Media Morsels 12.4.13

The Piano Man at MSG Forever

Billy Joel announced that he will play a residency at New York's Madison Square Garden for as long as there is demand. Joel said he'll play a show each month at the legendary venue, and will continue to do so for an indefinite amount of time. The first show is January 27, 2014, followed by February 3, March 21, April 18 and May 9. Future dates have not yet been announced. Don't you think this one of the raddest things ever?!? Billy Joel was my first concert (I saw the River of Dreams tour in Miami), and he's long been a favorite storyteller. Visit Rolling Stone for additional details.

Award Season News

Gotham Independent Film Awards—These awards, presented by the IFP (Independent Filmmaker Project), were presented on Monday night. In his analysis of the evening, The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg notes that the awards shouldn't be taken as any kind of forecast of what's to come in awards season, since "each of the categories' winners were determined by a different jury consisting of just five individuals." Still, those honored should be celebrated. The Coen brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis took home the prize for Best Feature; director Ryan Coogler and actor Michael B. Jordan won Breakthrough awards for Fruitvale Station; and Matthew McConaughey and Brie Larson won top acting honors for their respective work in Dallas Buyers Club and Short Term 12. Visit The Hollywood Reporter for more.

International Press Academy Satellite Awards—The nominations have been announced for the 18th annual Satellite Awards. Many of the nominees are also frontrunners for this year's major awards, like the Golden Globes, SAG Awards and Oscars. You can view the full list of film and television nominees (which includes 12 Years a Slave, Fruitvale Station, The Newsroom, House of Cards and even the Blu-Ray of Les Miserables in various categories) on the Press Academy website, but don't give too much credence to the awards. Hit Fix's Kristopher Tapley points out discrepancies in the nominations, including the fact that the upcoming The Wolf of Wall Street netted multiple nominations, despite the fact that it had never been screened for the nominators.

New York Film Critics Circle—The group of critics voted on and announced the winners of their awards, honoring, among others, Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave; Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club; and Fruitvale Station, which received the Best First Film award. The Hollywood Reporter has the full list of winners.

WGA Awards—The Writers Guild of America has deemed some of the year's top scripts and their screenwriters ineligible for WGA Award nomination. Due to strict qualification guidelines, John Ridley (12 Years a Slave), Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station) and others were left off the WGA's official guide ballot. Hit Fix has more about who is ineligible and why. As the article notes, though, this does not have an impact on the writers' Oscar eligibility. WGA Award nominations will be announced in January.

In addition, the WGA announced its nominees for excellence in television writing. Writers from Breaking Bad, The Good Wife, House of Cards, 30 Rock, Modern Family, Veep, and Parks and Recreation, as well as variety series like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, among other shows, made the cut. Winners will be announced and honored on February 1, 2014. Variety has the full list of nominees.

The National Board of Review named its picks for the year's best. Her netted awards for Best Film and Best Director (Spike Jonze); Fruitvale Station actors Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer took home acting honors and the film's director, Ryan Coogler, received the Best Directorial Debut award; Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese were honored with the Spotlight Award (scroll down for more on their latest, The Wolf of Wall Street), for their continuing collaboration; and other films, like 12 Years a Slave, Inside Llewyn Davis, Short Term 12 and The Place Beyond the Pines, were named to the NBR's Top 10 of the year lists. Variety has full details.

OscarsThis week's Feinberg Forecast, in which The Hollywood Reporter's awards guru, Scott Feinberg, analyzes the week's happenings and what impact they have on the Oscar race, notes:
  • The Wolf of Wall Street, the last major Oscar contender yet to screen, has started screening for guilds and critics

  • Several groups announced their nominees or picks for the year's best (see above), though they do not all signify what will happen when Academy Award nominations are announced in January

  • The New York Times has an enthralling interactive special in which Oscar hopefuls—actors, writers and cinematographers—partner for one line of dialogue

  • The Academy announced its short list of the 15 documentaries that will vie for an Oscar nomination

  • Feinberg updated his predictions for Oscar nominations, this time indicating awards the films have already picked up

Theatre Updates

  • Casting—Full casting for the upcoming Broadway revival of Les Miserables has been announced. Andrew Kober (Hair), Arbender Robinson, Natalie Charle Ellis and more will round out the ensemble. They join the previously announced Ramin Karimloo, Caissie Levy (Hair, Murder Ballad), Will Swenson (Hair, Murder Ballad) and Nikki M. James (The Book of Mormon), who'll appear as Valjean, Fantine, Javert and Eponine, respectively. The revival will play the Imperial Theatre beginning March 1, 2014. Opening night is set for March 23. has the full cast list.

  • Opening—Tony and Emmy Award winner Tyne Daly will return to Broadway in Terence McNally's new play, Mothers and Sons, which recently concluded a world premiere run at Bucks County Playhouse. Mothers and Sons, directed by Sheryl Kaller (Next Fall) will begin previews on February 23, 2014, with opening night set for March 24; it will run at the Golden Theatre. has more.

  • Casting—Multiple casting updates for The Bridges of Madison County were announced this week. Hunter Foster (Hands on a Hardbody), Derek Klena (Dogfight), Cass Morgan, Michael X. Martin and Caitlin Kinnunen have joined the cast of the upcoming Jason Robert Brown musical. They join the previously announced Kelli O'Hara and Steven Pasquale (both of whom recently appeared together on stage off-Broadway in Far From Heaven). The musical is an adaptation of the Robert James Weller novel; it features a score by Brown (The Last Five Years) and a book by Marsha Norman. The Bridges of Madison County is set to play the Schoenfeld Theatre; previews begin January 17, 2014, with opening night set for February 20. has more about Foster and Klena + Kinnunen's casting; Playbill has details about Morgan and Martin.

  • Casting—The Tony-winning production of Kinky Boots will say farewell to a few original cast members and welcome new cast mates to the company. Tony nominees Stark Sands (American Idiot) and Annaleigh Ashford (Dogfight) will depart the show. Sands will play his final performance January 26, 2014, while Ashford will remain with the production through March. (Ashford is leaving to take on a large story arc on the Showtime series Masters of Sex.) The company will welcome Natalie Joy Johnson and Abby Mueller into the ensemble on December 23 after saying goodbye to original ensemble members Tory Ross and Lucia Spina. Through it all, the fierce and Tony-winning Billy Porter will continue his run as Lola, having just extended his contract through July 2014. has more.

  • Schedule Change—The acclaimed jukebox musical Motown is changing its performance schedule. All evening performances will now begin at 7:30pm, rather than 8pm. Playbill has full details.

  • Extension—The transcendent, all-male repertory productions of Richard III and Twelfth Night will tread the boards a little longer. With a spectacular company, led by the incomparable Mark Rylance (Jerusalem), the celebrated productions will now play through February 16, 2014. (This extension means an additional two weeks of performances.) These are superlative productions of two of Shakespeare's finest works, so head over to the Belasco Theatre and see them both! Playbill has details.

  • Casting—As many speculated she would, Marin Mazzie has joined the cast of Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway. Mazzie (Next to Normal) will portray leading diva Helen Sinclair, and joins the previously announced Zach Braff (Trust, All New People) and Betsy Wolfe (The Last Five Years.) Directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman (Big Fish), the musical (which will not feature an original score) will play Broadway's St James Theatre. Previews begin March 11, 2014, with opening night set for April 10. has more.
The Wolf of Wall Street

The latest collaboration between Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained) and Martin Scorsese (Hugo) is almost here. (The film opens on Christmas Day.) It's starting to screen for various critics circles and guilds (see awards section, above), and DiCaprio, Scorsese, co-star Jonah Hill (Moneyball) and screenwriter Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire) are featured in the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Check out these photos of the artists, and then watch below as the four men talk about making the anticipated film that tells the real-life story of Jordan Belfort, the felonious stock broker who was addict to just about everything (Quaaludes were his favorite) and lived a debauched life of excess. (The film is based on his two memoirs.)

Year End Lists

It's that time of the year—everyone has a "Best of the Year" list. I'll post my Year in Review on December 27 (in lieu of a Media Morsels), but in the meantime, check out these end of year lists:
Idina Menzel Singing

Really, do you need more of a description than that? OK, fine. This is Menzel singing "Let It Go" in the new Disney animated movie, Fozen. (It's the full clip from the flick.) Look for this song to pick up a Best Song Oscar nomination in January. (And look for Menzel on Broadway this spring in If/Then.)

Dig This

  • checks in with the beautiful and talented Laura Benanti (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), and she's refreshingly candid about her career, fame and balancing the two with her personal life.

  • The Stephen Sondheim documentary, Six by Sondheim, will premiere on HBO on Monday, December 9. Check out a sneak peek on

  • To no one's surprise, the incredible Tony-winning revival of Pippin has recouped its initial investment. has details.

  • You loved Dan Hedaya as Cher Horowitz's dad in Clueless, and you'll surely love him as Danny Castellano's (Chris Messina) dad on The Mindy Project. Vulture has more.

  • The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled to continue public television's ban on corporate advertising (meaning Downton Abbey can't be sponsored by Ford), claiming that repeal of the ban would change the programming. The Hollywood Reporter has details.

  • Original Spring Awakening cast members, including John Gallagher, Jr., Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff, reunited at the Atlantic Theater (Spring Awakeing's original off-Broadway home) to help launch a new interactive media initiative. has photos and details.

  • A film adaptation of Eric Simonson's Lombardi, about the legendary football coach, is on its way. Deadline has details.

  • Barbara Walters announced her "Most Fascinating People of the Year," and the list includes Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook). Visit ABC News for more.

  • After director/choreographer Susan Stroman teased the news, we now have official word that there will be a Big Fish cast recording; it will be released online February 7, 2014, and physical copies will be available February 11. has more.

  • Can't catch Billy Crystal on Broadway in 700 Sundays? No worries—HBO has you covered.

  • As if I needed them, Buzz Feed listed 27 reasons we still watch The West Wing.

  • House of Cards is coming! The second season of the hit, Emmy-nominated show will premiere on Netflix on February 14, 2014. Here's a tantalizing tease, which was tweeted by the show's official account:

Administrative note: there will not be a Media Morsels post next week, but check back on December 20 the latest happenings.