Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley announced today that the cast of “Melrose Place” will reunite on a very special edition of “Stars In The House,” airing Tuesday, April 28th at 8 PM ET on the Stars In The House YouTube channel. For the first time since 2012, Josie Bissett (Jane Mancini), Thomas Calabro (Michael Mancini), Marcia Cross (Kimberly Shaw), Laura Leighton (Sydney Andrews), Heather Locklear (Amanda Woodward), Doug Savant (Matt Fielding), Grant Show (Jake Hanson), Andrew Shue (Billy Campbell), Courtney Thorne-Smith (Alison Parker) and Daphne Zuniga (Jo Reynolds) will reminisce with Seth and James on their years in West Hollywood’s most iconic apartment complex. The reunion supports The Actors Fund; fans can donate while they watch. Viewers will also be able to join in on the fun, ask questions and interact with Seth, James, and the cast in real time throughout the evening.
“Seth and I believe that in this time of social distancing and isolation, much happiness can be found by seeing familiar faces from shows beloved by the whole world,” said James Wesley. “We call these shows comfort TV. And we plan on having even more every week, along with our beloved theatre pals – all for The Actors Fund.”
“Melrose Place” joins the extraordinary lineup of casts that Seth and James have brought back together to sing, share stories, and raise funds to help entertainment professionals in need during the COVID-19 pandemic; including TV favorites “Frasier,” “Glee,” “Desperate Housewives,” “SCTV,” “Difficult People,” and “Taxi;” and the iconic original Broadway casts of “Spring Awakening” and “Les Misérables,” among others. Celebrity guests Chita Rivera, Kristin Chenoweth, Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond, Jeremy Jordan, Judith Light, Audra McDonald and Will Swenson, Patrick Wilson, Annette Bening, and many more have also stopped by. As the creators and executive producers of “Stars In The House,” Seth and James bring a masterful combination of music and community to each episode, ensuring that the show goes on in viewers’ homes even while performance venues across the world are closed.
“Stars In The House” airs new episodes daily at 2 PM and 8 PM on its YouTube channel. For more information and to see upcoming guests, please visit starsinthehouse.com or follow Seth (@SethRudetsky) and James (@JamesWesleyNYC) on Twitter and Instagram.
“Stars in the House,” which officially kicked off on March 16th, is a daily series that features stars of stage and screen singing and performing live (from home!) to promote support for The Fund’s services for those most vulnerable to the effects of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Joining Seth and James for the shows is Dr. Jon LaPook, chief medical correspondent for CBS News. Visit starsinthehouse.com to donate to The Actors Fund, watch previous episodes, learn about upcoming guests and more.
Since the first show, “Stars in the House” has raised more than $240,150 to benefit The Actors Fund.
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Get Ready to Party With Gatsby
Upon purchase of your ticket, you are invited to one of Jay Gatsby’s infamous parties. As invites go, this is the hottest ticket in town. A world of red-hot rhythms, bootleg liquor, and pure jazz age self-indulgence awaits. Spend the evening dancing, gossiping and clinking glasses with Nick Carraway, Daisy and Tom Buchanan, Myrtle Wilson, and the perfect host, Mr. Jay Gatsby himself. The champagne flows and the drama unfolds. Dress to the nines and join this heart racing, immersive theatrical adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic tale direct from London after 7 years of sold-out performances.
Welcome back to the roaring twenties!
The Great Gatsby is finally coming to its spiritual home in New York. Dark, hedonistic, literary, and theatrical, this immersive telling of one of the world’s greatest novels brings audiences closer to Jay Gatsby’s opulent world than ever before.
Following a record-breaking seven year run in the UK, Immersive Everywhere’s critically acclaimed immersive production of The Great Gatsby, will make its New York debut at The Gatsby Mansion at the Park Central Hotel New York (870 Seventh Avenue).
The party starts as soon as you arrive.
The Gatsby Mansion at the Park Central Hotel New York space has been transformed into a new interactive theatrical venue. With its own separate entrance on 55th Street and Seventh Avenue, visitors will enter immediately into Gatsby’s Mansion. A complete renovation covering over 16,000 square feet of the Park Central Hotel New York ballroom space will deliver audiences into a fully immersive and enthralling world of music, darks stories and wonder from the world of Jay Gatsby.
“Immersive” means that the environment is designed to deliver an all-encompassing experience; from the moment you enter Gatsby’s Mansion, you will feel like you have been transported back to the roaring 1920’s. You may have the opportunity to follow the other guests into smaller rooms and spaces, with Mr. Gatsby himself, if you are so lucky! You need only interact as much as you are comfortable to – if you prefer to observe from the side-lines, please do. In fact, Mr. Gatsby often enjoys doing exactly that himself! 1920s dress code is encouraged but not compulsory.
Tickets are $99 plus tax and you can get them here.
The Glorious Corner
SO LONG, FAREWELL — I’ve been a TV-guy for decades; from Mary Tyler Moore; MASH; The X-Files and Seinfeld on down; I’ve seen great shows fall low with just terribly written finales, but the final-Ted Lasso episode this week was nothing short of brilliant. The acting, the writing, the joie de vivre off the charts.
Joie de vivre literally translates into the joy of living and the three seasons of Ted Lasso were all just sensational in every way. Sure, there were some standout episodes (Beard After Hours), but Jason Sudeikis and gang were always just wonderful. Some pundits said that this third season ran off the rails a bit, but this last episode neatly tied them all up. And I’d be remiss in not mentioning the brilliant music that accompanied each and every episode; from The Monkees’ “Sometime In The Morning” to the new Ed Sheeran record which debuted in this last episode. Just so neatly done.
I’ll tell you what I really liked from the get-go was the fact that this episode began after Ted clearly told Rebecca he was going home in the last episode. The fact that they didn’t show it, made it a lot easier to digest. Hannah Waddingham is a star and she had her moment with Ted, in the seats, asking him one more time to stay.
She’s going to be as huge star, so get ready to see a lot more of her.
Brett Goldstein too (Roy Kent) was just tremendous. He’s huge already!
Roy Kent became the new coach of AFC Richmond with Nate as an able assistant. Ted Crimm (James Lance) finished his book originally titled The Lasso Way, but Ted after reading it and loving it, wanted a new title. Hence, The Richmond Way.
Just a great episode; a tad longer at 76-minutes, but richly written and acted. I am going to miss this show tremendously.
Utterly brilliant in every way.
MILLI VANILLI — (Via Deadline) A feature doc about controversial pop group Milli Vanilli has been picked up by Paramount +.
The eponymous doc, which tells the story of the duo who were forced to return their Grammy Award for Best New Artist after it was revealed that they didn’t sing on any of their records, is premiering at the Tribeca Festival.
The streamer will launch the doc in the U.S. as well as in Canada, the U.K., Australia, Latin America, Brazil, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
Produced by MRC and MTV Entertainment Studios, Milli Vanilli tells the story of Robert Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan, who became fast friends during their youth in Germany. With Rob coming from a broken home and Fabrice having left an abusive household, they shared a similar upbringing, as well as a future goal: to become famous superstars. In a few short years, their dreams came true. Their first album went platinum six times in 1989, and their hit Girl You Know It’s True sold over 30 million singles worldwide. Rob and Fab became the world’s most popular pop duo in 1990. However, their ascension to success came with a devastating price that ultimately led to their infamous undoing.
“For over 30 years, the story of Milli Vanilli – in particular Rob and Fab – has been reduced to sensational headlines,” said director Luke Korem. “With this documentary, we pull back the curtain on pop music. Featuring interviews with the real singers, record executives, the producer mastermind behind the deception and exclusive interviews with Rob and Fab, we unveil the truth of this complex, exciting and dramatic story. I’m thrilled that Paramount+ shares our vision and will bring this film to audiences around the world.”
“Finally – the true story of Milli Vanilli has been told,” added Fabrice Morvan. “I’m thankful Luke Korem and his team went to the lengths that they did. The journey I returned to during the filming of this documentary didn’t leave any stone unturned. At last I can close this chapter in peace… Get ready to take a walk in our steel-toe boots.”
SHORT TAKES — Nomad’s Flatiron Building looks to be turned into a residential house. Not a bad idea at all. Great address (175 Fifth) and a great location … Brian Lowry, who used to cover TV for Variety, now is at CNN. Great writer and he did a fantastic book on The X-Files years back. Congrats …
Donnie Kehr at Steve Walter’s CuttingRoom Sunday performing his Beautiful Strange album live … As you can well imagine, the reviews for Succession’s finale were just tremendous; both pro and con for certain, The Washington Post ran an interesting piece on the show as well; from a more medical-point of view. I loved it; take a look: https://www.washingtonpost.com/wellness/2023/05/30/succession-wealth-family-life-psychologists/ …
Daryl Easlea: a brilliant writer from the U.K. has a book coming out on Slade entitled Whatever Happened To Slade?Remember them?
Here’s the cover … To close this year’s Tribeca Festival, there will be a special 30th anniversary screening of the film, A Bronx Tale, Saturday, June 17. After the film, Robert DeNiro (who directed the movie), Jane Rosenthal, and Chazz Palminteri will participate in a live conversation with David Remmick, editor of the New Yorker. Definitely one of the major highlights of this year’s fete … (Via Showbiz 411):
Billy Joel is wrapping it up. The Piano Man will end his record-breaking run at Madison Square Garden in July 2024. It will be his 150th monthly show. The whole run has been an incredible success, allowing Billy to stay mostly close to him and bring all his fans to him. At times, he’s strayed to other cities and countries, but every month like clockwork he’s been at the Garden playing his hits to very happy fans. The sold out residency began back in 2014, believe it or not. Billy has outlasted dozens of Broadway shows, some mayors, governors, presidents, etc. The run has been a phenomenon and a stunning success. Joel will turn 75 next May, so that plus the magic 150 number and it all makes sense … Happy Bday Melani Rogers; Ronnie Wood; and David Keeps.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Daryl Easlea; Tony King; David Geffen; Ed Rosenblatt; Glenn Friscia; Jim Burgess; Kent Denmark; Mikael Wood; Lester Bangs; Anne Leighton; Vince Aletti; Fred Goodman; Mark Bego; Mike Greenblatt; Ken Dashow; Jane Rosenthal; Robert DeNiro; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Markos Papadatos; and ZIGGY!
Out of Town
Monty Python’s Spamalot Finds its Grail Hilariously at the Stratford Festival 2023
“Always look on the bright side of life“, that’s what they sing, so enthusiastically to all of us, with automatic head-bobbings from one joyous side to another in happy unison, and inside Stratford Festival‘s magnificent production of Monty Python’s Spamalot, there really is no other way to go. It’s deliciously fun and utterly ridiculous, as any Monty Python engagement should ultimately be, with stellar comedic performances riding in most delightfully to the sound of coconut shells banging together with determination by those that follow. Within seconds, after our surprising side trip to Finland, all hesitations are entirely washed away by the utter skillful hilarity of all involved. Purposefully directed with sharp clever focus by Lezlie Wade (La Jolla/Broadway’s Jesus Christ Superstar), the quest for extreme merriment is “steady and over we go” inside the Avon Theatre in Stratford, Ontario as it is achieved wholeheartedly at every turn of phrase. And that is something no “doubting Dennis” will argue about.
Ripped expertly off from the motion picture “Monty Python and the Holy Grail“, this stunningly funny staging of the Broadway stage musical that in 2005 received 14 Tony Award nominations, winning in three categories, including Best Musical, finds its grail time and time again, delivering forth joke after silly joke with an expertise that is golden and holy. With a score by John Du Prez and Eric Idle, and lyrics and book by Idle, this superb parody of epic proportions is completely entertaining and non-stop irreverent, in the best of all possible ways. Playing parody with Arthurian legend, Spamalot leads itself in at the instruction of the Historian, played to perfection by Henry Firmston (Stratford’s Chicago). It’s all about the tale of King Arthur, hilariously well portrayed by Jonathan Goad (Stratford’s To Kill a Mockingbird) and his trusting right-hand coconut-wielding sound man, Patsy, awesomely embodied by Eddie Glen (MTC’s The 39 Steps), by his side. They are out on an expedition, searching for and trying to recruit a knightly army of men to serve and follow him. That is once we get our location settings all in order.
Now that we find ourselves (correctly) in dreary dark England, with penitent monks bashing themselves on the head to the beat of some drum, King Arthur hooves his way before us with his trusted sound man behind him, mimicking him to perfection. How do we know he’s the King? Well, “he hasn’t got shit all over him” is about the best response one could have, as the two go door to door trying to form a troupe of knights to sit at the round table in Camelot (and I must add, after watching the most recent revival of Camelot at the Lincoln Center Theatre a few months ago, this is the one I’d most like to hang out it, in spades). And as they say, whatever happens in Camelot, stays in Camelot.
Slowly but surely, they gather together this band of merry ridiculous men; Sir Robin, portrayed with song and dance in his heart by Trevor Patt (TIP’s Jersey Boys); Sir Lancelot, played tremendously (and violently) well by Aaron Krohn (Broadway’s The Lehman Trilogy); Sir Bedevere, cagedly portrayed with glee by Aidan DeSalaiz (Winter Garden’s Into the Woods); and Sir Dennis Galahad, beautifully embodied by the beautifully coifed (and very funny) Liam Tobin (Broadway’s The Book of Mormon). Even if his politically radical mother, Mrs. Galahad (DeSalaiz) is against it from the get-go. She states, most wisely, that they all must deny any king who has not been elected by the people, and therefore, Arthur has no legitimate right to rule over them. Well said. But it doesn’t really matter in the end. Just ask that Lady in the Lake, played magnificently by the oh-so-talented Jennifer Rider-Shaw (Stratford’s Chicago). She has another plan floating within her.
Sir Robin and Sir Lancelot need to navigate the Not Dead Yet Fred (Firmston) and his lively riotous number, “He Is Not Dead Yet.” Gloriously grand. But it’s Sir Galahad (and his mother) that needs to be convinced by the mighty charms and voice of the Lady of the Lake who has to prove to them that the story of Excalibur is real and true. Cheered on by the “Laker Girls Cheer“, she turns Dennis into the dashingly handsome Sir Galahad and together, they sing the most generic (and wonderfully long) Broadway love song, “The Song That Goes Like This“, complete with a falling chandelier and swampy boat ride in order to win out the day. With a grand fling of his locks, he happily joins Sir Robin and Sir Lancelot, and together with cagey Sir Bedevere and the “aptly named” Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Show (Knuckle), they all set off for Camelot and the adventurous quest that leads them through this ridiculously funny skit-filled show.
For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com
Out of Town
Stratford Festival’s King Lear 2023 Struggles in the Controlled Column of Rain
“It smells of mortality,” this King Lear, as the Stratford Police Pipes and Drums parade us into the opening night of the Stratford Festival in beautiful Stratford, Ontario. I must admit freely that I was thrilled. To be invited to all the openings of this world-renowned Festival is a dream, and I couldn’t be more thankful. Yet, I also couldn’t help but contemplate that moment in 2018, when, after watching The Royal Shakespeare Company’s King Lear at BAM, I surprised myself by thinking that I wasn’t quite sure I wanted another Lear viewing for some time coming. Don’t get me wrong. I love the play, with all its rich unfolding divisions around love, blindness, sanity, and a certain kind of madness that lies awaiting deep inside the sharp illumination of darkness and ego. Yet, this Shakespearian contemplation written with all the complexities of love, duty, and deceit intermingled is not my favorite of the bunch (honestly, I think that might be Macbeth). But it certainly isn’t my least favored either.
Yet after seeing that RSC production at BAM, which starred the incomparable Sir Antony Sher, I watched in awe as it dragged itself forward like an old Cleopatrian relic, spreading itself out slowly and ceremoniously in a way that made me slouch in my seat wishing for bed. That King never fully emotionally engaged, even with the hard-at-work Sher, one of Britain’s most esteemed classical actors, giving it his all. He enthrallingly stated in the program that once you play Lear, there’s really “nowhere else to go, Shakespeare-wise“. The part is a virtuoso solitary climb; a battle against time and importance; a “shouting at, arguing with, a storm.” And what could be better than that? It’s the ultimate human duel with the force of nature and existence, crackling with lighting and fury (as it should be). So it’s no wonder that I found myself, once again, ready and willing to engage, with this text and the trauma that is at the heart of this family breakdown.
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