Tag Archives: Tony Awards

Wassup with those fabulous femmes on Smash? Hey now, don’t get me started! (Oops!Too late)

BROADWAY BABIES: Currently wowing them on the Great White Way in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, veteran song-and-dance man Eric McCormack says he’d love to do another musical on Broadway, and would have

MCCORMACK: he’s the Best

played Che in the current revival of Evita if they’d asked him.  Unfortunately Ricky Martin got there ahead of him. Meanwhile, McCormack is onstage doing drama, while his Will & Grace partner Debra Messing is starring in a lavish new weekly series about building a Broadway musical. Can McCormack see himself doing a guest stint on Messing’s new series Smash? “Sure! I could go on the show in character, as Will Truman, lawyer. She could meet with me to discuss getting a divorce from her husband, Brian D’Arcy James. And then just as she’s leaving my office she could get this puzzled look on her face, as if she knows she knows me from somewhere but can’t remember where.” What happens then? “She leaves, and I get to do a big song about divorce!”

MCCORMACK & MESSING: dynamic duo

Messing, in the meantime, has been going through her own life-imitating-art-imitating-life drama. On Smash she cheats on her schoolteacher husband (the aforementioned Brian D’Arcy James) by having an affair with a Broadway leading man played by Rent star Will Chase. In real life she’s split with her hubby, screenwriter Daniel Zelman, and is spending most of her time with, ta-DAH! — Will Chase, who has also split from his wife.

HILTY: as MM in Smash

Meanwhile, Smash scene-stealer Megan Hilty, the buxom Broadway belter who desperately wants to play Marilyn Monroe in the fictional musical in the series, is actually playing the Marilyn Monroe role in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes this week on Broadway (the real Broadway.) And yes, I know, Carol Channing was the first and remains the most famous Lorelei Lee. But just to cap it all, on tonight’s episode of Smash Anjelica Huston makes her much-anticipated debut as a singer – and not with just any old song. Ms Huston sings a classic ballad from a classic, 74-year-old Broadway musical, Knickerbocker Holiday.

HUSTON: … from May to December

The timeless tune she warbles is September Song, introduced to audiences in 1938 by her grandfather Walter Huston. Now that’s show business!

QUOTABLE QUOTES:Mike Nichols was the director and I had a great audition. Tommy Tune personally taught me to tap, and everyone was really happy, except Lee Gershwin, Ira Gershwin’s widow, who said, ‘Over my dead body will that whore be in the show.’ That was when it changed for me and I thought, ‘Oh, this is not going to be easy, it’s not just about talent.’ She had no idea of who I was, what I had accomplished up to that point, and all the shows I’d done. That was an ‘aha!’ moment for me.”

WILLIAMS: tale teller

The speaker? Vanessa Williams in conversation with Broadway.com, describing her failed audition for My One And Only, one of several juicy morsels in her new autobiography, YOU HAVE NO IDEA: A Famous Daughter, Her No-Nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (and Each Other), co-authored with her mom Helen Williams.

PAIGE: on with the show

SHE’S STILL HERE: After she finished her stint in the revival of Follies on Broadway – not to mention her first New York concerts ever, at Lincoln Center no less — British SuperDiva Elaine Paige treated herself to a “heavenly” holiday in Barbados. “I just lazed around, swam, read my book and caught my breath,” she reports. “Barbados was such fun and I managed to catch up with a couple of pals, Cliff Richard and Cilla Black. Both of them have places there and we went for a drink.  The next day Cilla flew home to the UK and upon arrival realized she’d left her mobile phone in Barbados – guess who became the ‘phone courier’? I safely brought it home to the UK and ensured it was returned to her.” La Paige is currently in L.A. doing Follies at the Ahmanson with Broadway cast mates Jan Maxwell, Danny Burstein and Ron Raines. (Tony Award winner Victoria Clark has replaced Bernadette Peters.) Meanwhile, Follies leads Maxwell and Burstein are both nominated for Tony Awards. And guess who’s nominated for a New York Drama Desk award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical? Ms. Elaine Paige. Which certainly won’t hurt Hollywood box office sales for Follies.

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Go ahead, take the rest of the day off, ’cause It turns out to be a good Friday for showbiz news ‘n’ gossip

NO SEASON LIKE TV PILOT SEASON: It’s true — Freddie Prinze Jr., Victor Garber, Judd Hirsch and Andrea Martin are all in the running for new series this fall. And they’re not alone. Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis

BARKIN: something new?

are exec-producing their new co-starring venture based on the true story of Ralph Lamb, the rodeo cowboy who ended up Sheriff of Las Vegas.
 Carrie-Anne Moss is also in their pilot … John Corbett and Jennifer Beals are top-lining a new drama pilot called Widow DetectiveBill Pullman and Jenna Elfman play the U.S, president and his missus in 1600 Penn, a Modern-Family type pilot set in the White House … Minnie Driver, Andrea Anders and Rachel Dratch are the funny girls featured in the comedy pilot Lady FriendsDane Cook’s new pilot, Next Caller Please, casts him as a brash alpha male DJ on a satellite radio station … Sarah Silverman’s new pilot is about a woman readjusting to

SILVERMAN: something borrowed?

single life following a decade-long live-in relationship. A little bit autobiographical? You bet. Jeff Goldblum co-stars … Anne Heche is trying the small screen again with Save Me, playing a woman who survives a broken marriage by transforming into another version of herself … and Ellen Barkin heads the cast in The New Normal, about a blended family of a gay couple and the woman who becomes a surrogate for them as they grow their family. Which sorta maybe sounds like something we haven’t seen before.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Young Extemely Loud and Incredibly Close screen-stealer Thomas Horn has been set as the lead in not one but two new features — Space Warriors and Joe’s Mountain

RHYS: something American

Welsh actor Matthew Rhys (Brothers and Sisters) is set to star opposite Keri Russell in the FX pilot The Americans Eddie Izzard has signed to star in and produce NBC’s Mockingbird Lane, a re-conceived version of The MunstersLaz Alonso (Avatar) will play Meagan Good’s former flame and the detective who hires her to investigate a murder in her home town in NBC’s drama pilot NotoriousOliver Cooper (Project X) has signed on for a lead role in the sequel to Adam Sandler’s Grown Ups … Golden Globe nominee Jaime Pressly is set to play the warden at a women’s federal prison in the NBC drama pilot Bad Girls … comic W. Kamau Bell is set to host a new variety show produced by Chris Rock for FXNeil Patrick Harris will host the Tony Awards for the third consecutive year on Sunday June 10 and Jimmy Kimmel is set to host this

HYATT: something to cheer about

year’s Emmy Awards telecast on Sunday September 23.

OUR TOWN: Veteran crowd-pleaser Pam Hyatt serenades at the Green Door cabaret tonight in her one-woman concert Pamalot, with Peter Hill on the piano  … sublime warbler Judy Marshak, dynamic duo Deb McGrath & Colin Mochrie and Canuck comedy legends The Frantics are among the sparkles gathering for the Autism Is A Pain In The Aspergers benefit on Wednesday April 18 at Hugh’s Room. For ticket info, click hereThe Stampeders bring their greatest hits to us in concert at the

McGRATH: something else

Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Friday April 20 … it must be true that third time’s a charm, because Jeanne Beker & Barry Flatman are once again hosting the annual celebrity-laden PAL fund-raiser Scrabble With The Stars on Monday May 7 at the Arcadian Loft. For ticket info, click here … the Harry Potter spoof Potted Potter closes at the Panasonic this Sunday … and due to unforeseen circumstances concerning the road closure around the Royal Ontario Museum, the date for Toronto Taste has been bumped to Sunday May 27. Which should give us just enough time to diet before the event. For ticket info, click here. (And yes, I know you knew I was going to say that.)

PETERS: something CBC (twice!)

SEE/HEAR: Let’s start your long weekend with a smile. Four of ’em, in fact! First, it’s Russell Peters week on CBC, starting Sunday with his Toronto filmfest hockey comedy Breakaway with Rob Lowe (want a sneak peek? Click here!) Then there’s the Alberta Ballet’s dazzling tribute to Elton John, Love Lies Bleeding, on Monday night on CBC. (Click here for a splashy preview.) Also on Monday: Ken Finkleman returns to the newsroom (and The Movie Network) with a brand new predictably outrageous comedy series, aptly named Good God, and allegedly inspired by Quebecor’s struggling  Sun News Network. Samantha Bee and Lolita Davidovich co-star, and the first episode is already viewable on line right here. Then Russell Peters returns to CBC with his own Just For Laughs special Russell Peters: Best Night Ever on Tuesday night (want a sneak peek? Ditto!)  And that’s just for starters. So have fun, rest up, and enjoy!

More news, more gossip, more stars, and more award show dates than you ever wanted to know

OUR TOWN: Music master Paul Hoffert and sidekick Bruce Cassidy host a jazz salon this Sunday afternoon at Musideum on Richmond Street west …

LIGHTSTONE: new showecase

30 Rock scene-stealer Tracy Morgan brings his special brand of funny to the Sony Centre tonight … Marilyn Lightstone premieres her latest art showcase, New Directions, on April 12 at Latitude 44 … more than 60 chefs will gather at the Royal Ontario Museum on June 3 to showcase their finest creations in support of Second Harvest. Tickets are $250 with a tax receipt issued for $125. You may think that sounds a bit pricey, but be warned: Tickets to last year’s Toronto Taste sold out in record time. To purchase yours, click here …  and Natalie Cole is set for this year’s TD Toronto Jazz Festival with a June 25 concert at the Sony Centre.

PENMANSHIP: Additional marquee bait set for the third annual Toronto Screenwriters Conference at the Ted Rogers School Of Management next weekend (March 31-April 1) include ex-Toronto types Graham Yost (Speed,

CLOONEY: Sunshine boy

Justified) and Robin Gurney (Arrested Development, Parenthood) and Skype participants Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady) and Michael Hirst (The Tudors.) Closing speaker at this year’s creative clambake will be Lee Aronsohn (Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory.) Sounds like a pretty lively weekend … say what you will about the politics of the Toronto Sun, the headline writers at the Little Paper That Grew are still the best (and consistently most irreverent) in the country. The Sun’s front page pic of George Clooney in handcuffs last Saturday was captioned You Have The Right To Remain Handsome. Now that’s funny … by the way, Sun co-founder and columnist Peter Worthington, still typing up a storm, is now 85 (!!!) And Worthington’s latest boss, Quebecor emperor Pierre Karl Péladeau, recently announced new annual Sun Media awards for his newspapers outside of Quebec. Will there be a prize for CBC-slagging? Just askin’ … and here’s one for your calendars: The 9th annual gala fundraiser for Pierre Berton’s writers’ retreat in the Klondike will celebrate the Canuck victory of 1812 with a festive June 5 bash at old Fort York. Berton House clambakes are always a blast, and this one should be no exception … and speaking of good writing, the justifiably-lauded screen version of Mordecai Richler’s Barney’s Version premieres Sunday night on CBC, and the much-anticipated fifth season of Mad Men kicks off Sunday on AMC. That is, if you can tear yourself away from Canada’s Got Talent on Citytv. And the beat goes on.

CALENDAR JOTTINGS:  Next big award show on our horizon is the 2012 Tony Awards. Nominees will be announced May 1
live on TonyAwards.com and CBS will host the three-hour 66thAnnual Tony Awards telecast on Sunday

GERVAIS: will he be back?

June 10 …  the 27th Annual Gemini Awards’ Industry Galas are set for Tuesday August 28 and Wednesday August 29. CBC will host the Broadcast Gala on Wednesday September 5, the night before the 37th annual Toronto International Film Festival begins its time-honoured 10-day movie marathon on Thursday September 6 … 2012 Emmy nominees will be announced July 29, with ABC hosting the 64th annual PrimeTime Emmy Awards on Sunday September 23 … and before you know it we do it all over again in 2013, starting with the 70th annual Golden Globes, with or without Ricky Gervais, on Sunday January 20 on NBC, the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday January 27, the Directors Guild Awards on Tuesday February 5, and the 85th annual Academy Awards, with or without Billy Crystal, on Sunday February 24 on ABC.

STREISAND: Queen of Columbia

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Soprano-turned-director Catherine Malfitano and world-renowned conductor Sir Andrew Davis are joining forces for the Canadian premiere of Alexander Zemlinsky’s A Florentine Tragedy and the return of Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, an extravagant double-bill opening April 26 for eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre. Since both one-act operas are set in Florence, expect some eye-catching cityscapes from set designer Wilson Chin, costume designer Terese Wadden and lighting designer David Martin Jacques… first headliners announced for the 46th edition of the

FEORE: hosting

Montreux Jazz Festival are Noel Gallagher’s High-Flying Birds, who are now set for a July 4 gig at Auditorium Stravinski. Gallagher says he and his band will perform songs from their first CD as well as some favourites from his previous band, Oasis … when they were the fast-drivin’, rubber-burnin’ Dukes Of Hazzard, who knew they could sing? But three decades later John Schneider and Tom Wopat are still warbling and obviously not superstitious. They’re set to play Fallsview Casino showroom on Thursday April 12 and – wait for it — Friday April 13 … in celebration of the company’s 60th anniversary season, The National Ballet of

GALLAGHER: High-Flying gig

Canada Orchestra will make their concert debut at Koerner Hall on Tuesday April 3. Colm Feore will host the event, and the Orchestra will perform select works that highlight each decade in the company’s 60-year history … and how many of us made deals that last for half a century? Barbra Streisand is celebrating her upcoming 50th year with Columbia Records – her one and only label – by signing a new contract with the Sony-owned label. Only Tony Bennett has been on the label longer. Columbia will celebrate her signing by releasing a 12-set DVD which promises unprecedented access into Streisand’s professional and personal life, including never before seen footage directly from her archives. Streisand’s most recent Grammy nominated album, What Matters Most, was her 31st to reach the Top Ten.

AND NOW, THE WEEKEND WEATHER FORECAST:

Happy weekend.

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Matthew dons tap shoes, Jim sees a rabbit, Jesus goes to Harlem, and Julie & Jodie salute Arlene

STARS IN OUR EYES: Two of her favourite stars, Julie Andrews and Jodie Foster, are the proud presenters set to celebrate Disney publicity ace Arlene Ludwig at the ICG Publicists Guild’s annual pre-Oscar luncheon tomorrow at

LUDWIG: luncheon honours

the Beverly Hilton.  The Guild is dedicating its 2012 Publicists Directory and resource book to Ludwig, who has been deftly juggling print and electronic press for Disney for almost 50 years … 30 Rock star Cheyenne Jackson and Smash headliner Debra Messing will join Judy Kuhn, Jill Eikenberry, Michael Tucker, Celia Weston, Hope Davis, Tony Roberts, John Guare and many more to honour Tony winner Linda Lavin at the Vineyard Theatre’s 2012 Benefit Gala on March 12 in Manhattan … superSongwriter Paul Williams will return to T.O. next month for the March 21-24 Canadian Music Week Film Fest. This year’s CMW filmfest promises an eclectic mix of movie premieres and special events, including a retrospective screening of The Muppet Movie with a post-film Q&A at which Oscar-winning composer Williams will talk about working on the film with Jim 

SHATNER: it's his world

Henson. Also on the Hot List:  the Canadian premiere of Joe Berlinger’s new doc Under African Skies, which documents Paul Simon’s return to South Africa and his reunion with many of the musicians that he worked with on his classic album Graceland  and after five decades of toiling in Hollywood, Bill Shatner is finally back on the Great White Way .  His one-man show, Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It,  revisits his personal and professional highest highs and lowest lows. “My plan has always been to return to Broadway every 50 years,” says Shatner, who starred on Broadway in the ’60s in The World Of Suzie Wong and A Shot In The Dark.  “Since then, of course, I’ve been refurbished; I hope the theatre has been too.” He’s at the Music Box ’til March 4.

FOOTLIGHTS:  Big Bang Theory go-to-guy Jim Parsons will follow in Jimmy Stewart’s footsteps when he co-stars with an invisible rabbit in the

PARSONS: bunny trail?

upcoming Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Harvey. Aided and abetted by  Broadway vets Carol Kane, Jessica Hecht, Charles Kimbrough  and two-time Tony nominee Larry Bryggman, Parsons begins previews May 18 and opens officially on June 14 at Studio 54 … the illustrious cast of Stratford’s Jesus Christ Superstar  including  Paul Nolan, Chillina Kennedy and Josh Young —  won hearts and minds and much appreciative applause when they gave a short

NOLAN: Jesus goes to Harlem

performance of show highlights last Friday night at the Church Of The Intercession in Harlem. The show opens in previews March 1 at the Neil Simon Theatre  … new University Of Guelph chancellor David Mirvish was so impressed by the Theatre Sheridan production of RENT — an SRO hit two months ago at Sheridan College’s Oakville campus — that he’s bring all 32 performers to his Panasonic Theatre for a 10-night run opening May 16 … and if you loved those “re-imagined” George & Ira Gershwin musicals My One And Only and Crazy For You, better start dusting off your tap shoes. Matthew Broderick, Estelle Parsons, Judy Kaye and South Pacific sweetheart Kelli O’Hara start all-singing all-dancing previews next month at the Imperial Theatre on the latest ‘new’ Gershwin musical, Nice Work If You Can Get It, directed and choreographed by Anything Goes hit-maker Kathleen Marshall. 

ALI: still a knock-out

MUHAMMAD ALI: still a knock-out

NO BIZ LIKE SHOWBIZ: Never one to shy away from controversy, director Stephen Frears is at the helm of the new HBO feature Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, an examination of the legal battle that erupted between Ali and the U.S. government when he became a conscientious objector and declined to serve in the Vietnam War. Christopher Plummer will play Supreme Court Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan II and Frank Langella will play Chief Justice Warren Burger. Frears reportedly plans to use actual footage of Ali himself, and not cast an actor to play him …   my spies tell me that Montreux Jazz Festival chief Claude Nobs is

SUZUKI: back to Japan

wooing Leonard Cohen to do two concerts at this year’s 46th annual Swiss music extravaganza  … my spies tell me tomorrow night’s instalment of Marketplace on CBC is eye-popping in more ways than one. It’s all about the outrageously high cost of prescription eyeglasses and what we can do about it …  one year after the northeastern seaboard of Japan was devastated by a major earthquake and a giant tsunami, David Suzuki goes back to Japan for Journey to the Disaster Zone: Japan 3/11 tonight on The Nature Of Things on CBC … and if you missed last week’s provocative Future Cities installment of The Suzuki Diaries with Suzuki and his daughter Sarka, don’t fret – an encore screening is set for 10 pm tonight on CBC News Network.

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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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Hollywood rules the Tonys, Piper sums up Zero, Bono & Bob play newsmen, and Liona goes back to highschool

OUR TOWN:  Mother’s Day never looked so funny. First Robin Duke, Jayne Eastwood, Kathryn Greenwood and Teresa Pavlinek return to T.O. tonight as out very favourite Women Fully Clothed, Older and Hotter, kicking off a three-night stand  at Massey

MARSHAK: playwrights' delight

Hall. Then Betty White hosts SNL tomorrow night … also tomorrow night: Funnyman Mike Wilmot wraps his current four-night stint at Yuk Yuks, and George Olliver & Gangbuster rock The Edge in Ajax … what do Bono and Bob Geldof have in common?  Everything, apparently. Which is why the two celebrity activists will edit the Globe & Mail’s special May 10 section devoted to the future of Africa — their way of drawing attention to the issue of extreme poverty in Africa ahead of the G8 and G20 meetings scheduled to be held here next month. Kenyan activist and blogger Ory Okolloh will also be part of Monday’s editorial team … and Linda Kash, Theresa Tova and Judy Marshak are among the featured artists set to interpret new works by playwrights Michael Ross Albert, Ron Fromstein, Bekky O’Neil and Darrah Teitel at In The Beginning on Monday night  at the Miles Nadal JCC. For tickets, click here.

FOOTLIGHTS: Yes, it’s official — Broadway has finally gone Hollywood. Tony nominees this year include Jude LawHamlet; Alfred MolinaRedLiev Schreiber, A View from the

LAW: Tony nominee

Bridge; Christopher WalkenA Behanding in SpokaneDenzel Washington, Fences; Valerie HarperLoopedLinda LavinCollected StoriesLaura Linney, Time Stands Still; Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night MusicKelsey GrammerLa Cage aux Folles; Sean HayesPromises, Promises; Scarlett JohanssonA View from the Bridge; and Angela Lansbury, A Little Night Music. And Broadway regular David Hyde Pierce, who shot to fame with Tony nominee Kelsey Grammer in Frasier, will receive the Isabelle Stevenson humanitarian honour. Should be interesting to see if the mix of big and small screen names will kickstart higher Nielsen ratings when the awards show is telecast from Radio City Music Hall on Sunday June 13.

NEWTON-JOHN: mind & body

HEAD OF THE CLASS: Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida is one of the favourite new showbiz hideaways, attracting marquee names from all over the globe. Sparklies who have already stopped by for a tune-up this season include Anthony Hopkins, Tommy Tune, Glee guest star Olivia Newton-John and Liona Boyd, who confirms she is moving back to L.A. this summer. After six years of trying the East Coast on for size, she says she found Miami too hot, “mosquitoey” and “hurricaney”, New York “too tough and unromantic,” and Connecticut winters “too damn cold!” She’s also returning to the concert stage – Toronto fans can see her May 25 at the March of Dimes fundraising Gala at the Royal York – and In the meantime, don’t be surprised if you see her in T.O. this weekend. She’s planning to be here tomorrow for her high school reunion!

FOOTLIGHTS: Ageless legit theatre legend Viola Léger returns as Antonine Maillet’s irresistible Acadian cleaning lady in a revival of La Sagouine. Directed by John Van

LINNEY: Tony contender

Burek, Léger performs her legendary one-woman show in English May 14-29, followed by a run en français May 31-June 5, at the Berkeley St. Theatre Downstairs … Perry Perlmutar promises to “try to be extra funny for you” when he opens at Absolute Comedy next week … and among the major entries set for the Harold Green Theatre next  season: Zero Hour, with Jim Brochu as comedy icon Zero Mostel, directed by indomitable screen siren Piper Laurie. Meanwhile, the amusing and engagingly tuneful Soul Of Gershwin, a lightherarted exploration of George & Ira’s roots in klezmer music, closes tomorrow night at the Winter Garden. To snag last-minute tickets, just click here. And have a happy weekend!

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Cole Porter said it with music, but with all the attention he’s getting, is Justin Bieber ‘just one of those things”?

His new CD My World 2.0 debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart this week, making him the youngest male artist to hit #1 on Billboard since a 13-year-old Stevie Wonder in 1963.

To borrow a lyrical phrase from legendary songwriter Cole Porter, is Justin Bieber just ‘too hot not to cool down?’

The 16-year-old bubblegum popster from Stratford Ontario has been actively pursuing fame since he posted his homemade music videos on YouTube when he was 13.  As Internet success

BIEBER: YouTube baby

stories go, he’s no Susan Boyle – but he did attract the attention of, and subsequent offers of management from, both Usher and Justin Timberlake.  As you probably know (unless you’ve been in a convent,) he signed with Usher, who has become not only his mentor and shrewd in-house guru but has also appeared with him in music videos and on key TV talk shows (e,g., Ellen.) Usher, as if you didn’t know, is one smart, talented and uncommonly classy guy. Professionally, at least, young Justin is in very good company.

Bieber is the first artist to have seven songs from a debut album make it on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and his new sizzling hot CD is his  first studio album. His first tour as a headliner, coming up this summer,includes gigs at the Air Canada center in Toronto on Aug. 21, the John Labatt Center

USHER: Atlanta mentor

in London, Ont. on Aug. 22, and Scotiabank Place in Kanata, Ont. on  Aug. 24. And as if those rooms aren’t large enough he’s already set to play Madison Square Garden on August 31.

His fans in Newfoundland will get to glimpse him even sooner. When CTV telecasts the 2010 Juno Awards from St. John’s on April 18, Bieber will share the spotlight with Billy Talent, Blue Rodeo, Classified, Drake, Great Lake Swimmer, Johnny Reid, K’Naan, Metric and another Madison Square Garden veteran, still new-ish old pro Michael Bublé.

Justin lives in Atlanta now – Usher’s home base – and is admittedly having the time of his

BUBLE: with Justin at Junos

life. He loves performing, he loves his fans, he loves making music.  It took Michael Bublé 10 years to get booked at Madison Square Garden, but 10 years from now he’ll still be playing the big rooms. Ten years from now Justin Bieber will be 26, his teen glory days far behind him. When full-bloom BieberMania ends – as it most certainly will — let’s hope Usher can help Bieber sidestep the showbiz traps and pitfalls that have crushed so many other meteoric shooting-star careers.

In the meantime, I won’t be one bit surprised if readership of this blog spikes today — not because I’m writing about Justin Bieber, but just because I mentioned his name.

Yes, folks, he really is that hot.

NEAL: New York honours (photo: David Shankbone)

TONY’S FIRST LADY: Do you know who won the very first Tony Award? Give up?  It was screen siren Patricia Neal for her performance as Regina Hubbard in Lillian Hellman‘s Another Part of the Forest in 1946.  Which is only one reason that the Peccadillo Theater Company will present An Evening with Patricia Neal at the Players Club in Manhattan on April 12. Neal, a director’s actor whose distinguished screen stints include The Fountainhead, A Face In The Crowd and Hud, will be presented with PTC’s Legends of the American Theater award, one more highlight in a long and illustrious career.

Happy long weekend. And remember, we all need to be in the light now and then. So don’t forget to soak up some sunshine!

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