Tag Archives: MIKE NICHOLS

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.

Advertisements

Jane kicks up her heels again, Mike gets his own tribute and Ms Atwood goes back to Year One

BROADWAY BABIES: 30 Rock scene-stealer Jane Krakowski, who made her name in the Broadway musical Grand Hotel and won a Tony for dazzling

KRAKOWSKI: song & dance

KRAKOWSKI: song & dance

Antonio Banderas in Nine, is finally getting back to full-time singing and dancing, if only temporarily. Due to her shooting schedule her cheeky tongue-in cheek cabaret act at Feinstein’s, Jane Krakowski Has Sold Out…Tickets Available, must close tomorrow night at Loew’s Regency … Laurie Metcalf, who picked up three Emmys playing Roseanne‘s sister on Roseanne, is back on Broadway starring as the mother in the first full-scale revival of Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs. She’ll continue to reprise her role in Broadway Bound, the second play in Simon’s autobiographical comedy, when both shows play in rep at the Nederlander. Brighton Beach Memoirs opens Oct. 25; Broadway Bound begins previews Nov. 18 and opens Dec. 10 … and Academy

METCALF: Broadway bound

METCALF: Broadway bound

and Tony Award winner Mike Nichols will be honored with the American Film Institute’s 38th annual Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. “I’m surprised and pleased,” dead-panned the impish director of such films as Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf and Angels In America. “I was watching The Graduate on my Blackberry last week and it really holds up!”

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Why do we watch movies on planes that we wouldn’t watch anywhere else? Margaret Atwood tweets that she disgraced herself by watching Year One, the sophomoric comedy spoof with Jack Black and Michael Cera, on her way to the Frankfurt Book Fair. Guess she consoled herself with news that her Year Of The Flood was

McGOWAN: Julie's ex on The Border

McGOWAN: Julie's ex on The Border

#8 on the New York Times bestseller list by the time she landed in Germany … Doug Coupland thinks Ed O’Neill’s new show Modern Family “is just pure genius. It’s sooooo well written.” A technology geek, Coupland finds delightful and absurdly obscure video clips and posts them on Twitter – for example, this gem with Mr. T, Loni Anderson, George Hamilton and Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton in the same Lipton commercial. Coupland, whose new book Generation A is due in book stores, reports he lost his cell phone a few weeks ago, but instead of hyperventilating he’s discovered that he simply doesn’t think about it any more. “Didn’t expect that to happen!” Me neither … and Darryl’s Hard Liquor and Porn Film Festival returns to Toronto tomorrow night for one night only at

O'NEILL: new series

O'NEILL: new series

the Bloor Cinema with its 10th annual show featuring funny short films about sex from Canada and around the globe.

EXES & OOOHS: Yesterday I told you that Julie Stewart, currently on stage at the Factory Theatre in Brad Fraser’srave-winning new comedy True Love Lies, also plays Graham Abbey’s ex onThe Border.

Wrong! Julie plays James McGowan’s ex on The Border. And yes, I really can tell those two guys apart. (sigh)

Oh well. Happens in the best of families.

KUTCHER: start 'er up

KUTCHER: start 'er up

YA GOTTA HAVE A GIMMICK: Thanks to Ashton Kutcher for sending me (and maybe a million others) news of that new iPhone app that lets you start your car from your phone. I would start saving up for it but I’m saving up for a new TV set instead. No, not HD – 3D. Yup, Panasonic unveiled its prototype 50-inch Viera plasma 3-D set in Tokyo this week. Apparently it’s a wow. The technology works by rapidly alternating between left and right frames of the video. Viewers wear glasses that sync with the television over an infrared signal. The right frame is seen only with the right eye and the left frame with the left eye, creating the illusion of depth.

So all they have to do now is persuade producers to make reality TV shows in 3-D, and we’ll have even more reasons to go back to the movies.

Have a great weekend!

-/-

Meryl stops by before re-teaming with Kevin, and Debbie’s daughter is a Broadway baby now

FOOTLIGHTS: Dynamic screen duo Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline, who made history 25 years ago in Sophie’s Choice, will perform an evening of Shakespeare as a benefit for The Acting Company, the Juilliard offshoot that

KLINE: Meryl's choice

KLINE: Meryl's choice

gave Kline his start. Conceived and directed by Kline, The Lover and the Poet: An Evening of Shakespeare will be held at the 400-seat Florence Gould Hall on November 2. Before that, however, they’ll team up with Daniel Craig, Maggie Gyllenhaal,Mike Nichols and Austin Pendleton in a one-night benefit performance of Courage in Concert at the Public Theatre on October 19. In the meantime some chosen few lucky ticket-buyers will get to see Ms Streep in person tonight at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, where she’ll participate in a Q&A with Globe & Mail film analyst Johanna Schneller.

ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID, YES, BUT SUCH A PRETTY ONE: As a presenter she’s handed out hardware to her Star Wars mentor George Lucas and co-star Harrison Ford, but Carrie Fisher says she gave up on hoping for Acting awards a long time ago.

FISHER: wishful winning

FISHER: wishful winning

She admits she still hoped that she might win “just a little one” for her writing – plaudits for Postcards From The Edge? prizes for The Best Awful or Surrender The Pink? — but alas, no awards have materialized so far.

“I now get awards all the time for being mentally ill,” the bi-polar Fisher notes. “I am apparently very good at it, and I get honoured for it regularly.”

She’s awfully good at writing, too. Which is one of the reasons writers ranging from playwright Terence McNally to novelist Salman Rushdie joined movie stars ranging from Jane Fonda to Harvey Keitel for the opening of Carrie’s one-woman tour-de-force Wishful Drinking last Sunday on Broadway. Fisher made her Broadway debut in 1973 (yessssss, 1973) as part of the chorus backing up her mother Debbie Reynolds in the revival of Irene, but had toured with her even earlier than that, in her mom’s glitzy road show. Those of you with

DEBBIE: still in harness

DEBBIE: still in harness

reeeeally long memories may recall Carrie, still a teenager, standing on stage at the O’Keefe Centre in Toronto in 1970, singing her mom’s hit ballad Tammy while Debbie was backstage making a quick costume change. By the time she played in Irene, Carrie was a seasoned ‘road warrior’ who had seen her MGM-bred mother dump legendary British director Sir John Gielgud (who was still struggling with the musical when it played the Royal Alex for four weeks on its way to New York) for her old studio pal Gower Champion. Champion, a choreographer who lived up to his name, who had already staged a hit musical called Hello, Dolly and pulled Irene into such dazzling shape that it ran for more than 600 performances. (When Debbie grew weary of it, her MGM gal pal Jane Powell took over the rest of the run for her.) Ah yes, them were the days.

STREEP: in Toronto tonight

STREEP: in Toronto tonight

Debbie, of course, is still alive and high-kicking at 77. This month she and her personal musicians will take her show, An Evening With Debbie Reynolds, to the Julie Rogers Theatre in Beaumont, Texas for a breast cancer fund-raiser. 
Meanwhile, there’s good news for those of us who hunger for more of Carrie’s wickedly witty prose. She’s working on a new book – a collection of stories from movie sets of “films I pretended to act in.” Hope she includes Shampoo.

And speaking of those writing honours that keep eluding her – considering those rave reviews, wouldn’t it be funny if she gets Tony-nominated as both the author of Wishful Drinking and as lead actress in a play?

Stranger things have happened.

-/-

Ms Vardalos gets her Greek god, Ms Murray teaches us a lesson, and Ms Fonda twitters at the Tonys

MEET MR. GORGEOUS: We don’t know him over here, but Nia Vardalos’ leading man in My Life In Ruins, Alexis Georgoulis, is apparently the George Clooney of Greece. After audience reaction to him at the first sneak previews,

VARDALOS & GEORGOULIS: Mr. Gorgeous?

VARDALOS & GEORGOULIS: Mr. Gorgeous?

 the U.S. press has started calling him Alex Gorgeous. “Which I think is apropos,” Vardalos told wowOwow web writer Kristin Fritz. “One reviewer said, because apparently I have an every-woman look, and I have this gorgeous, Greek god as my male lead, the reviewer basically said, ‘Who do you think you are?’ And I’m like, umm, hi. No one. I’m just an every-woman. And in the same way that Seth Rogen gets Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up, and Paul Giamatti gets Virginia Madsen in Sideways, yes, my character gets the Greek god in this one.”

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “At a very young age I learned from my parents to have respect for all people no matter what race, religion or station in life. Respect takes on many forms. Respect is being on time: your time is no more important than others. Respect is being prepared: people are relying on you. Respect is treating everyone with dignity. The janitor, the gardener, the CEO should all be acknowledged and appreciated for the jobs they do. My father taught me to always stand up when being introduced to someone. When you shake his hand, look him in the eye. Take time; remember his name; make him feel special.”

MURRAY: wise wotds

MURRAY: wise words

The speaker? Supersongstress Anne Murray, to graduating students at the  University of Prince Edward Island. Murray, whose hit Music Of My Life special encored last weekend on CBC Television, is currently putting the final touches on her memoirs for October publication. But she’ll still be spending most of the summer in Nova Scotia and looks forward to greeting her legions of fans on July 25 for 20th anniversary celebrations of the Anne Murray Centre in Springhill.

EVERY LITTLE MOVEMENT:  New showbiz sport is trying to spot Twitterbugs at major theatrical openings. Did you notice that Jane Fonda was all a-Twitter at the Tony Awards two nights ago? Fonda has just returned from a trip

FONDA: Tony Twitterer

FONDA: Tony Twitterer

to the Galapagos with a group that included Angela Lansbury’s nephew David Lansbury. When David’s aunt won her fifth Tony, as Best Featured Actress for Blithe Spirit, Fonda noted, “as usual, she was graciousness incarnate.”  But she admitted she was as surprised as we were when Next To Normal “won best new score, beating Elton and Dolly. I haven’t seen it — yet.” Fonda and her fellow nominees were also enlisted as impromptu extras: “We’ve just all been handed throw-away lighters, I guess to light up during an upcoming Rock of Ages number,” she reported.  When the cast of Hair danced into the orchestra seats, she said, one of them landed in the lap of her pal and fellow nominee Janet McTeer. “This number from Hair really makes me wanna see it,” she added. After she lost the best actress prize to Marcia Gay Harden, Fonda was still sanguine. “For me it felt like a prize just getting to this. Janet McTeer and I will now go have some vodkas with impunity.” And after Hair won Best Musical Revival, Fonda footnoted, “I swear, half the audience is up there to accept the Tony!”

 

SPACEY: Tony talk

SPACEY: Tony talk

Yeah, there did seem to be a lot of that going on. Meanwhile, unless you were in a musical, you could hardly get arrested on this year’s unfortunate televised event. Mind you, Poison rocker Bret Michael came pretty close when he got bonked by the descending backdrop and ended up with a broken nose. Quipped Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody: “I’m concerned about Bret Michaels’ fractured nose. An acute sense of smell is essential to his dating process.” Meanwhile, stage & screen lion Kevin Spacey told New York Post scribe Michael Riedel he thinks the Tonys should be taken over by PBS, directed by Broadway veteran Mike Nichols and given the formality and inclusiveness that the theater deserves.

Dunno who would pick up the tab, but it sounds like a darn good idea to me.  

-/-