Tag Archives: The Producers

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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Nurse Jackie gets a pick-up, Michel plays Irving, and T.O. theatre-goers get three decades of Doras

FALCO: she's the right Rx

FALCO: she's the right Rx

BEDSIDE MANNERS: American  television has clearly has taken a turn for the nurse. Fans of Sopranos scene-stealer Edie Falco, and they are legion, will be delighted to learn that her new almost three-week-old series Nurse Jackie has already been picked up for a second season …  and Jada Pinkett Smith is following in her mother’s footsteps, playing nurse Christina Hawthorne in HawthoRNe. (No, that’s not a typo. And yes, it really is a bit too cute. But then, here we are talking about it.) Ms. Pinkett Smith’s mom worked as a head nurse at a Baltimore women’s clinic, but in her new series, created by John Masius (St. Elsewhere) and produced by her hubbyWill Smith, Jada says her character is basically a woman with a God complex that’s really going to have to, like, get real. She’s going to have to learn to take care of herself as intensely as the patients.”

Sounds like a prescription for another hit show.

We’ll see.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: He conquered Stratford, won our hearts on TV as Tommy Douglas, wowed us on stage in The Producers and even survived the musical version of Lord Of The Rings. Now Michel Therriault is

THERRIAULT: Call him Irving

THERRIAULT: Call him Irving

about to play U.S. legend Irving Berlin off-Broadway in a new what-if musical called The Tin Pan Alley Rag. Described as a ‘musical play,’ it’s the story of an imagined meeting of two of America’s greatest musicians, composer Scott Joplin (Michael Boatman) and songwriter Berlin and the stories of fame, love and loss beneath their syncopated, frequently hypnotic rhythms … speaking of Stratford, award-laden director Norman Jewison says Stratford’s current production of West Side Story is the best he’s seen since the show first opened on Broadway more than (gulp!) half a century ago … sad news for you if you meant to but didn’t get around to ordering tickets: Every performance of the Tarragon Theatre remount of one-woman whirlwind Judith Thompson’s Body & Soul has been sold out since the curtain went up last week … Ray Jessel returns to our town to cabaret at the Old Mill next Saturday June 27 during The Toronto Jazz Festival … and Rick Mercer Report producer Gerald Lunz got an extra show on Broadway this week when he caught all three

DeVITO: too bloody funny?

DeVITO: too bloody funny?

installments of the revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s Norman Conquests, performed in the round at the Circle in the Square. Danny DeVito, who was sitting across the stage from him, literally doubled over with laughter, bounced his face off the seat in front of him, and split his lip. Now that’s comedy!

FOOTLIGHTS: Risking The Void, a comprehensive retrospective of stage designer Cameron Porteous’ remarkable contribution to theatre in Canada, opens Saturday July 4 at The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre at Niagara-on-the-Lake. The ambitious exhibit is a collaboration by Theatre Museum Canada, the University of Guelph’s L.W. Conolly Theatre Archives and the Shaw Festival … WatersEdge Productions, a new independent theatre

JEWISON: Stratford aficionado

JEWISON: Stratford aficionado

company, will debut in T.O, with the Canadian premiere of bare, a new rock musical that garnered a worldwide fan base since its award-winning run in L.A. and its sold-out five-week run off-Broadway. The show, in which an exuberant young cast of 19 actors tackles themes of teen sexuality, religious angst and unrelenting social and family pressure – yup, it’s a musical, I kid you not – opens July 17 at Hart House … shhhhh, it’s a secret, but my spies tell me the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts is polishing up a special award for superProducer Marlene Smith. To which we can only add, bravo!  … doesn’t seem possible that this is the 30th anniversary of the Dora Mavor Moore Awards. Imagine three decades of Doras! …  and soon you won’t have to. Theatre-goers attending the June 29 awards will receive an elegant bonus — a special book, The Doras: 30 Years of Theatre, Dance and Opera in Toronto. Edited by Angela Rebeiro, the new book will be distributed free of charge to all guests at the Award Show ceremony. It will go on sale at TheatreBooks after the show … and speaking of the Doras, have you cast your vote for the Audience Choice Award? If you haven’t, you’ve only got a few days left – polls close June 25. So just take a deep breath and click here.

A TOMLIN NEVER FORGETS: American treasure Lily Tomlin wants me to let you know that tomorrow is not just another Saturday.

TOMLIN: on a mission

TOMLIN: on a mission

“On Saturday, June 20, compassionate people around the world will unite to educate the public about the suffering of elephants in zoos, as part of the first-ever International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos,” says Lily. “Events are taking place in more than 30 cities in seven countries. I strongly urge you to attend an event, if there’s one in your area. Visit HelpElephants.com to see a list of locations.”

Lily’s using her wowOwow. com website to get her message out to as many people as possible.

“From some of the comments I’ve read in response to the issue of elephants in zoos, I’ve come to realize that people are just so used to seeing elephants in tiny displays that they accept that as being OK,” she says. “But it isn’t. While a zoo exhibit may appear big to us, to an elephant it’s miniscule. And don’t forget that elephants are forced to live their entire lives in that same spot, deprived of all that is natural to them: space, freedom, family and choice.”

For more on Lily’s plea for your help, click here.

And have a great weekend!

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Coco & Heath at Cannes, Mel Brooks in Berlin, plus 101 things you didn’t know about Ms Green Gables

CUCKOO FOR COCO: It’s definitely the year of Chanel.  First Shirley MacLaine stars as the legendary French designer in the hit Lifetime mini-series

MACLAINE: as Coco

MACLAINE: as Coco

Coco Chanel …  then Audrey Tatou (Amelie, The DaVinci Code) stars as the young Gabrielle in Anne Fontaine’s new feature, Coco Before Chanel. (A poster for the film showing Tatou, as Chanel, smoking a cigarette, was actually banned by the ever-politically correct Parisian authorities. Never mind – Tatou has been named as the new face of the Chanel No.5 perfume, taking over from Nicole Kidman.) And closing night at Cannes is reserved for Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, with Anna Mougalis as the designer, trying to cope with her passionate affair with the Russian composer, pianist and conductor in 1920.

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FLICKERS: Dreamworks’ laugh-making megahit Kung Fu Panda is set to make its second debut as an animated weekly TV series next year … HBO’s $200M

LEDGER: last film

LEDGER: last film

World War II miniseries The Pacific, set to air next season, has already been sold into most major markets, including the UK, Germany, Canada and France … inspired by the box office returns from the unexpected hit He’s Just Not That Into You, Warner Bros. is preparing a new romantic comedy for next Valentine’s Day called, you guessed it, Valentine’s Day.  Director Garry Marshall is currently wooing the aforementioned Ms. Maclaine plus Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway,

ROBERTS: Valentine?

ROBERTS: Valentine?

 

Jennifer Garner, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper and Ashton Kutcher, among others, but admits the film is still more a negotiation than a movie. Still, sounds like fun … and Heath Ledger’s last film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, premieres out of competition tonight at Cannes. Ledger’s character is also played by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell, who helped director Terry Gilliam complete his film.

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FOOTLIGHTS:  Think you know everything about Anne Of Green Gables? Don Harron is betting you’re wrong. Harron’s new book, 101 Things You Didn’t Know About  Anne Of Green Gables: The Musical is a bright new addition to

BROOKS: Berlin (and not Irving)

BROOKS: Berlin (and not Irving)

Green Gables lore. Adds Harron, who co-wrote the legendary Canuck musical with Norman Campbell: “This is my first book in English!” Well, the Queen’s English, maybe. Up to now his most celebrated literary ventures have been penned by his inimitably eloquent alter-ego, hapless Hee Haw hero Charlie Farquharson …  plans for a Broadway transfer of the Kennedy Center production of Ragtime are moving ahead. The new $4M production, considerably less lavish than the Garth Drabinsky original, won rave reviews when it opened in Washington D.C. last month … and just when you thought you’d seen it all, the blockbuster  musical version of Mel Brooks’ The Producers, which premiered in Moscow earlier this month, has finally opened in Berlin, eight years after it conquered Broadway. It’s booked for a two-month run at the Admiralspalast, where Adolf Hitler liked enjoyed light operettas from the Führer’s box. And yes, it appears to be a hit, despite some media reservations. “Should one be allowed to laugh about Hitler?” asked the Berliner Morgenpost.  Answered The Berliner Zeitung:  “People in Tel Aviv laughed.”  ‘nuff said. 

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HAVING A TIFF:  Toronto Star film critic Peter Howell always find some quirky stuff to relate in his engaging daily video reports from Cannes. Yesterday he showed us a full-page ad for TIFF – the Toronto International Film Festival. Then he showed us another a full-page ad for TIFF – the Tokyo International Film Festival. And then he showed us another a full-page ad for TIFF – the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. But hey, wot’s in a name, right? Meanwhile, you can check out Howell’s entertaining filmfest vlogs right here.

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DOORS-OPEN CBC: Our perpetually beleaguered public broadcaster – the one owned by us, not the government – joins in this weekend’s Doors Open

McLEAN: on view

McLEAN: On view

Toronto festivities by inviting us to visit The Broadcast Centre (at Front & John, opposite the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and the Rogers Centre) for studio tours, demonstrations and celebrity-spotting tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is your chance to meet cast members from The Border, Dragons’ Den, Little Mosque on the Prairie and This Hour Has 22 Minutes, many of the hosts from CBC news, current affairs, and sports programs, and such CBC Radio icons as Stuart McLean.

Insider Tip: Best time for star-gazing is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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