Broadway Books executive editor Charlie Conrad and editorial director Gerry Howard have landed the memoir of Albert DeMeo, son of mob hitman Roy DeMeo, in a preemptive mid-six figure deal.
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Jim Blomfield has been tapped chief executive of News Corp.’s Foxtel, the leading Australian feevee service.
Blomfield was director of technology and broadcasting at Foxtel before taking the same post in 1997 at Japan’s JSkyB (now known as SkyPerfecTV).
Ever since the Cold War ended, spy-story aficionados have sought a way to revive the genre within the context of the new world order. This latest series from Barry Sonnenfeld’s company simply lets the context remain vague — our secret agent works for “the agency,” the bad guy for “another organization” — and relies on a retro chic style to entertain.
Despite an all-star cast, “Trixie,” Alan Rudolph’s new comedy-mystery about larceny, love and language, is a minor, rather trivial film that reflects the director’s whimsical wish to revisit the popular genres of noir and screwball, but which lacks distinctive humor or a fresh contempo take. In her first comedic role, the talented Emily Watson is restricted by Rudolph’s misguided script and gives a one-note performance as a naive blue-collar gumshoe. A strong cast, which includes Nick Nolte, Nathan Lane and Lesley Ann Warren, elevates this baffling effort only to the level of a curiosity item. Sony Classics should expect small returns for a picture whose appeal will likely be limited to Rudolph’s hard-core fans. The film received a lukewarm response when it world-preemed at Sundance.Working in dead-end jobs all her life, security guard Trixie Zurbo (Watson) stumbles into what seems like an exciting and dangerous detective case: a murder mystery involving Sen. Drummond Avery (Nolte). She’s a naive woman who’s obsessed with disclosing the truth but who has trouble putting it into words. In the first reel, viewers may be amused at Trixie’s battle with the English language. Her malapropisms have a more truthful ring than when she tries to express herself in a grammatically correct manner.
Pedro Calderon de la Barca’s 17th-century classic “Life Is a Dream” would have been the perfect tapestry for a Verdi or Meyerbeer opera, and Jose Rivera’s new adaptation of the play sings powerfully. The playwright performs a high-wire act that keeps “Sueno” continually teetering between the ridiculous and the sublime. James Goldman attempted a similar feat with his royal family catfight “The Lion in Winter,” but where his juxtaposition of the lyric and the vernacular merely sank into the banal, Rivera orchestrates his modern barbs so that they throw into relief, rather than undercut, the extended poetic riffs from another, grander century.
If encountered somewhere exotic — a dive bar in Reykjavik, say, or in Pittsburgh, whence it so surprisingly hails — perhaps the funky whimsies of “Squonk” would be more impressive. But on Broadway, where it has been very unwisely moved after a run at P.S. 122 in the East Village, this eccentric multimedia salad looks sadly forlorn. It’s as if that brooch little Ashley so cleverly devised in kindergarten out of Elmer’s glue, macaroni shells and gold glitter has been placed in the window of Van Cleef & Arpels, with an eye-popping pricetag attached.
There is no work in musical theater that is as familiar as Rodgers & Hammerstein’s chronicle of the youthful nun-in-training Maria Rainer (Meg Tolin) and her adventures with Capt. Georg von Trapp (Richard Chamberlain) and his seven children. It is a tribute to director Susan H. Schulman, a spectacularly inventive design team and an outstanding ensemble that this road show production is as vibrantly inventive and captivating as if it were having its world premiere.
Ever since the Cold War ended, spy-story aficionados have sought a way to revive the genre within the context of the new world order. This latest series from Barry Sonnenfeld’s company simply lets the context remain vague — our secret agent works for “the agency,” the bad guy for “another organization” — and relies on a retro chic style to entertain. Result? The “Charlie’s Angels”-like computer-generated silhouettes in the credits are more expressive than the live-action figures who sleep-walk through the plot. Smartly counter-programming election coverage on Super Tuesday, UPN might ensure some decent sampling, but unless the series finds a reason for being in a hurry, audience slippage will be fast and furious.
Playwright and occasional actor Conor McPherson’s debut as film director, “Saltwater,” is a modestly scaled production about the problems facing members of an Irish-Italian family. Not all of the material in McPherson’s screenplay is fully realized, but there’s enough humor, with a couple of outright belly laughs , to keep audiences, especially male audiences, happy. Pic could have modest theatrical success in Ireland and the U.K., and possibly elsewhere, but its real home is the small screen.
Continuing the lighthearted examination of friendship and relationships he began in films including “Bastards and Bridesmaids,” Eddy Terstall approaches those subjects within the context of an increasingly commercialized society in “Rent-a-Friend.” Working on a considerably larger budget but with many of the same appealing ensemble of actors as in his last feature, “Based on the Novel,” the Dutch writer-director’s work feels less spontaneous and fresh here, full of local humor and punchlines too often telegraphed. Outside its home market, this slickly produced comedy looks mainly TV-bound.
Musical numbers: “Gangland,” “A Kiss Goodbye,” “Down With Drugs,” “Homes,” “Cold Cold Heart,” “Suddenly,” “Danger in the Dark,” “Yo Yo,” “The Girl Who Will Be Kissed,” “Friday Night,” “One Last Time,” “Am I Too Old,” “Hungry for Love,” “Daylight Fades,” “Guns and Girls, Drugs and Booze,” “Fool in Love,” “Hollywood, ” “(Strange Day) You Came Along,” “Sexy Lady,” “I Love Those Eyes,” “Don’t You Dare,” “Show Us the Stars.”