Tag Archives: actors

“IN THE ROOM” tv show taping this Sunday featuring top Canadian talent

My friends at RDG Entertainment Inc. are taping another episode of their IN THE ROOM actors’ round-table series this Sunday at the Glenn Gould Studio in downtown Toronto and I’m thrilled to learn that some of Canada’s most popular actors will be appearing.

RDG producers and show hosts, RAFAEL KALAMAT and JASON BARBECK (below, L-R) will be welcoming …..

photo 1 (5)…..the star of TV’s Lost Girl, KRIS HOLDEN-RIED (below) who was also one of my faves from The Tudors series and, of course, The Listener.

Kris HR KHR2Also on this week’s panel are Canadian stage & screen icon Art Hindle (Black Christmas, FaceOff, Murder She Wrote, ENG) – below…..

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…..multi-award winning Shawn Doyle (below) of Endgame and countless Canadian television appearances (Rookie Blue, Covert Affairs & Reign)….

Shawn Doyle Shawn….recipient of this year’s ACTRA Award of Excellence Tantoo Cardinal (below) of Dances with Wolves (my personal fave performance of hers – she brought the heart and soul to the story) , Legends of the Fall, Blackstone

Tantoo dances….Total Recall’s Philip Moran (below)…

Philip….and young Zoe deGrand Maison (below) currently making a name for herself with appearances on Orphan Black, Murdoch Mysteries, Rook Blue and this year’s Bad Hair Day (TV movie).

NicoleI’m looking fwd to watching the taping and meeting these incredible ambassadors for the Canadian TV and film industry.  To learn more about In The Room and other RDG projects, please visit:  http://reeldealguys.com/  and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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SUNNY THOMPSON GIVES BRAVURA PERFORMANCE IN “MARILYN: FOREVER BLONDE”

Marilyn Forever Blonde - Sunny Thompson diamonds - photo by Howard PetrellaGentlemen may prefer blondes, but this blonde prefers Sunny Thompson and her re-imagining of the life of the legendary blonde bombshell in her one-woman show Marilyn: Forever Blonde that runs now thru Sunday Feb 15th at the equally beautiful Winter Garden Theatre, 189 Yonge Street (just N. of Queen), Toronto.

The American singer/actress brings years of Monroe research to the stage with this theatrical tour de force that takes us from the bubbly ingenue Norma Jean up her ladder-climb to success and subsequent fall from grace that never gets maudlin or self-indulgent. I never caught Sunny acting – she WAS Marilyn. Thompson inhabited the character and took her time narrating Marilyn’s life story with a few wink-wink nudge-nudge moments when justifying the road Marilyn took to reach the top….detours and potholes and all.  She seduces us with tales of her many lovers, husbands and betrayers.

Marilyn Forever Blonde - Sunny Thompson blue robe -  photo by Howard PetrellaThe seamier side of her later life is not dwelt upon too harshly; yes, we “meet” Jack and Bobby Kennedy and a few other bad good guys, but as Marilyn drifts away from us on stage, the audience feels protective and carries her gently into Hollywood folk lore upon waves of applause.

The numerous costume changes were done modestly on stage behind a back-lit screen that teased us with Marilyn’s/Sunny’s gorgeous bod, and the dresses…oh those dresses…were dripping in “diamonds” and jewels that shimmered as she shimmied across the stage, speaking and singing in that breathy voice we remember so well.

sunnyThe two-act musical play, written & produced by Sunny’s husband, Greg Thompson, has toured the world for the past 7 years and I encourage you to grab your tickets a.s.a.p. for the 4-day run at the Winter Garden. The experience with leave you breathless…and humming the tunes that should bring back a few memories. Songs like My Heart Belongs to Daddy, Some Like it Hot, Let’s Make Love and of course, Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, are all included, some sung a capella, others with recorded music, and even Ol’ Blue Eyes makes an audio appearance, too.

After the show, we attended a brief reception to celebrate opening night and I ran into some old friends, including the incomparable Micah Barnes (below with handsome actor/bartender David).

20150211_222900Sunny made it out of the dressing room and kindly signed autographs and posed for photos with her adoring fans (below), much like Marilyn did.

20150211_222953 20150211_223034 20150211_223048As we left, I took a few shots of the theatre itself…if you’ve never been to the Winter Garden, you can take a tour during the day – definitely worth a trip. And the theatre has a ghost, too. Wonder what she thought of Marilyn tonight?

20150211_223400 20150211_223448 20150211_223459Big thanks to Flip Publicity for the great seats for opening night. And finally, one more bravo and a big standing O to Sunny Thompson who you can follow via her Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sunnythompsona

Sunny Thompson as Marilyn in Marilyn Forever Blonde - photo by Howard PetrellaStudio shots courtesy of Howard Petrella.

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HISTORY IS THE NEW COOL ! According to actor and fan of “TO APPOMATTOX” TV mini-series.

I had the pleasure recently of e-chatting with actor and fan of the TO APPOMATTOX miniseries, MARY HUSE, who offers her passionate views about the project, the need for everyone to support the Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign to raise production finance, and to re-ignite the current generation’s interest in the American Civil War.  http://www.ToAppomattox.com

Headshot Mary Huse

Mary (pictured above) shares her thoughts…..

What first attracted you to the To Appomattox series?
I stumbled across it on IMDb looking up some of my favorite actors who had been a part of great historical dramas. I immediately fell in love with the project on the “To Appomattox” Facebook page. Here was a dream come true… a film proposal committed to historical accuracy, the honoring of Civil War figures, and the telling of the personal, true life stories of these amazing people. I decided then and there to pursue and support this project, so I that should never have any regrets while watching it. I knew that I, like so many, will go see anything that has to do with the War Between the States. But this was different.

Are you a personal friend of the producers/writers/director?
I am now! But initially,no. I had the great fortune to meet Mr. Beckner at the 2011 Moorpark reenactment (every Civil War enthusiast in Southern California waits for this all year) after some online communication. The circumstances were extremely hectic! A battle had just concluded, Pickett’s charge I think, only the mud version. No one wanted to “die”. But I introduced myself and my Dad to Mr Beckner anyway, while Mommy was in line for beer. Mr. Beckner was all ease and friendliness, and since then we have become friends. I’ve also gotten acquainted with three of the historical consultants, namely Cary Eberly, Ronald C White Jr., and J. David Petruzzi. Mr. Petruzzi in particular has kept me up on the latest new about the series. These are all people highly respected in their fields, extremely sincere and passionate about the Civil War, and yet very accessible and down to earth. And now with the Kickstarter campaign (www.ToAppomattox.com) everyone can be a part of the production. It’s a perfect fit.

Are you an actor yourself?
I am! I’m a fifth generation Angelino who decided she must be a part of telling stories of greatness and inspiration, especially of the historical genre. My great grandparents worked in Hollywood stage production and film studios, my grandmother worked for Cecil B.Demille, my grandfather surfed with Peter Lawford and Jim Arness and even taught Brit actor David Niven how! And my parents met at a production studio where my dad was a client. But watching films like Gone with the Wind and Friendly Persuasion as a kid was what sealed my fate.

Why do you think this is an important TV series that needs to be made and seen?
I think we are all apathetic and forgetful by nature. I know I am. Especially when I’m ignorant to facts, I feel detached from different events in the past. But the Civil War is the most defining moment in our history as a nation. All of the base work defining the United States, laid by our founding fathers, was on the edge. It was waiting to be sealed in history, either by the test of time, or, as it happened, by a monumental conflict over its very definition. This was an upheaval that not only touched Americans living in the 1860s in horrific ways, but continues to affect our lives every single day. Freedom is seen and defined in many ways by different people, and those who love freedom are willing to die for their version. We can and must learn from the commitment these people had to heir values, and from their mistakes. This series will show the amount of sacrifice and courage it took to make us what we are as a nation.

How do you think this show will impact kids now in school who maybe hate learning about history?
My brother and I were homeschooled and had the singular opportunity to focus on subjects that intrigued us, in particular the Civil War. Nothing is going to enthrall and interest the majority of school kids like experiencing history through great film drama…it’s just not. Not books, documentaries, or music on their own. But these things paired with a series like To Appomattox that lets them relate to historic figures in flesh and blood, not a stern hazy photo, will inspire them to find out more. Actors. In uniforms. With gold buttons. On horseback. Hey, it worked for me! And the corsets worked for my brother. Not on him. Oh well, you know what I mean! LOL

As a woman, how do you feel about those women who participated in the Civil war – nurses, even some women disguised themselves and signed-up to fight, as well as the wives who travelled with both armies and the “camp followers” (or floosies)?
Of course the majority of women at that time devoted their lives to being wives and mothers. And during the war they faced the hardest thing that could ever happen to a wife or a mother: experiencing the loss of their husbands and/or children. They experienced this loss in numbers that are unfathomable, losses that have not been paralleled in any American war. And yet, their efforts and support coming from the home lines was so powerful. It’s what they were so convicted about that I want so terribly to understand. Conviction equals strength. Even the strength to send your sweetheart off to face horrors unspeakable and, in the case of the officers, to lead other men to the same. And of course many of the women who endured this war faced desperation and destitution that might drive any one of us to do things we cannot imagine. And they did.

And there were courageous women who either tried to be soldiers, or join them in the camps and fields to help any way they could. They took care of the sick and dying, tended to dead bodies, crossed the line of fire to become angels on the battlefield- mascots of hope and mercy, and spied, smuggled, and used their feminine wiles to achieve victory. I think all of these stories of exceptional women deserve our acknowledgment, and our awareness, by having their stories told, to inspire young women for all time. I’m dying to know them, too.

How do you think To Appomattox will illustrate the real Civil War vs. say, the Gone With the Wind interpretation of the facts?
Civil War series in the past, the ones long enough to give a glimpse of the scope of the conflict, have often focused on fictional characters. It’s time we take some of our appreciation for people who never were, and focus it on real heroes. Gone With The Wind (wonderful, amazing film that it is), came out only 74 years after the war was over (it’s now 75 years since that film’s release). It gives the viewer a most thrilling sense of witnessing the past in technicolor. It is a romanticized porthole, an interpretation that came out when there were many people who witnessed the Civil War still alive. I think that perhaps the wounds were still too fresh to portray certain things about the war realistically. Although these pressures aren’t quite as strong today (well, more so in some parts of the country), we still haven’t had many realistic portrayals of the Civil War. The creators of To Appomattox are committed to honoring our history in a most accurate way.

Any comments you have about the need to donate to Kickstarter campaign (only 13 days left)?
I sincerely hope that some of my sentiments expressed here coupled with Mr. Beckner’s expertise will convince people that this would truly be an important and unparalleled production. Michael and his team have been so transparent as to the components of this series, and how very much To Appomattox, OUR STORY, needs all of us to keep it moving forward. One last thing I’d like to say is that at first I was a little nervous to tell my friends about this Kickstarter campaign. Not because I didn’t believe in this project with all my heart, but I was afraid they would immediately tune me out over any crowd-funding endeavor. I am happy to report that it has been easier than I ever thought to spark conversation. My friends want to be involved, and are happy to have the opportunity to pledge their support for this project that will honor our Country. I hope that everyone will get behind To Appomattox. They’ll be glad they did!

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Mary at Fort Sumpter (above)

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Mary at Ft. Sumpter (above)

NASCAR fans will be thrilled to learn we have Sprint Cup driver CARL EDWARDS and famed crew chief & now Fox Sports race commentator JEFF HAMMOND acting in this series. Country music fans will also be thrilled as RASCAL FLATTS are not only appearing in the series, they are composing the score and several songs for the series.

Click on www.ToAppomattox.com and support now!

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SCRABBLE® WITH THE STARS CELEBRATES 10th ANNIVERSARY MAY 5TH!

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This Year, Supporting a Great Cause is Ten Times the Fun!

The most fun-filled fundraiser in Toronto this year!

Benefitting the Performing Arts Lodge, Toronto (PAL) come play Scrabble® with the Stars with a whole galaxy of Canada’s finest film, tv, stage & music stars hosted by Deb McGrath & Colin Mochrie (pictured below).

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There are a few individual tickets available for playing but space is limited so hurry and reserve your ticket NOW!

Monday, May 5th from 6:00pm to 10pm

Arcadian Loft, 401 Bay St. (Simpson Tower) Toronto

Individual Tickets: $175*

Includes dinner & prizes galore …everyone is a winner!

*tax receipt will be issued for the maximum allowable

For more details & to purchase tickets,

please call 647-692-7925 or Email:info@scrabblewiththestars.ca

www.scrabblewiththestars.ca

Space is limited – don’t miss out!

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PAL TORONTO CHRISTMAS TOY DRIVE AND CONCERT

Last Friday evening, I had the pleasure of attending the PERFORMING ARTS LODGE Toronto (PAL) “Celebrity Club” toy drive where the residents collected unwrapped gifts for Toronto’s needy kids and teens and oh what a wonderful outpouring of love…and teddy bears… it was!

20131206_200338The PAL residents include some of Canada’s greatest TV, film, stage, music and dance performers and production people from the 1960’s onwards, many of whom are still very active in their careers regardless of their age.

Several weeks ago, I had met a charming gentleman, HERB WILLIAMS, who was playing a baby grand piano at the Royal Winter Fair, and after chatting with him and hearing his wonderful stories about his involvement with the Royal and hosting all the SuperDogs shows as well as his musical abilities, I invited the octogenarian pianist to play for the PAL folks on their brand new grand piano recently donated by Canadian musical theatre icon LOUISE PITRE. Herb was amazing…imagine Victor Borge  meets Johnny Carson – Herb’s stories of encounters with greatness (and British royalty) were hysterical and kept everyone laughing between his musical sets. And we all admired his awesome red tuxedo, very in keeping with the season’s festivities.

20131206_203701 20131206_203929 20131206_200958At the end of the concert, Herb had some of PALs finest singers up on stage leading the room with a Christmas carol singalong, and MC for the night, KENNY WICKES, kept things light and laugh-filled, too. PAL is located in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood of downtown Toronto and for more information, please visit : www.paltoronto.org

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YOUNG CANADIAN FILMMAKER WINS AGAIN!

Canadian wünderkind director, JOSEPH PROCOPIO, recently screened his latest short film, SUNDAE, at the new Toronto Int’ Short Film Festival where the film won the “Best of Canada” award. Congrats, Joseph!  Here he is with actors Lauren and Neil, along with friend Juliana at the festival, hosted at the Carlton Cinema in Toronto.

TISFF(LtoR) Lauren Bullivant, Neil Babcock, Joseph Procopio & Juliana Lupis

Apart from working towards his filmmaking degree at university, Joseph is currently half way through writing two feature film screenplays for a February 2014 delivery, as well as writing a TV series network bible for a July/14 delivery. Check out his website for news updates and to view all of Joseph’s past films. www.josephprocopio.ca

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CANADIAN MUSICAL THEATRE ICON DONATES GRAND PIANO TO PERFORMING ARTS LODGE

The super talented Canadian musical theatre star LOUISE PITRE [ www.louisepitre.com ] joined the equally talented residents of Toronto’s answer to filmdom’s “Quartet” residence – the Performing Arts Lodge Toronto [ www.PALToronto.org ] last night, donating her beautiful 7ft shiny black Schiedmayer grand piano to the PAL Crest Theatre Green Room.

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Thanks to PAL Board member DAN LYON and Canada’s main “piano man” ROBERT LOWREY (below, L & R respectively), Ms. Pitre’s generous donation will now benefit all the PAL residents who use the Green Room for shows, recitals, social events and fundraisers. The piano, now named “Louise”, stands proudly on stage and will no doubt accompany many of the residents who contributed to Canada’s golden age of television, radio, film, theatre and music.

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Board member KEN GASS welcomed VIPs, guests and performers (below). 20131030_184536

 

 

 

 

We were thrilled to welcome Councilor PAM McCONNELL in whose constituency PAL resides, as well as KATIE UHLMANN, host of the hit WebTV series “Katie Chats”. [ www.katiechats.com ] Katie spoke with many of the guest performers after the show, including 90yr old comic actor and MC KENNY WICKES (below L in his new blue angora sweater).

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Councilor McConnell joined Robert Lowrey for the post-performance celebrations (below)

20131030_194621Kenny, pianist Alan Cohen and the cast of performers led the audience in a rousing sing-a-long “I Love a Piano”.20131030_194420 20131030_194516

Special thanks to PAL residents who took the stage to entertain and salute both Louises (the artist and the piano!) include Robert Godin, Patty Gail & Barb Sadegur, June Mitchell, Eileen Boyd (below) and Bob Ashley played an exquisite version of a Minkus Pas de Deux.

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Special thanks to all the volunteers who helped create this joyous occasion.

20131030_203607 20131030_203618 20131030_204755An old friend and acting colleague of mine, Brian Kaulback  (below) joined in the fun and it was so cool to catch up on showbiz gossip with him and his fellow PAL residents.20131030_200503Here are some more great photos from the evening…and I recommend you follow PAL Toronto on Facebook and watch out for news of their annual celebrity fundraiser “SCRABBLE WITH THE STARS” taking place next spring.

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