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    Cruz's New Roles Combine Beauty and Brains

    Penelope Cruz may have stayed away from Los Angeles early in her career because of the difficulty actresses can have finding roles that combine beauty and brains. Or maybe, as she puts it, it was simply because dinner arrived at the wrong time.

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    Nat'l Orgs Join Americans for the Arts

    Two national arts groups, the State Arts Advocacy League of America and the National Community Arts Network, have agreed to be folded into Americans for the Arts.

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    'Office' Star Tops Charts with Podcast

    Ricky Gervais, creator and star of the BBC comedy "The Office," has topped the charts in the U.S. and Britain with his booming podcast.

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    Not Home, Raising Questions

    Dear Jackie: I recently started my daughter with a commercial agent I am very pleased with. Her agent is bicoastal and has a great reputation. But the last two auditions for national commercials were held at houses, not in casting studios.

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    NYC Says Production Boom Due to Incentives

    The Mayor's Office trumpeted more than $600 million in new production and 6,000 new jobs this past year as a result of its "Made in NY" tax credit incentive legislation.

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    Frederic B. Vogel Memorial

    A memorial service for Frederic B. Vogel will be held on Thurs., Feb. 9 at 1 p.m. at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W. 45th St., NYC.

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    Cell Phone Ban Passes Council

    The New York City Council has made the use of a cell phone in such public performance venues as Broadway theatres and art galleries illegal. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to veto.

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    Pretty at Last

    It's been a 12-year wait, but Theatre Row--that enclave of live theatre establishments on Santa Monica Boulevard between Hudson Avenue and Vine Street --is finally getting the civic enhancement it hoped for when the much-ballyhooed Hollywood Beautification Project commenced in 1992.

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    Kid Stuff, SAG But Not Sagging

    I have been hesitating for some time about writing you, but in this new year of no more procrastinating, here it is. I am a late-20s actress living in Los Angeles. I have been acting professionally since I was about 9 years old, and I've had a moderate level ...

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    Humana Kind

    Living in Los Angeles—the land of "take two freeways and call me in the morning"—we've long bemoaned the lack of a theatrical center. Theatre here is kind of a reflection of L.A. itself: spread out, disparate, hard to form a clear image of what's out ...