Media Morsels 8.16.13

(Scroll down for some The Princess Bride fun!)

The Newsroom Season Two

I loved this week's episode, "News Night with Will McAvoy." I mean, the closing line, "Well, I guess it's just us now." is flippin' brilliant! Also, having the episode play out in real time and having the broadcast be the background to what's really happening is classic Aaron Sorkin. We got great character development (Sloan is tough and Maggie is struggling to cope), got to see theatre veteran Frank Wood go toe-to-toe with Sam Waterston's Charlie Skinner and it sets us up nicely for the last four episodes of the season, when we will, undoubtedly, hear from Jim's campaign "friends" and learn more about Operation Genoa. Some items from the week:

  • On HBO.comOlivia Munn talks about this week's episode, including her specific direction to her scene partner, Thomas Sadoski, and her thought provoking prescription for protecting each another.

  • checks in with John Gallagher, Jr., who, in addition to appearing in The Newsroom, will soon be seen in the festival darling Short Term 12. The indie film hits theaters August 23. (Scroll down to the casting updates to see what Gallagher is doing next.)

Below, Aaron Sorkin takes you behind the episode, and below that is a clip from the next episode:

Checking in with NYCB's Wendy Whelan

New York City Ballet will be back next month but the Company's dancers are not slacking off. From dancers' time in Vail to Justin Peck getting ready for the Fall for Dance Festival, they have been keeping busy. In particular, the Company's most dazzling principal dancer, Wendy Whelan, has been collaborating with four choreographers for her experimental piece, Restless Creature. In this interview with Time Out New York, she speaks beautifully about the piece and her approach to dance. (Single tickets for the NYCB season, which begins on September 17, are now on sale. Head to for details.)

First Date Updates

First Date is playing at the Longacre Theatre. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets.
  • The First Date cast headed into the studio this week to record a cast album. Yellow Sound Label, which recorded and released the Murder Ballad world premiere cast recording, recorded the album. caught the cast in the studio, and has details about the release. (It will be available this fall; head to Yellow Sound Label's site to pre-order your copy.)

  • Not sure if you want the cast recording? Check out Levi and Rodriguez performing an acoustic version of the duet, "First Impressions," for the New York Times' In Performance feature.

  • Elle magazine spoke with Levi about making his Broadway debut, developing chemistry with Rodriguez and what his perfect first date would include.

  • Krysta Rodriguez is back with her second installment of "Kiss and Tell: Backstage at First Date with Krysta Rodriguez." In this webisode, Rodriguez walks us through opening night (including an explanation of the Gypsy Robe) and interviews her costar, Zachary Levi. Check it out!

Casting Updates

  • John Gallagher, Jr., (The Newsroom, American Idiot) has joined the cast of the upcoming HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge. You may recall from last week that the adaptation of Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer Prize-winning eponymous novel will be directed by Lisa Chodolenko (The Kids Are All Right) and starts shooting next month. Gallagher joins the previously announced Cory Michael Smith (Cock) and Frances McDormand (Almost Famous, Good People), who will take on the title role. Visit Playbill for casting details.

  • Additional casting has been announced for If/Then, the original musical from team Next to Normal, Tom Kitt (a genius), Brian Yorkey and director Michael Greif. Joining the previously announced Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp (in a Rent reunion with Greif) are Jerry Dixon, Jenn Colella (Chaplin), Jason Tam (Lysistrata Jones) and Tamika Lawrence. has details.

  • Playwrights Horizons has announced additional details for the soon-to-begin 2013-2014 season. Playbill has details, including the fact that John Ellison Conlee (Murder Ballad) will appear in The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, a take on Dr. Watson, of Sherlock Holmes fame.

  • The reliably excellent Reed Birney (Uncle Vanya) will star in MTC's fall production of Taking Care of Baby. The five-week run will begin November 5, and Birney will be joined by Margaret Colin (Arcadia). Visit for details.

  • Jenni Barber (The Performers) will take on the role of Grace in Annie. Current Grace, Brynn O'Malley, is departing the show. Barber's first performance will be August 20. has details.

  • Casting has been announced for the Old Globe Theatre's staging of the new musical The Last Goodbye, a mash up of the story of Romeo and Juliet and the late Jeff Buckley's music. Alex Timbers (Here Lies Love) will direct a cast that includes Jay Armstrong Johnson (Hands on a Hardbody), Eric Morris (Bloodsong of Love), Talisa Friedman and more. (Johnson and Friedman star as Romeo and Juliet.) Previews begin at the San Diego theatre September 20. Opening night is set for October 6 and the production will conclude its run on November 3. has details.

  • The wonderfully talented Jessie Mueller (On a Clear Day..., The Mystery of Edwin Drood) will star in the Broadway mounting of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which is pretty much what it sounds like. Mueller will play the titular singer/songwriter. She will be joined by Jake Epstein, Anika Larsen and more. (Visit for the full cast.) After an out of town run in San Francisco, Beautiful will arrive at Broadway's Stephen Sondheim Theatre beginning November 21, with opening night set for January 12, 2014. has more. Since Mueller will be at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, check out this clip of her giving her own take on one of Sondheim's tunes, "Being Alive," from Company. (Watch the whole thing - it picks up a minute or so in.)

Dig This

  • If you love The Princess Bride (and if you don't, you're wrong), you have to check out the Academy's archived blog of director Rob Reiner's live commentary while screening the film this week in LA. And for a treat, here's Reiner talking about the time he met the mafia and what they thought of the movie.
  • checks in with Tony Award winner Julie White, who recently joined the cast of the hilarious Tony-winning new play, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

  • You might remember last week's diggable item, the trailer for Her, a new Spike Jonze flick starring Joaquin Phoenix. It was originally scheduled to be released on November 20, but in an effort to boost its chances during movie award season, producers have pushed its limited release (in New York and LA) to December 18. It will open nationwide on January 10, 2014. Variety has more.

  • Listen to this Public Forum interview with the in demand Alex Timbers, whose latest, Love's Labour's Lost, is playing at the Delacorte Theatre for Shakespeare in the Park through this Sunday. Timbers has previously collaborated with the Public on Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Here Lies Love.

  • In case you missed it on Twitter, Junkee compiled the (sort of) West Wing reunion that took place between cast members when Allison Janney restarted her Twitter account. West Wing junkies will be tickled by the banter!