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Archive for April, 2012

Tom Hanks is Considering a Broadway Debut!

Tom Hanks has mostly been known for his huge acting roles in movies like Apollo 13, Castaway, and most recently, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. But now, Hanks may be ready to take to the stage and all we’re waiting for is confirmation from Hanks himself.

The play is called Stories About McAlary, and it was originally set to be a movie directed by Mike Nichols, who also directed one of Tom’s biggest hits, Sleepless in Seattle; and is written by Nora Ephron, who wrote one of Hanks’ earlier successes, Forrest Gump. Since starting the project, Ephron has changed her mind and decided to take it to the Great White Way instead; and Hanks has not yet decided if he’ll continue on with the production.

The story is about journalist Mike McAlary, who won a Pulitzer prize after writing a piece about New York Police Department officers that assaulted a Haitian security guard in 1997. It’s not the first time the story has been told, as it’s been depicted several times both on stage and on film. And while it will be Tom Hanks’ Broadway debut, should he choose to participate, it won’t be his first time onstage. Back in 1979, before Hanks even appeared in the television comedy, Bosom Buddies, he performed in an Off Broadway show, The Mandrake, directed by Daniel Southern.

Should Hanks take on the role, he’ll be very busy. He’s also recently agreed to be part of Disney movie in which he’ll play the part of Walt Disney. The movie will follow the story of Disney and how it took the filmmaker 20 years to obtain the rights for Mary Poppins from the original author, P.L. Travers.

“The Lion King” is Breaking Records and Playing in Orlando

The Lion King has become nearly as popular and synonymous with Broadway as The Phantom of the Opera, so it shouldn’t be surprising to know that the former has now broken The Phantom’s record of being the highest-grossing show at the Broadway box office.

The record has been broken, but just barely. Since Phantom opened on Broadway in 1988, it has grossed $853.1 million. Lion King on the other hand, opening nearly a decade later in 1997, has grossed $853.8 million since its opening. A spokesperson at Disney Theatrical Productions said that the estimates had not been adjusted to reflect the inflation rate, and that the figures for both shows are based on total gross ticket sales for Broadway productions only, and that shows done in other global venues have not been considered.

But does this really make Lion King more popular than Phantom? It’s hard to say without inflation being worked into the numbers, but even more difficult to guess when you consider the difference between ticket prices for the two shows. A report from the Broadway League, the national trade association for Broadway, the average ticket price for The Lion King is $155.09; while tickets for Phantom come in at an average of only $98.97.

Thomas Schumacher, president of Disney Theatrical, says that there is one person responsible for the success of The Lion King — director Julie Taymor. He says, “Her vision, continued commitment to the show and uncommon artistry account for this extraordinary success.”

The Lion King is currently playing at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre in Orlando, Florida with shows running through until May 13.

What would you rather go see? The Lion King, or The Phantom of the Opera?

Newsies – Tap Your Feet to a Fun and Familiar Sounding Musical

Newsies is a musical that has had its share of ups and downs. The 1992 movie starring the rising star Christian Bale and veterans Robert Duvall and Bill Pullman wasn’t well received at the time, but a cult following has since developed over the years. The music was created by the well known Alan Menken, who later earned accolades with a string of musical hits such as Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and other Disney or Disney-esque productions. If you are a fan then you may be delighted to hear about Newsies the Musical, which is based on the film.

This musical is about the true story of the Newsie (or Newsboys for those not down with the lingo) strike in 1899 that happened in New York City. Street urchins, orphans and runaways busting out tunes while trying to get by, by selling newspapers on the corner may seem an odd choice for a musical, until you remember other big hits like Annie and Oliver. These boys are charming, the story is captivating, and the music will have your toes tapping in no time. If you loved the movie, you are sure to be captivated by seeing your favorite songs performed live. If you have never seen the film then you are in for a treat of an experience, with a production that seems all new and too good to be true!

The musical is currently showing in New York at the Nederlander Theatre, and the reviews are excellent! In order to gain some exposure and spread the word, the cast and composer Alan Menken appeared on The View TV show and performed hits “Seize the Day” and “Santa Fe”. The “King of New York” was performed during the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Don’t be surprised if another film version is planned soon, based on the high popularity of the new Broadway show!

The original engagement was only running until June 10, 2012, but thanks to excited audiences, the show has been extended to August 19, 2012. That doesn’t give you very much time to pack your bags and make it to New York, so it is best to start planning now!

Come Relive the 90s with Marcy Playground

The 90’s was a great decade for many creative artists, especially when you consider all the great music that came out during the decade. If you are dying to hear some of your favorite 90s tunes one more time then think summer 2012. Remember bands like Marcy Playground and their iconic 90s hit song “Sex and Candy”? You can hear the band, and many other popular 90’s bands, play live and in concert once more! No, you don’t need to jump into your time machine, or watch an MTV special. All you have to do is look for tickets to the Summerland Tour!

Marcy Playground, as well as the bands Everclear, Lit, Gin Blossoms, and Sugar Ray, are coming together to give you one great summer concert! You can hear Everclear’s 90s hits like “Father of Mine”, “I Will Buy You a New Life”, and “Santa Monica”. Sugar Ray will perform their big songs “Fly”, “Someday”, and “Every Morning”. And of course, you will hear “Sex and Candy” by Marcy Playground! Just what have the playground boys been up to since you heard them last?

Marcy Playground’s self titled album released n 1997 was their most successful with “Sex and Candy” spending 15 weeks at number one on the Billboard modern rock charts. Other hits off the CD included “Poppies”, “Saint Joe on the School Bus”, and “Sherry Fraser”. In 1999, the band released their album Shapeshifter with the hits “It’s Saturday” and “Bye Bye”. The band’s third album MP3 was released in 2004, the fourth “Leaving Wonderland” in 2009. The year 2010 saw Indaba Remixes from Wonderland released. This CD featured Marcy Playground songs remixed by fans, with fans’ receiving royalties for chosen mixes.

Fans of Marcy Playground will be thrilled to hear songs being played live and in concert this summer. Why not hear all your favorite 90s hits? The tour is going across the US, including stops in California, Texas, Ohio, Illinois, New York and more. Check to see if the band is making a stop near you, and book your Summerland Tour tickets today and re-live your favorite 90’s summer in the year 2012!

It’s been a Surprising Turn of Events in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Going into the Stanley Cup playoffs, most thought that the Vancouver Canucks would emerge as the victors of the West, while the Pittsburgh Penguins would be the victory story of the East. Now though, just three games in, both are in dire risk of being eliminated — and very, very soon.

The Vancouver Canucks have one legitimate reason for allowing the Los Angeles Kings to take the first three games of round one away from them — they’re missing their star, Daniel Sedin. They knew they would be going into round one and that they’d likely miss him for the entire first round. What they didn’t know was that they might not have much more time than that. What might be most frustrating of all for the Canucks is that other than missing their power forward in Sedin, they can’t seem to figure out where the problem lies on their bench.

Roberto Luongo has a reputation for being a ‘streak’ goaltender, meaning he’s either hot or he’s not. His performance this round though, hasn’t been anything that fans can complain about, as he’s played up to par. And when Canucks coach had no other way to make his team better, he started backup goalie Cory Schneider in place of Luongo. It didn’t matter; the Kings still took that game 1-0.

The Canucks’ biggest problem is that with the goalie at the other end of the ice — Jonathan Quick. The Canucks just can’t score on him, and without Sedin, that’s likely what’s going to end their playoff run early. The Canucks and Kings play again on Wednesday, April 18.

Unfortunately, things aren’t so simply in Pittsburgh. The Penguins haven’t been swept out of the playoffs since 1979; and now, with all their star players healthy and many claiming them the Stanley Cup champs before the playoffs even began, it looks like history is soon going to repeat itself. In a matchup between two explosively powerful offensive teams, this series has been one of the most exciting to watch in a long time. Big fits and lots of scores is what good hockey is made of, and this one has brought a little of both.

The first game was considered a high-scoring one for the playoffs, with Pittsburgh giving up four goals in answer to Philly’s three. The second game saw even more action with Philadelphia scoring a whopping eight goals to Pittsburgh’s five — still a playoff game with 13 goals in total, which is a rarity indeed. Yesterday afternoon, Philadelphia once again scored eight goals, while Pittsburgh had one less in them, scoring only four. Still, the Penguins say that they don’t need to change their game much and that they’re giving a good effort. And that’s probably what’s going to get them swept out of Round One.

While the demise of these two teams are definitely the biggest stories so far during the playoffs, here’s a look at where the other 6 series stand:

In the West
San Jose Sharks vs. St. Louis Blues: Series tied at 1-1; next game April 16.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Phoenix Coyotes: Series tied at 1-1; next game April 17.
Detroit Red Wings vs. Nashville Predators: Predators up 2-1 in the series; next game April 17.

In the East
Ottawa Senators vs. New York Rangers: Series tied at 1-1; next game April 16.
Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins: Series tied at 1-1; next game April 16.
New Jersey Devils vs. Florida Panthers: Series tied at 1-1; next game April 17.

Boots and Hearts Festival brings Huge Country Names to Canada this Year

Canadians have a lot to celebrate this summer! A new country festival is coming to town — literally! Just outside the huge urban center of Toronto, Ontario lies the very small town of Bowmanville – a place where many country music stars are likely to feel most comfortable and small-town Canadians can see some of country’s hottest acts such as Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, and Alabama!

The festival, called the Boots and Hearts Festival, is designed to bring the biggest acts to small-town Canadians that often have to travel to far parts to see their favorite acts. But the 750-acre Canadian Tire Motorsport Park that’s to be the location of the festival is likely to take in people from all over the country — and the United States! Along with Underwood and McGraw, the festival will host 20 global and Canadian artists including Kid Rock, Jason McCoy, Dallas Smith, and more.

The festival will be held from August 10 — 12 and many different types of tickets are available. Festival passes will allow fans to take in the shows, have access to all the different vendors, the kids’ play areas and petting zoos, the Farmer’s Market, and more. Those who would like to camp out the entire weekend can pay an additional fee for it; while those who would like privileges such as private restrooms and reserved seating can purchase VIP packages.

Republic Live is producing the event and in a statement Executive Director Shannon McNevan, said, “Canadians deserve a festival where they can enjoy the very best country music has to offer and camp with their friends and family without having to travel to the United States. We have three full days of country music on two stages, tailgates, barbecues, and all kinds of activities throughout the day to keep fans entertained. And just when other music festivals call it a night, Boots and Hearts will ramp things up nightly with after-parties. It’s definitely shaping up to be the party of the summer.”

Don’t Fuggedabout the Las Vegas Mob Experience

Who knows, maybe a few decades ago you would have taken a wrong turn in Las Vegas and come across Bugsy Siegel and the real life mob. Thankfully, Vegas is clean today, though it’s not exactly squeaky clean like the theme park with the giant mouse. There is still plenty of gambling, loose women and drinking to enjoy, capisce?

And while you’re in Vegas longing for the more dangerous times don’t forget to stop by the Las Vegas Mob Experience. If you have ever watched The Godfather and been moved to tears, or even stood up and woofed during a retro showing of Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, you’re really going to enjoy this Vegas-only museum experience.

This is not just a museum of 1,500 authentic Vegas mob artifacts–it’s a fully interactive experience that lets you feel as if you were there. As soon as you enter the joint, you’re given a mob nickname. Then, you pick a computer-generated guide show you around. From then on, you get your picture taken and are assigned an ID badge. The exhibits themselves contain recreated scenes from the 1920s and onward, and also feature actors “in character” explaining what’s what in the family business.

You can try out your acting jobs, all the while enjoying some quality time with a famous gangster personality, provided via computer technology. Most visitors say the experience takes a full two hours, and it’s as much fun as it is educational. This is a legitimate history lesson, so don’t expect a roller coaster ride or Scarface style shoot-em-up action. This is an experience that will enlighten and entertain. It’s not going to make you sleep with the fishes, to borrow a term. Though if you try to steal any of the artifacts, you’re gonna’ start looking look Luca Brasi in Act 3, if you catch my drift.

If you’re tired of the same old bar scene then come experience something new in Vegas–the Las Vegas Mob Experience, which tells the true stories of the Las Vegas mafia years! And whatever you do, please don’t tell the actors that they’re “funny.” Because then you know what’s coming!

Playoff Fights have Already Begun

One of the best parts of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for any fan is being able to watch NHL greats drop the gloves and take on tough demeanors that you don’t see in the regular season — even in the NHL. This year though fans are getting a taste of the fights to come a little early, as players use the media to take shots at each other, before the first round has even begun.

Brooks Laich, forward for the Washington Capitals, probably had no idea he had just started a war when he told the Washington Post on Wednesday that he was guaranteeing his team a playoff berth. When he said, “I have a belief we’re going to be in the playoffs and that’s it. I don’t want to discuss any scenario that we’re not,” he probably just thought he was being supportive and believing in his team. But, in order for the Capitals to move into the playoffs, it would mean that the Buffalo Sabres do not; and that’s perhaps why Buffalo’s goaltender, Ryan Miller, took Laich’s remark so personally.

Shortly after Laich made his remarks, Miller had thoughts of his own to share, telling the Buffalo News, “We’re not playing against him and I don’t think he’s Mark Messier,” this of course, referring to Messier’s famous Cup-win guarantee in 1994. The difference between the two scenarios is that when Messier made the guarantee, it was for everything; and this is really pretty meaningless, and probably was just Laich showing faith in his team. Miller continued on to say, “So I think he’s searching for a spark for his team. They should be desperate right now, too, so I just think they’re looking for little things.” Miller even went on further to say that Laich’s comments could actually hurt the Caps, when “guys don’t react well to that.”

The mind games are certainly going — at least from the Sabres’ end. The other difference might be that when Messier made the guarantee, he followed through on it. Fans will have to wait to see if this one pans out the same way.

Who will Win the NBA Finals this Year?

While the Miami Thrice have had people talking about the Miami Heat all season, they may not even end up being a contender for the title. Although they’re sure to make it into the playoffs (not officially, but we are still talking about the Heat,) there are teams that are better and some that even though they aren’t, may just pack a surprise punch or two.

The smart money for the team that will take it all is on the Chicago Bulls. With only 11 losses this entire season, and 40 wins, they have proven that even without one of their best players they’re still an unstoppable team. Derrick Rose may be back for the playoffs, but with so many injuries this season, the Bulls can remain confident even if he’s taken out early.

The team most likely to give the Bulls a run for their money are the Oklahoma City Thunder, who only have one more loss and two fewer wins than the Bulls. That streak alone combined with the sheer talent of Derek Fisher, Kevin Durant, and Reggie Jackson are enough that the Bulls should be at least somewhat worried.

The Miami Heat come in just behind these two teams, which definitely puts them up as one of the best teams in the league, but they’ve still got competition on the road ahead. And with being just 3 points behind Chicago, the battle between these three might just come down to who’s the most exhausted from the shortened schedule, and who can handle the playoff pressure the best.

It’s not all about the East though. The Western Conference is going to have some teams that might just be up to the challenge of taking on some of the best. The Lakers will have a shot simply because they still boast Bryant as their best player; and the Dallas Mavericks are not only a good team this year, but are still coming off the high of winning the title last year. And who knows? In the NBA Finals anything can happen, and the Mavs may just emerge once again as the dark horse of the competition.