Jason Biggs: Kathryn Indiek /ImageDirect

Plus, news about Bette Midler, Kevin Richardson, Aerosmith, Chris Rock, Mary Chapin Carpenter, John Lennon, Nicolas Cage, Forest Whitaker, Cher, Marilyn Manson, Richard Hatch, and others

September 27, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

ON STAGE In case he hasn’t suffered enough sexual humiliation on screen in the ”American Pie” movies, Jason Biggs is returning to Broadway next April to star in the stage adaptation of ”The Graduate,” where he’ll have the Dustin Hoffman role of Benjamin Braddock. Kathleen Turner will be Mrs. Robinson, reprising her role from the London stage production, where she was the first of several high-profile middle-aged actresses (including Jerry Hall, Anne Archer, and currently, Linda Gray) to shock English audiences by baring all. Alicia Silverstone will play Elaine. Biggs was last on Broadway 10 years ago, opposite Judd Hirsch in ”Conversations With My Father.”…

SOUND BITES ”Did you ever know that you’re my hero,” sang Bette Midler, performing ”Wind Beneath My Wings” at a memorial for New York’s fallen on Sunday at Yankee Stadium. Also performing were Lee Greenwood, Marc Anthony, and Placido Domingo, while Oprah Winfrey, James Earl Jones, and clergymen of many faiths offered words of comfort to some 20,000 mourners. Midler is also scheduled to sing tomorrow at a concert at Boston’s City Hall Plaza, with the proceeds going to the families of the air crews of the two planes that were hijacked from Boston’s Logan Airport….

Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson was feeling black and blue after being flamed for comments he made to a Canadian interviewer in the wake of the September 11 tragedy. He’d said, ”I just think we are a little bit of an arrogant nation, and maybe this is a little bit of a humbling experience — what has our government done to provoke this action that we don’t know about?” Apologizing on Thursday, Richardson said he’d been ”overwhelmed with anger and frustration” after a long day of interviews, and by ”arrogant,” he meant that ”we’ve been a little overconfident, we’ve maybe taken our freedom for granted, taken our security for granted.” He said, ”I apologize if I have offended anyone, any of the families of the victims, if my statement seemed insensitive,” adding, ”I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t love this country … I’m proud to be an American. I apologize if my comment was untimely.”…

Plenty of stars have volunteered to perform morale-boosting shows for U.S. soldiers fighting abroad if the U.S.O. calls them to duty. Aerosmith, Martina McBride, Coolio, the Pointer Sisters, Larry Gatlin, Sammy Hagar, and the Scorpions have all offered their services, as have comics Chris Rock and Jamie Foxx. Even Bob Hope may return to entertain the troops, as he’s done in every major conflict of the past 60 years. That is, if he’s well enough; he’s 98 and recovering from a recent bout of pneumonia….

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