Tag Archives: ANGELA LANSBURY

Bye bye Bistro, Kathleen keeps her clothes on, and Titanic goes on and on (and on, and on, and …)

ANCHORS AWEIGH: Apparently it’s not only Céline’s heart that will go on and on. A boatload of new productions mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic next month. First up is the premiere of the new Julian Fellowes four-part mini-series Titanic on Global this Wednesday. This new version by

TITANIC: sinking ship syndrome?

Fellowes, who penned Downton Abbey— which, coincidentally, started with news of the Titanic sinking – follows the aristocrats staying in first-class cabins and the lower class families residing in steerage. “Each episode focuses on individual families but will feature every character as their stories become

REID: in four-part mini-series

intertwined with each other. Viewers will also see the ship begin to sink in every episode as the series builds up to the finale when it will be revealed who survives and who doesn’t.” Advance reviews are a bit iffy so far (c’mon, we already know how it ends) but insiders say the real fun is betting on which of the familiar faces on board (eg., David Eisner, Toby Jones, Linda Kash, Noah Reid, Linus Roache) will sink or swim. Next up: Titanic: The Canadian Story, a new two-hour special on the historical event we can’t seem to get enough of, set to air Thursday April 5 on CBC’s Doc Zone. Did you know that included among the more than 2,200 passengers and crew on the Titanic were 130 men women and children bound for Canada? Me neither. But

CAMPBELL: in 12-part series

wait – there’s more. On Monday April 9 National Geographic kicks off a week-long Titanic salute with Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron. (Do we believe that ‘final word’ bit? Not for a minute.) But wait – there’s more. Also in the works is Titanic: Blood & Steel, at 12-episode dramatic series that focuses on the construction of the ship, its owner and the workers, and is set in the Belfast shipyards in 1907. All-star cast members already signed include Sir Derek Jacobi, Neve Campbell and Chris Noth.  Can Titanic: The Musical and Titanic: The Mobile App be far behind? Stay tuned.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I’ve learned that great style has little to do with what you wear. It’s how you wear it and who you are. Confidence is the best fashion

BEKER: 60 reasons to celebrate

accessory. I’ve learned never to wish to be in someone else’s shoes — you never really know where they’ve come from or where they’re going. I’ve learned that aging should make us better, not bitter. I’ve learned that Botox can help.” The learner? Jeanne Beker, suddenly 60, in one of her best columns ever, in today’s Toronto Star. My personal favourite? “I’ve learned that inner beauty is the only kind that really counts. But good lighting helps.” To read the unsinkable Ms. Beker’s unique summing up of what she’s learned so far, click here.

FOOTLIGHTS: Toronto audiences will get a chance to see Kathleen Turner’s much-lauded stage performance as a salty nun trying to rehabilitate a 19-year-old drug user when High opens in May at the Royal Alex. And before you ask, this

TURNER: on a High

time it’s her young male co-star who appears on stage in the nude. Sister Turner, I’m advised, keeps her clothes on … among the sparklies on the New York stage this week is Eric McCormack, currently treading the boards with Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones, John Larroquette and Candice Bergen in previews for a star-studded revival of Gore Vidal’s truth-searing political drama The Best Man … Tony Award-winner Rob Ashford is set to direct and choreograph the stage adaptation of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, a new big-budget Disney musical set to premiere in London next year. The musical will

McCORMACK: back on Broadway

incorporate Burton’s unique aesthetic into the show’s design, follow the plot of the 2010 film — the ninth highest-grossing film of all time (!!!) — and will feature a book by the film’s screenwriter Linda Woolverton … and Kate Winslet is toying with the notion of making her stage debut in a revival of David Hare’s drama Skylight. The production would be helmed by Hare himself, with Bill Nighy reprising his role as Tom Sergeant, most likely for a West End opening followed by a limited Broadway run.

Stay tuned.

THE NIGHT THEY CALLED IT A DAY: Once the Sardi’s  of Toronto, Bistro 990 served its last suppers Saturday night and officially closed Sunday morning, with a closing party on the premises last night. Among the dozens of

BISTRO 990: Going, going ... gone

merry mourners greeted by owner Tom Kristenbrun and maitre d’ Victor Magalhaes were Bistro regulars Austin Clarke, Larry Dane, ‘Party Barbara’ Herschenhorn, Bill Marshall, Gordon Pinsent, Sari Ruda, Rob Salem, Sara Waxman and Rita Zekas, whose Stargazing columns put the French bistro on the media map and kept it there for decades. Meanwhile, across town at Eglinton and Bathurst, despite headlines announcing its imminent demise due to city expropriations, the House of Chan is still thriving.  One media scribe reported

HOUSE OF CHAN: Business as usual

that the restaurant entrance was locked after he personally checked it out; apparently he didn’t realize that the legendary Toronto steak oasis that Donny Lyons lyonized  is open only for dinner, from 5 pm on. If proposed subway construction forces the restaurant to close in the future — and that’s still a big If —  it won’t happen until at least 2014. Until then, you can expect Chan to continue to serve up all its famous specialties seven nights a week. And amen to that!

*     *     *

Advertisements

Hollywood rules the Tonys, Piper sums up Zero, Bono & Bob play newsmen, and Liona goes back to highschool

OUR TOWN:  Mother’s Day never looked so funny. First Robin Duke, Jayne Eastwood, Kathryn Greenwood and Teresa Pavlinek return to T.O. tonight as out very favourite Women Fully Clothed, Older and Hotter, kicking off a three-night stand  at Massey

MARSHAK: playwrights' delight

Hall. Then Betty White hosts SNL tomorrow night … also tomorrow night: Funnyman Mike Wilmot wraps his current four-night stint at Yuk Yuks, and George Olliver & Gangbuster rock The Edge in Ajax … what do Bono and Bob Geldof have in common?  Everything, apparently. Which is why the two celebrity activists will edit the Globe & Mail’s special May 10 section devoted to the future of Africa — their way of drawing attention to the issue of extreme poverty in Africa ahead of the G8 and G20 meetings scheduled to be held here next month. Kenyan activist and blogger Ory Okolloh will also be part of Monday’s editorial team … and Linda Kash, Theresa Tova and Judy Marshak are among the featured artists set to interpret new works by playwrights Michael Ross Albert, Ron Fromstein, Bekky O’Neil and Darrah Teitel at In The Beginning on Monday night  at the Miles Nadal JCC. For tickets, click here.

FOOTLIGHTS: Yes, it’s official — Broadway has finally gone Hollywood. Tony nominees this year include Jude LawHamlet; Alfred MolinaRedLiev Schreiber, A View from the

LAW: Tony nominee

Bridge; Christopher WalkenA Behanding in SpokaneDenzel Washington, Fences; Valerie HarperLoopedLinda LavinCollected StoriesLaura Linney, Time Stands Still; Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night MusicKelsey GrammerLa Cage aux Folles; Sean HayesPromises, Promises; Scarlett JohanssonA View from the Bridge; and Angela Lansbury, A Little Night Music. And Broadway regular David Hyde Pierce, who shot to fame with Tony nominee Kelsey Grammer in Frasier, will receive the Isabelle Stevenson humanitarian honour. Should be interesting to see if the mix of big and small screen names will kickstart higher Nielsen ratings when the awards show is telecast from Radio City Music Hall on Sunday June 13.

NEWTON-JOHN: mind & body

HEAD OF THE CLASS: Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida is one of the favourite new showbiz hideaways, attracting marquee names from all over the globe. Sparklies who have already stopped by for a tune-up this season include Anthony Hopkins, Tommy Tune, Glee guest star Olivia Newton-John and Liona Boyd, who confirms she is moving back to L.A. this summer. After six years of trying the East Coast on for size, she says she found Miami too hot, “mosquitoey” and “hurricaney”, New York “too tough and unromantic,” and Connecticut winters “too damn cold!” She’s also returning to the concert stage – Toronto fans can see her May 25 at the March of Dimes fundraising Gala at the Royal York – and In the meantime, don’t be surprised if you see her in T.O. this weekend. She’s planning to be here tomorrow for her high school reunion!

FOOTLIGHTS: Ageless legit theatre legend Viola Léger returns as Antonine Maillet’s irresistible Acadian cleaning lady in a revival of La Sagouine. Directed by John Van

LINNEY: Tony contender

Burek, Léger performs her legendary one-woman show in English May 14-29, followed by a run en français May 31-June 5, at the Berkeley St. Theatre Downstairs … Perry Perlmutar promises to “try to be extra funny for you” when he opens at Absolute Comedy next week … and among the major entries set for the Harold Green Theatre next  season: Zero Hour, with Jim Brochu as comedy icon Zero Mostel, directed by indomitable screen siren Piper Laurie. Meanwhile, the amusing and engagingly tuneful Soul Of Gershwin, a lightherarted exploration of George & Ira’s roots in klezmer music, closes tomorrow night at the Winter Garden. To snag last-minute tickets, just click here. And have a happy weekend!

-/-

Cynthia goes back to school, Chris makes Captain, and all aboard an elegant fundraiser for Stratford aficionados

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: Add Chris Evans the growing list of actors eager to play comic book heroes. Evans is now set to play Captain America Avatar hero Sam Worthington,

DALE: master class-y

about to open in the epic CGI remake of Clash Of The Titans, will follow up with a thriller called The Fields … perhaps inspired by their colleague Al Pacino’s upcoming turn as suicide doctor Jack Kervorkian, Kevin Kline and Dustin Hoffman have both committed to upcoming HBO dramas … and Cynthia Dale, who guest stars as a drama teacher in upcoming episodes of Baxter, will go back to school next month to give the first Master Class to the Film, Musical Theatre and Drama students at the Etobicoke School of the Arts (ESA.), The school’s new Master Class program is part of a brand new film major program funded by Christina Jennings’ Shaftesbury Films.

WILDER: new book

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: What becomes a legend most? A permanent gig in Vegas, apparently.  Barry Manilow’s new 90-minute show, staged by director Jeffrey Hornaday, has opened to rave reviews at the Paris hotel, where Manilow will play selected weekend engagements for the next two years. Hey, blame Céline, she started it. Next spring she’s set to return to the Colosseum — the massive theatre she built at Caesars Palace — for a new three-year (!!!) stint … Gene Wilder and his wife Karen are set to launch their new book What is This Thing Called Love? next week. And ex-Regis and current Today Show sparkler Kathie Lee Gifford has published a book for children, Party Animals (insert your own SNL joke here) …  coming soon to an HMV near you: the new Original Broadway Cast version of A Little Night Music with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury … and says Red Green (aka erudite funnyman Steve Smith🙂 “Get this, my wife just mentioned, and I quote, ‘All you remember from any conversation is what YOU said.’ At least I think that’s what she said.”

Is it any wonder that Red is the new Twitter toast of Facebook?

ANOTHER OPENING, ANOTHER SHOW: Looking for a reason to don your black tie finery on a Saturday afternoon in June? Nah, me neither. But here’s one Gala fund-raiser that might change your mind. It’s the Stratford Express, and it sounds like a great party to me.

KISS ME, KATE: Broadway brawlers

It starts at 3 pm on Saturday June 5 with a champagne reception at Union Station. At 4 pm your Private Train departs for Stratford, with cocktails and a gourmet served on board. At 7 pm, following a Welcome reception at the Festival Theatre, the curtain rises on an exclusive performance of Kiss Me, Kate, the big, bawdy Cole Porter musical about battling Broadway stars, with the killer score to match (Too Darn Hot, Always True To You In My Fashion, Brush Up Your Shakespeare, So In Love, etc. etc.) After the curtain calls you are magically transported, once again, to the Stratford Express for your return trip home, complete with cocktails, refreshments and entertainment. And yes, you can still order tickets! For more info, call Mary-Ann Reid at 1.800.561.1223, ext. 2425, or email her at mreid@stratfordshakespearefestival.com. And good luck!
TOMORROW:

All about Alice.
-/-

More honours for Stephen & Andy & Denise, more about Glambert, and Don & Amber spark Sunday night viewing

BROADWAY BABY: Birthday boy Stephen Sondheim got a very special 80th birthday gift this year — a Broadway theater with his name on it. The Henry Miller Theatre will become

ZETA JONES: Sondheim salute

the Stephen Sondheim Theatre as soon as the current tenant, the Dame Edna-Michael Feinstein musical romp All About Me, concludes its run. Meanwhile, just before his birthday, Sondheim was saluted by such musical comedy sparklers as Patti Lupone, Audra McDonald, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Elaine Stritch, David Hyde Pierce, Donna Murphy and Nathan Gunn at Avery Fisher Hall.  Now he’s set to be feted with another all-star salute, at New York City Center on April 26, with musical tributes from Angela Lansbury, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Len Cariou, Barbara Cook, Raul Esparaza, Sutton Foster, Victor Garber, Joanna Gleason, Nathan Lane and repeat saluters Donna Murphy and Bernadette Peters. For more info, click here.

KIM: Hit Parader

ROCKING  HIM GENTLY: New inductees to the Hit Parade Hall Of Fame include Louis Armstrong, Sam Cooke, Buddy Holly & the Crickets, Michael Jackson & the Jackson Five, Carole King, Little Richard, The Rolling Stones and Montreal-born Andy Kim (Rock Me Gently, Sugar Sugar.) Kim says that learning of his induction “put me back in the time when I was listening to the radio as a kid, and still today. I love all these artists, and I look at the names, and I hear their songs. I am forever grateful to be in their company.”  Next week Kim releases his first new album in two decades, Happen Again, on his own Iceworks label, and reported highlights include a song he’s written with top Barenaked Ladies tunesmith Ed Robertson. Stay tuned.

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Talk about a jam session. Canadian Music Week wrapped up in T.O. with  713 bands filling 58 venues to capacity. Top-draw music makers  included Our

DONLON: more hardware

Lady Peace, Hedley, Joel Plaskett, Great Lake Swimmers, The Trews, K-OS, Bedouin Soundclash,  Arkells and too many more to mention here. Keynote speakers included superSongwriters Paul Williams and Dave Stewart; radio face Roger Ashby and Universal music guru Randy Lennox picked up Lifetime Achievement Awards; and CBC Radio chief Denise Donlon was honoured with The Rosalie Award for her impressive career in broadcasting …  piano man Chilly Gonzales, who wrapped his Ivory Tower flick here last week for first-time director Adam Traynor of Puppetmastaz notoriety, was in Berlin last night to accompany electro-pop pal Peaches as she premiered her stripped-down solo concert version of Jesus Christ Superstar … frankly fabulous Isabel Bayrakdarian is set to headline two COC operas next season, The Magic Flute with Michael Schade on Jan. 29) and the season closer, Orfeo ed Euridice, with Lawrence Zazzo on May

LAMBERT: new 'Meaning'

8 … indefatigable rocker Gowan plays Fallsview  Casino on May 7 & May 8 …  p.s. to country fans: A new version of 6 Chix, the all-girl music show that premiered at Fallsview last year, returns to the Niagara Falls casino on May 14 for one week only.

WHAT’S HOT: Currently heating up Amazon,com shipping orders: On The Meaning Of Adam Lambert, a book of essays from the web postings of two allegedly serious, mature professional women who became somewhat obsessed (obviously) with the openly gay American Idol runner-up. One reader describes it as “a train wreck with underwear showing.” Hmmmm …Chanel tattoos? Yes, ladies, you can now wear temporary tattoos of Chanel jewellery and some other intriguing designs, including a faux garter belt that could make Coco herself crack up.  Holt Renfrew on Bloor Street started selling ‘em this week – the complete set

CHERRY: nervous

for $75 – but if you want one, don’t delay. “We’ve only received 500 sets, “ a Holt’s rep said with a shrug. “They’ll be gone by Sunday.” Mon dieu! … and look for CBC Television to own this coming Sunday night.  The World Figure Skating Championship Gala starts at 3 pm EST; the much-anticipated season finale of Amber Marshall’s hit series Heartland starts at 7 pm; and the even-more-anticipated Don Cherry screen biography, Keep Your Head Up, Kid: The Don Cherry Story, starts at 8 pm.

Don says he still hasn’t seen the film, which was written by his son Tim Cherry and reportedly pulls no punches. “I’m going to watch it alone, down in my basement with my dog Blue and my goldfish, just the same as everybody else, with the commercials and the whole deal.” Is he nervous about seeing it? “Very.”

WHAT’S NOT: Leaving the lights on tomorrow night between 8:30-9:30 pm. Yes, Earth Hour is finally upon us — heck, there’s even a Blackberry app for it! So switch ’em off, people. Besides, we all look sooooo much better by candlelight.  And we, and we alone, have the power. In the words of the great Portugese-Canadian philosopher Nelly Furtado:

Turn off the light!

Turn off the light!

Happy weekend.

-/-

Looking for movie stars? Book that flight to New York, ’cause they’re all on the Great White Way

ARE THE STARS OUT TONIGHT?: Yes, and most of ‘em are working on and off Broadway. Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson are currently in

JOHANSSON: room for A View

rehearsals for the revival of A View From The Bridge, still regarded in some circles as Arthur Miller‘s most passionate drama. They start previews right after Christmas, then open at the Cort Theatre on Jan. 24 … Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury are the hot-ticket duo in the revival of Stephen Sondheim‘s A Little Night Music down the street at the Walter Kerr Theater. Previews start tomorrow night, less than three weeks before their Dec. 13 opening … Emmy Award winners James Spader and Richard Thomas are already in previews for David Mamet’s

ZETA-JONES: opening tomorrow night

new sizzler, Race, directed by Mamet himself, for a Dec. 6 opening … veteran New York broadcaster Pat Collins calls her the funniest woman on Broadway, and audiences must agree, because Carrie Fisher’s one-woman show, Wishful Drinking, originally slated to close Jan. 3, has been held over another two weeks, to Jan. 17… Victor Garber will celebrate New Year’s Eve, then go right into previews for the revival of Noel Coward’s Present Laughter, set to premiere Jan. 21 at the American Airlines Theatre … 2001: A Space Odyssey alumnus Keir Dullea, who actually worked with Noel Coward, will return to Broadway this spring in a revival of Robert Anderson’s

SPADER: Race card

I Never Sang for My Father. Years ago Dullea and Coward co-starred in a London-made thriller called Bunny Lake Is Missing. After shooting a difficult scene together for director Otto Preminger, Coward turned to the young actor and chirped, “Keir Dullea, gone tomorrow!” Happily his ad-lib was not prophetic … and Tony Award owner Matthew Broderick has taken his act off-Broadway. He opens tonight at the Acorn Theatre in Kenneth Lonergan’s The Starry Messenger, about an astronomy teacher’s affair with a younger woman.  Academy Award nominee Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace) plays the younger woman to Broderick’s married academic.

SMITH: backing B'way newbie

ANOTHER OPENING, ANOTHER ADOPT-A-SHOW: It took volunteer executive producers Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry to put Precious on the map — and did they ever. Now Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Will & Jada Pinkett Smith have become first-time Broadway producers, putting their considerable showbiz weight behind the new Broadway musical Fela! which opens tonight at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre after a month of previews. Directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones, Fela! portrays the extravagant world of controversial music pioneer and Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in a hybrid of concert, dance and musical theater. Will audiences buy in? Stay tuned … and Tony winner Susan

BRODERICK: opening tonight

Stroman will direct the first-ever production of The Scottsboro Boys, an unproduced Kander & Ebb musical, off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre. The show will begin previews on February 12 and open on March 10. The Scottsboro Boys explores the infamous Scottsboro case of the 1930s, in which a group of African-American teenagers were unjustly accused of attacking two white women, and the boys’ attempts to prove their innocence.

And yes, it’s a musical.

TOMORROW:

Fangs for the Memories.

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: Alexander

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.

* * *

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.

 * * *

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.

-/-