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Acting Great Dame Diana Rigg Passes On

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“I’m all for the women who speak out, and I’m very glad that they now have a platform to speak out.” Diana Rigg

I first fell in love with Diana Rigg in The Avengers. Emma Peale was the girl who had it all; smarts, looks and the ability to kick butt, with class. She walked away with Bafta’s, Emmy’s and Tony awards for her contributions.

I had the greatest of pleasure seeing her on stage as Medea, Albee’s Martha, Abelard And Heloise and Brecht’s Mother Courage. I followed her as Lady Olenna Tyrell, on Game of Thrones. I missed seeing her in the National Theatre, where she played major roles in Phedre, Tom Stoppard’s Jumpers, The Misanthrope, Pygmalion, Antony And Cleopatra and Stephen Sondheim’s Follies.

I still have Mrs Pumphrey in the 2020 adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small – which aired last night on Channel 5 to look forward to watching. Rigg also won worldwide acclaim for her turn as a Bond girl in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969, which I some how missed. 

Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Ms Rigg joined the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1959. She was immediately cast in The Taming Of The Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth and King Lear.

Made a dame in 1994, she revealed that early in her career at the hands of a powerful’ film director she was abused and was paid less than her male counterparts.

Taking aim at the non too kind reviews Ms Rigg produced a book of the worst-ever theatrical reviews, entitled No Turn Unstoned. It was a best-seller.  

Dame Diana Rigg died peacefully early this morning, with her family who have asked for privacy at this difficult time. She was 82 and had been battling cancer since March.  

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

Film

Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Amy Winehouse

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Back to Black is a biopic based on the life of British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, played by Marisa Abela. Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and written by Matt Greenhalgh, the film also stars Jack O’Connell, Eddie Marsan, and Lesley Manville.

After the death of Winehouse in 2011, filmmakers attempted to create a feature biopic with various projects. In October 2018, it was announced that Winehouse’s estate had signed a deal to make a biopic about her life and career. In July 2022, Deadline Hollywood reported that StudioCanal was moving forward with a feature film entitled Back to Black. Sam Taylor-Johnson directed from a script by Matt Greenhalgh. Alison Owen and Debra Hayward produced under their Monumental Pictures banner, alongside Nicky Kentish-Barnes.

The film was released theatrically in Australia in April 2024, and was released in the United Kingdom shortly after. Focus Features released the film in the United States on May 17 2024.

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Broadway

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

SANBORN RIP — I was absolutely devastated to loss another friend Monday, musician David Sanborn. Still reeling from the loss of Sam Rubin, I just could not believe the news when I heard it.

I first met David when he played with The Brecker Brothers band (brothers Michael and Randy, Will Lee, Steve Khan, Don Grolnick, Chris Parker) and we immediately hit it off and became fast-running buddies. David, who had already played with the Paul Butterfield, was on his way to super-stardom: playing with everyone from Stevie Wonder to David Bowie, with his superb sax work. When you heard his work, you immediately knew it was him. Listen to his work on Bowie’s “Young Americans.” Just stunning.


His solo work with equally as stellar. His first solo-album Taking Off was just great. His signature “Chicago Song” was sensational too. I’ll never forget his great work on Lorne Michael’s Night Music show – especially the time he paired up Eric Clapton and Robert Cray. If you’ve never seen this, take a look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BngAj8xV3Os

He also worked with the late-Michael Kamen (and sting) on the Lethal Weapon soundtrack with Sting. Just exemplary work.

Check out his work with the Letterman band on a show in Vegas with Sammy Davis, Jr.: Sammy Davis Jr. on Late Night With David Letterman in Las Vegas (1987)

He was a lot of fun to hang with. I’ll miss his company – no question. Tremendous loss for sure.

David Salidor and Gene Cornish Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images

SHORTS TAKES — The Rascals’ “Good Lovin'” is in Jerry Seinfeld’s Unfrosted Netflix movie. Unfortunately, the movie’s taking a heavy beating in the media. I don’t think I’ll tune in, but a great music selection for sure … The first full-trailer for Coppola’s Megalopolis has just been released. Its rather sensational. Take a look here from Roger Friedman’s Showbiz 411: https://www.showbiz411.com/2024/05/14/watch-first-full-pre-cannes-teaser-trailer-for-coppolas-biggest-gamble-ever-with-astonishing-megalopolis-images

Alicia Keys announced the album for her play Hell’s Kitchen (13 TONY noms) will be out June 7. Interesting that she said album. Good for her … MTV has canceled their movie awards presentation for 2024. Low ratings the case? I’d bet on it. Also, parent-company Paramount might have a new owner or new owners. Check this out: https://www.showbiz411.com/2024/05/12/mtv-cancels-movie-and-tv-awards-for-2024-skips-barbenheimer-movies-after-2023-ratings-debacle

I started watching the original Let It Be film on Disney and loved it, just as I did when I originally saw it in 1970. As I’ve said before, this original (from director Michael Lindsay-Hogg) would never have come out again if there wasn’t a demand for it. What Peter Jackson did was great, but it wasn’t what The Beatles and Apple wanted. I loved it. Check this terrific article out on it: https://www.soundandvision.com/content/making-beatles-let-it-be-and-peter-jacksons-get-back?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTEAAR2l_MOZXCWPMg2E5gNKfin7wIVgTKlmRvGWBwOHvqM4B_dphbY2bw-JcoM_aem_AXa5zighOQPj-_fICOPXlPDJP1wXUdXEx82NiZSzlevB … Happy BDay Crispin Cioe ; Jane Blunkell and Gene Cornish.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Savannah Guthrie; Carson Daly; Paul Pesco;Alicia Keys; Tony Mandich; Judy Libow; Amanda Naylor; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Len Berman; Michael Riedel; Bob Feiden; Sam Rubin; Paul Cooper; Anthony Noto; Ed Steinberg; Richard Johnson; Steve Carrel; Matt Damon; Matt Drudge; Bobby Orlando; Mark Berry; Marissa Armstrong; Heather Moore; and CHIP!

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Broadway

New Look At The Wicked Movie

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Wicked just dropped a new trailer that shows Elphaba (Cynthia Erivo) and Glinda (Ariana Grande) and what looks to be a spectacular film.

The film is directed by Jon M. Chu, who previously directed Crazy Rich Asians and In the Heights, and is written by Winnie Holzman, who also wrote the stage musical.

In the trailer both Erivo and Grande find out they got the roles.Erivo saw Wicked when she was 25 years old and felt like she “was floating on air” and she’d never seen anything like it.“There’s sort of this innate understanding of what it feels like to be someone who’s different,” it’s been a really long journey, and I’m really grateful for it.”  Grande a Broadway baby saw the original cast when she was 10.

We also see Fiyero (Jonathan Bailey) and Glinda in a slice of “Dancing Through Life”. Fiyero and Elphaba are also seen in a sniper of  “As Long As You’re Mine”.

We see Jeff Goldblum, as the Wizard, Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible, Ethan Slater as Boq and  Marissa Bode as Nessarose. Also in the cast is Peter Dinklage, Keala Settle, Bowen Yang, Bronwyn James,  and more.

Thanksgiving never looked so good.

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Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

SAM RUBIN — KTLA’s Sam Rubin passed on Friday. I first met Sam in 1986 while introducing a new artist around the LA scene, Sam immediately struck me as not only a terrific reporter, but a caring one and we immediately struck up a friendship that continued until last week. Sam was the type of guy who would ask the hard questions, but also gifted with a terrific sense of humor. If you saw him on the press-line, you’d go to him first. He wasn’t snarky; wasn’t unkind; wasn’t sneaky … just an honest-to-God good guy.

He was one of the few entertainment reports who would go onto question Mel Gibson about his off-screen antics. I always admired him for that.

I actually spoke to him earlier last week about an exciting new project and he was immediately entranced and even gave me some intriguing suggestions. Stand-up guy? No question. He will be missed greatly by not only his KTLA staff, but by the whole of Hollywood.

We’ve lost one of the good guys!

Read Roger Friedman’s take on Sam: https://www.showbiz411.com/2024/05/10/rip-sam-rubin-64-legend-in-hollywood-tv-reporting-for-station-ktla

YOUNG SHELDON — I’ve been a big fan of TV’s The Big Bang Theory and when it went off (after 12 seasons), Young Sheldon appeared in its place; about the early-life of lead-character Sheldon Cooper. After 7 seasons, it’s coming to a close and I have to say that although it hasn’t generated the same sort of fervor as BBT did, it’s been just a sensational show in every way.

The cast, led by Iain Armitage (Big little Lies) has just been spot on; and last week was the penultimate episode where Sheldon’s father George (Lance Barber), suffers a heart attack and passes. It was foretold in BBT and everyone -from the cast on- knew it was coming, but it was handled so well and off-screen, that it immediately became the show’s shining moment.

Talk about the little show that could, that was Young Sheldon. Beautifully done in every way. Bravo!

SHORT TAKES — Apple TV’s Constellation has been canceled. No real surprise here as it looked great, but the story was terrifically hard to follow. Actually, we’re waiting for the channel’s Invasion to return … Cassidy Wixom (KSL.com)did a great piece on 17-year-old wunderkind Kjersti Long, who’s “Legs (Keep Dancing)” song from Vanessa Williams, hit #3 on the Billboard Dance Charts. Check it out here: https://www.ksl.com/article/51008484/meet-the-utah-teen-who-helped-write-vanessa-williams-new-single

Robert Funaro

The Soprano’s Robert Funaro was a guest on NYC’s PIX11 and talked his new projects. Check it out here: Catching up with ‘The Sopranos’ Robert Funaro (youtube.com)

David Kramer

Check out Zach Martin’s session with Director David Kramer on his Jimi Hendrix: The Documentary: https://newhdmedia.com/jimi-hendrix-medical-mysteries-wine-controversy-and-persistent-murder-theories/

Felix Cavaliere

Felix Cavaliere on WOR this morning with Len Berman and Michael Riedel. He and Gene Cornish are at SONY Hall Friday. It’ll be Gene’s 80th Bday … Happy Bday Denise Lopez … RIP Roger Corman (https://deadline.com/2024/05/roger-corman-dead-independent-filmmaker-1235912737/)

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Zach Martin; Greg Porto; Kimberly Cornell; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Asha Puthli; Jim Burgess; Glenn Friscia; Richard Johnson; David Sanborn; Paul Butterfield; Eppy; Mitch Kanner; Bruce Schindler; Anthony Pomes; Terry Jastrow; Crimshaw; Peter Abraham; Dan Zelinski; Donna Quinter; Wayne Avers; Anthony Pomes; Peter Abraham; Dan Zelinski; and Sadie!


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Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

SAMBORA SPEAKS — (Via Ultimate Classic Rock) Richie Sambora has only one regret regarding his exit from Bon Jovi. The guitarist, who abruptly quit the band in 2013 to spend more time with his family, was a recent guest on The Allison Hagendorf Show. When asked what he would change about his departure from Bon Jovi if he could go back in time, Sambora was forthright.

“I probably would have left earlier,” the rocker admitted. “I might have left a couple of albums before because, I think Jon [Bon Jovi] was moving into a place where he wanted to not really be a band.”

This was not the first time the guitarist sensed Bon Jovi would rather go solo.

“When we first met, he was thriving to be a kind of a solo artist in a Bruce Springsteen way or a Rick Springfield way,” Sambora explained. “And quite frankly, it was an ultimatum for me when I just before Slippery [When Wet] [was made]. I went, ‘Come on, man. Let me in. We have to do this. We have to make this a band situation if we want to invade the planet and have people accept it.’”

Elsewhere in the interview, Sambora explained his dissatisfaction with the recently-released Bon Jovi documentary Thank You, Goodnight.

“Hey, look, this obviously was [Jon’s] personal perception. And this documentary was his perception, his baby. I really had nothing to do with it,” the guitarist explained. “I disagree with a lot of stuff or whatever, but I’m not really shaken by it.”

“It could have been more of a celebration,” Sambora continued. “We could have cut that down to about two hours, because, to me, the celebration would have been the great songs that we wrote and how we sold all those millions of records and played for people. I was in the band for 32 years, which is unbelievable anyway. [That] five guys could be married for 32 years, it’s incredible. That celebration of those great songs that people really took into their lives, that’s what I believed the 40-year celebration would be myself. But, like I said, it was his baby.”

Asked what he would change about the documentary, Sambora laughed.

“Everything,” he remarked. “There’s one thing that’s not in there, and it’s everything. Like I said, to me, this is Jon’s baby.”

Interesting for sure. Again, Sambora in the doc looked haggard, confused and sort of embarrassed to even be there. Here, he essentially said the same thing. Sure, he’s clearly going through a rough patch and actually, what he says make a lot of sense. But I think it’s ironic that he’s got to say these things as a result of the doc. To be honest, he should have got out in-front of the doc and spun his story.

These days everyone has a spin-doctor.

Steve Albini

ALBINI PASSES — (via Deadline) Steve Albini a singer and guitarist best known for producing some of the most groundbreaking and influential albums of the alt-rock genre, died of a heart attack at his Chicago recording studio Electrical Audio. He was 61. Albini’s death and cause of death was confirmed by Taylor Hales of Electrical Audio.

Born July 22, 1962, in Pasadena, Albini moved to the Chicago area after high school to study journalism at Northwestern University. While there, he began writing for local punk rock ‘zines and beginning to record and engineer albums for local bands.

Stubbornly opposed to the larger music industry and its exploitation of artists, Albini formed the Chicago-based band Big Black in 1981, recording the first of several albums, an EP for the Chicago label Ruthless Records, a label he co-managed. That band last until 1987.

From 1987 to 1988, Albini sang and played guitar for Rapeman, named after a Japanese comic book. The short-lived band broke up after one album, two singles and an EP. Albini later expressed remorse over the band name, calling it “a flippant choice,” “unconscionable” and “indefensible.”

Albini formed Shellac in 1992, a band that continues to this day.

While a longstanding and active musician, Albani’s name is most closely associated with producing, or what he preferred to call engineering. In a 2018 interview, Albini estimated that he had engineered several thousand records, mostly by underground rock musicians. Albini’s more well-known collaborations were with Pixies, The Breeders, the Jesus Lizard, PJ Harvey, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant (as Page and Plant), Fred Schneider, The Stooges, Manic Street Preachers, Jarvis Cocker, the Fleshtones, The Membranes, Cheap Trick, Motorpsycho, Veruca Salt, and The Auteurs.

But in the history of rock, Albini’s name will forever be linked to Nirvana. In 1993, the band led by Kurt Cobain, who had been impressed with Albini’s production of the Pixie album Surfer Rosa and The Breeders’ Pod, hired Albini in 1993 for work on its third album In Utero.

The six-day recording went more smoothly than the perpetually-restless Cobain had anticipated, though the front man initially expressed dissatisfaction with the album and even considered re-recording it. Albini refused to re-record. The band brought in R.E.M. producer Scott Litt to remix some of the songs, with Albini later saying the finished album didn’t “sound all that much” like the record he had produced.

Accounts over the years vary about exactly how much difference can be heard in the two versions, but regardless of the inside-baseball controversy, In Utero would become a generational touchstone. Released on September 21, 1993, the album was a major commercial and critical success, featuring a roster of songs that would become among Nirvana’s best and most popular: “Serve the Servants,” “Scentless Apprentice,” “Dumb,” “Pennyroyal Tea,” and the massive hits “Heart-Shaped Box” and “All Apologies.”

SHORT TAKES — Check out Carol Ruth Weber’s  excellent interview with Felix Cavaliere in Medium:https://carolruthweber.medium.com/felix-cavaliere-relays-rascal-energy-voicing-joy-peace-8afd25a108fc

Maggie Q

Maggie Q joining the cast of the Renee Ballard sequel to Bosh: Legacy and John Malkovich and Paul Walter Hauser have been added to the cast of Marvel’s Fantastic Four to be helmed by Matt Shakman (WandaVision)  …

Fantastic Four

PR-pasha David Salidor at The Smith in NOMAD …RIP Dennis Thompson … Happy Bday Ken Dashow!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Jeff Smith; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; David Kramer; Vinny Rich; Jim Bessman; Michael Starr; Richard Johnson; Tate Taylor; Peter Abraham; Jack Cunningham; Marsha Stern; Obi Steinman; Gene Cornish; Roger Friedman; Steve Leeds; Paul Cooper; Len Berman; Chuck Scarborough; Amanda Naylor; Bruce Haring; Roy Trakin; Harrison Jordan; and ZIGGY!

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