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Musical leads faithful back to the future

ENGLAND: Classic film comedy Back To The Future has a new future as a musical after plans to bring it to the West End stage were unveiled.

The film’s director, Robert Zemeckis, has teamed up with the people behind theatrical hits including Wicked and Ghost to develop the show and hopes to open it in London in 2015 — 30 years after it was first shown in cinemas, and also the year visited by the main character in the sequel, Back to the Future II.

Michael J Fox played teenager Marty McFly, who travels back in time to his parents’ schooldays, in the 1985 film which was a huge worldwide hit and sparked a money-spinning movie franchise.

Bob Gale, who co-wrote the films with Zemeckis, said: “The Back To The Future musical is a project that Bob Zemeckis and I have been exploring for almost 10 years. We’re thrilled to be at last in partnership with a creative and producing team that will create a show that is true to the spirit of the film without being a slavish remake.”

The team has also signed up a skateboard consultant to help recreate the scene where Fox’s character accidentally invents the craze.

UNIVERSITY GOES ABOVE AND BEYONCE

USA: Beyonce is one of the world’s most scrutinised pop stars, and now the focus is moving to academia.

The women’s and gender studies department at Rutgers University in New Jersey is offering a course called Politicising Beyonce.

Kevin Allred, a doctoral student who is teaching the class, said he would use Beyonce’s career as a way to explore American race, gender, and sexual politics.

The class supplements an analysis of Beyonce’s videos and lyrics with readings from black feminists. Allred says he is seeking to help students think more critically about media consumption.

Rutgers also has a class examining the theology of Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics and Georgetown University has a class called The Sociology of Hip-Hop: The Urban Theodicy of Jay-Z, focusing on Beyonce’s rapper husband.

APE’S CHOICE

USA: An ape that has correctly picked the Super Bowl winner for six straight years is predicting the Seattle Seahawks will be the next NFL champion tomorrow.

Erica Hansen of Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City says Eli the ape ran into an enclosure and knocked down a papier mache helmet bearing the Seahawks logo, signalling his choice. She says there was no hesitation.

That could mean bad news for Broncos fans. The 13-year-old primate has not been wrong since 2006.

PORTSMOUTH DEFENCE

ENGLAND: A councillor who swore at a resident during a meeting has blamed his outburst on the fact that he is from Portsmouth. Richard Denton-White, who sits on Portland Town Council, made the comment during a discussion of plans to put up council tax in the Dorset borough.

The 67-year-old, who grew up in the Portsmouth area of Hampshire, told The Portsmouth News: “In Portsmouth, because it’s a sub-culture and it still exists, people respect each other but if they get disrespect then Portsmouth people are not prepared to walk away.”

SUPERHERO POPE

ITALY: Pope Francis’s status as a superhero has bitten the dust. Rome police have scrubbed the wall near the Vatican where “SuperPope” had been displayed, showing Francis as Superman in flight and clutching his satchel of values to spread to the world.

Artist Mauro Pallotta put the image up on Monday in homage to Francis. Pallotta’s agent, Margaret Porpiglia, said the artist is now hoping to avoid a city fine, but is considering making a street art piece depicting “anti-hero” Rome mayor Ignazio Marino.

The caped crusader pope had drawn immense popular interest.

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