Saturday, May 30, 2009

HAPPY END OF MAY!




Can you believe we are ending another month? I certainly can't. I feel like I just took down my Christmas Tree and here we are going into June! A lot to cover this week so I'm jumping right in! Here goes...Hope you enjoy!



KEEPING ARTS IN EDUCATION!
Rock star icon Billy Idol and special guests Dave Mason, co-founder of the legendary rock group Traffic, and Venice are performing today (May 30th) Saturday at a benefit to support the arts in the local public schools.

Keeping the Arts Alive! -- sponsored by Artists For The Arts Foundation and For The Arts -- will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the Samohi Greek Amphitheater on the Santa Monica High School campus.

“This concert has become our most anticipated event of the year,” said Linda Gross, executive director of the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation.

"When professional musicians share the stage with students, the evening transforms into an ideal showcase for the caliber of arts programs we strive to bring to our students."

Idol, who was a member of the punk band Generation X, launched a solo career with a series of stylish music videos that made him one of MTV’s first big stars. In 1983, he achieved superstar status with his second LP, Rebel Yell, which included the hits "Eyes Without a Face" and "Flesh For Fantasy."

Mason, who penned the rock standard “Feelin’ Alright” while with Traffic, played on Jimi Hendrix’s landmark recording of “All Along the Watchtower,” before embarking on a solo career.

Venice band members Michael, Kipp, Mark and Pat Lennon have performed in many shows to support and sustain the arts in public schools, including numerous appearances for the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation featuring Jackson Browne, David Crosby and Heart.
During a worsening economic crisis, Keeping the Arts Alive! will help fund and sustain arts programs in the Santa Monica- Malibu public schools, said Marty Carrillo, president of Artists for the Arts Foundation (AFTAF).
“With the state's financial crisis impacting schools and causing cutbacks, this concert gives the community an opportunity to support a positive and resounding voice for the future of our children," Carrillo said.

Tickets for Keeping the Arts Alive! on sale at www.smmef.org
The Samohi Greek Amphitheater is located at 601 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica CA 90405.


For The Arts is a community-wide effort to raise awareness and an arts endowment to ensure that every student in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District receives a broad introduction to the arts as part of their complete education.

Artists For The Arts Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping public school districts sustain and create Arts Programs. This is our fourth consecutive year helping to fund the For The Arts endowment. www.aftafoundation.org

It's "wait till next year" -- again -- for a bill in the state legislature that would have provided a boost of about $30 million a year for the California Arts Council and raised the state's per-capita arts funding from last in the nation to the middle of the pack.

The bill, titled the "Creative Industries and Community Economic Revitalization Act," was put on hold until 2010 on Thursday in the Assembly's Appropriations Committee. Two earlier bills to increase arts funding had died in committees since 2005.
This one calls for one-fifth of the state sales taxes collected from arts-related businesses such as art galleries, record shops and musical instrument stores to be reserved for the state arts council's grants to nonprofit arts organizations.
With California facing deficits of more than $20 billion and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposing cuts to healthcare, social services and education, backers of the arts funding bill took a page out of Shakespeare and decided that discretion would be the better part of valor.

The California Taxpayers' Assn. opposes the bill and will continue to do so, spokesman David Kline said -- not because of antipathy for arts funding, but because it doesn't want more revenue tagged for a restricted, predetermined use. As the state tries to unravel its fiscal problems, he said, "it's especially important not to tie your hands for the future."

I want to encourage you once more to attend the 5th Annual CABARET HOTLINE ONLINE Birthday Party - their 19th, celebrating the start of their 20th year of
publication! I actually was in the very first issue when they were hard copies and found in the clubs! This celebration will be at at THE WEST BANK CAFE/LAURIE BEECHMAN THEATER (407 West
42nd Street, NYC - 212-695-6909 - http://www.westbankcafe.com/ ) on
Thursday, July 9th at 7:00 pm.
Just to be perfectly clear, you must have
joined or renewed as a 2009-2010 member to get the special MEMBER PRICE of
$15 - non-member price is $25. Its like getting an instant $10 discount on
your membership. And members can purchase one additional ticket at the
member price (making a $20 discount, the cost of a SILVER membership and
more than 1/4 the cost of a GOLD membership)
There are only 75 seats on sale. The room holds more than 75 but they have to
save seats for some special people who will be our guests: the past
recipients of the JEFF MATSON and DOTTIE BURMAN awards of the past 4 years:



2005 - DC Anderson: JEFF MATSON AWARD
2006 - Hector Coris & Trudi Mann JEFF MATSON AWARD
2007 - Collette Black & Joe Regan JEFF MATSON AWARD and Maria Gentile DOTTIE
BURMAN AWARD
2008 - Miles Phillips JEFF MATSON AWARD and Tracy Stark DOTTIE BURMAN AWARD

This year's winners will be invited to attend no charge as well - plus each
SPONSOR receives a free ticket, and any one who joins as a $250 Crystal
Member or above gets 2 free tickets (subject to availability).

Tickets and memberships are on sale right now via the website - and we
advise you use PayPal so that your reservations will be confirmed
immediately.
If you plan to send a check, please let me know first so that I
can make sure there are seats available. And don't forget - postage rates
have gone up. Please remember, all checks should be made out simply to STU
HAMSTRA and mailed to 676A Ninth Avenue #120, New York, NY 10036.
Each event lately, instead of a raffle, we have presented each paying guest
a free cabaret CD from what was once our vast collection of unopened
duplicate CDs in our collection. But the cupboard is bare - the last of the
collection were given out at the MARCH IS CABARET MONTH show in (naturally)
March. If you would like to contribute some CDs (wrapped) for this event,
send them to CABARET HOTLINE ONLINE at 676A Ninth Avenue #120, New York, NY
10036. (You can also drop them off - it is a MAILBOX ETC. store just around
the corner from DON'T TELL MAMA - closes at 7:00 pm weekdays, 5:00 pm
Saturdays and closed on Sundays).

They are lining up some fantastic performers - many of whom you have not seen
before, as well as some old favorites. And they pledge that this year's show
will be held to 90 minutes tops - there is a show following this one (what a novel idea!) at 9:30 pm
at THE LAURIE BEECHMAN so after the show everyone will move upstairs for
schmoozing and cake. Next year - Stu's 20th - he promises champagne!

Want to be a $100 sponsor? Want to run an ad in the program? Go to the
website for all the details and links to sign up. All sponsors are mentioned
in every promotional item Stu writes about the party. (You can remain anonymous, if you wish).






If you're going to be in SF...GO SEE WESLA WHITFIELD
May 26 to June 7
"As Time Goes By"
With The Mike Greensill Trio
@ THE NIKO HOTEL

Congratulations to all of the wonderful talents, those that won REEL AWARDS and those that didn't. Want to check out one of the winners? Check out this! http://www.gwbushimpersonator.com You will be amazed!

Wednesday, the 27th, was Dolores Hope's (Bob Hope's wife)100th Birthday! I got a group of incredible singers together to sing at CBS Monday morning for Mrs. Hope Wednesday AM only to be told we could not sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY on the air!
Is Singing Happy Birthday in Public Really Copyright Infringement?
Yes.
According to United States copyright law in United States Code, Title 17 §106, authors of works such as musical compositions have the exclusive right "to perform the copyrighted work publicly." In United States Code, Title 17 §101, the law defines publicly performing a work as "to perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered."
This means that if you sing Happy Birthday to your family at home, you're probably not committing copyright infringement.
However, if you do it in an restaurant — and if the restaurant hasn't already worked out a deal with ASCAP — you may be engaging in copyright infringement.
How Can I Help Stop Infringement?

The best way to stop infringement is to tell the authorities and the owners so that they can follow up and arrange for a license and for royalties to be paid.
Licenses for Happy Birthday are controlled by ASCAP. While monetary royalties will be negligible for a single restaurant performance, it is the principle that is at stake.
If you have seen someone singing Happy Birthday in a restaurant, a park, or at a school, you should tell ASCAP so that they can arrange for a license.
If you are an offender, you should apologize and offer to pay whatever is due — a nickel, a quarter, a dollar — whatever ASCAP demands.
There is an overwhelming amount of copyright infringement of Happy Birthday. Let's right the balance and tell ASCAP about every one of these violations!
It's not the lyric, but the tune...they wrote the song: "Good Morning to You" for the kids in their school...they own the music now. Sad, but true.


Jerry Herman: Once in a Lifetime
The 77-year-old composer/lyricist and recipient of the 2009 Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement looks back on his career.
By: Brian Scott Lipton · May 27, 2009 · New York


Jerry Herman has one of the most enviable track records in Tony Awards history, earning nominations for six of the seven Broadway shows he created (Milk and Honey, Hello, Dolly!, Mame, Mack & Mabel, The Grand Tour, and La Cage Aux Folles) and taking home the trophy for both Dolly and La Cage.
Yet, the 77-year-old composer and lyricist simply could not be more thrilled about receiving the 2009 Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement on Sunday, June 7.

"It's without any question, the cherry on top of the sundae and a culmination of what has already been a great lifetime with more awards than my shelves can hold," says Herman. "But what makes it so special is because this award comes from my peers, and there's nothing like that. And it's also nicer than my other ones because I am not competing against someone else."
Indeed, Herman says he was shocked both times his name was called as the winner of the Tony. "In 1964, Hello, Dolly! was up against Funny Girl. Jule Styne was and is an idol of mine -- even to this moment. Just last night, I was playing 'Make Someone Happy' (from Do Re Mi) on my piano at home, because it's such a great song," he says. "And I certainly didn't expect to win over Stephen Sondheim for Sunday in the Park With George.
He's the best of the best. So both times, I wasn't going to the ceremony with any expectations, although I did think about nice things to say in case I won. I don't like long speeches, though. Even this one is going to be only two minutes.
I just think I can say it all in that amount of time. Plus I can't mention a name, since if I do, I will offend the 100,000 people who I didn't mention."


Still, one name he might mention if he could is Angela Lansbury, who won Tony Awards as Best Actress in a Musical for both Mame and Herman's 1969 musical Dear World, and who is a nominee this year as Best Featured Actress in a Play for Blithe Spirit. "Nothing could please me more to see her win; she is one of the great ladies of our time, not just one of our great actresses of our time," he says. "Our relationship is so strong and beautiful, and we have even bonded more through all these years."
That relationship has lasted for more than 40 years. "I had never met her. but I saw her in Anyone Can Whistle, and then when we were searching for our Mame, every actress in New York came and sang, but no one hit us in the heart," he recalls. "And then one day, I found the program for Anyone Can Whistle, and I said to the producers that I have an interesting idea -- Angela Lansbury -- and they laughed at me, because they thought of her as this person who played everyone's mother. So they saw her as a favor for me, and that's how she got the part.
And to be honest, I didn't even know she could dance when I called her."

Herman is also excited about the presence of two of the evening's other special honorees: actress Phyllis Newman and publicist Shirley Herz. "Phyllis and I grew up in Jersey City together, and starting out, we did each other's auditions for free for years.
I played for her and she sang my songs. And Shirley has worked on a lot of my shows. So it's almost like kismet and old home week rolled into one for the three of us to be recognized on the same night."
While Herman is still actively involved in new productions of his classic musicals, he does think the term "lifetime achievement" fully applies. "I am too old to go through the process of creating a new musical again; you know what it takes for a show to get on the stage.
And while I wouldn't have given up those days for anything in the world, I am proud of the fact that I knew when to leave that end of the business. I don't know how to write these new contemporary shows -- or want to write them. I never changed my style to fit the changing times," he says. "But the thing that makes me proudest and happiest is that I am still here to receive this extraordinary honor."


For more information or to listen to clips from Herman's shows, visit www.masterworksbroadway.com/jerryherman.

(Cynthia Crane seen here with the late great John Wallowitch) Celebrate the Opening of the High Line
Save the date for a special evening with the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce at Arium Café. Thursday, June 11th from 6-9 PM internationally-acclaimed, award-winning cabaret performer CYNTHIA CRANE will present her show, “I’m Confused, Therefore I Am”, with Barry Levitt at the piano and Boots Maleson on bass Ms. Crane has performed in venues from Tavern on the Green to the Musée de Montmartre in Paris.

I’m Confused, Therefore I Am, Cynthia strung them out like a fine pearl cabaret necklace . . . a lady filled with a love for life, unbounded energy, and enthusiastic about anything she decides to do. This show is a perfect demonstration of her dynamic personality - set to music. . . pure entertainment.”
Stu Hamstra Cabaret Hotline Online

"Anybody who digs quality has to be a sucker for Cynthia Crane." WGBH, Boston


"There is nothing better than a vocalist with a deep, dark vibrato and great intonation. If you like June Christy, Billie Holiday, or Ann Richards, then you will like this one." Jazz Now



"Cynthia Crane deserves to be better known...her style is real, heartfelt and deeply affecting...Crane's voice hits me right where it counts." Eric Meyers, TimeOut NY


"First rate!...Exciting chanteuse! This vivacious singer continues to impress with her considerable vocal talent." Daily Variety


The venue—Arium Café—is a star among stars in the Meatpacking District. Reviewers have said, Arium is “fabulous,” the food is “incredibly good,” and dining at Arium is like “eating in an art gallery.”
The ARIUM Cafe
31 Little West 12th Street
(Washington St./9th Avenue.)
New York, NY 10014
http://www.ariumcafe.com
It's our neighborhood, and it keeps getting better! Help celebrate the opening of this important new park with an evening of good entertainment, good food, and good friends.

Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce


Tickets are just $50 or $75 for VIP seating.

Please RSVP to David Lehmann at 212-337-5923 or VillageChelsea@gmail.com.
THIS WEEK'S FEATURED PERFORMER Birthday girl...ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY! http://www.annhamptoncallaway.com






Richard Skipper 845-365-0720
Don't forget to contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/Foundation.htm

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!

Richard Skipper

Follow me on Twitter @RichardSkipper

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day! Life IS a cabaret...


Tickets are now available for the 19th Birthday Party of CABARET HOTLINE
ONLINE that will be held on Thursday, July 9th at 7:00 pm at THE WEST BANK
CAFE/LAURIE BEECHMAN THEATER (407 West 42nd Street, NYC - 212-695-6909 -
http://www.westbankcafe.com/ ).
Sales are limited to 75 seats. They've already
lined up some great performers for the show: Tom Andersen, Terrell Baker, Raisa Katona Bennett, Ryan Greer and Jim Speake to start. Two more performers have been invited - they are waiting to hear back - and they're still
checking out 3 or 4 more to ask.


The cost per ticket is just $15 to 2009-2010 members and $25 for those who
have not renewed their memberships yet or haven't joined yet. SILVER
memberships are just $20 so you can join/renew as a member for $20 then get
your ticket for $15 and receive a full year of benefits. Tickets and memberships are not refundable. NO RESERVATIONS WILL BE
TAKEN BY THE CLUB - no tickets sold the day of the event.
Program Booklet ads are available as well - in just three sizes: 1/4 page
(square), 1/2 page (horizontal) and full page.
Pricing is $75 full page, $50
for 1/2 page and $30 for 1/4 page.

Those of you who know me personally and/or if you have been following my blogs, you know that ARTS IN EDUCATION is my main cause. Here are a few news items And facts I have discovered since my last blog last Thursday. ...Research has shown that the arts have a positive effect on students not just for their own sake but that also improve academically. Leading figures from the cultural sector are being urged to work more closely with teachers, so that between them they can produce a national strategy for educating young people in the arts.
A spectacular new arts high school in downtown Los Angeles cost an equally spectacular $232 million.
Now that the campus is complete, with its state-of-the-art theater, ceramics studios and other eye-popping amenities, the critical next step for school leaders is to avoid wrecking it. My prescription: Don't rush the school into a September curtain-raising, and don't diminish what could become a national beacon of arts education by turning it into a neighborhood school.
In other arts related news, President Obama picked the Broadway producer Rocco Landesman to lead the National Endowment for the Arts.







For years, school systems across the nation dropped the arts to concentrate on getting struggling students to pass tests in reading and math.
Yet now, a growing body of brain research suggests that teaching the arts may be good for students across all disciplines. The U.S. Department of Education reports that when comparing the amount of arts education received by first-graders to third-graders, first-graders were much more likely to receive education in art, music, dance and theater than third graders. This means that the educational process is not being carried out even to the third year of many children's schooling.
In Pennsylanaia, Wilkes County high school and middle school performing arts programs received a major boost Tuesday with a $115,526 donation from Lowe's Companies Inc.
Dr. Steve Laws, Wilkes school superintendent, said the North Wilkes, East Wilkes, Wilkes Central and West Wilkes high school band directors have access to $25,000 apiece to buy musical instruments for their high school and middle school bands starting next week.
In addition to $100,000 for the band programs, said Laws, the four high school choral programs are getting $2,500 each to buy rights to sheet music and fund other performance-related expenses.
He said $5,000 will go for the drama program, with drama instructor Wes Martin teaching for one period apiece in each Wilkes high school in the 2009-10 school year.
Laws said that with funding cuts for performing arts programs likely due to the local school system's major budget challenges, this latest major donation from Lowe's is particularly timely.

Due to the likelihood of cuts in operational funds, said Laws, members of booster organizations for bands, choral groups, athletic teams and certain other Wilkes school programs can expect to be faced with the challenge of raising additional money. "Fundraising will be even more difficult in the coming year," he added.
The West Wilkes, East Wilkes, North Wilkes and Wilkes Central band programs normally get $3,000 each from the Wilkes Board of Education, plus two of the three get an additional $3,000 on a rotational basis. The choral programs normally get $500 each annually, while drama has no set budget.
He said the $115,526 donation again illustrated the important partnership role of Lowe's in public education initiatives in Wilkes, which have included technology, facilities, career education, athletics and more.
"Over the past three years, the Wilkes Board of Education has focused on upgrading the arts program in the schools as one of its goals," he said, with a particular emphasis on building stronger band programs.
The number of band students, particularly in the four Wilkes middle schools, continues to increase following the hiring of new band directors at Wilkes Central, East Wilkes, North Wilkes and West Wilkes.
"Thankfully, the middle school band program has grown so fast that many of the instruments purchased (with the $100,000 from Lowe's) will go for it," said Laws.

"One of the joys I have had is watching our young people perform and seeing that they get better every year. The talent and ability of our young people to excel is there. It's the adults working with them that makes the difference," he added.
Laws said all research shows that arts education contributes greatly to the overall development of young people, including students who perceive that they have little artistic talent.
"It costs money to provide opportunities for these young people and Lowe's recognizes the importance of making this investment."
Laws said that largely through Lowe's and people associated with the company, the Stone Family Center for Performing Arts opened in 2008 to improve opportunities for Wilkes students to perform and showcase their talents.
He said this includes providing a venue for visual arts, with student artwork regularly featured in the Stone Center and elsewhere in a portion of the 65,000-square-foot former Lowe's store on Cherry Street, North Wilkesboro.
School administrative offices fill most of the building.
Over half of the $800,000 needed to create the Stone Center came as donations from Lowe's President and Chief Operating Officer Larry Stone, and his wife, Diane; the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation "Hometown Grants" program and five retired Lowe's executives and their spouses: Leonard and Rose Herring, Pete Kulynych, Arnold and Becky Lakey, Dwight and Ann Pardue and Phil and Scotti Stevens.
All of these people live in Wilkes and Stone is chairman of the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation.
Laws noted that two years ago, the Lakeys donated $50,000, or $12,500 each, for high school band directors to purchase instruments.
The $115,526 donated this week by Lowe's came from the company's planogram facility, which is where Lowe's evaluates products for possible sale in its stores.
Laws had requested $100,000, based on $25,000 for additional instruments for each high school band program.
Before submitting the request, he asked each band director to prepare a list of instruments they would purchase with $25,000 each.


MY FEATURED PERFORMER FOR THE WEEK IS SHARON MCKNIGHT!On Tuesday, June 2 7:30pm - Sharon McKnight performs her acclaimed SONGS TO OFFEND ALMOST EVERYONE at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre 3656 N Halsted, 3rd floor Chicago.
www.centeronhealsted.org



REMEMBERING SCOTT SCHECHTER
Scott Schechter, expert fan
By Sally A. Downey



Scott Schechter, 48, formerly of Philadelphia, an authority on the careers of Judy Garland and her daughter Liza Minnelli, died of an apparent heart attack May 14 while traveling by train from a business dinner in New York to his home in Asbury Park, N.J.
In 1998, Mr. Schechter coproduced what critics considered the definitive audio overview of Garland's career. The four-CD box set, Judy, spans the singer's career from her earliest known recordings in 1929, when she was 7, to her final appearances in 1969.
Mr. Schechter also co-produced the set's 32-minute video and co-wrote its 100-page book.


He also wrote Judy Garland: The Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Legend, a 2002 book that describes the "alternately astonishing, trivial, revelatory, mordantly funny act of possible madness known as Judy Garland," according to reviewer David Patrick Stearns, an Inquirer music critic.

The book lists the contents of Garland's address book, tells when she had teeth pulled and migraine headaches, and gives details of a day of filming of The Wizard of Oz that was wasted when a raven flew off the Scarecrow's shoulder and did not return.

In 2004, Mr. Schechter compiled The Liza Minnelli Scrapbook, a pictorial biography of the singer.
He had good people skills and was able to gather unique images from photographers who shared his vision, said Mr. Schechter's life partner, Russell Klein.

Mr. Schechter befriended Minnelli, who chose him to run her official Web site. His expertise as a Garland-Minnelli historian was acknowledged on his TV and radio appearances, and he was a consulting producer to companies that continue to release Garland and Minnelli material.

Mr. Schechter grew up in the Melrose Park Gardens neighborhood of Philadelphia.
He told Stearns that he had found metaphysical irony in having grown up in the town where Garland began her U.S. concert career in 1943 (at Robin Hood Dell) and concluded it in 1968 (JFK Stadium).


Mr. Schechter told Stearns that he had discovered Garland when That's Entertainment, a 1974 anthology of MGM musicals, opened at the old Fern Rock Theater.

"Then Channel 48 purchased a package of MGM musicals that were shown on weekdays at 1 p.m.," he told Stearns. "I had a pact with my mom that if I kept my grades up, I could come home for lunch on those days when they showed Judy's movies and not go back to school in the afternoon. I was 13."

After graduating from Northeast High School in 1979, Mr. Schechter worked for insurance companies in Philadelphia and New York before making Garland and Minnelli a career.

An animal-rights activist, Mr. Schechter doted on his rescue dog, Tigger, Klein said.

Mr. Schechter and Klein were involved in neighborhood revitalization efforts in Asbury Park, where they had lived since 2003.
In addition to his partner, Mr. Schechter is survived by a brother, Herman; a sister, Rene Schechter Klein; and two nieces.



A byword for Broadway, a synonym for ‘star’, Liza Minnelli is Hollywood royalty. An Oscar, a Grammy, an Emmy – all hers. Throw in three Tonys and two Golden Globes.


Her personal life is no less compelling. From disastrous marriages to successful affairs, from booze to pills to health problems – she’s always been her mother’s daughter. Judy Garland’s daughter. Dorothy’s daughter.


How surreal to be speaking to the woman herself. I tell her as much when she calls Queensland Pride from New York.

“But don’t be silly!” she replies in her distinctive voice. “I’m just a person like everyone else.
I’ve had two hip replacements, honey!”

The response is pure Liza. Like her mother, she’s always seemed very human and vulnerable.
Another example: the nerves she exhibits. The morning of our chat coincides with the ticket release for her tour – and Liza is nothing if not nervous.
“Well, of course I’m nervous!” she says, when I express my surprise. “I get very nervous before tickets go on sale because I want people to come and see the show!
Every time is like putting myself on the line.”

She has nothing to worry about, of course. Tales subsequently emerge of ticketing sites going into meltdown. In Sydney, demand is so great that her two Opera House shows are supplemented with an extra date at the much larger Sydney Entertainment Centre.



The show itself is based on her recent New York engagement, Liza’s At The Palace – the Broadway run of which provoked ecstatic reviews from The New York Times (“Liza is a pure entertainer”) and The New York Post (“A triumph of which show business mythology is made”).
“I’ve got the best show I’ve ever done in store for you!” she promises. “I’m gonna work my butt off and give you everything I’ve got!”

And I, for one, believe her.
This is a woman who was told she’d never walk again after contracting viral encephalitis in the year 2000. She had to learn to talk again, let alone sing.

At several points, she was reported close to death and media outlets the world over readied obituaries.

And today? Forget walking and talking, she’s singing and dancing like a mad woman, getting some of the best reviews of her career.

So what got her through?

“Faith,” she replies. “I had faith. Faith in myself, faith in God, faith in the people taking care of me, faith in my fans.
There was no great plan, I just had faith.”

And so Australia gets to see Liza’s Lazarus-like ‘second wind’ when Liza Minnelli in Concert begins in Sydney on October 16 and visits Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne, before winding up in Brisbane on October 30.
It marks Minnelli’s first visit to these shores since 1989, when she toured Australia with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jnr in The Ultimate Event.
“It’s been looong time,” Liza concedes. “And you know what? I don’t know why! I love Australia and Australians!”



Of course she does. She spent seven years married to one of us – one of our own famous stars, the late Peter Allen.
“He was just the best,” Liza recalls. “Absolutely the best. He wrote the best songs, he was so sensational. He was the kindest man you’d ever want to meet. And I was so lucky to get to know him.”

There was just one problem. Peter Allen was gay.

It’s been variously reported over the years that Liza knew this when she married him, but the Cabaret star categorically denies it when asked by Queensland Pride.

“Why would you ask that, honey?” she says, just a trifle testily. “I didn’t know. No, of course I didn’t know! And I don’t think he knew either. He hadn’t come to terms with it yet. And when he did, of course he told me and of course I said, ‘I understand’.
But it was hard.”

Liza is less understanding, however, of The Boy From Oz, the jukebox musical based on Allen’s life, which played to 1.2 million Australians in the late ’90s before moving to Broadway starring Hugh Jackman as Allen.

Liza was one of the main characters portrayed in the musical, as was her mother.

“I didn’t see it,” Liza replies airily, when I ask her opinion of it.
“I didn’t feel the need to,” she says, when pressed for a reason.
And then there’s a pause, followed by: “I had no need to see it, I lived it. I was there the first time. And nobody asked me anything about it; nobody could ask Peter anything. It was absolutely done without input from the people who were there.”



It should be noted that she says none of this with rancour. The words are delivered casually, almost sweetly.

Nor is she rancorous when asked about the image portrayed of her in some sections of the media; that of an out-of-control, drug-fuelled virago with a loose grasp on reality, to put it bluntly.
“I’m not a mess,” she maintains. “If I was a mess, there’s no way I could perform night after night, like I do. I’m one of the most disciplined people I know! But you know what? I don’t care what people say. They’re gonna say what they’re gonna say.”
Strong words, but again delivered sweetly, even pleasantly.
And again it strikes me that there’s nothing rancorous about Liza, nothing bitter.

Despite the well-documented heartaches, the very public relationship breakdowns, the near-death experiences, the drug addictions (Andy Warhol once recalled her demanding “every drug you’ve got”), and the mantle of tragedy surrounding her upbringing, Minnelli consciously chooses to focus on the good times.
The woman who once said “reality is something you rise above” seems to live by the words.

“Life is here to enjoy,” she tells me. “It’s a gift we’ve been given. There’s just no point dwelling on the bad times.”

Life is a cabaret, old chum?

“Yeah, that’s it,” she laughs.

And she sings in that unmistakable voice, loud and clear, quavering only so slightly with its 63 years.


“Life is a cabaret, old chum / Only a cabaret old chum / And I love a cab-aar-reeeeet!”
Liza Minnelli in Concert: 8pm Friday, October 30, 2009 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Boondall. Tickets ($99-$279) available from www.ticketek.com.au or 132 849.


Visit www.lizaminnelli.com.au for further details.



THE LIFE OF LIZA


1946
Liza is born to singer/actress Judy Garland and film director Vincente Minnelli.
1949 Makes her first film appearance (In The Good Old Summertime), at the age of three.

1963
Begins performing professionally on stage.

1964: Releases first album, Liza! Liza!; landmark appearance with Judy at the London Palladium.

1965
Becomes youngest person to win the Tony Award.

1967
Marries first of four husbands, Peter Allen. They divorce in 1974.
1972
Stars in Cabaret; wins Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe. Makes Liza with a Z television special.


1977
Stars in New York, New York, theme song of which becomes her signature song.

1981
Leading lady to Dudley Moore in hit film, Arthur.

1989
Releases acclaimed album Results, produced by the Pet Shop Boys.


1997
Returns to Broadway in Victor/Victoria.

2000
Reportedly close to death with viral encephalitis. Told she will never walk again.

2002

Triumphant Broadway return in Liza’s Back!; marries producer David Gest. They soon divorce, Gest claiming Liza is violent alcoholic with herpes.
2004
Joins cast of Arrested Development.

2009
Announces Liza Minnelli in Concert Australian tour including Brisbane performance on October 30.
A life celebration will be scheduled next month.

This Wednesday is Delores Hope's 100th Birthday! CBS is doing a celebration and I'm getting a group together to sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY Live on the air for her!
We will gather at CBS between 7AM & 7:15 to sing Happy Birthday to Delores!We want 100 voices for 100 years!

Time: 7:15AM at 59th and 5th (next to Apple store).
We are working on securing individuals now. Are you interested? Please forward this to EVERYONE YOU KNOW!

I can be reached at845-365-0720.Please call to confirm! DRESS NICELY! This will be seen nationally!

Thanks for everything.
Dolores will be in Los Angeles, where the party will be held that day. TEN DECADES OF DOLORES.
With grateful XOXOXs to all of you who have come through for me ESPECIALLY Georga Osborne!!
Richard Skipper 845-365-0720Don't forfet to contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/Foundation.htm

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!

Richard Skipper

Follow me on Twitter @RichardSkipper

The party resumes in the evening.
May 27
7pm
IGUANA VIP LOUNGE, 240 West 54th St. & Broadway
WEDNESDAY NIGHT OF THE IGUANA
I will be hosting in this new comedy and musical variety show, with special guest stars Ritt Henn, Bobbie Horowitz, Hector Coris, Bernadette Pauley, Maureen Taylor. Jordan Clawson on keyboard, Saadi Zain on bass...and a few other surprises as well!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Educators in 22 Pennsylvania districts strongly support arts education!


Educators in 22 Pennsylvania districts strongly support arts education, saying most of their students have displayed artwork or performed for the community, but fewer than half those educators are working with other teachers to integrate art into their lesson plans, according to a survey from a community arts council.
Teachers such as Scott Cole, whose fifth-graders create comic books in his class, say adding art into lesson plans is difficult under the constant pressure of state tests and standards.



The first lady traded Washington for New York Monday, with a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Mrs. Obama cut the ribbon at the re-opening of the newly renovated American Wing galleries and was joined by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
President Barack Obama's recent choice to lead the National Endowment for the Arts is Rocco Landesman, a successful Broadway producer whose credits include the current revival of Hair, along with The Producers, Angels in America and Big River. This effective, energetic businessman is also president of a company that owns five important New York theaters.

For years, school systems across the nation dropped the arts to concentrate on getting struggling students to pass tests in reading and math. Yet now, a growing body of brain research suggests that teaching the arts may be good for students across all disciplines.
As a child, I would entertain stuffed animals, dress in costumes and don a painted face. As a thirteen year old, I was given my first opportunity to be on a "professional" stage through the musical “Mame.”

I auditioned with high hopes of being cast as Patrick Dennis. Be instrumental in the life of a child and donate your long-forgotten, gently-used band instruments to a deserving music program!
The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center is excited to announce the upcoming launch of its second online auction, which runs June 12 - 27, 2009. It offers a fresh new way to support the Center's arts and education programs while getting the chance to bid on an impressive array of interesting items.
http://broadwayworld.com/article/Blumenthal_PAC_Launches_2nd_Online_Auction_61227_Benefits_Student_Arts_Program_20090518

Veteran PR exec Lee Solters dies. Solters, who represented such major stars as Carol Channing, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and Michael Jackson, was 89.
Solters repped Carol Channing and producer David Merrick for more than 40 years each. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003880.html?categoryid=15&cs=1

Scott Schechter (Seen here with David Kenney) SAD NEWS!Liza Minnelli and Judy Garland historian, reissue co-producer Scott Schechter dies of apparent heart attack at 48




Scott Schechter, Liza Minnelli’s webmaster who co-produced many album and DVD reissues of Judy Garland’s and Minnelli’s work (including Liza Minnelli: The Complete A & M Recordings), died suddenly Friday in New York City.
He was 48.

Here’s Schechter’s bio on Liza’s website:
Scott Schechter
Director of OfficialLizaMinnelli.com
Scott also appeared in my Judy Garland show when it ran at DON'T TELL MAMA here in NY in the late 90s.
Scott Schechter was an award-winning author, historian and producer, who consulted on and wrote for a multitude of media projects on Liza and her mother, including the CDs Liza Minnelli: The Complete Capitol Collection, the Judy box set, Classic Judy Garland: The Capitol Years 1955-1965, The Judy Garland Show: The Show That Got Away and Liza Minnelli: Ultimate Collection. Schechter was among those responsible for the release of Garland’s complete Carnegie Hall concert for the first time, available as Judy at Carnegie Hall: Fortieth Anniversary Edition, and back in 1998 he created the concept of there being DVDs of her legendary long-lost CBS variety series.
Schechter was the author of the world’s first book to concentrate on Liza’s extensive body of work -- the critically acclaimed book on Minnelli's career, The Liza Minnelli Scrapbook.
For more information, visit ScottSchechter.com or by clicking on the “about” section of Liza’s official German site: LizaMinnelli.de

Below is the e-mail sent to friends from Gary Klein, brother of Schechter’s partner, Russell, announcing the producer’s death.
Also, the Kleins are seeking members of Schechter’s family, to inform them of his passing.


Sent: Sat, 16 May 2009 10:37 am
Subject: To friends of Scott Schechter

Dear friend of Scott Schechter,

I am very sorry to have to inform you that there has been a terrible tragedy that has taken the life of Scott Schechter early Friday morning, May 15th, 2009. On his way home from NYC, after spending the day doing what he loved most (working on his writing), Scott collapsed on the train and died of what medical examiners say is an apparent heart attack.
He was 48 and is survived by his partner for 8 years, Russell.

You are receiving this email because you are included on a list of contacts that Scott gave to Russell in 2004.
I am Russell’s brother, Gary. Together with Scott’s and Russell’s friends, I am helping to contact all those who knew Scott at one time or another.

Unfortunately, though Scott had many friends, he has not been in contact with his family for several years.
All efforts to locate Scott’s immediate family thus far by NJ authorities and Scott’s close friends have failed. We believe that he has a brother and a sister in the Northeast section of Philadelphia.
If you have any information regarding how to contact any family members, please respond to this email address so we can inform Scott’s family as soon as possible. Arrangements for Scott final resting place must be put on hold until his family is contacted so please help if you can.

Again, I am very sorry to have to inform you of this news. We will all miss Scott.
Gary KleinRemember to GO SEE A LIVE SHOW THIS WEEK! I'm going to start a new feature this week and showcase one of my performer friends.
I want to start with my friend Sandy Anderson's Tribute to Dolly Parton. Please visit BLUE MOON TALENT! http://www.bluemoontalent.com/sandy-anderson.html
Yes, That's Sandy singing! Book her for your next special event! You will not be disappointed! Tell them I sent you.

Remember my involvement with Weston High School's (Connecticut)production of HELLO, DOLLY! back in March? Well here is a clip of Samantha Rehr as Dolly Levi! See for yourself why this production excited me.
Please add your comments to the YOUTUBE site as well.

Don't forfet to contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/Foundation.htm

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!

Richard Skipper

Follow me on Twitter @RichardSkipper
NO HUMP NIGHT OF THE IGUANA SHOW TONIGHT! WEDNESDAY, MAY 20TH. Joan Crowe, who hosts this Wednesday night party at IGUANA'S VIP LOUNGE (240 West 54th Street, NYC - 212-765-5454 - http://www.iguananyc.com/ ) will celebrating her birthday instead.
The party resumes on Wednesday, May 27th with ME!
May 27
7pm
IGUANA VIP LOUNGE, 240 West 54th St. & Broadway
WEDNESDAY NIGHT OF THE IGUANA
Show Description: Joan Crowe has asked me to take over WEDNESDAY NIGHT OF THE IGUANA! I will be hosting in this new comedy and musical variety show, along with special guest stars Ritt Henn, Bobbie Horowitz,Hector Coris, and Maureen Taylor...and a few other surprises as well!

Friday, May 15, 2009

KEEPING LIVE THEATRE AND ARTS IN EDUCATION ALIVE!


"It is doubtful if anyone ever made a success of anything who waited until all the conditions were 'just right' before starting." ~Author Unknown

Tomorrow night, May 16th, Arts Council Of Rockland will award a total of $14,000 in scholarships to 6 graduating Rockland high school seniors going on to further their artistic educations. I was on the committee to distribute this money.
It's a lovely program where the winners demonstrate their work. The program is free and open to the public. It begins at 7:30 p.m. at the ACOR offices. If you'd like to see how ACOR is cultivating future professional artists (and supporting these young people and their families, in particular), please attend. http://wwwartscouncilofRockland.org
Word leaked Wednesday that highly regarded Jujamcyn Theaters impresario Rocco Landesman would be tapped by President Obama as the next chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts! Read more about that at the end of this blog.
Recently, two-thirds of a school group missed experiencing "Cats" because Kentucky students must have a C average to take part in a field trip.

These less-than-C's are the very ones who need this experience more than all of those A's put together. My life was changed because of the experience that only theatre can make happen.
Live theatre touches a chord, enlightens, enlivens and enriches all curricula, allowing students to understand a seemingly not understandable Shakespearean play.
I was remembering today my first experience in live theatre. It was in MAME at the Theatre of the Republic in Conway, South Carolina. I was mesmerized by the other performers in the cast. I wanted to be strong like Mame and definitely wanted to have an opening number like hers.
When I left the theatre that first night, I felt inspired and just down right in a good mood.
The Arts are among the most important things we learn about in school. They provide a well-rounded education not based on a test's requirements.
As you can probably tell by now, I am pretty serious about getting things done which means I take action on the things that are important to all of us. People have been writing to me about regional causes. That's awesome.
Jo Schuman Silver, producer of "Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon," has selected nine Bay Area finalists for the Steve Silver Foundation and Beach Blanket Babylon Scholarship for the Arts.
One winner in each category will be presented with a check for $10,000 to go toward their college education.


Do you realize how lucky we are to be able to see LIVE SHOWS!?!?! Here are a few of my recommendations. Please tell them I sent you. Rick Skye and Madame are performing 3 - count 'em - 3 shows in New Hope at Harlan's at the Nevermore this Gay Pride weekend. You can read more about Rick by going to his website, http://www.RickSkye.com



This Friday & Saturday

May 15 & 16


RONNY WHYTE
Boots Maleson, bass
at
KNICKERBOCKER
9TH Street & University Place


NYC
212. 228. 8490

9.45 PM ~ 2 AM

Next Wednesday night, a group of us are going to see Rob Langedar's closing night at The Metropolitan Room. If you're in NY and would like to join us, please contact me at 845-365-0720. A MAC Award-winning vocalist, ROB LANGEDER presents ANY PLACE I HANG MY HAT..., a raucous romp though all-time song favorites - and a few lesser-known gems! This terrific tune-fest includes songs made famous by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat "King" Cole and Elvis Costello among others!
My friend Jana Robbins is taping the new Barry Z show this Tuesday with Gregory Hines, but I don't know if it airs live or on what channel.
Project Runway's Tim Gunn Has Style!
Tim Gunn Book CoverYou are cordially invited to join Tim Gunn
at a gala cocktail party hosted by
Simona & Jerry Chazen
543 North Broadway, Nyack, NY 10960
Sunday, May 31, 2009, 3 ~ 6 pm
to support and celebrate VCS Gay Pride Rockland

Please share this invitation with friends who may wish to be there, too.
Each guest will receive a copy of
Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality,Taste & Style
$125 per person ~ Festive Attire ~ Valet Parking
RSVP with check to Gay Pride Rockland, 77 S. Main St., New City, NY 10956,
Click here or call 845 634-5729 to pay by AmEx, Discover, MC or Visa
Nyack's own Simona and Jerry Chazen, highly recognized philanthropists, art collectors and supporters of many organizations, are our hosts. Just seeing their home, known for its beauty, uniqueness and art, is a special experience.
PS Participate in a raffle to win lunch for two with Tim Gunn at the Bryant Park Grill in NYC. Click here to buy raffles or call 845 634-5729 ~ $10 each or 3 for $25. (Drawing May 31 ~ Date of lunch contingent on Tim Gunn's schedule ~ Winner need not be present.)
Catering provided by The Nyack Seaport & Two Spear Street

The right-wing National Organization for Marriage, which helped pass Proposition 8, is trying desperately to reverse our victories in Maine and elsewhere – pumping in resources, staff, and $1.5 million in anti-LGBT ads. It's been a whirlwind of progress toward marriage equality. Vermont. Iowa. Washington, D.C. And an incredible win in Maine.



Rocco Landesman to Head the NEA! At the Clyde Fitch Report, http://www.clydefitchreport.com/?p=2122.


Remember to GO SEE A LIVE SHOW THIS WEEK!

Contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/Foundation.htm

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!

Richard Skipper

Follow me on Twitter @RichardSkipper

AND DON'T FORGET:
May 27
7pm
IGUANA VIP LOUNGE, 240 West 54th St. & Broadway
WEDNESDAY NIGHT OF THE IGUANA
Show Description: Joan Crowe has asked me to take over WEDNESDAY NIGHT OF THE IGUANA! Richard will be hosting in this new comedy and musical variety show, along with special guest stars Ritt Henn, Bobbie Horowitz,Hector Coris, and Maureen Taylor...and a few other surprises as well!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

HAPPY 6th Anniversary, CAROL CHANNING AND HARRY KULLIJIAN!



So today, I want to remind you of the
DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS.
You say "arts and education" to people and their eyes glaze over. Mention it on a broadcast and viewers will flip the channel so the anchors go to something else.
This week, President Obama released his FY 2010 budget request to the Congress. It includes $38.16 million for the US Department of Education’s (DOE) Arts in Education program. This is distinctly different from years past; at one time, previous administrations proposed zeroing out this program altogether.
There's no easy visual component to an issue like public funding of arts in education. So it's as if the issue does not exist!

The Arts are among the most important things we learn about in school. They provide a well-rounded education not based on a test's requirements.Every study of how to make cities more attractive to prospective citizens, new businesses, etc. says that a thriving arts scene is a key issue. So of course the local yokel politicos ignore that and invest in new stadiums.

The return to the teaching of the arts in the public schools in the State of California requires that the State and its citizens reevaluate, reexamine and rethink the benefits to be derived from a complete and adequate education that includes exposure to the arts as a part of the regular curriculum. Education, not only in the arts but education as a whole in California and throughout the United States must be lifted to a considerably higher priority. If we do not act upon this soon and begin serious discussions about remedying this increasingly serious lack of the standards for which this country was known, we are at risk to lose the main ingredient of the world class goals of a true democracy.
With more that 4,000 in attendance, Carol Channing was honored for her unstinting support of the arts in education at the PTA Convention on May 2nd, 2009. The Children's Arts Advocate Award 2009 - the state PTA's first such award - was presented to the First Lady of Musical Theatre during an appearance at the organization's 110th annual convention. She and her husband, Harry Kullijian spoke to a crowd of thousands of PTA members and delegates, representing the organization's nearly 1 million volunteer members in the state of California.
See more here: http://broadwayworld.com/article/Photo_Flash_PTA_Honored_Carol_Channing_On_52_20090506

Once again, Happy Anniversary, Carol and Harry! Wow! What you have accomplished these past six years! I can't wait to see what the next six years bring!
Also, Happy Mother's Day to ALL Mothers!
If you have or had a great mother, celebrate.
If you have or had a horrible mother - celebrate being great despite parental abuse.
Everyone rocks.

It is with saddened hearts that I inform you of the passing of one of the most popular and beloved of all actors and comedians Dom DeLuise.
Mr. DeLuise passed away last week in Los Angeles, CA at the age of 75.
More than 20 years of film and television appearances include the successful "Cannonball Run" films, Mr. DeLuise is well remembered also as a dead ringer for celebrity Chef Paul Prudhomme. A chef himself, DeLuise authored two cookbooks and frequently appeared on morning television whipping up his favorites.

The following was sent by Sharion Daniels:


What can I say about Danny Gans? As a fellow impressionist, he did not disappoint!

As soon as you got off the plane and arrived at the Vegas airport, what did you see?
Billboards of Danny Ganz as the entertainer of the year over and over again. Every year for at least a decade it has been Danny!
And so, having been in this business for so many years and only seeing Danny perform on a short spot on Regis many years ago...as Danny did not promote himself on television...I could not wait to catch his act.
At that time he was at the Mirage. Danny, who was blessed to be in that tremendous theater, entered with a hair raising bang!
His singing impressions were astounding, with his impeccable dance moves to go along with them.
His voices and comedic timing were right on, pleasing his audience to the nth degree. Not to mention his drama...Phantom of the Opera and a stunning Al Pacino from Scent of a woman come to mind.
And to top it off, a band to beat the bands, enhancing his precious gifts to thrill his audience to no end!

Danny, a handsome, gifted performer and family man was taken from us so quickly I could not believe the words I heard Friday, May 1st, 2009.
What strikes me most about Danny? His striving to push the envelope to please audiences of all ages by doing the gamut of entertainers from George Burns to Michael Jackson, to Nat King Cole and his daughter Natalie.
His classic Tony Bennet or his cool Smokey Robinson, along with Kermit the Frog to bring out the kid in all of us.

There are few famous celebrities that Danny did not do, male And female, leaving each audience touched, full and electrified!

Danny was a religious man who put family first. May his spirit shine eternally.


Danny, you have been an inspiration to me to strive to be the very best, as your memory will bring out the best in all of us in this business.
You will be sorely missed. Rest in peace, Danny.

FOREVER PLAID 20th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL
SINGS ITS WAY INTO SELECT MOVIE THEATERS NATIONWIDE WITH FIRST-EVER, LIVE SING-A-LONG
FOR ONLY ONE NIGHT THIS JULY

NCM Fathom and Forever Plaid Productions Present
Special Anniversary Big Screen Event Featuring
Exclusive LIVE Performances by Select Members of the Original Cast
FOREVER PLAID SINGS ITS WAY INTO SELECT MOVIE THEATERS NATIONWIDE WITH FIRST-EVER, LIVE SING-A-LONG (from Harlan Boll) – May 11, 2009 – “Forever Plaid,” one of Off-Broadway’s most popular and critically acclaimed musicals, is making its first appearance on the big screen in the Forever Plaid 20th Anniversary Special event on Thursday, July 9th.
Select members from the original “Forever Plaid” cast will introduce the event LIVE from the red carpet at Los Angeles’ Club Nokia to fans in movie theaters across the country, followed by a specially-taped 20th Anniversary performance of “Forever Plaid.” Audiences across the country will experience a memorable evening, combining the 20th Anniversary event classic production with new and interactive twists, including a first-ever LIVE, coast-to-coast in-theater sing-a-long with “The Plaids.”




Mickey Carroll, who starred in the classic film, “The Wizard of Oz,” passed away on Thursday.
According to Reuters, Carroll had died of natural causes at the home of his caretaker in Crestwood, Missouri.


Carroll, whose given name was Michael Finocchiaro, was in the entertainment business early in his life as a child. One of his first jobs was appearing in seven episodes of the Spanky and Our Gang series, in which he played as “Mickey.”

He attended school with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. After becoming friends with Garland, she offered him a part in the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz.

Carroll accepted the role as the Munchkinland’s violin-playing “Town Crier.”
His costume consisted of a purple cloak with a yellow flower sticking out of his striped vest.

In 2007, Carroll and a few other surviving Munchkins attended a ceremony that dedicated a Munchkin star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

On a good note, Joan Crowe, who has been hosting HUMP NIGHT AT THE IGUANA for several months is now moving on to other projects. She asked me to take over! I'm thrilled!
My first night to host is on the 27th! I hope you'll join me. My special guest performer that night is Ritt Henn (who was my base player for some time!). Other guests to be announced. If you have any suggestions for guest stars, please let me know!Remember to GO SEE A LIVE SHOW THIS WEEK!

Contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/Foundation.htm

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!

Richard Skipper

Follow me on Twitter @RichardSkipper

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

RIP-DANNY GANS


RIP-DANNY GANS
This is very sad news. My prayers are with his family and loved ones.Danny Gans, a singer, actor and impressionist who for nearly two decades was one of the most popular entertainers on the Las Vegas Strip, died suddenly in his sleep last Friday.
He was 52.Officials at Wynn Resorts, where Gans had performed at the Encore Theater since February, and at The Mirage, where he performed for more than eight years before that, reported that Gans died suddenly in his sleep.
Gans was found dead about 3 a.m. by his wife, Julie, at their home in Henderson, said Wynn Resorts spokeswoman Jennifer Dunne.


Henderson police did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment, and the Clark County coroner's office said no information about Gans was immediately available.

Steve Wynn just released the following statement: "Elaine and I and all of us in the Company are devastated at the loss of our brilliant, talented and loving friend. One of the most unique human beings and entertainers in the world has been taken from us in an unexpected moment.
A profoundly tragic event that leaves us all sad and speechless. The loss of Danny to his wife Julie, his children Amy, Andrew & Emily is at this moment impossible to comprehend.
We will all try to go on with our lives without our dear friend. At this moment it seems almost impossible."

My colleagues and I have been following with interest and dismay the reduction of the arts programs in public schools across the country. There is no longer a dance program at most high schools and theatre arts programs have been cut to one class if that many, virtually assuring some students will not be able to participate due to other class conflicts. Video production programs have been eliminated and music staff cut to one instrumental teacher and half time choral teachers.
CATHY LOGAN, AN ART TEACHER, said her classes teach children "a level of abstraction and open-mindedness that they'll be able to use for the rest of their lives." And it's something they come to school looking forward to. "They are so excited when they come in for art," she said.
"The first thing I have to do is calm them down. They are so excited to have that opportunity to be creative." Those students need a place to continue their arts education.

From the days when each high school had separate dance, band, choir, orchestra, and theatre teachers, we have come to the present situation.The ongoing effort to raise money for the Dr. Carol Channing Foundation for the Arts continues!


Legendary comedian and Celebrity Apprentice finalist JOAN RIVERS brings her live stand-up act to Times Square as she presents an evening of her newest and most outrageous riffs on Hollywood, pop culture, celebrities, and award show fashions.

A limited number of tickets are still available for the Tuesday May 19th performance. The Tuesday May 12th, and Wednesday May 13th and May 20th performances have sold out.
When you order tickets (normally $30) using the promotional code JC25, you will pay only $25. Order your tickets now at http://www.facebook.com/l/c097e;https://www.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/650115 or by calling 212-352-3101.

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Joan's favorite charities, God's Love We Deliver and Guide Dogs for the Blind.The following is from Cindy Adams ColumnIt was once said that a black man would be president when pigs fly. Well . . . behold . . 100 days into his presidency . . . swine flu!

ATTENTION: Dolly Parton reps. As the messenger, I hereby offer a large, big, fat healthy offer. B'way producer James Nederlander -- in whose Marriot Marquis Theatre "9 to 5" is up and running -- wants Dolly for "Dolly." Three cities. New York, Chicago, LA. Ten weeks each. Percentage, plus salary. Enough to keep her in wigs for a really long time. Call.
So, at her "9 to 5" opening, Dolly told me: "I don't even know if I'm nervous or not. I mean, who's had the time to take time to see?" she grinned. "I've been so rushed, I'm lucky I could even get myself together. Couldn't do it if I didn't wear a wig. I wear wigs, y'know. (Wowee, what a surprise revelation!!!!!!!) I've been running straight through nonstop since early today. Got up 5:30 this morning, did 'The View' and never stopped once. All I did to get myself dressed for tonight's opening was manage to jazz up my makeup.

It's been on all day. Did it myself early this morning.
I always do all my own makeup.
So just now I ran home to change and throw on a little more paint, touch up the makeup with some more gloss and glitter, and here I am."

Standing alongside were Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, who originally made this film back in the Stone Age. Said Lily: "We three stayed close all these years. We talk and e-mail all the time. I'm thrilled I could be here for this because I'm doing concerts all over the country and I'm coming out in a Lisa Kudrow movie, which right now only has a working title." And who dressed her for this premiere? "You kidding?
This jacket is vintage. Years ago I bought every old vintage jacket on the rack, and I'm still wearing them."

As for Jane Fonda: "I saw this musical in workshop in LA a few months ago and I know it's great, but I can't say anything more because I'm losing my voice and I have to save whatever I have left because I have a show to do tonight."
Other theatre news: The limited engagement of Waiting For Godot had its official opening last week at Studio 54 starring Nathan Lane, Bill Irwin, John Goodman and John Glover.-The soundtrack to Big Gay Musical will be released on July 14th.-PBS will broadcast a documentary about Passing Strange in the 2010 season.
Carrie Fisher's solo show Wishful Drinking opens on Broadway October 4th at Studio 54. Previews begin September 22nd.-R&B diva Ashanti to play Dorothy in this summer's limited run of THE WIZ!

Singing in the Rain
The Eighth Annual New Songwriters Showcase
By Jerry Osterberg

On a recent Saturday afternoon the rain poured down while everyone inside the Musicians Union Hall of Local 802 sang Buddy DeSylva’s “April Showers,” with gusto. ene Kelly was nowhere in sight, nor was Al Jolson. The entire meeting on April 11 was devoted to the Eighth Annual New Songwriters Showcase, produced by Sandi Durell, who also acted as the Emcee. The room was packed by the time NYSMS President Linda Amiel Burns welcomed the enthusiastic membership, including cabaret performer, Karen Akers, all eagerly waiting to hear more than a dozen talented singers present the new material of equally talented songwriters.

The program began with two songs written by David Conforte: “Just Sing,” performed by Trisha Rapier, and “Take That You Dirty Rat,” neatly evoking a memory of Jimmy Cagney, sung by Kevin Reed. Richard Danley accompanied both singers. “Just Sing” is from Conforte’s latest project, “Sing”, a musical based on the life of Linda Amiel Burns.
Along the way, there were musical diversions about Christmas, impractical clothes, near extinct dances, Joni Mitchell, dead Hollywood legends, men with too much time on their hands – literally, Obama, blue Chevrolets, and getting old albeit not gracefully. Among the composers and lyricists on hand were William Zeffiro, Brad Ross, Joe Keenan, Ellen Greenfield, Alan Cancelino, and Hector Coris.

Accompanied by Tracy Stark, Marni Nixon took center stage to present a number that may as well have been written for her – “You’ll Never See It Again.” The lyrics by Peter Napolitano, with music by Matthew Ward, addressed Hollywood life during the golden age of the 1950’s, a time when Ms. Nixon could have walked among the stars unrecognized, unless she sang “I Could Have Danced All Night,” in the voice of Audrey Hepburn, or “Shall We Dance?” in the persona of Deborah Kerr. Marni graciously signed copies of her autobiography, “I Could Have Sung All Night,” a marvelous telling of her own stardom.
Other singers performing included Jennifer Wren, Sierra Rein, Summer Broyhill, Gabrielle Visser, Katherine Pecevich, Dominic Sheahan-Stahl, and Hector Coris, who sang his own composition, “Obama Button.” Another performer doing her own material was Annie Lebeaux. One piece – “Beyond That Fog” - described how a tour guide leading a church group around the top of the Empire State Building coped on an especially foggy day. Clearly, no pun intended, the visitors would have required a vivid imagination.

Fresh from a well-received show at the Metropolitan Room were Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano. Written by Alyce Finell, with assistance from Eric on the music, “The Ding Dong Song” was delivered by Mr. Comstock who accompanied himself. After acknowledging Finell’s impressive career, Ms. Fasano performed “How Does It Happen?” Known primarily as an award-winning television producer before adding songwriting to her resume, Alyce Finell now serves as co-director of the Mabel Mercer Foundation and as Administrator for the popular Cabaret Convention in New York City and elsewhere.
The varied program also included songs such as “The Road to Ruin,” “What the Hell - It’s Christmas,” “Who Wears These Clothes?” “How Sad No One Waltzes Anymore,” “ I Played With Myself,” “ Speed Dial,” and “Come Home” The last piece was sung by Julie Reyburn, who was accompanied by Mark Janas, and is the winner of numerous awards, including two MAC awards. She’ll be returning to Feinstein’s in the fall for the second time.

Jeff Blumenkranz spent several years as an actor, performing on Broadway and television before turning to songwriting. A recording of his song, “I Won’t Mind” performed by Audra McDonald, provided a huge boast to his career. Since then his songs have been recorded by a number of stars, and he’s captured a Tony nomination for Best Original Score for “Urban Cowboy.” For the New Songwriter program, he sang “Hold My Hand,” and “Blue Chevrolet,” in which the acquisition of an “EZ Pass” changes things forever..

The grand finale was performed by Trudy Mann, Donna Trinkoff, and Sandi Durell, (stepping out of her producer role briefly) performing “Getting’ Old Really Sucks” and “E- Harmony,” both written by Kezia Hirsey and June Rachelson-Ospa. The extensive experience of the seasoned trio was much in evidence throughout, and provided a great
finish to a most entertaining program, prompting big smiles and loud applause by everyone in the room.

(Sandi Durell is on the Board of Directors of the NYSMS and reviews for
Cabaret Scenes Magazine www.cabaretscenes.org and Broadway After Dark www.BroadwayAfterDark.com Visit www.TimelessDivas.com for additional information. Last summer, I had the incredible pleasure of starrring as Carol Channing as Dolly Levi in HELLO, DOLLY! at The Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park for The Revision Theatre.
Well, this year they are doing FUNNY GIRL STARRING STEVEN BRINBERG AS BARBRA STREISAND AS FANNY BRICE! It is a "One Night Only Benefit Performance"/ Saturday, July 11 at 8:00pm/ Paramount Theatre on the Boardwalk. I'm going to support Steven and The Revision Theatre. I hope you'll join me! Please forward this info. Let's pack the theatre once again! Remember to GO SEE A LIVE SHOW THIS WEEK!

Contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/Foundation.htm

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!

Richard Skipper