[button link=”http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/eh-game/justin-trudeau-vs-patrick-brazeau-canadian-boxing-event-194044927.html” window=”yes”]To read this column at Yahoo! Sports, click here.[/button]
I’m tired of sitting on the sidelines while everybody else gets into the fun of musical theatre.
They’re making millions and those of us who don’t dip into the ever-growing and lucrative world of the old soft shoe and warble are suckers.
There’s a “Shrek: The Musical,” for God’s sake. Only a matter of time – mark me – before we’re enjoying the elevated buzz around opening night of “Flashpoint: The Musical.” Hell, Hugh Dillon will probably write the music himself.
However, long before we get to that, we shouldn’t look past the incredible drama and intrigue that is Toronto’s own city council. Lots of meat on that bone, even if the gravy’s gotten scarce.
Divine inspiration struck me as I watched the unfolding events down at the ol’ clam shell on Wednesday. As wave after wave of venom-filled tweets from both sides of the debate electrified my brain, I had an epiphany.
“Transit City: The Musical.”
Oh, baby. Ka – friggin’ – ching!
‘This idea’s too good not to have an exclamation point in the title,’ I thought. And so was born:
“Transit City: The Musical!”
Political intrigue. Backstabbing. Quickly unfolding drama. This can easily be translated to the stage. And will be, once Garth Drabinsky gets out of jail and is looking for the next great thing.
What follows is a general overview of my vision for Toronto’s greatest homegrown musical.
As far as casting, I’ve already nailed down my principal players. I need the mayor and his brother, as well as a TTC Chair.
Their signature number will come in a scene where, just after coming to power, they hatch their plan to ditch former mayor David Miller’s Transit City initiative. The scene is punctuated with their duet treatment of an old Spoons’ chestnut, with a slight twist:
Doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo…. Doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo… broooooomaaaaantic traffic….
Butt’s big dramatic solo moment will come later in the show, when Transit City is revived by council vote. It’s at that point that I see him making his way to downstage right, and sitting with his legs dangling over the edge. A single spotlight trained on him, he forlornly sings The Doors’ “The End.”
Playing TTC Chair (for now) Karen Stintz, I’d like Sheila McCarthy. Only she could bring the complex mixture of strength and weariness so crucial to the multi-layered role of a woman who is conflicted by past alliances with a man she’d previously been devoted to, and her burgeoning ambition. She’s basically the Brutus to Rob Ford’s Caesar. (Mental note: Should we re-imagine this play as being set in Roman times? Brent Butt and Gerry Dee would be hysterical in togas.)
It HAS to be Sheila McCarthy. Realistically, Reese Witherspoon could carry it off, too, but, c’mon, we need to keep spending under control. If we can’t get McCarthy, I’d be happy with BT’s Jennifer Valentyne. She’s delightful.
I haven’t quite worked in a David Miller part just yet, but I know it’s essential. When I get a handle on that, I’ll approach veteran actor Michael Murphy to do it. Great actor. And look at him! That’s David Miller!
Let’s see, what else have I got?
There will definitely be a “West Side Story” type of number in there, probably to close the first act. A Sharks versus Jets thingy. Subway advocates against LRT lobbyists. It’s here that I envision a bit of a Ford-Stintz romantic tension undercurrent.
I hope to build in a gaggle of journalists, who can push the narrative with the odd question for each of the main characters. That’s where I’ll be able to invite crowd-pleasing Toronto news celebrities to do quick cameos, like in The Nutcracker. Peter Mansbridge. Lisa LaFlamme. Gord Martineau. Somebody From The Weather Network.
It’s a work in progress, so be gentle with critiques of this treatment. We need to workshop this puppy a bit, preferably at a place that’s not easy to get to by public transit. Soulpepper would suffice. Are you interested, Albert Schultz? I’d even let you play Giorgio Mammoliti, if you’re willing to go there as an actor.
I envision casting changes, rewrite after rewrite after rewrite, and impatient third party investors wondering when the hell this thing is going to actually hit the stage. If ever.
That only seems appropriate.
This week on THE GIST OF IT, Bill Hayes and Don Landry get all Christmassy and stuff. Don smokes a pipe through the whole thing, to feel more like Bing Crosby. Bill wears a dickie under a thin synthetic sweater, because he loves Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation. Among this week’s topics: Christmas music and the money it makes, the scourge of the phrase “Happy Holidays,” Alec Baldwin’s reported airline meltdown, those Commies also known as The Muppets, and blocking idiots on Twitter.
Segment 1 – Bill trots out his exceptional skills of poetry to salute Herman Cain’s departure from the American political landscape. He IS gone, right?
Segment 2 – The guys explore the possibility that the Muppets are dirty Commies. Plush puppets of the proletarian struggle. Beware of soft, cuddly Bolsheviks, people.
Segment 3 – Oh, Alec. Alec Baldwin is kicked off an American Airlines flight. Embarrassing for him and embarrassing for the other Baldwin brothers, who we assume were right there in their jobs as baggage handlers.
Segment 4 – Why is blocking a jerk from your Twitter account seen as some kind of unfair censorship? Shouldn’t you have the right to revoke a person’s right to send you insulting messages? #whateverdude
Segment 5 – Okay. Here’s where we start to get Christmassy. Complaining about too much Christmas music too early? Liar! You love it. Bill has data to prove it. This is also where Bill almost meets his maker because he shoots Don a look of scorn when the name Andy Williams comes up.
Segment 6 – Don and Bill argue over the phrase “Happy Holidays.” Bill thinks it ruins Christmas. Don thinks it’s much ado about next to nothing.
Segment 7 – A teacher in Michigan got into trouble when she changed the lyrics of “Deck The Hall,” when having trouble keeping students from giggling when they got to “gay apparel,” in choir rehearsals. Went with “bright apparel.” Uh-oh. It’s still okay to go “dashing through the snow,” isn’t it?
This week on The Gist Of It, Don Landry and Bill Hayes marvel over the new Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens. Actually, they marvel at the fact that people would line up to be the first in. As well, they discuss the Leafs’ continuing good play, the Grey Cup Game (including Nickelback), Bill’s new favourite website and, once again, the never ending delight that is the Republican Party of the United States Of America. And they argue over Rolling Stone’s list of top 100 guitarists of all time.
Segment 1 – Hey, a new grocery store has opened at Maple Leaf Gardens! Don’t you wanna line up in the freezing rain, overnight, so you can be first in?! Us either.
Segment 2 – The Toronto Maple Leafs. If you’re waiting for them to slip back into the pack, mightn’t you be waiting in vain?
Segment 3 – The Grey Cup Game. Don spent a week in Vancouver and gives you his impressions of the game, the festivities and a theory as to why Joe Kapp and Angelo Mosca got into that dust up.
Segment 4 – Want substance? Depth? Then, why are you listening to this podcast? Actually, Bill has a good website for you to check out.
Segment 5 – Rolling Stone’s list of 100 greatest guitarists. They got number one right, but after that? Not so much.
Segment 6 – Try as they might, Bill and Don just can’t take their eyes of the Republican Party. Bill worries about America’s future. Don doesn’t think any of these candidates are worth worrying about.
Herman Cain and Rick Perry should draw salaries from the following TV shows: The Colbert Report, The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live. And any other show that lampoons the increasingly martian-like characteristics of the Republican Primary landscape. instead of needing to work hard at clever turns of phrase or outrageous extensions of what’s really happening, producers can just say “roll tape,” and have done with it. When I imagine the Republican Party’s topography these days, I envision a young Mel Gibson surveying the arid Australian outback in a postapocalyptic world, with the lawless and the crazies bombing around in dune buggies in hockey masks and football shoulder pads. It’s Mad Max out there, and getting “Madder and Maxier.” When Perry challenged Democrat Nancy Pelosi to a debate this week, I thought: “Why don’t we just cut out a step or two and schedule their square-off at 11:30 on Saturday night, on NBC?”
[button link=”http://www.donlandry.com/2011/11/the-gist-of-it-november-16-2011/” window=”yes”]To hear more on Herman Cain and the Republicans, click here for this week’s podcast, with Don Landry and Bill Hayes.[/button]
Toronto mayor Rob Ford has confirmed he will make a cameo appearance in the National Ballet Of Canada’s annual presentation of “The Nutcracker.” It will, unfortunately, be a non-dancing part. After seeing his performance at the Caribbean Festival kick-off, I’d love to see His Worship tippy-toe across the stage in a uni-tard. But, come to think of it, the mayor isn’t particularly adept at tippy-toeing. Ever. So, we’ll have to be satisfied with his role as a cannon doll. Keep an eye on him during this performance. That cannon may somehow end up pointed at Mary Walsh.
While I was cleaning out a drawer that had been systematically filled up over time with long-forgotten items, I came across a Blockbuster Video membership card. Sure hope it hasn’t expired. Among the other things I turned up as I continued to rifle through: An 8-track tape of the album “Cornerstone,” by Styx, a gift certificate for Frank Vetere’s Pizzeria and, finally, in the back corner of the drawer, The Liberal Party Of Canada.
Hmm, intriguing. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers released underused receiver Terrence Jeffers-Harris on Thursday. On Friday, their opponents in this weekend’s CFL East Final, the Hamilton TiCats, added him to their practice roster. He’s ineligible to play for Hamilton in the game, but is eligible to give his new bosses every bit of information he has on Winnipeg’s offensive scheming, if he so desires. If the TiCats’ defence appears to know pretty much exactly what the Bombers do on any given play, it won’t be because they have some keen sense of ESP (or, as it’s known in sports circles, ESPN) but because “new guy” gave them the blueprints. Or bomberprints. Whatever they’re called. We’ll see how this plays out. The Bombers may have just made the biggest strategic blunder since somebody once said: “Hey, I’ve got an idea! A new Coke!”
So, some geniuses in London, Ontario, decided to name their new baseball team the “London Rippers.” Now, no problem, if the logo is a big, burly strongman belting a Roy Hobb’s-like home run. That would make perfect sense. “Ripping” the ball has, for years, been known as a term for crushing home runs. Instead, they decided on the logo you see to the left, which obviously plays on the Jack The Ripper theme. Fun for the kids!! Tonight is cloak and dagger night at the ballpark! Now, I don’t much care how long ago this guy terrorized the women of London, England. It could be a thousand years ago, instead of 120. You don’t name teams after serial killers. Unless you’re devoid of conscience or… what’s the word? Oh, yeah. Taste. I look forward to you expanding your baseball empire with the Stratford Zodiacs, the St. Thomas Stranglers, the Guelph Gacys and the Beamsville Bundys.
[button link=”http://www.donlandry.com/2011/11/the-london-rippers-and-political-correctness/” window=”yes”]To read: “The London Rippers And Political Correctness,” click here.[/button]
Next week, the U.S. will celebrate its Thanksgiving. One of the highlights for many people is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But, beware, New York City. With all those giant balloons of Snoopy and Shrek and Mr. Potato Head and dozens of others, wouldn’t this be the perfect time for the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man to blend in for a sneak attack? Not saying he’s ready to strike. Just saying ‘be prepared.’ And know who you gonna call.
Saskatchewan Roughrider offensive lineman Gene Makowsky was elected to the provincial legislature. Caucus meetings will now be held in a tight circle and end with a single, group clap.
This week, Bill Hayes and Don Landry take a serious run at NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. No worries, they know the guy handing out suspensions would allow them to, without penalty. Bill wonders if people may be treating Penn State’s Mike McQueary a little too harshly. As well, there are light hearted discussions about Rob Ford’s ballet career, Herman Cain’s, well, “Herman Cain – ness,” and whether we’re seeing the first few crumbles at the beginning of the fall of the Facebook empire.
Segment 1 – The guys ask the question: Are you sure you know exactly how you’d react if you walked into that infamous shower at Penn State? [button link=”http://www.donlandry.com/2011/11/former-argo-givens-in-a-penn-state-of-shock/” window=”yes”]To read Don Landry’s column on former Argo and Penn State linebacker Reggie Givens, click here.[/button]
Segment 2 – Occupy Toronto. Should demonstrators be kicked out of their tent city at St. James Park? Wouldn’t they be better off moving around anyway? And Don sings some Gordon Lightfoot.
Segment 3 – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford joins the National Ballet of Canada. Obama takes out crocodile insurance. And, who wants to lead the federal Liberals?
Segment 4 – Herman Cain. The comic gift that just keeps on giving. He should get paid for almost single-handedly writing The Daily Show and Colbert Report.
Segment 5 – One of Don’s friends has decided to quit Facebook. Don’s thinking about it, too. Is Facebook’s time starting to fade?
Segment 6 – Boston Bruins’ forward Milan Lucic gets a walk after running Buffalo Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller, and both Bill and Don think that’s unacceptable.
Segment 7 – Toronto Star reporter Dave Feschuk called Leaf goalie James Reimer’s mom to get a story. Is that okay?
This week Bill Hayes and Don Landry play verbal ping pong with some wide-ranging topics: The CBC’s anniversary and its ongoing funding, quarterback headhunting in the CFL, the hilarity that is Herman Cain’s presidential campaign in the U.S., Raffi Torres’ Hallowe’en costume, Kim Kardashian’s divorce, the World Series and Queen Victoria’s underwear. That’s right. They go there.
Segment 1 – Don describes some of the celebrity trick-or-treaters that came to his door Monday night. And the guys talk about Raffi Torres’ Jay-Z costume.
Segment 2 – Bill talks about his high school’s 75th anniversary reunion. Bet the class of ’36 out-partied everyone.
Segment 3 – The CBC. On the day of its 75th birthday, the guys discuss its relevance. In a folksy, Stuart McLean fashion, though.
Segment 4 – The CFL suspends Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ Johnny Sears for one game after he drilled Argo quarterback Stephen Jyles in the head. Warranted? Bill says “hell, yeah.” Don’s a little surprised by it. As well, they talk about the twitter fallout from the whole sordid affair.
Segment 5 – The World Series and its fabled Game 6: Beauty, or beast? As well, is Tony LaRussa a genius?
Segment 6 – Herman Cain. I mean, are you serious? What the hell is wrong with the Republican Party?
Segment 7 – The big finish. Quick thoughts on Tim Hortons and its menu changes, Queen Victoria’s undergarments and Kris Humphries.
This week, Bill Hayes and Don Landry sink their teeth into a wide range of topics. Bryant Gumbel’s comments about racism in NBA collective bargaining, the lack of focus in the Occupy Toronto protests, even Shia LaBeouf’s reported troubles in Vancouver. As well, they discuss the accomplishments of the late columnist, Earl McRae, and argue over whether an elderly barber in Nova Scotia should get more money from a guy who bought his antique hockey stick from him.
Segment 1 – Bryant Gumbel. Racial overtones in NBA collective bargaining? Nonsense.
Segment 2 – “Occupy Toronto.” What the hell are you trying to say?!
Segment 3 – Don Cherry’s apology. Arron Asham’s apology. And complaints that the NHL is turning into a touch hockey league.
Segment 4 – The plight of injured Leaf Centre Tim Connolly and the hot start for Phil Kessel.
Segment 5 – A Nova Scotia barber sold an antique hockey stick to someone for a thousand dollars. Now, it’s been appraised at 2 million. Should the buyer share the profits? Bill says: “Tough luck.” Don says: “Pony up the dough.”
Segment 6 – The great Earl McRae. Don and Bill share warm memories of the columnist/broadcaster who passed away last weekend. And some funny Earl stories, too.
Segment 7 – Trending on Twitter. Is that ever good? Not for Shia LaBeouf.
This week, Don Landry and Bill Hayes wrap their noggins around such conversational topics as Don Cherry, the Blackberry crisis, the best movie tough guys and the dysfunction of the Boston Red Sox. In honour of the remake of Footloose, it’s an all singing, all dancing edition of The Gist Of It.
Segment 1 – A quick hello and update on Bill’s basement.
Segment 2 – “Bombs Away:” Don sets his sights on Blackberry whiners and Bill can’t find a book he really, really wants.
Segment 3 – Don can’t believe Bill thinks Jason Statham should be mentioned in the same breath as Clint Eastwood.
Segment 4 – Grapes. Bill thinks Don Cherry’s dangerous. Don tells him to relax about it.
Segment 5 – More Cherry. Should he be allowed to continue? Is Ron MacLean the real culprit?
Segment 6 – The collapse and housecleaning of the Boston Red Sox: Don declares that the dysfunction of the team should have been remedied long before the exits of Terry Francona and Theo Epstein.
Segment 7 – The boys want people to stop tweeting every little thing and focus on quality.
[button link=”http://www.donlandry.com/2011/10/don-cherry-you-should-be-thankful-for-him/” bg_color=”#666666″ window=”yes”]To read: “Don Cherry: You Should Be Thankful For Him,” click here.[/button]