Tag Archives: STEPHEN SONDHEIM

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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More honours for Stephen & Andy & Denise, more about Glambert, and Don & Amber spark Sunday night viewing

BROADWAY BABY: Birthday boy Stephen Sondheim got a very special 80th birthday gift this year — a Broadway theater with his name on it. The Henry Miller Theatre will become

ZETA JONES: Sondheim salute

the Stephen Sondheim Theatre as soon as the current tenant, the Dame Edna-Michael Feinstein musical romp All About Me, concludes its run. Meanwhile, just before his birthday, Sondheim was saluted by such musical comedy sparklers as Patti Lupone, Audra McDonald, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Elaine Stritch, David Hyde Pierce, Donna Murphy and Nathan Gunn at Avery Fisher Hall.  Now he’s set to be feted with another all-star salute, at New York City Center on April 26, with musical tributes from Angela Lansbury, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Len Cariou, Barbara Cook, Raul Esparaza, Sutton Foster, Victor Garber, Joanna Gleason, Nathan Lane and repeat saluters Donna Murphy and Bernadette Peters. For more info, click here.

KIM: Hit Parader

ROCKING  HIM GENTLY: New inductees to the Hit Parade Hall Of Fame include Louis Armstrong, Sam Cooke, Buddy Holly & the Crickets, Michael Jackson & the Jackson Five, Carole King, Little Richard, The Rolling Stones and Montreal-born Andy Kim (Rock Me Gently, Sugar Sugar.) Kim says that learning of his induction “put me back in the time when I was listening to the radio as a kid, and still today. I love all these artists, and I look at the names, and I hear their songs. I am forever grateful to be in their company.”  Next week Kim releases his first new album in two decades, Happen Again, on his own Iceworks label, and reported highlights include a song he’s written with top Barenaked Ladies tunesmith Ed Robertson. Stay tuned.

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Talk about a jam session. Canadian Music Week wrapped up in T.O. with  713 bands filling 58 venues to capacity. Top-draw music makers  included Our

DONLON: more hardware

Lady Peace, Hedley, Joel Plaskett, Great Lake Swimmers, The Trews, K-OS, Bedouin Soundclash,  Arkells and too many more to mention here. Keynote speakers included superSongwriters Paul Williams and Dave Stewart; radio face Roger Ashby and Universal music guru Randy Lennox picked up Lifetime Achievement Awards; and CBC Radio chief Denise Donlon was honoured with The Rosalie Award for her impressive career in broadcasting …  piano man Chilly Gonzales, who wrapped his Ivory Tower flick here last week for first-time director Adam Traynor of Puppetmastaz notoriety, was in Berlin last night to accompany electro-pop pal Peaches as she premiered her stripped-down solo concert version of Jesus Christ Superstar … frankly fabulous Isabel Bayrakdarian is set to headline two COC operas next season, The Magic Flute with Michael Schade on Jan. 29) and the season closer, Orfeo ed Euridice, with Lawrence Zazzo on May

LAMBERT: new 'Meaning'

8 … indefatigable rocker Gowan plays Fallsview  Casino on May 7 & May 8 …  p.s. to country fans: A new version of 6 Chix, the all-girl music show that premiered at Fallsview last year, returns to the Niagara Falls casino on May 14 for one week only.

WHAT’S HOT: Currently heating up Amazon,com shipping orders: On The Meaning Of Adam Lambert, a book of essays from the web postings of two allegedly serious, mature professional women who became somewhat obsessed (obviously) with the openly gay American Idol runner-up. One reader describes it as “a train wreck with underwear showing.” Hmmmm …Chanel tattoos? Yes, ladies, you can now wear temporary tattoos of Chanel jewellery and some other intriguing designs, including a faux garter belt that could make Coco herself crack up.  Holt Renfrew on Bloor Street started selling ‘em this week – the complete set

CHERRY: nervous

for $75 – but if you want one, don’t delay. “We’ve only received 500 sets, “ a Holt’s rep said with a shrug. “They’ll be gone by Sunday.” Mon dieu! … and look for CBC Television to own this coming Sunday night.  The World Figure Skating Championship Gala starts at 3 pm EST; the much-anticipated season finale of Amber Marshall’s hit series Heartland starts at 7 pm; and the even-more-anticipated Don Cherry screen biography, Keep Your Head Up, Kid: The Don Cherry Story, starts at 8 pm.

Don says he still hasn’t seen the film, which was written by his son Tim Cherry and reportedly pulls no punches. “I’m going to watch it alone, down in my basement with my dog Blue and my goldfish, just the same as everybody else, with the commercials and the whole deal.” Is he nervous about seeing it? “Very.”

WHAT’S NOT: Leaving the lights on tomorrow night between 8:30-9:30 pm. Yes, Earth Hour is finally upon us — heck, there’s even a Blackberry app for it! So switch ’em off, people. Besides, we all look sooooo much better by candlelight.  And we, and we alone, have the power. In the words of the great Portugese-Canadian philosopher Nelly Furtado:

Turn off the light!

Turn off the light!

Happy weekend.

-/-

Toronto gets Broadway’s Dr. Frankenstein, and Ms Smith’s wisdom falls on glamorous but deaf ears

BROADWAY BABIES: He’s so good in Desperate Housewives that we sometimes forget that it was Roger Bart who originated the title role of the

BART: T.O.-bound

sexually deprived, spiky-haired Young Frankenstein on Broadway in 2007. Good news is, he’s set to reprise his star turn when the Mel Brooks musical opens in Toronto next spring. And coming with him are two of his Great White Way co-stars, Shuler Hensley as the Monster and Cory English as Igor …  Liza’s at the Palace, a recording of Liza Minnelli‘s most recent show as it was performed at the MGM Grand’s Hollywood Theatre in Las Vegas, will be broadcast as a 60-minute special on PBS

USHKOWITZ: back to Broadway?

stations this month. A DVD version of the full two-hour production will be available on February 2 … former Spring Awakening star Jenna Ushkowitz, currently playing Tina on the hit FOX-TV series Glee, says she still dreams of returning to Broadway in a revival of Miss Saigon. “And I’ve been pushing and pushing to be seen for the film version, too!” … and here’s one for your Daytimers: The indefatigable Elaine Stritch officially returns to soignée saloons January 5 – 30, with a new show titled At Home at the Carlyle: Elaine Stritch Singin’ Sondheim.

JAMES: New Year's Eve

NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS: The Toronto Banjo Band headlines this year’s annual King Township Historical Society concert this Friday at 7:30 PM at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in King City. For reservations, call 905-841-5048 or 905-833-3324 … Ballets de Monte-Carlo and the Monaco Dance Forum next week open a seven-month salute to the 100th anniversary of Ballet Russes. The festivities run Dec. 2009 thru July 2010 in Monaco … shhhh, it’s a secret, but there may be some seats still available for the taping of the Ron James’ New Year’s Eve Special, tomorrow and Friday at 7 p.m. at the CBC.  Special guest stars include Gemini

SMITH: advisor to the stars

Award winners Peter Keleghan, whose new CBC-TV series 18 To Life bows in January, and Patrick McKenna. To become part of the live studio audience, contact tickets@enterthepicture.com … and Manhattan gossip girl Liz Smith says she was surprised to see herself in the December issue of Glamour magazine. Go to page 86, she says, and “you’ll see me giving unwanted advice to A-listers like Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Mariah Carey and Madonna. None of these big stars will read or take my advice, of course. Never mind! … I gave it.”  Attagirl!

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Nominations for the 10th Annual Canadian Independent Music Awards – “The Indies” – are now open. Submissions are being

KIM: Christmas with friends

accepted through The Indie Awards website at http://www.indies.ca, as well as through Sonicbids at http://www.sonicbids.com/indies2010 until December 15, The awards will be handed out on Saturday, March 13, 2010 in Toronto as part of Canadian Music Week.  For additional eligibility requirements, voting procedures and a complete list of award categories, click here ... Kim Mitchell, Divine Brown, Broken Social Scene and The Beauties (a.k.a. Now magazine’s Top Indy Band Of The Year) have all signed on to spread musical cheer at the fifth annual Andy Kim Christmas Show on Dec. 9 at The MOD Club. All Proceeds will benefit the Regent Park School Of Music. Call Ticketmaster to

MARSHAK: only A Matter Of Time

reserve your seats now … and at long last, veteran showstopper Judy Marshak has finally released her first album, A Matter Of Time, and as expected, it’s a musical bonbon to savour. Marshak brings a unique interpretation to tunes by Harold Arlen, Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman, but the real revelation is the calibre of her lyrical collaborations with John Alcorn, including the title track (not to be confused with the John Kander-Fred Ebb song created for the 1976 Vincente Minnelli film of the same name.) Add such top-of-the-heap musicians as Rob Piltch, Marc Rogers, Denis Keldie, Guido Basso and Davide Direnzo, and your ears will thank you for listening. To sample some of the Marshak’s musical magic, just click here.

TOMORROW:

Emilio shows his dad The Way,

and Jason & Carly indulge in some hot text

Looking for movie stars? Book that flight to New York, ’cause they’re all on the Great White Way

ARE THE STARS OUT TONIGHT?: Yes, and most of ‘em are working on and off Broadway. Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson are currently in

JOHANSSON: room for A View

rehearsals for the revival of A View From The Bridge, still regarded in some circles as Arthur Miller‘s most passionate drama. They start previews right after Christmas, then open at the Cort Theatre on Jan. 24 … Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury are the hot-ticket duo in the revival of Stephen Sondheim‘s A Little Night Music down the street at the Walter Kerr Theater. Previews start tomorrow night, less than three weeks before their Dec. 13 opening … Emmy Award winners James Spader and Richard Thomas are already in previews for David Mamet’s

ZETA-JONES: opening tomorrow night

new sizzler, Race, directed by Mamet himself, for a Dec. 6 opening … veteran New York broadcaster Pat Collins calls her the funniest woman on Broadway, and audiences must agree, because Carrie Fisher’s one-woman show, Wishful Drinking, originally slated to close Jan. 3, has been held over another two weeks, to Jan. 17… Victor Garber will celebrate New Year’s Eve, then go right into previews for the revival of Noel Coward’s Present Laughter, set to premiere Jan. 21 at the American Airlines Theatre … 2001: A Space Odyssey alumnus Keir Dullea, who actually worked with Noel Coward, will return to Broadway this spring in a revival of Robert Anderson’s

SPADER: Race card

I Never Sang for My Father. Years ago Dullea and Coward co-starred in a London-made thriller called Bunny Lake Is Missing. After shooting a difficult scene together for director Otto Preminger, Coward turned to the young actor and chirped, “Keir Dullea, gone tomorrow!” Happily his ad-lib was not prophetic … and Tony Award owner Matthew Broderick has taken his act off-Broadway. He opens tonight at the Acorn Theatre in Kenneth Lonergan’s The Starry Messenger, about an astronomy teacher’s affair with a younger woman.  Academy Award nominee Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace) plays the younger woman to Broderick’s married academic.

SMITH: backing B'way newbie

ANOTHER OPENING, ANOTHER ADOPT-A-SHOW: It took volunteer executive producers Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry to put Precious on the map — and did they ever. Now Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Will & Jada Pinkett Smith have become first-time Broadway producers, putting their considerable showbiz weight behind the new Broadway musical Fela! which opens tonight at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre after a month of previews. Directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones, Fela! portrays the extravagant world of controversial music pioneer and Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in a hybrid of concert, dance and musical theater. Will audiences buy in? Stay tuned … and Tony winner Susan

BRODERICK: opening tonight

Stroman will direct the first-ever production of The Scottsboro Boys, an unproduced Kander & Ebb musical, off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre. The show will begin previews on February 12 and open on March 10. The Scottsboro Boys explores the infamous Scottsboro case of the 1930s, in which a group of African-American teenagers were unjustly accused of attacking two white women, and the boys’ attempts to prove their innocence.

And yes, it’s a musical.

TOMORROW:

Fangs for the Memories.

Lily learns a lesson, Pat takes the Bard to Venice and Vanessa & Kristin set their sights on Broadway

FOOTLIGHTS: Last week Vanessa Williams started her fourth season as Ugly Betty’s ever-scheming yet oddly lovable magazine editor Wilhelmina Slater,

WILLIAMS: Sondheim serenader

WILLIAMS: Sondheim serenader

a roie which has won her three consecutive Emmy Award nominations to date. This week the former Miss America is plotting her return to Broadway with powerhouse Barbara Cook in a new nightly tribute to Stephen Sondheim. Williams starred as the Witch in the 2003 revival of Sondheim’s Into The Woods. “Ugly Betty is my priority,” she says candidly, “and we shoot in the spring — so there are going to be some days that I may not be able to do the Sondheim show. But we’re going to do as much as we can so I can do an eight-show week.” The new musical, Sondheim On

CHENOWITH: Bacharach baby?

CHENOWITH: Bacharach baby?

Sondheim, will be directed by her Into The Woods champion James Lapine and is scheduled to open early next year … remember Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon in the 1960 Billy Wilder film classic The Apartment? Remember Jerry Orbach and Jill O’Hara in the 1968 Broadway musical version, Promises, Promises? Remember all those hummable Burt Bacharach-Hal David tunes like I’ll Never Fall In Love Again? Word on the Great White Way is that Wicked scene-stealer Kristin Chenowith will return

LAHTI: Carnage

LAHTI: Carnage

to the New York stage to play opposite Will & Grace funnyman Sean Hayes in a modernized 2010 revival of the hit musical. Stay tuned … and here’s one for the Change Partners & Dance Dept.: A new cast for Yasmina Reza’s Tony-winning black comedy God of Carnage will begin performances on November 17 on Broadway. Christine Lahti will replace Marcia Gay Harden; Annie Potts has signed on to replace Hope Davis; Jimmy Smits will replace Jeff Daniels; and original West End cast member Ken Stott will recreate his performance as Michael, replacing James

SMITS: replacing Jeff Daniels

SMITS: replacing Jeff Daniels

Gandolfini.

FLICKERS: The 10th annual Planet in Focus film festival, which opened here yesterday, features over 85 films on environmental issues from 25 countries, with pre- and post-screening discussions and panels and special programs for children and schools. A special section of the festival, Land & Conflict screenings, include Canadian premieres of Voices from El Sayed. The 2008 film set in the Bedouin village that is home to the largest community of deaf people in the world; and Jerusalem Moments 2009, a showcase of short films by seven young Palestinian and Israeli directors. To get all the W5, click here … and following a successful pitch at RomaFictionFest, veteran producer Pat Ferns is teaming up with Britain’s Scenario Films to

TOMLIN: class consciousness

TOMLIN: class consciousness

develop Shakespeare in Venice, a dramatic series in the tradition of Shakespeare in Love. Based on exhaustive research by Alessandro Bettero, the screenplays will be co-written with award-winning British screenwriter Gareth Jones … and David Cronenberg is set to appear at tonight’s TIFF Cinemateque screening of Videodrome, his prescient 1983 thriller with James Woods, Deborah Harry and Sonja Smits, tonight at 9 pm at the AGO.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I lived in a racially diverse and financially diverse neighborhood and I knew who was favored and who wasn’t and who had “nicer” material circumstances and who didn’t. It was the practice at our grade school in those days to stand and tell the class what you’d received for Christmas that year and it was gruesome because it was clear when a kid was lying or exaggerating out of shame, and I can remember being one of them. You might say you’d gotten a sweater and boots and a new coat and all kinds of things that you never showed up in. I can’t imagine what teacher would support such a practice today unless it was used anonymously to raise political and social consciousness and make it an illuminating exercise.”

The speaker? Lily Tomlin, on becoming class conscious at the age of 7.

MAPLE LEAF JOKES? WE’VE GOT A MILLION OF ‘EM!:

Q: What do the Toronto Maple Leafs and possums have in common?
A. Both play dead at home and get killed on the road.

TOMORROW:

Liz Smith goes on a tear, Jacqueline Bisset goes Italian,

and Ragtime returns to Broadway — without Garth.

-/-