Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jason Miller's Second Film, 1974's The Nickel Ride, Now Available On DVD

My colleague Evelyn Gibbons emailed me a New York Times article that announced the release of a DVD featuring Jason Miller's second film appearance (after The Exorcist). The film, 1974's The Nickel Ride, was directed by Robert Mulligan (To Kill A Mockingbird) and is paired as a double feature with 99 And 44/100% Dead on the DVD, released on December 13th by The Shout Factory.

In The Nickel Ride, Cooper (Jason Miller), known as the key man because of his large ring of keys, manages several warehouses containing the Mob’s stolen goods. When the Mob has stolen so much that they are running out of space, they send Cooper to negotiate for a new warehouse. His boss gets nervous and, believing the big-hearted key man to be more of a risk than an asset, orders him to be watched. The film also stars Linda Haynes (Coffy, Rolling Thunder) and Bo Hopkins (The Wild Bunch).

Click here to read the New York Times article regarding the DVD release.

Click here for more information on the DVD release from The Shout Factory's website.

Much thanks to Evelyn Gibbons for this reference.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Was Scranton Ever Mentioned In A Holiday Film? Yup! 1940's Little-Seen Remember The Night, And We Have It On DVD!

Scranton is mentioned in passing in the 1940 holiday classic Remember the Night, written by Preston Sturges and featuring the first onscreen pairing of Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray.

Remember the Night tells the story of a repeat shoplifter (Barbara Stanwyck) who goes home to Indiana for the holidays with the lawyer who is also prosecuting her (Fred MacMurray). The film also features a brief passing reference to Scranton.

Albright Memorial Library also has a copy of Remember the Night available to borrow on DVD. To place a hold, click here.

Perez Hilton Namedrops Scranton

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Broadway's Critically Acclaimed Venus in Fur, Directed By Scranton Native Walter Bobbie, Will Re-Open February 2012 For Limited Engagement



The Broadway production of the David Ives play Venus in Fur, directed by Scranton native Walter Bobbie and starring Nina Arianda and Hugh Dancy, will take a break after ending its run at the Manhattan Theater Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theater on Sunday, December 18th and resume performances at the Lyceum Theater on Feb. 7, 2012, for a limited engagement through June 17.

Venus In Fur originally premiered Off-Broadway in January 2010; originally scheduled to run a month, the play was extended multiple times and closed March 25th, 2010. The original lead -- 2011 Tony nominee Nina Arianda (Born Yesterday) -- reprises her role of Vanda that she originated Off-Broadway. Actor Hugh Dancy plays playwright Thomas (originally played Off-Broadway by Wes Bentley).

Venus in Fur opened on Broadway November 8th for a limited one-month engagement but, due to popular demand and critical raves, it will will reopen on February 7th, 2012.

From Broadway.com:

"As David Ives’ new play begins, we meet a modern-day playwright/director who has written an adaptation of Venus in Fur, the 1870 novel by Leopold Sacher-Masoch that became infamous when the author’s last name inspired the term “sado-masochism” to describe the interplay of sex and power in the book. An actress arrives to audition, her bag filled with S&M gear and period costumes. Soon the playwright is drawn into reading his own script with this mysterious young woman, with breaks to argue about the meaning of the story and the motivation of the characters."

In addition to Venus In Fur and Chicago, Walter Bobbie's other Broadway directing credits include White Christmas, High Fidelity, Footloose, and the 2005 revival of Sweet Charity (which includes a reference to Scranton in one of the lyrics).

Click here for a previous blog entry on Walter Bobbie.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling (2011)

Mindy Kaling, writer and co-star of the NBC sitcom The Office (set in Scranton), has recently published a collection of humorous essays about her life and work titled Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), in which she includes a brief reference to Scranton.

p. 117

"Many people assume The Office is shot in Scranton, Pennsylvania, because we take pains to shoot on locations that are green and East Coast-looking."

Kaling has made two visits to Scranton -- she made a solo appearance in the city in July 2008 to launch The Official Office Board Game, and she was also in Scranton with most of the cast of the show for The Office Convention in October 2007.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling is now available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System; click here to place a hold.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wilkes-Barre Native Santo Loquasto Is Scenic Designer For Broadway's Relatively Speaking



Three-time Tony winner and Wilkes-Barre native Santo Loquasto is the Scenic Designer for Broadway's Relatively Speaking, which opened last night (Thursday, October 20th) at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in NYC.

Directed by John Turturro, Relatively Speaking is a series of three one-act plays written by Elaine May, Ethan Coen and Woody Allen (Loquasto was Production Designer on all of Woody Allen's movies from 1987 to 2003, and most recently worked with Allen on 2009's Whatever Works).

To purchase tickets for Relatively Speaking, click here.

Click here for a previous blog entry on Santo Loquasto.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Historic Conversations on Life With John F. Kennedy by Jacqueline Kennedy (2011)

"Well, I don't remember talking with him (JFK) about Scranton."
Jacqueline Kennedy
Wednesday, June 3, 1964

Referencing William W. Scranton (1917 - ), former U.S. Representitive (1961-1963), Pennsylvania Governor (1963-1967) and US Ambassador to the United Nations (1976-1977). William Scranton's family members were the founders and patriarchs of the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Historic Conversations On Life With John F. Kennedy
page 346
Disc 8, Track 7, @6:44
Click here to place a hold.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wayne County Native Josh Fox Wins Emmy For Directing Gasland


Congratulations to documentary filmmaker and Wayne County native Josh Fox for winning an Emmy for Outstanding Direction for Nonfiction Programming for his film Gasland.

In Gasland, Josh Fox received an offer to drill for natural gas under his property in Pennsylvania; in response, he did what few landowners think to do--he conducted his own research into the drilling process. The film won the 2010 Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

To place a hold on the DVD of Gasland, click here.



Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Medusa Amulet by Robert Masello (2011)

My colleague and fellow avid reader Michele L. told me about "the most random reference to Scranton" she ever came across in a novel--Robert Masello's latest book The Medusa Amulet.

Check out the description below and you'll see why:

"In this new spine-tingling thriller by Robert Masello, the critically acclaimed and bestselling author of Blood and Ice, a brilliant but skeptical young scholar named David Franco embarks on a quest to recover a legendary artifact: a beautifully carved amulet that was created by Benvenuto Cellini, the master artisan of Renaissance Italy. What begins as a simple investigation quickly spirals into a twisting, turning tale of suspense and intrigue, a race against time that carries Franco across continents and centuries in a desperate search for this ultimate treasure—and a work of unimaginable power . . . and menace.

Aided only by a beautiful young Florentine with a conspirator’s mind and dark secrets, Franco is soon caught up in a life-and-death struggle from which there is no escape. Relentlessly pursued by deadly assassins and demons of his own, in the end he must confront—and defeat—an evil greater than anything conjured in his worst nightmares."

The two Scranton references appear towards the very end of the novel:


p. 437 "Finally, the professor in front decided to pick up where he'd left off. 'I used to teach art in Scranton,' he said, and the group seemed to breathe a sigh of relief."


p. 439 "'That statue represents the apogee of Cellini's career,' the professor from Scranton was declaiming, and quite happily."

The Medusa Amulet is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System; to place a hold, click here.

Much thanks to the ever-amazing Michele L. for this reference.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson (2006)

This reference comes from Brian Fulton, Librarian at the Times-Tribune and webmaster of the Pages from the Past blog of their website. In a blog entry he wrote on May 18th, 2011, Brian wrote a great piece on the 2006 "nonfiction novel" Thunderstruck by Erik Larson and its connections to Scranton, PA. Click here to check it out.

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System in a variety of formats: standard book, large print, CD audiobook, and downloadable audiobook.

Much thanks to Brian Fulton for this reference.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pajama Diaries Comic Artist (and Kingston Native) Terri Libenson to Appear at B&N Friday, August 19th


Terri Libeson, a native of Kingston, PA and author/artist of the nationally syndicated comic strip The Pajama Diaries, will be signing copies of her new book The Pajama Diaries: Deja To-Do at Barnes & Noble at The Arena Hub in Wilkes-Barre on Friday, August 19th from 7 PM to 9 PM. Libeson's book commemorates the 5th anniversary of the debut of her comic strip.

The Pajama Diaries is narrated bythe fictional Jill Kaplan, a wife of a loving husband and working mom of two young girls in a Jewish family somewhere in Ohio. It is nationally syndicated by King Features Syndicate and is also included in the Comics section of The Citizens' Voice.

For more information on Friday's book signing at Barnes & Noble, click here.

Click here to read Patrick Sweet's article, "Kingston Native Taps the Humor of Modern Family Life," which appeared in Sunday's Citizens' Voice (August 14, 2011).


Much thanks to Evelyn Gibbons for this reference.

War by Sebastian Junger (2010)

Children's Librarian Elizabeth Davis emailed me this morning about a Scranton reference she discovered in a book she's currently reading -- War by Sebastian Junger.

In the nonfiction War, The Perfect Storm author Sebastian Junger turns his brilliant and empathetic eye to the reality of combat--the fear, the honor, and the trust among men in a single platoon through a 15-month tour of duty in the most dangerous outpost in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley.

On page 168 of the book, Junger makes a reference to Scranton and soldier Brendan O'Byrne, who is a native of Milford, Pennsylvania:

"An ambulance finally arrived and O'Byrne was taken to a hospital in Scranton."

The Times-Tribune published an article about Brendan O'Byrne, titled "Former Milford Resident a Central Character in 'War'" by Josh McCauliffe, on October 10th, 2010. Click here to read the article.

War by Sebastian Junger is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System. Click here to place a hold; to place a hold on the CD audiobook, click here.


Much thanks to Elizabeth Davis for this reference.

Kindred Spirits by Sarah Strohmeyer (2011)

My wonderful colleague Michele L., an avid reader like myself, has read so many books where she came across local references for this blog. She just finished Kindred Spirits, the latest novel by Sarah Strohmeyer, which features references to both Scranton AND Wilkes-Barre in the text.

From the inside cover:

When life gives you lemons, call your best girlfriends and whip up some lemon martinis. Such is the mantra for the Ladies' Society for the Conservation of Martinis, which was established after one fateful PTA meeting, when four young mothers-Lynne, Mary Kay, Beth, and Carol- discovered they had more in common than they ever thought possible. Meeting once a month, the women would share laughs and secrets and toast to their blossoming friendship with a clink of their sacred martini glasses. The Society was their salvation, their refuge, but when life-shattering circumstances force the group to dissolve, their friendship is never quite the same...until two years later, when a tragic event puts the Society back in session.

When Lynne passes away suddenly, she leaves behind one simple request: that her old friends sort through her belongings. Reluctantly, the women reunite to rummage through her closets. There's nothing remarkable; no kinky sex toys, no embarrassing diary. But buried deep within Lynne's lingerie drawer is an envelope addressed to the Society. And inside they find a letter that reveals a shocking secret and a final wish that will send the women on a life-changing journey...proving that nothing is more powerful than the will of a true girlfriend and a good, strong martini.


Kindred Spirits includes one reference to Scranton on page 68, when the friends are reading Lynn's letter:

"I made it to Scranton, but from there could only afford to go as far as as Waterbury, Connecticut."

The three Wilkes-Barre references appear on the following pages of the novel:

p. 195

"'If you happen to be passing by Wilkes-Barre on your way back to Connecticut, you might want to check out the Crescent Hollow area.'"

p. 227

"Now, exhausted, they headed to a hotel near Wilkes-Barre to recoup."

p. 229

"She pumped the brakes and took a turn down the wooded serpentine road in what, according to her GPS, promised to be a shortcut to 1-84 that would bypass the hassle of going through Wilkes-Barre."

Kindred Spirits is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System. Click here to place a hold; to place a hold on the large print edition, click here.

Much thanks to Michele L. for this reference.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wife Vs. Secretary (1936)

Don McKeon, one of the regular contributors to the blog, emailed me last night that he came across a Scranton reference in the 1936 classic Wife Vs. Secretary.

Directed by the legendary Clarence Brown (National Velvet, The Yearling, seven films with Greta Garbo--including 1930's Anna Christie, in which "Garbo Talks!"), the comedy Wife Vs. Secretary tells the story of hardworking magazine executive Van Stanhope (Clark Gable), who is happily married to Linda (Myrna Loy). Though the pair have unconditional trust, it doesn't stop the neighbors from cautioning Linda about Van's sexy blonde secretary Whitey (Jean Harlow) who, although she has a boyfriend, may be harboring a secret crush on her boss after all.

Don told me via email:

"Clark Gable mentions to his wife, played by Myrna Loy, that upon registering their names at the hotel they were staying at, that he said they were from Scranton, Pennsyltucky."

Wife Vs. Secretary
is available to borrow on DVD from the Lackawanna County Library System; click here to place a hold.

Much thanks to Don McKeon for this reference.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jay McCarroll, Season 1 Winner of Project Runway (1974 - )

This past Friday and Saturday, NEPA native Jay McCarroll was in Wilkes-Barre, PA for the Trunk Sale at the Outrageous boutique. My colleague Michele L. coincidentally told me a few days prior to his visit that McCarroll is actually a native of the Dallas, PA area.

Jay McCarroll was born October 11, 1974 in Lehman, PA in Luzerne County.

In addition to his work as a designer, McCarroll received nationwide exposure as the winner of the first season of the reality show Project Runway in 2004; McCarroll surprisingly refused to accept the prize money for winning, opting to be an independent designer with complete creative control.

McCarroll was also a contestant (and team captain of the Red Team) on Season Seven of the reality show Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp in 2010.

Click here to read an article from the Scranton Times-Tribune about McCarroll's visit to Outrageous; click here to read the article from Times Leader.

Much thanks to Michele L. for this reference.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jerry Orbach, Prince of the City by John Anthony Gilvey (2011)

LinkIn a previous blog entry, I highlighted the local roots of the late Jerry Orbach--star of stage (the original Billy Flynn in 1975's Chicago on Broadway; the original El Gallo in The Fantasticks; 1969 Tony winner for Broadway's original production of Promises, Promises), screen (Dirty Dancing, Woody Allen's Crimes & Misdemeanors, the candlestick Lumière in Disney's Beauty & The Beast) and TV (Law & Order, Homicide: Life on the Street).

A recently published (and excellent) biography on Mr. Orbach also includes information on his local roots--to Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and even Plymouth, PA. The book is titled Jerry Orbach, Prince of the City: His Way from The Fantasticks to Law & Order, written by John Anthony Gilvey (with a Foreword by Jane Alexander).

Chapter 1 (Entrance, 1935-1955)
features information on Orbach's parents residing in Plymouth, PA during the Great Depression, right before Orbach's birth:

p. 3 (description of Orbach's mother Emily)
"In 1932, Plymouth, a small town situated on the Susquehanna River four miles west of Wilkes-Barre in northeast Pennsylvania's Luzerne County, was not an easy place to earn a living, especially for a young woman."

p. 4
"Alexander (Emily's father), born in the village of Bartlovka, near the city of Bialstok in northeast Poland, immigrated to the United States as a young man...finally settling down in Plymouth."

p. 4
"Like Leo (Orbach's father), she (Emily) was fascinated by the stage and had already put her talents to the test as a singer on a weekly Wilkes-Barre radio program."

p. 4
"Unlike most Catholic parents of the day, Alexander and Susanne were surprisingly accepting of their daughter's Jewish boyfriend. There were two reasons for this: first, their own marriage ran counter to the bitter enmity between Polish and Lithuanian Catholics that dated back to the Middle Ages and as recently as 1889 had erupted violently on the streets of Plymouth..."

p. 5
"Weeks later, Jerome Bernard Orbach was baptized at St. Mary's Polish Catholic Church in Plymouth."

p. 7
"Months later, when he (Leo) returned, he took a position as banquet manager for the Sterling Hotel in Wilkes-Barre before landing what would be a permanent position managing lunch counters for Neisner Brothers, a national retail store chain. The nature of the job demanded that he relocates as the needs of the company demanded, so for the next seven years the family crisscrossed the country via stores in Scranton, Pennsylvania; Springfield, Massachusetts; and Waukegan, Illinois."

p. 7
"In Scranton, where the Orbachs' home sat atop one of the highest points of the city and across from a firehouse, seven-year-old Jerry immediately made friends with the firemen..."

p. 7
"Another significant experience came in May 1943, when he made his First Communion and Confirmation during Mass at St. Peter's Cathedral."

p. 8
"Back in Scranton, Emily put their furniture in storage and made preparations for the long train trek that would take her and Jerry to their new home where Leo waited...but before they could board the train, Jerry had to part with his first and only pet--a cocker spaniel that had been his constant companion during their time in Scranton. Brokenhearted, he returned the dog to the lady who had given it to him."

p. 8
"In May after an eight-hundred-route-mile, fourteen-hour train trip from springtime Scranton, they arrived in still-snowy Chicago..."

On p. 139 in Chapter 9 (Trenchant Defective/Living Landmark, 1944-2004), Wilkes-Barre, PA was a bonding topic for Jerry and fellow actor Ted Sod, when they appeared together on the TV drama Law & Order.

"Actor Ted Sod fondly remembers... :
'When I appeared on Law & Order...Jerry immediately made me feel as if I were welcome. He introduced himself and we spoke for a bit about my hometown, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he had relatives.'"

Jerry Orbach, Prince of the City is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System. To place a hold, click here.

Click here to read the previous blog entry on Jerry Orbach.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kill The Irishman DVD Available To Borrow From the Lackawanna County Library System

The DVD of the film Kill The Irishman, a 2011 film produced by Scranton native Eugene Musso, is now available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System. Click here to place a hold.

Click here for a previous blog entry on Kill the Irishman.


Scranton Native Walter Bobbie To Direct New Off-Broadway Play The Submission; Opening Night 9/27



Scranton native and Tony-winning Broadway director Walter Bobbie is going to be quite busy this Fall. In addition to directing the recently announced Broadway transfer of the play Venus in Fur (opening November 8th), it has been announced that he will also be directing the Off-Broadway debut of actor/playwright Jeff Talbott's play The Submission.

The Submission begins previews at the MMC's Lucille Lortel Theater on Thursday, September 8th, with an Opening Night scheduled for Monday, September 26th and a Closing scheduled for Saturday, October 22nd.

Below is a description of The Submission from the MCC's website:

"Shaleeha G'ntamobi's stirring new play about an alcoholic black mother and her card sharp son trying to get out of the projects has just been accepted into the nation's preeminent theater festival. Trouble is, Shaleeha G'ntamobi doesn't exist, except in the imagination of wannabe-playwright Danny Larsen, who created her as a kind of affirmative-action nom-de-plume. But a nom-de-guerre may prove more useful as the lies pile up, shaky alliances are forged, and everyone dear to Danny must decide whether or not to run for cover as the whole thing threatens to blow up in his lily white face.

New York-based actor Jeff Talbott makes an auspicious play-writing debut with The Submission after taking home the first-ever Laurents/Hatcher Award for the play earlier this year. Walter Bobbie (School for Lies, Chicago) directs four of today's hottest young stars - Jonathan Groff (Spring Awakening, "Glee"), Will Rogers (When the Rain Stops Falling), Eddie Kaye Thomas (The Bachelorette, American Pie), and Rutina Wesley (HBO's "True Blood") - in this funny and furiously intelligent new play. "

Click here to purchase tickets to the limited run of The Submission.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

It's Official! Lysistrata Jones, Written By Wilkes-Barre Native Douglas Carter Beane, Will Play Broadway This Fall


According to The New York Times, Wilkes-Barre native Douglas Carter Beane's latest musical Lysistrata Jones will transfer to Broadway and begin previews on Nov. 12, with an opening night set for Dec. 14 at the Walter Kerr Theater.

Beane, whose previous Broadway theater writing credits include Xanadu, The Little Dog Laughed, and Sister Act (each of which earned him Tony nominations), wrote the book of the new musical Lysistrata Jones, a modern day take on the classic Aristophanes play. The update, which played Off-Broadway at the Gym at Judson in New York City, tells the story of Lysistrata Jones, a spunky transfer student at the University of Athens, whose basketball team hasn't won a game in 30 years. In the name of team spirit, Jones dares the squad's fed-up girlfriends to stop "giving it up" to their boyfriends until they win a game so their legendary losing streak can come to an end.

The composer/lyricist of the show is Lewis Flinn (The Divine Sister), and it will be directed and choreographed by Tony nominee Dan Knechtges (Xanadu, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee).

Tickets will be available soon.

Click here to read the announcement from The New York Times.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Last Chance -- Miller's Tale DVD Fundraiser Expires August 1st



Miller's Tale - Trailer from Cottage Films on Vimeo.

The documentary Miller's Tale tells the story of Scranton's Jason Miller, Tony- and Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright of That Championship Season and Oscar nominee for The Exorcist. The film follows Miller's journey through Broadway and Hollywood, and his subsequent move back to Scranton, PA--where he continued to work in local theater and film.

To raise funds to release Miller's Tale on DVD, director Rebecca Marshall Ferris has organized a web-based fundraiser to raise $5,000 to produce and release the film on DVD. A donation of $24.00 guarantees you a copy of the DVD when released in August. Other groovy perks -- including a new $5.00 The Miller High Life deal, which will give you streaming access to Miller's Tale online for 2 weeks in August -- are also offered.

The fundraiser will expire August 1st; so if you want to help Rebecca Marshall Ferris release Miller's Tale on DVD -- which guarantees you a copy of the film (either physical or streaming) -- click here.

WBRE-TV also aired a segment on Friday on the upcoming DVD release and fundraiser for Miller's Tale. Click here to watch the video report.

http://www.indiegogo.com/Millers-Tale-DVDs?c=home

http://millerstalemovie.com/

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Forged" Filmed in NEPA and Produced By Scranton Native Joe Van Wie (2010)

Check out the new issue of Go Lackawanna (July 24th); the cover story (Scene in Scranton) discusses the new film Forged, filmed in Northeastern Pennsylvania and Co-Executive Produced by Scranton native Joe Van Wie.

Forged tells the story of 13 year-old Machito, who must come to terms with the murder of his mother at the hands of his father Chaco.

Forged opens in New York and Los Angeles this Friday, June 29th. The film will premiere locally at Marquee Cinemas in downtown Scranton on Friday, Aug. 12. Screenings will continue through at least Sunday, Aug. 14.

According to the article, Forged will be released on DVD and Netflix in September.

Click here to read the full article from Go Lackawanna.

The film was also featured as a Cover Story in last week's issue of The Weekender. To read the article, click here.

UPDATE 7/30: Forged received a rave review in Friday's New York Times. Click here to read it.

UPDATE 8/16: Click here to read an article from the Times-Tribune about the Scranton premiere of Forged.



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"The Gathering" at Keystone College Will Feature Apple Store Architect Peter Bohlin; Firm Founded in Wilkes-Barre

The theme of this year's The Gathering literary conference at Keystone College (July 14-17, 2011) is Physical and Metaphysical Home: Memory, Grace and Structure.

One of this year's speakers is award-winning architect Peter Bohlin, whose firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson was originally established as Bohlin Jackson on Market Street in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Born in New York City, Bohlin moved to Wilkes-Barre to establish his firm, which also has locations in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Seattle and San Francisco.

Among Mr. Bohlin's famous designs are the Apple Store on 5th Avenue in New York City (as well as Apple Stores in London, Japan and Paris), The William J. Nealon Federal Building and Courthouse in Scranton, Pixar Animation Studios in California and the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia.

To register for The Gathering, click here.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Venus In Fur, Directed By Scranton Native Walter Bobbie, To Transfer To Broadway This Fall


Walter Bobbie, Scranton native and Tony-winning director of the long-running Broadway revival of Chicago, will be directing David Ives's play Venus in Fur on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater in New York City. Previews will begin Thursday, October 13th, 2011 with an Opening Night Tuesday, November 8th. Venus in Fur is part of the 2011-2012 Manhattan Theater Club series. The limited run will conclude Sunday, December 18th, 2011.

Venus In Fur originally premiered Off-Broadway in January 2010; originally scheduled to run a month, the play was extended multiple times and closed March 25th, 2010. The original lead -- 2011 Tony nominee Nina Arianda (Born Yesterday) -- will be reprising her role of Vanda that she originated Off-Broadway. Actor Hugh Dancy will be playing playwright Thomas (originally played Off-Broadway by Wes Bentley).

From Broadway.com:

"As David Ives’ new play begins, we meet a modern-day playwright/director who has written an adaptation of Venus in Fur, the 1870 novel by Leopold Sacher-Masoch that became infamous when the author’s last name inspired the term “sado-masochism” to describe the interplay of sex and power in the book. An actress arrives to audition, her bag filled with S&M gear and period costumes. Soon the playwright is drawn into reading his own script with this mysterious young woman, with breaks to argue about the meaning of the story and the motivation of the characters."

In addition to Venus In Fur and Chicago, Walter Bobbie's other Broadway directing credits include White Christmas, High Fidelity, Footloose, and the 2005 revival of Sweet Charity (which includes a reference to Scranton in one of the lyrics).

Click here for a previous blog entry on Walter Bobbie.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

W-B Native Douglas Carter Beane's Hit Off-Broadway Play Lysistrata Jones May Transfer to Broadway


Three-time Tony nominee and Wilkes-Barre native Douglas Carter Beane may soon have another show on Broadway.

Beane, whose previous theater writing credits include Xanadu, The Little Dog Laughed, and Sister Act, recently wrote the book of the new musical Lysistrata Jones, a modern day take on the classic Aristophanes play. The update, currently playing Off-Broadway at the Gym at Judson in New York City, tells the story of Lysistrata Jones, a spunky transfer student at the University of Athens, whose basketball team hasn't won a game in 30 years. In the name of team spirit, Jones dares the squad's fed-up girlfriends to stop "giving it up" to their boyfriends until they win a game so their legendary losing streak can come to an end.

Lysistrata Jones has recently been extended Off-Broadway and is now set to close on June 24th (for tickets, click here). However, according to Playbill.com, the show is looking at a possible Broadway transfer and "is currently looking for a suitable Broadway theatre to house the production; possibilities include the Broadhurst or the Walter Kerr."

Let's keep our fingers crossed for one of our own.

For a previous blog entry on Douglas Carter Beane, click here.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Game by Dan Barry (2011)

Bob Nicoteri, the eagle-eyed groovy former Scrantonian and writer of the Scrantonicity column on the Life in the Office website, Facebooked me this past week to tell me about a local reference he discovered in a new book he randomly found on the "Interesting New Reading" shelf of his local library in Seattle. The book is Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption and Baseball's Longest Game by Dan Barry.

Bob wrote me the following:

"Hey Bill! Here's a nice coincidence, ever since I discovered your "NEPA in entertainment" blog; I just finished reading a good non-fiction book called 'The Bottom of the 33rd.' It's about an utterly inconsequential minor league baseball game that turned out to be the longest professional game in history. The author weaves fascinating stories about the now mostly-forgotten players and their wives into the narrative. One of the riveting stories involves a player's wive, who was born and raised in...ta-DA!...Tunkhannock, PA!"

Bottom of the 33rd is now available to borrow from Albright Memorial Library; to place a hold, click here.

Thanks again to the ever-awesome Bob Nicoteri for this reference!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Fundraiser to Produce Jason Miller Documentary "Miller's Tale" on DVD & How You Can Help

This past March, PBS aired the excellent documentary Miller's Tale. Filmed over seven years, Miller's Tale told the story of Scranton's Jason Miller, Tony- and Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright of That Championship Season and Oscar nominee for The Exorcist. The film follows Miller's journey through Broadway and Hollywood, and his subsequent move back to Scranton, PA--where he continued to work in local theater and film.

Director Rebecca Marshall Ferris has been getting tons of request to release Miller's Tale on DVD, and our library is dying to add a copy or two to our Circulation Collection. However, this will not be possible without raising $5,000 to cover expenses to both produce and release the DVD.

Rebecca plans to include a whole slew of DVD extras to accompany the film--such as a director's commentary, several deleted scenes, her student film Birthday (which captures Jason Miller in one of his final performances on film), and more.

In order to reach their fundraising goal of $5,000, the filmmakers are offering a number of groovy goodies to anyone who makes a donation to make the DVD release a reality--ranging from $25 (which will actually get you a copy of Miller's Tale on DVD once it is released) to $250 (which will get you eight--YES, EIGHT--signed Miller's Tale DVDs and tickets to an upcoming screening of Miller's Tale in either Scranton or New Orleans.

For more information or to make a contribution, click here.

Let's get Miller's Tale released on DVD!!!!!!


Miller's Tale - Trailer from Cottage Films on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Must-Read: "Scrantonicity" Column on "Life in The Office" Website by Scranton Native Bob Nicoteri

I recently received an email from all-around groovy guy and Scranton native Bob Nicoteri. Bob now lives in Seattle, but he stays close to Scranton by comprehensively documenting every local references featured on NBC's The Office for the past two years.

Titled Scrantonicity, Nicoteri's column has appeared for the show's last two seasons on the website Life in the Office (which was started in January 2006, a handful of episodes into the show's second season), documenting every single reference to the Electric City and surrounding areas. His column is really great and a lot of fun to read, and the details Bob catches with his eagle eyes are absolutely amazing.

Bob works for the Hilton Corporation as a bartender, and his name tag proudly displays his hometown of Scranton, PA; he told me via email, "What a conversation starter that has been these past few years! I've met guests in our hotel from all over the world that LIGHT UP when they see I'm from Scranton, PA, 'home to Dunder-Mifflin.' How cool is that?"

Bob told me he became aware of this blog when one of my colleagues, Michele L., left a message on one of his Scrantonicitiy articles about the Lackawanna County Library System library card appearing in one of the episodes; she, in turn, sent him a link to this blog.

Bob also devoted a column of Scrantonicity to some of his memories of the Albright Memorial Library, which is quite terrific.

When Season 8 of The Office premieres this Fall, I have a new favorite "first-website-to-check-on-Friday" site.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Children's Song Robin in the Rain; WHO Wrote It? Was It a Scranton Native? I Need Your Help!



"Robin in the Rain" sung by Raffi
Written by Claire Senior Burke...
OR was it Brychan B. Powell of Scranton, PA?

A few days ago I received an email from a school board member in Toronto about the true authorship of the children's song titled Robin in the Rain, which became popular by singer Raffi. 99% of the websites and resources I've researched (including Popular Song Index, as well as the CD booklets of CDs in the Lackawanna County Children's Library that feature the song) credit the sole authorship of the song to Claire Senior Burke.

HOWEVER, my patron told me she found an obscure reference online credited to a book The ASCAP Biographical Dictionary: Composers, Authors and Publishers (Second Edition), edited by Daniel I. McNamara, published in 1952 (the complete book is available online by clicking here).

Page 393 of this book features an entry about Brychan B. Powell (born 8/24/1896), a native of Scranton, PA and member of the ASCAP who also served as managing editor of The Scranton Tribune and The Scrantonian from 1938 until at least the early 1950s. Powell's entry (image above) credits him as the author of the song Robin in the Rain.

Does anyone know the true songwriter of Robin in the Rain, or can anyone provide me with any additional information? If so, please email me by clicking here or leave a comment below.


Listen to Raffi's recording of Robin in the Rain below:


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

NCIS Los Angeles: Season 2, Episode 23: Imposters (May 10, 2011)



My colleague Martina Soden recently told me about a reference to Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania on last week's episode of CBS's NCIS: Los Angeles, titled Imposters (episode 23 of the show's second season).

After a Navy SEAL imposter is set ablaze, NCIS obtains new information regarding the whereabouts of the stolen Brachytherapy canister from a previous case that could be used to make a deadly bomb.

About 20 minutes into the episode, Kensi Blye (Daniela Ruah) and Marty Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) are walking along the beach interviewing Starr (Kristen Hager), a waitress and possible suspect in the murder. When the discussion turns to aliases and changing identities, Starr tells Kensi and Marty the following:

STARR:

A lot of people want a better life for themselves and dream of being someone they’re not. Starr sounds a little better than Sarah Ann Shulman from Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania.

To watch the full episode of NCIS: Los Angeles, click here.

Much thanks to Martina Soden for this reference.