Tag Archives: Dick Van Dyke

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Kennedy Center Honors: Our top 50 recommendations who need to be chosen include Dick Van Dyke, Liza Minnelli, Jessica Lange, Bette Midler

Mister D: Ok, I admit that I’m prejudiced, but this list could be whittled down in seconds for me. My standards are high, well in some things, and some of these people don’t really belong on this list. Gold Derby Kennedy Center Honors: Our top 50 recommendations who need to be chosen include Dick Van Dyke, Liza Minnelli, Jessica Lange, Bette Midler Chris Beachum April 11, 2018 6:00AM The next recipients for the Kennedy Center Honors will be announced in the late summer, often around Labor Day. The all-star event is held each year in the nation’s capital during the first weekend in December and then airs on CBS as a two-hour special after Christmas. Each year, the selection committee chooses five entertainment veterans from a variety of fields – film, television, popular music, theatre, and the fine arts (dance, opera, classical music). Selected artists are almost always over 50 and generally are 60 and beyond. The first recipients in 1978 were singer Marian Anderson, actor and dancer Fred Astaire, choreographer George Balanchine, composer Richard Rodgers and conductor Arthur Rubinstein. The most recent honorees in 2017 for the 40th anniversary program were dancer Carmen de Lavallade, singer Gloria Estefan, singer LL Cool J, producer and writer Norman Lear and singer Lionel Richie. But there are a number of notable performers missing from the honors roll. Our photo gallery features 50 entertainers who deserve to be selected soon. For our purposes a person must be at least 60 years old to be in our gallery. We are not going to include the retired Doris Day and Gene Hackman as well as the reclusive Woody Allen since attendance at the event is mandatory. Tour through our photos and sound off in the forums about who you think should be selected soon. 1. Dick Van Dyke Van Dyke is just an Oscar away from EGOT status. He is a five-time Emmy Award winner for “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Van Dyke and Company,” and “The Wrong Way Kid.” He won a Tony Award for “Bye Bye Birdie” (1961) and a Grammy Award for “Mary Poppins” (1964). Van Dyke is a member of the Television Academy Hall of Fame and received the Screen Actors Guild life achievement award in 2013. 2. Liza Minnelli Minnelli is very close to EGOT, having never won a Grammy Award before. She won a Tony Award for “Flora the Red Menace” (1965), an Oscar for “Cabaret” (1973), and an Emmy for “Liza with a Z” (1973). The daughter of legendary entertainer Judy Garland, other films have included “The Sterile Cuckoo” (1969, her first Oscar nomination), “New York, New York” (1977), and “Arthur” (1981). 3. Denzel Washington Washington is the only African-American with two Academy Awards for acting (“Glory,” 1989; “Training Day,” 2001). His other Oscar nominations were for “Cry Freedom” (1987), “Malcolm X” (1992), “The Hurricane” (1999), “Flight” (2012), “Fences” (2016, producing and acting), and “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” (2017). He also won a Tony Award for the same role in “Fences” (2010). 4. Gladys Knight The “Empress of Soul” started her career in 1952 on Ted Mack’s “Original Amateur Hour” TV show. Her group Gladys Knight and the Pips joined Motown in 1966 and became one of the top recording artists of the 1960s and 1970s with such hits as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “If I Were Your Woman,” “Neither One of Us,” and “Midnight Train to Georgia.” The six-time Grammy winner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. 5. Mick Jagger Whether he gets selected by himself (like Paul McCartney) or with his group The Rolling Stones (like The Who and Led Zeppelin), this honor is long overdue. The lead singer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with his band in 1989. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003. Their lengthy list of hit singles has included “Satisfaction,” “Get Off My Cloud,” “Ruby Tuesday,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Brown Sugar,” “Wild Horses,” “Angie,” and “Start Me Up.” 6. Jessica Lange Lange is just one notch away from EGOT. She is a two-time Academy Award winner (“Tootsie,” 1982; “Blue Sky,” 1994) among her six nominations. She is a three-time Emmy champ (“Grey Gardens,” 2009; “American Horror Story,” 2012; and “American Horror Story: Coven,” 2014). Lange won a Tony Award in 2016 for “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” Other films in her career have included “Frances,” “Sweet Dreams,” “Crimes of the Heart,” “Cape Fear,” and “Big Fish.” 7. Alan Alda Alda has established himself as a triple threat on television, on stage, and in films. He won five Emmy Awards for the legendary comedy series “M*A*S*H” spread out over acting, directing, and writing (the only person to prevail in only three fields). He also took home a sixth Emmy for his role on “The West Wing” and was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1994. He’s been nominated at the Oscars (“The Aviator,”), Grammys (“Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself,” 2008), and three times at the Tony Awards (“The Apple Tree,” 1967; “Jake’s Women,” 1992; “Glengarry Glen Ross,” 2005). 8. Bette Midler Midler was a big hit right out of the gates when she won Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards in 1974. It was the first of three Grammys along with three Emmys for her variety specials and a Tony Award in 2017 for “Hello, Dolly.” That just puts her an Oscar away from EGOT, and she has competed at those awards twice as a leading actress for “The Rose” and “For the Boys.” 9. Harrison Ford Ford is the biggest box office star in American history but still hasn’t had much of an awards career but did receive an Oscar nomination for “Witness” (1985). He was awarded the American Film Institute life achievement in 2000 and the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes in 2002. His film career has included “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Working Girl,” “Regarding Henry,” “Patriot Games,” “The Fugitive,” “Air Force One,” and “42.” 10. Reba McEntire McEntire is a Country Music Hall of Fame member who has been one of the most popular singers and performers in the 1980s and beyond. She has had the most CMA Award nominations (49) and ACM Awards nominations (45) of any female artist. She has won two Grammy Awards for “Whoever’s in New England” (1987) and “Does He Love You?” (1994) among her 12 career nominations. McEntire has had a successful TV show with “Reba” (2001-2007) and was widely acclaimed for her Broadway debut in “Annie Get Your Gun” (2001). 11. Tommy Tune Tune has been one of the top choreographers and dancers in Broadway history. He is a nine-time Tony Award winner for his performances in “Seesaw” and “My One and Only,” for his direction of “Nine,” “Grand Hotel” and “The Will Rogers Follies” and choreography of “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine,” “My One and Only,” “Grand Hotel” and “The Will Rogers Follies.” 12. Betty White White is one of the favorite comedic performers in TV history and was inducted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame in 1995. She has won five prime-time Emmy Awards for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Golden Girls,” “The John Larroquette Show” and “Saturday Night Live” plus a Daytime Emmy for “Just Men.” 13. Burt Bacharach Bacharach has composed hundreds of songs in his lengthy career, many of them popular hits. He is a three-time Oscar winner for his original song and score in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and original song in “Arthur.” He is a two-time Grammy champ for “Cassidy” and “I Still Have That Other Girl” plus an Emmy winner for his 1971 variety special. 14. Diane Keaton Keaton is an Oscar-winning actress (“Annie Hall,” 1977) who has been primarily working in films since the early 1970s. Her career has included “The Godfather,” “Reds,” “Marvin’s Room,” “Baby Boom,” “Father of the Bride,” “The First Wives Club” and “Something’s Gotta Give.” She was the 2017 recipient of the American Film Institute life achievement award. 15. Arturo Sandoval The Cuban-born Sandoval is one of the greatest trumpet players in music history. He defected to America in 1990 while performing with previous KCH recipient Dizzy Gillespie. He is a 10-time Grammy winner, Emmy winner and recipient of the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom. 16. Cynthia Gregory Gregory is one of the most famous American prima ballerinas of recent decades. She first became well known in San Francisco as a teenager before joining the American Ballet Theatre in 1965. She has had roles in “Giselle,”” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Coppelia,” “Don Quixote,” “The Eternal Idol” and “At Midnight.” 17. Bob Newhart Newhart has proven to be one of the most beloved comedians in American history since the early 1960s. In fact he won at the 1961 Grammy Awards as Best New Artist and for Album of the Year. He was inducted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame in 1993 for his roles on “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Newhart.” He won his only Emmy Award in 2013 for a guest role on “The Big Bang Theory.” He was the 2002 recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center. 18. Whoopi Goldberg Goldberg is one of the few people who have achieved EGOT in her entertainment career. She won an Oscar for “Ghost,” a Grammy for her comedy album “Direct From Broadway,” a Tony Award for producing “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and a Daytime Emmy for hosting “The View.” Other film roles have included “The Color Purple,” “Sister Act” and “The Lion King.” She was the 2001 recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center.

19. Jerry Lee Lewis ...  Read More

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman Talk NBC’s HAIRSPRAY LIVE!, BOMBSHELL & More!

Broadway World Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman Talk NBC’s HAIRSPRAY LIVE!, BOMBSHELL & More!

November 3 81rtqe1ro-l-_sl1500_ Today, BWW participated in a media conference call with HAIRSPRAY composer/co-lyricist Marc Shaiman and co-lyricist Scott Wittman who answered questions and shared the latest developments on NBC’s highly anticipated broadcast of HAIRSPRAY LIVE! The duo revealed that HAIRSPRAY LIVE! will feature some songs that were featured in the film, but not the Broadway show, and that not all of the songs from the Broadway show will be performed in the TV production. (Check out the full tracklist and details on the HAIRSPRAY LIVE! cast recording HERE!) One song that will be in the NBC broadcast is “Baltimore Crabs,” performed by Kristin Chenoweth, who takes on the role of Velma. Shaiman explained that their goal was to “see what we could do with Baltimore Crabs to show off everything that Kristin has to show off. And that’s a lot!” In other exciting news, fan fave “Mama I’m a Big Girl Now” will be performed in the December 7th broadcast. Said Wittman of the number, “It’s back. How can we not do it with Kristin and Andrea – it would be a sacrilege.” Speaking on their upcoming projects, Shaiman and Wittman confirmed that plans to bring the fictional musical BOMBSHELL, from NBC’s SMASH, to Broadway is still in the works. “We’ve been talking to book writers,” said Wittman. Added Shaiman, “Yes we actually just today – just this morning got an email about a very exciting possible collaborator.” He added, “I really do think there’s a real life for Bombshell. Luckily Bob Greenblatt is still, you know, just incredibly supportive of it and of us.” Agreed Wittman, “Yes he’s a fairy Godfather I guess.” As far as future projects in the works, the collaborators revealed that they were currently in London working on Disney’s highly-anticipated musical, MARY POPPINS RETURNS. Shared Wittman, “We spent a fabulous day with Lin Manuel and Emily Blunt singing. So that’s always a joy to be hearing.” Adds Shaiman, “Yes. Literally all day we sat in a room with them singing – singing our songs right into our faces. So Mary Poppins Returns is really taking over our lives completely the last few months, and for the next few months. And then we go directly from the final recording session for the prerecords for Mary Poppins Returns – we fly back to New York for first day rehearsals for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” He went on to tease, “And there’s new stuff also coming but, you know, it’s all that top secret kind of show biz stuff that we’re not allowed to talk about yet. Maybe Wiki Leaks can let you know!” Based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, “HAIRSPRAY LIVE!” is a bold new television production coming to NBC on Wednesday, Dec. 7 (8/7c). In 1962 Baltimore, teenager Tracy Turnblad’s (newcomer Maddie Baillio) dreams come true when she earns a spot dancing on the “Corny Collins Show,” and uses her newfound fame to campaign for the integration of the all-white TV program. “Hairspray Live!” also stars Dove Cameron, Kristin Chenoweth, Garrett Clayton, Harvey Fierstein, Ariana Grande, Derek Hough, Jennifer Hudson, Ephraim Sykes and Shahadi Wright Joseph. Click here for the latest news on “Hairspray Live!” MARC SHAIMAN, along with Scott Wittman, wrote the music and lyrics for NBC’s holiday production of “Hairspray Live!” Shaiman has been writing music, lyrics, arrangements, orchestrations, very lengthy emails and even lengthier bios since entering show business at the age of 16 in 1976. Currently, he and Wittman are developing Disney’s film sequel to “Mary Poppins,” to be directed by Rob Marshall, for which they will contribute a new original song score. He and Wittman were executive producers of the successful film adaptation of their musical “Hairspray.” Shaiman has been nominated for two TONY AWARDS (winning one for co-writing the score to “Hairspray” with co-lyricist Scott Wittman), four GRAMMY AWARDS(winning one for the original cast recording of “Hairspray”), 11 Emmy Awards (winning one for his work on the Billy Crystal-hosted Academy Award) and if he hadn’t lost each of his five Oscar nominations (for “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Patch Adams,” “The First Wives Club,” “The American President” and “South Park-Bigger, Longer & Uncut”), he could boast of being an EGOT. Till then, he remains an EGT. Shaiman’s other film work includes “Beaches,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “City Slickers,” “The Addams Family,” “A Few Good Men,” “Sister Act” (1 & 2), “Hocus Pocus,” “The Bucket List” and “Parental Guidance.” Off-Broadway productions include “The High-Heeled Women,” “Livin’ Dolls” and “Andre De Shields’ Haarlem Nocturne,” while his Broadway concert credits are “Peter Allen-Up in One,” Bette Midler’s “Divine Madness,” Ellie Greenwich’s “Leader of the Pack” and “Patti LuPone on Broadway.” Besides “Hairspray,” his and Wittman’s other original Broadway musicals are the Tony-nominated “Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me,” the Tony-winning “Catch Me If You Can” and, soon to be on Broadway (and currently in its third year on London’s West End), the record-breaking Olivier Award-winning musical version of “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.” After a tremendously successful concert for the Actors’ Fund, his and Wittman’s musical “Bombshell,” created as part of the television show “Smash,” is now being developed into a Broadway show. His other television ventures include “The Sweeney Sisters” on “Saturday Night Live,” countless award and talk show shows with Billy Crystal, Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Lane, Jennifer Hudson, Jack Black and Will Ferrell (among many others), Jenifer Lewis’ “Jackie’s Back,” the Emmy-winning “SNL 40th,” the aforementioned “Smash” and his proudest achievement for television – his collaboration with Bette Midler for her Emmy-winning appearance as the final guest on Johnny Carson’s penultimate “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” Other performers Shaiman has collaborated with in concert, cabaret, film and television include Kristen Chenoweth, Eric Clapton, Christine Ebersole, Kathy Griffin, Allison Janney, Jennifer Holiday, Diane Keaton, Steve Martin, John Mayer, Barbra Streisand, Rob Thomas, Queen Latifah, Raquel Welch, Robin Williams and many others. He has co-produced and/or ARRANGED recordings for (among others) Bette Midler, Harry Connick Jr. and Mariah Carey, including the Grammy-winning recordings “The Wind Beneath My Wings” and “From a Distance.” And he is quite fond of his online opus “Prop 8 – The Musical”. Among many other honors, he and Wittman were celebrated in 2014 by the New York Pops with a spectacular concert at Carnegie Hall. SCOTT WITTMAN, along with Marc Shaiman, wrote the music and lyrics for NBC’s holiday production of “Hairspray Live!” Currently, he and Shaiman are developing Disney’s film sequel to “Mary Poppins,” to be directed by Rob Marshall, for which they will contribute a new original song score. Wittman co-wrote the lyrics for “Hairspray,” for which he received a Tony and Grammy Award, and the show won the Olivier Award for best new musical. He also served as an executive producer on the hit film starring John Travolta. Wittman and Shaiman teamed up again for Broadway’s “Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me,” which Wittman also directed, and “Catch Me If You Can,” which received a Tony nomination for best musical. Wittman co-wrote lyrics to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” directed by Sam Mendes, which is breaking box office records at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London’s West End. The show will be opening on Broadway next spring at the Lunt-Fontanne. For their original songs on NBC’s musical drama “Smash,” Wittman and Shaiman were nominated for two Emmys, a Grammy and a Golden Globe Award. On “Smash,” they composed songs for Jennifer Hudson, Uma Thurman, Bernadette Peters and Liza Minnelli. Their original score for the Marilyn Monroe musical “Bombshell” was released on Sony Records and, after a tremendously successful concert for the Actors’ Fund, “Bombshell” is now being developed into a Broadway show. For Patti LuPone, Wittman has created and directed two Broadway shows, three recordings and four sold-out Carnegie Hall concerts. Together with Christine Ebersole, he co-created a string of critically lauded evenings at the Carlyle and across the country. Downtown at La Mama, Wittman conceived and directed “Jukebox Jackie,” starring Justin Vivian Bond, Cole Escola, Steel Burkhardt and Bridget Everett. At the Public Theatre, Joe’s Pub, he directed and co-wrote “Rock Bottom,” also starring Bridget Everett. Among many other honors, Wittman and Shaiman were celebrated in 2014 by the New York Pops with a spectacular concert at Carnegie Hall.  

HAIRSPRAY LIVE! Soundtrack Set for Release Before NBC’s Broadcast; Full Tracklist!

On December 2, 2016 Masterworks Broadway/Epic Records will release “Hairspray LIVE! Original Soundtrack Of The NBC TelevisionEvent” the companion album to NBC’s broadcast of “Hairspray Live!” which will air on Wednesday December 7, 2016 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The all-star cast features Harvey Fierstein, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Kristin Chenoweth, Martin Short, Derek Hough, Dove Cameron, Garrett Clayton, Ephraim Sykes, Shahadi Wright Joseph, exciting newcomer Maddie Baillio, and Special Guest Stars Billy Eichner, Sean Hayes, Andrea Martin, and Rosie O’Donnell. Available for pre-order now, “Hairspray LIVE! Original Soundtrack of the NBC TelevisionEvent” will include studio recordings for all of the musical numbers that are performed by the cast members in the live broadcast. In “Hairspray Live!” teenager Tracy Turnblad’s dream is to dance on “The Corny Collins Show,” a local TV program. When against all odds Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight and meets a colorful array of characters, including the resident dreamboat, Link; the ambitious mean girl, Amber; an African-American boy she meets in detention, Seaweed; and his mother, Motormouth Maybelle, the owner of a local record store. Tracy’s mother is the indomitable Edna, and she eventually encourages Tracy on her campaign to integrate the all-white “Corny Collins Show.” Emmy award-winning live television director Alex Rudzinski (“Dancing with the Stars”) will join Tony-winning director Kenny Leon (“The Wiz Live!”). Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Oscar-winning “Chicago,” “The Wiz Live!,” the upcoming “Bye Bye Birdie Live!” and the live television production of the Broadway play “A Few Good Men”) serve as executive producers of “Hairspray Live!” Harvey Fierstein will also provide a new teleplay and Tony winner Jerry Mitchell (“Kinky Boots,” “On Your Feet”) will serve as choreographer for the live production with music and lyrics by Tony winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (“Smash,” the upcoming feature “Mary Poppins Returns” and the Broadway-bound “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”). The soundtrack is licensed through the NBC Universal Television Consumer Products Group. Tracklisting: 1. “Good Morning Baltimore” 2. “The Nicest Kids in Town” 3. “Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now” 4. “I Can Hear the Bells” 5. “(The Legend of) Miss Baltimore Crabs” 6. “Ladies’ Choice” 7. “It Takes Two” 8. “Velma’s Revenge” 9. “Welcome to the 60’s” 10.”Run and Tell That” 11. “Big, Blonde and Beautiful” 12. “(You’re) Timeless to Me” 13. “Good Morning Baltimore (Reprise)” 14. “Without Love” 15. “I Know Where I’ve Been” 16. “(It’s) Hairspray” 17. “Cooties” 18. “You Can’t Stop the Beat” 19. “Come So Far (Got So Far to Go)” Preorder Links: iTunes – http://smarturl.it/HairsprayLIVE Amazon – http://smarturl.it/HairsprayLIVE-cd SONY MUSIC MASTERWORKS comprises the imprints

Sony Classical ...  Read More

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Monday, September 26, 2016

BetteBack April 4, 1997: New York Daily News – That Old Feeling

New York Daily News Byline: Bob Strauss April 4, 1997 419755_214640508632410_131169048_nThat Old Feeling” is uncontrolled, inconsiderate lust. Refreshingly so, in this often funny, sometimes stumbling farce. With Bette Midler blasting away at her larger-than-life best and supporting players who aren’t afraid to look like fools, the movie surfs over credulity gaps and structural bumps on waves of raucous laughter. Leslie Dixon, who wrote Midler’s similarly amusing “Outrageous Fortune,” came up with the ultimate adult child’s nightmare here. Two divorced parents, individually embarrassing but utterly mortifying when they get together and start fighting, ruin your wedding – not with an argument (though they do that, too), but with a suddenly rekindled passion for each other. Paula Marshall of TV’s “Chicago Hope” plays unlucky bride Molly, who can’t concentrate on her conservative groom, Keith (Jamie Denton), because her folks Lilly and Dan (Midler and “Get Shorty’s” Dennis Farina) are giggling in the room next door. Soon the vain actress and gruff mystery novelist are making other noises. When Lilly’s husband, Alan (David Rasche), and Dan’s wife, Rowena (Gail O’Grady), confront the philanderers, the old flames do what they feel is right: disappear without a trace. It’s here that Dixon’s script becomes problematic, if no less humorous. Molly hires the cute but annoying paparazzo Joey (Danny Nucci), who’s made it his business to stalk Lilly, to track down the errant pair. While they’re wandering around New York, Keith tries to console Alan (himself a motor-mouthed, super-sensitive, book-writing relationship expert) and Rowena. As this trio’s more venal qualities emerge under pressure, Molly starts rethinking her own, timid romantic choices – and that exerts a lot of drag on the movie’s dirty-minded buoyancy. All the while, of course, Lilly and Dan are having a ball. When they’re not yelling at each other. Farina proves a tough, fine foil for Hurricane Bette, and the abandoned spouses stew most entertainingly. But as they swallow up more screen time, Molly and Joey, mostly because of their comparative good sense, grow duller. There is also a sense that Dixon’s script tries a little too hard to have it both ways. Lilly and Dan may be blithely breaking hearts and society’s conventions for the fun of it, but they were married once and, clearly, really still love each other. As risky comic premises go, this one comes close to achieving that elusive state of no-risk. On another hand, Midler’s diva-ish dynamism may have been less effective in a larger dose. Though her performance is broad and zinger-laced, it rarely slops over into the screechy cartoonishness of some of her earlier, more Bette-centric comedies. Indeed, Midler plays Lilly as elegantly as someone who says, “I’m the happiest I’ve been since it was OK to take drugs,” can probably be portrayed. After an initial, coincidental misstep – the opening gag was just seen in Woody Allen’s “Everyone Says I Love You” – director Carl Reiner proves that he still has some of that old feeling left, too. Though there’s not much of the visual inventiveness here that marked his best films with Steve Martin (“All of Me,” “The Man With Two Brains”), “Feeling’s” camera is always in the right place. And this film’s staging, performances and comic timing are so vastly superior to such recent Reiner comedies as “Fatal Instinct” and “Sibling Rivalry” that, unlike most aspects of “That Old Feeling,” it’s not funny. BetteBack January 13, 1996: Bette Midler Signs On To ‘That Old Feeling’ 10 Signs Telling You Should Let Go Of What You Have And Move On Bette Midler On That Old Feeling: BetteBack April 3, 1997: Being married and being Bette Midler not easy

On That Old Feeling: “I’ve got bills to pay and a family to feed, after all, and making movies is nothing to touring. I mean, this woman before you has been frazzled, at times… | BootLeg Betty ...  Read More

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Saturday, September 17, 2016

BetteBack Friday, April 4, 1997: Manic Midler Makes `Old Feeling’ Sing

San Fran Chronicle Friday, April 4, 1997 403258_214642728632188_281691030_n In “That Old Feeling,” Bette Midler ostensibly plays a movie star named Lilly. But seeing her sashay around in skin-tight dresses, her hair preternaturally blond, another star comes to mind: Mae West . Midler puts a swagger into lines that could have come out of West’s mouth. “Don’t you know your 20s are for having sex with all the wrong people?” Lilly admonishes her straitlaced daughter, Molly (Paula Marshall), who has just announced her engagement. Lilly locks her daughter in a hotel room with a sexy paparazzo, Joey ( Joey Nucci ), to prevent them from interfering with Lilly’s own romance. Returning the next morning, she observes Molly asleep in one bed and Joey in another. “Well,” Lilly intones, hands on hips Mae West- style, “I see nobody got lucky last night.”

TRYING TOO HARD

Midler’s performance may sound over the top, but it blends right into this manic comedy, which occasionally shows the strain of trying too hard to be funny. Director Carl Reiner has emulated the pacing of ’30s screwball comedies, but the script byLeslie Dixon lacks the easy charm that kept those films clipping along. Still, Dixon has come up with some genuinely screwy situations. Lilly’s steamy new romance turns out to be with her ex-husband, Dan (Dennis Farina), whom she is supposed to hate. Even more unlikely, Joey, who has harassed her with his camera for years, becomes her savior. It’s hard not to like a film that has the guts to make a hero out of someone as maligned as a paparazzo.

INSULTS HURLED

Farina, known for playing Mafia goons, is unexpectedly affecting; he’s like a sweet Burt Reynolds. In their early scenes, Farina and Midler hurl insults at each other with perfect comic timing. Midler even gets to sing “Somewhere Along the Way,” accompanying a piano player at a bar Dan and Lilly have wandered into. But the running joke about how these two have the hots for each other quickly goes stale. How many times can we see them with contented postcoital grins? The movie does better at sustaining interest in what will become of daughter Molly. Will she stay with her stuffy new husband, Keith (Jamie Denton), or will she cut loose as Lilly wants her to? In this battle for Molly’s soul, the filmmakers make no attempt to conceal their bias. One camp fighting for her consists of fun-loving liberals — her parents and Joey, a liberal by dint of being working-class — who are in the arts or, in Joey’s case, on the periphery. The other faction is made up of pompous Republicans — Keith, who is running for office on a family values platform, and his self-righteous father, a U.S. senator. Think of Edward Arnold in ’30s comedies to get an image of the senator. All the harping about plastic surgery and who has had what work done sounds like it’s been lifted from “The First Wives Club.” More curious is the origin of the scene where Molly accidentally swallows her engagement ring, which at great effort has been buried in her dessert. Anyone who saw Woody Allen‘s “Everyone Says I Love You” will remember an almost identical scene. Maybe this overlap isn’t so mysterious: Reiner and Allen both wrote for Sid Caesar‘s “Your Show of Shows” in the ’50s. Anyone remember a skit about swallowing an engagement ring? When Singers Try Their Hand at Acting (Part 2) GET SHORTY Will Also Become A Television Series Bette Midler On Her First Wive’s Club Co-Stars: “We had a good time, I can tell you! Diane, Goldie and I turned 50 within the same month.

‘The First Wives Club’: Vanessa Lachey Joins Alyson Hannigan & Megan Hilty In TV Land Remake ...  Read More

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

For The Boys: The Chicago Musical Is A 5 Star Winner!

For the Boys musical will have audiences laughing and crying By Jodie Jacobs, Chicago Theater Examiner For the Boys, a musical world premiere at Marriott Theatre, is a five star winner August 28, 2011 Unlike many Marriott shows that showcase exceptional dancing, For the Boys depends on suburb acting to carry off its poignant theme of entertaining the troops in the trenches. Audiences are more likely to leave the theater thinking about the sacrifices made in today’s wars instead of leaving with one of the show’s melodies on their lips. The musical stars Michele Ragusa and Timothy Gulan, two Broadway and National musical tour veterans who beautifully balance comedy, anguish and family struggles with the “show must go on” attitude – particularly when it is for the troops. Adapted for the stage by Marriott Theatre Co-Artistic Director Aaron Thielen, the musical is based on the 1991 20th Century movie of the same name. The film starred Bette Midler and James Caan as Dixie Leonard and Eddie Sparks, two USO entertainers who performed for the troops during World War II, Korea and Vietnam and did a television show together in spite of their often contentious relationship. Ragusa has the perfect personality and voice to play, Dixie, a 1940s big-band singer who reluctantly teams with Eddie, a song and dance man with an ego to match his popularity. Gulan has a strong, fine voice that sometimes plays a secondary role to his convincing take as Eddie the charming rogue. Longtime Midwest actor Michael Weber who is also artistic Director of Porchlight Music Theatre, acts as a dollop of honey when first, as Dixie’s uncle Art Silver and Eddie’s comedy writer, he brings them together, then, later on he attracts McCarthyism‘s sting. Silver pairs with Loretta Brooks, a delightful Rose Marie (Dick Van Dyke show) type of character played by popular Midwest actress Anne Gunn. Horizontal movie screens, clothes and aging personalities mark the show’s decade changes. It all comes together in well-conducted harmony under the skillful direction of Marc Robin who also choreographed the show, the set design by Thomas M. Ryan and fine costuming by Nancy Missimi. The music also reflects the decades. Instead of writing new songs, copyrights were obtained for popular music of the 1940s, 50s and 60s such as “You are My Sunshine, “GI Jive,” I Remember You,” “I Wish You Love” and “Come Rain or Come Shine.” Details: For the Boys opened Aug. 26 and and continues through Oct. 16, 2011. Tickets $40-$48 Marriott Theatre, 847-634-0200 Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, IL 60069
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