Tag Archives: Patrick McKenna

Jennifer plays Winnie, Sheila plays Halifax, Rick plays Rideau Hall — and stars coax us into the cold

STARS IN OUR EYES: Grammy showstopper Jennifer Hudson continues to prove herself as an actress as well as a singer. She and Terence Howard shine as Winnie & Nelson Mandela in the fascinating biopic Winnie, one of

HUDSON & HOWARD: As Winnie and Nelson Mandela in new biopic "Winnie"

the celluloid treats selected for the 12th annual Floating Film Festival. The FFF, launched by TIFF co-founder Dusty Cohl two decades ago and now captained by filmmaker Barry Avrich, embarks on a 10-day Caribbean odyssey on Monday Feb. 27 – the day after the Oscars – on the Seabourn Sojourn. More on FFF 12 as it happens …  Rachel McAdams and her main squeeze Michael Sheen are having a lovely Valentine’s Day, thanks for asking. McAdams’ film with Channing Tatum, The Vow, is number one at the box office, and Sheen is now set to star in the Showtime pilot Masters of Sex …  triumphant trio Russell Braun, Krisztina Szabo and Erin Wall, the three great voices who spark the current,

McADAMS: Happy February

theatrically dazzling Canadian Opera Company production of Love From Afar, won’t be sitting around after the controversial extravaganza closes on Feb. 22. Ms. Szabo is already set to perform with conductor Alex Pauk at the Esprit Orchestra event Gripped By Passion at Koerner Hall on Feb. 26 .And  her co-stars Braun and Wall are set to team up again in Ottawa in a new production of Carmina Burana March 8-9 at the National Arts Centre … and dynamic duo Jay Leno & Madonna teamed up to promote his Tonight Show with a delightfully snappy SuperBowl commercial I finally caught up with yesterday. Did you miss it too? Here it is. Enjoy!

PRESENT LAUGHTER: Montreal’s phenomenal Just For Laughs comedy festival celebrates its 30th anniversary (!!!) this year July 12-29, after warming up with a six-night stand in Chicago June 12-17 … a new cartoon-for-the-mind

JOHNSTON & MERCER: Rideau Hall playdate

podcast from those wacky Illustrated Men is set in the mythical town of Monogami, Ontario.  In the first episode Sam and Ella Toad move to Monogami to make a new start; some kids out camping spot a UFO; and alien bounty hunters land. Will Sam’s car get towed by zombies? You’ll have to tune in to find out …  stand-up guy Harry Doupe hosts Everyone’s A Winner, the March 9 all-star comedy fundraiser at Second City in support of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League with smile-makers  Sean Cullen, Tim Steeves, Laurie Elliott, Pete Zedlacher and many more … Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are set to play two middle-aged guys starting over as interns at an internet company in the Shawn Levy comedy Interns … and Rick Mercer finally gets a taste of the high life he’s been missing when he hobnobs with new Governor-General David Johnston at Rideau Hall tonight on CBC’s Rick Mercer Report.

McCARTHY & NICHOLSON: on stage in Halifax

FOOTLIGHTS: Stage and screen lioness Sheila McCarthy is back on the boards at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, garnering glowing notices in Norm Foster’s new comedy Mrs. Parliament’s Night Out with J. D. Nicholson. McCarthy is also set to co-star in  Lost In Yonkers with Linda Kash, David Eisner and Happy Days legend Marion Ross when the Neil Simon classic opens here in May   … Graham Abbey of The Border TV fame

BALABAN: Back at Theatre Passe Muraille

is also collecting kudos for his stage turn with Barry Flatman in the Canadian premiere of Enron, directed by Antoni Cimolino at Theatre Calgary … Divisadero: a performance, adapted by Michael Ondaatje from his Governor General Award-winning novel and directed by Daniel Brooks, is back at Theatre Passe Muraille for a limited run through Sunday Feb. 26. The production reunites the original cast of Liane Balaban, Maggie Huculak, Tom McCamus, Amy Rutherford and Justin Rutledge, who created music specifically for the piece …  and Allan Hawco and Philip Riccio’s ambitious Company Theatre has announced its next production. Speaking In Tongues, by Andrew Bovell, will be directed by Riccio and play the Berkeley Street Theatre Oct. 29-Nov. 24. Will Riccio load the dice with lotsa star power? Stay tuned.

TENNANT: On a MIssion

DEEP FREEZE: Some of our faviourite stars are urging us to come into the cold. And their message is definitely on point. “Come freeze your butt off on February 25, 2012 with Yonge Street Mission on the coldest night of the year! It is a 5k and 10k non-competitive walk in the frigid cold for the hurting, homeless and hungry. Sign up as an individual or a team today. If you can’t join us that night, consider donating!” Sparklies askng us to participate via a very engaging vimeo include Maria Del Mar, Peter Keleghan, Debra McGrath, Patrick McKenna, Mark McKinney, Colin Mochrie, Leah Pinsent, Veronica Tennant and, still wearing his Stephen Leacock moustache, Gordon Pinsent. To see it, just click here.

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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!

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Toronto gets Broadway’s Dr. Frankenstein, and Ms Smith’s wisdom falls on glamorous but deaf ears

BROADWAY BABIES: He’s so good in Desperate Housewives that we sometimes forget that it was Roger Bart who originated the title role of the

BART: T.O.-bound

sexually deprived, spiky-haired Young Frankenstein on Broadway in 2007. Good news is, he’s set to reprise his star turn when the Mel Brooks musical opens in Toronto next spring. And coming with him are two of his Great White Way co-stars, Shuler Hensley as the Monster and Cory English as Igor …  Liza’s at the Palace, a recording of Liza Minnelli‘s most recent show as it was performed at the MGM Grand’s Hollywood Theatre in Las Vegas, will be broadcast as a 60-minute special on PBS

USHKOWITZ: back to Broadway?

stations this month. A DVD version of the full two-hour production will be available on February 2 … former Spring Awakening star Jenna Ushkowitz, currently playing Tina on the hit FOX-TV series Glee, says she still dreams of returning to Broadway in a revival of Miss Saigon. “And I’ve been pushing and pushing to be seen for the film version, too!” … and here’s one for your Daytimers: The indefatigable Elaine Stritch officially returns to soignée saloons January 5 – 30, with a new show titled At Home at the Carlyle: Elaine Stritch Singin’ Sondheim.

JAMES: New Year's Eve

NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS: The Toronto Banjo Band headlines this year’s annual King Township Historical Society concert this Friday at 7:30 PM at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in King City. For reservations, call 905-841-5048 or 905-833-3324 … Ballets de Monte-Carlo and the Monaco Dance Forum next week open a seven-month salute to the 100th anniversary of Ballet Russes. The festivities run Dec. 2009 thru July 2010 in Monaco … shhhh, it’s a secret, but there may be some seats still available for the taping of the Ron James’ New Year’s Eve Special, tomorrow and Friday at 7 p.m. at the CBC.  Special guest stars include Gemini

SMITH: advisor to the stars

Award winners Peter Keleghan, whose new CBC-TV series 18 To Life bows in January, and Patrick McKenna. To become part of the live studio audience, contact tickets@enterthepicture.com … and Manhattan gossip girl Liz Smith says she was surprised to see herself in the December issue of Glamour magazine. Go to page 86, she says, and “you’ll see me giving unwanted advice to A-listers like Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Mariah Carey and Madonna. None of these big stars will read or take my advice, of course. Never mind! … I gave it.”  Attagirl!

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Nominations for the 10th Annual Canadian Independent Music Awards – “The Indies” – are now open. Submissions are being

KIM: Christmas with friends

accepted through The Indie Awards website at http://www.indies.ca, as well as through Sonicbids at http://www.sonicbids.com/indies2010 until December 15, The awards will be handed out on Saturday, March 13, 2010 in Toronto as part of Canadian Music Week.  For additional eligibility requirements, voting procedures and a complete list of award categories, click here ... Kim Mitchell, Divine Brown, Broken Social Scene and The Beauties (a.k.a. Now magazine’s Top Indy Band Of The Year) have all signed on to spread musical cheer at the fifth annual Andy Kim Christmas Show on Dec. 9 at The MOD Club. All Proceeds will benefit the Regent Park School Of Music. Call Ticketmaster to

MARSHAK: only A Matter Of Time

reserve your seats now … and at long last, veteran showstopper Judy Marshak has finally released her first album, A Matter Of Time, and as expected, it’s a musical bonbon to savour. Marshak brings a unique interpretation to tunes by Harold Arlen, Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman, but the real revelation is the calibre of her lyrical collaborations with John Alcorn, including the title track (not to be confused with the John Kander-Fred Ebb song created for the 1976 Vincente Minnelli film of the same name.) Add such top-of-the-heap musicians as Rob Piltch, Marc Rogers, Denis Keldie, Guido Basso and Davide Direnzo, and your ears will thank you for listening. To sample some of the Marshak’s musical magic, just click here.

TOMORROW:

Emilio shows his dad The Way,

and Jason & Carly indulge in some hot text

Need a hand raising funds for a good cause? First, pick up the phone. Then, thank (y)our lucky Stars!

OUR TOWN: Is there any other business whose highest-profile members donate their talents so often and so freely? And no, this isn’t a quiz. The answer is

MacDONALD: Laughing Like Crazy

MacDONALD: Laughing Like Crazy

No. And when our stars go into support mode, they give it all they’ve got. Which is why you should know that seasoned smile-maker Mike MacDonald, a guy who always puts the ‘fun’ back in fund-raiser, returns to T.O. this weekend to headline Laughing Like Crazy, a benefit for the Mood Disorder Association of Ontario. Another amusing fellow, Second City alumnus Patrick McKenna hosts the Saturday night event at the Panasonic Theatre. For tickets, click here … and yes, it’s a much smaller venue than the stadiums he usually plays, but Russell Peters will return to host the annual Gilda’s Club benefit, It’s Always Something, on Nov. 23

CARVER: Songs to celebrate

CARVER: Songs to celebrate

at the Princess Of Wales. To order tickets, click here … and what do Brent Carver, Michael Burgess, Bruce Dow, Ted Dykstra, Melanie Doane, Theresa Tova, Adam Brazier, Sharron Matthews, Avery Saltzman, Aaron Walpole, Elicia MacKenzie (Maria in The Sound Of Music) and cast members from Jersey Boys all have in common? They’re all performing in Songs & Celebration, a November fundraiser for the Harold Green Jewish Theatre company hosted by Colin Mochrie and Deb McGrath. For more information, and to order tickets, just click here.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Dancap chief Aubrey Dan is honourary chair of the third annual Bright Lights Of Broadway scholarship

PARSONS: coming to T.O.

PARSONS: coming to T.O.

fundraiser at the Carlu on Oct. 28 …Cheyenne Jackson, currently providing the swoon quotient for the Broadway revival of Finian’s Rainbow, will be moonlighting this season in a guest stint on 30 Rock, playing the new cast member Alec Baldwin wants Tina Fey to hire … who’da thunk it? Tie Domi is surprisingly fast on his feet in CBC’s current Battle Of The Blades competition. Can’t wait to watch him trip the light fantastic tonight with Rick Mercer on the Rick Mercer Report … and Oscar winner Estelle Parsons (remember Bonnie & Clyde?) reprises her praise-winning Broadway turn as Violet, the matriarch from hell, when Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning drama August:

DOMI & MERCER: on ice tonight

DOMI & MERCER: on ice tonight

Osage County opens here next month  for a limited 10-night run.

WOT’S IN A NAME: A new reality show on BBC America features an imperious retail consultant Mary Portas — “What I don’t know about shops isn’t worth knowing” – who attempts to bring elegance to one tacky clothing store each episode. The name of the series? Mary Queen Of Shops … and the new Monty Python series that launched in the U.S. last weekend has a great title too: Monty Python: Almost The Truth (The Lawyer’s Cut.) Episode titles for the six-part IFC

PYTHON: Almost the truth

PYTHON: Almost the truth

series, appropriately sponsored by Beefeater gin, are equally engaging, e.g., The Not-So-Exciting Beginnings, The Much Funnier Second Episode and The Last Episode Ever … For Now. Don’t know why I’m surprised; who else would dub their electronic home base Monty Python’s Completely Useless Website? In any case, Python devotees are already waiting for the DVD to come out do they can add it to their collection, but the good news is that Bravo! will premiere the series in Canada, starting this Saturday at 9 pm. So don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

MAPLE LEAF JOKES? WE’VE GOT A MILLION OF ‘EM!:

Q: What do the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Argonauts and the Toronto Blue Jays all have in common besides being based in Toronto ?
A.
None of them can play hockey.

TOMORROW: All about GLEE.

-/-