Tag Archives: the Esprit Orchestra

Jennifer plays Winnie, Sheila plays Halifax, Rick plays Rideau Hall — and stars coax us into the cold

STARS IN OUR EYES: Grammy showstopper Jennifer Hudson continues to prove herself as an actress as well as a singer. She and Terence Howard shine as Winnie & Nelson Mandela in the fascinating biopic Winnie, one of

HUDSON & HOWARD: As Winnie and Nelson Mandela in new biopic "Winnie"

the celluloid treats selected for the 12th annual Floating Film Festival. The FFF, launched by TIFF co-founder Dusty Cohl two decades ago and now captained by filmmaker Barry Avrich, embarks on a 10-day Caribbean odyssey on Monday Feb. 27 – the day after the Oscars – on the Seabourn Sojourn. More on FFF 12 as it happens …  Rachel McAdams and her main squeeze Michael Sheen are having a lovely Valentine’s Day, thanks for asking. McAdams’ film with Channing Tatum, The Vow, is number one at the box office, and Sheen is now set to star in the Showtime pilot Masters of Sex …  triumphant trio Russell Braun, Krisztina Szabo and Erin Wall, the three great voices who spark the current,

McADAMS: Happy February

theatrically dazzling Canadian Opera Company production of Love From Afar, won’t be sitting around after the controversial extravaganza closes on Feb. 22. Ms. Szabo is already set to perform with conductor Alex Pauk at the Esprit Orchestra event Gripped By Passion at Koerner Hall on Feb. 26 .And  her co-stars Braun and Wall are set to team up again in Ottawa in a new production of Carmina Burana March 8-9 at the National Arts Centre … and dynamic duo Jay Leno & Madonna teamed up to promote his Tonight Show with a delightfully snappy SuperBowl commercial I finally caught up with yesterday. Did you miss it too? Here it is. Enjoy!

PRESENT LAUGHTER: Montreal’s phenomenal Just For Laughs comedy festival celebrates its 30th anniversary (!!!) this year July 12-29, after warming up with a six-night stand in Chicago June 12-17 … a new cartoon-for-the-mind

JOHNSTON & MERCER: Rideau Hall playdate

podcast from those wacky Illustrated Men is set in the mythical town of Monogami, Ontario.  In the first episode Sam and Ella Toad move to Monogami to make a new start; some kids out camping spot a UFO; and alien bounty hunters land. Will Sam’s car get towed by zombies? You’ll have to tune in to find out …  stand-up guy Harry Doupe hosts Everyone’s A Winner, the March 9 all-star comedy fundraiser at Second City in support of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League with smile-makers  Sean Cullen, Tim Steeves, Laurie Elliott, Pete Zedlacher and many more … Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are set to play two middle-aged guys starting over as interns at an internet company in the Shawn Levy comedy Interns … and Rick Mercer finally gets a taste of the high life he’s been missing when he hobnobs with new Governor-General David Johnston at Rideau Hall tonight on CBC’s Rick Mercer Report.

McCARTHY & NICHOLSON: on stage in Halifax

FOOTLIGHTS: Stage and screen lioness Sheila McCarthy is back on the boards at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, garnering glowing notices in Norm Foster’s new comedy Mrs. Parliament’s Night Out with J. D. Nicholson. McCarthy is also set to co-star in  Lost In Yonkers with Linda Kash, David Eisner and Happy Days legend Marion Ross when the Neil Simon classic opens here in May   … Graham Abbey of The Border TV fame

BALABAN: Back at Theatre Passe Muraille

is also collecting kudos for his stage turn with Barry Flatman in the Canadian premiere of Enron, directed by Antoni Cimolino at Theatre Calgary … Divisadero: a performance, adapted by Michael Ondaatje from his Governor General Award-winning novel and directed by Daniel Brooks, is back at Theatre Passe Muraille for a limited run through Sunday Feb. 26. The production reunites the original cast of Liane Balaban, Maggie Huculak, Tom McCamus, Amy Rutherford and Justin Rutledge, who created music specifically for the piece …  and Allan Hawco and Philip Riccio’s ambitious Company Theatre has announced its next production. Speaking In Tongues, by Andrew Bovell, will be directed by Riccio and play the Berkeley Street Theatre Oct. 29-Nov. 24. Will Riccio load the dice with lotsa star power? Stay tuned.

TENNANT: On a MIssion

DEEP FREEZE: Some of our faviourite stars are urging us to come into the cold. And their message is definitely on point. “Come freeze your butt off on February 25, 2012 with Yonge Street Mission on the coldest night of the year! It is a 5k and 10k non-competitive walk in the frigid cold for the hurting, homeless and hungry. Sign up as an individual or a team today. If you can’t join us that night, consider donating!” Sparklies askng us to participate via a very engaging vimeo include Maria Del Mar, Peter Keleghan, Debra McGrath, Patrick McKenna, Mark McKinney, Colin Mochrie, Leah Pinsent, Veronica Tennant and, still wearing his Stephen Leacock moustache, Gordon Pinsent. To see it, just click here.

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Get out your calendars and make a date (or six)

FRESH-AIR FILM FESTIVAL: Yonge-Dundas Square’s weekly line-up this summer features a Tuesday night outdoor film series of heist movies, Safecracker Cinema,

OCEAN'S 11: The original

presented by Cineplex Entertainment.  And yes, we’re talking about Free outdoor heist film screenings. “At this price, it’s a steal!” The new series starts June 30, and highlights include special back-to-back screenings of both the original and re-make versions of Ocean’s Eleven, The Thomas Crown Affair and The Italian Job. Other titles include Grand Slam (1967, The Hot Rock (1972), A Fish Called Wanda (1988), Out of Sight (1998), Catch Me If You Can (2002) and Inside Man (2006) … and good news for Toronto filmfest fans: TiFF types have confirmed that the upcoming 35th (!!!) festival will once again feature a full day of public screenings on the final Sunday September 19.

CALENDAR JOTTINGS: In aid of using music to help street kids change their tune, John McDermott, Jean Stilwell, the Paul Hoffert Jazz Trio and Moshe Hammer and his Hammer Band are set to headline the May 19 fundraiser From Violence To Violins

STILLWELL: pro-Violins

at Integral House … DanceWorks presents the world premiere of Isolated Incidents, a full-length solo work choreographed and performed by Nova Bhattacharya, tomorrow through Saturday at Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre. Also coming to the Enwave: Gregory Hoskins performing covers of Paul Simon, Nick Cave, Gordon Lightfoot, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Jane Siberry, Cole Porter, Tom Waits, Radiohead and Leonard Cohen, re-imagined for the Art of Time Ensemble on May 25 & 26 …  with ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano disrupting airline schedules in Europe once again, the North American premiere of The Volcano that Stopped the World couldn’t  be much  more timely. The special report airs on CBC”s Passionate Eye on this coming Sunday .., Cuban jazz impresarios the Hilario Duran Trio will kick off Esprit Orchestra‘s May 27 Bene Fête (love it!) at the Gardiner Museumand dance Immersion celebrates its 16th anniversary with a Showcase Presentation of up-and-coming dancers of African descent May 27- 29 at Harbourfront’s Fleck Dance Theatre.

FALLON: hosting

FUTURE SHOCKS: My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Sex and the City — with a masala twist!” Okay, not your average tag line.  Fenulla Jiwani’s crowd-pleasing comedy 30 Dates returns to T.O. for a limited run June 2-12 at the Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs … no host announced so far, but expect a lot of star power on stage for the 2010 Tony Awards on June 13 at Radio City Music Hall … it’s official — Sting is set to serenade Torontonians July 23 at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre … the 11th annual Scotiabank BuskerFest, North America’s largest busker festival and one of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals, is set to fill our city with street performers August 26-29 …  Jimmy Fallon hosts the 2010 Emmy Awards on Sunday Aug. 29 … and talk about advance magazine deadlines:  The Walrus publisher Shelley Ambrose and editor John Macfarlane confirm that the award-garnering monthly’s 3rd annual Walrus Foundation Gala is now set for January 19, 2011.

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Gotta sing! Gotta dance! … got a baby bump, too!

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: National Ballet showstopper Greta Hodgkinson and husband Etienne Lavigne are infanticipating in January,

LANGSTROTH: on a Highwire

LANGSTROTH: on a Highwire

but La Hodgkinson will return to the company in time to dance next year’s production of Onegin, with an extravagant new design by Santo Loquasto. Meanwhile, she hasn’t exactly been idle. She’s been in front of the camera again, this time playing legendary ballerina Margot Fonteyn to Nico Archambault’s Rudolf Nureyev in award-collecting Moze Mossanen‘s bound-to-be dazzling new Nureyev Arts special for Bravo! … ivory-tickler Ken Lindsay is celebrating his

NICO as NUREYEV

NICO as NUREYEV

second anniversary at Statler’s. Village favourite Lindsay holds cocktail-hour court every Thursday and Friday nights …rising songbird Dawn Langstroth launches her new CD Highwire tomorrow before embarking on a year of touring to promote it. And yes, You Don’t Want Me, that  wonderful song she wrote with master musical storyteller Ron Sexsmith, is included

HODGKINSON: expecting

HODGKINSON: expecting

on the playlist …  young Aussie director Alexandra Schepisi, daughter of famed director Fred, recently completed a short film called One Night about a group of girls hanging out together. “It’s 23 minutes long and there’s only three lines of dialogue in it!” her proud poppa confides. Sounds intriguing … and when Robin Wright Penn took the stage at TIFF last week, was it just the guys in the theatre who noticed that her legs went on forever but her skirt didn’t? Just wonderin’ … BTW, the talented Ms Penn will co-star with James McAvoy in The Conspirator, based on the aftermath of Lincolns assassination and directed by Robert Redford.

LIGHTS OUT: After almost eight years in the making, Jian Ghomeshi protégée Lights released her first CD this week. Stay tuned … Harry

 

 

 

 

 

KARPLUK: music for Erica

KARPLUK: music for Erica

Connick’s new CD Your Songs features such golden oldies as Sinatra’s All The Way, The Carpenters’ Close To You and Nat King Cole’s Mona Lisa … look for Joss Stone to duet with Smokey Robinson on tonight’s Jay Leno Show … and EMI Canada released its Being Erica CD this week to coincide with the return of the time-bending Erin Karpluk-Michael Riley series and the release of the Season One DVD. Music from the show’s freshman year, which spans the same decades as the hit CBC series, features tunes by Melanie Doane, The Northern Pikes, Jesus Jones, Norah Jones, Marc Jordan, Fatboy Slim, MC Hammer and, of course,  Erica’s therne song, All I Ever Wanted To Be, by Lily Frost.

 

 

 

 

BUNNETT: among the first

BUNNETT: among the first

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: High-voltage music-makers set to headline the inaugural season of Toronto’s newest concert venue, Koerner Hall, located in the Telus Centre for Performance & Learning on Bloor Street west, include Jane Bunnett, James Ehnes, Louis Lortie, Midori, Nico Mulhy, Peter Oundjian, Steven Page, Jon Kimura Parker, Quartetto Gelato, Ravi Shankar, Frederica von Stade, Sarah Slean, the Esprit Orchestra, and Richard Reed Perry of Arcade Fire. To sample the upcoming season, and order tickets, just click here.

ABSENT FRIENDS: Yesterday, In my eagerness to share with you some of the stellar names performing this season with the TSO, I automatically included T.O. favourite Erich Kunzel, who was scheduled to conduct three nights of Broadway show tunes here next month.  Would that it were so. After being diagnosed with pancreatic, liver and colon cancer in April, Kunzel passed away three weeks ago. Add his name to the September roll call – Larry Gelbart, Mary Travers, Patrick Swayze, and more – of absent friends who are sorely missed today.

TOMORROW:

Why Kiefer came home.

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