Tag Archives: EDIE FALCO

Curious about Eppie? Just ask Ann Landers. And, the Who’s Who who cheered Barbra in the village

Ms LONELYHEARTS: After a memorable guest spot as a dying nurse on the first season of Edie Falco’s hit series Nurse Jackie, veteran stage and screen charmer Judith Ivey opens tonight at Manhattan’s Cherry Lane Theater in a one-woman play about legendary lovelorn advice columnist Ann Landers called The Lady With All the Answers.

IVEY: as Ann Landers

IVEY: as Ann Landers

The last time I remember seeing Chicago’s queen of hearts, as Eppie Lederer (her real name) was called, was at Chaz & Roger Ebert’s wedding. Eppie and Brian Linehan were hot-footing it on the dance floor when it started to get a tad too hot for Eppie. “Tame it down, tame it down!” she protested, and Linehan graciously acquiesced.

After dispensing sage advice to thousands of grateful readers, by the end of her career Eppie was most famous for failing to save her own marriage. Also, much to her chagrin, her daughter Margo Howard, who eventually took over her column, would marry four times. But then, when has a daughter ever really listened to her mother?

I was much better acquainted with Eppie’s twin sister Pauline, who was equally famous as the Abigail Van Buren of Dear Abby. In the days when newspapers ruled, the sisters’ columns competed with each other in rival journals. Ann Landers was in the Toronto Star, so Dear Abby ran in The Toronto Telegram (and later the Toronto Sun.)

ABBY & ANN in their heyday (AP)

ABBY & ANN in their heyday (AP)

Eppie was a permanent fixture in Chicago. ‘Abby’ lived in California and enjoyed it. Like her sister, she was bright, vivacious and always good company. One day I walked into Norman Jewison’s beach house in Malibu and Norman, ‘Abby’ and Washington columnist Art Buchwald were all sitting in the living room, busy debating a burning issue of the day. As I approached them Abby looked up at me and beamed.

“We met in Toronto two weeks ago!” she proclaimed, struggling to remember my name. “I know you!”

“I don’t!” said Buchwald with a shrug, and returned to debating with Jewison.

CHANNING: "Absolutely not!"

CHANNING: "Absolutely not!"

Identical twins born 17 minutes apart, the sisters also got a kick out of teasing people when they were mistaken for each other. One night I bumped into Eppie in the bar at the Four Season in Hollywood and started talking about mutual friends in Chicago until I saw the twinkle in her eye.

“Yep,” she said, grinning – “I’m the other one!”

Manhattan gossip girl Liz Smith says that years ago Eppie’s good friend Carol Channing wanted her Hello, Dolly! composer Jerry Herman to make a musical for her to star as Eppie. “To which Eppie said, ‘Absolutely not!’ But now there is a two-time Tony winner channeling Ann Landers,” adds Liz – “and everybody just hopes Eppie approves.”

VILLAGE PEOPLE: Yes, Barbra Streisand really did return to the tiny Village Vanguard club in Manhattan to perform songs from her new album, Love

STREISAND: stage fright?

STREISAND: stage fright?

Is The Answer, with only a jazz quartet behind her. (Chalk it up to the influence of her album producer Diana Krall. Not that there would have been room for an orchestra, let alone a band. “It’s hard to have stage fright,” Streisand remarked, “when, like, there’s no stage!”) Her audience, comprised mainly of contest winners from around the world, were thrilled to find themselves squeezed against such devoted Barbra boosters as Hillary, Bill and Chelsea Clinton, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Donna Karan, Barry Diller, David Geffen and composers Marilyn & Alan Bergman. Streisand was reportedly in glorious voice, and in addition to tunes from her new CD, she also reprised a few of her classics, including Evergreen (which she dedicated to a misty-eyed Bill Clinton) and The Way We Were.

Apparently you had to be there to believe it. And don’t you wish you had been?

TOMORROW:

What Julie Stewart and Dan Aykroyd are up to in Toronto.

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TIFF kicks off Creation, Ms Falco goes back to the boards, and La Pitre reunites with Benny & Bjorn

MAD ABOUT MOVIES: Toronto’s 34th annual movie marathon officially opens tonight with at Roy Thomson Hall, but it really kicks off today at noon with

BETTANY: as Charles Darwin

BETTANY: as Charles Darwin

a screening of Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man at Yonge-Dundas Square. Other films unspooling before tonight’s opening Gala include director Lone Scherfig’s An Education, already provoking Oscar buzz for U.K. actress Carey Mulligan; the new documentary about legendary French film director Henri-Georges Clouzot, renowned for his suspense thrillers, and the film he was never able to finish; and Sook Yin Lee’s

FALCO: back on the boards

FALCO: back on the boards

Year Of The Carnivore, which is definitely not the opera. (Or Short Bus, for that matter. Tonight’s Gala opener is Creation, director Jon Amiel’s ambition exploration of the life and loves of Charles Darwin, with real-life couple Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly as the renowned scientist and his missus, as he begins to write On the Origin of Species, destined to become the most widely read book of natural science and one which will irrevocably change the world. For a sneak preview, click here.

FOOTLIGHTS: Remember when L.A. was a cultural wasteland? Happily, things change. High-profile thesps set to star on L.A. Theatre Works stages this season include Ed Asner and Jonathan

ARKIN: on stage

ARKIN: on stage

Silverman in Once In A Lifetime; Kate Burton in The Constant Wife; Edie Falco in Side Man; Adam Arkin and JoBeth Williams in Dr. Cerberus; and Mark Ruffalo and Lauren Ambrose in Awake and Sing (even if Albert Schultz and Soulpepper beat them to it) … Nuala Fitzgerald is set to do one of her dazzling salon solos next month in Toronto to benefit the Actors’ Fund Of Canada. Her new show, Away With Words, is a pastiche of her favourite bon mots and brilliant passages from O’Casey, Yeats, Shaw, Joyce, John Lennon, Dorothy Parker, Ogden Nash and even Spike Milligan. For tickets write edgarcowan@hotmail.com … and the

PITRE: trick or treat?

PITRE: trick or treat?

much-anticipated return of musical comedy showstopper Louise Pitre in Toxic Avenger: The Musical is currently set to premiere on Halloween, Saturday Oct. 31, at the newly-renovated (what, again?) Music Hall on the Danforth. Meanwhile, La Pitre will re-team with her Mamma Mia composers Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaes to headline a Broadway concert vetsion of their new ABBA musical Kristina on Sept. 23-24 at the Stern Auditorium in Manhattan.

Sounds like an extremely hot ticket to me.

A TREE GROWS IN TORONTO: It’s been invited to more than 50 film festivals and received 12 international awards from cities as diverse as Chicago, Taipei, Cairo, Mexico and Iran. This fall it’s invited to the Tel Aviv International Children’s Film Festival, the 7th Istanbul International Children’s Film Festival, the National Archives in Ottawa and the Tribeca Cinemas Kids Series. And chances are you’ve never even heard of it. A short film produced, written and directed by Toronto-based filmmaker Mitra Sen, The Peace Tree tells the story of two little girls, one Muslim and one Christian, who dream of celebrating each other’s festivals, Christmas and Eid, but have to overcome resistance from their parents before they can realize their dream.  Filmmaker Sen is currently working on a new project, Under The Same Sun, but since its release in 2005 her film has triggered the creation of Peace Trees in schools and gardens around the world. For more about The Peace Tree and the remarkable seeds it planted, click here.

TOMORROW:

more TIFF premieres, Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta-Jones

and the one-man renaissance of Cheistopher Plummer

Nurse Jackie gets a pick-up, Michel plays Irving, and T.O. theatre-goers get three decades of Doras

FALCO: she's the right Rx

FALCO: she's the right Rx

BEDSIDE MANNERS: American  television has clearly has taken a turn for the nurse. Fans of Sopranos scene-stealer Edie Falco, and they are legion, will be delighted to learn that her new almost three-week-old series Nurse Jackie has already been picked up for a second season …  and Jada Pinkett Smith is following in her mother’s footsteps, playing nurse Christina Hawthorne in HawthoRNe. (No, that’s not a typo. And yes, it really is a bit too cute. But then, here we are talking about it.) Ms. Pinkett Smith’s mom worked as a head nurse at a Baltimore women’s clinic, but in her new series, created by John Masius (St. Elsewhere) and produced by her hubbyWill Smith, Jada says her character is basically a woman with a God complex that’s really going to have to, like, get real. She’s going to have to learn to take care of herself as intensely as the patients.”

Sounds like a prescription for another hit show.

We’ll see.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: He conquered Stratford, won our hearts on TV as Tommy Douglas, wowed us on stage in The Producers and even survived the musical version of Lord Of The Rings. Now Michel Therriault is

THERRIAULT: Call him Irving

THERRIAULT: Call him Irving

about to play U.S. legend Irving Berlin off-Broadway in a new what-if musical called The Tin Pan Alley Rag. Described as a ‘musical play,’ it’s the story of an imagined meeting of two of America’s greatest musicians, composer Scott Joplin (Michael Boatman) and songwriter Berlin and the stories of fame, love and loss beneath their syncopated, frequently hypnotic rhythms … speaking of Stratford, award-laden director Norman Jewison says Stratford’s current production of West Side Story is the best he’s seen since the show first opened on Broadway more than (gulp!) half a century ago … sad news for you if you meant to but didn’t get around to ordering tickets: Every performance of the Tarragon Theatre remount of one-woman whirlwind Judith Thompson’s Body & Soul has been sold out since the curtain went up last week … Ray Jessel returns to our town to cabaret at the Old Mill next Saturday June 27 during The Toronto Jazz Festival … and Rick Mercer Report producer Gerald Lunz got an extra show on Broadway this week when he caught all three

DeVITO: too bloody funny?

DeVITO: too bloody funny?

installments of the revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s Norman Conquests, performed in the round at the Circle in the Square. Danny DeVito, who was sitting across the stage from him, literally doubled over with laughter, bounced his face off the seat in front of him, and split his lip. Now that’s comedy!

FOOTLIGHTS: Risking The Void, a comprehensive retrospective of stage designer Cameron Porteous’ remarkable contribution to theatre in Canada, opens Saturday July 4 at The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre at Niagara-on-the-Lake. The ambitious exhibit is a collaboration by Theatre Museum Canada, the University of Guelph’s L.W. Conolly Theatre Archives and the Shaw Festival … WatersEdge Productions, a new independent theatre

JEWISON: Stratford aficionado

JEWISON: Stratford aficionado

company, will debut in T.O, with the Canadian premiere of bare, a new rock musical that garnered a worldwide fan base since its award-winning run in L.A. and its sold-out five-week run off-Broadway. The show, in which an exuberant young cast of 19 actors tackles themes of teen sexuality, religious angst and unrelenting social and family pressure – yup, it’s a musical, I kid you not – opens July 17 at Hart House … shhhhh, it’s a secret, but my spies tell me the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts is polishing up a special award for superProducer Marlene Smith. To which we can only add, bravo!  … doesn’t seem possible that this is the 30th anniversary of the Dora Mavor Moore Awards. Imagine three decades of Doras! …  and soon you won’t have to. Theatre-goers attending the June 29 awards will receive an elegant bonus — a special book, The Doras: 30 Years of Theatre, Dance and Opera in Toronto. Edited by Angela Rebeiro, the new book will be distributed free of charge to all guests at the Award Show ceremony. It will go on sale at TheatreBooks after the show … and speaking of the Doras, have you cast your vote for the Audience Choice Award? If you haven’t, you’ve only got a few days left – polls close June 25. So just take a deep breath and click here.

A TOMLIN NEVER FORGETS: American treasure Lily Tomlin wants me to let you know that tomorrow is not just another Saturday.

TOMLIN: on a mission

TOMLIN: on a mission

“On Saturday, June 20, compassionate people around the world will unite to educate the public about the suffering of elephants in zoos, as part of the first-ever International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos,” says Lily. “Events are taking place in more than 30 cities in seven countries. I strongly urge you to attend an event, if there’s one in your area. Visit HelpElephants.com to see a list of locations.”

Lily’s using her wowOwow. com website to get her message out to as many people as possible.

“From some of the comments I’ve read in response to the issue of elephants in zoos, I’ve come to realize that people are just so used to seeing elephants in tiny displays that they accept that as being OK,” she says. “But it isn’t. While a zoo exhibit may appear big to us, to an elephant it’s miniscule. And don’t forget that elephants are forced to live their entire lives in that same spot, deprived of all that is natural to them: space, freedom, family and choice.”

For more on Lily’s plea for your help, click here.

And have a great weekend!

-/-


Carmela moves to the E.R., Pacino plays doctor, Courtney in Short order, Harrison & Calista blue-sky it, and why Denzel won’t play Obama

Okay, she’s a nurse with a drug habit. We’ve seen that before. And her boyfriend, a pharmacist, is also her dealer. Which is sort of a twist. What makes this story so interesting? Jackie – or Nurse Jackie, as per the new dramatic series about her – is played by award-laden Sopranos star Edie Falco, and her pharmacist

FALCO: addicted

FALCO: addicted

boyfriend is played by Paul Schulze, who played Father Intintola, the neighborhood priest with whom Edie/Carmela was totally infatuated. And making the drama behind this drama even more, well, dramatic, is the fact that both the star and the series writers Liz Brixius and Linda Wallem are card-carrying members of AA. Falco, who has sober for almost two decades, says she was determined not to take a holier-than-thou approach to Jackie. ““It was sort of endlessly fascinating and deeply saddening when I was struggling myself,” she told New York Times writer Kathryn Shattuck. “I know what it’s like to be lost in addiction.” For more of Ms. Shattuck’s excellent Rx on Nurse Jackie, click here.

AND SPEAKING OF ANGELS OF MERCY:  It’s official. Al Pacino will play suicide specialist Dr. Jack Kevorkian in the upcoming HBO biopic.

MACNEIL: wedding belle

MACNEIL: wedding belle

COMMON GROUND: What do John Travolta and Harrison Ford have in common? For one thing, they’re both licensed pilots. Which is how Ford celebrated the Memorial Day weekend by flyng his bride Calista Flockhart, her son Liam and his grandson Ethan to the Monterey Aquarium, which opened early so the family could watch some sleepy penguins wake up … what do Laura Dern, Eric Stolz, and Courtney Cox have in common? They’re among the celebrated on-screen players in the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival, set for June 16-21 at a theatre near you … what do CBC EVP Richard Stursberg and comely CBC news anchor Carole MacNeil have in common? Wedding bells. According to Carole’s CBC News: Sunday co-host Evan Solomon, they’re planning to tie the knot later this month.

BOYLE: " ...next?"

BOYLE: " ...next?"

ON THE BOYLE: A sometime-collaborator of Steve Martin‘s, actor Ricky Jay is also a sleight-of-hand artist and author. Earlier this week he contributed an op-ed piece to the New York Times about the apparent worldwide obsession with Britain’s Got Talent ‘loser’ Susan Boyle.

 “Should we have expected anything more, or less?” he asks. “Our first look at Ms. Boyle generated not only expectation but surprise. But as she became overexposed, our surprise diminished. The extraordinary became commonplace.”

Because of her presence on youtube, he notes,  “A performing cycle that once could have taken years is herein reduced to days. She’s unknown, we’re surprised. She’s embraced, we’re disenchanted. She’s the runner-up … next?”

To see Jay’s column, cleverly and appropriately headlined Desperately Seeking Susan, click here.

WASHINGTON: remake
WASHINGTON: remake

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “When Barack Obama’s story is ready to be told, I’ll be too old to do it. And if it were made right now, he has too much to do to have me hanging around asking for tips on how to play him.”

The speaker? John Travolta’s co-star in The Taking Of Pelham 123, Denzel Washington, in an interview with Reader’s Digest.

For a sneak preview of this remake – believe it or not, it was villainous Robert Shaw versus lawman Walter Matthau (yes, Walter Matthau) in the 1973 original – just click here.