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At exactly 8 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, Dec. 27, Broadway will dim its lights to honor Charles Durning, who died Monday at 89.
Though well known for TV's "Rescue Me" where he played Michael, Tommy's dad for seven years, and as the voice of Francis Griffin on "Family Guy" for a decade, Durning was a steady presence on Broadway since 1964 when he began as an understudy.
By 1972, however, he had a breakout role in "That Championship Season" as the self-promoting mayor.
Durning won a Tony Award in 1990 for his portrayal of Big Daddy in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."
The varied roles continued. And in 1996, Durning had a courtroom duel with George C. Scott -- consider the show of machismo on that stage -- in "Inherit the Wind." The next year he starred with Julie Harris in a Broadway revival of "The Gin Game."
His final Broadway appearance was at the kingmaker, »
'When I'm singing, my family often tell me to shut the hell up'
What drew you to acting?
I remember seeing [American actor] Julie Harris in a one-woman show about Emily Dickinson that she toured in the Us when I was 11 or 12. Something clicked in me, but it didn't turn into: "Oh, I want to be an actress." That came from my friendship with film-maker Todd Haynes. We were at high school together, and we'd write and perform plays. An agent saw me in one and said she'd try to get me some work. So I said: "Well, Ok."
And to music?
That story has a similar trajectory. My family were all into classical music, and I found that very intimidating. It was only when I met the musicians I now play with, about 12 years ago, that I felt music was a world I could belong to.
Which of your roles have you found most challenging? »
- Laura Barnett
‘A closed mind is the worst defence against the supernatural… If it happens to you, your liable to have that shut door in your mind ripped right off it’s hinges.’
Director: Robert Wise
Synopsis: Dr John Markway (Richard Johnson) is a paranormal investigator. He gathers a team of unlikely assistants to come and stay in what (he hopes) is a haunted house. But they could never have expected the terror and trauma that awaits them in Hill House.
There’s nothing like a good ol’ fashioned ghost story. If it’s done well, there will be no need for blood and gore and if it’s done Very well, you won’t have to see anything horrific at all. No killer, no climatic demon that doesn’t live up to expectations. The horror is in your head and the terror in intangible. »
- John Sharp
Former Private Practice actress Audra McDonald said "I do" to her Broadway beau Will Swenson Saturday night. The talented duo wed in an intimate ceremony at their home in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, E! News has learned. McDonald's wedding dress was designed by Esosa. McDonald and Swenson, who got engaged on New Year's while vacationing in Puerto Rico, met back in 2007. Audra most recently starred in the Tony Award-winning revival of Porgy and Bess, which scored her a record tying fifth Tony (an honor she shares with Broadway legends Julie Harris and Angela Lansbury)> McDonald and Swenson each have children with their former spouses. Congrats to the »
Actress Audra McDonald is a married woman. On Saturday night, the former Private Practice actress exchanged vows in an Esosa dress with Broadway star Will Swenson at their home in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. Both Broadway veterans, the two met in 2007 and got engaged this past New Year's while on vacation in Puerto Rico. This is the second marriage for McDonald, 42, and Swenson, 38, who have children with their former spouses. McDonald is mother to one daughter, Zoe Madeline, 11, and Swenson is father to two sons, Bridger, 11, and Sawyer, 8. The couple tells People that they look forward to their new life together as husband, »
- Lesley Messer
Inspired by his experiences as a young man in 1930s Germany, author Christopher Isherwood (who was born on a day like today in 1904) created Sally Bowles as a symbol of the joyful decadence of the era. Sally first appeared in a novella carrying her name and then appeared once more in Goodbye Berlin, Isherwood's most famous work. Although Isherwood created many other memorable characters, (he wrote A Single Man) Sally remains the most iconic of his creations, having won awards and accolades for actresses who played her like Julie Harris (who won her first Tony playing her) and most famously Liza Minnelli who brought her to life in the musical Cabaret.
Why not celebrate Isherwood by rewatching Bob Fosse's masterpiece? Who are your favorite Isherwood characters? Which of his stories would you like to see as a movie? »
Tony-winner Audra McDonald has been put on vocal rest for the remainder of June, “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” producers announced on Wednesday. After spending last week performing the role of Bess, for which she won her fifth Tony Award, with a respiratory infection, her vocal cords became “inflamed to a point where she cannot sing,” representatives said in a statement. She is expected to return to the production July 3. Her understudy, Alicia Hall Moran will play Bess while McDonald is out of the production.On June 10, McDonald won her fifth Tony, tying her with Broadway legends Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris for most Tony wins. She is the youngest actor to reach this landmark. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Laura Meltzer)
Once, the intimate and melancholy bar-room musical that has charmed Broadway audiences and critics, took top honours at the Tony awards in a night of upsets at the annual Us theatre industry bash.
With its largely British creative team, Once beat the boisterous corporate Disney behemoth Newsies to best musical, Steve Kazee won best actor in a musical, and John Tiffany won best director. In all, Once took eight awards from 12 nominations.
Bruce Norris's Clybourne Park, a Pulitzer prize-winning drama about race and real estate, won the Tony for best play.
Tony voters were keen to spread the honours: in the biggest surprise of the night James Corden beat the strongly tipped Philip Seymour Hoffman to the award for best actor in a play, for his role in the British farce One Man, »
- Matt Wells, David Cote
Jason Alexander wasn’t up for a Tony Award this year, but he still collected an honor Sunday night in Los Angeles.The veteran performer took home the Julie Harris Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Actors Fund’s annual Tony Awards party. Though Alexander is best known as George Costanza on “Seinfeld,” his career accolades include several memorable performances on Broadway in musicals such as 1984’s “The Rink,” which co-starred Chita Rivera and Liza Minnelli as a feuding mother and daughter, and the 1989 “Jerome Robbins' Broadway,” for which he won a Tony.Alexander praised the sense of camaraderie with other actors that comes with appearing in a stage production. “There’s that thing that happens as you’re all prepping together backstage,” he said in an interview. “That communal energy starts to form. That, to me, is the reason to get up and do a live piece.”Attendees »
- email@example.com (Sean J. Miller)
Congratulations are in order for Audra McDonald who made history during last night's Tony Awards celebration, becoming the first black woman to claim 5 Tony Award wins; last night's pickup for Best Leading Actress In A Musical (for Porgy & Bess), also tied the record held by Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris. I should note that she's just 41 years old, and, according to Ibdb.com (the Internet Broadway Database), she's appeared in just 10 Broadway shows, starting in 1991 through the pressent. Talk about talent and recognition; 10 Broadway shows, and she won Tony Awards for her performances in half of them. To help put this into some perspective, imagine a »
One might think that after the advent of DVD and Blu-ray, practically every movie and TV show known to mankind would already be available for home viewing.
This is definitely not the case, but Warner Archive is doing its best to fill in the gaps, releasing a slew of previously unreleased titles every week. The 1966 series Tarzan was one such series until recently, when Warner Archive released Tarzan: Season One Part One and Tarzan: Season One Part Two on DVD. The show starred Ron Ely as the title character, a.k.a. Lord Greystoke, and took a much different approach to the jungle dweller, first created by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
I had a chance to speak with the actor over the phone about his role in the series, which ran from 1966 to 1969. Here's what he had to say.
I read that before the series came together, you were »
September 8, 1966 was a pretty big night of television for fans of the fantastic. NBC ran a sneak peek of several new shows a week prior to the formal premiere of the prime time season. At 7:30, Ron Ely first swung on a vine across trees as Tarzan while an hour later, Captain James T. Kirk confronted the Salt Vampire on the first airing of Star Trek. While the latter has gone on to great international fame, the former series has always been somewhat eclipsed.
Warner Archive, bless their souls, has rectified that by releasing the complete first season of the two season series. You can find the first fifteen episodes on four discs comprising Tarzan Season One, Volume One while the remaining sixteen episodes are available in the second volume. Warner has done a nice job cleaning the prints and the show looks pretty darn good.
It was also a »
- Robert Greenberger
John Carter, based on the John Carter of Mars series written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, was released last weekend with underwhelming box-office results in North America. Expect a more enthusiastic reception for the Warner Archive's release of the late '60s television series Tarzan (season one, in two parts) in celebration of the Lord of the Apes' 100th anniversary. Ron Ely stars, while guests include former Tarzan Jock Mahoney, Academy Award nominee Julie Harris (The Member of the Wedding), Star Trek's Nichelle Nichols, Woody Strode, Russ Tamblyn, Maurice Evans, Jack Elam, and Chips Rafferty. Also coming out via the Warner Archive Collection are several lesser-known titles that should definitely be worth a look, especially considering the talent involved. Released in a newly remastered print, the 1941 drama Rage in Heaven was directed by W.S. Van Dyke (aka "One-Take Woody"), and stars Ingrid Bergman, Robert Montgomery, and George Sanders. Christopher Isherwood contributed to the screenplay. »
- Andre Soares
A quartet of leading ladies dominates this year’s Tony Awards race for Best Musical Actress. At the head of the pack is Audra McDonald for "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess." She overcame the show's initial bad press and emerged with some of the best reviews of her career. This would be McDonald’s fifth Tony win (her first in a lead category), tying the record currently held by theater royalty, Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris. Right behind McDonald are "Follies" stars Jan Maxwell, whose performance in the revival of the Sondheim classic received the lion’s share of the acclaim, and two-time Tony champ Bernadette Peters. Maxwell is also no stranger to the Tonys, having been nominated four times, including two nominations in 2010. Make Your Tony Predictions: Who will win Best Musical Actress? Forecast all races. Compete against experts! Make Your Predictions! Argentinean »
The Barbican in London will present a major exhibition dedicated to the style and design aspects of the James Bond films. The exhibit will run from 6 July to 5 September, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the film series. Here is an official announcement:
With unprecedented access to Eon’s archive, Designing 007 – Fifty Years of Bond Style is a multi-sensory experience where screen icons, costumes, production design, automobiles, gadgets, special effects, graphic design, exotic locations, weapons, stunts and props combine to immerse the audience in the creation and development of Bond style over its auspicious 50 year history.
Highlights include gadgets and weapons made for Bond and his notorious adversaries by special effects experts John Stears, Syd Cain and Chris Corbould; artwork for sets and storyboards by production designers Sir Ken Adam and Peter Lamont and costume designs by Bumble Dawson, Donfeld, Julie Harris, Lindy Hemming, Ronald Patterson, Emma Porteous, and Jany Temime. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
Gary Cooper, High Noon Fred Zinnemann: Top Oscar Directors for Actors Fred Zinnemann-directed movies: twenty acting nominations; six wins. (s) supporting category; (*) Academy Award winner 1944 Hume Cronyn (s), The Seventh Cross 1948 Montgomery Clift, The Search 1952 * Gary Cooper, High Noon Julie Harris, The Member of the Wedding 1953 Montgomery Clift, From Here to Eternity Burt Lancaster, From Here to Eternity Deborah Kerr, From Here to Eternity * Frank Sinatra (s), From Here to Eternity * Donna Reed (s), From Here to Eternity 1957 Anthony Franciosa, A Hatful of Rain 1959 Audrey Hepburn, The Nun's Story 1960 Deborah Kerr, The Sundowners Glynis Johns (s), The Sundowners 1966 * Paul Scofield (with Susanna York), A Man for All Seasons Robert Shaw (s), A Man for All Seasons Wendy Hiller (s), A Man for All Seasons 1977 Jane Fonda, Julia Maximilian Schell (s), Julia * Jason Robards (s), Julia * Vanessa Redgrave (s), Julia »
- Andre Soares
Fred Zinnemann began his career during the studio era, but kept on going, however sporadically, long after most of his contemporaries had retired. Even so, today his name means little to most moviegoers and critics alike. But why? Quite possibly because, like William Wyler, Zinnemann covered just about every film genre there is. His relatively small oeuvre — 21 narrative feature films — encompasses the following: Western (High Noon, The Sundowners [sort of]), romance (From Here to Eternity), socially conscious drama (The Search, The Men, A Hatful of Rain), historical drama (A Man for All Seasons), adventure (The Seventh Cross, Five Days One Summer), religion (The Nun's Story), thriller (The Day of the Jackal), crime (Eyes in the Night, Kid Glove Killer, Act of Violence), war (Behold a Pale Horse), comedy (My Brother Talks to Horses), melodrama (Little Big Jim) psychological drama (Teresa, The Member of the Wedding), musical (Oklahoma), pseudo-"historical" drama (Julia, whose »
- Andre Soares
I was maybe 14 or 15 when I saw East of Eden, the 1955 film based on John Steinbeck's novel. It uses an important moment in American history, the first world war, as the backdrop to a tale about two warring brothers, drawing on the story of Cain and Abel. Though I've since seen films that were much better, this was the most intense cinema experience that I've ever had.
I had a rash so I wanted to hide in the cinema to avoid being seen for a while by a boy I was in love with, my first love. Hiding from him, I went with a friend to the biggest cinema we had in Denmark. We saw East of Eden and cried throughout. When I walked out of the theatre I was still filled with all this emotion... and I saw my first love standing outside! »
- Gemma Kappala-Ramsamy
You'd think a movie starring Marlon Brando at the height of his young-firebrand sex appeal, written by Nobel laureate John Steinbeck, and directed by the great Elia Kazan, would be better remembered today. Yet "Viva Zapata!", released exactly 60 years ago (on Feburary 7, 1952), is all but regarded as a footnote in the careers of Brando, Steinbeck, and Kazan. That's a shame, since it's at once a terrifically exciting action film, a heroic biopic, and a penetrating political study. Of course, even then, it was an odd one -- a movie about legendary figures in Mexican history portrayed by an almost Mexican-free cast; a movie about a pro-peasant revolutionary hero made at a time of anti-Communist hysteria in Hollywood. That it got made at all was remarkable, given the battles over censorship and casting, not to mention the battles between Brando and co-star Anthony Quinn, whose bitter tension often erupted into elaborate pranks and practical jokes. »
- Gary Susman
Audrey Hepburn, Ben Gazzara, They All Laughed Ben Gazzara Dead Pt.1: Anatomy Of A Murder, Husbands, An Early Frost Long before An Early Frost, Ben Gazzara had already appeared in two (however veiled) gay-themed productions. On Broadway, he was the virile ex-football player pining for his "best friend" while ignoring wife Barbara Bel Geddes in the 1955 original staging of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. (Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor played those two roles in the bowdlerized 1958 movie version directed by Richard Brooks.) And in 1957, Gazzara made his film debut as a sexually troubled military man who gets off by viciously abusing (or watching others viciously abuse) his fellow cadets in Jack Garfein's The Strange One. Among Gazzara's other 75 or so feature films — many of which were made in Italy — are Steve Carver's Capone (1975), in the title role; Stuart Rosenberg's Voyage of the Damned »
- Andre Soares
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