Media Morsels 8.2.13

(Scroll down for a sneak peek at the final episodes of Breaking Bad, and some Oscars news.)

Welcome back to Media Morsels! This week's news is immediately below, followed by a wrap up of stories of note from the previous two weeks.

The Newsroom, Season Two

I think the season's off to a good start, don't you? There are noticeable differences in this season, from the change in opening title sequence (I liked the season one, romantic sequence better) to the News Night team actually blundering a story. Plus, there seems to be a lot more character development rather than such an intense focus on the news stories. (You might remember that The West Wing really found its footing in the second season.) In particular, I love the development we are seeing in Jim (John Gallagher, Jr.) and even in Maggie (Alison Pill).

Here are some tidbits you might enjoy:
  • John Gallagher, Jr., spoke to Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air. The interview covered The Newsroom, his time treading the boards (including some tips for vocal exercises) and how he developed an interest in musical theatre by watching West Side Story and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

  • On HBO Connect, Aaron Sorkin answered fans' questions about the show, including what a typical day on set is like for the scribe.

  • Also on HBO Connect, Thomas Sadoski (Don) answered fans' questions in a real time Q+A session. Read the archive here.

  • Below, Aaron Sorkin takes you behind the episode (the most recent, "Willie Pete"; visit for more) and just below that is a preview for this Sunday night's episode:

Broadway  and Off-Broadway Casting Updates

  • Big Fish, the new musical based on the eponymous novel and film, has completed its cast for its Broadway run. Ciara Renee joins the previously announced Norbert Leo Butz (Catch Me if You CanDead Accounts), Kate Baldwin (Finian's Rainbow) and Bobby Steggart (Assistance). Big Fish begins previews on September 5 in advance of an October 6 opening. It will play the Neil Simon Theatre and is directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman (The Scottsboro Boys, Double Feature). has more.

  • Anthony Rapp will reunite with his Rent co-star Idina Menzel for the new Broadway musical If/Then!!! The new, original musical is from the Next to Normal team, featuring music by Tom Kitt (a genius), lyrics and book by Brian Yorkey and direction by Michael GreifLaChanze, a Tony winner for The Color Purple, will join Menzel and Rapp. After a pre-Broadway try out in DC, If/Then will hit Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre beginning March 4, 2014, with opening night set for March 27. Visit for additional about both Rapp and LaChanze's casting.

  • Bryce Pinkham (Ghost, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) has joined the cast of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. The new musical, starring Jefferson Mays (The Best Man) begins previews at the Walter Kerr Theatre on October 22. Opening night is set for November 17. has details.

  • It's official: Denzel Washington is returning to Broadway in a revival of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun. Washington will be joined by Tony Award winners Diahann Carroll and Anika Noni Rose, as well has Sophie Okonedo and Stephen McKinley Henderson, who co-starred with Washington in Fences and appeared on the first season of The Newsroom. The production will be directed by Kenny Leon, who directed Washington to a Tony Award in that same revival of August Wilson's Fences. The limited run will begin performances at the Barrymore Theatre on March 8, 2014, with opening night set for April 3. The run will conclude on June 15. has more.

  • The cast of Little Miss Sunshine welcomed new members. We learned this week that Rory O'Malley (The Book of Mormon, Nobody Loves You), Wesley Taylor (The Addams Family, Smash), Josh Lamon (Hair) and more will join the previously announced Stephanie J. Block and Will Chase (both recent Tony nominees for The Mystery of Edwin Drood). The musical adaptation of the spirited independent film will play at off-Broadway's Second Stage Theatre beginning October 15. has details.

  • Matilda will welcome Craig Bierko and Jill Paice to the cast. The pair are assuming the roles created by Tony nominees Bertie Carvel (Mrs. Trunchbull) and Lauren Ward (Miss Honey). has details.

  • There will be a new Spider-Man swinging into the Foxwoods Theatre. Reeve Carney (who not only originated the role of Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark but also has the most phonetically satisfying name to say out loud) will depart the show on September 15. Carney has been with the show since its first preview on November 28, 2010, and can be heard on the original Broadway cast recording. Details, including information about an open call to find the next Spidey, are available on

  • The talented and hunky Billy Magnussen will depart the Tony Award-winning Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Magnussen's final performance in the role that earned him a Tony nomination will be this Sunday, August 4. Creed Garnick, who has been understudying the role of Spike, will take on the role after Magnussen's departure. The show also just welcomed Julie White, who took on the role of Masha after Sigourney Weaver left last week. The smart and hilarious Vanya... continues through August 25. Playbill has details.
First Trailer: 12 Years a Slave

The latest from director Steve McQueen (Shame, Hunger) is the highly anticipated 12 Years a Slave. Aside from the meaty subject and epic scope, the film boasts a terrific cast, including Chiwetel Ejiofor (Kinky Boots, the movie), Michael Fassbender (who teamed with McQueen on both Shame and Hunger), Sarah Paulson (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Brad Pitt (Moneyball), Lupita Nyong'o, Paul Dano (Looper), Paul Giamatti (The Ides of March) and Alfre Woodard, among others. Check out the trailer, which gave me chills!

Casting News

  • More Broadway veterans have joined the HBO movie adaptation of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart. Joining previously announced stars Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jonathan Groff and The Normal Heart stage veterans Joe Mantello and Jim Parsons are Joel Grey (who co-directed the recent Broadway revival), Stephen Spinella (The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide...), Denis O'Hare and BD Wong. Playbill has details.

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman (Death of a Salesman) will star in a pilot for Showtime, Trending Down. Hoffman will be joined by the versatile Kathryn Hahn (The Newsroom, Boeing Boeing) and the pair will be direct by John Cameron Mitchell. Visit Playbill for a description of the new series.

  • The cast of Parks and Recreation is saying goodbye to two beloved members: Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones. The two actors have confirmed they are leaving the show in February, in the middle of the upcoming sixth season. Rolling Stone has details.
Pre-order the New The Last Five Years Recording

The 2013 revival recording of The Last Five Years has a release date: September 24. The beloved Jason Robert Brown musical enjoyed an acclaimed and extended run off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre this spring and shortly after the run concluded, Brown, the musicians and stars Betsy Wolfe and Adam Kantor headed into Sh-K-Boom's recording studios. You can pre-order the album now. Visit to reserve your copy. (And head to Second Stage's YouTube channel to watch behind-the-scenes videos, like the one below, from when Brown, Wolfe and Kantor were rehearsing the show.)

Breaking Bad: Sneak Peek

The show returns with its final eight episodes on August 11. Here's a clue as to what we can expect:

Homeland: Sneak Peek

Check out this teaser trailer for the third season of Homeland, premiering September 29.

Ballet Boys

Buzz Feed treated us to a list of "37 Dreamy Ballet Boys You'll Want to Dance With." The list includes both current and former (and even late) dancers and dance revolutionaries. Fans of Center Stage will be excited to see Sascha Radetsky and Ethan Stiefel on the list. (I saw Radetsky at ABT a couple of years ago.) Fans of ballet and Sex and the City will be excited to see Mikhail Baryshnikov on the list. And fans of New York City Ballet will be excited to see founders George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins; Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins; former principal dancer-turned-choreographer Benjamin Millepied; and current dancers (and one dancer/choreographer) Joaquin De Luz, Chase Finlay, Justin Peck, Andrew Veyette and Robert Fairchild on the list. Check out the list, then head to for details about the upcoming season. The box office opens for single ticket sales on Monday, August 5!

Ellen DeGeneres to Host Academy Awards

The funny and dance-loving comedienne and talk show host has been tapped to host the 86th Academy Awards. This will mark DeGeneres's second time hosting the awards show. (You might recall the Bjork swan dress she wore last time.) Of the gig, DeGeneres said, "I am so excited to be hosting the Oscars for the second time. You know what they say - the third time's the charm." For more of her quick wit and positive energy, tune into the Academy Awards on ABC on March 2, 2014. Playbill has more details.

Dig This

  • You can now visit to stay up to date with news about the soon-to-be-released film, Short Term 12, starring Brie Larson and John Gallagher, Jr. The film was the toast of SXSW.

  • Head over to Buzz Feed to see production stills from the fourth season of Downton Abbey, premiering in the US on January 5, 2014.

  • Just for fun, Rolling Stone presents 13 celebrity doppelgangers!

  • Keep an eye out for "Kiss and Tell: Backstage at First Date with Krysta Rodriguez," the latest behind-the-scenes video blog on The first webisode premieres on Monday, August 5.

  • Attention UK readers: Beau Willimon's excellent play Farragut North is coming your way this fall. Playbill has details.

  • Still enjoying Graceland, the new USA Network show starring Aaron Tveit? Me too. Here's a new interview Tveit gave recently:

Wrap Up

  • Bunheads, the ABC Family show starring Sutton Foster (Anything Goes), has been canceled. Playbill has details. (Don't cry for Foster just yet: she announced a series of concerts beginning this September in New York and concluding in September 2014 in Provo, Utah. Playbill has details.)

  • Henry Winkler (The Performers) will appear on the sixth season of Parks and Recreation. He'll be playing fan favorite Jean-Ralphio's dad. Rolling Stone has details.

  • Due to popular demand, the physical box office for Betrayalthe Harold Pinter play directed by Mike Nichols (Death of a Salesman) and starring Rachel Weisz, Daniel Craig and Rafe Spall, is open intermittently throughout the summer, rather than opening in September, as planned. Previews as the Barrymore Theatre begin October 1. Playbill has the box office schedule.

  • Dule Hill, a West Wing alumnus and recently on Broadway in Stick Fly, will return to the boards in After Midnight, the jazz-infused revue that is an update on the Cotton Club Parade. Playbill has details.

  • SNL is officially down another player: Jason Sudeikis has confirmed that he has left the show. Rolling Stone has more.

  • Tracy Letts and Pam MacKinnon are teaming up again. (They earned Tony Awards for their recent collaboration on Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) Letts's 1993 play Killer Joe is coming to Broadway and will be directed by MacKinnon. Additional details will be announced at a later date. Visit Playbill for more.

  • Additional casting has been announced for the Broadway debut of A Time to Kill, based on the eponymous John Grisham novel. Joining the previously announced Sebastian Arcelus (House of Cards, The Blue Flower) are Patrick Page (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), Tonya Pinkins (Milk Like Sugar) and others. Playbill has full details.  

  • December 9th will mark the premiere of an HBO documentary about the legendary Stephen Sondheim, Six by Sondheim. The documentary will feature not only Sondheim but also Audra McDonald (Porgy and Bess) and others performing the songwriter's work. has details.

  • Emmy nominations were announced on July 18. I wrote about it earlier this week.