Media Morsels 1.7.11


  • New Year, New(ish) Theatre
    Playbill.com took the occasion of the New Year to list some productions audiences can look forward to in 2011, both on and off-Broadway. Of those they mentioned, on Broadway I'm looking forward to Catch Me if You Can, starring Aaron Tveit and new daddy Norbert Leo Butz; Arcadia, with Billy Crudup and Raul Esparza; Jerusalem, with Mark Ryalnce; Anything Goes, with Sutton Foster; and Good People, from David Lindsay-Abaire and starring Frances McDormand. (This last one I'm most looking forward to because it's a new, American play coming to Broadway - we don't get a lot of those. Jerusalem is new but it comes via London.) Off-Broadway, I have my sights set on Tony Kushner's The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, starring American Idiot's Michael Esper; Peter and the Starcatcher, a Peter Pan tale co-directed by Roger Rees (that's Lord John Marbury, to you fellow West Wing fanatics) and Alex Timbers and starring Next to Normal's Adam Chanler-Berat; and Shaggs: The Philosophy of the World (it's about a rock and roll band - of course I'm into it).

  • Spider-Man Update
    This week, Christopher Tierney, the dancer/actor who was critically injured in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark two weeks ago, was released from rehab (!!!) and gave two interviews, talking about his experience. Joined by cast mates Reeve Carney (Petey), Jennifer Damiano (MJ), Patrick Page (Green Goblin) and T.V. Carpio (Arachne), Tierney spoke with George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America (see below). On his own, he spoke with CBS NY's Dana Tyler. In both interviews, Tierney appears in infectiously good spirits. He is palpably excited about the show and about returning to it. He also seems to have a big heart and a great capacity for forgiveness: In the CBS interview, he noted that he spoke to the stagehands who were supposed to have checked his harness and that "it's water under the bridge." I'm touched by his graciousness and I'm moved by his enthusiasm. Tierney and his cast mates were all quick to point out to outsiders that they - in the mix - feel incredibly cared for and like their safety is thoroughly considered. I'm glad to see Tierney up and moving, and that he can serve as an inspiration for other performers.

    (By the way, seems Bono is going to be attending all preview performances from now on and he and The Edge are now very hands-on in the rehearsal process, trying to mold the show into something truly incredible. Quite a task but Bono's kind of a superhero so I have confidence that he can do it.)



  • Awards Update
    • Online critics – like most other critics and me – loved The Social Network. They just named Facebook in Sorkinese Best Picture of the year. The film also picked up awards for Aaron Sorkin’s (adapted) screenplay (Christopher Nolan won for original screenplay for Inception) and David Fincher’s direction. Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Christian Bale (The Fighter) and Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) all picked up acting awards. Visit thewrap.com for the full list of winners.
    • The Writers Guild announced their nominees this week. As EW.com explains in its full report, in order to qualify for a WGA award your movie must be filmed under very specific conditions. Such conditions are not necessary to receive an Oscar nomination, so don't look too much into these nominees and try to figure out who the Academy will choose. Of course, I'm most excited that Aaron Sorkin was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. As for Original Screenplay, I think all the nominations are deserved (though I didn't love Please Give) but I'm not sure if I'm rooting for Inception's Christopher Nolan or The Kids Are All Right's Lisa Cholodenko + Stuart Blumberg. Who do you think should win?
    • The Producers Guild also announced their nominees. Indiewire.com theorizes that their list of Best Picture noms may end up being the same as the Academy's. I've seen every movie on that list except The Town (though, if Netflix cooperates, I'll take care of that in short order). All the nominated films are good, but of course I'm rooting for The Social Network, with Inception at a very close second.
    • As they did last year, The Wrap is offering a primer on Oscar ballots. Check out their 101-guide for the details on the colors, the rankings and the little intricacies of filling out an Oscar ballot.

  • New Year, New Speaker
    So the 112th Congress began its tenure this week. To coincide with this scary momentous occasion (and with the installation of the new Speaker), Rolling Stone's own Matt Taibbi wrote a profile of Rep. Boehner, featured in the current issue of Rolling Stone (the issue with Jimmy Fallon on the cover). Following up on the profile, Taibbi wrote on his RollingStone.com blog about Boehner's "weird idea for a safety net" and then expounded upon that when he appeared on Countdown with Keith Olberman. I just love how Taibbi finds a way to get at the crux of a problem, present it in an easy to understand manner and stick his prey with delicious verbal harpoons. Watch and enjoy.


  • Tom Kitt Interviewed
    The genius composer Tom Kitt was recently interviewed by Broadwayworld.com. In this interview, Kitt talks about everything: Collaborating for the first time with writer Brian Yorkey; shaping Feeling Electric into Next to Normal; High Fidelity; Bring It On; Next to Normal: The Movie; and even orchestrating Shakespeare and American Idiot. Kitt's a musical genius and in this interview he comes off as refreshingly grateful for his success and opportunities. And I think it's genuine: When I met him on a couple of (very brief) occasions, he seemed incredibly humble and modest, and truly passionate about his work. Kudos to Kitt!

  • Mama Babs?
    We heard chatter this week that Babs might direct, produce and star in a new film version of Stephen Sondheim's Gypsy. Playbill.com reports that book writer Arthur Laurents, though not involved in the film, gives Babs his blessing. However, later in the week, the NY Times reported that Babs is no longer looking to direct the film, but instead just produce and star in it. According to the report in the Times, Laurents suggested that everyman Tom Hanks star as Herbie, Mama Rose's love interest. What do you think? Would Babs make a good Mama Rose?

  • Fictional Bands on Film
    This week over at IFC.com they posted a video tribute to film's fictional bands. Rightfully so, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem were on the list; so were The Wonders, from the delightful That Thing You Do!; The Pinheads (Marty McFly's band in Back to the Future) also made it on the list. Negligently missing from the list are Stillwater, the band in Almost Famous, in which Jason Lee is Jeff Bebe, "only the f*cking lead singer!", and Billy Crudup is smoldering guitarist Russell Hammond. At the end of the video, viewers are entreated to stay tuned for part two - so maybe Stillwater will be represented after all! (To view all the band citations, visit the video's original YouTube page and read the description.)



  • Dig This
    Finally, as it's the New Year, I've decided that each week I'm going to share with you, dear readers, some of the things I'm digging that week. Without further ado, dig this:
    • "Let's Go Crazy" - originally a Prince tune, Incubus covered this on their Monuments and Melodies album. And though I've had that record since it came out a year or so ago, I recently rediscovered it and can't stop dancing around to the song. (Also danceable from that record: "Martini.")
    • Ira & Abby - a straightforward romantic comedy that is actually both romantic (without being saccharine) and comedic (without being too goofy) but also touching. I like it for the same reason I like Away We Go: It's just two people who have each others' back and are trying to find their own way in this world.
    • "You're living in a little girl's toy and you need to get out." I love you, Modern Family!

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