Tag Archives: PAUL GROSS

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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… now, where was I?

Oh, right, I was telling you that By George was about to take a two-week hiatus.

That was in November 2009, as I recall.

CRYSTAL: sorely missed

And as I recall, I was planning on getting right back to you. Until I dropped my calendar. And by the time I picked it up again I was already … well … distracted, you might say. First by the holiday season, and then by those golden winter games  now known as the Canadian Olympics, and then by the 82nd annual Academy Awards, which was almost as much fun as a meat-packing convention. Have the Oscar ever been such a predictable mirror of the previously-distributed Golden Globe and SAG Awards? Were you as surprised as Sandra Bullock was when she won?  And should we start a petition right now to draft Billy Crystal back to host the frequently less-than-enchanting evening? Let’s face it, we’re finally at the point where the show doesn’t work without him.

BURNS: Eligible for cloning?

Meanwhile, in yet another 40th season triumph for Ken Gass‘ Factory Theatre, frankly fabulous playwright George F. Walker has written, directed and opened another hit play, And So It Goes, with riotously riveting performances by Martha Burns and Peter Donaldson, both of whom should be immediately cloned so we can feast on their work until we start taking them for granted, which God willing will be Never. Burns and Donaldson are so consistently brilliant that merely attenpting to describe them makes me run out of adjectives. And yes, I own a Thesaurus.

You’d think all that might make their respective mates insecure, except their respective mates are kinda busy. Ms. Burns’ hubby Paul Gross, about to be seen on the big screen in the new western spoof Gunless, is hard at work prepping

McCARTHY: Back in the Mosque

the first season of the TV spin-off of his hit movie Men With Brooms for CBC Television. Donaldson’s mater, award-laden gamin Sheila McCarthy, who co-starred with him as one of the dynamic romantic duos on the three-hanky Love Letters special, is busy shooting a new season of Little Mosque On The Prairie for CBC and a whole mess of other channels all over the world.

P.S.: And So It Goes closed its premiere run on March 6. Will it be back? Count on it. And count the days ’til you can see it again — or better still, for the very first time.

And while we’re on the subject of footlights, that new buzz on Broadway is the sound of box office cash registers ringing. And not without reason. TV lions Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace) and Tony Shaloub (Monk) are

HARPER: as Bankhead on B'way

sharing the stage with Justin Bartha (The Hangover) for the Broadway revival of Lend Me A Tenor, directed by veteran stage and screen-stealer Stanley Tucci … four-time Emmy winner Valerie Harper is tearing up the Great Light Way as legendary drug-addled actress Tallulah Bankhead in Matthew Lombardo‘s new comedy, Looped, based on historic incident and gossip surrounding La Bankhead’s final film … good news for Christopher Walken fans. He’s back on Broadway, starring with Sam Rockwell in the world premiere of Martin McDonagh‘s new play, A Behanding In Spokane. And no, I don’t know what that means either …Alfred Molina, so good as Carey Mulligan’s dad in An Education, is back on Broadway, reprising his role in the hit London thriller Red. Luminato-bound John Malkovich is already set for the screen

EDNA: nothing like a Dame

version … and talk about yer dynamic duos! Dame Edna [a.k.a. Barry Humphries] and cabaret prince Michael Feinstein are rocking Broadway with a new two-hander cunningly called All About Me. “One megastar, one gigastar, a 12 piece orchestra, more than 40 songs, and 22 ladies lavatories!” And yes, Edna and Michael also persuaded Christopher Durang to help them shampoo their libretto … also wooing New York visitors: Come Fly Away, a new dance musical by Twyla Tharp showcasing the music and the voice of Frank Sinatra in what its fans proclaim as “the most romantic evening on Broadway!” … and one of the most intriguing new entries, Million Dollar Quartet, is a new musical based on a 1956 meeting of Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley. “They came together to make music. They ended up making history.” Sounds like a lot of fun to me.

TOMORROW:

Wassup with film folk George Clooney, Taylor Lautner & Matt Damon.

-/-

Josh plays Brahms, Doug plays on Twitter and Red Green & Strombo play Vancouver’s Comedy Fest

MAKE ‘EM LAUGH, MAKE ‘EM LAUGH: She was in the theatre when it happened. Funny lady Joy Behar of The View reports that a cell phone went off

CRAIG: It's for you

CRAIG: It's for you

during a performance of the new Broadway play A Steady Rain with Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. What happened? “Craig stopped talking and said, ‘wanna get that?’” But despite the detour she said she loved the play. “The play was great. Two hotties with acting chops!” … Tom Arnold (a.k.a. Rosanne’s ex) and Red Green (a.k.a Steve Smith) host the Best Of The Fest galas coming up this weekend at the Vancouver Comedy Fest. Arnold hosts the first gala this Friday night with Andy Dick, John Dore, Tim Rykert and more, and Possum Lodge proprietor Green hosts the second gala Saturday night with Derek Edwards, Glen Foster, Peter Kelamis, Mike MacDonald and more.

GREEN: in B.C.

GREEN: in B.C.

Meanwhile, George Stroumboulopoulos hosts the Saturday Edge Of The Fest gala with Picnicface, Garfunkle & Oates, and more. (They sure do get interesting acts out west!) … and remember when Jeremy Piven abruptly left the Broadway revival of David Mamet’s Speed-The-Plow because of mercury poisoning from eating too much sushi? While lawsuits flew back and forth, playwright Mamet was asked why Piven had jumped ship. “I believe he left to pursue a new career,” said Mamet, “as a thermometer.”

Now that’s funny.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR: Novelist and man-about-art Doug Coupland tore back a fingernail at Heathrow recently and asked security if they had nail clippers he could borrow. “They had a bucket filled with 5,000

COUPLAND: Twitterbug

COUPLAND: Twitterbug

clippers,” he reports. (So that’s where they go.) Meanwhile, after trying a Klondike ice-cream bar for breakfast one morning, he now finds he can’t do without them. “I really have become addicted to Klondike bars for breakfast… they’re like square frozen bowls of cereal — they’re practically vitamins.” Coupland also posts the most intriguing videos on Twitter. Have you seen the time-lapse video of the new Dubai Metro where the ‘train’ ends up going 800 mph? And no, I’m not making this up. For further proof, just click here.

SEPTEMBER SONGS: Toronto Symphony Orchestra kicks off its new season tomorrow night when conductor Peter Oundjian welcomes Joshua Bell for

FEORE: with TSO

FEORE: with TSO

an evening of Brahms. Marquee showstoppers set to appear with the TS this season include Peter Appleyard, Russell Braun, Measha Brueggergosman, the Canadian Brass, Sir Andrew Davis, James Ehnes, Barbara Hannigan, Evgeny Kissin, Anton Kuerti, Erich Kunzel, Lang Lang, Kent Nagano, Itzhak Perlman, Michael Schade, Pinchas Zukerman and stage and screen lions Colm Feore and Paul Gross. To sample the upcoming season, and order tickets, just click here.

TOMORROW:

What are doing Jesus and Norah Jones doing on the same CD?

-/-

500 channels, and not a single show I want to see. (Yeah, yeah, we know, awreddy!!

Wishing you could get away from reruns? 

 

HEATON: sans Raymond

HEATON: sans Raymond

Lots of new shows are coming our way from our next-door neighbours. But hey — be careful what you wish for.

 Accidentally On Purpose is a new CBS sitcom in which Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg) plays a film critic who gets pregnant after having a one-night stand and decides to raise the baby as a single mother. (I know, I know – hilarious.) Brothers is a new Fox sitcom starring Michael Strahan as a retired NFL star who is reunited with his brother whose promising football career ended because of a car accident. (Hey, the laffs just keep coming!) Modern Family is a new ABC sitcom written

GRAMMER: new series

GRAMMER: new series

 and produced by Christopher Lloyd and Steve Levitan about three different families seen through the lens of a Dutch documentary filmmaker and his crew (think The Office with accents and Married With Children anti-hero Ed O’Neill,) Cougar Town, exec produced by Courtney Cox Arquette, casts Friends alumnus Courtney as a divorced 40-year-old woman with a 17-year-old son and a 26-year-old lover. (Yup — problems ensue.) Patricia Heaton’s new ABC sitcom, sans Raymond, is The Middle, Her character, a car dealer salesperson, “is middle class in the middle of the country and approaching middle age.” And Hank is a new ABC sitcom, exec produced by Kelsey Grammer, who plays a washed-up Wall Street executive who is forced to return to his hometown and reconnect with his old friends. (James Burrows directed the pilot that got the green light. This is a good thing.)

GROSS: devilish

GROSS: devilish

New hour-long dramas set to go head-to-toe with Jay Leno’s new nightly gabfest include The Beautiful Life, exec-produced for CW by twitterbug Ashton Kutcher, about a group of young male and female would-be models in New York. with Elle Macpherson and Mischa Barton. The CBS drama Three Rivers with Julia Ormond tells the backstory of organ donors and their lucky (sometimes) recipients. NBC is in the medical mix too, with Trauma, about first responder paramedics. “When emergencies occur, the

MARGULIES:  Good Wife

MARGULIES: Good Wife

 trauma team from San Francisco General is first on the scene.” Jerry Bruckheimer’s new ABC drama The Forgotten spotlights a group of amateur sleuths who take on John/Jane Doe cases to identify the victims so that they can bring their killers to justice. And Joseph Fiennes gets madly mixed up with quantum physics in ABC’s FlashForward,

Classiest of all fhe new drama entries: The new Tony & Ridley Scott venture, The Good Wife, with Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth and Christine Baranski; Parenthood, a “contemporary re-imagining” of the hit Steve Martin film, exec produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, with: Bonnie Bedelia, Peter Krause and Craig T. Nelson; and Eastwick, a shot at re-spinning the hit flick Witches Of Eastwick, with angelic leading man Paul Gross inheriting Jack Nicholson’s devilish role.

Now that should be something to see!

-/-

A passion for Passchendaele

DUE NORTH: The Genie Awards are still three weeks away, but Paul Gross already knows he’s a winner. His remarkable Passchendaele has won the 2009 Golden Reel Award for most popular Canadian film of 2008, grossing (you should pardon the pun) more than $4.4 million in domestic box office receipts.

GROSS: golden

GROSS: golden

And when the Canadian Academy hands out the awards on Saturday April 4 in Ottawa, Gross — who wrote the script, directed the movie, starred as the protagonist and co-produced the epic World War I saga with Niv Fichman, Frank Siracusa and Francis Damberger — still has a crack at collecting another half dozen statuettes, because Passchendaele has been nominated for another six Genie Awards.

Also celebrating this week: Yves-Christian Fournier, winner of this year’s Claude Jutra Award for his directorial debut of Tout Est Parfait/Everything Is Fine, which has garnered no less than seven, count ‘em, seven Genie nominations.

* * *

GIRL TALK: Only three episodes in and Joan Rivers’ all-girl team has now trounced bad boy Dennis Rodman’s all-boy team three times in a row on this season’s Celebrity Apprentice.

Yes, the fellas are falling like flies. First it was Andrew Dice Clay, who was almost voted off by his own team until Donald Trump saved them the trouble and fired him, After the second show  Olympic skating champ Scott Hamilton got sacked by The Donald, and the only Canadian challenger, Tom Green, got the axe last Sunday night.

BRODERICK: brainy?

BRODERICK: brainy?

As much as she enjoyed her victory, Rivers says she was sorry to see them go. “Scott Hamilton,” she reports, “is someone I like a lot — a true gentleman.” As for Tom, “I like him more and more. If you cut through, he’s very smart.”

One of her teammates is brainy Playboy playmate Brande Roderick, who proved a great asset on their first outing.

“Brande seems very nice, but controlled,” says La Rivers. “Boy oh boy is she gorgeous. And I am very impressed that she can count above 20 wearing closed-toe shoes.”

Really?

“No, no, Brande is actually very smart … for a Playboy bunny. However they only put her in months that are easy to spell … May, June, July … “

Any tips on next Sunday night’s free-for-all?

“Yeah – keep your eye on ‘Mr. Nice Guy, Clint Black.”

* * *

SILVER: screen-stealer

SILVER: screen-stealer

ABSENT FRIENDS:  He was a veteran scene-stealer on stage and screen, from Speed-The-Plow to West Wing. But my favourite Ron Silver performance was in Sidney Lumet’s luminous lovesong to Manhattan, Garbo Talks, a charming and unexpectedly potent weeper.

In it Silver played a man trying to track down the eternally elusive Greta Garbo to bring her to the bedside of his ailing mother (Anne Bancroft) so she can die happy. En route Lumet gives us glimmering glimpses of a handful of wonderful New York characters, wonderfully well played by Carrie Fisher, Harvey Fierstein, Dorothy Loudon and Hermione Gingold, and when Silver finally confronts Garbo in Central Park, he delivers a three-hanky monologue with such understated brilliance that most actors still marvel at his chutzpah.

Tony award-winner Silver died Sunday morning after losing a private two-year battle with esophageal cancer. He was 62.

He will be missed.

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LETTERMAN: YouTube

LETTERMAN: YouTube

SEE/HEAR: “Economists say that by this time next year, there could be fewer than 100 late-night talk show hosts!”

The speaker? Enduring Late Show host David Letterman, currently enjoying a YouTube  resurgence with his stint at Taco Bell.

When it comes to Stupid People Tricks, nobody does it better. See for yourself, right here.