Monday, December 29, 2014

Smithsonian Channel's Million Dollar American Princesses @SmithsonianChan #DowntonAbbey #TV

Million Dollar American Princesses on The Smithsonian Channel is a 3 part series premiering January 4th. It explores the time between the 1870s and the outbreak of World War One, when more than 200 daughters of America's new industrial millionaires marry into the money-strapped British aristocracy. They use their affluence, allure and ingenuity to their advantage, and they bring dramatic changes to the English ruling class and eventually the world.

The series is narrated by Elizabeth McGovern, our Lady Cora from Downton Abbey, whose character embodies just such an American heiress married to an English nobleman during that period. The series is fascinating for Downton Abbey fans. It's a great peak into what Cora's life in America and her tranistion to Lady might have been. It makes me long for a Downton Abbey prequel!

Episode Guide

Premieres Sunday, January 4th at 8 p.m. ET/PT
The series begins with the gentility of the late Victorian period and a profile of America’s Jennie Jerome, whose son, Winston Churchill, was arguably the most famous statesman of the 20th century. Beautiful, educated and headstrong, Jennie met Lord Randolph Churchill at a dance, and it reportedly was love at first sight for both. Jennie was a wonderful spirit, writing to her betrothed: “I won’t marry you unless you let me do exactly as I like.” A Brooklyn-born heiress, she grew up in a Manhattan mansion worth $253 million (in today’s dollars, accounting for inflation), but still was not accepted by Manhattan society. In England, it was not much better. No matter how much of her father’s money was pumped into the family estate, Jennie was keenly aware of always being looked down upon by the gentry.

Premieres Sunday, January 11th at 8 p.m. ET/PT
More than a century before paparazzi buzzed overhead in helicopters to take photos of celebrity weddings, people clamored for gossip about the unions of the fabulously rich and famous. Consuelo Vanderbilt – of those Vanderbilts – was reared to be a princess. As an American, she had no claim on title. Instead, her mother, who could give assertiveness training to any stage mother or tiger mom, groomed Consuelo for nobility. Once Consuelo was old enough, her mother sought a world stage for the girl, with no thought given to anything as superfluous as love. And so she was married off to the Duke of Marlborough on Nov. 6, 1895, at Manhattan’s St. Thomas Episcopal Church, while throngs ringed the block, hoping for a glimpse of them. Tabloid press was salacious then, too, and there were even stories about her undergarments. Theirs, though, was hardly a fairy tale marriage; in fact, she was late to the church because she was crying. At the altar, the duke never even glanced at her, which was, unfortunately, a preview of their relationship.

Premieres Sunday, January 18 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
In the final installment of the series, the Jazz Age is in full swing and the Depression sets in. Through news clips and interviews, viewers learn about an infamous romance between an American and a member of British royalty that is considered one of the greatest love affairs in history. What else could it be when a king abdicates his throne for a woman? Edward VIII loved the twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson more than his birthright. Historians acknowledge that his abdication may very well have been a boon for history. “I am perfectly sure that it is one of the best things that ever could have happened,” says Viscount John Julius Norwich, “because I think he was so stupid, and I think he was completely unfit to be king of England, particularly with the war coming on, because he was at this time talking to everyone about what a wonderful chap he thought Hitler was. So I think you could say Mrs. Simpson had saved the country, the empire, and quite possibly the world."

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The BFG Movie Coming Summer 2016 #RoaldDahl

My kid has read many of Roald Dahl's books but The BFG is definitiely her favorite. When asked she'll say she's only read it 3 times, but I know it's a way higher number. There was a time there, in third grade, where I think she was just reading it over and over again.

Well she is going to be very happy to hear that a film is being made by none other that Steven Spielberg. It will start shooting in early 2015 and isn't due to be released until July 2016, but the clock starts now. If Mr. Spielberg needs an expert on set he can feel free to call my kid.

I can also report that they have cast the part of Sophie, with a new actress Ruby Barnhill.

If you, unlike my daughter, don't know the story like the back of your hand. Here is the studio's brief description.

"Published in 1982, The BFG is the tale of a young London girl and the mysterious Giant who introduces her to the beauty and peril of Giant Country."
Guess who the giant is being played by...Any guesses? Jeff Goldblum... Richard E. Grant...

Mark Rylance is the correct answer. I have to admit I am not familiar with him, but I am grateful it isn't Johnny Depp. So my enthusiasm for the project is not lost. Can't wait to see some trailers and sneak peek photos and anything else they slip out to us.

Stay tuned for updates....

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Broadchurch Returns February 4 @BBCAmerica #Broadchurch #TV

Broadchurch cast Season 2 BBC America

The English TV production of Broadchurch returns to BBC America February 4th. I'll admit that I haven't really been motivated to watch the American version on Fox. Having seen the British version I can't imagine improvement is possible. If you are watching the American version and don't know how the show ends you may want to stop reading here.

Beyond this point there be first season SPOILERS

It looks like the second season will have Olivia Colman as DS Ellie Miller. The trailer is a rehash of the first season with the tag line The End Is Where It Begins, but that she appears in the trailer I think is a good indication we will be following her to her new life.

Of course another good indication is her presence in the cast photo which also includes other members of the Broadchurch community. I had assumed that the second season would be taking place in another town. If your husband molested and killed a boy in your town, moving would seem like the obvious choice, but looking at this cast, I'm guessing Ellie has decided to tough it out. That oughta' lead to some tense exchanges...

Can't wait to see what they have in store for us!

Monday, December 8, 2014

$25 Tickets To Wicked At The Pantages @Wicked_musical #Wicked @Pantages

I'm so excited to be invited to take my daughter to the opening night of Wicked at The Pantages Theatre here in Los Angeles. My 10 year old daughter thinks she has out grown The Wizard of OZ, but I'm pretty confident this musical about the young witches of Oz will bring all the magic back to her.

The show runs December 10th through March 15th. I know money can get a bit tight around the holidays. Looks like The Pantages knows that too, because they are making some same day tickets available for just $25 if you win the lottery.

The producers are announcing that a day-of-performance lottery for a limited number of $25 orchestra seats will be held daily. Entries will be accepted at the box office beginning two and a half hours prior to each performance; each person will print their name and the number of tickets (1 or 2) they wish to purchase on a card that is provided. Two hours before curtain, names will be drawn at random for a limited number of tickets priced at $25 each; cash only. Only one entry is allowed per person. Cards are checked for duplication prior to drawing. Winners must be present at the time of the drawing and show valid ID to purchase tickets. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. Tickets are subject to availability.

6233 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Performance Schedule: 
Tuesday - Friday at 8pm
Saturday at 2pm & 8pm
Sunday at 1pm & 6:30pm
Added Weekday Matinee: Thursday December 11th at 2pm

Holiday Schedule: December 22 – 28
Monday, Tuesday, Friday & Saturday at 8pm
Wednesday & Saturday at 2pm
Sunday at 1pm & 6:30pm

December 29 – January 4
Monday, Tuesday, Friday & Saturday at 8pm
Tuesday, Wednesday & Saturday at 2pm
Sunday at 1pm & 6:30pm

Parental Advisory: Ages 8 and Up
In consideration of audiences, no one under 5 admitted to the theatre

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Cinderella Meets Downton Abbey #DowntonAbbey #Cinderella

PBS Downton Abbey Cast returns Jan 4th

Disney is premiering a new live action Cinderella film this Spring. Last week they released the first trailer and I noticed something...It stars some of my beloved Downton Abbey ladies! With Downton Abbey returning to PBS January 4th we won't have to wait to see them, but when it ends on March 1st we will only have to wait 2 weeks until March 13th, when CINDERELLA opens, to see them again.

Disney Cinderella with Lily James and Richard Maden

Obviously, Cinderella is played by Lily James who is the rebellious Lady Rose MacClare in Downton Abbey. There is also Sophie McShera as the wicked step sister Drizella, who we all know and love as Daisy from the Downton kitchen. The film also features some yet to be Downton Abbey actors including Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter. I think they should be able to muddle through.

Cinderella with Cate Blanchett, Sophia McShera, and Holliday Graiger

The film looks beautiful, based on the trailer.  Just the costumes in these posters released today give you a pretty good idea of the quality and detail of the film. I'm hoping Disney has given the traditional story a bit of a feminist spin. Disney has been really great about strong female characters in the last several years, so fingers crossed!

Cinderella Helena Bonham Carter
OK that is the end of my cross promotion. Can't wait for Downton Abbey January 4th and Cinderella March 13th. Keep the good stuff comin' everyone!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

130 Years of Annie #AnnieMovie @AnnieMovie

The latest incarnation of Annie is coming to theatres December 19th. My daughter and I got to see a preview screening last night and once again it did not disappoint. This new film is set in modern day New York where Annie(Quvenzhane Wallis) lives in a foster home with several other foster girls and of course the awful Ms. Hannigan (Cameron Diaz). The music has been brought into the modern age too. My daughter, who is slightly familiar with the traditional show, loved the new "pop" music. Daddy Warbucks has been transformed into Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx). I'm sure all kids will love this one and there were definitely some funny lines for the grown ups too.

My first introduction to Annie was as a little girl when my grandmother,who was born in 1910, would recite part of the original 1885 Little Orphant Annie poem to my sister and I, in an effort to tease us into memorizing the Lord Prayer. On the off chance you aren't in the know, here is the poem with the prayer section in red.

Little Orphant Annie
Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other children, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you
Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:--
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

The poem written by James Whitcomb Riley was turned into the comic strip in 1924 by Harold Gray and ran until 2010. Film versions began in the silent era in 1918. The Musical Annie, that my generation is most familiar with, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and the book by Thomas Meehandebuted on Broadway in 1977. 

Now that's what I call a long run! I think we'll be seeing Annie for generations to come.