Tag Archives: DEBRA McGRATH

Jennifer plays Winnie, Sheila plays Halifax, Rick plays Rideau Hall — and stars coax us into the cold

STARS IN OUR EYES: Grammy showstopper Jennifer Hudson continues to prove herself as an actress as well as a singer. She and Terence Howard shine as Winnie & Nelson Mandela in the fascinating biopic Winnie, one of

HUDSON & HOWARD: As Winnie and Nelson Mandela in new biopic "Winnie"

the celluloid treats selected for the 12th annual Floating Film Festival. The FFF, launched by TIFF co-founder Dusty Cohl two decades ago and now captained by filmmaker Barry Avrich, embarks on a 10-day Caribbean odyssey on Monday Feb. 27 – the day after the Oscars – on the Seabourn Sojourn. More on FFF 12 as it happens …  Rachel McAdams and her main squeeze Michael Sheen are having a lovely Valentine’s Day, thanks for asking. McAdams’ film with Channing Tatum, The Vow, is number one at the box office, and Sheen is now set to star in the Showtime pilot Masters of Sex …  triumphant trio Russell Braun, Krisztina Szabo and Erin Wall, the three great voices who spark the current,

McADAMS: Happy February

theatrically dazzling Canadian Opera Company production of Love From Afar, won’t be sitting around after the controversial extravaganza closes on Feb. 22. Ms. Szabo is already set to perform with conductor Alex Pauk at the Esprit Orchestra event Gripped By Passion at Koerner Hall on Feb. 26 .And  her co-stars Braun and Wall are set to team up again in Ottawa in a new production of Carmina Burana March 8-9 at the National Arts Centre … and dynamic duo Jay Leno & Madonna teamed up to promote his Tonight Show with a delightfully snappy SuperBowl commercial I finally caught up with yesterday. Did you miss it too? Here it is. Enjoy!

PRESENT LAUGHTER: Montreal’s phenomenal Just For Laughs comedy festival celebrates its 30th anniversary (!!!) this year July 12-29, after warming up with a six-night stand in Chicago June 12-17 … a new cartoon-for-the-mind

JOHNSTON & MERCER: Rideau Hall playdate

podcast from those wacky Illustrated Men is set in the mythical town of Monogami, Ontario.  In the first episode Sam and Ella Toad move to Monogami to make a new start; some kids out camping spot a UFO; and alien bounty hunters land. Will Sam’s car get towed by zombies? You’ll have to tune in to find out …  stand-up guy Harry Doupe hosts Everyone’s A Winner, the March 9 all-star comedy fundraiser at Second City in support of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League with smile-makers  Sean Cullen, Tim Steeves, Laurie Elliott, Pete Zedlacher and many more … Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are set to play two middle-aged guys starting over as interns at an internet company in the Shawn Levy comedy Interns … and Rick Mercer finally gets a taste of the high life he’s been missing when he hobnobs with new Governor-General David Johnston at Rideau Hall tonight on CBC’s Rick Mercer Report.

McCARTHY & NICHOLSON: on stage in Halifax

FOOTLIGHTS: Stage and screen lioness Sheila McCarthy is back on the boards at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, garnering glowing notices in Norm Foster’s new comedy Mrs. Parliament’s Night Out with J. D. Nicholson. McCarthy is also set to co-star in  Lost In Yonkers with Linda Kash, David Eisner and Happy Days legend Marion Ross when the Neil Simon classic opens here in May   … Graham Abbey of The Border TV fame

BALABAN: Back at Theatre Passe Muraille

is also collecting kudos for his stage turn with Barry Flatman in the Canadian premiere of Enron, directed by Antoni Cimolino at Theatre Calgary … Divisadero: a performance, adapted by Michael Ondaatje from his Governor General Award-winning novel and directed by Daniel Brooks, is back at Theatre Passe Muraille for a limited run through Sunday Feb. 26. The production reunites the original cast of Liane Balaban, Maggie Huculak, Tom McCamus, Amy Rutherford and Justin Rutledge, who created music specifically for the piece …  and Allan Hawco and Philip Riccio’s ambitious Company Theatre has announced its next production. Speaking In Tongues, by Andrew Bovell, will be directed by Riccio and play the Berkeley Street Theatre Oct. 29-Nov. 24. Will Riccio load the dice with lotsa star power? Stay tuned.

TENNANT: On a MIssion

DEEP FREEZE: Some of our faviourite stars are urging us to come into the cold. And their message is definitely on point. “Come freeze your butt off on February 25, 2012 with Yonge Street Mission on the coldest night of the year! It is a 5k and 10k non-competitive walk in the frigid cold for the hurting, homeless and hungry. Sign up as an individual or a team today. If you can’t join us that night, consider donating!” Sparklies askng us to participate via a very engaging vimeo include Maria Del Mar, Peter Keleghan, Debra McGrath, Patrick McKenna, Mark McKinney, Colin Mochrie, Leah Pinsent, Veronica Tennant and, still wearing his Stephen Leacock moustache, Gordon Pinsent. To see it, just click here.

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The more the merrier as stars bring sunshine to Leacock sketches — and to Toronto stages too

Okay — where was I? Oh yes, I remember. Taking a break from blogging. Apparently that’s over now.

EVERYBODY’S TALKING:  And no wonder — the first glimpses of CBC’s big Sunday night movie, Sunshine Sketches Of A Little Town, look sumptuous. And I admit it — I’m a sucker for an all-star cast. Not that the producers, Alliance

HENNESSY & PINSENT: Mother & Son

Atlantis alumni Michael MacMillan and Seaton McLean, had much trouble reeling them in. “One of the best screenplays I’ve ever read,” says leading lady Jill Hennessy. Ms Hennessy,  currently on screen wrangling Dustin Hoffman on HBO’s new series Luck, clearly loved every minute of the summer shoot, as did Gordon Pinsent, who plays her son. (Yes. Really. You’ll have to watch it to find out.) Pinsent, who starts shooting a new movie in Mexico next week, describes it as “one of those rare filming experiences when we couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning.” Then again, Hennessy and Pinsent were

KHANIJAN: on stage

keeping some very good company. Among the stellar marquee names bringing Stephen Leacock‘s classic comedy drama to life are Keshia Chante, Sean Cullen, Ron James, Peter Keleghan, Debra McGrath, Patrick McKenna, Colin Mochrie, Eric Peterson, Leah Pinsent, Caroline Rhea, Rick Roberts and Michel Therriault. Get those PVRs warmed up, folks — this one sounds like a keeper.

TALKING THE TALK: Ryerson Theatre Club devotees were among the hundreds of floodlights fans at Tuesday’s performance of Cruel And Tender  at the Bluma Appel. After their stunning 90 minute tour-de-force, stars Arsinée Khanijan and Daniel Kash joined their director Atom Egoyanin the theater lobby for a 15-minute Q&A with interested audience members. How interested were they? Theater Club reps had to call a halt after 40 minutes, but some folks still hung

BROCHU: return engagement

around just long enough to meet Egoyan and share their take on his production of Martin Crimp’s reimagined Greek tragedy. The hypnotic drama runs through next Saturday Feb. 18 … Jim Brochu has returned with his celebrated salute to Zero Mostel, Zero Hour, directed by Piper Laurie (yes, that Piper Laurie) … and no, his reviews this time ’round were not exactly love letters, but clearly Ronnie Burkett’s audiences disagree. Factory Theatre has added six more performances of the marionette master’s new show, Penny Plain, with tickets now available through March 4 … meanwhile, Robert LePage’s Blue Dragon continues to dazzle at the Royal Alex, In The Heights continues to rock North York at the Toronto Centre For The Arts, War Horse opens tonight at the Princess Of Wales and Potted Potter opens tomorrow night at the Panasonic. Talk about an embarrassment of theatrical riches!

COMEBACKS: Great news for those of us who missed them first time ‘round — two rave-winning theatrical events are set to return to our town. Kim’s Convenience, the runaway hit by Soulpepper Academy alumnus Ins Choi, wraps up its current run this weekend but will be back May 17-June 9. And yes,

DUNCAN: showstopper

it’s a good idea to order your tickets now. As you may recall, the play about a Regent Park Korean convenience store was the sleeper hit of the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival … and the National Ballet will launch its 2012-2013 season with the return of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Christopher Wheeldon on November 10–25. A co-production with England’s Royal Ballet, Alice was an SRO smash when it premiered here last year. And yes, it’s a good idea to order those tickets now too … meanwhile, stage and screen showstopper Arlene Duncan, so endearing as the unsinkable Fatima in Little Mosque On The Prairie, is winning standing Os nightly at the Berkeley Street Theatre. Ms Duncan is the crown jewel in Caroline, Or Change, the latest theatrical gem from the phenomenal Acting Up stage company. CanStage and Acting Up added one more show of the musical last night to accommodate public demand, but all 25 scheduled performances sold out so quickly that surely an encore should be considered? And soon, please?

COTE: Lost In Motion

SEE/HEAR:  National Ballet star dancer Guillaume Côté is the latest hot ticket on YouTube with his  stunning short film Lost in Motion. Directed by Ben Shirinian and choreographed by Guillaume, the three-minute film really is something to see — even if it makes you want to join a gym before it ends. The high-flying M’sieu Côté will be performing with Kings of the Dance in Manhattan February 24–27  — d”ya suppose he made that video just to freak ’em out? — before returning to star in Sleeping Beauty, March 10–18, 2012, and The Seagull, March 21–25, 2012. Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen Lost In Motion yet, you don’t have to take my word for it — just click here. And enjoy!

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Lily conquers Vegas, Bette plans a Showgirl exit, and meet the new Susan Boyle (he’s a guy!)

LOVIN’ LAS VEGAS: Don’t know why I thought that Lily Tomlin and Sin City were not a natural fit. Turns out they are. La Tomlin premiered her new

TOMLIN & WAGNER: Viva Las Vegas

one-woman show, Not Playing With A Full Deck, at the MGM Grand, and reportedly loves Las Vegas! Lily’s partner and personal muse, the unabashedly brilliant humourist Jane Wagner, is the mighty pen behind her new show as well as such previous Tomlin megahits as The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe and Appearing Nitely. Lily’s new show is a mix of Greatest Hits – the characters her fans still can’t get enough of, like Ernestine and Edith Ann – and new characters, and

SHORT: Damages control

new technology. Tomlin’s new show ‘try-out’ played in MGM’s Hollywood Theater, which seats about 2,000 people at each performance. And when Tomlin isn’t hanging out with her Big Business co-star and Caesars Palace headliner Bette Midler (The Showgirl Must Go On) or trying to coax Jane (“it’s come down to begging, really,”) into writing a new Broadway show for her, she’s commuting to New York to shoot her scenes in the new season of Damages with Glenn Close. In it she plays the matriarch of a powerful family determined to destroy shady legal eagle Close. Assisting Lily in this mission are Martin Short as her high-powered attorney and Campbell Scott as her son. And yes, she confesses, she and Marty did misbehave one day on the set, when

MIDLER: The show must go ... off

she read her lines as Ernestine and he did his as Ed Grimley. “But never when the cameras are rolling!”

THE SHOWGIRL MUST GO OFF: P.S. for Vegas-bound Bette Midler fans: Your heroine ends her two-year residency at The Colloseum – aka The House That Céline Built – on January 31. Says Bette: “These legs have had such a great run in the desert, it may be time to haul them to places with more humidity and fewer slot machines.”

GET OUT YOUR HANDKERCHIEFS: Yes, it’s true, the latest YouTube sensation is a recent audition for Simon Cowell’s British talent show The X Factor. The singer is a 40-year-old cabinet-maker named Daryl Markham. Markham has his own website now, and is now a household

MARKHAM: YouTube sensation

name for millions of people all over the world. But can he sing? You be the judge. To see his now-historic audition, just click here.

NO BIZ LKE SHOW BIZ: Leave it to Reg Hartt to find a copy of the sumptuous MGM musical Kiss Me Kate, with Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel and young hoofers Bob Fosse & Tommy Rall competing for Ann Miller’s machine-gun taps., in — wait for it — 3D, its screen original format. Cineaste extraordinare Hartt unspools the classic Cole Porter musical this Sunday and next at 5 pm at his Cineforum HQ at Bathurst & College. Adds Reg: “Bring your own popcorn and we will zap it for you.”

WILLIAMS: ReelWorld decade

Hmmmm, wonder if Stratford’s Kiss Me Kate star Juan Chiorian, now on stage at the Factory Theatre in The Madonna Painter, has ever seen this version? … fan faves Colin Mochrie & Deb McGrath guest with Ron James tonight at 8 pm on CBC Television …  the Kate Rogers Band performs live tomorrow morning on CBC Radio One’s GO! Show. “Tickets are free and everyone is welcome!” sez Ms Rogers … speaking of tickets, you can still snag some for this weekend’s performances of the National Ballet’s spectacular Sleeping Beauty revival before it closes Sunday .. and can you believe that Tonya Lee Williams’ ReelWorld Film Festival, the little movie marathon that grew, celebrates its 10th anniversary next spring? Ms Williams, of course, is currently stationed in Washington, D.C. — on screen, at least — in The Border. And BTW, the ReelWorld call for submissions has already started. So if you have a feature, documentary, short, music video or animation from the Aboriginal, Asian, Black, Latino, Middle Eastern, South Asian or other multi-racial community, click here and fill out the submissions form.

Happy weekend!

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http://reelworld.ca/

Strombo gets Fox, Mosque gets manipulated, Montreal gets Whoopi & Rick gets stung

TONIGHT, TONIGHT: Your boyfriend George Stroumboulopoulos kicks off his sixth season of The Hour tonight with an intimate hour-long interview

GEORGE: Sixth Season

GEORGE: Sixth Season

with Michael J. Fox. Other sparklies about to get Georged: Andre Agassi, Michael Buble, Drew Barrymore, Michael Douglas, John Irving, Michael Moore, Anne Murray, Edward Norton, Clive Owen, and Snoop Dogg earlier in the evening Little Mosque On The Prairie returns with a new edge when Brandon Firla (Billable Hours) plays a manipulative minister from the big city who is less than thrilled to find a bunch of Muslims as tenants in his church. Zaib Shaikh, Sitara Hewitt, Sheila McCarthy, Carlo Rota, Debra McGrath and Arlene Duncan continue to keep the pot boilingalso returning tonight: Just For Laughs, with a premiere

GOLDBERG: just for laughs?

GOLDBERG: just for laughs?

episode from Montreal featuring Whoopi Goldberg, Jim Gaffigan, Louis C.K., Pete Zedlacher and Adam Hills. In addition to Zedlacher, Canuck showstoppers set to perform on the weekly series include Mike MacDonald, Deb DiGiovanni, Angelo Tsarouchas, Shaun Majumder, Martin Short, Jon Dore and Gerry Dee. So what’s not to like? … and Hot Docs is the co-presenter of tonight’s showing of Larry Towell’s Canada-Palestine co-production Indecisive Moments at the 2009 Toronto Palestine Film Festival, which continues through Friday. A personal video diary of Towell’s experiences in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, which he refers to as “the world’s largest open-air prison,” the film screens tonight at 7:00 pm at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Jackman Hall, with filmmaker Towell in attendance. For more information and/or to purchase tickets, just click here.

BRIDGES: new John Wayne?

BRIDGES: new John Wayne?

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Newcomer Christoph Waltz, the breakout star of Inglorious Basterds, is set to play the villain opposite Seth Rogen in The Green HornetJeff Bridges is in talks to star in a Coen Brothers remake of the classic John Wayne western True GritMeryl Streep’s daughter, actress Mamie Gummer, has been cast in director John Carpenter‘s new thriller, The Ward … and watch and listen for songbird Dawn Langstroth on a channel near you. She’s set to stop by AM 740 today at 2 pm to perform selected songs from her new CD Highwire in the radio station lobby. And tomorrow morning she’ll serenade early-risers on Breakfast Television (BT Toronto, that is.) So stay tuned!

LORD OF THE FLIES: When Canadian comedy icon Rick Mercer flew to B.C. to kick off the new Spread The Net campaign at Simon Fraser University, SFU biologist Carl Lowenberger, challenged him to stick his arm in a cage filled with mosquitoes — and you know how Mercer responds to challenges.  You can see the results on tomorrow night’s premiere of The Rick Mercer Report. (And I won’t even mention the bit where Lowenberger dares him to stick his entire head in the cage.)

MERCER & LOWENBERGER: SFU research team?

MERCER & LOWENBERGER: SFU research team?

Meanwhile, Mercer’s spoof of that weird Michael Ignatieff commercial, which will be revealed to television viewers on RMR tomorrow night, has already ricocheted around the word as a viral video. And yes, it’s funny. Funny enough for Ignatieff to instantly install it on his Facebook page (not to mention his Twittering about it.)

Still haven’t seen it?

Really?

So what was it like in the monastery?

Never mind. If you’re really sure that you really can’t wait ‘til tomorrow night, just click here.

TOMORROW:

More fun ‘n’ games. (Who knew?)