Media Morsels 8.17.12

What an incredible episode. (Go Inside the Episode with Aaron Sorkin.) I can't wait for part two! What I found was so interesting about "Tragedy Porn" is that we're seeing this team we have come to admire do something so seemingly beneath them. We're seeing them do a big thing badly. And it elicits newly found sympathy for some real life news teams because it makes you think that some of the anchors really want to be doing News Night 2.0, i.e., good, informative stories that matter, not news as entertainment, but their hands are tied because they do, after all, have network bosses, ratings analysts and shareholders to answer to. Plus, the episode brought us some great lines, like "There's not enough bourbon in Kentucky."; "Have you been listening? Because we have."; and the show-closing punctuation, "I didn't know we had that kind of comic timing." Below, take a look at next week's episode, "The Blackout Part 2: Mock Debate" (the penultimate episode of the season, which, unless my eyes deceive me, features The West Wing alumnus Adam Arkin), and beneath that find a couple of bonuses, including a Q and A with Aaron Sorkin.

  • Aaron Sorkin answered fans' questions about "Tragedy Porn" on HBO Connect. (Find out if, like on Sports Night, The West Wing and Studio 60, the first season finale will be titled, "What Kind of Day has it Been?")
  • Three John Gallagher, Jr., interviews: with HBO; with Style Caster; with The Daily (watch this one below)

Election Update

Over the weekend, we learned that Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan will be presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's running mate. (It's a choice that, oddly, galvanized both Republicans and Democrats, as Jon Stewart pointed out on The Daily Show.) My first reaction was to become ill thinking about Ryan's policy positions. Then Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone pointed out The Five Fatal Flaws of Romney's Ryan Veep Pick. Most telling, and what we might all want to be most incensed about, is Dickinson's closing paragraph: "But at least the Koch brothers appear happy with the choice. Their dark-money group, Americans for Prosperity, announced a $27 million ad buy on Ryan's signature issue, the debt, four days before Romney announced his running mate to the general public." Who's running this election? (Remember: visit Rock the Vote for information about registering to vote and making your voice heard - including what the voter ID laws are in your precinct - on Election Day.)

Furthermore, in a Rolling Stone op-ed exclusive, Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello adroitly calls out Paul Ryan for his professed love of Rage's music. He says, "Paul Ryan is the embodiment of the machine our music rages against," pointing out the irony of Ryan liking Rage, much like the irony of Charles Manson loving The Beatles and Chris Christie loving Bruce Springsteen. Morello continues: "Don't mistake me, I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta 'rage' in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he's not raging against is the privileged elite he's groveling in front of for campaign contributions." Bravo, Mr. Morello!

Green Day Sneak Peek

Listen to one track off the band's upcoming trio of albums, Uno! Dos! Tre!, "Kill the DJ." In Rolling Stone, Billie Joe Armstrong says of the song, "[Bassist] Mike [Dirnt] asked me to write a song with a four-on-the-floor rhythm. I'd never done it before. It's kind of like Sandinista!, Ian Dury's 'Sex + Drugs + Rock and Roll' and the Tom Tom Club song 'Genius of Love.' We were trying to figure out how to make dance music without turning into a dance band." (Bonus: Green Day also released a video for "Oh Love," which we heard a few weeks ago. Check it out on Rolling Stone.)

2012-2013 Theatre Season Update

  • The Mystery of Edwin Drood, the musical revival produced by Roundabout, will open earlier than planned. Rather than opening on November 29, the show, which features Chita Rivera, Jessie Mueller (On a Clear Day), Jim Norton (Port Authority, Finnian's Rainbow) and Stephanie J. Block (By the Way, Meet Vera Stark), will now open on November 13. Previews will begin on time, October 19. Edwin Drood will play at Roundabout's Studio 54. Visit for more information.

  • Also changing its opening date is Dead Accounts, the new Theresa Rebeck (Seminar) play that is bringing Norbert Leo Butz (Catch Me if You Can) back to the Broadway stage. While previews will still begin on November 3, the play will now open on November 29, one day later than originally planned. 

  • Phish's Trey Anastasio has teamed up with Amanda Green (Bring It On) and book writer Doug Wright to create Hands on a Hardbody, which had its world premiere earlier this year at La Jolla. The production is set to come to Broadway in early 2013, following a "developmental lab" in New York this October. Playbill has details.

  • Kinky Boots, by Cyndi Lauper and Good Stuff Leo Harvey Fierstein is officially coming to Broadway. According to the announcement, Kinky Boots, based on the 2005 eponymous British film, is "the new musical about a floundering British shoemaker who has his business saved thanks to some flamboyant clientele." The Boots will walk into the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, kicking off previews on March 5 and opening on April 4. This is all after the show makes its world premiere this fall in Chicago. On board for the run are director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell (Catch Me if You Can), Stark Sands (American Idiot), Billy Porter (The Broken Hearts Club) and Annaleigh Ashford (Dogfight), among others.

  • Reigning Sexiest Man Alive Bradley Cooper (Limitless, The Hangover, parts one and two) may be heading back to Broadway. After a successful run at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Cooper says he is looking to bring The Elephant Man to Broadway for a limited engagement. If this comes to fruition, keep your fingers crossed that Cooper's Williamstown co-star, Patricia Clarkson, is along for the ride. (Seriously, I'd watch that woman read a phone book.) Cooper was previously seen on Broadway alongside Paul Rudd (who returns to the boards this season in Grace) and Julia Roberts in Three Days of Rain. has more.
The Book of Mormon on Tour

The first national tour of the Tony Award-winning and mega hit musical The Book of Mormon is officially under way. With Gavin Creel (Hair) as Elder Price and Jared Gertner (...Spelling Bee) as Elder Cunningham, this touring company is sure to thrill audiences all over North America, just as it continues to do here in New York. The tour began in Denver, CO, on August 14 and continues through summer 2013, making stops in Seattle, Boston, Washington, DC and more along the way. (Interestingly, there are currently no dates in Orlando...) Visit to find out when the Mormons (and Ugandans) will say "Hello!" to your town.

Summer Movie Fun

As you may know, dear readers, I don't tend to see many movies in the theater, but this summer I've seen, thus far, four! (Well, technically, three in the theatre and one at home on demand - but it's a first run movie and it's going to be in theaters in September.) And with Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Premium Rush and Looper on the way, I just might find myself in a multiplex again before Labor Day. In case you missed them, herein are my reviews (in the order in which I saw them):

Michael J. Fox Back on TV?

That's the buzz. According to the Vulture report, America's favorite fake Republican and time traveler might be headed back to television on a regular - not guest starring - basis. (You'll remember that Fox has appeared in several episodes of The Good Wife, even earning an Emmy nomination for his work.) Vulture reports that the new series is loosely based on Fox's life, and is to be directed by Will Gluck, the mastermind behind Easy A and Friends with Benefits. Stay tuned for details!

Arrested Development Updates

The Bluths are back, and the show's narrator, Ron Howard, recently visited the set of the fourth season and spilled some details. Of the approach to this new season, Howard said, "It's been away for a while, and part of the fun that Mitch [Hurwitz, the creator] has been mining and exploiting is, what's new to discover about these people? What's delightfully unchanged?" The fourth season of the hilarious show premieres on Netflix in 2013. Rolling Stone has more. In addition, Vulture reports that John Slattery (Mad Men) is joining the cast.

Adam Chanler-Berat's Dressing Room

The Peter and the Starcatcher star invited into his dressing room to show off five of his favorite things. Take a look:

Dig This

  • Smash scoop: Sean Hayes will make a multi-episode guest appearance on the show, playing a comedic TV star making his Broadway debut. (What a stretch...) Sheryl Lee Ralph will also appear on Smash.

  • The Roots leader ?uestlove shared a demo he recorded when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame producers were "auditioning" bands for the Beastie Boys' induction. Thanks, ?uestlove! 

  • A couple of business updates:
  • Step inside the recording booth as the company of Bring It On records the original Broadway cast album! (Creatives Tom Kitt (a genius), Lin-Manuel Miranda (wearing an Abraham Lincoln as a thug T-shirt), Amanda Green, Jeff Whitty and Alex Lacamoire are there, too!) Bonus: Tom Kitt shared, via You Tube, his Bring It On playlist, that is, the playlist that inspired him as he was writing the show's score.

  • Award season update: the Film Independent Spirit Awards nominations will be announced on November 27, and the awards will be presented (and broadcast on IFC) on February 23, 2013.

  • Boardwalk Empire will return to HBO for its third season on September 16, and Vulture has a look at a new poster featuring the show's new tagline, "You can't be half a gangster." Tell me about it!

  • It's another edition of Broadway Besties! This time, features Hair alumnae Kacie Sheik and Caissie Levy.

  • Your Friday treat: the trailer for Martin McDonagh's new film, Seven Psychopaths: