Tag Archives: PBS

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.

Buffy & Cloris share their Unique lives, and Robin, Jayne, Kathy & Teresa get ready to put on their clothes again

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: Get out your calendars. Toronto’s mini-Just For Laughs festival will run July 6 – 11, opening one day before the annual bilingual comedyfest launches

LEACHMAN: Toronto-bound

in Montreal … Smokey Robinson plays Fallsview Casino June 11 & 12 … Oscar-winning singer-songwriter Buffy Ste. Marie, a digital pioneer in her own right, gives a Unique Lives & Experiences session next week at Roy Thomson Hall, with confessed shopaholic Cloris Leachman set to follow in her footsteps on April 19 … and four of the funniest femmes in the business, Robin Duke, Jayne Eastwood, Kathryn Greenwood and Teresa Pavlinek, return with a brand new show when their smash comedy troupe Women Fully Clothed plays Massey Hall on May 7. But they’re there for one night only, so don’t dawdle. To order tickets, click here.

BRAVE NEW CYBER WORLD: The April 12 Genie Awards will be broadcast live on the Independent Film Channel,  livestreamed on CBC.ca. and rebroadcast on The Movie Network and Movie Central at a later

KUTCHER: tweeting for Haiti

date. The live webcast on CBC.ca is a first for the Genies and could give the awards show its largest audience reach ever … after concluding a 40-city theatrical tour, PBS’s American Experience will premiere its new Earth Days documentary on April 11 on Facebook. eight days ahead of the film’s television broadcast on April 19. This will reportedly be the first time a major broadcaster has introduced a full-length documentary on the site … Twitter-pated Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore and Will Ferrell are among the stars of 140 Tweets For Haiti. You can check out the trailer here … and Margaret Atwood tweets greetings from the Cologne Literary Festival where she reports that “twittern” is now a German verb.

SMALL SCREEN, BIG STAGE: Never underestimate the power of television. The Broadway run of David Mamet’s new play Race has now been extended to June 13, thanks

HAYES: Broadway-bound

to the marquee allure of Boston Legal charmer James Spader … stage veteran Doris Roberts, who finally became a household name playing Ray Romano‘s mother on television, is set to return to off-Broadway next month in Love, Loss And What I Wore, which is quietly becoming a notable successor to Love Letters and The Vagina Monologues … and Emmy award-winning Will & Grace scene-stealer Sean Hayes is deep in song and dance rehearsals for his Broadway bow in the upcoming revival of Promises, Promises, the Neil Simon-Burt Bacharach-Hal David musical based on the Academy Award-winning Billy Wilder comedy The Apartment with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, Hayes is playing the role originated by Jerry Orbach, another legit leading man who later became far more famous for his TV work on Law & Order. And Hayes’ leading lady is Wicked star Kristin Chenowith — best known to American audiences for, you guessed it, her Emmy-winning TV role on Pushing Daisies and her guest stint last season on Glee.

ENRIGHT: Giller juror

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Enigmatic music legend Don Francks is set to make one of his rare appearances at Lula’s Lounge on April 15 … renowned Russian bass-baritone Evgeny Nikitin makes his Canadian debut here April 24 in the popular Canadian Opera Company production of The Flying Dutchman. Johannes Debus, the COC’s newly-appointed Music Director, will lead the COC Orchestra and Chorus … it’s official: CBC Radio stalwart Michael Enright and novelists Claire Messud and Ali Smith have been elected by Jack Rabinovitch to choose the next Giller Prize winner … Ken Lindsay fans, take note: Your favourite piano man returns to the village  April 1 (no foolin’) to the Fuzion Resto-Lounge on Church Street.  Mark Cassius, formerly of The Nylons, will be on hand to help out with the high notes. Reservations are advised. For more info, click here … and screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) will pen the script for the screen biography of Green Bay Packers football coach Vince Lombardi. ESPN Films, an offshoot of the sports cable network, hopes to premiere the film before the 2012 Super Bowl. Robert DeNiro will play Lombardi — but will his Raging Bull guru Martin Scorsese direct? Stay tuned.

Have a great weekend!

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Atwood brings her Flood show to Church street, Mercer meets Bono, and it’s Liza with a D(VD)!

APRES MOI, THE FLOOD: Tub-thumping novelist Margaret Atwood is keeping her fans abreast of her current Year Of The Flood promotional tour via

ATWOOD: on tour

ATWOOD: on tour

Twitter, although getting on line is sometimes a challenge. In Cardiff, Wales she stopped at an Internet Café and found it distressingly difficult to connect. “If the Internet is a highway,” she noted, “there is much roadwork going on.” Atwood, who calls her Twitter followers her “T-pals,” will join David Ferry, Susan Coyne and Michelle Monteith on stage – on altar?? – this Thursday when she brings her performance-art show (with some Tell) to St. James Cathedral. Meanwhile,

COYNE: altar girl

COYNE: altar girl

fellow novelist Jeanette Winterson reviewed Atwood’s new Giller Prize nominee for the cover story in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. “Atwood,” she writes, “knows how to show us ourselves, but the mirror she holds up to life does more than reflect — it’s like one of those mirrors made with mercury that gives us both a deepening and a distorting effect, allowing both the depths of human nature and its potential mutations.” To see more of her review, just click here.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Choreography queen Twyla Tharp, who created a major Broadway hit by staging Billy Joel’s songs for dancers in Moving Out, is about to go for gold again. Her new show, Come Fly With Me, is

MINNELLI: new PBS special

MINNELLI: new PBS special

set to music associated with Frank Sinatra, and opens tomorrow night at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta. Fingers crossed … still wishing you’d been able to catch Liza Minnelli at the Palace last year, or even at Roy Thomson Hall this spring? PBS is planning to tape her Sept. 30-Oct. 1 performances at the MGM Grand in Vegas. Those brilliant Chicago producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who also worked on Showtime’s digitally restored version of Liza with a Z, will produce the special, which will air on PBS in December and go on sale in January 2010. Now there’s a New Year’s Eve gift! … and leave it to Oprah to out-do all previous flashmob events. Did you see where she got 21,00 of her closest fans to dance in the streets of Chicago? Amazing. If you missed it first time ‘round (I did,) you can still see it. Just click here.

THE LIFE OF RICK: Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on Rick Mercer’s wall? Or maybe a button on his lapel? Two Fridays ago he was one of a select few invited

MERCER: high life

MERCER: high life

to Sarah McLachlan’s lush Vancouver garden, where guests sat on plush divans under Moroccan tents lit by Indian Lanterns and were serenaded by Sarah, Sheryl Crow and dynamic Blue Rodeo duo Jim Cuddy & Greg Keillor at an intimate gathering to celebrate Sarah’s music outreach program for inner-city Vancouver youth. Then this past Friday he joined his Spread The Net partner-in-crime Belinda Stronach at her reception for another fund-raising pal, Bono. Mercer pal Seamus O’Regan was hobnobbing at that one too, as were T-D deputy chair Frank McKenna and War Child founders Dr. Samantha Nutt and Dr. Eric Hoskins. But don’t look for Mercer on the glamour party circuit this Friday — he’ll be in his CBC studio with a few hundred of his devoted fans, taping the first show of the seventh season of his top-rated Rick Mercer Report.

SHEEEEEE”S BACK: Attention  Erin Karpluk fans (and you seem to be growing in numbers every day) — your favourite TV heroine returns to your living rooms tonight when she and Michael Riley kick off the much-anticipated second season Being Erica at 9 pm on CBC. Enjoy!

TOMORROW:

What are Tom Arnold, George Stroumboulopoulos

and Red Green doing in Vancouver??

Wonder Woman sings, Citytv goes cross-border shopping (sigh), and Dame Judi does it again!

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: It’s official — Evan Rachel Wood will play Mary Jane Watson and Tony Award winner Alan Cumming will play Norman Osborn (the Green Goblin) in the new musical, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, which will

CARTER: Billboard Belle

CARTER: Billboard Belle

make its Broadway debut next February 25. Tony Award winner Julie Taymor will direct the show, which will feature music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge of U2. The musical, based on the Marvel Comics character, follows the story of teenager Peter Parker, whose life is turned upside-down — literally — when he’s bitten by a genetically altered spider … heiress Cinda Firestone, family inheritor of automobile tire millions, is writing the book and lyrics for the upcoming Broadway musical Family Fortune, to be

BONO: Broadway-bound

BONO: Broadway-bound

produced by her husband, Manny Fox, the guy behind the hit 1981 Duke Ellington musical Sophisticated Ladies … ex-TV Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, who started out as a singer, finally got around to making that romantic jazz album, and was thrilled to discover that her CD, appropriately called At Last, is now on the Billboard charts. Ear-pleasers include her vocalizing on such standards as George Gershwin’s Summertime, James Taylor’s The Secret of Life, and the Etta James title tune … count Canada A.M. host Seamus O’Regan among Melody Gardot‘s fervent fans. O’Regan, who regards Gardot as an “incredible jazz singer and a mind-blowing songwriter,” says her show here this week was “a concert we’ll talk of in years to come. She entranced the room” … and did you notice that the three top music-makers on the latest Forbes’ magazine’s annual earnings were all women? Madonna, Céline and Beyoncé took first, second and third place respectively; Bruce Springsteen finished a fairly distant fourth.

MY REAL SPACE = MY FLAT SCREEN TV: The consensus that teenagers are abandoning television for the internet is not true – or so says a new report

COX: on Citytv

COX: on Citytv

from ratings counter A. E. Nielsen. According to the study television viewing rates among teens in the U.S. have actually gone up six per cent in the last five years, despite the growth of social media networks and video sites like My Space, Facebook and YouTube … veteran awards show producer Lynn Harvey will once again stage the Gemini Awards, but this time in Calgary, in November, for exec Joe Novak’s Joe Media … and Rogers Media is prepping new acquisition Citytv to compete with rivals CTV and Canwest Global. So beginning this fall Citytv, once the quintessential Toronto station, will simulcast 16 hours of U.S. programming in prime time, including new series with Jenna Elfman, Courteney Cox and Ed O’Neill, and Jay Leno’s new show, which will run nightly at 10 p.m. This summer City is running the U.K. version of Law & Order (do we really need another one???) This fall its Canadian content will include chef Marc Thuet’s new reality show Conviction Kitchen and the second season of the made-in-Winnipeg sitcom Less Than Kind. All of which sounds less than kind to me.

DENCH: quite the Dame

DENCH: quite the Dame

JUDI JUDI JUDI: Talk about yer star power! BBC Worldwide and WGBH are co-producing Cranford 2, a sequel to the award-winning mini-series Cranford for PBS’ Masterpiece Classic series, with Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton, Francesca Annis, Eileen Atkins, Jonathan Pryce, Tim Curry and Tom Hiddleston. And some devoted Dench fans are just now discovering that Dame Judi is the same dame who sang and danced up a storm in big  musicals like Cabaret and A Little Night Music when those big Broadway musicals played London‘s West End theatre district? And yes, her interpretation of Send In The Clowns is spectacular. And, thanks to YouTube, you can watch her do it again, just by clicking here. Enjoy!

HOWARD: campaigning, Hollywood-style

HOWARD: campaigning, Hollywood-style

SEE/HEAR: Amazing in this digital day and age what you can still miss. When when the world was watching the U.S. race for president, I was transfixed by Tina Fey’s send-up of Sarah Palin. And I knew of many celebrities who were actively stumping for Barrack Obama. But I had no idea that director Ron Howard would go to the lengths he did – even enlisting his former TV dad Andy Griffiths and his former Happy Days sidekick Henry Winkler – to make a video message just as clever and as classy as he is. Old news to you? Probably. But just in case you were washing your hair that day and missed it, like I did, you can still see it, just by clicking right here.

Now is that historic or what???

TOMORROW:

A Saturday Special

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Ms Vardalos gets her Greek god, Ms Murray teaches us a lesson, and Ms Fonda twitters at the Tonys

MEET MR. GORGEOUS: We don’t know him over here, but Nia Vardalos’ leading man in My Life In Ruins, Alexis Georgoulis, is apparently the George Clooney of Greece. After audience reaction to him at the first sneak previews,

VARDALOS & GEORGOULIS: Mr. Gorgeous?

VARDALOS & GEORGOULIS: Mr. Gorgeous?

 the U.S. press has started calling him Alex Gorgeous. “Which I think is apropos,” Vardalos told wowOwow web writer Kristin Fritz. “One reviewer said, because apparently I have an every-woman look, and I have this gorgeous, Greek god as my male lead, the reviewer basically said, ‘Who do you think you are?’ And I’m like, umm, hi. No one. I’m just an every-woman. And in the same way that Seth Rogen gets Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up, and Paul Giamatti gets Virginia Madsen in Sideways, yes, my character gets the Greek god in this one.”

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “At a very young age I learned from my parents to have respect for all people no matter what race, religion or station in life. Respect takes on many forms. Respect is being on time: your time is no more important than others. Respect is being prepared: people are relying on you. Respect is treating everyone with dignity. The janitor, the gardener, the CEO should all be acknowledged and appreciated for the jobs they do. My father taught me to always stand up when being introduced to someone. When you shake his hand, look him in the eye. Take time; remember his name; make him feel special.”

MURRAY: wise wotds

MURRAY: wise words

The speaker? Supersongstress Anne Murray, to graduating students at the  University of Prince Edward Island. Murray, whose hit Music Of My Life special encored last weekend on CBC Television, is currently putting the final touches on her memoirs for October publication. But she’ll still be spending most of the summer in Nova Scotia and looks forward to greeting her legions of fans on July 25 for 20th anniversary celebrations of the Anne Murray Centre in Springhill.

EVERY LITTLE MOVEMENT:  New showbiz sport is trying to spot Twitterbugs at major theatrical openings. Did you notice that Jane Fonda was all a-Twitter at the Tony Awards two nights ago? Fonda has just returned from a trip

FONDA: Tony Twitterer

FONDA: Tony Twitterer

to the Galapagos with a group that included Angela Lansbury’s nephew David Lansbury. When David’s aunt won her fifth Tony, as Best Featured Actress for Blithe Spirit, Fonda noted, “as usual, she was graciousness incarnate.”  But she admitted she was as surprised as we were when Next To Normal “won best new score, beating Elton and Dolly. I haven’t seen it — yet.” Fonda and her fellow nominees were also enlisted as impromptu extras: “We’ve just all been handed throw-away lighters, I guess to light up during an upcoming Rock of Ages number,” she reported.  When the cast of Hair danced into the orchestra seats, she said, one of them landed in the lap of her pal and fellow nominee Janet McTeer. “This number from Hair really makes me wanna see it,” she added. After she lost the best actress prize to Marcia Gay Harden, Fonda was still sanguine. “For me it felt like a prize just getting to this. Janet McTeer and I will now go have some vodkas with impunity.” And after Hair won Best Musical Revival, Fonda footnoted, “I swear, half the audience is up there to accept the Tony!”

 

SPACEY: Tony talk

SPACEY: Tony talk

Yeah, there did seem to be a lot of that going on. Meanwhile, unless you were in a musical, you could hardly get arrested on this year’s unfortunate televised event. Mind you, Poison rocker Bret Michael came pretty close when he got bonked by the descending backdrop and ended up with a broken nose. Quipped Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody: “I’m concerned about Bret Michaels’ fractured nose. An acute sense of smell is essential to his dating process.” Meanwhile, stage & screen lion Kevin Spacey told New York Post scribe Michael Riedel he thinks the Tonys should be taken over by PBS, directed by Broadway veteran Mike Nichols and given the formality and inclusiveness that the theater deserves.

Dunno who would pick up the tab, but it sounds like a darn good idea to me.  

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