a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Louise PennyI haven’t yet read all ten of Quebecquois author Louise Penny’s ten novels, but I know that soon I will! I just can’t put them down! She’s amazing! IT’S amazing and she’s been around now for quite some time and I’m coming late to the Louise Penny party, but I’ve just subscribed to her chatty newsletter and I recommend you all, dear readers, dear cineastes, dear lovers of literature and the theatre, so check out http://www.louisepenny.com and you can friend her on Facebook!

What a lovely writer! And how unusual is it for novels that routinely debut at the top of the New York Times Bestseller List (hardcover and paperback) to be set in Montreal?!?! And mostly the tiny little village of Three Pines. It boasts a bar and a bistro and all the characters have French names, but Louise Penny writes so beautifully about them, in English.

Her descriptions of the seasonal changes in her(and my) beloved Montreal and Quebec are just magical. They make you want to be there all year ’round! And I’ve neglected to say just what these novels are all about. Well, believe it or not, they’re mysteries!

Whodunits! Not since Agatha Christie have I’ve found myself so obsessed! Her leading man is the beguiling Chief Inspector Gamache of the Surete. The Montreal police. And Penny doesn’t just stop there. She’s created a GALLERY of adorable characters around him, Clara Morrow, the painter, Myrna, the black Used Bookshop keeper, Olivier and Gabri, a delightful gay couple who run the Bistro and most memorably for me, the foul-mouthed nonogenarian poet (and drunk) Ruth Zardo, who has a pet duck, Rosa! A pet duck! I love that!

And Three Pines is off the grid! Inspector Gamache and his hearty side-kick Jean-Guy Beauvoir are constantly frustrated because there’s no Internet there! I love that!

I love Ruth and Rosa, and I immediately wanted to move to Three Pines, but of course, anyone who does so does so at his peril. Because delightfully hidden getaway to end all getaways, you could very well end up murdered. As many of its’ tiny citizenry do. On a regular basis.

My favorite? So far “Fatal Grace” which is set in Three Pines at Christmas time.

Penny, a former CBC broadcaster, miraculously turned her life and career around, at the midway mark, and began to produce these ASTOUNDINGLY successful, delicately written thriller-dillers. “Fatal Grace” kept me up until 3AM a few nights ago! I couldn’t put it down!

And Penny wrings changes on the tried and true mystery form, which she seems quite frankly at once in love with but also tired of. She does this by continuing her characters exploits and their stories from novel to novel. One saga involving Olivier goes on for two books!

And she develops her characters lovingly as she deepens their stories from book to book to book!

I don’t know which Louise Perry novel I’m going to read next! But I can’t wait!

My advice, start with the first one “Still Life” and then the second “Fatal Grace” and continue reading them in succession. You’ll be glad you did!

Logo 2 I just want to thank from the bottom of my heart, all the wonderful actors who made the first public reading of my new play “A Hyacinth Coat and a Charteuse Hat’ so very memorable and moving! They are Dave Quay, Tiffany Morgan Baker, Donald Arrington, Judith Roberts, Darrie Lawrence and Richard Currie! Hopefully this is only the beginning!

I wish everyone everywhere could’ve seen how brilliant you all were!

Just a quick post to let all of my dear readers, my dear cineastes and lovers of literature and theatre that my Internet connection as well as my phone line has been fixed! Yay! It only took TWO WHOLE MONTHS!?!?! People may have wondered why I wasn’t constantly blogging my brains out as usual, but now you know!

Has this ever happened to you?

What finally were the magic words that got the repair people(who couldn’t’ve been nicer, btw) over here and working after TWO WHOLE MONTHS?!? Well, I just calmly stated that I was switching to another company because I was so frustrated with their lack of response to my predicament. That’s how you do it.






“ A   G E N T L E M A N ’ S   G U I D E   T O   L O V E    A N D    M U R D E R ”






New York, NY (September 29, 2014) – It was announced today that Catherine Walker will take over the role of ‘Phoebe D’Ysquith’ in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which won the 2014 Tony Award® for Best Musical, beginning Tuesday, October 28.  Ms. Walker is part of the original cast of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder as ‘Miss Barley’, as well as understudy for the role she is about to assume.  Sandra DeNise will be joining the company to take over Ms. Walker’s current role. Lauren Worsham will play her final performance as ‘Phoebe’ on Sunday, October 26.


Ms. Walker is an original cast member of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.  She made her Broadway debut with the original cast of Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s hit musical Mary Poppins, understudying the title role, and became Broadway’s second ‘Mary,’ flying over the heads of Broadway audiences for over 100 performances. She left that production to join the original cast of the highly acclaimed Broadway revival of Ragtime. She returned to her hometown in Lancaster County as ‘Maria’ in The Sound of Music at The Fulton Theatre during the 2011 holiday season. She has appeared on the stage of The Maltz-Jupiter Theater in Florida as ‘Hope’ inAnything Goes as well as reprising her turn as ‘Maria’ in The Sound of Music , for which she received the prestigious Carbonell Award for Best Actress in a musical in 2011. She also played the title role in the musical, Gypsy, the premiere production of the new North Shore Music Theatre. Ms. Walker has appeared in leading roles in productions of Maury Yeston’s Phantom (‘Christine’), Carousel (‘Julie Jordan’), Show Boat (‘Magnolia’) and Brigadoon (‘Fiona’). She appeared with major symphony orchestras in tributes to Stephen Sondheim and Stephen Schwartz and has performed on the 2007 “Tony Awards,” “The Today Show,” “The View,” “The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” and “The Tonight Show” starring Jimmy Fallon. Catherine received her BFA in Vocal Performance from Carnegie Mellon University.


Ms. DeNise comes to A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder directly from the Original Broadway cast of another Tony Award® winning Best Musical, Kinky Boots.  She was also an original member of the 1st National Equity tours of Jersey Boys, Hairspray (‘Penny’), Shrek, Parade, and Saturday Night Fever.


A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder tells the uproarious story of Monty Navarro, an heir to a family fortune who sets out to jump the line of succession by—you guessed it—eliminating the eight pesky relatives who stand in his way (each played by Tony winner Jefferson Mays in what The New York Times calls “the year’s greatest musical theater performance”). All the while, Monty has to juggle his mistress (she’s after more than just love), his fiancée (she’s his cousin but who’s keeping track?), and the constant threat of landing behind bars! Of course, it will all be worth it if he can slay his way to his inheritance… and be done in time for tea. The Hollywood Reporter raves, “Gentleman’s Guide restores our faith in musical comedy” and The New York Times cheers, “It will lift the hearts of all those who’ve been pining for what sometimes seems a lost art form.”


Tickets, priced from $42-$152, are on sale via telecharge.com or by calling (212) 239-6200 / (800) 447-7400. Tickets are also available for purchase in person at the Walter Kerr Box Office (219 W. 48th Street).


The performance schedule for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is as follows: Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00 PM, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 PM, Sunday at 3:00 PM, with 2:00 PM matinees on Wednesday and Saturda

Dear Cineastes, dear readers, dear lovers of theater, my new play “A Hycacinth Coat and a Chartreuse Hat” is being given its’ first staged reading the Actor’s Temple on Monday night at 7pm. W.47th, between 8th and 9th in the middle of the block, and it’s free! Come one, come all!

I know it’s short notice, but if you’re a facebook friend, you know, and if you follow my Stephen Holt Show fan page on Facebook, you’ll know.

And I will be there in person with an incredibly talented cast. It’s not advertised anywhere(except as an “Event” on Facebook.) so this is your chance to see it first, before admission is not free anymore.

I hope it progresses from here of course. It’s one night only and I can’t tell you how many years in the making. A lot. But it’s finally going to enter the universe or the universal consciousness. Or theater history. Or…

well, fingers crossed.
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Oh, and I’m directing it, too. Which is why I haven’t been posting as much as I’d like to. Plus Verizon Internet problems etec.

“Gone Girl” is just grand! A super-duper thriller the likes of which we haven’t seen since Hitchcock! And Rosamund Pike, the well-regarded British Actress, playing the Girl of the Title is now on her way to an Oscar Nomination, and maybe the win, too.

It’s a very weak field for Best Actress this year, as is so often the case, but the beautiful Rosamund and her riveting, star-making performance vaults her to the head of the Best Actress class.

How to describe this wonderful work as Amazing Amy, who disappears, and whose vanishing becomes a National Hysteria in “Gone Girl”? The best-selling novel by Gyllian Flynn, who wrote a screenplay so terrific, that she, too, is on her way  to the Dolby Pavillion in February for a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination.

So, too, is the great American director David Fincher, who absolutely excels in this dark noir thriller genre.(See “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”) THAT netted Rooney Mara her first nomination for Best Actress and I think that this will also for sure happen to Rosamund Pike.  The role is incredible, and is told mostly through flash-backs for the first half, where her Amy, is the essence of sweet AND sexy.

Ms. Pike is British and she’s playing American, and that helps her in the Oscar race, too. Her American accent is totally believable and some people are going to be very shocked to find out that she is indeed a Brit and you know how much Oscar likes giving himself to the British.

Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch are also leading the Best Actor Oscar race, too, for “The Theory of Everything” and “Imitation Game.”

David Fincher’s casting of this film is amazing in that he chose a relatively unknown actress of the mysterious Amy. Rosamund Pike has made many, many British films, and is also an incredible beauty. So reminiscent of Grace Kelly, it just screams “Hitchcock” heroine!

Fincher is at his absolute level best here and I think the Academy is going to enjoy this old-fashioned thrill ride so much that the will shower “Gone Girl” with nomination in every category possible.

It’s Ben Affleck’s best work, but somehow I don’t feel he’ll make the Academy cut. But the unknown actress playing his twin sister Carrie Coon might get in in Supporting. And so might, unbelievably; Tyler Perry playing a very high powered defense lawyer, and even Neil Patrick Harris in a very cast against type rich guy role.

I don’t want to spoil this great movie in any way, so I’ll just stop here and tell you all to rush out and see it, before you know what’s going to be coming at you in what is perhaps going to be one of the greatest thrillers of all time! Yes! It’s that good! RUSH to see it.Gone Girl 1

Can Jake Gyllenhaal’s uber-creepy “Nightcrawler” slither its’ (and his) way into the Oscar race for Best Actor? The wonderful Jake is doing the best work of his stellar career in “Nightcrawler”. “Nightcrawler” debuting at TIFF, of course, this week, really caused a stir. And with good reason, it’s terrific and Jake is unbelievably good, playing against type at the Bad Guy, whom you’d rather not want to meet on a darkened street, or in a back alley, the setting and hang-out for his creepazoid loner, Lou Bloom. Bloom is a local news addict, who wants to break his way into the big time of tabloid television, by filming as many car crashes and shooting sites as he can.

His character really inhabits the twilight zone of L.A. Noir, a genre all its’ own, and Jake totally owns this revolting character in a way we’ve never seen before. He lost a massive amount of weight so he doesn’t look well. He looks hungry. Hungry for everything the dark side of the L. A. Night has to offer. His large eyes become enormous and glassy here as he inhabits this truly horrible character of a blood-thirsty ambulance chasing videographer from the inside out.

Lou Bloom will stop at nothing to get the worst, most bloody shot imaginable. He’ll even go so far as seducing a much-older-than-him TV station manager Rene Russo. Russo has never been better and one hopes they BOTH get nominated in their respective categories. Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress.

But will they? The Best Actor race is REALLY crowded this year, one again, whereas, as always, the Best Supporting Actress race has room for Russo.

Is this supremely ugly portrait of a tabloid-obsessed guy something the Academy will embrace with an Best Actor Oscar nomination? Or is it just too raw. too close to the bone, for the warm and cuddly Academy voters? His Bloom recalls DeNiro’s great Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver”, and DiNiro did get nominated for that but didn’t win. But immortalized the lines “You talkin’ to me?” forever in the Hollywood pantheon of one liners that define a character, and a performance. They might be DiNiro’s most famous sound-bite. Will  Jake the Great make it in to the Final Five at Oscar time? I personally would love to see it.

And I think audiences are going to enjoy skinny, creepy Jake and reward “Nightcrawler” at the box-office. But will the Academy follow suit? That’s the 64 Thousand Dollar question.I’ve always felt Jake was the perennial good guy in a f-ked up situation, like for instance in “Zodiac”, but here’s he’s definitely the bad guy, who is making you like him ANYway. A very difficult thing to do. And he does it superbly, masterfully. I love this direction that Jake is pushing his career into. It’s not a comfort zone by any means, but it’s something a great actor does. Challenging himself again and again. And this time succeeding mightily.

I can’t wait to see “Nightcrawler” and be creeped out all over again!


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