Tag Archives: Rick Roberts

Ryan’s buried brilliance, Rick’s return to the stage and CBC corners Don & Ron for a new mini-series

CHERRY, KEESO, WATTON, MACLEAN: They shoot! They score!

THE WRATH OF GRAPES:  The sequel to the hit mini-series Keep Your Head Up, Kid premieres this Sunday on CBC with Jared Keeso reprising his Gemini-winning performance as Don Cherry. The mini-series charts Don’s journey from the NHL to Coach’s Corner, with Jonathan Watton as Ron MacLean. And if this sequel is only half as good as the original, it can’t help but

ROBERTS: on stage at Tarragon

be a hit … the three-day Toronto International Film & Video Awards festival kicks off today at 5 pm at Victoria College … attention foodies: Insight Productions chief John Brunton is bringing Food Network Canada’s top-rated Top Chef Canada series back for a second season on March 12 … the Shakespeare in Action production of The Diary of Anne Frank opens March 15 at the Al Green Theatre in the Miles Nadal JCC. Sascha Cole returns in the central role of Anne as do Chris Karczmar and Alexis Koetting as Mr. and Mrs. Frank … and Rick Roberts, so good as Stephen Leacock’s errant father in Sunshine Sketches Of A Little Town, is back on the boards again, this time in the English-language premiere of The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs. The Carole Fréchette play, translated by John Murrell, is helmed by Kim’s Convenience director Weyni Mengesha. Now in previews, it opens March 7 at the Tarragon.

MEANWHILE: Veteran rocker George Olliver postponed his gig at the Courtyard Restaurant in Pickering last week due to fearsome media weather forecasts predicting the storm of the century.  Which, as I recall, translated to some rain. He’s now set to play the Courtyard tonight instead … pop/jazz vocalist Joel Hartt makes his debut performance at the Green Door Cabaret tomorrow night with piano man Mark Kieswetter … DanceWorks presents Sylvain Émard Danse in the Toronto premiere of Fragments – Volume I,  for one night only, tomorrow at the Enwave Theatre at Harbourfront …Liona Boyd is Alberta-bound for nine concerts with Michael Savona. You can find her tour dates on her new renovated website at www.LionaBoyd.com… and  Discovery Networks have snagged versatile screenwriter and producer Edwina Follows (Traders, Relic Hunter, Beast Master, Emily of New Moon) as its new  Director of Commissioning and Production. Follows is now responsible for the commissioning  independent programming for Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery World HD, Investigation Discovery and Discovery Science.  Smart move, Discovery.

MEANWHILE, BACK ON THE HIGH SEAS:  Yesterday our Floating Film Festival on the Seabourn Sojourn made its first stop, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I like San Juan, but whenever I come here all I always think of Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics to America from West Side Story:

Puerto Rico / My heart’s devotion / let it sink into the ocean /

After our stop in San Juan we screened two more movies. First up was an intriguing documentary called Jealous Of The Birds. Did you know that more than 15,000 Holocaust survivors chose to remain in Germany after World War II? Me neither. How could they stay? Jealous Of The Birds is a first-time documentary by young filmmaker Jordan Bahat that attempts to answer that question. Bahat’s quest is clearly personal; he longs to understand the choices made by his own grandparents – he even persuades his grandmother to revisit Auschwitz – and how they managed to rebuild their lives  Bahat’s film is a study of survivors, their children and other Germans who choose to live among perpetrators. and includes interviews children whose legacy includes the crimes of their parents. Fascinating stuff, and a fine start for a first-time filmmaker.

GOSLING & DUNST: brilliant performances, buried treasure

Last night’s bedtime story, screened after dinner, was All Good Things, a 2010 psychological thriller with an outstanding case. Both love story and murder mystery, it was inspired by one of the most notorious missing person’s case in New York history, in which Robert Durst, scion of the wealthy Durst family, was suspected of, but never tried for,  killing his wife, who disappeared in 1982 and was never seen again. Ryan Gosling plays Robert Marks, Kirsten Dunst plays his doomed young wife Katie, and Frank Langella plays the powerful family patriarch. The film is already regarded as a buried treasure, mysteriously abandoned by its distributors when it could easily have been an Oscar contender. Dunst and especially Gosling offer brilliant, breathtakingly believable performances as the young couple destined for tragedy. We watch horrified as Dunst’s slow corruption plays directly into Gosling’s sophisticated spiraling psychotic, with just enough information gleaned en route to show us how he got that way.  Easily the most talked-about film so far at this year’s Floating Film Festival, this is bone-chilling drama at its best. Catch up with it if you can.

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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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Eric gets Gordoned, Justin gets Facebooked, Ottawa gets Chaperoned & Broadway gets Carrie

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: New Emmy-owner Justin Timberlake has joined the cast of The Social Network, director David Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin’s take on the invention of Facebook …

TIMBERLAKE: Facebook friend

TIMBERLAKE: Facebook friend

Heather Locklear, one of the stars of the original Melrose Place, will reprise her role on the current re-invented series … stage and screen favourite Eric Peterson, already slated to pick up an Earle Grey Award later this month at the Geminis, will receive the 2009 Gordon Pinsent Award Of Excellence this week when The Company Theatre fetes him Thursday night at the Windsor Arms. Seamus O’Regan and Allan Hawco will co-host the gala evening … and speaking of excellence, award namesake Pinsent plays the Archbishop in The Pillars of the Earth, the epic drama based on Ken Follett’s bestseller, currently shooting in Hungary and Austria. Also appearing

PETERSON: getting Gordon & Earle

PETERSON: getting Gordon & Earle

in key roles are Ian McShane and Donald Sutherland.

FOOTLIGHTS: Mimi, or A Poisoner’s Comedy, the controversial new Allen Cole-Melody A. Johnson-Rick Roberts musical, continues its ribald run at the Tarragon Theatre … Bob Martin’s Tony-winning hit musical The Drowsy Chaperone tap-dances into Ottawa next week for a two-week run at the National Arts Centre … Carrie Fisher opened her one-woman show, Wishful Drinking, at Studio 54 last night. Sez Fisher: “Basically, I talk about myself behind my back.”
 Her Broadway stint will run ‘til January … and Monty Python alumni Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle and John Cleese are set to appear in a rare reunion at the Ziegfeld Theater next week. Did you know that the Pythons have

FISHER: on stage

FISHER: on stage

their own YouTube channel? Seriously! … and tickets are now on sale for the new National Ballet Of Canada season, which kicks off next month with the perennially lavish Sleeping Beauty. To check out the new NBOC season, just click here.

OUR TOWN: The 14th edition of Eat to the Beat, benefitting Willow Breast Cancer Support Canada, takes over Roy Thomson Hall tomorrow night with culinary creations from more than 60 chefs,  including the Food Network chef Anna Olson, Fiona Lim of George and Dufflet Rosenberg of Dufflet Pastries. And you can still buy a ticket! For more info, click here … also tomorrow night: Royson James moderates a Toronto Star panel discussion on what it takes to create a workable city, with Susan Eng, Kevin Stolarick, Sudz Sutherland and Rahul Bhardwaj, at the new Bram & Bluma Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library … Jack Rabinovitch and jurors Russell Banks, Victoria Glendinning and Alistair MacLeod will announce this year’s Giller Prize finalists tomorrow morning at the Four Seasons … and yes, those still-sensational Jersey Boys are still winning standing O’s every night at the Toronto Centre For The Arts.

Who wouldn’t talk about Hef, who got shortchanged in my TIFF tally, and who took home the hardware

GOOD MORNING, TORONTO: Welcome to another razzle-dazzle week of entertainment in Our Town.  Among the notable treats in store: The Boys In The Photograph, the new Andrew Lloyd Weber–Ben Elton musical about

SLEAN: on Abbey Road

SLEAN: on Abbey Road

young men and women involved with a neighbourhood soccer team in Belfast in 1969, opens tomorrow night at the Royal Alex … DanceWorks opens its new show, Namesake: three, on Wednesday at Harbourfront’s Enwave Theatre … also opening Wednesday: The new Allen Cole-Melody Johnson-Rick Roberts collaboration, Mimi (or A Poisoner’s Comedy) at the Tarragon  … Darren Anthony’s new concert show, Secrets Of A Black Boy, produced by his sister Trey (Da Kink In My Hair) Anthony, opens at the Music Hall on Friday, the same night conductor Jean-Philippe Tremblay, Anton Kuerti, Richard Margison and more launch a reportedly spectacular new

RIVERS: Saturday night

RIVERS: Saturday night

Royal Conservatory music venue, Koerner Hall, in the Telus Centre for Performance and Learning on Bloor Street West … Chick Corea and Sophie Milman christen the hall with jazz the following night … Celebrity Apprentice champ and TSC favourite Joan Rivers plays Casino Rama that same Saturday night … and Kevin Hearn, Raine Maida, Steven Page and Sarah Slean are among the celebrated warblers who will lend their voices when Andrew Burashko’s Art Of Time Ensemble salutes the 40th anniversary of The Beatles’ Abbey Road with a re-imagined, re-invented concert version running two nights only, this Saturday and Sunday, also at the Enwave.

And that’s just for starters, folks.

MY BAD: It’s easy to get cross-eyed when so many stars come to town at the same time. At least, that’s my lame excuse for telling you that Colin Farrell and

BETTANY: double-header

BETTANY: double-header

Julianne Moore ruled the TIFF roost this year with three, count them, three films each, while celebrated runners-up George Clooney, Colin Firth and Amands Seyfried each appeared in two TIFF entries. All of which is true, except for two guys I forgot to mention. Don’t know how I missed him, but Willem Dafoe also deserved to be in that top spot with Colin and Julianne, as he appeared in no less than three TIFF titles this year: Antichrist, Daybreakers and Farewell. Sorry about that, Willem. And yes, Paul Bettany, who played Charles Darwin in the opening night film Creation and Lord Melbourne in the closing night film Young Victoria, should have been listed with Clooney, Firth and the young Ms Seyfried in second place. And yes, I’m just hoping I didn’t miss anyone else.

PLAYBOY OF THE EASTERN FILM FESTIVAL: After three capacity crowds jammed the TIFF cinemas where her much-discussed documentary on Hugh Hefner premiered last week, director Brigitte Berman admitted that

BENNETT: talking about Hef

BENNETT: talking about Hef

by the time she finished shooting she had an embarrassment of riches, and had to delete scenes she loved from the original version to bring the film to a more manageable size. Deletions included interviews with the magazine magnate’s two sons, and the stories they tell about how they were treated in high school as Hugh Hefner’s offspring are apparently so fascinating that Berman intends to include that footage as a separate feature when the film is released on DVD. At a Q&A after the film she informed us that Playboy is the second best-known brand in the world — “Coca-Cola is number one,” she added — and that the toughest interview subject to secure, surprisingly, was Tony Bennett. “His agent is very protective of him, as he should be. But as soon as Tony was told of the request, he was all for it, and just a pleasure to work with.”

Did any key players from Hef’s past actually turn her down? “Yes,” replied the ever-candid Oscar-winning director — “Gloria Steinem, Jules Pfeiffer and Bill Cosby.”

WHO WON WHAT: As T.O. filmfest chief Piers Handling noted on Saturday night, TIFF delivered not only 335 films but also 10 days of consecutive sunshine – “the summer we did not have.” But thanks to superb programming, meticulous planning and the more than 2,000 volunteers (!!) who help make it happen, it was truly a festival to remember.

CLARKSON: winning film

CLARKSON: winning film

Finally, just in case you missed it, here’s who took home the hardware from the 34th annual Toronto International Film Festival.

– Best Canadian Short Film: Pedro Pires, Danse Macabre. Honourable mention: Jamie Travis,The Armoire.

– Best Canadian First Feature Film: Alexandre Franchi, The Wild Hunt.

– Best Canadian Feature Film: Ruba Nadda, Cairo Time, with Patricia Clarkson, Tom McCamus and Alexander Siddig. Special Jury Citation: Bernard Émond, La Donation (The Legacy).

– FIPRESCI Prize (Prize of the International Federation of Film Critics for Discovery:) Laxmikant Shetgaonkar, The Man Beyond the Bridge (India).

SIDDIG: Cairo Time

SIDDIG: Cairo Time

– FIPRESCI Prize for Special Presentations: Bruno Dumont, Hadewijch (France).

– People’s Choice Award: Lee Daniels, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire. First runner-up:  Bruce Beresford, Mao’s Last Dancer. Second runner-up: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Micmacs (Micmacs à tirelarigot).

– People’s Choice Award – Documentary: Leanne Pooley, The Topp Twins. Runner-up: Michael Moore, Capitalism: A Love Story.

– People’s Choice Award – Midnight Madness: Sean Byrne, The Loved Ones. Runner-up: Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig, Daybreakers.

TOMORROW:

Margaret Atwood, Twyla Tharp, Rick Mercer, and more.