Tag Archives: Debra Messing

Wassup with those fabulous femmes on Smash? Hey now, don’t get me started! (Oops!Too late)

BROADWAY BABIES: Currently wowing them on the Great White Way in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, veteran song-and-dance man Eric McCormack says he’d love to do another musical on Broadway, and would have

MCCORMACK: he’s the Best

played Che in the current revival of Evita if they’d asked him.  Unfortunately Ricky Martin got there ahead of him. Meanwhile, McCormack is onstage doing drama, while his Will & Grace partner Debra Messing is starring in a lavish new weekly series about building a Broadway musical. Can McCormack see himself doing a guest stint on Messing’s new series Smash? “Sure! I could go on the show in character, as Will Truman, lawyer. She could meet with me to discuss getting a divorce from her husband, Brian D’Arcy James. And then just as she’s leaving my office she could get this puzzled look on her face, as if she knows she knows me from somewhere but can’t remember where.” What happens then? “She leaves, and I get to do a big song about divorce!”

MCCORMACK & MESSING: dynamic duo

Messing, in the meantime, has been going through her own life-imitating-art-imitating-life drama. On Smash she cheats on her schoolteacher husband (the aforementioned Brian D’Arcy James) by having an affair with a Broadway leading man played by Rent star Will Chase. In real life she’s split with her hubby, screenwriter Daniel Zelman, and is spending most of her time with, ta-DAH! — Will Chase, who has also split from his wife.

HILTY: as MM in Smash

Meanwhile, Smash scene-stealer Megan Hilty, the buxom Broadway belter who desperately wants to play Marilyn Monroe in the fictional musical in the series, is actually playing the Marilyn Monroe role in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes this week on Broadway (the real Broadway.) And yes, I know, Carol Channing was the first and remains the most famous Lorelei Lee. But just to cap it all, on tonight’s episode of Smash Anjelica Huston makes her much-anticipated debut as a singer – and not with just any old song. Ms Huston sings a classic ballad from a classic, 74-year-old Broadway musical, Knickerbocker Holiday.

HUSTON: … from May to December

The timeless tune she warbles is September Song, introduced to audiences in 1938 by her grandfather Walter Huston. Now that’s show business!

QUOTABLE QUOTES:Mike Nichols was the director and I had a great audition. Tommy Tune personally taught me to tap, and everyone was really happy, except Lee Gershwin, Ira Gershwin’s widow, who said, ‘Over my dead body will that whore be in the show.’ That was when it changed for me and I thought, ‘Oh, this is not going to be easy, it’s not just about talent.’ She had no idea of who I was, what I had accomplished up to that point, and all the shows I’d done. That was an ‘aha!’ moment for me.”

WILLIAMS: tale teller

The speaker? Vanessa Williams in conversation with Broadway.com, describing her failed audition for My One And Only, one of several juicy morsels in her new autobiography, YOU HAVE NO IDEA: A Famous Daughter, Her No-Nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (and Each Other), co-authored with her mom Helen Williams.

PAIGE: on with the show

SHE’S STILL HERE: After she finished her stint in the revival of Follies on Broadway – not to mention her first New York concerts ever, at Lincoln Center no less — British SuperDiva Elaine Paige treated herself to a “heavenly” holiday in Barbados. “I just lazed around, swam, read my book and caught my breath,” she reports. “Barbados was such fun and I managed to catch up with a couple of pals, Cliff Richard and Cilla Black. Both of them have places there and we went for a drink.  The next day Cilla flew home to the UK and upon arrival realized she’d left her mobile phone in Barbados – guess who became the ‘phone courier’? I safely brought it home to the UK and ensured it was returned to her.” La Paige is currently in L.A. doing Follies at the Ahmanson with Broadway cast mates Jan Maxwell, Danny Burstein and Ron Raines. (Tony Award winner Victoria Clark has replaced Bernadette Peters.) Meanwhile, Follies leads Maxwell and Burstein are both nominated for Tony Awards. And guess who’s nominated for a New York Drama Desk award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical? Ms. Elaine Paige. Which certainly won’t hurt Hollywood box office sales for Follies.

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Cynthia lets her hair down, Idina rocks the symphony & Jean Dujardin is smokin’ hot

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: It’s prequel/sequel time again. AnnaSophia Robb will play the young Carrie Bradshaw in the new Sex And The City spin-off The Carrie Diaries. Ah, but will Sarah Jessica Parker narrate? Just askin.’

NIXON: at Wit's end

Speaking of SATC, Cynthia Nixon will start growing her hair again this weekend. The revival she shaved her head for, Wit, closes Saturday at the Manhattan Theatre Club, which seems to be having an unusually strong season. John Lithgow opens there next month in The Columnist, a new play about once-powerful Washington journalist Joseph Alsop from Proof  playwright David Auburn and director Daniel SullivanNick Jonas, currently knocking ‘em dead on Broadway in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, is set to guest with Debra Messing& Co. on the season finale of NBC’s

COURTNEY: son of Die Hard

Smash … Aussie actor Jai Courtney, who attracted Hollywood’s attention in the TV version of Spartacus, plays the son of John McClane (aka Bruce Willis) in the upcoming fifth installment in the Die Hard franchise … …  and new screen Spider-man Andrew Garfield makes his Broadway debut tomorrow night in Mike Nichols’ much-anticipated  revival of Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman. Garfield is playing son Biff to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Willy Loman.

DEFYING GRAVITY: Wondering why Wicked Tony Award winner Idina Menzel’s show-stopping special looked so familiar when it aired on PBS last week? It was shot right here last November at Koerner Hall, with Marvin

MENZEL: at Koerner Hall

Hamlisch conducting the 52-pierce Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. In addition to her rave-winning special, Idina Menzel: Live Barefoot At The Symphony is now a hot-ticket CD, DVD and digital download, and includes a duet with her hubby (and former Rent co-star) Taye Diggs. Ironically, it’s TV that has made Menzel and Diggs household names, on Glee and Private Practice respectively, but their big Broadway voices continue to soar  … Gordon Pinsent is back from Mexico after completing his scenes for the 3D Imax feature Flight Of The Butterflies, which just wrapped after a year of shooting.  Will the big-screen docudrama premiere at TIFF in September? Just askin’ … Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of

DUJARDIN: smoking

Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston are in T.O. today to highlight innovation and education through the arts.  First stop on their schedule is a meet-and-greet with young entrepreneurs at Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (aka “the Zone”)and new Oscar owner Jean Dujardin of The Artist has been embraced by America, and he’s clearly returning the hug. He’s now filmed a bogus pro-Smoking commercial for Funny Or Die exalting the virtues of “Dujardin Cigarettes,” sendng up his super-cool French-from-France persona. Clever, funny stuff. To see it, just click here.

NEWS ITEM: “Google is developing a home entertainment device in a move that would bring it more broadly into consumer electronics.The device is the company’s most significant venture into hardware. While the initial

TOMLIN: She's worried too

purpose of the device will be for streaming music, the eventual use could be much wider. Amazon, which began as a retailer, now makes reading devices. Apple, which originally produced only hardware, now sells content.” Uh-huh. All of which reminds me of Lily Tomlin’s great line in her classic one-woman show The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe:  “I worry that the person who thought up Muzak may be thinking up something else.”   Me too, Lily. Me too.

Matthew dons tap shoes, Jim sees a rabbit, Jesus goes to Harlem, and Julie & Jodie salute Arlene

STARS IN OUR EYES: Two of her favourite stars, Julie Andrews and Jodie Foster, are the proud presenters set to celebrate Disney publicity ace Arlene Ludwig at the ICG Publicists Guild’s annual pre-Oscar luncheon tomorrow at

LUDWIG: luncheon honours

the Beverly Hilton.  The Guild is dedicating its 2012 Publicists Directory and resource book to Ludwig, who has been deftly juggling print and electronic press for Disney for almost 50 years … 30 Rock star Cheyenne Jackson and Smash headliner Debra Messing will join Judy Kuhn, Jill Eikenberry, Michael Tucker, Celia Weston, Hope Davis, Tony Roberts, John Guare and many more to honour Tony winner Linda Lavin at the Vineyard Theatre’s 2012 Benefit Gala on March 12 in Manhattan … superSongwriter Paul Williams will return to T.O. next month for the March 21-24 Canadian Music Week Film Fest. This year’s CMW filmfest promises an eclectic mix of movie premieres and special events, including a retrospective screening of The Muppet Movie with a post-film Q&A at which Oscar-winning composer Williams will talk about working on the film with Jim 

SHATNER: it's his world

Henson. Also on the Hot List:  the Canadian premiere of Joe Berlinger’s new doc Under African Skies, which documents Paul Simon’s return to South Africa and his reunion with many of the musicians that he worked with on his classic album Graceland  and after five decades of toiling in Hollywood, Bill Shatner is finally back on the Great White Way .  His one-man show, Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It,  revisits his personal and professional highest highs and lowest lows. “My plan has always been to return to Broadway every 50 years,” says Shatner, who starred on Broadway in the ’60s in The World Of Suzie Wong and A Shot In The Dark.  “Since then, of course, I’ve been refurbished; I hope the theatre has been too.” He’s at the Music Box ’til March 4.

FOOTLIGHTS:  Big Bang Theory go-to-guy Jim Parsons will follow in Jimmy Stewart’s footsteps when he co-stars with an invisible rabbit in the

PARSONS: bunny trail?

upcoming Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Harvey. Aided and abetted by  Broadway vets Carol Kane, Jessica Hecht, Charles Kimbrough  and two-time Tony nominee Larry Bryggman, Parsons begins previews May 18 and opens officially on June 14 at Studio 54 … the illustrious cast of Stratford’s Jesus Christ Superstar  including  Paul Nolan, Chillina Kennedy and Josh Young —  won hearts and minds and much appreciative applause when they gave a short

NOLAN: Jesus goes to Harlem

performance of show highlights last Friday night at the Church Of The Intercession in Harlem. The show opens in previews March 1 at the Neil Simon Theatre  … new University Of Guelph chancellor David Mirvish was so impressed by the Theatre Sheridan production of RENT — an SRO hit two months ago at Sheridan College’s Oakville campus — that he’s bring all 32 performers to his Panasonic Theatre for a 10-night run opening May 16 … and if you loved those “re-imagined” George & Ira Gershwin musicals My One And Only and Crazy For You, better start dusting off your tap shoes. Matthew Broderick, Estelle Parsons, Judy Kaye and South Pacific sweetheart Kelli O’Hara start all-singing all-dancing previews next month at the Imperial Theatre on the latest ‘new’ Gershwin musical, Nice Work If You Can Get It, directed and choreographed by Anything Goes hit-maker Kathleen Marshall. 

ALI: still a knock-out

MUHAMMAD ALI: still a knock-out

NO BIZ LIKE SHOWBIZ: Never one to shy away from controversy, director Stephen Frears is at the helm of the new HBO feature Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, an examination of the legal battle that erupted between Ali and the U.S. government when he became a conscientious objector and declined to serve in the Vietnam War. Christopher Plummer will play Supreme Court Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan II and Frank Langella will play Chief Justice Warren Burger. Frears reportedly plans to use actual footage of Ali himself, and not cast an actor to play him …   my spies tell me that Montreux Jazz Festival chief Claude Nobs is

SUZUKI: back to Japan

wooing Leonard Cohen to do two concerts at this year’s 46th annual Swiss music extravaganza  … my spies tell me tomorrow night’s instalment of Marketplace on CBC is eye-popping in more ways than one. It’s all about the outrageously high cost of prescription eyeglasses and what we can do about it …  one year after the northeastern seaboard of Japan was devastated by a major earthquake and a giant tsunami, David Suzuki goes back to Japan for Journey to the Disaster Zone: Japan 3/11 tonight on The Nature Of Things on CBC … and if you missed last week’s provocative Future Cities installment of The Suzuki Diaries with Suzuki and his daughter Sarka, don’t fret – an encore screening is set for 10 pm tonight on CBC News Network.

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Shirley goes Downton, Patricia goes down that Gardens path & Kate goes from Horror to Netflix

GOIN’ TO THE ABBEY: Unsinkable movie queen Shirley MacLaine, still star-bright at 77, is packing  to leave for the U.K. and filming for the next season of Downton Abbey.  She ‘s looking forward to playing the American mother of

MACLAINE: off to the U.K.

Lady Cora Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern,) she says, because “there is sure to be a variance of opinions when you mix the staidBritish upper crust with brash American views of the 1920s.” She’s also taking her one-woman show, An Evening With Shirley MacLaine, on the road in March, with test runs in Arizona, Connecticut and New York state. But she’ll be back in Hollywood on June 7  to pick up an AFI Lifetime Achievement Award — the 40th in American Film Institute history. “2012 is off to an amazing beginning for me!” Shirley

McGOVERN: make room for momma

exclaims … Larry King will get his Lifetime Achievement Award the same month, from the 2012 Banff World Media  Festival … comedy writer Bruce Vilanch, whose light touch brightened  23 of the last 25 Oscar shows, won’t be typing backstage this year because he’s busy writing for Broadway. Also MIA this year: A  performance of Oscar-nominated songs. Producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer have voted to scrap ’em (there are only two.)  But in the nostalgic spirit of Best Picture nominees The Artist, Hugo and Midnight In Paris,  the Kodak Theater on Hollywood

MESSING: she's a Smash

Boulevard will be decorated to resemble a timeless movie theatre like the University and the Imperial and other picture palaces of old  … Liz Smith says the producers of Smash are wooing Broadway baby Lesley Ann Warren to join the cast as a Broadway diva on the comeback trail. Liz says Smash star Debra Messing would love having Warren on board, because they worked so well together on Will & Grace when Warren played Will’s father’s  dizzy mistress … and friendly fire-breathers Jim Treliving and Arlene Dickinson are teaming up to do a Dragons’ Den spin-offIn each episode of Big Decision, Treliving and Dickinson assess two struggling businesses and decide to save one company. Or both. Or neither.

OUR TOWN:  Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage launches this weekend with the world premiere of Everything Under the Moon, a collaboration by innovative performance artist Shary Boyle and songwriter Christine

WILLIAMS: NAACP nominee

Fellows. A year and a half in the making, Everything Under the Moon is reportedly their most ambitious creation to date, pairing hand-animated projected image with narrative song. An extra show has already been added next week due to bubbling ticket demand … Dave Bidini and the BidiniBand are giving a free concert as part of the SK8 festival at Harbourfront this Sunday from 2-4 pm. “Bring skates,” says the renaissance musician & writer. “The gig is just off the Natrel skating rink, and there’ll be lotsa stuff for kids and non-kids alike!” … and Second Harvest’s grassroots fundraising campaign Lunch Money Day wraps up today. Volunteers will be shaking their cans at subway stations across the city during the

RAINN: Office spin-off?

morning and evening rush hours, so  “peas give” the equivalent of what you usually spend on lunch to Second Harvest. Remember, with only $10 they can provide 20 meals! So show them that you “give a shiitake” and reward those valiant volunteers with more than just a smile.

THE WRITE STUFF: Award-winning director Patricia Rozema will take participants through her transformation of the classic Maysles Brothers documentary Grey Gardens into the hit HBO feature with Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore at the 3rd annual Toronto Screenwriting Conference on March 30-April 1. It was Rozema’s shooting script that got the green light for the movie and the Emmyv and Golden Globe

ROZEMA: Grey Gardening

awards that followed … screenwriter and novelist Ron Base, author of those wildly entertaining Sanibel Detective yarns, shares trade secrets in his equally amusing tell-almost-all blog Writing Sanibel: Or How An Old Dog Used A Unique Island and Technology to Learn New Tricks … and Hollywood-based writer-producer Kathy Slevin has launched  a new blog focused on disseminating successful actions – her own and those of other writers and producers from whom she has learned.  “Its purpose,” she explains, “is to help writers bring their work closer to the kind of product a producer needs and wants and will hopefully be the kind of resource that both find useful.” Her current posts include Secrets Of Series Creations  and How To Hook An Audience, and would-be series writers can check ‘em out right here.

STARS IN OUR EYES:  Indefatigable ReelWorld filmfest founder and director Tonya Lee Williams, who most recently received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award in Montreal, has been nominated for a

BASE: Sanibel sleuthing

2012 NAACP Image Award for her role in the long-running CBS daytime drama The Young and the Restless. The awards will be telecast live from Hollywood tomorrow night on NBC …  American Horror Story heroine Kate Mara has joined Kevin Spacey in producer David Fincher’s original Netflix series House of Cards … Paul Reubens (aka Pee Wee Herman) is set to join Kate Winslet, Nicolas Cage, Steve Carrell, Catherine Keener and Kevin Kline in Charlie Kaufman’s new flight of fantasyFrank or Francis … and Rainn Wilson is in talks to continue with his character Dwight Schrute in a spinoff of The Office.

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