9 Oklahomans making entertainment headlines this week, including Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Reba McEntire and more
From top celebrities to everyday folks, Oklahomans stay in the entertainment headlines. Here's nine times they've made show business news this week:
1. Carrie Underwood encourages teachers
The Checotah native appears in a short Twitter video praising teachers for their courage, strength and resilience, saying "I just want to say thank you to all the teachers out there who are working tirelessly to make this school year the best it can be." The CMA Foundation shared the video as part of #FeelGoodFriday, and Underwood retweeted it with a message that teachers "truly are our Champions."
Schoolteachers have a special place in Underwood's heart, as both her sisters are teachers and her mother is a retired educator.
2. The Flaming Lips on NPR's "Tiny Desk" concert series
The Oklahoma City-based art rockers appear in a new edition of NPR Music's "Tiny Desk (Home) Concert" series that debuted today. The almost 20-minute segment showcases songs from the band's 21st full-length studio album, "American Head," which bowed last month on Warner Records.
The "Tiny Desk (Home) Concert" features each of the Lips performing in one of frontman Wayne Coyne's signature "space bubbles."
"I have actually gone out on the street in a couple other places in the space bubble," Coyne told me in a recent interview. "But I do try to be careful not to make too much of it. It (the pandemic) is not a joke, and I try not to make too light of it. It is strange. We are living in strange, strange times."
To read more of my interview with Coyne about "American Head," click here.
3. Oklahoma pumpkin carver makes the finals of Food Network's "Halloween Wars"
Wilson resident Daniel Miller and his teammates will be competing for the grand prize on 10th season finale of the Food Network competition series "Halloween Wars," which will air at 8 p.m. Sunday.
As previously reported, Miller is an electrician by trade who is also a chainsaw artist, illustrator and author who comes from a long line of artists. The pumpkin carver has been competing on the Food Network series on Team Mummies Rejects, alongside cake creator Hemu Basu and sugar expert Steve Weiss.
Miller's Mummies Rejects will face off against the Crave Diggers in Sunday's season finale. For the spine-tingling final challenge, the team that can best capture all the terror and fun of the ultimate horror movie "jump scare" moment and impress judges Shinmin Li, Todd Tucker and actress Marisol Nichols will be crowned Halloween Wars Champion and win $50,000.
4. Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani premiere "Happy Anywhere" lyric video
Oklahoma country music superstar Blake Shelton and his pop-star girlfriend and fellow "The Voice" coach Gwen Stefani have released a charming origami-inspired lyric video for their new hit "Happy Anywhere."
As previously reported, the romantic duet was inspired by the couple's time in quarantine during the spring coronavirus outbreak. He, Stefani and various members of her family have been spending a lot of time this year on Shelton's Tishomingo ranch because of the pandemic.
5. James Marsden featured in new trailer for CBS All Access series "The Stand"
Born in Stillwater and raised in Oklahoma City, Marsden is starring in the original limited event series “The Stand,” and CBS debuted today a new trailer for the adaptation of Stephen King’s bestselling novel of the same name.
As previously reported, Marsden will portray Stu Redman, an ordinary working-class factory man in an extraordinary situation with a damaged quality to him that belies his exterior.
The series from CBS’ digital subscription video on-demand and live-streaming service boasts a starry cast that also includes Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg, Alexander Skarsgård, Amber Heard, Odessa Young, Heather Graham, Irene Bedard, Nat Wolff and more.
The nine-episode series premieres Dec. 17, with new episodes dropping weekly on Thursdays exclusively for CBS All Access subscribers.
6. Oklahoman to appear on "Ellen’s Game of Games"
Owasso resident Laurel Molini will appear on the primetime game show "Ellen's Game of Games" at 8 p.m. Tuesday on NBC.
“Ellen’s Game of Games” includes supersized versions of the most popular and action-packed games from the host's award-winning daytime talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” as well as some designed especially for the primetime show.
Molini will be playing Taj Mah-Wall on Tuesday's episode.
7. Reba McEntire joining #SaveOurStages virtual festival featuring Foo Fighters, Miley Cyrus and Dave Matthews
Kelsea Ballerini, Little Big Town, Phoebe Bridgers, The Roots, Brittany Howard, Leon Bridges, Macklemore, Marshmello & Demi Lovato, YG, Finneas, G-Eazy also are among the 35 acts who will perform at the #SOSFEST, a three-day virtual music festival designed to spread awareness of the $10 billion Save Our Stages Act before Congress, according to Variety.
The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer recently reported on the hardships Oklahoma City venues are facing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Read about it here.
The #SOSFEST is set for Oct. 16-18 and will be produced by YouTube Music and the National Independent Venue Association. It will be hosted by Reggie Watts and feature all-original performances that will be staged from 26 different independent venues across the country. Tulsa's historic Cain's Ballroom will be one of the venues featured.
8. First trailer debuts for new adaptation of "The Witches," co-starring Kristin Chenoweth
The first trailer premiered this week for director Robert Zemeckis’ ("Back to the Future") reimagining of Roald Dahl’s creepy classic. The first clip focuses mostly on Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci and Chris Rock's voiceover work. But Chenoweth, who hails from Broken Arrow, also co-stars in the film.
The movie will debut Oct. 22 - just in time for Halloween - on the streaming service HBO Max.
9. "Alejandro" completes production in Tulsa
The Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts & Culture recently announced that production for the upcoming feature film “Alejandro” by The Inspired Group has wrapped in Tulsa. The feature was filmed throughout Tulsa and surrounding communities during Aug. 16-30.
The film follows a man, Alejandro, who is about to be sentenced for a crime he didn’t commit, until a stranger, Lucas, steps in to represent him. Focusing on perseverance and justice, the film highlights the growth of both Alejandro and Lucas, stemming from their unique relationship.
“Alejandro” is produced by Sam Ojo, who moved from Salt Lake City to Tulsa five years ago, according to a news release.
“When I moved to Tulsa my goal was to make this film a reality here. I was able to hire talented local crew, and utilize our incredible locations,” said Ojo in a statement. “My hope is this film will inspire audiences, and will also help build positive content around Tulsa, and promote Tulsa as a whole.”
The film was directed by Emmanuel Ndejito, with Todd Roberts as director of photography, Bryce Riedesel as head gaffer, and Mark Gullickson as first AD, as well as head of the sound team.
The Oklahoma Film + Music Office helped with on-set safety protocols needed to protect against COVID-19.
“We’re grateful Sam and his production team were able to work with our office and utilize our services to connect with local health and safety resources,” said Outreach and Production Manager Yousef Kazemi in a statement. “We are continuously updating this information as it relates to film and music production on our website, and we applaud our industry and community partners in Tulsa and throughout the state for their critical innovation and work at this time.”
For more information, go to www.alejandromovie.com.