
    Marin Ireland, Reasons to Be Pretty
    Angela Lansbury, Blithe Spirit
    Amanda Root, The Norman Conquests

    Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical

    David Bologna, Billy Elliot, The Musical
    Gregory Jbara, Billy Elliot, The Musical

    Marc Kudisch, 9 to 5: The Musical
    Christopher Sieber, Shrek The Musical
    Will Swenson, Hair

    Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical

    Jennifer Damiano, Next to Normal
    Haydn Gwynne, Billy Elliot, The Musical
    Karen Olivo, West Side Story
    Martha Plimpton, Pal Joey
    Carole Shelley, Billy Elliot, The Musical

    Best Scenic Design of a Play

    Dale Ferguson, Exit the King
    Rob Howell, The Norman Conquests
    Derek McLane, 33 Variations
    Michael Yeargan, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

    Best Scenic Design of a Musical

    Robert Brill, Guys and Dolls
    Ian MacNeil, Billy Elliot, The Musical
    Scott Pask, Pal Joey
    Mark Wendland, Next to Normal

    Best Costume Design of a Play

    Dale Ferguson, Exit the King
    Jane Greenwood, Waiting for Godot
    Martin Pakledinaz, Blithe Spirit
    Anthony Ward, Mary Stuart

    Best Costume Design of a Musical

    Gregory Gale, Rock of Ages
    Nicky Gillibrand, Billy Elliot, The Musical
    Tim Hatley, Shrek The Musical
    Michael McDonald, Hair

    Best Lighting Design of a Play

    David Hersey, Equus
    David Lander, 33 Variations
    Brian MacDevitt, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone
    Hugh Vanstone, Mary Stuart

    Best Lighting Design of a Musical

    Kevin Adams, Hair
    Kevin Adams, Next to Normal
    Howell Binkley, West Side Story
    Rick Fisher, Billy Elliot, The Musical

    Best Sound Design of a Play

    Paul Arditti, Mary Stuart
    Gregory Clarke, Equus
    Russell Goldsmith, Exit the King
    Scott Lehrer and Leon Rothenberg, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

    Best Sound Design of a Musical

    Acme Sound Partners, Hair
    Paul Arditti, Billy Elliot, The Musical
    Peter Hylenski, Rock of Ages
    Brian Ronan, Next to Normal

    Best Direction of a Play

    Phyllida Lloyd, Mary Stuart
    Bartlett Sher, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone
    Matthew Warchus, God of Carnage
    Matthew Warchus, The Norman Conquests

    Best Direction of a Musical

    Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot, The Musical
    Michael Greif, Next to Normal
    Kristin Hanggi, Rock of Ages
    Diane Paulus, Hair

    Best Choreography

    Karole Armitage, Hair
    Andy Blankenbuehler, 9 to 5: The Musical
    Peter Darling, Billy Elliot, The Musical
    Randy Skinner, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas

    Best Orchestrations

    Larry Blank, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
    Martin Koch, Billy Elliot, The Musical
    Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt, Next to Normal
    Danny Troob and John Clancy, Shrek The Musical

    Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre

    Jerry Herman

    Regional Theatre Tony Award

    Signature Theatre, Arlington, Va.

    Isabelle Stevenson Award

    Phyllis Newman

    Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre

    Shirley Herz

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    The Sunday Times Giving List 2009
    Monday, May 4 2009

    Elton Jphn is ranked seventh in the Sunday Times Giving List 2009, with total donations of nearly £42m.

    Elton played more than 110 gigs around the world in 2008 and the Pollstar research operation reported $33.4m gross receipts from 34 American gigs alone. His lucrative five-year contract with Caesars Palace in Las Vegas ended in April 2009, however. The original three-year contract was for 75 shows at $750,000 a show plus extras. The money- spinning concerts explain why Elton is still wealthy despite his prodigious spending and charity support.

    He is ranked seventh in the Sunday Times Giving List this year, with total donations of nearly £42m.

    In the 13 years to March 2006, three of Elton's companies — William A Bong, J Bondi and Happenstance — paid him more than £223m in salaries.

    Related News

  • Elton and McCartney hit by economic crisis
    Friday, April 24 2009 at 19:56:41

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    Elton rumoured to perform at America's Polo World Cup
    Saturday, May 2 2009

    Elton John is rumoured to be the "superstar surprise performer" at the America's Polo World Cup & Air Show in Washington DC on May 9, 2009.

    American Idol Star "Michael Johns" is scheduled to perform on the main concert stage at 8.10 pm, followed by a Superstar "Surprise" Performance from 8.45 pm to 9.15 pm. Afterwards, a joint American & Australian Grande Fireworks Celebration Show will end the day as "A Celebration of Freedom & the USA & Australian Friendship".

    See www.americaspolocup.com for more details.

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    Elton happy with Watford's direction
    Saturday, May 2 2009

    Jimmy Russo says Watford’s honorary life president Sir Elton John is delighted with the direction of the club going forward after he and his brother Vince travelled to see the superstar in Las Vegas last week.

    The Russos were keen to meet Elton to inform him of the club’s situation, on and off the pitch, so there would be “no surprises” for the singer-songwriter in the future. Vince stated in a recent interview that Elton had been “kept in the dark” in the past, so when the brothers met with him before his final show in Las Vegas on April 22, 2009, they presented him with a manual from the club, which had reports from each department and manager Brendan Rodgers.

    Jimmy, who became the Hornets chairman in March 2009, said: “The thing with us going out there is that Elton deserves respect. Not only is he a former chairman of the club but he is Watford’s honorary life president and deserves to be kept informed.” He added: “We told him what we want to deliver and what has been delivered. It was nice to go and see him on a positive note.

    “When we took over the club we were third from bottom, we are now closing the season half way up the table, so we have improved both on the pitch and off it. It was an extremely positive trip and the vibes from Elton were that he is happy with the situation at the club going forward. He was delighted. He is very happy with what is going on at the football club and its new structure.”

    The Russos flew out to Vegas on Sunday, April 19, 2009, and met with Elton on April 21, 2009 to discuss club matters. The brothers then attended his final tour date in the city the following day and attended the after party at Watford’s former chairman’s request, before flying back on April 23, 2009.

    Along with the manual, Elton was also presented with a new home and away kit by the club. Due to his constant touring, Elton finds it difficult to attend Watford games but he expressed his desire to come and watch the Hornets early next season.

    Despite being on a different continent for much of the year, Elton keeps in touch with what is going on at the club and speaks to Vince Russo and Rodgers on a regular basis.

    Elton John, Graham Taylor and Brendan Rodgers have all signed the first-ever sample shirt for next season’s new Joma kit and it will be auctioned at the club’s end of season awards dinner on May 3, 2009. The shirt being auctioned and the two handed to Elton are the only ones currently in existence as the kit has yet to go to production.

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    The A-Listers Celebrate Cartier 100th Anniversary in America
    Friday, May 1 2009

    Earlier on April 30, 2009 Demi Moore was on hand to announce the Cartier's new partnership with ServiceNation, and in the evening she hit the red carpet to celebrate Cartier's 100th Anniversary in America.

    This is being celebrated by an exhibit of Cartier: 100 Years of Passion and Free Spirit in America. The exhibition at the flagship store (now a historic landmark) in New York City features 100 unique Cartier creations including many from private collections. The exhibit will be on view through May 21, 2009, after which it will move to the Beverly Hills Cartier from June 1-14, 2009.

    Bernard Fornas, president and CEO of Cartier International, and Frederic de Narp, president and CEO of Cartier North America, will be present at the party along with a galaxy of stars including Jessica Biel, Anne Hathaway, Sir Elton John, Demi Moore, Kate Hudson, Patti Smith, Martha Stewart and Justin Timberlake. But the guest of honor is famed photographer Bruce Weber, who will launch his new book, Cartier I Love You: Celebrating 100 Years of Cartier in America. It will be available at bookstores in June, with a portion of the $95 price going to charity.

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    Elton to be honored at Drama League Awards Ceremony
    Friday, May 1 2009

    Jane Fonda, John Lithgow, Tyne Daly, Sutton Foster, and Patrick Wilson will appear as awards presenters at The 75th Annual Drama League Awards Ceremony and Luncheon, to be held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square on Friday, May 15, 2009. Jeremy Irons and Cynthia Nixon will co-host the event.

    Arthur Laurents will receive the Julia Hansen Award for excellence in directing. Angela Lansbury will receive the Unique Contribution to the Theatre Award, to be presented by Harold Prince. Elton John will receive the Distinguished Achievement in a Musical Theatre Award, presented to him by Stephen Daldry. Broadway Producer Herb Blodgett will be honored with the 75th Anniversary Leadership Award, to be presented by Irv Welzer.

    The group also presents awards for Distinguished Production of a Play, Distinguished Production of a Musical, Distinguished Revival of a Play, and Distinguished Revival of a Musical. The musicals Next to Normal, and the play Dividing the Estate were considered in previous years.

    This year's awards will also honor more than 70 stars, with one performer to ultimately be given the Distinguished Performance of the Year award. In addition, nine past recipients of the Distinguished Performance Award -- Norbert Leo Butz, Stockard Channing, Christine Ebersole, Rosemary Harris, Frank Langella, John Lithgow, Mary-Louise Parker, Stephen Rea, and Sam Waterston -- will be honored on this dais for their work this season. However, because an individual can only receive the Distinguished Performance Award once in his/her lifetime, they are ineligible for award consideration this year.

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    Please note that this site has been discontinued on March 31, 2017 and will not be updated anymore.