Meryl tackles Juliet, Betty returns to T.O., Maggie rallies her troupes, and Brenda shines up her Shoes

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Okay, so they’re not teenagers – they were all grown up way back when, when they co-starred in Sophie’s Choice – but Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline will play Shakespeare’s

STREEP: reading in New York

famous star-crossed lovers in a one-night-only reading of Romeo and Juliet, as part of a gala celebrating the 50th anniversary of Shakespeare in the Park. Public Theater vet Daniel Sullivan will direct the reading, to be held on June 18 at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park … Patrick Habron’s new exhibition of Rock ‘n’ Roll Icons opens May 10 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center … Phylicia Rashad, currently in Atlanta filming the TV adaptation of Steel Magnolias for director Kenny Leon, will return to that Georgia city this summer to star in Leon’s stage adaptation of Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner … American TV icon Larry

HAGMAN: guesting in Lucerne

Hagman (Dallas, I Dream Of Jeannie) and Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson are among the sparklies set to light up the 51st Rose d’Or Festival in Lucerne next month … fillmmaker Roger Larry is just wrapping a feature doc on Canadian cannibis advocate Marc Emery (aka The Prince of Pot) entitled Citizen Mark. “I describe it as Citizen Kane meets Spinal Tap,” says Larry. Will we see it at TIFF in September? Just askin’ … former BBC CEO Paul Lee, who founded BBC America before becoming President of ABC, is set to deliver the CBC/Radio-Canada opening keynote speech at this year’s Banff World Media Festival on June 10 … and Brenda Hoffert launches

BUCKLEY: singing in T.O.

her new-and-improved exhibition, Shoes, on Thursday April 26 at the Cecile & Harry Pearl Gallery. She’s added eight new photos to this exhibit which first premiered at CONTACT 2010.

SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY: On a bit of a bittersweet note, the celebrated Toronto comedy festival We’re Funny That Way is about to celebrate its 15th and final year.  According to the WFTW website, festival producer Maggie Cassella has decided to call it quits – but she’s closing the festival with a major slam-dunk. First up is a May 10 concert by the vocally astonishing Betty Buckley, a benefit

CRAWFORD: back to Buddies

for the We’re Funny That Way Foundation, which directs funds to queer charities across Canada. Then WFTW crowd-pleasers Lea DeLaria, Gavin Crawford and Christopher Peterson strut their stuff on May 11 & May 12 to close the festival with appropriate star power. Showbiz dynamo Cassella is also working with filmmaker David Adkin on a sequel to his 1998 doc on her festival – DeLaria and Peterson were featured in that one too – to revisit the questions they first asked 15 years ago. “We’re hoping to track the evolution of queer comedy over the last 15 years and ask a lot of questions about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going.” Cassella is also one of the busy beavers behind the high-flying Flying Beaver

CASSELLA: Maggie for Mayor?

Pubaret on Parliament near Carlton – Carla Collins is set to headline there this weekend — and brings her brainy energy and unique street savvy to everything she does. Not that I want to punish her, but isn’t it time we forced her into public office, so she could look out for all of us? (I’m just sayin’ …) Meanwhile, I suspect we’re talking about three about-to-be historic nights to remember. For tickets to what is sure to be an amazing evening with the spellbinding Betty Buckley, click here; for tickets to see We’re Funny That Way dazzlers Crawford, DeLaria and Peterson, click here.

Adds the indomitable Ms Cassella: “Please come and help us pack Buddies and Bad Times Theatre one last time.” And who can say no to Maggie?

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A living doll named Andriana brings down the (opera) house when Hoffman starts telling his Tales

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.

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Walt discovers Mary Poppins, Julia takes a run at the White House and Paula gets a new mission

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Okay, I admit, Cabin In The Woods is not for me. Okay, hardly anything in the woods is.  But here’s a movie I want to see, even if they haven’t started shooting it yet, Tom Hanks and Emma 

THOMPSON: will she play P.L. Travers?

Thompson are in talks to star in Saving Mr. Banks, a behind the scenes look at the making of Mary Poppins. Hanks would play Walt Disney and Thompson would play Mary Poppins creator P.L. Travers … Paula Patton, so good with Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, is being wooed to join Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington in 2 Guns. Sounds good to me … legendary Air Farceur Don Ferguson will interview ex-CBC VP Richard Stursberg at the launch of Stursberg’s new book The Tower Of Babble next week at The Gladstone Hotel — $5 or free with the purchase of a book. For more

LOUIS-DREYFUS: new series

info, click here … and former New York Times critic and columnist Frank Rich is one of Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ executive producers on her new HBO comedy series Veep, in which she plays the vice-president of the United States. The potty-mouthed series is set to premiere on both HBO and HBO Canada this Sunday, and for a saucy sneak peek, click here.

FLYING BENEATH THE RADAR (SO FAR:)  Fresh from his stint in The Hunger Games, big screen favourite Donald Sutherland is taking another crack at TV with Pan 

SUTHERLAND: pilot project

Am’s Mike Vogel and a new pilot called Living LoadedTate Donovan, so good with Glenn Close in Damages until he got whacked in season three, is co-starring with Victor Garber in the new Meagan Good pilot, NotoriousJohn Stamos plays an ex-con who attempts a reunion with his half-brother in his pilot, Little Brother …  Bradley Whitford’s new pilot, The Asset, is a spy drama that revolves around a female agent in the New York office of the CIA (hasn’t anyone in Hollywood seen Covert Affairs?) … Rick Schroder, who just turned 40 (OMG! How did that happen?) co-stars with Angela Bassettin

SCHRODER: OMG, he's 40!

her new still-untitled spy-vs.-spy drama pilot …  Kevin Bacon plays an ex-FBI agent who leads the search to catch a diabolical serial killer (James Purefoy) who has created a cult of serial killers, in his still-untitled new thriller pilot … Cuba Gooding Jr. plays a disbarred defense attorney in his new pilot Guilty Vampire Diaries alumnus Matt Davis plays an investigative journalist blogger in his new pilot, Cult …  in her new pilot First Cut rising star Mamie Gummer plays a new doctor who discovers that, sadly and comically, life at the hospital where she works is no different than high school … and the storyline for another new pilot, The Selection, sounds strangely familiar.  It’s described as an epic romance set 300 years in the future which centers on a poor young woman who is chosen by lottery to participate in a competition to become the next queen of a war-torn nation at a crossroads.

Wow! … wonder who came up with that one.

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 …

FOD keeps us laughing with The Hungover Games, and Meg Tilly returns to the stage in little ol’ T.O.

FUNNY OR DIE:  On Monday I told you about the new Rob Reiner-Billy Crystal sequel to When Harry Met Sally with Helen Mirren in a key romantic role. The whole thing was a gag dreamed up by Rob and Billy for Will

MIRREN: make-believe with Billy

Ferrell’s startlingly successful comedy website Funny or Die, as you could tell almost immediately after you clicked on the sneak preview. Award-laden actress Mirren, who rarely get the chance to play comedy, was clearly up for her assignment, and watching Rob and Billy’s meetings with young, trend-happy “studio executives” is priceless. If you missed Monday’s column, or by any chance took it seriously, click here for that special sneak preview of When Harry Met 

HUNGOVER GAMES: it all seems so familiar ...

Sally 2, a movie that hopefully will never get made. Nonetheless, most of today’s major movers and shakers love sending up their own careers on FOD, and FOD loves sending up the industry that spawned it. As soon as The Hunger Games was released, and even before it achieved its mammoth box office numbers, FOD was on the case. “Each year, drunk people are selected to participate in torturous games the morning after a big night out. There’s no sunglasses, no water, and no headache medicine.” Yeah, right. To see the trailer for The Hungover Games, click here. And enjoy!

RITTER: taking a flyer

CASTING ABOUT: Ex-time traveller Scott Bakula (he did it before Erin Karpluk) is headlining a new plot, Table For ThreeJimmy Fallon is exec producing a new comedy pilot about three 30-something guys who become parents despite the fact that they haven’t grown up themselves … Frances Conroy and Tovah Feldshuh are among the stars in Beautiful People, a pilot for a series in which families of mechanical human beings exist to service the human population  — until some of the mechanicals begin to “awaken”… Jason Ritter, Michael Imperioli and award-laden Broadway star Norbert Leo Butz spark County, a pilot about 
young doctors, nurses and administrators in an underfunded and morally compromising L.A. County hospital … Phylicia Rashad returns to the small

RASHAD: pilot season

screen in Do No Harm, a pilot about a brilliant neurosurgeon (Steven Pasquale) whose dangerous alter-ego threatens to wreak havoc on his personal and processional life (calling Dr. Hulk?) … and Julia Stiles plays a female FBI cult specialist who investigates the mysterious disappearance of a group commune in Alaska in Midnight Sun, a pilot based on the hit Israeli format.

NO BIZ LIKE SHOWBIZ:  NHL All-Star Theo Fleury and actress Carmen Moore (Arctic Air) host the 19th Annual National Aboriginal Achievement Awards tonight on Global and APTN …  Jimmy Smits has signed on for a season of FX’s celebrated Sons

TILLY: on stage in T.O.

of Anarchy, and not as a cop. He’ll be playing a gang member … Bruce McDonald is set to personally introduce Hard Core Logo II, his long-awaited follow-up to his cult classic mock-doc Hard Care Logo, tonight at TIFF Bell Lightbox … Theatre Sheridan’s rave-garnering production of Rent has been held over even before it opens! The TS production, now set to open May 16 at the Panasonic Theatre, was originally booked to close on May 27 but will now run through June 3. To order tickets, click here … and Meg Tilly, so terrific in Global’s Bomb Girls series, returns to the stage this month at the Tarragon in a revival of the Michel Tremblay classic The Real World?  — which originally premiered at Tarragon almost 25 years ago. The stellar cast assembled by director Richard Rose also features Matthew Edison, Cara Gee, Sophie Goulet, Tony Nappo, Cliff Saunders and Jane Spidell, and previews start April 24. Click here for tickets. And have a great weekend.

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Three years ago you had never heard of Susan Boyle. And then the dream she dreamed came true.

BOYLE: three new albums in three years

Three years ago, to this very day, Susan Boyle boldly strode on stage in Glasgow to audition for Britain’s Got Talent. (If you’ve forgotten just how powerful that moment was, treat yourself by clicking on the word ‘audition’  — as long as you have Kleenex handy.) All told, she was only on stage and on camera for seven short minutes — but those seven minutes changed her life.

Well, okay, YouTube changed her life. Some 100 million ‘hits’ later, Boyle even has that famous audition footage on her own website, including her statement that she hoped to be as successful as her musical idol, legendary British diva

BOYLE: the historic audition

Elaine Paige. It was Paige, an OBE currently regarded as the First Lady of Musical Theatre, who introduced the world to such Andrew Lloyd Webber classics as Memory and Don’t Cry For Me Argentina. At the time Boyle’s remark drew audible snickers from the audience, but then she started to sing, and they stopped snickering and jumped to their feet cheering.

Since then, of course, Boyle has been making up for lost time, releasing three, no kidding, three albums – I Dreamed A Dream, The Gift and Someone To Watch Over Me – an autobiography, The Woman I Was Born To Be, and a website that sells not only her CDs but also Susan Boyle merchandise. A new crowd-pleaser musical based on her life story, I Dreamed A Dream: The Susan Boyle Musical is currently touring the provinces (Liverpool next week, then Cardiff, Birmingham, etc. until opening in Glasgow in October.)  So Susan Boyle, the unemployed Scottish villager, is pretty much her own industry now.

What somehow escaped me along the way was the fact that, after all those headlines and YouTube hits, Piers Morgan arranged for Boyle to not only meet her idol Elaine Paige but to actually duet with her on television, to one of Paige’s hit songs from Chess. And yes, YouTube has that one too. To see and hear the incomparable Paige and the transformed Ms. Boyle, just click here – and enjoy.

ELAINE PAIGE duets with uber-fan SUSAN BOYLE

OUR TOWN: Hey, who’s superstitious? Official opening night for this year’s 15th annual TIFF Kids film festival (it used to be called Sprockets)  is this

WILLIAMS: year 11

Friday the 13th, and Chimpanzee, a brand-new True-Life Adventure from Disney, is the official opening film. And there’s even a GapKids red carpet for young fest-goers to stroll. For more info on the TiFF Kids filmfest, click here … Cadence, Countermeasure, New York Voices, The Nylons and The Swingle Singers are among the glory-voiced performers set to light up the stage this weekend when the Toronto Vocal Arts Festival Sing! opens at Harbourfront, with Micah Barnes, Dylan Bell and Heather Bambrick among those leading vocal workshops. One of Barnes’ workshops

HAYSBERT: ReelWorld star

sounds like it has the makings of a reality show. He calls it the “quick Speed Dating version” of his Singers Playground Performance Workshop, where he works one on one with each A Capella singer for the benefit of both themselves and the class … and has it really been 11 years? Tonya Lee Williams’ 11th annual ReelWorld Film Festival opens tonight with Luv, with Dennis Haysbert, Danny Glover, Michael Rainey Jr. and hip-hop hero Common, at the Cineplex Odeon Sheppard Cinemas. To check out this year’s impressive list of films, click here.

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Ms Mirren gets to put the bogus bite on Mr. Crystal, but will Mr. Doyle get to play another Endgame?

WHEN BILLY MET HELEN: Great news – Rob Reiner and Billy Crystal have teamed up again to make the long-awaited much-anticipated sequel to When Harry Met Sally, and in addition to casting great supporting players like Maya Rudolph they’ve snagged Helen Mirren for a key romantic role. In keeping with the times, director Reiner promises that When Harry Met Sally 2 will be a comedy with a substantial bite to it.  To see the already-controversial sneak preview, click here – and enjoy!

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Canuck comedy sensation Russell Peters hosts his own Just For Laughs special tomorrow night on CBC with his

COHEN: Gould Prize winner

own handpicked supporting cast of merry men, namely Jeremy Hotz, Jimmy Carr, Sebastian Maniscalco and Nick Thune … jury members who voted the selection of Leonard Cohen as the winner of the ninth Glenn Gould Prize included Atom Egoyan, Stephen Fry, Elaine Overholt and jury chair Paul Hoffert. And I know I said this last week, but details of the gala evening to honour Cohen’s win should be revealed tomorrow … Jaymz Bee is celebrating his birthday this Wednesday by rocking The Old Mill.  For more details click here … and Jian Ghomeshi chats up Slash tomorrow on Q before leaving for Moncton and CBC Radio coverage of the 2012 East Coast Music Awards.

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: This year’s Winnipeg Comedy Festival will include live tapings of Steve Patterson’s hit CBC Radio show The Debaters 

DOY:LE as John A.

this weekend. Sean Cullen and Scott Thompson will go head-to-head about pure bred vs. mongrel dogs. And just to make it even more interesting, Thompson will debate as The Queen, while Cullen portrays Adele. And yes, you read that right … why do I think the late Brian Linehan‘s name should be on our Walk Of Fame? Because of his dedication to celebrating, promoting and building Canadian stars on television (Linehan, City Lights) and radio (CFRB) throughout his career. If you agree, please vote for him here, under ‘Other’
… and Global Television has picked up a hard-won Rockie nomination for its homegrown cop series Rookie Blue. Ironically,

DOYLE as Arkady Balagan

the financially beleaguered CBC  won Rockie nods for no less than seven (7) shows, including Heartland, Michael Tuesday & Thursdays, The Debaters, John A.: Birth Of A Country, and The 2012 Gemini Awards. Is that a new network record? Just askin’ … and good news for Shawn Doyle fans. His excellent Endgame series, in which he played crime-solving world chess champion Arkady Balagan,  played for only one season on Showcase, but yesterday the New York Times reported that the series has been picked up by Hulu, the online streaming service, which is considering the production of a second season.   Let’s keep all fingers  crossed.

BALLET HIGH: Love Lies Bleeding tonight on CBC

LORDS OF THE DANCE: The hit National Ballet of Canada production of The Seagull opens Thursday night in Ottawa. Headliners at the National Arts Centre premiere are Greta Hodgkinson as Arkadina, Guillaume Côté in the role of Kostya, Aleksandar Antonijevic as Trigorin and Sonia Rodriguez as Nina. Which means the entire company can get to see Antonijevec’s exhibit of his ballet photography, Feet and Mirrors, on view at the NAC until April 28 … DanceWorks presents Ottawa urban dance sensation Bboyizm in its Toronto debut with two shows: IZM this Friday April 13 and Saturday April 14 at 8pm, and a matinee performance of the family-friendly show, Evolution Of B-Boying, on Saturday at 1pm, at Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre. Word is that choreographer/dancer and Bboyizm founder Yvon Soglo (aka b-boy Crazy Smooth) takes a daring, imaginative approach to street dance tradition without losing its authenticity. Sounds intriguing … and tonight’s Don’t-Miss TV eye-candy is Love Lies Bleeding, the Alberta Ballet’s wildly popular, rave-winning exploration of Elton John’s music, directed by the masterful Moze Mossanen of Nureyev fame. For an intriguing behind-the-scenes look, click here.

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Go ahead, take the rest of the day off, ’cause It turns out to be a good Friday for showbiz news ‘n’ gossip

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 DetectiveBill 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 FriendsDane 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 MunstersLaz 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 NotoriousOliver 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 FXNeil 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 hereThe 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!