The Glorious Corner
MORE MURDER — (Via Deadline) Sophie Ellis-Bextor is gearing up to tour around North America for the first time and adding more cities for fans to see her perform “Murder on the Dance Floor” live.
The British singer’s song is featured in the final scene of Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn, where Barry Keoghan’s Oliver dances naked around the manor. After the scene went viral, the song, co-written by Ellis-Bextor and Gregg Alexander, also went viral on social media. “Murder on the Dance Floor” was originally released in 2001, but it never charted on the Billboard Hot 100 until now, peaking at 51 recently.
Ellis-Bextor recently made an appearance on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon where she performed the viral hit and the star is now embarking on a North America tour.
The artist announced her first-ever live show in NYC, set to take place on June 6 at Webster Hall, and the date quickly sold out. Ellis-Bextor has now announced more dates across the U.S. and Canada that will take her to San Francisco, San Diego, Boston, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.
“Oh my… the New York show sold out in a day! Thank you thank you thank you,” Ellis-Bextor said in her newsletter announcing the additional tour dates. “So – how about some more shows in some more cities?! My band and I are coming for you! Super excited. Come and dance with me….”
May 30: August Hall (San Francisco, CA)May 31: The Observatory North Park (San Diego, CA) June 3: 9:30 Club (Washington D.C.) June 4: Royale Boston (Boston, MA) June 5: Union Transfer (Philadelphia, PA) June 6: Webster Hall (New York City, NY) June 8: Danforth Music Hall (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
I love this record, because its an actual song. Sure, they repeat the title about three-dozen times, but its a great track.
NOISE CLOSES — (Via Deadline) Broadway’s A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical will play its final performance on Sunday, June 30, before launching a national tour this fall, producers announced today.
The musical, which began previews on November 2, 2022, at the Broadhurst Theatre and opened that year on December 4, will have played 35 preview performances and 657 regular performances when it closes.
As I’ve said, early reviews of the show, kind of stopped me from going to this. An artist who is even referenced in the play said to me ‘why would I go to a play that got bad reviews.’ Understood.
But, I did see it and absolutely loved it. Of course, I’m somewhat on the business side and loved all the insider-nuances. And, I saw it with the original performers in it.
There will be a national tour and I predict it will be a huge hit as Diamond’s music is multi-generational. As I’ve said, I preferred Diamond’s “Solitary Man”-period more than “America” and “I Am, I Said.” Although, “Turn On Your Heart Light” (written with Carole Bayer Sager and Burt Bacharach) was a great record.
An icon for certain.
SHORT TAKES — Warner’s second Aquaman movie; Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will stream on MAX on February 27. The first Aquaman movie, out in 2018, remains the highest-grossing DC film of all time. The sequel, after a plethora of media, mostly about Amber Heard, disappeared in a matter of weeks … Broadway-journeyman and Rockers On Broadway-creator Donnie Kehr recupping. Get well soon brother! … Keith Girard’s New York Independent featured an interview with 17-old wunderkind Kjersti Long. Check it out: https://www.thenyindependent.com/music/1704991/kjersti-long-17-explores-her-jersey-roots-by-way-of-utah-with-power-pop-style-video/ …
Just listened to the Pet Shop Boys “West End Girls.” What a tremendous record that hold up amazingly well all these years later. It came out in 1984 and produced by Bobby Orlando … Amazon shuttering Freevee? First off, as an offshoot of Amazon, this has got to be one of the worst monikers ever! I mean, FreeVee ... always sounded like frisbee! Adios … Thursday’s Law & Order was the ode to Sam Waterston’s Jack McCoy-character (Last Dance).
After 404 episodes, we had to say goodbye. It wasn’t the greatest episode, but when McCoy took over the case and presented it to the jury, Waterston shone brightly. When McCoy said to Hugh Dancy (Nolan Ryan), it was a hell of a ride, it resonated terrifically. Thanks Jack! …
I loved the finale on HBO of True Detective with Jodie Foster and Kali Reis. I didn’t understand it all, but the look and direction (by Issa Lopez) and Jodie Foster was just superb. I had forgotten just how good an actress Foster was. Sure, she was good in Nyad, but it was a supporting role. Here, she was just stellar. I’d like to see more of her …
It was a grim week medically speaking as talk-show hostess Wendy Williams was diagnosed with aphasia and dementia and Mick Jones of Foreigner, with Parkinson’s. Sending prayers to both … And finally, news surfaced Thursday that an “inebriated” Andy Cohen harassed Brandi Glanville. I don’t know Andy at all, but his bad-boy antics of the last several years were clearly leading to something like this. Glanville’s lawyers even invoked NBC’s Matt Lauer in their brief. Expect a huge media brouhaha over this one. Sad for sure … Happy Bday Lou Christie; Niki Avers and Chloe Gaier.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Steve Walter; Obi Steinman; Felix Cavaliere; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Kent Kotal; Ace Frehley; Alex Saltzman; Lush Ice; Tony King; Barry Zelman; Justin Ridener; Kent & Laura Denmark; Mark Bego; Mark Scheerer; Barbara Shelley; and SADIE!
The Glorious Corner
McCALLUM’S FAREWELL — Last night was the NCIS show dedicated to David McCallum (The Stories We Leave Behind) and it was simply terrific. Written by Brian Dietzen, who essays Dr. Jimmy Palmer on the show, it was extremely touching and featured some great clips from past shows.
The vibrant opening theme for the show was re-cast in a memorial-type tone and worked perfectly. There was also a reference to his cat named ‘Solo’ – a fitting nod to his Man From U.N.C.L.E. costar Robert Vaughn.
McCallum was just a tremendous actor. I one met him once in Bloomingdale’s of all places and he couldn’t have been nicer. There was also last-minute cameo from Michael Weatherly, who left the show several years ago. It was just a brilliant moment and though pundits are already saying he’ll return, I don’t think it will come to pass.
There was also a letter from Gibbs (Mark Harmon) whose shadow always lingers.
A touching tribute well done on every level. McCallum will be missed tremendously; an icon for sure. 7 million viewers thought so too.
SHORT TAKES — Last week’s kerfuffle with Kelly Rowland abruptly leaving the Today Show, where she was pegged to co-host the fourth hour with Hoda, is much ado about nothing. Gossip pundits claimed it was because her dressing room was too small and Hoda herself sort of copped to it on Monday’s show. I predict she’ll be banned from the entire show for quite some time. It was probably more of a stunt pulled by her PR-people, as she generated a heap of press. For those who don’t know: most all of their dressing rooms are small …
17-old wunderkind Kjersti Long (her “Sad Song” was just released) looks to have her Relative Space-play begin in the West End, pegged for later this year …
Vanessa Williams will have for the role of Miranda Priestly in the upcoming musical adaption of The Devil Wears Prada by Elton John, It’ll debut in the West End shortly … SiriusXM’s Evan Levy left the station for Amazon, but has now officially surfaced at Jason Spiewak’s Noble Steed Music.
Congrats … Micky Dolenz speaks to Goldmine’s Tone Scott today about his I’m Told I Had A Good Timebook and upcoming appearance at LA’s Troubadour on April 5 … The media was ablaze Tuesday with news that director Sam Mendes would make 4 movies featuring each of The Beatles. Astonishing. Mendez is a great director and this looms as a challenge for sure. As a group they were invincible, but it’ll be interesting to see how Mendes handles each of their post-Beatles work; which had their ups and downs. Stay tuned, this is a big one …
Rod Stewart sells his catalog for $100 million? … We started watching Feud: Capote vs. The Swans -featuring a bravura performance by Tom Hollander as Truman Capote- and am loving it tremendously. Hollander’s performance is one of the best I’ve seen in years on the small-screen. Absolutely stunning with the direction by none other than the stellar Gus Van Sant. More on this brilliant series next time …
Happy 90th Bday Yoko Ono.NAMES IN THE NEWS — Steve Leeds; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Adam Sandler; Jennifer Aniston; Curt Smith; Bob Small; Andy Forrester; Rob Dickens; Daryl Estrea; Jane Blunkell; Jane Berk; Eloise Keene; Eppy; June Pointre; Ken Kragen; Kent Denmark; Mark Bego; Jake Malooley; Graydon Carter; and ZIGGY!
BAFTA and The Peoples Choice Winners
Michael J. Fox got a standing ovation when he presented the Best Film Award at 2024 BAFTAs. “Oppenheimer” wept the BAFTA Awards with 7 wins including Best Film “The Holdovers” and “Poor Things” were also honored at the British equivalent of the Oscars, while “Saltburn” and “Barbie” left empty-handed but scored big at The Peoples Choice Awards. Here is the complete list:
For the BAFTAs
Director: Oppenheimer – Christopher Nolan
EE Bafta rising star award (voted for by the public): Mia McKenna-Bruce
Outstanding British film: The Zone of Interest
Film not in the English language: The Zone of Interest
Documentary: 20 Days In Mariupol
Original screenplay: Anatomy of a Fall
Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer: Earth Mama
Original score: Oppenheimer
Make-up and hair: Poor Things
Costume design: Poor Things
Production design: Poor Things
Sound: The Zone of Interest
Special visual effects: Poor Things
British short film: Jellyfish and Lobster
Outstanding British contribution to cinema: June Givanni
The top films
- 7 wins – Oppenheimer
- 5 – Poor Things
- 3 – The Zone of Interest
- 2 – The Holdovers
For The Peoples Choice:
Music icon: Lenny Kravitz, presented by Victoria Monet
People’s icon: Adam Sandler, presented by Jennifer Aniston
The Movie: Barbie
The Action Movie: The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
The Comedy Movie: Barbie
The Drama Movie: Oppenheimer
The Male Movie Star: Ryan Gosling, Barbie
The Female Movie Star: Margot Robbie, Barbie
The Action Movie Star: Rachel Zegler, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
The Comedy Movie Star: Jennifer Lawrence, No Hard Feelings
The Drama Movie Star: Jenna Ortega, Scream VI
The Movie Performance: America Ferrera, Barbie
The Show: Grey’s Anatomy
The Comedy Show: Only Murders in the Building
The Drama Show: The Last of Us
The Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show: Loki
The Reality Show: The Kardashians
The Competition Show: The Voice
The Bingeworthy Show: The Summer I Turned Pretty
The Male TV Star: Pedro Pascal, The Last of Us
The Female TV Star: Selena Gomez, Only Murders in the Building
The Comedy TV Star: Jeremy Allen White, The Bear
The Drama TV Star: Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show
The TV Performance: Billie Eilish, Swarm
The Reality TV Star: Khloé Kardashian, The Kardashians
The Competition Contestant: Ariana Madix, Dancing with the Stars
The Daytime Talk Show: The Kelly Clarkson Show
The Nighttime Talk Show: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
The Host: Jimmy Fallon, That’s My Jam
The Male Artist: Jung Kook
The Female Artist: Taylor Swift
The Male Country Artist: Jelly Roll
The Female Country Artist: Lainey Wilson
The Male Latin Artist: Bad Bunny
The Female Latin Artist: Shakira
The Pop Artist: Taylor Swift
The Hip-Hop Artist: Nicki Minaj
The R&B Artist: Beyoncé
The New Artist: Ice Spice
The Group/Duo: Stray Kids
The Song: “Vampire,” Olivia Rodrigo
The Album: Guts, Olivia Rodrigo
The Collaboration Song: “Barbie World,” Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice With Aqua
The Concert Tour: Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour
The Social Celebrity: Taylor Swift
The Comedy Act: Selective Outrage, Chris Rock
The Athlete: Travis Kelce
The Glorious Corner
WE ARE THE WORLD DOC ON NETFLIX — I just watched the Netflix doc on the 1985’s We Are The World record and session and enjoyed it immensely. It’s hard to believe it was so long ago and the participants that appeared on it and are no longer with us. I interacted with manager Ken Kragen who brought the idea to Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson after being approached by Harry Belafonte. Kragen was a savvy manager back then and even managed the Smothers Brothers for a while.
Recorded after Dick Clark’s AMA Awards, it was simply a stellar turnout. Every article on the record said that at the last-minute Quincy Jones took a blank piece of paper and scribbled Leave Your Egos At The Door – inspired for sure. Today, it’d be Leave Yor Egos At The Door With Your Glam Squad.
I don’t know if a session like that could even happen today with so much natural unrest – even in the music business. Even A&M Studios where the session took place has changed to Henson Studios.
Its a funny doc as we start with insider-comments from two women who worked for Kragen and producer Larry Klein – who was involved with Dick Clark back then. Then, the three of them sort of disappear and Richie takes over as narrator; engineer Humberto Gatica has some nice memories too; as doe Tom Bahler, an associate of Jones who worked with him for years.
There were some funny reminiscences, mostly from Huey Lewis, who found himself amazed to be with the likes of Paul Simon and Willie Nelson. At one point Wonder starts playing Belafonte’s “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” and then the entire ensemble continues to sing it.
Wonder, definitely a musical genius, even coaches Bob Dylan by mimicking his voice. Diane Ross ambles over to Daryl Hall and asks for his autograph. Funny stuff for sure.
It’d be nice if something like this happened today, but I fear it’s near impossible. JLO doing a charity record with Selena Gomez, Arianna Grande and Beyonce? Never.
DOLENZ ON AMERICAN POP FLASHBACK — Over a dozen of the most successful singing artists in the history of American music including Glen Campbell, Lesley Gore, Bill Medley and many more are presented live-on-stage with thrilling concert performances in the new Public Television special AMERICAN POP FLASHBACK! GREAT HITS OF THE ‘60s & ‘70s premiering nationwide beginning the weekend of February 23 (please check local listings for air-dates/times).
Join program host, legendary singer Micky Dolenz of The Monkees, as he salutes the groundbreaking musicians, teen idols, TV stars and vocal greats from rock, pop and country whose hits make us sing along, tap our feet, shed a tear, fall in love and recall the great memory-filled times of our lives.
Appearing exclusively on American Public Television stations, the all-star concert features performances by late legends Glen Campbell (“Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Wichita Lineman”) and Lesley Gore (“It’s My Party”) in addition to a cavalcade of timeless classics and Number One Hits by Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers (“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” “(You’re My) Soul & Inspiration),” The Chiffons (“One Fine Day”), Bobby Vinton (“Blue Velvet”), Ray Stevens (“Everything Is Beautiful”), Debby Boone (“You Light Up My Life”), Chris Montez (“Let’s Dance”),Tony Orlando (“Candida”/”Knock Three Times”) The Osmond Brothers (“One Bad Apple,” “He Ain’t Heavy…He’s My Brother)”, Crystal Gayle “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”) and other chart-topping favorites.
Additionally, the programs legendary host Micky Dolenz thrills fans with a performance of The Monkees’ signature hit I’m a Believer. AMERICAN POP FLASHBACK! GREAT HITS OF THE ‘60s & ‘70s presented by American Public Television is a production of DEB Entertainment and Emmy-nominated producer Jim Pierson (“California Dreamin’” – The Songs of The Mamas & The Papas, Fever The Music of Peggy Lee) in association with Emmy Award-winning producers Rene Reyes and Shane Rosamond
Now Roger Friedman reports that Yellowstone-creator Taylor Sheridan is creating a show (With Jon Hamm; Demi Moore; and Billy Bob Thornton attached) closer to Dallas than ever before. Of course, Kevin Costner starred in Yellowstone and is being written out. Check it out here: https://showbiz411.com/2024/02/16/taylor-sheridan-doing-a-thinly-disguised-riff-on-dallas-with-jon-hamm-billy-bob-thornton-demi-moore-in-oil-rich-texas
… Happy Bday Steve Leeds & Mitch Kanner!NAMES IN THE NEWS — Michelle Grant; Art Rutter; Jimmy Fallon; Vinny Napolitano; Jodi Ritzen; Dan Zelinski; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Anthony Noto; Robert Funaro; Steve Klein; Steve Leeds; Mark Bego; Sophie Ellis-Bextor; Brad Pitt; and CHIP!
Stage and Screen Favorite Rita McKenzie Has Passed Away
We are sad to report the death of stage and screen favorite, Rita McKenzie. Ms. McKenzie, was known for her powerhouse stage voice and theatrical personality, died peacefully surrounded by her family on Saturday, February 17, 2024 in Los Angeles, days before her 77th Birthday. Her death was announced by her husband Scott Stander. She succumbed after a long-term illness.
In 1988 she took New York by storm with her off-Broadway one-woman show, Ethel Merman’s Broadway which became the longest running one woman show in theatrical history. Her tribute to Merman gained critical acclaim and eventually toured throughout the country. She played Lita Encore in the Los Angeles premiere of Ruthless! The Musical and reprised the role in the recent New York revival of the show.
Ms. McKenzie performed a wide range of stage roles throughout the US – including many of Merman’s hits – Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes!, the 50th Anniversary tour of Annie Get Your Gun, and Rose in Gypsy. She enjoyed a three year US tour of Neil Simon’s The Female Odd Couple, co-starring with her good friend, Barbara Eden.
She was the opening singer for such iconic performers as Milton Berle and his 90th Birthday Tour, Don Knotts, Norm Crosby, Donald O’Connor and Steve Allen. She appeared in the Joe Bologna, Reneé Taylor & Lainie Kazan tour of Bermuda Avenue Triangle as Reneé Taylor’s daughter.
A favorite of symphony orchestra conductors, she performed for the Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Baltimore Pops, and she sang the closing finale for PBS’s Capital Fourth Celebration on the Washington Mall in 1995.
McKenzie had featured roles on TV in The Brady Bunch -The Final Days, Caroline In the City, Frasier with Kelsey Grammar, the film Meet Wally Sparks with Rodney Dangerfield and the TV series Big Brother Jake opposite Richard Lewis and Don Rickles
Most recently, Rita enjoyed her role as Interview host for stage appearances of The Real Housewives (with Vicki Gunvalson, Jill Zarin and Caroline Manzo) and for Barbara Eden’s On The Magic Carpet show. Her most recent role was as Associate Producer for the pre-Broadway tour of Rupert Holmes’ All Things Equal: The Life and Trials of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In addition to her husband, Scott Stander, she is survived by her daughter, Jennifer and her husband Tom Otto, of Cold Spring, NY; son, Derek Pflug and his wife Vanessa, of Gilbert, AZ; sister, Nancy and her husband Joe Wood, of Sun City, AZ; and three grandchildren, Mason and Jackson Pflug and Thomas Otto. She is pre-deceased by her parents, Rita and Edwin Schurter, who raised her in Woodbridge, NJ – a Jersey girl, through and through.
“I first encountered the magic that was Rita McKenzie at the Pasadena Playhouse, where my thriller Accomplice played side-by-side with her remarkable tour-de-force Call Me Ethel (ultimately becomingEthel Merman’s Broadway) … in which Rita made an evening with Ethel Merman more delightful, hilarious, touching, and musical than the real thing would probably have been. Over the decades, I was thrilled to see the range and depth of roles in which Rita triumphed, and during these last three years, I was honored and grateful to work closely with her on All Things Equal: The Life and Trials of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a play commissioned and inspired by Rita in tandem with her beloved husband and the show’s lead producer Scott Stander. During the play’s development and rehearsals, Rita’s insights as a savvy theatrical pro and one of the warmest and wittiest humans I’ve had the privilege to know were invaluable in sculpting the piece into the success it has become. It is fitting that this tribute to one remarkable woman bears the imprimatur of another remarkable woman: the unforgettable Rita McKenzie.” – Rupert Holmes
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