Tag Archives: This Hour Has 22 Minutes

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.

*     *     *


Advertisements

Feist in the flicks! Zann on the hustings! David Sedaris at Carnegie Hall! (uhhhh, wait a minute …)

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: What do Dark Knight scene-stealer Cillian Murphy, pop music queen Leslie Feist and Hollywood legend Lauren Bacall? They all appear on screen in the Canadian Film Centre’s upcoming

FEIST: on film

FEIST: on film

 Worldwide Short Film Festival, opening June 16 at special venues near you … Gallery 888’s 10th Anniversary Spring Fling & Ovarian Cancer Canada Fundraiser runs tomorrow, June 3, to  June 21, with works from over 40 artists … Ingrid Bergman’s pre-Rossellini daughter, New York broadcaster Pia Lindstrom, celebrated her new Sirius XM radio show with a dinner at Morton’s in Manhattan …  the buzz begins. YTV is all set to welcome a new comedy series this September, That’s So Weird. What’s really weird is that part of the team behind it cut their comedy teeth on This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Corner Gas. As street cred goes, not too shabby. Stay tuned … and speaking of comedy, Double Exposure’s weekly podcast sends up Susan Boyle (of course!), Stephen Harper’s discovery of some shocking Michael Ignatieff tapes, and a new epicurean delight from Canada’s Governor General. To hear it, just click here.

ZANN: NDP runner

ZANN: NDP runner

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Gossip Girl heartthrob Chace Crawford has taken over the Kevin Bacon role abandoned by Zac Efron in Paramount’s forthcoming remake of Footloose … Lyndsy Fonseca has been added to the upcoming Hot Tub Time Machine (and yes, it’s a comedy) …  Zach Braff will write, direct and co-star withCameron Diaz in Swingles (can you guess what it’s about?) … Rosario Dawson will be Kevin James’ love interest in The Zookeeper (ditto) … and when Nova Scotians go to the polls one week from today, don’t be surprised if they elect stage & screen charmer Lenore Zann to represent them.  A staple of Canadian and U.S. TV movies and mini-series, and justifiably celebrated for her tour-de-force portrayal of Marilyn Monroe, the gifted actress from the Maritimes is the NDP’s candidate in Truro-Bible Hill, and the opposition is clearly concerned.

 

ZANN: as Marilyn

ZANN: as Marilyn

On the same day NDP Leader Darrell Dexter announced Zann’s candidacy in Truro, Liberals circulated a bare-breasted photo of Zann as she appeared in an episode of the cable TV series The L Word. Zann says her nude scenes have never been a secret and they have no bearing on her abilities as a candidate. As for Nova Scotia Liberals, she added, “I think it shows their desperation.” Me too.

SEDARIS: at Carnegie Hall

SEDARIS: at Carnegie Hall

LITERATI:  Toronto Star laugh-maker Linwood Barclay reads clues from his new mystery Too Close To Home tonight at the Toronto Reference Library … Joy Fielding reads from her new novel, Still Life, tomorrow night at North York Central Library … Tash Aw’s Map Of The Invisible World goes Luminato at the Al Green Theatre on Thursday June 11 … and Camille Paglia explains her three new Commandments, Break, Blow, Burn, in a three-part lecture series on June 16 at the ROM … who knew? I bought Judy At Carnegie Hall and purchased Rufus At Carnegie Hall but apparently I missed out on the really big one: David Sedaris At Carnegie Hall. And no, I am not making this up. You can buy it online at Indigo/Chapters for only $17.80 plus shipping. Sedaris, the best-selling author of such quirky gems as Me Talk Pretty One Day and When You Are Engulfed In Flames, has become a raconteur to reckon with. And if his Carnegie Hall ‘concert’ is anything like his on-camera stint a while back with David Letterman, it should truly be a CD to remember.

-/-

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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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. 

* * *

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.

 * * *

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.

-/-

Gimme a break!

Oh wait, I just had one.

I know, I know, I promised you (and me) a daily column, uhhh, blog, Monday thru Friday and then some.

Never did figure out when spring break was supposed to end.

Okay. My bad.

I sorta promise to never do it again.

And meanwhile, back on the ranch:

 

OUR TOWN: What a way to start the New Year! Theatre Passe Muraille will host the world premiere of Judith Thompson’s new play, Such Creatures, in

POLLEY: presenting

POLLEY: presenting

January 2010 … presenters set to assist 22 Minutes scene-stealer Geri Hall when she hosts the 2009 WGC Screenwriting Awards next week include Yannick Bisson (Murdoch Mysteries), Sarah Polley (Away from Her,) Tara Spencer-Nairn (Corner Gas), and Jennifer Podemski (Moccasin Flats.) Host Hall and 22 Minutes scribe Kyle Tingley will script the annual Writers Guild of Canada awards giveaway … and don’t say I didn’t warn you. Tickets are already selling briskly for the Toronto filmfest’s phenomenally popular annual children’s filmfest, Sprockets, which opens this Saturday April 18.

 * * *

PEOPLE: Veteran camera-huggers Kathleen Turner and Peter Gallagher are set to join the cast of David Duchovnys hit Showtime series, CalifornicationWill Arnett has signed on to star  in a comic book -inspired Wild West saga, Jonah Hex, with Hollywood heartthrob-du-jour Josh Brolin 

JACK & MARGARET: odd couple

JACK & MARGARET: odd couple

… director Kari Scogland was reportedly delighted by the reception for her film Fifty Dead Men Walking in Belfast last week. The controversial drama, which premiered here last September at the Toronto film festival, has just opened across the UK … ’70s gay porn icon and cabaret producer Jack Wrangler died last week of emphysema. Wrangler, 62, is survived by his 84-year-old wife, esteemed pop music legend Margaret Whiting, in what was one of Hollywood’s most fascinating romances … and Giancarlo Esposito will jet in this week for the Wednesday night premiere of his directorial debut, Gospel Hill, at Tonya Lee Williams’ 9th Annual ReelWorld Film Festival at the Scotiabank Theatre. Esposito’s film, the fest’s opening night Gala, stars Danny Glover, Angela Bassett, Julia Stiles, Samuel L. Jackson and Taylor Kitsch.

 * * *

BILLY BOB BLUES: By now most of the free world has viewed Jian Ghomeshis quixotic interview with reluctant movie star Billy Bob Thornton on CBC Radio’s Q.  Can’t say I feel sorry for Jian, because he stick-handled Billy Bob brilliantly. Can’t say I feel sorry for Billy Bob, because his arrogance clearly

THORNTON: Transplanted Texan?

THORNTON: Transplanted Texan?

exceeds his talent. But I do feel sorry for his Boxmaster band-mates. Talk about being hung out to dry! … and although Thornton is in no imminent danger of receiving honourary Canadian citizenship, Texas-born Manhattan gossip girl Liz Smith used to joke that if you even visited Texas, that was good enough for the Texas Film Hall of Fame to adopt you. Which is how Arkansas native Billy Bob became an official Texan recently, receiving the Tom Mix Honorary Texan Award from the Film Society. When Dennis Quaid introduced him a native “of Northeast Texas – that is, Hot Springs, Arkansas,” Billy Bob quickly reminded him that he once lived in Austin, Texas.  Which apparently was good enough for the Film Society. (Other ‘Texans’ honoured this year along with Billy Bob were Larry Hagman, born in Fort Worth, Texas, and Powers Boothe, a Texas State University graduate and native of Snyder, Texas.)

 * * *

LITERATI:  Giller Prize winner Wayson Choy is out promoting his new heart-stopping (literally!) bestseller, Not Yet … ditto Mark Breslin and his

LEACHMAN: telling tales

LEACHMAN: telling tales

Confessions of a Porn Addict, not to mention his new audio book on Canadian stand-up comedy….  gee, she’s going to Parliament after all! Green Party leader Elizabeth May launches her new book, perhaps too aptly titled Losing Confidence, on April 26 in Ottawa at, wait for it, the Parliament Pub … also out there telling tales: Fabled Oscar, Emmy & Golden Globe legend Cloris Leachman, who collaborated with her favourite ex-husband, producer George Englund (she married and divorced him twice) on Cloris: My Autobiography … and Deepak Chopra is set to wing into our town this month to promote his new tome Why Is God Laughing? on April 27 at Roy Thomson Hall. (Gee, I dunno, Deepak – maybe He’s a fan of Billy Bob Thornton??)

 * * * 

SEE/HEAR:  His episode with mayor Hazel McCallion was a big hit with Canadians this season, but Rick Mercer’s Mississauga mischief is now a bonafide viral sensation in the U.S., with almost a million hits (at last count) on YouTube alone. To see what all the fuss is about, or just to finish reading this column with a smile, just click here.

See you tomorrow.