Tag Archives: Little Mosque On The Prairie

… 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.

-/-

Strombo gets Fox, Mosque gets manipulated, Montreal gets Whoopi & Rick gets stung

TONIGHT, TONIGHT: Your boyfriend George Stroumboulopoulos kicks off his sixth season of The Hour tonight with an intimate hour-long interview

GEORGE: Sixth Season

GEORGE: Sixth Season

with Michael J. Fox. Other sparklies about to get Georged: Andre Agassi, Michael Buble, Drew Barrymore, Michael Douglas, John Irving, Michael Moore, Anne Murray, Edward Norton, Clive Owen, and Snoop Dogg earlier in the evening Little Mosque On The Prairie returns with a new edge when Brandon Firla (Billable Hours) plays a manipulative minister from the big city who is less than thrilled to find a bunch of Muslims as tenants in his church. Zaib Shaikh, Sitara Hewitt, Sheila McCarthy, Carlo Rota, Debra McGrath and Arlene Duncan continue to keep the pot boilingalso returning tonight: Just For Laughs, with a premiere

GOLDBERG: just for laughs?

GOLDBERG: just for laughs?

episode from Montreal featuring Whoopi Goldberg, Jim Gaffigan, Louis C.K., Pete Zedlacher and Adam Hills. In addition to Zedlacher, Canuck showstoppers set to perform on the weekly series include Mike MacDonald, Deb DiGiovanni, Angelo Tsarouchas, Shaun Majumder, Martin Short, Jon Dore and Gerry Dee. So what’s not to like? … and Hot Docs is the co-presenter of tonight’s showing of Larry Towell’s Canada-Palestine co-production Indecisive Moments at the 2009 Toronto Palestine Film Festival, which continues through Friday. A personal video diary of Towell’s experiences in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, which he refers to as “the world’s largest open-air prison,” the film screens tonight at 7:00 pm at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Jackman Hall, with filmmaker Towell in attendance. For more information and/or to purchase tickets, just click here.

BRIDGES: new John Wayne?

BRIDGES: new John Wayne?

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Newcomer Christoph Waltz, the breakout star of Inglorious Basterds, is set to play the villain opposite Seth Rogen in The Green HornetJeff Bridges is in talks to star in a Coen Brothers remake of the classic John Wayne western True GritMeryl Streep’s daughter, actress Mamie Gummer, has been cast in director John Carpenter‘s new thriller, The Ward … and watch and listen for songbird Dawn Langstroth on a channel near you. She’s set to stop by AM 740 today at 2 pm to perform selected songs from her new CD Highwire in the radio station lobby. And tomorrow morning she’ll serenade early-risers on Breakfast Television (BT Toronto, that is.) So stay tuned!

LORD OF THE FLIES: When Canadian comedy icon Rick Mercer flew to B.C. to kick off the new Spread The Net campaign at Simon Fraser University, SFU biologist Carl Lowenberger, challenged him to stick his arm in a cage filled with mosquitoes — and you know how Mercer responds to challenges.  You can see the results on tomorrow night’s premiere of The Rick Mercer Report. (And I won’t even mention the bit where Lowenberger dares him to stick his entire head in the cage.)

MERCER & LOWENBERGER: SFU research team?

MERCER & LOWENBERGER: SFU research team?

Meanwhile, Mercer’s spoof of that weird Michael Ignatieff commercial, which will be revealed to television viewers on RMR tomorrow night, has already ricocheted around the word as a viral video. And yes, it’s funny. Funny enough for Ignatieff to instantly install it on his Facebook page (not to mention his Twittering about it.)

Still haven’t seen it?

Really?

So what was it like in the monastery?

Never mind. If you’re really sure that you really can’t wait ‘til tomorrow night, just click here.

TOMORROW:

More fun ‘n’ games. (Who knew?)

Coco & Heath at Cannes, Mel Brooks in Berlin, plus 101 things you didn’t know about Ms Green Gables

CUCKOO FOR COCO: It’s definitely the year of Chanel.  First Shirley MacLaine stars as the legendary French designer in the hit Lifetime mini-series

MACLAINE: as Coco

MACLAINE: as Coco

Coco Chanel …  then Audrey Tatou (Amelie, The DaVinci Code) stars as the young Gabrielle in Anne Fontaine’s new feature, Coco Before Chanel. (A poster for the film showing Tatou, as Chanel, smoking a cigarette, was actually banned by the ever-politically correct Parisian authorities. Never mind – Tatou has been named as the new face of the Chanel No.5 perfume, taking over from Nicole Kidman.) And closing night at Cannes is reserved for Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, with Anna Mougalis as the designer, trying to cope with her passionate affair with the Russian composer, pianist and conductor in 1920.

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FLICKERS: Dreamworks’ laugh-making megahit Kung Fu Panda is set to make its second debut as an animated weekly TV series next year … HBO’s $200M

LEDGER: last film

LEDGER: last film

World War II miniseries The Pacific, set to air next season, has already been sold into most major markets, including the UK, Germany, Canada and France … inspired by the box office returns from the unexpected hit He’s Just Not That Into You, Warner Bros. is preparing a new romantic comedy for next Valentine’s Day called, you guessed it, Valentine’s Day.  Director Garry Marshall is currently wooing the aforementioned Ms. Maclaine plus Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway,

ROBERTS: Valentine?

ROBERTS: Valentine?

 

Jennifer Garner, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper and Ashton Kutcher, among others, but admits the film is still more a negotiation than a movie. Still, sounds like fun … and Heath Ledger’s last film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, premieres out of competition tonight at Cannes. Ledger’s character is also played by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell, who helped director Terry Gilliam complete his film.

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FOOTLIGHTS:  Think you know everything about Anne Of Green Gables? Don Harron is betting you’re wrong. Harron’s new book, 101 Things You Didn’t Know About  Anne Of Green Gables: The Musical is a bright new addition to

BROOKS: Berlin (and not Irving)

BROOKS: Berlin (and not Irving)

Green Gables lore. Adds Harron, who co-wrote the legendary Canuck musical with Norman Campbell: “This is my first book in English!” Well, the Queen’s English, maybe. Up to now his most celebrated literary ventures have been penned by his inimitably eloquent alter-ego, hapless Hee Haw hero Charlie Farquharson …  plans for a Broadway transfer of the Kennedy Center production of Ragtime are moving ahead. The new $4M production, considerably less lavish than the Garth Drabinsky original, won rave reviews when it opened in Washington D.C. last month … and just when you thought you’d seen it all, the blockbuster  musical version of Mel Brooks’ The Producers, which premiered in Moscow earlier this month, has finally opened in Berlin, eight years after it conquered Broadway. It’s booked for a two-month run at the Admiralspalast, where Adolf Hitler liked enjoyed light operettas from the Führer’s box. And yes, it appears to be a hit, despite some media reservations. “Should one be allowed to laugh about Hitler?” asked the Berliner Morgenpost.  Answered The Berliner Zeitung:  “People in Tel Aviv laughed.”  ‘nuff said. 

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HAVING A TIFF:  Toronto Star film critic Peter Howell always find some quirky stuff to relate in his engaging daily video reports from Cannes. Yesterday he showed us a full-page ad for TIFF – the Toronto International Film Festival. Then he showed us another a full-page ad for TIFF – the Tokyo International Film Festival. And then he showed us another a full-page ad for TIFF – the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. But hey, wot’s in a name, right? Meanwhile, you can check out Howell’s entertaining filmfest vlogs right here.

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DOORS-OPEN CBC: Our perpetually beleaguered public broadcaster – the one owned by us, not the government – joins in this weekend’s Doors Open

McLEAN: on view

McLEAN: On view

Toronto festivities by inviting us to visit The Broadcast Centre (at Front & John, opposite the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and the Rogers Centre) for studio tours, demonstrations and celebrity-spotting tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is your chance to meet cast members from The Border, Dragons’ Den, Little Mosque on the Prairie and This Hour Has 22 Minutes, many of the hosts from CBC news, current affairs, and sports programs, and such CBC Radio icons as Stuart McLean.

Insider Tip: Best time for star-gazing is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

-/-

Elaine coaches! Cynthia shoots! Colin scores!

KARPLUK

KARPLUK

In addition to her on-camera duties on CBC’s Triple Sensation this fall, Cynthia Dale was shooting footage in Stratford last week for her upcoming network special … Colin Mochrie is reportedly set to star in the Canadian Stage Company‘s production of Yasmina Reza’s Tony award-winning Broadway hit Art, currently scheduled to run March-April 2010 … and popular Problem Like Maria judge Elaine Overholt, who vocal-coached Richard Gere, John Travolta, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ellen DeGeneres and a host of others, is taking the plunge with a new reality television series inspired by her hot-seller training DVD, Big Voice.
Stay tuned.

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DENIS

DENIS

LADIES IN RED: Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Heart Truth fashion show was a highlight of Fashion Week, with glamorous runway turns by such famous fair ladies as Marilyn Denis, Monika Deol, Little Mosque’s Sitara Hewitt, Jessica Holmes, Cathy Jones, Sass Jordan, Erin (Being Erica) Karpluk, Lisa LaFlamme, Elizabeth Manley, Heather Rankin, Monika Schnarre and Amy Sky. Credit photographer George Pimentel for so deftly capturing these belles of the ball. To see Pimentel’s portraits of all the girls in their designer duds, click here … great food, great atmosphere, and a great show are the main attractions this week at the Factory Theatre Spring Gala. Tax-receipt tickets are only $125 and include the

JONES

JONES

world premiere of Florence Gibson‘s Missing, directed by David Ferry. To reserve tickets call or email Michelle Yeung at 416-504-4473 or via michelle@factorytheatre.ca … $125 seems to be the bargain price this spring. Single tax-receipt tickets for the 5th annual Scrabble With The Stars extravaganza on Monday April 6 are now on sale for the same price, and include cocktails, dinner and having w-o-r-d-s with the more than three dozen stars. To order yours, call  416–777-9674 (Visa or MasterCard accepted.)

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COHEN

COHEN

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “Undoubtedly the sexiest film about copyright infringement I’ve ever seen.”

The speaker? Jian Ghomeshi, in praise of the EyeSteelFilm-NFB co-production Rip! A Remix Manifesto, which has now opened right across the country.

And just FYI: My spies tell me that Ghomeshi’s fascinating interview with Leonard Cohen last weekend in the National Post was merely a teaser for his upcoming CBC Radio séance with Cohen on the April 16 edition of Q,

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SICK BAY:  Good news is that Robin Williams is reportedly making a quick recovery from open-heart surgery, and that Stacy Keach’s mild stroke

DUNNE

DUNNE

apparently hasn’t slowed him down. He’s expected to return to playing president Richard Nixon on stage in Frost /Nixon as soon as he gets the green light … not so good news is that gifted novelist and legendary Vanity Fair chronicler Dominick Dunne is holed up in the mountains of Bavaria, undergoing daily treatment for bladder cancer at the same clinic rumoured to have given Farrah Fawcett a new lease on life.
We continue to keep all fingers crossed.

A rose is a rose — especially when it’s golden

The show biz bible Variety notes that Switzerland’s four-day Rose d’Or festival  “is Europe’s top TV competition.”

So it’s fun to note that, after surviving an eyeball-challenging pre-selection gamut of 424 entries, Canada has ended up with no less than nine, count ‘em, nine nominations, in almost as many categories.

KARPLUK: with Strombo tonight

KARPLUK: with Strombo tonight

CBC’s new Wednesday night crowd-pleaser, Being Erica, is one of three Canadian drama nominees, along with the crime mini-series Guns and the drama Windfalls & Misfortunes from Montreal.

CBC also scored two big comedy nods, for The Rick Mercer Report and Little Mosque On the Prairie, and Bravo! won a nomination for its Bravo!Fact Art In Action special.

Other plaudits went to Maple Leaf entries from Xenophile Media, Productions Pixcom and producer Henry Less.
Would-be rivals include such diverse series as the U.S. reality series I Survived A Japanese Game Show and BBC’s Last Choir Standing, and winners will pick up their golden Roses at the May 5 awards ceremony in Lucerne.

And speaking of winners, Being Erica star Erin Karpluk, who also graced home screens in Godiva’s, guests tonight with Strombo on The Hour.

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QUOTABLE QUOTES. “The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 to heterosexuals. This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love heterosexuals, it’s just that they need more supervision.”

The speaker? U.S. comedienne Lynn Lavner, frequently billed as America’s Most Politically Incorrect Entertainer.

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HE TOOK THE FIFTH: It’s official. Toronto Star-gazer  Rita Zekas broke the news last week that Bistro 990 alumnus Fernando Temudo has returned to T.O., this time to the theatre district, as the new GM of The Fifth Grill supperclub on Richmond Street …  meanwhile,

MOORE: Coulter kudos

MOORE: Coulter kudos

back at 990, Victor & Susan are still happily holding court with all their fans … and yes, Robert Downey Jr., Sam Rockwell and Samuel L. Jackson are all set to reprise their characters in the Iron Man sequel, but Downey’s new nemesis will be none other than Hollywood comeback kid Mickey Rourke. Mickey will play a bad guy called Whiplash (insert your own punchline here) … Colm Feore and director Des McAnuff guest with Antoni Cimolino on tonight’s Stratfortd Festival webcast at 6:30 pm …  National Ballet corps members Elena Lobsanova and Noah Long will dance Dénouement, a new work commissioned by their boss Karen Kain  from Canadian choreographer Matjash Mrozewski, when they compete for the Erik Bruhn prize tonight at the Four Seasons Centre … and no, he’s not just a pretty voice. John Moore, CFRB’s popular drive home show host, is still winning kudos for his analysis of Ann Coulter last week in the National Post. And by the way, you don’t have to live in Toronto to hear him — just tune in to http://www.cfrb.com.

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SEE/HEAR:  The buzz on the Star Trek prequel has already begun, and if the movie is half as good as its trailers you should be in for one truly action-packed evening. To preview the Star Trek trailers, just click here.