Bad news for everyone who was anticipating Meryl’s stage reading of Alan Alda’s “Marie Curie” play. According to Entertainment Weekly, Maggie Gyllenhaal will play Nobel-winning scientist Marie Curie in a special reading of Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie, taking over for Meryl Streep, who had to bow out due to a scheduling conflict. Streep’s spokesperson said in a statement that the two-time Oscar winner was “very disappointed to miss this important and inspiring event.” Gyllenhaal joins the all-star cast of Radiance, which also includes Amy Adams, Bill Camp, Allison Janney, David Morse, Liev Schreiber, and Brent Sexton. Written by Alan Alda and directed by Bob Balaban, the reading anchors the 2011 World Science Festival Opening Night Gala Celebration on June 1 at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.

On Tuesday, April 12, Good Housekeeping salutes nine extraordinary women whose combination of intelligence, imagination and nerve is changing women’s lives forever at “Shine On,” a special one-night-only theatrical event at Radio City Music Hall with special appearances by two-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep, three-time Grammy Award winner Trisha Yearwood in her first New York City performance in five years and Academy Award winner Goldie Hawn. Highlights of the evening will include a special tribute to Elizabeth Taylor by business partner and friend Kathy Ireland and an opening performance by Grammy Award-winner Eve, who wrote an original song for the occasion. The star-studded event benefits the National Women’s History Museum in Washington, D.C., which is dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and celebrating the diverse historic contributions of women. Tickets for the one-night-only show are available at www.goodhousekeeping.com/shine-on.

Actress Kate Winslet will author a book of celebrity self-portrait photos by Ben Stiller, Jude Law, Meryl Streep and others to support autism that will be released later this year. Winslet organized the collection of self-portrait photos for the book titled “The Golden Hat” after becoming inspired by an HBO documentary she narrated called, “A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back To Autism”. The film shows Keli Ericsdottir, an Icelandic boy who suffered from severe non-verbal autism, eventually being able to communicate. He now composes poems, including one describing a magical hat that enables an autistic boy to communicate. The book derives its name from Ericsdottir’s poem. Winslet asked more than two dozen celebrities to take a self-portrait photo wearing one special hat that was passed along. Other well-known figures in the book include comedian Ricky Gervais, tennis player Maria Sharapova, singer Christina Aguilera and actresses Naomi Watts and Julianne Moore. Proceeds from the book’s profits will benefit Winslet’s autism charity “The Golden Hat Foundation.” (source: Reuters).

According to the Lincoln Center website, Meryl Streep leads some of America’s foremost artists, scholars, and public figures in this extraordinary evening celebrating the role of contemporary poetry in American culture. Wednesday, April 27, 2011 6:30 PM. Alice Tully Hall, Starr Theater.

Here are the good news: Some of the nation’s finest artists, scholars, and entertainers will be at the White House tomorrow as President Obama awards the National Medal or Arts and the National Humanities Medal. Among the 20 recipients: Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep, jazz legend Sonny Rollins, singer/songwriter James Taylor, classic pianist Van Cliburn, To Kill A Mockingbird author Harper Lee, and other acclaimed writers such as Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates. And here are the bad news: Streep and Lee will not be in attendance, the White House said.

News on the previously mentioned “Great Hope Springs” have been slow lately. Although it was promoted as a done deal back in Autumn 2010, there hasn’t been any news on the comedy drama ever since. Now, Deadline not only reports that director Mike Nichols has been replaced by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada), but also that Steve Carrell has been cast as the couple’s therapist (thanks for those letting me know since I originally wrote he was cast as the husband). As the husband, the latest news have been on James Gandolfini. No further sources or dates have been published. Personally, I think this is not close to being official as of now – especially since the first article says that Meryl is “in final negotiations” while the second article quotes the first one by saying she “officially signed on”. Let’s wait :-)

Bernd Eichinger, a German screenwriter and producer who made films in Germany and Hollywood, including the 1993 literary adaptation “The House of the Spirits” starring Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons and Glenn Close, died in Los Angeles on Monday. In 1979, Mr. Eichinger became director of Constantin, which was then a struggling company but has since become one of Germany’s most important production and distribution houses. In addition to “The NeverEnding Story” (1984), Mr. Eichinger’s producing credits include works like “The Name of the Rose” (1986), “Last Exit to Brooklyn” (1989), “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” (1997), “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” (2006) and “The Baader Meinhof Complex” (2008), about a terrorist group in West Germany in the 1970s, which was nominated for an Academy Award as best foreign language film. He was 61.

Many thanks to Pam for bringing this to my attention! Though she has won her Oscars for dramatic roles, Forbes reports that over the last five years, Meryl Streep’s comedies – “Mamma Mia,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Julie & Julia,” “It’s Complicated” – have earned $1.3 billion at the box office worldwide, earning the actress the Forbes’ 1st place as highest grossing actress in comedy. Despite “Sex and the City 2″ underperforming both commercially and critically, Sarah Jessica Parker ranked No. 2 with $916 million. (The SATC sequel may have earned $95 million in the U.S., but it raked in an impressive $193 million overseas.) No. 3: Katherine Heigl, whose comedies have earned $773 million over the last five years. Cameron Diaz comes in fourth with $768 million. Anne Hathaway rounds out the top 5. Her comedies – which include the mega-popular, “The Devil Wears Prada” – have earned $727 at the box office worldwide.