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."

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Interview: Patrick Fabian's Many Roles - From Better Call Saul, to Friends to Carole's Second Act Plus the Secret to Staying Alive in Hollywood


Actor Patrick Fabian is all over the place these days. This talented working actor is on a myriad of shows, from cable to the network. I met him years ago at the premiere of his movie DriverX which he starred in as a middle-aged ride share driver.  He's been promoting Better Call Saul (where he stars as Howard Hamlin) as of late as it's now on Netflix for the entire planet to watch, and just a week ago I started seeing him on promos for the hit CBS comedy Carole's Second Act starring Patricia Heaton. He plays the handsome Dr. Lewis.

But this is not his first stint on a comedy. Fans of Friends may recognize him as the eligible Nurse Dan from the Friends' 100th episode. And his resume is chock full or roles. He's been in many mvoies and TV shows including The Connors, Agents of Shield, Lucifer, Barry, Code Black, Grey's Anatomy (as a doctor again), Scandal and more.

Read on to find out more about his philosophy on life,  his life, lessons he learned, acting with Friends and  RUSH.

Suzee: Tell me about this new gig on Carole's Second Act.

Patrick: Back at a hospital again! This time, with Patricia Heaton who couldn't be more funny or gracious to work with. I love working in sitoms and she's starred in two of the most successful ones, Raymond and The Middle, so I follow her lean and hopefully keep up!

I’ll be on the last four episodes of this season...don’t want to spoil anything, but I’ve risen in the hospital ranks since playing ‘Nurse Dan’ on Friends (the 100th) so don’t miss it!”

Suzee: So I look at your IMDB and I was getting dizzy because there is so much on there. How have you managed to keep working for so long?

Patrick: First of all, I’m really lucky. There’s no doubt about it. If there’s any kid out there who want to get into the arts all I can say is this; I got an education and went to class and learned my craft. I think that gave me a leg up on the long run. I didn’t get in to get rich and famous, I got in it to be an actor.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Learn How to Salsa From Pro Salsa Dancer Talia Castro-Pozo at Special Dance Event on Valentine's Day - Proceeds Benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Ever want to learn how to salsa? Take a special class and do good at the same time.  Professional Salsa Dancer Talia Castro-Pozo is conducting a special introductory class at 7pm on Valentine's Day. All proceeds will benefit the ! No experience necessary. Come with or without a partner. 

Our doors open for the event at 7pm with Salsa Instruction beginning at 8pm, followed by sangria, hors d'oeuvres, and dancing until 11pm. No experience necessary. Come with or without a partner. 

There will also be a live DJ and special dance performances and music by Peak Latin Dancers Featuring Baudilio Rivera, Eleanee Jimenez & Semi Pro Team!

Admission Price: $50
Student Discount $40 (with valid ID)

The program coordinator is  Alicia Nigro. All proceeds from this event will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Online pre-registration required: https://heartinmotionstudio.com/salsa-sangria-for-a-cure

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Video: Film Critic Connor Moriarty's Top 15 Films of 2019

by Connor Moriarty

Film Critic and contributor Connor Moriarty gives us his take on his Top 15 Films of 2019. He's got many Oscar-worthy titles included as well as some not so well-known. Listen here as he reviews films such as Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, El Camino, 1917, Midsommer, Portrait of a Lady, JoJo Rabit, Marriage Story, The Lighthouse, the Irishman, and more. But what one film comes in as number one - what film does Connor say that despite a viewer's genre preference, he would recommend for almost anyone? View here:



Monday, February 3, 2020

Event: Acting for Beginners - Learn about the Acting World or Becoming an Extra

Do you want to become an actor? Maybe you've got some spare time and are wondering what it would be like to be an "extra" or "background" on a film or TV show. There is so much filming going on these days that the opportunity is there. All ages are needed. There are lots of ways to become an actor, there are serious classes, but in order to become an extra, there's not a whole lot of experience needed! If you want to be an extra, just google casting agencies and you will find a whole lot that cast background. If you live near a major city, you will be more likely to find one. But, beware of any agency that wants to charge you for photos or for anything. Extras make money, they don't pay fees.

New York Women in Film and Television in NY is hosting an event for those thinking about becoming an actor. It is being given my Mellini Kantayya. Following are details. You don't need to be a member to attend.

New York Women in Film and Television has many events and you don't need to be a member to attend many of them. Check out the website to see if any of these women and the events will inspire you to do something new: www.NYWIFT.org.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Interview with Actor/Director Trent Dawson: From Soaps to Mrs. Maisel to Shakespeare, He's Now Pursuing his Dreams and Building a Theater Company

By Suzanne Ordas Curry

If you are a fan of daytime, you might recognize Trent Dawson from his role as  Henry Coleman on  As The World Turns as or more recently as Huxely Lynch on General Hospital. Or perhaps you saw him on a nightime drama. And as the new season picks up even more fans on Amazon Prime, you'll also get to see him in his latest role The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. He plays Scott the Producer, a man who wants to mold the lovely Mrs. Maisel into something she doesn't want to be - you'll have to watch to see if he succeeds.

Aside from his role in front of the lens, Trent takes pride in his role behind the camera. He recently completed his first short, called The Six, with Alejandro Hernandez (New Amsterdam.) It's a short film that will be seen at festivals in 2020. He wrote it and directed it. It's about a couple with a lot to say to each other on a subway platform. Thought he is from Louisiana, Trent considers himself a New Yorker and drew his inspiration for it from real life. Trent also recently directed a few plays in Brooklyn.