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4 items from 2016

Scott Ellis Set as Director for NBC’s ‘A Few Good Men’ Live Play, Aaron Sorkin Discusses Casting & More

14 June 2016 11:34 AM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Scott Ellis has been tapped to direct NBC’s upcoming live adaptation of “A Few Good Men.”

Aaron Sorkin broke the news Tuesday morning at Variety’s annual TV Summit, held at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, Calif.

“I couldn’t be more excited about that,” Sorkin said of Ellis directing.

Ellis is a multi-time Tony-nominated director, having worked on the stage productions “She Loves Me,” “Steel Pier,” “1776,” “Twelve Angry Men,” “Curtains,” “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” and “You Can’t Take It with You.” On the television side, Ellis was exec producer on Showtime’s “Weeds.” He has directed episodes of “Modern Family,” “Nurse Jackie,” “The Good Wife,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Frasier” and “30 Rock,” for which he was nominated for an Emmy.

Sorkin spoke about “A Few Good Men” at the Variety event on a panel with NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt, exec producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron and Kenny Leon, who directed NBC’s “The Wiz Live” and is on board to direct “Hairspray Live.”

“If something happens to Scott, let me know. I’m waiting in the wings!” Leon joked on the panel, pitching himself to direct the live play. Greenblatt chimed in: “You’re busy doing ‘Hairspray.'”

For the NBC live adaptation, Sorkin is re-writing “A Few Good Men,” which originally started as a Broadway play, before the 1992 film, starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore.

“I am very exited to write it up again. It was my first play, it was my starter play. I’m very proud of it, but it still feels a little bit like my high school yearbook picture to me. I think, or I at least hope, I’m a better writer now,” Sorkin said. “I’m looking forward to attacking it just for the sake of a re-write, as well as it should be written for this particular production.”

As for casting, the panel said that they’re getting into the process.

“We are reaching out to people. We’re beyond having just a list,” Sorkin revealed, adding that the creative team is getting many phone calls, now that the new wave of live TV productions has blown up. “Actors don’t get the opportunity to do that a lot,” he said of performing live on television.

The panelists praised Carrie Underwood for being the first actor to step into the new world of live TV with NBC’s “The Sound of Music” in 2013. Three years later, actors are jumping at the opportunity to flex their creative muscles on live TV.

“I’m going to give you the long list of scaredy-cats from ‘Sound of Music’ because there are some big people who said, ‘I can’t do that,'” Greenblatt said for “A Few Good Men” casting.

In addition to talent getting excited, the entire Hollywood community has welcomed the live programming wave.

“We got a call out of the blue from Tyler Perry,” Zadan said. “He called and he said, ‘I’m calling to help you because I’m going to mobilize a social media campaign for ‘The Wiz’ because this has to succeed.’ He called Oprah and he called everyone else that he knows and they started tweeting…the support that we got from the community was so overwhelming…because they know that failure means there won’t be anymore. We needed those ratings for this to continue because they’re so expensive.”

The new trend of TV musicals come with a learning curve — and being the first live play on television in decades, “A Few Good Men” even more so.

“I have been for years wanting to see live theater come back to television,” Sorkin said. “I was thinking, ‘Boy I hope [NBC] expands into non-musicals next’ — not thinking for a second that my play would be the canary in the coal mine.’

Surely Sorkin’s revitalized play will launch a new wave of more live plays on television, just like “The Sound of Music” inspired more NBC musicals, including “Peter Pan” and “The Wiz,” and Fox’s “Grease Live.” And up next at the broadcast networks is Fox’s “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and ABC’s “Dirty Dancing.”

“There are no barriers between Broadway, movies and television anymore,” Greenblatt said. “Tt’s completely interwoven now.”

Up next for NBC is “Hairspray Live” in December. But, Greenblatt teased that it won’t be long for “A Few Good Men” to come.

“We’re probably going to do it in February,” the NBC exec revealed. “We haven’t locked in the date.”

While February will bring a new cast and a new script to Sorkin’s hit, he assures that the live production will stay true to form.

Quoting the film’s most famous line, Sorkin quipped: “It’s going to be ‘A Few Good Man.’ You can’t handle the truth! It’s going to be ‘A Few Good Men.'”


- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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'Hamilton' gets record 16 Tony nominations, of course

3 May 2016 9:16 AM, PDT | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

The Tony nominations were announced today, and Hamilton got a record 16 of them, because of course it did. The ridiculously popular and critically acclaimed musical was nominated in basically every possible category, with its writer and star Lin-Manuel Miranda alone earning three nominations: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score Written for the Theatre.  Other big names with nominations include Steve Martin, Lupita Nyong'o, Jane Krakowski, Jeff Daniels, Jessica Lange, and Michelle Williams. The Tony Awards will be broadcast on June 12 at 8 p.m. on CBS. You can find the full list of nominations here, but here are some of the major categories: Best Play Eclipsed The Father The Humans King Charles III Best Musical Bright Star Hamilton School of Rock - The Musical Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All »

- Sara Morrison

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‘She Loves Me’ Broadway Review: Zachary Levi, Laura Benanti Channel Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan in Song

17 March 2016 5:00 PM, PDT | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

She Loves Me” is best known for the song “Vanilla Ice Cream,” in which the leading lady expresses her love for a man while eating a carton of ice cream. Barbara Cook, the show’s original Amalia Balash, turned it into her signature song when she reinvented herself as a concert and cabaret singer in the 1970s. This 1963 musical by Joe Masteroff, Jerry Bock, and Sheldon Harnick is also notable for a very different, much less lighthearted reason. What other Broadway musical comedy features a serious suicide attempt before the end of the first act? Scott Ellis’ fine new revival of. »

- Robert Hofler

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Tony Danza To Star In Greg Garcia’s NBC Comedy Pilot ‘Sebastian’

19 February 2016 1:30 PM, PST | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

After almost two decades, Tony Danza is returning to a half-hour comedy series with a co-lead role opposite Sebastian Maniscalco in NBC’s multi-camera pilot Sebastian, produced by Greg Garcia. The project, from CBS TV Studios and Garcia's Amigos De Garcia Productions, was inspired by Maniscalco's life. Written by Austen Earl and to be directed by Scott Ellis, it chronicles Sebastian's (Maniscalco) old-school values, instilled by his opinionated Italian father (Danza)… »

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