Thursday, February 22, 2018

Emily Ellet, James Gavin, Nicole Zuraitis...and MORE!

 I would rather be a little nobody, then to be an evil somebody.  Abraham Lincoln.

 Happy Thursday, February 22nd, 2018!
February 22 is the 53rd day of the year . There are 312 days remaining until the end of the year
As I sit down to write today's blog I'm listening to the soundtrack of Gone With The Wind.
Right now as I write this, it is 43 degrees with a chance of sleet in the forecast. As I enjoy the music of the past, I celebrate the next generation. On Monday night, I went to see Linda Purl at Birdland. WOW! A 16 piece band. THIS is the way this music was meant to be celebrated.

Great pipes, a swinging senses of time and tempo, musical as hell, hypnotic on ballads and powerful as a big-band vocalist on the rhythmic numbers,  Linda Purl is a perfect fit for DIVA.    It doesn't hurt that's she's also as gorgeous to look at as a Technicolor dream from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Linda Purl has got it all in one meteoric display of supersonic talent.  She fractures me!----REX REED
Linda Purl

Today's blog is devoted to Paul Dooley who's birthday is today.
Today in 1965, the first television remake of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella - the only Rodgers and Hammerstein musical written for television - starring Lesley Ann Warren premiered on CBS!
Here is a blog I wrote about this three years ago.  As I celebrate the past, I honor and look forward to the future.

Writing gives me opportunities let close friends know how I feel about them.

Taking the time to let the special people in your life know how important they are to you serves to bring joy to everyone. This blog offers me the same opportunities.
I have a platform to celebrate great artists. Three such artists are Emily Ellet, James Gavin, Nicole Zuraitis.

Emily Ellet is a New York City-based, SAG/AFTRA actor, singer, and audiobook narrator. She is the 2017 MetroStar Talent Challenge winner at the Metropolitan Room in New York City.
She earned her Bachelor of the Arts in Theatre, with minors in music and dance, from Principia College, has performed regionally and off-Broadway, and was the original Cat in Stephen Schwartz's Magic To Do on the Ruby Princess.  She has studied with Craig Carnelia, DB Bonds, Matt Farnsworth, and Sally Wilfert. She has worked as an audiobook narrator since 2009, with a list of over 140 audiobooks completed. Emily is a proud member of P.E.O., a philanthropic educational organization providing scholarships to enable women across the world to pursue their educational goals.
Her new show, “Uncharted,” will explore new beginnings, old habits, and the uncharted territory outside one's comfort zone. Directed by MAC and Bistro Award winner Stearns Matthews, with musical direction by Bistro Award winner Jeff Cubeta, the show features musical theatre, jazz, and pop favorites from Jerry Herman to Sara Bareilles, including what BroadwayWorld called her “dazzlingly original interpretation” of the 80s disco anthem “It’s Raining Men,” which clinched Ellet's win in the Metropolitan Room’s 2017 MetroStar Talent Challenge cabaret competition.

What trends in the entertainment world do you see, and where do you think the industry is heading?
Oh, that's a tough question! I feel somewhat unqualified to answer it, given my age.
But even in my handful of years here in NYC and on a cruise ship, I've definitely noticed the trend towards jukebox-style cabaret shows. They're so much easier to sell because the audience knows they like the music before they even buy a ticket. I confess that even as an audience member, I find it much simpler to decide on seeing a "Bruce Springsteen" or "Doris Day" show than the more standard, vaguely titled cabaret show. Which is no comment on the quality of the show - just on the ease of decision-making! So I doubt that will go away anytime soon. I also see the world of cabaret embracing a lot more pop in general! Standards are classics for a reason, but there really are a lot of pop songs that have become equally beloved nowadays, and as the younger generation (like myself) comes into the industry, we'll probably bring with us a lot more of the music WE know as standards.
 How do you give back your art/passion to younger artists and the community?
I have been doing a lot more coaching of young artists recently, especially high school and college students.
I love it!  Seeing the light go on in someone's eyes when they connect to the material they're singing on a personal level is almost more addictive than performing.  It's also so rewarding to mentor younger singers, whether that's giving them information about the various aspects of the business (for example, how many different types of careers you can have within the big umbrella of show business) or offering them an overview of New York City apartment hunting if they're just moving here.  I struggled to find mentors when I began in this business, and so I've always got an eye out for others who hunger for more information about this world.  As far as the community goes, I've done a few concerts at retirement homes, and I would absolutely love to do more.
It's just hard to find a pianist who's equally interested in volunteering their time and skills!

How would you like to be remembered?
Wow, you're coming at me with the big guns!
Hmmm, well, I guess I would like to be remembered as someone who touched people emotionally - as a performer, as a coach/mentor, and just as a person.  Those moments of connection are what we're all thirsting for, so I'd love to think that I succeeded once or twice in my lifetime.

What great challenges did you have in creating your current project?
The hardest thing about creating "Uncharted" with Jeff and Stearns was allowing myself to create the show without any preconceived notions (which is very "meta," haha).  Jeff and I spent several months throwing musical spaghetti at the wall - I'd bring in ten to fifteen really disparate songs, and we'd just sing through things to see what we liked.  I had a panic moment when we first presented our "final" list to Stearns, though!  I thought, oh my gosh, there's no show here!
Fortunately, that's what a wonderful director and musical director can help you find.  We just kept digging until the show appeared.  The other great challenge was letting go of material that I just LOVED.  We spent a long time trying to figure out how to get the Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song into the show, for example, and in the end, we just had to let it go.  But it formed the spine of the show, even if we never play a note of it.

What's the best thing that happened to you this year?
Getting to meet my niece (our family's first grandbaby), and spending as much time with her as possible.  She's officially the cutest, sweetest, happiest, laughiest baby I've known.
I adore her!

What's your favorite place to escape to within NYC?
Tryon Park off the 190th stop of the A-line. I used to live up there and every morning, I went running up the stairs in the park, then stopped to breathe in the charming Heather Garden at the top, then continued running through the huge trees with the gorgeous view up the Hudson River and finally ran down past the Cloisters. You are utterly transported out of Manhattan, and it's quiet and beautiful and has the most gorgeous views of the sunset through the George Washington Bridge. I can't recommend it highly enough. It's truly an escape!
James Gavin
“Gavin numbers among the rare breed of biographer capable of tremendous style and substance, meticulous about detail and accuracy yet blessed with exceptional storytelling √©lan.” (Christopher Loudon, MacLean’s)
Called “a killer biographer” in the Hollywood Reporter, James Gavin is the author of four acclaimed books and dozens of New York Times features; he is a worldwide public speaker, a Grammy nominee, and a recipient of two ASCAP Deems Taylor-Virgil Thomson Awards for excellence in music journalism. In her New York Times review of his most recent book, Is That All There Is?: The Strange Life of Peggy Lee (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster, 2014), Anita Gates called Gavin’s biography “eminently readable ... fascinating, suspenseful, musically detailed and insightful.” Publisher’s Weekly pronounced it “raucously entertaining, full of evocative scenes, wry humor, and exasperated sympathy.” The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Appelo chose it as one of the top ten music books of 2014.
His previous book, Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne (Atria Books, 2009), was termed “magnificent ... gripping, marvelously written” by Liz Smith, who added: “[It] may just be one of the best biographies about show business, race, love, sex, and music ever written.” Oprah Winfrey chose it as one of her Top 25 Summer Reads. On May 12, 2010, Los Angeles District Councilman Bernard C. Parks honored Gavin with a proclamation from the city that had made Horne famous.
In the New York Times, David Hajdu described Gavin’s Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker (Knopf, 2002; republished by Chicago Review Press in 2011) as “almost unbearably vivid.” The Hollywood Reporter proclaimed it “a landmark in entertainment biography”; while in Salon, Greil Marcus called the book “a singular work of biographical art ... There is not a page that is not engaging, alive, demanding a response from a reader whether that be a matter of horror or awe.” Deep in a Dream has been published in England, Holland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, France, and Brazil as well as in the U.S.

Gavin’s first book, Intimate Nights: The Golden Age of New York Cabaret (Grove Weidenfeld, 1991; Back Stage Books, 2006) won Gavin his first ASCAP Deems Taylor-Virgil Thomson Award, along with raves from Liz Smith (“a treasure trove … a real beat of the heart of New York”), John S. Wilson of the New York Times (“vividly reported ... etched in acid”), and Gerald Nachman of the San Francisco Chronicle (“Wild and wistful ... a remarkably informed, insightful, definitive look at Manhattan nightlife”).
Manhattan-born and a graduate of Fordham University, Gavin is a much-published freelance journalist.
Aside from the New York Times, he has written for Vanity Fair, Time Out New York, the Daily Beast, and JazzTimes. His subjects have included Annie Lennox, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone, John Legend, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Miriam Makeba, Marilyn Monroe, Mae West, Ned Rorem, Edith Piaf, Karen Carpenter, and Jacques Brel. Gavin's 2015 feature for JazzTimes, “The Gates of the Underworld: Inside Slugs’ Saloon, Jazz’s Most Notorious Nightclub," earned him his second ASCAP Deems Taylor-Virgil Thomson Award.

He has contributed liner notes to over 500 CDs; his essay for the GRP box set Ella Fitzgerald – The Legendary Decca Recordings was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Gavin has appeared in several documentaries, including an E! True Hollywood Story on Doris Day and Anita O’Day: The Life and Times of a Jazz Singer. He wrote and narrated a French TV documentary, Chet by Claxton, on legendary jazz photographer William Claxton and his muse, Chet Baker.

Gavin has made hundreds of radio appearances, including multiple interviews on NPR, the BBC, and Australia’s ABC Network; he has been seen on the Today show, Good Morning America, and PBS NewsHour. Since 2011, Gavin has toured as narrator, host, and author of Stormy Weather: The Life and Music of Lena Horne, a show that stars former Supreme Mary Wilson.

Aside from his Stormy Weather show, he has created and hosted shows based on all his other books, featuring Blossom Dearie, Nellie McKay, Jane Monheit, Mark Murphy, Andy Bey, Mx. Justin Vivian Bond and Kenny Mellman (something known as Kiki and Herb), Spider Saloff, Oscar Brown, Jr., and others.
These evenings have been presented at such venues as the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts (West Palm Beach, FL), the Miller Outdoor Theater (Houston, TX), the Castro Theater (San Francisco, CA), and Joe’s Pub (NYC).

Tell me something about yourself that I don't know.
There's a lot about me you don't know! :)

But to go back to the beginning, I was adopted at the age of two and a half months from the New York Foundling Home in Manhattan, where I was born. I don't know all the details, but I do know that my mother was unwed.
She named me Eric, then gave me up.
The first great rejection in life! It left its mark, believe me. I have never tried to find my birth parents. I find it much safer to investigate the lives of other people.
According to ancestrydna.com, though, I am 96% Eastern European - probably a mixture of Polish and some Croatian. For a moment there I thought I might actually be a Jew, and some of my Jewish friends were quite pleased, as was I; it seemed like an exciting new adventure. Alas, it now seems unlikely, so I remain a recovering Roman Catholic and a former altar boy.

What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the industry is heading?
For a while, it seemed as though the physical object of a book was verging on extinction, because of the convenience of e-books.
But the actual book has proven to be far harder than the CD, and e-book sales dropped the year before last. turning the pages and perhaps even the weight that adds to the experience.
People are still buying a lot of hard-copy books, which makes me very happy. There must be something about the artwork and

To read a book requires one's full attention. Recorded music, I think, is now more than ever a part of multitasking; it's become an ephemeral thing that's part of the air and no longer synonymous with a disc in a cover, although I'm happy about the vinyl revival and hope it lasts for a long time.

In general, though, we're living in an age of sensory overload, of bombardment by the internet, and our cell phones are more alluring to us than almost anything else in life.
America has the attention span and the memory of a gnat. My industry, book publishing, while tightening its belt financially, is hanging in there.

 How do you give back your art/passion to younger writers in your profession?
Many younger and older people ask me for advice and opinions on their writing, which is very flattering.
I spend quite a bit of time reading pieces by other writers and offering whatever guidance I can.
with Jeanne Morreau
I am obsessed with correct English, so if I can help nurture its use in other writers, I'm pleased.
It's my responsibility to be helpful.
From the time I undertook my first book until today, I have received so much help from friends, acquaintances, strangers. We have to keep that good karma circulating. When I come across a young writer who's truly talented, who cares about language and can tell a story, it gives me hope.

How would you like to be remembered? 
As the years tick on, that subject occurs to me with greater frequency, although in many ways I feel I'm just beginning, and that everything I've done up to this point was just a rehearsal for what I'm doing now, or will do.
with Mart Crowley
I am lucky to be a writer of books, which live on forever. It delights me that, 27 years after the publication of my first book, Intimate Nights: The Golden Age of New York Cabaret, people are still reading it and letting me know that it meant something to them. Cabaret is no fragile art form. It is indestructible. My three biographies so far (as well as the one I'm writing now, on George Michael) all concern artists of enduring mystique.
My subjects will not be forgotten anytime soon.
To the extent that anyone remembers me, I would love to be regarded as an accomplished writer who worked hard to get at the truth, who could tell a good story, and who had compassion.
If a few people think of me in those terms, I will have done what I set out to do.

What would you like the public to take away from your work?
I would like readers of my books or articles to understand the fallible human being inside the great artist. To know that the flaws, as well as strengths of character, are essential to the humanity of the work. My greatest goal has always been to reach out to people with my offerings and if possible, to touch some hearts. To tell stories that people can identify with. Empathy is essential in our work, Richard, as you know.

Who would you like to see profiled?
I just saw Brian Gari at Don't Tell Mama and was very moved by his show. He's got a story - many of them, from being Eddie Cantor's grandson to being a striving teenage songwriter in the early '70s to have had a couple of successful revues to still being at it today, when the pop songwriting world he grew up in no longer exists.

Anything else you wish included?
Yes. Thank you so very much for asking, Richard, and most of all, thank you for caring.

Nicole Zuraitis
If recently you happened upon Greenwich Village’s 55 Bar and were enchanted by the seismic talent of inspired vocalist, keyboard player, and songwriter Nicole Zuraitis, you’re officially part of this songbirds burgeoning fan club. Nicole Zuraitis blends bountiful songwriting skills, an effervescent presence and dazzling vocals in a consummate package that has thrilled audiences across Manhattan and across the world.

Nicole is the 2016 New York City Songwriting Competition Coffee Music Project Winner, 2015 second runner-up in the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition and the 2014 Herb Albert ASCAP Young Composer Awards Winner.
She's also the Peoples Choice and Johnny Mercer Award winner in the National American Traditions Vocal Competition.
Nicole has headlined the Blue Note (NYC) and maintains residencies at the 55 Bar (every second Thursday of the month), Rockwood Music Hall (with the Dan Pugach Nonet), and Redeye Grill.
Audiences love Nicole’s limitless enthusiasm, but that’s only part of her story; only part of her talent.
While pursuing a career that has spanned jazz, pop and classical, Nicole has collaborated with Cyrille Aimee, Thana Alexa, Dave Stryker, Livingston Taylor, Tom Chapin, Omar Hakim, Melanie Safka, Elise Testone and Bernard Purdie. She’s performed at festivals nationwide and has recorded two albums: 2013’s Pariah Anthem and 2009’s Spread TheWord, both releases featuring the cream of New York’s jazz hierarchy.

Nicole’s new recording, Hive Mind (Dot Time Records), chronicles themes close to her heart, including an unflinching love of family and friends delivered with a sincere spirit that finds release in eight intimate original compositions (and two covers) which span genres.
After hearing HiveMind, you’d expect nothing less from this NYU trained classical vocalist and Connecticut born songwriter who swings hard as she brings listeners under her enveloping musical wings. Don't forget to check out her singles “Long Meadow Vine” (Featuring Cyrille Aimee and Thana Alexa) and “For the Lonely".
Nicole is a proud faculty member of the Litchfield Jazz Camp.

She has taught songwriting and jazz vocal workshops worldwide, including the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in India, Israel Embassy, Australian consulate and the Berklee College of Music in Boston. She was featured in a video interview by Columbia News Tonight as "New Yorker of the week" for her work with music and shelter animals and hopes to continue giving back by raising awareness for the mental health stigma. For more visit www.nicoleZmusic.com

Why do you feel that celebrities are such an important part of our lives? 
From the entrepreneur perspective, celebrities provide an important reminder of setting goals and achieving them.

I do not believe that striving for fame makes you a bad artist or a sell out: I think it keeps the bar high and makes you innovate and create art at a competitive level.
From the artist perspective, there's a tough divide between making music and art for the enjoyment of the masses and making music for your authentic self without the competitive need to exceed expectations.  The truth is, I've never been much of an "idolizer" when it comes to a person or celebrity.
The few celebrities I've had the pleasure of meeting are just average slightly broken souls who seized a stroke of luck or great opportunity and ran with it. I do however idolize art and the power of a beautifully crafted song. Most of the time the celebrity is a celebrity for a reason and they are making their mark in history on the industry which should be respected.
Carole King

If you could perform with one person, who would that be?
Carole King. As a singing pianist and songwriter, I would be floored to share a stage with one of my biggest inspirations.
She also seems like a hoot and totally down to earth! I love hearing her sing the songs she wrote that other people made famous.

What person do you most admire, living or dead?
Ellen DeGeneres. She is brave, kind, compassionate, hilarious and successful. If I am to ever achieve a status where I have the ability to help people and animals monetarily and through spreading awareness using my celebrity platform, I would try to follow her footsteps.

What’s a super New York-y thing to do that you’ve never done (however you define “New York-y”)?
I didn't always play piano and sing and the way I got started is pretty hilarious. I attended an audition for a club date agency back in 2010 when I first moved to the city. I was hostessing on Central Park and desperate to sing for a living.  For those who don't know me, I'm a glasses wielding slightly awkward woman with a big voice and two left feet. The people at the audition asked me to sing, and when I was done said "Wow. Great. Can you sing and dance a number for us?"
I hesitated and tried to move about the stage to the best of my ability. After that was over, they said "Great. Now can you make eye contact with me and be sexy while singing?" I froze, desperately looked around the room, and my eyes locked on the piano in the corner. "Umm, I can play the piano!!!"  I ran to the piano and started playing Don't Stop Believing in the wrong key without the bass line and next thing you know, I'm hired as a piano player in one of the biggest club date agencies in New York City.
I humiliated myself on multiple occasions even though I was feverishly practicing piano day in and day out in my apartment. One of my first ever gigs was at The Plaza Hotel, and I was hired to wear a gown and sit on a piano that was suspended over the audience and FAKE PLAY piano with a live string quartet.
Then I had to go to the lobby with 14 violin plays and attempt to play accompany them while they played excerpts from the Sound Of Music, etc.  Long story short, all the stress and embarrassment paid off because over the last 8 years I've taught myself how to play piano at a pretty decent level.
But boy, if you could have seen me in 2010.....

What are you currently working on? How did this project come about? What is it that you like most about doing what you are currently doing?
I just released my third album Hive Mind on DotTime Records.  It's a 10 track album in which I wrote 8 of the songs with two covers on the album (Jolene by Dolly Parton and Pure
Imagination from Willy Wonka). The album theme is mental health awareness as each track covers a different element of the creative mind and its ebbs and flows, as well as a track called Episodes dedicated to my grandfather who has lived with unmedicated paranoid schizophrenia for 65 years.
I want to help change the mental health stigma for the better by being able to talk freely about it rather than brush it under the rug. I've been workshopping the songs on the album every month during my residency at the 55 Bar jazz club in Greenwich Village for the past few years (every second Thursday of the month) and am excited to release the songs into the world as I've been writing completely new and (happy) music these days. I love being a versatile songwriter and arranger, and my current project besides touring
Hive Mind is recording a large ensemble album of my swinging jazz songs such as I like You a Latte and Long Meadow Vine- The wine song.  You may see a food theme in there..... I love singing silly songs for audiences and making them smile.

What is your most useful tool for overcoming a creative block?
Well, besides the obvious life-changing event or deep heartache to get my songwriting chops moving, I like to try to emulate another artist that I admire. For example, my song "The Inscription" was written after I listened to Stevie Wonders "Songs in the Key of Life" many times. I loved his sense of harmony, the modulations, the rhythm.  I was in a bit of a funk creatively and decided I would sit at the piano and write a song based on those three key elements.  Next thing you know you have a samba-funk song that I recorded on my album Hive Mind, and the Dan Pugach Nonet performs it regularly. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMavAc6Oa2Y).  I'm thinking the key to breaking the block finds inspiration in the obvious.

Who would you like to see profiled?
My friend Elise Testone is a wonderful vocalist who I work with in a 3 part harmony collaboration called Voxy NYC.  She was on American Idol is a fierce soul and singer.

Anything else you wish included?
My husband Dan Pugach has a nonet which I sing with and we have a CD release April 21st at the Cutting Room in NYC! Also, I play the piano and sing solo at different venues around the city such as the Redeye Grill and from that I've developed a new one-woman show that I'm beginning to tour: Generations of Her- Women Songwriters of the last 70 years.  I would love for my website and social media to be listed so I can connect with people to hear more about all the projects I'm a part of:  www.nicoleZmusic.com and nicoleZmusic on all social media platforms.





In other News...
This Friday, Feb. 23 RICKY RITZEL'S BROADWAY features
Tommy J. Dose, Michelle Dowdy, Erica Lustig, Tara Moran, Aaron Morishita. Sidney Myer, Jay Rogers, Luis Villabon, Lennie Watts. Kristine Zbornick, performing songs from ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, GREASE and NEW GIRL IN TOWN. RESERVATIONS 212-757-0788 or www.donttellmamanyc.com.

Tony Award nominee Santino Fontana will soon step into the role of Cornelius Hackl in the current Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!, filling in for Gavin Creel as he recovers from back surgery.
Fontana will begin his limited run on Tuesday, March 13. Read MORE HERE

Even celebrities sometimes need to do a little spring cleaning.
Profiles in History recently announced "Love Liza: The Auction," featuring more than 1,000 lots with items from Oscar-winning actress Liza Minnelli, as well as from her famous parents, Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli. Read MORE

COME RAIN OR COME SHINE
JOSEPHINE SANGES
sings HAROLD ARLEN

THURSDAY, MARCH 8 at 7pm
SUNDAY, APRIL 8 at 7 PM
The Laurie Beechman Theatre
407 W. 42 nd  Street @ 9th  Avenue, NYC 10036
https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe.c/10239508
$25 Cover ($15 MAC)
$20 Food-Drink minimum
Musical Director: JOHN M. COOK
Bass: TOM HUBBARD TRUMPET: STEVE SMYTH

2017 Margaret Whiting Award winner JOSEPHINE SANGES taps into the Academy Award- winning songbook of HAROLD ARLEN (“I’ve Got The World on a String,” “Stormy Weather,” “Over the Rainbow, “Blues in the Night”) with songs from Hollywood (“The Wizard of Oz,” “A Star is Born”) and Broadway (“St. Louis Woman,” “House of Flowers”) in her new show COME RAIN OR COME SHINE.

“Grace, class, lush vocal styling…she’s the genuine article.” - CABARET SCENES

Now, Go out and Do Something Nice For Someone Tonight Without Expecting Anything in Return!


Here are a Few Testimonials for Richard Skipper Celebrates: Next One March 18th 1PMLaurie Beechman Theater


“Richard Skipper Celebrates Carol Channing on Her 97th Birthday" was a party with a marvelous host and a group of his very talented friends. I wasn’t just an audience member, I was a fellow celebrant. The wonderful stories and songs and a sensational video made it feel like Carol was in the room with all of us.
-Joshua Ellis

Mr. Richard Skipper's Show was beautiful!!! 
It was far greater then I imagine. 
Looking forward to the next show. 
If you have not experienced his events, you owe it to yourself!! You will not be disappointed. 
He is a rare Gem!! 
Darnell Collier, Buffalo, New York

I was so happy that Judy Ferber and I attended Richard Skipper's Christmas cabaret on Sun. 12/3, thanks to Arlene Jacks, who recommended it very highly. 
What a great experience - it was fun, heartwarming and sentimental.  Great performers and great audience!  What a treat to see Kathryn Crosby - that really took me back in time to all the Bing Crosby Christmas specials.  I can't wait to attend the celebration of Carol Channing's 97th birthday on Jan. 31 with another friend of ours as well as Richard's birthday celebration in Feb.  Richard: you and your team are a class act!
Diane Merklinger, Briarwood, New York
March 18th, 2018 

Russ Woolley Proudly Presents
Richard Skipper Celebrates
John Kander... On His 91st Birthday!
 
1 PM Brunch Show Laurie Beechman Theater  

Confirmed to perform are Tony Award winner Lilias WhiteDonna Marie Asbury currently in Chicago on Broadway, Jana Robbins (Zorba with two separate tours with Georgio Tozzi and Theodore Bikel), Lucia Spina (Kinky Boots), David Sabella (originated Mary Sunshine in the current revival of Chicago on Broadway), and Sandy Stewart (My Coloring Book) and two-time Grammy nominee Bill Charlap All under the musical direction of Fred Barton with Rex Benincasa on percussion, Erik Lawrence on Sax, and Steve Doyle on bass. $30.00 cover/$25.00 Food Drink Minimum https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe.c/10230842

Thank you, to ALL who are mentioned in this blog for showing me that it is up to ME to lead by example!

With grateful XOXOXs ,

 
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NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!


I can't believe what you say, because I see what you do. James Baldwin

  Keeping America great through Art!     

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook
Keeping Entertainment LIVE!

TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com 






Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Marnie Klar and Jaymie Meyer

To hear, one must be silent.
-Author Ursula K. Le Guin

Happy Valentine's Day, 2018!
It is also Ash Wednesday. February 14 is the 45th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 320 days remaining until the end of the year.
Everything seems more intense today and I wonder how long this hectic pace will continue. What are you giving up for Lent? Click HERE
I'm listening to Love songs on my iPod today. As I begin today's blog, Doris Day's Love Me Or Leave Me is playing in the background.  
Today, I'm CELEBRATING three artists that I absolutely love. Support their projects. Go out and see them and tell them I sent you.
Marnie Klar
Marnie has been seen as a runway model for such designers as Max Mara and Tiffany’s and has appeared in print layouts in numerous magazines including Seventeen, YM, and Self.
Her New York theatre appearances include LOVE SONG, VENUS  AND ADONIS and FLEET WEEKTHE MUSICAL. She has been performing at Don’t Tell Mama since 2011 and returns with her latest show, BEDTIME STORIES with Musical Direction by Steven Ray Watkins on February 17th at 4pm. Critics have called BEDTIME STORIES ‘simplicity itself’ (Bart Greenberg – Cabaret Scenes) and have commended Klar for ‘making every song her own, with an articulate, lyric-centered delivery’ and possessing the ‘balance between the strength of a prepared, well-
directed performer and the vulnerability of a person of strength and emotional depth.’ (Penelope Thomas – Bistro Awards). For More info Click HERE 







What Keeps You Going Through the Day?
Hmmm… This might sound strange, but I think waking up in a positive mood is important. 
I’m not saying I always am, nor do I always, but, in my opinion, it does makes a difference.  Then, I feel able to set some goals for myself for that day.  
They may consist of just a To Do List, or simply, a sense of being- whether that means pushing yourself to do something, which I personally love to do, or recognize when you just need to take a break.  
At the end of the day, I like to reflect and know that I accomplished what I set out to do that day.  Positively.  And, a great support group is everything.

What really inspired you to do your current show, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a show?  
I wouldn't say I felt forced, really...  I will say that there were a few forces at work here…  Before BEDTIME STORIES, every cabaret show I have done thus far has been directly linked to my personal life.  And, these shows have been incredibly personal, and cathartic, for me.  However, once I felt like I had shared these intimate details and stories to the best of my ability through song (other than writing about them), I felt that it was time to move on.  
I’m a storyteller.  So, I gathered my team (consisting of Tanya Moberly, aka awesome Director, and Steven Ray Watkins, aka brilliant Musical Director), and we literally just worked on story songs.  It’s been thrilling, to say the least.  Believe it or not, I’m generally cast more as an actor than a singer, so this really plied into both of my strengths.

What animal would you like to be?
A Golden Retriever.
I grew up with these beautiful, intelligent fluffy balls of fluff.  However, I also saw beauty, when my mom, who is a Past President of a nursing home (where I used to sing), showed me the healing significance that touch therapy adds to the quality of life.
I saw the happiness of the residents.  More importantly, for me, I found an unwavering friend.  A Confidant.  Yep.  That’s what I want to be. 

For those who have not seen your current show, what is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted audience?

I just love that this show is all about other people’s stories.  I think someone or anyone can relate to any or all of the material.  
As far as target audience… Everybody!  I’m at Don’t Tell Mama.  It’s right in the heart of Times Square… On Restaurant Row!  
If you’re just visiting NYC, and you’ve never been to a cabaret show, please, I think you’ll enjoy the selections of music. 
Or, if you’re visiting and you want a variety of tunes, come see this show.  Or, if you want some really sweet eye candy (I hope they won’t mind), I’m on stage with two of the hottest performers I know.  And, I mean HOT.   Too much?  ;)

What does resilience mean to you?
Quite simply… strength.  I’ve had quite a few trials, (and believe me, I’ve questioned them,), but at the end of the day, I’m grateful.  They’ve taught me life.

Can you think of a moment that (ever) defined who you are today?
Yes, my car accident.  When I was sixteen I was involved in a horrific car accident.  During my healing process, I discovered that I have courage, a love of life and a fierce determination to never, ever let adversity win. 

From Bobbie Horowitz:  Marni Klar is one of those human beings that I felt related to from the minute I saw her several years ago. She was one of those young girls I could want for a daughter of my own and to be a sister to my son. Her goodness radiated and continues to radiate.
Etceterettes/Co-Hosts Marissa Mulder (L) and Marnie Klar (R) (Photo: Steve Schalchlin)
I'm totally thrilled to see how she’s developed her talent in the last few years. I can see she wasn’t content to just be beautiful looking and have an excellent voice. She’s worked on performing and now her totally truthful delivery of lyrics comes straight from "inside her" and I can’t believe that anyone who speaks our language (or - who may even

have grown up speaking another language) could help but be affected by what she is communicating through the songs she sings.
I’m a lyricist and I would be so honored to hear Marni sing my songs. I’ve seen her get a room giggling and/or move a room to tears.  
I’ve actually seen her accomplish both getting laughter and tears  – while performing one song!

Marni is one of those performers who could make me want to become a publicist.  The world should (and I believe will) know about her.

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. – Winston S. Churchill

Jaymie Meyer
JAYMIE MEYER is a BISTRO Award-winning entertainer whose NYC appearances have
included engagements at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Algonquin Hotel’s Oak Room, and the Russian Tea Room as well as numerous appearances at
the annual Cabaret Conventions at Town Hall. In 2001, she founded
Resilience for Life, a business dedicated to providing  Group Wellness Programs, Lifestyle and Wellness Coaching and
Yoga Therapy. Jaymie was among the first in 2017 to receive the National Medical
Board Certification as a Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC). She is also
a HeartMath provider and a Certified Ayurveda Educator. 

Do you see yourself living anywhere else if you had the choice?
I will always consider myself a New Yorker, even though I was born in
FL.

What performers inspire you the most and/or what is your favorite kind
Barbara Cook

of music?
Barbara Cook, Rosemary Clooney, Portia Nelson, Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett,
Ben Platt and others.
I love many styles of music: Great American Songbook, Jazz, Classical, and
Movie Soundtracks (Quincy Jones, Phillip Glass, Jerry Goldsmith and Henry Mancini are favorites.)

Where did you grow up?
Miami, FL

What do you do for fun? 
Where do I begin? Hike, read, go to the movies and theater, cook, sing, practice yoga, and play with my cat Maggie. Plus myriad activities with my husband including making music, traveling, playing Scrabble, taking improv classes and currently stage fighting with a lightsaber. (I’m a Jedi, he’s a Sith).

Who is your favorite superhero?
Wonder Woman, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Rosa Parks

Current project URL, upcoming in NYC on March 29th (image attached below):

https://iyiny.org/workshops-and-events/calendar/heartmath-practical-
skills-9679

Latest recording, Whistling Away the Dark by Henry Mancini and Johnny
Mercer (image attached):
https://soundcloud.com/mikehihz-1/whistling-away-the-dark

Anything else you wish included?
While I continue to produce a yearly recording with my
husband who plays guitar, I have focused the majority of my time in the
past 15+ years on Resilience for Life.  I feel blessed to have found two paths that I feel deeply passionate about
that allow me to be of service and use my skills. 
I coach groups and individuals all over the world via the
internet and love helping people to age optimally and
increase resilience. WEB: www.ResilienceForLife.com

Can you think of a moment that (ever) defined who you are today?
I think loss has defined a big part of my life and consequently contributed to my joie de vivre.
I lost my mother at age 11 and my father died in my 30’s before my Carnegie Hall debut. I'm an only child and they were both only children.
It’s a sobering moment when both parents are gone. That happened at a relatively early age for me.
Understanding how fleeting and precious life is, and doing my best to stay in the moment, have helped define who I am.

And In Other News...
Katharine McPhee
Katharine McPhee Will Make Her Broadway Debut in Waitress

Win the VIP treatment at The Iridium and Ellens Stardust Diner by entering the Ellen's Stardust Diner - New Faces of 2018 Broadway Showcase before the contest closes on Friday, February 16 at 11:59pm.
There are two ways to enter Check out the contest link here: http://iridiumconcerts.com/sweepstakes/
New Faces of 2018 Broadway Showcase takes place on Tuesday, February 20 at 8:00 pm.


Memorial Service and Tribute for Charlotte Patton Scheduled for Saturday, March 10 at 4 PM

From Bob Ost: Any of my theater friends have a musical they're working on? TRU (Theatre Resources Unlimited) is looking for interesting submissions of works (or works-in-progress) for "How to Write a Musical That Works, part 2: Conflict and Obstacles" on 2/25. Deadline extended to this Friday. Feedback panel features Ken Cerniglia of Disney and some other really astute people. Go to TRU's WEBSITE for more info. 

Now, Go Out and Do Something Nice For Someone Else Without Expecting ANYTHING in Return!


Here are a Few Testimonials for Richard Skipper Celebrates: Next One March 18th 1 PM  Laurie Beechman Theater: Please visit RichardSkipper.com For Updates

I love Richard Skipper Celebrates Shows I have had the pleasure of attending several. They are always entertaining and totally awesome. His guests are entertaining and so is Richard. His live talk shows are a plus for me because not only are they entertaining, they give insight inside the cabaret and arts community and also the guests are given the opportunity to promote their upcoming events. I like that's it's fair and balanced. Keep up the great work bringing awareness to the Arts and entertainment world.
Dianne Rike, Trotwood Ohio Thank you so much for letting me be part of Richard Skipper Celebrates. Richard Skipper a consummate showman and what’s more important, generously kind. Love him! Nancy McGraw, NYC (Richard Skipper Celebrates October 8th, 2017) Love Richard Skipper's wonderful interviews! I always seem to lose track of time when I'm watching them. Keep up the great work! Jasmine


Thank you, to ALL who are mentioned in this blog for showing me that it is up to ME to lead by example!

With grateful XOXOXs ,

 





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