Tag Archives: MARILYN MONROE

Wassup with those fabulous femmes on Smash? Hey now, don’t get me started! (Oops!Too late)

BROADWAY BABIES: Currently wowing them on the Great White Way in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, veteran song-and-dance man Eric McCormack says he’d love to do another musical on Broadway, and would have

MCCORMACK: he’s the Best

played Che in the current revival of Evita if they’d asked him.  Unfortunately Ricky Martin got there ahead of him. Meanwhile, McCormack is onstage doing drama, while his Will & Grace partner Debra Messing is starring in a lavish new weekly series about building a Broadway musical. Can McCormack see himself doing a guest stint on Messing’s new series Smash? “Sure! I could go on the show in character, as Will Truman, lawyer. She could meet with me to discuss getting a divorce from her husband, Brian D’Arcy James. And then just as she’s leaving my office she could get this puzzled look on her face, as if she knows she knows me from somewhere but can’t remember where.” What happens then? “She leaves, and I get to do a big song about divorce!”

MCCORMACK & MESSING: dynamic duo

Messing, in the meantime, has been going through her own life-imitating-art-imitating-life drama. On Smash she cheats on her schoolteacher husband (the aforementioned Brian D’Arcy James) by having an affair with a Broadway leading man played by Rent star Will Chase. In real life she’s split with her hubby, screenwriter Daniel Zelman, and is spending most of her time with, ta-DAH! — Will Chase, who has also split from his wife.

HILTY: as MM in Smash

Meanwhile, Smash scene-stealer Megan Hilty, the buxom Broadway belter who desperately wants to play Marilyn Monroe in the fictional musical in the series, is actually playing the Marilyn Monroe role in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes this week on Broadway (the real Broadway.) And yes, I know, Carol Channing was the first and remains the most famous Lorelei Lee. But just to cap it all, on tonight’s episode of Smash Anjelica Huston makes her much-anticipated debut as a singer – and not with just any old song. Ms Huston sings a classic ballad from a classic, 74-year-old Broadway musical, Knickerbocker Holiday.

HUSTON: … from May to December

The timeless tune she warbles is September Song, introduced to audiences in 1938 by her grandfather Walter Huston. Now that’s show business!

QUOTABLE QUOTES:Mike Nichols was the director and I had a great audition. Tommy Tune personally taught me to tap, and everyone was really happy, except Lee Gershwin, Ira Gershwin’s widow, who said, ‘Over my dead body will that whore be in the show.’ That was when it changed for me and I thought, ‘Oh, this is not going to be easy, it’s not just about talent.’ She had no idea of who I was, what I had accomplished up to that point, and all the shows I’d done. That was an ‘aha!’ moment for me.”

WILLIAMS: tale teller

The speaker? Vanessa Williams in conversation with Broadway.com, describing her failed audition for My One And Only, one of several juicy morsels in her new autobiography, YOU HAVE NO IDEA: A Famous Daughter, Her No-Nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (and Each Other), co-authored with her mom Helen Williams.

PAIGE: on with the show

SHE’S STILL HERE: After she finished her stint in the revival of Follies on Broadway – not to mention her first New York concerts ever, at Lincoln Center no less — British SuperDiva Elaine Paige treated herself to a “heavenly” holiday in Barbados. “I just lazed around, swam, read my book and caught my breath,” she reports. “Barbados was such fun and I managed to catch up with a couple of pals, Cliff Richard and Cilla Black. Both of them have places there and we went for a drink.  The next day Cilla flew home to the UK and upon arrival realized she’d left her mobile phone in Barbados – guess who became the ‘phone courier’? I safely brought it home to the UK and ensured it was returned to her.” La Paige is currently in L.A. doing Follies at the Ahmanson with Broadway cast mates Jan Maxwell, Danny Burstein and Ron Raines. (Tony Award winner Victoria Clark has replaced Bernadette Peters.) Meanwhile, Follies leads Maxwell and Burstein are both nominated for Tony Awards. And guess who’s nominated for a New York Drama Desk award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical? Ms. Elaine Paige. Which certainly won’t hurt Hollywood box office sales for Follies.

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Tommy turns 75, Celine & Tony sound off, Kelly & Jay play Fallsview and Arlene writes a bestseller

SHARPS & FLATS:  Crowd-pleasers Kelly Clarkson and Jay Leno are both set to entertain at Fallsview Casino next month, with the increasingly popular World Rock Symphony Orchestra now set to return in April …

PIECZONKA: Toronto Tosca

sublime Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka continues to dazzle as Tosca in the lavish COC production at the Four Seasons Centre now through Feb. 25 …  Daniel Lanois is set for two CBC Music concerts next month at the Great Hall on Queen Street.  The concerts coincide with Lanois’ induction into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame during Canadian Music Week festivities that same week … and legendary country gentleman Tommy Hunter will celebrate his 75th birthday by hanging up his guitar once and for all. Currently on tour, he’ll blow out the candles at a splashy birthday party in London, ON, on March 20, right after he gives his final concert at the John Labatt Centre. Should be quite a night!

HATS OFF:  To Tony Bennett and Celine Dion, who skipped the platitudes and went straight to the heart of Whitney Houston’stragic demise. Bennett says he has received mostly positive reaction to his statement urging the legalization of drugs in the U.S.

HUNTER: birthday boy

Legalization, he believes, would get rid of all the gangsters. “One thing I’ve learned about young people, when you say ‘Don’t do this,’ that’s the one thing they’re going to try and do. Once it’s legal and everybody can do it, there is no longer the desire to do something that nobody else can do.” Bennett, now 85, survived his own cocaine habit in the late ‘70s. Houston, who was 48, had admitted to using cocaine, marijuana and pills in the past. Dion, who is now, 43, considered Houston  “an amazing inspiration” but was clearly upset that “drugs, bad people, bad influences, took over her dreams, her motherhood,” she told Good Morning America this week. “When you

DION: remembering Whitney

think about Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson — to get into drugs like that for whatever reason – because of stress, bad influence, whatever — something happens that I don’t understand. That’s why I’m scared of show business, of drugs and hanging out. That’s why I don’t go to parties!” The private By Invitation Only funeral for Houston is set for tomorrow in New Jersey.

AND YES, YOU SHOULD TAKE IT PERSONALLY:  She’s worth millions and demonstrates how she got there every week on CBC’s megahit series Dragons’ Den.  But Arlene Dickinson shares even more of herself in her first (but, I predict, not her last) bestselling book, Persuasion, with some hard-won personal advice that everyone can use. “It’s a good idea,” she notes, “to take a hard look at your own narrative. Think about how you’d tell your life story to a Hollywood producer, how you’d explain the highs and lows. Have you cast yourself as a victim of circumstance? If so, maybe your story could use a rewrite, starting with the lead character who has choices – and sometimes makes the wrong ones.”

DICKINSON: persuasive life lessons

Making the wrong ones is something Dickinson knows about. She’s made quite a few herself. But, as she points out, those of us who have made some wrong choices along the way are in good company. High achievers are mistake makers, a fact she illustrates with engaging examples from Henry Ford to Oprah. (My favorite? Thomas Edison’s perspective on his many unsuccessful attempts to invent the light bulb. “I didn’t fail one thousand times. The lightbulb was an invention with one thousand steps.”)

Persuasion is about the art of connecting with the person you seek to persuade. It’s about caring. And about how to master “a little-known secret to success in business”  – listening. But because Dickinson makes it personal, Persuasion is much more than a How To book; it’s a survival guide for the mind and, sometimes, the soul. And within that survival guide are some valuable insights on corporate culture. “Staying in a situation you hate and complaining about everything that’s wrong, but never trying to fix it, doesn’t make you a martyr. It makes you complicit.”  Similarly, her views on our ability to choose the consequences of failure are bracing and refreshing. Bitterness is not an option, she insists, and shares another favorite quote, this one by mathematician Blaise Pascal: “Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

As CEO of Venture Communications she also has  some genuinely amusing business stories to tell, including the time one of her partners,  trying to save the company money, arranged for her team to stay on a friend’s sailboat off Vancouver Island instead of paying for pricey Vancouver hotel rooms. When they arrived at the dock she noticed that the boat’s name was Important Business  — andsuddenly realized what my partners meant when they told me in the past that they work ‘going away on important business.’ They were talking about this sailboat!”

Stylish on screen and off, she appreciates the fame that television has brought her but resists the urge to take it for granted. “I have exactly the same insecurities anyone has,” she admits. “If anything, they’re even more overwhelming when you know a couple of million people are seeing all your flaws in high definition!” And despite the fact that her on-screen chemistry with fellow Dragon Kevin O’Leary has made her an audience favourite, her account of her auditions for Dragons’ Den (yes, she had to do more than one) and how she had to discipline her own self-doubts to get the job — she replaced another Dragon when she came to the series in its second season — is intriguing inside stuff.

Of course that’s why Persuasion is a bestseller. It’s a hypnotic, hard-to-put-down book of life lessons shared by someone who had to learn most of them the hard way. As Arlene Dickinson sees it, the main obstacle standing in our way is, not surprisingly, us. “Our past shapes and influences who we are, but it doesn’t limit who we can become.” Persuasion, as promised, is a new approach to changing minds. And although she preaches the power of persuasion, she urges her readers to be sure of their objectives, be they personal or professional. “Before you set out to persuade someone,” Dickinson writes, “you need to be certain that you actually want what you’re asking for. Because you just might get it.”

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OMG it’s Fabian!! … plus Katie & the Kennedys, Hoffert’s next gig, Spielberg’s next flick and Harrington’s nuptials

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Veteran crowd-pleasers Fabian and Bobby Vee headline the Original Stars From American Bandstand show at Fallsview Casino July 1&2 … Irish

FABIAN: taking the Falls

sensations Celtic Women are set to make their only area appearance July 16 at Casino Rama. Apparenty they couldn’t find a big enough venue in T.O. …  gardenia-voiced thrush Judy Marshak is set to headline the Friday night Jazz Vocalist Series at The Old Mill this week with Bruce Harvey on piano and George Kozub on bass. M’lady’s repertoire will include some favourite standards by Johnny Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael, Dave Frishberg, Blossom Dearie and Cole Porter. For more info, just click here … and magical media music man Paul Hoffert was in Singapore last month, teaching a course on how to compose music for videogames, websites, iPads, & such, using his own textbook, Music For New Media. When he’s not on stage celebrating the current revival of his superBand Lighthouse

HARRINGTON: engagement(s)

he’s on stage playing jazz, either as part of the Paul Hoffert Trio or the Jim Gelcer Trio, and admits he’s already having far too much fun. Next gig for Hoffert and his trio is a stint this weekend, also at the Old Mill. Hmmmm ….

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS DEPT. I: What do Girl Guides Of Canada and the Art Gallery Of Ontario have in common?  Next week’s official launch of Canadian Girls Say, the photography exhibition opening Wednesday in Walker Court.

BALLET HIGH: National Ballet of Canada stars Guillaume Côté and Zdenek Konvalina will dance their new creative collaboration Impermanence when it premieres later this month at the 73rd annual Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence … ballet icon Rex Harrington and fiancé Robert Hope, who have been together for six years, got officially engaged in March – in France, no less — and will wed next summer. Meanwhile, much to the delight of his fans, Harrington will return to the stage in the

KINNEAR: JFK?

role of Prince Gremin in the newly designed Onegin, June 19 – 25 at the Four Seasons Centre … and speaking of Onegin, the National Ballet website currently features two dazzling behind-the-scenes videos of the remaking, restoring and refurbishing of Santo Loquasto’s spectacular designs for this extravagant Russian melodrama. To see them, just click here.

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS DEPT. II: What do Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes have in common? The Kennedy dynasty, apparently. Kinnear will play the USA’s most admired commander in chief, with Holmes as the future Jackie O., in a big-budget mini-series shooting here in June. Barry Pepper is set to play Robert Kennedy, Kenneth Welsh will play J. Edgar Hoover and Tom Wilkinson will play poppa Joe Kennedy Sr.  Who will play Marilyn? Not Lindsay Lohan — she’s already committed to bringing Linda Lovelace‘s sad story to the screen. But wouldn’t she be terrific in the role? (I’m just sayin’ … )

FLICKERS: Director David Frankel, now shooting the screen version of The Big Year, is juggling a wonderfully eclectic cast including Anthony Anderson, Jack Black, Brian Dennehy, Anjelica Huston, Steve Martin, Dianne Wiest, Owen Wilson and JoBeth Williams … this year’s Toronto Jewish Film Festival was the most successful TJFF ever. Which is why they’ve already set the dates for next year’s movie marathon: May 7-15, 2011. Now that’s planning ahead  … and Steven Spielberg will direct the film version of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse, the saga of a friendship between a boy and a horse whose fates continue to intertwine over the course of World War I. The stage version is currently a major crowd-pleaser at the National Theatre in London.

TOMORROW:

Peter Appleyard, Natalie Cole, Sean Cullen,

Hugh Hefner & Doris Day (yes, Doris Day!)


Feist in the flicks! Zann on the hustings! David Sedaris at Carnegie Hall! (uhhhh, wait a minute …)

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: What do Dark Knight scene-stealer Cillian Murphy, pop music queen Leslie Feist and Hollywood legend Lauren Bacall? They all appear on screen in the Canadian Film Centre’s upcoming

FEIST: on film

FEIST: on film

 Worldwide Short Film Festival, opening June 16 at special venues near you … Gallery 888’s 10th Anniversary Spring Fling & Ovarian Cancer Canada Fundraiser runs tomorrow, June 3, to  June 21, with works from over 40 artists … Ingrid Bergman’s pre-Rossellini daughter, New York broadcaster Pia Lindstrom, celebrated her new Sirius XM radio show with a dinner at Morton’s in Manhattan …  the buzz begins. YTV is all set to welcome a new comedy series this September, That’s So Weird. What’s really weird is that part of the team behind it cut their comedy teeth on This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Corner Gas. As street cred goes, not too shabby. Stay tuned … and speaking of comedy, Double Exposure’s weekly podcast sends up Susan Boyle (of course!), Stephen Harper’s discovery of some shocking Michael Ignatieff tapes, and a new epicurean delight from Canada’s Governor General. To hear it, just click here.

ZANN: NDP runner

ZANN: NDP runner

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Gossip Girl heartthrob Chace Crawford has taken over the Kevin Bacon role abandoned by Zac Efron in Paramount’s forthcoming remake of Footloose … Lyndsy Fonseca has been added to the upcoming Hot Tub Time Machine (and yes, it’s a comedy) …  Zach Braff will write, direct and co-star withCameron Diaz in Swingles (can you guess what it’s about?) … Rosario Dawson will be Kevin James’ love interest in The Zookeeper (ditto) … and when Nova Scotians go to the polls one week from today, don’t be surprised if they elect stage & screen charmer Lenore Zann to represent them.  A staple of Canadian and U.S. TV movies and mini-series, and justifiably celebrated for her tour-de-force portrayal of Marilyn Monroe, the gifted actress from the Maritimes is the NDP’s candidate in Truro-Bible Hill, and the opposition is clearly concerned.

 

ZANN: as Marilyn

ZANN: as Marilyn

On the same day NDP Leader Darrell Dexter announced Zann’s candidacy in Truro, Liberals circulated a bare-breasted photo of Zann as she appeared in an episode of the cable TV series The L Word. Zann says her nude scenes have never been a secret and they have no bearing on her abilities as a candidate. As for Nova Scotia Liberals, she added, “I think it shows their desperation.” Me too.

SEDARIS: at Carnegie Hall

SEDARIS: at Carnegie Hall

LITERATI:  Toronto Star laugh-maker Linwood Barclay reads clues from his new mystery Too Close To Home tonight at the Toronto Reference Library … Joy Fielding reads from her new novel, Still Life, tomorrow night at North York Central Library … Tash Aw’s Map Of The Invisible World goes Luminato at the Al Green Theatre on Thursday June 11 … and Camille Paglia explains her three new Commandments, Break, Blow, Burn, in a three-part lecture series on June 16 at the ROM … who knew? I bought Judy At Carnegie Hall and purchased Rufus At Carnegie Hall but apparently I missed out on the really big one: David Sedaris At Carnegie Hall. And no, I am not making this up. You can buy it online at Indigo/Chapters for only $17.80 plus shipping. Sedaris, the best-selling author of such quirky gems as Me Talk Pretty One Day and When You Are Engulfed In Flames, has become a raconteur to reckon with. And if his Carnegie Hall ‘concert’ is anything like his on-camera stint a while back with David Letterman, it should truly be a CD to remember.

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