OMG it’s Fabian!! … plus Katie & the Kennedys, Hoffert’s next gig, Spielberg’s next flick and Harrington’s nuptials

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Veteran crowd-pleasers Fabian and Bobby Vee headline the Original Stars From American Bandstand show at Fallsview Casino July 1&2 … Irish

FABIAN: taking the Falls

sensations Celtic Women are set to make their only area appearance July 16 at Casino Rama. Apparenty they couldn’t find a big enough venue in T.O. …  gardenia-voiced thrush Judy Marshak is set to headline the Friday night Jazz Vocalist Series at The Old Mill this week with Bruce Harvey on piano and George Kozub on bass. M’lady’s repertoire will include some favourite standards by Johnny Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael, Dave Frishberg, Blossom Dearie and Cole Porter. For more info, just click here … and magical media music man Paul Hoffert was in Singapore last month, teaching a course on how to compose music for videogames, websites, iPads, & such, using his own textbook, Music For New Media. When he’s not on stage celebrating the current revival of his superBand Lighthouse

HARRINGTON: engagement(s)

he’s on stage playing jazz, either as part of the Paul Hoffert Trio or the Jim Gelcer Trio, and admits he’s already having far too much fun. Next gig for Hoffert and his trio is a stint this weekend, also at the Old Mill. Hmmmm ….

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS DEPT. I: What do Girl Guides Of Canada and the Art Gallery Of Ontario have in common?  Next week’s official launch of Canadian Girls Say, the photography exhibition opening Wednesday in Walker Court.

BALLET HIGH: National Ballet of Canada stars Guillaume Côté and Zdenek Konvalina will dance their new creative collaboration Impermanence when it premieres later this month at the 73rd annual Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence … ballet icon Rex Harrington and fiancé Robert Hope, who have been together for six years, got officially engaged in March – in France, no less — and will wed next summer. Meanwhile, much to the delight of his fans, Harrington will return to the stage in the


role of Prince Gremin in the newly designed Onegin, June 19 – 25 at the Four Seasons Centre … and speaking of Onegin, the National Ballet website currently features two dazzling behind-the-scenes videos of the remaking, restoring and refurbishing of Santo Loquasto’s spectacular designs for this extravagant Russian melodrama. To see them, just click here.

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS DEPT. II: What do Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes have in common? The Kennedy dynasty, apparently. Kinnear will play the USA’s most admired commander in chief, with Holmes as the future Jackie O., in a big-budget mini-series shooting here in June. Barry Pepper is set to play Robert Kennedy, Kenneth Welsh will play J. Edgar Hoover and Tom Wilkinson will play poppa Joe Kennedy Sr.  Who will play Marilyn? Not Lindsay Lohan — she’s already committed to bringing Linda Lovelace‘s sad story to the screen. But wouldn’t she be terrific in the role? (I’m just sayin’ … )

FLICKERS: Director David Frankel, now shooting the screen version of The Big Year, is juggling a wonderfully eclectic cast including Anthony Anderson, Jack Black, Brian Dennehy, Anjelica Huston, Steve Martin, Dianne Wiest, Owen Wilson and JoBeth Williams … this year’s Toronto Jewish Film Festival was the most successful TJFF ever. Which is why they’ve already set the dates for next year’s movie marathon: May 7-15, 2011. Now that’s planning ahead  … and Steven Spielberg will direct the film version of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse, the saga of a friendship between a boy and a horse whose fates continue to intertwine over the course of World War I. The stage version is currently a major crowd-pleaser at the National Theatre in London.


Peter Appleyard, Natalie Cole, Sean Cullen,

Hugh Hefner & Doris Day (yes, Doris Day!)


Can you spell O-r-d-e-r Tickets N-o-w?

One of the year’s most star-laden events is exactly one month away – and you’re invited to bring your camera.

BEKER: H-o-s-t-i-n-g

BEKER: H-o-s-t-i-n-g

Everyone’s fave fashionista Jeanne Beker and her steady fella Barry Flatman will host the fifth annual Scrabble® With The Stars, the annual showbiz fund-raiser for Toronto’s Performing Arts Lodge (a.k.a. PAL) is set for April 6, 2009 at The Suites at 1 King West, with more than 40 stage, screen and literary celebs participating.

Public relations pro Vivienne Muhling, a primary PAL booster, devised the all-star evening five years ago, luring star-gazers and Scrabble fans alike by promising AND delivering a star at every table. So while patrons rub shoulders and match wits with some of Canada’s premiere sparklies, this year’s proceeds will fund the first steps towards providing assisted living for those PAL residents who are no longer well enough to fully care for themselves.

SHAIKH: Scrabbler

SHAIKH: Scrabbler

This year’s all-star cast of Scrabble players include – are you ready? — Jaymz Bee, Mark Breslin, Dave Broadfoot, Michael Burgess, Dinah Christie, Jayne Eastwood, Don Harron, Peter Kent, Colin Mochrie, Marilyn Lightstone, Gordon Pinsent, Leah Pinsent, Paul Quarrington, Jackie Richardson, Dione Taylor, R.H. Thomson, Teresa Tova and Little Mosque On The Prairie stars Sheila McCarthy, Zaib Shaikh and Deb McGrath, with more marquee names to be announced momentarily.

And no, you don’t have to mortgage your condo to pay for it. Single Gala tickets, which include the cocktail reception, buffet dinner AND Scrabbling with a Star, are only $125 each, and come with a tax receipt (!!) for the maximum amount allowable. Which is why this event tends to sell out fast. So don’t take too long to think it over. Call 416-777-9674 or go to www.scrabblewiththestars.ca, but don’t let this one get away.

* * * 

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ:  Crowd-pleaser Ron James returns to Toronto to bring his Mental As Anything tour to the Winter Garden – but he’s here for six nights only, March 26-28 and April 2-4. So don’t say I didn’t warn you …

KAIN: Casting calls

KAIN: Casting calls

best showbiz name I’ve heard this week: Underoath,  the Tampa-based heavy metal band who kick off their Canadian tour tomorrow night in Vancouver. Opening for the group: Norma Jean and Innerpartysystem, (I guess Sam Butera & The Witnesses weren’t available) … and although she’s clearly brilliant at nurturing show-stopping dancers, National Ballet chief Karen Kain is no slouch when it comes to off-stage casting either. Hosts for her series of Ballet Talks at the Four Seasons Centre For The Arts — those popular informal chats that begin 45 minutes before every show—for her current Innovation evenings are renowned dance critics Clement Crisp from the Financial Times in London and Michael Crabb from the National Post. And the host for the upcoming Romeo & Juliet ballet talks will be ex-Romeo Rex Harrington.

* * *

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH: Former CBC broadcaster Avril Benoît is now working for Médecins Sans Frontières Canada as the director of communications.  

BARRIE: Returning

BARRIE: Returning

Recently interviewed on Dispatches from Dungu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, she said the United Nations is failing the people there. “The UN peacekeeping force with amandate to protect is not protecting,” Benoit said flatly. “There’s no one protecting them!”… CBC ear candy Andrew Craig joins Mike Downes, Anthony Michelli and David Mott in a jazz quartet for Canada’s first jazz oratorio, Creation, written and composed by acclaimed saxophonist David Mott. World premiere is set for May 3 at Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre. Also sharing the stage, which features photographs taken in space by astronaut and longtime Mott fan Steve MacLean: The 60+ voice Mississauga Choral Society and guest soloists Kathryn Domoney, Adi Braun, Martin Houtman, and Giles Tomkins … and much to the delight of his legions of fans, Andy Barrie is set to return to CBC Radio on Monday morning.