As the holiday week unfolds, some stars grab our attention.
There are a couple of Grammers and a couple of “Dr. Quinn” alumni. Mario Lopez shows up three times; so do the Rockettes (shown here). Here are some glimpses:
— Grammers: “The 12 Days of Christmas Eve” (8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, on Lifetime) doesn’t claim to be new turf. Kelsey Grammer calls it “sort of a nod to ‘Groundhog Day’ and maybe Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol.”
He plays a rich businessman, trying to make amends with his daughter, a surgeon played by his real daughter, Spencer Grammer.
In real life, he’s had distractions from daily parenting – four marriages, six children, an overheated career. But he also mastered the big gesture, Spencer said. Once, he gave her the private run of an FAO Schwarz store. “It was magical to be able to play in the store …. It ruined me for anything else.”
— Quinn folks: Some co-stars drift apart after a show ends, but not the “Dr. Quinn” people. After three decades, Jane Seymour said, “we are reasonably inseparable …. Joe’s my best friend.”
Joe Lando is 60 and has been married for 25 years, with four kids; Seymour is 71 and had a 22-year marriage. Now they enact a romance in “A Christmas Spark” (8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27, on Lifetime). “Even though I’m a few years younger thann Jane, it looks like I was robbing the cradle,” Lando said.
— Triple Lopez: Looking over the Christmas-movie world, Lopez said, he wanted something “that incorporated a little dance and had a musical aspect.”
Now that’s in his busy week. On Thanksgiving Day (9 a.m. to noon, NBC and CBS), he and his family are at the front of the Macy’s parade, on the turkey float. Then his family returns home, but he stays in New York to co-host the Rockefeller Center tree-lighting show (8-10 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, NBC). In between, his “Steppin’ Into the Holiday” will be on Lifetime – often. It’s 8 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. Saturday and 10:03 p.m. Sunday.
That pairs him with Jana Kramer, which seems logical. Both thrived on “Dancing With the Stars”; he’s been dancing since he 3 and was runner-up in 2006, she finished fourth a decade later. Still, she had her doubts. “That was so long ago …. It’s not something I’m super-comfortable with,” she said.
— Triple Rockettes: This is also a busy stretch for the Rockettes. Like Lopez, they’ll be at the parade (dancing for NBC) … and at the Rockefeller Center show … and in a movie.
“Holiday Spectacular” (8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27, on Hallmark) has an ex-dancer telling of the time she snuck away from her society life, to try out for the Rockettes. In the present, she’s played by Ann-Margret, 81; in the 1958 scenes that fill most of the movie, she’s played by Ginna Claire Mason, a TV newcomer who was Broadway’s “Wicked” star before and after the COVID shutdown.
Mason first saw the Rockettes when they toured in her home town of Nashville. “These women are incredible athletes,” she said. “They’re so disciplined.”
They’re also diverse … finally. The movie has a veteran Rockette in 1958 who is Black; in real life, there was none until ‘87.
That may sound like a whitewash of past sins, but Danelle Morgan, a Rockettes dancer and captain, sees it as logical. “It shows the Rockettes of today. We are in the film – diversity of all kinds.”
One type of diversity is offered by Sydney Mesher, who was born without a left hand. “I auditioned while I was in college,” she said, “and, fortunately, it was the first job that I booked in New York …. Being the first visibly disabled Rockette is such an honor.”
Morgan, who is Black, was at the acclaimed Alvin Ailey school, “studying more in the concert-dance world,” she said. “The Rockettes came to the school (and) I fell in love with this technique.”
Now both are part of a busy and high-kicking Thanksgiving weekend.