Media Morsels 2.11.11

  • American Idiot
    The Idiots will welcome new cast members (or veteran cast members in new roles) and say goodbye to some beloved performers come February 27 and March 1. Are you ready for this? (I'm not!) John Gallagher, Jr., is leaving the show. His final performance will be February 27 at 7:30pm. (That's right - the same night as the Oscars. Oh well. I can DVR the awards; I can't DVR Johnny's last performance. Also, I missed his final performance in Spring Awakening because I was flying home from San Diego. I won't make the same mistake twice.) No word yet on how Johnny will be filling his time but about six months ago at a concert he mentioned something about wanting to record a record. I hope he does!

    Michael Esper (who plays couch-ridden Will) will also play his final performance that night; Esper is leaving to continue work on the upcoming New York premiere of Tony Kushner's The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures. (I already have my ticket because with a name like that, it has to be good!) Also playing his final performance that night will be Billie Joe Armstrong, but we knew that already. The day before, February 26, the Extraordinary Girl Christina Sajous will play her final performance; she is leaving to play in Baby, It's You, opening this spring.

    Taking over for these talented Idiots: current Johnny/Will/Tunny standby Van Hughes, who I saw perform as Johnny last week, will take over the role of Johnny. Van did a great job last week and he's an excellent choice to succeed the uber-talented Gallagher. Current ensemble member Libby Winters will take over the role of the Extraordinary Girl. (She's understudied the role thus far and has gone on a few times.) Libby has a great voice and I know she'll kill it in those hot pink harem pants while flying through the air. Recent Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown alumnus Justin Guarini will succeed Esper in the role of Will. Guarini was fine Women on the Verge and without Brian Stokes Mitchell to overpower him, he'll likely be better than fine here. And succeeding Billie Joe as St Jimmy (for two weeks only) will be rock bank AFI's front man Davey Havok. I don't know when I'll be back at the St James post-John's farewell, but when I head back, I'll be sure to let you know how these folks are doing in their new roles.

    A fond farewell to Johnny, Michael, Christina and Billie Joe, who all shone in their roles and made each journey through American Idiot so special. And welcome Van, Libby, Justin and Davey; you're bringing incredibly compelling people to life.

    In other American Idiot news, the Idiots just might be coming to a town near you. Today, lead producers Ira Pittleman and Tom Hulce announced plans for an American Idiot tour, set to launch in the fall. No casting or dates and locations have been announced yet, but I'll be sure to keep you updated.

  • Aaron Sorkin on The Social Network
    America's greatest living writer, Aaron Sorkin, recently sat down with Lesley Stahl to talk about writing The Social Network, for which he just won the WGA Award. (Tune in to the Oscars on February 27 to find out if he will be adding an Academy Award to his mantle, too.) In the interview, Sorkin talked about his approach to writing about a real living person, and in particular about this person's actions as a 19 year old. (Sorkin also recently spoke with the British Film Institute. Watch that interview here.) In the online companion piece, Stahl says one of the things Sorkin is working on now is - wait for it - a TV series about a cable news show!!! I'd always hoped he would do this and now it looks like it's coming to fruition. (He should definitely try to get this on HBO so he can use whatever language he wants!) As Paddy Chayefsky's heir and basically America's Conscience Commentary Laureate (yes, I'm making up honors now) it's Sorkin's duty to write such a show and I will be the first to set my DVR when it airs.


  • Oscar Update
    The Oscars are just a couple of weeks away! This week, Empire Online presented its list of "22 Incredibly Shocking Oscar Injustices," including Roberto Benigni winning the Best Actor Oscar for Life is Beautiful over Edward Norton for American History X, and Robert Zemeckis winning the Best Director Oscar for Forrest Gump over Quentin Tarantino for Pulp Fiction. Do you agree? What other Oscar injustices would you add to the list?

    In other Oscar news, promos featuring hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway have begun airing. I like this one:



  • Awards Update
    Some Tony rulings were handed down this week. You may remember that the Tony Awards Administration Committee meets several times throughout the year to decide eligibility of the various shows that open in a given season. Some of the rulings to come out of this meeting are: The Pee-wee Herman Show will be considered a play; its star, Paul Reubens, will be eligible in the Leading Actor category; and Lily Rabe, currently playing Portia in the Al Pacino production of The Merchant of Venice, will be eligible in the leading actress category. Visit playbill.com for all the rulings.

    The London Film Critics Circle on Thursday night named The Social Network the Best Film of the year, and also bestowed honors upon its director, David Fincher, one of its stars, Andrew Garfield, and its brilliant writer, Aaron Sorkin (duh!). The BAFTA Awards will be handed out on Sunday.

  • Grammy News
    The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards will be presented this Sunday night. I usually don't pay much attention because most of the music I listen to either isn't eligible or isn't nominated. This year isn't much different, although John Legend is up for a few awards (for his The Roots collaborative album Wake Up - check out The Boombox's song-by-song look at the record), and the American Idiot cast recording is also up for Best Cast Recording. (Though that award will almost definitely not be televised.) Legend will be on hand to present, as will Neil Patrick Harris and Seth Rogen. But here's another reason to tune in (especially you, Mom): Barbra Streisand will perform on the telecast. Streisand, who recently confirmed that she is set to star in a film adaptation of Gypsy, is nominated this year for her album Love is the Answer. (Also performing: Bob Dylan and Dr. Dre!) Tune in to CBS this Sunday night at 8pm for all the action. Visit grammy.com for more information and to see the list of nominees.

  • Modern Family: The Musical
    Well, not exactly, but it's been reported that in an upcoming spring episode of the hilarious series Cameron (one half of Cameron and Mitchell) will start naming dropping several Broadway vets. As reported, Cameron begins helping out in the school's music program and wants to introduce the kids to some of Broadway's greatest composers. No word on when in the spring that episode will air, but I suggest you watch every episode because it's just that funny! Modern Family airs on Wednesdays at 9pm on ABC.

  • Catch Me on Broadway
    This week, the cast and creative team of Catch Me if You Can, which begins previews on Broadway on March 11, met with the press. Playbill.com has a video sneak peek of some song and dance numbers (see below); Broadway.com has video interviews with the cast and creatives, asking them if they've ever lied or cheated, like Catch Me's subject, Frank Abignale, Jr., as well as photos from the meet and greet (like the one at right of Norbert Leo Butz hamming it up!); and Broadwayworld.com also has photos from the gathering. Tickets are now on sale at the Neil Simon Theatre. Visit catchmethemusical.com for all the details.


  • Wicked Drawing
    Whilst rumors abound about a live-action film adaptations of the hit Broadway musical Wicked, itself an adaptation of the eponymous Gregory Maguire novel (which was the correct response to final Jeopardy recently), Disney animator Heidi Jo Gilbert took the liberty of pitching Stephen Schwartz on the idea of nixing the live-action adaptation in favor of an animated adaptation. She created a mini trailer to show what it could look like. I have to say, an animated version seems like an interesting idea, especially with the advances in animation which make drawings come to life. What do you think? Would you rather see an animated or live-action version?

  • Casting News
    You may remember that there is a TV pilot in the works for a show called Smash. Smash will follow a group of artists trying to write a Broadway musical; Steven Spielberg is a lead producer, Theresa Rebeck is writing the pilot and Michael Mayer is directing it. This week, we learned that Debra Messing and Megan Hilty (who appeared with Allison Janney in 9to5 on Broadway) will be appearing in the pilot. Messing is reportedly playing the lyricist. Stay tuned for more.

  • Dig This
    • Raul Esparza picks his favorite musical theatre love songs, and they're both written by Jonathan Larson: "See Her Smile," from tick, tick...BOOM and "Without You," from Rent.
    • In his Rolling Stone interview, Elton John labels himself a fidgeter and puts himself in the company of Jack White, Elvis Costello, Brandon Flowers and Dave Grohl. Then he suggests that the lot form a supergroup. Yes, please!!!
    • Community zinger of the week: "What's in the briefcase?" "Oh, tacos." Naturally!
    • My cousin's famous! Check out his commercial that aired during the Super Bowl (...in Indiana).

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