CHICAGO – One potential theater-goer loves the “The Book of Mormon.” The other would rather stay home and watch old Ethel Merman YouTube videos. Pride Films & Theater offers the ultimate solution by combining both in a campy musical, “The Book of Merman.” Yep, two Elder characters from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints meets foghorn singer Ethel Merman.
Saturday Night Live
CHICAGO – December 9th is the 2014 second season premiere of “Ground Floor,” the TBS workplace comedy featuring John C. McGinley (“Scrubs”), plus Skylar Astin and Briga Heelan (seen in the film “Pitch Perfect”). Chicago native Cindy Caponera is a writer and co-executive producer on the show.
CHICAGO – Live from the movies, it’s Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig! The two “Saturday Night Live” veterans are “The Skeleton Twins,” and both have more to do than just be funny. There are moments that sink or swim, depending on the “Twins,” and those parts are greater than the narrative sum.
CHICAGO – An authentic voice in the film category of “romantic comedy” has emerged, and it is represented by lead actress Jenny Slate (“Saturday Night Live”) and writer/director Gillian Robespierre. One night stands, its consequences and yes, love is explored in the excellent new rom-com “Obvious Child.”
CHICAGO – It was a cold Chicago day in May, typical of the endless winter. The coffee shop was warm and inviting, as I waited to interview the comedy icon, Cindy Caponera. She had written a book – “I Triggered Her Bully” – but as she walked in I was more interested in what she was wearing.
CHICAGO – He was a Ghostbuster, and Bill Murray’s sidekick in “Stripes.” He co-wrote classic modern comedies like “Animal House” and “Caddyshack.” He directed the legendary absurdist comedy, “Groundhog Day.” He is Harold Ramis, and he died on February 24th, according to his wife Erica Mann Ramis.
LOS ANGELES – It’s a pioneering TV show practically lost to history. Sid Caesar hosted and performed in “Your Show of Shows,” a 90 minute live 1950s sketch comedy program, and also helped to launch a who’s who of 20th Century comedy. Coming out of his writer’s rooms were such comic greats as Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, Carl Reiner and Woody Allen. Sid Caesar died February 12th at his home near Los Angeles, according to a newsfeed from Larry King on Twitter.
CHICAGO – The comedy juggernaut of Adam McKay and Will Ferrell is about to descend on the holiday movie season with “Anchorman 2,” the sequel to the popular first film. McKay is the behind-the-scenes partner with Ferrell, producing hilarious favorites like “Talladega Nights,” and co-founding the “Funny or Die” website.
CHICAGO – One of the Windy City’s best networking resources for local film actors is the Chicago Acting Film Meetup (CFAM) group, and they are having their annual end-of-year “Holiday Hurrah” event at the Hard Rock Hotel on Monday, December 16th, 2013. Organizing that event are two board officers of CAFM, actors Grace McPhillips (President) and Steve Scholz (Vice President).
CHICAGO – A round-up of comic stars at the TBS “Just for Laughs Chicago” this year included three notable alumni from The Second City stage. Tim Meadows (“Saturday Night Live”), Scott Adsit (“30 Rock”) and Kevin Dorff (writer/performer for “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”) all were on The Second City main stage on Wells Street in Chicago during the beginning of their careers.
CHICAGO – Do young people know of the importance of Steve Martin to the history of comedy? In the ’70s, he helped revolutionize the form through his unique, smart, daring approach on-stage and in his TV comedies and on “Saturday Night Live.” Much of the material that made him a superstar has been collected in a stellar three-disc set from Shout Factory, now available on DVD under the banner “Steve Martin: The Television Stuff.”