Wednesday, June 10, 2009


This picture is from when I was doing Judy Garland! For more info, see below:
Here is a great article about another Judy Garland, JIM BAILEY!

I'm jumping right in with my rant about the importance of ARTS IN EDUCATION!
Bank of America has long held the belief that art education helps build strong foundations in our communities, ultimately shaping our future," said Patricia Mercurio, president of Bank of America Missouri.

"We are delighted to provide support to the Saint Louis Art Museum for the Youth smART program and we look forward to the impact we know it will have on the thousands of young people it will reach."Arts education makes a difference in communities. It should be part of every child's education. The arts develop creative intelligence that encourages communication of ideas through image, sound and movement.
It has been proven that arts education positively impacts the developmental growth of children and helps to level the learning field across socioeconomic boundaries. Remember that trumpet you put up in the attic? Or how about the flute your daughter played in middle school?
Do you still have that saxophone from your I-am-the-next-Kenny-G days?

It is time to pull them out and put them to use. We would love to have all of those old, gently used band instruments you are hiding in your attic or in the back of your closet.
The Nashville Alliance for Public Education and the Country Music Association have teamed up for a used instrument drive at the Hall of Fame Park during the CMA Music Festival this week to benefit Metro Nashville Public Schools.

These organizations have worked together since 2006 as part of the CMA's "Keep the Music Playing" initiative, which donates half of the proceeds from the CMA Music Festival each year to the Nashville Alliance to support music education.

In just three years, the program has raised $2,245,421 to purchase instruments, including cellos, clarinets, saxophones and pianos.

Why is it critical to support the arts?

Arts education makes a difference in communities. It should be part of every child's education. The arts develop creative intelligence that encourages communication of ideas through image, sound and movement.
It has been proven that arts education positively impacts the developmental growth of children and helps to level the learning field across socioeconomic boundaries. If you invest in culture, you invest in your community.
They have added this instrument drive during the festival. The instruments will supplement the thousands of new instruments already purchased by CMA with funds from the CMA Music Festival.

At a time when our public schools are under intense scrutiny for academic accountability, it's tempting to ignore the importance of music education, especially when you consider prices run from $216 for a flute to $6,200 for a performance-quality bassoon.
The research-based evidence continues to grow, showing that more than 95 percent of our students who participate in performing arts graduate. A greater emphasis on the visual and performing arts in education is important for boosting academic performance and engaging students in the learning environment.

That's why the CMA partnership with the Nashville Alliance is so critical for our schools.
The Nashville Alliance raises funds to support Metro school programs that fall outside the regular budget, and supporting music education is a big part of this program. The CMA's announcement of this year's $1,011,294 donation to buy musical instruments for 31 Metro schools was a dream come true for many children in their schools.

Thanks to the CMA and all of the artists who perform at the CMA Music Festival free every year, we are able to put more and more instruments in the hands of our students.
They will have a booth set up in the free Dr Pepper-McDonald's Family Zone in the Hall of Fame Park during the festival, June 11-14, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. to collect instruments.

The CMA and its biggest stars have certainly done their part; now, it's your turn. Please show your support by donating your used instruments to our public schools. If you invest in culture, you invest in your community.

Arts and humanities groups could see increased money from the federal government in 2010, if Congress approves all of President Obama’s budget request.
Rocco Landesman (pictured here with Roger Miller), the colorful theatrical producer and race-track aficionado who brought hits like “BIG RIVER,” “Angels in America” and “The Producers” to Broadway, has been nominated as the next chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

JERRY HERMAN, 2009 Special Tony Recipient, Takes a Moment to Reflect on a Lifetime
By Kenneth Jones

If Jerry Herman were to write a Jerry Herman lyric about what he's feeling at the moment — in light of his 2009 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement — he would probably steal a line from Jerry Herman: "The best of times is now."

The 77-year-old composer-lyricist who won Tony Awards for his scores to Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles, and was nominated for Mame, The Grand Tour and Milk and Honey, is more thrilled than Dolly, Mame and Albin combined.
If a staircase happened to be handy, he might be strutting down it — beaming.

"It's the most exciting thing that's ever happened to me, it really is," Herman told "It doesn't get any better than this. That's an award from the people that I've worked with all my life. It's beautiful."

Herman's acceptance speech at the June 7 Tony Award ceremony was short and sweet. He gave no hints.

He makes appearances at concerts and has sat down recently for public conversations (with songs) with Michael A. Kerker, head of musical theatre for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).
"We do something called 'The Red Chairs,' where we sit in two red chairs and he interviews me," Herman explained. "When we get to a specific song, a marvelous Debbie Gravitte or Jason Graae or Ron Raines comes out and sings that particular song with Don Pippin at the piano.
It's a lovely format. Eventually, I get up and go to the piano myself."

Herman also plays piano for joy at his two California homes, when he's not keeping tabs on his "kids," as calls them — productions of his many licensable properties, including the revue Show Tune and the musicals Mack and Mabel and Dear World, both of which, like The Grand Tour, have been revised since they first played Broadway. (La Cage aux Folles is an Olivier Award-winning hit in its current London revival.)

"I just find myself at the piano, playing everything that I can think of," Herman said.
Does he play the work of his musical hero, Irving Berlin? "Oh, God, yes. And Kurt Weill and Porter and even some classical things.
I just love to play. And at this age it's good for my fingers to keep busy."

At the Palm Springs, CA, home he shares with Terry Marler, his partner of 11 years, there is a 61-foot swimming pool. "That's my exercise," Herman said. "I'm there a great deal of the time; I swim and swim and swim as often as I can."

Palm Springs real-estate-broker Marler also keeps him young. "He gets me through all of this," the composer explained. "It gets harder every year. You don't like to think of age as being a problem, and it's not yet with me, but it does get more difficult. And boy he's keeping me fit. In fact, ten minutes ago he had me up doing balancing exercises… He keeps my life going. He's responsible for laughter and companionship.
He's just a great, great partner."

Common interests help solidify their relationship. Marler is passionate about the music of Jerry Herman, and Herman is passionate about architecture, design and homes.

Herman observed, "He has his own world and career, but it's something that I'm very interested in.
If he sees a great piece of property he'll say, 'Come with me, I want to show you this.' If he were a stock broker or an accountant, I would still have the same feelings for him, but to be able to share his work, as he shares mine, is really a wonderful and unexpected treat. When you meet someone and become close and want to share your life, you don't really have a choice of what that person does."

The Nederlander Organization said in recent years that it was planning to produce Broadway revivals of the three "major" Herman shows: La Cage aux Folles (which they did in 2004-05), HELLO, DOLLY! and Mame.
Herman said that there's no progress yet on the latter two productions.

"We really haven't had a chance to sit together, and that's when things happen — when we're in the same room," Herman said.

"Maybe this trip, after the Tonys, we'll be able to put our heads together and come up with some exciting thoughts about the two of them."

He admitted, "They are very difficult to cast, especially Mame, because that woman has to do everything: She has to be a lady, she has to be funny, she has to be a terrific singer and a very experienced dancer — and the right age and the right tone.

For the Nederlanders, or for any producer, she has to have a bankable name."

La Cage aux Folles has been "my big surprise," he admitted.
The romantic comedy about a showbiz family headed by two gay dads was not a sure thing when it was first produced in 1983, though it was a Tony-winning Best Musical smash on Broadway through 1987. The extraordinary social change — the exposure and acceptance of gay lives — of the past 25 years has helped the show to flourish around the world.

"Yes, I know that Dolly! and Mame will go on forever, I know that, but La Cage has taken its place with them," he said of his last Broadway score, which includes that infectious anthem "The Best of Times," a number that would have made Irving Berlin proud.

Kenneth Jones is managing editor of

Rags-to-riches story "Billy Elliot" had a massive night at the 63rd annual Tony Awards on Sunday, winning 10 awards at the annual celebration of all things Broadway.
But despite onstage cameos from Liza Minnelli and Dolly Parton and a top-notch hosting job by "How I Met Your Mother" star Neil Patrick Harris, on Monday morning most people were talking about how the show almost killed Bret Michaels.

In honor of the nominations for "Rock of Ages," a theatrical celebration of '80s-era hair metal, Poison took the stage to perform their iconic "Nothin' But a Good Time" with the cast of the musical. Led by "Rock of Love" star/singer Bret Michaels, the band looked totally at home on the stage — until Michaels missed his mark at the end of the song and was slammed in the head by a large piece of scenery that descended from the ceiling. reported that the extent of Michaels' injury was not known at press time, but he did not, as reported, break his nose. A publicist for the singer told the site that while Michaels was still hoping to hit some afterparties, he was planning to hit an ER first and get some X-rays to make sure he was not seriously injured.
Despite lots of hype and a handful of nominations between them, "9 to 5: The Musical" and "Rock of Ages" — the latter starring former "American Idol" finalist Constantine Maroulis — got blanked at the show, while the 1960s musical "Hair" won Best Revival of a Musical.

The Best Play award went to the comedy "God of Carnage," which chronicles a chaotic night of arguments between two sets of parents. "Carnage" star Marcia Gay Harden won Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play.
Best Original Score was a win for the story of a family dealing with a mother's bipolar disorder, "Next to Normal." Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush took the Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play for "Exit the King," and Alice Ripley won Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for "Next to Normal."
The sweep for "Billy Elliot" — composed by Elton John — included wins for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (shared by young stars David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, Kiril Kulish), Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (Gregory Jbara), Best Choreography, Best Scenic Design of a Musical, Best Lighting Design of a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Orchestrations and Best Sound Design of a Musical.

Though it garnered eight nominations, "Shrek: The Musical" had to make do with just one win, for Best Costume Design of a Musical.

Veteran Angela Lansbury, 83, won her fifth Tony in the Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for "Blithe Spirit," becoming the second actress to reach that milestone.
And Minnelli's "Liza's at the Palace" beat out Will Ferrell's one-man show, "You're Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush," in the Special Theatrical Event category.

Musical Direction by Jon Weber, with a five piece band and back-up singers(Rocco Arrigo, Michael Hopewell, and Kristopher Monroe).

In this intimate evening with one of Broadway s greatest treasures, I will take my audience back to a time of clean wholesome entertainment, featuring highlights from two of Channing' s greatest hits, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Hello Dolly! One performance only, July 5th, 2008 at 8:00 pm. Tim McLoone s Supper Club, 1200 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ. Reservations: (732) 774-1155.
I am returning to Asbury Park by popular demand after performing as Carol Channing as Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly! at Asbury Park's historic Paramount Theatre in a special benefit performance for ReVision Theatre last year and Tim McLoone's SOLD OUT SHOW last August.

Other recent highlights include a successful run at the Iguana VIP Lounge in NYC; REDEEMER EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH in The Bronx in a sold out show with MAC Award winner Diana Templeton and Anthony Santelmo, Jr.;
ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER STUDIOS, DANCERS OVER 40 Celebrates a Wonderful Year tribute to Gower Champion, featuring David Hartman, Marge Champion, Lee Roy Reams, and dancers from Champion s Broadway shows.

With Channing s personal endorsement, I have taken his tribute from Manhattan to Las Vegas and San Francisco and all points in between, summoning the legend's spirit, her signature style, and her sense of connection with the audience.
This is not a drag show and it is not campy! It is an interactive performance of audience pleasing, critically acclaimed theater.
Carol Channing says, . . . this is the first time ever I have been shown with so much love, respect, and polish Richard Skipper is a TRUE MUSICAL COMEDY STAR! He is FABULOUS AS ME!

What I try to recreate are Channing's memorable shows in Vegas and on Broadway, in which the diva proved she could do a whole lot more than just diamond-happy Lorelei Lee. I won two MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabaret) Awards, the Back Stage Bistro Award and was named one of the top cabaret performers of the year by Cabaret Hotline. He has also been awarded the coveted IGCITA (International Guild of Celebrity Impersonators and Tribute Artists) CLONEY award for Outstanding Tribute to a Legend, and has appeared with the great lady herself at the Palace of Fine Arts.
For more information about other performances, tributes and awards, visit Richard s website at
Also in Asbury Park, A CELEBRATION of the life of Scott Schechter, the devoted Judy Garland-Liza Minnelli historian who died May 15 of a heart attack at the age of 48, will be held June 13.
The 1 PM event, which is open to the public, will be held at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, NJ.

Scott Schechter was the author of "Judy Garland: The Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Legend" and "The Liza Minnelli Scrapbook."

The Wonder Bar is located at 1213 Ocean Avenue in Asbury Park, NJ; call (732) 502-8886 for more information.

New Ronny Whyte CD!


Ronny Whyte - Piano and Vocals
Boots Maleson - Bass
David Silliman - Drums
Dominick Farinnaci - Trumpet
John Bunch - Piano
Michelle Ramo - Guitar and Violin
Lou Caputo - Alto Sax & Flute

The critics say:

“…the kind of songs crooners like Nat Cole and Sinatra would have gravitated toward…one fine album that should make waves.
It’s definitive cabaret at its best by a master interpreter of the genre.”

-John Hogland, Cabaret Scenes, May 2009

“… a thoughtfully selected mélange of well-structured songs, intelligently phrased – jazz, cabaret, humor on the highest level – clearly a worthy addition to your collection.” - Elliott Ames, New York Sheet Music Society Newsletter, June 2009

“Whyte’s performances are first rate… his impeccable vocal stylings are the heart of this album. …dig some fine songs that you probably have not heard before, but will enjoy hearing time and again.” - Joe Lang, Jersey Jazz, March 2009

“…if this is any indication of Ronny Whyte’s career, he surely has quite a future!” Dan Singer, In Tune International, May 2009

INCLUDES 15 Future Hits: Hamptons Blues / Here’s Looking At You Listen to the Piano Man / You Know What? / Warm Goes to Warm

Something to Write Home About / Lights On , Nobody Home / People, Places, Things / Always December / It’s Love…or Not! / My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own / Certain People / A Sentimental Thing / Looking for New Ways / Paris in The Snow

Other Ronny Whyte CDs available:

By Myself - Solo Piano

Thanks for the Memory - A Tribute to Bob Hope

Whyte Wolf – 16 songs by Tommy Wolf

Walk on the Weill Side – 16 songs by Kurt Weill

Soft Whyte ( with Strings) – Featuring Forget the Woman

All in a Night’s Work – with Harry Allen, Tenor Sax

Something Wonderful (all instrumental including Porgy & Bess medley)
With Travis Hudson:

We Like a Gershwin Tune (1973)

Songs of Rodgers & Hart (1974)

order on line at or by mail

Send check or money order to:

Ronny Whyte, 619 Fifth Street, Milford, PA 18337

Featured Entertainer of The Week: QUINN LEMLEY! I will be "appearing" with Quinn this evening at BB. King's! http://www.quinnlemley.comGO SEE A LIVE SHOW THIS WEEK! Don't forget to contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS:

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!

Richard Skipper

Follow me on Twitter @RichardSkipper

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