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James Franco Can't Do Everything, Elaine Paige Is a Cougar and Other Lessons of the Week

James Franco Can't Do Everything, Elaine Paige Is a Cougar and Other Lessons of the Week
James Franco, Elaine Paige and Raul Esparza are among this week's newsmakers.

After Hurricane Irene derailed Broadway for a couple of days, the Great White Way came back in full force with plenty of juicy news. Here’s our weekly round-up of the top lessons that this week’s news and features taught us. Enjoy...and have a great Labor Day!


How to Succeed Star Christopher J. Hanke's Mom Skipped Peeing for Her Son's Popularity
Christopher J. Hanke recently won a Broadway.com poll about who fans want to hang out with on the beach. But now in his What’s Up interview, the actor reveals he had a secret weapon in whipping the competition: a seriously dedicated mom. "The only reason I won that poll is that my mother sat up for 48 hours straight with a box of Franzia and a cigarette and voted nonstop," he explains. "She didn’t even go to the bathroom for those two days."


Laura Osnes Is Turning into a Sex Kitten 
She may be surrounded by loose lounge singers (we're talking to you, Sutton Foster!) and murderous mobsters onstage in Anything Goes, but Laura Osnes exudes nothing but pure innocence as young bride-to-be Hope Harcourt the Tony-winning revival. Turns out the talented beauty has an inner vixen that’s just waiting to come out. Osnes is about to heat up Broadway as legendary bank robber Bonnie Parker in the Broadway musical Bonnie & Clyde this fall. The actress gives off plenty of sex appeal in a smoldering new poster for the show opposite her hunky co-star Jeremy Jordan.


We’ll Definitely Be Watching A Gifted Man This Fall
With the fantastically handsome Tony nominee Patrick Wilson leading the cast of CBS’ upcoming new drama A Gifted Man, we already made plans to clear space on our DVR for the supernatural series. Now with the addition of four-time Tony nominee Raul Esparza (who last appeared on Broadway this spring in Arcadia), anticipation for the show's September 23 start date is killing us. With Esparza onboard, they should change the title to Gifted Men!


Like Carlotta, Elaine Paige Likes Her Men Young
First lady of British musical theater Elaine Paige has returned to Broadway (for only the second time in her illustrious career!) to knock 'em dead with the Follies showstopper “I’m Still Here.” In a Q&A with Broadway.com, the original Evita humorously noted several similar qualities between herself and her character, aging diva Carlotta. Not only are they both theatrical survivors, but they also both favor May-December relationships. “I don’t know that I’m quite as laissez-faire about men as Carlotta is… although she comments about younger men, so perhaps I identify with that!”


There are Real Babies Onstage in Porgy and Bess!
When Nikki Renee Daniels steps out to sing the iconic lullaby “Summertime” in Porgy and Bess, don’t be surprised if you hear actual infant cries coming from the bundled up baby in her arms. That's no doll in there! When Broadway.com ventured to the pre-Broadway opening night party of the production (starring Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis) at Cambridge’s A.R.T., cast member NaTasha Yvette Williams proudly showed off her adorable youngsters, Nile and Mackenzie, who alternate taking the stage as Clara’s (Daniels) young baby. All together now…awwww!


Memphis Mama Nancy Opel Can Speak Mandarin Chinese!
She may spit out one hell of a Southern accent as Huey’s mother in Memphis, but Nancy Opel is also educating herself in the dialects of the Far East. In a recent visit dressing room visit with Broadway.com at the Shubert Theatre, the Tony nominee revealed she spends her time offstage learning Mandarin Chinese on her MP3 player. Impressive! Hey Nancy, what’s the Chinese translation for Hockadoo?


Rent’s Angel Idolizes Spider-Man’s Gal Pal Mary Jane Watson
While it’s not quite an alter-ego, when it came time for Rent star Michael Anthony Rodriguez Jr. to pick a stage name, the young actor looked to Spider-Man’s girlfriend Mary Jane Watson (played on screen by Kirsten Dunst and on Broadway by Jennifer Damiano) for inspiration. “The first time they called her MJ, I thought, ‘That’s a cool name!’ I put ‘Michael’ and ‘Junior’ together and it worked perfectly,” the actor told Broadway.com in his Fresh Face feature.


The Sister Act Cast Committed the Sin of Gluttony During the Hurricane
When Hurricane Irene canceled a weekend of performances of all Broadway shows, the cast of Sister Act behaved a tad sinfully. In her latest video blog entry Sarah Bolt visited her co-stars backstage at the Broadway Theatre to find out how her fellow convent members spent their “Hurrication.” Most admitted to stocking up on food supplies and chowing down at home, while Marla Mindelle (who plays postulant Sister Mary Robert) revealed she went a step further by watching some adult films. What would Mother Superior say?!


Turns Out James Franco Can’t Do Everything
With Oscar-nominated actor, NYU professor, soap opera guest, modern artist and Oscar host all already on James Franco’s extensive resume, the Rise of the Planet of the Apes star was gearing up to check off "make Broadway debut" from his to-do-list by leading a revival of Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth opposite Nicole Kidman. However, Franco has scrapped his plans to play gigolo Chance Wayne in the now-delayed production. Here’s hoping Franco can squeeze in a gig on the Great White Way one of these days.


Anne Hathaway Really Likes Projects That Involve Singing
Franco’s fellow Oscar host Anne Hathaway is eyeing a potential new gig, joining the latest round of A-listers rumored to join the upcoming film adaptation of Les Miserables. Hathaway is reportedly in talks to play doomed mother Fantine opposite Hugh Jackman (also an Oscar host!) as Jean Valjean. Hathaway definitely has the pipes to belt out “I Dreamed a Dream,” but she’s also been rumored to guest star on Glee, play Judy Garland on both screen and stage and appear in the upcoming Rock of Ages movie…none of which have yet to come to fruition. Come on, Anne, make this dream come true!

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