Inqlings: 'Amadeus' sets an enviable record

William Shatner meets Fabio Granato (center) and Vittorio Assaf, owners of Serafina, a restaurant coming to Rittenhouse Square. At Del Frisco's, Shatner was touting a venture called MyOuterspace. (See "The circuit.")
William Shatner meets Fabio Granato (center) and Vittorio Assaf, owners of Serafina, a restaurant coming to Rittenhouse Square. At Del Frisco's, Shatner was touting a venture called MyOuterspace. (See "The circuit.")
Posted: February 20, 2011

The Walnut Street Theatre is going for baroque, as its main-stage mounting of Amadeus has broken the 202-year-old theater's box-office record for a straight play (nonmusical).

Its $341,109 in ticket sales sent Amadeus past the 2008-09 production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire ($314,840). Add to that the theater's 50,000-plus subscribers.

The Walnut added a March 6 performance of the Peter Shaffer-written Tony winner, which presents the tortured relationship between composers Antonio Salieri and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Media notes

Heather Marter, 22, a 2007 grad of Delran High and a broadcast journalism major at Monmouth University, is in the cast of Real World: Las Vegas, which will premiere March 9 at 10 p.m. on MTV.

The Dennis & Michele midday show on WKXW (New Jersey 101.5) will revert to the Dennis & Judi show, effective Monday. Michele Pilenza, who delivered her second child last year, has chosen to become a full-time mother, paving the way for the return of Judi Franco, who left two years ago, to share the mike with Dennis Malloy.

Radio talker Michael Smerconish has wisely called on Sid Mark to cohost his book club sit-down with Frank Sinatra biographer James Kaplan (Frank: The Voice) at 7 p.m. March 7 at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute; $20 tickets are available via

Keith Moreland, a member of the Phillies' 1980 World Series champion team, was announced last week as the new radio color analyst for the Chicago Cubs. He succeeds Ron Santo, who died in December. (Since you've asked: The Phillies say there will be no change in the radio and TV teams for the 2011 season. Scott Franzke, who during the off-season has been mentioned in the same breath as the Texas Rangers, is entering the third year of his three-year deal.)

Ardmore's MilkBoy Recording has a Grammy connection. Two tracks from Usher's Grammy-winning Raymond V Raymond album ("Guilty" and "Okay") were mixed there. Ian Cross, Tim Sonnefeld, Joe Gallagher, and Karl Petersen got credits.

The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia flashed back to 1967 at the group's monthly meeting Wednesday at Bala Golf Club. Some of the founders of album-oriented rock radio gathered to reminisce, including Rod Carson, the WDAS-FM jock from Hyski's Underground; T. Morgan of the old WIFI; Kal Rudman, founder of Friday Morning Quarterback; Michael Tearson, who was on WMMR back then; Bill Vitka, WMMR's first news director; and for good measure, singer Annie Haslam of Renaissance.

Lion ayes

The lion sculptures at the Philadelphia Zoo's main entrance will be covered in a bright yellow tarp starting Tuesday as part of a collaboration between the zoo and the National Geographic Society. The disappearing act is to call attention to the steep decline in the world's lion population. The sculptures will be reintroduced in a ceremony Feb. 28. This will coincide with a new National Geographic Entertainment documentary, The Last Lions, which will open March 4 at the Ritz Five. The zoo has a pride of four lions - three females and a male.


Eagles tight end Brent Celek and his wife, Susie, are in the doghouse with their South Philly condo association over their Bernese mountain dog, Bruiser - a no-no under the rules. The association's suit, filed in Common Pleas Court and first reported by eagle-eyed Courthouse News Service reporter Reuben Kramer, alleges that the dog has caused damage to the development's common area. Celek's agent did not return a request for comment. A source close to Celek says Celek got Bruiser for protection last spring after break-ins in the neighborhood, choosing a dog because Eagles are not permitted to own guns. (Bernese mountain dogs, though, are more likely to lick than bite a prowler.) The Celeks went before the board to air their "bone of contention" - as association attorney Wally Zimolong put it - arguing that Bruiser (spelled "Brusier" in the filing) should be allowed as a service dog to assist Susie Celek. Zimolong counters that she does kickboxing and has no disability. "This is not an anti-dog thing," says Zimolong, who owns two. "If you want a dog, you can't live in the community."

The circuit

To explain William Shatner's recent trek to Philly: He is a partner in MyOuterspace, a sci-fi digital media and entertainment company founded with local automobile entrepreneur Carlos Hoz de Vila, producer Samuel Ortiti, and media mogul Barry Layne. They were talking up investors Thursday over dinner at Del Frisco's in Center City.

Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan and his wife, Bhavna, enjoying Valentine's dinner at the Japanese restaurant Zama near Rittenhouse Square, did some celeb spotting of their own. Their order included the Winston Justice "Justice for All" roll and the Ryan Madson "Mad Dog" roll; proceeds from each athlete's dish go to charity. Their server made out just fine, too, as the couple tipped 40 percent.

NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, visiting last week to speak at the William W. Bodine High School for International Affairs and to screen his film On the Shoulders of Giants, asked his driver to stop at the Wells Fargo Center on the way to the airport. To get a better look at the Spectrum demolition? No. As HughE Dillon of observed, Abdul-Jabbar posed for photos next to the Wilt Chamberlain statue. (Time has healed Abdul-Jabbar's dislike of his onetime rival, the pride of Overbrook High. In his 1990 memoir, he called Chamberlain a "crybaby and a quitter.")

Overbrook Park-bred actor Seth Green told Maxim how he'd like to spend his last day on earth: "Either peacefully, surrounded by loved ones, or flung from a massive slingshot into a helicopter."

Contact columnist Michael Klein at Follow his blog at and on Twitter @phillyinsider.

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