Tag Archives: MuchMusic

Today’s Top Tips: Bernie & Ruby, a slapshtick night at the Opera, and where to take Mom on Sunday

I’LL TAKE ROMANCE: Just added two movies to my Must See list that I didn’t know even existed until quite recently. The first one is Bernie, a black comedy based on a true story about the ill-fated romance of a young mortician

MACLAINE & BLACK: Must See new movie

and a not-so-youthful Texas widow. Jack Black is the mortician. Shirley MacLaine is the widow. I think you’ll understand why I’m dying (you should pardon the expression) to see it after you click on this sneak preview. The second movie on my new Must list is Ruby Sparks. It’s about a young novelist (Paul Dano) struggling with both his writing and his romantic life. Then he creates a character named Ruby who inspires him. And then he finds Ruby (Zoe Kazan), in the flesh, somehow manifested by his writing, sitting on his couch. Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening and Elliot Gould are along for

DANO: Sparks f;ly

the ride, which to me strongly resembles a romantic rollercoaster. Click here for the sneak preview of that one.

SHOWSTOPPER: It’s just one of those songs/that you hear now and then/you don’t know just where/you don’t know just when …  but you sure know it when you hear it. There is a soft stirring in the audience at the Four Seasons Centre this month as soon as the first strains of Puccini’s haunting melody O mio babbino caro come soaring up from the orchestra pit during every performance of Gianni Schicchi. The surprise for some of us less well-versed in operatic endeavours is that this beautiful ballad comes right in the middle of a slapstick farce about a greedy family trying to cheat monks out of an inheritance.

THE GAMG’S ALL HERE: A family schemes as Puccini serenades

Aided and abetted by a brilliant ensemble, soprano-turned-director Catherine Malfitano displays a fearless flare for broad comedy that suggests she’s a serious fan of such screwball classics as Weekend At Bernie’s and Fire Sale, and Wilson Chin’s stylishly topsy-turvy set consistently keeps us in on the

MAYNARD: first visit here

joke. The lush musical score, sensitively and splendidly conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, makes the contrast even more appealing, and Simone Osborne’s rich vocalizing on O mio babbino caro earns every minute of the tumultuous applause she receives. Check it out at www.coc.ca.

Still not quite sure which aria it is? To watch Montserrat Caballe’s version, click here; to watch Maria Callas’ sing it to Japanese fans in Tokyo, click here. And, enjoy!

OUR TOWN: Lots of sparklies on the radar this week. New Brit pop music sensation Conor Maynard, who’s 19 if he’s a day, was on hand to co-host New.Music.Live on MuchMusic last night. This morning he’ll make live

JOHNSON: on stage this week

appearances on the KISS 92.5 Morning show at 8 a.m. and CP24 Breakfast at 8:45 a.m. So will he sing Can’t Say No? Whaddya think? …  enduring pop music siren Tabby Johnson entertains Thursday night at Maggie Cassella’s Flying Beaver Pubaret … Jayzm Bee hosts Word Jazz – “ten poets doing ten minutes each in a truly unique evening of spoken word” — with Don Francks, Robert Preist, Dale Percy, Myna Wallin, Phatt Al, Mike Schram, Chris Hercules, Amanda Hiebert, Howard “Dr. Possibility” Jerome, Mike Hanson and Bruce Hunter, Thursday night at the Now Lounge on Church Street …. also this Thursday: Betty Buckley kicks off the 15th and final We’re

COHEN: he’s Our Man

Funny That Way festival with a concert at Buddies In Bad Times that’s sure to be spellbinding …  don’t say I didn’t warn ya: This Friday’s night concert by the legendary Lighthouse rock orchestra at the Molson Canadian Studio in Hamilton is expected to go SRO … so is female illusionist Christopher Peterson’s Saturday night WFTW festival show at Buddies … also on Saturday: The Three Lennys, a special Toronto Jewish Film Festival screening of three Leonard Cohen films at the Bloor Cinema in honour of the recently-announced ninth recipient of the Glenn Gould Prize. And before Cohen receives his newest accolade next Monday at a gala evening at Massey Hall, local musicians will take to the streets to play his music all over downtown Toronto. So keep your eyes and ears open!

RICHARDSON: Sunday salon stint

SUNDAY’S SPECIAL: Looking for significant stuff to do on Mother’s Day? Look no further.  Take her to The Flying Beaver Pubaret on Parliament for a 1 pm jazz brunch with Shannon Gunn on Vocals, Reg Schrager on guitar and Rosemary Galloway on bass, or a 7 pm Mother’s Day concert by singer-songwriter Duff MacDonaldJackie Richardson joins Paul Hoffert at his weekly jazz salon at Musideum on Richmond on Sunday at 3 pm … Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie have added an extra show to their world premiere of From the House of Mirth,

THOMPSON: Glory-watcher

directed and choreographed by James Kudelka, at the Citadel — which means you now have a choice of two Sunday performances (3 pm & 8 pm) …  Judith Thompson previews her new one-woman show, Watching Glory Die, in a staged reading this Sunday at 2 pm at the Factory Theatre … just looking for something special to slip in the envelope with that Hallmark card? The National Ballet of Canada is offering a special Mother’s Day deal on its upcoming premiere of Hamlet. Buy tickets to see the high-flying Prince of Denmark on Friday June 8 and get 30% off the price of tickets, in all sections. To take full advantage of this special I Love Mom promotion, click here!

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Ms Vanasse gets Scruples, Ms Koslo gets Sheba, Ms Janney gets a Dinner and Ms Lucci gets a maid

VANASSE: new pilot

TUBE TALK: Award-winning Quebec actress Karine Vanasse, who charmed American audiences with her work in the too-short-lived Pan Am, is shooting a pilot for a new series for a new first-time producer. The pilot? Scruples, based on the Judith Krantz novel about a socialite who attempts to open a fashion-forward boutique in the heart of Beverly Hills. The new producer? Natalie Portman, who is exec producing with Tony Krantz and Annette Savitch  … three TV favourite are tossing their hats in the ring again. Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace) is shooting Americana,a

JANNEY: dinner date

pilot for a new drama about a legendary fashion designer and his family business; Tony Shaloub (Monk) and Allison Janney (West Wing) are starring in Friday Night Dinner, a pilot spin-off of the British series that revolves around a traditional Jewish family as they observe Shabbat dinners; and Susan Lucci is the top-billed marquee bait in Devious Maids, a pilot based on the Mexican telenova about four maids who work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. And the beat goes on.

MAZZARA: bound for Banff

PEOPLE: Add Glen Mazzara, Executive Producer of the Emmy Award-winning series The Walking Dead, to the Master Class series at the upcoming Banff World Media Festival … Women Fully Clothed will follow up their April dates in California with four May stops in beautiful B.C., performing their new show in Nanaimo, Victoria, Courtenay and North Van … Corrine Koslo inherits the juicy role originated on stage and screen by Shirley Booth when Come Back, Little Sheba opens this summer at the Shaw Festival. More on Shaw tomorrow …  Gerald Finley, Oliver Jones, Quartetto Gelato and the Nathaniel Dett Chorale are among the mighty music-makers set to spark this summer’s Westben Arts Festival Theatre offerings in

BUCKNER: Den mother

Campbellford, Ontario. July showcase presentations culminate in an August 5 fund-raiser finale, featuring pianist Brian Finley and the Brian Barlow Big Band and aptly named The Big Band Theory. Sounds like a winner … and the indefatigable Pat Ferns, in Cannes to moderate the “By Invitation Only” Drama CoProXchange at MIP TV, is heading back to his old stomping ground, li’l ol’ T.O., at the end of the month to host International Co-Production Day at Hot Docs on April 30.

IT’S ALL COMING BACK TO THEM NOW: On tonight’s Dragons’ Den finale, all five Dragons reminisce about the very best – and worst – moments over the past six seasons. Den host Diane Buckner reportedly gets Dragons Jim

HAWCO: cliffhanger?

Treliving, Kevin O’Leary, Arlene Dickinson, Bruce Croxon and exiting fire-breather Robert Herjavec to tell what they really think about each other,  and highlights from the last six seasons of the show include the stand-out pitches AND the in-fighting, counting down to the three most memorable moments in the series’ history. After you leave the Den,  Allan Hawco rallies his troops on Republic Of Doyle’s season closer  to prove his father’s innocence when he’s accused of murder. Will Season 3 end with another cliffhanger?  I’d put money on it, b’y … … and speaking of cliff-hangers, Martin Gero’s steamy L.A. Complex series, about young hopefuls sharing the same space in Hollywood, will premiere on The CW in the U.S. this month. New episodes are set to start unspooling here in July on MuchMusic.

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Jian gets Matt, Rama gets Tony, Much gets David, TIFF gets Sarah (AND Julie!) & Anne walks the Walk

OUR TOWN: Still the biggest draw in the history of CBC Radio, Jian Ghomeshi and Q return for a new season this morning with special guest

DAMON: on 'Q' this morning

DAMON: on 'Q' this morning

Matt Damon. Damon, in town for the TIFF screening of his new flick The Informant, has now been named the recipient of the American Cinemateque Award next March, following in the footsteps of previous honourees Julia Roberts and Samuel A. Jackson … French DJ David Guetta, who rocked the Guvernment on Sunday night, is scheduled to greet fans at MuchMusic today. His new CD One Love debuted here at #2 … don’t look for Tony Bennett at the opening of TIFF on Thursday. He’ll be serenading fans at Casino Rama …  sidewalk star owner Anne Murray returns to King Street this weekend to host Blue Rodeo, Kim Cattrall, Tom Cochrane, Howie Mandel and Robert Munsch, among

BENNETT: Barrie-bound

BENNETT: Barrie-bound

others, at the 12th annual Canada’s Walk of Fame Tribute … speaking of veteran music-makers, Loggins & Messina are set to play Fallsview Casino this coming Friday and Saturday nights. Slightly closer to home, The Smothers Brothers play Casino Rama on Friday followed by Black Crowes on Saturday … terminally gorgeous Cheryl Tiegs brightened Breakfast Television this morning in City TV’s new digs at Yonge-Dundas Square … keep wishing you could go on one of those sensational tours of Ontario wine country? Me too. Especially when I learned that more than 90 (!!) Ontario wines will be available for sampling next week at Taste Ontario, a one-night-only event at the Art Gallery Of Ontario: “Tour the best of wine country for only $45!” Hey, I’d love to! … but alas, it’s all sold out.

MS. SOMEBODY: We loved her work as a writer and director on Away From Her, but we must admit we’re really looking forward to seeing her on

POLLEY: on screen again in Mr Nobody

POLLEY: on screen again in Mr Nobody

screen again. Sarah Polley, who seems to get better and better each time we see her, co-stars with Jared Leto, Diane Kruger and Linh-Dan Pham in Mr. Nobody, a new TIFF entry by much-admired Belgian director Jaco Van Dormael. Insiders whisper you should add it to your Must List right now … meanwhile Polley’s Oscar-nominated Away From Her leading lady, iconic British beauty Julie Christie, also co-stars in a new Special Presentation film: Glorious 39, from director Stephen Poliakoff … and TIFF-bound filmmaker Joe Dante, currently on jury duty at the Venice Film Festival, will wing his way

CHRISTIE: Polley protegee (AP)

CHRISTIE: Polley protegee (AP)

here in time to introduce his new film The Hole as well as a special TIFF screening of the W.C. Fields classic It’s A Gift.

WILL ‘CATCH ME’ CATCH ON?: In the Good Ol’ Bad Ol’ Days, gentle reader, Hollywood took big Broadway musicals and turned them into lavish movie musicals. Now Broadway takes movies like Hairspray and Billy Elliott and turns them into lavish stage musicals. Latest casualty is Dolly Parton’s tuneful 9 to 5, which closed Saturday night. Newest pretender about to open on the Great White Way? The musical version of Catch Me If You Can, the hit Steven Spielberg drama with Leonardo DiCaprio as a compulsive but irresistible

DICAPRIO: with foxy flight attendants in Catch Me If You Can

DICAPRIO: with foxy flight attendants in Catch Me If You Can

impostor. Leo is not, I repeat, not repeating his role on Broadway. But with a book by Terrence McNally (The Full Monty) and music and lyrics by Hairspray duo Scott Wittman & Marc Shaiman, the show is already creating some boxoffice sizzle.

Still to come in the new year: Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth in The Addams Family, and the $40 million musical extravaganza Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, directed by Julie Taymor.

TOMORROW:

new films for Leo,  Zach and Charlize — and 13 Essential directors

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Marlo Thomas set to open in New Brunswick

Marlo Thomas, who blogs on wowOwow.com and decades later still looks like That Girl,  is about to premiere a controversial new play in New Brunswick.

WAGNER: New Brunswick-bound

WAGNER: Russian roots

Okay, calm down. 

Marlo opens Friday night in New Brunswick, but not our New Brunswick. She’s taking the stage in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The play, New Year’s Eve, is the newest work of legendary stage and screen scribe Arthur Laurents (Gypsy, West Side Story) and co-stars Keith Carradine and Natalie Wood’s beautiful daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner. (Her mother Natalie, who changed her Russian first name to please studio execs, revisited tradition with her daughter by writer-producer Richard Gregson. When Natalie & Robert Wagner remarried, RJ formally adopted Natasha as his own — hence her impressive three-name marquee allure.)

Laurents, now an indefatigable 91, is letting his hand-picked cast take his new play for a test drive at the George Street Playhouse for three weeks so he can tinker with the engine when he’s not preoccupied with his current Broadway revival of West Side Story.

Ain’t showbiz grand?

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IBOMEKA: cast your vote

IBOMEKA: cast your vote

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Mamma Mia composers Björn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson have written a follow-up to their worldwide hit musical. Their new show, Kristina from Duvemala, reportedly opened in Sweden to ecstatic audience response   one of the ninth annual ReelWord Film Festival’s most popular attractions is slated for late-night screening this Friday at the Cineplex Odeon Carlton Cinemas on Carlton. Starting at 11 pm, the filmfest’s Music Video Program, supported by BravoFact and MuchMusic, will unspool some unusual, engaging and entertaining music videos by, to name only a few, Simple Plan, Friendly Fire, Alex Cuba, Bedouin Soundclash and The Sicilian Jazz

STREISAND: DVD x 3

STREISAND: DVD x 3

Project …  great news for Beatlemaniacs: The original Beatles catalogue has been digitally re-mastered for the first time, for worldwide CD release on September 9. Two new Beatles boxed CD collections will also be released on the same date … Streisand: The Concerts will go on sale in Great Britain before we get to see it over here. The special three-disc DVD set showcases some of Ms Barbra’s most memorable concert performances over the decades, including 17 songs never before released on DVD … and soul man D.K. Ibomeka, supreme saxophonist Jane Bunnett and violin virtuoso Lenny Solomon are among the nominees for the 2009 National Jazz Awards – and you can vote for them! To cast your ballot, just click here.

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2009_0326_amazon_mary_tyler_mooreLITERATI:  Tis the season to Tell All, sort of. And everybody’s doing it, almost. Including Mary Tyler Moore, who subtitles her second autobiography Life, Loves, And Oh Yeah, Diabetes … the youngest Best Actress winner in history, Marlee Matlin was only 21 when she won the coveted statuette, In her new autobiog I’ll Scream Later she reveals that at the peak of her fame she was about to put herself into the Betty Ford Clinic to fight against her addiction to alcohol. Still an inspiration for millions of hearing impaired fans, she also discusses her sometimes stormy romances with William Hurt, Rob

MATLIN: youngest Best Actress

MATLIN: youngest Best Actress

Lowe, Richard Dean Anderson and West Wing creator David E. Kelley … Simon & Schuster reps are buzzing about Love Child, a new memoir by Allegra Huston, daughter of legendary director John Huston and Italian American dancer Ricki Soma. Her mother died in a car accident when Allegra was only four and Allegra grew up with her siblings Anjelica, Tony and Danny Huston. To make things even more interesting, she later discovered that her biological father was British writer John Julius Norwich … and Joan Rivers is riding high with two, count ‘em, two new books — a spoofy Agatha Christie-meets-Barbara Taylor Bradford mystery called Murder At The Academy Awards, and a highly informative How To (and What Not To) manual on the pleasures and perils of plastic surgery called Men Are Stupid (And They Like Big Boobs.) Rivers fan Larry King did a special web interview with her for his CNN website, and you can see it right here.

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SIMON: stunned silence

SIMON: stunned silence

GET OUT YOUR HANDKERCHIEFS: If you still have any Kleenex left after seeing the socko finale of the first season of Being Erica on CBC television, wait ’til you watch 46-year-old British villager Susan Boyle try her luck with Simon Cowell & Co. on Britain’s Got Talent. Jane Fonda twittered it yesterday(“I find it so touching!”) and it made all the major national newscasts, and I can honestly say, without fear of contradiction, that Ms Boyle’s performance must truly be seen and heard to be believed. And yes, to see it just click here.

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TOMORROW:

SHOWBIZ GUESSING GAME: The refusal of two Hollywood screen sirens to wear the on-screen wardrobes chosen for them unexpectedly makes it possible for a reserved British leading lady and a bold young New York TV actress to start collecting Oscar nominations.

Guess who??