Ask 'Mimi' May 18, 2014

Ask 'Mimi' May 18, 2014

From Illinois Theatre to television to a local connection with the new movie 'Godzilla,' Melissa 'Mimi' Merli has you covered.

Q: Is there a TV series you are sorry to see come to a season end?

A: Yes, "Call the Midwife." The PBS series is based on the memoirs of the late Jennifer Worth, who tells of her time as a midwife to families in London's East End in the 1950s.

The third season — the finale will be broadcast at 7 tonight on WILL-TV — has taken us back to '59, the eve of the Swinging Sixties.

I've watched all three seasons and can tell you the stories are realistic yet entertaining, with gripping, graphic and harrowing scenes of childbirth, plus lovable and quirky characters.

And there will be a fourth season; the start date has not been announced yet.

Q: Will the UI Department of Theatre do any theater this summer?

A: Yes, Illinois Theatre, the department's producing arm, and the Chicago Definition Theatre Company will present a play and a short-play festival, in late May and early June at Krannert Center.

The play: Definition Theatre's well-received "The Brothers Size," with Professor Kathleen F. Conlin directing.

The New Short Play Festival will feature "Evening News" by Aaron Carter Seward; "Kansas" by Matthew-Lee Erlbach; "Pigeons, Sharks and Vixens," by Erlbach; "Blackie's Funeral" by Paco Jose Madden; "Stepping Out" by Damir Konjicija and Leah Williams; "A Taurian Tale" by McCraney; "Just Suppose" by Tucker Rafferty; and "The Space Behind Your Heart" by Steven Simoncic.

Call 333-8260 for ticket information.

Q: Are you going to see "Godzilla," which was released Friday?

A: I wasn't until I discovered Alex Hedlund is involved in the movie, a co-production of Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros.

Hedlund, an Urbana High and UI alumnus, recently was promoted to vice president of production for Legendary; he joined the studio in 2011 as a creative exec and a year later was promoted to director of creative affairs.

Legendary Entertainment president Jon Jashni told Variety three execs including Hedlund "each played an important role in the growth of Legendary's film division, serving on projects including '42,' 'Pacific Rim,' '300: Rise of an Empire' and 'Godzilla' that continue to enrich our brand."

As an Urbana High student, Hedlund wrote movie reviews and other articles for Spin Off, The News-Gazette youth page that I edited. I've told him I expect him to thank me from the podium when he wins his first Oscar!

Other big news for the 30-year-old Hedlund, son of Ron and Barbara of Urbana: He will be married June 6 in California. Congrats, Alex!

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