a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

MMorisson 1MMorisson 1“ F I N D I N G   N E V E R L A N D ”

TO PERFORM ON ABC’S “GOOD MORNING AMERICA”

ON THANKSGIVING MORNING

 

STAR LAURA MICHELLE KELLY AND COMPOSER GARY BARLOW

KICK OFF MULTI-PART “GMA” SERIES

FOLLOWING THE BROADWAY-BOUND MUSICAL

UP TO OPENING NIGHT

 

TICKETS ON SALE TO THE GENERAL PUBIC TODAY!

New York (November 24, 2014) – Producer Harvey Weinstein announced this morning that ABC’s “Good Morning America” will host a special, behind-the-scenes musical performance from his Broadway-bound musical, Finding Neverland,  on Thanksgiving morning, at approximately 8:30 a.m.  The performance will kick-off a multi-part “GMA” series that will follow the highly anticipated musical to its Opening Night on Broadway next spring.  As previously announced, Finding Neverland, starring Matthew Morrison, Kelsey Grammer, Laura Michelle Kelly, and Carolee Carmello, will begin previews on Sunday, March 15, 2015 at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (205 West 46th Street), and will open on Wednesday, April 15.

 

Finding Neverland co-star and Olivier Award-winning actress, Laura Michelle Kelly, and the show’s composer and multi-platinum, multi-award-winning singer/songwriter, Gary Barlow, will perform a selection from the musical on the top-rated national morning television show live from Times Square.

 

Mr. Weinstein commented, “We are excited to be bringing a taste of this magical musical to homes on Thanksgiving morning, and we look forward to sharing more from the show with ‘GMA’ audiences as we get ready for our Broadway opening.”

 

Into the Woods 1Stephen Sondheim and movies of his work have never really clicked with the public. See Elizabeth Taylor in “A Little Night Music”, and of course, more recently “Sweeney Todd” with Johnny Depp. But Musicals are catnip to the Academy.

Depp is back again as the Big Bad Wolf whose  nemesis is Little Red Riding Hood, a very lethal Little Red Riding Hood. But the word from the screenings yesterday is that Meryl Streep is once again going to be back at the Dolby Pavillion for something like her 20th nomination. But which category will she be in? Could she win? She’s got three Oscars already.

The always excellent Emily Blunt has the Baker’s Wife role in the film and that’s the part that has historically won awards. Joanna Gleeson on Broadway won a Tony for Best Actress.  And pert, pretty Anna Kendrick is getting good  W.O.M.(word of mouth) as Cinderella. A former Oscar nominee for Best Supporting Actress for “Up In The Air” could she also be up again of her sparkling Cinderella?

And where does that put Meryl’s Wicked Witch? The Academy put her in lead last year for “August:Osage County” when many thought she’d be Supporting and Julia Roberts would be lead, but the categories were reversed.

That could happen to Emily Blunt, too. And she and Anna Kendrick could be up against the here-to-fore unstoppable Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood.” Would they knock her out of the leading contender spot? In Supporting.

Meryl’s Witch certainly could. The plot sickens.

 

Theory 3Theory 1I’m happy to say that Eddie Redmayne is now #1 on the Gurus o’ Gold pre-Thanksgiving chart! For Best Actor for “Theory of Everything”!Guess that’s my Thanksgiving Day present.

Here’s the rest over at Movie City News ~

http://moviecitynews.com/2014/11/gurus-o-gold-a-week-from-thanksgiving-aka-screener-time/#comment-1136242

They strangely didn’t do Best Supporting Actor, but now that I’ve seen and loved “Whiplash” J.K. Simmons has got that all locked up. Unless someone from the late opening movies “Into the Woods” and “Unbroken” knocks him out, but nobody in the Supporting Male Category for “Into the Woods” seems to be making an impression. NObody’s raving about Johnny Depp’s Big Bad Wolf.

They ARE however raving about many femmes from that movie which just starting screening yesterday for press et alia. Meryl Streep’s Witch, Emily Blunt’s Baker’s Wife and Anna Kendrick’s Cinderella are all now in play seems to me. But NOT on the Gurus radar yet.

Can’t wait to see it. There’s an embargo on writing about it, I understand, but since I haven’t seen it, doesn’t apply to me. At least not yet. I hopeit’s as good as I hope it to be. We’ll see.

Tony 1It's Only 1“It’s Only a Play” is very funny and VERY long. Why this piece of fluff, of absolutely delicious whimsy had to be two hours AND  FORTY MINUTES, I had no idea! When I checked the time leaving the theater it was just before ten! And it had started at 7! However, I did have a good time. It’s breezy, bouncy and cheesy. But cheese of the most delicious, aromatic type.It’s a witchy, bitchy brew.

You’ll enjoy it, too, if you’re lucky enough to get tickets. It’s totally sold out it’s limited engagement! Limited! Only until January 4! It’s the biggest hit on Broadway! With all the star-power involved, you’d think they’d have more courage to just have it open-ended and sweep up every Tony in sight come June.

But no, it was only supposed to run til the beginning of January, and Nathan Lane’s leaving, and Martin Short’s coming in(see press release a few posts back) and the good news is it’s running now until March. And Nathan hasn’t been this good since “The Producers.” He’s really, really funny in this and actually I don’t think that Broadway has seen a show with this much fun and bounce SINCE “The Producers”!

I always think  of the great Terrence McNally who wrote(and re-wrote and re-wrote) “It’s Only a Play” since the ’70s, as a very genial sort.He’s no longer Mr. Nice Guy now!. The gloves are definitely off in “It’s Only a Play” so much so that it reminded me of wonderful Gerard Alessandrini’s much missed “Forbidden Broadway.” Everybody who’s anybody gets it in the teeth here. Liza Minelli is called a cunt. I’m not kidding. And Lane bemoans the Kardashians starring in “Three Sisters”. Here McNally has become an equal opportunity insulter. And the play is all the more timely and fun because of it.

And the worst review that Lane’s character gets is being compared(unfavorably) to Harvey Fierstein. Over and over and over. It’s funny. His exasperation and horror are truly hilarious as he keeps repeating “Harvey Fierstein!”

And every body in the stellar cast is very, very funny, with the exception of the somnambulist Matthew Broderick. Who has never got this theatrical mojo back since “The Producers.” He walks through this like a dead fish. Shame. Lots of jokes about Stockard Channing’s diva/actress character and her penchant for drugs. Specifically Valium.

Broderick’s performance is like that. Dead-eyed and dead-in-the-water,and he’s supposed to be the impassioned playwright,  but it matters not, because every body else has brought their A-Game.

It’s wonderful to see Lane at his level best. And he has joke after joke after joke, and actually never once leaves the stage, THANK GOD!

Lane states, “I don’t work with children, dogs or Frank Langella.”(!?!)

Channing has never been better as the leading actress Virginia Noyes(pronounced Noise) and she sports a cane because she’s got a police detector, an ankle bracelet on her ankle, which keeps going off at the most hilarious moments. She snorts coke and has to  report in to her parole officer every three hours. She’s described as a “female impersonator searching for a female to impersonate.”(!?!)

Her auburn hair is styled like Susan Hayward at her most flaming in the ’50s. Recalling her in “The Jane Froman Story,” and she makes the most of every comic line McNally has given her. She and Lane are a joy. But I bet it is Channing who gets the Tony come awards time. She, unlike Lane, is staying in the show.

The newly thin-esque Megan Mullaney, looks completely un-like her former TV self and is sporting a Southern drawl to go with her newly svelte figure. I didn’t even recognize her! She’s the play’s energetic and naive and very rich producer, Julia Budder. And she, too keeps the comic balls bouncing.

At one point, somebody throws a snow-ball through her town house(where the play is set, stunningly designed by Scott Pask), through her town house window, and she looks outside to see who did and she says “It’s the Cast of ‘Matilda’! And I can’t understand a word they’re saying!”

Also surprisingly expert at their comic chops are Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint, as a snotty British director, who HATES getting nothing but good reviews(and is a secret kleptomaniac) and F. Murray Abraham(also unrecognizable here, initially) as that dreaded creature THE THEATER CRITIC.

Stealing the show out from everyone in a brand new part which has just gone through a sex-change(the character as written originally was some one called Emma) is newcomer Micah Stock as the lanky/hunky, gay cater-waiter, Gus P. Head, who’s just gotten into town, in cowboy boots, no less, and who keeps wanting to sing “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked” and eventually does so, to hilarious effect.

“They’re going to eat you alive!” Lane notes. Stock is so good audiences and critics are indeed eating him up. With delight.

“It’s Only a Play” is so good and so funny that you wonder why more rip-roaring comedies aren’t written like this and are on Broadway delighting millions. Well, when I read its’ history,  since THE SEVENTIES, which I’ll post below,  well, you’ll see what a long and tortuous road “It’s Only A Play” had on its’ way to Broadway, where quite frankly, it belongs, and I hope it runs for a million years!

History here below thanks to Wikipedia ~

It’s Only a Play is a play byTerrence McNally. The play ranOff-Off-Broadway in 1982, Off-Broadway in 1986, and Broadway in 2014. The producer, playwright, director, actors and friends eagerly wait for the opening night reviews of their Broadway play.

Productions

The play was revised from its 1978 version and produced off-off-Broadway by Manhattan Punch Line at the Actors and Directors Theatre, opening in November 1982.[1][2] Paul Benedict directed, with a cast that included Francis Cuka as Julia Budder, Richard Leighton as James Wicker, Paul Guilfoyle as Frank Finger, Ken Kliban as Ira Drew and Harriet Rogers as Emma.[3]

The play was produced Off-Broadway by the Manhattan Theatre Club at its New York City Center Stage 1, running from December 17, 1985 (previews), officially January 11, 1986 to January 26, 1986. Directed by John Tillinger, the cast featured Christine Baranski (Julia Budder), Paul Benedict (Ira Drew),Mark Blum (Peter Austin), James Coco (James Wicker), David Garrison (Frank Finger), Joanna Gleason (Virginia Noyes) and Florence Stanley(Emma).[4] John Tillinger was nominated for the 1986 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Play.[5]

A revised version was produced by the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson at the Doolittle Theatre, Los Angeles, California in April 1992. John Tillinger directed, with a cast that featured Eileen Brennan (Virginia Noyes), Sean O’Bryan (Gus, a waiter), Charles Nelson Reilly (James Wicker), David Hyde Pierce (Frank Finger), Dana Ivey (Julia Budder), Paul Benedict (Ira Drew),Zeljko Ivanek (Peter Austin) and Doris Roberts (Emma).[4][6]

The play began its Broadway premiere at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on August 28, 2014 (in previews) and officially on October 9, 2014. It was originally scheduled for a limited 18-week engagement, through January 4, 2015. Jack O’Brien directs, with a cast that stars Nathan Lane as James Wicker and Matthew Broderick as Peter Austin. Also featured in the cast areMegan Mullally as Julia Budder, Stockard Channing as Virginia Noyes, F. Murray Abraham as Ira Drew, Rupert Grint as Frank Finger, and Micah Stock as Gus.[7][8][9] In November 2014, it was announced that the play would extend its run, through January 18, 2015 at the Schoenfeld, and will then transfer to the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in a run from January 23, 2015 to March 29, 2015. Martin Short will replace Lane in the role of “James Wicker” as of January 7, 2015.[10]

McNally has said that he has rewritten the play to bring it up-to-date.[1][11]

Background

The play was originally called Broadway, Broadway and had closed during tryouts in Philadelphia in 1978.[12] Geraldine Page and James Coco were in the Philadelphia cast, and the play was set to open on Broadway at theEugene O’Neill Theatre. However, the Philadelphia reviews were negative and the Broadway opening was cancelled.[13] In 1984, McNally said that afterBroadway, Broadway closed he was no longer confident, but finally realized that having a show close is not the worst thing that could happen.[14]

 

 

Meet Hera Hilmar! Really, Hera Hilmarsdottir, a beauteous Rising Icelandic star, who I met at the Toronto International Film Festival on a very hot, uncharacteristically tropical 100 degree day! She went to Lamda and lives in London, but Hollywood is knocking on Hera’s door! She’s irresistible! The film she was at TIFF with was called “Life in a Fishbowl.”

Christmas 1You know it’s Christmas in New York when you stumble into Rockefeller Center and you see THE TREE going up. I had never seen it in this incarnation before, covered with box-like scaffolding on all sizes. This year’s tree is shorter and squatter I noticed. Wider. Not the usual tall, majestic, overwhelming Spruce of days and years gone by.

I stumbled upon it when I decided to go underground in Rockefeller Center as the day got suddenly colder and winter was indeed comin’ in. Everyone kept giving me directions and of course they were all contradictory and wrong, and I went around and around corners, all marble seemingly, and passed the place where you can see the ice-skaters skating like mad around the Rockefeller Ice rink.

As I tried to find my way out of this  golden marble, Art Deco maze, I was reminded that it was here on “The Howdy Doody Show” at about age 6 that I made my television debut as a member of the Peanut Gallery. I still get chills. So much of my life was inrevocably STAMPED by destiny that day. My little brother John was on the show, too.

And downstairs, in a Schraft’s that is no longer there, after the show, my beloved British grandmother, who lived with us, remonstrated me for trying to eat peas with a knife. I couldn’t very well manage it. They kept falling off! And we could see the skaters skating by outside even then.
Schraft’s is gone, but the skaters go on skating. “The Howdy Doody Show” is gone, but Rockefeller Center remains almost completely unchanged. And I’m still in Show Business. For richer, for poorer (mostly poorer).

My parents did NOT want me to go in to Show Business, but what were they thinking putting me and John on “Howdy Doody” at such an impressionable age. I was in kindergarten and he, a year younger than me, was not even in school yet.

And as I accidentally emerged (I was still looking for the subway), I ran smack-dab into the giant Christmas Tree and all its’ scaffolding. Announcing to all that the holiday season had already begun in New York. The stores were all decked out with their Christmas displays everywhere you looked. And I hadn’t dressed warmly enough.

Just wandering around underground in Rockefeller Center is like time traveling. A New York landmark, encased in the same golden marble it was when I was on “Howdy Doody.”

Did I ever find that elusive subway? No. Since I was above ground and a bus immediately came, I took the bus. Native New Yorkers like myself know you have to KEEP MOVING.

 

 

Tilda Marion OscarTilda 2Marion Oscar1Jeff Wells does it again! He hits the Oscar bulls-eye on almost a daily basis, but he really out-did himself today putting up an ENTIRE mind-blowing AFI panel which he called Scott Feinberg’s Incredible 8.

And on that panel, on the same stage(!) were not only Jake Gyllenhaal, but also Oscar winners Tilda Swinton and Marion Cotillard(!!!) as well as Kristen Stewart(whom I actually liked here for the first time) all of them talking about Independent Films and how much they love them and how devoted they are to making them. And how difficult it is. And how there is no money for it almost always, but they press on anyway.

Tilda gave a rousing speech about the late gay filmmaking legend Derek Jarman, who died of AIDS, and was a major figure in England, but is still relatively unknown outside cinephile audiences in the United States.

It really blew my mind to see her, and Marion, and Jake, all of whom I’ve interacted with many times and interviewed and known for many years now all on the same stage at once.

Scott Feinberg(STILL the only Oscarologist who links to this blog) really was in his glory and his finest hour to date hosting this at the AFI fest in LA, which is hotter than it’s ever been.

Here’s the link ~ It’s over an hour but I was spell-

bound.http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com/2014/11/feinbergs-admirable-eight/

He calls it Feinberg’s Admirable Eight and I was surprised and delighted to see former winners Tilda and Marion working it, as it were for their films this year. “Snowpiercer” and “Two Days, One Night.” Especially when I was told by the film’s peeps that they weren’t going to do an Oscar campaign for Marion, though certainly her performance is one of the best of the year. And is definitely going to be on my Ten Best List.

And I kept wondering where I had ever seen them together before and then I remembered! They both won their Oscars in the same year!

Marion for “La Vie En Rose” for Best Actress and Tilda for “Michael Clayton” for Best Supporting Actress! THAT BLEW MY MIND!

 

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