SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: It’s official — Evan Rachel Wood will play Mary Jane Watson and Tony Award winner Alan Cumming will play Norman Osborn (the Green Goblin) in the new musical, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, which will
make its Broadway debut next February 25. Tony Award winner Julie Taymor will direct the show, which will feature music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge of U2. The musical, based on the Marvel Comics character, follows the story of teenager Peter Parker, whose life is turned upside-down — literally — when he’s bitten by a genetically altered spider … heiress Cinda Firestone, family inheritor of automobile tire millions, is writing the book and lyrics for the upcoming Broadway musical Family Fortune, to be
produced by her husband, Manny Fox, the guy behind the hit 1981 Duke Ellington musical Sophisticated Ladies … ex-TV Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, who started out as a singer, finally got around to making that romantic jazz album, and was thrilled to discover that her CD, appropriately called At Last, is now on the Billboard charts. Ear-pleasers include her vocalizing on such standards as George Gershwin’s Summertime, James Taylor’s The Secret of Life, and the Etta James title tune … count Canada A.M. host Seamus O’Regan among Melody Gardot‘s fervent fans. O’Regan, who regards Gardot as an “incredible jazz singer and a mind-blowing songwriter,” says her show here this week was “a concert we’ll talk of in years to come. She entranced the room” … and did you notice that the three top music-makers on the latest Forbes’ magazine’s annual earnings were all women? Madonna, Céline and Beyoncé took first, second and third place respectively; Bruce Springsteen finished a fairly distant fourth.
MY REAL SPACE = MY FLAT SCREEN TV: The consensus that teenagers are abandoning television for the internet is not true – or so says a new report
from ratings counter A. E. Nielsen. According to the study television viewing rates among teens in the U.S. have actually gone up six per cent in the last five years, despite the growth of social media networks and video sites like My Space, Facebook and YouTube … veteran awards show producer Lynn Harvey will once again stage the Gemini Awards, but this time in Calgary, in November, for exec Joe Novak’s Joe Media … and Rogers Media is prepping new acquisition Citytv to compete with rivals CTV and Canwest Global. So beginning this fall Citytv, once the quintessential Toronto station, will simulcast 16 hours of U.S. programming in prime time, including new series with Jenna Elfman, Courteney Cox and Ed O’Neill, and Jay Leno’s new show, which will run nightly at 10 p.m. This summer City is running the U.K. version of Law & Order (do we really need another one???) This fall its Canadian content will include chef Marc Thuet’s new reality show Conviction Kitchen and the second season of the made-in-Winnipeg sitcom Less Than Kind. All of which sounds less than kind to me.
JUDI JUDI JUDI: Talk about yer star power! BBC Worldwide and WGBH are co-producing Cranford 2, a sequel to the award-winning mini-series Cranford for PBS’ Masterpiece Classic series, with Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton, Francesca Annis, Eileen Atkins, Jonathan Pryce, Tim Curry and Tom Hiddleston. And some devoted Dench fans are just now discovering that Dame Judi is the same dame who sang and danced up a storm in big musicals like Cabaret and A Little Night Music when those big Broadway musicals played London‘s West End theatre district? And yes, her interpretation of Send In The Clowns is spectacular. And, thanks to YouTube, you can watch her do it again, just by clicking here. Enjoy!
SEE/HEAR: Amazing in this digital day and age what you can still miss. When when the world was watching the U.S. race for president, I was transfixed by Tina Fey’s send-up of Sarah Palin. And I knew of many celebrities who were actively stumping for Barrack Obama. But I had no idea that director Ron Howard would go to the lengths he did – even enlisting his former TV dad Andy Griffiths and his former Happy Days sidekick Henry Winkler – to make a video message just as clever and as classy as he is. Old news to you? Probably. But just in case you were washing your hair that day and missed it, like I did, you can still see it, just by clicking right here.
Now is that historic or what???