Tag Archives: NBC

Marty plays the Jester, Bernie tells tales, Howie gets a new Deal & the Glee gang gets ready to graduate

HOW WILL I KNOW: Glee stars salute Whitney Houston tonight.

CALLING ALL GLEEKS: You thought Glee was a hot TV show? Hey, it’s all that and so much more. The Glee gang has sold more than 43 million songs and over 12 million albums worldwide. So far the show has scored three consecutive #1 releases with Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna, Glee: The Music, Volume 3 Showstoppers, and Glee: The Music, Journey To Regionals. Meanwhile, Glee: The Music, Volume 1 and Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album have each sold more than 1 million units – and of course there’s more to come. Glee: The Music, The Graduation Album will become available May 15 and includes Glee versions of hot tunes by Queen and Lady Gaga. Also featured on the May 22 finale are songs by Bruce Springsteen, Beyoncé, Madonna and Green Day. And wait ‘til you hear what they do with Whitney Houston’s music on tonight’s episode. This crew is clearly on top of their game, and in case you have any doubts, check out tonight’s opening number – and enjoy!

SURELY YOU JEST: Currently on view every weekend with fellow judges Measha Brueggergosman and Stephan Moccio on Canada’s Got Talent, fabled funnyman Martin Short has the juiciest role in the new animated

SHORT: off to see the Wizard?

feature Dorothy Of Oz, playing the evil Jester who has taken over the kingdom. Glee showstopper Lea Michele voices the role of Dorothy, aided and abetted by Tin Man Kelsey Grammer, Cowardly Lion Jim Belushi and Scarecrow Dan Aykroyd. Adding even more lustre to an already lustrous talent pool are Smash showstopper Megan Hilty as a China Princess, Oliver Platt as Wiser The Owl and Broadway showstopper Bernadette Peters as Glinda the Good Witch. Sounds like a hot Original Cast album to me … and speaking of star power, there’s less than one week left to help select the 2012 Inductees to Canada’s Walk of Fame and the 2012 Cineplex Legends Award recipient.  Submit your nomination and you could win a trip for two to attend the 2012 Canada’s Walk of Fame Awards Show and red carpet to celebrate with the stars – and

HILTY: a SMASH-ing performer

you can submit your nomination and contest entry once per day.  Click here to submit your nomination – and do it now!

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE:  Toronto International Film Festival co-founder Henk Van Der Kolk has a new gig in Central America – he’s the Director of the new week-long IFF Panama — Panama’s first international filmfest —  which opens this Thursday and promises to screen more than 50 ground-breaking films in Spanish and English before closing night on

COCKBURN: True Northerner

May 2 … it’s official, and it’s in stores now: Bernie Finkelstein tells all – well, almost all – in his new McClelland & Stewart memoirs, True North: A Life In The Music Business, from breaking into the Greenwich Village scene with The Paupers at the age of 20, discovering Bruce Cockburn, producing what might have been the “loudest band in the world,” Kensington Market, managing and producing Murray McLauchlan, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, and Rough Trade, winning 40 Junos, and much more. Sounds like a fun  read … Howie Mandel, who successfully reinvented himself as a game show host with Deal Or No Deal, is now set to

MANDEL: Elephsnt in the room

host a new NBC game show, White Elephant, a spin-off concept on those mystery ‘doors’ from Monty Hall‘s classic Let’s Make A Deal. NBC will test the new series with seven episodes … and Pat Ferns continues to be one of the busiest men in showbiz. As he has done since the inception of the 14th DocAviv event for Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers, he’ll return to Tel Aviv next month to moderate the pitching sessions and to interview key guests at this annual industry gathering of Documentary filmmakers. He’s also has been retained as the lead consultant for the third CNEX Chinese Documentary Forum in Taiwan in September and for the 7th China International Conference of Science and Education Producers in Yuyao, China in October, before returning to Guangzhou for the 10th anniversary of the Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival in China in December. Now that’s what I call Air Miles!

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Go ahead, take the rest of the day off, ’cause It turns out to be a good Friday for showbiz news ‘n’ gossip

NO SEASON LIKE TV PILOT SEASON: It’s true — Freddie Prinze Jr., Victor Garber, Judd Hirsch and Andrea Martin are all in the running for new series this fall. And they’re not alone. Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis

BARKIN: something new?

are exec-producing their new co-starring venture based on the true story of Ralph Lamb, the rodeo cowboy who ended up Sheriff of Las Vegas.
 Carrie-Anne Moss is also in their pilot … John Corbett and Jennifer Beals are top-lining a new drama pilot called Widow DetectiveBill Pullman and Jenna Elfman play the U.S, president and his missus in 1600 Penn, a Modern-Family type pilot set in the White House … Minnie Driver, Andrea Anders and Rachel Dratch are the funny girls featured in the comedy pilot Lady FriendsDane Cook’s new pilot, Next Caller Please, casts him as a brash alpha male DJ on a satellite radio station … Sarah Silverman’s new pilot is about a woman readjusting to

SILVERMAN: something borrowed?

single life following a decade-long live-in relationship. A little bit autobiographical? You bet. Jeff Goldblum co-stars … Anne Heche is trying the small screen again with Save Me, playing a woman who survives a broken marriage by transforming into another version of herself … and Ellen Barkin heads the cast in The New Normal, about a blended family of a gay couple and the woman who becomes a surrogate for them as they grow their family. Which sorta maybe sounds like something we haven’t seen before.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Young Extemely Loud and Incredibly Close screen-stealer Thomas Horn has been set as the lead in not one but two new features — Space Warriors and Joe’s Mountain

RHYS: something American

Welsh actor Matthew Rhys (Brothers and Sisters) is set to star opposite Keri Russell in the FX pilot The Americans Eddie Izzard has signed to star in and produce NBC’s Mockingbird Lane, a re-conceived version of The MunstersLaz Alonso (Avatar) will play Meagan Good’s former flame and the detective who hires her to investigate a murder in her home town in NBC’s drama pilot NotoriousOliver Cooper (Project X) has signed on for a lead role in the sequel to Adam Sandler’s Grown Ups … Golden Globe nominee Jaime Pressly is set to play the warden at a women’s federal prison in the NBC drama pilot Bad Girls … comic W. Kamau Bell is set to host a new variety show produced by Chris Rock for FXNeil Patrick Harris will host the Tony Awards for the third consecutive year on Sunday June 10 and Jimmy Kimmel is set to host this

HYATT: something to cheer about

year’s Emmy Awards telecast on Sunday September 23.

OUR TOWN: Veteran crowd-pleaser Pam Hyatt serenades at the Green Door cabaret tonight in her one-woman concert Pamalot, with Peter Hill on the piano  … sublime warbler Judy Marshak, dynamic duo Deb McGrath & Colin Mochrie and Canuck comedy legends The Frantics are among the sparkles gathering for the Autism Is A Pain In The Aspergers benefit on Wednesday April 18 at Hugh’s Room. For ticket info, click hereThe Stampeders bring their greatest hits to us in concert at the

McGRATH: something else

Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Friday April 20 … it must be true that third time’s a charm, because Jeanne Beker & Barry Flatman are once again hosting the annual celebrity-laden PAL fund-raiser Scrabble With The Stars on Monday May 7 at the Arcadian Loft. For ticket info, click here … the Harry Potter spoof Potted Potter closes at the Panasonic this Sunday … and due to unforeseen circumstances concerning the road closure around the Royal Ontario Museum, the date for Toronto Taste has been bumped to Sunday May 27. Which should give us just enough time to diet before the event. For ticket info, click here. (And yes, I know you knew I was going to say that.)

PETERS: something CBC (twice!)

SEE/HEAR: Let’s start your long weekend with a smile. Four of ’em, in fact! First, it’s Russell Peters week on CBC, starting Sunday with his Toronto filmfest hockey comedy Breakaway with Rob Lowe (want a sneak peek? Click here!) Then there’s the Alberta Ballet’s dazzling tribute to Elton John, Love Lies Bleeding, on Monday night on CBC. (Click here for a splashy preview.) Also on Monday: Ken Finkleman returns to the newsroom (and The Movie Network) with a brand new predictably outrageous comedy series, aptly named Good God, and allegedly inspired by Quebecor’s struggling  Sun News Network. Samantha Bee and Lolita Davidovich co-star, and the first episode is already viewable on line right here. Then Russell Peters returns to CBC with his own Just For Laughs special Russell Peters: Best Night Ever on Tuesday night (want a sneak peek? Ditto!)  And that’s just for starters. So have fun, rest up, and enjoy!

More news, more gossip, more stars, and more award show dates than you ever wanted to know

OUR TOWN: Music master Paul Hoffert and sidekick Bruce Cassidy host a jazz salon this Sunday afternoon at Musideum on Richmond Street west …

LIGHTSTONE: new showecase

30 Rock scene-stealer Tracy Morgan brings his special brand of funny to the Sony Centre tonight … Marilyn Lightstone premieres her latest art showcase, New Directions, on April 12 at Latitude 44 … more than 60 chefs will gather at the Royal Ontario Museum on June 3 to showcase their finest creations in support of Second Harvest. Tickets are $250 with a tax receipt issued for $125. You may think that sounds a bit pricey, but be warned: Tickets to last year’s Toronto Taste sold out in record time. To purchase yours, click here …  and Natalie Cole is set for this year’s TD Toronto Jazz Festival with a June 25 concert at the Sony Centre.

PENMANSHIP: Additional marquee bait set for the third annual Toronto Screenwriters Conference at the Ted Rogers School Of Management next weekend (March 31-April 1) include ex-Toronto types Graham Yost (Speed,

CLOONEY: Sunshine boy

Justified) and Robin Gurney (Arrested Development, Parenthood) and Skype participants Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady) and Michael Hirst (The Tudors.) Closing speaker at this year’s creative clambake will be Lee Aronsohn (Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory.) Sounds like a pretty lively weekend … say what you will about the politics of the Toronto Sun, the headline writers at the Little Paper That Grew are still the best (and consistently most irreverent) in the country. The Sun’s front page pic of George Clooney in handcuffs last Saturday was captioned You Have The Right To Remain Handsome. Now that’s funny … by the way, Sun co-founder and columnist Peter Worthington, still typing up a storm, is now 85 (!!!) And Worthington’s latest boss, Quebecor emperor Pierre Karl Péladeau, recently announced new annual Sun Media awards for his newspapers outside of Quebec. Will there be a prize for CBC-slagging? Just askin’ … and here’s one for your calendars: The 9th annual gala fundraiser for Pierre Berton’s writers’ retreat in the Klondike will celebrate the Canuck victory of 1812 with a festive June 5 bash at old Fort York. Berton House clambakes are always a blast, and this one should be no exception … and speaking of good writing, the justifiably-lauded screen version of Mordecai Richler’s Barney’s Version premieres Sunday night on CBC, and the much-anticipated fifth season of Mad Men kicks off Sunday on AMC. That is, if you can tear yourself away from Canada’s Got Talent on Citytv. And the beat goes on.

CALENDAR JOTTINGS:  Next big award show on our horizon is the 2012 Tony Awards. Nominees will be announced May 1
live on TonyAwards.com and CBS will host the three-hour 66thAnnual Tony Awards telecast on Sunday

GERVAIS: will he be back?

June 10 …  the 27th Annual Gemini Awards’ Industry Galas are set for Tuesday August 28 and Wednesday August 29. CBC will host the Broadcast Gala on Wednesday September 5, the night before the 37th annual Toronto International Film Festival begins its time-honoured 10-day movie marathon on Thursday September 6 … 2012 Emmy nominees will be announced July 29, with ABC hosting the 64th annual PrimeTime Emmy Awards on Sunday September 23 … and before you know it we do it all over again in 2013, starting with the 70th annual Golden Globes, with or without Ricky Gervais, on Sunday January 20 on NBC, the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday January 27, the Directors Guild Awards on Tuesday February 5, and the 85th annual Academy Awards, with or without Billy Crystal, on Sunday February 24 on ABC.

STREISAND: Queen of Columbia

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Soprano-turned-director Catherine Malfitano and world-renowned conductor Sir Andrew Davis are joining forces for the Canadian premiere of Alexander Zemlinsky’s A Florentine Tragedy and the return of Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, an extravagant double-bill opening April 26 for eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre. Since both one-act operas are set in Florence, expect some eye-catching cityscapes from set designer Wilson Chin, costume designer Terese Wadden and lighting designer David Martin Jacques… first headliners announced for the 46th edition of the

FEORE: hosting

Montreux Jazz Festival are Noel Gallagher’s High-Flying Birds, who are now set for a July 4 gig at Auditorium Stravinski. Gallagher says he and his band will perform songs from their first CD as well as some favourites from his previous band, Oasis … when they were the fast-drivin’, rubber-burnin’ Dukes Of Hazzard, who knew they could sing? But three decades later John Schneider and Tom Wopat are still warbling and obviously not superstitious. They’re set to play Fallsview Casino showroom on Thursday April 12 and – wait for it — Friday April 13 … in celebration of the company’s 60th anniversary season, The National Ballet of

GALLAGHER: High-Flying gig

Canada Orchestra will make their concert debut at Koerner Hall on Tuesday April 3. Colm Feore will host the event, and the Orchestra will perform select works that highlight each decade in the company’s 60-year history … and how many of us made deals that last for half a century? Barbra Streisand is celebrating her upcoming 50th year with Columbia Records – her one and only label – by signing a new contract with the Sony-owned label. Only Tony Bennett has been on the label longer. Columbia will celebrate her signing by releasing a 12-set DVD which promises unprecedented access into Streisand’s professional and personal life, including never before seen footage directly from her archives. Streisand’s most recent Grammy nominated album, What Matters Most, was her 31st to reach the Top Ten.

AND NOW, THE WEEKEND WEATHER FORECAST:

Happy weekend.

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Cynthia lets her hair down, Idina rocks the symphony & Jean Dujardin is smokin’ hot

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: It’s prequel/sequel time again. AnnaSophia Robb will play the young Carrie Bradshaw in the new Sex And The City spin-off The Carrie Diaries. Ah, but will Sarah Jessica Parker narrate? Just askin.’

NIXON: at Wit's end

Speaking of SATC, Cynthia Nixon will start growing her hair again this weekend. The revival she shaved her head for, Wit, closes Saturday at the Manhattan Theatre Club, which seems to be having an unusually strong season. John Lithgow opens there next month in The Columnist, a new play about once-powerful Washington journalist Joseph Alsop from Proof  playwright David Auburn and director Daniel SullivanNick Jonas, currently knocking ‘em dead on Broadway in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, is set to guest with Debra Messing& Co. on the season finale of NBC’s

COURTNEY: son of Die Hard

Smash … Aussie actor Jai Courtney, who attracted Hollywood’s attention in the TV version of Spartacus, plays the son of John McClane (aka Bruce Willis) in the upcoming fifth installment in the Die Hard franchise … …  and new screen Spider-man Andrew Garfield makes his Broadway debut tomorrow night in Mike Nichols’ much-anticipated  revival of Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman. Garfield is playing son Biff to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Willy Loman.

DEFYING GRAVITY: Wondering why Wicked Tony Award winner Idina Menzel’s show-stopping special looked so familiar when it aired on PBS last week? It was shot right here last November at Koerner Hall, with Marvin

MENZEL: at Koerner Hall

Hamlisch conducting the 52-pierce Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. In addition to her rave-winning special, Idina Menzel: Live Barefoot At The Symphony is now a hot-ticket CD, DVD and digital download, and includes a duet with her hubby (and former Rent co-star) Taye Diggs. Ironically, it’s TV that has made Menzel and Diggs household names, on Glee and Private Practice respectively, but their big Broadway voices continue to soar  … Gordon Pinsent is back from Mexico after completing his scenes for the 3D Imax feature Flight Of The Butterflies, which just wrapped after a year of shooting.  Will the big-screen docudrama premiere at TIFF in September? Just askin’ … Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of

DUJARDIN: smoking

Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston are in T.O. today to highlight innovation and education through the arts.  First stop on their schedule is a meet-and-greet with young entrepreneurs at Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (aka “the Zone”)and new Oscar owner Jean Dujardin of The Artist has been embraced by America, and he’s clearly returning the hug. He’s now filmed a bogus pro-Smoking commercial for Funny Or Die exalting the virtues of “Dujardin Cigarettes,” sendng up his super-cool French-from-France persona. Clever, funny stuff. To see it, just click here.

NEWS ITEM: “Google is developing a home entertainment device in a move that would bring it more broadly into consumer electronics.The device is the company’s most significant venture into hardware. While the initial

TOMLIN: She's worried too

purpose of the device will be for streaming music, the eventual use could be much wider. Amazon, which began as a retailer, now makes reading devices. Apple, which originally produced only hardware, now sells content.” Uh-huh. All of which reminds me of Lily Tomlin’s great line in her classic one-woman show The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe:  “I worry that the person who thought up Muzak may be thinking up something else.”   Me too, Lily. Me too.

Marg Delahunty returns to T.O., Meryl & Julia move to Osage County and Jim makes more Mostel magic

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ:  Savvy scene-stealer Mary Walsh returns to Toronto next month in her new one-woman play, Dancing With Rage. The show, set to run March 6-31 at Theatre Passe Muraille,  incorporates both new

WALSH: Marg Delahunty returns to T.O.

and  familiar faces, most notably 22 Minutes alumni Dakey Dunn, Connie Bloor and the legendary Marg Delahunty. Walsh’s last stage stint here was almost two years ago, at the Panasonic with Andrea Martin and Louise Pitre in Love, Loss and What I Wore, directed by Karen Carpenter. Carpenter is also directing Dancing With Rage and she and Walsh still have to decide if they’ll tour the show after it closes here … Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts are set to co-star in the film version of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning August: Osage County. John Wells will direct …  the cast of Ghost will perform a sneak peek of the

STREEP & ROBERTS: Osage County gals

show on Jimmy Fallon’s late show tonight before the West End musical hit even begins its Broadway previews … and  remember Slings  & Arrows, the brilliant take-off on Stratford and its oh-so-theatrical inhabitants?  Paul GrossMartha Burns and Stephen Ouimette were sensational, and newcomers Rachel McAdams and Luke Kirby weren’t too shabby either. New York Times writer Neil Genzlinger recently suggested that NBC’s much-ballyhooed Smash should avoid dumbing down its storylines and aim higher. “The writers,” he said, “would also benefit from watching a few seasons of Slings & Arrows, a terrific backstage television series that was smart and proud of it,” he advised. Challenging viewers “to keep up, as Slings and Arrows did, is ultimately more rewarding.”

UP UP AND AWAY: On a clear you can see --- whaaa??

IF YOU GET CAUGHT BETWEEN THE SUN AND NEW YORK CITY:  It was just a publicity stunt for the new sci-fi movie Chronicle, written and directed by director John Landis’ chip-off-the-old block Max. But it sure got people talking. To see how they did it, cick here.

A BRIDGE TOO FAR: Unless you're flying over it, of course ...

NOW IS THE HOUR:  Finally caught up with Jim Brochu‘s much acclaimed performance in Zero Hour, and although I didn’t see how his one-man show could live up to its advance publicity, it easily surpassed it. In addition to being an

BROCHU as MOSTEL: brilliant

extraordinarily disciplined and gifted actor, Brochu is also a brilliant writer and storyteller who is never less than engaging, so you don’t have to be a rabid fan of Zero Mostel to be captivated by his reconstituted presence on stage. I know several long-term admirers of Mostel who have been wowed by Brochu’s tour de force, and after seeing him in action, I can certainly understand why. His personal revelations, including Mostel’s bitter estrangement from his family, are tough and touching. His backstage stories, from his account of Lucille Ball testifying to the House Committee on Un-American Activities to his palpable loathing for

HANGING OUT: Merman & Brochu at Sardi's

Broadway blabbers Elia Kazan and Jerome Robbins, are unforgettable. The Zero Mostel we prefer to remember is the lovable clown from The Producers, the madcap jester from A Funny Thing Happened Our The Way To The Forum, the Jewish patriarch who wished he was A Rich Man in Fiddler On The Roof. But Brochu is a true creature of the theatre — his caricature hangs next to Ethel Merman’s at Sardi’s — and accordingly the artist Brochu reincarnates for us has to fight to be in the spotlight. Zero only gets to star in Forum because first choice Milton Berle and second choice Phil Silvers both turn it down. And although his portrayal of Tevye is burned into the heart of Broadway memory, he was third choice for that one too. (First name on the Fiddler producers’ wish list was Danny Kaye.)

JIM BROCHU as ZERO MOSTEL in ZERO HOUR at Bathurst Street Theatre

When the curtain finally comes down — all too soon for some of us — the fact that we feel like we’ve just spent the evening with Zero Mostel, and not a carbon copy, is further testament to Brochu’s great skill as an actor. On stage here at the Bathurst Street Theatre through March 11, Zero Hour is a fascinating and formidably funny showcase for both of them. Don’t miss it.

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Shirley goes Downton, Patricia goes down that Gardens path & Kate goes from Horror to Netflix

GOIN’ TO THE ABBEY: Unsinkable movie queen Shirley MacLaine, still star-bright at 77, is packing  to leave for the U.K. and filming for the next season of Downton Abbey.  She ‘s looking forward to playing the American mother of

MACLAINE: off to the U.K.

Lady Cora Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern,) she says, because “there is sure to be a variance of opinions when you mix the staidBritish upper crust with brash American views of the 1920s.” She’s also taking her one-woman show, An Evening With Shirley MacLaine, on the road in March, with test runs in Arizona, Connecticut and New York state. But she’ll be back in Hollywood on June 7  to pick up an AFI Lifetime Achievement Award — the 40th in American Film Institute history. “2012 is off to an amazing beginning for me!” Shirley

McGOVERN: make room for momma

exclaims … Larry King will get his Lifetime Achievement Award the same month, from the 2012 Banff World Media  Festival … comedy writer Bruce Vilanch, whose light touch brightened  23 of the last 25 Oscar shows, won’t be typing backstage this year because he’s busy writing for Broadway. Also MIA this year: A  performance of Oscar-nominated songs. Producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer have voted to scrap ’em (there are only two.)  But in the nostalgic spirit of Best Picture nominees The Artist, Hugo and Midnight In Paris,  the Kodak Theater on Hollywood

MESSING: she's a Smash

Boulevard will be decorated to resemble a timeless movie theatre like the University and the Imperial and other picture palaces of old  … Liz Smith says the producers of Smash are wooing Broadway baby Lesley Ann Warren to join the cast as a Broadway diva on the comeback trail. Liz says Smash star Debra Messing would love having Warren on board, because they worked so well together on Will & Grace when Warren played Will’s father’s  dizzy mistress … and friendly fire-breathers Jim Treliving and Arlene Dickinson are teaming up to do a Dragons’ Den spin-offIn each episode of Big Decision, Treliving and Dickinson assess two struggling businesses and decide to save one company. Or both. Or neither.

OUR TOWN:  Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage launches this weekend with the world premiere of Everything Under the Moon, a collaboration by innovative performance artist Shary Boyle and songwriter Christine

WILLIAMS: NAACP nominee

Fellows. A year and a half in the making, Everything Under the Moon is reportedly their most ambitious creation to date, pairing hand-animated projected image with narrative song. An extra show has already been added next week due to bubbling ticket demand … Dave Bidini and the BidiniBand are giving a free concert as part of the SK8 festival at Harbourfront this Sunday from 2-4 pm. “Bring skates,” says the renaissance musician & writer. “The gig is just off the Natrel skating rink, and there’ll be lotsa stuff for kids and non-kids alike!” … and Second Harvest’s grassroots fundraising campaign Lunch Money Day wraps up today. Volunteers will be shaking their cans at subway stations across the city during the

RAINN: Office spin-off?

morning and evening rush hours, so  “peas give” the equivalent of what you usually spend on lunch to Second Harvest. Remember, with only $10 they can provide 20 meals! So show them that you “give a shiitake” and reward those valiant volunteers with more than just a smile.

THE WRITE STUFF: Award-winning director Patricia Rozema will take participants through her transformation of the classic Maysles Brothers documentary Grey Gardens into the hit HBO feature with Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore at the 3rd annual Toronto Screenwriting Conference on March 30-April 1. It was Rozema’s shooting script that got the green light for the movie and the Emmyv and Golden Globe

ROZEMA: Grey Gardening

awards that followed … screenwriter and novelist Ron Base, author of those wildly entertaining Sanibel Detective yarns, shares trade secrets in his equally amusing tell-almost-all blog Writing Sanibel: Or How An Old Dog Used A Unique Island and Technology to Learn New Tricks … and Hollywood-based writer-producer Kathy Slevin has launched  a new blog focused on disseminating successful actions – her own and those of other writers and producers from whom she has learned.  “Its purpose,” she explains, “is to help writers bring their work closer to the kind of product a producer needs and wants and will hopefully be the kind of resource that both find useful.” Her current posts include Secrets Of Series Creations  and How To Hook An Audience, and would-be series writers can check ‘em out right here.

STARS IN OUR EYES:  Indefatigable ReelWorld filmfest founder and director Tonya Lee Williams, who most recently received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award in Montreal, has been nominated for a

BASE: Sanibel sleuthing

2012 NAACP Image Award for her role in the long-running CBS daytime drama The Young and the Restless. The awards will be telecast live from Hollywood tomorrow night on NBC …  American Horror Story heroine Kate Mara has joined Kevin Spacey in producer David Fincher’s original Netflix series House of Cards … Paul Reubens (aka Pee Wee Herman) is set to join Kate Winslet, Nicolas Cage, Steve Carrell, Catherine Keener and Kevin Kline in Charlie Kaufman’s new flight of fantasyFrank or Francis … and Rainn Wilson is in talks to continue with his character Dwight Schrute in a spinoff of The Office.

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Soup for the soul, Maya hosts SNL, and Carol makes us so glad we have this time together

OUR TOWN  A new dance showcase opens in T.O. today with an intriguing history.  Citadel, a new centre for contemporary dance in Regent Park, was once a Salvation Army soup kitchen. The newly-renovated centre (by architects

RUDOLPH: back to her roots

Diamond + Schmitt) is the new home of dance troupe Coleman Lemieux &Compagnie and includes an 1,800 sq. foot studio/theatre for dance productions; a 900 sq. foot studio for rehearsals, pay-what-you-can yoga classes, workshops and community classes, and accommodation for visiting out-of-town artists. Citadel officially opens tomorrow night with  Les cheminements de l’influence, a world premiere solo by Laurence Lemieux in honour of her father, Quebec political scientist Vincent Lemieux … and glory-voiced Jackie Richardson and piano man Joe Sealey

RICHARDSON: Bodolai tribute

provided a stirring finale to Sunday afternoon’s celebration of writer-producer Joe Bodolai at the Young Centre. The event was deftly hosted by longtime Bodolai booster Albert Schultz. who ushered in a series of heartfelt salutes  to Bodolai’s achievements from comedy luminaries  Harry Doupe, Mark Farrell, Anna Gustafson, Ron James and Kenny Robinson. Musical charmers Cherie Camp, Geoff Kahnert and John Welsman also treated the crowd to a performance of Everything’s Gone Wrong Since I Left Mr. Right, one of the tunes Bodolai composed in his radio days.   All in all. a touching tribute to a brilliant artistic explorer who got  lost on his expedition and, tragically, never found his way home again.

FUNNY GIRL(S):  Fearless foursome Robin Duke, Jayne Eastwood, Kathryn Greenwood and Teresa Pavlinek, aka those fabulous Women Fully Clothed, are now a hit south of the border too. Last week they were deep

FEY: Super Bowl sweetheart

in the heart of Texas (and I do mean Dallas) … seasoned showstopper Sandra Shamas headlines the Feb. 25 East End Comedy Revue at the Dominion On Queen … standup ladies Martha Chaves and Laurie Elliott share the bill on this Friday night at the Flying Beaver Pubaret on Parliament … Maya Rudolph returns to her roots this weekend to host Saturday Night Live … and I gotta believe fellow SNL alumnus Tina Fey played a big part in that dazzling NBC Super Bowl commercial – and not just on screen, either. The network spot probably had a bigger budget than most Canadian films, but you can certainly see the money on the screen. If you missed it, just click here – and enjoy!

HAPPINESS IS A NEW MAGAZINE:  Intrepid funnyman Rick Mercer graces the cover of the first issue of What Makes You Happy, a

WHAT MAKES US HAPPY? This mag!

glossy good-news magazine distributed in T.O. last week to Globe & Mail subscribers. Mercer was among the honorees last weekend at the cfpdp‘s 28th annual gala, deftly hosted by CBC News anchor Suhana Meharchand at the Fairmont Royal York. (When the exhuberant crowd in the Canadian Room became too boisterous, Meharchand shushed them elegantly but firmly. “I’ve had three husbands,” she dead-panned — “I’m not afraid of you!”) King Clancy Award winner Mercer still insists he has the best job in the country. And if you’re not a Globe & Mail subscriber, you can still sample the first issue of What Makes You Happy on line, including publisher Johnny Lucas‘ entertaining  interview with Mercer, A Chip off the old Rock, right here.

LULLABYE & GOOD NIGHT: It’s her third book on the New York Times bestseller list, but this one is perfect bedtime reading – and not because it puts you to sleep. Now in paperback, Carol Burnett’s 200- page collection of anecdotes, This Time Together: Laughter And Reflection, is like a warm,

BURNETT: On the page and in person

long-awaited visit with an old friend who has finally agreed to tell you what really happened behind the scenes. Because she tells her stories in bite-size capsules, she gets to tell more than 60 of them, some of them surprisingly personal, most of them genuinely amusing, and all of them engaging. Some of the names involved in her anecdotes may surprise you, especially her close encounters with film greats Joan Crawford, John Huston, Laurence Olivier and Barbara Stanwyck. One classic story unfolds when she receives a telephone call from Martin Brando, whom she had long admired but never met. Brando had read a report in People magazine that Burnett had finally acquired something she’d always wanted: A chin. (“I had always wanted a chin. I was born with a weak one.”) An oral surgeon had added about three millimeters to her existing chin, with exceedingly pleasing results, and Burnett was back in New York when Brando called her from Los Angeles.

FLASHY FLASHBACK: The Carol Burnett Show

“Where’d you get your chin?” asked Marlon. “My chin?” said Burnett. “Yes,” said Brando. “My wife’s sister has a weak chin and wants to fix it. Where’d you get yours done?” Thus begins Burnett’s lengthy exchange with Brando, one of many great conversations in the book. As you might expect, there are some very touching moments too. When Burnett’s daughter Carrie Hamilton was in hospital, dying of cancer, one of the nurses asked her why she smiled so much. Burnett says her daughter replied, “Every day I wake up and decide: today I’m going to love my life.” Another lesson worth learning, in a heartwarming collection of stories worth reading. P.S. If you’d like to see Burnett in person, she set to do  two (2) nights of her Q&A show May 4 & 5 at Fallsview Casino in Niagara. But if I were you, I’d order those tickets sooner than later. When it comes to box office, the lady is still a champ.

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