Tag Archives: PHYLICIA RASHAD

Meryl tackles Juliet, Betty returns to T.O., Maggie rallies her troupes, and Brenda shines up her Shoes

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Okay, so they’re not teenagers – they were all grown up way back when, when they co-starred in Sophie’s Choice – but Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline will play Shakespeare’s

STREEP: reading in New York

famous star-crossed lovers in a one-night-only reading of Romeo and Juliet, as part of a gala celebrating the 50th anniversary of Shakespeare in the Park. Public Theater vet Daniel Sullivan will direct the reading, to be held on June 18 at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park … Patrick Habron’s new exhibition of Rock ‘n’ Roll Icons opens May 10 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center … Phylicia Rashad, currently in Atlanta filming the TV adaptation of Steel Magnolias for director Kenny Leon, will return to that Georgia city this summer to star in Leon’s stage adaptation of Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner … American TV icon Larry

HAGMAN: guesting in Lucerne

Hagman (Dallas, I Dream Of Jeannie) and Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson are among the sparklies set to light up the 51st Rose d’Or Festival in Lucerne next month … fillmmaker Roger Larry is just wrapping a feature doc on Canadian cannibis advocate Marc Emery (aka The Prince of Pot) entitled Citizen Mark. “I describe it as Citizen Kane meets Spinal Tap,” says Larry. Will we see it at TIFF in September? Just askin’ … former BBC CEO Paul Lee, who founded BBC America before becoming President of ABC, is set to deliver the CBC/Radio-Canada opening keynote speech at this year’s Banff World Media Festival on June 10 … and Brenda Hoffert launches

BUCKLEY: singing in T.O.

her new-and-improved exhibition, Shoes, on Thursday April 26 at the Cecile & Harry Pearl Gallery. She’s added eight new photos to this exhibit which first premiered at CONTACT 2010.

SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY: On a bit of a bittersweet note, the celebrated Toronto comedy festival We’re Funny That Way is about to celebrate its 15th and final year.  According to the WFTW website, festival producer Maggie Cassella has decided to call it quits – but she’s closing the festival with a major slam-dunk. First up is a May 10 concert by the vocally astonishing Betty Buckley, a benefit

CRAWFORD: back to Buddies

for the We’re Funny That Way Foundation, which directs funds to queer charities across Canada. Then WFTW crowd-pleasers Lea DeLaria, Gavin Crawford and Christopher Peterson strut their stuff on May 11 & May 12 to close the festival with appropriate star power. Showbiz dynamo Cassella is also working with filmmaker David Adkin on a sequel to his 1998 doc on her festival – DeLaria and Peterson were featured in that one too – to revisit the questions they first asked 15 years ago. “We’re hoping to track the evolution of queer comedy over the last 15 years and ask a lot of questions about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going.” Cassella is also one of the busy beavers behind the high-flying Flying Beaver

CASSELLA: Maggie for Mayor?

Pubaret on Parliament near Carlton – Carla Collins is set to headline there this weekend — and brings her brainy energy and unique street savvy to everything she does. Not that I want to punish her, but isn’t it time we forced her into public office, so she could look out for all of us? (I’m just sayin’ …) Meanwhile, I suspect we’re talking about three about-to-be historic nights to remember. For tickets to what is sure to be an amazing evening with the spellbinding Betty Buckley, click here; for tickets to see We’re Funny That Way dazzlers Crawford, DeLaria and Peterson, click here.

Adds the indomitable Ms Cassella: “Please come and help us pack Buddies and Bad Times Theatre one last time.” And who can say no to Maggie?

*     *     *

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.

*     *     *


Lifetime grows black Magnolias, Israel sparks MIPtv sales, Nancy’s just Foolin’ and the Junos get Feist-y

LATIFAH: steel lady

FLICKERS: Dynamic leading ladies Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard and Phylicia Rashad have signed on for Lifetime‘s all-black remake of Steel Magnolias, taking over the roles originally played by Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine and Sally Field.No word yet as to who will  be cast in the Olympia Dukakis and Julia Roberts roles …  looking for some laughs this weekend? Servitude is the first film to be developed and workshopped through the Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab, the CFC Film Program in collaboration with Just For Laughs, and it opens today with a stellar cast — Joe DinicolJohn BregarLinda Kash, Lauren CollinsAaron AshmoreEnrico Colantoni, Margot

DINICOL: in service

Kidder, and Dave Foley.  Directed by Warren P. Sonada and written by co-producer Michael Sparaga, it looks like a lot of fun … left-wing heroine Jane Fonda will remind us what a good actress she is when she plays right-wing Republican former first lady Nancy Reagan in Lee Daniels’ The Butler.  An Oscar nominee for directing Precious, Daniels describes The Butler as a sprawling historical drama that centers on Eugene Allen, a black man who worked as butler in the White House under eight presidents. Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker is slated to play Allen, and insiders say ardent Daniels supporter Oprah Winfrey may play one of the many supporting roles …and Marcelle Lean‘s 15th Cinefranco filmfest wraps up this weekend at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Hot titles include Ma Part Du Gateau/My Piece Of The Pie, one of

SUTHERLAND: worldwide

the films celebrated on last month’s 12th Floating Film Festival, and L’Art D’Aimer/The Art Of Love. For Cinefranco program notes click here.

BRAVE NEW WORLDS: Did you see the premiere of Kiefer Sutherland’s new series Touch last week on Global? If you did, you had plenty of company. Touch premiered almost simultaneously in 100 countries and territories. In the U.S. it screened on Fox; in Germany, on ProSieben; in Russia, on Channel One. New-world executive thinking indicates that the worldwide premiere signifies a new way of doing business that attracts multinational advertisers (Unilever is a sponsor of the series around the world) and attacks online piracy … also making history: the Adam Beach series Arctic

BEACH: hit series

Air, which averaged almost a million viewers a week in its debut season, the largest audience to follow the first season of a CBC Television drama series in 15 years.  Other CBC shows more than one million viewers weekly include Dragons’ Den, Republic Of Doyle and The Rick Mercer Report. So somebody must be doing something right … Israeli TV formats may prove to be the big buzz at this year’s MIPtv. The annual international television convention opens Sunday in Cannes with a red carpet gala screening of Julian FellowesTitanic, already sold in 86 countries, but it’s the shows from Israel sparking the most interest. HBO‘s In Treatment and Showtime‘s Homeland are both based on hit Israeli TV series. Another Israeli series, The Naked Truth,  a suspense thriller set entirely in an interrogation room, has already been picked up by HBO

WHITE: April Foolin'

for an American remake, and NBC has ordered a pilot called Midnight Sun, based on the Israeli show Pillars of Smoke, about a female FBI agent who uncovers a conspiracy. Other hot prospects at next-week’s four-day marathon in the south of France: Mr. Selfridge, a period drama about the life of the flamboyant founder of the London department story; Tom Fontana‘s Copper, about a police officer in 1860s New York City; the psychological thriller Hemlock Grove, already snapped up by Netflix; the period mini-series Madame Tussauds; dramatic series Hannibal, already sold to NBC; World Without End, a follow-up mini-series to Pillars Of The Earth; and Sinbad, BBC’s update on the tale of the

FEIST: Junos telecast

8th century swashbuckler who battles monsters and visits magical places.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Music man Jack de Keyser strums his stuff tomorrow night at Simcoe Jazz & Blues in Oshawa … perennial crowd-pleaser Nancy White headlines the April Fool’s Matinee this weekend at the trendy Green Door cabaret with pianist Bob Johnston, percussionist Marsha Coffey and singers Ghislain Aucoin, Suzy Wilde, Barb Johnston, Maddy Wilde, Eddy Be, Stella Walker, Bridget Carter-Whitney, Mavis Lyons and Mike O’Hara. “Do not be frightened by the number of singers and the fact that the show is on a Sunday,”

McLACHLAN: singing Sunday

adds the irreepressible Ms. Walker. “No gospel music will be presented. That is our pledge to you.” Showtime is 3 pm  this Sunday April 1, For ticket info click hereMaggie Cassella hosts her own April 1 send-up, Liar Liar Pants On Fire, Sunday night at The Flying Beaver Pubaret. “It’s an April Fools Day event where YOU get up on stage and tell a whopper of a story. The audience votes on weather they think it’s true or false. If you fool them you win a prize!” … and now that deadmau5 and Madonna have called a truce, his fans can see him on Sunday night’s Juno Awards telecast on CTV. Also set to rock the premises: Blue Rodeo, City and Colour, Feist, Hedley, Hey Rosetta!, K’NAAN, Lights, MC Flipside, Nickelback, Sarah McLachlan, and Simple Plan.

Happy weekend!

*     *    *

In praise of older stage & screen sirens

Oscar winner Marsha Mason remembers future Oscar winner Shirley MacLaine telling her, “In order to keep working, it’s important to move into character work early because they don’t know what to do with you.”

JOLIE, KILMER, FARRELL: Alexander

JOLIE, KILMER, FARRELL: just one big happy family (not)

It’s a key point in Forget the Ingénues; Cue the Grown-Ups, Patricia Cohen’s excellent piece in last weekend’s New York Times. “Unless a script calls for a bitter woman to be dumped by her husband,” she notes, “filmgoers have come to expect the kind of nature-defying casting decisions that had a then 28-year-old Angelina Jolie playing the mother of Colin Farrell, then 27, in the 2004 film Alexander. (Val Kilmer, then 45, was the father.) Such couplings are familiar: At 36, Anne Bancroft played the predatory Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate (1967) [to Dustin Hoffman] although she was a mere six years older than Mr. Hoffman; in The Manchurian Candidate (1962) Angela Lansbury, just three years older than Laurence Harvey, played his mother.”

ADAMS: "Sooo thrilling!"

ADAMS: "Sooo thrilling!"

On Broadway, however, “women can still be rock stars. Among the big-name talents from film and television who have appeared behind Broadway marquees this season are Joan Allen, Jane Fonda, Allison Janney, Susan Sarandon and Kristin Scott Thomas.” For more of Ms. Cohen’s story on women who rule the Great White Way, click here.

Meanwhile, let me give the last word to the hottest young actress in Hollywood, Amy Adams, who co-starred with Meryl Streep in Doubt and does it again in the upcoming Julia & Julia.

“Sooo thrilling,” says Amy, with just a hint of sarcasm, “that every now and then, the world rediscovers that there’s a female audience. Oh, my God! Women go to the movies!”

And do they ever.

* * *

GOING WHERE HE’S NEVER GONE BEFORE: Big-screen favourite Bruce Greenwood’s role of Captain Pike in the new Star Trek prequel was originally played in the pilot episodes of the original series by

GREENWOOD: Beresford-bound

GREENWOOD: Beresford-bound

Jeffrey Hunter. ) After screening the vintage episodes, Greenwood says he realized pretty quickly that the dilemma that Jeffrey Hunter’s Pike faced is very different from what his Pike faces. Hunter’s Pike, he explains, is conflicted over whether or not he will remain with Starfleet. “And, the Pike that I play has no such dilemma. My Pike’s dilemma is more about whether or not to trust the young Kirk.” In a Sharp magazine interview with writer Cliff Ford, Greenwood confirms he’s signed for director Bruce Beresford’s next opus, Mao’s Last Dancer. Based on dancer Li Cunxin’s autobiography, the film shows how a poor, 11-year-old Li was taken from his tiny Chinese village to Beijing to study ballet. Years later, during a visit to Texas, Li falls for an American woman, defects and becomes a principal dancer for the Houston and Australian Ballet. Greenwood portrays Ben Stevenson, the Houston Ballet’s artistic director, who was instrumental in Li’s successful career. And you can read more of the Sharp interview with Canuck crowd-pleaser Greenwood right here.

 * * *

THE MOTHER OF THEM ALL?: She killed her own children in a jealous rage as Medea. She played mom to Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs in a hostile white neighborhood in the much-lauded revival of A Raisin In the Sun.

RASHAD: maternal?

RASHAD: maternal?

She juggled a law practice, five children and Bill Cosby on the megahit Cosby Show. Tonight on Broadway, following in the footsteps of Deanna Dunagan and her successor followed by Estelle Parsons, Phylicia Rashad takes over the role of Violet Weston, the brittle, uncensored drug-abusing matriarch of an Oklahoma family in the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama August: Osage Country. In a remarkable display of “nontraditional” casting, Ms. Rashad’s stage persona must attempt to cope with a white stage family of three daughters, a husband, a sister and other relatives. Should be a fabulous night.

-/-