In a miraculous deliverance, a 400-year curse was lifted this week when the Globe Theatre survived a new production of William Shakespeare's cursed Henry VIII.

The original Globe, on the south bank of the River Thames in London, burned to the ground in 1613 as the play was being staged. The 14-year-old theater went up in flames when a scripted cannon shot set fire to the thatched roof.

"It's pretty rare to stage a play that once burned down a theater - it's even rarer to stage it again, for the first time, in the theater which replaced it," director Mark Rosenblatt said. The new Globe reopened 14 years ago.

Rosenblatt said the cast, which includes Dominic Rowan as Henry VIII and MI-5 star Miranda Raison as Ann Bullen, were wary when the cannon was shot during Act 1, Scene 4. "During the technical rehearsal we all looked up, saw smoke leaking out the roof, and wondered, maybe, just maybe, history would repeat itself," he said.

It did not.

Henry VIII will be at the Globe through Aug. 21.

A Sandra Bullock admirer

Elizabeth Edwards, who is all over the media discussing how she felt about being betrayed by her husband, says she doesn't want to be remembered solely for her marriage. Edwards, whose 32-year marriage with former vice presidential candidate John Edwards collapsed after he had an affair with Rielle Hunter, yesterday told Today that she admired Sandra Bullock, whom she has never met. SB, she says, is dealing with the same image problems: "She won the Academy Award for an incredible performance . . . and yet the stories you hear are not about all of those great successes, but about the failure of her marriage."

Franco, the Michelangelo of soap

Tinseltown heartthrob turned Columbia University genius guy James Franco has returned to General Hospital. But, as Franco explains to Zap2it, he managed to transmogrify and elevate his performance (and thus the show as a whole?) from soap pap to postmodern high-low (hi-ho?) art.

Franco says he was nonplussed that his guest role last fall aroused much comment.

"People couldn't understand why I was on General Hospital," he says. "So I wanted to take all that and push it even farther . . . [and] turn it into an art project."

Franco shot his scenes in front of a live audience at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. See, that's called performance art. Way cool, n'est-ce pas?

A blood diamond is forever . . .

Judges at the war crimes trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor in the Hague, Netherlands, say they will allow prosecutors to call Naomi Campbell to testify about whether she received a raw diamond from Taylor. Taylor, accused of fanning the flames of civil war in Sierra Leone to exploit its mineral resources and diamond fields, allegedly gave Naomi a diamond at a 1997 reception in South Africa.

Actress Mia Farrow, who was with Naomi during that bash, also may be called to testify. She told ABC News in April that Naomi had boasted that Taylor's reps gave her a "huge" uncut diamond.

Naomi lashed out with rage when ABC News asked her about the incident.

Love, marriage, kids, divorce . . .

Rascal Flatts bassist Jay DeMarcus and wife Allison are expecting their first baby. The couple, who married in '04, say the li'l one is due in January. Jay says he always felt left out when bandmates Gary LeVox and Joe Don Rooney, who already have kids, would engage in baby chatter.

And he insists his wife will be the perfect mom "because she has done an incredible job raising me over the past six years."

In more loving news, reps for lovely Avatar star Zoe Saldana, 32, have announced she is engaged to marry fellow thesp Keith Britton (Cold Case, As the World Turns). No further details were given.

Office star John Krasinski and Young Victoria babe Emily Blunt have chosen that most auspicious date, July 10, for their nuptials, Life & Style Weekly reports.

Fact, the mag says, July 10 is so special, it also will witness two other celeb weddings: that of country crooner Carrie Underwood and her hockey player fiance, Mike Fisher, and that of TV star La La Vazquez and NBA star Carmelo Anthony.

Former Bachelor and Bachelorette star Jen Schefft, 33, and husband Joe Waterman tell that the baby they're expecting is a girl.

Fonzworth Bentley, the man who became famous for his awesome job - holding Sean "P. Diddy" Combs' umbrella - tells he is engaged to marry actress Faune Chambers. But will he hold her umbrella?

From 'X-Files' to the stage

X-Files believer David Duchovny will try his luck on the New York stage in the world premiere production of Neil LaBute's The Break of Noon. Performances will begin Oct. 28 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre.

The fashion report

Madonna's daughter Lourdes Leon, 13, is easing into the job of marketing her fashion line by launching a blog ( full of fashion tips. "I am totally obsessivo about '80s shorts," she writes. "You know the kind that makes your butt look kind of big, with a grunge-looking shirt tucked in. It's kind of nerdy but I love it."

Britney Spears, 28, is rolling out her first fashion line - of outfits designed for schoolgirls - for trashion house Candie's. "Designing was a really fun, new way for me to express my creativity," Brit says.

'Eclipse' bites 'n' pieces

Teenybop vampire romp The Twilight Saga: Eclipse has, um, eclipsed every single motion picture produced in human history to become the highest-grossing pic for midnight runs. It raked in $30 mil on its first night Tuesday.

Robert Pattinson fever reaches an all-time high: The Summer House, a 12-minute film starring Rob and Talulah Riley, will be available July 13 on iTunes.

Eclipse producer Wyck Godfrey says if Rob and Kristen Stewart break up, it would destroy the Twilight series. "Oh, my God, I hope they stay together," he says. "It could be awkward on set in the next movie if they have a huge falling out."

Eminem dominates charts

Detroit rapper Eminem's Recovery debuted this week atop the Billboard album charts, selling 741,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Drake's Thank Me Later sold 157,000 to settle at No. 2. Miley Cyrus' Can't Be Tamed is at No. 3 with 102,000.

Contact "SideShow" at
This article contains information from Inquirer wire services.