Tag Archives: GEORGE F. WALKER

Stratford gets Sean, Montreux gets a Weather forecast, PBS gets Ethan’s Time Machine and a Legend gets an Ella

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: Visiting New Yorker Jake Ehrenreich winds down his love affair with Toronto this week as A Jew Grows In Brooklyn closes Sunday night at the

DAY: Legend

Panasonic … honorary co-chairs Elton John and Quincy Jones will present Natalie Cole with the 19th Ella award on June 1 at the Beverly Hilton. But I’ll bet Elton, Quincy and Natalie are all secretly dying to meet the normally reclusive songbird who’s taking home this year’s Legend award: The one and only Doris Day… Vibes legend Peter Appleyard will bring his magic to Campbellford, ON this summer with an Aug. 1 Westben concert at The Barn … showbiz wunderkind Ted Dykstra directs the Soulpepper revival of David French‘s backstage comedy Jitters, opening June 24 … Sean Cullen returns to Stratford this summer in King Of Thieves, esteemed playwright

CULLEN: thieving

George F. Walker’s take on The Beggar’s Opera … and ya gotta love the title of west coast artist Ron Terada‘s new show, opening this weekend at the Banff Centre. He calls it Who I Think I Am.

GLOBAL SWARMING: The oh-so-lively Dead Weather, the alternative-riffs band formed by Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs) and Alison Mosshart (The Kills) are now set to rock the Miles Davis Hall on July 3 at the 44th annual Montreux Jazz Festival. The band’s new album, Sea of Cowards, dropped earlier this month … can’t help wondering if any of those comely 20-somethings cheering Harry Connick Jr.’s version of And I Love Her on American Idol last week knew he was singing a Beatles song? … and speaking of The Beatles, their stereo boxed set, released last September, has been certified Diamond in Canada by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA).

BERMAN: at UCLA this week

The boxed set is the first CD release since October 2007 to be certified Diamond in Canada, which means The Beatles now have more certified Diamond albums in Canada than any other group or non-Canadian artist.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Oscar-winning filmmaker Brigitte Berman is set to premiere her doc on Hugh Hefner, with Hef in attendance, in Hollywood this Thursday at the Billy Wilder Theatre at UCLA … Kylie Minogue’s new single All The Lovers will be released at the end of June, one week before her new studio album Aphrodite drops a week later on July 6 … 10-year-old piano virtuoso and showman Ethan Bortnick is set to razzle-dazzle ’em at the PBS National Convention in Austin, Texas next week, all to promote his sizzling upcoming Musical Time Machine special with Gloria Gaynor, Arturo Sandoval and the Canadian Tenors … and Dynamic Double Exposure duo Bob Robertson & Linda Cullen have launched a naughty new website which features, among other things, a somewhat flatulent beaver. To check out the latest 2X shenanigans, just click here.

TOMORROW:

Get out your calendars!

Almodovar gets Banderas, Carrell gets a slice of Bacon, Hot Docs gets Ghomeshi and Louise gets un-stuck

OUR TOWN: Host-with-the-most Jian Ghomeshi returns to helm tomorrow night’s Hot Docs Festival awards at the Isabel Bader … after flying across the pond to premiere the new

PITRE: back to T.O.

Benny Andersson-Bjorn Ulvaeus musical Kristina at Royal Albert Hall, show-stopping stage diva Louise Pitre got ‘stuck’ in London for an extra three days due to that pesky cloud of volcanic ash. “London’s not a bad place to be stuck in!” she adds, especially since her hubby Joe Matheson had taken a week’s holiday from his on-stage gig with still-thriving Jersey Boys to join her. Mamma Mia alumnus Pitre’s now home again, safe and sound and  shooting Season 2 of Star Portraits for Bravo!popular public relations pro Shelagh O’Donnell is the ROM’s new Head Of Communications … George F. Walker’s hit comedy Featuring Loretta makes its second debut  to the Factory Theatre tonight, officially kicking off the Factory’s 40th (!!!) Anniversary celebrations. Longtime Walker cheerleader Ken Gass directs Monica Dottor, Lesley Faulker, Kevin Hanchard and Brandon McGibbon in this brand new production … and the bad news is, Yorkville haunt Michelle’s Brasserie, the café  in

FARMIGA: going outlaw

Renaissance Square just off Cumberland, has closed. Good news is, Crème, a new French bistro devised by Ricardo Sousa (Cibo, Lolo) and chef Ricardo Roque (Magna Golf Club, Bistro 990,) is now underway and is tentatively set to open June 1.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Young Lily Collins, so good as Sandra Bullock‘s daughter in The Blind Side, is set to co-star with Taylor Lautner in Abduction, a new thriller … Kevin Bacon has signed on to guest star in Steve Carrell’s next project … Pedro Almodovar alumnus Antonio Banderas is set to star in the director’s next opus, La piel que habito … Up In The Air seductress Vera Farmiga

AGRON: new sci-fi role?

is set to portray a wild west outlaw in A Thousand Guns … watch for an announcement linking about-to-depart Global TV anchor Kevin Newman with a major new digital platform initiativeand don’t bother inviting Phil Collins to your Canada Day BBQ this year. He’s already booked to open the 44th annual Monteux Jazz Festival with a special July 1 concert.

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: Glee star Dianna Agron has signed on for  a leading role in the sci-fi film I Am Number Four … living room favourites Peter Mansbridge, Brian Stewart and Adrienne Arsenault are in London today, continuing to deliver CBC’s in-depth play-by-play of today’s General Elections in the U.K. …  Shia Labeouf is set to play Charlie in the dark comedy The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman Mireille

JEAN-BAPTISTE: in Central Park

Enos (Big Love) is reportedly signed to star in AMC’s new series The Killing …  bright young things Emma Roberts and Freddie Highmore are set to co-star in a new indie feature, Homework … Nurse Jackie scene-stealer Anna Deavere Smith is taking her New York solo show Let Me Down Easy on the road. Hope she brings it here …  what becomes a legend most? Hard work. Which is howcum Ann Rhomer is still a household favourite after more than three decades on local TV. We’ll miss her after she exits CP24‘s morning show next month … and although you know her best from her role as an FBI agent in Without A Trace, did you know that Anthony LaPaglia sidekick  Marianne Jean-Baptiste was the first British black actress nominated for an Oscar, for Mike Leigh‘s 1996 drama Secrets & Lies?  Ah yes, how quickly we forget. The gifted Mme Jean-Baptiste is spending her summer vacation in rep with Al Pacino, performing Merchant Of Venice and The Winter’s Tale in Central Park..

TOMORROW:

All about Liona Boyd, Zero Mostel,

Piper Laurie (yes, Piper Laurie!) and more.


Russell gets Cannes, Leah gets yoga, Jeff gets on stage, Brenda gets new Shoes, and Rick gets Rideau Hall??

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: First it was all those enthusiastic fans who launched that Rick Mercer For Prime Minister campaign. Recently it was Toronto Star sportswriter

ALLEN: next month in Niagara

Randy Starkman who proposed that, due to Mercer’s unflagging support of our amateur athletes, Canada should make him an honorary Olympian.  Last weekend legendary Montréal Gazette editorial cartoonist Aislin proposed yet another new role for Mercer, as our next Governor General. Where was Mercer when Aislin’s creative comment was published? Hiding out at one of 007’s favorite haunts in the Bahamas, enjoying some well-earned post-season R&R and trading sunburn remedies with fellow resort-dweller Paul McCartney.  Meanwhile, to see Aislin’s clever cartoon, just click here …. funnyman Tim Allen and SNL alumnus Joe Piscopo are both set for two-night stints at Fallsview Casino next month …  Al Pacino’s reportedly eyebrow-raising portrayal of Dr. Jack Kervorkian premieres this coming Saturday night on HBO Canada … crowd-pleaser Christian Potenza has just launched his own YouTube Channel … Brenda Hoffert’s new photography exhibit, Shoes, opens April 30 at Gallery 888 on Queen Street in Leslieville

TRAVIS: looking for heroes

Thursday night headliners Ken Lindsay and Mark Cassius surprised fans at Fuzion last week by switching roles for The Nearness Of You. While ex-Nylon Cassius caressed the ivories (the ivories loved it,) piano man Lindsay delivered the vocal … terminally gorgeous screen siren Leah Pinsent has signed up for a double fitness marathon of yoga and high-energy Zumba Fitness sessions on April 25 at the 2nd annual Yoga in Motion at the Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex. The award-winning actress is fund-raising in support of breast cancer research at Mount Sinai Hospital. For more info, click hereModern Family scene-stealer Ty Burrell is reportedly set to star opposite Jennifer Garner in her new romantic comedy Butter … and the biggest buzz-du-jour in TV circles is Debbie Travis’ new prime-time show – her first for CBC.

CROWE: heading for Cannes

Especially fascinating is her current search for local heroes. If you know someone you believe deserves to be recognized for his/her service to your community, don’t keep it a secret – just click here!

FLICKERS: Okay, don’t get me wrong, I realize that director Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe are one of filmdom’s most dynamic duos. First there was Gladiator, then A Good Year (hey, nobody’s perfect,) then American Gangster with Denzel Washington and then Body Of Lies withLeonardo DiCaprio.  All in all, pretty good stuff.  But did I expect their new collaboration, Robin Hood – yes, that Robin Hood – to be invited to open this year’s Cannes Film Festival? Nope. Which strongly suggests

EHRENREICH: Grow-ing concern

that this Robin Hood must really be something to see … and Toronto’s fast-approaching Hot Docs filmfest will celebrate springtime by presenting three special open-air screenings in its new Rooftop Docs series. The annual marathon of documentary films will take over the top tier of the Citipark Cumberland Garage in Yorkville on Thursday May 6, Friday May 7 and Saturday May 8, presenting film screenings and live music, with locally brew courtesy of Steamwhistle Breweries and free popcorn courtesy of Whole Foods Market. For more info, click here.

FOOTLIGHTS: First Ken Gass directs the much-anticipated return of George F. Walker’s hit comedy Featuring Loretta, opening May 1 at the Factory Theatre. Then the

SEYMOUR: on stage in June

theatre world gathers to celebrate Factory’s big birthday with a 40th Anniversary Gala on May 10. And yes, tickets are still available. For more info, click here … David Mirvish is set to premiere Jake Ehrenreich‘s now-fabled  stage production A Jew Grows In Brooklyn at the Panasonic Theatre on April 28  … after winning glowing reviews in L.A. for both his direction and his performance, Jeff Seymour is set to co-star with Len Lesser (a.k.a. Uncle Leo on Seinfeld) in Ronald Ribman’s Cold Storage, on stage for 10 performances only, June 1-11 at the George Ignatieff Theatre … how do you attract attention for a new play without a big ad/pub budget? Bobby Del Rio is garnering eyeballs with an intriguing movie-style trailer for his new theatrical venture, The Market, now set to open in T.O. next month. To sample his stage wares on video, click here .

And have a great week!

-/-


… now, where was I?

Oh, right, I was telling you that By George was about to take a two-week hiatus.

That was in November 2009, as I recall.

CRYSTAL: sorely missed

And as I recall, I was planning on getting right back to you. Until I dropped my calendar. And by the time I picked it up again I was already … well … distracted, you might say. First by the holiday season, and then by those golden winter games  now known as the Canadian Olympics, and then by the 82nd annual Academy Awards, which was almost as much fun as a meat-packing convention. Have the Oscar ever been such a predictable mirror of the previously-distributed Golden Globe and SAG Awards? Were you as surprised as Sandra Bullock was when she won?  And should we start a petition right now to draft Billy Crystal back to host the frequently less-than-enchanting evening? Let’s face it, we’re finally at the point where the show doesn’t work without him.

BURNS: Eligible for cloning?

Meanwhile, in yet another 40th season triumph for Ken Gass‘ Factory Theatre, frankly fabulous playwright George F. Walker has written, directed and opened another hit play, And So It Goes, with riotously riveting performances by Martha Burns and Peter Donaldson, both of whom should be immediately cloned so we can feast on their work until we start taking them for granted, which God willing will be Never. Burns and Donaldson are so consistently brilliant that merely attenpting to describe them makes me run out of adjectives. And yes, I own a Thesaurus.

You’d think all that might make their respective mates insecure, except their respective mates are kinda busy. Ms. Burns’ hubby Paul Gross, about to be seen on the big screen in the new western spoof Gunless, is hard at work prepping

McCARTHY: Back in the Mosque

the first season of the TV spin-off of his hit movie Men With Brooms for CBC Television. Donaldson’s mater, award-laden gamin Sheila McCarthy, who co-starred with him as one of the dynamic romantic duos on the three-hanky Love Letters special, is busy shooting a new season of Little Mosque On The Prairie for CBC and a whole mess of other channels all over the world.

P.S.: And So It Goes closed its premiere run on March 6. Will it be back? Count on it. And count the days ’til you can see it again — or better still, for the very first time.

And while we’re on the subject of footlights, that new buzz on Broadway is the sound of box office cash registers ringing. And not without reason. TV lions Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace) and Tony Shaloub (Monk) are

HARPER: as Bankhead on B'way

sharing the stage with Justin Bartha (The Hangover) for the Broadway revival of Lend Me A Tenor, directed by veteran stage and screen-stealer Stanley Tucci … four-time Emmy winner Valerie Harper is tearing up the Great Light Way as legendary drug-addled actress Tallulah Bankhead in Matthew Lombardo‘s new comedy, Looped, based on historic incident and gossip surrounding La Bankhead’s final film … good news for Christopher Walken fans. He’s back on Broadway, starring with Sam Rockwell in the world premiere of Martin McDonagh‘s new play, A Behanding In Spokane. And no, I don’t know what that means either …Alfred Molina, so good as Carey Mulligan’s dad in An Education, is back on Broadway, reprising his role in the hit London thriller Red. Luminato-bound John Malkovich is already set for the screen

EDNA: nothing like a Dame

version … and talk about yer dynamic duos! Dame Edna [a.k.a. Barry Humphries] and cabaret prince Michael Feinstein are rocking Broadway with a new two-hander cunningly called All About Me. “One megastar, one gigastar, a 12 piece orchestra, more than 40 songs, and 22 ladies lavatories!” And yes, Edna and Michael also persuaded Christopher Durang to help them shampoo their libretto … also wooing New York visitors: Come Fly Away, a new dance musical by Twyla Tharp showcasing the music and the voice of Frank Sinatra in what its fans proclaim as “the most romantic evening on Broadway!” … and one of the most intriguing new entries, Million Dollar Quartet, is a new musical based on a 1956 meeting of Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley. “They came together to make music. They ended up making history.” Sounds like a lot of fun to me.

TOMORROW:

Wassup with film folk George Clooney, Taylor Lautner & Matt Damon.

-/-

George & Dani get David, Billboard gets Mary J., CMW gets Dave & Paul, and Madonna gets Jesus

SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES: Winnipeg’s favourite ex-pat David Steinberg is directing the premiere episodes of Living In Your Car, the new comedy series

STEINBERG: Auto pilot

STEINBERG: Auto pilot

from This Is Wonderland creators George F. Walker and Dani Romain. Set in a not-so-fictional slumping economy, the TV series follows a fallen corporate exec who gets caught cooking the books and is legally forbidden from working in any position that involves other people’s money. Clinging desperately to the last symbol of his past, he makes his home inside his luxury car. Walker, Roman and Joseph Kay originally wrote the scenario in response to the Enron debacle.

MADONNA: don't roll your eyes

MADONNA: "Roll your eyes if you want ..."

“Fortunately for us,” adds Walker. “there has been no end to financial misconduct.” Steinberg, who knows all about funny, says he was excited by how topical the subject was, “and how wonderfully written the scripts were, and how funny. Who wouldn’t want to direct this?Additional episode directors for the series include Bruce McDonald, Shawn Alex Thompson and Paul Fox.

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Keynote speaker for the eighth annual Hollywood Reporter & Billboard Film And TV Music Conference at the end of the month is

LUZ: model citizen

LUZ: model citizen

Mary J. Blige … meanwhile, considerably closer to home, iconic music innovators Dave Stewart and Paul Williams are both set to be keynoters at the 2010 Canadian Music Week in Toronto next March … the runaway hit of the Toronto Fringe Festival, it’s been called the next Drowsy Chaperone. So better get yourself to  Nursery School Musical at the Berkeley Street Theatre before it closes this weekend … fresh from screening her rave-winning film on Hugh Hefner at TIFF, director Brigitte Berman detours to Florida this weekend to present her Oscar-winning doc on Artie Shaw to the Miami Jazz Film Festival … and yesterday I told you that I consulted Liz Smith to get the down-low on sky-

SMITH: Roll your eyes if you must

SMITH: Roll your eyes if you must

rocketing French pop star Sliimy, but I should also mention that Liz says Madonna’s relationship with her current playmate. 22-year-old Brazilian model Jesus Luz “is much more than a casual fling; the pop icon is deeply, seriously happy. Roll your eyes if you want (and I know some of you will!), but I can’t begrudge Madonna her happiness. She didn’t break up anybody else’s home and they are both adults.” Adds veteran gossip girl Liz: “Don’t be tiresome about the age difference. That’s so 20th century!”

HOT TICKETS: Toronto’s now-fabled Hot Docs festival has joined forces with Kinosmith to launch The Hot Docs Collection, which will see the DVD release of popular Festival films and other titles chosen in consultation with Hot Docs programmers. The first two titles in the Collection, RIP: A Remox Manifesto and Flicker, are now available for purchase, and you can order ‘em right here … and what “hot ticket” attraction sold out in hours in New York, racking up $2.5 million dollars in ticket sales? No, not U2, and not even the aforementioned Madonna. The hot seller was the Metropolitan Opera, which enjoyed a very robust first-day box-office haul for its coming season. Who knew?

(All those folks who bought all those tickets, that’s who!)

TOMORROW:

CFRB takes aim at CBC’s morning man.