CASTING ABOUT: Brit sensation Tracie Bennett brings her Olivier award-winning talents to Broadway on March 19 when she opens at the Belasco with her controversial portrayal of Judy Garland in the West End musical
BENNETT: as Garland
hit End Of The Rainbow … popular German TV presenter Barbara Schöneberger will host the Rose d’Or Awards Ceremony on May 10 in Lucerne … Kristin Kreuk has been set as the lead in the CW pilot Beauty and the Beast, a remake of the CBS series from the late ‘8Os … and Harold and Kumar star and House alumnus Kal Penn is set to star in the ABC comedy pilot Prairie Dogs.
MEANWHILE, BACK ON THE ATLANTIC OCEAN: This year’s Floating Film Festival sailors started their day yesterday with a fluffy croissant of a movie — Darling Companion, from Big Chill filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan. Ostensibly about a lost dog, it’s really a gentle look at the different stages of male-female relationships and the emotional baggage we carry with us from childhood. And what a cast — Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline –– Rex Reed, who introduced the film, pointed out that this is Kevin Kline’s sixth outing with Kasdan — Dianne Weist and Richard Jenkins, Elizabeth Moss from Mad Men, screen enigma Sam Shepard and more.
KEATON & FRIEND: going to the dogs
Thanks to Rex, our afternoon screening was a bit of a mind-bender. Remember Dolores Hart, the actress who co-starred with Paula Prentiss, Yvette Mimieux and Connie Francis in Where The Boys Are? Some 47 years ago the fair Ms Hart left showbiz to take holy orders. She’s now Mother Dolores at a cloistered convent in Bethlehem, Connecticut, and is the subject of the Oscar-nominated short God Is The Bigger Elvis. Knowing that Mother D’s chum Paula Prentiss would be on board with husband Richard Benjamin, Rex brought a copy of the film for all of us to see. Fascinating to hear Mother Dolores — now the Prioress of the Regina Laudus Abbey — reflect on her Hollywood screen life with Anthony Quinn, Montgomery Clift and, yes, Elvis himself. Even more fascinating was meeting the beau she left behind — Edith Head had already designed her wedding dress — and seeing his relationship with her today.
HARRELSON: all too convincing
The 26-minute short film was a stark contrast to the Woody Harrelson shocker Rampart, a somewhat relentless saga of a corrupt cop that proved to be a tough slog for many of us. Harrelson is all too convincing as the flawed protagonist, and he gets great back-up by a dazzling cast of supporting players, including Ned Beatty, Steve Buscemi, Ice Cube, Anne Heche, Audra Macdonald, Cynthia Nixon, Sigourney Weaver and Robin Wright, each of whom make the most of their material. Not exactly a good time at the movies, but undeniably strong filmiest fare.
ROSENTHAL: Raymomd by any other name
Rounding out our celluloid hat trick last night was a film about television by someone who definitely knows what he’s talking about. Exporting Raymond is a genuinely funny and unexpectedly revealing ‘In’-sight into the world of television. The documentary follows Phil Rosenthal, creator of the hit TV series Everybody Loves Raymond, as he attempts to translate Raymond into a Russian sitcom. In a classic “fish out of water” scenario, show-runner Rosenthal travels to a distant land to help people who don’t want his help. What soon becomes amusingly apparent is that it is show creator Rosenthal, not Ray Romano, who is the real-life Raymond, with eccentric parents who are almost as camera-friendly as Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle. Watching him try to interact with understandably suspicious Moscow TV types quickly becomes a guilty pleasure — which I suspect is exactly what Exporting Raymond star and producer Rosenthal had in mind. His sitcom was a monster hit and great fun, but his doc is not only entertaining, it’s also painlessly educational. Who’da thunkit?
Posted in Actors, Comedy, Gossip, Movies, Music, SHOW BUSINESS, Showbuzz, Stars, Television, Theatre
Tagged ABC, Anthony Quinn, Barbara Schöneberger, Beauty And The Beast, Belasco Theatre, BROADWAY, CBS, CW, Darling Companion, DIANE KEATON, Dianne Wiest, Dolores Hart, Doris Roberts, Edith Head, ELVIS PRESLEY, End Of The Rainbow, Everybody Loves Raymond, Exporting Raymond, God Is The Bigger Elvis, Harold and Kumar, House, Judy Garland, Kal Penn, Kevin Kline, Kristin Kreuk, Larry Kasdan, Montgomery Clift, Paula Prentiss, Phil Rosenthal, Prairie Dogs, Rampart, Ray Romano, Richard Benjamin, Rose d'Or, Sam Sheppard, Sigourney Weaver, Tracie Bennett, West End, Woody Harrelson
NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: Get out your calendars. Toronto’s mini-Just For Laughs festival will run July 6 – 11, opening one day before the annual bilingual comedyfest launches
in Montreal … Smokey Robinson plays Fallsview Casino June 11 & 12 … Oscar-winning singer-songwriter Buffy Ste. Marie, a digital pioneer in her own right, gives a Unique Lives & Experiences session next week at Roy Thomson Hall, with confessed shopaholic Cloris Leachman set to follow in her footsteps on April 19 … and four of the funniest femmes in the business, Robin Duke, Jayne Eastwood, Kathryn Greenwood and Teresa Pavlinek, return with a brand new show when their smash comedy troupe Women Fully Clothed plays Massey Hall on May 7. But they’re there for one night only, so don’t dawdle. To order tickets, click here.
BRAVE NEW CYBER WORLD: The April 12 Genie Awards will be broadcast live on the Independent Film Channel, livestreamed on CBC.ca. and rebroadcast on The Movie Network and Movie Central at a later
KUTCHER: tweeting for Haiti
date. The live webcast on CBC.ca is a first for the Genies and could give the awards show its largest audience reach ever … after concluding a 40-city theatrical tour, PBS’s American Experience will premiere its new Earth Days documentary on April 11 on Facebook. eight days ahead of the film’s television broadcast on April 19. This will reportedly be the first time a major broadcaster has introduced a full-length documentary on the site … Twitter-pated Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore and Will Ferrell are among the stars of 140 Tweets For Haiti. You can check out the trailer here … and Margaret Atwood tweets greetings from the Cologne Literary Festival where she reports that “twittern” is now a German verb.
SMALL SCREEN, BIG STAGE: Never underestimate the power of television. The Broadway run of David Mamet’s new play Race has now been extended to June 13, thanks
to the marquee allure of Boston Legal charmer James Spader … stage veteran Doris Roberts, who finally became a household name playing Ray Romano‘s mother on television, is set to return to off-Broadway next month in Love, Loss And What I Wore, which is quietly becoming a notable successor to Love Letters and The Vagina Monologues … and Emmy award-winning Will & Grace scene-stealer Sean Hayes is deep in song and dance rehearsals for his Broadway bow in the upcoming revival of Promises, Promises, the Neil Simon-Burt Bacharach-Hal David musical based on the Academy Award-winning Billy Wilder comedy The Apartment with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, Hayes is playing the role originated by Jerry Orbach, another legit leading man who later became far more famous for his TV work on Law & Order. And Hayes’ leading lady is Wicked star Kristin Chenowith — best known to American audiences for, you guessed it, her Emmy-winning TV role on Pushing Daisies and her guest stint last season on Glee.
ENRIGHT: Giller juror
NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Enigmatic music legend Don Francks is set to make one of his rare appearances at Lula’s Lounge on April 15 … renowned Russian bass-baritone Evgeny Nikitin makes his Canadian debut here April 24 in the popular Canadian Opera Company production of The Flying Dutchman. Johannes Debus, the COC’s newly-appointed Music Director, will lead the COC Orchestra and Chorus … it’s official: CBC Radio stalwart Michael Enright and novelists Claire Messud and Ali Smith have been elected by Jack Rabinovitch to choose the next Giller Prize winner … Ken Lindsay fans, take note: Your favourite piano man returns to the village April 1 (no foolin’) to the Fuzion Resto-Lounge on Church Street. Mark Cassius, formerly of The Nylons, will be on hand to help out with the high notes. Reservations are advised. For more info, click here … and screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) will pen the script for the screen biography of Green Bay Packers football coach Vince Lombardi. ESPN Films, an offshoot of the sports cable network, hopes to premiere the film before the 2012 Super Bowl. Robert DeNiro will play Lombardi — but will his Raging Bull guru Martin Scorsese direct? Stay tuned.
Have a great weekend!
Posted in Actors, Authors, BOOKS, Gossip, Movies, Music, Opera, SHOW BUSINESS, Showbuzz, Stars, Television, Theatre
Tagged 140 Tweets, Academy Award, Ali Smith, American Experience, ASHTON KUTCHER, Billy Wilder, Buffy Ste. Marie, Burt Bacharach, Canadian Opera Company, CBC Radio, cbc.ca, Claire Messud, CLORIS LEACHMAN, COC, Cologne Literary Festival, David Mamet, DEMI MOORE, Don Francks, Doris Roberts, Earth Days, Eric Roth, ESPN, Evgeny Nikitin, Facebook, Fallsview Casino, Fuzion Resto-Lounge, Genie Awards, Giller Prize, Green Bay Packers, Hal David, Independent Film Channel, Jack Lemmon, Jack Rabinovitch, James Spader, JAYNE EASTWOOD, Johannes Debus, Just For Laughs, Kathryn Greenwood, Ken Linday, KRISTIN CHENOWITH, Lula Lounge, MARGARET ATWOOD, Mark Cassius, MARTIN SCORSESE, Massey Hall, Michael Enright, Movie Central, NEIL SIMON, PBS, Promises Promises, Race, Raging Bull, Ray Romano, ROBERT DENIRO, Robin Duke, Roy Thomson Hall, Sean Hayes, SHIRLEY MACLAINE, Smokey Robinson, TERESA PAVLINEK, The Apartment, The Flyimg Dutchman, The Movie Network, The Nylons, TMN, TWITTER, Vince Lombardi, WILL FERRELL, Women Fully Clothed