Taylor Hicks to perform at charity concert

Past “American Idol” champ Taylor Hicks teams up with country artist Jessie James Decker for a benefit concert at 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro. The concert follows the second annual Arians Family Foundation Georgia Celebrity Golf Classic. The organization, launched by Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians and his wife, Christine, serves children who are in the court system as a result of abuse or neglect.

“I am super excited,” Hicks said during a phone interview. “Whenever children are involved and you know your job is to raise awareness and raise funds, that makes it even more sweet. You just hope that ultimately their lives will be affected for the good.”

Since his “Idol” days, Hicks has stayed busy touring and working on new recording projects. He also enjoyed a stint in Las Vegas.

His role as the Teen Angel in the touring production of “Grease” was one of the performances that’s brought him to Atlanta in recent years.

“I never thought I would wear 13,000 rhinestones,” he said. “That was one of my favorite gigs so far. To sell out the Fox, that was one of those dreams as a kid and it came true.”

Tickets for Monday’s show are $100 each. Call 310-426-9900, email audrey@cmpr.net or see www.ariansfamilyfoundation.com for more information.

Young ‘Transformers’ actors visit Atlanta

“Transformers: Age of Extinction,” opening this weekend, has just about every special effect you could ask for in a movie. Explosions: check. Cruise ship flying through the air: check. Intergalactic scenes: check. Fire-breathing TransformerZilla creature: double check.

Yet it’s the human drama that its two young stars, Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor, were drawn to. The pair visited Atlanta recently as part of a press tour promoting the high-octane thriller by Michael Bay.

“It’s a great story,” Reynor said. He plays Shane, the quick-thinking, fast-acting love interest of Peltz’s character, Tessa. Both of the young characters propel the nonmechanical aspects of the film although they (ahem) transform into young adults capable of great daring and bravery amid the giant warring gadgets. Both said it was fun to bring their talents to such an enduring and cherished franchise.

The movie also stars Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci and Kelsey Grammer, and working with such industry veterans was both thrilling and challenging, Peltz and Reynor said.

Reynor in particular was excited to work with Wahlberg, who plays Tessa’s dad and whose preparation for the movie’s physical scenes was an inspiration.

Both said they learned that when you’re working on a Michael Bay project, you’d better come to the set knowing your lines backward and forward because he might just decide to shoot out of sequence or even come up with new additions on the fly.

His directorial style is as energetic as the product he puts on the screen.

“He would tell us, let go, just go for it!” Peltz recalled.

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