Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Can you believe another month in 2009 is slipping through our fingers today? I certainly can't. The month began with me in Malibu. Next month, I go to Louisville, Kentucky with Steven Brinberg and Tommy Femia.
Wednesday Night at The Iguana continues to be a great success. THANK YOU, DANA LORGE! We had some incredible entertainers this month.
Here is the latest on a few of those. Sue Matsuki kicked off our month. She has gone on to a succesful run at The Laurie Beechman Theatre. I have heard through the grapevine that this is her best work to date.
Congrats on a successful run, Sue Matsuki! They are putting it up one more night Mon, Nov. 9th at 7:00 at Beechman.

The following week we were lucky enough to get Val Ryder in a rare NY appearance. He brought the house down (as usual). I hope that he will be doing his own show in the near future. We need it!

Last week, we had David Gurland and UPTOWN EXPRESS. The critically-acclaimed show, Brand New Day, returns to the Metropolitan Room for three more shows this Fall.

The show on Sunday, October 18 at 7:00 p.m. features special guest KT Sullivan, and the Thursday, October 29, and Wednesday, November 11 shows, both at 7:30 p.m. features special guest Julie Gold, whose new song "Love is Love is Love" the group is among the first to perform.

Uptown Express has been delighting concert and cabaret audiences with musical direction and arrangements by James Followell for more than two decades.
The group's diverse repertoire ranges from pop standards and show tunes to rock and roll, with a special fondness for guy groups like the Four Seasons, the Beatles and the Plaids. Uptown Express has had the privilege of performing with many Broadway and cabaret greats, including Kristin Chenoweth, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Karen Mason, Sam Harris, Terri White, KT Sullivan, Klea Blackhurst, Melissa Errico, Steve Ross, Lina Koutrakous, Sidney Meyer and Mario Cantone.

Most recently, the group has been nominated for two MAC Awards from the Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs: Recording and Vocal Group. Also, this year, the group has been honored to win awards from two distinguished New York City cabaret organizations: 2008 Best Vocal Group Recording from Cabaret Hotline for their CD "Walk Like A Man," and Outstanding Vocal Group from Back Stage Bistro for their 2008 shows at the Metropolitan Room.
Uptown Express features Christopher Caswell, John DePalma, David Gurland and Brad Parks. The group is backed by Dan Gross on drums, Sean Conly on bass and Musical Director James Followell at the grand piano. The show is directed by Lennie Watts.

For more information about Uptown Express, visit

Copies of their CD, "Walk Like A Man" are available at (SOURCE: BROADWAY WORLD.)

We are ending the month with a bang! Tonight we have Wendy Lane Bailey and an incredible line-up of entertainers! You can read more about Wendy by visiting her website:

We also have Bobby Belfry!
Rick Younger:

Stewart Brodian:

and Paul & Rochelle Chamlin
... and a few other surprises as well.

Over the next few weeks, Melissa Young, Edd Clark, and many others will be dropping by.
Please keep checking for updates.

by opening its door to the general public (non-members) for the first time.

On November 2nd, The Academy of Magical Arts is planning a week long celebration of Magic for the 100th anniversary of the structure known today as The Magic Castle, culminating in a show at the Kodak Theatre called IT's MAGIC! on Nov 8th (Attached).

There will be a number of promotions involved, featuring such personalities as Neil Patrick Harris (Board Member), Romi Dames, Sam Freberg, Phill Lewis, and Florence Henderson as well as performers from Lance Burton and Shimada to Kevin James. In fact, one of their attractions involves recreating one of Harry Houdini's great escapes by using a crane to raise escape artist, 100 feet above the Castle in a straight jacket.
In addition, for the first time in their history the World Famous Magic Castle will open its doors to the general public for one night only on Monday, November 2nd. Space is very limited so guests will be selected through a random raffle. Those interested can sign up at for a chance to win entry for 2. Dinner reservations are required for all winners. Food and Beverage charges, gratuities and valet charges are the responsibility of the winner. All contestants must be 21 years of age.
Also, all guests must be 21 years of age with photo ID and in proper dress code, which can be found at, to enter the club.

The Castle has been the location for many of Hollywood films as well as TV Series including Hart to Hart, Murder She Wrote, the Mae West Story, Monk, Barnaby Jones, Matlock, VH1, Top Chef, America's Top Model, etc.
Over the years members have included and include many of the industry's elite such as Johnny Carson, Gary Grant, Dom Deluise, Johnny Depp, Buzz Aldrin, Sean Penn, Carol Channing, Nicholas Cage, Tony Shaloub, Drew Barrymore, JoAnne Worley, Loni Anderson, Steve Martin, Buddy Ebsen, Rose Marie, Tippi Hedren, Walter Mathau, Karl Maldin, as well as some of the greatest magicians including Penn & Teller, Doug Henning, Sigfried and Roy to name only a few.

Six theatres exist within the walls of The Magic Castle, from the Parlor of Prestidigitation and the Penn & Teller stage to The Palace Theatre itself.
Most recently, their Inner Circle became home of the new Cabaret at the Castle which has featured some of Broadways biggest names including Carol Channing, Jason Graae, Ilene Graff, Phyllis Diller, Rose Marie, Richard Sherman, JoAnne Worley, Rip Taylor and a special guest during the Castle's centennial, Miss Florence Henderson. Up until now, the rarely used space has been virtually unknown to even many of the Castle members. It houses a eclectic collection including WC Field's trick pool table, Marionettes from The Sound of Music, Edgar Bergen's Ventriloquists dummies, Walt Disney's original miniature of the Haunted Mansion, the original automaton Madam Carnak that Johnny Carson (who was an amateur magician and Magic Castle member) based his famous character, and the actual Hello Dolly! bar.
Other attractions include the Hat and Hare Pub, the piano bar, where the ghost of Erma plays nightly and the Houdini seance room which contains one of the largest original collections of Houdini's great tools of the trade including his personal handcuffs, straight jacket, metamorphosis trunk and famous milk can escape.

For more information, acquire artwork or to request interviews with co-founder Milt Larsen, please contact me at 626-296-3757.
SOURCE: Harlan Boll (


If theatergoers were to be polled about what they felt was the most memorable scene in musical comedy, most would probably cite the moment when the curtains part atop the stairs of the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant and Dolly Gallagher Levi appears in her red Freddy Wittop gown and begins her descent to "rejoin the human race."
Well, Carol Channing's latest project, “For Heaven's Sake,” is a gift to the human race and includes many of the songs she came to know and love as a child with spirituals that she learned from her family. The CD features handpicked spirituals from Carol's childhood, taught to her by her father as well as hymns and rousing classic gospel tunes that southern gospel fans and people of all ages will know and love. "I remember touring the country in DOLLY and everywhere we went, they all knew these songs. It was incredibly unifying." The album produced by Larry Ferguson and John Wyatt was released on Sept 18th (2009) by Daywind Records in association with Ferguson Music with major distribution in both secular and Christian retail through New Day and Word Entertainment Association a Warner Brothers Company.

Miss Channing officially launched the CD at the National Gospel and Quartet Convention in Nashville to an estimated crowd of thousands. Miss Channing graciously signed an uncalculated number of CD's for the adoring crowd that had gathered to see the living legend, unit the last possible moment before her hectic schedule required she move on. Channing has had 10 gold records, including the original cast recording for "Hello Dolly!" which bumped the Beattle's out of the number one spot, but this is her first gospel recording. Within hours of the launch, Miss Channing was on her way to sold out engagements at The Derby Theatre in Clarksville, IN and The Dixie Carter Theatre in Huntingdon TN.

Before the official launch, Miss Channing had graciously given a CA landmark church a preview to help them raise the much needed funds to restore their 70 year old roof and beautiful stain glass windows, original to the structure. "The congregation received a blessing from Miss Carol Channing who gave a benefit concert on September 6th to help us raise funds for a new church roof. While spending time with Miss Channing, I discovered two things: one I already new and the second was a discovery.
The one I knew is that no matter what Miss Channing sings, there is JOY in the music. I know this from all of her well loved songs and I realize this as I listen to For Heaven's Sake. In fact, as I enjoy these new recordings she sings, I get swept up in the joy and sing along. The second thing, which was a discovery for me, is that Miss Channing is a very passionate woman. I admire her PASSION in wanting to restore arts funding to public schools. What a rare gift to see someone of her stature willing to spend her time, energy, and financial resources in helping others! Our prayers are with her in this endeavor!" - Rev Joe McGowan/Altadena Community Church

It is true, that Miss Channing's greatest focus is in her effort to secure a place for the arts back into the public school system, “It's got to be included in education because what it does... it fertilizes young minds.
When they are exposed to the arts, they get brighter in everything else. That's what happened to me. We don't need to save the arts, we need to help the Arts save our children." What began as a California based effort has grown with requests for Carol's help in other states including New York, Louisiana, Florida, Tennesse, New Jersey, Indiana and Illinois. So in June of 2010 the Dr. Carol Channing/Harry Kullijian Foundation for the Arts will go national starting in Nashville, TN. "Anything we can do these days to support our youth and encourage their education is too important to ignore. Without the arts, a child's ability to create and to dream is stifled. We can't afford to shortchange our children and our future by denying an arts education for all students," says Harry Kullijian, Carol's husband and foundation co-founder. Over the last three years Miss Channing has been making appearances (performing, speaking, teaching, etc.) at both public schools (Jr and Sr High) as well as universities in order to help them raise the much needed funds for their Arts Departments as well as raise awareness for the need for youth involvement and exposure to the Arts.

Next on Channing's itinerary are appearances in Los Angeles to accept The BraveHeart Arts Education Award that will be presented by a fellow blonde, Ms. Loni Anderson on Oct 3rd, followed by a CD signing and Q&A with her friend Bruce Vilanch at the West Hollywood Book Festival on Oct. 4th. She will then return to Los Angeles and be joined by colleagues Joyce Aimee, Mary Jo Catlett, Carole Cook, Jason Graae, Ilene Graff, Sam Harris, and the voices of Los Angeles' Vox Femina and NPYNK of GMCLA, as well as students from Creative Planet School of the Arts for a one night only event at UCLA's Royce Hall entitled BROADWAY VOICES for Arts in Education on Oct 11th. Slated to host the evening is the star of the Disney hit series "Suite Life of Zach & Cody," Kim Rhodes.

Miss Channing will be celebrating 89 years of age in January 2010, just weeks after her husband turns 90 and neither are showing any signs of slowing down. In fact, Channing has already scheduled recording sessions for her follow up CD (the rumor mill says it will be a jazz collection) and has given the greenlight to the production of a documentary on the ultimate Broadway baby's life to TONY Award winning director and producer Dori Berinstein. Earlier this year, Miss Channing was selected as one of the leading ladies of stage and screen for the Smithsonian Institute's first permanent Entertainment Exhibit. In addition, Stars are in the works for Walks and Walls of fame in both Palm Springs and New York, respectively. What may shock most fans of the perennial blond is that the Kennedy Center Honors has never tributed the original Jazz Baby, and, in fact, has declined honoring her every year for the last 10 years that friends and colleagues have been submitting her. When asked about it, Miss Channing simply replied,"It would be nice and I would be extremely honored, but Im not taking it personal. Every time they announce the list I couldnt agree more with their selections." A bigger than life personality with a heart to match, is it any wonder that screen icon Johnny Depp recently announced that his dream role was to portray the legend on film.

Please see PSA at or visit for more information. (SOURCE: HARLAN BOLL,

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!

Richard Skipper

Follow me on Twitter @RichardSkipper


I just love your Carol. She is so captivating by mixing a vibrant, riotous rapporté with touching moments of nostalgic storytelling and song. Her courage to charge into the audience and take no prisoners is brilliant. The audience feels teased, exposed and tickled, but never insulted nor humiliated. Carol's quick wit and warm charm win every heart in the house.
John Tidd, after Malibu appearance earlier this month

Richard - hearing you this past Wednesday nite at The Iguana VIP Lounge pull out of your back pocket a wonderful ballad as 'Old Man River' was so enjoyable! You sang with such tenderness and feeling. You really stopped me dead-in-my-tracks. I always see you exhibiting such energy and excitement in your emceeing duties that to hear you sit and hold court in that spotlight was thrilling for me and the entire audience. You are truly the "consummate entertainer".
Love, Jillian Laurain

Wednesday Night (September 16th) you were so delicious! Strawberry shortcake. You are so sweet. Your voice, the way you speak and sing.. I"ll have sweet dreams tonight thinking of your smiling face. You remind me from my childhood when I used to watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Dana was great too! Great show! Glad to see you back!
Sunny Leigh


Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price!
Dana Lorge and I have
now put their OWN spin on The variety show format and are now hosting every Wednesday night in
NYC at The Iguana VIP Lounge ( in the heart of
NYC (240 West 54th Street 8-11PM/with an intermission). WEDNESDAY NIGHT OF
Each week
will showcase 5 entertainers.
Barry Levitt returns on keyboard and Saadi Zain on bass!
on bass. Time: 8 - 11:00 p.m.
Cover: $10 - no food or drink minimums – but remember – the food is great!

CASH ONLY PAID AT THE DOOR! This is a nice night
out with the family!
"throw back" to the variety shows we grew up with.
For more info, please call 845-365-0720 or visit _www.RichardSkipper.com_


212-765-5454. No one admitted before

October 7th: Edd Clark, Marianne Meringolo, Wendy Russell, Marcus Simeone, Maureen Taylor

October 14th: Kelly Esposito- Broelmann, Barbara Gurskey, Jonathan Long, Andrea Mezvinsky-Kolb , Martin Vidnovic

October 21st: Esther Beckman & Stearns Matthews, Leslie Orofino, Susan Winter

October 28th: Jenna Esposito returns!, Laurie Krauz & Wicked’s very own Walter ONeil, Angela Schultz, Mauricio Villa-Lobos!

November 4th: Arianna, Moira Danis, Elaine St. George, Daryl Glenn, Lynn DiMenna

December 2nd: The debut of The Marquee 5 (Mick Bleyer, Adam Hemming, Vanessa Parvin, Sierra Rein, Julie Reyburn) singing selections from their upcoming revue, "We Can Make It...The Songs of Kander & Ebb"

December 9th: Richard Holbrook, Josh Zuckerman, Helena Grenot

December 30th: Linda Fields, Ritt Henn, Annie Hughes

Keep checking

Friday, September 25, 2009


Double Rainbow Productions presents ......
Singer/Actress, Leslie Orofino in a brand new show, RED HOT AND BLUES the songs of vamps, tramps, heartbreakers, mantakers and the girl next door....Alberta Hunter, Eartha Kitt, Peggy Lee, Carolyn Leigh, Sophie Tucker and many more.

Ms. Orofino will be accompanied by legendary musicians Daryl Kojak on piano and Boots Maleson on bass.
Louis Pietig is director. " I was breathless from laughing ...all this and great vocals too !"
Stu Hamstra, Cabaret Hotline

The Laurie Beechman Theatre in the West Bank Cafe

407 W. 42nd Street, NYC. 10036

Friday ,Oct . 2 at 8:00

Thursday, Nov. 5 at 7:00

$15 cover/ $15 food/drink
Reservations recommended 212-695-6909

Complete Info:

Toronto's 'Sinatra' battered into coma

STUART PEARCE FOR THE TORONTO STAR Chris Mann has portrayed Frank Sinatra more than 1,000 times on megahit tours in Canada, the U.S., Europe and in London's West End.

Performer clings to life after defending women at chic Spanish resort

PALMA, SPAIN–A Frank Sinatra impersonator from Toronto is fighting for his life in a Spanish hospital after his Good Samaritan act went tragically wrong on the popular holiday island of Majorca.

Chris Mann, 51, was badly beaten in a late-night attack on Sept. 5, police say, after he tried to protect a group of young women, who were caught up in a rowdy dispute between two men at a taxi stand in Portals Nous, a chic resort retreat for many British television celebrities.
All were believed to have been drinking at the fashionable bar nearby.

Mann was still in a coma, suffering from severe head and chest injuries, at the Son Dureta Hospital in Palma, Majorca's capital. His parents rushed from Toronto to be at his bedside.

The divorced father of two, who is starring in the hit show Come Fly With Me at the island's Grand Casino Theatre, is understood to have been kicked and punched in the face several times in the attack.

Doctors, who performed emergency, life-saving surgery, believe Mann sustained brain injuries when his head hit the pavement.

Hospital sources described his condition as "stable, but serious.''

One man surrendered to police last Wednesday and was being held in custody.

Slim and sandy-haired, Mann's portrayal of Ol' Blue Eyes has seen him make more than 1,000 performances on hugely successful tours around the Western world.
THE FOLLOWING LETTERS WERE SENT IN BY FRIENDS I sent this letter to Senator John Mccain in response to his remark, "50 million in funding for the National Endowments for the Arts--all of us are for the arts but tell me how this creates any significant number of jobs."

Dear Senator McCain,
I was just informed about your remark with regard to the National Endowment for the Arts.
Let me tell you what I do for a living. I am an artist. Besides myself, my line of business employs manufacturers of artist's supplies, framers and sales people in art galleries and arts and craft stores.

I also design sets for shows thus keeping the arts alive in theater and people employed such as managers, technicians, administrators, musicians, bookkeepers which in turn supports newspapers, restaurants, printing businesses and more.
My design work in the area of calligraphy and graphics directly impacts the work of printers, caterers, hotels, magazines, newspapers and tourism.

My work as a performer further impacts all these businesses on another level. This Summer, I will be curating an exhibition on Art Deco at our local Visual Arts Center and that will bring in more impact and will stimulate the economy further through transportation, fuel and all of those businesses mentioned previously.

We foolishly expect our leaders to be more knowledgeable than we but many times that is not the case. You need to educate yourself regarding the importance of the arts and humanities to the economy.
Look around you and no matter what you see, an artist had to design it and a craftsperson had to make it.

I hope that you never have to live in a world where the arts are tossed aside so callously and with a such a heartless indifference.


"I'm an artist and I vote"

Hi Richard,
I understand that my friend Stephan has just spoken with you and talked about my 20 year project on George White and his SCANDALS on Broadway and in film.

I am a University professor, and teach Music Theatre History as well as dance and theatre, and I was amazed to learn many years ago--that not only was there little to NO information about White--but that he had been written out of history by jealous producers (Ziegfeld for one).
Anyway, my literary agents in NYC have finally convinced RIZZOLI of the worthiness of a large state of the art Pictography, and we are all finishing negotiations with the NYPL at Lincoln Center for the largest Exhibition ever on the REVUE---featuring my 5000 piece collection on the SCANDALS. They have set a unbelievable 4 month show in the Exhibit Halls--starting in Fall of 2011 and running through the entire Holiday season.
We are also hoping for monies from an independent angel, who is in the final steps of an agreement. Please check out my web site at to get an idea of what I have done and the incredible images that I own (site is my own--not highly charged yet).

THIS will change Theatre History in America forever! I will keep you and Carol and Harry abreast of the developments, as I see that we are all in this education thing together. I am a proud Fosse and Juilliard vet, and I so look forward to chatting soon.

Stay well, and best regards to our amazing Broadway and Hollywood superstar!

Gary Flannery Bob Fosse's Bull


The crowds have been incredible and this is Carol's big come back. You can order at or at If you have any press contacts in NY or anywhere please forward them to me and I can work with Harlan to get the CDS reviewed and/or interviews.

Also, I will be like to carrying them to sale at my shows and I can give you a discount rate. Carol will make royalties from the sales as well.

Larry Ferguson
Carol Channing's new Gospel CD For Heaven's Sake in stores and available at the website.

Vegas-bound, Dahling

By Joe Brown

* What: Liza Minnelli
* When: 8 p.m. Friday through Wednesday
* Where: Hollywood Theatre at MGM Grand
* Admission: $75.35 and $113.85; 891-7777,

Before there was Britney, before Shakira or Madonna — before there was Cher, even — there was Liza. And so she remains, now and forever, world without end, amen.

Liza Minnelli is playing the Hollywood Theatre at the MGM Grand Friday through Wednesday, and her publicist Lisa (with an ‘S’) tells me I have 10 minutes with Liza (with a ‘Z’), who comes to the phone slightly breathless from running through the song “Jubilee Time” with her orchestra.

She’s in New York, rehearsing for the Vegas run, which will reprise this January’s Tony Award-winning Broadway show “Liza’s at the Palace.” (The Vegas show will be filmed Wednesday for PBS and DVD.)

“Hey, Joe, how are ya?” Minnelli says, expertly snapping into instant professional intimacy. She speaks in italics, and packs plenty in the allotted time, even spilling some tea on a major plot point of the upcoming “Sex and the City” movie sequel.

On her latest album, a double-CD studio recording of her “Palace” show, Minnelli tells us everything we need to know in “I Would Never Leave You,” a song tailor-made to who she is at this stage of her five-decade career:

Why do you ask where have I been so long? I’ve been right here, living my life in song.
I’ve been around, I’ve been lost, I’ve been found, but I’ve never really been gone ... The smoke has cleared, and look who’s here — the same dame you’ve always known. Oh, I never left, and I would never leave you alone ...

In other words, Minnelli’s making it clear that she ain’t going anywhere.

Or is it that she’s going everywhere?

All of a sudden Minnelli, 63, is omnipresent: She recently popped up on “VH1 Divas Live,” alongside Paula Abdul, played a psychic on “Drop Dead Diva,” and has a role in the “Sex and the City” sequel.

“The setup is this,” Minnelli says, digging into the dish. “The thing opens with the gay guys (Stanford and Anthony) getting married, and it’s wonderful and everybody in the world is there. And I marry them! Then somebody says, ‘Oh Liza,’ or ‘Miss Minnelli’ or whatever, ‘that was just lovely.
It was so nice to see you; thanks for coming.’ And I say, “Oh — oh, I’m not leaving. And that’s the setup for me to do (Beyonce’s) ‘Single Ladies’!”

2. Hardest working woman in showbiz

Minnelli’s performing itinerary is staggering. She leaves for a monthlong Australian tour three days after this Vegas stint.

“I had no idea how much you work,” I tell her.

“But I love it; that’s why I do it. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t like it. It’s too hard.”

She’s been up and down, but her returns are not comebacks or “second winds,” she points out sharply.

“I had brain encephalitis — that took a minute. I had a knee operation; that kept me down — but not for long. And since then I have done nothing but work. But you don’t hear about it when I’m down in Australia, or Argentina,” she says, sounding a bit ticked off.

3. The singer, not the voice

If you only listened to her “Palace” album, you might wonder whether Minnelli can still cut it as a singer. Her voice has been darkened and roughened by time and well-documented bouts with various substances.

Minnelli seems to survive each song — or she conquers it in a climactic burst of showbiz triumphalism.


All of this is exactly why she is loved. Minnelli is an unparalleled stylist, a persona, a presence — the last living bridge to the great old Hollywood stars.

She tells me she’s making a new album of love songs, “just basically Billy Stritch and I at the piano.”
And that’s good news.

“I was there before I could walk through the casino — I was too young,” Minnelli recalls about her introduction to Vegas. “It was all so mysterious. At five o’clock everybody disappeared from the pool, and at 7:30 out came the dark suits and girls’ best dresses and best jewelry, and it was kind of like they were in on something dangerous. But now, it’s like this marvelous, marvelous Disneyland. Now, honey, I’m leaping over wheelchairs!”

Always the most social of celebrities since her ’70s heyday, Minnelli is excited about all the stars she says are flying in to see Wednesday’s filmed performance, but she says she can’t name any.

She’s also doing a semi-secret midnight performance that night, calling it “a “gypsy show for the kids.” The kids being her dancing, singing friends from all the other shows in town. (Tickets were given to individuals in the show industry and are not available to the public.)

“You know, we always used to do that,” Minnelli says. “Sammy Davis (Jr.) and I won this great award for doing a show for the kids at 1 in the morning when everyone had finished working, and we did it for years. You do a great show, ’cause they’re all your friends!” she says with a burst of that Oscar-winning Sally Bowles laughter.

5. If you can make it here...

Minnelli scotches the thought that she might settle in for a comfy Vegas residency — surely we could get Cher and Bette to skooch over at Caesars.

“Aw, honey,” she says. “No, I’ve gotten booked solid for almost the next year.”

“Come backstage, will ya?” And she’s gone.

I didn’t even get to tell her that singer Gino Vannelli is playing the Hilton on Sunday — maybe they could team up as Minnelli Vannelli.

FEINSTEIN'S AT LOEWS REGENCY, the nightclub proclaimed "Best of New York" by New York Magazine and "an invaluable New York institution" by The New York Post will continue its star-studded Fall 2009 season with the return of award-winning actress, Karen Mason, Sunday, October 4. As part of "The Actors Fund Broadway Series." Ms. Mason will perform selections from her recent 2009 MAC Award winning CD Right Here/Right Now, celebrating Broadway and the Great American Songbook. Songs include "All That Jazz," "Diamond's Are A Girl's Best Friend," "People," "Somewhere," "The Impossible Dream" and "Look For The Silver Lining". The show, featuring Chris Denny as musical director and Bob Renino on bass is at the Regency Hotel (540 Park Avenue at 61st Street).
All admission proceeds will go directly to the assistance of professionals in performing arts and entertainment in times of need, crisis or transition.
Karen Mason is a nine time MAC Award winner, 2006 Nightlife Award winner for Major Female Vocalist and three time Bistro Award winner. She also won the Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance in And The World Goes ‘Round. She has headlined Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Rainbow & Stars and the Algonquin and has shared concert stages with Luciano Pavarotti, Rosemary Clooney, Liza Minnelli, Michael Feinstein, Jerry Herman, and John Kander & Fred Ebb, among others. Karen has given concerts in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Brazil, Scotland, Tokyo and Osaka.
Her starring symphonic performances include The New York Pops, The Oklahoma Philharmonic, The Chicagoland Pops, The Indianapolis Philharmonic, and the St. Louis Symphony.

On Broadway, Ms. Mason originated the role of Tanya in Abba's Mamma Mia!, and was awarded a 2002 Drama Desk nomination as Best Actress. Her other leading roles include Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, which she performed to critical acclaim and standing ovations on Broadway and in Los Angeles for three years; Mazeppa in Jerome Robbins' Broadway; Rosalie in Carnival (another Drama Desk nomination); plus featured roles in Broadway's Torch Song Trilogy and Play Me a Country Song.

THE ACTORS FUND is a national human services organization that helps all professionals in performing arts and entertainment.

The Fund - which supports those on stage and screen and everyone behind the scenes who works in theatre, film, TV, music, dance, radio and opera - is a safety net, providing social services and emergency assistance, health services and health insurance information, employment and training programs and housing resources for those who are in need, crisis or transition.
Learn more about all of The Actors Fund's services and programs at
FEINSTEIN'S AT LOEWS REGENCY will present Karen Mason with "The Actors Fund Broadway Series" on Sunday, October 4 at 8:30 PM. There will be a $40 cover with $60 premium seats available, in addition to a $25.00 food and beverage minimum. Jackets are suggested but not required. FEINSTEIN'S AT LOEWS REGENCY is located at 540 Park Avenue at 61st Street in New York City. For ticket reservations and club information, please call (212) 339-4095 or visit us online at and

Michael Feinstein taking post with Ind. arts hall

Associated Press

CARMEL, Ind. - Vocalist and pianist Michael Feinstein has agreed to become the artistic director of a suburban Indianapolis city's new $147 million performing arts center.

Feinstein tells The Indianapolis Star that he will be working hands-on in shaping the programs and activities for the Performing Arts Center in Carmel. He says he is drawn to the position for the artistic challenge.
The center will have a concert hall and two theaters and is scheduled to open next fall.

Feinstein already has announced plans to move the headquarters of his Feinstein Foundation for the Education and Preservation of The Great American Songbook to Carmel. He also is to perform Friday with the Carmel Symphony Orchestra.

Feinstein told the Star his first-year salary would be about $500,000.


Information from: The Indianapolis Star,

ELBOURNE'S horse racing mecca Flemington could be awash with excited gay men and sweaty theatre fans following news Liza Minnelli will be the star attraction at Derby Day next month.
Minnelli, daughter of gay icon Judy Garland and a gay icon herself, will make an appearance in the Flemington Birdcage as a guest of Myer.
She will fly into Melbourne on Derby morning and will arrive by helicopter at Flemington in the early afternoon.

She will then be whisked away to do a sound check for a special intimate performance for 350 VIP guests at a private inner city location that night.

In anticipation of her forthcoming Australian tour, Liza Minnelli met with Molly Meldrum at Sardi’s, the iconic theatre restaurant in New York City.

Despite Meldrum’s stilted and disjointed interview style, this is an engaging program that will appeal to many.
Don’t expect to learn anything new about this showbusiness icon. Her life has played out so publicly it seems that there is nothing that hasn’t been explored in thousands of interviews.

However, this interview shows a genuine and sincere Minnelli looking back on her career - she is one of very few artistes to have won an Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Golden Globe and Grammy - and touches on her life with first husband, Peter Allen. A definite must for the die-hard Liza fan.

If you are sitting on the fence about whether or not you’re going to buy a ticket for Liza’s first Australian tour in twenty years, give this show a go. It could very well be the push you need.
It would be great to see more interviews in this style, and of this calibre. Perhaps with a different host?

Liza Minnelli at Sardi’s New York
Channel: Bio
Friday 25 September

Frank Liberman, a veteran Hollywood publicist who represented stars such as Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller and Robert Goulet during his more than 50 years in the business, has died. He was 92.

Liberman, who had Parkinson's disease, died of pneumonia Sunday at Providence Tarzana Medical Center, said his daughter, Kay Liberman.

A former publicist for Warner Bros., Liberman launched his own public relations company, Frank Liberman and Associates, in 1947.

Over the decades, he handled dozens of top names, including Henry Fonda, Nat "King" Cole, Tony Bennett, Jack Paar, Harry Belafonte, Steve Allen, David Janssen, Charles Bronson, Joan Blondell, Dorothy Lamour, Joey Bishop, William Shatner, Mike Nichols and the songwriting team of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.

As a publicist, Liberman was best known for his long relationships with Hope (41 years) and Diller (33 years).

In having Liberman as her publicist, Diller was following the lead of Hope, her comedic patron saint.

"That's the way I got Frank, because I pretty much did everything Hope did -- I tried to copy him," Diller, 92, said Wednesday with her trademark laugh. "I thought if it works for him, maybe it'll work for me."

Diller described Liberman as a "gentle man" with a "marvelous sense of humor. Frank was such a fun, fun, fun, fun guy. We were always back and forth with the jokes."

Publicist Dale Olson, who knew Liberman for about 45 years, said that "he became so identified with Bob Hope that he almost became Bob Hope, in that he was one of the greatest jokesters of the public relations profession.

"He was [delivering] caustic jokes all the time, and I think he got that from working with Hope's writers," Olson said. "I'm sure that's why Hope kept him on for all those years, because they joked together and Frank would respond to jokes. "He was so quick-witted and so good at jokes that he probably became the perfect audience for Bob Hope."

Indeed, when a Times reporter raised the issue of Hope's vast real estate holdings in 2003, Liberman quipped: "Bob and I have a lot in common.
He owned the Valley, and I used to drive through it."

As a publicist, Liberman represented movies such as "The Miracle Worker," "David and Lisa," "Fiddler on the Roof," "Yours, Mine and Ours" and "Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number."

He also publicized books, including biographies of Ethel Merman, Mae West and Gig Young -- as well as four of George Burns' books, four of Diller's and five of Hope's.

Born May 29, 1917, in New York City, Liberman grew up in White Plains, N.Y. and attended Cheshire Academy in Cheshire, Conn.
After graduating from Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., in 1938, he worked as a copy boy for the New York Daily News for a year before joining the Warner Bros. office in New York as a messenger. He was soon promoted to the press-books department and transferred to the Warner Bros. Chicago office as a "field exploitation man."

After serving as an Army public relations officer from 1941 to 1946, Liberman rejoined Warner Bros., where he worked as a unit publicist before establishing his own office.

Liberman was married for 31 years to Pat Harris, a former New York talent agent and a West Coast casting director, who died in 1984.

In addition to his daughter Kay, Liberman is survived by another daughter, Meg; and two grandchildren.

A memorial service is pending.

Instead of flowers, donations may be made to the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging in Reseda or Project Angel Food in Los Angeles.

G-20 spouses to take in Warhol art, arts education


PITTSBURGH — From the pop artistry of the late Andy Warhol to the work of student performers, a display of arts was in store for the spouses of world leaders on the final day of an international economic summit.

First lady Michelle Obama, the hostess for the global gathering, was to take her counterparts on tours of the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School and the Andy Warhol Museum on Friday.

Art and arts education in school are subjects of interest to Mrs. Obama.

Pittsburgh CAPA, a nationally recognized magnet school similar to the one in the movie "Fame," has more than 800 sixth- through 12th-graders majoring in dance, acting, instrumental and vocal music and other creative arts.
Spouses will visit various classrooms to watch students rehearse performances. They also will see a show organized by Mrs. Obama featuring performances by students and such noted musical artists as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, country superstar Trisha Yearwood and singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles.

Afterward comes a tour of the Warhol museum.

The seven-story museum houses the art collection and archives of the late 20th century pop artist and Pittsburgh native. The spouses will get a chance to try the silk-screen printing technique Warhol popularized and peruse items from one of more than 600 cardboard "time-capsule" boxes Warhol used to store his keepsakes.

In one of those boxes, archivists found $17,000 in cash. The big discovery in another box was a piece of crusty cake from Caroline Kennedy's 1986 wedding to Edwin Schlossberg.

On Thursday, Mrs. Obama opened two days of spouse events by sharing her passion for eating locally grown food. She treated the group to dinner at Rosemont Farm, which is owned by Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. She also is the widow of Sen. John Heinz, R-Pa., of the Heinz ketchup family.

The working farm grows produce and raises livestock. Salad greens and apples grown there were on the menu for the private dinner on the property located in Fox Chapel, just outside Pittsburgh.

The women ate at a long, rectangular table with Mrs. Obama seated between the spouses from Brazil and Indonesia. The Pittsburgh Philharmonic Orchestra's Jazz Trio played throughout the meal. The ladies were joined by Heinz Kerry, White House social secretary Desiree Rogers and Susan Sher, Mrs. Obama's chief of staff.

Mrs. Obama wore a sleeveless cocktail dress by Thakoon, one of her favorite designers, patterned in taupe, pink and green and gathered at her right hip. She accented it with a long strand of pearls, pearl earrings and pink patent leather heels. She pulled her hair into a fluffy ponytail.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


With grateful XOXOXs for your support!

Richard Skipper

Follow me on Twitter @RichardSkipper


The show is quite the well-oiled machine! Everything ran like clock-work! Congrats on the success! You are packing them in! I'm so happy you highlighted Bill Zeffiro's music. He's a peach and so are you and Dana! RUN TO THE IGUANA and have a ball!
-Julie Reyburn,

Richard Skipper and Dana Lorge gave me one of the sweetest, happiest birthdays I've ever had!!! If it wasn't enough that I was being featured on their fabulous evening at the Iguana AND that the incomparable Julie Reyburn was introducing 2 of my songs-They sang 'Happy Birthday' to me and GAVE ME CAKE!!! These are two incredible generous people and I am honored and deeply touched by the way they treated me, all their featured artists and their wonderful audiences. YOU SIMPLY MUST GO TO THE IGUANA!! and I'll see you there. With gratitude, Bill Zeffiro,

Wednesday Night (September 16th) you were so delicious! Strawberry shortcake. You are so sweet. Your voice, the way you speak and sing.. I"ll have sweet dreams tonight thinking of your smiling face. You remind me from my childhood when I used to watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Dana was great too! Great show! Glad to see you back!
Sunny Leigh


Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price!
Dana Lorge and I have
now put their OWN spin on The variety show format and are now hosting every Wednesday night in
NYC at The Iguana VIP Lounge ( in the heart of
NYC (240 West 54th Street 8-11PM/with an intermission). WEDNESDAY NIGHT OF
Each week
will showcase 5 entertainers.
Barry Levitt returns on keyboard and Saadi Zain on bass!
on bass. Each week will be different. Time: 8 - 11:00 p.m.
Cover: $10 - no food or drink minimums – but remember – the food is great!

CASH ONLY PAID AT THE DOOR! This is a nice night
out with the family!
"throw back" to the variety shows we grew up with.
For more info, please call 845-365-0720 or visit _www.RichardSkipper.com_


212-765-5454. No one admitted before

September 30th: Wendy Lane Bailey, Bobby Belfry, Stewart Brodian, Paul & Rochelle Chamlin, Ben Rauch, Rick Younger,

October 7th: Edd Clark, Marianne Meringolo, Wendy Russell, Marcus Simeone, Maureen Taylor

October 14th: Kelly Esposito- Broelmann, Barbara Gurskey, Jonathan Long, Andrea Mezvinsky-Kolb , Martin Vidnovic

October 21st: Esther Beckman & Stearns Matthews, Leslie Orofino, Susan Winter

October 28th: Hector Coris returns!, Laurie Krauz & Wicked’s very own Walter ONeil, Angela Schultz, Mauricio Villa-Lobos!

November 4th: Arianna, Moira Danis, Elaine St. George, Daryl Glenn, Lynn DiMenna

December 9th: Josh Zuckerman, Helena Grenot

December 30th: Linda Fields, Ritt Henn, Annie Hughes

Keep checking

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I hope this finds you well. This has been a great week for me!
Last Tuesday, I went to Sondra Lee's book signing at Barnes & Nobles. You have to read "I'VE SLEPT WITH EVERYBODY".
Order it here:
Sondra was interviewed by Tom Santopietro who wrote "SINATRA IN HOLLYWOOD" ALSO HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Sondra's book signing was like a revival meeting. I sat with Lee Roy Reams. Met Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. Charles Busch, James Gavin (STORMY WEATHER:, Lee Grant, Willa Kim were all in attendance at this packed house and that's just for starters!

Our show at The Iguana on Wednesday night was SRO! What a night. Bill Zeffiro celebrating his birthday by singing 4 original compositions (joined by Julie Reyburn on two!), Sarah Rice singing selections from her new show which just opened at The Laurie Beechman Theatre:, Lou Iacovino, Ann Dawson, and Val Ryder...and a few other surprises as well.
Last night, I performed for an INCREDIBLE AUDIENCE celebrating Walter Cain's 50th Birthday in Piermont.
Lady Bunny was the DJ. Wow, what a night!

And the week ahead is equally as exciting. Tomorrow night, a group of us are going to The Laurie Beechman Theatre to see Steve Lutvak.
If you would like to join us, please let me know!

Wednesday night: Sep 23...ALMOST SOLD OUT
IGUANA VIP LOUNGE, 240 West 54th Street, NYC
Show Description: Tonight's guests include: Risa Benson, Jennifer Wren, David Gurland and Uptown Express, Frank Torren (with Rick Unterberg on piano), The Kim Schultz Improv Group ... and a few other surprises as well!
Remember $10.00 Cover/No food or drink minimum!
Reservations a must (212) 765-5454

Remember The Skipper Stimulus Plan is to support the arts. Here are a few recommendations:

Opening Doors Theatre Company presents the 1961 musical comedy SUBWAYS ARE FOR SLEEPING - November 1-2 and 8-11. All six performances will be held at The Duplex (61 Christopher Street, NYC - (212) 255-5438 - and are scheduled for 7:00PM. The production will be directed by Hector Coris with musical direction by Ted Kociolek from a score by Jule Styne. The book and lyrics are by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Choreography will be by Diego Funes. The production manager is Billie Di Stefano.

Cast will be announced soon.

Tickets will go on sale October 1, 2009. Tickets are $20 + 2-drink minimum. Members of MAC and AEA pay only a $15 + minimum (visit website for MAC & AEA code.) Tickets must be purchased in advance online through or by calling (212) 868-4444.

One of David Merrick's notorious "flops", Subways Are For Sleeping tells the tale of a Angie, a lady reporter sent to get the scoop on a segment of NYC society that lives by their own rules. These carefree souls take up odd jobs to earn enough to get a place to sleep and food to eat, eschewing a drone-like existence. When Angie learns how the other half lives, she begins to see there might be another way to experience the world.

This is the first time Subways Are For Sleeping will be performed since it closed on Broadway on June 23, 1962 after 205 performances at the ST. James Theatre. Tony Award nominations went to Michael Kidd (for choreography) and Orson Bean (Featured Actor in a Musical.
Phyllis Newman won the show's only Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Opening Doors Theatre Company is a New York City-based, non-profit performing arts ensemble committed to developing an eclectic mix of programming through the artistic collaboration of performers as well as playwrights, composers, directors and designers, and providing opportunities for new talent to be seen and heard.

The "Closing Notice" Series is a set of "living cast album" presentations focusing on classic musicals that were either dubbed a "flop", had short commercial runs or most likely will never be revived again.
Opening Doors respectfully presents these scores with the understanding that - unsuccessful or not - the creators poured their craft, guts and love into the work and they deserve to be heard once again - live on stage.
The focus is on the score with a truncated book.
The "Closing Notice" series began in December 2006 with the critically-acclaimed presentation of Bring Back Birdie (2007 MAC Award nomination - Outstanding Variety Production/Recurring Series), and has included acclaimed revivals of It's A Bird! It's a Plane! It's Superman, Goldilocks, I Love My Wife, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public, Flora the Red Menace.

Hector Coris (Director). For ODTC, Hector has shepherded several other "first-ever" NY revivals of Bring Back Birdie, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public (director), and Whoop-Up (producer). Other directing credits include Barnum (Brooklyn Family Theatre) and several cabaret shows. As a multiple award-winning songwriter, he has written and produced the well-received musical revues Not Me!, What's Your Problem? (both with composer Paul L. Johnson, and What's the Point?! (with composer Alan Cancelino).
He also serves on the Board of Directors of MAC (The Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs).
As a performer, he presented his debut solo show, Life is Wonderful, as Don't Tell Mama - soon to be released on CD.
He is thankful to Phyllis Newman, Joseph Weiss and the Jule Styne estate for this glorious opportunity. Visit for more information.
Ted Kociolek (Musical Director). Ted is delighted to return to Opening Doors, having performed in the recent production of I LOVE MY WIFE.
As a writer, he is represented by ABYSSINIA (Goodspeed Musicals/Arena Stage/Cleveland Playhouse/North Shore Music Theatre), JOLSON: A VAUDEVILLE (Pelican Studio Theatre, NYC) and has contributed songs to the revues CRAZY LOVE and SHRINKS! by Nicky Silver, which had successful runs nationwide. Other composing credits include dance and incidental music, cabaret, industrials and special material.
His current work-in-progress, THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, based on the novel by Edith Wharton and written in collaboration with Walter Holland, was recently presented at the York Theatre. Ted has been affiliated with several Broadway shows and worked extensively in regional theater as conductor, keyboardist and/or arranger. Recently, he served as music director for an evening of Frank Loesser songs at The New York Historical Society.
As a vocal coach, he has served on the faculties of NYU and Long Island University and maintains a private practice at his home in New York City. A featured artist for a MEET THE COMPOSER grant as a well as a recipient of a New Jersey Council of the Arts Fellowship for composition and the ASCAP Popular Award, Ted is a member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild.
DIEGO FUNES (Choreographer). Diego Funes attended the School of American Ballet and later danced with the Cincinnati Ballet and Teatro dell'Opera di Roma.

For the theatre, his credits as a dancer include Cats, Hello, Dolly!, Riverdance, Anything Goes and A Chorus Line.
He has also choreographed productions of Hello, Dolly!, Beauty and the Beast, And the World Goes Round, Zorba! and Leader of the Pack.
Funes also choreographed the films P.S. I Love You with Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank and Back to High School. He is the artistic director of de funes dance company.

Dan Zanes and Friends will release the new CD "76 Trombones" — a recording of Broadway tunes featured in Sir Paul McCartney's MPL Music Publishing catalog — Nov. 17.

Vocalists include Tony Award winners Carol Channing, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Matthew Broderick as well as de'Adre Aziza and Derick K. Grant.

In a statement Zanes said, "With the exception of the 'Hair' soundtrack, musicals were never my thing as a kid. I was too caught up in the music of Leadbelly back then. But as a parent, one afternoon at my daughter's request, I figured out how to play 'Bushel And A Peck' (from Guys and Dolls). I had a sudden realization that once you took away the hopped-up big band and the high intensity vocals it was an amazing folk song. It occurred to me that maybe a lot of these Broadway songs could be broken down to their ragged essence, reworked as 21st Century all-ages music, and presented in a manner that might make you think, 'Hey, I can do that.' When the people at MPL called me two years ago about a possible Broadway album I took it as a sign that the time was finally right to put on my dusty, moth-eaten tux and get loose with the songs of American musicals. For me, the songs and performances on this CD are packed with emotion and celebration. I'm grateful and still a little surprised that the people at MPL trusted us with them!"

Song titles include "Hello, Dolly" (from Hello, Dolly!, recorded by Carol Channing), "I Like Everybody" (from The Most Happy Fella with Brian Stokes Mitchell), "I Don't Need Anything But You" (from Annie, with de’Adre Aziza), "I Can Do That" (from A Chorus Line with tap dancer Derick K. Grant), "Before the Parade Passes By" (from Hello, Dolly! with Matthew Broderick), and "Tomorrow, Mañana" (from Annie with Sonia de los Santos).

RIP TAYLOR In “It Ain't All Confetti"
Comedy Legend of Stage and Screen, Rip Taylor, is scheduled to introduce “It Ain't All Confetti” at the new series Comedy at the Castle. Rip is one of television's most recognizable celebrities and “It Ain't All Confetti” puts a humorous and revealing spotlight on a career that has spanned five remarkable decades. Rip is one of television's most recognizable celebrities. A guest star with over 2,000 television appearances under his belt, Rip brought his wild energy to The Gong Show, Password, The Merv Griffin Show, The Mike Douglas Show, The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman and to the coveted center square on Hollywood Squares.

Perhaps Rip's greatest impact in television was when he was picked by Chuck Barris to host The $1.98 Beauty Show.
WHEN: Sunday, Oct 11th, 2009 Doors 6pm - Show 7pm and Monday, Oct. 12th, 2009 - Doors 7pm - Show 8pm
WHERE: The Inner Circle at the Magic Castle, 7001 Franklin Ave., Hollywood, CA 90028

TICKETS: $30 for non-members. Call 323-851-3313 x434 for more information.

That noise you hear coming from the Midwest is an approximation of Ethel Merman's brassy voice.
Rita McKenzie, the actress who performed Ethel Merman's Broadway in an Off-Broadway engagement and is heard on the 1995 cast album — begins a fall engagement of the revue at Detroit's historic Gem Theatre Sept. 9.

Ethel Merman's Broadway, conceived and directed by Christopher Powich and featuring McKenzie's award-winning performance, "revisits a theatrical era filled with charm, wit, personality, and most of all, some of Broadway's greatest music," according to production notes. "With words and music by Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Jule Styne and Irving Berlin, the songs come alive in the incomparable style of Ethel Merman."

Performances will play the Motor City to Nov. 21.

Expect to hear some of the greatest hits of singer-actress Merman's career, including "There's No Business Like Show Business," "I Got Rhythm" and "Everything's Coming Up Roses." The late actress was active on Broadway from the 1930s to the 1960s, appearing in such landmark shows as Girl Crazy, Anything Goes, Annie Get Your Gun and Gypsy.

McKenzie began her internationally acclaimed portrayal of "The Merm" Off-Broadway at the John Houseman Theater in New York City and later performed at Carnegie Hall. She took her act to the Pasadena Playhouse in California; Harrah's Casino Hotel in Atlantic City; and on an eight-city tour in Japan. Her credits include playing Olive Madison in a national tour of Neil Simon's female version of The Odd Couple, co-starring Barbara Eden; a tour with Eden in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; a tour with Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna in Bermuda Avenue Triangle; and the Los Angeles premiere of the Off-Broadway musical Ruthless! (also on the cast album), among many other credits.
Powich conceived and directed both the Off-Broadway production of Ethel Merman's Broadway at the John Houseman Theater and the Pasadena Playhouse production. Powich also wrote and directed McKenzie's nationally acclaimed Symphony Pops tribute to Ethel Merman. He directed McKenzie and Carole Shelley in the reenactment of Ethel Merman and Mary Martin's famous 1955 television medley at Rainbow and Stars Nightclub in New York. Powich directed the world premiere of the comedy Snap Shots by Ralph Fredericks at the O'Neill Theater in Waterford, CT, and in Boston. He will direct Snap Shots for an Off-Broadway run in 2010.

For more information about the Gem run, call at (313) 963-9800; visit; or visit the box office at 333 Madison Ave, Detroit MI.

The Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas was a tremendously hot spot some time ago, full of people at least pretending to have a good time at perhaps the glitziest, busiest, lightbulb-iest hotel anywhere in town.

The Riviera’s once jam-packed casino is now—maybe even more so because of our country’s current economic slump—something of a ghost town. You could almost see the tumbleweeds drifting across the nearly empty casino floor and the restaurants?

Clearly, somewhere in some hidden and forgotten well-locked closet, there’s a portrait of Charo really going to hell.
Charo enters the stage wearing an extremely short, extremely low-cut red sequined gown dripping in fringe and pushing her amazingly impressive tatas into a gravity-defying profile that could be the envy of Holly Madison.
She launches into her music, including a spirited performance of her 2008 dance mix single “España Cañi,” with all the signature cuchi-cuchi she exhibited when I was a teenager (a fact that further leaves her true age a question mark for me), including new versions of many popular songs accented by dance moves usually attempted by people a third of her age, whatever that may be.

Peppered with long, wonderfully inappropriate stand-up comedy (some understandable only by the house’s many Spanish-speaking audience members) poking fun at everything, especially herself, Charo’s thick accent gets thicker with each rampant one-liner—many dealing with questions about her own encounters with the quirks of love, international fame and, of course, plastic surgery.
“My advice to peoples who wants to go under the knife iz to find the bestest doctor yous can find.”
Listen up, folks. I suspect his lady knows what she’s talking about.

Charo is backed in her bright and charming new show by a truly dynamic band and five exquisitely talented dancers, the initial four performers able to segue from salsa to tango to Club LAX stylings without a moment’s hesitation. And as good as this quartet (plus their star attraction) is at breaking into traditional Flamenco moves, Charo has saved an extra-special attraction for the kicker. When international Spanish Flamenco star Timo Nuñez takes the stage to join the others, glisteningly shirtless and dressed only in tight black leather pants, Charo: A Musical Sensation becomes even more sensational.

But the really indelible part of Charo’s new stage turn at the Riviera is the second half. After she had vacated the stage temporarily to change, leaving behind the highly worthy Nuñez and company to do the entertaining (and prove they could succeed in a show all their own), she returns dressed in a shimmering black sequined tux to sit centerstage on a simple stool. She then grabs her own guitar and finishes her performance by playing selections from her 2005 album Charo and Guitar, knocking out those in attendance with her remarkably facile mastery of the classical guitar—her dexterity shown in even greater detail on huge projections on either side of the stage.

See, Charo at this point quietly informs her audience she studied from age 9 to 16 with Andres Segovia himself while residing in Murcia, a feat, depending on which of her birthdates is correct, that could be even more extraordinary. Why, Charo could be the first person in history to study with a legendary musical hero after he had already shuffled off his mortal coil. W

Still, as a result of her consummate musical skill, no matter whether her extensive training with the great master took place posthumously or in the flesh, Charo was named twice named “Best Flamenco Guitarist” by Guitar Player Magazine’s reader’s poll and the performer has often stated in interviews that one of her biggest regrets has always been, because of the flamboyant stage presence that has earned her the big bucks and a place in entertainment history, she has been overlooked through her career as a serious guitarist.

Charo: A Musical Sensation plays indefinitely at the Riviera, 2901 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas; for tickets, call 702.794.9433.

Jenna Sings Connie! Following the success of her initial run of Jenna Esposito Sings Connie Francis, "Cabaret's Sweetheart" will once again be singing the songs of "America's Sweetheart" in Jenna's show celebrating the songs of Connie Francis. Directed by Lennie Watts with musical direction by Fortune Esposito, the show features hits such as "Where The Boys Are," "Stupid Cupid," and "Who's Sorry Now," as well as a number of lesser-known gems (yes, there are a few of Connie's Italian numbers in the show - Viva Italia!). The show will have a special, late-night performance on October 10th (the tail end of Cabaret Convention week in NY!), and will return for a special CD release show on Tuesday, November 3rd.

With Fortune Esposito (guitar), David Crone (piano), Skip Ward (bass), Brian Broelmann (tenor sax, flute, mandolin & ukulele), Brian DeWitt (drums), and Kelly Esposito-Broelmann & Rob Langeder (backup vocals)

**Special Cabaret Convention Week Show**
Saturday, October 10th
11:45 p.m.
The Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd Street, New York, NY

$20 cover + 2 drink minimum
Reservations: 212-206-0440

**Special CD Release Show**
Tuesday, November 3rd
7:00 p.m.
The Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd Street, New York, NY
$20 cover + 2 drink minimum
Reservations: 212-206-0440
Everyone in attendance will receive a free CD!

Carol Channing, signed copies of her latest CD release For
Heaven's Sake at the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, Kentucky on
Friday, September 18th.

For Heaven's Sake, Channing's first Gospel release, is being released on the
Ferguson Music/New Day label.

Channing also appeared in a matinee concert performance at the Derby
Dinner Playhouse in Clarksville, Indiana on Saturday, September 19th at 1:00

Channing originally starred in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and originated the
role of Dolly Levi in the Tony-award-winning Hello Dolly. Channing has been
the recipient of ten Gold albums, and received an Academy Award nomination for
her musical Thoroughly Modern Millie. She is currently on tour promoting the
album with her latest stage show The First 80 Years Are The Hardest. Channing
is also an outspoken advocate for returning the arts into public schools.

For Heaven's Sake will be released nationally on October 8th, but it is
available currently at the National Quartet Convention as well as at Ms.
Channing's concerts. The album is also available at as
well as . Sales from the CD support Channing's efforts
to support the arts. For publicity/interview requests for Carol Channing contact Harlan Boll at / 323-954-7510

Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters will appear at two benefit concerts in the coming months.

On Tuesday, October 6, she will appear at the Skin Cancer Foundation's Skin Sense Award Gala at the Pierre Hotel.
As previously reported, she will also star in Bernadette Peters: A Special Concert for Broadway Barks Because Broadway Cares on November 9 at the Minskoff Theatre. The concert, which benefits Broadway Barks and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, will be directed by Richard Jay-Alexander and feature musical direction by Marvin Laird. Peters will perform feature material from her Broadway career and recordings, including selections by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Jerry Herman.

For tickets to the Skin Cancer Foundation Gala, call 212-725-5176 x 114

For further information about the Broadway Cares benefit, visit




Sep 25: Phoenix
The Kinsey Sicks perform "Wake the F@#k America" in a fundraiser for Equality Arizona at the Chandler Center for the Arts. Showtime is 7 pm. For information and tickets click here.

Sep 30: Oneonta, NY
The Kinsey Sicks return to SUNY-Oneonta in their brand new show, "GreatesTits and Other Bawdy Parts."
Showtime is 9 pm at the Hunt Union Ballroom.

Oct 1: Knoxville, TN
Showtime is 7:30 at the University of Tennessee's Clarence Brown Theatre, 1714 Andy Holt Ave. Tickets available at the door.

Oct 2-3: Denver
The Kinsey Sicks return to Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret. Two shows each night. At 7 pm is "Wake the F@#k Up America" and at 9 pm is "GreatesTits & Other Bawdy Parts" - made up of all new Kinsey songs. For tickets, call (303) 293-0075. Lannie's is located on the 16th St. Mall at Arapahoe.

Why waste good money seeing the Kinsey Sicks live when you can watch them for free, naked in front of your computer with your pets and/or loved ones sniffing your naughty parts?

The Kinsey Sicks, America's Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet, are seeking serious and skilled performers as swings for one or more roles. They are looking for:

* Substantial stage experience
* Strong musicianship
* Great talent in comedy and comedic improvisation
* Comfort with drag performance
* Ability to portray a comic character in an ensemble context
* Ability to learn complicated 4-part vocal arrangements in limited time
* Willingness to travel
* Willingness to chip in on some performance-related drudge work
* Progressive politics, good communication skills, and the ability to work in a team.

A cappella experience is a plus but not required. Being part of the Kinsey Sicks is incredibly fun. You should be too. We want you to be as excited about what we do as we are. Swing positions are open until filled.

TO APPLY: Send a resume to, along with a headshot or recent photo, plus any materials you think would help us see your skills.

AUDITIONS: The Kinsey Sicks will be touring throughout the spring and early summer, and we will audition qualified applicants as we tour. Let us know if you can make it to any of the following places:

September 25: Phoenix, AZ
September 30: Oneonta, NY

October 1: Knoxville, TN

October 2-3: Denver, CO
October 8: Conway, AR
October 9: Upstate NY
October 10: Kansas City, MO

Please send this to your friends who perform, or who sing in choruses, or who otherwise are exceptional talents who might fit well with the Kinsey Sicks.

WHO THEY ARE: For 15 years, the Kinsey Sicks, America's Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet, has served up a feast of music and comedy to audiences across the US and abroad. Combining award-winning a cappella singing, sharp satire and over-the-top drag, the Kinsey Sicks tours full time, having performed in 40 states as well as Mexico, Canada and Europe. The Kinsey Sicks have had their own Off-Broadway run at New York's legendary Studio 54 as well as an extended run in Las Vegas. They have released five CDs and are the subjects of two feature films: "I Wanna Be a Republican," released in 2006, and "Almost Infamous," released in 2008. For more information, visit


LIZA'S AT THE PALACE to Be Filmed September 30 & October 1 in Vegas for PBS in December; DVD in 2010

Previously reported by and now confirmed by PBS, to celebrate the one year anniversary of Liza Minnelli's Tony Award-winning performance "LIZA'S AT THE PALACE," American Public Television (ATP) will distribute the long awaited Special in December, 2009. Minnelli's unanimously acclaimed Broadway performances were sold out for five weeks in December last year and fans around the world have been eagerly anticipating news of the broadcast.
The television event will be directed by Matthew Diamond and Executive Produced by JoAnn Young, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. In addition to the Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event, Minnelli received a 2009 Drama Desk Award for her performances at the Palace.

Now in her fifth decade as an internationally celebrated entertainer, she has won every major show business honor including an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, and four Tony Awards, making her part of a select group of performers who have won the entertainment industry's top four achievement awards.

LIZA'S AT THE PALACE will be filmed in the Hollywood Theatre at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Wednesday, September 30 and Thursday, October 1, 2009. All of the material performed during the New York engagement will be included. The program will capture many of her greatest hits and an affectionate tribute to her godmother, the late Kay Thompson, who was a groundbreaking singer-dancer, songwriter, vocal arranger and musical director/vocal coach at MGM Studios.

She will be joined on the program by her Broadway co-star and musical director, the legendary pianist, singer and composer Billy Stritch. Her quartet of dynamic singer/dancers, Cortes Alexander, Jim Caruso, Johnny Rodgers and Tiger Martina will recreate their roles as the Williams Brothers, which included the brilliant young Andy Williams and his talented siblings. The show will again be directed by Ron Lewis, the award-winning choreographer and director. Musical Conductor/Drummer is Michael Berkowitz, a well-known conductor of pop orchestras all over the world.

"This is an exciting project and we are thrilled to bring it to public television audiences," says Eric Luskin, vice president of APT's Premium Service. "We are very proud to work with a legendary entertainer such as Liza Minnelli, continuing our tradition of distributing top-rated musical productions to public television audiences."

Matthew Diamond's directing has brought him an Oscar nomination for Dancemaker, four Emmy Awards, three Director's Guild Awards and the Humanitas Award. He has directed many music specials as well as a long list of dramatic programming and is currently the series director for So You Think You Can Dance.

JoAnn Young has written and/or produced more than 50 television specials including documentaries and musical performances, such as Johnny Mathis - Wonderful, Wonderful! and Some Enchanted Evening: A Celebration of Oscar Hammerstein II, a star-filled entertainment special at City Center in New York City. She wrote two episodes of the Emmy award-winning six part series, Broadway, The American Musical, which were nominated for an Emmy and a Writer's Guild Award and won Golden cine Eagle Awards in 2005.

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are the executive producers of the Oscar-winning movie musical Chicago and the producers of the film musical smash Hairspray. With Minnelli and Showtime, they "presented" the acclaimed, digitally-restored version of the Bob Fosse-John Kander-Fred Ebb Emmy winning television special Liza With a Z. All totaled, Zadan and Meron's films and television projects have won six Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, 11 Primetime Emmy Awards, and two Peabody Awards.
For television, their movies have amassed 69 Emmy nominations.

Tickets are available at any MGM Grand box office and all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations. Tickets also are available for purchase online at and

LIZA'S AT THE PALACE will be released on DVD in early 2010 by MPI Home Video.

The program is a co-production of Jubilee Time Productions, APT, HDNET and Young Productions, in cooperation with the MGM Grand. APT's Premium Service is a co-production, co-financing and acquisition fund that provides fund raising specials to member stations, now in its 21st season. With the financial backing of their public television client stations, Premium Service has secured many of public television's most prestigious and highest rated programs.

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!

Richard Skipper

Follow me on Twitter @RichardSkipper


The show is quite the well-oiled machine! Everything ran like clock-work! Congrats on the success! You are packing them in! I'm so happy you highlighted Bill Zeffiro's music. He's a peach and so are you and Dana! RUN TO THE IGUANA and have a ball!
-Julie Reyburn,

Richard Skipper and Dana Lorge gave me one of the sweetest, happiest birthdays I've ever had!!! If it wasn't enough that I was being featured on their fabulous evening at the Iguana AND that the incomparable Julie Reyburn was introducing 2 of my songs-They sang 'Happy Birthday' to me and GAVE ME CAKE!!! These are two incredible generous people and I am honored and deeply touched by the way they treated me, all their featured artists and their wonderful audiences. YOU SIMPLY MUST GO TO THE IGUANA!! and I'll see you there. With gratitude, Bill Zeffiro,

Wednesday Night (September 16th) you were so delicious! Strawberry shortcake. You are so sweet. Your voice, the way you speak and sing.. I"ll have sweet dreams tonight thinking of your smiling face. You remind me from my childhood when I used to watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Dana was great too! Great show! Glad to see you back!
Sunny Leigh


Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price!
Dana Lorge and I have
now put their OWN spin on The variety show format and are now hosting every Wednesday night in
NYC at The Iguana VIP Lounge ( in the heart of
NYC (240 West 54th Street 8-11PM/with an intermission). WEDNESDAY NIGHT OF
Each week
will showcase 5 entertainers.
Barry Levitt returns on keyboard and Saadi Zain on bass!
on bass. Each week will be different. Time: 8 - 11:00 p.m.
Cover: $10 - no food or drink minimums – but remember – the food is great!

CASH ONLY PAID AT THE DOOR! This is a nice night
out with the family!
"throw back" to the variety shows we grew up with.
For more info, please call 845-365-0720 or visit _www.RichardSkipper.com_


212-765-5454. No one admitted before

September 30th: Wendy Lane Bailey, Bobby Belfry, Stewart Brodian, Paul & Rochelle Chamlin, Ben Rauch, Rick Younger,

October 7th: Edd Clark, Marianne Meringolo, Wendy Russell, Marcus Simeone, Maureen Taylor

October 14th: Kelly Esposito- Broelmann, Barbara Gurskey, Jonathan Long, Andrea Mezvinsky-Kolb , Martin Vidnovic

October 21st: Esther Beckman & Stearns Matthews, Leslie Orofino, Susan Winter

October 28th: Hector Coris returns!, Laurie Krauz & Wicked’s very own Walter ONeil, Angela Schultz, Mauricio Villa-Lobos!

November 4th: Arianna, Moira Danis, Elaine St. George, Daryl Glenn

December 9th: Josh Zuckerman

December 30th: Linda Fields, Ritt Henn, Annie Hughes

Keep checking

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Two new high schools for the arts debuted this past week -- a rare enough feat in a down economy.
Despite the vast differences in their circumstances, it may be too early to say which of the two has the most potential to nurture the next generation of artists and performers.
The Los Angeles Unified school at 450 N. Grand Ave., perched across the 101 Freeway from the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, was years in the making and is housed on one of the most expensive and widely praised campuses in the nation.
Yet it is only now shaking off more than a year of controversy and false starts in its launch to become the flagship of the district.
The Fernando Pullum Performing Arts High School at 51st Street and Broadway may have the feel of something hastily thrown together out of spare parts, but it is led by one of the city's most respected music educators and has the support of such big-name artists as Kenny Burrell, Jackson Browne, Bill Cosby and Don Cheadle.

Adding a twist to the relationship between these two fledgling schools is this: Fernando Pullum, a charter school run by the Inner City Education Foundation (and named after the music teacher who heads the foundation's arts program), doesn't plan to stay in its rented quarters for long.
It has its sights on an eventual takeover of 450 N. Grand.

"When our performing arts school is doing one amazing thing after another . . . people will say, 'Why is this school in a small church on 51st and Broadway instead of at 450 N. Grand?' " said Mike Piscal, chief executive of Inner City schools.
Charter takeovers are not unheard of -- in the last year, two L.A. Unified high schools have converted to charter status, under which they are independently managed and freed from day-to-day oversight by the district. But Piscal will get no encouragement from L.A. Unified Supt. Ramon C. Cortines.

"I don't think so," Cortines said Wednesday when asked if he could envision a charter takeover of the district's crown jewel. "It bothers me that people are looking at our new schools and sort of salivating.

I don't see them looking at the Manual Arts and the Muirs and the Jeffersons and the Fremonts” -- a list of some of the district's oldest, lowest-performing schools.

However the competition plays out, both arts schools opened in a burst of optimism and magnanimity.
They were among a host of new schools opening in Los Angeles this fall, both charters and traditional public schools. Among them were two new elementary schools at the Mid-Wilshire site once occupied by the Ambassador Hotel, the first of several schools planned for the property.
There was an almost giddy feeling Wednesday morning as students streamed onto the Grand Avenue arts campus for their first day of school.
"We're very excited," said a beaming Rex Patton, executive director of the school, still known only as Central High School #9 for the Visual and Performing Arts.
The downtown school, on the site of the former school district headquarters, had a difficult birth, with years of debate over who would attend and how the students would be selected, and nearly a year of recruiting difficulties before an administration team was put in place in May.
All that was set aside as students and parents roamed the campus, poring over schedules and looking for unfamiliar classrooms.
"It's beautiful," marveled Magali Arriaza, who was dropping her ninth-grade daughter at the gate.
"We've waited a long time for a school like this," added another mother, Judith Martinez, who drove her son, Eric Marquez, from East Los Angeles, where his neighborhood school is Roosevelt High.
She said he is a singer and dancer who previously attended Millikan Middle School’s performing arts magnet in Sherman Oaks. "This area hasn't had any kind of school for kids interested in the arts," she said.
The school had enrolled 1,279 students in grades 9, 10 and 11 as of Monday, Principal Suzanne Blake said (there will be no senior class until next year). In the ninth grade, she said, the school hit its targeted balance of 70% students from the surrounding neighborhood and 30% from elsewhere in the district.
In the upper grades, she said, the mix was closer to 60% to 40%.

The geographic balance was the result of a political compromise on the Board of Education between those who believed the school was promised to the surrounding neighborhood and should serve only its children, and those who believed that such a landmark campus should serve the best young dancers, musicians, actors and visual artists in the city.
Another debate turned on whether students should be admitted on the basis of ability.
If the physical facility was the initial draw for many at 450 N. Grand, the magnet at the Fernando Pullum charter school was . . . Fernando Pullum. An award-winning teacher and musician who spent many years leading a music program at Washington Prep High School, Pullum was recruited to the Inner City Education Foundation two years ago and has a modest goal for the new school that carries his name.
"This is going to be the best school in the entire world," he assured about 135 ninth- and 10th-graders at an opening-day assembly Tuesday in the sanctuary of the school's new home, Paradise Baptist Church.

Pullum said the school will measure success by the number of students who go on to college, not by how many become stars.
Among the assets that Pullum brings to the school is an iPhone filled with contacts from the entertainment industry, where he moonlights as a working musician.
Already, he has aired radio ads for the school featuring Cosby and Cheadle, and has commitments from institutions that include the Creative Artists Agency, UCLA, the Grammy Foundation and the Music Center.
"Wherever he goes is where I go," said the Creative Artists Agency's Michael Yanover, who has brought such celebrities as Roger Daltrey of the Who, jazz pianist Herbie Hancock and Oscar-winning director Taylor Hackford to work with Pullum's students in the past.

Plans have already been announced for the artists Jackson Browne and Fishbone to appear at the school this month as part of the John Lennon Educational Bus Tour. Browne has volunteered at Pullum's schools for years, and Pullum plays in Fishbone's band.

Pullum's counterparts at 450 N. Grand have lined up their own list of arts-world partners, including the Music Center, Colburn School of Music, Museum of Contemporary Art and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, suggesting a continuing eagerness by the creative community to fill in the gaps in schools' arts classes.

Although existing arts schools -- and there are a number in Southern California -- might be expected to resent the new faces on the block, Principal Leah Bass-Baylis of the CHAMPS Charter High School of the Arts in Van Nuys said she welcomes them.
"There's such a dearth of opportunity for quality arts education," she said. "You know, I think of everybody as partners."

In a city this size, Bass-Baylis said, "there's enough to go around. There are definitely enough kids to go around."
The Fund for Creative Communities of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
with support from the New York State Council on the Arts has announced open
applications to their grant program; the application deadline is September
22, 2009.

The Fund supports small and midsized non-profit organizations that provide
high-quality local arts programs.
The Fund also seeks to increase access
to arts and cultural activities in neighborhoods throughout Manhattan and to
encourage new arts activities in communities where the need exists.

Grants ranging from $750 to $5,000 are awarded to non-profit organizations
and to artists applying through a fiscal sponsor for arts projects with a
public component that will benefit Manhattan communities. Through The Fund,
LMCC awards close to $300,000 each year. In our most recent cycle, the
program awarded 86 grants to enable projects in neighborhoods from Washington
Heights to the Battery. _grantmoneyauthority.com_

Broadway legend Carol Channing has been added to the celebrity appearances at the National Quartet Convention and will also perform at Derby Dinner Playhouse.
Channing will sign her new CD, “For Heaven's Sake,” Sept. 18 at the convention, in Freedom Hall.
Meet Carol Channing...TELL HER I SENT YOU!
Carol Channing will be signing her new CD "For Heaven's Sake" in Louisville, KY at the Ky Fair and Expo center during the National Quartet Convention.
Carol will sign on Friday, September 18 from 5PM-? Come meet the legend in person.

Saturday the next night you can catch her matinee show at the Derby Dinner Theater just a jump over the bridge from Louisville in Clarksville, IN.

More events should be planned by please come see her and get your CD signed on the 18th and get her dynamic record.
Then on Sept. 19, she'll perform songs from the disc and hits from her many musicals at the playhouse, in Clarksville, Ind.

For more information, call (812) 288-8281.

Charlotte - $17,500 Grant to Support 'Opera Express' Performances at CMS Elementary Schools

Charlotte - Opera Carolina, the leading professional opera company in the region, announced that The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation has donated $17,500 to partially replace the Opera's annual Learning Event contract, which annually underwrites Opera Express, the Company's in-school educational touring company, in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS).
This year's CMS budget eliminated Learning Event contracts, the primary funding source for Opera Express in CMS elementary schools.

With a regional footprint that serves three states and 20 counties each year, Opera Carolina annually receives support for the entire Opera Express program from regional arts councils, school districts, the Learning Event contract with CMS, and Bank of America to underwrite performances. Before the budget cuts, the Learning Event contract underwrote Opera Express in one-half of the elementary schools in CMS each year.

The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation grant replaces one-half of the 2009-10 Learning Event contract, and Opera Carolina is actively engaged with other corporations and individuals to secure the remainder over the next few months, ensuring Opera Carolina's commitment to arts education for CMS students continues as in the past.

"Opera Carolina has a 25-year commitment to arts education. Our Board is committed to replacing the Learning Event contract to ensure the fulfillment of this commitment, despite the economic challenges our school district is facing," said General Director James Meena.

"Once again, The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation has stepped forward, demonstrating its community leadership and enduring commitment to arts and education.
The intrinsic value and future benefits of early arts education cannot be overstated, and we are profoundly grateful for this generous, far-reaching gift. This support is in addition to Wachovia/Wells Fargo's annual support of our other flagship education program, Music! Words! Opera!"

"The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation has a unique focus on education," said Jay Everette, community affairs manager for Wachovia's Greater Charlotte Corporate Social Responsibility Group. "Funding programs like Opera Express allows children in our schools to be exposed to arts and cultural curriculum that they otherwise would not have. Opera Carolina does an outstanding job with this program and it creates a positive, creative learning experience for many of our school students."

"We are keenly aware of the educational advantages associated with a rich arts curriculum at an early age," said Georgette Dixon, senior vice president, National Partnerships, Wachovia Wells Fargo and vice chair of the Opera Carolina board of trustees.
"Wachovia is pleased and honored to be able to sustain this exceptionally creative programming for our community's children."

This new support will allow Opera Carolina to schedule 20 to 25 performances in CMS elementary schools this fall and in the spring of 2010.

About Opera Express

Opera Express, Opera Carolina's educational touring company, engages children and families throughout the Carolinas and Georgia with professional performances of opera for young people. These delightful productions help students understand and appreciate opera as an art form that integrates all of the fine arts and humanities.

Performances are tailored to K-5 age groups with study guide activities that address North Carolina Standard Course of Study in English Language Arts and Music.

Since 1971, Opera Express has served more than one million children with such favorites as The Billy Goats Gruff, An Aesop Odyssey, Pinocchio, How Nanita Learned to Make Flan, and more. Editor's note: For a photo of the Opera Express performance of Little Red's Most Unusual Day, go to

About the 2009/2010 Season

Plans are well underway for the company's highly anticipated Bella Notte, the annual Fall Gala fundraising event, which will be held Oct. 24, 2009, on the set of La Bohème on the stage of the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. The 2010 season will begin with La Bohème scheduled for Jan. 23, 24, 28 & 30, followed by Love Notes, a special concert of opera and Zarzuela (Spanish folk opera) benefiting the Hispanic Scholarship Fund on Feb. 20 at the new Knight Theater, Carmen, starring international opera diva Denyce Graves opposite the luminous Carl Tanner, slated for Mar. 13, 14, 18 & 20, and concluding with Otello, starring Carl Tanner on May 6 and 8.

About Opera Carolina

Founded in 1948 as the Charlotte Opera Association by a small group of volunteers, Opera Carolina today is the largest professional opera company in the Carolinas with an operating budget of over $3.5 million for the fiscal year 2009. The mission of Opera Carolina is to inspire the region's diverse community through the presentation of excellent Opera, Operetta, Music Theater, and Education & Outreach programs that elevate the quality of life in the Carolinas. Opera Carolina is a community resource with a commitment to artistic excellence and community service.

Opera Carolina is supported by the Arts & Science Council-Charlotte/Mecklenburg and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency funded by the state of North Carolina, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Opera Carolina is a member of OPERA America.

Last Tuesday, Jujamycn Theatres announced that Jordan Roth would slide into the theatre-owner throne left empty by Rocco Landesman, who hopped the Metroliner down to DC to lead the NEA. Source: Ken Davenport, THE PRODUCER'S PERSPECTIVE

What makes this so special?
Well, let's see . . .

There are three major theater chains in NYC. The Shuberts, led by the esteemed Mr. Phil Smith, who is 78. The Nederlanders, led by the indefatigable Jimmy Nederlander, who is 87. And Jujamycn, which is now led by Jordan Roth, who is . . . wait for it . . . 33.

A major theater chain is now run by a man who has a personal computer in his house his entire life.
He has had a cell phone in his pocket for 1/3 of his life.

Let the new generation begin.
Again, I was angered last week over the omission of Carol from The Kennedy Center Honors! Her career has lasted longer than ANY of the other honorees!

Many Massachusetts schools -- as well as schools around the country -- are dealing with budget cuts by axing fine arts programs, including music, leaving parents struggling to bridge the gap on their own.

Some families are able to supplement with private classes, but most of our household budgets are feeling the crunch as well.
If your school has done away with music classes for kids, how can you help them learn about music at home when you're as cash-strapped as the schools are?

The benefits of music education are well studied. High school music students score higher on the SAT than their non-musical peers. Carolyn Phillips, former executive director of the Norwalk Youth Symphony in Connecticut, writes that playing an instrument can help the development of areas of the brain devoted to language and reasoning, and reading music can help children understand fractions and proportional math, both of which are necessary when it comes studying technology and science. Playing in a group teaches kids about teamwork, and performing in front of a crowd helps them learn how to evaluate risk and handle anxiety.

Practicing music underscores the ideas that mistakes can be fixed, instant gratification is rare, and perfection usually comes with dedication and hard work -- all ideas that apply to everyday adult life.
And just listening to familiar tunes while you work can help boost productivity.

So why deny kids such a valuable educational tool? According to some experts, school districts commit resources to subjects that are on the MCAS test. Since the arts aren't tested, they're often the first courses to get cut, John W. Hooker, an art education teacher at Bridgewater State College, told Wicked Local. A recent report also points out that while experts recommend twice-weekly, year-long arts education, only 5 percent of elementary-school students and 6 percent of middle-school students in Boston get that kind of instruction.
You don't have to be able to play an instrument yourself in order to help your kids learn about music.
Playing games like Rock Band or Wii Music can teach rhythm, improve hand-eye coordination, and foster a love of music from The Beatles to Beethoven and everything in between.

If you had to cut out private lessons, but still want kids to practice at home, you can download sheet music for kids at Children's Music Workshop, or take advantage of their online music theory helper. A free 10-day trial at Lesson Planet gives you access to more than 600 classical music lesson plans for students in kindergarten on up.

Try using your computer to create your own compositions: Groovy Music City uses animation and voiceovers to teach kids about the fundamentals of composition and to guide them in making their own music. It offers kids a library of sounds to tweak and shape, the online tutorials are easy to follow, and the interface feels kind of like a video game. The software, which costs about $40, works on Macs and PCs, and is geared toward kids age 7 and older; kids can share their musical creations with their peers at

Has music education been cut at your child's school? Do you think it's important for kids to study music, or should schools stay focused on academics and testing?

Lylah M. Alphonse is a Globe staff member and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day and blogs at Write. E-mail her at

After months of campaigning, weeks of hitting the streets and countless hours of phone calls by our volunteers, TODAY is the day. Together we can ensure the 3rd District continues to receive progressive leadership and results for our neighborhood.

We are so thankful for everyone who has given their time to the Quinn 2009 campaign and now we need you more than ever.

We need you to get out and VOTE.

We need you to tell your neighbors to VOTE

We need you to volunteer. If you are able to donate even one hour of your time today, please contact us at 212-929-8473 or e-mail to sign up for a shift!

Thanks again for all your support,

Jan Messerschmidt
Campaign Manager
(follow @quinn2009 on Twitter for the latest campaign updates)

Busy Channing still has time for charity
By Michelle J. Mills, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/04/2009 12:22:50 AM PDT

At 88, Carol Channing is still as vivacious as ever, not to mention busy.

Her new album, "For Heaven's Sake" (Daywind Records) of gospel music will be released Sept. 18 and she will be on the road with a stop planned at the National Gospel Convention.

But before all that, Channing will put on a benefit performance at the Altadena Community Church to help the facility raise funds to repair its damaged roof.

I called Channing at her Modesto home and had a long and delightfully nutty conversation with her and her husband, Harry Kullijian, 90 - complete with a song and a poem.
Channing was herself: sweet as pie, a little "blonde," and someone you just can't help but like.

"For Heaven's Sake" was
Carol Channing will do a benefit performance at Altadena Community Church in Altadena Sunday, Sept. 6, 2009. (Courtesy Photo)
produced by Larry Ferguson and John Wyatt. Wyatt also arranged and orchestrated the songs, which were gleaned from Channing's childhood. Her father was from the south and would often sing to her.

"I found when I was on the last tour, which was `Dolly,' which was very long, as we went through the Bible Belt, they all knew those songs, they loved them," Channing said.

When pressed on what songs describe her life, past and present, Channing demurs.
"I identify with all of them," she said. "I used to love to sing with my father, which is exactly what we're trying to do with children now."
Channing and her husband head the Dr. Carol Channing and Harry Kullijian Foundation for the Arts, which provides instruments and music opportunities for low income school districts and scholarships for students and teachers in the arts.

Through the foundation, Channing has established 14 California State University scholarships and has lectured at schools, from elementary grades through college master classes, on the importance of the arts in education.

The organization is working with Stanislaus County on supplying instruments for its schools, as well as a school for 250 handicapped children.

"How can you lose when you help children get through school and become something and somebody and they become good citizens and they can relate to one another? And that's our task," Kullijian said.

"We're not trying to create artists necessarily," Channing said. "Children's brains are actually advanced by the arts."
Kullijian led into another topic by stating how well-liked Channing was during her school years. He was her first love and the couple discovered poetry together. At 13, Kullijian also had an orchestra and despite the Depression, he was able to get his group work on the weekends.

"Harry borrowed his father's car, got it filled with gas and took us, the whole orchestra - we sat on each other's laps - and went and did these shows," Channing said. "I was the vocalist."

"You weren't too good in those days," Kullijian said.

"I was, too," Channing said.

"Well ... I didn't pay you very much, you got an ice cream cone occasionally."

The same playful barbs continued when I asked Channing if she does anything to care for her voice.

"No. Isn't it bad enough?" Channing said.

"I tell her she sounds like a foghorn," Kullijian said.

Channing bursts into laughter.
In July, there was a buzz about Johnny Depp's announcement that he would like to play Carol Channing in a film.

She was pleased.
"I never thought of being portrayed," she said. "This is all Johnny Depp's idea. I was crazy about him, we were going to do a show together and I said, `How wonderful, Johnny Depp wants to do a show with me.' We were going to get together because the teenagers were crazy about him at that time. Now everybody loves Johnny Depp."

Just as she was given the freedom to interpret her part in "Gentleman Prefer Blondes," Channing said she would be supportive of any way Depp would portray her.

"All the artist does is recreate what was already created exactly as he sees it," Channing said.

Channing grew up as a Christian Scientist and has no connection with the Altadena Community Church other than her willingness to help others

"All I can do is tell this wonderful church that they invited me and they know that I'm hellbent to get arts back in public schools, so they know what they're in for," Channing said.

Channing reiterated how the arts stimulate the brain, and that can help people in all areas of their lives. To further make her point, she sings "The Show Must Go On," a song written for her by John Wyatt about the need for arts in school, no matter what career a child may be interested in seeking.

Channing's father was a lawyer and actively worked with the California legislature.
At the end of a successful day, he would come home and announce how proud he was for getting a law passed.

"My father would open up the front door and say, `Achievement, there's nothing like it' and I thought this must be the greatest thrill on earth and it is," Channing said. "If you can figure out how to make this thing work, how to make it mean something to other people, boy, you've got the answer to your own life's happiness."

Channing ended our conversation by reciting a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and recounting how she and Harry would recite poetry as they walked to school.

"It makes one glad one's alive," Channing said.

Channing and other artists will perform at UCLA's Royce Hall on Oct. 11 to benefit the foundation.

(626) 962-8811 Ext. 2128
She waits on the sidewalk as he parks the car down the street and, by and by, he toddles up, hooks his arm in hers and purrs, "Come on, Tootsie, let's get something to eat."

The lovebirds walk slowly around the corner and into Galletto Ristorante, where the waitstaff and diners pay no mind to the elderly woman hanging on to her slightly older husband.

But then, Modesto isn't where most people expect to see Carol Channing.

The Broadway legend, best known for her 1960s Tony Award-winning performance in "Hello, Dolly!", lives here now. It's a far cry from the glamorous life of greasepaint, curtain calls and sparkly gowns.

"Harry is here -- it's all Harry," Channing says by way of explaining, in that so-familiar girlish voice, why she's in Modesto. "The house looks like Harry. It's like living on the inside of Harry."

The love story of Carol and Harry is remarkable: They were childhood sweethearts who parted ways and lost touch for 70 years -- until surprising circumstances brought them back together.
On May 10, 2003, at a friend's home in Atherton, Channing married longtime Modestan Harry Kullijian, her fourth husband.

She's now 88; he's 89. She is recovering from a broken hip and elbow, and a knee replacement. But as she says, "The show must go on. Performers never feel pain."

Instead of whiling away their golden years here and at their second home in Palm Springs, the couple three years ago created a foundation dedicated to putting arts education back into public schools.

"As a performer," Richard Lewis, the Sacramento's Music Theatre's executive producer, says of Channing, "she's electrifying. She is a star. She is larger than life, and she is absolutely lovable. She is a terrific comedienne and a wonderful musical talent.

"I'm thrilled we'll have the opportunity to put her on the Music Circus stage. It's going to be outstanding."

So far, the foundation has provided musical instruments to West Side Elementary School in Fresno County. Channing and Kullijian, who started the foundation with a quarter-million dollars of their own money, intend to go beyond fundraising and plead with elected officials to restore the arts curriculum in California schools, which has fallen victim to budget cuts.
The couple helped buy 25 brand-new musical instruments for West Side Elementary.
"A lot of our instruments were old and real expensive to keep up," says band director Orville Stephenson. "Now students can spend more time practicing and playing, and they don't have to worry about broken instruments and having to stop and fix them on the spot.

"Harry and Carol have a heart for this."

Since the foundation was launched, the phone rings constantly at the Kullijian-Channing house. Kullijian works day and night, his wife says, and is exhausted most of the time.

"I don't know what I'm doing at 90 years old, doing all this," says Kullijian, who's 89 until December. "You have to give your money, time and talent, and your life.

"This is bigger than Carol and me as individuals. The future of America is at stake, because our children are at stake.
We have forfeited one of the most beautiful parts of life by forfeiting the arts."

The Carol-and-Harry story began 76 years ago when he was 13 and she was 12. They both attended Aptos Junior High School in San Francisco's Balboa Terrace neighborhood. She sometimes sang with his orchestra. They encountered the arts at every turn.

"I was fortunate to have a father who was crazy about Milton, Keats and Shelley," Channing says. "I sang with my father all day long, as far back as I can remember. Â... The arts, they're like fertilizer on the human brain, and we're living proof of that."
"Arts became a part of our life: Chaucer, Bacon, Shakespeare and poetry, especially Edgar Allan Poe," says Kullijian. "I loved symphony. She got me into operas."

Meanwhile, they fell hard for each other.

A black-and-white photograph of Channing at 13 and Kullijian at 14 lies on a coffee table in the rambling, ranch-style Modesto house Kullijian had built in the 1950s.
"We were in love. We still are," he says, staring at the faded image.

He kept the photograph all these years, even during his six-decade marriage to Geraldine Amos, until her death in 2002.
Channing had the original print with her through three marriages and while raising her son, Chan Lowe, now the political cartoonist for the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

But Carol and Harry broke up soon after the photo was taken, as their lives went in different directions.
He went off to military school, then enlisted in the Army and served in World War II. She attended Lowell High in San Francisco, where a theater today bears her name.
She was then off to Bennington College in Vermont -- and after that, New York City.

She made her Broadway musical debut as Eve Arden's understudy in "Let's Face It!" in 1941. In 1949, she won a Theatre World Award for her performance in "Lend an Ear."
Her first Tony nomination came six years later, for "The Vamp."
Her role as Lorelei Lee in the original Broadway production of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1949-51) had her singing the hit "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend."

But it was in 1964 that Channing took Broadway by storm as matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi -- wearing the fabulous red-satin gown that's now in the Smithsonian's Museum of American History -- in "Hello, Dolly!" She later repeated the role in two revivals. She also earned a 1968 Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Muzzy in "Thoroughly Modern Millie."

Meanwhile, Kullijian was living in the San Joaquin Valley, farming his 30 acres and running a nursing home in the Bay Area. Though he had kept the photograph, Channing never crossed his mind. As unbelievable as it sounds, "I thought she was dead," he says.

But Channing never forgot about Harry. In her 2002 autobiography, "Just Lucky I Guess: A Memoir of Sorts," she wrote:

"Harry was the most exotic, beautiful thing. Â... Harry had silken, bronze skin; long, almond-shaped eyes that stretched almost to his ears; and that sweet, contented smile with which camels in the Holy Land are born."

Then two things happened to bring them back together.
After his wife's death, Kullijian dated a woman he intended to marry. One day, she saw the black-and-white photograph of him and Channing as teenagers.

"We had a little argument, and she says, 'Why don't you marry Carol Channing?' " Kullijian recalls. "She was saying, 'Get lost.' "

A week later, a friend told Kullijian that he was mentioned in "Just Lucky I Guess" and said he should call Channing. She was living in Rancho Mirage then, and he was on one of his regular sojourns in his RV to the nearby Imperial Valley.

"I was in disbelief, but I thought, 'What the heck, I'll just say hi,' " Kullijian says. "I knew it the moment I saw this figure coming toward me with her gray hair. I knew. We embraced. I said, 'This is the girl I'm going to marry.' and I did.

"There are some times in life two people meet and something happens. I can't describe it.
I don't know what it is. It's like I tell her: If you want me to climb the highest mountain in the world, I can do it."

Call The Bee's Dixie Reid, (916) 321-1134.


To see more of The Sacramento Bee, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to

Copyright (c) 2009, The Sacramento Bee, Calif.

Tony Bennett may sing about San Francisco, but he left his heart in Astoria - the working-class Queens community where he grew up during the Great Depression.

When schools open, the 83-year-old singer will be returning to his old neighbourhood to welcome students into the new permanent home of the public arts high school that he founded and named in honour of his close friend, Frank Sinatra.

"It's beyond any dream I could have ever had," said Bennett. "I loved growing up in Astoria and I still hang out there.
It's got the most wholesome people I ever met. ... When I was lucky enough to get money from New York City to start a school, I said, 'Let's do it in Astoria because they deserve it."'

Bennett and his wife, Susan Benedetto (his given family name), an educator, will be attending Wednesday's opening of the new home of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. At a time when school districts across the country are cutting arts programs, the opening caps off a decade-long campaign to develop a public-private partnership to create a model arts high school.

Bennett chose to name the school after his mentor, who helped launch his career that spans seven decades.
"Frank was so beautiful to me my whole career and always considered me his favourite singer," said Bennett, interviewed backstage during the jazz festival in Newport, Rhode Island.
"By calling it the Sinatra School it's a symbol of hoping that the students will always do something with integrity, not just for fame and a quick buck which is quite prevalent today."

Queens College alumnus Jerry Seinfeld delivered the commencement speech to the first graduating class in 2005, and Wynton Marsalis, Kevin Spacey, Nancy Giles and Bruce Willis spoke at subsequent ceremonies.
Bennett takes special pride that the school ranks second academically among Queens public high schools with a graduation rate of 98 per cent, nearly all of whom go on to college.

"I told the students right from the beginning that you're going to be responsible for making or breaking this school ... and sure enough they came through," said Bennett. "They're all full of enthusiasm."

For the upcoming year, the school's enrolment will total about 720, all of whom were selected through auditions for programs in visual arts, dance, vocal and instrumental music, drama and film.
"Tony has done a great thing for these kids ... These are not privileged kids, a lot of them come from real poverty settings," said Donna Finn, the school's principal, "For them to come here and to be treated well and respected for their innate talent is life changing ... and just helps them have the self-esteem they need to be successful."

A week before opening day, several dozen student and parent volunteers were busy helping unpack equipment to get the classrooms ready. The facilities include an open-air rooftop stage with a backdrop of the Manhattan skyline; two black-box theatres; and the 800-seat Tony Bennett Concert Hall, with an orchestra pit and stage large enough to handle an opera production.

"I think we students have to step up our performances to deserve a space like this," said sophomore vocal student, John-Alexander Sakelos, 15, of Bayside, Queens. "Tony Bennett comes to the school a lot. He's not the typical international star. ... he's still the same down-to-earth Astoria type of person."

Bennett and his wife formed the non-profit Exploring the Arts organization that raised an additional $4.5 million to upgrade the facilities to state-of-the-art calibre. Bennett and k.d. lang will be performing at ETA's annual gala on Sept. 21 to support the school's programming and arts initiatives in other schools.

Bennett, an accomplished painter, and his wife chose Polshek Partnership Architects - which designed the Rose Center for Earth and Space for the American Museum of Natural History and the William J. Clinton Presidential Center - to create a distinctive design. The front facade is a curtain wall of glass which floods the studio spaces with natural light and connects the school with the outside community by showcasing the students at work on their arts.

Bennett got the inspiration to create the school during a 1998 visit to Chicago when he observed inner city students participating in a program in which they were paid to beautify parks with art work and put on shows for the community.
He then met with his long-time friend, Susan Crow (they married in 2007), who was teaching history at Manhattan's "Fame" Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School. They lined up support from the City Council and obtained funding from the Board of Education.

Benedetto, who is now ETA's president after serving as the school's assistant principal, said she tried to build on LaGuardia's success by integrating pre-conservatory arts training with an intense academic program, encouraging community outreach and offering apprenticeships for students to work with local arts organizations from the Roundabout Theatre Company to the American Ballet Theater.

"This is sort of our child, so to speak," said Benedetto. "What I admire most about Tony is that somebody of his talent and stature would take the time to get behind the public school children and start a school. ... I think it's really a magnificent part of what will be his legacy."

"He always likes to say 'The Best is Yet to Come' and look forward. ... Now that this school is grown up, he's like, OK, what are we going to do now to go into other schools."
Copyright © 2009 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

Kathryn Lopez: Rage against Obama propaganda machine

By: Kathryn Lopez

Friday, September 4, 2009 11:54 PM EDT
In U.S. Department of Education materials surrounding the first national presidential address to public-school students, children were encouraged to write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.
After some genuine and vociferous backlash, the Obama administration took back some of these recommendations for recruiting students to the cause that is Barack Obama.

But the pullback came around the same time that an elementary school in Utah was scheduled to show students a video parade of celebrities pledging allegiance to Obama, and to the liberalism for which he stands. In this video, various tabloid types seeking to “Be the Change” vow to “smile more” and “love more.” Other plans include “to be the voice for those who have no voice”; and to not always flush the toilet, for the sake of the planet; “To pledge allegiance to the funk, of the United Funk of Funkadelica”; and, most audaciously, “To free one million people from slavery in the next five years.”

Yes, it was a bit of a mix.

The culmination of the whole mess, however, was very clear; to “pledge to be of service to Barack Obama ... to be a servant of our president and all mankind.”

Rational people would argue that the head of a republican government serves the people who elected him, not the other way around. But reason does not live in an era of vague feelings.
Evidently, in order to get people to be the change, you have to get to them early, when they’re in public school. “We’re all in this together,” one celeb declared.
Would that have only been the case when George W. Bush was president!
The school indoctrination stories have been airing at the same time as revelations, on the right-leaning Web site Big Hollywood, of a government body organizing an artistic propaganda machine.
Film producer Patrick Courrielche was invited by the National Endowment for the Arts to join a conference call sponsored by the NEA, the White House Office of Public Engagement, and United We Serve, the organization created by Obama to promote volunteer service.
The stated purpose of the call was “to help lay a new foundation for growth, focusing on core areas of the recovery agenda — health care, energy and environment, safety and security, education, community renewal.”

A few days after the call, Courrielche noticed that the starry-eyed Rock the Vote campaign, whose “mission is to engage and build the political power of young people in order to achieve progressive change in our country,” sent out an e-mail declaring: “We can’t stand by and listen to lies and deceit coming from those who are against reforming a broken system ...
Young people demand health care now.” Unsurprisingly, Rock the Vote is in favor of a public component to said health care.

A representative for Rock the Vote was on the NEA conference call. He picked up the orders.

These have been tough times for President Obama. With a majority in Congress, and an adamant imperative that his health-care reform bill should be done, he had to let summer recess in Washington come and go without his commands fulfilled. You can understand wanting to use every resource available to him.
The problem is that, if the National Endowment for the Arts exists — which some of us think has always been regrettable in a nation that has more than enough private resources and enthusiasm to support the arts without need of government support — it is not at the political service of the president.

We are a culture that understands art as an elevation, not as a campaign tactic. And there is a higher authority than the president of the United States whom you’re still free to pledge service to if you so choose.

Lopez is the editor of National Review Online


She can be contacted at

JoAnne Worley In “Keep Laughing”

She's classy, sassy and undeniably brassy - JoAnne Worley. From television and the silver screen to the boards of Broadway, she is instantly recognized with a mere raucous laugh and trademark twirl of pearls or pointed digit embedded in her cheek. __ JoAnne Worley found stardom on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, but shear talent has enabled her to extend that wild and woolly popularity to other levels. She has tackled and conquered nightclubs, musical theater productions, game shows, talk shows, cartoons, commercials, and even opera.
A one-of-a-kind commodity and certainly no shrinking violet when it comes to entertaining, Ms Worley belongs on center stage. “I'm looking in the rearview mirror of my life and liking what I see,” says JoAnne about “Keep Laughing” - A celebration of her life in music and comedy that is guaranteed to keep audiences "laughin'." A portion of the proceeds will benefit Actors & Others for Animals.

WHEN: Sunday, Oct 4th and Monday, Sept. 5th, 2009 - Doors 7pm - Show 8pm

WHERE: The Inner Circle at the Magic Castle, 7001 Franklin Ave., Hollywood, CA 90028

TICKETS: $40 for non-members, Call 323-851-3313 x434 for more information


Florence Henderson In “All The Lives of Me… A Musical Journey”

Known to millions as Carol Brady, Florence Henderson, a multi-talented actress, talk show host, performer, recording artist, author and Broadway veteran, brings her critically acclaimed one-woman production of ALL THE LIVES OF ME…A Musical Journey, under the musical direction of Emmy award-winning Composer Glen Roven, to Cabaret at the Castle. A crowd-pleasing evening with “America's Favorite TV Mom,” featuring songs from her starring roles in such Broadway hits as OKLAHOMA, SOUTH PACIFIC, SOUND OF MUSIC and ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. Audiences will be treated to personal anecdotes of a life on the boards of Broadway and the Brady set.

WHERE: The Inner Circle at the Magic Castle, 7001 Franklin Ave., Hollywood, CA 90028

WHEN: Monday Nov 9th and Tuesday, Nov 10th at 8:00pm

TICKETS: $40 for non-members, Call 323-851-3313 x434 for more information.

Frank Sinatra Jr. will play to a Vegas unlike his father’s
By Jerry Fink (contact)
When: 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Suncoast Showroom

Tickets: $29.95; 636-7075 or
Frank Sinatra Jr. carries on father's legacy in his own way.
Frank Sinatra Jr. sounds a lot like his old man over the telephone — same intonations and vocal rhythms, sans the Hoboken, N.J., accent.

“I won’t lie to you, when the economy fell down so did we,” Sinatra says. “I worked in December ’08 and then I didn’t work again till the last week of May ’09.”

At 65, some may think he’s old.
“They call my show Jurassic Park,” he says from his Los Angeles home.

Sinatra will perform two shows at the Suncoast over Labor Day weekend.

He performed three “Sinatra Sings Sinatra” concerts at the MGM Grand’s Hollywood Theater in 2002. He had a 36-piece orchestra backing him then. This time it will be an eight-piece band.

“Nobody wants to hire the big orchestras anymore,” he says. “We were four-walling those concerts and the man who paid for the four walls stopped the whole thing after three appearances because he said they weren’t generating enough income.
He was so down that the concerts were not carrying their weights that the last appearance, he made me roll the dice with him. When I put my foot on that stage to work, I spent $3,000.

“But that’s what Las Vegas has become. Entertainment is not a primary concern there any longer. It’s whatever can make the most money for the smallest investment. But if I was on the other side of that desk, I probably would feel the same way.”

He came to Vegas for the first time in 1954 at age 10. He began performing here in 1963.

“When I started working there I was next door to the Sands at the Flamingo,” he says. “On occasion my father would come to see me when he was in town and when he was finished watching my show he would go into the pit and gamble for a while. This was casino etiquette.
“The stars were the big draws, as well as the gaming. All of the show places, they wanted to hire the biggest stars. When I think back to that period of time, offers had been made to Doris Day and Bing Crosby, but they never took them. They did not want to play in gaming establishments. When I first went to Las Vegas I saw Sophie Tucker, Joey Lewis, Jimmy Durante. Nowadays entertainment is not even secondary, not even ‘third-dary,’ if there is such a word. You know what the big draw is in Las Vegas today? The shopping centers in the hotels.”

He remembers the Strip before it was the Strip.
“The first time I came to Las Vegas, the street in front of the hotels was U.S. Highway 91, a two-lane highway that crossed the desert and all of a sudden there were these big hotels. In those days there used to be a kind of motto the city had in order to get people to come — ‘Play the games, lie in the sun and mingle with the stars.’

“There were very few hotels there, but they were very prestigious. The Flamingo was there, the Hacienda, the Sands, Desert Inn. The Riviera was under construction. The Sahara was under construction. Of course we had the El Rancho Vegas.”

Sinatra says the Vegas visitors have changed, which has changed the city.
“It’s not that Old Vegas is not here, it’s that the older generation is no longer there. This generation that goes to Vegas, and the generation before them, this is all they’re used to, all they’ve known,” he says. “Their grandparents knew the great days of Vegas, the ’50s and ’60s.”

Sinatra, once musical director for his father, recalls the happiest time of his life in Vegas when he was at the Four Queens from ’85 to ’92.

“I was working for Jeanne Hood,” the former hotel president who died in July, Sinatra says.
“She was such a grand lady. In those days I came to town three weeks at a time, three or four times a year. It was magnificent. I had the finest orchestra, a 20-piece band with all the great players of Las Vegas. Then in ’92 I went to the Desert Inn till ’94, then in ’94 I went to the brand-new Boulder Station. I worked there two or three weeks at a crack. It was a wonderful time.”

Most of his fans were locals, he says.

“They were fed up with the Elvis impersonators and the Carol Channing impersonators. They were happy to see someone do something original.”

He has performed infrequently in Vegas since.

“I checked out some of the newer hotels, went into the lounges to see what was happening,” he says. “There were a bunch of garage bands, absolute amateurs.”

Although his last public performance in Vegas was at the MGM Grand, he performed in 2005 at the Aladdin, before it became Planet Hollywood.
“I did a slot machine tournament,” he said. “I sang and told them to stop staring at me and press those buttons.”

You have to wait a while for Julie Wilson to make her way to the Rrazz Room stage, but what the heck? We've waited a decade or so - 45 minutes more or so won't kill us.

Julie Wilson, one of the greatest boite singers of the past 50 years, is, as they say, of a certain age (she was born in '24). The most elegant of song stylists, she's always been known for her distinctive phrasing, her extraordinary ability to swing from Porter to Sondheim and, of course, the trademark gardenia in her hair.

At Tuesday's Rrazz opening (she's there through Sunday), she was dressed in a slinky black sequined number, black gloves, oversize black boa, and - oh why not: on her, it works - black athletic shoes. Tiny and angular, her beaming face was all but dwarfed by the gardenia this time. But if her body has diminished a bit over the years, her ability to grab an audience and not let go certainly has not.

Is the voice unmarked by the passage of time? Truth to tell, it is not, but I dare you to care as she finds the story and, even more, the heart in classics such as "My Old Flame," "But Beautiful," "Mean to Me," Brecht/Weill's soap opera in song, "Surabaya Johnny," and Rodgers and Hart's "The Lady Is a Tramp."

She doesn't always remember the lyrics, but fortunately has pianist/musical director Christopher Denny right there to provide a gentle cue.

Perhaps the greatest testimony to Wilson's indomitability is what she does with "Here's to Life." This is a song that virtually anyone who's beyond the spring-chicken stage of life can sing (and seemingly has) with facile credibility - so much so that, more often than not, it can feel tired and even predictable. But in a talk-sing delivery, Wilson is able to breathe new life into the Artie Butler/Phyllis Molinary chestnut in a way that makes every other version you've heard sound as heartfelt as a TV antacid commercial.

Wilson briefly shares the bill with Barbra Streisand tribute artist Steven Brinberg, an entertaining performer whose "Simply Barbra" act (named for the early "light blue" album) skates carefully along the line between homage and spoof.

Even for a woman, it's daring to try to approximate Streisand's titantic pipes, but Brinberg captures her phrasing, especially in slower, midrange numbers.

His best number is "I'm Still Here," where he offers snippets of the Sondheim song in other voices - Ethel Merman, Eartha Kitt, Cher, Bette Davis. He nails them beautifully.

Call The Rrazz Room, Hotel Nikko, 220 Mason St. $35-$40. (866) 468-3399.

London's critically acclaimed Menier Chocolate Factory production of Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein's hit musical La Cage aux Folles will open April 18, 2010, at the Longacre Theatre on Broadway, the producers announced on Sept. 14.

Previews begin April 6, 2010. Douglas Hodge will recreate his London turn as Albin, whose nightclub persona is the fabulous Zaza. This reconceived production of the 1983 musical comedy based on the play of the same name opened to rave reviews and won the 2009 Olivier Awards for Best Musical Revival and Best Actor in a Musical, for Hodge.

The Longacre is at 220 W. 48th Street and is currently home to the dance spectacle Burn the Floor.

La Cage, the tale of drag club owners Albin and Georges, and their son, Jean-Michel, who is to be married to a girl from a conservative family, has music and lyrics by Herman and book by Fierstein, based on the play by Jean Poiret. The production is choreographed by Lynne Page and directed by Terry Johnson.

Hodge is appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association.

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!

Richard Skipper

Follow me on Twitter @RichardSkipper


Awesome performance in Malibu. The highlight of the week for me. It is always great to see you, but I hadn't seen your act before. Hope you will be back next year.

Thanks for performing at our venue, but thanks even more for integrating the needs of our talent show into your own material. Thanks also for allowing so many of our group to pose with you on stage after the show, and for your kindness to all who wanted to talk with you (Carol) after the show. I sincerely hope that we will be able to have you perform for us again.

I really did enjoy your performance immensely in Malibu very talented and vocally gifted. You ruminate in my brain...and then I think, "Is that all there is?" I'm wondering if you have attempted to cultivate other personalities. I'm quite sure there are other persons whom you could impersonate...and the first one to come to mind is Ethel Merman with her very big presence. I can easily see you doing her. And if you worked on it...many others. Of course, you have Carol down...and you do her to perfection. It would be a real kick to see both of you on

Overall a very big special event. I was impressed. Rapport with the audience is always fun. You create a right-on illusion of Carol...and the fact that your singing is genuinely your voice is pretty awesome.

You maintained control of the audience all along. The staging and runway were not that conducive to your need a professional stage...for a prossional performance...but you accommodated and did well. No real criticism.

I think you have unlimited talent and maybe need to explore that venue for your repertoire. I'd just simply encourage you to expand your talents. I think there's other hidden personalities inside you that you haven't tapped yet. But then again...that's based solely on first impression not knowing you more. Maybe if you pursue other impressions you could turn out to be like Joan Crawford or Betty Davis in Baby Jane. Though...I could see you doing her too.

After thought...maybe you should consider doing a gig for all the don't-ask-don't-tell boys overseas. You'd be a smashing success on tour.

Take and blessings...good luck under the lights.
The most fun I have had in a long time. Thanks for your generosity and your great spirit.
I will come again soon! It was a great crowd.


Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price!
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will showcase 5 entertainers.
Barry Levitt returns on keyboard and Saadi Zain on bass!
on bass. Each week will be different. Time: 8 - 11:00 p.m.
Cover: $10 - no food or drink minimums – but remember – the food is great!

CASH ONLY PAID AT THE DOOR! This is a nice night
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For more info, please call 845-365-0720 or visit _www.RichardSkipper.com_


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Tomorrow night: September 16th: Ann Dawson, Lou Iacovino, Sara Rice, Val Ryder, & Bill Zeffero (joined by Julie Reyburn on a couple of numbers)

September 23rd: Risa Benson, Stewart Brodian, Jenna Esposito, The Kim Schultz Improv Group, Frank Torren,

September 30th: Wendy Lane Bailey, Bobby Belfry, Ben Rauch, Rick Younger, Josh Zuckerman

October 7th: Edd Clark, Marianne Meringolo, Wendy Russell, Marcus Simeone, Maureen Taylor

October 14th: Kelly Esposito- Broelmann, Barbara Gurskey, Jonathan Long, Andrea Mezvinsky-Kolb , Martin Vidnovic

October 21st: Esther Beckman & Stearns Matthews, Leslie Orofino, Susan Winter

October 28th: Hector Coris returns!, Laurie Krauz & Wicked’s very own Walter ONeil, Angela Schultz, Mauricio Villa-Lobos!

November 4th: Arianna & Moira Danis, Elaine St. George

December 30th: Linda Fields, Ritt Henn, Annie Hughes

Keep checking