Tag Archives: Wicked

Cynthia lets her hair down, Idina rocks the symphony & Jean Dujardin is smokin’ hot

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: It’s prequel/sequel time again. AnnaSophia Robb will play the young Carrie Bradshaw in the new Sex And The City spin-off The Carrie Diaries. Ah, but will Sarah Jessica Parker narrate? Just askin.’

NIXON: at Wit's end

Speaking of SATC, Cynthia Nixon will start growing her hair again this weekend. The revival she shaved her head for, Wit, closes Saturday at the Manhattan Theatre Club, which seems to be having an unusually strong season. John Lithgow opens there next month in The Columnist, a new play about once-powerful Washington journalist Joseph Alsop from Proof  playwright David Auburn and director Daniel SullivanNick Jonas, currently knocking ‘em dead on Broadway in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, is set to guest with Debra Messing& Co. on the season finale of NBC’s

COURTNEY: son of Die Hard

Smash … Aussie actor Jai Courtney, who attracted Hollywood’s attention in the TV version of Spartacus, plays the son of John McClane (aka Bruce Willis) in the upcoming fifth installment in the Die Hard franchise … …  and new screen Spider-man Andrew Garfield makes his Broadway debut tomorrow night in Mike Nichols’ much-anticipated  revival of Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman. Garfield is playing son Biff to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Willy Loman.

DEFYING GRAVITY: Wondering why Wicked Tony Award winner Idina Menzel’s show-stopping special looked so familiar when it aired on PBS last week? It was shot right here last November at Koerner Hall, with Marvin

MENZEL: at Koerner Hall

Hamlisch conducting the 52-pierce Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. In addition to her rave-winning special, Idina Menzel: Live Barefoot At The Symphony is now a hot-ticket CD, DVD and digital download, and includes a duet with her hubby (and former Rent co-star) Taye Diggs. Ironically, it’s TV that has made Menzel and Diggs household names, on Glee and Private Practice respectively, but their big Broadway voices continue to soar  … Gordon Pinsent is back from Mexico after completing his scenes for the 3D Imax feature Flight Of The Butterflies, which just wrapped after a year of shooting.  Will the big-screen docudrama premiere at TIFF in September? Just askin’ … Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of

DUJARDIN: smoking

Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston are in T.O. today to highlight innovation and education through the arts.  First stop on their schedule is a meet-and-greet with young entrepreneurs at Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (aka “the Zone”)and new Oscar owner Jean Dujardin of The Artist has been embraced by America, and he’s clearly returning the hug. He’s now filmed a bogus pro-Smoking commercial for Funny Or Die exalting the virtues of “Dujardin Cigarettes,” sendng up his super-cool French-from-France persona. Clever, funny stuff. To see it, just click here.

NEWS ITEM: “Google is developing a home entertainment device in a move that would bring it more broadly into consumer electronics.The device is the company’s most significant venture into hardware. While the initial

TOMLIN: She's worried too

purpose of the device will be for streaming music, the eventual use could be much wider. Amazon, which began as a retailer, now makes reading devices. Apple, which originally produced only hardware, now sells content.” Uh-huh. All of which reminds me of Lily Tomlin’s great line in her classic one-woman show The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe:  “I worry that the person who thought up Muzak may be thinking up something else.”   Me too, Lily. Me too.

A new role for Feist, a new band for Ringo, more stars for Scrabble, and a chance to watch Tiger tee off in 3-D

FEISTY TV COMMENTATOR SAVES THE DAY: Who’s that girl pushing her microphone into your face? Believe it or not, the gal with the hot mike is none other than

FEIST: chess game

Juno-laden warbler Leslie Feist, and she’s not singing into it this time. Feist was tapped by her longtime friend, Paris-based ex-pat pianist and producer Chilly Gonzales (aka the artist formerly known as Beck,) to play a TV reporter covering a chess tournament in Gonzales’ first short feature film, Ivory Tower. The flick, which wrapped location shoots here yesterday, also features techno-popsters Tiga as Gonzales’ high-strung chess champion brother and Peaches as their mutual love interest. Insiders say the task of playing an on-camera TV maven was a walk in the park for Feist, who has previously survived playing an angel with a direct line to Heaven (on Stephen Colbert’s wacko Christmas special) to singing her monster hit 1.2.3.4. with Elmo on Sesame Street. Meanwhile her pun-addicted pal Gonzales — he of Pianist Envy fame — is now winging his way to Austin, Texas where he’ll rock SxSW music lovers with a predictably off-the-wall concert tonight before winging back home to Paris.

SHARPS ‘N” FLATS: Massey Hall-bound Dire Straits alumnus Mark Knopfler is set to serenade his Swiss fans at the 44th annual Montreux Jazz Festival July 2-17 … Iron Maiden returns to seduce Canuck fas on July 3 at the Molson Amphitheatre in T.O. and July

TAYLOR & TAYLOR: Valentines

7 at the Bell Centre in Montreal … new Grammy sweeper Taylor Swift, so good with that other Taylor (New Moon alumnus Lautner) in Valentine’s Day, will join Keith Urban, Ashley MacIsaac and Lady Antebellum at this year’s Cavendish Beach Music Festival in P.E.I. in July … Ringo Starr brings his new All-Starr Band, including Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer and Richard Page, to Fallsview Casino on June 24 & 25 … Chantal Kreviazuk is set to brighten the Edmonton Symphony season this fall … and showstopper Idina Menzel, so brilliant at Defying Gravity in Wicked, is set to make a stellar appearance on the second season of Glee.

WOODS: a new dimension?

3-D STIMULUS PACKAGE: Two hours of each round of next month’s Masters golf tournament will be carried in 3-D by Comcast to its more than 20 million U.S. subscribers. The production will be separate from what CBS and ESPN will show, with Sony supplying cameras to show the action on the back nine. It’s all part of a grand scheme to persuade sports fans to buy new 3-D televisions sets.And of course Tiger Woods much-anticipated return to the Masters can’t hurt. But yes, you still have to wear the glasses.

SCRABBLE BABBLE: What do stage and screen showstoppers  Sheila McCarthy, Colin Mochrie and Jayne Eastwood all have in common? They’re three of the 40 sparklies set to play at the sixth annual Scrabble With The Stars next month. In case you’ve forgotten this is the once-a-year fundraiser for PAL Toronto, the Performing Arts Lodge that is now home for so many of our now-senior artists who devoted their lives to delighting us on stage and screen. In addition

BARRY & JEANNE: Scrabblers

to such long time supporters as Peter Kent, Gordon Pinsent and legendary moppet charmers Sharon, Lois & Bram, marquee luminaries already confirmed include Jaymz Bee, Mark Breslin, Dave Broadfoot, Dinah Christie, Arlene Duncan, C. David Johnson, Deb McGrath, Sheila McCarthy, Mickie Moore, Leah Pinsent,  Shakura S’Aida, Avery Saltzman, Paul Soles, Amy Sky, Theresa Tova and cuisine queen Sara Waxman, TV fashionista Jeanne Beker and her best beau Barry Flatman are returning to host this year’s star-studded Scrabble evening on Monday April 12 at the King Suites, and I can personally guarantee that you’ll have a great time. For more information and/or to order tickets, just click here. But don’t wait too long — this event ALWAYS sells out!

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Coming soon to a Canadian casino or concert hall near you: Latenite TV talkers Larry, Craig, Conan & Jon!

JON STEWART

GOING GREEN THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY: Where do talk show hosts go on hiatus? Where the money is. Which is howcum you can now buy tickets to see Larry King this month. Larry is sharing the stage with certifiably gorgeous wife #7, country music warbler Shawn King, on March 26 & 27, at the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls. Top ticket price, before scalpers, is $90 a pop. Not so crazy about Larry? You can see Craig Ferguson (top price, before scalpers: $69.50) at Massey Hall on April 23 and/or the much-anticipated return of Conan O’Brien on his Legally Prohibited From Being Funny 
On Television tour
 at Massey Hall on May 22 (top ticket, before scalpers: $89.50.) Meanwhile, ticket prices for Jon Stewart, who is set to return to Fallsview on June 17 & 18, start at $90. (Good luck with those!)

LARRY

CONAN

CRAIG

FLICKERS: Oscar bridesmaid George Clooney is set to star in The Descendants, a new film directed by Alexander Payne [Sideways] … Clooney’s young Up In The Air co-star Anna Kendrick, fresh from her Oscar nod, has signed on to star opposite James

EASTWOOD & DAMON: together again?

McAvoy (so good in The Last Station) in a comedy drama about a young man’s cancer diagnosis (!?!) Sounds like a lotta laffs so far … Twilight heartthrob Taylor Lautner, who charms as a Valentine’s Day lothario, will play Stretch Armstrong in the new movie based on the Hasbro toy …  Universal has snapped up the rights to the graphic novel Fire for Zac EfronRobert Pattinson, Sean Penn and Reese Witherspoon are reportedly the front runners for the leading roles in the screen version of Water For Elephants … and Matt Damon and Clint Eastwood got along so well when they shot Invictus that they’re teaming up again on a new thriller, Hereafter.

BARUCHEL as The Trotsky

TROTSKY DEFEATS LENNON: Montreal-born screen charmer Jay Baruchel couldn’t be hotter if you set him on fire. His new comedy She’s Out of My League opened to good reviews and solid box office last weekend.  Later this month moviegoers will hear him as the lead voice in the much-anticipated 3D film How To Train Your Dragon, and in July he’ll be back on view playing apprentice to Nicolas Cage in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Before that, however, we’ll get to see his celebrated work in the sleeper hit of last fall’s Toronto International Film Festival, The Trotsky, an off-the-wall comedy from young \writer-director Jacob Tierney that is quietly becoming legend before it even opens. First it won the audience awards at both the Tokyo Film Festival and the Atlantic Film Festival. Then it made the annual TIFF list of Top 10 Canadian Films. Then it made the Canadian Press list of the Top 10 Films Of 2009,

HAMPSHIRE: leading lady for Baruchel

keeping company with Avatar and The Hurt Locker and displacing such supposedly sure bets as Inglourious Basterds and A Single Man. Then Tierney was nominated for Best Screenplay by the Writers Guild of Canada. But wait, it gets better, Last week Tierney won the Russian Guild of Film Critics’ prize at Spirit Of Fire, the 8th International Festival of Cinematic Debuts, and last weekend The Trotsky was named the winner of this year’s Audience Award at the Sofia International Film Festival which ended Saturday in the Bulgarian capital.  A jubilant Tierney attended all four Sofia screenings, including one by popular demand.  (His closest competitor? Nowhere Boy, the British-made saga about the young John Lennon.) Prior to opening here in May The Trotsky, which also features stellar performances by screen lioness Genevieve Bujold, Colm Feore, Emily Hampshire and Michael Murphy, will make its US debut in April at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

MERCER: going to Extremes

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Indefatigable producer Pat Ferns is set to host Hot Docs’ International Co-Production Day on May 3 with delegations from around the world expected to participate … perennial crowd-pleaser Don Rickles returns to Fallsview Casino on April 8 … Rick Mercer salutes hard-hustling student fundraisers at universities in Ottawa and B.C. tonight at 8 pm on his Rick Mercer Report — and wait ’til you see the nail-biter Extreme Biking sequence! … and expect more than a few chuckles at this year’s Banff World Television Festival. William Shatner is set to be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Ricky Gervais will be picking up this year’s Peter Ustinov comedy trophy.

TOMORROW:

From diamonds-in-the-rough to diamonds:

meet the Dragons in their grand-slam finale.

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Glee girl Lea Michele goes on record, Fergie makes a movie, and Camilla Scott plays a Scarlett woman

DEFYING GRAVITY: Currently thrilling all “Gleeks” (as fans of the hit FOX-TV show are called: The new Sony CD, Glee: The Music, Volume 1. Series star

MICHELE: powerhouse

Matthew Morrison (aka Mr Schu) and Wicked alumnus Kristin Chenoweth deliver a powerhouse performance of Heart’s Alone. Spring Awakening star Lea Michele duets with Chenoweth on a dynamic version of Kander & Ebb’s Maybe This Time, pairs with series co-star Chris Colfer on a soaring version of Stephen Schwartz’s Defying Gravity, and joins co-star Cory Monteith on lead vocals for Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’. Music lovers and Broadway show tune aficionados characterize this first Glee CD as “delectably youthful” and “electrifyingly fresh” — and who are we to argue? And here’s another one to add to your Christmas list. The all-star soundtrack for Rob

FERGIE: one of Nine

Marshall’s screen version of the Broadway hit Nine will be released digitally December 15 and available for purchase in stores on December 22, three days before the film opens here. Bonus material on the disc includes a new version of Quando Quando Quando, performed by Fergie, who also sings one of the show’s big hits, Be Italian. Other so-far unlikely warblers include a clutch of Oscar winners who star in the movie — Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Sophia Loren, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard and Judi Dench, who gets to deliver the Follies Bergere showstopper. Can’t wait.

THE SHADOW OF HER STYLE: Supertalent Camilla  Scott always delivers the goods, in big stage musicals like Crazy For You, Mamma Mia and We Will Rock You, on U.S. soaps like Days Of Our Lives and The Guiding Light and

SCOTT: Larry's lady?

in intense TV dramas like Law And Order and This Is Wonderland. Now she’s playing another sublimely talented dame – the late, great Vivien Leigh – in Austin Pendleton’s wry behind-the-scenes comedy Orson’s Shadow. Set in 1960, it’s Pendleton’s version of what really happened when legendary London critic Kenneth Tynan brings Orson Welles and Laurence Olivier together to collaborate on the English language premiere of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros. Olivier, deep in the throes of his affair with his young co-star Joan Plowright, is not yet separated from the mercurial, iconic and fatally unstable Ms Leigh, which makes backstage rehearsals very, very interesting. After previews start tomorrow, Orson’s Shadow opens next week at Theatre Passe Muraille, with Christopher Stanton as Kenneth Tynan, Paul Eves as Olivier, Janet Porter as Joan Plowright, and Steve Ross as Orson Welles. To order tickets, click here.

DICKINSON: dog show?

DRAGONS’ DEN GOES TO THE DOGS: Woofstock creator Marlene Cook, the brainy entrepreneur whose annual summer salute to Man’s Best Friend drew 300,000 participants to downtown T.O. this year, pitches the Dragons tonight with five look-alike dogs — one for each dragon. Would you be surprised to learn that Ms Cook matched Kevin O’Leary to an English bull terrier?  Probably not. But apparently finding an apricot poodle with a coat that was just the right shade of red to represent Arlene Dickinson was a far greater challenge. To catch all the Dragons and their canine cut-ups, tune in CBC-TV tonight at 8 pm.

TOMORROW:

Julia Roberts, The Frantics, and more Dragons!

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.

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Juno stars Page & Cera and director Jason Reitman return to TIFF with three new flicks. Meanwhile …

PAGE: on a roll

PAGE: on a roll

MEANWHILE: Don’t be surprised if TIFF-bound Jason Reitman, who scored his first big hit at the festival with Thank You For Smoking, bumps into his Juno star Ellen Page. The irresistible Ms Page is coming here to promote Drew Barrymore’s first film as a director, Whip It, which features the most roller derby pulchritude we’ve seen since Raquel Welch tore up the track in Kansas City Bomber.

Meanwhile, joining Page and Barrymore on screen are formidable femmes Marcia Gay Harden, Juliette Lewis and SNL scene-stealer Kristen Wiig, so what’s not to like?

CERA: "hysterically twisted"

CERA: "hysterically twisted"

Meanwhile, Page’s Juno co-star Michael Cera has his own entry in the upcoming TIFF sweepstakes: Youth In Revolt, which TIFF programmer Cameron Bailey describes as an “hysterically twisted coming of age tale,” with Zach Galifianakis, Jean Smart and Steve Buscemi, directed by Miguel Arteta.

Meanwhile, director Reitman, still in L.A. finishing his new TIFF entry Up In The Air, has been taking Sundays off to screen movies he’s never seen but always wanted to. Last Sunday’s screening? Francois Truffaut’s 1959 classic The 400 Blows.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Prima ballerina turned prima producer Veronica Tennant is on the Gemini honours list again. This time she’s up for two, with a Best Director nomination for her shot-in-Cuba dance essay, Vida Y Danza Cuba, which is also nominated for Best Performing Arts program. Ms

DORE: clowning at Comix

DORE: clowning at Comix

Tennant’s brilliant cinematographer, Don Spence, is also a nominee this year, for his fearless camerawork on the Rick Mercer Report, which is about to launch its seventh season on CBC Television … reigning country music queen Shania Twain and Tony-winning Wicked star Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies) have both been tapped to sub for Paula Abdul as guest judges on the next season of American Idol … and Canadian crowd-pleaser Jon Dore headlines at Comix, the comedy club on West 14th Street, this weekend in Manhattan.

OH TO BE A FLY ON THAT WALL: It’s official — Barbara Streisand is giving an intimate concert of selections from her new album at the famed New

STREISAND: new Love

STREISAND: new Love

York jazz club the Village Vanguard on Sept. 26. Her new album, Love Is the Answer, will be released Sept. 29 and marks the first time that Streisand has worked with Diana Krall and her combo. Streisand was executive producer of the album; Krall was producer.

“Her mom used to play my records,” says Streisand, “so she kind of grew up with them. I usually produce a lot of my own things, so we did it as a collaboration.”

The regular CD features the orchestra versions of the songs; the two-disc deluxe CD set also features Streisand performing the selections with Krall’s jazz group.

KRALL: producer

KRALL: producer

Krall always records basic tracks with her band and then the orchestra is added later. “David Foster records that way, where you do the tracks first,” Streisand told L.A. Times reporter Susan King. “I don’t particularly like it. But it brought me back to the way I started, so there was something very … nostalgic … about it.”

The small Manhattan clubs where she got her big break, the Bon Soir and the Blue Angel, are gone now. When she was 19, she auditioned at the Vanguard, where Miles Davis was the star of the show. “I didn’t get the job.” No, but somehow she managed to survive. Last month her three-disc DVD set, Streisand: The Concerts, went platinum after a three-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Charts, making it the biggest selling music DVD of 2009.

Ain’t showbiz grand?

TOMORROW:

Pre-TIFF Oscar buzz, Hugh Jackman,  Jodie Foster & Mel Gibson, and more.

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