Tag Archives: Vanessa Williams

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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Julia plays charades, Dragons get an iTunes sound and The Frantics get ready to turn 30 (who knew?)

NOISES ON: Can’t believe it, but they swear it’s true. The Frantics, the certifiably insane, oooh, oops, sorry, the mentally extrvagant comedy troupe

THE FRANTICS: Noises-makers

comprised of Paul Chatto, Rick Green, Dan Redican & Peter Wildman, are about to turn 30. (I know, I know, they don’t look a day over 29 .) To celebrate they’re launching a new Greatest Hits CD, Frantic Noises, and working on anniversary release dates for (1) The Very Best of Frantic Times (“more than 1,000 bits compiled from our CBC Radio show,”) (2) The Frantics Walk Upright

STOJKO: Red Door booster

(“the lost tapes of our final performance together in 1998,”) (3) an all-music CD that they’re recording now, and (4) the DVD of their Frantics Reunion Show, which aired on the Comedy Network. Big news is, they’re set to perform live at The Royal on College street — for one performance only, to launch their new CD — on Monday Dec. 7 at 7 pm. All proceeds from tickets ($10 +tax in advance, $15 +tax at the door) will go to PAL (the Performing Arts Lodge.) To order your tickets now, go to their website at http://www.thefrantics.com, or just click here.

GOING, GOING, GONE: Today is your last chance to bid on a unique online jewelry auction where all of the proceeds raised benefit the Red Door family

PINSENT & PINSENT: all about Uniti (photo: Zoomer magazine)

shelter. Called the Uniti Collection, the pieces are created by 18Karat Goldsmiths and inspired by celebnties partnered with designers. Sparklies adding their lustre to this cause include Leah & Gordon Pinsent, Elvis Stojko and Breakfast Television charmers Dina Pugliese and Jennifer Valentyne. To review the collection and get your bid in, click here … surfers are finding more and more treasures at on-line auctions, which is why they’ve become so popular. BID 2 BEAT AIDS, LIFEbeat’s fifth annual 10-day eBay Celebrity Memorabilia Auction honouring World AIDS Day starts December 1 at 12 noon, with proceeds going to ongoing AIDS/HIV programs in the U.S. Up for grabs are personal items from Michael Feinstein, Debbie Harry, Cheyenne Jackson, Lady Gaga, Cyndi

PUGLIESE: Breakfast jewel

Lauper, Patti LuPone, Madonna, Ricky Martin, Tim McGraw, Liza Minnelli, Stevie Nicks, Cynthia Nixon, Bernadette Peters, Joan Rivers, Henry Rollins, John Waters, Vanessa Williams and the late Bea Arthur, among others. For more information, including a complete list of participating artists and images of many of the items, click here … and  Julia Roberts is among the glitterati reportedly ready to act up for the Labyrinth Theater Company’s seventh annual gala benefit called Celebrity Charades 2009: Jackpot. Beginning

ROBERTS: charity charades

December 7, celeb teams do battle in charades competition, so in addition to Julia look for Eric Bogosian, Bobby Cannavale, Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni and more. And feel free to  follow the action online — where else?!? — at  www.LABtheater.org.

SEE/HEAR: Ever heard of a rock group called 30 Seconds To Mars? Not to worry. You’re not alone.  But clearly we’ve been missing something, because this band delivers an uncommonly visual punch with their words and music, which have even been incorporated into video gaming. First, click here to check out the seductive ‘biker’ film created to illustrate their new single, Kings And Queens. Then, to sample This Is War, the song they created for the in-game soundtrack for the new epic RPG, Dragon Age: Origins, click here.

Like I said — not yer average rock band.

TOMORROW:

Why Liz Smith always makes me laugh.

Plus, Brangelina update, and more!

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.

-/-

New songs by Norah, new tour for Danny, tweet talk from Rick and a stellar red carpet stroll for Lisa Ray

OUR TOWN: One of tonight’s Toronto filmfest Galas comes with an emotional punch no one could have anticipated when the film was chosen a few months ago. Lisa Ray, who co-stars with TIFF favourite Don McKellar in Dilip Mehta’s

RAY: blogging beauty

RAY: blogging beauty

new romantic comedy Cooking With Stella, will walk the red carpet tonight after going public last week with the news that she’s battling an incurable bone marrow cancer called multiple myeloma. The Toronto-based film star, even more famous in India than she is here, used her blog to reveal her illness to her fans last week. Mehta’s sister and collaborator Deepa Mehta, who directed Ray in Bollywood/Hollywood and Water, says the beautiful actress is “the epitome of grace under pressure. She will do the red carpet proud.” She certainly acquitted herself with grace and style Monday morning with Seamus O’Regan on Canada A.M. – if you missed it, just click here — and I have no doubt her fans will turn out in droves tonight Cooking With Stella premieres at Roy Thomson Hall.

MERCER: Twitter hints

MERCER: Twitter hints

TUBE TALK: Danny DeVito and the cast of the FX comedy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia are touring with a live theater adaptation of the sitcom’s musical finale last season, The Nightman Cometh. Performances started last night in Boston and continue throughout the month in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and, of course, Philadelphia, where a second show has already been added  … fans of Rick Mercer, currently getting back in harness for the seventh season of his Rick Mercer Report on CBC, are following him on Twitter to get hints of what stunts he’s plotting for his new

WILLIAMS: Rama-bound

WILLIAMS: Rama-bound

season. Last week he tweeted about riding on a Death Train (!!) and this week he confided that he was off to Whistler to meet with legendary Man In Motion Rick Hansen. Hmmmmm … and the 10th annual Canadian Comedy Awards & Festival is set for Saint John, New Brunswick next month. Highlights include The Last Laugh Gala, hosted by Jessica Holmes on Saturday Oct 3, with veteran mirth-makers Jeremy Hotz, Tim Steeves, Debra DiGiovanni and Roger Abbott & Don Ferguson.

NOVEMBER IS THE COOLEST MONTH: November music-makers set to rock Casino Rama include Roger Daltrey (Nov 5,) Supertramp alumnus Roger Hodgson (Nov 6 & 7) and still-ticking Las Vegas legend Wayne Newton (Nov 13 & 14) … some 55 million albums and at least one Guinness Book of Records

NORAH JONES by Autumn de Wilde

NORAH JONES by Autumn de Wilde

entry later (having sold 1.6 million tickets on one day for his 2006 tour,) Robbie Williams’ new album, Reality Killed The Video Star, is set to go on sale here Nov. 10 … and Norah Jones’ upcoming album, The Fall, will be released on November 17 with eye-grabbing cover artwork by photographer Autumn de Wilde. Meanwhile, music-makers set to rock Casino Rama next month include Kelly Clarkson (Oct 15,) Vanessa Williams (Oct 29,) and Julio Iglesias (Oct 30 & 31.)

TOMORROW:

Who has the most movies at TIFF?

plus,  Chita’s new album & Julianne’s new role.