Saturday, March 28, 2020

VIEW: I'm Not Watching COVID-19 News Today - I am Watching Hallmark and Here's Why


By Suzanne Ordas Curry
I live in a house with men. I have a husband and two sons. Around the holidays, we have a saying in our house. It's called the "definition of a split second." That's the time it takes for one of the men to walk in to a room with the TV on, see it's a Hallmark movie, look around for mom and if I'm not there,  then shut is off. Really, they can do this in half a second. And no matter where I am in the house, I'll hear it.

They often ask me, why do you watch these movies? I tell them, "I watch them because they put me in a good mood." Because I have them on so often, they are even starting to recognize them.  So the next question is, "Why do you watch them over and over again?" I answer, "Because they put me in a good mood. And I don't always watch them glued to the set. I might be doing something else while they're on, but I will tune in for the best parts." Examples: like when Danica McKeller shows up at the ball with the red dress on at the top of the staircase, or when Lacey Chabert takes off her long white glove to eat the food at the ball, or when the perfume is verified to be old so we know Candace Cameron Bure is really from the past. I could go on... And of course, I always tune in at 1 hour and 59 minutes into the movie to see the final kiss

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Bruce Springsteen, Stephen Colbert, Whoopi Goldberg, Danny De Vito, Rutgers's Carli Lloyd, Charlie Puth, John Stewart, BonJovi and First Lady Tammy Murphy Team Up to Launch the NJ Pandemic Relief Fund: Video

By Suzanne Ordas Curry

Several of New Jersey's most notable entertainers and personalities have banded together from the inside of their homes to come out in support of the new initiative, the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund. Visit: https://njprf.org/.

Bruce Springsteen, Stephen Colbert, Whoopi Goldberg Danny DeVito, Carli Lloyd, Charlie Puth,Jon BonJovi and Jon Stewart have already come out to support this fundraising and grant-giving program.

The program is hosted by the Comunity Foundation of NJ. It is lead by Board members First Lady Tammy Murphy and NJ Resident John Weinreich .

View the video here:


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Are You a College Student Stuck at Home with Your Parents? Here's a Top Ten List of How to Make Your COVID-19 Isolation Happy, Productive and with less FOMO - Suggestions on Binge-Watching and More

By Julia Colucci

Editor's Note: Julia is our newest writer. She is a currently a College Freshman at home with her parents!

Many college students around the country have found themselves bored, down, and missing their schools while they are quarantined in their homes and practicing social distancing. For me, coming home early from Ithaca College was very unexpected and definitely took some getting used to.

But this temporary isolation doesn’t have to be the worst thing to ever happen to you. There are plenty of ways to stay busy and entertained while waiting out this global pandemic. Here is a list of ten activities for you to do while stuck at home that have helped both myself and some of my fellow peers:

Pick up an old hobby or start a new project: One thing I have found to be a great way to stay occupied and positive when you have a lot of time on your hands is to find a hobby or start some sort of project. This week I decided to start playing the guitar again, which is something I used to love but haven’t done in years. Playing an instrument has helped me stay positive because it feels like I am doing something productive by getting better at an old skill. Liam Barron, a freshman at William Patterson University, has turned to music as an outlet. He said, “Social isolation has allowed me to both focus on and express myself much more effectively through the music I write.” 

Friday, March 20, 2020

View: The World of Covid-19 - It's Not Contagion It's Groundhog Day

by Suzanne Ordas Curry

As soon as this started happening, I started thinking about all those movies I have watched in my lifetime about contagions, viruses, aliens, zombies. climate disasters, etc.  I'm talking about all those movies where the everyday normal life we thought was already stressful was turned upside down with fear, panic and doomsday scenarios.

I'm in the movie business, and I know it's made up. It's scripted. Sometimes it's based on fact, but still, fiction is fiction. One of the first things I realized was the speed of this disaster. It is often hard to reflect real time in movies. I am incredulous by the speed at which all of this is happened: the speed of the spread, the speed of the economic problem, the speed of the acceptance and the speed of the denials. I don't think any of the apocolyptic movies got it exactly right, but for sure we'll be seeing some portrayals of this pandemic as soon as people get back to their studios.

But, sitting in my house, not being an essential worker, what movie this crisis has made me think of more is Groundhog Day. Every day, the main character  Phil Connors, played by the talented Bill Murray wakes up  to "I've Got You Babe" on his clock radio and it's the same day, over and over again.  Nothing to look forward to, just the same ol' things.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Casting Call: Flipping Families seeks Families for New Show

Well here's a distraction. Twin Talents Casting in NYC is searching for some families that may want to be on a reality show. If this is something you've thought about or just curious about what it takes to get on one, read on. The site also shows other opportunities. This agency is run by two females who are twins: http://www.twinsworld.com/


DIstraction Family Casting -
Flipping Families - 
If your family needs a distraction during these challenging times, how about a fun Skype audition with us and your whole family for a new FAMILY SHOW that will be shooting sometime in the future. Families booked on the show will be Financially compensated. Must have two parent households & at least 2 kids (one over 7yrs old). Obviously dates are subject to change. They are looking for families that were planning an event in the summer or fall.
FILL OUT THE FAMILY APPLICATION here AT:
Email: twinstalentcasting@gmail.com if interested. Include your location, tel number , the upcoming events you were planning and family dynamics such as number of family members that live together, contact numbers, ages of kids, etc.....

Twins Talent specializes in casting, creating & developing original and branded content for unscripted, reality, alternative & documentary programming. We work across all TV & media platforms including digital, broadcast, production companies & ad agencies worldwide. 
Our unparalleled passion as storytellers, content producers & visionaries combined with our ability to find the "real people" needed has made us leaders in the field. We are always driven to engage the viewer; tap into emotions; generate brand awareness and ultimately create human connections.
We have also successfully created and sold a variety of our own original programming in addition to our client projects.
In addition, TWIN TALENT has become known as the premiere talent supplier of twins , triplets and quadruplets for film, print and commercial. We have access to thousands of multiples worldwide.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

#CareCardsforCoronaCaregivers: Donate a Gift Card to a Hospital Worker

By Suzanne Ordas Curry

Everyone is starting to realize that we may be in this Covid-19 crisis for quite some time. Some cities have already started shelter-in-place, and more will follow. The safey and security of being at home with your family is nothing to take for granted. For the thousands of essential workers -. healthcare, first responders, those along the food supply chain, manufacturing - they cannot work from home,

Hospitals are especially hard hit. I happen to live in one of the epicenters, Bergen County NJ. One of our hospitals, Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, NJ has been hard-hit with novel corona virus patients and they have over a half dozen people on ventilators. No one hearing the news these days can avoid hearing how our medical system will be overstressed. And this is just one of them, other hospitals in this county are also starting to get overwhelmed.

In many areas, it already is, in ways we don't realize. Hospitals are having to provide child care and meals. All those functions in the hospital that have a usual workload are finding themselves tasked with doing more, just to keep up. And we've all heard about the shortage of protective gear.

If you would like to do something to help out hospital workers, consider thanking them with a gift card. They can use the gift card to purchase meals in the hospital, outside the hospital (supporting local businesses) or other items. 

Most hospitals have a foundation. Upon speaking to a representative at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, NJ, she said they already have a gift card program in place and can easily purchase and disseminate gift cards for their workers and volunteers. 

Think about how easy it is to donate $5 or $10 dollars to a corona virus fighter on the front line to let them know they are appreciated. Please use the hashtag #CareCardsforCoronaCaregivers in the message box.

Here is the link for donating to
Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck. 


You can also donate through Facebook:

Thursday, March 12, 2020

COVID-19 Cancellations, Suspensions Hit Showbiz, Sports: List

The list is growing of what is being cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19. Here is a list of major events in the NY Metro area and some others as to what has so far been cancelled or suspended. In addition to this many TV productions have been halted, which is going to effect when your shows appear next year. Movies are also changing their release dates. It's all a small price to pay for the safety of all.

Get Ready for the Olympics: Rowing Movie "Backwards" with James Van Der Beek, Sarah Megan Thomas, Margaret Colin Now Available on Itunes & Amazon

The Olympics will happen. Possibly not as they were intended, but there will most likely be some form of Olympics. If you're looking for a movie to watch on your home TV or other device, and especially if you are a fan of the Olympics or women in sports, Backwards is an inspiring movie relaunched to catch Olympic fever. A story about the world of competitive rowing, it stars the handsome James Van Der Beek (One Tree Hill, Pose, Dancing with the Stars), Sarah Megan Thomas (Equity, Liberte - A Time to Spy), Glen Morshower (Bloodline, The Resident) and  Margaret Colin (Veep, Independence Day). Sarah Megan Thomas wrote and produced the film. Though it is fiction, Sarah was a rower.

The movie is about a young women whose goal in life was to make the Olympic rowing team. After her second unsuccessful attempt, she finds herself accepting a coaching assignement at a small school. During her time with her students and family, she faces the questions of what to do with the rest of her life as what she had trained for for so long was apparently becoming more and more out of reach for her. 

This is a good family movie; it's about struggles, determination and setting goals amongst the backdrop of a sport most people know little about. Even though this is about an athlete, it applies to anyone who has created a picture in their mind of what they thought there life would be like. In addition, you'll walk away knowing some crew terminology - and understand the title better!

Friday, March 6, 2020

Interview - Females in Entertainment: Tony-Award Winning Producer Valerie Novakoff Talks about Broadway, a Woman's Role in it and her Broadway Women's Fund

Valerie Novakoff with her Tony
By Suzanne Ordas Curry

I had the pleasure of meeting the founder of the Broadway Women's Fund at a joint event sponsored by New York Women in Film and Television and 100 Women in Finance.Valerie was on the panel to talk about the theater industry, the money behind it and the state of women in the industry.
Valerie is a Tony-award winning producer whose career includes many positions in theater. She has worked in top administrative offices for nearly a decade and she is Associate Producer at Davenport Theatrical Enterprises, the first Broadway producing office on the Inc. 5000 list.
In addition, She was the Associate Producer of the Tony Award-winning revival of Once On This Island and Assistant Producer of An Act of God starring Sean Hayes. She has also worked in finances or administration in offices connected to multiple Tony-Award-winning shows including Wicked, Fun Home,The Band’s Visit, Once, Tommy and Jersey Boys.
Valerie published a groundbreaking study on gender parity among Broadway producers which was reported in the New York Times and Fast Company. In addition to the lack of equality in the Hollywood entertainment industry, Valerie documented equally disturbing trends in the Broadway world. She is now founder and managing Director of the Broadway Women's Fund, which seeks to invest in and inspire women in all facets of a Broadway production.

I asked Valerie about how she got started in the industry and why this is yet another cultural entity and business in need of female representation and involvement.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Event: Trent Dawson and Michael Park to Appear at Inaugural Event for Katonah Classic Stage in New York - Actors, Crew Positions Available

Trent Dawson
Katonah Classic Stage is pleased to announce its inaugural season. Katonah Classic Stage (KCS) is a new theater company in Katonah, NY whose mission is to offer exceptional, diverse and professional productions of classical and contemporary plays. This new theater company, (hosted by the Harvey School, 260 Jay St. Katonah), will bring professional plays as well as classes on the theater arts to the lower Hudson Valley.  The plans are to host productions throughout the year  tht will have an appeal to all ages. Though Katonah is near New York City, this theater will fill the void in the area as New York caliber productions will now be available on this side of the bridge. You can visit the website at https://www.katonahclassicstage.com.  

Friday, February 28, 2020

Interview: Torrei Hart Talks about Her New Film Hollywould Now Available to Stream - and why her Life Experience Can Help Others

By Suzanne Ordas Curry

The beautiful Torrei Hart is an actress, producer, momprenuer and role model. This talented, busy and hard-working  young woman and mother of two is forging a name for herself in entertainment.

Torrie Hart at Premiere of  Hollywould Movie
Despite a breakup with husband comedian Kevin Hart (the two met in college) and being in the limelight, she remains a genuine, positive, gracious lady who wants to make a difference in the world, specifically in the lives of other women. With a bevy on IMDB credits to her name as well as 5 projects just in 2019, she still has time to work on her organization S.O.A.R, whose goal is to help women overcome diversity

I had the pleasure of meeting her on the busy and bustling Red Carpet at the 2019 Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival in Ridgewood, NJ when she was there for the premiere of  the film Hollywould,  a film by Joshua Coates, in which she has a starring role. This is her second role in a film by Coates, having also been in But Deliver Us From Evil. Hollywould starting rolling out on major streaming platforms as of February 18, 2020.

In the new thriller movie Hollywould, Torrei plays Janice Allen (and Helen Boil), a psychiatrist who is integral to the main character in the movie. Without giving any spoilers, it's an ending you won't see coming. Also starring in Hollywould is Oscar-nominated Eric Roberts, Peter Postiglione and Caitlyn Fletcher.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Christmas Con Comes to California - A Stocking Full of Holiday Movie Stars to Shine Along with the Sun in July at Pasadena Convention Center Plus NJ Dates Set

If you haven't heard of Christmas Con, you're in for a treat. The first ever Christmas Con took place in New Jersey November 2019 and featured a bevy of stars from Christmas movies as well as all kinds of Christmas Cheer. It was sold out. Plans are in the works for another in Jersey, but the company that created Christmas Con, started by four ingenious ladies from Jersey, is now doing a "Christmas in July" Convention in sunny California. Breaking News: NJ dates are December 11, 12 and 13, 2020).

Tickets are selling fast already for Christmas Con 2020 on July 17, 18 & 19th at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California. Lots of stars will be on hand, as well as booths and activities that will evoke the chill of Christmas in warm California. Scheduled to attend this event are:

Lacey Chabert ,Jonathan Bennet, Danicka McKeller, Andrew Walker, Melissa Claire Egan,Alicia Witt, Brennan Elliot, Nikki DeLoache,Cameron Mathison,Trevor Donovan, Paul Greene,Jack Wagner, Chad Michael Murray,Torrey DeVito,Ryan Pavey, Erin Cahill, Ashley Williams, Tricia Helfer, Jen Lilly, Rachel Boston, Drew Seeley, Paul Campbell, Kristoffer Polaha, Tyler Hynes, Jackee Harry, Jessie Metcalfe and Autumn Reeser. Expect panel discussions with the celebrities as well as other treats. For instance, there was a Gingerbread House Contest at the first event!

Meet The Marvelous Miss Maybin Hewes Sherman: Mother of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Creator Amy Sherman Palladino - Old Hollywood's Roots Create this New Hollywood Phenomenon

By Suzanne Ordas Curry

One of my favorite lines from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, one of the first TV shows that ever portrayed a strong, independent career woman, was when Lou Grant, her boss, told her, "Mary, you got spunk." 

After speaking to Maybin Hewes Sherman, the mother of the creator and writer of the Amazon Prime award-winning series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel over an hour,  I must say, this woman has spunk.  Just like Midge Maisel. 

Though I understand how Midge's character reflects many of the aspects of her father, after getting to know her mom a bit, I see a lot of Maybin in her character. 

Maybin Hewes Sherman grew up in the days of Old Hollywood. With sheer determination coupled with her talent, she made a career for herself in NYC and then California as a dancer and later a producer. She shone in a career not accessible or even dreamed of as possible for most women when she grew up. In the 40's.  Remind you of anyone?

If you're a fan of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, or you have an interest in reading about what active octogenarians are now doing, read on. You'll find out about her humble beginnings in Louisiana, to her nights sleeping in Carnegie Hall, to performing with the legendary Sammy Davis Jr., marrying a well-known stand up comic, rooming with Diane Ladd and still performing shows in her 80's. You'll see the power of ambition, the power of resilience and the power of motherhood. And, you'll get some inside information on the beginnings of Amy Sherman Palladino's career and her influences from the perspective of her extremely proud - and deservedly so - mother. 

Introducing... The Marvelous Miss Maybin.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Movie Review of The Farewell: We're Not Lying, You Should See this Heartfelt, Funny and Mostly-Snubbed Movie


By Beth Abramson Brier

...Pants on Fire

Lulu Wang is a liar! And she has the awards to prove it! Wang is the creator, writer, and director of the highly acclaimed but somehow Oscar snubbed film, The Farewell. And if there is any doubt about the veracity of the story line, right up front Wang states it is “Based on a true lie”. It couldn’t be more different. That’s the first of many reasons The Farewell should have received a nomination.

This is the real life story of Wang’s grandmother (Nai Nai) who was diagnosed with late stage lung cancer and has only a few months to live. The entire family is stricken with grief - everyone that is except Nai Nai, who doesn’t know – and they are determined not to tell her. Her two grown children and their families, now living in Japan and New York, return to China to say goodbye under the guise of arranging a wedding banquet for her grandson and his new bride.

NY/NJ Event: Help Kids in Foster at Bergen CASA's Casino Night entitled "Play Like a Champion" With Help from Iconic Sports Figures Carl Banks, Ottis Anderson, Sam Garnes, Eddie Cotton and Eric Murdock

Hackensack, NJ  Have some fun and benefit children in foster care at the same timeCASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Children of Bergen County is holding its 16th Annual Event: Casino Night: Play Like a Champion for the Kids on March 19, 2020 from 6:30pm - 10:30pm at The Venetian, 546 River Drive  in Garfield, NJ. Tickets are $125. This year is a special year in that BERGEN CASA is honoring all of its advocates, its champions, and hence notable champions from the world of sports will be on hand for the festivities. Included in the ticket price is a wide array of hors d’oeuvres, food stations and desserts, open bar and $100 in casino play money. There will also be basket raffle, silent auction with mobile bidding and other games in addition to exciting casino-style play throughout the evening. To purchase a ticket, please visit the website, www.BergenCASA.org or call 201-336-7520 for tickets and information. Donations for the evening's auctions and raffles are always welcome.  If interested in donating an item or service, please contact ​Lauren@BergenCasa.org. There area already lots of signed sports memorabilia. Even if you don't go to the event, you can bid during the silent auction online. Visit the website the day before to access the auction.
UPDATE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN MOVED TO OCTOBER 14, 2020

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Review of Paper Mill Playhouse Production of UNMASKED: The Best of Andrew Lloyd Webber Will Leave You Wanting More


By Beth Abramson Brier

Unplugged.  

“Let’s put on a show about the wife of a South American dictator, an ex-pat hat designer living in New York, a cat, and Jesus Christ!” said no composer ever.  Except one did: Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Now through March 1st, 2020 Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey celebrates the genius of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber in its latest production, Unmasked-The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.  This intimate theater is the perfect venue to premiere the very up close and personal look into the composer and some of his best known works.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Interview with RJ Hatanaka - This Canadian Actor is Achieving International Success with HBO, Hallmark's When Hope Calls, Global TV's Nurses and More

By Suzanne Ordas Curry

Actor RJ Hatanaka is all over the place lately. Literally - he's all over the world. In his home country of Canada, he can be found on the TV show Nurses as a handsome and eligible young doctor. Also filmed in Canada but airing over the American station Hallmark he plays the dashing and brave Canadian Mountie Gabriel on the new hit and first series for the platform Hallmark Movies Now called When Hope Calls.  It's  also premiering on the Hallmark Channel on February 23, 2020.  And across the pond, he works as the Spokesman for HBO Europe, travelling that continent helping to promote the HBO brand in dozens of countries. 

Luckily for me this world traveller was in my neck of the woods. I had the pleasure of talking to this talented actor at a club in New  York City, where we dined with some female producers - who all happened to be fans of Hallmark - and really got to know him. Read on for your chance to get a little more personal with this strikingly handsome up and coming actor. 


                                                               Hugh Jackman as Inspiration

"I have always loved performing, but it wasn't until I was at the University of Toronto that I started to understand what a life in the entertainment industry could offer: it's creative, it's challenging and it can be a powerful impetus for social change. I was fortunate enough to attend the National Theatere School of Canada, and then New York University's Tisch Graduate Acting Program in order to put more tools in my toolbox. It's been off to the races ever since."