Tag Archives: MICHAEL BURGESS

Ken Branagh reunites Tony and Colm for a comic book epic, & Dame Elizabeth reviews This Is It

TOGETHER AGAIN: Savvy screen-stealers Colm Feore and Anthony Hopkins, who last worked together on screen in Julie Taymor’s flawed but

HUARD & FEORE: Bon Cop, Bad Cop

fascinating take on Titus Andronicus, have teamed up again for director Kenneth Branagh’s production of Thor, which will bring the Marvel comic book hero to life and, no doubt, box office glory. Before winging to the movie set, Feore received a rollicking reception last week at the Ursula Franklin Academy when hundreds of high school students gathered to watch him cavort with Patrick Huard in Bon Cop,

HOPKINS: reunion for Thor

Bad Cop. And he wasn’t the only one winning cheers. Director Bruce MacDonald and leading lady Lisa Houle were in another gathering, taking questions after the screening of MacDonald’s latest opus Pontypool. And filmmaker Michael McGowan (St. Ralph) was in another assembly room, taking questions after the screening of his Joshua Jackson odyssey One Week. Making all three events happen, and simultaneously at that, was Reel Canada, a remarkable organization now in its fifth year of introducing young people to Canadian film achievements by bringing the films and the filmmakers to the classroom. Now that’s show business.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I loved genius in my lifetime. God was so good to me. I will love Michael forever and so will you, if you don’t already. God kissed

JACKSON: genius?

him. There will never, ever be the likes of him again.” The speaker? Dame Elizabeth Taylor, tweeting about the Michael Jackson concert film This Is It. Sez Liz: “You owe it to yourselves and your loved ones to see this again and again. Memorize it and say to yourselves, ‘I saw genius in my lifetime.’ I truly believe this film should be nominated in every category conceivable.” Yup, she likes it. She really likes it.

HOPE LIVE: Newfoundland news junkies Rick Mercer and Seamus O’Regan are headlining tonight’s Hope Live black-tie charity gala in Ottawa in

O'REGAN: in Ottawa tonight

support of Fertile Future, which helps young women and men who have had   cancer can find ways to have their own children. Among the perennial Mercer targets and political playmates expected to attend: Peter MacKay, Jason Kenney, Helena Guergis, Maxime Bernier and Scott Brison. Incidentally, Mercer was one of four sparklies honoured by the University of Ottawa last week at an AGO dinner in Toronto, picking up a Distinguished Canadian Leadership Award with high-note master Michael Burgess and high-flying astronaut Julie Payette. (CTV National Affairs

MERCER: with his Montreal posse

correspondent Lisa LaFlamme picked up U of O’s special Alumni Achievement award at the same bash.) Now on his Christmas break, Mercer resumes SRO tapings of his top-rated Rick Mercer Report in January, but wait ‘til you see him crash (you should pardon the expression) a women’s roller derby competition (ouch!) in Montreal (!!) tomorrow night at 8 pm on CBC Television.

FOOTLIGHTS: How much does New York Times theatre critic Ben Brantley love Fela!, the new musical that opened last Monday night on Broadway? “There should be dancing in the streets,” sez Brantley — and that was merely the first

THE MADONNA PAINTER: rave reviews

line of his ecstatic rave review. According to Brantley — no easy sell — there’s never been anything like it on Broadway. Which should bode well for producers Will & Jade Pinkett Smith and their comrade in showbiz arms Jay-ZRisking The Void, the touring art exhibit showcasing the work of Canadian stage designer Cameron Porteous, is set for a 10-week run Jan 20-April 4 in Guelph, Ontario at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre … and Factory Theatre has done it again. Good news is, Linda Gaboriau’s new translation of Michel Marc Bouchard’s The Madonna Painter opened to rave reviews from the Toronto Star, the Globe & Mail and Now magazine – how’s that for a range of opinions? Bad news is, the show must close in two weeks.  To secure your tickets now, click here!

TOMORROW:

Mamma Mia! Here we go again!

My, my, how can we resist you?

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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.

-/-

More Stars In Our Eyes Tonight In T.O., N.Y. and L.A.

ENTER THE ACTRESS: Tony & Emmy collector Andrea Martin, fresh from her stage triumph in Mel Brooks’ musical version of Young Frankenstein, returns to Broadway tonight with Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) and Oscar winners Geoffrey Rush and Susan Sarandon in a rare revival of Eugene Ionesco’s Exit The King. Rush is making his debut on the Great White Way in the absurdist comedy, playing a monarch who has only 90 minutes to live. Sarandon and Ambrose play two of his queens, and the indefatigable Ms. Martin plays the maid. Any bets as to who’s gonna get the most laughs?

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NORMAN CONQUESTS: The Canadian Film Centre and Film Independent are co-hosting a tribute to CFC founder Norman Jewison next month at the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art. Veteran film critic Leonard Maltin will

JEWISON: L.A. honours
JEWISON: L.A. honours

host the on-stage tribute, which will be followed by one of Jewison’s several classics, In The Heat Of The Night. The saga of a black detective trying to survive in a racist southern town, Jewison’s1967 drama with Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger and Lee Grant won five Oscars, including Best Picture. It also won a much-coveted Best Actor award for Steiger, who had been nominated for The Pawnbroker but lost to Cat Ballou’s Lee MarvinPoitier, who already owned an Oscar for Lilies Of The Field, followed up with Stanley Kramer’s Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, and three years later his great success as Detective Virgil Tibbs in Jewison’s hit film inspired a so-so sequel, They Call Me Mr. Tibbs, directed by Rat Pack favourite Gordon Douglas.

Sadly Rod Steiger won’t be there to toast his buddy Norman. But lots of Jewison’s admirers will be.

Stay tuned.

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TONIGHT, TONIGHT: I predict T.O. taxis will do boffo business tonight. Ron James is opening his Mental As Anything tour at the Winter Garden; TIFF is presenting a free screening of Hollis Frampton’s magnum opus Hapax Legomena, which will be Introduced by York cinema prof Michael Zryd at Cinemateque Ontario; and artistic director Ken Gass is hosting the Factory Theatre spring gala –“great food, great atmosphere, and a great show.”  The show? The world premiere of Florence Gibson’s Missing, directed by David Ferry. Call Michelle at 416-504-4473 for last-minute tickets.

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STARS IN OUR EYES: Add stage & screen charmer Cara Pifko, award-winning actor/director Sarah Polley, freshman MP Peter Kent, newspaper columnist and novelist Linwood Barclay and broadcaster Jane Hawtin to

PIFKO: Star Scrabbler

PIFKO: Star Scrabbler

the Scrabble With The Stars celebrity roster this year. Previously announced luminaries set to participate in the April 6 event at The King Suites include Graham Abbey, Jaymz Bee, Mark Breslin, Dave Broadfoot, Michael Burgess, Dinah Christie, Jayne Eastwood, Don Harron, Marilyn Lightstone, Sheila McCarthy, Deb McGrath, Colin Mochrie, Gordon Pinsent, Leah Pinsent, Paul Quarrington, Jackie Richardson, Zaib Shaikh, Dione Taylor, R.H. Thomson and hosts Jeanne Beker & Barry Flatman. Call 416-777-9674 for tickets, but don’t delay – the popular fundraising Gala is almost sold out … director Larry Weinstein’s much anticipated opus, Inside Hana’s Suitcase, will premiere here April 30 at Hot Docs … and B.C. soul rocker Alex Cuba has launched a new artist-branded web-browser. Based on the Firefox platform and developed by Canadian software companies Adevia Software and Brand Thunder, the browser can be downloaded from http://www.alexcuba.com and www.brandthunder.com/alexcuba.

Can you spell O-r-d-e-r Tickets N-o-w?

One of the year’s most star-laden events is exactly one month away – and you’re invited to bring your camera.

BEKER: H-o-s-t-i-n-g

BEKER: H-o-s-t-i-n-g

Everyone’s fave fashionista Jeanne Beker and her steady fella Barry Flatman will host the fifth annual Scrabble® With The Stars, the annual showbiz fund-raiser for Toronto’s Performing Arts Lodge (a.k.a. PAL) is set for April 6, 2009 at The Suites at 1 King West, with more than 40 stage, screen and literary celebs participating.

Public relations pro Vivienne Muhling, a primary PAL booster, devised the all-star evening five years ago, luring star-gazers and Scrabble fans alike by promising AND delivering a star at every table. So while patrons rub shoulders and match wits with some of Canada’s premiere sparklies, this year’s proceeds will fund the first steps towards providing assisted living for those PAL residents who are no longer well enough to fully care for themselves.

SHAIKH: Scrabbler

SHAIKH: Scrabbler

This year’s all-star cast of Scrabble players include – are you ready? — Jaymz Bee, Mark Breslin, Dave Broadfoot, Michael Burgess, Dinah Christie, Jayne Eastwood, Don Harron, Peter Kent, Colin Mochrie, Marilyn Lightstone, Gordon Pinsent, Leah Pinsent, Paul Quarrington, Jackie Richardson, Dione Taylor, R.H. Thomson, Teresa Tova and Little Mosque On The Prairie stars Sheila McCarthy, Zaib Shaikh and Deb McGrath, with more marquee names to be announced momentarily.

And no, you don’t have to mortgage your condo to pay for it. Single Gala tickets, which include the cocktail reception, buffet dinner AND Scrabbling with a Star, are only $125 each, and come with a tax receipt (!!) for the maximum amount allowable. Which is why this event tends to sell out fast. So don’t take too long to think it over. Call 416-777-9674 or go to www.scrabblewiththestars.ca, but don’t let this one get away.

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NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ:  Crowd-pleaser Ron James returns to Toronto to bring his Mental As Anything tour to the Winter Garden – but he’s here for six nights only, March 26-28 and April 2-4. So don’t say I didn’t warn you …

KAIN: Casting calls

KAIN: Casting calls

best showbiz name I’ve heard this week: Underoath,  the Tampa-based heavy metal band who kick off their Canadian tour tomorrow night in Vancouver. Opening for the group: Norma Jean and Innerpartysystem, (I guess Sam Butera & The Witnesses weren’t available) … and although she’s clearly brilliant at nurturing show-stopping dancers, National Ballet chief Karen Kain is no slouch when it comes to off-stage casting either. Hosts for her series of Ballet Talks at the Four Seasons Centre For The Arts — those popular informal chats that begin 45 minutes before every show—for her current Innovation evenings are renowned dance critics Clement Crisp from the Financial Times in London and Michael Crabb from the National Post. And the host for the upcoming Romeo & Juliet ballet talks will be ex-Romeo Rex Harrington.

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MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH: Former CBC broadcaster Avril Benoît is now working for Médecins Sans Frontières Canada as the director of communications.  

BARRIE: Returning

BARRIE: Returning

Recently interviewed on Dispatches from Dungu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, she said the United Nations is failing the people there. “The UN peacekeeping force with amandate to protect is not protecting,” Benoit said flatly. “There’s no one protecting them!”… CBC ear candy Andrew Craig joins Mike Downes, Anthony Michelli and David Mott in a jazz quartet for Canada’s first jazz oratorio, Creation, written and composed by acclaimed saxophonist David Mott. World premiere is set for May 3 at Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre. Also sharing the stage, which features photographs taken in space by astronaut and longtime Mott fan Steve MacLean: The 60+ voice Mississauga Choral Society and guest soloists Kathryn Domoney, Adi Braun, Martin Houtman, and Giles Tomkins … and much to the delight of his legions of fans, Andy Barrie is set to return to CBC Radio on Monday morning.