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The Gillian Anderson Truth is Out There

ShutterstockGillianAndersonTCA2014We know how devoted fans of Gillian Anderson and The X Files are. So if any of you noticed something strange about photos of the actress at last month’s London Evening Standard Theater Awards, where she won Best Actress for her turn as Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire, Anderson has the explanation:

“My dress [by British couturier Nicholas Oakwell] was too big and I had to hold it up with my armpits all night. Hence all the pictures of me looking quite grumpy.”

This delightful quote is but one of many to be savored in a write-up by Evening Standard senior feature writer Nick Curtis. Anderson, having sat the night of the awards at a heavyweight table that also featured Benedict Cumberbatch, has since made plans to see The Imitation Game star’s forthcoming Hamlet.

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Middle Grade Novel Writing

Middle Grade Novel WritingStarting January 15, work with a literary agent to write your middle-grade novel! In this course, you'll learn how to develop strong characters, write compelling dialogue, master the art of revision, and market your work to publishing houses and agents. Register now!

Sting Chooses to Ignore Paul Simon’s Broadway Advice

Paul Simon is Sting‘s New York City neighbor. He is also the reason the former Police frontman will only be able to step into the lead role of the Broadway musical The Last Ship starting next week for a month, as the pair are back to touring together early in the new year.

LastShipTease

Ahead of Sting’s Kennedy Center Honor broadcast (December 7) and Broadway debut (December 9), Washington Post theater critic Peter Marks hung out at the Neil Simon Theatre with the supremely talented sexagenarian. Mr. Sumner confessed that this holiday season, he has chosen to sail past some advice given to him by his current concert tour pal:

Simon had his own original musical on Broadway nearly 20 years ago, the tepidly received The Capeman; when Sting talked to him about The Last Ship — which Simon has seen twice — the older songwriter offered him some advice about maintaining distance from the show. “Don’t tie yourself to the front of the train,” Sting quotes Simon as warning.

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From A&E Snip to the Vegas Strip

DuckCommanderCoverThe New York Times article headline, “Bayou Meets Broadway: Staging ‘Duck Dynasty’,” is unintentionally misleading.

Yes, Michael David, the producer shepherding a Duck Dynasty musical, is a Broadway vet (Jersey Boys, Good Vibrations) . But no, there are no plans at this point to bring the show to the Great White Way:

Undertaking one of the more audacious theater projects in recent years, the Robertsons — known for their long beards, duck-hunting merchandise and occasional inflammatory remark — are moving to expand their Louisiana-based multimedia franchise with The Duck Commander Family Musical. The 90-minute show, with actors playing the family members from A&E’s Duck Dynasty as they celebrate the family’s long history from rags to riches, hopes to open in February at the Rio hotel and casino, where the Chippendales show and Penn & Teller are now running.

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Colorado High School Stages ‘Balloon Boy’ Musical

On January 1, 2014, folks in Colorado started legally enjoying recreational weed. This weekend, thanks to an enterprising New York state high school student, the community of Monarch High School in Louisville will get a chance to revisit some fall 2009 cable news vapors.

Per CBS Denver reporter Suzanne McCarroll, Balloon Boy: The Musical opened last night and runs through tomorrow. All thanks to high school senior and playwright Billy Recce:

Recce began working on the story when he was in seventh grade — and it had a “seventh-grade kind of feel” to it, he said. But it matured with more adult themes over the past several years…

Recce entered his opening number, “Follow Your Dreams,” into Thespian Musicalworks, a competition in Lincoln, Nebraska. Representatives from Monarch met Recce at the festival and asked to stage his creation.

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Alan, Arlene Alda Continue to Thrive

LoveLettersWhen Marlo Thomas recently read to Alan Alda the viewer question, ‘How have you been able to lead a long and successful marriage?,’ he answered only half-jokingly: “The trick is to move out of Hollywood.”

This Sunday, Alda and Candice Bergen will take over the Broadway production of Love Letters at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, accepting the baton from Brian Dennehy and Carol Burnett. They are scheduled to perform through December 5. It’s the first time the two actors have worked together.

Meanwhile, next spring, Alda’s wife Arlene will release her latest book Just Kids from the Bronx, an oral history gathering the recollections of dozens of celebrities and leaders who grew up there. The advance reviews are solid and include this funny quote from Boston native Barbara Walters:

“Made me wish I had been born in the Bronx.”

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The Long Lineage of Garry Marshall and The Medill School

When Garry Marshall recently guested on Late Night with Seth Meyers, he joked with the fellow Northwestern alum that his comedy writing days began when he was sports editor for the school’s newspaper. The football team was so bad, Marshall recalled, that it became a matter of article ledes like, ‘By the time “The Star Spangled Banner” was over, the team was 14 points behind.’

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Marshall has been busy talking up Billy & Ray, a play about the collaboration of Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler for the filmmaker’s 1946 classic Double Indemnity. Directed by Marshall and written by WABC-TV editor-producer Mike Bencivenga, it’s in previews through October 20 at the Vineyard Theatre in Union Square.

The Medill School also came up during Marshall’s conversation with American Theatre magazine editor Suzy Evans. This time, a little more formally:

“I went to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern, which is a great school — I learned a lot, but mostly I learned how to meet a deadline. So I’m never late. My three kids went to Northwestern, and it was the highlight of my life just a month ago when my first grandchild, Charlotte, started at Northwestern. She’s in media studies. She’s a whiz on the Internet. I don’t even have a computer.”

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Larry David Navigates Birthday, Relationship Wishes

AceHotelLALogoHa ha. Among those in attendance last night at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles for a special Citi cardholders event featuring David Steinberg interviewing Larry David was LA Weekly EIC Sarah Fenske. She notes that although David overall seemed to greatly enjoy the fan adulation, there was no shortage of embarrassing audience-member behavior:

David, a lovable curmudgeon playing a grudging good sport for the evening, gives three hugs. He accepts a letter from someone’s dad. He even says happy birthday to someone called Henry at the request of a young woman wielding the video function on her phone.

“What am I saying?” he asks. “Who’s Henry?” Told it’s the woman’s father, he yells, “Happy birthday Henry! Your daughter’s obnoxious!” The audience roars.

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Rob Ford Musical Features a ‘Weaselly Journalist’

This Sunday, Rob Ford: The Musical - one of two tuneful Toronto September odes to the outgoing mayor – will wrap up a brief run at the Factory Theatre. Taking with it such ditties as the Rob-and-brother-Doug duet “F*ck You.”

Despite mixed reviews, the off-off-Broadway-eh show has been SRO. And given what the Fords have put Toronto through, the biggest shocker here may well be that the production is sympathetic to North America’s most inept recent civic leader. From Now magazine critic Susan G. Cole‘s write-up:

This is a love letter to the mayor and an attack on just about everyone else. Using a Wizard Of Oz/Christmas Carol-type premise, the musical sends Ford (Sheldon Bergstrom) on an extended dream after getting knocked out when he runs into a television camera. He’s visited by the black transvestite ghost Transgression (Andrew Broderick), who’s supposed to help him change his ways.

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An Artist Bangs the Drum for Paperless Concert Tickets

PeaceTrainLateAgainTourOn the /YusufCatStevens Facebook page, New England fan Valerie Emer-Scott shares today a paperless vision that the artist wishes could be the case everywhere:

It was a little difficult to initially get through on the Ticketmaster site, but kept trying, and got orchestra seating. Tickets cannot be printed – will have to slide credit card at the concert venue. We (my sister and I) were fortunate to see him inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame ceremony in person – last saw him at the Capital Centre in Landover, MD in 1975 or ’76.

In New York, a 2010 state law delineates that concert tickets cannot be paperless, fueling the reselling and scalping of seats. For that reason, Yusuf, formerly known as Yusuf Islam and Cat Stevens, has canceled a planned December 7 performance at New York’s Beacon Theater. From his Facebook post:

I’m sorry about not being able to now play in NYC but hope to find an opportunity that aligns with my support of this issue in the near future, God willing. Looks like the Peace Train is going to arrive at New York a little bit later than expected.

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Anna Wintour Musical Returning to Joe’s Pub

BeeShafferRyanRafteryOne-man show Ryan Raftery is the Most Powerful Woman in Fashion is way over the top. Raftery’s drag-version of Anna Wintour gets “chronic constipation” as a result of running that Kimye cover and fearing that she will be fired from Condé Nast by S.I. Newhouse.

After debuting earlier this month at Joe’s Pub, the show is scheduled for a pair of encore Friday late-night shows in early September. As Raftery recently told The Cut‘s Maggie Lange, it all started with a chance encounter:

Raftery has done a solo show a year since 2009 — and the five before this one were all about his personal life. He says that he ran out of material, and instead of “waiting to be kidnapped,” he decided to find some other subject matter.

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