When talking about the Kardashian family, a lot of adjectives come to mind, but fascinating is probably not high on the list. However, that is what Barbara Walters calls the E! stars, or as she brands them, “American Reality Royalty”. The semi-retired news interviewer features the Kardashians front-and-center on her list of the most fascinating people of 2011. And they are not the only odd choices on the list, which will be showcased at the 19th annual Barbara Walters Presents the 10 Most Fascinating People TV special on ABC. Frankly, Pippa Middleton, who captivated the world with her backside at the British royal wedding in May seems like the only legitimate entry. She is joined by Simon Cowell, whose return to American television with The X Factor fell way short of his and everyone’s expectations, and Derek Jeter, captain of the New York Yankees who were eliminated embarrassingly early this fall. No presidential candidate made the cut, but a person who decided not to run, Donald Trump, did. A couple of other honorees deserve to be on the list but the one from last year (Katy Perry, whose smash album, Teenage Dream, was released in August 2010) and even 2009 (Modern Family co-stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet). The No.1 most fascinating person is being kept under wraps until the TV special. The cast of Jersey Shore maybe?
While there is currently uncertainty over the status of the Paul Greengrass-directed Martin Luther King Jr film Memphis and the Lee Daniels-directed MLK film Selma, Samuel L. Jackson has just committed to playing the civil rights leader on Broadway in The Mountaintop. The move was long-rumored, but he will not be joined by Halle Berry, whose child-custody issues will keep her from joining Jackson. He becomes the latest film star to take a stage turn, and Broadway has been the better for it. Here’s the official announcement:
New York, NY – It was announced today that Samuel L. Jackson will make his Broadway debut starring as Dr. Martin Luther King in the Broadway production of the new play, The Mountaintop, by Katori Hall directed by Tony Award Nominee Kenny Leon (Fences, A Raisin in the Sun). The Mountaintop will begin performances on September 22, 2011, at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (242 West 45th Street), with an official opening on Thursday, October 13, 2011. Tickets for The Mountaintop will go on sale at a later date.
The Mountaintop is produced by Jean Doumanian Productions, Sonia Friedman Productions, Ambassador Theatre Group, Jerry Frankel, Ted Snowdon, Bob Bartner, and Tom Wirtshafter.
In a joint statement, Ms. Doumanian and Ms. Friedman said, “The Mountaintop is a brilliantly conceived gem of a play. An ambitious work of fiction that is powerful, heartbreaking, humorous and exhilarating. We are thrilled to be bringing Katori Hall’s remarkable, Olivier-winning work to New York, and to present a singular new American voice to Broadway audiences. And we are honored to be presenting the Broadway debut of the great Samuel L. Jackson.”
Early this morning, Deadline ran a clip of Saturday Night Live’s fun commercial parody dealing with injury lawsuits suffered by cast an audience of Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. In case you missed it, it’s worth a watch:
It’s another dark night at Broadway’s Foxwood Theatre for Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. After a cancelled performance Tuesday, previews were supposed to resume tonight but the stage crew and performers took an extra day to incorporate the extra safety procedures designed to eliminated the variables that led to an …
American Beauty‘s Kevin Spacey and Sam Mendes have formalized their plans to re-team in a stage production of Richard III, which will premiere at Spacey’s haunt The Old Vic June 29, 2011 and transplant to the Brooklyn Academy of …
UPDATE: The Shubert Organization has announced cast on this. Joining Kiefer Sutherland and Brian Cox will be Jim Gaffigan (playing George Sikowski), Chris Noth (playing Phil Romano), and Jason Patric (playing Tom Daley). They haven’t yet set a theater.
EARLIER: Last time Kiefer Sutherland was hanging around New York, he was here saving the world as Jack Bauer in the final season of the Fox series 24. Sutherland is coming back to town, this time to star in a revival of the Jason Miller play That Championship Season. He’ll star alongside Brian Cox, with Gregory Mosher directing. Rehearsals start in January for a February 10, 2011 opening. The play is about four guys who come for a reunion with their high school hoops coach 20 years after they won the state championship. The players have all stayed in touch the coach (Cox) but never really achieved their career goals in life. The reunion might be their last, and secrets spill. Sutherland will play the role of James Daley, a local junior high school principal. The original play debuted in 1972 and won both the Tony Award and Pulitizer Prize the following year.
Theaters will dim their lights on Thursday night for the man who penned the books to Fiddler on the Roof and Zorba. He died on Sunday at 98 years old. All Broadway marquees will be dimmed at 8:00 PM for 1 minute.
EXCLUSIVE: The latest in a parade of major stars being drawn to the Broadway stage: Ben Stiller and Edie Falco are making deals to star on Broadway next spring in The House of Blue Leaves, a revival of John Guare’s seminal stage play. Mark your calendar for an opening date of next spring, at the Walter Kerr Theatre, with Scott Rudin producing. For Stiller in particular, the stage turn is a homecoming. He made his Broadway debut in the 1986 revival of The House of Blue Leaves, a play that originated off-Broadway in 1971. This time, he’ll play the male lead role of Artie Shaughnessy, a frustrated zookeeper who dreams of making it big as a songwriter. The play takes place in 1965 on a day that Pope Paul VI is visiting New York. Falco will play his wife, Bananas, a schizophrenic who is headed for a mental institution. The play takes place in their Queens home. It is a 60s-centric storyline, with political bombings and the Vietnam War among the plot developments, but the 1986 production won the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Revival.
BREAKING NEWS: Baz Luhrmann is refashioning his feature directing debut Strictly Ballroom into a stage musical. The original film was written and directed by Luhrmann based on a stage play he originally conceived and cowrote as a student at Sydney’s National Institute of Dramatic Art. It’s getting another go on the stage as Luhrmann will hold a creative workshop in December in Sydney, Australia. Sounds like this one will follow a fast track to the stage.
Jeremy Dyson, co-creator of cult BBC comedy The League of Gentlemen, won the Edge Hill Short Story Prize last night for The Cranes That Build Cranes. Ghost Stories, the sell-out play which Dyson co-wrote, is transferring to the West End following …