News Column

Philadelphia Daily News Molly Eichel column

May 23, 2013

YellowBrix

May 23--PHILLY'S OWN Kate Flannery has chosen her first post-"The Office" assignment.

Flannery will star in "Love, Loss and What I Wore," the off-Broadway smash written by the dearly departed writer/director Nora Ephron and her sister Delia, for the Philadelphia Theatre Company. Although Flannery has played local clubs with her musical comedy group, the Lampshades, this will be her first shot at the legit Philly stage.

The show will run from June 25 to July 7 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.

"It's really just an excuse to see my dad and see my family," Flannery, who has performed the show in New York, told me. "It was the perfect fit."

She told me that while she's in town, a trip to Ocean City will definitely be in order.

Joining Flannery is former "Reno 911" cast member and "The Daily Show" correspondent Mary Birdsong, "As the World Turns" star Joyce Van Patten and theater vets Aisha de Haas and Ashley Austin Morris. Fun fact: Flannery and Birdsong have performed together before in Mono Puff, the side project of They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh.

The show, based on the book by Ilene Beckerman, tells the story of many women through clothing and accessories.

Flannery was in town recently, receiving the Silver Star Alumni Award from her alma mater, the University of the Arts. "It was very surreal," Flannery told me. "When I graduated, it was really fun, but it was even shinier and sparklier than before, with beach balls going. When the students were coming across that stage, I had a deja vu moment."

Flannery doesn't know what she'll do next, but she has her finger in a couple of pies. "The future is very bright," she said. " 'The Office' is a great legacy and I don't think about it as anything but a huge career booster with the greatest fans."

Book nook

-- Former Daily News writer Mark Kram's critically acclaimed book Like Any Normal Day has been optioned for film and television by Brad Falchuk, the mastermind behind "Glee" and "American Horror Story." Like Any Normal Day tells the story of Philly-area star high-school quarterback Buddy Miley, whose life is forever changed when he suffers a spinal injury, and his brother, Jimmy, who aids his ailing sibling in his time of need. Like Any Normal Day is now out in paperback.

-- Former Philadelphia magazine writer Stephen Rodrick has a new book on the shelves about his Navy pilot father, who died when Rodrick was a child. But the title of Rodrick's new book, The Magical Stranger, has local roots. Former Philly mag and Daily News editor in chief Larry Platt used to call Rodrick "the magical stranger" because he could embed himself into his subjects' lives. Yet, Rodrick took the phrase differently, deciding that it was the perfect description for his heroic, yet oft-absent dad. "If you told me that Larry Platt would be responsible for the title of my book, I would not have bet my fing life savings on it," Rodrick told me.

When I asked, Platt had no recollection of his inadvertent inspiration, but gave me the perfect example of Stephen Rodrick's prowess. "I thought about the magical stranger when I was watching the movie 'Knocked Up.' There's a scene of Paul Rudd playing fantasy baseball," Platt said. "There, in the movie, is Steve Rodrick. That's the ultimate magical stranger move. He pops up in a Judd Apatow movie."

OUT AND ABOUT

-- Food Network personality Michael Symon stopped by Sbraga to treat diners with the pork-fueled Knob Creek Big Flavors Dinner series last week. Symon, clad in a Rolling Stones T, said he had never before been to "Top Chef" contestant Kevin Sbraga's namesake place, but hoped to eat a full meal there in the future. When he's in town, Symon told me, he usually dines at buddy Marc Vetri's Vetri. "Me and my wife, that's our special place," Symon told me.

-- Gary "Sarge" Matthews had a late dinner at the Positano Coast on Friday after the Phils' win against the Reds. He and his buds enjoyed Aldo's Raw Bar Harvest Platter, the Fritto Misto and a large Antipasto Plate.

-- WXPN's Michaela Majoun and Roger LeMay and WIP's Joe Conklin all took in a showing of playwright Bruce Graham's "North of the Boulevard" on Sunday at Theatre Exile's Studio X. Next up for Graham and Theatre Exile is a return of his classic "The Philly Fan" starring Tom McCarthy.

Email: eichelm@phillynews.com

On Twitter: @PhillyGossipDN

Online: ph.ly/DNGossip

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