Tag Archives: Laurie Elliott

Jennifer plays Winnie, Sheila plays Halifax, Rick plays Rideau Hall — and stars coax us into the cold

STARS IN OUR EYES: Grammy showstopper Jennifer Hudson continues to prove herself as an actress as well as a singer. She and Terence Howard shine as Winnie & Nelson Mandela in the fascinating biopic Winnie, one of

HUDSON & HOWARD: As Winnie and Nelson Mandela in new biopic "Winnie"

the celluloid treats selected for the 12th annual Floating Film Festival. The FFF, launched by TIFF co-founder Dusty Cohl two decades ago and now captained by filmmaker Barry Avrich, embarks on a 10-day Caribbean odyssey on Monday Feb. 27 – the day after the Oscars – on the Seabourn Sojourn. More on FFF 12 as it happens …  Rachel McAdams and her main squeeze Michael Sheen are having a lovely Valentine’s Day, thanks for asking. McAdams’ film with Channing Tatum, The Vow, is number one at the box office, and Sheen is now set to star in the Showtime pilot Masters of Sex …  triumphant trio Russell Braun, Krisztina Szabo and Erin Wall, the three great voices who spark the current,

McADAMS: Happy February

theatrically dazzling Canadian Opera Company production of Love From Afar, won’t be sitting around after the controversial extravaganza closes on Feb. 22. Ms. Szabo is already set to perform with conductor Alex Pauk at the Esprit Orchestra event Gripped By Passion at Koerner Hall on Feb. 26 .And  her co-stars Braun and Wall are set to team up again in Ottawa in a new production of Carmina Burana March 8-9 at the National Arts Centre … and dynamic duo Jay Leno & Madonna teamed up to promote his Tonight Show with a delightfully snappy SuperBowl commercial I finally caught up with yesterday. Did you miss it too? Here it is. Enjoy!

PRESENT LAUGHTER: Montreal’s phenomenal Just For Laughs comedy festival celebrates its 30th anniversary (!!!) this year July 12-29, after warming up with a six-night stand in Chicago June 12-17 … a new cartoon-for-the-mind

JOHNSTON & MERCER: Rideau Hall playdate

podcast from those wacky Illustrated Men is set in the mythical town of Monogami, Ontario.  In the first episode Sam and Ella Toad move to Monogami to make a new start; some kids out camping spot a UFO; and alien bounty hunters land. Will Sam’s car get towed by zombies? You’ll have to tune in to find out …  stand-up guy Harry Doupe hosts Everyone’s A Winner, the March 9 all-star comedy fundraiser at Second City in support of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League with smile-makers  Sean Cullen, Tim Steeves, Laurie Elliott, Pete Zedlacher and many more … Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are set to play two middle-aged guys starting over as interns at an internet company in the Shawn Levy comedy Interns … and Rick Mercer finally gets a taste of the high life he’s been missing when he hobnobs with new Governor-General David Johnston at Rideau Hall tonight on CBC’s Rick Mercer Report.

McCARTHY & NICHOLSON: on stage in Halifax

FOOTLIGHTS: Stage and screen lioness Sheila McCarthy is back on the boards at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, garnering glowing notices in Norm Foster’s new comedy Mrs. Parliament’s Night Out with J. D. Nicholson. McCarthy is also set to co-star in  Lost In Yonkers with Linda Kash, David Eisner and Happy Days legend Marion Ross when the Neil Simon classic opens here in May   … Graham Abbey of The Border TV fame

BALABAN: Back at Theatre Passe Muraille

is also collecting kudos for his stage turn with Barry Flatman in the Canadian premiere of Enron, directed by Antoni Cimolino at Theatre Calgary … Divisadero: a performance, adapted by Michael Ondaatje from his Governor General Award-winning novel and directed by Daniel Brooks, is back at Theatre Passe Muraille for a limited run through Sunday Feb. 26. The production reunites the original cast of Liane Balaban, Maggie Huculak, Tom McCamus, Amy Rutherford and Justin Rutledge, who created music specifically for the piece …  and Allan Hawco and Philip Riccio’s ambitious Company Theatre has announced its next production. Speaking In Tongues, by Andrew Bovell, will be directed by Riccio and play the Berkeley Street Theatre Oct. 29-Nov. 24. Will Riccio load the dice with lotsa star power? Stay tuned.

TENNANT: On a MIssion

DEEP FREEZE: Some of our faviourite stars are urging us to come into the cold. And their message is definitely on point. “Come freeze your butt off on February 25, 2012 with Yonge Street Mission on the coldest night of the year! It is a 5k and 10k non-competitive walk in the frigid cold for the hurting, homeless and hungry. Sign up as an individual or a team today. If you can’t join us that night, consider donating!” Sparklies askng us to participate via a very engaging vimeo include Maria Del Mar, Peter Keleghan, Debra McGrath, Patrick McKenna, Mark McKinney, Colin Mochrie, Leah Pinsent, Veronica Tennant and, still wearing his Stephen Leacock moustache, Gordon Pinsent. To see it, just click here.

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Soup for the soul, Maya hosts SNL, and Carol makes us so glad we have this time together

OUR TOWN  A new dance showcase opens in T.O. today with an intriguing history.  Citadel, a new centre for contemporary dance in Regent Park, was once a Salvation Army soup kitchen. The newly-renovated centre (by architects

RUDOLPH: back to her roots

Diamond + Schmitt) is the new home of dance troupe Coleman Lemieux &Compagnie and includes an 1,800 sq. foot studio/theatre for dance productions; a 900 sq. foot studio for rehearsals, pay-what-you-can yoga classes, workshops and community classes, and accommodation for visiting out-of-town artists. Citadel officially opens tomorrow night with  Les cheminements de l’influence, a world premiere solo by Laurence Lemieux in honour of her father, Quebec political scientist Vincent Lemieux … and glory-voiced Jackie Richardson and piano man Joe Sealey

RICHARDSON: Bodolai tribute

provided a stirring finale to Sunday afternoon’s celebration of writer-producer Joe Bodolai at the Young Centre. The event was deftly hosted by longtime Bodolai booster Albert Schultz. who ushered in a series of heartfelt salutes  to Bodolai’s achievements from comedy luminaries  Harry Doupe, Mark Farrell, Anna Gustafson, Ron James and Kenny Robinson. Musical charmers Cherie Camp, Geoff Kahnert and John Welsman also treated the crowd to a performance of Everything’s Gone Wrong Since I Left Mr. Right, one of the tunes Bodolai composed in his radio days.   All in all. a touching tribute to a brilliant artistic explorer who got  lost on his expedition and, tragically, never found his way home again.

FUNNY GIRL(S):  Fearless foursome Robin Duke, Jayne Eastwood, Kathryn Greenwood and Teresa Pavlinek, aka those fabulous Women Fully Clothed, are now a hit south of the border too. Last week they were deep

FEY: Super Bowl sweetheart

in the heart of Texas (and I do mean Dallas) … seasoned showstopper Sandra Shamas headlines the Feb. 25 East End Comedy Revue at the Dominion On Queen … standup ladies Martha Chaves and Laurie Elliott share the bill on this Friday night at the Flying Beaver Pubaret on Parliament … Maya Rudolph returns to her roots this weekend to host Saturday Night Live … and I gotta believe fellow SNL alumnus Tina Fey played a big part in that dazzling NBC Super Bowl commercial – and not just on screen, either. The network spot probably had a bigger budget than most Canadian films, but you can certainly see the money on the screen. If you missed it, just click here – and enjoy!

HAPPINESS IS A NEW MAGAZINE:  Intrepid funnyman Rick Mercer graces the cover of the first issue of What Makes You Happy, a

WHAT MAKES US HAPPY? This mag!

glossy good-news magazine distributed in T.O. last week to Globe & Mail subscribers. Mercer was among the honorees last weekend at the cfpdp‘s 28th annual gala, deftly hosted by CBC News anchor Suhana Meharchand at the Fairmont Royal York. (When the exhuberant crowd in the Canadian Room became too boisterous, Meharchand shushed them elegantly but firmly. “I’ve had three husbands,” she dead-panned — “I’m not afraid of you!”) King Clancy Award winner Mercer still insists he has the best job in the country. And if you’re not a Globe & Mail subscriber, you can still sample the first issue of What Makes You Happy on line, including publisher Johnny Lucas‘ entertaining  interview with Mercer, A Chip off the old Rock, right here.

LULLABYE & GOOD NIGHT: It’s her third book on the New York Times bestseller list, but this one is perfect bedtime reading – and not because it puts you to sleep. Now in paperback, Carol Burnett’s 200- page collection of anecdotes, This Time Together: Laughter And Reflection, is like a warm,

BURNETT: On the page and in person

long-awaited visit with an old friend who has finally agreed to tell you what really happened behind the scenes. Because she tells her stories in bite-size capsules, she gets to tell more than 60 of them, some of them surprisingly personal, most of them genuinely amusing, and all of them engaging. Some of the names involved in her anecdotes may surprise you, especially her close encounters with film greats Joan Crawford, John Huston, Laurence Olivier and Barbara Stanwyck. One classic story unfolds when she receives a telephone call from Martin Brando, whom she had long admired but never met. Brando had read a report in People magazine that Burnett had finally acquired something she’d always wanted: A chin. (“I had always wanted a chin. I was born with a weak one.”) An oral surgeon had added about three millimeters to her existing chin, with exceedingly pleasing results, and Burnett was back in New York when Brando called her from Los Angeles.

FLASHY FLASHBACK: The Carol Burnett Show

“Where’d you get your chin?” asked Marlon. “My chin?” said Burnett. “Yes,” said Brando. “My wife’s sister has a weak chin and wants to fix it. Where’d you get yours done?” Thus begins Burnett’s lengthy exchange with Brando, one of many great conversations in the book. As you might expect, there are some very touching moments too. When Burnett’s daughter Carrie Hamilton was in hospital, dying of cancer, one of the nurses asked her why she smiled so much. Burnett says her daughter replied, “Every day I wake up and decide: today I’m going to love my life.” Another lesson worth learning, in a heartwarming collection of stories worth reading. P.S. If you’d like to see Burnett in person, she set to do  two (2) nights of her Q&A show May 4 & 5 at Fallsview Casino in Niagara. But if I were you, I’d order those tickets sooner than later. When it comes to box office, the lady is still a champ.

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Are the stars out tonight? Yes, for the Dora Awards. But not all today’s showbiz news is happy …

GOOD MORNING, TORONTO: And welcome to another week of razzle-dazzle in Our Town.  Sparklies set to join host Jian Ghomeshi on stage tonight at the 2009 Dora Mavor Moore Awards at the Winter Garden include Anne

GHOMESHI: hosting tonight

GHOMESHI: hosting tonight

Anglin, Cynthia Dale, playwright John Gray, Graham Greene, C. David Johnson, Tom McCamus, Colin Mochrie, National Ballet of Canada soloist Rebekah Rimsay, Ontario Culture minister Aileen Carroll and Mayor David Miller. Director Vinetta Strombergs and writer Briane Nasimok will be talent-wrangling from the wings … what’s NOT happening today? TheNational Post, which is attempting some creative cost-cutting by NOT publishing a Monday newspaper – a new policy that will continue through the Labor Day weekend …  and, of course, Monday garbage pick-up is NOT happening either — unless you’re listening to the right radio station. CFRB wise guys Bill Carroll and Jim Richards are taking trash talk to a new level by sending 1-888-I AM JUNK to pick up trash every week during the strike for six listeners who send the best emails telling why the station should pick up their garbage. The contest ends this Friday, and the winners can invite neighbours to drop off their trash for weekly pick-up as well!

McLACHLAN: celebrating Canada Day

McLACHLAN: celebrating Canada Day

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Singer Paul Potts, who was the Susan Boyle YouTube sensation of his day when he first triumphed on Britain’s Got Talent, serenades tomorrow night at Kitchener’s elegant Centre In The Square. Torontonians will have to wait a couple of weeks more, when he performs here at the Elgin on July 18 … superthrush Sarah McLachlan and Quebec charmer Marie-Jo Thério will headline the party at Parliament Hill on Wednesday night in Ottawa. CBC Television, Radio-Canada and bold will telecast highlights at 9 pm … Tim McGraw and Reba McEntire

DORE: Rivoli-bound

DORE: Rivoli-bound

are set to headline the first annual Cavendish Beach Music Festival on Prince Edward Island on July 10, 11 and 12 … Jon Dore is hosting two nights of comedy mayhem at the Rivoli July 15 & 16 with a very catchy title: The Jon Dore Television Show’s Writers and Jon Dore of the Jon Dore Television Show Stand-Up Comedy Show, Show! Expect an evening of stand-up comedy featuring Dore and his writers Mark Forward, Laurie Elliott and Steve Patterson. “It is important to understand,” adds Dore manager Lorne Perlmutar, “that none of the proceeds of this show will be going to a charitable organization. Jesus is cool.” Whew! That’s a relief … and did you know that Seinfeld alumnus Jason Alexander is an accomplished song-and-dance man? He’ll show off that next-to-secret skill set when he appears at Casino Rama July 25.

MANN:  more honours

MANN: more honours

FLICKERS: Chalk up another win for enduring filmmaker Ron Mann. Last week he received the 2009 Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. Mann, whose hit doc Know Your Mushrooms is now available on DVD, won the award for Individual Artist, and then selected Toronto actor and film-maker Charles Officer (Nurse. Fighter. Boy) as the Premier’s Emerging Artist prize winner … Canuck heartthrob Taylor Kitsch will team up with one of his Wolverine co-stars, Lynn Collins, in the Disney adventure John Carter of Mars. And talk about yer parent traps — Greg Kinnear and Kelly Preston will play Miley Cyrus’

PRESTON: Miley's mom?

PRESTON: Miley's mom?

parents (!!!) in The Last Song, also for Disney … our National Film Board and the Shorefast Foundation will establish Newfoundland’s first e-cinema installation, the NFB’s first English-language e-cinema partnership in Canada.

The new system will use new digital technology to give residents and visitors to Fogo Island access to great works of Canadian cinema from the NFB as well as independent filmmakers. Fogo Island, by the way, is the largest of the offshore islands of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the new project will be launched this November … and management of the merged British film studio Pinewood Shepperton, where The Dark Knight, The Bourne Ultimatum and most 007 epics are shot,  has signed a five-year deal

CRONKITE: failing health

CRONKITE: failing health

to take over the seven state-of-the-art sound stages of Toronto’s struggling Filmport, which will now become Pinewood Toronto Studios.

APRIL SHOWERS IN JUNE: Quite naturally, lots of other news was overshadowed last Thursday by Farrah Fawcett’s passing and the shock waves caused by Michael Jackson’s unexpected demise. The saddest of the lot, for me, was the confirmation that legendary CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite is seriously ill with cerebrovascular disease and is “not expected to recuperate.” And to add to that unhappy news — not that you were looking for more — neither Mike Wallace nor 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt are doing very well at the moment.

T.S. Eliot claimed that April was the cruelest month.

Maybe. But this year, June is no picnic either.

TOMORROW:

Remembering Michael & Farrah

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