According to the New York Times,Sea Wall A LIFE, written by Simon Stephens and Nick Payne respectively and directed by Carrie Cracknell, will transfer to Broadway next season. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge, it will begin performances on July 26 and will open on August 8. The limited engagement will conclude on September29. BroadwayWorld.com Featured Content
Aaron Paul will be reprising his role as Jesse Pinkman in the movie, THR reports. The movie will be a sequel to the events of Breaking Bad, which means it’s unlikely we’d see Walter White again, but perhaps some other familiar faces could pop up. Read more…
On this day in 1998, the original Broadway production starring Audra McDonald, Marin Mazzie, and Brian Stokes Mitchell opened at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts. BroadwayWorld.com Featured Content
Opinion: A Diva’s Christmas Carol, the ’00s TV movie starring Vanessa Williams, is the only Charles Dickens remake we need
Author Michael Arceneaux attempted to create a definitive ranking of every A Christmas Carol remake—until he realized the VH1 movie starring Vanessa Williams is the only one that actually matters. Here’s why.
Recently, Toni Braxton starred in the Lifetime film Every Day Is Christmas. In it, Braxton played a money manager named Alexis Taylor, a workaholic who can’t stand love and is far more fixated on “the mu-mu-muny, yen and the pesos” (there’s always room for Nicki Minaj references, folks) than anything else. This is much to the detriment of her employees and everyone else around her, minus her driver who is secretly wishing to date her. Ultimately, her rude self gets visited by a few spirits from various time periods who basically scare her into being a better person. If this sounds familiar, yes, it is inspired by the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol.
I love Christmas programming, and despite her blocking me on Twitter without cause, I adore Braxton (a diva and national treasure, whom I consider the Shug Avery of R&B—a compliment). I watched it, and, unfortunately, Every Day Is Christmas wasn’t it, y’all. It wasn’t even a fraction of it. Like, Toni Braxton sings like Anita Baker and wants to marry Birdman of Cash Money Records fame. In other words, there’s a lot of personality to work with here, and yet, this movie was sort of sedative in its presentation. It wasn’t horrible, but it lacked oomph.
Again, I’m a sucker for Xmas (I didn’t take the Christ out of Christmas, just Google it) and I’m into A Christmas Carol in general, so I’m always intrigued whenever anyone tries to recreate the tale. Actors will always look for an easy check, and couple that with Hollywood’s disinterest in new ideas, and this story will be redone again and again and again. Perhaps, one day, some creative will try to deliver the film equivalent of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (as in a modern Christmas classic), but until then, here we are.
In hindsight, as much as I love A Christmas Carol, I’m realizing that many have failed miserably in their attempts to create a new spin that’s worth a damn.
Much like Entertainment Weekly writer Mary Sollosi’s attempt last year, I went into this piece looking to do a ranking of the best versions—only to realize many of them were so-so or flat out sucked.
So-so spins of the classic tale would include Mickey’s Christmas Carol, which might have been all the rage when I was a kid who mostly consumed chicken nuggets, but now I’m a thirty-something man who still eats a lot of chicken nuggets, but also has a heightened palate in terms of entertainment consumption. In other words, Mickey Mouse could have tried harder.
If you’re a human, there are really only two other options to model your film after. You could turn to Bill Murray, whose film Scrooged, was pretty good. Yes, I’m complimenting a cisgender heterosexual white man at the end of 2018 in this political climate, but it’s the holidays. I’m feeling festive and generous.
Bill Murray did much better than, say, Kelsey Grammer, who made a musical version of A Christmas Carol in 2004. I still haven’t forgiven Frasier for what he did to Camille Grammer on the inaugural season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but I revisited clips of that mess for this assignment. Let’s just say forgiveness will take even longer now.
When it comes right down to it, the only person who matters in the context of A Christmas Carol—outside of Charles Dickens himself, the dearly departed—is Vanessa Williams.
In the 2000 film, Williams plays Ebony Scrooge, an international pop star that wouldn’t spit on her BFF if she was on fire.
It features Chilli from TLC, Kathy Griffin, and other people whose names I’ve forgotten, though it doesn’t matter because it’s all about Vanessa Williams. It originally aired on VH1, so it was full of pop culture references, music, and, more importantly, has Vanessa Williams. Let the record show that not only is A Diva’s Christmas Carol the best spin on A Christmas Carol—it’s one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time (I hope you didn’t hear that in Kanye West’s voice since he’s on the naughty list).
While I cannot share the bootleg of A Diva’s Christmas Carol posted on YouTube, I can strongly encourage you to search your channel guide and set your DVR if you’ve never seen it. Or use your friends’ passwords to stream it—whatever it takes. Just treat yourself to its splendor.
And for those of you who still seek to recreate A Christmas Carol, please try to be more like Vanessa Williams. You’re welcome.
Michael Arceneaux is the New York Times bestselling author of the recently released book I Can’t Date Jesusfrom Atria Books/Simon & Schuster. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Essence, The Guardian, Mic, and more. Follow him on Twitter.
A parallel story from the big wave surfers and photographers who witnessed the largest surf ever seen. This story is based on one photographer’s journey to capture the wave of a lifetime. In pursuit, three epic swells hit the South Pacific shorelines, providing conditions only madmen could dream of. Hear the story behind these historical days from the men themselves who dared to challenge the ‘White Rhino’.
For more information on the film check out their website here.
HOLIDAY CHEER: In one of the more unexpected branding coups, Talbots has partnered with the “Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes,” and will be the official women’s fashion and footwear partner.
In addition to being a sponsor with presenting sponsor Chase, the Massachusetts-based chain of boutiques will have a replica storefront in the department store scene during this year’s “Christmas Spectacular” production at Radio City Music Hall. That scenario centers on two brothers who are on the hunt for the ideal Christmas gift for their sister and they wind up on a wintry adventure to discover the magic behind Santa Claus.
The Talbots-Rockettes connection will not only be on the historic hardwood stage at Rockefeller Center. The high-kicking dancers will be featured in Talbots’ holiday campaign, which will encompass the holiday catalogue and the retailer’s site. For the crucial fourth-quarter selling season, Talbots has recruited the Rockettes to field their share of meet-and-greets and to make cameos at select customer events at the Talbots Madison Avenue flagship.
Set to bow Nov. 9, this year’s production will feature a more technologically advanced “Christmas Lights” finale, combining innovation — futuristic digital projections with more traditional aspects that will extend the show beyond the stage.