Friday, December 30, 2011

Some thoughts ...

Like so many others, this writer is often inspired by the seasons… or the calendar itself… to put some thoughts in print for others who might, it is hoped, be motivated to read and respond. Trust me this much: this will not be a port-by-port detail of the cruise undertaken by all or even part of my family. First of all, there was no such cruise and, secondly, I think I have already received about as many of these detailed nautical reports so as to determine that, quite possibly, my family grouping was the only such body that remained land- locked throughout 2011.  And for that contribution to the world’s ecology, a well deserved self pat on the back.

Although mostly on dry land, 2011 was a positive year… especially if you remove from the equation my middle daughter slicing off half her thumb in a kitchen accident. The only mandolin that will ever find its way into that household again will be a string instrument that my ethnically Italian son-in-law might actually be able to play. While seeking her Master’s degree in the San Francisco Bay area my oldest granddaughter helped to “occupy” Oakland, proving she is a chip off the old block, my middle grandchild, mid-11th grade and with a good work ethic behind her, has announced she wants to attend an Ivy-League University, and the tiny six year old continues to progress through ballet, ice skating and other balancing acts. Their parents are all reasonably well (albeit in one case somewhat short of thumb). There were some losses this year… most notably for us, the wonderful director Reza Badiyi. In our extended family there were gains as well, the writing team Dawn Prestwich & Nicole Yorkin, who got their start on The Trials of Rosie O’Neill, executive produced The Killing, a fabulous new series for A&E, April Smith, who served a somewhat unhappy term on Cagney & Lacey, continues to successfully write her Ana Grey FBI series of novels and, I am told, has had one produced for TNT on which she wrote the screenplay. Early Cagney & Lacy-ite, Robert Crais, has his Elvis Cole and Joe Pike novels coming out in paperback any day now and as to the duo most of you are interested in… fasten your seat belts.

Tyne Daly wowed the world of Broadway with her stellar performance as Maria Callas in Terence McNally’s Master Class. She also starred in a lovely production I travelled to New Jersey to see as an old-fashioned out of town tryout. It Shoulda Been You is a charming musical in the tradition of Abie’s Irish Rose directed by David Hyde Pierce. I don’t know what the plans are for that show, but Tyne now moves on to London’s West End with Master Class with one of the more eagerly anticipated stage presentations for next year (previews begin late January, 2012). Tyne also joined us at the British Film Institute for their tribute to Cagney & Lacey on the occasion of the kick-off of whatever celebration there will be for the 30th anniversary of this series. One nice result of that sold out evening and well publicized affair was an article in The Guardian by Kira Cochrane. It is, quite simply, the best piece I have ever read in a newspaper on the subject of our series. I commend it to you.

Of course you probably cannot link to the wonderful job Ms Cochrane’s editors did with the layout of the article, including a front page banner and a cover of their entertainment magazine, but… well…. you will get the idea. Why am I going on so about one newspaper break? Well, I don’t know about you… and I am none too sure how things stack up today… but when I was a boy, even in far away southern California, The Manchester Guardian (by which name The Guardian was then known) was one of the World’s great newspapers. Happy as I am with this article, I am thrilled to be a part of The Guardian.

Onward: Sharon did her bit in the fifth season of Burn Notice for the USA Network and in between seasons four and five continued to star in A Round-Heeled Woman early this year at the GableStage Theatre in Miami’s Coconut Grove. Then, following the end of production of season five on the aforementioned series, Ms Gless took off to England, with nary a break, to do an improved version of the play in Hammersmith, a London suburb. The play was so well received by audiences and critics that the owners of the venerable Aldwych Theatre in the West End proposed a move where in a record 48 hours the “new” version of the play was up and running in the theatre that for 25 years housed the Royal Shakespeare Company. Big thrill for Sharon, as one might imagine, but no rest which didn’t seem to matter to the critics who raved about her performance and gave high marks to the play itself.  A Round-Heeled Woman will close next month and Sharon will return to the States for a bit of a lie-down and then commencement of season six for Burn Notice. Any new plans for the play (off-Broadway, Toronto, Chicago) will be kept in abeyance until her next major hiatus, in the fall of 2012.   

Me? I am spending the year-end holidays in London trying to catch my breath from just attempting to keep up with Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly. As to the New Year there is a nice glimmer out there: MGM has licensed the entire Cagney & Lacey series to a distributor in Toronto. They plan to move on the show in 2012, but just how remains to be seen. My initial contact has been encouraging and the idea of a release of all episodes in one package is on the table as is the idea of doing this via direct mail in a print on demand fashion. I am encouraged also because for the first time since the series was (all too briefly) in the hands of SONY (before the previous managers at MGM “fired” them) there is someone in the distribution end who actually seems to know which one is Cagney and which one is Lacey. I don’t have to tell you it has been a difficult process with all the turmoil at MGM almost from the day they “inherited” the series from the Orion bankruptcy.  We have been at the mercy of itinerant managers, a dysfunctional at the outset Fox/MGM home video department created almost overnight in a desperate (and it turned out, failed) effort to make the SONY withdrawal look good, then a slew of firings and hirings as money was infused and a larger group of corporate executives took on the very important task of (not in any particular order) resurrecting the James Bond series for theatrical release, getting ready the first in a trilogy of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo films and, of course, furnishing all their new executive offices. I am going to believe I am well out of there even if it means travelling to the tundra of Toronto. You should be hearing something from us on this long before spring .

Finally, a “thank you” and “farewell” to Jacqueline Danson, who has served us so well as our Web Master here for the past several years.  Ms D is moving on, to bigger and better things. We will attempt to keep this site flowing without her, but she will be missed. For the forseeable future we will mostly update the site via this blog so keep watching this space to keep up to date. Thank you all for contributing your wonderful comments throughout this past year, for signing up for our survey about the full DVD collection (and if you haven’t done that, please do).

Thank you for your patience and know that it is my belief that there is a very good chance that your perseverance and faith will be rewarded in this coming New Year. Bless you all and a Happy New Year!

Barney Rosenzweig         


Daniela said...

Happy New Year to all your families, fans ( ! ) and friends! Wishing you all peace, prosperity, health and happiness in 2012 and beyond. A big kiss !

Jennifer said...

The best news I could possibly hear to start this new year is that there is hope for an imminent C&L dvd release...nothing could thrill me more. Who knows why a show that made such a profound impact on a 12 year old kid a hundred years ago is suddenly relevant and meaningful again in a whole new way.

Blessings to you and yours in 2012!

Michelle said...

Hi Barney,

Just one quick question which I have never seen answered were the names Cagney & Lacey chosen?

Many thanks and best wishes!