Tag Archives: Will & Grace

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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Shirley goes Downton, Patricia goes down that Gardens path & Kate goes from Horror to Netflix

GOIN’ TO THE ABBEY: Unsinkable movie queen Shirley MacLaine, still star-bright at 77, is packing  to leave for the U.K. and filming for the next season of Downton Abbey.  She ‘s looking forward to playing the American mother of

MACLAINE: off to the U.K.

Lady Cora Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern,) she says, because “there is sure to be a variance of opinions when you mix the staidBritish upper crust with brash American views of the 1920s.” She’s also taking her one-woman show, An Evening With Shirley MacLaine, on the road in March, with test runs in Arizona, Connecticut and New York state. But she’ll be back in Hollywood on June 7  to pick up an AFI Lifetime Achievement Award — the 40th in American Film Institute history. “2012 is off to an amazing beginning for me!” Shirley

McGOVERN: make room for momma

exclaims … Larry King will get his Lifetime Achievement Award the same month, from the 2012 Banff World Media  Festival … comedy writer Bruce Vilanch, whose light touch brightened  23 of the last 25 Oscar shows, won’t be typing backstage this year because he’s busy writing for Broadway. Also MIA this year: A  performance of Oscar-nominated songs. Producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer have voted to scrap ’em (there are only two.)  But in the nostalgic spirit of Best Picture nominees The Artist, Hugo and Midnight In Paris,  the Kodak Theater on Hollywood

MESSING: she's a Smash

Boulevard will be decorated to resemble a timeless movie theatre like the University and the Imperial and other picture palaces of old  … Liz Smith says the producers of Smash are wooing Broadway baby Lesley Ann Warren to join the cast as a Broadway diva on the comeback trail. Liz says Smash star Debra Messing would love having Warren on board, because they worked so well together on Will & Grace when Warren played Will’s father’s  dizzy mistress … and friendly fire-breathers Jim Treliving and Arlene Dickinson are teaming up to do a Dragons’ Den spin-offIn each episode of Big Decision, Treliving and Dickinson assess two struggling businesses and decide to save one company. Or both. Or neither.

OUR TOWN:  Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage launches this weekend with the world premiere of Everything Under the Moon, a collaboration by innovative performance artist Shary Boyle and songwriter Christine

WILLIAMS: NAACP nominee

Fellows. A year and a half in the making, Everything Under the Moon is reportedly their most ambitious creation to date, pairing hand-animated projected image with narrative song. An extra show has already been added next week due to bubbling ticket demand … Dave Bidini and the BidiniBand are giving a free concert as part of the SK8 festival at Harbourfront this Sunday from 2-4 pm. “Bring skates,” says the renaissance musician & writer. “The gig is just off the Natrel skating rink, and there’ll be lotsa stuff for kids and non-kids alike!” … and Second Harvest’s grassroots fundraising campaign Lunch Money Day wraps up today. Volunteers will be shaking their cans at subway stations across the city during the

RAINN: Office spin-off?

morning and evening rush hours, so  “peas give” the equivalent of what you usually spend on lunch to Second Harvest. Remember, with only $10 they can provide 20 meals! So show them that you “give a shiitake” and reward those valiant volunteers with more than just a smile.

THE WRITE STUFF: Award-winning director Patricia Rozema will take participants through her transformation of the classic Maysles Brothers documentary Grey Gardens into the hit HBO feature with Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore at the 3rd annual Toronto Screenwriting Conference on March 30-April 1. It was Rozema’s shooting script that got the green light for the movie and the Emmyv and Golden Globe

ROZEMA: Grey Gardening

awards that followed … screenwriter and novelist Ron Base, author of those wildly entertaining Sanibel Detective yarns, shares trade secrets in his equally amusing tell-almost-all blog Writing Sanibel: Or How An Old Dog Used A Unique Island and Technology to Learn New Tricks … and Hollywood-based writer-producer Kathy Slevin has launched  a new blog focused on disseminating successful actions – her own and those of other writers and producers from whom she has learned.  “Its purpose,” she explains, “is to help writers bring their work closer to the kind of product a producer needs and wants and will hopefully be the kind of resource that both find useful.” Her current posts include Secrets Of Series Creations  and How To Hook An Audience, and would-be series writers can check ‘em out right here.

STARS IN OUR EYES:  Indefatigable ReelWorld filmfest founder and director Tonya Lee Williams, who most recently received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award in Montreal, has been nominated for a

BASE: Sanibel sleuthing

2012 NAACP Image Award for her role in the long-running CBS daytime drama The Young and the Restless. The awards will be telecast live from Hollywood tomorrow night on NBC …  American Horror Story heroine Kate Mara has joined Kevin Spacey in producer David Fincher’s original Netflix series House of Cards … Paul Reubens (aka Pee Wee Herman) is set to join Kate Winslet, Nicolas Cage, Steve Carrell, Catherine Keener and Kevin Kline in Charlie Kaufman’s new flight of fantasyFrank or Francis … and Rainn Wilson is in talks to continue with his character Dwight Schrute in a spinoff of The Office.

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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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