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TIM MARTIN GLEASON Bringing down the Opera’s curtain as the last touring Phantom

Andrew Lloyd Webber has a knack for writing hit musicals that have a way of hitting the road for stunningly long stretches of time, among them “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Cats” and “Evita” (along with Tim Rice). But while many of these shows are known by millions as spectacle ensemble pieces, the one true superstar that Webber has created is undeniably “The Phantom of the Opera.” Sure Paris’s lovelorn, musical genius madman has been lurking about book, stage, and screen since being created by Gaston Leroux in 1909, but it took Webber to make him a matinee idol, a lethally passionate impresario who’s been embodied by every actor from Michael Crawford in the Phantom’s stage debut to Gerard Butler in Joel Schumacher’s spectacular film adaptation.

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JUDITH IVEY’S MAGNIFICENT “MANAGERIE”

With two Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Play under her belt (1983’s “Steaming” and 1985’s “Hurlyburly”), Judith Ivey adds yet another must see performance to her impressive repertoire as she brings Amanda Wingfield, Tennessee Williams’ iconic mother character in “The Glass Menagerie,” to Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum this month.

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EDGAR RAMIREZ CAN DO NO WRONG

Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramirez first turned American heads in 2006 with his performance in his English language debut feature, Domino. Since then roles in U.S. productions such as The Bourne Ultimatum, Vantage Point, and Che have followed, but it’s his stellar performance in the powerful five-and-a-half hour film Carlos (premiering on the Sundance Channel October 11th before its theatrical run October 15th) that is sure to earn him an Emmy nod. Unfortunately, Oscar regulations about films airing first on TV might just rob him of an Academy Best Actor nomination.

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Aly Michalka’s All About the Art

At 21, Aly Michalka suddenly seems to be everywhere. She is starring opposite Ashley Tisdale and promising newcomer Robbie Jones in the CW’s high energy, competitive cheerleading series, “Hellcats,” where she plays a pre-law college student who reluctantly joins her school’s cheerleading team as a way to avoid losing her endangered scholarship. She is also featured alongside the talented Emma Stone and Amanda Bynes in the Screen Gems release, Easy A, a comedy that, paralleling The Scarlet Letter, follows the events that unfold in a straight-laced high school girl’s life as rumors run wild about the sexual escapades she never actually has. Aly is also enjoying success as a musician and singer/songwriter with 78violet, a platinum selling pop/rock group (formerly known as “Aly & AJ”) that she formed in 2004 with her younger sister, AJ Michalka. The duo, whose 2007 hit single, “Potential Breakup Song,” sold over one million copies and led to two sold-out arena tours and a wildly successful merchandising empire, is currently writing songs for their fourth studio album, the self-titled 78violet.

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KURT SUTTER The Leader of the Pack

At first glance Kurt Sutter looks a lot like the characters he’s created on the FX hit series, “Sons of Anarchy.” He’s got the hair, the tribal tattoos and the attitude, and you just know there’s a Harley parked outside with his name on it. At second glance you see that Sutter is too clean and too polished to be a member of a real-life outlaw motorcycle gang; however, he could certainly play one on TV, which, in fact, he does. In addition to writing (all) and directing (some) episodes of “Sons of Anarchy,” Sutter (technically, the “show runner,” the Executive Producer in charge of the entire production), also plays “Big Otto” an incarcerated member of SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Originals). In previous seasons Big Otto has been beaten up by White Supremacists who stick a broomstick in his eye, has brutally slammed the face of a female ATF agent into a tabletop, and has revenged his attack by stabbing a prison enemy in the neck. As an actor, Sutter holds his own with his incredibly talented cast, but it’s as a writer that Kurt Sutter roars ahead. No question — he’s the leader of the pack

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MRS. POTTER’S LULLABY Every Day Is Mother’s Day for “Parenthood”’s Monica Potter

Contrary to popular opinion, the happiest place on earth is not Disneyland, rather it’s a couple of soundstages deep in the back lot of Universal Studios where the NBC series “Parenthood” is shooting its second season of shows. Despite the sweltering heat outside, inside on the set it’s very cool, literally and figuratively, as I’m magically transported to the Berkeley, California kitchen of the house where “The Bravermans” live. This is where I find Monica Potter, who portrays Kristina Braverman, wife of Adam (Peter Krause) and mother to Haddie (Sarah Ramos) and Max (Max Burkholder). Cleveland-born Potter is best known to TV viewers for her stint as Lori Colson on ABC’s “Boston Legal.” More recently she portrayed Chicago advertising executive Sarah Krajicek-Hunter on TNT’s 2009 series, “Trust Me.” Potter’s feature credits include Con Air (playing the wife of Nicolas Cage’s character) and Patch Adams, starring opposite Robin Williams. Potter is also the muse for the Counting Crows song used as the title of this article. According to urban legend, Crows frontman Adam Duritz saw Potter in Patch Adams, promptly developed a huge crush, went home, and wrote the song about her. In 1998, she also played the love

interest in the Steve Prefontaine biopic, Without Limits. In 2001, Potter co-starred with Freddie Prinze Jr. in Head Over Heels, and with Morgan Freeman in the thriller Along Came a Spider based on the James Patterson best-seller. In 2004, she played the role of Alison Gordon in the first Saw film, and added to her horror film credits in 2009 with a role in the remake of Wes Craven’s classic shocker, Last House on the Left. “Parenthood,” an updated version of director Ron Howard's 1989 film, is a 2010 reworking of the themes explored in the pre-cell phone, pre-Internet, pre-iPod world of the late eighties. Potter, just one of a talented ensemble cast, shines in her role (played by Mary Steenburgen in the film) and brings wit, warmth, and heart to the character. There’s a lot of improvisation going on here as the cast is encouraged to “make it their own,” and Potter is not just lovely to look at, she’s also funny, very funny as it turns out. In fact, several of the people on set mention this to me when they find out that I’m there to interview her for Venice Magazine. “She’s so funny, she’s really funny!” is exclaimed over and over again, along with glowing tributes to her kindness and charm, from crew members who clearly adore her. On any set it’s easy to find out who the favorites are, just ask hair and makeup, they see all, know all, and always have the inside track. However, before I can ask anything about anyone, the hair and makeup people approach me and say, “We love her, she’s the greatest. She’s the nicest, most down-to-earth person you could ever hope to know and a dream to work with.” Monica Potter is one popular woman, and after spending a few hours with her, it’s clear to see why. She’s genuine and sincerely nice, and yeah, she’s funny too. On the outside she has the icy blonde beauty of Grace Kelly, but inside she’s Lucille Ball, a very gifted and clever comedienne.

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A Guided Tour of the Financial Collapse Director Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job delivers a step-by-step look at the global economic crisis

Investment giant Lehman Brothers went bankrupt on September 15, 2008, and the federal government began its bailout of the world’s largest insurance conglomerate, AIG, a day later. Cut to 2010 and record numbers of Americans have lost their homes and our unemployment rate now flirts with 10% in the aftermath  of an economic meltdown. Millions of investors had poured trillions of dollars into mortgage-backed securities — within bundles called CDOs — and then witnessed an unparalleled number of homeowners fall behind in their payments. Years of subprime home mortgages going to those who ultimately couldn’t afford them, coupled with a longtime trend of predatory lending, had come to a head. As the value of these bundled securities dropped steeply in parallel with the delinquent mortgages, both the investors and the former homeowners were left in the dust. And though Lehman Brothers had been allowed to fail, other financial conglomerates were bailed out by the taxpayers. In his new documentary, Inside Job, director Charles Ferguson lays bare the world of investment banking and guides us step by step through the events that have led to our current condition. Via uncompromising interviews with economic advisors, executives, government officials, journalists, authors, professors, a lobbyist, a psychologist, and even an escort madam, the filmmaker illuminates the missteps, misplaced trust, shortsightedness, corruption, and greed that continue to permeate our financial system

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It’s All About the “Chase” Kelli Giddish Is Having a Blast Pursuing Bad Guys

Texas prisons are about to fill up with a mess of hardened criminals who’ve had their butts righteously kicked by a relentless blonde in cowboy boots. U.S. Marshal Annie Frost on NBC’s new hot-pursuit drama, “Chase,” tears after fugitives and nails them to the wall with keen analysis, brute force, and a touch of Southern-belle charm. The brains, brawn, beauty, and heart that bring this force of law and order to life is Georgia-born Kelli Giddish, a winsome, blue-eyed actor with an alluring smile and formidable drive.

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