Spice Girl Mel C Playing Mary Magdalene in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’

Ricky Martin isn’t the only ‘90s pop superstar (get it?) bringing an Andrew Lloyd Webber classic to the stage.

A new 40th anniversary UK tour production of Jesus Christ Superstar will feature Melanie Chisholm, best known as Sporty Spice from the Spice Girls, in the role of Mary Magdalene. Since her Spice Girl days, Mel C has been touring and making solo records, most recently The Night, an EP released just this week with club DJ Jodie Harsh. Joining her on stage for the tour, which hits theatres around the country this fall, will be Matilda: The Musical composer and comedian Tim Minchin as Judas Iscariot and BBC radio and television presenter Chris Moyles as King Herod.

Sound good? Starting to envy the British or save up for flights across the pond? There’s a whole ‘nother layer to it: the ITV network will be carrying a primetime show called Superstar, in which the people vote from a group of actor as to who will play the titular biblical role. Andrew Lloyd Webber will serve as a judge for the show. Somewhere, there is someone writing a strongly-worded letter of objection to all of this.

Real talk though, there will never be a Jesus as perfect as Ted Neely, or a Judas as brilliant as Carl Anderson. Observe:

TwitChange Will Not Change Your Life, But It’s For a Good Cause

There’s an auction going on right now in which you can bid on getting your favorite celebrities to tweet @ you, or re-tweet something you’ve tweeted, or follow you on Twitter. You can choose from a number of celebrities: Justin Bieber, Ryan Seacrest, Ricky Martin, Kim Kardashian, Shaquille O’Neal, and Perez Hilton (yes, Perez is now a celebrity—even my parents recognized him walking down the street). Some auction items, like the Kim Kardashian mega package, are already fetching over $2000. The money goes to aHomeInHaiti.org, a worthy cause indeed. Yet I still don’t understand why anyone would want to spend this much money on the simple act of, let’s be honest, a celebrity’s PR person publicly acknowledging your existence.

Because that’s it, isn’t it? That’s why we tweet and use Facebook, so others will confirm that we do indeed exist. Every @ is a testament to the fact that some other human across the connecto-web acknowledges that you, too, control your carpal-tunneled hands with a synapse-firing brain. We need these confirmations because we sit in front of computers all the time in our underwear, separated by screens from physical life, replacing meaningful relationships with fantasy relationships with well-groomed celebrities.

Enough ranting. It’s a good deal for the charity—essentially they get tons of money in exchange for 10 whole seconds of a celeb’s time—and I hope they raise a lot of cash. Also, it would be pretty cool to have Shaq follow me on Twitter…

Our Man in Miami: Taking a Drive with Desmond Child

Thank Zeus for cool friends. No sooner had a certain electronica act passed on having a chat with yours truly than a gal pal o’ mine set up an interview with someone infinitely more palatable—and enduring. So rather than having to force myself on a couple too-cool-for-school Canadians, I got to get with the cat who’s largely responsible the soundtrack of our lives. So there.

That’s how I found myself sitting in the backseat of a Dodge Nitro speaking with legendary producer and songwriter Desmond Child yesterday afternoon. The ever glam Debbie O made the connect, and I couldn’t have been keener on the prospect had I suggested it myself. Child just so happened to be holed up in one of Ricky Martin’s stately abodes wrapping up the Latin heartthrob’s latest LP. Martin’s home, as you might imagine, is literally fit for storybooks. But even more impressive was the fact that it had been converted into some kinda sound factory. The moment I crossed the threshold I could feel the magic in the air.

Child had to jet away for a few days to take care of a couple things, so I hopped on board for the drive to the airport. And while all I heard of his latest production came in snippets through one of Martin’s three studio doors, I nevertheless sensed something brewing that just may knock the proverbial socks off the whole wild world. Confirming my suspicion was Child himself, who told me just enough about Martin’s next collection of songs to make everybody’s day. But first, I asked him to backtrack through some of his career highlights, which still leave me somewhat agog.

Would you consider Kiss’ “I Was Made for Loving You” your breakout track? It was my first international hit, and yeah, it helped put me on the map as a songwriter with bands. Up until that point not very many bands wrote with professional outside songwriters. At the time, though, I was really an artist with Desmond Child & Rouge, and it was more of a collaboration between artists, because Paul Stanley was a fan of our group. He’d come down to the shows all the time, and one day he said, ‘Hey, let’s write a song together.” So he co-wrote a song on our first record called “The Fight,” and I co-wrote “I Was Made for Loving You” for Kiss’ Dynasty. I think I did better than he did in the exchange.

And Stanley is the one who recommended you to Bon Jovi, right? Right. Bon Jovi was on tour in Europe with Kiss—they were the opening act. And I think they really liked another song I wrote with Paul called “Heaven’s on Fire,” which also became a hit for them. Jon asked Paul about me, and Paul gave him my phone number. And then I went over to New Jersey to write with this new band called Bon Jovi. I ended up co-writing four songs from Slippery When Wet, including “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

And you’ve been working with them ever since? Yeah, I served as Executive Producer on the last four albums.

I know you’ve also worked with Alice Cooper, who gave me a great interview last year. Was that the Trash record? Yes, I co-wrote with Alice and produced Trash. That had a song called “Poison” on it, which was his big comeback song.

Have you worked with him since? Yeah, in fact, we worked recently with Bob Ezrin. Wow! The immortal Kiss producer! Yeah, but he also produced all of Alice’s early records too.

Did he do Killer and School’s Out and all of those? Yeah, and Billion Dollar Babies and Welcome to My Nightmare… He’s an amazing producer and one of the most wonderful people I’ve even known.

You’ve also co-written with Joan Jett. Was “I Hate Myself for Loving You” the only song you two wrote together? No, we did “Little Liar” and “Get Off the Cross I Need the Wood”…

You guys wrote a song called “Get Off the Cross I Need the Wood”? That’s brilliant! (Both laugh) We did a few other songs together too.

I also wanted to ask about that Hanson track, “Weird,” which is a really beautiful song. Thanks. Maybe other than “Livin’ on a Prayer,” that is singularly one of my all-time favorite songs. I always perform it whenever I’m asked to sing somewhere.

I’ve also got Cher in my notes, with three exclamation points. How did that come about? John Kalodner, the legendary A&R man at Geffen Records, signed Cher when no one believed in her as a recording artist anymore. I had been working on Aerosmith’s Permanent Vacation, where I had co-written “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” and “Angel,” and I was also having success with Bon Jovi at the time, and he asked if I’d produce her. I’d met her back while she was doing the play Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean when another producer had used a couple of my songs, so Kalodner re-introduced us, and she was thoroughly enchanting. I ended up bringing in a bunch of my friends to do the record, including Jon Bon Jovi. And that’s when she met Richie Sambora.

Oh, so you’re responsible for that? (laughs) Yeah, it’s all my fault! (laughs) Not that I could’ve stopped it. Instant chemistry.

Another triple exclamation point I’ve got is for Lindsay Lohan. She did your song “I Live for The Day.” Really? How? Why? Actually, I didn’t work with her. The song was pitched to her and she cut it. In fact, I’m ashamed to say I’ve never even heard her version. The record company didn’t send me a copy, because they don’t do that anymore, and at the time I didn’t know how to download, so, through one thing or another, I never got to listen to it.

More recently you worked with Mika. What’s he like? Yeah, we co-wrote a song with Jody Marr called “Erase.” He’s wonderful. A great guy, very smart.

Then there’s Katy Perry’s “Waking Up in Vegas.” Yeah, that went number one a year ago. She’s amazing. She’s absolutely adorable and gorgeous and funny and irreverent – exactly as she is in her songs.

Okay, that brings us to the next Ricky Martin record… I’m really excited about the music, the content, because since he’s come out it’s unleashed his creativity and the scope of what he can sing about and say and do. He’s a formidable person – an activist, a philanthropist, a humanitarian. All of the work he’s put into his charity—it’s all going into the music. His personal life too, and how much his life has been changed by his children. Once he opened that door a floodgate of energy and creativity just really exploded.

So, it’s fair to say that the next Ricky Martin record will be unlike anything we’ve ever heard before? Definitely. We really reached a creative fusion of rock and pop and electronic and Latin music – it’s all over the place in a really great way.

Links: Angelina Jolie Laughs When Kids Cry; Gabourey Sidibe to Host ‘SNL’

● According to In Touch via Brad’s old bodyguard, Angelina Jolie will “giggle” when one of her kids starts to cry. Either she’s the Mommy Dearest of a new generation or maybe she’s just high. [THG] ● After being duped by one of those Nigerian scam emails, one 78-year-old Florida grandmother took to a life of conning her own neighbors, friends and priest out of more than $1 million. Won’t get fooled again! [Daily Intel] ● Can animals be gay? This is serious. [NYT Magazine]

Precious star Gabourey Sidibe will host Saturday Night Live and Andy Samberg will probably make jokes about having sex with her. [E!] ● The 20 straightest photos of Ricky Martin are like the 5 best Justin Bieber songs. (Sexy, I mean.) [Best Week Ever] ● For the first time since 1966 the city of Newark, New Jersey went an entire calendar month without a murder and it’s a source of pride. Don’t ask questions, just be glad you’re alive. [NJ]

Ricky Martin is Living la Vida Gay!

File under: who didn’t see this coming (out)? On his official blog, Puerto Rican pop sensation Ricky Martin has made a public statement about his sexuality. Of his decision to finally reveal his homosexuality, Martin says, “Today is my day, this is my time, and this is my moment.” In his blog post—which is available in full after the jump—Martin says that he kept his orientation a secret for fear of ruining his music career and possibly alienating his fan-base. But, as he says, today is his day. And as for those earlier concerns for his career, Martin says, “What will happen from now on? It doesn’t matter.” Loca!

“A few months ago I decided to write my memoirs, a project I knew was going to bring me closer to an amazing turning point in my life. From the moment I wrote the first phrase I was sure the book was the tool that was going to help me free myself from things I was carrying within me for a long time. Things that were too heavy for me to keep inside. Writing this account of my life, I got very close to my truth. And thisis something worth celebrating. For many years, there has been only one place where I am in touch with my emotions fearlessly and that’s the stage. Being on stage fills my soul in many ways, almost completely. It’s my vice. The music, the lights and the roar of the audience are elements that make me feel capable of anything. This rush of adrenaline is incredibly addictive. I don’t ever want to stop feeling these emotions. But it is serenity that brings me to where I’m at right now. An amazing emotional place of comprehension, reflection and enlightenment. At this moment I’m feeling the same freedom I usually feel only on stage, without a doubt, I need to share. Many people told me: “Ricky it’s not important”, “it’s not worth it”, “all the years you’ve worked and everything you’ve built will collapse”, “many people in the world are not ready to accept your truth, your reality, your nature”. Because all this advice came from people who I love dearly, I decided to move on with my life not sharing with the world my entire truth. Allowing myself to be seduced by fear and insecurity became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sabotage. Today I take full responsibility for my decisions and my actions.

If someone asked me today, “Ricky, what are you afraid of?” I would answer “the blood that runs through the streets of countries at war…child slavery, terrorism…the cynicism of some people in positions of power, the misinterpretation of faith.” But fear of my truth? Not at all! On the contrary, It fills me with strength and courage. This is just what I need especially now that I am the father of two beautiful boys that are so full of light and who with their outlook teach me new things every day. To keep living as I did up until today would be to indirectly diminish the glow that my kids where born with. Enough is enough. This has to change. This was not supposed to happen 5 or 10 years ago, it is supposed to happen now. Today is my day, this is my time, and this is my moment.

These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn’t even know existed.

What will happen from now on? It doesn’t matter. I can only focus on what’s happening to me in this moment. The word “happiness” takes on a new meaning for me as of today. It has been a very intense process. Every word that I write in this letter is born out of love, acceptance, detachment and real contentment. Writing this is a solid step towards my inner peace and vital part of my evolution.

I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.”

Miami: Top 5 Celeb Hotspots

imageBask in the shade of J-Lo’s assets.

1. Philippe (South Beach) – Long list of celebrity sports stars for backers brought the New York hotspot southward. Tan, fit, manicured Miamians’ new haven. 2. DeVito (South Beach) – Warm, good-humored. Little big-time movie star’s presence resonates. Food’s as boisterous as Louie De Palma. 3. Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (Wynwood/Design District) – Jen Aniston and John Mayer dined here. All A-listers do. Amazing food, and killer red-hued ambience.

4. The Standard (South Beach) – On a private island, half-naked Europeans taking mud baths, leggy models swimming in the pool after yoga. Cameron Diaz is behind this one. 5. David’s Cafe II (South Beach) – Celebs like Gloria Estefan, J-Lo and Ricky Martin are commonplace. Everybody goes here, 24-7.