VA Sightings November 2007!

Julie Lemieux Cast in New Cartoon!

Almost a year in advance, we have some news of a future VA sighting! Clang Invasion is a very diverse joint production between Singapore’s Scrawl Studios and the Media Development Authority of Singapore, Canada’s Decode Entertainment and YTV, as well as Hong Kong’s Agogo Entertainment. This is a cartoon that’s a “fast-paced, anything can happen, roller coaster ride of comedy that has the same attention span as the kids that are in the story.” Daisy and Robin Harrison are your average siblings who live a boring life, until the day it all changes when dysfunctional alien robots crash land in their backyard! Julie Lemieux (Sammy, Peruru, and Young Darien) will be voicing the lead character of Robin (pictured as the redhead sitting in the middle of the couch [courtesy Decode])! What’s even bigger is that this cartoon will be making its debut at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival in May 2008. We have heard rumors of an even bigger VA-related production making a debut at the same festival but we are awaiting confirmation, and you will be the first to know once we do!

Robert Tinkler Returns to Television!

We have a feeling that due to the Writers Guild of America strike, some television shows that were scheduled as mid-season replacements have been moved in their scheduling to keep viewers watching newer programming. Notes From the Underbelly was one of these shows that wasn’t supposed to return to the airwaves until at least January, but will now return to ABC November 26th. Robert Tinkler (Rubeus) plays the constantly thrown-around Ben, the assistant to workaholic lawyer Cooper (oplayed by Rachel Harris). Fans can also check out Robert playing various voices on the Fox Cartoon American Dad, and hear some newly-posted soundscapes on his official website!

And As Promised, a Sugar Fix!

Stephanie Beard fans, a few weeks ago we got a complete surprise here at Moon Chase! We heard from Sugar herself over Veoh , and though we can’t really talk about what is going on, we’ve noticed that there has been a lot of chatter all over the internet wondering where she is. She’s really busy in Hollywood right now with making her career. Starting a new phase in life is never easy and we are rooting for you Sugar in the hopes that things get a little smoother for you soon!

In the meantime, we dug up a few older articles from our Vault that we are pasting and linking after the jump! Click the orange-colored text if you’re ready!


From Young People’s Press (2005):

That can’t be your real voice
By Sydnia Yu

Every weekday afternoon, between episodes of Jimmy Neutron and Spongebob SquarePants, Sugar entertains YTV’s young viewers with her goofball antics and energetic personality.

One day the four-foot-eleven host for The Zone is giggling with co-host Carlos about superheroes or her pigtails, the next she’s strutting her stuff, doing victory dances and falling off a dirt bike for the first time.

In the world of children’s television, Sugar fits right in.

She acts like one of them, she looks like one of them, and she even sounds like one of them.

Literally.

“I get a lot of kids that say, “I love your voice, I love your voice!” says the host, who‘s in her early twenties, of the e-mails she gets about her childlike voice. “Some kids have said, “Oh, my mom has said your voice is irritating, but I love your voice.”

Despite comments like that and constant, “Come on, that can’t be your real voice!” reactions, Sugar says she never heard negative remarks about the voice she was born with, especially when she was growing up.

“It all seemed very natural until I left high school. Then doing regular grown up things like ordering a pizza, I’d always get “Ok, baby, now is your mom home?” she says. “People always assume I’m a little girl because of my little voice.”

But some of her viewers have told her they had less positive experiences.

“I had one e-mail that was from a little girl from Vancouver saying, “Dear Sugar, I’m so happy you have a little voice because I have a little voice too. And now, instead of getting made fun of, people say, “Wow, you sound like Sugabaybee! That’s so cool!”

As an actress who achieved fame for parodying Eminem in her song “The Real Sugabaybee” on Toronto’s Kiss FM radio station and playing Rini for Sailor Mini Moon, Sugar makes it cool to have an unusual voice. And through acting, she’s found a way to make use of a rare trait.

In the 30 years Roland Parliament has been involved in voice work as a voice-over performer, voice instructor and voice director, he says Sugar is one of three women he’s come across with an unusual voice.

He says the challenge for them, as with any voice actor, is not only to focus on the sound, but the use of their voice.

“I’ll play a tape to a class of someone with a really pleasant, soothing voice. I’ll say to the class afterwards, “So what do you think of that?” Their answer is almost universally, “That’s a nice voice,” Parliament explains. “Now, what did they say?” and they say, “Gee, I don’t really know what he said.”

He says people can get caught up in the sound of voice and miss the message. “In commercial work, that’s a bad thing because people aren’t getting the message someone has paid for. In cartoon work, that’s a bad thing because you can’t follow the plot.”

While unusual voices are in demand in animation, and high-pitched, nasally voices become character trademarks on sitcoms – “Janice” on Friends, “Karen” on Will & Grace and “Fran” on The Nanny (only Fran Drescher’s voice on The Nanny is real) – many actresses work hard to find their niche.

Karen Kyle, 30, says her high-pitched voice bothered her in high school and made her insecure. “They’d laugh at me, people always stare and laugh, “Ooh, that’s freaky.”

She grew out of it and learned to manipulate her voice to a certain degree with voice training from her niece, who is an opera singer. Yet her voice still worked against her when she auditioned to do sexy voices for things like perfume ads.

“I can’t do older voices so there’s a limited amount of work that can be done with my voice,” she says.

“I didn’t know where to go or who to talk to.”

But Kyle, who has been compared to Sugar, says Sugar’s success is inspiring her to try cartoon voice-overs.

“I said if she can do it, I can do something about it as well.”

Montreal actress Christine Lan, 24, says one time when she auditioned to do a Chinese commercial, she fit the physical description of the Asian performer they were looking for, but was told her voice was too high and childlike.

Lan says in a city that doesn’t offer enough roles for ethnic actors, there are fewer prejudgments and more opportunities in the voice industry.

“People don’t see you, they don’t judge you, they only hear you, so it’s to your benefit. I also don’t have to worry about my image, for example if I’m pregnant,” says Lan, who’s also a newlywed.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Rae Ellen Bodie, 35, is often mistaken for a man because of her deep, androgynous voice.

During a play, in which she played a female bully, 90 per cent of the time the first question for the Q&A was, “Are you a boy or a girl?”

As irritating as that was, Bodie says ambiguity gives her room to play more roles.

“Having the voice that I do and the range that I do, I can play male characters or female characters depending on what the need is or if the director has to double cast,” says Bodie, who plays Juliet’s nurse and an old man in the chorus in Juliet (and Romeo) at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People

Actress, voice talent and stand-up comic, Angela Maiorano, 32, has voiced Care Bear character Love-a-Lot Bear, as well as a character on the cartoon George and Martha.

She says there are times when she’s overlooked for certain roles because of her high-pitched voice, but in other situations it gives her an edge.

“From a comedy standpoint, it helped me come out of my shell. It’s not so much a gift, but an asset to acting,” says the five-foot-seven entertainer.

Maiorano adds she differs from the typical blond, blue-eyed actors who all look alike, and her voice enhances her uniqueness.

“I have a big head, so I stand out from the average chick, and I have big hair and people remember me because I’m a freak!”

Sugar says she also doesn’t think she’d be where she is now without her “strange little voice,” and is happy to help young people realize their voice isn’t so weird after all.

“I think it’s important for young kids, if they’re feeling uncomfortable with their voice to realize that voice is something that will never change and everybody’s voice is beautiful whether it’s deep or high or low,” she says.

“And just take advantage of it, have fun with your voice if you’re feeling uncomfortable with it, play around. That’s all I ever did. Now I make a lot of money making cartoons,” she says with a laugh.

———-

From Fine Cut (2006):

Sweet Success

YTV’s Sugar proves she’s more than just a voice
By Jaclyn Newman

Sugar : With a voice like Mickey Mouse on helium, she grabs the attention of anyone flipping through the channels. She’s Sugar, a voice actress and the bubbly host of YTV’s The Zone.

At 25, the Scarborough native, whose real name is Stephanie Beard, is well-known, even by those who are too old to watch cartoons and don’t have children. Off-air, her voice isn’t quite as childlike and squeaky as it is on TV. Even though it’s syrupy sweet, it has an air of maturity about it. So when a radio personality at the now defunct KISS FM heard Sugar emceeing a Roots staff party when she was in high school, he asked her to make an appearance on his hip-hop show. When the station’s management heard her unique sound, Sugar, at the age of 18, was offered the chance to join Jay “Mad-Dog” Michaels and Billie Holiday on their popular morning show as the personality Suga BayBee.

Julie Adam, a former program director at KISS FM, says the station got a lot of positive feedback from listeners who were drawn in by Sugar’s voice and upbeat personality.

“Being on the radio helped me in many ways,” says Sugar. “It was because I was on the radio that I got a call from an agent who got me doing voice work…my career took off from there.”

Indeed it did. Still living with her parents (she moved out for a few years but lives with them again now), Sugar’s life soon became a whirlwind of auditions, voice training and work in Canada and the United States. In 2001, she landed a role on Sailor Moon, a popular anime show broadcast on YTV. That same year, she caught the attention of executives at YTV and she became a host of The Zone – YTV’s long-running block of after-school programming.

Sugar’s voice – a trait she dubs her “calling card” – may have played a large part in her success, but it’s her personality that keeps people wanting more.

“Her voice is part of her success and individuality,” says YTV executive producer Melanie York. “It’s certainly part of her uniqueness and distinctness as a major Canadian host and it has given her great opportunities with voice work. However, as an on-air personality, she has so many winning qualities: her comedic timing, her wonderful connection with the camera and audience…a positive outlook, an energy and coolness that is unique.”

Sugar has hosted The Zone for almost five years, a job that requires being at YTV about eight hours every weekday. When she isn’t there, she is often auditioning for voice roles – she has been the voice behind characters in Beyblade and the Care Bears movies. She recently signed on to Captain Flamingo, a show broadcast on YTV, and is trying her hand at writing. She started a weekly column in April 2004 called Sugar Buzz for Brand New Planet, a newspaper geared towards nine to 14- year-olds in the Thursday edition of The Toronto Star.

Despite success, her busy schedule and huge fan-following – Sugar and her co-host, Carlos, receive hundreds of e-mails a day – Sugar remains down-to-earth and takes being a role model seriously. Children often confide in her when they are harassed by their peers, especially about their voices.

“When kids tell me they get teased, I tell them to brush it off their shoulders because everything about people, the things that make them unique, are so special. You are who you are and those unique things make us who we are. I am Sugar and my voice is one of those things about me.”

Sugar hopes she has a positive impact on children.

“I love to hear a child tell me they have a high voice like mine and that before, kids made fun of their voice, but now they say ‘Wow, your voice is like Sugar’s!’ I feel like I have made a difference, even if it’s only in some small way.”

Those who have worked with Sugar say she’s left an imprint on her audience, one that goes beyond relating to children who get teased about the sound of their voice.

“Sugar respects herself and respects her audience and kids pick up on that. She’s honest about who she is and doesn’t imitate anyone,” says York. “She has a sincere understanding and appreciation of her target audience. She totally gets the culture of kids and can relate to their interests in movies, music and clothes. Many kids express really liking Sugar – that she’s a great role model, that she’s friendly, funny and cool.”

Sugar also has some practical advice for those wanting to break into television.

“Tell every person what you want to be, what you want to do with your life,” Sugar advises her fans who want to break into TV. “Don’t be pushy and don’t trust everyone, but be open and share your hopes and dreams. You never know when you are going to meet someone who can help you reach them.”

———-

From the Toronto Observer (2002):

Sugar’s outlook is sweet

Energetic YTV host is doing it all, and loving it
Stephanie Beard, alias “Sugar” of YTV’s The Zone, answers questions posed by two viewers-turned-interviewers — eight-year-old Jackie Cogan and 11-year-old Amanda Cogan.

They say that in the old days, you could get discovered on a stool in front of the soda fountain at Schwabb’s drug store in Hollywood. For one Scarborough native, the modern-day equivalent turned out to be the Roots outlet at the Scarborough Town Centre.

The teenager working at Roots and emceeing a staff party a couple of years ago was one Stephanie Beard. Today, she is “Sugar,” a charismatic 20-year-old and media whirlwind.

She’s the host of YTV’s “The Zone,” a highly ratd block of after-school programming. She’s one of the voices in Sailor Moon and other cartoons. She’s a budding recording artist and producer.

And a master of understatement: “Things seem to work out sometimes,” she told a couple of young interviewers who visited her on the set of The Zone. “I’m very, very fortunate.”

It’s especially impressive, given that Sugar seems younger than her years. But it’s a characteristic that she’s clearly turned to her advantage.

“You thought I was younger, didn’t you?” she asked the cub reporters, on a morning’s leave from their Grade 2 and 5 classes. They laughed and replied: “Yes.” So do a lot of YTV viewers, and many of the parents looking over their shoulders.

Unique and endearing
To begin with, Sugar has an unusual voice. It’s the first thing that most people notice about her. YTV’s literature calls it, simply, “unique.” It’s little-girlish, and beyond, almost as if she’s been sucking on helium. Some people find it cloying. Others find it endearing. On the air, it has more of an edge than in person, the way some radio disc jockeys unconsciously or consciously pump it up for the microphone.

She’s also a petite woman, slender and under five feet. Her Grade 5 interviewer actually stood taller. So do most of her guests on The Zone, reinforcing that youthful perception.

And, on TV anyway, she’s dictionary-example cute. Given the image that’s worked so well for her, maybe that’s for the best. But the camera isn’t entirely fair to Sugar; in person, her features seem to soften, and one gets the sense of a really quite lovely young woman — instead of an adorable kid.

Given the chance, the 20-year-old also comes out in an interview. She’s willing to tackle mature themes, like the state of children’s TV. But she’s clearly more comfortable in the Sugar mode.

“To work with kids, and to have that mentality every day and have that innocent mindset is just the greatest thing,” she said. “Life is just so much about being happy… and who’s happier than kids?”

When Sugar was a kid — and picked up that pet name from her parents — her ambitions were all over the map: astronaut, veterinarian, artist.

“Then I discovered acting in about Grade 10,” she said. “And I just fell for it. I love acting. That’s my main passion.”

Drive and ambition
But this Cinderella story really begins at that staff party at Roots, when a disc jockey from KISS 92, one of Toronto’s dance-format radio stations, arrived as a guest of one of the party-goers. When he heard Sugar at the microphone, he invited her to appear on a late-night hip-hop program.

“He just saw all that energy and wanted that voice on his show,” Sugar remembered.
That became a once-a-week appearance. Then station management heard her, and made her a daily sidekick on the 5-9 a.m. show.

Sugar had gone from Grade 12 to the morning show on a major market radio station.
“When you make it sound big, it sounds big,” she laughed. “But when I was there, it just seemed like everything was going in the right path.”

That might have been enough — or more than enough — for some teenagers. But Sugar is an exception to that axiom about teens — that they have lots of ambition and not much drive. She seems to have them in equal, huge amounts. She was barely in the door at KISS when she started broadening her base — recording a song (The Real Suga Baybee) that became one of the station’s most requested, and attending lots of auditions. That’s how YTV found her.

“I didn’t have a lot of time to hang out with my friends,” she said. “I’ve missed all the parties. But that’s what I was waiting for. That’s what I wanted.”

These days, she still puts in extra hours after her day job at YTV, part of the sprawling complex of specialty networks run by Corus Entertainment on Jefferson Avenue, in an industrial area near the CNE. Mornings are spent prepping for afternoons of shooting the material that runs between YTV’s late-afternoon shows.

Some of it is taped; some is live-to-air. There are interviews with entertainers, contests, and just horsing around.

Children’s television looks bright
Sugar says she’s proud of the shows in her block — and the rest of YTV’s schedule, for that matter.

“It’s really developed; for example, the Japanese animation that’s out right now,” she said. “A good percentage of our audience is really into this Japanese animation. And it’s very complicated. It’s complicated to the point where it’s at the stage of a soap opera, that you have to be really in tune.

“It’s kind of a reach, but to follow along with these stories and to see what’s really going on takes a lot of thought. I get lost in it sometimes.”

She doesn’t see a lot of sexual innuendo in children’s shows — at least not on YTV. And she says the violent content has become relatively benign.

“Even in stuff like Powerpuff Girls, there’s some fighting, but it’s very light-hearted,” she said. “Children’s television is definitely moving in a very positive direction.”

But she adds that parents aren’t off the hook when it comes to supervising their children’s viewing.

“Why not sit down with your kids, see what they’re watching?” she asked. “Really, it’s the parents’ decision. It’s not up to the people at Hit List or up to me or anybody else but the parent.”

Music in Sugar’s future
At the end of the afternoon at YTV, Sugar heads out for a couple of hours of auditions and cartoon voice-work. After that, it’s schmoozing with industry people, making and developing contacts.

“I don’t even consider it partying,” she said. “I consider it business. It’s networking.”
She says she crashes at her sister’s house downtown most nights, because she just can’t make it home to her parents’. Her hours are just too long.

“That part is tough, but it’s just part of the deal,” she said. “I miss everybody, and I miss my mum and dad, because I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like. But it’s so worth it, and I know it’s all going to the right place.”

And, increasingly, that place is the music industry.

“I had the opportunity to record music at KISS, which was the I’m the Real Suga Baybee song. It just blew me away how incredible the response was from recording music and how much fun it was,” she recalled. Now, she added, “I have a lot of friends who are in the music industry, and a few friends that are producers, and they’ve been teaching me the ropes.”

Sugar fronts the network’s in-house band, Nuclear Donkey, which recorded “Gotta Get Out” for the YTV Big Fun Party Mix 3 CD. But she thinks her own future probably lies more in producing than in singing.

“I could never hit a huge high note or I could never hit a real low note, but I can carry a tune. I more see myself finding an artist.”

Dreams and aspirations
Besides television, she said, “What I’m working towards is movies and music.” It may be hard to imagine, given her bubbly persona, but Sugar also hopes to become a dramatic actress. And she’s not against crossing the border for work. She says she’s already had offers from the U.S.

“The States have come around,” she said. “My ultimate dream would be to be able to live in Canada and also work with the States. The thing is, with this business, sometimes you have to go to the States.”

And, for this mini-media-mogul who hasn’t yet attended college, furthering her education remains another goal.

“I think learning is a very important part of life,” she said. “If I have the opportunity and I can afford it, I’m definitely, definitely going back to school…. I’m going to take some more arts.”

Her advice for those young people who might want to follow in her footsteps?

“I think that they should find what they love to do.” After that, she said, “Really dedicate yourself…. Trying is one of the most important parts of life.

“But always have fun and be happy. A lot of people try too hard. When you lose the fun of what you’re doing, it’s just not worth it anymore.”

—Observer staff
(Files from Amanda Cogan
and Jackie Cogan)


Fall VA Sightings!

Liza Balkan Performs New Piece in Festival!

Liza Balkan(Sailor Mercury #2), performed a new piece this weekend at Toronto’s Second Annual Lab Cab Festival. Out The Window is based on the aftermath of witnessing a death on the street. Something happened. The official description from the site reads: 6 years, two trials, a coroner’s inquest, a verdict and 100s of pages of transcripts later… questions remain. About truth. About sight. About the act of the witness. Liza is a director, actor, dancer, writer. Who saw something. She thinks. One critic enjoyed it and hailed it as one of the pieces not to miss. Liza directed the Pajama Game at the Bathurst Street Theatre, and can be seen next directing Bunnicula this Christmas. Fans can visit the official Lab Cab Myspace here!

A Rubeus’ Presence is Felt on Wayside!

Wayside is a Canadian and American production which started this summer on Teletoon and Nickelodeon. They are based on the popular series Sideways Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar. Wayside School was accidentally built sideways with one room in each of the 30 stories instead of 30 rooms in 1 story. Viewers join the new kid Todd, as he tries to make his way in a school where it’s okay to fall asleep, cows roam free, and class elections are decided by a game of… dodgeball? The series is popular among kids in both countries and we wouldn’t be mentioning this if there wasn’t a VA involved! Robert Tinkler (Rubeus) is a writer for this cartoon.

Rino Romano Has Two Narrating Gigs!

Rino Romano (Tuxedo Mask #1) is still continuing his role as the Caped Crusader on The Batman – which will begin its 5th Season any moment now! But Rino also has two roles in which he is narrating. The first is for the second season of Curious George on PBS Kids. The second season is focusing mostly on engineering concepts, like building a treehouse and plumbing, because every kid needs to know how to do these things in everyday life (pfft. who needs adults?). In March, Rino narrated The Story of the 2006 Diamond Bar Wolfpack , a documentary which followed the Jr. Midget Wolfpack Football team. In 2006, they were completely unbeaten through the season! The film was a winner in a worldwide Digital Video competition in June! Fans of Rino Romano can purchase this documentary on DVD and can watch a sneak peek here.

Charlie Bartlett Finally Has a Release Date!

Last May, we told you of high school comedy Charlie Bartlett, which features David Fraser (Grandpa Hino) as Dr. Jacob Kaufmann. We had read everywhere that the film was going to be out last month, but it wasn’t to be found. Just recently, it was announced that the film will come out on February 1st, and the movie has an official website too! Even though the release date is so far away, we can’t wait to see this movie about a teenaged boy who turns into a quasi-psychiatrist!

Spot that VA in Bakugan Battle Brawlers!

Bakugan Battle Brawlers began on Teletoon last July, and we finally got around to watching an episode ! To our surprise, a few VA’s are involved in the dub of this anime. Bakugan Battle Brawlers (or simply Bakugan in Japan) is about kids who pick up cards featuring different characters, environments, and powers. They make a game with these cards , but they do not know that these cards correspond to an alternate world called Vestoria. Soon the kids are pulled into a quest to restore balance to Vestoria! Starring in this show are: Julie Lemieux (Sammy, Peruru) as Runo, the tomboy who uses light attributes, Emilie-Claire Barlow (Sailor Mars #2, Sailor Venus #2) as Alice, who doesn’t battle but advises the other brawlers, and Lyon Smith (Sapphire) as the masked Masquerade, who wants to help the Dark Side win over Vestoria and Earth!

And Finally…

We dug in the vault of old Sailor Moon articles and found a very old interview with Stephanie Beard that comes from the Globe & Mail – just as her career was starting to take off in 2001. Stephanie reveals a few tidbits about her aspirations and childhood in this interview! Sugar fans should give this a read, they may learn something new!

Stephanie Beard

Question: As co-host of YTV’s The Zone, what star-like demands have you made in your contract?

Answer: One big rule — I can’t work with puppets that are bigger than me. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been scared of life-size puppets like Gonzo and Miss Piggy. My other demands included normal stuff like the newest Powerpuff Girls toys, a year’s worth of ice cream and a steak sandwich.

Q: Mansbridge or Robertson?

A: Neither, actually I was thinking more along the lines of ET’s Jann Carl.

Q: You have the nickname Suga Baybee now, but what did they call you when you were a kid?

A: In my family growing up, my brother and sister called me “Chub-a-lie” ’cause I was really chubby and I made up a lot of stories. My mom called me Princess Piglet, but just Princess when we had company over.

Q: Which cartoon character, past or present, would you have liked to do?

A: I always had dreams of being in an animated movie. I was able to accomplish that goal by playing Louisa in the upcoming animated feature, The Santa Claus Brothers, a new animated holiday special based on Michael Bedard’s images (from Nelvana) that will air on YTV this December. Now, I have a mission to be the voice of Maggie, from The Simpsons, when her creators decide to let her speak!

Q: Recently you snagged a role on The Red Green Show. How are you going to handle all the testosterone on set?

A: The real question is, “How are they gonna handle me?” I may be little, but I pack a lot of power. I’m like a superhero, my superpower is my genuine smile makes the boys weak every time.

Q: Which of the dames on Survivor would you most like to mud wrestle with?

A: It would have to be Elisabeth. People always seem to compare us I think I could take her.

A Few More VA Sightings!

Per always, our VA’s are always up to something new! So here come a few new sightings, and we have big news concerning Naz Edwards so we will be finishing the article with a larger bit on her than the last update!

Notes from the Underbelly Renewed for a Second Season!

ABC’s recent sitcom hit Notes from the Underbelly has been renewed for a second season, and the new episodes will probably air next spring by some estimates. Robert Tinkler (Rubeus) plays Ben, the slave/assistant to the show’s demanding, workaholic lawyer, Cooper (played by Rachel Harris). This screenshot we have provided is from the last episode of this season. He is on his third date when Cooper calls him asking to pick up a present for a man whose birthday party she is currently attending! Ben is frustrated but complies when Cooper threatens to fire him. He appeared in a few episodes this season in person and in voice (yelling from outside of Cooper’s office), and is probably likely to return when the new episodes roll around. Congratulations Robert, and all of us at Moon Chase really hope Cooper leaves your character at peace for an evening!

Maria Vacratsis Plays Scary Mother in Law!

Little Mosque on the Prairie is a Saskatchewan Production that has received International Attention! The show is about the challenges of Muslim life in the small, fictional, prairie town of Mercy, Saskatchewan. It features an interesting perspective of how Muslims and Non-Muslims interact! At the center of it all is Yasir Hamoudi (played by Carlo Rota), a Lebanese Canadian who runs a construction business , and is married to a caucasian woman named Sarah (played by Sheila McCarthy). Sarah converted to Islam when they married, and they have a daughter named Rayyan who is the most devout to the faith in the family – following prayers regularly and wearing a Hijab. In the seventh episode of the first season “Mother-in-Law”, Yassir’s Mother comes to visit, and Mother Hamoudi is played by none other than Maria Vacratsis (Queen Metallia)!

Mother Hamoudi comes to visit the family bearing grim news: Yassir’s cousin Samira has recently become widowed and is very lonely. As the Mother with all the power, she proposes Yassir take a second wife and mary Samira! This comes to the dismay of Sarah and the rest of the episode tells the story of a culture clash between western society (where polygamy is illegal) and middle-eastern society (where in some countries it is acceptable to have more than one wife). This daring episode can be watched by clicking these links for part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Sailor Moon Connection to Barbados’s First Big Hit!

Alison Sealy-Smith (various Monsters of the Day, pictured second from right) stars in Barbados’s first film to ever be distributed nationally, Hit for Six ! Alex Nelson (played by Andrew Pilgrim) is the son of a West Indies cricket star and has a lot to live up to. He has to fight for his spot back on the cricket team after a layoff. This is especially tumultuous as he has to overcome a nasty scandal, and also mend relations with his estranged father who has been living in England for the last 30 years. Alison plays Ianthe (Alex’s mother), in this indie hit which has been a huge hit in Barbados and is headed for international release later this year!

Liza Balkan is Onstage!

Liza Balkan (Sailor Mercury #2) has been appearing across Canada on stage in some very diverse productions! Last March she appeared at the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre in Manitoba performing in Soap and Laughter. The show featured Liza in her own 20 min comedic sketch. In late 2006 at WJT she also starred as Golda Meir in Golda’s Balcony, a play based on the Jewish icon and former Israeli Prime Minister. In April, she was featured in a roundtable discussion on the nature of indie productions and career paths for the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts. And in December of this year, she will be directing the Waterloo Entertainment Centre’s production of Bunnicula! This play is a huge children’s hit all over the country and is based on the popular book series.

Naz Edwards to play… a terrible singer?

This is breaking news moonies! Naz Edwards (Queen Beryl) has just been chosen to play a socialite who can’t sing for her life in the play Souvenir at the Performance Network Theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The play is based on the real life story of Florence Foster Jenkins, who was the William Hung of the thirties and forties, so to speak! This should be funny to see and we can’t wait for the date for this play to be announced!

Rubeus Spotted in a Sitcom!

But He’s Not the One In Charge!

As we reported earlier , Robert Tinkler (Rubeus, Pupuran) according to many sources was set to appear on ABC’s new sitcom, Notes From the Underbelly . The sitcom is loosely based on the book of the same name by Risa Green, which chronicles the virtues of impending motherhood. We were impressed with the premiere, but we couldn’t spot him even after going through the episodes several times. We were beginning to think this was a scam until we read on his official site that he had a reoccurring role on the show.

And lo and behold, we finally spotted him on last week’s episode! He plays Ben, the assistant to the workaholic lawyer, Cooper (played by Rachel Harris). He was seen during a visit to a beach where Cooper was trying to convince pregnant Lauren (Jennifer Westfeldt) that she should not give up her career to be a mother full-time. Cooper was extremely busy and had an interesting request for Ben as she left to go tend to some urgent business (pictured here).

Yes, that actually happened in the episode! The wonderful comedy, Notes From the Underbelly airs Wednesday nights on ABC, check your local listings!

Three Quick Sightings and Looking for a Guest Writer

Do you have what it takes?

Hey fans. We’ll be expanding these sightings all a bit later but there’s one coming up that I need to get out ASAP.

☼ Robert Tinkler (Rubeus, Pupuran) is going to appear on ABC’s new fall sitcom Notes from the Underbelly . He will be playing Ben – I am unsure whether this is a voice or a live action role. ABC is going to show a sneak peak of the pilot this Thursday evening (check your local listings)!

☼ Jeff Lumby (Dr. Tomoe) is the new host of the Morning Radio Show on
Dave FM in Ontario . We’ll be listening to it soon (once one of us can wake up in our oddball timezones)!

We are currently looking for a reader in Europe that has access to the beta version of Joost – we acquired a token recently and are very impressed. However we North Americans don’t get Gong ! We’d love to hear from someone in Europe who has tried the service and what they think about it (and if it holds potential for North America)! Please contact us at moonchasers@NOSPAMPLZKTHXgmail.com . Previous freelance journalism experience is recommended but not required.

And just for kicks, you be the judge!

Here is the opening for the recently premiered tokusatsu comedyBishoujo Celeb Panchanne (keep in mind the same director of PGSM, Masataka Takamaru is directing this series):

Here is the opening for the tokusatsu we hope you’ve all heard of by now, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (spot the similarities!):

And here’s an older tokusatsu we were notified about earlier, and we think this may be a near remake of this series! Reader Adam DuVall told us of an older tokusatsu from the early nineties called Bishoujo Kamen Poitrine, and we can’t help but notice the alarming similarities between the two series!