POWER PLAY: Andriana Chuchman gets re-charged by Steven Cole
SHOCK TREATMENT: You don’t expect a lot of repressed mirth at the opera, even when the themes are tragicomic. But Toronto opera goers are howling with laughter this month at Andriana Chuchman’s diabolically funny performance in the new Canadian Opera Company production of Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman. In case you’re unfamiliar with the plot, it’s all about a
CHUCHMAN: living doll
romantic poet [Hoffman] who becomes a greater and more insightful poet after he amorously pursues three enigmatic women with disastrous results. Which is where Ms. Chuchman comes in. Hoffman is sure that in the exquisite Olympia he has found the perfect woman –apparently the fact that she sleeps in a glass coffin has somehow eluded him — and vows to make her his own. Alas, Olympia is a mechanical doll, brought to life by jolts of electricity that evoke nostalgic memories of Elsa Lanchester rising to the occasion as the Bride of Frankenstein. As directed by Lee Blakely, clearly a disciple of the Mel Brooks school of drama, and as deftly executed by Winnipeg-born soprano Chuchman, Olympia is a brilliantly bawdy creation, sung with spellbinding precision and a sense of punch-line timing
SHEARER: as Olympia in 1951
worthy of Madeline Kahn. It’s a great role, of course; ballerina Moira Shearer danced it in the award-garnering 1951 screen version more than half a century ago. But the remarkable Ms. Chuchman takes it to a new and hilarious level, and the performance frequently interrupted by spontaneous applause from a most appreciative audience. Her star turn is the diamond in a show filled with gems, including Russell Thomas’ searing Hoffman, Erin Wall‘s tortured Antonia — how often do you get to sing all those great arias about how you’re not supposed to sing? — Steven Cole’s amusing posturing as all four thankless servants and John Relyea‘s tour de force performances as all four demonic villains. Tales of Hoffman is on stage at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts through May 14, and even with those memorable Offenbach melodies, I predict it’s Ms. Chuchman’s Olympia you’ll still be talking about long after the final curtain comes down.
ALICE & CHESHIRE CAT: her Adventures are bound for L.A.
BALLET HIGH: The National Ballet of Canada will return to L.A. this fall for the first time in 35 years. The company will bring its spectacularly successful production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to the Los Angeles’ Music Center, October 19–21. Closer to home, the National’s celebrated outreach programme YOU Dance is in Thunder Bay this week, introducing students in
BRUEGGERGOSMAN: we've got a crush on her
grades four to six to the world of dance through free workshops and performances. Now only five years old, YOU Dance has already performed free of charge for more than 48,000 students and teachers in Ontario. Hey, somebody’s doing something right …
SHARPS & FLATS: The irrepressible World Rock Symphony Orchestra is back rocking Fallsview Casino this week and next, with homegrown rocker Gowan set to play a three-night stand there on July 11-13 … the incomparable Measha Brueggergosman serenades fans with songs from her new pop album, I’ve Got A Crush On You, tonight at the Markham Theatre and tomorrow night at Trinity St. Paul’s Church … Jack de Keyzer brings his Blues
HOFFERT: Sunday salons
Revue to the lakefront this weekend with a Saturday night gig at the Riverview Room atop the Port Credit Legion … and always-in-demand music man Tom Szczesniak joins Paul Hoffert’s Sunday afternoon jazz salon at Musideum this weekend.
OUR TOWN: Super shutterbug Barbara Cole’s new photo exhibit, Two People Walking A Tightrope In An Ordinary Life Filled With Extraordinary Moments – love that title! – is now on view at the Baux-XI Photo gallery across from the AGO … Grace Restaurant on College Street celebrated its fourth birthday this week with a new chef, Kevin Gastonguay, replacing exiting rave-maker Dustin Gallagher … still in a festive mood, Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company celebrates its 30th Anniversary this week with tonight’s world premiere of Aguas/Waters at the Fleck Dance Theatre at Harbourfront. Aquas/Waters is choreographed by Artistic Director Esmeralda Enrique and Juan Ogalla, who won the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Dance Performance last year.
* * *
Posted in Actors, Ballet, Comedy, Gossip, Movies, Music, Opera, SHOW BUSINESS, Showbuzz, Stars, Television, Theatre
Tagged Aguas/Waters, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Andriana Chuchman, Barbara Cole, Baux-XI Photo gallery, Canadian Opera Company, COC, Dora Mavor Moore Awards, Dustin Gallagher, Erin Wall, Esmeralda Enrique, Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company, Fallsview Casino, Four Seasons Centre For the Performing Arts, Gowan, Grace restaurant, I've Got A Crush On You, Jack de Keyser, Jacques Offenbach, John Relyea, Juan Ogalla, Kevin Gastonguay, Los Angeles Music Center, Measha Brueggergosman, Musideium, National Ballet Of Canada, Paul Hoffert, Russell Thomas, Steven Cole, Tales Of Hoffman, Tom Szczesniak, Two People Walking A Tightrope In An Ordinary Life Filled With Extraordinary Moments, World Rock Symphony Orchestra, YOU Dance
NO SEASON LIKE TV PILOT SEASON: It’s true — Freddie Prinze Jr., Victor Garber, Judd Hirsch and Andrea Martin are all in the running for new series this fall. And they’re not alone. Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis
BARKIN: something new?
are exec-producing their new co-starring venture based on the true story of Ralph Lamb, the rodeo cowboy who ended up Sheriff of Las Vegas.
Carrie-Anne Moss is also in their pilot … John Corbett and Jennifer Beals are top-lining a new drama pilot called Widow Detective … Bill Pullman and Jenna Elfman play the U.S, president and his missus in 1600 Penn, a Modern-Family type pilot set in the White House … Minnie Driver, Andrea Anders and Rachel Dratch are the funny girls featured in the comedy pilot Lady Friends … Dane Cook’s new pilot, Next Caller Please, casts him as a brash alpha male DJ on a satellite radio station … Sarah Silverman’s new pilot is about a woman readjusting to
SILVERMAN: something borrowed?
single life following a decade-long live-in relationship. A little bit autobiographical? You bet. Jeff Goldblum co-stars … Anne Heche is trying the small screen again with Save Me, playing a woman who survives a broken marriage by transforming into another version of herself … and Ellen Barkin heads the cast in The New Normal, about a blended family of a gay couple and the woman who becomes a surrogate for them as they grow their family. Which sorta maybe sounds like something we haven’t seen before.
NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Young Extemely Loud and Incredibly Close screen-stealer Thomas Horn has been set as the lead in not one but two new features — Space Warriors and Joe’s Mountain …
RHYS: something American
Welsh actor Matthew Rhys (Brothers and Sisters) is set to star opposite Keri Russell in the FX pilot The Americans … Eddie Izzard has signed to star in and produce NBC’s Mockingbird Lane, a re-conceived version of The Munsters … Laz Alonso (Avatar) will play Meagan Good’s former flame and the detective who hires her to investigate a murder in her home town in NBC’s drama pilot Notorious … Oliver Cooper (Project X) has signed on for a lead role in the sequel to Adam Sandler’s Grown Ups … Golden Globe nominee Jaime Pressly is set to play the warden at a women’s federal prison in the NBC drama pilot Bad Girls … comic W. Kamau Bell is set to host a new variety show produced by Chris Rock for FX … Neil Patrick Harris will host the Tony Awards for the third consecutive year on Sunday June 10 and Jimmy Kimmel is set to host this
HYATT: something to cheer about
year’s Emmy Awards telecast on Sunday September 23.
OUR TOWN: Veteran crowd-pleaser Pam Hyatt serenades at the Green Door cabaret tonight in her one-woman concert Pamalot, with Peter Hill on the piano … sublime warbler Judy Marshak, dynamic duo Deb McGrath & Colin Mochrie and Canuck comedy legends The Frantics are among the sparkles gathering for the Autism Is A Pain In The Aspergers benefit on Wednesday April 18 at Hugh’s Room. For ticket info, click here … The Stampeders bring their greatest hits to us in concert at the
McGRATH: something else
Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Friday April 20 … it must be true that third time’s a charm, because Jeanne Beker & Barry Flatman are once again hosting the annual celebrity-laden PAL fund-raiser Scrabble With The Stars on Monday May 7 at the Arcadian Loft. For ticket info, click here … the Harry Potter spoof Potted Potter closes at the Panasonic this Sunday … and due to unforeseen circumstances concerning the road closure around the Royal Ontario Museum, the date for Toronto Taste has been bumped to Sunday May 27. Which should give us just enough time to diet before the event. For ticket info, click here. (And yes, I know you knew I was going to say that.)
PETERS: something CBC (twice!)
SEE/HEAR: Let’s start your long weekend with a smile. Four of ’em, in fact! First, it’s Russell Peters week on CBC, starting Sunday with his Toronto filmfest hockey comedy Breakaway with Rob Lowe (want a sneak peek? Click here!) Then there’s the Alberta Ballet’s dazzling tribute to Elton John, Love Lies Bleeding, on Monday night on CBC. (Click here for a splashy preview.) Also on Monday: Ken Finkleman returns to the newsroom (and The Movie Network) with a brand new predictably outrageous comedy series, aptly named Good God, and allegedly inspired by Quebecor’s struggling Sun News Network. Samantha Bee and Lolita Davidovich co-star, and the first episode is already viewable on line right here. Then Russell Peters returns to CBC with his own Just For Laughs special Russell Peters: Best Night Ever on Tuesday night (want a sneak peek? Ditto!) And that’s just for starters. So have fun, rest up, and enjoy!
Posted in Actors, Ballet, Comedy, Gossip, Movies, Music, SHOW BUSINESS, Showbuzz, Stars, Television, Theatre
Tagged . Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, 1600 Penn, ADAM SANDLER, Andrea Anders, ANDREA MARTIN, Anne Heche, Arcadian Loft, Autism Is A Pain In The Aspergers, Avatar, Bad Girls, BARRY FLATMAN, Bill Pullman, Breakaway, Brothers & Sisters, Carre-Anne Moss, CBC Television, CHRIS ROCK, COLIN MOCHRIE, Dane Cook, DEB McGRATH, DENNIS QUAID, Eddie Izzard, Ellen Barkin, Emmy Awards, Freddie Prinze Jr., FX, Golden Globe, Good God, Green Door Cabaret, Grown Ups, Hugh's Room, Jaime Pressley, JEANNE BEKER, Jeff Goldblum, Jenna Elfman, Jennifer Beals, JIMMY KIMMEL, Joe's Mountain, John Corbett, Judd Hirsch, Judy Marshak, Just For Laughs, KEN FINKLEMAN, Keri Russell, Lady Friends, Laz Alonso, Lolita Davidovitch, Love Lies Bleeding, Matthew Rhys, Meagan Good, Michael Chiklis, Minnie Driver, Mockingbird Lane, NBC, NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, Next Caller Please, Notorious, Oliver Cooper, PAL Toronto, PAM HYATT, Pamalot, Panasonic Theatre, Performing Arts Lodge (PAL) of Toronto, Peter Hill, Potted Potter, Project X, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Rachel Dratch, Royal Ontario Museum, RUSSELL PETERS, Russell Peters: Best Night Ever, Samantha Bee, Sarah Silverman, Save Me, Scrabble With The Stars, Space Warriors, Sun News Network, The Americans, The Frantics, The Movie Network, The Munsters, The New Normal, The Stampeders, Thomas Horn, Tony Awards, Torronto Taste, VICTOR GARBER., W. Kamau Bell, Widow Detective