Tag Archives: Arlene Duncan

The more the merrier as stars bring sunshine to Leacock sketches — and to Toronto stages too

Okay — where was I? Oh yes, I remember. Taking a break from blogging. Apparently that’s over now.

EVERYBODY’S TALKING:  And no wonder — the first glimpses of CBC’s big Sunday night movie, Sunshine Sketches Of A Little Town, look sumptuous. And I admit it — I’m a sucker for an all-star cast. Not that the producers, Alliance

HENNESSY & PINSENT: Mother & Son

Atlantis alumni Michael MacMillan and Seaton McLean, had much trouble reeling them in. “One of the best screenplays I’ve ever read,” says leading lady Jill Hennessy. Ms Hennessy,  currently on screen wrangling Dustin Hoffman on HBO’s new series Luck, clearly loved every minute of the summer shoot, as did Gordon Pinsent, who plays her son. (Yes. Really. You’ll have to watch it to find out.) Pinsent, who starts shooting a new movie in Mexico next week, describes it as “one of those rare filming experiences when we couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning.” Then again, Hennessy and Pinsent were

KHANIJAN: on stage

keeping some very good company. Among the stellar marquee names bringing Stephen Leacock‘s classic comedy drama to life are Keshia Chante, Sean Cullen, Ron James, Peter Keleghan, Debra McGrath, Patrick McKenna, Colin Mochrie, Eric Peterson, Leah Pinsent, Caroline Rhea, Rick Roberts and Michel Therriault. Get those PVRs warmed up, folks — this one sounds like a keeper.

TALKING THE TALK: Ryerson Theatre Club devotees were among the hundreds of floodlights fans at Tuesday’s performance of Cruel And Tender  at the Bluma Appel. After their stunning 90 minute tour-de-force, stars Arsinée Khanijan and Daniel Kash joined their director Atom Egoyanin the theater lobby for a 15-minute Q&A with interested audience members. How interested were they? Theater Club reps had to call a halt after 40 minutes, but some folks still hung

BROCHU: return engagement

around just long enough to meet Egoyan and share their take on his production of Martin Crimp’s reimagined Greek tragedy. The hypnotic drama runs through next Saturday Feb. 18 … Jim Brochu has returned with his celebrated salute to Zero Mostel, Zero Hour, directed by Piper Laurie (yes, that Piper Laurie) … and no, his reviews this time ’round were not exactly love letters, but clearly Ronnie Burkett’s audiences disagree. Factory Theatre has added six more performances of the marionette master’s new show, Penny Plain, with tickets now available through March 4 … meanwhile, Robert LePage’s Blue Dragon continues to dazzle at the Royal Alex, In The Heights continues to rock North York at the Toronto Centre For The Arts, War Horse opens tonight at the Princess Of Wales and Potted Potter opens tomorrow night at the Panasonic. Talk about an embarrassment of theatrical riches!

COMEBACKS: Great news for those of us who missed them first time ‘round — two rave-winning theatrical events are set to return to our town. Kim’s Convenience, the runaway hit by Soulpepper Academy alumnus Ins Choi, wraps up its current run this weekend but will be back May 17-June 9. And yes,

DUNCAN: showstopper

it’s a good idea to order your tickets now. As you may recall, the play about a Regent Park Korean convenience store was the sleeper hit of the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival … and the National Ballet will launch its 2012-2013 season with the return of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Christopher Wheeldon on November 10–25. A co-production with England’s Royal Ballet, Alice was an SRO smash when it premiered here last year. And yes, it’s a good idea to order those tickets now too … meanwhile, stage and screen showstopper Arlene Duncan, so endearing as the unsinkable Fatima in Little Mosque On The Prairie, is winning standing Os nightly at the Berkeley Street Theatre. Ms Duncan is the crown jewel in Caroline, Or Change, the latest theatrical gem from the phenomenal Acting Up stage company. CanStage and Acting Up added one more show of the musical last night to accommodate public demand, but all 25 scheduled performances sold out so quickly that surely an encore should be considered? And soon, please?

COTE: Lost In Motion

SEE/HEAR:  National Ballet star dancer Guillaume Côté is the latest hot ticket on YouTube with his  stunning short film Lost in Motion. Directed by Ben Shirinian and choreographed by Guillaume, the three-minute film really is something to see — even if it makes you want to join a gym before it ends. The high-flying M’sieu Côté will be performing with Kings of the Dance in Manhattan February 24–27  — d”ya suppose he made that video just to freak ‘em out? — before returning to star in Sleeping Beauty, March 10–18, 2012, and The Seagull, March 21–25, 2012. Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen Lost In Motion yet, you don’t have to take my word for it — just click here. And enjoy!

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Rachel and Marion love Woody, Jeanne and Barry love to Scrabble, Jerry loves La Cage, and Conan loves Twitter

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Whatever he’s got, he’s still got it. Woody Allen is set to shoot another film in Paris this summer — mais oui, they love him in France — and

MCADAMS: To Paris with Woody

Rachel McAdams and Marion Cotillard have already signed on … flamboyant figure skater Johnny Weir, the Winter Olympics’ favourite bad boy, is now set to guest with Ice Theatre Of New York at the company’s 2010 Home Season stint April 29-May 1 at Chelsea Pier … John Tory, the new Chair of the TIFF Bell Lightbox campaign, is seeking $17.5 million in gifts needed to complete the TIFF Bell Lightbox between now and the opening of the building, which is still scheduled for this fall … Kelsey Grammer is back on Broadway, currently in previews at the Longacre Theatre for the Olivier Award-winning revival of La Cage Aux Folles that took London by storn. Composer Jerry Herman says this new version “is hysterical, touching, outrageous, ingenious — a revelation from curtain to curtain.” This we gotta see … Channing Tatum and Al Pacino are teaming up for a new screen drama, Son Of No One …  and Sebastian Stan, best known for his roles on Gossip Girl and Kings, has joined the cast of Captain America as leading man Chris Evan’s sidekick.

MARCUS TRIO: at Smiling Buddha tonight

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Talk about a musical coup d’etat! Sting, Elton John, Lady Gaga and Dame Shirley Bassey will perform together at Carnegie Hall  at a Rainforest Fund benefit concert on May 13. The event will mark the 21st birthday of the charitable organization founded by Sting and Trudie Styler to help protect and preserve the world’s threatened rainforest areas and the pricey tickets includes a gala post-performance dinner at the Plaza … Jann Arden, Tom Cochrane and NHL legend Darryl Sittler are set to join Anne Murray at her 2010 Charity Golf Classic in support of Colon Cancer Canada on May 18 at Angus Glen Golf Club in Markham … at last! Hypnotic singer-songwriter Jane Ford has finally released a new album, All I’ve Needed Most, a five-song EP featuring “some great new tunes I know you’re going to love.” Count me in. Her new album is available on iTunes in the US and Canada. “And Europe. Everywhere actually!” … Justin Bieber pop-rocks tomorrow night on SNL … and professional crowd-pleasers The Marcus Trio return to one of their favourite haunts, The Smiling Buddha Bar on College Street, tonight at 10 pm.

O'BRIEN: networking

TWITTERBUG: Deposed late-night prince Conan O’Brien wasn’t a great believer in social networking until NBC bounced him off his Tonight Show throne. But after being hounded by both his friends and personal Followers (read, Employees) O’Brien finally saw the light. He now has close to a million followers on both Facebook and Twitter. Which is how, with a few well-placed wisecracks, he has managed to almost completely sell out his 30-city comedy tour which kicks off on Monday night. “Five days to the opening of my tour,” he tweeted yesterday. “I don’t want to over-hype this thing, but attendance will cure all known diseases.”  His first stop on his sweep of North American cities? Eugene, Oregon.

(Now that’s funny.)

BEKER: all-star Scrabble soiree

SCRABBLE RABBLE: Autograph collectors should have a field day Monday night at the 6th annual Scrabble® With The Stars soiree at the King Suites. Returning hosts Jeanne Beker and Barry Flatman will welcome so many marquee names that I can’t possible mention them all here. Suffice it to say that the glamourous role call includes Angela Asher, Jaymz Bee, Mark Breslin, Dave Broadfoot, Dinah Christie, Arlene Duncan, Jayne Eastwood, Lili Francks, Graham Greene, C. David Johnson, Deb McGrath, Sheila McCarthy, Colin Mochrie, Micki Moore, Eric Peterson, Leah Pinsent,  Avery Saltzman, Elizabeth Shepherd, Paul Soles, Amy Sky, Theresa Tova, Robin Ward, Sara Waxman and enduring entertainment icons Sharon, Lois & Bram, all in aid of the Performing Arts Lodge (PAL) of Toronto. Tickets include dinner, a game of Scrabble with a celebrity and a tax receipt, and as usual there’s only a handful of tickets left. So if you want to play, don’t delay — just click here!

And have a great weekend.

-/-


A new role for Feist, a new band for Ringo, more stars for Scrabble, and a chance to watch Tiger tee off in 3-D

FEISTY TV COMMENTATOR SAVES THE DAY: Who’s that girl pushing her microphone into your face? Believe it or not, the gal with the hot mike is none other than

FEIST: chess game

Juno-laden warbler Leslie Feist, and she’s not singing into it this time. Feist was tapped by her longtime friend, Paris-based ex-pat pianist and producer Chilly Gonzales (aka the artist formerly known as Beck,) to play a TV reporter covering a chess tournament in Gonzales’ first short feature film, Ivory Tower. The flick, which wrapped location shoots here yesterday, also features techno-popsters Tiga as Gonzales’ high-strung chess champion brother and Peaches as their mutual love interest. Insiders say the task of playing an on-camera TV maven was a walk in the park for Feist, who has previously survived playing an angel with a direct line to Heaven (on Stephen Colbert’s wacko Christmas special) to singing her monster hit 1.2.3.4. with Elmo on Sesame Street. Meanwhile her pun-addicted pal Gonzales — he of Pianist Envy fame — is now winging his way to Austin, Texas where he’ll rock SxSW music lovers with a predictably off-the-wall concert tonight before winging back home to Paris.

SHARPS ‘N” FLATS: Massey Hall-bound Dire Straits alumnus Mark Knopfler is set to serenade his Swiss fans at the 44th annual Montreux Jazz Festival July 2-17 … Iron Maiden returns to seduce Canuck fas on July 3 at the Molson Amphitheatre in T.O. and July

TAYLOR & TAYLOR: Valentines

7 at the Bell Centre in Montreal … new Grammy sweeper Taylor Swift, so good with that other Taylor (New Moon alumnus Lautner) in Valentine’s Day, will join Keith Urban, Ashley MacIsaac and Lady Antebellum at this year’s Cavendish Beach Music Festival in P.E.I. in July … Ringo Starr brings his new All-Starr Band, including Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer and Richard Page, to Fallsview Casino on June 24 & 25 … Chantal Kreviazuk is set to brighten the Edmonton Symphony season this fall … and showstopper Idina Menzel, so brilliant at Defying Gravity in Wicked, is set to make a stellar appearance on the second season of Glee.

WOODS: a new dimension?

3-D STIMULUS PACKAGE: Two hours of each round of next month’s Masters golf tournament will be carried in 3-D by Comcast to its more than 20 million U.S. subscribers. The production will be separate from what CBS and ESPN will show, with Sony supplying cameras to show the action on the back nine. It’s all part of a grand scheme to persuade sports fans to buy new 3-D televisions sets.And of course Tiger Woods much-anticipated return to the Masters can’t hurt. But yes, you still have to wear the glasses.

SCRABBLE BABBLE: What do stage and screen showstoppers  Sheila McCarthy, Colin Mochrie and Jayne Eastwood all have in common? They’re three of the 40 sparklies set to play at the sixth annual Scrabble With The Stars next month. In case you’ve forgotten this is the once-a-year fundraiser for PAL Toronto, the Performing Arts Lodge that is now home for so many of our now-senior artists who devoted their lives to delighting us on stage and screen. In addition

BARRY & JEANNE: Scrabblers

to such long time supporters as Peter Kent, Gordon Pinsent and legendary moppet charmers Sharon, Lois & Bram, marquee luminaries already confirmed include Jaymz Bee, Mark Breslin, Dave Broadfoot, Dinah Christie, Arlene Duncan, C. David Johnson, Deb McGrath, Sheila McCarthy, Mickie Moore, Leah Pinsent,  Shakura S’Aida, Avery Saltzman, Paul Soles, Amy Sky, Theresa Tova and cuisine queen Sara Waxman, TV fashionista Jeanne Beker and her best beau Barry Flatman are returning to host this year’s star-studded Scrabble evening on Monday April 12 at the King Suites, and I can personally guarantee that you’ll have a great time. For more information and/or to order tickets, just click here. But don’t wait too long — this event ALWAYS sells out!

-/-

Strombo gets Fox, Mosque gets manipulated, Montreal gets Whoopi & Rick gets stung

TONIGHT, TONIGHT: Your boyfriend George Stroumboulopoulos kicks off his sixth season of The Hour tonight with an intimate hour-long interview

GEORGE: Sixth Season

GEORGE: Sixth Season

with Michael J. Fox. Other sparklies about to get Georged: Andre Agassi, Michael Buble, Drew Barrymore, Michael Douglas, John Irving, Michael Moore, Anne Murray, Edward Norton, Clive Owen, and Snoop Dogg earlier in the evening Little Mosque On The Prairie returns with a new edge when Brandon Firla (Billable Hours) plays a manipulative minister from the big city who is less than thrilled to find a bunch of Muslims as tenants in his church. Zaib Shaikh, Sitara Hewitt, Sheila McCarthy, Carlo Rota, Debra McGrath and Arlene Duncan continue to keep the pot boilingalso returning tonight: Just For Laughs, with a premiere

GOLDBERG: just for laughs?

GOLDBERG: just for laughs?

episode from Montreal featuring Whoopi Goldberg, Jim Gaffigan, Louis C.K., Pete Zedlacher and Adam Hills. In addition to Zedlacher, Canuck showstoppers set to perform on the weekly series include Mike MacDonald, Deb DiGiovanni, Angelo Tsarouchas, Shaun Majumder, Martin Short, Jon Dore and Gerry Dee. So what’s not to like? … and Hot Docs is the co-presenter of tonight’s showing of Larry Towell’s Canada-Palestine co-production Indecisive Moments at the 2009 Toronto Palestine Film Festival, which continues through Friday. A personal video diary of Towell’s experiences in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, which he refers to as “the world’s largest open-air prison,” the film screens tonight at 7:00 pm at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Jackman Hall, with filmmaker Towell in attendance. For more information and/or to purchase tickets, just click here.

BRIDGES: new John Wayne?

BRIDGES: new John Wayne?

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Newcomer Christoph Waltz, the breakout star of Inglorious Basterds, is set to play the villain opposite Seth Rogen in The Green HornetJeff Bridges is in talks to star in a Coen Brothers remake of the classic John Wayne western True GritMeryl Streep’s daughter, actress Mamie Gummer, has been cast in director John Carpenter‘s new thriller, The Ward … and watch and listen for songbird Dawn Langstroth on a channel near you. She’s set to stop by AM 740 today at 2 pm to perform selected songs from her new CD Highwire in the radio station lobby. And tomorrow morning she’ll serenade early-risers on Breakfast Television (BT Toronto, that is.) So stay tuned!

LORD OF THE FLIES: When Canadian comedy icon Rick Mercer flew to B.C. to kick off the new Spread The Net campaign at Simon Fraser University, SFU biologist Carl Lowenberger, challenged him to stick his arm in a cage filled with mosquitoes — and you know how Mercer responds to challenges.  You can see the results on tomorrow night’s premiere of The Rick Mercer Report. (And I won’t even mention the bit where Lowenberger dares him to stick his entire head in the cage.)

MERCER & LOWENBERGER: SFU research team?

MERCER & LOWENBERGER: SFU research team?

Meanwhile, Mercer’s spoof of that weird Michael Ignatieff commercial, which will be revealed to television viewers on RMR tomorrow night, has already ricocheted around the word as a viral video. And yes, it’s funny. Funny enough for Ignatieff to instantly install it on his Facebook page (not to mention his Twittering about it.)

Still haven’t seen it?

Really?

So what was it like in the monastery?

Never mind. If you’re really sure that you really can’t wait ‘til tomorrow night, just click here.

TOMORROW:

More fun ‘n’ games. (Who knew?)