Munich Bound: Conductor Zubin Mehta has signed a five-year contract to be music director at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Germany, starting in 1998. The deal, which calls for him to conduct 40 performances a year, was hailed in the city's Sueddeutsche Zeitung as "a stroke of luck for Munich." The flamboyant maestro, who turns 59 next week, will continue in his post as music director of the Israel Philharmonic. Mehta led the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1962 to 1978, followed by a critically controversial tenure with the New York Philharmonic from 1978 to 1991. He achieved recent worldwide attention as conductor for the Three Tenors mega-concerts in Rome and at Dodger Stadium.
Music Center Showcase: The Music Center will present a free "Showcase of Artists" Thursday on two outdoor stages with more than 70 performing groups including the Aman International Folk Ensemble, Ballet Folclorico do Brasil, Korean Classical Music and Dance Company, Faustwork Mask Theatre, and Native American storyteller Geri Keams. The showcase, which runs from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., will also feature more than 80 booths displaying instruments, puppets, masks and artwork. The event previews various performers that the Music Center's Education Division will tour to local schools in the coming year, and many faculty members are invited.
New Disney Jungle King: The Walt Disney Co. is working on an animated musical version of "Tarzan," which brings to four the number of signature Disney projects in the hopper to follow this summer's "Pocahontas" release. Although no target release date has been set for "Tarzan," the usual turn-around time for such animated Disney fare is two to three years. The other musical cartoon features currently scheduled are "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," set for a 1996 release, and "Hercules" and "The Legend of Mulan," both planned for 1997. Although "Tarzan" is merely in the idea stages now, Disney has obtained rights to the story from the estate of writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, and two directors--Chris Buck and Kevin Lima ("A Goofy Movie")--have been hired. No casting or musical components have been set.
Palimony Suit: Actor Christian Slater ("Murder in the First," "Interview With the Vampire") has been sued for palimony by a woman who claims she has lived with him intermittently from 1990 until she was barred from his Van Nuys home last week. In her Los Angeles lawsuit, Nina P. Huang alleges she and Slater had an oral agreement that, in the event of a breakup, she would receive half his earnings for the period they lived together. Huang contends she gave up her career to help Slater further his.
Pasadena Civic Slate: Jerry Lewis in "Damn Yankees" will play Pasadena Civic Auditorium from Nov. 28-Dec. 3, a week before his previously announced run at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. And "Kiss of the Spider Woman" will go to Pasadena from Jan. 10-14, after that musical's Dec. 26-Jan. 7 run in Orange County but before its scheduled five-week run at the Ahmanson Theatre next spring. Other items on the just-announced Pasadena Civic season: "West Side Story" (Jan. 30-Feb. 4), the Pointer Sisters in "Ain't Misbehavin' " (June 4-9, 1996) and a bonus option of "Cats" (Oct. 3-8, 1996). The venue's previously announced run of "Hello, Dolly!" with Carol Channing has moved from June to July 26-30.
Fox Shows Sensitive Side: In deference to victims of Wednesday's car-bomb explosion in Oklahoma City, Fox on Wednesday night pulled its scheduled episode of "Beverly Hills, 90210" because the program, a repeat, featured characters getting caught in a fire. The network showed another repeat episode of the series instead. "We just decided to be sensitive to the victims in Oklahoma City," a Fox spokeswoman said.
Talk show host Leeza Gibbons and "Days of Our Lives" soap stars Deidre Hall and Robert Kelker-Kelly will co-host the "22nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards" on May 19 in New York for broadcast that night on NBC. . . . "Pulp Fiction" director Quentin Tarantino will direct five unlikely stars--the Quezada quintuplets--in the May 11 episode of NBC's "ER." The babies, who were conceived through fertility treatments, received national media attention after their premature birth in February. . . . The "final" installment of Carroll O'Connor's "In the Heat of the Night" will air May 16 on CBS as a two-hour movie. O'Connor starred in the series, which also featured his recently deceased son, Hugh O'Connor, from 1988 to 1994. Hugh O'Connor has a very small part in the May 16 movie, which was shot in Georgia a year ago. . . . All Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts in uniform will be admitted free to the Los Angeles Classical Ballet's performances Sunday at the Long Beach Terrace Theater and on April 28 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. The programs include the "Romeo and Juliet Suite" and "Coppelia."