Media Morsels 1.28.11

  • American Idiot
    At this performance of American Idiot, the cast will be joined not just by Billie Joe, but also Mike Dirnt! The Green Day bassist joined the cast for January 22's performance, playing guitar and singing during the show's curtain call number, "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)." I wonder when Tre Cool will make an appearance...
  • Glee Scoop
    What Mr. Schuester did during his summer vacation (and winter hiatus): Went into the recording studio to record a solo album. This week, reported that Matthew Morrison will be joined on his debut record by music legend Sir Elton John for a medley of "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" and "Rocket Man." While there is no exact date, the record is expected to "drop" this February.

    Glee's own Lea Michele has been cast in her feature film debut. (It was also announced that she'll perform at the Super Bowl on February 6.) The petite powerhouse will play in the ensemble cast of New Year's Eve, a Garry Marshall movie that takes the premise of his (awful schlockfest) Valentine's Day and moves it to December 31st. Michele will star alongside Abigail Breslin, Halle Berry, Jon Bon Jovi, SJP, Sofia Vergara and Robert De Niro, among others.

    In Glee-related news, do you remember that it was mentioned several months ago that Steven Spielberg would produce a TV series about creating a musical? This week, reported that NBC has ordered a pilot of the series, bringing it one step further to hitting the airwaves. (However, in the article, refers to the show as both Smash and Shine. Don't know which is the actual title...) Theresa Rebeck, who wrote The Understudy, is signed on as a writer and American Idiot's favorite Idiot, director Michael Mayer, is rumored to be directing. Stay tuned for updates. Reports of the series are likening it to Glee but it seems to me that this will be very much about the process of creation and not so much about showing off. And, this will feature original music, not covers. Still, it's better that this is likened to Glee than to Cop Rock...right?
  • Catch Me on Broadway
    You know I'm excited about seeing Aaron Tveit and Norbert Leo Butz (who appeared on The Good Wife last week, along with Memphis's Chad Kimball) on Broadway - together - this spring in Catch Me if You Can, right? Well, then you'll know I am very excited to share with you, courtesy of, this sneak-snippet of the show's opening number, "Live in Living Color," sung by none other than the uber-talented and charming Tveit. He sounds great here, showing off not just his smooth voice but also a rather appealing rock-ish growl. Catch Catch Me on Broadway this spring, beginning on March 7, at the Neil Simon Theatre. Tickets are now on sale. (I have mine already!) (For more Catch Me excitement, take a look at the photos of the cast and creative team during a meet and greet.)
  • Sundance 2011
    Many of the films vying for attention during this awards season (and most award seasons) began their quest for accolades on the festival circuit, namely the Sundance Film Festival. The 2011 Festival is underway and has full coverage of the goings on. You can also visit the festival's official website,, for even more photos, video, the latest news and comprehensive and a cross-referenced searchable database of the films being screened. (And visit for its look at 13 Oscar-nominated films that got their start at Sundance, including Christopher Nolan's Memento.)
  • Awards Update
    With the Golden Globes wrapped, Oscar nominations announced and the SAG Awards about to be bestowed (this Sunday on TBS and TNT), fans of schadenfreude will be happy to hear that this week the Razzie Award nominees were announced! For the uninitiated, the Razzies are awards for the worst (and often the most unintentionally hilarious) films and performances of the year. The "awards" will be handed out the night before the Oscars (which is also the day of the Film Independent Spirit Awards), February 26. You can visit to view all the nominees, including a Worst Picture nod for Sex and the City 2.

    More Oscar stuff: Gold Derby highlighted all the Oscar snubs, as they saw it, including the absent Best Director nomination for Christopher Nolan. I don't agree that everyone or every film they listed as "not nominated" was actually a snub; some of them didn't deserve nominations, especially in particular fields, but it's interesting to look at nonetheless. They did pull out from that longer list a photo essay of the top 12 snubs. Again, I don't agree or think all their snubs are that shocking, though I do agree that a lack of nods for Andrew Garfield, Ryan Gosling, Mila Kunis, Julianne Moore and Christopher Nolan are regrettable and surprising.

    Even more Oscar stuff: The first promo shots of our Oscar hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway, were released this week. The two stars look dapper (Franco) and slinky (Hathaway) and up for the task. Franco was also on The Daily Show this week, chatting with Jon Stewart about being named an Oscar nominee moments before heading into a poetry class at Yale, where Franco is earning his PhD in English. That video is up online and worth watching, if you can stand seven minutes of charm.

    Even more, additional Oscar tidbits: Newsweek released another Oscar round table. This one features nominees James Franco, Natalie Portman, Annette Bening, Nicole Kidman, Michelle Williams and Colin Firth. The transcript is available online, along with videos of the discussion. Visit to hear Bening's advice to Portman, regarding being a pregnant nominee, and to learn about Franco's struggles with sex tapes.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Peter Travers: Pen Pals
    The film star and Hit RECord founder, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, has taken up correspondence with Rolling Stone's film critic, Peter Travers, all in the name of The Social Network. When the film came out, Travers hailed it as the best movie of the year and noted that it defined a generation. Gordon-Levitt just watched the film and in response wrote an open letter to Travers, challenging the critic's point of view. In response to Gordon-Levitt's comments, Travers wrote his own open letter. (The two are "business buds," have chatted on more than one occasion about the cinema.) It's an interesting debate: Gordon-Levitt is a champion of the collaborative opportunities borne of new technologies; Travers sees in The Social Network the alienation and separatism that can come of technological advancements. What do you think? Does technology keep us apart or bring us together? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below.
  • Call Your Rep - Demand Arts Funding!
    Excuse me, POTUS, but I need to get partisan: The Republicans are throwing a nutty and trying to cut federal arts funding. A New York Times report says that the Republican Study Committee (just that name alone sends shivers down my spine), made up of 165 House Republicans, is proposing that we eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (which, combined, received $765 million in the last federal budget) all in the hopes of reducing federal spending by "$2.5 trillion over 10 years" [emphasis mine]. If they really want to cut spending, how about ending the war? How about cutting defense spending for weapon systems that don't work? How about cutting abstinence-only (non)education programs that have time and time again proven ineffective? How about we stop subsidizing farmers for growing corn and making us fat? Grrrr!!!!! The NEA, et al., spending makes up such a minuscule fraction of total government spending; cutting these important endowments and programs will barely make the beginning of a dent. On the other hand, as the president of Americans for the Arts Robert L. Lynch pointed out, cutting such funding could have a negative impact. As per the Times report, "The arts provide 5.7 million jobs in the United States that generate about $30 billion in taxes, nearly $13 billion of which goes to the federal government. 'If they're serious about jobs and they're serious about income, they would invest more in the arts.'"
  • Casting News
    It seems Benjamin Walker, that sexypants POTUS from Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, is making something of a habit of playing presidents: His next project is playing President Abraham Lincoln in the film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. (Seems he's also making a habit of playing presidents in satirical pieces.) The movie "revolves around the president's quest to rid the world of vampires, presented as the real conflict behind the Civil War." It's set to begin shooting in March and be released in June 2012.

    It's not quite casting news, but Jon Stewart has been named to the Board of the foundation overseeing the construction of the National September 11th Memorial and Museum. Stewart joins other New York celebs, including Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal. You may know from watching The Daily Show that Stewart has used his show as a platform from which to advocate for 9/11 victims' and responders' rights. In fact, he was recently credited with helping to get the 9/11 First Responder Health Care Bill passed into law.
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