Tag Archives: Sardi's

Bye bye Bistro, Kathleen keeps her clothes on, and Titanic goes on and on (and on, and on, and …)

ANCHORS AWEIGH: Apparently it’s not only Céline’s heart that will go on and on. A boatload of new productions mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic next month. First up is the premiere of the new Julian Fellowes four-part mini-series Titanic on Global this Wednesday. This new version by

TITANIC: sinking ship syndrome?

Fellowes, who penned Downton Abbey— which, coincidentally, started with news of the Titanic sinking – follows the aristocrats staying in first-class cabins and the lower class families residing in steerage. “Each episode focuses on individual families but will feature every character as their stories become

REID: in four-part mini-series

intertwined with each other. Viewers will also see the ship begin to sink in every episode as the series builds up to the finale when it will be revealed who survives and who doesn’t.” Advance reviews are a bit iffy so far (c’mon, we already know how it ends) but insiders say the real fun is betting on which of the familiar faces on board (eg., David Eisner, Toby Jones, Linda Kash, Noah Reid, Linus Roache) will sink or swim. Next up: Titanic: The Canadian Story, a new two-hour special on the historical event we can’t seem to get enough of, set to air Thursday April 5 on CBC’s Doc Zone. Did you know that included among the more than 2,200 passengers and crew on the Titanic were 130 men women and children bound for Canada? Me neither. But

CAMPBELL: in 12-part series

wait – there’s more. On Monday April 9 National Geographic kicks off a week-long Titanic salute with Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron. (Do we believe that ‘final word’ bit? Not for a minute.) But wait – there’s more. Also in the works is Titanic: Blood & Steel, at 12-episode dramatic series that focuses on the construction of the ship, its owner and the workers, and is set in the Belfast shipyards in 1907. All-star cast members already signed include Sir Derek Jacobi, Neve Campbell and Chris Noth.  Can Titanic: The Musical and Titanic: The Mobile App be far behind? Stay tuned.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I’ve learned that great style has little to do with what you wear. It’s how you wear it and who you are. Confidence is the best fashion

BEKER: 60 reasons to celebrate

accessory. I’ve learned never to wish to be in someone else’s shoes — you never really know where they’ve come from or where they’re going. I’ve learned that aging should make us better, not bitter. I’ve learned that Botox can help.” The learner? Jeanne Beker, suddenly 60, in one of her best columns ever, in today’s Toronto Star. My personal favourite? “I’ve learned that inner beauty is the only kind that really counts. But good lighting helps.” To read the unsinkable Ms. Beker’s unique summing up of what she’s learned so far, click here.

FOOTLIGHTS: Toronto audiences will get a chance to see Kathleen Turner’s much-lauded stage performance as a salty nun trying to rehabilitate a 19-year-old drug user when High opens in May at the Royal Alex. And before you ask, this

TURNER: on a High

time it’s her young male co-star who appears on stage in the nude. Sister Turner, I’m advised, keeps her clothes on … among the sparklies on the New York stage this week is Eric McCormack, currently treading the boards with Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones, John Larroquette and Candice Bergen in previews for a star-studded revival of Gore Vidal’s truth-searing political drama The Best Man … Tony Award-winner Rob Ashford is set to direct and choreograph the stage adaptation of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, a new big-budget Disney musical set to premiere in London next year. The musical will

McCORMACK: back on Broadway

incorporate Burton’s unique aesthetic into the show’s design, follow the plot of the 2010 film — the ninth highest-grossing film of all time (!!!) — and will feature a book by the film’s screenwriter Linda Woolverton … and Kate Winslet is toying with the notion of making her stage debut in a revival of David Hare’s drama Skylight. The production would be helmed by Hare himself, with Bill Nighy reprising his role as Tom Sergeant, most likely for a West End opening followed by a limited Broadway run.

Stay tuned.

THE NIGHT THEY CALLED IT A DAY: Once the Sardi’s  of Toronto, Bistro 990 served its last suppers Saturday night and officially closed Sunday morning, with a closing party on the premises last night. Among the dozens of

BISTRO 990: Going, going ... gone

merry mourners greeted by owner Tom Kristenbrun and maitre d’ Victor Magalhaes were Bistro regulars Austin Clarke, Larry Dane, ‘Party Barbara’ Herschenhorn, Bill Marshall, Gordon Pinsent, Sari Ruda, Rob Salem, Sara Waxman and Rita Zekas, whose Stargazing columns put the French bistro on the media map and kept it there for decades. Meanwhile, across town at Eglinton and Bathurst, despite headlines announcing its imminent demise due to city expropriations, the House of Chan is still thriving.  One media scribe reported

HOUSE OF CHAN: Business as usual

that the restaurant entrance was locked after he personally checked it out; apparently he didn’t realize that the legendary Toronto steak oasis that Donny Lyons lyonized  is open only for dinner, from 5 pm on. If proposed subway construction forces the restaurant to close in the future — and that’s still a big If —  it won’t happen until at least 2014. Until then, you can expect Chan to continue to serve up all its famous specialties seven nights a week. And amen to that!

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Marg Delahunty returns to T.O., Meryl & Julia move to Osage County and Jim makes more Mostel magic

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ:  Savvy scene-stealer Mary Walsh returns to Toronto next month in her new one-woman play, Dancing With Rage. The show, set to run March 6-31 at Theatre Passe Muraille,  incorporates both new

WALSH: Marg Delahunty returns to T.O.

and  familiar faces, most notably 22 Minutes alumni Dakey Dunn, Connie Bloor and the legendary Marg Delahunty. Walsh’s last stage stint here was almost two years ago, at the Panasonic with Andrea Martin and Louise Pitre in Love, Loss and What I Wore, directed by Karen Carpenter. Carpenter is also directing Dancing With Rage and she and Walsh still have to decide if they’ll tour the show after it closes here … Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts are set to co-star in the film version of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning August: Osage County. John Wells will direct …  the cast of Ghost will perform a sneak peek of the

STREEP & ROBERTS: Osage County gals

show on Jimmy Fallon’s late show tonight before the West End musical hit even begins its Broadway previews … and  remember Slings  & Arrows, the brilliant take-off on Stratford and its oh-so-theatrical inhabitants?  Paul GrossMartha Burns and Stephen Ouimette were sensational, and newcomers Rachel McAdams and Luke Kirby weren’t too shabby either. New York Times writer Neil Genzlinger recently suggested that NBC’s much-ballyhooed Smash should avoid dumbing down its storylines and aim higher. “The writers,” he said, “would also benefit from watching a few seasons of Slings & Arrows, a terrific backstage television series that was smart and proud of it,” he advised. Challenging viewers “to keep up, as Slings and Arrows did, is ultimately more rewarding.”

UP UP AND AWAY: On a clear you can see --- whaaa??

IF YOU GET CAUGHT BETWEEN THE SUN AND NEW YORK CITY:  It was just a publicity stunt for the new sci-fi movie Chronicle, written and directed by director John Landis’ chip-off-the-old block Max. But it sure got people talking. To see how they did it, cick here.

A BRIDGE TOO FAR: Unless you're flying over it, of course ...

NOW IS THE HOUR:  Finally caught up with Jim Brochu‘s much acclaimed performance in Zero Hour, and although I didn’t see how his one-man show could live up to its advance publicity, it easily surpassed it. In addition to being an

BROCHU as MOSTEL: brilliant

extraordinarily disciplined and gifted actor, Brochu is also a brilliant writer and storyteller who is never less than engaging, so you don’t have to be a rabid fan of Zero Mostel to be captivated by his reconstituted presence on stage. I know several long-term admirers of Mostel who have been wowed by Brochu’s tour de force, and after seeing him in action, I can certainly understand why. His personal revelations, including Mostel’s bitter estrangement from his family, are tough and touching. His backstage stories, from his account of Lucille Ball testifying to the House Committee on Un-American Activities to his palpable loathing for

HANGING OUT: Merman & Brochu at Sardi's

Broadway blabbers Elia Kazan and Jerome Robbins, are unforgettable. The Zero Mostel we prefer to remember is the lovable clown from The Producers, the madcap jester from A Funny Thing Happened Our The Way To The Forum, the Jewish patriarch who wished he was A Rich Man in Fiddler On The Roof. But Brochu is a true creature of the theatre — his caricature hangs next to Ethel Merman’s at Sardi’s — and accordingly the artist Brochu reincarnates for us has to fight to be in the spotlight. Zero only gets to star in Forum because first choice Milton Berle and second choice Phil Silvers both turn it down. And although his portrayal of Tevye is burned into the heart of Broadway memory, he was third choice for that one too. (First name on the Fiddler producers’ wish list was Danny Kaye.)

JIM BROCHU as ZERO MOSTEL in ZERO HOUR at Bathurst Street Theatre

When the curtain finally comes down — all too soon for some of us — the fact that we feel like we’ve just spent the evening with Zero Mostel, and not a carbon copy, is further testament to Brochu’s great skill as an actor. On stage here at the Bathurst Street Theatre through March 11, Zero Hour is a fascinating and formidably funny showcase for both of them. Don’t miss it.

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About Kylie & Barbara & Barbra & Stompin’ Tom

   NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE:  Fresh from her acclaimed Manhattan run at Feinstein’s cabaret, late-blooming Broadway legend Barbara Cook re-

CONNORS: still stompin'

CONNORS: still stompin'

unites with the New York Philharmonic for one night only on Saturday May 30 … following in the footsteps of Rick Mercer, John Cleese, Bob Newhart, Steve Smith and Tracy Ullman, grown-up Kid In  The Hall Mark McKinney will receive the CTV-sponsored Peter Ustinov Award at the Banff International Television Festival next month … pack up your pick-up trucks. The indefatigable Stompin’ Tom Connors is set to serenade high-rollers at Casino Rama on August 22 … pop superstar Kylie Minogue will finally make her North American debut with a six-city tour which includes the Hollywood Bowl in L.A. (October 4) and the ACC in Toronto (October 9) … young Canuck filmmaker Stephen Dunn reports that this week’s Cannes screening of his award-winning short film The Hall went extremely well. “The audience was packed and extremely lively. It had the exact same reaction in Cannes as it did in Toronto, so obviously the humour translated overseas. We are all very proud of the success of the film!” …   and why Will Ferrell keeps remaking TV series into movies is beyond me, not to mention anyone else who suffered through Bewitched – but he’ll try it again on June 5, the official opening date for his comedy (fingers crossed) remake of Land Of The Lost. To catch a sneak preview, click here.

So glad you got it.

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BETTER THAN BEING THERE: Okay, the jury’s in — Roger Ebert‘s daily journals from Cannes are the best that ever were, sometimes breath-takingly brilliant, almost always riotously entertaining. Add his ability to add his own Shaky Cam coverage — wait ’til you see Mike Myers tell Maclean’s film maven Brian D. Johnson he’s very “honoured with a U ” to be in Quentin Tarantino’s new film with Brad Pitt — and the result is Don’t-Miss daily reading. And as Computerworld magazine noted not so long ago, “The comments from readers are about the best you will see on a blog.” I’ll say. To put him on your Must list right now, just click here.

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EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSE: New audiences are discovering her as cub-lawyer Ellen Parsons on Damages with Glenn Close, but do they know she’s part of the current Australian invasion taking over Hollywood?

BYRNE: Australian

BYRNE: Australian

Yup, Rose Byrne is an Aussie, the youngest daughter of a statistician and a grammar school administrator. So how come she and Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman are so darn fluent in American?

“There’s really no great secret to it,” Byrne tells Sharp magazine’s Dylan Young. “It’s just that we have a distinct advantage over Americans actors—we grow up watching their films and television shows. Let’s face it, for every thousand hours of American content that we watch, Americans probably watch one or two that come from Australia or Britain. We’re bound to find it a bit easier.”

Byrne, who also co-starred with Nicolas Cage in Knowing, appreciates the value of making a great entrance. “Damages basically began with my character running down the street half-naked and covered in her fiancé’s blood. And that’s not the worst thing she ends up having to deal with.”

For more of the Sharp interview with Ms Byrne, click here.

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DAISY, DAISY, GIVE ME YOUR ANSWER, DO: (But gimme the correct one this time.) Yesterday I reminisced about H.A.L., the too-human computer in  Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and mentioned that H.A.L. had been voiced by Douglas Campbell.

Wrong. The voice of H.A.L. was, of course, the golden-throated Douglas Rain.

My bad. Sorry. But it’s great to have such diligent readers. Thanks!

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QUOTABLE QUOTES: “Reality shows? My thrill is Dancing With the Stars. I love it. But if I had to compete in an event, it would probably be eating. I could pretty much whup anyone’s ass there.”

BERGEN: bullied

BERGEN: bullied

The speaker? Candice Bergen, who also says she was bullied — and not by Charlie McCarthy, her notorious ‘sibling,’ but by all sorts of bullues, all her life.

“Oy, have I been bullied. I must have a sign tattooed on my forehead: ‘This one’s a pushover.’ Bullied by men. Women. But in the distant past. And yet, how well I remember … the distinct “I’m shrinking!” feeling. Turning to sludge. It seems to be something most people grow out of but I am a devout shirker of confrontation. No spine.

“That’s one of the reasons I loved playing Murphy Brown. She was fearless and it sort of wore off on me.”

I’ll say.

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WHICH TUNE HAS THE TONY? That would be singer-dancer-choreographer-director Tommy Tune, who owns nine (9) of em! … Oscar,

STREISAND: sales champ

STREISAND: sales champ

Emmy and Tony owner Barbra Streisand’s new DVD package, Streisand: The Concerts, has scored the No. 1 spot on both the UK and USA charts. In America, the set has had the highest sales for any music DVD so far this year … Jane Fonda’s caricature is finally part of Sardi’s famous theater restaurant and it’s taken only 46 years for her to get there. Before her current Tony nomination for 33 Variations, she made her Broadway debut in the ‘60s … and speaking of the Tonys, honorary Tony recipients this year, for their contributions to excellence in theatre, include composer Jerry Herman and writer/actress/producer Phyllis Newman.