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Archive for the ‘Snow’ Category

Great American Playwright Neil Simon Passes at 91


Neil Simon Theater 2
Neil Simon, long considered America’s most successful and certainly most prolific playwright dies at 91. It’s fitting that the Neil Simon Theater still exists on Broadway.at 250 West 52nd Street.  I hope it always stays “The Neil Simon Theater.”

I did not know Neil Simon personally. But growing up in the theater in the decades where he dominated the Great White Way, his work was overwhelming to a young playwright, me. At one time, he seemed to have every play on Broadway.

The Christmas after my mother died, I was feeling particularly bereft and found myself observing a great Broadway tradition.I went to Chicago. By train. To see the out-of-town try-outs for a musical version, of a movie  he wrote “The Goodbye Girl.” Seeing that only half-successful work in the middle of the cold Chicago winter made me realize that yes, all your idols have feet of clay. IOW, everyone makes mistakes. The Goodbye Girl was a musical with a book by Neil Simon, lyrics by David Zippel, and music by Marvin Hamlisch, based on Simon’s original screenplay for the 1977 film of the same name.

I was also at a rehearsal of “The Goodbye Girl” when it limped to New York, and in the rehearsal room were the star Bernadette Peters and yes, Neil Simon himself.

He seemed so un-prepossessing in person. He was wearing a robin’s egg blue sweater and  kibitzed around with the various actors….But it was his eyes that got me. The intensity of his stare. Nothing was being missed. He saw it warts and all and I’m sure was thinking “How can I fix this? How can I help?” He reminded me of a very warm and friendly rabbi. His vast knowledge of the theater seemed to match those of a rabbinical scholar. He seemed immediately nice. But also intimidating. I mean, he was NEIL SIMON! But he didn’t carry himself like a star as Ms. Peters certainly did.

I guess I was so intimidated by him, I didn’t even have the chutzpah to talk to him. But what could I have said?  “I saw your play in Chicago and really liked it.” God! I hope didn’t say THAT! Which would have been a complete lie.  I don’t think I did.

I never saw him again. And, the show flopped. I thought nothing he wrote could ever flop, but some did.

He strangely isn’t revived much of late, but the Neil Simon Theater is still there. A permanent and fitting monument to a man that made Broadway history over and over again. He will be missed by all in the theater community. It was his great love.

Neil Simon R.I.P.

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It’s Over 100 Degrees in NYC. Perfect Antidote Mhz’s “Antartica:In the Footsteps of the Emperor”


New York is melting in over 100 degree temperatures. It’s brutal out there. So why not stay inside In the air-conditioning and watch the latest from Mhz? “Antarctica: In the Footsteps of the Emporor”

This is a very different offering from Mhz who usually specializes in heavy duty European television crime dramas. A favorite of mine “Maigret,” but their new “Antarctica:In the Footsteps of the Emperor.” is something else entirely. It’s a delightful French documentary on the sub-Artic continent, by Luc Jaquet, who brought us the equally delightful “March of the Penguins” in 2016.

And once again, those penguins steal the show. This documentary focuses on the filmmaker/photographers themselves. An intrepid band of French Antarctic enthusiasts, who just HAVE to  photograph every single aspect of the frozen continent. Their journey is compelling because they feel that climate change has even affected this least approachable of land masses. It’s melting fast. And they show it.

They have found traces of human waste and pollution in the water and also in what the birds and other mammals are eating…And the penguins! How can one not love the most humanoid of birds, who all resemble Alfred Hitchcock? To me any way. And we are engaged in their struggle to survive the brutal arctic conditions. They upstage the filmmakers at every turn, but we form concerns, too, about this intrepid band of Frenchmen, who are so obsessed with Antarctica, they even want to photograph and record what’s BENEATH it. Have you ever seen the UNDERside of an iceberg? Well, you will here in this terrific doc.

Your heart is in your mouth as these daredevil deep-sea divers go  beyond the beyond. To depths of the oceans bottom that were unimaginable heretofore. Laurent Ballest and Vincent Munier and their crew attempt, and succeed where to bravely go where no man has gone before.

“It’s like walking on the moon!” They exclaim, in French, over and over. And you’ll feel like you’ve taken a really cool and cooling escape from the heat of planet earth, when you watch Mhz’s enchanting and thrilling “Antartica:In the Footsteps of the Emperor.” Emperor Penguin, of course. It’s the perfect summertime movie!

SAG Nominations Out! “3 BillBoards” Does Very Well

Well, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” keeps climbing that awards mountain. The SAG Awards are notable in their brevity. For film, they only nominate the categories of Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, and Best Ensemble(Also known as Best Cast in a Film). This last award is taken by most to a substitute for Best Picture.

“Three Billboards” scored that award, Best Ensemble, Best Actress, Frances McDormand, and TWO Best Supporting Actors, above  pictured Sam Rockwell, going toe-to-toe with co-star Woody Harrelson. Harrelson’s nod can be seen as knocking Golden Globes nominee Armie Hammer for “Call Me By Your Name” out of the competition here. Plus MacDormand that makes four.

“Call Me By Your Name” was NOT nominated for Best Ensemble(!) Only Leading Actor Timothee Chalamet got in. Yikes!

Also It’s Important To Note —

Only Saorise Ronan and Laurie Metcalf as the battling mother and daughter team in “Lady Bird” got in, but it also got Best Ensemble. That makes three, whereas “The Shape of Water”, which did not make Best Ensemble either. but stars Sally Hawkins, and co-star Richard Jenkins. Which gives it only two.And here, below, are all the nominees, in the Film division.

The 24th ANNUAL SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS® NOMINATIONS

The Theatrical Motion Picture Nominees are:

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

JUDI DENCH / Queen Victoria – “VICTORIA & ABDUL” (Focus Features)
SALLY HAWKINS / Elisa Esposito – “THE SHAPE OF WATER” (Fox Searchlight)
FRANCES McDORMAND / Mildred – “THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI” (Fox Searchlight)
MARGOT ROBBIE / Tonya Harding – “I, TONYA” (Neon)
SAOIRSE RONAN / Lady Bird McPherson – “LADY BIRD” (A24)

 Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET / Elio – “CALL ME BY YOUR NAME” (Sony Pictures Classics)
JAMES FRANCO / Tommy Wiseau – “THE DISASTER ARTIST” (A24)
DANIEL KALUUYA / Chris Washington – “GET OUT” (Universal Pictures)
GARY OLDMAN / Winston Churchill – “DARKEST HOUR” (Focus Features)
DENZEL WASHINGTON / Roman J. Israel, Esq. – “ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ.” (Columbia Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

MARY J. BLIGE / Florence Jackson – “MUDBOUND” (Netflix)
HONG CHAU / Ngoc Lan Tran – “DOWNSIZING” (Paramount Pictures)
HOLLY HUNTER / Beth – “THE BIG SICK” (Amazon Studios)
ALLISON JANNEY / LaVona Golden – “I, TONYA” (Neon)
LAURIE METCALF / Marion McPherson – “LADY BIRD” (A24)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

STEVE CARELL / Bobby Riggs – “BATTLE OF THE SEXES” (Fox Searchlight)
WILLEM DAFOE / Bobby – “THE FLORIDA PROJECT” (A24)
WOODY HARRELSON / Willoughby – “THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI” (Fox Searchlight)
RICHARD JENKINS / Giles – “THE SHAPE OF WATER” (Fox Searchlight)|
SAM ROCKWELL / Dixon – “THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI” (Fox Searchlight)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

THE BIG SICK (Amazon Studios)
ADEEL AKHTAR / Naveed
HOLLY HUNTER / Beth
ZOE KAZAN / Emily
ANUPAM KHER / Azmat
KUMAIL NANJIANI / Kumail
RAY ROMANO / Terry
ZENOBIA SHROFF / Sharmeen
GET OUT (Universal Pictures)
CALEB LANDRY JONES / Jeremy Armitage
DANIEL KALUUYA / Chris Washington
CATHERINE KEENER / Missy Armitage
STEPHEN ROOT / Jim Hudson
LAKEITH STANFIELD / Andrew/Logan King
BRADLEY WHITFORD / Dean Armitage
ALLISON WILLIAMS / Rose Armitage
LADY BIRD (A24)
TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET / Kyle Scheible
BEANIE FELDSTEIN / Julie Steffans
LUCAS HEDGES / Danny O’Neill
TRACY LETTS / Larry McPherson
STEPHEN McKINLEY HENDERSON / Father Leviatch
LAURIE METCALF / Marion McPherson
JORDAN RODRIGUES / Miguel McPherson
SAOIRSE RONAN / Lady Bird McPherson
ODEYA RUSH / Jenna Walton
MARIELLE SCOTT / Shelly Yuhan
LOIS SMITH / Sister Sarah Joan
MUDBOUND (Netflix)
JONATHAN BANKS / Pappy McAllan
MARY J. BLIGE / Florence Jackson
JASON CLARKE / Henry McAllan
GARRETT HEDLUND / Jamie McAllan
JASON MITCHELL / Ronsel Jackson
ROB MORGAN / Hap Jackson
CAREY MULLIGAN / Laura McAllan
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (Fox Searchlight)
ABBIE CORNISH / Anne
PETER DINKLAGE / James
WOODY HARRELSON / Willoughby
JOHN HAWKES / Charlie
LUCAS HEDGES / Robbie
ŽELJKO IVANEK / Desk Sgt.
CALEB LANDRY JONES / Red Welby
FRANCES McDORMAND / Mildred
CLARKE PETERS / Abercrombie
SAM ROCKWELL / Dixon
SAMARA WEAVING / Penelope

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

“BABY DRIVER” (TriStar Pictures and MRC)
“DUNKIRK” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
“LOGAN” (20th Century Fox)
“WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES” (20th Century Fox)
“WONDER WOMAN” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

 

The Television Nominees are:
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series

LAURA DERN / Renata Klein – “BIG LITTLE LIES” (HBO)
NICOLE KIDMAN / Celeste Wright – “BIG LITTLE LIES” (HBO)
JESSICA LANGE / Joan Crawford – “FEUD: BETTE AND JOAN” (FX Networks)
SUSAN SARANDON / Bette Davis – “FEUD: BETTE AND JOAN” (FX Networks)
REESE WITHERSPOON / Madeline MacKenzie – “BIG LITTLE LIES” (HBO)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH / Sherlock Holmes – “SHERLOCK: THE LYING DETECTIVE” (WGBH/Masterpiece)
JEFF DANIELS / Frank Griffin – “GODLESS” (Netflix)
ROBERT DE NIRO / Bernie Madoff – “THE WIZARD OF LIES” (HBO)
GEOFFREY RUSH / Albert Einstein – “GENIUS” (National Geographic)
ALEXANDER SKARSGÅRD / Perry Wright – “BIG LITTLE LIES” (HBO)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

MILLIE BOBBY BROWN / Eleven – “STRANGER THINGS” (Netflix)
CLAIRE FOY / Queen Elizabeth II – “THE CROWN” (Netflix)
LAURA LINNEY / Wendy Byrde – “OZARK” (Netflix)
ELISABETH MOSS / Offred/June – “THE HANDMAID’S TALE” (Hulu)
ROBIN WRIGHT / Claire Underwood – “HOUSE OF CARDS” (Netflix)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

JASON BATEMAN / Martin “Marty” Byrde – “OZARK” (Netflix)
STERLING K. BROWN / Randall Pearson – “THIS IS US” (NBC)
PETER DINKLAGE / Tyrion Lannister – “GAME OF THRONES” (HBO)
DAVID HARBOUR / Jim Hopper – “STRANGER THINGS” (Netflix)
BOB ODENKIRK / Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman – “BETTER CALL SAUL” (AMC)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

UZO ADUBA / Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren – “ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK” (Netflix)
ALISON BRIE / Ruth Wilder – “GLOW” (Netflix)
JANE FONDA / Grace Hanson – “GRACE AND FRANKIE” (Netflix)
JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS / Selina Meyer – “VEEP” (HBO)
LILY TOMLIN / Frankie Bergstein – “GRACE AND FRANKIE” (Netflix)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

ANTHONY ANDERSON / Andre “Dre” Johnson – “BLACK-ISH” (ABC)
AZIZ ANSARI / Dev – “MASTER OF NONE” (Netflix)
LARRY DAVID / Himself – “CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM” (HBO)
SEAN HAYES / Jack McFarland – “WILL & GRACE” (NBC)
WILLIAM H. MACY / Frank Gallagher – “SHAMELESS” (Showtime)
MARC MARON / Sam Sylvia – “GLOW” (Netflix)
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

THE CROWN (Netflix)
CLAIRE FOY / Queen Elizabeth II
VICTORIA HAMILTON / Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
VANESSA KIRBY / Princess Margaret
ANTON LESSER / Prime Minister Harold Macmillan
MATT SMITH / Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

GAME OF THRONES (HBO)
ALFIE ALLEN / Theon Greyjoy
JACOB ANDERSON / Grey Worm
PILOU ASBÆK / Euron Greyjoy
HAFÞÓR JÚLÍUS BJÖRNSSON / The Mountain
JOHN BRADLEY / Samwell Tarly
JIM BROADBENT / Archmaester Ebrose
GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE / Brienne
EMILIA CLARKE / Daenerys Targaryen
NIKOLAJ COSTER-WALDAU / Jaime Lannister
LIAM CUNNINGHAM / Davos Seaworth
PETER DINKLAGE / Tyrion Lannister
RICHARD DORMER / Beric Dondarrion
NATHALIE EMMANUEL / Missandei
JAMES FAULKNER / Randyll Tarly
JEROME FLYNN / Bronn
AIDAN GILLEN / Petyr Baelish
IAIN GLEN / Jorah Mormont
KIT HARINGTON / Jon Snow
LENA HEADEY / Cersei Lannister
ISAAC HEMPSTEAD WRIGHT / Bran Stark
CONLETH HILL / Varys
KRISTOFER HIVJU / Tormund Giantsbane
TOM HOPPER / Dickon Tarly
ANTON LESSER / Qyburn
RORY McCANN / The Hound
STAZ NAIR / Qhono
RICHARD RYCROFT / Maester Wolkan
SOPHIE TURNER / Sansa Stark
RUPERT VANSITTART / Yohn Royce
MAISIE WILLIAMS / Arya Stark
THE HANDMAID’S TALE (Hulu)
MADELINE BREWER / Janine/Ofwarren/Ofdaniel
AMANDA BRUGEL / Rita
ANN DOWD / Aunt Lydia
O-T FAGBENLE / Luke
JOSEPH FIENNES / Commander Waterford
TATTIAWNA JONES / Ofglen #2
MAX MINGHELLA / Nick Blaine
ELISABETH MOSS / Offred/June
YVONNE STRAHOVSKI / Serena Joy
SAMIRA WILEY / Moira
STRANGER THINGS (Netflix)
SEAN ASTIN / Bob Newby
MILLIE BOBBY BROWN / Eleven
CARA BUONO / Karen Wheeler
JOE CHREST / Ted Wheeler
CATHERINE CURTIN / Claudia Henderson (Dustin’s Mom)
NATALIA DYER / Nancy Wheeler
DAVID HARBOUR / Jim Hopper
CHARLIE HEATON / Jonathan Byers
JOE KEERY / Steve Harrington
GATEN MATARAZZO / Dustin Henderson
CALEB McLAUGHLIN / Lucas Sinclair
DACRE MONTGOMERY / Billy
PAUL REISER / Dr. Owens
WINONA RYDER / Joyce Byers
NOAH SCHNAPP / Will Byers
SADIE SINK / Max
FINN WOLFHARD / Mike Wheeler
THIS IS US (NBC)
ERIS BAKER / Tess Pearson
ALEXANDRA BRECKENRIDGE / Sophie
STERLING K. BROWN / Randall Pearson
LONNIE CHAVIS / Young Randall
JUSTIN HARTLEY / Kevin Pearson
FAITHE HERMAN / Annie Pearson
RON CEPHAS JONES / William Hill
CHRISSY METZ / Kate Pearson
MANDY MOORE / Rebecca Pearson
CHRIS SULLIVAN / Toby Damon
MILO VENTIMIGLIA / Jack Pearson
SUSAN KELECHI WATSON / Beth Pearson
HANNAH ZEILE / Teenage Kate
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

BLACK-ISH (ABC)
ANTHONY ANDERSON / Andre “Dre” Johnson
MILES BROWN / Jack Johnson
DEON COLE / Charlie Telphy
LAURENCE FISHBURNE / Pops
JENIFER LEWIS / Ruby
PETER MACKENZIE / Mr. Stevens
MARSAI MARTIN / Diane Johnson
JEFF MEACHAM / Josh
TRACEE ELLIS ROSS / Dr. Rainbow Johnson
MARCUS SCRIBNER / Andre Johnson, Jr.
YARA SHAHIDI / Zoey Johnson
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO)
TED DANSON / Himself
LARRY DAVID / Himself
SUSIE ESSMAN / Susie Greene
JEFF GARLIN / Jeff Greene
CHERYL HINES / Cheryl David
JB SMOOVE / Leon Black
GLOW (Netflix)
BRITT BARON / Justine Biagi
ALISON BRIE / Ruth Wilder
KIMMY GATEWOOD / Stacey Beswick
BETTY GILPIN / Debbie Eagan
REBEKKA JOHNSON / Dawn Rivecca
CHRIS LOWELL / Bash
SUNITA MANI / Arthie Premkumar
MARC MARON / Sam Sylvia
KATE NASH / Rhonda Richardson
SYDELLE NOEL / Cherry Bang
MARIANNA PALKA / Reggie Walsh
GAYLE RANKIN / Sheila the She-Wolf
BASHIR SALAHUDDIN / Keith
RICH SOMMER / Mark
KIA STEVENS / Tammé Dawson
JACKIE TOHN / Melanie Rosen
ELLEN WONG / Jenny Chey
BRITNEY YOUNG / Carmen Wade

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK (Netflix)
UZO ADUBA / Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren
EMILY ALTHAUS / Maureen Kukudio
DANIELLE BROOKS / Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson
ROSAL COLÓN / Ouija
JACKIE CRUZ / Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales
FRANCESCA CURRAN / Helen Van Maele
DANIELLA DE JESÚS / Zirconia
LEA DeLARIA / Big Boo
NICK DILLENBURG / CO Blake
ASIA KATE DILLON / Brandy Epps
BETH DOVER / Linda Ferguson
KIMIKO GLENN / Brook Soso
ANNIE GOLDEN / Norma Romano
LAURA GÓMEZ / Blanca Flores
DIANE GUERRERO / Maritza Ramos
EVAN ARTHUR HALL / CO Stratman
MICHAEL J. HARNEY / Sam Healy
BRAD WILLIAM HENKE / Desi Piscatella
MIKE HOUSTON / CO Lee Dixon
VICKY JEUDY / Janae Watson
KELLY KARBACZ / Kasey Sankey
JULIE LAKE / Angie Rice
SELENIS LEYVA / Gloria Mendoza
NATASHA LYONNE / Nicky Nichols
TARYN MANNING / Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett
ADRIENNE C. MOORE / Cindy Hayes
MIRIAM MORALES / Pidge
KATE MULGREW / Galina “Red” Reznikov
EMMA MYLES / Leanne Taylor
JOHN PALLADINO / Josh
MATT PETERS / Joel Luschek
JESSICA PIMENTEL / Maria Ruiz
DASCHA POLANCO / Dayanara Diaz
LAURA PREPON / Alex Vause
JOLENE PURDY / Stephanie Hapakuka
ELIZABETH RODRIGUEZ / Aleida Diaz
NICK SANDOW / Joe Caputo
ABIGAIL SAVAGE / Gina Murphy
TAYLOR SCHILLING / Piper Chapman
CONSTANCE SHULMAN / Yoga Jones
DALE SOULES / Frieda Berlin
YAEL STONE / Lorna Morello
EMILY TARVER / CO Artesian McCullough
MICHAEL TORPEY / CO Thomas Humphrey
LIN TUCCI / Anita DeMarco

VEEP (HBO)
DAN BAKKEDAHL / Roger Furlong
ANNA CHLUMSKY / Amy Brookheimer
GARY COLE / Kent Davison
MARGARET COLIN / Jane McCabe
KEVIN DUNN / Ben Cafferty
CLEA DUVALL / Marjorie Palmiotti
NELSON FRANKLIN / Will
TONY HALE / Gary Walsh
JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS / Selina Meyer
SAM RICHARDSON / Richard Splett
PAUL SCHEER / Stevie
REID SCOTT / Dan Egan
TIMOTHY SIMONS / Jonah Ryan
SARAH SUTHERLAND / Catherine Meyer
MATT WALSH / Mike McLintock
Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series

GAME OF THRONES (HBO)
GLOW (Netflix)
HOMELAND (Showtime)
STRANGER THINGS (Netflix)
THE WALKING DEAD (AMC)
LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
54th SAG Life Achievement Award

MORGAN FREEMAN

 

 


24th ANNUAL SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS®

NOMINATIONS FACT SHEET

 

ACTORS WITH MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS – THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES & TELEVISION PROGRAMS

 

PETER DINKLAGE – 3

MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

MALE DRAMA – “Game of Thrones”

DRAMA ENSEMBLE – “Game of Thrones”

 

ACTORS WITH MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS – THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES

 

MARY J. BLIGE – 2

FEMALE SUPPORT – “Mudbound”

MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Mudbound”

 

TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET – 2

MALE LEAD – “Call Me By Your Name”

MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Lady Bird”

 

WOODY HARRELSON – 2

MALE SUPPORT – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

 

LUCAS HEDGES – 2

MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Lady Bird”

MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

 

HOLLY HUNTER – 2

FEMALE SUPPORT – “The Big Sick”

MOTION PICTURE CAST – “The Big Sick”

 

CALEB LANDRY JONES – 2

MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Get Out”

MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

 

DANIEL KALUUYA – 2

MALE LEAD – “Get Out”

MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Get Out”

 

FRANCES McDORMAND – 2

FEMALE LEAD – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

 

LAURIE METCALF – 2

FEMALE SUPPORT – “Lady Bird”

MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Lady Bird”

 

SAM ROCKWELL – 2

MALE SUPPORT – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

 

SAOIRSE RONAN – 2

FEMALE LEAD – “Lady Bird”

MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Lady Bird”

 

ACTORS WITH MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS – TELEVISION PROGRAMS
 

ANTHONY ANDERSON – 2
MALE COMEDY – “Black-ish”

COMEDY ENSEMBLE – “Black-ish”

 

UZO ADUBA – 2

FEMALE COMEDY – “Orange is the New Black”

COMEDY ENSEMBLE – “Orange is the New Black”

 

ALISON BRIE – 2

FEMALE COMEDY – “GLOW”

COMEDY ENSEMBLE – “GLOW”

 

MILLIE BOBBY BROWN – 2
FEMALE DRAMA – “Stranger Things”

DRAMA ENSEMBLE – “Stranger Things”
STERLING K. BROWN – 2

MALE DRAMA – “This Is Us”

DRAMA ENSEMBLE – “This Is Us”

 

LARRY DAVID – 2

MALE COMEDY – “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

COMEDY ENSEMBLE – “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

 

CLAIRE FOY – 2
FEMALE DRAMA – “The Crown”

DRAMA ENSEMBLE – “The Crown”

 

DAVID HARBOUR – 2

MALE DRAMA – “Stranger Things”

DRAMA ENSEMBLE – “Stranger Things”

 

ANTON LESSER – 2

DRAMA ENSEMBLE – “The Crown”

DRAMA ENSEMBLE – “Game of Thrones”

 

JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS – 2

FEMALE COMEDY – “Veep”

COMEDY ENSEMBLE – “Veep”

MARC MARON – 2

MALE COMEDY – “GLOW”

COMEDY ENSEMBLE – “GLOW”

 

ELIZABETH MOSS – 2

FEMALE DRAMA – “The Handmaid’s Tale”

DRAMA ENSEMBLE – “The Handmaid’s Tale”

 

THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES WITH MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS

 

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” – 4

Lady Bird” – 3

The Big Sick” – 2

“Get Out” – 2

“I, Tonya” – 2

“Mudbound” – 2

 

TELEVISION PROGRAMS WITH MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS

 

“Big Little Lies” – 4

“Stranger Things” – 4 (including stunt ensemble nomination)

“GLOW” – 4 (including stunt ensemble nomination)

“Game of Thrones” – 3 (including stunt ensemble nomination)

“Black-ish” – 2

“The Crown” – 2

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” – 2

“FEUD: Bette and Joan” – 2

“Grace and Frankie” – 2

“Orange is the New Black” – 2

“Ozark” – 2

“The Handmaid’s Tale” – 2

“This Is Us” – 2

“Veep” – 2

 

NOMINATIONS BY STUDIO FOR THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES

 

FOX SEARCHLIGHT – 7

A24 – 5

20TH CENTURY FOX – 2

AMAZON STUDIOS – 2

FOCUS FEATURES – 2

NEON – 2

NETFLIX – 2
UNIVERSAL PICTURES – 2

WARNER BROS. PICTURES – 2

COLUMBIA PICTURES – 1

PARAMOUNT PICTURES – 1

SONY PICTURES CLASSICS – 1

TRISTAR AND MRC – 1

 

NOMINATIONS BY NETWORK FOR TELEVISION PROGRAMS

NETFLIX – 19

HBO – 12

NBC – 3

ABC – 2

AMC – 2

FX NETWORKS – 2

HULU – 2

SHOWTIME – 2

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – 1

WGBH/MASTERPIECE – 1

 

FIRST-TIME INDIVIDUAL ACTOR® NOMINEES
Aziz Ansari

Mary J. Blige

Hong Chau

SALLY HAWKINS

DANIEL KALUUYA

Marc Maron

MARGOT ROBBIE

 

FIRST-TIME TELEVISION SERIES ENSEMBLE NOMINEES
“GLOW”

“THE HANDMAID’S TALE”

“THIS IS US”

 


SAG AWARDS® RECORD HOLDERS

 

INDIVIDUAL RECORD HOLDERS

 

MOST ACTORS® RECEIVED

JULIANNA MARGULIES – 8 Actors® (4 for individual performances and 4 for ensemble performances)

2011, 2010 – FEMALE DRAMA – “The Good Wife”

1999, 1998 – FEMALE DRAMA – “ER”

1999, 1998, 1997, 1996 – DRAMA ENSEMBLE – “ER”

 

ALEC BALDWIN – 8 Actors® (7 for individual performances and 1 for ensemble performance)

2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 – MALE COMEDY – “30 Rock”

2009 – COMEDY ENSEMBLE – “30 Rock”

 

MOST ACTOR® NOMINATIONS

EDIE FALCO – 22 Actor® Nominations (14 for individual performances, 8 for ensemble performances)

Previous Actors®:

2008, 2000 – DRAMA ENSEMBLE – “The Sopranos”

2008, 2003, 2000 – FEMALE DRAMA – “The Sopranos”

Previous Actor® nominations:

2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 – FEMALE COMEDY – “Nurse Jackie”

2013 – COMEDY ENSEMBLE – “Nurse Jackie”

2007, 2005, 2003, 2002, 2001 – DRAMA ENSEMBLE – “The Sopranos”

2007, 2005, 2002, 2001 – FEMALE DRAMA – “The Sopranos”

 

TELEVISION ENSEMBLE RECORD HOLDERS

 

MOST ACTORS® RECEIVED BY AN ENSEMBLE

A tie:

ER – 4 Actors®

MODERN FAMILY – 4 Actors®

 

MOST ACTOR® NOMINATIONS RECEIVED BY AN ENSEMBLE

A tie:

FRASIER – 9 Actor® Nominations

LAW & ORDER – 9 Actor® Nominations

 

MOST ACTOR® NOMINATIONS IN A SINGLE YEAR

A tie:

JAMIE FOXX – 4 Actor® Nominations in 2005 (3 for individual performances, 1 for ensemble performance)

MALE LEAD – “Ray”

MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Ray”

MALE SUPPORT – “Collateral”

MALE MOVIE/MINISERIES – “Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story”

 

MAGGIE SMITH – 4 Actor® Nominations in 2013 (2 for individual performances, 2 for ensemble performances)

FEMALE SUPPORT – “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

MOTION PICTURE CAST – “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

FEMALE DRAMA – “Downton Abbey”

DRAMA ENSEMBLE – “Downton Abbey”

 

ACTORS HONORED WITH ACTOR® STATUETTES FOR SEPARATE PERFORMANCES IN A SINGLE YEAR

 

MAHERSHALA ALI

2017 – MALE SUPPORT – “Moonlight”

2017 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Hidden Figures”

 

STEVE CARELL

2007 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Little Miss Sunshine”

2007 – COMEDY ENSEMBLE – “The Office”

 

BRYAN CRANSTON

2013 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Argo”

2013 – MALE DRAMA – “Breaking Bad”

 

IDRIS ELBA

2016 – MALE TV MOVIE/MINISERIES – “Luther”

2016 – MALE SUPPORT – “Beasts of No Nation”

 

ALBERT FINNEY

2001 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Traffic”

2001 – MALE SUPPORT – “Erin Brockovich”

 

HELEN MIRREN

2007 – FEMALE LEAD – “The Queen”

2007 – FEMALE MOVIE/MINISERIES – “Elizabeth I”

 

GARY SINISE

1996 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Apollo 13”

1996 – MALE MOVIE/MINISERIES – “Truman”

 

 


NOMINEE SAG AWARDS® HISTORIES

(Note: “Total” tallies include this year’s nominations)

 

THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES

 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

JUDI DENCH / “Victoria & Abdul”

Total nominations in this category: 6

Total Actor® nominations: 14

Previous Actors®: 2

2001 – FEMALE SUPPORT – “Chocolat”

1999 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Shakespeare in Love”

Previous Actor® nominations: 13

2014 – FEMALE LEAD – “Philomena”

2013 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

2010 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Nine”

2007 – FEMALE LEAD – “Notes on a Scandal”

2006 – FEMALE LEAD – “Mrs. Henderson Presents”

2002 – FEMALE LEAD – “Iris”

2002 – FEMALE SUPPORT – “The Shipping News”

2001 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Chocolat”

2001 – FEMALE SUPPORT – “Chocolat”

2001 – FEMALE MOVIE/MINISERIES – “The Last of the Blonde Bombshells”

1999 – FEMALE SUPPORT – “Shakespeare in Love”

1999 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Shakespeare in Love”

1998 – FEMALE LEAD – “Mrs. Brown”

 

SALLY HAWKINS / “The Shape of Water”

Total nominations in this category: 1

Total Actor® nominations: 1

This is Sally Hawkins’ first Actor® nomination

 

FRANCES McDORMAND / “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Total nominations in this category: 2

Total Actor® nominations: 7

Concurrent nominations this year:

2018 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Previous Actors®: 2

2015 – FEMALE MOVIE/MINISERIES – “Olive Kitteridge”

1997 – FEMALE LEAD – “Fargo”

Previous Actor® nominations: 5

2015 – FEMALE MOVIE/MINISERIES – “Olive Kitteridge”

2006 – FEMALE SUPPORT – “North Country”

2001 – FEMALE SUPPORT – “Almost Famous”

2001 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Almost Famous”

1997 – FEMALE LEAD – “Fargo”

 

MARGOT ROBBIE / “I, Tonya”

Total nominations in this category: 1

Total Actor® nominations: 1

This is Margot Robbie’s first Actor® nomination

 

SAOIRSE RONAN / “Lady Bird”

Total nominations in this category: 2

Total Actor® nominations: 4

Concurrent nominations this year:

2018 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Lady Bird”

Previous Actor® nominations: 2

2016 – FEMALE LEAD – “Brooklyn”

2015 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET / “Call Me By Your Name”

Total nominations in this category: 1

Total Actor® nominations: 3

Concurrent nominations this year:

2018 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Lady Bird”

Previous Actor® nominations: 1

2013 – DRAMA ENSEMBLE – “Homeland”

 

JAMES FRANCO / “The Disaster Artist”

Total nominations in this category: 2

Total Actor® nominations: 4

Previous Actor® nominations: 3

2011 – MALE LEAD – “127 Hours”

2009 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Milk”

2002 – MALE TV MOVIE/MINISERIES – “James Dean”

 

DANIEL KALUUYA / “Get Out”

Total nominations in this category: 1

Total Actor® nominations: 2

Concurrent nominations this year:

2018 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Get Out”

These are Daniel Kaluuya’s first Actor® nominations

 

GARY OLDMAN / “Darkest Hour”

Total nominations in this category: 1

Total Actor® nominations: 2

Previous Actor® nominations: 1

2001 – MALE SUPPORT – “The Contender”

 

DENZEL WASHINGTON / “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Total nominations in this category: 5

Total Actor® nominations: 7

Previous Actors®: 1

2017 – MALE LEAD – “Fences”

Previous Actor® nominations: 6

2017 – MALE LEAD – “Fences”

2017 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Fences”

2013 – MALE LEAD – “Flight”

2008 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “American Gangster”

2002 – MALE LEAD – “Training Day”

2000 – MALE LEAD – “The Hurricane”

 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

MARY J. BLIGE / “Mudbound”

Total nominations in this category: 1

Total Actor® nominations: 2

Concurrent nominations this year:

2018 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Mudbound”

These are Mary J. Blige’s first Actor® nominations

 

HONG CHAU / “Downsizing”

Total nominations in this category: 1

Total Actor® nominations: 1

This is Hong Chau’s first Actor® nomination

 

HOLLY HUNTER / “The Big Sick”

Total nominations in this category: 2

Total Actor® nominations: 7

Concurrent nominations this year:

2018 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “The Big Sick”

Previous Actor® nominations: 5

2014 – FEMALE MOVIE/MINISERIES – “Top of the Lake”

2010, 2009, 2008 – FEMALE DRAMA SERIES – “Saving Grace”

2004 – FEMALE SUPPORT – “Thirteen”

 

ALLISON JANNEY / “I, Tonya”

Total nominations in this category: 1

Total Actor® nominations: 16

Previous Actors®: 6

2012 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “The Help”

2002, 2001 – DRAMA ENSEMBLE – “The West Wing”

2002, 2001 – FEMALE DRAMA – “The West Wing”

2000 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “American Beauty”

Previous Actor® nominations: 15

 

LAURIE METCALF / “Lady Bird”

Total nominations in this category: 1

Total Actor® nominations: 3

Concurrent nominations this year:

2018 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Lady Bird”

Previous Actor® nominations: 1

2007 – COMEDY ENSEMBLE – “Desperate Housewives”

 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

STEVE CARELL / “Battle of the Sexes”

Total nominations in this category: 1

Total Actor® nominations: 16

Previous Actors®: 3

2008, 2007 – COMEDY ENSEMBLE – “The Office”

2007 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Little Miss Sunshine”

Previous Actor® nominations: 15

2016 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “The Big Short”

2015 – MALE LEAD – “Foxcatcher”

2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 – COMEDY ENSEMBLE – “The Office”

2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 – MALE COMEDY – “The Office”

2007 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Little Miss Sunshine”

 

WILLEM DAFOE / “The Florida Project”

Total nominations in this category: 2

Total Actor® nominations: 4

Previous Actor® nominations: 3

2015 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

2001 – MALE SUPPORT – “Shadow of the Vampire”

1997 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “The English Patient”

 

WOODY HARRELSON / Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Total nominations in this category: 2

Total Actor® nominations: 7

Concurrent nominations this year:

2018 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Previous Actors®: 1

2008 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “No Country for Old Men”

Previous Actor® nominations: 5

2015 – MALE DRAMA – “True Detective”

2013 – MALE MOVIE/MINISERIES – “Game Change”

2010 – MALE SUPPORT – “The Messenger”

2008 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “No Country for Old Men”

1997 – MALE LEAD – “The People vs. Larry Flynt”

 

RICHARD JENKINS / “The Shape of Water”

Total nominations in this category: 1

Total Actor® nominations: 4

Previous Actor® nominations: 3

2015 – MALE MOVIE/MINISERIES – “Olive Kitteridge”

2009 – MALE LEAD – “The Visitor”

2002 – DRAMA ENSEMBLE – “Six Feet Under”

 

SAM ROCKWELL / “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Total nominations in this category: 1

Total Actor® nominations: 4

Concurrent nominations this year:

2018 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Previous Actor® nominations: 2

2009 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Frost/Nixon”

2000 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “The Green Mile”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total nominations in this category: 1

Total Actor® nominations: 1

This is Aziz Ansari’s first Actor® nomination

 

LARRY DAVID / “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

Total nominations in this category: 3

Total Actor® nominations: 6

 

s”

2003 – MALE MOVIE/MINISERIES – “Door to Door”

Previous Actor® nominations: 11

2017, 2016, 2015 – MALE COMEDY – “Shameless”

2007 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Bobby”

2007 – MALE MOVIE/MINISERIES – “Nightmares & Dreamscapes”

2005 – MALE MOVIE/MINISERIES – “The Wool Cap”

2004 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Seabiscuit”

2003 – MALE MOVIE/MINISERIES – “Door to Door”

2000 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Magnolia”

1998 – MOTION PICTURE CAST – “Boogie Nights”

1997 – MALE SUPPORT – “Fargo”

 

MARC MARON / “GLOW”

Total nominations in this category: 1

Total Actor® nominations: 2

Concurrent nominations this year:

2018 – COMEDY ENSEMBLE – “GLOW”

These are Marc Maron’s first Actor® nominations

 

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

THE CROWN (Netflix)

Total Actor® nominations: 2

Previous Actor® nominations:

2017– DRAMA ENSEMBLE

 

GAME OF THRONES (HBO)

Total Actor® nominations: 6

Previous Actor® nominations:

2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012 – DRAMA ENSEMBLE

 

The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

Total Actor® nominations: 1

This is the “The Handmaid’s Tale” ensemble’s first Actor® nomination

 

STRANGER THINGS (Netflix)

Previous Actors®: 1

Total Actor® nominations: 2

Previous Actors®:

2017– DRAMA ENSEMBLE

Previous Actor® nominations:

2017– DRAMA ENSEMBLE

 

THIS IS US (NBC)

Total Actor® nominations: 1

This is the “This Is Us” ensemble’s first Actor® nomination

 

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

BLACK-ISH (ABC)

Total Actor® nominations: 2

Previous Actor® nominations:

2017– COMEDY ENSEMBLE

 

CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO)

Total Actor® nominations: 3

Previous Actor® Nominations:

2010, 2006 – COMEDY ENSEMBLE

 

GLOW (Netflix)

Total Actor® nominations: 1

This is the “GLOW” ensemble’s first Actor® nomination

 

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK (Netflix)

Previous Actors®: 3

Total Actor® nominations: 4

Previous Actors®:

2017, 2016, 2015 – COMEDY ENSEMBLE

Previous Actor® nominations:

2017, 2016, 2015 – COMEDY ENSEMBLE

 

VEEP (HBO)

Total Actor® nominations: 5

Previous Actor® nominations:

2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 – COMEDY ENSEMBLE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marvelous,Classy Remake of Agatha Christie’s Classic “Murder on the Orient Express”


Kenneth Branagh’s classy, glossy re-make of Agatha Christie’s classic mystery “Murder on the Orient Express” is great, grand fun. It’s considered perhaps second only to  her “And Then There Were None,” it keeps being brought back to us each time with more style than ever. No matter how glossy, it’s “Orient Express”s superior and unique plot and plotting that holds us all enthralled and trapped by its’ ingenuity, as Christie’s characters are trapped by a snowy landslide somewhere in Eastern Europe in the 1930s.

Kenneth Branagh has decided to have fun with it, and so we do, too. I would say David Suchet’s TV version of it was the darkest one, also great. And Sydney Lumet’s glamourous film version with Lauren Bacall, Vanessa Redgrave, Rachel Roberts and Ingrid Bergman  all on board with Albert Finney at the helm as the beefiest Poirot in 1974.

Bergman seemed terribly mis-cast and under-used in the small part of the Missionary, but she was so incongruous as the plain, ex-governess who loved her “little brown babies, she won her third Oscar. This time in Supporting. And shocked everyone Oscar night that year.

I don’t know if Penelope Cruz, now cast here as a Spanish missionary, is going to repeat that hat-trick. But Michelle Pfeiffer might. Pfeiffer’s part has considerably been built up, and indeed, she has enough scene stealing and scenery chewing moments to qualify as this year’s Best Supporting Actress.

She is Mrs. Hubbard, an aging film star on the decline, who shrieks and cries and over-acts her way through “Express,” to the point where I almost thought that Branagh had re-written this adaption to make her the guilty party. She certainly ACTS, or over-acts her way to jail, if indeed she is the one who did it.

IT, being the murder of Johnny Depp’s horrible henchman, but no, Branagh didn’t touch the bed-rock of Christie’s great murderous conceit. Depp is perfectly vile as the soon to be dispensed with Ratchet. Josh Gad has a very large part, too, as Depp’s vile, scheming secretary. Branagh even get to chase Gad as he tries to escape at one point in the movie.

I’ve never seen Hercule Poirot move as much as he does in this movie, and Josh Gad, too, for that matter. Poirot has fight scenes, incongruous as they may be, and a broken heart from an ex-girl friend. Strict students of Christie and Poirot may object to these *gasp* liberties that Branagh has taken.His ridiculously gigantic moustaches that seems so heavy and overdone, he might at any moment fall face forward from its weight.

But while I noted these disparities, they did not stop my enjoyment of this very enjoyable romp.

Louise Penny’s New #13 Gamache ~ “Glass Houses”

I wonder what’s going to happen to Louise Penny’s latest novel, hot off the presses, “Glass Houses”? It’s her 13th in a row Inspector Gamache novel. And USUALLY she hits it out of the ball park every time, but this time…Well, she’s a crime/mystery writer the world has fallen in love with, even though she’s an Anglo-Canadian writing about our beloved Montreal and the province of Quebec, where she lives.

“Glass Houses” was written very fast. It seems like the last one “A Great Reckoning” only came out last week, but actually it was last year. But still, a new book, EVERY year! I mean, that’s an incredible achievement by any definition and she’s been called “the new Agatha Christie”, which is also an incredible accolade. (She’s won Agatha Award six times!) And she sells! She tends to debut at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list.

And it’s really difficult to write about her Chief Inspector Gamache books, because you don’t want to spoil anything. But I will say this. This is my least favorite novel of hers, so far. And I’ve read them all!

Don’t worry die-hard Gamache fans he’s very much front and center here, and Penny has created a great character in him, her lead detective. He’s retired now and living in Three Pines, the wonderful, mythical Quebec township town she’s created. It’s not real, but it’s setting is continuously beguiling and I really want to eat at the Bistro of Gabri and Olivier, right now!

Food is mentioned often, but not as much in “Glass Houses” but the Bistro Gamache fans NEED to know is where most of the action, and the eating, mais oui, happens. And Kudos to Penny for putting two very original gay Bistro/B&B owners front and center in her books. Gamache has a gaggle of sorts. What’s the French word for “Posse”? Maybe it’s posse, too, and they are all on hand, and there’s so many of them now that the ensemble tends to push the new characters almost out of the book completely.

It must sound divine to Penny fans, but — this time…
“Glass Houses” I found confusing. There. I said it. You need to know that it switches back and forth in time and seasons and locales. It’s hard to follow, until you realize that the trial that takes up half the book, is set in Montreal in the summer. Just WHAT and WHO is on trial for WHAT is also confusing. It’s made clear at the end but by then my patience with Gamache & co. was more than a little frazzled.

Then her masterpiece Ruth Zardo the crazy, foul-mouthed Octogenarian poet whose pet duck Rosa comes on. And then Gamache’s PERFECT wife Reine-Marie starts exerting her charm, and they all dine at the beautiful, homey bistro and you realize that Louise Penny is really above criticism at this point.

Especially, considering she wrote this big 400 page tome as her beloved husband, Michael, in real life, was dying.

Which kind of exemplifies the dark, threatening figure that keeps appearing on the Village Green one cold, rainy November day…Wait! How did we get to be in November? I thought it was July! Well, “Glass Houses” keeps switching back and forth, yes, confusingly.

Penny really returns to form(she really is an exquisite writer) in of all places the Author’s Note, which is at the end of the entire book. She writes feelingly about her husband’s death and ends with the lovely thought “The final thanks is to you, my friend. For your company.The world is brighter for your presence.
All shall be well.”

“Ernest Shackleton Loves Me” Wonderful New Musical Off-Bway!

FOR MY LOVE, IT IS TIMELESS AND VAST AS THE SKIES
IT IS STRONG AS THE TIDE AND THE WAVES WHEN THEY RISE
IT IS I, ERNEST SHACKLETON, HERE IN COMMAND
AND I PROMISE MY DARLING WE’RE GONNA FIND LAND

“Ernest Shackleton Loves Me” is the most wildly inventive musical of the Off-Bway season. And if anyone would have told me I’d be raining superlatives over a two-person love story that’s set simultaneously in Brooklyn and Antartica (!) I wouldn’t’ve believed them! But it’s true! It’s all true! And 19th Century Arctic Explorer Ernest Shackleton has come back to life(Through a date searching app on the Internet) to make wild, theatrical magic love to a single 45-year-old Mom with a baby named Zach in an unheated apartment “far out” in Brooklyn, well, it just sounds preposterous.

But the theater exists to make the unbelievable, believable.And “Ernest Shackleton” amazingly does just that .Our heroineKat (the extraordinary singer/actress/musician Val Vigoda) is an experimental music composer, whose living room is filled with every kind of electronic musical device imaginable, including a red, heart-shaped electric violin, which she barely puts down and a set of amplified drums that she beats all her many frustrations out on. This assemblage of electronicaErnest Shackleton 2 is backed by a gigantic computer screen, behind the stage, on which we see her many, many wild fantasies play out on.

The frigidity of her (very) cold water flat and the stress of her life as an artist. “I gave my life to art!” she plaintively sings, sends her over the edge and into the imaginary arms of studly Arctic hero, Ernest Shackleton, who calls out to her romantically through the Internet dating site, “Katherine! Katherine!..”and then enters her own version of Antarctica, through (where else?) her refrigerator.

Wade McCollum and Val Vigoda are the star-crossed lovers linked by the heroic struggles both are going through. He, to reach his high-flown Arctic goals, and she, well, just to survive her life. Her baby never stops crying, her computer’s keyboard keeps re-looping the word “Alone,” and they spend “Ernest Shackleton Loves Me” finding each other in the highly unromantic ice and snow, which the dauntless duo here turn into a winter wonderland.

The fiery Ms. Vigoda has also written the equally red-hot, heartfelt lyrics to go with Brendan Milburn’s Irish-inflected score.

There are a lot of sea shanties mixed in with the hard-rock and the love songs and the rock-solid book is by Joe DiPietro of “Memphis” fame, who really knows his way around a musical.  And underground there is massive musical amplification on  every kind of instrument imaginable by Sound Designer Rob Kaplowitz and Orchestrators Ryan O’Connell and Glen Milburn. And the super-skillful director Lisa Peterson makes the duo seem like a cast of thousands.

At no time do Kat and Shackleton strain our credulity, as the metaphor of his ice-bound ship, the Endurance, freezes over and sinks, stranding them and a crew of 22. This is based on a true story, which I won’t spoil here.(You can look it up. It’s a recorded fact.)And they had a videographer with them, too! As newsreel footage of Shackleton’s impossible dreams becomes all of our dreams of achievement, love and survival against all odds.“Ernest Shackleton’s motto was “Optimism is a form of moral courage.”
I left “Ernest Shackleton” filled with more optimism, and hope, yes, hope for the innovative American Musical than I’ve felt since well, since “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812”
He sings “FOR MY LOVE, IT IS TIMELESS AND VAST AS THE SKIES
IT IS STRONG AS THE TIDE AND THE WAVES WHEN THEY RISE
IT IS I, ERNEST SHACKLETON, HERE IN COMMAND
AND I PROMISE MY DARLING WE’RE GONNA FIND LAND!”

#Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, # Ernest Shackleton, #Val Vigoda,#Wade McCollum,#Antartica, #Artic Explorer, #Endurance, # Electric Violin, # Single Mom

CD of “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet…”A Masterpiece Recording of a Masterpiece Musical!

The soon-to-be-released 2-disc CD of the Original Broadway Cast of “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” is a masterpiece of recording of a masterpiece musical. I’m sorry, I just can’t stop the superlatives when talking about “Natasha, Pierre..” or as some call it “The Great Comet.” But whatever you call it, I predict it’s going to land like a bomb in the middle of TONY awards season. It’s due out May 19 and it will be flying off the shelves, like, well, like the great comet that it memorializes forever in this dazzling pop-opera spectacle that I’ve seen FOUR times and I can’t wait to see again!

Natasha, Pierre 22And yes, the magnificent lyric baritone of the legendary Josh Groban pierces through the massive ensemble and breaks your heart, with a vocal range we have barely heard him use before, especially thrilling in the darker, almost guttural, lower tones. Groban is turning into a consummate actor-singer right before our very eyes, and he has been selling out Broadway with this fiery, very avant-garde opera that challenge him at every step he takes and every note he sings and he meets the challenges magnificently..

And yes, I could see him singing at the Met one of these years. His voice just grows in depth and resonance in this incredible recording, as his performance as Pierre Bezukov has grown, too, since I first saw it. “Poor, bewildered Pierre, a warm-hearted Russian of the old school” sings the full-throated chorus, masterfully orchestrated by composer Dave Malloy. He was nominated for TWO Tonys, for his score and his orchestrations of it.

Natasha, Pierre 20Groban has two stunning solo numbers “Dust and Ashes” which ends his Act One and the title song, which ends the show. He is also singing throughout the entire score, with that pure, moving voice that is sometimes here almost a rock rasp. “What? What? WHAT?” he wails as his cousin Maria Demitryevka (the frightening Grace McLean) tells him some very alarming news indeed regarding his unrequited love, beautiful, young Natasha.

His Pierre is angry, frustrated, and almost always reading or drunk. He is married to “a bad wife”, the slinky, sensual Amber Grey as Helene.

amber-grey

She continues with this sensational role of “the slut”, wailing like a blues singer, belting out “Charmante,” wearing green furs and sequins, and sounding for all the world like a Russian Billy Holliday. As she helps seduce innocent Natasha, a better-than-ever Denee Benton, for her dissolute brother Anatole.Denee Benton 1

He is played to the hilt and beyond by Lucas Steele, who has also been with the show through all the years of its’ many peregrinations as has Amber Grey, McLean and many others. He actually has a larger role than Groban!Josh and Lucas

“Natasha, Pierre…” has had a grueling five year journey From the tiny Ars Nova theater Off-Off Broadway to the festive circus tent in the meat-packing district, where I first saw it. where they served dinner! They also went to Boston to the ART theater there. All the while under the stupendously inventive guidance of  director Rachel Chavkin. who is herself nominated for a Tony, too.

“Natasha, Pierre…” has now been nominated for TWELVE Tony Awards and I hope it wins all of them. Groban, Benton and Steele have all been nominated in their categories, but only Lucas Steele of the actors has won an award for the evil Anatole so far. He scored a prestigious Lucille Lortel Award.Lucas Steele 1Lucas Steele Lucille Lortel Award 1

In his category, Best Featured Actor in a Musical, he’s up against Broadway veteran Gavin Creel, who is a riot in “Hello, Dolly!” Both shows are mega-hits, but Steele’s Anatole is so dastardly, and also so devilishly handsome and sexy AND he plays the violin, having a wild solo as he fiddles away, preparing his plans to abduct the underage Natasha. He’s married already, and it’s a crime that he’s about to perpetrate. Yes, even in 1812 Moscow, he would be considered a criminal. and yes, this is all out of a tiny sliver of the 1000+plus-paged novel “War and Peace” from which this epic is adapted by the uber-talented Malloy.

This sliver is so epic…you can only imagine what the rest of Tolstoy’s classic novel is like. Believe it or not, I read it in the 8th grade. The other kids in the Bronx Catholic boys school I was doomed to,  made fun of me carrying his huge tome around with me for a year.

“Are you really reading all that?”

Yes, I was and I did, and I’m so glad now that I can say that I felt every inch a genuine Russian after reading it and especially seeing “Natasha, Pierre” FOUR times! And now this extraordinarily beautiful, tuneful, masterfully recorded treasure of a CD is coming soon! May 19! Remember that date!

I saw “NPATGCOE,” as the Internet might abbreviate, this last time, seated RIGHT ON THE STAGE! Every time you see it sitting in a different place in the wildly re-devised Imperial theatre,  it’s like seeing a different play! When you’re sitting on the stage itself, you feel like you are IN the play! The stage actually vibrates with the bass notes of the synthesizer that sometimes Josh Groban himself is playing in the pit of the orchestra. Which is stage center and completely unhidden.Natasha, Pierre Marquis

In fact, from his first entrance in front of a blinding blaze of  white lights, he is playing the accordion himself, and he rarely if ever leaves the stage.  Bespectacled Pierre is Tolstoy’s alter-ego. He is one of the first, modern anti-heroes. He is thoroughly depressive, a big Russian,
beaten-up bear of a character. And yes, he’s the hero of “War and Peace.”  Groban to his everlasting credit has totally immersed himself to the point of unrecognizability in his heroic, vanity free performance. He is wearing a fat suit. He now lumbers and growls and shuffles his considerable weight as a middle-aged man would. His long, thin fingers shake with what may be delirium tremens as in a man who drinks Way too much. His young brow is now furrowed, without any make-up.

You can hear this bear of a character that he is so perfectly portraying growling through the CD like a wounded animal. But like the maestro he is, Pierre’s voice, his howl of pain, is always also modulated and very, very beautiful.  And moving.Natasha, Pierre Broadway SetYou must hurry and buy it. I predict it will be a best seller, the first Broadway recording and the best maybe ever. It could go platinum in five minutes. And go see Groban live and onstage before he leaves the show forever in July. He’s entitled. He’s been packing them in on Broadway, for nearly a year, revitalizing it and don’t even get me started on Mimi Lien’s transformative set and the wild, magnificent lighting of Bradley King! Both also nominated for Tonys. I hope they all win!

I also have to add that there seems to be a thousand-voiced choir, an epic number of voices that call themselves “The Great Comet Singers” who are pictured in the CD program and contribute to the amazing sound and rhythm of “Balaga” and “The Abduction.” They are also credited as “Shakers.” Because the audience was all given egg-shaped shakers to increase the beat of the delirious troika ride to end all troika rides in Act Two. Yes, “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet” of 1812 will abduct you, too. Your heart, I mean. You’ll never think of musicals the same way again.

Lucas Steele & Denee Benton 1
#Natasha, Pierre, # The Great Comet of 1812, #Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 # Josh Groban, #Lucas Steele, #Tony Awards, #Denee Benton, #Russia, #War and Peace

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