Q Is Will Smith really directing a Broadway musical?— Janey Moore, Baltimore, Md.
A Credit him as a producer, not director, of Fela!, the dazzlingly inventive musical about the late Nigerian musician and political activist Fela Kuti. Sahr Ngaujah, , who plays the title role, tells us, , “Fela’s life urges you to follow your r own voice, follow your own passion, and don’t be afraid to do so.”
Q As a wife and mother, how does CNN’s Christiane Amanpour feel about reporting from all those dangerous places?— James Perkins, Portland, Ore.
A “I’m just really lucky that my family has not put pressure on me,” Amanpour, 51 and the mother of a 9-year-old boy, tells us. “But the height of my wartime career was mostly before I was married. I don’t believe I could have been as effective as I hope I’ve been, whether in Bosnia or Rwanda, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, had I had to think about coming back to my family. Every time I go away now, it’s with a really heavy heart. Of course, when I get to where I’m going, I come alive. I love doing what I do.”
Q Who is the voice of the pothole in the GEICO commercials?— Michael Williams, Smyrna, Del.
A We’ve heard a lot of wild guesses: Reese Witherspoon, Annie Potts, Emily Procter— even Britney Spears. Wrong! It’s voice-over actress Dayci Brookshire, 27, whose youthful, enthusiastic tones have landed her a lot of jobs: “I’ve played everything from a 5-year-old boy to the talking pothole to a British character, to whatever,” the native North Carolinian says. Adaptability pays.
Q Ellen DeGeneres is always talking about animals on her show. When did she get her first pet?— Jim Adams, New York, N.Y.
A “My first pet was a stray cat that I brought home when I was really young,” DeGeneres tells us. “ I don’t remember how old I was—maybe 5,6? I named the cat Debbie, after Debbie Reynolds, because that cat had a mouth on her.” Not surprisingly, Ellen is co-owner of the pet-care company Halo. See photos of celebrities and their pets at Parade.com/pets
Q President Obama favors a playoff system for college football, rather than the old-fashioned bowl system, which began with the first Rose Bowl in 1902. What do you think?— Joseph Hill, Atlanta, Ga.
A We’re firmly on the fence. A recent Gallup poll indicated that 69% of college-football fans agree with the President, but opponents argue that playoffs would diminish the regular season’s significance and undermine tradition. “It’s as if you always went to your grandmother’s for Thanksgiving, and somebody said, ‘ You need to start going to your uncle’s—you’ll like it better,’ ” says former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, spokesman for the anti-playoffs Bowl Championship Series. Whatever the future may bring, we’re watching the Crimson Tide take on the Longhorns this Thursday. Pass the popcorn!
Q You picked George Clooney and Topher Grace as two of today’s stars who could play Clark Gable. No way!— Helen Edwards, Orlando, Fla.
A Little did we know what a hornet’s nest we were stirring! Scores of readers have questioned our taste and eyesight and suggested substitutes such as Eric Dane, James Brolin, and even Leonardo DiCaprio. All we can say is, Long live the King!
Q When do you think Tiger Woods will compete again?— again? Ann Ev Evans, Denver, Colo.
A We asked longtime sports commentator Len Berman f for his opinion. “It wouldn’t surprise me if Tiger returned for the Masters in April,” he tells us. “His goal is t to beat Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major golf tournaments. Tiger has 14. So if at all possible, I don’t think he’ll want to miss a major. That’s presuming everything stays nice and quiet between now and then.”
Q Will the there ever be any more episodes of Reb Reba McEntire’s sitcom Reba?— James Benn Bennett, Port Arthur, Tex.
A “Unfortunately not,” McEntire tells us. “We’re very sad because we had a lot more stories to tell.” But the 54-year-old country titan is still telling stories on her latest album, Keep On Loving You. And she has now surpassed fellow legend Dolly Parton with the greatest number of Top 10 singles for a female artist—57—on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart.
Will supports inspiring new musical
Amanpour: War is scarier now
Reba: Still topping charts
Ellen: Pets are her pet subject
The irreplaceable Gable