Shefrin passed away in his sleep on 6 April (11) in Encinitas, California after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.
Throughout his showbusiness career, which spanned more than 40 years, Shefrin represented stars including Guy Lombardo, Dick Clark and Don Rickles, while he also organised the Beatles' first New York appearance at Carnegie Hall in 1964.
He also helped launch the writing career of moviemaker Woody Allen in the 1950s by hiring him as a school student to write witty comments to be sent to gossip columnists and attributed to Shefrin's clients. Allen remembered his former mentor more than 40 years later by handing Shefrin a small part in his 1994 film Bullets Over Broadway.
Shefrin is survived by his wife, Sophie, and son, Paul.
The actress has signed on to play Sister Jamison Connelly, a nun whose faith is tested when she agrees to sponsor a 19-year-old drug addict, in High.
The play, written by Matthew Lombardo, will be directed by Rob Ruggiero.
Turner's last Broadway appearance was her 2005 Tony-nominated role in the revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
High opens on 19 April (11) at New York City's Booth Theatre.
Her nod has come less than a month after the show closed in New York and Harper admits its a huge acknowledgement for the cast, director Rob Ruggiero and playwright Matthew Lombardo.
She tells WENN, "I can't say vindication but it's very, very sweet. I can't say bittersweet because we closed on April 11th, so I've had three weeks or so to sob and be upset... It kind of has solidified us in Broadway history even though the show closed early."
And Harper, who is now touring with the production, insists the show failed because an investor dropped out at the last minute.
She adds, "He dropped out to the tune of an excess of $500,000, so everybody else was trying to put in money. My husband contributed substantially and other investors stepped up, but I don't think we had enough publicity and enough advertising.
"The truth is you have to clear at least $800,000 a week. We were underfunded."
But the actress' Tony Awards nomination has given the play a new life as it tours America: "I'm gonna keep playing it in other cities. It's not over yet by any means."
"Hey Hey Hey--it's Fat Albert!" From the very first introductory line--voiced by Albert (Kenan Thompson) himself--you cringe just a little. It's like watching a good friend attempt a tough impersonation you hope he can pull off. The story hews close to what the cartoon
Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids was always all about--a goofy gaggle of African-American kids making the best of growing up in a rough neighborhood in Philadelphia. No matter what the trouble--runaways drug use juvenile delinquency--they managed to find a way to solve everyone's problems and bookend each episode with the contagiously upbeat "Na na na--gonna have a good time! Hey hey hey!" The same goes here--only in a modern twist the problem to solve happens to be in the "real world." Doris (Kyla Pratt) a shy and lonely teenager has a rough day at school where she learned she wasn't invited to a big party. She comes home to watch Fat Albert on TV Land and a stray teardrop hits the remote control creating a magical portal through which the animated Fat Albert and gang decide to jump. Scaring the heck out of the bewildered Doris the guys stumble out of the television set and take to their realistic surroundings and mission quite quickly. In short order they set about trying to find Doris some new friends much to her embarrassed chagrin and along the way they try to make sense of modern day life with its perplexing cell phones pull-top cans and rap music. Yet the more time they spend in the real world the more they fade away their clothes becomes more washed out and eventually they even seem transparent.
Thompson (Saturday Night Live) does as good a job as could be expected embodying a classic cartoon character that has been etched into our minds for decades known mainly for the booming voice pounding footsteps and wide red-shirted girth. He also has the unenviable task of imbuing the character within the actual storyline (not to mention sharing screen time with Bill Cosby himself who quickly but effectively intones the classic phrase in a standout cameo). In the real world Fat Albert falls in love; not with Doris the girl he's helping but her older sister Lauri (Dania Ramirez) who in turn has taken a shine to this selfless big lug. Thompson is also required to sing and dance and try his hand at rap (but we'll skip the part in which Albert races a malevolent track star who's jealous of his appeal--it's so out of place and unnecessarily fake-looking that it's best forgotten). Kyla Pratt also does a good job holding her own playing the young Doris as one part hopeful one part incredulous. The rest of the "Cosby kids" blend in with one another if not for their single quirk or two: Jermaine Williams as the unintelligible Mushmouth; Keith D. Robinson as Bill the level-headed one (essentially the young Bill Cosby); Alphonso McAuley as Bucky with his protruding big teeth; Aaron A. Frazier as Old Weird Harold tall with the big 'fro and Marques B. Houston; as Dumb Donald most of his face covered by a pulled down ski-cap with eye holes.
Already a lot has been said about Fat Albert's sitcom-like feel which may in fact be appropriate given the source material but meandering between the two plotlines the story nevertheless feels as padded as Thompson's suit. Director Joel Zwick's (My Big
Fat Greek Wedding) staging style and attitude are clearly geared toward kids who likely won't miss the lack of real wit in the bickering exchanges between the gang but who may not get the references including the opening animation styled just like the mid-1970s show. This movie's target audience has barely even heard of Theo and Rudy Huxtable let alone Weird Harold Mush Mouth and Dumb Donald. In the cartoon Albert and the Cosby kids populated an urban world of fire hydrants streetlamps and garbage dumps that wasn't without a certain charm. The problem is that charm of the original doesn't work within the context of life today. Just slapping this colorful cast of characters into music video dance scenes doesn't do the job. One notable exception to the often unengaging quality of the movie is a brief visit Fat Albert makes to the real Bill Cosby. The legendary performer softens his curmudgeonly ways and puts forth a possible explanation for Albert's manifestation in reality tying it in with the character's origin in his own head. It's an interesting tidbit with a small payoff at the end.