Tag Archives: West Side Story

Attention, Swiss music lovers — Dr House is in the house, and he’s gonna tickle the ivories in Montreux

MUSIC IN THE AIR: For a grande dame of 46, the Montreux Jazz Festival is looking pretty hot this year. In addition to the previously  announced Noel Gallagher, headliners now confirmed for the two-week summer music

LAURIE: piano man

extravaganza in what may be Switzerland’s most beautiful city  include Jethro Tull’s  Ian Anderson, Erykah Badu, Tony Bennett with daughter Antonia, Jane Birkin, SNL semi-sensation Lana Del Rey, Bob Dylan,  Juliette Greco, Buddy Guy, Herbie Hancock, piano man Hugh Laurie (does he play House music?), Bobby McFerrin & Chick Corea, Pat Matheny, Sergio Mendes, Alanis Morissette, Sinead O’Connor [maybe,] Van Morrison and Rufus Wainwright, Yeah, that ought hold ’em for a couple of weeks …  musical performance artist Peaches, buoyed by the

MORISSETTE: jazz baby

2010 success of her one-woman version of Jesus Christ Superstar (yes, she performed all the characters herself) has a new eyebrow-raiser in the works. Om May 1 in Berlin, in a new showcase funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, she’ll play the lead male role of Orpheus in L’Orfeo, a full-blown opera composed by Monteverdi at the beginning of the 17th century. The opera tells the story of the singer Orpheus who triumphed over the underworld and enchanted people, gods and wild animals with his warbling. Sounds like a good fit so far …  Tony Award owner Betty Buckley has

BUCKLEY: funny that way

a new touring show, Ah, Men! The Boys Of Broadway, in which she gets to sing the great men’s songs from Sweeney Todd, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Pippin, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles. Accompanied by her pianist Christian Jacob, she opened the show this month in her town – Fort Worth, Texas – and is already set to dazzle ‘em at The Rrazz Room in San Francisco October 30-November 4.  But first she’ll dazzle us with a concert evening May 10, a glamorous kick-off to the 15th and final We’re Funny That Way comedy festival. Seeing and hearing Buckley in concert is a rare and exceptional delight. For ticket information, click here.

HATHAWAY & JACKMAN: Can they hear the people sing?

FLICKERS: Director Francis Lawrence (Water For Elephants, I Am Legend,) is set to direct the next installment in the Hunger Games franchise with Jennifer Lawrence (no relation) … Taylor Swift, who surprise everyone with her solid acting chops in Garry Marshall’s hit romantic comedy Valentine’s Day, will play Joni Mitchell in the screen version of

CROWE: on camera in Les Miz

Sheila Weller’s book Girls Like Us. Looks like Alison Pill, so good as Zelda Fitzgerald in Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris, will play Carole King.  No word yet as to who will play Carly Simon …  the two writers who created the screenplay for Gus Van Sant’s new feature Promised Land are none other than Matt Damon and John Krasinski … and shooting of Les Miz continues with Republic Of Doyle alumnus Russell Crowe playing Inspector Javert, the nemesis of Hugh Jackman’s Jean Valjean. Anne Hathaway gets to dream a dream as Fantine, Amanda Seyfried plays her daughter Cosette, Samantha Banks stays on her own as Eponine and Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen play the mercenary Mme and M’sieu Thenardier. Sounds pretty fabulous so far. All fingers crossed!

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Ryan’s buried brilliance, Rick’s return to the stage and CBC corners Don & Ron for a new mini-series

CHERRY, KEESO, WATTON, MACLEAN: They shoot! They score!

THE WRATH OF GRAPES:  The sequel to the hit mini-series Keep Your Head Up, Kid premieres this Sunday on CBC with Jared Keeso reprising his Gemini-winning performance as Don Cherry. The mini-series charts Don’s journey from the NHL to Coach’s Corner, with Jonathan Watton as Ron MacLean. And if this sequel is only half as good as the original, it can’t help but

ROBERTS: on stage at Tarragon

be a hit … the three-day Toronto International Film & Video Awards festival kicks off today at 5 pm at Victoria College … attention foodies: Insight Productions chief John Brunton is bringing Food Network Canada’s top-rated Top Chef Canada series back for a second season on March 12 … the Shakespeare in Action production of The Diary of Anne Frank opens March 15 at the Al Green Theatre in the Miles Nadal JCC. Sascha Cole returns in the central role of Anne as do Chris Karczmar and Alexis Koetting as Mr. and Mrs. Frank … and Rick Roberts, so good as Stephen Leacock’s errant father in Sunshine Sketches Of A Little Town, is back on the boards again, this time in the English-language premiere of The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs. The Carole Fréchette play, translated by John Murrell, is helmed by Kim’s Convenience director Weyni Mengesha. Now in previews, it opens March 7 at the Tarragon.

MEANWHILE: Veteran rocker George Olliver postponed his gig at the Courtyard Restaurant in Pickering last week due to fearsome media weather forecasts predicting the storm of the century.  Which, as I recall, translated to some rain. He’s now set to play the Courtyard tonight instead … pop/jazz vocalist Joel Hartt makes his debut performance at the Green Door Cabaret tomorrow night with piano man Mark Kieswetter … DanceWorks presents Sylvain Émard Danse in the Toronto premiere of Fragments – Volume I,  for one night only, tomorrow at the Enwave Theatre at Harbourfront …Liona Boyd is Alberta-bound for nine concerts with Michael Savona. You can find her tour dates on her new renovated website at www.LionaBoyd.com… and  Discovery Networks have snagged versatile screenwriter and producer Edwina Follows (Traders, Relic Hunter, Beast Master, Emily of New Moon) as its new  Director of Commissioning and Production. Follows is now responsible for the commissioning  independent programming for Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery World HD, Investigation Discovery and Discovery Science.  Smart move, Discovery.

MEANWHILE, BACK ON THE HIGH SEAS:  Yesterday our Floating Film Festival on the Seabourn Sojourn made its first stop, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I like San Juan, but whenever I come here all I always think of Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics to America from West Side Story:

Puerto Rico / My heart’s devotion / let it sink into the ocean /

After our stop in San Juan we screened two more movies. First up was an intriguing documentary called Jealous Of The Birds. Did you know that more than 15,000 Holocaust survivors chose to remain in Germany after World War II? Me neither. How could they stay? Jealous Of The Birds is a first-time documentary by young filmmaker Jordan Bahat that attempts to answer that question. Bahat’s quest is clearly personal; he longs to understand the choices made by his own grandparents – he even persuades his grandmother to revisit Auschwitz – and how they managed to rebuild their lives  Bahat’s film is a study of survivors, their children and other Germans who choose to live among perpetrators. and includes interviews children whose legacy includes the crimes of their parents. Fascinating stuff, and a fine start for a first-time filmmaker.

GOSLING & DUNST: brilliant performances, buried treasure

Last night’s bedtime story, screened after dinner, was All Good Things, a 2010 psychological thriller with an outstanding case. Both love story and murder mystery, it was inspired by one of the most notorious missing person’s case in New York history, in which Robert Durst, scion of the wealthy Durst family, was suspected of, but never tried for,  killing his wife, who disappeared in 1982 and was never seen again. Ryan Gosling plays Robert Marks, Kirsten Dunst plays his doomed young wife Katie, and Frank Langella plays the powerful family patriarch. The film is already regarded as a buried treasure, mysteriously abandoned by its distributors when it could easily have been an Oscar contender. Dunst and especially Gosling offer brilliant, breathtakingly believable performances as the young couple destined for tragedy. We watch horrified as Dunst’s slow corruption plays directly into Gosling’s sophisticated spiraling psychotic, with just enough information gleaned en route to show us how he got that way.  Easily the most talked-about film so far at this year’s Floating Film Festival, this is bone-chilling drama at its best. Catch up with it if you can.

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Sergio goes to Memphis, Susan comes to T.O. and Mr. Ondaatje gets ready for Theatre Passe Muraille

OUR TOWN: Art director Pat Flood moderates a Theatre Museum Canada free-admission workshop on the state of artistic collaboration in contemporary

HYATT: at Statler's

HYATT: at Statler's

Canadian theatre tonight at 7 pm at the Design Exchange … filmmaker Omar Majeed is here this week for Q&As after Royal Cinema screenings of his new doc, TAQWACORE: The Birth of Muslim Punk Rock. Novelist and Muslim convert Michael Muhammad Knight, the guy who penned the book that gave birth to underground Muslim bands, will join him in a panel discussion on Saturday … Chicago-based singer and songwriter Susan Werner — she of ‘agnostic gospel music’ notoriety — is set to perform in her first Toronto concert in three years at Hugh’s Room this coming Sunday. To mark the occasion she’ll accompany herself on a

BEDFORD: as Lady Bracknell

BEDFORD: as Lady Bracknell

baby grand loaned to Hugh’s Room by Skydiggers member Michael Johnston … and my spies tell me Pam Hyatt has agreed to join piano man Ken Lindsay for another serenade of cocktail hour show tunes this Thursday at Statler’s.

STRATFORD ON SALE: They’ve had a phenomenal season with great ticket sales, but if you still haven’t been to the Stratford Festival this year, here’s a deal you definitely need to know about. Right now you can buy $29 tickets for plays or $39 tickets for musicals on any of the remaining performances until the Stratford season ends on November 8. See Colm Feore

CULLEN: at the Forum (photo: XXXXXX)

CULLEN: at the Forum (photo: David Hou)

as Macbeth and Cyrano de Bergerac, catch Brian Bedford’s Lady Bracknell in The Importance Of Being Earnest, follow Sean Cullen in A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To The Forum, choose from Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and West Side Story, or choose them all — but don’t delay, because this special offer ends tomorrow, October 20! So click here for the Stratford

ONDAATJE: Divisadero workshops

ONDAATJE: Divisadero workshops

season calendar and order your tickets now.

FOOTLIGHTS: Acclaimed theatre director Daniel Brooks is working with acclaimed novelist Michael Ondaatje to adapt the latter’s most recent novel, Divisadero, for the stage. Ondaatje fans can get to see three workshop productions of When My Name Was Anna, the theatrical adaptation, at Theatre Passe Muraille’s Mainspace November 6-8.  To order tickets, click here … Sampradaya Dance Creations hosts the world premiere of its newest work, Samvad, collectively

TRUJILLO: opening tonight

TRUJILLO: opening tonight

created and performed by dancers Meena Murugesan, Nadine Jackson and Shelly Ann McLeod, this weekend at the Enwave Theatre … and one fan who attended a preview performance of Memphis, a new musical about the birth of rock ‘n’ roll in the ’50s, says he was “FLOORED by the choreography! The lighting design was spectacular, and some of the vocal performances were brilliant!” Has choreographer Sergio Trujillo summoned up his Jersey Boys magic to light up New York again? Fingers crossed. Memphis, which also features a brand new score with music by Bon Jovi founding member David Bryan, opens on Broadway tonight at the Shubert Theatre.

MAPLE LEAF JOKES? WE’VE GOT A MILLION OF ‘EM:

Q: What do the Leafs and the Titanic have in common?
A: They both look good until they hit the ice.

TOMORROW:

The good that men do.

(And the women who do it with them.)

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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!

-/-


Marlo Thomas set to open in New Brunswick

Marlo Thomas, who blogs on wowOwow.com and decades later still looks like That Girl,  is about to premiere a controversial new play in New Brunswick.

WAGNER: New Brunswick-bound

WAGNER: Russian roots

Okay, calm down. 

Marlo opens Friday night in New Brunswick, but not our New Brunswick. She’s taking the stage in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The play, New Year’s Eve, is the newest work of legendary stage and screen scribe Arthur Laurents (Gypsy, West Side Story) and co-stars Keith Carradine and Natalie Wood’s beautiful daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner. (Her mother Natalie, who changed her Russian first name to please studio execs, revisited tradition with her daughter by writer-producer Richard Gregson. When Natalie & Robert Wagner remarried, RJ formally adopted Natasha as his own — hence her impressive three-name marquee allure.)

Laurents, now an indefatigable 91, is letting his hand-picked cast take his new play for a test drive at the George Street Playhouse for three weeks so he can tinker with the engine when he’s not preoccupied with his current Broadway revival of West Side Story.

Ain’t showbiz grand?

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IBOMEKA: cast your vote

IBOMEKA: cast your vote

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Mamma Mia composers Björn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson have written a follow-up to their worldwide hit musical. Their new show, Kristina from Duvemala, reportedly opened in Sweden to ecstatic audience response   one of the ninth annual ReelWord Film Festival’s most popular attractions is slated for late-night screening this Friday at the Cineplex Odeon Carlton Cinemas on Carlton. Starting at 11 pm, the filmfest’s Music Video Program, supported by BravoFact and MuchMusic, will unspool some unusual, engaging and entertaining music videos by, to name only a few, Simple Plan, Friendly Fire, Alex Cuba, Bedouin Soundclash and The Sicilian Jazz

STREISAND: DVD x 3

STREISAND: DVD x 3

Project …  great news for Beatlemaniacs: The original Beatles catalogue has been digitally re-mastered for the first time, for worldwide CD release on September 9. Two new Beatles boxed CD collections will also be released on the same date … Streisand: The Concerts will go on sale in Great Britain before we get to see it over here. The special three-disc DVD set showcases some of Ms Barbra’s most memorable concert performances over the decades, including 17 songs never before released on DVD … and soul man D.K. Ibomeka, supreme saxophonist Jane Bunnett and violin virtuoso Lenny Solomon are among the nominees for the 2009 National Jazz Awards – and you can vote for them! To cast your ballot, just click here.

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2009_0326_amazon_mary_tyler_mooreLITERATI:  Tis the season to Tell All, sort of. And everybody’s doing it, almost. Including Mary Tyler Moore, who subtitles her second autobiography Life, Loves, And Oh Yeah, Diabetes … the youngest Best Actress winner in history, Marlee Matlin was only 21 when she won the coveted statuette, In her new autobiog I’ll Scream Later she reveals that at the peak of her fame she was about to put herself into the Betty Ford Clinic to fight against her addiction to alcohol. Still an inspiration for millions of hearing impaired fans, she also discusses her sometimes stormy romances with William Hurt, Rob

MATLIN: youngest Best Actress

MATLIN: youngest Best Actress

Lowe, Richard Dean Anderson and West Wing creator David E. Kelley … Simon & Schuster reps are buzzing about Love Child, a new memoir by Allegra Huston, daughter of legendary director John Huston and Italian American dancer Ricki Soma. Her mother died in a car accident when Allegra was only four and Allegra grew up with her siblings Anjelica, Tony and Danny Huston. To make things even more interesting, she later discovered that her biological father was British writer John Julius Norwich … and Joan Rivers is riding high with two, count ‘em, two new books — a spoofy Agatha Christie-meets-Barbara Taylor Bradford mystery called Murder At The Academy Awards, and a highly informative How To (and What Not To) manual on the pleasures and perils of plastic surgery called Men Are Stupid (And They Like Big Boobs.) Rivers fan Larry King did a special web interview with her for his CNN website, and you can see it right here.

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SIMON: stunned silence

SIMON: stunned silence

GET OUT YOUR HANDKERCHIEFS: If you still have any Kleenex left after seeing the socko finale of the first season of Being Erica on CBC television, wait ’til you watch 46-year-old British villager Susan Boyle try her luck with Simon Cowell & Co. on Britain’s Got Talent. Jane Fonda twittered it yesterday(“I find it so touching!”) and it made all the major national newscasts, and I can honestly say, without fear of contradiction, that Ms Boyle’s performance must truly be seen and heard to be believed. And yes, to see it just click here.

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TOMORROW:

SHOWBIZ GUESSING GAME: The refusal of two Hollywood screen sirens to wear the on-screen wardrobes chosen for them unexpectedly makes it possible for a reserved British leading lady and a bold young New York TV actress to start collecting Oscar nominations.

Guess who??



What up in T.O. tonight, tonight …

Attention, West Side Story fans : Tune in to Stratford at 6:30 pm tonight — that’s www.stratfordfestival.ca on your laptop —  for the first live webcast of the new season.

ANTONI CIMOLINO

CIMOLINO

On tonight ‘s show Festival chief Antoni Cimolino chats with his new Tony (Paul Nolan) and Maria (Chilina Kennedy.) (Am I the only one who’s really curious about this young lady’s first name? We’ll see,)

Cimolino, of course, played Tony in the original Shakespearean version of West Side Story at Stratford. In those days it was still called Romeo & Juliet, and his Juliet was current Soulpepper stage lioness Megan Follows. But that, as they say, is another story.

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BALLET HIGH: Karen Kain launches the National Ballet spring season tonight with Innovations, a showcase for eyebrow-raising Canadian choreographers Peter Quanz, Sabrina Matthews and Crystal Pite.  

HODGKINSON

HODGKINSON

Crowd-pleasers Greta Hodgkinson, Guillaume Côté and Sonia Rodriguez will be among the bright lights dancing up as storm in the three-ballet program … and Frédérique Vézina and David Pomeroy will headline Puccini’s  evergreen La Bohème when the new Canadian Opera Company production premieres next month.

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SHOW BUSINESS GUESSING GAME:  What do singer Sarah Harmer, actor/playwright Michael Healey, journalist Naomi Klein, auteur Daniel MacIvor and writer Paul Quarrington have in common?

HEALY

HEALY

They’re all senate nominees for the maverick arts watchdog group Department Of Culture, who are believed to have made a considerable impact on this country’s most recent election results.

Check ‘em out at www.departmentofculture.ca

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 LITERATI:  Okay, relax — Zoomer  is not, repeat, NOT going under.

ATWOOD:  cover girl

ATWOOD: cover girl

The current ad campaign urging us to get the magazine “while it lasts” is about its current issue, which is even better than the three that preceded it, and features some of the best photos ever seen of Can Lit lioness Margaret Atwood. Secret of the fabulous photo shoot is that Miss A.’s photographer was none other than rock icon Bryan Adams, whose eye is becoming almost as celebrated as his vocal chords … and even though the Canadian edition of Time magazine ceased publication on Dec. 29,  Time Canada is making an elegant exit by sending its subscribers refund cheques instead of bouncing their subscriptions to the U.S. edition. Now that’s class.