Tag Archives: DEB McGRATH

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!

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Rachel and Marion love Woody, Jeanne and Barry love to Scrabble, Jerry loves La Cage, and Conan loves Twitter

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Whatever he’s got, he’s still got it. Woody Allen is set to shoot another film in Paris this summer — mais oui, they love him in France — and

MCADAMS: To Paris with Woody

Rachel McAdams and Marion Cotillard have already signed on … flamboyant figure skater Johnny Weir, the Winter Olympics’ favourite bad boy, is now set to guest with Ice Theatre Of New York at the company’s 2010 Home Season stint April 29-May 1 at Chelsea Pier … John Tory, the new Chair of the TIFF Bell Lightbox campaign, is seeking $17.5 million in gifts needed to complete the TIFF Bell Lightbox between now and the opening of the building, which is still scheduled for this fall … Kelsey Grammer is back on Broadway, currently in previews at the Longacre Theatre for the Olivier Award-winning revival of La Cage Aux Folles that took London by storn. Composer Jerry Herman says this new version “is hysterical, touching, outrageous, ingenious — a revelation from curtain to curtain.” This we gotta see … Channing Tatum and Al Pacino are teaming up for a new screen drama, Son Of No One …  and Sebastian Stan, best known for his roles on Gossip Girl and Kings, has joined the cast of Captain America as leading man Chris Evan’s sidekick.

MARCUS TRIO: at Smiling Buddha tonight

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Talk about a musical coup d’etat! Sting, Elton John, Lady Gaga and Dame Shirley Bassey will perform together at Carnegie Hall  at a Rainforest Fund benefit concert on May 13. The event will mark the 21st birthday of the charitable organization founded by Sting and Trudie Styler to help protect and preserve the world’s threatened rainforest areas and the pricey tickets includes a gala post-performance dinner at the Plaza … Jann Arden, Tom Cochrane and NHL legend Darryl Sittler are set to join Anne Murray at her 2010 Charity Golf Classic in support of Colon Cancer Canada on May 18 at Angus Glen Golf Club in Markham … at last! Hypnotic singer-songwriter Jane Ford has finally released a new album, All I’ve Needed Most, a five-song EP featuring “some great new tunes I know you’re going to love.” Count me in. Her new album is available on iTunes in the US and Canada. “And Europe. Everywhere actually!” … Justin Bieber pop-rocks tomorrow night on SNL … and professional crowd-pleasers The Marcus Trio return to one of their favourite haunts, The Smiling Buddha Bar on College Street, tonight at 10 pm.

O'BRIEN: networking

TWITTERBUG: Deposed late-night prince Conan O’Brien wasn’t a great believer in social networking until NBC bounced him off his Tonight Show throne. But after being hounded by both his friends and personal Followers (read, Employees) O’Brien finally saw the light. He now has close to a million followers on both Facebook and Twitter. Which is how, with a few well-placed wisecracks, he has managed to almost completely sell out his 30-city comedy tour which kicks off on Monday night. “Five days to the opening of my tour,” he tweeted yesterday. “I don’t want to over-hype this thing, but attendance will cure all known diseases.”  His first stop on his sweep of North American cities? Eugene, Oregon.

(Now that’s funny.)

BEKER: all-star Scrabble soiree

SCRABBLE RABBLE: Autograph collectors should have a field day Monday night at the 6th annual Scrabble® With The Stars soiree at the King Suites. Returning hosts Jeanne Beker and Barry Flatman will welcome so many marquee names that I can’t possible mention them all here. Suffice it to say that the glamourous role call includes Angela Asher, Jaymz Bee, Mark Breslin, Dave Broadfoot, Dinah Christie, Arlene Duncan, Jayne Eastwood, Lili Francks, Graham Greene, C. David Johnson, Deb McGrath, Sheila McCarthy, Colin Mochrie, Micki Moore, Eric Peterson, Leah Pinsent,  Avery Saltzman, Elizabeth Shepherd, Paul Soles, Amy Sky, Theresa Tova, Robin Ward, Sara Waxman and enduring entertainment icons Sharon, Lois & Bram, all in aid of the Performing Arts Lodge (PAL) of Toronto. Tickets include dinner, a game of Scrabble with a celebrity and a tax receipt, and as usual there’s only a handful of tickets left. So if you want to play, don’t delay — just click here!

And have a great weekend.

-/-


A new role for Feist, a new band for Ringo, more stars for Scrabble, and a chance to watch Tiger tee off in 3-D

FEISTY TV COMMENTATOR SAVES THE DAY: Who’s that girl pushing her microphone into your face? Believe it or not, the gal with the hot mike is none other than

FEIST: chess game

Juno-laden warbler Leslie Feist, and she’s not singing into it this time. Feist was tapped by her longtime friend, Paris-based ex-pat pianist and producer Chilly Gonzales (aka the artist formerly known as Beck,) to play a TV reporter covering a chess tournament in Gonzales’ first short feature film, Ivory Tower. The flick, which wrapped location shoots here yesterday, also features techno-popsters Tiga as Gonzales’ high-strung chess champion brother and Peaches as their mutual love interest. Insiders say the task of playing an on-camera TV maven was a walk in the park for Feist, who has previously survived playing an angel with a direct line to Heaven (on Stephen Colbert’s wacko Christmas special) to singing her monster hit 1.2.3.4. with Elmo on Sesame Street. Meanwhile her pun-addicted pal Gonzales — he of Pianist Envy fame — is now winging his way to Austin, Texas where he’ll rock SxSW music lovers with a predictably off-the-wall concert tonight before winging back home to Paris.

SHARPS ‘N” FLATS: Massey Hall-bound Dire Straits alumnus Mark Knopfler is set to serenade his Swiss fans at the 44th annual Montreux Jazz Festival July 2-17 … Iron Maiden returns to seduce Canuck fas on July 3 at the Molson Amphitheatre in T.O. and July

TAYLOR & TAYLOR: Valentines

7 at the Bell Centre in Montreal … new Grammy sweeper Taylor Swift, so good with that other Taylor (New Moon alumnus Lautner) in Valentine’s Day, will join Keith Urban, Ashley MacIsaac and Lady Antebellum at this year’s Cavendish Beach Music Festival in P.E.I. in July … Ringo Starr brings his new All-Starr Band, including Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer and Richard Page, to Fallsview Casino on June 24 & 25 … Chantal Kreviazuk is set to brighten the Edmonton Symphony season this fall … and showstopper Idina Menzel, so brilliant at Defying Gravity in Wicked, is set to make a stellar appearance on the second season of Glee.

WOODS: a new dimension?

3-D STIMULUS PACKAGE: Two hours of each round of next month’s Masters golf tournament will be carried in 3-D by Comcast to its more than 20 million U.S. subscribers. The production will be separate from what CBS and ESPN will show, with Sony supplying cameras to show the action on the back nine. It’s all part of a grand scheme to persuade sports fans to buy new 3-D televisions sets.And of course Tiger Woods much-anticipated return to the Masters can’t hurt. But yes, you still have to wear the glasses.

SCRABBLE BABBLE: What do stage and screen showstoppers  Sheila McCarthy, Colin Mochrie and Jayne Eastwood all have in common? They’re three of the 40 sparklies set to play at the sixth annual Scrabble With The Stars next month. In case you’ve forgotten this is the once-a-year fundraiser for PAL Toronto, the Performing Arts Lodge that is now home for so many of our now-senior artists who devoted their lives to delighting us on stage and screen. In addition

BARRY & JEANNE: Scrabblers

to such long time supporters as Peter Kent, Gordon Pinsent and legendary moppet charmers Sharon, Lois & Bram, marquee luminaries already confirmed include Jaymz Bee, Mark Breslin, Dave Broadfoot, Dinah Christie, Arlene Duncan, C. David Johnson, Deb McGrath, Sheila McCarthy, Mickie Moore, Leah Pinsent,  Shakura S’Aida, Avery Saltzman, Paul Soles, Amy Sky, Theresa Tova and cuisine queen Sara Waxman, TV fashionista Jeanne Beker and her best beau Barry Flatman are returning to host this year’s star-studded Scrabble evening on Monday April 12 at the King Suites, and I can personally guarantee that you’ll have a great time. For more information and/or to order tickets, just click here. But don’t wait too long — this event ALWAYS sells out!

-/-

Emails, we get emails, we get lots & lots of emails

Dear B.G.:

Has Glenda Jackson returned to the screen? The last I heard she had retired to work full time as the Labour Member of Parliament  for the constituency of  Hampstead and Highgate in the London. But I recently caught a glimpse of her, or at least I think it was her, in a movie trailer with Daniel Day Lewis. What is the movie? And why haven’t I read about her comeback? – Curious in Kelowna

Dear C.I.K.:

Ms Jackson is still lobbying for her British constituents and as far as I know has no immediate plans to return to the screen. The actress with the striking Touch

judi crop

NINE: It's Judi, not Glenda

 

Of Class bob in that movie trailer is the inimitable Dame Judi Dench, who may be channeling Glenda, for all we know. And you’re right, it is Daniel Day Lewis. The movie is directort Rob (Chicago) Marshall’s screen version of the Broadway musical Nine, which of course was the stage version of Federico Fellini’s . So Day Lewis is playing a role originated on screen by Marcello Mastroianni and on stage by Raul Julia (and most recently Antonio Banderas.) And in the movie the key women in his life are played by Sophia Loren, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Kate Hudson and Ms. Dench. Anticipated as a spectacular gift to fans of movie musicals, Nine is scheduled to open here on Christmas Day.

Dear B.G.:

Is it true that Michael Ondaatje’s latest novel Divisadero is being made into a movie? And if so when will it open? — Ondaatje disciple Benjamin K.

Dear B.K.:

I won’t be surprised if Divisadero eventually reaches the big screen.  In the meantime, the Necessary Angel theatre company, director Daniel Brooks and

LIANE crop

BALABAN: next weekend

the author himself are rethinking his novel as a play, with a view to a 2010/2011 opening with subsequent touring. Title of the stage production is When My Name Was Anna, and you don’t have to wait to 2010 to sample it. Next weekend Liane Balaban, Maggie Huculak, Tom McCamus and Amy Rutherford are set to appear in three work-in-progress presentations of When My Name Was Anna, directed by Brooks, at Theatre Passe Muraille’s Mainspace. For more information, click here.

Dear B.G.:

I saw a Broadway musical a few years ago called 10 Million Miles. It didn’t last very long, and we didn’t keep the Playbill, but I’m sure

Morrison miles

10 MILLION MILES: guess who?

 

the male lead was Justin Timberlake. My wife saw your blog about Glee and says the male lead was the guy who plays the teacher, Matthew Morrison. Can you settle this domestic dispute? –– Hoping I’m Right

Dear H.I.R.,

Sorry, you lose. 10 Million Miles is one of several Broadway shows, including Hairspray and South Pacific, in which Matthew Morrison appeared. But he did have a Timberlake look about him in that show, so don’t beat yourself up too badly. Morrison, who is also a rapper and a beat box hoofer, loves performing on stage for a live audience. But he’s equally passionate about Glee, and with good reason. “More people saw the pilot of Glee,” he notes, “than saw me in the entire ten years I was on Broadway.”

Dear B.G.:

Did I miss the Gemini Awards? I read somewhere that Geminis were handed out in Toronto this month, but I was sure that this year’s show was supposed to be in Calgary. What happened? — proud Canadian TV addict

Dear P.C.T.A.:

Yeah, it does get confusing at times. Fear not, you haven’t missed the boat – or the show, for that matter.  The 24th Annual Gemini Awards Broadcast Gala is just two weeks away, and will be broadcast live on Global and Showcase at 9pm

CORY crop

MONTEITH: Calgary-bound

ET/PT Saturday November 14 from the BMO Centre in Calgary. Presenters flying in to Alberta for the show include Hugh Dillon (Flashpoint,) Erin Karpluk (Being Erica,) Jessica Lucas (Melrose Place,) Amber Marshall & Graham Wardle (Heartland,) Mark McKinney (Less Than Kind,) Cory Monteith (Glee,) George Stroumboulopoulos and Rick Mercer. Host for the evening is Ron James, who BTW has two Gemini alumnus on his show tonight: Eric Peterson (Corner Gas) and Deb McGrath (Little House On The Prairie.) So don’t forget to set your PVR.

Have a great weekend!

-/-

Need a hand raising funds for a good cause? First, pick up the phone. Then, thank (y)our lucky Stars!

OUR TOWN: Is there any other business whose highest-profile members donate their talents so often and so freely? And no, this isn’t a quiz. The answer is

MacDONALD: Laughing Like Crazy

MacDONALD: Laughing Like Crazy

No. And when our stars go into support mode, they give it all they’ve got. Which is why you should know that seasoned smile-maker Mike MacDonald, a guy who always puts the ‘fun’ back in fund-raiser, returns to T.O. this weekend to headline Laughing Like Crazy, a benefit for the Mood Disorder Association of Ontario. Another amusing fellow, Second City alumnus Patrick McKenna hosts the Saturday night event at the Panasonic Theatre. For tickets, click here … and yes, it’s a much smaller venue than the stadiums he usually plays, but Russell Peters will return to host the annual Gilda’s Club benefit, It’s Always Something, on Nov. 23

CARVER: Songs to celebrate

CARVER: Songs to celebrate

at the Princess Of Wales. To order tickets, click here … and what do Brent Carver, Michael Burgess, Bruce Dow, Ted Dykstra, Melanie Doane, Theresa Tova, Adam Brazier, Sharron Matthews, Avery Saltzman, Aaron Walpole, Elicia MacKenzie (Maria in The Sound Of Music) and cast members from Jersey Boys all have in common? They’re all performing in Songs & Celebration, a November fundraiser for the Harold Green Jewish Theatre company hosted by Colin Mochrie and Deb McGrath. For more information, and to order tickets, just click here.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Dancap chief Aubrey Dan is honourary chair of the third annual Bright Lights Of Broadway scholarship

PARSONS: coming to T.O.

PARSONS: coming to T.O.

fundraiser at the Carlu on Oct. 28 …Cheyenne Jackson, currently providing the swoon quotient for the Broadway revival of Finian’s Rainbow, will be moonlighting this season in a guest stint on 30 Rock, playing the new cast member Alec Baldwin wants Tina Fey to hire … who’da thunk it? Tie Domi is surprisingly fast on his feet in CBC’s current Battle Of The Blades competition. Can’t wait to watch him trip the light fantastic tonight with Rick Mercer on the Rick Mercer Report … and Oscar winner Estelle Parsons (remember Bonnie & Clyde?) reprises her praise-winning Broadway turn as Violet, the matriarch from hell, when Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning drama August:

DOMI & MERCER: on ice tonight

DOMI & MERCER: on ice tonight

Osage County opens here next month  for a limited 10-night run.

WOT’S IN A NAME: A new reality show on BBC America features an imperious retail consultant Mary Portas — “What I don’t know about shops isn’t worth knowing” – who attempts to bring elegance to one tacky clothing store each episode. The name of the series? Mary Queen Of Shops … and the new Monty Python series that launched in the U.S. last weekend has a great title too: Monty Python: Almost The Truth (The Lawyer’s Cut.) Episode titles for the six-part IFC

PYTHON: Almost the truth

PYTHON: Almost the truth

series, appropriately sponsored by Beefeater gin, are equally engaging, e.g., The Not-So-Exciting Beginnings, The Much Funnier Second Episode and The Last Episode Ever … For Now. Don’t know why I’m surprised; who else would dub their electronic home base Monty Python’s Completely Useless Website? In any case, Python devotees are already waiting for the DVD to come out do they can add it to their collection, but the good news is that Bravo! will premiere the series in Canada, starting this Saturday at 9 pm. So don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

MAPLE LEAF JOKES? WE’VE GOT A MILLION OF ‘EM!:

Q: What do the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Argonauts and the Toronto Blue Jays all have in common besides being based in Toronto ?
A.
None of them can play hockey.

TOMORROW: All about GLEE.

-/-

Funny thing, but these guys are pretty funny!

 

BUBLE: Juno funnyman

BUBLE: Juno funnyman

GROBAN: Emmy charmer

GROBAN: Emmy charme

 

FUNNY FELLAS:  Two of the world’s best crooners are becoming almost as celebrated for their irreverent sense of humour as they are for their spectacular vocal abilities.

Josh Groban, who first won hearts when he romanced Calista Flockhart on Ally McBeal, did such a great scene-stealing solo at the Emmy Awards that his number on that show is now a YouTube favourite. To see and hear Josh joshing, in perfect pitch, click here.

Then again, maybe it’s something about being on awards shows. Michael Bublé enjoyed his comic turn with Russell Peters on last month’s Junos awards so much that he put a link to it on his website. Which links you to the CTV website. Which lets you see Michael and Russell clowning around backstage. Or, you can just click here.

* * *

HAIL CAE$AR:  Have you ever raised your glass to toast what is actually in your glass? Sounds weird, but no, you read that right.

MERCER: Comic Caesar

MERCER: Comic Caesar

The Bloody Caesar, that uniquely Canadian concoction, turns 40 this year, and isn’t even remotely shy about it. What else was happening in 1969? Says Mark Teo in SHARP Magazine for Men:

These Eyes by the Guess Who … dominated the radio waves. The Montreal Expos debuted as Canada’s first major league baseball team. Canada’s now-distinct multi-coloured currency was introduced. Canada’s sharpest political satirist was born in the form of Rick Mercer. And a Northern cocktail revolution was germinating in the mind of Walter Chell at the Calgary Inn.” For more of Teo’s engaging birthday history of the savoury Caesar – including some variations that most purists will not approve of – just add ice and click here.

* * *

FUNNY GIRL:  When she’s not on camera on Little Mosque On The Prairie you can usually find Deb McGrath fervently engaged in her favourite sport: Shopping. In last Saturday’s Globe & Mail, aided and abetted by G&M staffer Deirdre Kelly, McGrath was the guest writer for the My Last Stupid Purchase column.

McGRATH: Holt's habitué

McGRATH: Holt's habitué

Her purchase? ‘A cool and pricey boho chic Zac Posen skirt,” snagged for a song at Holt Renfrew’s. But it wasn’t nearly as appealing when she tried it on again at home.

“Never buy anything tight when you are having a flat-stomach day,” warns the now poorer but possibly wiser Ms McGrath. “Flat stomach days are like leap years and blue moons.”

Mind you, she knew that one day her flat stomach would appear again – and it did, after a week of stomach flu. “But by then,” she notes, “my skirt was out of season!”

* * *

JEWISON: tribute tonight

JEWISON: tribute tonight

 

HAIL TO THE CHEF: Canadian Film Centre chief Slawko Klymkiw is in L.A. today to celebrate film director Norman Jewison, a man who has cooked up some mighty tasty film treats over the years, from Jesus Christ Superstar to Fiddler On The Roof, from The Thomas Crown Affair to Moonstruck, from A Soldier’s Story to In The Heat Of The Night, from The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming to Agnes Of God.  And as if that wasn’t enough, Jewison also founded the Canadian Film Centre a mere 20 yearts ago, raising the bar to create a new standard of excellence for young Canadian filmmakers. Tonight’s tribute at the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art will be hosted by veteran film critic Leonard Maltin, and you can be sure some of Norman’s chums will show up to cheer him on. Happily, I’ll be there too, to tell you all about it on Monday. (Promise.)

Have a great weekend!

More Stars In Our Eyes Tonight In T.O., N.Y. and L.A.

ENTER THE ACTRESS: Tony & Emmy collector Andrea Martin, fresh from her stage triumph in Mel Brooks’ musical version of Young Frankenstein, returns to Broadway tonight with Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) and Oscar winners Geoffrey Rush and Susan Sarandon in a rare revival of Eugene Ionesco’s Exit The King. Rush is making his debut on the Great White Way in the absurdist comedy, playing a monarch who has only 90 minutes to live. Sarandon and Ambrose play two of his queens, and the indefatigable Ms. Martin plays the maid. Any bets as to who’s gonna get the most laughs?

* * *

NORMAN CONQUESTS: The Canadian Film Centre and Film Independent are co-hosting a tribute to CFC founder Norman Jewison next month at the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art. Veteran film critic Leonard Maltin will

JEWISON: L.A. honours
JEWISON: L.A. honours

host the on-stage tribute, which will be followed by one of Jewison’s several classics, In The Heat Of The Night. The saga of a black detective trying to survive in a racist southern town, Jewison’s1967 drama with Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger and Lee Grant won five Oscars, including Best Picture. It also won a much-coveted Best Actor award for Steiger, who had been nominated for The Pawnbroker but lost to Cat Ballou’s Lee MarvinPoitier, who already owned an Oscar for Lilies Of The Field, followed up with Stanley Kramer’s Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, and three years later his great success as Detective Virgil Tibbs in Jewison’s hit film inspired a so-so sequel, They Call Me Mr. Tibbs, directed by Rat Pack favourite Gordon Douglas.

Sadly Rod Steiger won’t be there to toast his buddy Norman. But lots of Jewison’s admirers will be.

Stay tuned.

* * *

TONIGHT, TONIGHT: I predict T.O. taxis will do boffo business tonight. Ron James is opening his Mental As Anything tour at the Winter Garden; TIFF is presenting a free screening of Hollis Frampton’s magnum opus Hapax Legomena, which will be Introduced by York cinema prof Michael Zryd at Cinemateque Ontario; and artistic director Ken Gass is hosting the Factory Theatre spring gala –“great food, great atmosphere, and a great show.”  The show? The world premiere of Florence Gibson’s Missing, directed by David Ferry. Call Michelle at 416-504-4473 for last-minute tickets.

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STARS IN OUR EYES: Add stage & screen charmer Cara Pifko, award-winning actor/director Sarah Polley, freshman MP Peter Kent, newspaper columnist and novelist Linwood Barclay and broadcaster Jane Hawtin to

PIFKO: Star Scrabbler

PIFKO: Star Scrabbler

the Scrabble With The Stars celebrity roster this year. Previously announced luminaries set to participate in the April 6 event at The King Suites include Graham Abbey, Jaymz Bee, Mark Breslin, Dave Broadfoot, Michael Burgess, Dinah Christie, Jayne Eastwood, Don Harron, Marilyn Lightstone, Sheila McCarthy, Deb McGrath, Colin Mochrie, Gordon Pinsent, Leah Pinsent, Paul Quarrington, Jackie Richardson, Zaib Shaikh, Dione Taylor, R.H. Thomson and hosts Jeanne Beker & Barry Flatman. Call 416-777-9674 for tickets, but don’t delay – the popular fundraising Gala is almost sold out … director Larry Weinstein’s much anticipated opus, Inside Hana’s Suitcase, will premiere here April 30 at Hot Docs … and B.C. soul rocker Alex Cuba has launched a new artist-branded web-browser. Based on the Firefox platform and developed by Canadian software companies Adevia Software and Brand Thunder, the browser can be downloaded from http://www.alexcuba.com and www.brandthunder.com/alexcuba.