Tag Archives: Royal Alex

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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Meryl stops by before re-teaming with Kevin, and Debbie’s daughter is a Broadway baby now

FOOTLIGHTS: Dynamic screen duo Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline, who made history 25 years ago in Sophie’s Choice, will perform an evening of Shakespeare as a benefit for The Acting Company, the Juilliard offshoot that

KLINE: Meryl's choice

KLINE: Meryl's choice

gave Kline his start. Conceived and directed by Kline, The Lover and the Poet: An Evening of Shakespeare will be held at the 400-seat Florence Gould Hall on November 2. Before that, however, they’ll team up with Daniel Craig, Maggie Gyllenhaal,Mike Nichols and Austin Pendleton in a one-night benefit performance of Courage in Concert at the Public Theatre on October 19. In the meantime some chosen few lucky ticket-buyers will get to see Ms Streep in person tonight at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, where she’ll participate in a Q&A with Globe & Mail film analyst Johanna Schneller.

ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID, YES, BUT SUCH A PRETTY ONE: As a presenter she’s handed out hardware to her Star Wars mentor George Lucas and co-star Harrison Ford, but Carrie Fisher says she gave up on hoping for Acting awards a long time ago.

FISHER: wishful winning

FISHER: wishful winning

She admits she still hoped that she might win “just a little one” for her writing – plaudits for Postcards From The Edge? prizes for The Best Awful or Surrender The Pink? — but alas, no awards have materialized so far.

“I now get awards all the time for being mentally ill,” the bi-polar Fisher notes. “I am apparently very good at it, and I get honoured for it regularly.”

She’s awfully good at writing, too. Which is one of the reasons writers ranging from playwright Terence McNally to novelist Salman Rushdie joined movie stars ranging from Jane Fonda to Harvey Keitel for the opening of Carrie’s one-woman tour-de-force Wishful Drinking last Sunday on Broadway. Fisher made her Broadway debut in 1973 (yessssss, 1973) as part of the chorus backing up her mother Debbie Reynolds in the revival of Irene, but had toured with her even earlier than that, in her mom’s glitzy road show. Those of you with

DEBBIE: still in harness

DEBBIE: still in harness

reeeeally long memories may recall Carrie, still a teenager, standing on stage at the O’Keefe Centre in Toronto in 1970, singing her mom’s hit ballad Tammy while Debbie was backstage making a quick costume change. By the time she played in Irene, Carrie was a seasoned ‘road warrior’ who had seen her MGM-bred mother dump legendary British director Sir John Gielgud (who was still struggling with the musical when it played the Royal Alex for four weeks on its way to New York) for her old studio pal Gower Champion. Champion, a choreographer who lived up to his name, who had already staged a hit musical called Hello, Dolly and pulled Irene into such dazzling shape that it ran for more than 600 performances. (When Debbie grew weary of it, her MGM gal pal Jane Powell took over the rest of the run for her.) Ah yes, them were the days.

STREEP: in Toronto tonight

STREEP: in Toronto tonight

Debbie, of course, is still alive and high-kicking at 77. This month she and her personal musicians will take her show, An Evening With Debbie Reynolds, to the Julie Rogers Theatre in Beaumont, Texas for a breast cancer fund-raiser. 
Meanwhile, there’s good news for those of us who hunger for more of Carrie’s wickedly witty prose. She’s working on a new book – a collection of stories from movie sets of “films I pretended to act in.” Hope she includes Shampoo.

And speaking of those writing honours that keep eluding her – considering those rave reviews, wouldn’t it be funny if she gets Tony-nominated as both the author of Wishful Drinking and as lead actress in a play?

Stranger things have happened.

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