Tag Archives: ESTELLE PARSONS

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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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.

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In praise of older stage & screen sirens

Oscar winner Marsha Mason remembers future Oscar winner Shirley MacLaine telling her, “In order to keep working, it’s important to move into character work early because they don’t know what to do with you.”

JOLIE, KILMER, FARRELL: Alexander

JOLIE, KILMER, FARRELL: just one big happy family (not)

It’s a key point in Forget the Ingénues; Cue the Grown-Ups, Patricia Cohen’s excellent piece in last weekend’s New York Times. “Unless a script calls for a bitter woman to be dumped by her husband,” she notes, “filmgoers have come to expect the kind of nature-defying casting decisions that had a then 28-year-old Angelina Jolie playing the mother of Colin Farrell, then 27, in the 2004 film Alexander. (Val Kilmer, then 45, was the father.) Such couplings are familiar: At 36, Anne Bancroft played the predatory Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate (1967) [to Dustin Hoffman] although she was a mere six years older than Mr. Hoffman; in The Manchurian Candidate (1962) Angela Lansbury, just three years older than Laurence Harvey, played his mother.”

ADAMS: "Sooo thrilling!"

ADAMS: "Sooo thrilling!"

On Broadway, however, “women can still be rock stars. Among the big-name talents from film and television who have appeared behind Broadway marquees this season are Joan Allen, Jane Fonda, Allison Janney, Susan Sarandon and Kristin Scott Thomas.” For more of Ms. Cohen’s story on women who rule the Great White Way, click here.

Meanwhile, let me give the last word to the hottest young actress in Hollywood, Amy Adams, who co-starred with Meryl Streep in Doubt and does it again in the upcoming Julia & Julia.

“Sooo thrilling,” says Amy, with just a hint of sarcasm, “that every now and then, the world rediscovers that there’s a female audience. Oh, my God! Women go to the movies!”

And do they ever.

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GOING WHERE HE’S NEVER GONE BEFORE: Big-screen favourite Bruce Greenwood’s role of Captain Pike in the new Star Trek prequel was originally played in the pilot episodes of the original series by

GREENWOOD: Beresford-bound

GREENWOOD: Beresford-bound

Jeffrey Hunter. ) After screening the vintage episodes, Greenwood says he realized pretty quickly that the dilemma that Jeffrey Hunter’s Pike faced is very different from what his Pike faces. Hunter’s Pike, he explains, is conflicted over whether or not he will remain with Starfleet. “And, the Pike that I play has no such dilemma. My Pike’s dilemma is more about whether or not to trust the young Kirk.” In a Sharp magazine interview with writer Cliff Ford, Greenwood confirms he’s signed for director Bruce Beresford’s next opus, Mao’s Last Dancer. Based on dancer Li Cunxin’s autobiography, the film shows how a poor, 11-year-old Li was taken from his tiny Chinese village to Beijing to study ballet. Years later, during a visit to Texas, Li falls for an American woman, defects and becomes a principal dancer for the Houston and Australian Ballet. Greenwood portrays Ben Stevenson, the Houston Ballet’s artistic director, who was instrumental in Li’s successful career. And you can read more of the Sharp interview with Canuck crowd-pleaser Greenwood right here.

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THE MOTHER OF THEM ALL?: She killed her own children in a jealous rage as Medea. She played mom to Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs in a hostile white neighborhood in the much-lauded revival of A Raisin In the Sun.

RASHAD: maternal?

RASHAD: maternal?

She juggled a law practice, five children and Bill Cosby on the megahit Cosby Show. Tonight on Broadway, following in the footsteps of Deanna Dunagan and her successor followed by Estelle Parsons, Phylicia Rashad takes over the role of Violet Weston, the brittle, uncensored drug-abusing matriarch of an Oklahoma family in the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama August: Osage Country. In a remarkable display of “nontraditional” casting, Ms. Rashad’s stage persona must attempt to cope with a white stage family of three daughters, a husband, a sister and other relatives. Should be a fabulous night.

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