“Kalamazoo” staged reading a hit with MBC audience

MORE THAN 200 PEOPLE, many West Michigan friends and family fans TV producing/writing partners Teresa Thome and Patrick Ziegler, filled the Museum of Broadcast Communications presentation stage space Saturday night for the first of a series of new TV shows in development.

“We’re here to serve the past, but we are also here to help bring forth the new generation of television producers, writers and actors,” said MBC founder/director Bruce DuMont, when introducing the actors after two episodes of the well-received script reading of “I’ve got a Life in Kalamazoo.

The show is about children becoming the parents of their aging Boomer Generation parents. TV pro Vickie Lewis (“News Radio”) is the actress daughter who comes home to care for parents Marian Ross and Ed Asner.  The veteran actors said their desire to work together, and the quality of the script drew them to the project.

The sitcom loglined as a mix of “Everyone Loves Raymond” and “Will & Grace,” dialog was fast, funny and quirky. (When Lewis suggests to her best friend, Ziegler, he should be “more gay,” he asks, “You mean Broadway gay or Anderson Cooper gay?”)

Ziegler, a long time college friend of Cutters’ Craig Duncan, who lives in Chicago, and Thome, of Grand Rapids, spent six years developing the concept and writing scripts.  The stage reading was taped by their Grand Rapids friends and will be edited into a demo for network and cable shopping. 

DuMont announced a series of staged events will be held the third Wednesday of every month at the MBC. 

“DIVERGENT” CAST UPDATE: The latest marquee-name actor to join the all-star cast of the Summit/Lionsgate sci-fi feature is Ashley Judd, who recently abandoned her campaign for Senator from Kentucky.  She plays the the wife of Aaron Eckhart and the mother of heroine Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (who makes his big-screen debut in “Carrie” this October). Also starring; Brits Kate Winslet, Ray Stevenson and Teo James.

THE CUBS TEAMED with agency Schafer Condon Carter to launch the “Committed” marketing campaign designed to honor the dedication of Cubs fans and the team’s commitment to finally winning a World Series. Die-hard Cubs fans are featured, such as an Indianapolis couple who got engaged at Wrigley Field and a South Side security guard with a Cubs logo and Ron Santo signature tattooed on his head.

FABLED RICCARDO’S RESTAURANT will come to life on PBS next year in a documentary being faithfully brought to life by producer Phil Koch. The old Riccardo’s of legend has been Phil Stefani’s 427 Rush Street restaurant for quite a while.  But for three decades earlier, it was where everyone gathered daily. 

The literati(Nelson Algren, Studs, Mike Royko), the authentic “Mad Men” (agencies surrounded the place the media (three newspapers and two broadcasting stations steps away), artists, actors, singers, huddled over drinks, amid walls adorned with original oil paintings by famous painters.

Koch has 15 hours of taped interviews so far, and stacks of rare archival photos of the flamboyant Ric Riccardo and his many famous friends and patrons.  Factoid: Ric Riccardo is the acknowledged inventor of Chicago deep dish pizza.

COLUMBIA COLLEGE HONORS award-winning feature cinematographer Michael Goi ASC (BA 1980), DP on more than 50 movies and 30 TV shows, as its alumni of the year and will speak at the college’s commencement ceremonies May 18.  The award-winning Chicago native, a past ASC president, was an advertising photographer and owned a fashion photography studio in Chicago before moving to L.A. in 1990.

Lots going on, so share your latest news with the Reel’s local and far flung readers.  Send info to ruth@reelchicago.com.