Tag Archives: Panasonic Theatre

FOD keeps us laughing with The Hungover Games, and Meg Tilly returns to the stage in little ol’ T.O.

FUNNY OR DIE:  On Monday I told you about the new Rob Reiner-Billy Crystal sequel to When Harry Met Sally with Helen Mirren in a key romantic role. The whole thing was a gag dreamed up by Rob and Billy for Will

MIRREN: make-believe with Billy

Ferrell’s startlingly successful comedy website Funny or Die, as you could tell almost immediately after you clicked on the sneak preview. Award-laden actress Mirren, who rarely get the chance to play comedy, was clearly up for her assignment, and watching Rob and Billy’s meetings with young, trend-happy “studio executives” is priceless. If you missed Monday’s column, or by any chance took it seriously, click here for that special sneak preview of When Harry Met 

HUNGOVER GAMES: it all seems so familiar ...

Sally 2, a movie that hopefully will never get made. Nonetheless, most of today’s major movers and shakers love sending up their own careers on FOD, and FOD loves sending up the industry that spawned it. As soon as The Hunger Games was released, and even before it achieved its mammoth box office numbers, FOD was on the case. “Each year, drunk people are selected to participate in torturous games the morning after a big night out. There’s no sunglasses, no water, and no headache medicine.” Yeah, right. To see the trailer for The Hungover Games, click here. And enjoy!

RITTER: taking a flyer

CASTING ABOUT: Ex-time traveller Scott Bakula (he did it before Erin Karpluk) is headlining a new plot, Table For ThreeJimmy Fallon is exec producing a new comedy pilot about three 30-something guys who become parents despite the fact that they haven’t grown up themselves … Frances Conroy and Tovah Feldshuh are among the stars in Beautiful People, a pilot for a series in which families of mechanical human beings exist to service the human population  — until some of the mechanicals begin to “awaken”… Jason Ritter, Michael Imperioli and award-laden Broadway star Norbert Leo Butz spark County, a pilot about 
young doctors, nurses and administrators in an underfunded and morally compromising L.A. County hospital … Phylicia Rashad returns to the small

RASHAD: pilot season

screen in Do No Harm, a pilot about a brilliant neurosurgeon (Steven Pasquale) whose dangerous alter-ego threatens to wreak havoc on his personal and processional life (calling Dr. Hulk?) … and Julia Stiles plays a female FBI cult specialist who investigates the mysterious disappearance of a group commune in Alaska in Midnight Sun, a pilot based on the hit Israeli format.

NO BIZ LIKE SHOWBIZ:  NHL All-Star Theo Fleury and actress Carmen Moore (Arctic Air) host the 19th Annual National Aboriginal Achievement Awards tonight on Global and APTN …  Jimmy Smits has signed on for a season of FX’s celebrated Sons

TILLY: on stage in T.O.

of Anarchy, and not as a cop. He’ll be playing a gang member … Bruce McDonald is set to personally introduce Hard Core Logo II, his long-awaited follow-up to his cult classic mock-doc Hard Care Logo, tonight at TIFF Bell Lightbox … Theatre Sheridan’s rave-garnering production of Rent has been held over even before it opens! The TS production, now set to open May 16 at the Panasonic Theatre, was originally booked to close on May 27 but will now run through June 3. To order tickets, click here … and Meg Tilly, so terrific in Global’s Bomb Girls series, returns to the stage this month at the Tarragon in a revival of the Michel Tremblay classic The Real World?  — which originally premiered at Tarragon almost 25 years ago. The stellar cast assembled by director Richard Rose also features Matthew Edison, Cara Gee, Sophie Goulet, Tony Nappo, Cliff Saunders and Jane Spidell, and previews start April 24. Click here for tickets. And have a great weekend.

*     *     *


Advertisements

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!

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.

*     *     *


The more the merrier as stars bring sunshine to Leacock sketches — and to Toronto stages too

Okay — where was I? Oh yes, I remember. Taking a break from blogging. Apparently that’s over now.

EVERYBODY’S TALKING:  And no wonder — the first glimpses of CBC’s big Sunday night movie, Sunshine Sketches Of A Little Town, look sumptuous. And I admit it — I’m a sucker for an all-star cast. Not that the producers, Alliance

HENNESSY & PINSENT: Mother & Son

Atlantis alumni Michael MacMillan and Seaton McLean, had much trouble reeling them in. “One of the best screenplays I’ve ever read,” says leading lady Jill Hennessy. Ms Hennessy,  currently on screen wrangling Dustin Hoffman on HBO’s new series Luck, clearly loved every minute of the summer shoot, as did Gordon Pinsent, who plays her son. (Yes. Really. You’ll have to watch it to find out.) Pinsent, who starts shooting a new movie in Mexico next week, describes it as “one of those rare filming experiences when we couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning.” Then again, Hennessy and Pinsent were

KHANIJAN: on stage

keeping some very good company. Among the stellar marquee names bringing Stephen Leacock‘s classic comedy drama to life are Keshia Chante, Sean Cullen, Ron James, Peter Keleghan, Debra McGrath, Patrick McKenna, Colin Mochrie, Eric Peterson, Leah Pinsent, Caroline Rhea, Rick Roberts and Michel Therriault. Get those PVRs warmed up, folks — this one sounds like a keeper.

TALKING THE TALK: Ryerson Theatre Club devotees were among the hundreds of floodlights fans at Tuesday’s performance of Cruel And Tender  at the Bluma Appel. After their stunning 90 minute tour-de-force, stars Arsinée Khanijan and Daniel Kash joined their director Atom Egoyanin the theater lobby for a 15-minute Q&A with interested audience members. How interested were they? Theater Club reps had to call a halt after 40 minutes, but some folks still hung

BROCHU: return engagement

around just long enough to meet Egoyan and share their take on his production of Martin Crimp’s reimagined Greek tragedy. The hypnotic drama runs through next Saturday Feb. 18 … Jim Brochu has returned with his celebrated salute to Zero Mostel, Zero Hour, directed by Piper Laurie (yes, that Piper Laurie) … and no, his reviews this time ’round were not exactly love letters, but clearly Ronnie Burkett’s audiences disagree. Factory Theatre has added six more performances of the marionette master’s new show, Penny Plain, with tickets now available through March 4 … meanwhile, Robert LePage’s Blue Dragon continues to dazzle at the Royal Alex, In The Heights continues to rock North York at the Toronto Centre For The Arts, War Horse opens tonight at the Princess Of Wales and Potted Potter opens tomorrow night at the Panasonic. Talk about an embarrassment of theatrical riches!

COMEBACKS: Great news for those of us who missed them first time ‘round — two rave-winning theatrical events are set to return to our town. Kim’s Convenience, the runaway hit by Soulpepper Academy alumnus Ins Choi, wraps up its current run this weekend but will be back May 17-June 9. And yes,

DUNCAN: showstopper

it’s a good idea to order your tickets now. As you may recall, the play about a Regent Park Korean convenience store was the sleeper hit of the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival … and the National Ballet will launch its 2012-2013 season with the return of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Christopher Wheeldon on November 10–25. A co-production with England’s Royal Ballet, Alice was an SRO smash when it premiered here last year. And yes, it’s a good idea to order those tickets now too … meanwhile, stage and screen showstopper Arlene Duncan, so endearing as the unsinkable Fatima in Little Mosque On The Prairie, is winning standing Os nightly at the Berkeley Street Theatre. Ms Duncan is the crown jewel in Caroline, Or Change, the latest theatrical gem from the phenomenal Acting Up stage company. CanStage and Acting Up added one more show of the musical last night to accommodate public demand, but all 25 scheduled performances sold out so quickly that surely an encore should be considered? And soon, please?

COTE: Lost In Motion

SEE/HEAR:  National Ballet star dancer Guillaume Côté is the latest hot ticket on YouTube with his  stunning short film Lost in Motion. Directed by Ben Shirinian and choreographed by Guillaume, the three-minute film really is something to see — even if it makes you want to join a gym before it ends. The high-flying M’sieu Côté will be performing with Kings of the Dance in Manhattan February 24–27  — d”ya suppose he made that video just to freak ’em out? — before returning to star in Sleeping Beauty, March 10–18, 2012, and The Seagull, March 21–25, 2012. Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen Lost In Motion yet, you don’t have to take my word for it — just click here. And enjoy!

*     *     *

Stratford gets Sean, Montreux gets a Weather forecast, PBS gets Ethan’s Time Machine and a Legend gets an Ella

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: Visiting New Yorker Jake Ehrenreich winds down his love affair with Toronto this week as A Jew Grows In Brooklyn closes Sunday night at the

DAY: Legend

Panasonic … honorary co-chairs Elton John and Quincy Jones will present Natalie Cole with the 19th Ella award on June 1 at the Beverly Hilton. But I’ll bet Elton, Quincy and Natalie are all secretly dying to meet the normally reclusive songbird who’s taking home this year’s Legend award: The one and only Doris Day… Vibes legend Peter Appleyard will bring his magic to Campbellford, ON this summer with an Aug. 1 Westben concert at The Barn … showbiz wunderkind Ted Dykstra directs the Soulpepper revival of David French‘s backstage comedy Jitters, opening June 24 … Sean Cullen returns to Stratford this summer in King Of Thieves, esteemed playwright

CULLEN: thieving

George F. Walker’s take on The Beggar’s Opera … and ya gotta love the title of west coast artist Ron Terada‘s new show, opening this weekend at the Banff Centre. He calls it Who I Think I Am.

GLOBAL SWARMING: The oh-so-lively Dead Weather, the alternative-riffs band formed by Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs) and Alison Mosshart (The Kills) are now set to rock the Miles Davis Hall on July 3 at the 44th annual Montreux Jazz Festival. The band’s new album, Sea of Cowards, dropped earlier this month … can’t help wondering if any of those comely 20-somethings cheering Harry Connick Jr.’s version of And I Love Her on American Idol last week knew he was singing a Beatles song? … and speaking of The Beatles, their stereo boxed set, released last September, has been certified Diamond in Canada by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA).

BERMAN: at UCLA this week

The boxed set is the first CD release since October 2007 to be certified Diamond in Canada, which means The Beatles now have more certified Diamond albums in Canada than any other group or non-Canadian artist.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Oscar-winning filmmaker Brigitte Berman is set to premiere her doc on Hugh Hefner, with Hef in attendance, in Hollywood this Thursday at the Billy Wilder Theatre at UCLA … Kylie Minogue’s new single All The Lovers will be released at the end of June, one week before her new studio album Aphrodite drops a week later on July 6 … 10-year-old piano virtuoso and showman Ethan Bortnick is set to razzle-dazzle ’em at the PBS National Convention in Austin, Texas next week, all to promote his sizzling upcoming Musical Time Machine special with Gloria Gaynor, Arturo Sandoval and the Canadian Tenors … and Dynamic Double Exposure duo Bob Robertson & Linda Cullen have launched a naughty new website which features, among other things, a somewhat flatulent beaver. To check out the latest 2X shenanigans, just click here.

TOMORROW:

Get out your calendars!

Russell gets Cannes, Leah gets yoga, Jeff gets on stage, Brenda gets new Shoes, and Rick gets Rideau Hall??

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: First it was all those enthusiastic fans who launched that Rick Mercer For Prime Minister campaign. Recently it was Toronto Star sportswriter

ALLEN: next month in Niagara

Randy Starkman who proposed that, due to Mercer’s unflagging support of our amateur athletes, Canada should make him an honorary Olympian.  Last weekend legendary Montréal Gazette editorial cartoonist Aislin proposed yet another new role for Mercer, as our next Governor General. Where was Mercer when Aislin’s creative comment was published? Hiding out at one of 007’s favorite haunts in the Bahamas, enjoying some well-earned post-season R&R and trading sunburn remedies with fellow resort-dweller Paul McCartney.  Meanwhile, to see Aislin’s clever cartoon, just click here …. funnyman Tim Allen and SNL alumnus Joe Piscopo are both set for two-night stints at Fallsview Casino next month …  Al Pacino’s reportedly eyebrow-raising portrayal of Dr. Jack Kervorkian premieres this coming Saturday night on HBO Canada … crowd-pleaser Christian Potenza has just launched his own YouTube Channel … Brenda Hoffert’s new photography exhibit, Shoes, opens April 30 at Gallery 888 on Queen Street in Leslieville

TRAVIS: looking for heroes

Thursday night headliners Ken Lindsay and Mark Cassius surprised fans at Fuzion last week by switching roles for The Nearness Of You. While ex-Nylon Cassius caressed the ivories (the ivories loved it,) piano man Lindsay delivered the vocal … terminally gorgeous screen siren Leah Pinsent has signed up for a double fitness marathon of yoga and high-energy Zumba Fitness sessions on April 25 at the 2nd annual Yoga in Motion at the Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex. The award-winning actress is fund-raising in support of breast cancer research at Mount Sinai Hospital. For more info, click hereModern Family scene-stealer Ty Burrell is reportedly set to star opposite Jennifer Garner in her new romantic comedy Butter … and the biggest buzz-du-jour in TV circles is Debbie Travis’ new prime-time show – her first for CBC.

CROWE: heading for Cannes

Especially fascinating is her current search for local heroes. If you know someone you believe deserves to be recognized for his/her service to your community, don’t keep it a secret – just click here!

FLICKERS: Okay, don’t get me wrong, I realize that director Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe are one of filmdom’s most dynamic duos. First there was Gladiator, then A Good Year (hey, nobody’s perfect,) then American Gangster with Denzel Washington and then Body Of Lies withLeonardo DiCaprio.  All in all, pretty good stuff.  But did I expect their new collaboration, Robin Hood – yes, that Robin Hood – to be invited to open this year’s Cannes Film Festival? Nope. Which strongly suggests

EHRENREICH: Grow-ing concern

that this Robin Hood must really be something to see … and Toronto’s fast-approaching Hot Docs filmfest will celebrate springtime by presenting three special open-air screenings in its new Rooftop Docs series. The annual marathon of documentary films will take over the top tier of the Citipark Cumberland Garage in Yorkville on Thursday May 6, Friday May 7 and Saturday May 8, presenting film screenings and live music, with locally brew courtesy of Steamwhistle Breweries and free popcorn courtesy of Whole Foods Market. For more info, click here.

FOOTLIGHTS: First Ken Gass directs the much-anticipated return of George F. Walker’s hit comedy Featuring Loretta, opening May 1 at the Factory Theatre. Then the

SEYMOUR: on stage in June

theatre world gathers to celebrate Factory’s big birthday with a 40th Anniversary Gala on May 10. And yes, tickets are still available. For more info, click here … David Mirvish is set to premiere Jake Ehrenreich‘s now-fabled  stage production A Jew Grows In Brooklyn at the Panasonic Theatre on April 28  … after winning glowing reviews in L.A. for both his direction and his performance, Jeff Seymour is set to co-star with Len Lesser (a.k.a. Uncle Leo on Seinfeld) in Ronald Ribman’s Cold Storage, on stage for 10 performances only, June 1-11 at the George Ignatieff Theatre … how do you attract attention for a new play without a big ad/pub budget? Bobby Del Rio is garnering eyeballs with an intriguing movie-style trailer for his new theatrical venture, The Market, now set to open in T.O. next month. To sample his stage wares on video, click here .

And have a great week!

-/-