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Showbiz Chicago Podcasts with the ‘Scrooge & Marley’ Cast

Showbiz Chicago Gets Up Close and Personal with ‘Scrooge & Marley’ star Tim Kazurinsky (Marley’s ghost) and co-producer Tracy Baim

Posted on 06 December 2012 by Michael Roberts

Podcast with Tracy Baim

Podcast with Tracy Baim from Michael Roberts (click here)

Producer and Founder/Editor in Chief of WINDY CITY TIMES discusses the new film SCROOGE & MARLEY.
Tracy Baim was executive producer of the award-winning and critically acclaimed lesbian feature film Hannah Free starring Sharon Gless. She was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1994 and was named a Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40 leader in 1995. Baim is publisher and executive editor at Windy City Media Group, which produces Windy City Times, Nightspots, and other gay media in Chicago. She co-founded Windy City Times in 1985. She has won numerous gay community and journalism honors, including the Community Media Workshop’s Studs Terkel Award in 2005. Baim is the author of Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage. She is also the co- author and editor of Out and Proud in Chicago: An Overview of the City’s Gay Community and author of Where the World Meets, a book about Gay Games VII in Chicago. Her recent books are The Half Life of Sgt. Jen Hunter, about lesbians in the military prior to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and the biographies Leatherman: The Legend of Chuck Renslow and Jim Flint: The Boy From Peoria.

Podcast with Tim Kazurinsky

Podcast with Tim Kazurinsky click here

Posted on 04 December 2012 by Michael Roberts

Tim Kazurinsky discusses his role in the film Scrooge & Marley as well as his recent roles in Hairspray, The Odd Couple and his remarkable career spanning from Second City to SNL. For more information on the film please visit   Related: Showbiz Chicago The Odd Couple Review
Tim Kazurinsky kicked off his show-biz career at Chicago’s famed Second City Theatre. Movie appearances include Neighbors, Somewhere in Time, and three Police Academy films. A former cast member of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, Tim returned home to Chicago to co-write such screenplays as My Bodyguard, About Last Night, The Cherokee Kid and For Keeps. He was nominated for a Writers’ Guild Award for his screenplay for Strange Relations, starring Paul Reiser, Julie Walters and George Wendt. Tim still enjoys performing and has done guest star roles on “You’re your Enthusiasm, Still Standing, According to Jim, and in Jeff Garlin’s I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With. Tim lives in Evanston, Ill., with his wife, Marcia, their two kids, and way too many pets.

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On the Red Carpet With the ‘Scrooge & Marley’ Cast

Red Carpet Interviews with

By Patrick McDonald

CHICAGO – Bring up the immortal classic “A Christmas Carol,” by author Charles Dickens, then bring up how many film and TV versions have been done using its basic story. After a half hour of listing every conceivable production, a gay version won’t be found. “Scrooge & Marley” is the new film that takes care of that category. The premiere was last week in Chicago at the Music Box Theatre.

The Cast and Production Crew of ‘Scrooge & Marley’ at The Music Box Theater, Chicago
Photo credit: Patrick McDonald for

Featuring an essential array of talent – including David Pevsner (Scrooge), Tim Kazurinsky (Marley), Bruce Vilanch (Fezziwig), Megan Cavanagh (Ghost of Christmas Present) and Richard Ganoung (Charity Solicitor) – “Scrooge & Marley” updates the story to present day, places its characters in the gay community and contains flashbacks to the disco era and the go-go 1980s. With a combination of camp and the main premise of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ the film puts a new spin on the old tale. was at the red carpet premiere last week on November 29th, and got to interview many of the acting and production talent in “Scrooge & Marley.”

StarDavid Pevsner, Portrays Scrooge in “Scrooge and Marley”

David Pevsner
David Pevsner as Ben Scrooge in ‘Scrooge & Marley’
Photo credit: Sam I Am Films Since this is a different take on a revered character, what did you want to take from the original story to make sure was in your interpretation?

David Pevsner: I read the book, and I really wanted to get a sense – instead of the nastiness and lack of heart usually associated with Scrooge – as to why he was the way he was. I got a bit of it from the book, but I had to get most of it by exploring the universality of all of us being a ‘scrooge’ at times in our life, and why we become like that. What is more fun about the character of Scrooge, his mean side or his redemptive side and why?

Pevsner: Honestly, I had a good time with both of them. Richard [Knight Jr., the director] wanted me to be really mean before the transformation, and at the end just to enjoy the redemption. So I got the opportunity on either end of those sides to go really dark, and really light. The original is set in Victorian London, your version is set in the modern day. In observing our world as it is now, in what time period do you think the character of Scrooge fits better and why?

Pevsner: The language that Scrooge uses makes him fit better back then, but my challenge was to make it fit for now. That was real fun, to find the level that works in the modern day. I hope I succeeded.

StarBruce Vilanch, Portrays Fezziwig in “Scrooge & Marley

Bruce Vilanch
The Always Subtle Bruce Vilanch as Fezziwig in ‘Scrooge & Marley’
Photo credit: Sam I Am Films

Bruce Vilanch is a Hollywood legend, a comedy writer known for working up material backstage at the Academy Awards, and developing jokes for Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin, Billy Crystal, Roseanne Barr and Robin Williams. He also spent four years on “Hollywood Squares” and wrote/performed a one-man show, “Bruce Vilanch: Almost Famous.” You seem like you were born to play a party coordinator like Fezziwig. What impresses you about his character in the source novel that you wanted to make sure was in this version of the story?

Bruce Vilanch: I viewed him as being crazy, over-the-top and flamboyant, at least as far as Dickens could go with that character back then, and it seemed to coincide with what the writers did in this movie. My Fezziwig spends a lot of time in the 1970s, when it seemed like everyone was having a party, and he was the party provider. [laughs] It was a nice match. Which line or piece of written material first got you noticed as the joke writer that eventually got you backstage at the Academy Awards?

Vilanch: I started writing with Bette Midler, having met her in Chicago at Mr. Kelly’s nightclub, and my reputation grew as she started doing more. I don’t know if it was one single line, but I remember I sold Johnny Carson a one-liner a long time ago. There was a football player named Lance Rentzel in the 1970s, and he was arrested for exposing himself. So the joke was ‘it was cold today…how cold was it?…it was so cold that Lance Rentzel stopped me on the street and just described himself to me.’ It got me a lot of notice, and I started writing more jokes for him and other people. So I’ll use that line as a first. What was the most controversial line you’ve ever written, who said it and what was the circumstance and setting?

Vilanch: I can’t think about the specific line, but I was involved when Ted Danson did blackface at Whoopi Goldberg’s Friars Club roast. It was Whoopi’s idea, and Ted went along with it because their relationship at the time was ending, and they both thought it would be a good way to put a period on it. It was wildly controversial. Finally, if you had to write a saying on one of your famous tee-shirts that best describes this film, what would that line be?

Vilanch: We put the ‘dick’ back in Dickens. [laughs]

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Stars To Shine Bright Tonight in Chicago at Red Carpet Premiere of ‘Scrooge & Marley’

Red Carpet Hometown Premiere of ‘Scrooge & Marley’ at Music Box Theatre November 29

*Bruce Vilanch, David Pevsner, Megan Cavanagh and , Rusty Schwimmer Among Stars to Walk Red Carpet*

WHAT:  “Scrooge & Marley” Red Carpet Hometown Premiere November 29th at the Music Box Theatre, beginning at 6:30pm. Actors Bruce Vilanch, David Pevsner, Megan Cavanagh and Rusty Schwimmer among stars to walk Red Carpet. Chicago-made indie film “Scrooge & Marley” is a modern-day gay variation on Charles Dickens’ classic holiday story “A Christmas Carol.” Recounted with heart, comedy and original music, the magic of this timeless talethanks to the help of three ghostly spirits—comes alive from a fresh perspective that will appeal to audiences of every orientation. The indie film was shot entirely in Chicago last May.

WHEN:  Thursday, November 29th

Red Carpet*:  6:30pm at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport

Film Screening: 7 pm, followed by a Q&A with cast & crew

VIP After-Party* D’Agostino’s 1351 W. Addison

*Opening night events generously underwritten by Philanthropist Michael Leppen.



Regular Admission: $12; VIP $125 (includes film screening & after-party)



Full cast and production team bios:




Directed by Chicagoans Richard Knight, Jr. and Peter Neville, the film stars Chicago natives David Pevsner, Tim Kazurinsky (SNL), Rusty Schwimmer, Bruce Vilanch, Megan Cavanagh, Ronnie Kroell and JoJo Baby. Actors David Moretti and Richard Ganoung round out the cast. Narrated by Emmy-Award winning actress Judith Light, written by Ellen Stoneking, Richard Knight, Jr, and Timothy Imse, “Scrooge & Marley” was filmed entirely in Chicago last May. Original music by award-winning singers and bands, with a special end credit song performed by singing sensation Jason Gould (son of Barbara Streisand and Elliot Gould); written for the film by Marsha Malamet, Liz Vidal and Stephan Oberhoff.  Scrooge & Marley is a presentation of Sam I Am Films, LLC. 

Entertainment, Arts & Music Latest News

Film Review of ‘Scrooge & Marley’

Scrooge & Marley by Roger Ebert

Scrooge & Marley

BY ROGER EBERT / November 20, 2012


Cast & Credits

Scrooge David Pevsner
Marley Tim Kazurinsky
Fezziwig Bruce Vilanch
Freda Rusy Schwimmer
Bill Christopher Allen

Sam I Am Films presents a film directed by Richard Knight Jr. and Peter Neville. Written by Ellen Stoneking and Timothy Imse, based on the story by Charles Dickens. Running time: 88 minutes. No MPAA rating. Opening Thursday at the Music Box.





“Scrooge & Marley” opens on a bleak Christmas Eve in Screws, a gay Chicago nightclub owned and operated by Ebenezer Scrooge, a mean-spirited skinflint who seems to take pleasure in firing people. As played by David Pevsner, he lurks in his office and doesn’t join the warmth and cheer around the piano bar. He’s the club’s gloom and doom department, a contrast to the crowd singing Christmas carols.

Because the origins of the story are well-known, it comes as no surprise that he is about to be encountered by three ghosts from Christmases past, present and future, most notably past, all of whom wear a sufficiency of lipstick, and by onetime business partner Marley, played in horror film makeup and style by Tim Kazurinsky, a Second City veteran who brings a macabre zeal to the role.

This sets up a framework for flashbacks, including a fraught visit to Scrooge’s homophobic parents. His dad sets the period by reading Holiday magazine, an example of the film’s resourcefulness with limited sets but not, let it be said, costumes.

One of the flashbacks features stand-up comic, Oscarcast joke writer and former local legend Bruce Vilanch, as the proprietor of Fezziwig’s, a gay club that represents the kind of establishment Screws should have been, if Scrooge had learned anything.

Other local talent include Rusty Schwimmer, as Freda, a friendly, big-spirited gay woman, and Megan Cavanagh, Ronnie Kroell and Jojo Baby as the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future. Scrooge has a special reason to resent Freda, his niece, whose mother died in childbirth.

There was much talk about this film over the past year at local critics’ screenings, because Richard Knight Jr., film critic of the Windy City Times, took a leave of absence to co-direct it with Peter Neville. They deliver more or less exactly what you’d expect, given the material.

The actors mostly have a lot of professional experience, and while “Scrooge & Marley” doesn’t represent a high-water mark for any of them, it has a good heart, high spirits and of course redemption for Ebenezer Scrooge, who by arriving at a better self-understanding is able to permit himself at last to be kinder and more loving.

“No one cares about money the way you do,” Scrooge’s lover, Bill (Christopher Allen), tells him when they split up, “and you certainly don’t care about me the way you care about money!” That there is a certain amount of overacting and waving about of hands goes with the territory in scenes like this; psychological realism is not the goal.

NOTE: The movie has a red-carpet VIP gala Thursday at the Music Box, followed by seven additional screenings over the next week. It will play Dec. 21-22 and 27 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.


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Up Close and Personal with Bruce Vilanch–One of the Many Stars in New ‘Scrooge and Marley’ Film

Star Of New “Scrooge And Marley,” Bruce Vilanch, Gives Great Interview


The world contains quite a few people who seem to always be playing to an invisible camera. But Bruce Vilanch is one of those truly rare people who is always cracking jokes off the top of his head that are actually funny.
Vilanch is known for his work both behind and in front of the camera. The two-time Emmy winner has written material for many of America’s top comedians, but is probably best known to the public for his time as a regular on Hollywood Squares. Vilanch has been head writer for the Academy Awards since 2000. In 1999, he was the subject of a feature-length documentary, Get Bruce!, about his life as Hollywood’s most sought-after humor writer.

It’s easy to see why Vilanch is such a valuable commodity in Hollywood. In person, he’s endearingly clever in a down-to-earth way, loves playfully entertaining everyone around him, and seems unable to stop saying things that are genuinely hilarious.

Vilanch was in Chicago for the shooting of the new film Scrooge & Marley, a contemporary retelling of the classic Dicken’s tale, A Christmas Carol, “with a gay twist,” that will premiere during this year’s holiday season. In a casting stroke of genius, Vilanch plays the comic/tragic character Fezziwig in the film.

Though he already had on his Fezziwig wig for our interview, the makeup department had not yet glued on his Fezzi-beard. He stroked the strawberry blonde locks of his wig lovingly, and told me, “My old hair—it’s come back to visit. It’s been living in a condo in Boca Raton, and now it’s decided to come out of retirement.” In fact, his real hair today, with its strawberry blonde color and shoulder-length Prince Valiant styling, looked rather similar to his Fezzi-wig—just a bit less bushy.

Not done hamming it up, Vilanch began to croon to his wig: “‘Hello my old friend … ‘ I feel like Sweeney Todd,” he quipped. “‘This is my burden … .’ Soon there will be a beard to complete the picture. I will look like a nightmare version of myself from the Seventies. I can’t wait!”

In Dickens’ original Christmas Carol, Fezziwig is young Scrooge and Marley’s boss. He’s a generous, ethical businessman who treats his employees like family, cares about their welfare, and throws lively holiday parties for all. Sadly, he is forced to sell his business to avaricious corporate interests who care nothing about worker morale. Scrooge and Marley, grown more callous over time, side with the heartless new owners.

“I play Fezziwig, who you’ll remember from Dickens,” Vilanch said. “But this is a different kind of Fezziwig. He’s a guy who owns a disco in the Seventies and he’s Auntie Mame—Rosalind Russell and Auntie Mame.” Vilanch threw back his head, causing his wig to flounce. “He’s all, ‘Oh how droll, how vivid!’ He’s a pretty fabulous character, and he brings young Scrooge and Marley in [to his business] and of course they do him dirt—you know the story. And then we see his downfall. But then there’s a resurrection. It’s very biblical.”

Though Scrooge & Marley is a modern, gay-themed retelling of A Christmas Carol, Vilanch’s character follows the traditional Dickensian arc. “He’s a jolly old soul who gets caught up in his vices and gets caught up in their chicanery. And eventually he’s something they [the spirits] show Scrooge, to show what a bad guy Scrooge has been through the years. So Fezziwig’s kind of a poster child for excess. But at the same time, he’s brought down by the hand of somebody who is genuinely sinister. And he’s not. And I like him.”

Dickens’ Fezziwig symbolized the end of an era he knew well, the Industrial Revolution. Dickens’ saw it as a time when small businessmen and local industries like Fezziwig’s were disappearing, swept away by more ruthlessly profiteering business practices and cutthroat corporations. The Fezziwig in Scrooge & Marley also symbolizes the end of an era: the pre-AIDS gay culture.

“Fezziwig is the end of that party that was going on in the gay community in the Seventies, that was ended by the AIDS epidemic,” said Vilanch. “Suddenly everything got very serious and everything that we were told would happen because of what we were doing suddenly happened—and not because of what we were doing. It was totally coincidental. It was the end of some kind of a party that had been going on since I think Stonewall. There was a great deal of joy about liberation and getting a movement going and all that, and that came crashing down when people began dying. And ironically enough, that movement, because of the epidemic, became a real genuine political movement, which is as forceful today as it can be.”

Vilanch was living in Chicago in 1970, working at the Chicago Tribune, when he met Bette Midler. Midler hired him to write jokes for her, marking the start of a successful collaboration that has lasted through the years. After moving to L.A., Vilanch began writing material for other famous comics as well, including Joan Rivers, Richard Pryor, and Lily Tomlin, and for television shows like ABC’s original Donny and Marie Show and The Brady Bunch. Vilanch heard about the Scrooge & Marley project from his friend, the film’s co-director and co-writer, Richard Knight.

“I had done his radio show when I was in Chicago doing Hairspray, and we’ve been friendly ever since. And he talked about making this strange gay take on A Christmas Carol. When you consider Christmas Carol’s been done every other way—I mean, I’m waiting for the al-Qaeda version, that’s all that has been missed—so I thought, how could I not be a part of it? It’s so original, so unusual.”

Vilanch also considered a gay version of A Christmas Carol in it’s wider cultural context. “I think that the reason to do a gay version of anything is to show that we’re all basically the same under the skin. That the humanity is the same. We just have wildly different cultural perspectives and ways of expressing ourselves. But it’s the humanity of it all that’s important,” he observed.

“And gay community, and gay culture, for want of a better word, is just so much fun. It’s so festive and everything-is-in-quotes and over-the-top exaggerated, because it’s a culture that had to live under the thumb of a straight culture for years, so its take on things comes from being oppressed. And that’s always funny,” said Vilanch. “I mean, I’m Jewish, too, and we have that in common: we were oppressed for five thousand years and that’s why so many funny people are Jews. When you’re at the bottom, you kind of have to look up and laugh, because you don’t see the sun a lot.” Vilanch paused, then added warmly, “And eventually, you do.”

Originally Posted Nov 21, 2012 8:11 am by Mister D

Windy City Times
Wigging out with Bruce Vilanch
by Jorjet Harper

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Scrooge & Marley Film News

Jason Gould, Barbra Streisand’s Son, Sings ‘Amazing,’ Theme Song For Gay ‘Scrooge And Marley’ Film

The Huffington Post  |  By  Posted: 11/13/2012 10:33 am EST

“Scrooge & Marley,” is a modern adaptation of Charles Dickens’s holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol,” due to hit theaters later this month. While the plot remains the same, this version retells the story with a “gay sensibility” that “will appeal to audiences of all persuasions.” The movie stars openly gay actor David Pevsner as Ben Scrooge and “Saturday Night Live” alum Tim Kazurinsky as the ghost of Jacob Marley.

And those aren’t the only LGBT-friendly parts of the film. Jason Gould, openly gay son of Barbra Streisand, performs the film’s theme and special end credit song, “Amazing.”

Gould recently shared the stage with his mother on her much-celebrated “Barbra: Back to Brooklyn” concert, singing “How Deep Is The Ocean?” in the newly built Barclays Center.

“Amazing” will be featured on the film’s soundtrack and can be purchased on iTunes later this month.

Look for “Scrooge & Marley” to hit theaters in select locations this holiday season. For more information on the film and to find a list of local screenings, click here.