Ms Vanasse gets Scruples, Ms Koslo gets Sheba, Ms Janney gets a Dinner and Ms Lucci gets a maid

VANASSE: new pilot

TUBE TALK: Award-winning Quebec actress Karine Vanasse, who charmed American audiences with her work in the too-short-lived Pan Am, is shooting a pilot for a new series for a new first-time producer. The pilot? Scruples, based on the Judith Krantz novel about a socialite who attempts to open a fashion-forward boutique in the heart of Beverly Hills. The new producer? Natalie Portman, who is exec producing with Tony Krantz and Annette Savitch  … three TV favourite are tossing their hats in the ring again. Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace) is shooting Americana,a

JANNEY: dinner date

pilot for a new drama about a legendary fashion designer and his family business; Tony Shaloub (Monk) and Allison Janney (West Wing) are starring in Friday Night Dinner, a pilot spin-off of the British series that revolves around a traditional Jewish family as they observe Shabbat dinners; and Susan Lucci is the top-billed marquee bait in Devious Maids, a pilot based on the Mexican telenova about four maids who work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. And the beat goes on.

MAZZARA: bound for Banff

PEOPLE: Add Glen Mazzara, Executive Producer of the Emmy Award-winning series The Walking Dead, to the Master Class series at the upcoming Banff World Media Festival … Women Fully Clothed will follow up their April dates in California with four May stops in beautiful B.C., performing their new show in Nanaimo, Victoria, Courtenay and North Van … Corrine Koslo inherits the juicy role originated on stage and screen by Shirley Booth when Come Back, Little Sheba opens this summer at the Shaw Festival. More on Shaw tomorrow …  Gerald Finley, Oliver Jones, Quartetto Gelato and the Nathaniel Dett Chorale are among the mighty music-makers set to spark this summer’s Westben Arts Festival Theatre offerings in

BUCKNER: Den mother

Campbellford, Ontario. July showcase presentations culminate in an August 5 fund-raiser finale, featuring pianist Brian Finley and the Brian Barlow Big Band and aptly named The Big Band Theory. Sounds like a winner … and the indefatigable Pat Ferns, in Cannes to moderate the “By Invitation Only” Drama CoProXchange at MIP TV, is heading back to his old stomping ground, li’l ol’ T.O., at the end of the month to host International Co-Production Day at Hot Docs on April 30.

IT’S ALL COMING BACK TO THEM NOW: On tonight’s Dragons’ Den finale, all five Dragons reminisce about the very best – and worst – moments over the past six seasons. Den host Diane Buckner reportedly gets Dragons Jim

HAWCO: cliffhanger?

Treliving, Kevin O’Leary, Arlene Dickinson, Bruce Croxon and exiting fire-breather Robert Herjavec to tell what they really think about each other,  and highlights from the last six seasons of the show include the stand-out pitches AND the in-fighting, counting down to the three most memorable moments in the series’ history. After you leave the Den,  Allan Hawco rallies his troops on Republic Of Doyle’s season closer  to prove his father’s innocence when he’s accused of murder. Will Season 3 end with another cliffhanger?  I’d put money on it, b’y … … and speaking of cliff-hangers, Martin Gero’s steamy L.A. Complex series, about young hopefuls sharing the same space in Hollywood, will premiere on The CW in the U.S. this month. New episodes are set to start unspooling here in July on MuchMusic.

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In praise of older stage & screen sirens

Oscar winner Marsha Mason remembers future Oscar winner Shirley MacLaine telling her, “In order to keep working, it’s important to move into character work early because they don’t know what to do with you.”


JOLIE, KILMER, FARRELL: just one big happy family (not)

It’s a key point in Forget the Ingénues; Cue the Grown-Ups, Patricia Cohen’s excellent piece in last weekend’s New York Times. “Unless a script calls for a bitter woman to be dumped by her husband,” she notes, “filmgoers have come to expect the kind of nature-defying casting decisions that had a then 28-year-old Angelina Jolie playing the mother of Colin Farrell, then 27, in the 2004 film Alexander. (Val Kilmer, then 45, was the father.) Such couplings are familiar: At 36, Anne Bancroft played the predatory Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate (1967) [to Dustin Hoffman] although she was a mere six years older than Mr. Hoffman; in The Manchurian Candidate (1962) Angela Lansbury, just three years older than Laurence Harvey, played his mother.”

ADAMS: "Sooo thrilling!"

ADAMS: "Sooo thrilling!"

On Broadway, however, “women can still be rock stars. Among the big-name talents from film and television who have appeared behind Broadway marquees this season are Joan Allen, Jane Fonda, Allison Janney, Susan Sarandon and Kristin Scott Thomas.” For more of Ms. Cohen’s story on women who rule the Great White Way, click here.

Meanwhile, let me give the last word to the hottest young actress in Hollywood, Amy Adams, who co-starred with Meryl Streep in Doubt and does it again in the upcoming Julia & Julia.

“Sooo thrilling,” says Amy, with just a hint of sarcasm, “that every now and then, the world rediscovers that there’s a female audience. Oh, my God! Women go to the movies!”

And do they ever.

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GOING WHERE HE’S NEVER GONE BEFORE: Big-screen favourite Bruce Greenwood’s role of Captain Pike in the new Star Trek prequel was originally played in the pilot episodes of the original series by

GREENWOOD: Beresford-bound

GREENWOOD: Beresford-bound

Jeffrey Hunter. ) After screening the vintage episodes, Greenwood says he realized pretty quickly that the dilemma that Jeffrey Hunter’s Pike faced is very different from what his Pike faces. Hunter’s Pike, he explains, is conflicted over whether or not he will remain with Starfleet. “And, the Pike that I play has no such dilemma. My Pike’s dilemma is more about whether or not to trust the young Kirk.” In a Sharp magazine interview with writer Cliff Ford, Greenwood confirms he’s signed for director Bruce Beresford’s next opus, Mao’s Last Dancer. Based on dancer Li Cunxin’s autobiography, the film shows how a poor, 11-year-old Li was taken from his tiny Chinese village to Beijing to study ballet. Years later, during a visit to Texas, Li falls for an American woman, defects and becomes a principal dancer for the Houston and Australian Ballet. Greenwood portrays Ben Stevenson, the Houston Ballet’s artistic director, who was instrumental in Li’s successful career. And you can read more of the Sharp interview with Canuck crowd-pleaser Greenwood right here.

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THE MOTHER OF THEM ALL?: She killed her own children in a jealous rage as Medea. She played mom to Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs in a hostile white neighborhood in the much-lauded revival of A Raisin In the Sun.

RASHAD: maternal?

RASHAD: maternal?

She juggled a law practice, five children and Bill Cosby on the megahit Cosby Show. Tonight on Broadway, following in the footsteps of Deanna Dunagan and her successor followed by Estelle Parsons, Phylicia Rashad takes over the role of Violet Weston, the brittle, uncensored drug-abusing matriarch of an Oklahoma family in the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama August: Osage Country. In a remarkable display of “nontraditional” casting, Ms. Rashad’s stage persona must attempt to cope with a white stage family of three daughters, a husband, a sister and other relatives. Should be a fabulous night.


Will U.S. nets buy Intelligence? Will lightning strike twice for Jennifer? … and other burning questions

OUR TOWN: Theatre Museum Canada opened a new exhibit Monday night at Hart House. REVIVAL: Remembering Theatre in Canada, curated by University of Toronto Museum Studies Masters student Alison Littleuses artifacts from

BAICHWAL: lightning bug?

BAICHWAL: lightning bug?

the Museum’s permanent collection to highlight performances, productions and personal memories. The exhibit is on view at Hart House at the Macdonald Heaslip Walkway of Theatre History, which is now designated as a year-round display space for Theatre Museum treasures … The Alliance of Children & Television, which celebrates its 35th (!!!) anniversary this year, will hand out 13 Awards Of Excellence to different Canadian production companies at its anniversary gala in Toronto on June 2 … and award-magnet Manufactured Landscapes director Jennifer Baichwal’s new doc Act Of God, about being struck by lightning, premieres tonight as the 2009 Hot Docs festival opener tonight before opening wide tomorrow.

JANNEY: playing Lily's part

JANNEY: playing Lily's part

FOOTLIGHTS:: Two major Broadway shows open tonight:  John Goodman and Nathan Lane start in Waiting for Godot at Studio 54 Theater; and Dolly Parton‘s musical version of her  movie hit 9 to 5, opens at the Marriott Marquis with Stephanie J. Block (The Boy From Oz,) Megan Hilty (Wicked) and West Wing alumnus Allison Janney in the roles originally played on screen by Jane Fonda, Dolly and Lily Tomlin   … also coming soon to the Great White Way: In two contrasted readings for the stage, playwright David Hare visits a place where a famous wall has come down (Berlin,) then another where a wall is going up (Israel.) Direct from an extended hit run in London, Berlin/Wall, written and performed by Hare and directed by Stephen Daldry, will have its U.S. premiere May 14-17 with a five performances at the Public Theatre … and off the-barre performances by Tokyo dance artist Ko Murobushi, Seoul’s Post Ego Dance Company and Vancouver father and daughter team Mira Hunter and Raqib Brian Burke are among the treats promised by the 2009 CanAsian International Dance Festival at Harbourfront Centre’s Fleck Dance Theatre May 6-9.

INTELLIGENCE: going south?

INTELLIGENCE: going south?

PEOPLE:  Writer-producer Chris Haddock (DaVinci’s Inquest) is refashioning his acclaimed CBC series Intelligence for American audiences. His retooled version is set in San Francisco, and U.S. producer John Wells (ER, Southland), is shopping it to U.S. cable networks. “I never give up,” Haddock told the New York Times. “I believe that everything can be understood through the lens of a dope deal” … and Slow Food pioneer, Italian author and recipient of the Planet in Focus International Eco Hero Award last fall, Carlo Petrini is in Toronto for a number of events including a public talk co-presented by Planet in Focus and the Italian Cultural Institute. An Evening of Conversation with Carlo Petrini, moderated by Harriet Friedmann of the Munk Centre on International Affairs, is set for this Saturday at 7pm at the Al Green Theatre.