Podcast: June 19

This week: Ron Howard’s vexing problems with the Vatican, Justine Bateman’s SAG sympathies, and Vanessa Williams return to Chappaqua.

<a href=”http://www.lohud.com/assets/mov/061708_Suburbarazzi_lohud.mp4″ title=”Anarchy Media Player – Right click to download file” class=”noimg”><em>Podcast file</em></a>

<a href=”http://www.lohud.com/assets/mov/061708_Suburbarazzi_lohud.flv” title=”Anarchy Media Player – Right click to download file”><em>Flash video</em></a>

And the quiz — which, I might add, stumped Stacy-Ann (third week in a row!) — is as follows:

Which actor from the Lower Hudson Valley appears in M. Night Shyamalan’s new thriller “The Happening”?

A. Joseph Cross, of Pelham
B. Bill Irwin, of Nyack
C. Alan Ruck, of Piermont
D. Mel Gibson, of Peekskill/Verplanck

The big trick here: ALL of these actors have, at one point or another, appeared in a Shyamalan film.

The answer, as always, is at the end of the video or after the break.

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Bill Irwin gets his Randy Pausch on with ‘The Happiness Lecture’

Nyack resident Bill Irwin is about to premiere of his own ensemble show, “The Happiness Lecture,” down in Philadelphia. And much as I kid with the title, from the description on the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s website, “Happiness” actually has next to nothing to do with Pausch’s now-famous Carnegie Mellon speech, “The Last Lecture” — other than both being titled “lectures” and about happiness, more or less.

tjndc5-5b4h37×89yw1i9anunb6_layout.jpgIn case the name doesn’t ring a bell, Irwin has had a long, and at times schizophrenic career on Broadway, in the movies, and on TV. By turns ultra-dramatic and then ultra-clown-y, Irwin won the Tony for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?” and also starred for a long time as Mr. Noodle on “Sesame Street.”

This new show, which Irwin himself conceived, will run from May 16 to June 15 at PTC’s new home, the Suzanne Roberts Theatre. Says the PTC website:

“Irwin has created a unique and imaginative evening of delightful vignettes and physical comedy. This world premiere is a wild and entertaining ride that spoofs theatrical pretensions while exploring the sheer joy of laughter. Featuring some of Philadelphia’s finest actors and dancers.”

Presumably, this means Irwin’s clown persona will be on stage. Nothing could make us happier.

“Philadelphia Theatre Co. Premieres Master Clown Bill Irwin’s Happiness Lecture” [Playbill]

(AP Photo/Carol Rosegg)

Bill Irwin joins LoHud-tastic ‘Dancing with Shiva’ cast

tjndc5-5b4h37x89yw1i9anunb6_layout.jpgWith Nyack resident and Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme as well as former Irvington resident Debra Winger both attached to the upcoming comedy “Dancing with Shiva,” I didn’t thing the film could pack any more of Lower Hudson Vally punch. I was wrong.

Now word is out that another Nyacker, actor Bill Irwin (right) — aka Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street — has also signed on to star. And, slightly off the LoHud grid (but still on our radar), according to Cinematical, the movie is supposed to start filming next month in Connecticut. It’s being billed as a romantic comedy, but it’s clearly also got a downright wacky mix of talent — the director of “Silence of the Lambs,” a recluse actress who hasn’t been in a mainstream movie since God knows when, the star of “The Devil Wears Prada” (Anne Hathaway), and Elmo’s comic foil.

But the real question isn’t, how did all these random people come to work on the same project? No, it’s how on earth did CT become the filming mecca of the tri-state region? Seriously, I’ve counted no fewer than 10 movies set to start filming there in the next few months. What’s a NY suburb got to do to get some of that Hollywood lovin’?

(AP Photo/Carol Rosegg)

Mr. Noodle finally gets his artistic revenge on Elmo & Co.

tjndc5-5b4h37x89yw1i9anunb6_layout.jpgAt least, he will in about a year, when the Philadelphia Theater Company premieres Bill Irwin’s new play “The Happiness Lecture.” Irwin, of course, is Nyack’s best known thespian-clown, a man who has won both the Tony for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and the hearts and minds of toddlers everywhere as Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street.

According to Variety, Irwin’s new play, which will run in 2008 from May 16-June 15, “muses on dreams, puppets and modern life.” It’ll be a long wait for the premiere, but oh how I’ll be looking forward to seeing what I can only assume will be a kind of “Avenue Q” on acid.

(AP Photo/Carol Rosegg)

Bill Irwin takes his marching orders from Julia Stiles

julia-stile-bill-irwin.jpgAt least, he did while shooting her short film, “Raving,” which premieres today at the Tribeca Film Festival and runs through May 6. The film is Stiles’s directorial debut, and it features Zooey Deschanel (“Elf”) as a scam artist who, when hired to clean Irwin’s apartment, steals some jewelry and a vintage dress.

You may know Irwin, who lives in Nyack, as the Tony Award-winning star of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf” or Mr. Noodle on “Sesame Street.” Our sister publication, USA Today, has a great story about Stiles and the making of her short. Among the interesting details: Stiles says the movie allowed her to play out the fantasy of “being able to snoop through someone’s apartment. I love snooping, unfortunately.” And apparently Chinatown is a tricky place to set up a tripod. “I wanted the street to be totally deserted, and you’d think in Chinatown at night no one would be there. But all the store owners came out and would hang out in the shot and would demand money to leave, so they ended up in the movie.”

No idea if the film is any good, but — well, anything that gives Irwin more screen time than he got in M. Night Shyamalan’s “Lady in the Water” is ok by me.
“Stiles shows her New York in ‘Raving’ style” [USA Today]

(Irwin: Carmen Troesser/The Journal News; Stiles: AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

Slush Pile: This week’s news on Martha, Ralph, Lasse, and others.

Some other local celeb news you might have missed this week:

> Ralph Lauren and Martha Stewart agreed to open their Katonah properties to the Bedford Lanes Riding Association. So please, local equestrians, no more taping “Buck Me” signs to the back of Ralph and Martha’s horses. [Daily News]

> According to our TJN colleague and E-Team blogger Pete Kramer, Rockland celebs Jonathan Demme, Bill Irwin (aka Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street), Kevin Clash (another Sesame Streeter: the voice of Elmo), Andrea Martin, Paxton Whitehead, David Straitharn, and Tyne Daly all spoke at Rockland Country Day School’s annual “Evening of Celebrity Storytelling and Auction III.â€? We only wish we could have been there to hear Elmo shout “Show me the money” at auction bidders. [E-Team]

> “The Hoax,” a collaboration of Bedford best buds Richard Gere and Lasse Hallstrom, is getting great early buzz at RomaCinemaFest. Yet according to www.imdb.com, the film, about a bogus Howard Hughes biographer, has had its release date pushed off until April 2007. Hmm, April 1, perhaps? We’re catching on to your marketing trickery, Miramax. [Reuters]