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Wrapping 11th Season, 'CSI' Is 'Like a Battleship,' Says Hall

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Wrapping 11th Season, 'CSI' Is 'Like a Battleship,' Says Hall/Derek Hough Movie Part of Explosion in Dance Popularity

With its final episode of this season going into production, the original "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" is "like a battleship cruising through the ocean. We still seem to have full steam." At least, that is the opinion of the show's Robert David Hall.

And he's certainly not alone, as "CSI" continues to be a strong ratings performer in its 11th year and is listed by the formidable TVbytheNumbers' Renew/Cancel Index as Certain to Be Renewed for the 2011-2012 season.

"We recently did our 250th episode and had a little party on set. Billy Peterson came to visit us," he adds, referring to the former "CSI" star. "They took pictures, cut a cake. The executives came out, and the crew ... We were all shaking our heads, like, '250 episodes?'"

For Hall, this Thursday's (4/7) episode, penned by show creator Anthony Zuiker, offered a rare chance to get his medical examiner character, Dr. Al Robbins, out of the lab — and then some.

"After all these years of dealing with death, I actually got to deliver a baby," Hall says. But, this being "CSI," you know it's not going to be a balloons-in-the-maternity-ward kind of occasion. In fact, the young mother has just committed suicide.

"Dr. Robbins acts very quickly to deliver the baby right there ... It's based on something that really happened with Daniel Holstein, a pathologist who is an adviser and sometimes writer on the show. There was a situation just like this in Los Angeles," says Hall, who shares the segment with George Eads.

"At the end of the scene, I'm actually holding a live baby. Acting is one thing, but holding an infant in a scene is a great responsibility," says Hall, who hadn't held a baby in a while, since his own son is grown.

Next up for Hall is a return to focusing on his infectious, Americana-style music. He's been performing local gigs, and musician pals, including his "Things They Don't Teach You in School" album producer, Chris Wall, have been in town from Austin, Texas. Hall, who lost his brother Steven to liver cancer just over a week ago, is especially valuing having good work and good friends right now. The actor told us last year that it was Steven's encouragement and his courageous battle against the disease that motivated him to finally get out and pursue his life-long dreams of music-making.

As he notes, "It's so important to honor your dreams."

IN THE MOVEMENT MOVEMENT: Yes, there are a lot of "Dancing With the Stars" fans missing popular pro Derek Hough this season. However, "He's off to Canada to film a movie, 'Cobu 3D.' He's starring. He's dancing and acting," notes Julie McDonald of the dance romance in which Hough's leading lady is Asian star BoA. "He wants to do other things, and this is a wonderful opportunity for him."

Hough is among the dance talents represented by McDonald's MSA agency — so she knows. The former dancer (whose own career was cut short by injury) has more than 20 years' experience in working with dancers, stage directors and choreographers, including "So You Think You Can Dance" choreography faves Napoleon and Tabitha D'umo. The duo happen to be choreographing "Cobu," in addition to assignments like Fox's "Mobbed" and "The Kids Choice Awards," plus the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, "Chipwrecked."

"People's careers are extending longer and longer in dance," McDonald observes, "but those who want to have even longer careers have to expand. Some go into choreography, some into acting. Then you see a lot of choreographers going into producing and directing, like Kenny Ortega, Adam Shankman and Rob Marshall."

McDonald adds that today, with mass exposure including social networking making dance stars into household names, there are even more opportunities for branching out.

"Dancers are often trendsetters. A lot of them are into fashion and design. Tabitha has a store," she notes.

The explosion of dance and musical show popularity in recent years has made things both easier and more difficult for McDonald, a pioneer in exclusively representing terpsichorean types. The business, she notes, has become much more complicated — and crowded.

"There are a lot more people out there calling themselves choreographers."

Still, there's obviously demand for the cream of the crop. In a sampling of McDonald's clients, Swany (Mark Swanhart) is the choreographer for Celine Dion's new Vegas show, and Gilles Papain is their video designer. Sonya Tayeh is directing and choreographing Miley Cyrus' new tour. Marguerite Derricks is choreographing Broadway's "Wonderland," and Jamie King is directing the forthcoming Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil show with Travis Payne choreographing. That show is so huge, in fact, McDonald says that multiple choreographers are contributing their talents.

PLUS: There's also Steven Spielberg's new pilot, "Smash," starring Debra Messing and Katharine McPhee as part of a troupe getting ready to mount a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, with MSA client Josh Bergasse serving as choreographer.

To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM



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