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Andrea Martin, Nia Valdos

Andrea Martin and Nia Vardalos

14-years-later “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” is back on the big screen. Its predecessor was one of the biggest sleeper hits of all time. This family reunion (the entire cast returns) is charming, funny, relaxing and entertaining. Is it great filming…no, but it takes us back to a simpler place and right now that is just what the doctor ordered.

Lance Kazen, Andrea Martin

Lance Kazen and Andrea Martin

Critics didn’t love Vardalos’ first feature but the word-of-mouth and award nominations (Oscar nom for Vardalos’ original screenplay and a SAG ensemble nom for the cast), made it a film of the people.

Elena Kampouris, Nia  Valdos

Elena Kampouris and Nia Vardlos

Family remains the driving force as Toula (Vardalos) and her husband Ian (John Corbett) deal with 17-year-old daughter, Paris’s (Elena Kampouris), embarrassment over this obnoxiously loving close family just as her mother did. Toula’s proud Greek immigrant father, Gus (Michael Constantine), coughs under his breath “payback.” Paris hoping to go to college in New York makes Toula has to learn to let go so she can rekindle the romance with Ian. One of the best scenes is in the car as they try to be passionate.

 Joey Fatone, Gia Carides, John Corbett Nia Vardalos, Lanie Kazan

Joey Fatone, Gia Carides, John Corbett Nia Vardalos, Lanie Kazan

In the meantime, Toula must also deal with the crises of her parent’s marriage license not being valid. Maria (Lainie Kazan), upon learning of this decides she wants to re-evaluate her options.

Highlights are when Paris asks the boy (Alex Wolff) she’s crushing on to go the the prom and finds out he’s greek. New member arrives for the wedding and that is Gus’ long-lost brother (a Mark Margolis).

Gus still toting around his beloved Windex and claiming every word, invention and person has Greek roots and is obsessed with proving he’s a direct descendant of Alexander the Great. His learning ancestry.com will delight anyone who has taught an older person how to use a computer. Andrea Martin steals every scene as feisty Aunt Voula. Gia Carides and Joey Fatone as Toula’s cousins are back with Joey revealing a secret about his personal life; Bess Meisler as the elderly family matriarch is higly amusing when she gets made over. Rita Wilson (who serves as producer, along with Tom Hanks) and John Stamos enter playing husband and wife but get lost in the mix.

Kirk Jones has taken over the direction reins from Joel Zwick and the feel is more pedestrian.

Film Review: “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2”

Running time: 94 MIN.

A Universal release of a Universal and Gold Circle Entertainment presentation, in association with Home Box Office, of a Playtone production. Produced by Rita Wilson, Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks. Executive producers, Paul Brooks, Scott Niemeyer, Steven Shareshian, Nia Vardalos. Co­-producer, David Coatsworth.

With

Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Michael Constantine, Lainie Kazan, Andrea Martin, Gia Carides, Joey Fatone, Elena Kampouris, Alex Wolff, Louis Mandylor, Bess Meisler, Bruce Gray, Fiona Reid, Ian Gomez, Jayne Eastwood, Rob Riggle, Mark Margolis, Rita Wilson, John Stamos.

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

Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

RASCALS AT SONY HALL — The Rascals long-awaited return to NYC proved to be a sensational evening of music. Their 16-song set, backed up by a terrific band -including bassist John Billings from Micky Dolenz’s band- was rocking from the start with their “Do You Feel It” and “”Beautiful Morning.” Felix Cavaliere’s vibrant vocals were just a joy. Face it, for people of a certain age, we grew up with this voice … just magical.

Micky Dolenz

Their cover of the Jackie Wilson-chestnut “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) High” set the SRO crowd afire.

Felix then brought his daughter Aria out for two selections. Clearly, she’s inherited by father’s dynamic vocal prowess. She was just terrific and a nice surprise.

Cavaliere then brought out guitarist Gene Cornish who was just wonderful. Gene has had some health issues, but his presence brought the show to a magnificent high-point.

Oddly, there was no mention of the rumored “My Hawaii” from Cavaliere with vocals from Dolly Parton. He mentioned it in a recent interview with Medium, but was mum about it on last Monday’s WOR-interview with Len Berman and Michael Riedel. I hear that the release has been held up several times. Sad … can’t wait to hear it.

The show ended with their signature classics “I’ve Been Lonely Too Long,” “How Can I Be Sure,” “People Got To Be Free” and Good Lovin’.” The Rascals’ music is ingrained and it was a joy to hear it once again. Truth be told, it sounded better than ever!

Seated in a corner booth by the stage was none other than Bill Murray – a huge fan. Great night sensational set. Also, there were Rascals-PR man David Salidor; Dan Zelinski; Billy Amendola; Magda Katz from Times Square Chronicles; and Susan Nuzzi Russo. Thanks to SONY Hall’s Peter Abraham for his assistance.

David Sanborn

DAVID SANBORN — We don’t usually re-print tributes, but this, from David Sanborn’s wife Alice Soyer was so heartfelt.  Take a read:

Dave, my love, my warrior, my soulmate, my unique bird, my everything. I cannot believe what I’m writing right now but what I know is that you changed my life, because of you I know what true love is, I had and have it all. I have it all. Although I’m going to miss you every single minute of my life, I know that the pain you were enduring was not right, those pains are now released and you are completely free. You are and will be in every note, in every breath, in every sound that touches the soul, in every sun beam, in every cloud, in every beat of my heart. Dave you are an inspiration. Your courage to be yourself, to reveal this true voice screaming from inside, oh my love you are a true warrior, a pure artist, an extraordinary being.I will honor you every step on the way, I will represent you, us. I love you madly.

Dave forever

Don Grolnick

SHORT TAKES — First off, I left off one very important member when I referenced The Brecker Brothers last time: keyboardist-genius Don Grolnick: terrifically talented and much-missed …

George Harrison

One of the best parts of watching Let It Be(again!) was seeing John & Yoko dancing to George Harrison’s stunningly-beautiful “I Me Mine.” Awesome…  From Roger Friedman’s SHOWBIZ 411:Barbra Streisand just released a new a beautiful new single called “Love Will Survive,” for the closing credits of the upcoming series “The Tattooist of Auschwitz.” It’s maybe Streisand’s best new vocal in years thanks to producers Walter Afanasieff (Mariah Carey’s classics) and Peter Asher (Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor classics). So now I’m told Streisand has booked the producing duo for her next album of duets. Barbra has a couple of these under her belt over her six decade career. But this one sounds like a powerhouse … Great interview with Micky Dolenz in advance of his Surf Ballroom show Friday in Clear Lake, Iowa: https://littlevillagemag.com/monkee-micky-dolenz-surf-ballroom/?fbclid=IwAR2jXAYYYCJ_19ovY4yT8DU8OfdaTU-GYdYhXahF-rvYj3yERRW_K5MmgrI

Francis Ford Coppola

With this year’s Cannes  Film Festival underway, the first big movie screened was Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis and it generated some of the craziest reviews I’ve ever seen.

Mostly positive. Coppola’s a genius, so you know to expect the unexpected. I think my favorite was from the UK’s Daily Telegraph which gave the movie four stars, saying, “Coppola’s latest is like Succession crossed with Batman Forever and a lava lamp… Aubrey Plaza is fantastic in this full-body sensory bath movie which follows a struggle for power among the elites of New Rome.” Me? I can’t wait to see it. The guy’s a bloody genius … 17-year-old wunderkind Kjersti Long -co writer of Vanessa Williams’ current return to music “Legs (Keep Dancing)”- heads to NYC for the Tribeca Festival in 2 weeks … And Apple TV’s Sugar -with Colin Farrell- ended its run. The first few episodes were great; very LA Confidential, but then, it turned into a sci-fi adventure. Odd? You bet. The ending left room for a second season, but I highly doubt it. Farell was great, but the topsy-turvy plot twist was brutal.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — August Darnell; Coati Mundi; Jeff Vogel; Kent Kotal; Bruce Grakal; Ringo Starr; Danny Fried; China Club; Tony King; Peter Brown; Mark Bego; Kent & Laura Denmark Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Peter Abraham; Peter Lubin; Steve Plotnicki; Profile Records; Joe Cocker; Lush Ice; Anthony Pomes; Terry Jastrow; and BELLA!

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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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