Harris to scratch an ‘Itch’

Neil Patrick Harris is returning to the stage – and not to hand out awards.

The four-time Tony Award host and former “Doogie Howser, M.D.” star will star on Broadway in the spring as the gender-bent rock chanteuse at the center of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” the cult musical that was made into a cult movie.

The rest of the creative team members, cast, dates and the theater will be announced later.

Written by John Cameron Mitchell and composer Stephen Trask, “Hedwig” was an unlikely hit fashioned out of a strange story: a tale of obsession, glam rock, a botched sex-change operation and a quest for identity.

Mitchell starred in an off-Broadway production that played for two years starting in 1998 in the dilapidated ballroom of an ancient Greenwich Village hotel and reprised the role in a 2001 film version. In a statement, Mitchell said: “Who better to pass the wig to but the finest entertainer of his generation?”

Harris, the 40-year-old “How I Met Your Mother” star, has been featured in three Broadway productions, including “Assassins,” “Proof” and as the exuberant master of ceremonies in “Cabaret.”

Jay-Z has an app for that

Leave it to Jay-Z to sell a million copies of a new album even before he announces its existence to the world.

The rapper and mogul debuted the news of a new LP, “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” in a commercial during Game 5 of the NBA finals Sunday. The clip showed him trying on beats and talking new business models. Indeed, “Magna Carta” comes with a novel one.

The electronics company Samsung reportedly pre-bought the first million copies of the album, which it will distribute free to users who sign up June 24 for a specialized app for its Galaxy phones and tablets, with the album landing July 4.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the company paid $5 per advance copy, giving Jay a considerable payday for an album no one outside his circle had even heard of. The album gets a traditional release three days later.

Streisand takes aim in Israel

Entertainer Barbra Streisand waded into one of Israel’s touchiest issues Monday on the first major stop of her tour of the country – Jewish religious practices that separate men and women.

Speaking at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she received an honorary doctorate, she took aim at cases of ultra-Orthodox Jews targeting women.

She was referring to isolated incidents in which ultra-Orthodox men tried to force women to sit separately at the rear of buses that go through their neighborhoods, as well as more serious clashes in which ultra-Orthodox Jews tried to prevent women donning prayer shawls and carrying Torah scrolls from praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the Jewish holy site.

In her acceptance speech after receiving her degree, Streisand reaffirmed her support of Israel and the school.