Sunday, August 30, 2009

HAPPY END OF AUGUST!

Can you believe it!?!?! Where is this year going to? It is flying way too fast for me!
I have so much to write about today. This will be a long blog. I leave on Tuesday for Malibu and this will be my last blog till the 10th!

Have a great Labor Day weekend! Here goes...

Liza Minnelli's still got the razzle dazzle
Hollywood Bowl concert shows singer's magic endures.
By PAUL HODGINS
The Orange County Register



What becomes a legend most?

An adoring audience.
If you've got them on your side, nothing else matters.
Liza Minnelli had us worshipping at her altar Friday night at the Hollywood Bowl.

Her two-hour concert was an amazing display of showbiz savvy transforming weaknesses into strengths and flaws into poignant moments.

Minnelli is 63 now, and her wayward life is legend. Fellow diva Barbra Streisand has treated her voice like a pampered poodle and managed her career like a sergeant major.

Minnelli marches to her own drumbeat, sometimes eerily reminiscent of her mother's . Over the years the gossip press has followed Liza's travails like hounds after a hare, feasting on her drug abuse problems, uneven performances, wavering voice and trail of broken romances.

Recently, though, Minnelli has blazed a comeback trail. She won a Tony earlier this year for "Liza's at the Palace," the crowning achievement of a 75-city tour. Her appearance at the Hollywood Bowl is a prelude to an engagement next month at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
How did she do it? By embracing and even celebrating her shortcomings, not trying to gloss over them.
Minnelli's instrument is well past its prime. It was never a perfect voice, but at the height of her powers (most famously, her iconic performance as Sally Bowles in Bob Fosse's 1972 film version of "Cabaret") there was a thrilling lustiness and bravura to her delivery – think of the way she slayed "Mein Herr."

More than three tumultuous decades older, Minnelli's voice sounds fragile and its shortcomings are more apparent.
The chief culprit is breath support. She struggles to finish long phrases and seems winded after upbeat songs. That epic vibrato has widened to Grand Canyon proportions.


Minnelli can still sell a song like nobody else alive. Performing Broadway tunes is as much about acting and persona power as vocal technique, and in those departments Minnelli is better than ever.

Backed by a 12-piece orchestra playing lush arrangements, Minnelli didn't give us a string of chestnuts. "Cabaret" was lightly represented by its title song and "Maybe This Time." Kander and Ebb's earlier hit, "Flora the Red Menace" – the musical that gave 19-year-old Minnelli her breakout role and first Tony – was ignored on Friday. (We were hoping, at least, for the beautiful "A Quiet Thing"; its lyrics would have been a great opener.)

Nevertheless, the material was well chosen. For longtime Minnelli fans the lyrics in songs such as "I Would Never Leave You," "Cabaret," "My Own Best Friend" and "Maybe This Time" were pregnant with allusions to her life.

Friday evening was hot and nearby fires made the air treacherous for anyone singing or even breathing. Minnelli carefully marshaled her energy, bringing out a chair midway through the first act. She joked that in the old days it remained on the sidelines until after intermission.

Only a celebrity with this public a life and this rabid a following could possibly get away with it.


"We're all in this together," she said at the top of the evening, referring to the heat and the challenges it presented. Enlisting the audience's sympathy is an old showbiz trick that Minnelli has learned as well as anyone, and it worked like Merlin magic.
The crowd's affection bubbled over. "We love you, Liza," someone screamed more than once.


Another sign of Minnelli's confidence: she dared to evoke thoughts of another diva during her Palace Medley, a grab-bag of song snippets sculpted around the thrill of playing at New York's famous venue.
The audience loved it.


Every diva knows how to finish an act, and Minnelli is an old pro.

Minnelli delivered it with a touch of world-weariness, characterized by less-than-pinpoint accuracy in the phrasing and intonation. The song contained one of those art-imitating-life lines: "Well, that's what comes from too much pills and liquor." She milked the moment perfectly without saying a word; a knowing look was all it took.
Minnelli also offered a bit of touching revisionism at the song's end, which brought a supportive cheer from the huge house: "When I go, I'm NOT going like Elsie!"


The evening ended with another Kander and Ebb standard, "New York, New York." Minnelli gave it the old razzle dazzle. She even found an opportune moment or two for a display of jazz hands (Minnelli must be the only performer alive who can use that gesture without irony). Predictably, it brought a standing O.
Fragile as she seemed, Minnelli had the energy for a quiet encore with her beloved accompanist, Billy Stritch: Cole Porter's "Every Time We Say Goodbye." It was a melancholy valentine to the audience.
Perched like a bird on the edge of Stritch's piano stool, wearing a black T shirt, Minnelli looked eerily like her mother. (The illusion is reinforced by her persona: the tumbled-out words and vulnerability are spookily Judy-like.)

Judy Garland, of course, was dead by 47. Liza is still very much with us – and the way her career is humming along now, I'd say all the odds are in her favor.
Contact the writer: 714-796-7979 or phodgins@ocregister.com


An opening date has been set for the previously announced Broadway transfer of the Olivier Award-winning revival of La Cage aux Folles.
The production’s Olivier Award-winning star, Douglas Hodge, will make his Broadway debut as Albin. The revival will open on April 18, 2010 at a Shubert theater to be announced, directed by Terry Johnson.

The London revival of La Cage aux Folles played at the Menier Chocolate Factory from November 23, 2007, to March 8, 2008, and moved to the West End’s Playhouse Theatre on October 30, 2008, where it is still running.
No other casting for the Broadway production has been announced.
Featuring music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and a book by Harvey Fierstein (based on the play by Jean Poiret), La Cage aux Folles centers on Georges, who owns a Saint-Tropez nightclub, his partner Albin (who headlines under the name Zaza), and Georges’ son, Jean-Michel, who’s engaged to the daughter of a right-wing politico.

The original 1983 Broadway production won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book for Fierstein and Best Score for Herman and ran for more than four years. A 2004 Broadway revival met with mixed reviews and lasted fewer than eight months.

Hodge’s London theater credits include Guys and Dolls, Titus Andronicus and Dumb Show (Olivier nomination). His film work includes Vanity Fair, Scenes of a Sexual Nature and the upcoming The Descent 2. His television work has included roles in Mansfield Park, Middlemarch, Men of The Month, True Love, Red Cap, It Could Be You, The Way We Live Now and Spooks.

La Cage aux Folles features choreography by Lynne Page, set design by Tim Shortall, costume design by Matthew Wright, lighting design by Nick Richings, wig and makeup design by Richard Mawbey and orchestrations by Jason Carr.

The 2010 Broadway revival will be produced by Sonia Friedman, David Babani for the Menier Chocolate Factory, Fran and Barry Weissler and Robert Bartner/Norman Tulchin











The following is a letter from Barack Obama regarding Ted Kennedy's death:
Michelle and I were heartbroken to learn this morning of the death of our dear friend, Senator Ted Kennedy.

For nearly five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well-being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts.


His ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and reflected in millions of lives -- in seniors who know new dignity; in families that know new opportunity; in children who know education's promise; and in all who can pursue their dream in an America that is more equal and more just, including me.

In the United States Senate, I can think of no one who engendered greater respect or affection from members of both sides of the aisle. His seriousness of purpose was perpetually matched by humility, warmth and good cheer. He battled passionately on the Senate floor for the causes that he held dear, and yet still maintained warm friendships across party lines. And that's one reason he became not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy.

I personally valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the Presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I've benefited as President from his encouragement and wisdom.

His fight gave us the opportunity we were denied when his brothers John and Robert were taken from us: the blessing of time to say thank you and goodbye.
The outpouring of love, gratitude and fond memories to which we've all borne witness is a testament to the way this singular figure in American history touched so many lives.

For America, he was a defender of a dream. For his family, he was a guardian. Our hearts and prayers go out to them today -- to his wonderful wife, Vicki, his children Ted Jr., Patrick and Kara, his grandchildren and his extended family.

Today, our country mourns. We say goodbye to a friend and a true leader who challenged us all to live out our noblest values. And we give thanks for his memory, which inspires us still.

Sincerely,

President Barack Obama


Imagine a hotel where, in a single weekend, Brad and Angelina, Jennifer Aniston, John Mayer, and Jessica Simpson all stay under the same roof—without a single catfight or a single tabloid reporter there to document the drama. Sound impossible?

It’s not if the “celebrities” are look-alikes, and the hotel is hosting the annual Celebrity Impersonators Conference.
Here, not only do all of today’s A-list stars get along—even long-gone VIPs come to join the party.
This might be the only place in the world (apart from a wax museum) where you can get a photo op alongside Elvis and Marilyn Monroe.

This gathering for faux celebrities—and those who appreciate them—is just one of the wacky conventions that happen around the world every year. And given the thousands of people who congregate at these fetes to celebrate their shared passion for horror movies, cake decorating, and TV sitcoms, the fun of uniting around a common interest seems abundantly clear.


“The community of celebrity impersonators and tribute artists is one huge family,” says Janna Joos, director of the conference. “These kids are amazing to see networking with each other—Cher sharing with other Chers, Tina tapping out dance steps with other Tinas, Tim McGraw comparing cowboy hats with other Tims, or Oprah dishing the gossip with Whoopi.”

No matter the common ground, it’s fair to say conventions bring people together—both literally and figuratively.


Perhaps the best-known example of this phenomenon is Comic Con, the annual comics convention in San Diego that draws a motley crowd of geeks, celebrities, artists, writers, and gamers. The event has such broad appeal and is so heavily promoted and anticipated that even non-comics enthusiasts around the world know about it. (As such, it’s become enough of a cultural norm that it didn’t even make our “World’s Strangest” list.)
Want some guaranteed celeb sightings, without having to battle the paparazzi? Head to the Celebrity Impersonators Convention in Las Vegas (March 1–3, 2010), where you can mingle with Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, and Elvis Presley; wink at Sarah Palin while discussing healthcare reform with Barack Obama; croon alongside Frank Sinatra before voguing with Madonna ... you get the idea.

The annual World Toilet Summit & Expo, however, is another story.
It may seem bizarre that a quotidian fixture like a toilet could inspire an entire weekend convention—one that brings together droves of toilet-industry professionals, innovators, buyers, and, ahem, everyday end-users. But such gatherings aren’t unusual at all. Witness the LEGO World conference, for example, where lovers of the brightly colored childhood building blocks amass each year. Or the Sunshine State Eggfest, a Florida convention for devotees of a particular brand of barbecue grill.


It seems, in fact, that for every human activity or passion or fad, there’s a conference somewhere where people can commemorate it. And if some of these mass gatherings seem odd, well, it’s also kind of nice—heartwarming, even—that they exist. No matter how eccentric or unusual your secret hobby is, these conventions will make you realize: you’re not alone.



Michael Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center, makes the point in a column for the Huffington Post, that there are nine different federal agencies that support art projects: the NEA, the NEH, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, plus the Departments of Commerce, Education, State, Agriculture, Defense, and Transportation.


And none of these coordinate with the others. To a degree, Kaiser echoes what Baylor prof David Smith argues in his book, Money for Art: It’d help — in deciding what art gets funded and by how much — if we first decided what federal arts funding is for. That way, we could all get behind the program (or not) and see the money more effectively targeted:

The problem is not that federal funding for the arts is unwarranted; the problem is that we need to be assured, as citizens, that we are getting the most value for our money.
What is needed is a coordinated approach to arts grants to ensure that the arts programming supported by federal funds truly serves our national interest.


But how can we accomplish this? How can we coordinate the efforts of so many federal agencies? There has been discussion of the need for a Ministry of Culture in the United States. I am concerned that the formation of such an entity would cost too much and put too little money in the hands of the grassroots arts organizations which truly do the most important arts work in this nation and rarely get the spotlight.
(Why do we always use arts celebrities to lobby for government support? Doesn’t anyone realize that the American people do not believe their tax dollars should support the work of the most famous and richest performers?)


[Not to dismiss Kaiser's point but to explain what seems to me the thinking behind the tactic: Arts supporters trot out the stars because, although they may not win over the average American, they wake up Congressional committee members who like to hobnob with the celebrated and beautiful. It's one of the few perks that arts lobbyists can offer politicians -- instead of barrels of raw cash. The stars also draw attention to arts issues from Washington's political journalists who otherwise couldn't care unless some art work is causing a scandal.]
Instead, we need someone in the administration, perhaps the new Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts [that would be Rocco Landesman], to provide leadership and coordination to ensure that all grants-making agencies are working in a common direction and that the money expended creates an arts ecology that benefits all Americans. We need policies in at least three key areas: sustaining American arts organizations (both large and small), arts education, and cultural diplomacy.



Jessica Molaskey and John Pizzarelli Talk 'Radio Deluxe' And Tanglewood 2009


by Randy Rice

John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey are the epitome of the sophisticated urbane couple; a modern day, musical, William Powell and Myna Loy.

Pizzarelli has had a multi-faceted career as a jazz guitarist, vocalist and bandleader. He has recorded nearly an album a year for the past twenty years. He frequently appears with his trio or quartet and often with his father, legendary jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli.

He recently released ‘With a Song in My Heart', a tribute to Richard Rodgers.

Molaskey began her Broadway career nearly 30 years ago in a revival of Oklahoma! and most recently appeared in the 2008 Broadway revival of Sunday in the Park with George. In between she appeared in another 10 or so Broadway productions along with numerous U.S. tours.
In September 2008, Molaskey released her 5th solo album, ‘A Kiss to Build a Dream On'.

For the past three years the couple has hosted a weekly radio show from their "Deluxe living room high atop Lexington Avenue" in New York City. The show has a focus on "The Great American Songbook". Guests from across the musical spectrum are invited into their "Deluxe Living Room" for a relaxed, freewheeling chat.
Recent guests include David Hyde Pierce, Curtis Stigers, Bebe Neuwirth and Liza Minnelli.

The un-scripted feel of their show is no accident. A conversation with the couple can take twists and turns as every story reminds the other of another story they want to share. They each possess an encyclopedic knowledge of music. John can call up arcane trivia about nearly any 20th century performer or composer. Jessica is a walking Broadway database. The couple has been married for 11 years and frequently performs together. On their show and in life, they frequently finish each other's thoughts and sentences.
BroadwayWorld.com was recently invited to sit in on a taping of "Radio Deluxe".
Lounge singer Richard Cheese and his accompanist Bobby Ricotta were the guests. (John and Jessica's daughter Madeline also sat in and declared it one of her favorite shows, yet.)

After the show John and Jessica sat down to talk about their careers, radio program and their plans to record an episode of Radio Deluxe during the 2009 Tanglewood Jazz Festival, which takes place in Lenox, MA over Labor Day weekend.
Randy Rice: I know that the two of you were in a Broadway production together.
Is that where you met?

John Pizzarelli: It is. We met during the production of Dream.

Jessica Molaskey: It was a tribute to Johnny Mercer, and a rather chaotic production.
John and his trio were in it and seemed to know what they were doing. I thought "I should hitch myself to them".

John: In the show, Jessica was singing this beautiful arrangement of "Skylark". I told the director that she should be singing with us. She did.

Jessica: And the rest, as they say, is history.

Randy: Jessica, you are, pretty much, a Broadway gypsy, right?

Jessica: I am not sure I would call myself a "gypsy". I am a performer who has been lucky enough to perform in a lot of Broadway shows. I was in Cats. Perhaps, if being in Cats makes you a "gypsy", I am one. I have been working as a solo artist for the past few years, often with John, as well as getting back to Broadway when possible; most recently in last year's production of Sunday in the Park with George.

When I first came to Broadway, there was a way things worked. You worked in the chorus, worked your way up and eventually you got a lead. That changed somewhere along the line. Performers who had never stepped on a Broadway stage where being given the leads roles.
I distinctly remember telling a colleague that I was going to have to go somewhere else, become famous, and then return.

Randy: Was it hard to make the transition from acting in a book musical to performing without a character?

Jessica: Oh my God! It was absolutely terrifying at first. Then I became comfortable performing each song as a story. I worked to find the character that is singing, and that made it easier. Working with John also makes it easier, because I know he has my back.

Randy: Jessica, after singing as a character for the first couple of decades, you have been singing in your own "voice" for the past 10 years. Who are your musical influences?

Jessica: My mom was in radio while I was growing up and we had all of these records around the house. I remember listening to Blossom Dearie and Peggy Lee records over and over again.

Randy: Both of you are prolific recording artists. Jessica, you have released
5 solo jazz standards albums in the past 7 years. John, you seem to release a disc a year. How do you do it?

John: We are very lucky. Most of my "singing" is done on the Telarc label and they are great to work with. I also have the freedom to appear as a guest on other artists' records, including Jessica's. We also write music, together and separately.
For years, I wrote really bad pop songs. I had them all in a binder and I remember asking Jessica to look at them. She looked at a song told me to move this word over here, switch that phase around, and then the song would work. I told her I wasn't sure, but as soon as she left the room, I made the changes.

Randy: Where did the idea for "Radio Deluxe" come from?

Jessica: John and I had been appearing together for a while.

John: I was working, I think at the Algonquin, and they wanted a "girl singer". We drew up a list of possible singers.
All of them would have been great, but Jessica was, obviously, familiar and comfortable on and off stage. Sometimes those lines blur. We, [the trio] can be just about to go on, and my Dad [Bucky Pizzarelli] will say something like "Oh, I forgot to tell you, I accidentally locked your mother out of the house", or something equally as crazy. I thought that there were not a lot of singers that would be comfortable stepping into that family dynamic.

Jessica: On stage, John and I have a comfortable, sometimes funny, report. It isn't necessarily intentional. We were approached by some folks who thought it would translate well into a radio show and it has. We love doing "Radio Deluxe". Radio is such an intimate medium. We get letters and Facebook postings from listeners all over the world. Folks can listen to the show online and there will soon be a podcast that you will be able to download. As a bonus, every week we get to play our friends' records.


John: The focus of our show is "The Great American Songbook". Some folks think that the "Songbook" is in a little box and anything that doesn't fit in that box doesn't belong. I knew that there are a lot of performers who wouldn't necessarily fit in that box, but should be played.

When we started, I certainly didn't think about the show as recording history. But now, when I think that we recorded a show with the great Kenny Rankin, who just died, I think "Wow!" We got Margaret Whiting to sing a bit of "Skylark" when she was on. Everyone was moved to tears. When Liza Minnelli came on, she was so open about her relationship with the legendary Kay Thompson. We don't like to do a lot of prep with our guests on the show, because we want the spontaneity to be real.

Randy: I know that John just got back from a short tour in Japan. How do you deal with each other's tour schedules?

Jessica: Living in New York City certainly helps. There are lots of places for us to work here. There is the Oak Room, Birdland, Feinstein's and the Carlyle. Obviously, our priority is [our daughter] Madeline. If John goes to Japan during the school year, I stay home.


John: For the past few years we have been lucky enough to do a West Coast tour during the summer. That way, we all get to go together.

Randy: Over Labor Day weekend, you will be taping a show at the 2009 Tanglewood
Jazz Festival. Have you recorded a show outside of the "Deluxe Living Room" before?

Jessica: We have. But not like this.

John: We are really excited about the Tanglewood gig.
We are planning some really exciting things. We will have guest performers. It is going to be a lot of fun. We aren't going to tell you the details, because we want the spontaneity to be real for the audience as well.

John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey (in her Tanglewood debut) will tape their radio program, "Radio Deluxe," at the 2009 Tanglewood Jazz Festival in Lenox MA on Saturday September 5th.

The “Radio Deluxe” from Tangelwood program will feature special guests Bucky Pizzarelli, Aaron Weinstein, Harry Allen, and Kurt Elling. For more information about the 2009 Tanglewood Jazz Festival visit www.tanglewoodjazzfestival.org.
Radio Deluxe is syndicated can be heard on each week on radio stations across North America and online. For more information, visit www.johnpizzarelli.com or www.jessicamolaskey.com.

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






HERE IS WHAT AUDIENCES ARE SAYING ABOUT WEDNESDAY NIGHT OF THE IGUANA:



What a ball it was to be among the wonderful entertainers last night (8/12/09).I had a ball singing with Barry Levitt on piano.
Richard, I think you and Dana are doing a grrreat job at the Iguana. Keep up the loving atmosphere of supporting the artists and providing entertainment to the consistent audiences. Congratulations dear friend. Love, Leslie Orofino


You are the best!! Passionate about everything that you do & always thinking of others.
You are an amazing entertainer - but, more importantly a sincerely generous person.

THIS WEEK’S GUESTS!
September 2nd: Dana Lorge hosts. Guests Scott Albertson (with Daryl Kojak on keyboard), Steve DePasse, Laura Hull, Anthony Santelmo, Jr.



Had a great time last nite at the Iguana. That was a wonderful show with marvelous talent.
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.



PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN OPEN MIC!




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NYC
Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price! Joan Crowe
started this Wednesday night series. Dana Lorge and I have
now put their OWN spin on it and are now hosting this weekly variety show in
NYC at The Iguana VIP Lounge (http://www.iguananyc.com) in the heart of
NYC (240 West 54th Street 8-11PM/with an intermission). WEDNESDAY NIGHT OF
THE IGUANA!
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! A
"throw back" to the variety shows we grew up with.
For more info, please call 845-365-0720 or visit _www.RichardSkipper.com_

RESERVATIONS A MUST!!!!!!!!
212-765-5454. No one admitted before
7:30.






SEPTEMBER 9th: Richard returns from Malibu! Special guest stars: John Demarco, Jackie Draper, Robin James, Sue Matsuki!

September 16th: Ann Dawson, Lou Iacovino, Sara Rice, Val Ryder, & Bill Zeffero


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: Ritt Henn, Annie Hughes

Keep checking http://www.richardskipper.com/schedule.html for updates

Thursday, August 20, 2009

West Coast Premiere of 3 time TONY winner, Dori Berinstein's, GOTTA DANCE hosted by 3 time TONY winner, Carol Channing.


West Coast Premiere of 3 time TONY winner, Dori Berinstein's, GOTTA DANCE
hosted by 3 time TONY winner, Carol Channing.


"Bravo! A complete and total home run!!! Dori topped herself,” says Joan Van Ark.
Dori Three-time Tony-winning Broadway producer Dori Berinstein has added another hit to her already extensive film and television producing and directing career with “GOTTA DANCE.”


“The title says it all, as you watch you have an almost uncontrollable urge to get up and dance.
I guarantee you'll be hip hopping up the aisle and wishing it were just beginning.” -Mary Jo Catlett

“GOTTA DANCE is incredible! It proves that you can enjoy life at any age. This was the first time I recall seeing an audience give a movie a standing ovation.” - Roland Kickinger

Included among the star studded evening at the The Academy's Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study's Linwood Dunn Theatre for the West Coast Premiere of “GOTTA DANCE” were Jack Carter, Mary Jo Catlett, Romi Dames, Ilene Graff, Tippi Hedren, Roland Kickinger, Sally Kirkland, Kate Linder, Ruta Lee, Julie Newmar, Joan Van Ark, Dee Wallace, Lesley Ann Warren, and the evenings host Carol Channing.
If you morphed the movies “Fame” and “Cocoon,” you would have “GOTTA DANCE.” The movie chronicles the debut of the New Jersey Nets' first-ever senior hip-hop dance team, 12 women and 1 man - all dance team newbies, from auditions through to center court stardom.
The movie absolutely destroys aging myths and misperceptions.

“If you feel like you haven't got "it" anymore, go see "Gotta Dance"!! After you see, "Gotta Dance" I think you will agree with me, those senior citizens ROCK!....and HIP HOP!!!! Bravo!” - Tippi Hedren

"This movie is inspirational, life affirming and ultimately just plain joy filled! I was smiling and cheering the whole time!" - Lesley Ann Warren



Three time TONY winner, Ms. Berinstein, is also a co-founder of Camp Broadway, a behind-the-scenes theater camp aimed at giving kids a life-long love for the arts, which may be why she asked three time TONY winner and children's advocate for Arts in public schools, Carol Channing, to introduce the evenings premiere screening in Los Angeles. Miss Channing explained how she herself began dancing as a young girl, when she met her now husband Harry Kullijian, exclaiming, “Ohhhh, Dori!

She is so wonderful! “GOTTA DANCE” is just so much fun.
I got to Rap with LL Cool Jay on the TONY Awards, so watching these talented seniors Hip Hop was no real surprise to me. After all it is the first 80 years that are the hardest.
YEAH!” And as the movie points out, Miss Channing is absolutely correct.
Who says you can't hip-hop if you're 80-years-old? Who says your days as a performer are long gone? Just because you're a card-carrying member of AARP, do you have to give up on your dreams?

“An evening with Carol Channing is always special. The film, "Gotta Dance," by Dori Bernstein depicts the role of dance in the lives of The Young and The Rest-of-Us in a very entertaining manner.
Don't miss this! It will make you cry, laugh and most of all, smile.” - Kate Linder

“How exciting it was to hang out with Carol Channing, Tippi Hedren, and Mr. Universe!

That was definitely the most fun I've ever had at an event. And I absolutely loved the movie, I thought it was so fun and very inspiring--it made me want to jump out of my seat and dance! My agent and I want to go take hip-hop classes now.” - Romi Dames

A highlight of the evening included a selection of GOTTA DANCE cast members (Audrey Eteng-Stevens, Edie Ollewerther, Joe Bianco, Claire Gaines, Betty/Betsy Walkup and Deanna Schwartz.) performing live for the audience - a routine that was rewarded with a standing ovation from the patrons.

Dori Berinstein has executive-produced and/or supervised over 15 feature productions including Isaac Mizrahi's award winning documentary “Unzipped” (co-executive producer) and “Dirty Dancing.”
It was only a year ago that Ms Berinstein offered moviegoers her debut as a feature film director with the hit “ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway.” Currently her 11th Broadway show, “Legally Blonde: The Musical,” based on the MGM movie, is touring the country.
Dori's previous theatrical productions include: Best Musical winner “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “The Crucible” with Liam Neeson and Laura Linney, “Fool Moon” with Bill Irwin and David Shiner, “One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest” starring Gary Sinise and David Henry Hwang's “Golden Child.”
For more information about "GOTTA DANCE" visit http://www.gottadancethemovie.com/


Photo Credits: BILL DOW

Thank you Harlan Boll for this article.

In a national report card designed to assess specific areas of education, recent results in both music and visual arts reveal some interesting finds -- more than half of U.S. students don't enjoy a proper arts education.


In the first assessment since 1997, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has released an arts report card for 2008. Providing a detailed shot in regards to performance in the areas of music and the visual arts, the NAEP's 11-year gap in information reveals that "approximately half of American students don't get a credible arts education," according to a release on June 15.
On both report cards the average scale score was around 150.
Although the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 explicitly forbids the establishment of a national curriculum, the restructuring of the act now known as No Child Left Behind put in place as part of the requirements for certain funds received an arts in education.

The report assessed nearly 8,000 eighth grade students in both public and private schools within the United States in either visual arts or music based upon "benchmarks" used in the NCLB policy as well as input made by representatives across the board reflected in the National Standards for Arts Education. Despite dance and theater being part of the arts as a whole, they were not used in the assessment due to financial constraints and limited availability in some schools who do not have these programs (see how to interpret the scorecard here).

Although there is no statistical difference between the availability of music and visual arts instruction, the specific area of assessment provided unique results as well as some generalized disparities:

-Average responding scores were higher for White and Asian/Pacific Islander students than Black and Hispanic students. The pattern was the same for the visual arts creating task scores.
-Female students had a higher average responding score than male students. Female students had a higher average creating task score in visual arts.
-Students who were eligible for free/reduced price school lunch had a lower average responding score and a lower average creating task score in visual arts than those who were not eligible.
On average, private schools did better than public schools. Other factors affecting the scores were attributed to areas such as the type of school assessed, socioeconomic status, area where school is located, gender and ethnicity.
In the area of music, there was a decrease in the percentage of students who could correctly answer specific questions, according to the commissioner's summary results, this drop is "not a measure of what students know and can do in responding to music because it omits all the information from the constructed-response questions in the assessment."
This is mainly due to the different questions compared between the two assessments. Therefore, an average was used based upon 21 questions found on both assessments, with the total number of correct responses dropping from 53 per cent to 51 per cent.

In the visual arts, there were 12 common questions found on both assessments and a comparison of those revealed an unchanged number of correct answers at 47 per cent. Other areas assessed were the ability to draw a self-portrait where a mere 4 per cent received a rating of sufficient and 57 per cent rated minimal.
As a whole, the commissioner's summary explained disparities within socioeconomic and ethnic groups' results in art and music consistent with other areas assessed. The summary also stressed that the 2008 assessment itself was different than the previous one.
In a press release yesterday, it was stated by the chairman of the governing board that:
“The 2008 arts assessment shows students do not seem to be missing out on
opportunities for, and access to, arts education, as many have argued in recent years,”
said Darvin M. Winick, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, which
oversees and sets policy for NAEP. “But we do face consistent and wide racial/ethnic,
gender, and socioeconomic gaps across the subject areas.”

The National Association for Music Education and the National Art Education Association both expressed that the "arts" should be an essential and "non-negotiable" part of the core curriculum across the nation.

In general, arts in education provide certain benefits rather than being just "fun" things to do. They are shown to help improve overall testing scores in other areas, foster critical skills such as teamwork and communication, and teach children to be more tolerant and open-minded.



The Westport Arts Center (WAC) announces its 2009 Fall art programs for children ages five to twelve. More than 4,000 school-aged children participate in art education programs at the WAC each year through guided tours, after-school and weekend art classes, summer camps, and family-friendly workshops with experienced art educators.

Andie Levinson, a rising Senior at Staples High School and who just completed her Summer Education Internship at WAC, said, “This summer I’ve seen so many kids excited to attend Westport Arts Center programs because they are encouraged to learn new techniques, explore their creativity, and work with unique materials they’ve never experienced before.”

The Super Saturday Series offers a variety of materials-based workshops for children ages 5-12. Workshops are divided into 2 age groups (5-8 and 9-12), and meet at 9:00-10:15 am and 10:30am – 12noon, respectively.
The 2009 classes will be held on October 10, November 7, and December 5. The cost is $30/child, $25 for WAC members.
The Super Saturday Series will be taught by WAC Director of Education, Danielle Cavanna. Ms. Cavanna received her M.A. in Art History from Boston University and an Ed.M in Arts in Education from Harvard University. She has taught arts programs at museums including the British National Trust at Tytesfield, the Newport Restoration Foundation, and the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard.

The Center’s after-school programs include KinderCreate, a hands-on workshop specifically designed for Kindergarteners, and Art Factory, for children 6-10.
KinderCreate is a series of hands-on arts workshops for kindergartners who will sculpt, stack, layer, and paint against the backdrop of art history. Students work with an array of materials and explore a wide range of art movements.
KinderCreate will be held on 6 Mondays from 2-3pm, beginning on September 14. The program costs $145/child, $120 for WAC member.

Art Factory students will experiment with an exciting range of materials and techniques. The program will be held on 6 Tuesdays from 4:30-5:30pm, beginning September 15.

The program costs $145/child, $120 for WAC member.

Instructor Alyse Rosner has taught art to children and adults since 1991, including at the Westport Arts Center and Silvermine Guild Arts Center.
She has exhibited her art at the Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield, and is represented by Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in Chelsea.

Those looking to register for youth programs may call the Westport Arts Center at (203) 222-7070. All art programs will be held at the Westport Arts Center, 51 Riverside Avenue in Westport.

The Westport Arts Center is a visual and performing arts organization dedicated to creating arts experiences that enrich the lives of area residents and the entire community. The Westport Arts Center is supported with funds from the Artur and Heida Hermanns Holde Foundation, Inc., Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, Fairfield County Bank, Gault, Inc., U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, Westport Sunrise Rotary Young Voices Program, and Xerox Foundation.

For information contact Westport Arts Center at 203-222-7070 or go to the website at www.westportartscenter.org.
Gallery hours are M-F, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sat. and Sun. from noon to 4 p.m., at 51 Riverside Avenue, Westport. Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor has added a two-week Performing Arts Camp to its summer educational programming lineup. Taught by Bay Street professionals, camp participants age 8 to 12 will learn to write and star in their own mini-musical.

Camp will begin Monday, August 24, and continue weekdays through September 4, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Hampton Country Day Camp on Daniels Hole Road in Wainscott.


Taught by Broadway professional Debra Barsha and dance instructor Eric Jacobson, the program will be overseen by Bay Street artistic director Murphy Davis.

Students will practice many dramatic crafts, including writing, singing, dancing, acting, improvisation and performance.

The cost for the two-week long Performing Arts Camp is $900, or $750 for returning campers, and space is limited. For more information, or to obtain enrollment forms, call Bay Street 631-725-0818, ext. 109. Forms can also be printed from the theater’s website at www.baystreet.org.

GO SEE A LIVE SHOW THIS WEEK!


Ilene Graff is appearing at Cabaret at the Castle on Sept 14th and 15th. Others clients with upcoming engagements include Rip Taylor, JoAnne Worley and Florence Henderson

Cabaret at the Castle has chosen Grammy-nominated recording artist, television and Broadway star, Ilene Graff, to appear in celebration of 100th anniversary of the structure known today as the Magic Castle. Accompanied by her Musical Director-husband Ben Lanzarone, Graff performs songs from Broadway, the movies and the pop world with completely unique interpretations and arrangements. From Harold Arlen to the Beatles, the Bergmans to Sondheim, you've never heard these songs sung the way Ilene does.
Graff's career started on Broadway, performing in PROMISES, PROMISES, the original production of GREASE (Sandy), and in the original cast of Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart's I LOVE MY WIFE, creating the role of Cleo.
Feeling honored that he tailored it to her specific talents, Ilene reprises “her very own Cy Coleman song,” LOVE REVOLUTION in her show, as well as pieces from GREASE, PORGY AND BESS, GYPSY and many others.


WHEN: Monday, Sept. 14th, 2009 and Tuesday, Sept. 15th, 2009 - Doors 7pm - Show 8pm
WHERE: The Inner Circle at the Magic Castle, 7001 Franklin Ave., Hollywood, CA 90028

TICKETS: $25 for non-members, Call 323-851-3313 x434 for more information.

(From Harlan Boll): Ilene Graff is best known to audiences as Marsha Owens, the mom on the long running ABC comedy Mr. Belvedere. She made her professional Broadway debut years earlier on the musical stage in Promises Promises, the Neil Simon, Bacharach/David hit, where she understudied the leading lady and sang backups from the orchestra pit. She performed the role of Fran Kubelik in New York before starring in the National Tour.

One of her biggest Broadway triumphs was creating the role of Cleo in the Cy Coleman, Michael Stewart musical comedy hit I Love My Wife, directed by Tony Award winner Gene Saks. She can be heard on the show's Original Cast Album. Other theatre credits include: Charley's Aunt with Charles Grodin, Cabaret as Sally Bowles, Annie Get Your Gun as Annie Oakley, and Over Here directed by Mr. Belvedere himself, Christopher Hewett.
Ilene created the role of Donna in the world premiere of composer/arranger/producer husband Ben Lanzarone's musical, You and Me, with book and lyrics by Lloyd J. Schwartz; she won the Artistic Directors' Award of the Valley Theatre League for her performance. She had the thrill of performing the role of Mama Rose in a Los Angeles revival of Gypsy as well as entertaining Jerry Herman himself at a performance of Jerry's Girls and is very proud to have co-starred in ABC/Disney's film version of South Pacific, working with Glenn Close and Harry Connick, Jr.



ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 3



Comedy Central star Jade Esteban Estrada performs his solo musical comedy "ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 3" at Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches at 8:00 p.m. Friday, August 21, 2009 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Jade Esteban Estrada plays Mary Cheney and other history-making leaders in the award-winning solo musical ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 3 at MCC Palm Beaches on August 21.


What do Biblical Naomi, King James, Bessie Smith, Greg Louganis and Mary Cheney all have in common? They're all coming to Palm Beach Gardens - at the same time!
Vicarious Productions is proud to announce the performance of the award-winning solo comedy ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 3, written and performed by the nationally acclaimed solo theatre artist Jade Esteban Estrada (2005 Performance Artist of the Year) at 8:00 p.m. Friday, August 21, 2009. The performance will be held at Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches located at 4857 Northlake Blvd in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
The event is wheelchairaccessible and appropriate for all ages. Show duration is 65 minutes with no intermission.
The celebrated actor will sign autographs immediately after the show. Admission by love offering. For information call 561-775-5900 or log onto www.getjaded.com.

Conquest. Religion. Sacrifice. Sweat. Politics. Fate. ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History of
the World, Vol. 3 debuted at the Columbus National Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival in Columbus, Ohio in 2006 winning the award for Best Solo Performance. In the third edition, Estrada portrays bibical Naomi, King James, Bessie Smith, Greg Louganis and Mary Cheney.
Lavender Magazine in Minneapolis, Minnesota named him the Best Touring Performance of 2008.

The man the Advocate and Out Magazine call "the first gay Latin star" celebrated the world premiere of ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 1 at the 2002 CNGLTF. In the show, Estrada portrays Sappho, Michelangelo, OscarWilde, Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Rivera and Ellen DeGeneres.
"'ICONS' is part history lesson, part musical, part politics and ALL entertainment," states Jennifer Chung of the San Diego Daily Transcript. Tom Sime of the Dallas Morning News calls it, "funny and irreverent…a feel-good session for gay people.

"ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 3 debuted at the CNGLTF in 2006 and won the Best Solo Performance and Best Original Music awards. In the last segment of the trilogy, Estrada took on the roles of biblical Naomi, King James, Bessie Smith, Greg Louganis and Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney.

"Jade Esteban Estrada is a brilliant young writer and performer. It was an honor to experience the ministry of this modern pioneer of the gay movement," states Rev. Troy Perry, Founder of the Worldwide Metropolitan Community Church.


"I've seen Jade Esteban on stage four times before, but when I saw him portraying Mary Cheney, I realized he wasn't only celebrating gay icons. He was using irony to tell us that not all of our gay icons are people that we love or respect. It was incredibly clever," stated Thaddius Novack, Creative Director of Jersey City Lesbian and Gay Outreach.

"What he is doing is important for our LGBTQ youth to experience. I was certainly educated tonight," stated Doreen DeJesus, Communications Director for Brooklyn Pride.
Formally the choreographer to television personality Charo and a scratch vocalist for the Back Street Boys, Estrada came to international attention when Out Magazine christened him, "the first gay Latin star" in 2000. Estrada released his debut CD"Angel" (Vicarious) in 2001 and in 2002 took part in the "Being Out Rocks" (Centaur) CD compilation in honor of National Coming Out Day for the Human Rights Campaign. In October 2006, Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher paid tribute to Estrada by commissioning him the title of "Kentucky Colonel," the highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky that acknowledges outstanding ambassadors of goodwill and fellowship around the world.
The Texas native joined other honorary colonels which include Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope, Joan Crawford, Johnny Depp, Muhammad Ali and Pope John Paul II.

Estrada's television credits include appearances on the Emmy-nominated "In the Life TV" on PBS, "Friday Night Lights" on NBC and "The Graham Norton Effect" on Comedy Central. His popular Latin dance music can be=2
0heard on the Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning police drama, "The Shield" on the FX Network.
"Most performers would be happy to have a fraction of Jade Esteban Estrada's career," states Marty Rosen of the Louisville Courier-Journal. Hector Saldana of the San Antonio Express-News calls him "a show biz messiah." Roy Proctor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch calls him "a master entertainer."

Estrada has toured the U.S. with his five other solo shows which include "It's Too Late...It's Already In Me," "Tortilla Heaven," "Pico de Gallo" and "Gay Christian, Gay Muslim, Gay Jew."

"Long before Estrada wraps himself with a rainbow-colored flag at the show's end, he's proven that he's a master entertainer with a message to convey."
RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH

"Without a doubt, the best entertainment dollars I spent this year went to ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History of theWorld, Vol. 1 with Jade Esteban Estrada."
TAMPA BAY GAZETTE

"Catch ICONS as soon as you can, or you will surely live to regret it."
CURVE MAGAZINE

"Estrada is a drama queen with a lesson plan.
"KNOXVILLE METRO PULSE

"Estrada's bug-eyed portrayal of Gertrude Stein is brilliant."
STYLE WEEKLY

www.GetJaded.com

VICKILYN REYNOLDS In HATTIE & ME - The life of Academy-Award winning actress Hattie McDaniel
Saturday, Aug 22nd, 2009
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, August 3, 2009 – Vickilyn Reynolds, playwright, composer, lyricist and star of the acclaimed musical “Hattie…What I Need You To Know!” based on the life of Academy-Award winning actress Hattie McDaniel of “Gone With the Wind” fame, presents “Hattie & Me” one night only on Saturday, August 22 at the Triad Theater in New York. Tyrone Patrick will accompany Reynolds on piano. Reynolds will perform a selection of songs and present the making of the music from “Hattie…What I Need You To Know!” that was originally written, developed and massaged out of a vision to recreate the often-overlooked McDaniel.



“Hattie…What I Need You To Know!” which played sold-out performances last year at the National Black Theater, takes the audience on a dramatic musical journey through Hattie’s life from her early childhood and her relationship with her family to her difficult decision to leave her family and move to Los Angeles to pursue her artistic dreams during a time filled with racism and segregation. For her performance in “Hattie…What I Need You To Know!” Reynolds was honored with the Audoco Award for Outstanding Female Performance in a Musical. Theatermania praised Reynolds as a “vocal powerhouse.” The New York Times said Reynolds “makes McDaniel such a likable presence that it’s a pleasure to spend some time in her company.” Blessed with robust vocals, Reynolds has traveled the world performing solos for dignitaries and royalty upon their request. She has also studied with Marlon Brando for an intensive documentary “Lying for a Living.”



Reynolds won the LA Ovation Award as “da Singer” on the first national tour of “Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk.” She also garnered nominations from the NAACP Image Award and the Drama Desk Awards; was a recipient of the 1998 Best Performance (Chicago), Black Theatre Alliances Award and won the 2005 Telly Award for Acting and Associate Producer. Reynolds has also starred in numerous feature films, television shows and commercials, most notable: In the CBS sitcom, “Sugar & Spice”; played Chris Tucker’s mom (Joanne) in Ice Cube’s hit film “Friday”; played a role in “The Colored Museum” by George C Wolfe; and appeared in the motion film, “Primary Colors.” Music from “Hattie…What I Need You To Know!” is also available for sale on CD with such songs as “Hollywood” and “Deez, Dat, Dis, Dem, and Dey” that Reynolds wrote with Kenny Long and Mableline Collins. Patrick brings to “Hattie & Me” over 40 years of experience in piano accompaniment for and recordings with many major artists including Andre Crouch, Dannibelle Hall, Jessie Dixon, Sweet Spirit, Keith Pringle, Kurk Whalum and Duke Ellington’s last Jazz Mass. He has been associated with many prominent church ministries and is also the founder of Tyrone Patrick and Co. Mass Choir of Toledo, Ohio.


Reynolds will perform “Hattie & Me” twice on August 22 at 7:00pm and 9:00pm at the Triad Theater, located at 158 W. 72nd Street.



Admission is $20 plus a two-drink minimum, cash only. For reservations, visit www.triadnyc.com or call 212-362-2590. For more information on Reynolds and “Hattie…What I Need You To Know!” visit www.vickilyn.com and www.HattieWhatINeedYouToKnow.com.



Broadway's BERNARD MARSH in "Tributes" Featuring the Lafayette Harris Trio
Sunday, Aug 23rd, 2009
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

$15 + 2 Drink Minimum


I am going on the road tomorrow! I will be away till September 8th. I will send out my next blog on September 10th. 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






HERE IS WHAT AUDIENCES ARE SAYING ABOUT WEDNESDAY NIGHT OF THE IGUANA:



What a ball it was to be among the wonderful entertainers last night (8/12/09).I had a ball singing with Barry Levitt on piano.
Richard, I think you and Dana are doing a grrreat job at the Iguana. Keep up the loving atmosphere of supporting the artists and providing entertainment to the consistent audiences. Congratulations dear friend. Love, Leslie Orofino


You are the best!! Passionate about everything that you do & always thinking of others.
You are an amazing entertainer - but, more importantly a sincerely generous person.

NEXT WEEK’S GUESTS!
August 26th Dana Lorge hosts! (Richard Skipper is out of town). Special Guest stars Helena Grenot, Jana Robbins, Adam Shapiro, Tanya Mobley, Bryn Holdsworh!


Had a great time last nite at the Iguana. That was a wonderful show with marvelous talent.
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.




PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN OPEN MIC!




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NYC
Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price! Joan Crowe
started this Wednesday night series. Dana Lorge and I have
now put their OWN spin on it and are now hosting this weekly variety show in
NYC at The Iguana VIP Lounge (http://www.iguananyc.com) in the heart of
NYC (240 West 54th Street 8-11PM/with an intermission). WEDNESDAY NIGHT OF
THE IGUANA!
What we are doing is NOT being done anywhere else! Each week
will showcase 5 entertainers. NEXT WEEK
Barry Levitt returns on keyboard and Saadi Zain returns!
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! The show will also be done with class and elegance. A
"throw back" to the variety shows we grew up with.
For more info, please call 845-365-0720 or visit _www.RichardSkipper.com_

RESERVATIONS A MUST!!!!!!!!
212-765-5454. No one admitted before
7:30.






September 2nd: Dana Lorge hosts. Guests Scott Albertson (with Daryl Kojak on keyboard), Steve DePasse, Laura Hull, Anthony Santelmo, Jr.

SEPTEMBER 9th: Richard returns from Malibu! Special guest stars: John Demarco, Jackie Draper, Robin James, Sue Matsuki!

September 16th: Ann Dawson, Lou Iacovino, Sara Rice, Val Ryder, & Bill Zeffero


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: Ritt Henn, Annie Hughes


Keep checking http://www.richardskipper.com/schedule.html for updates

Sunday, August 16, 2009

NOW the concert business is imploding.



Now the concert business is imploding.
It’s not like promoters, managers, agents and acts couldn’t see this coming. They just didn’t want to believe it. They’re just as ignorant as their major label brethren.
It’s just that their comeuppance is occurring a decade later.
How long did you think it was going to last? Did you really think people were going to want to overpay to see the Stones, believing this was the last tour, when that whisper campaign began TWO DECADES AGO?

Do you really have to go see Aerosmith? Sure, they outlasted their seventies contemporaries, had hits in the MTV era, even played the VMAs year after year, but you don’t even want to hear those lame Geffen hits, you want the Columbia classics, and you’ve been able to hear them year after year.

It’s not only Aerosmith that’s having problems selling tickets. AC/DC is papering stadiums.
Paul McCartney is essentially giving tickets away. Springsteen’s tour is a joke. Come on Bruce.
You’re on a closing buildings tour? Just call it what it is, a going out of business tour!
You’re just so greedy, you want to get the money before it evaporates.

Ticket sales are not in the dumper because of the economy. That’s like saying major labels are in trouble because of piracy. Sure, piracy put a dent in the Big Four’s bottom line.
But what about the fact that people hate the crap they’re purveying, and where they’re purveying it most people aren’t paying attention anymore?
Sure, the economy is hurting ticket sales. But that’s just the cover-up. The true story is the business has broken very few superstars, and the old ones are on overpriced tours, blaming Ticketmaster while they scalp their own tickets.

You say the labels should have seen Napster coming. That they should have authorized P2P.


When is the concert business going to have an all-in ticket price?
When is greed going to be put aside for the long term health of not only the promoters, but the acts themselves? Do you really think Live Nation can overpay forever? Look at the company’s financials. And no new entity is going to line up to overpay guarantees.

But the live business, like the recorded music business, doesn’t want to start over.
It just wants to raise prices in order to assure growth.



Hate to tell you, but music doesn’t drive the culture. Because all the big acts are tied in with corporations, and are fearful of speaking the truth for fear of being Dixie Chicked.
Used to be the artists were beholden to no one, which is why the business blew up. Artists lit the way. Now techies lead.
I think of someone like Frank Sinatra. Frank Sinatra would still be a big star if he were starting out today. But he'd be a different kind of star. The day of worldwide icons who would maintain stardom for fifty years are, sadly, gone forever.
You’ve got to start small, charge little and build an audience. Which you nurture over time.
Trying to break a new superstar overnight is like GM believing it can save itself with a new Malibu (it didn’t, in case you weren’t paying attention). GM drove itself towards a cliff with no consciousness of the future.
People want mileage and longevity. GM provided neither.

Concert attendees want music. Sure, Madonna might be able to survive selling spectacle, but how many successful circuses exist? There’s Ringling Brothers and…

And a night at the show must not break the bank. Broadway overcharges because it’s seen as a once in a blue moon event. You’ve got to go to New York City… It’s like selling tickets for a U2 show on the moon.
You can charge up the yin-yang for that!
KINSEY SICKS TO CAMPAIGN AGAINST HEALTH IN REHOBOTH, OGUNQUIT, PROVINCETOWN
AUGUST 19 - SEPTEMBER 5

The Kinsey Sicks have announced a campaign to derail the President's proposed health reforms by distracting huge crowds of progressives with performances in key northeastern states. "We are against health. Health is bad and UnAmerican and we oppose anything that makes people feel better," stated Kinsey Spokesperson Trampolina, adding: "That's why our shows are so depressing."

Winnie of the Sicks noted the dragapella quartet's personal stake in the issue: "If people are healthy, won't death panels kill the Sicks?"
For this reason, she indicated, The Kinsey Sicks will be interrupting Congressional Town Hall meetings in addition to performing their shows.
Fellow Kinsey Rachel chimed in: "I personally plan to shove my naked buttocks in the face of as many Congresspeople, poll workers, and voters as possible.
Such is my dedication to the cause!"
She also noted that she remains opposed to a pubic option.
Do YOUR part to help make America Sicker by buying tickets for the following shows:

August 19: Rehoboth Beach, DE
Showtimes are 8:30 and 10:30 at the Blue Moon, 35 Baltimore Ave.

August 20-21: Ogunquit, ME
Showtime is 7 pm at MaineStreet, 195 Main Street, Ogunquit.

August 22-September 4: Provincetown.

2 DIFFERENT SHOWS! SEE THEM BOTH IN THE SAME WEEK!
Wake the F#@k Up America!: Saturday 8/22 & 8/29, Sunday 8/23 & 8/30, Thursday 8/27 & 9/3
GreatesTits and Other Bawdy Parts: Wednesday 8/26 & 9/2 and Friday 8/28 & 9/4.
Both shows at The Crown & Anchor, 247 Commercial Street. All shows 8:30pm.
September 5: Bronxville, NY
The Kinseys return to Sarah Lawrence University. And sorry to be a tease, but this one is for students and faculty only.

As for U2… They don’t sell out either anymore. Maybe because they’re no longer seen as vital, they’re the new Stones. U2 could possibly rehabilitate itself, by releasing a string of singles, one every month. By releasing a live album from the tour in progress. Instead, playing by the old rules they topped every mass media event with their lame "Get On Your Boots" and no one cared.


Just like no one cared about Springsteen’s album after the Super Bowl.

Maybe no one cares to the equivalent of a multiplatinum level anymore. Maybe the live business has to give that paradigm up.
At least for a decade, until new acts are grown.

We want music that resonates. And we want music. Lady GaGa is outfits. Katy Perry is so second rate she’s third rate. The future looks more like the Kings Of Leon. A band that’s been around for years that finally breaks through. And doesn’t break the bank when it sets ticket prices.

Screw lawn tickets at a discount. That’s like listening to music on your neighbor’s stereo. How about getting a ticket for a developing artists show when you buy the ticket for a star. We’ve got to get people sampling, we’ve got to get people coming to the show on a regular basis. Now we’ve got a business of extravaganzas. We’re like North Korea, trying to blast rockets into the stratosphere, but usually failing. To the point we’re a joke.



Check out one my pals friends showbiz savvy blog
Kristopher McDowell has a pretty great blog, click here to check it out: http://kmp.typepad.com/kristopher_mcdowell/


Eleven members of the New York City Ballet have lost their jobs, cut from the corps de ballet. (Read the full article, to be published in Arts & Leisure on Sunday, here.)
Most are in their 20s and for some, it means the end of careers that took root in childhood, when they started on a long, intense, arduous road that left little room for normal high school lives or college. Their identities, the very essence of who they are, are defined by their jobs.

These jobs involve the very highest level of artistic expression in a performing art of immense grace and beauty. Some of the laid-off dancers are going back to school, some are searching for new careers and some are forging on with auditions.

There are, of course, many veterans in the performing arts who have faced and struggled with unemployment.

If you are among them — or are among those who may be hiring them — what advice would you offer these young dancers?

The date for Bea Arthur’s memorial has finally been set. The show will take place at the Majestic Theater in New York on Monday, September 14, 2009 at 1pm. The afternoon will be hosted by Bea’s Bosom Buddy, Angela Lansbury who will be joined by Bea’s close friends, both professional and personal, as well as family.

The program will be a celebration of Bea’s life and career. All are invited and admission is free. Further information on the event is expected to follow shortly.

Before she became an iconic Emmy®-Award winning television star, Bea Arthur received a Tony Award® for Best Featured Actress in a Musical in 1966 for her performance as Angela Lansbury's best friend Vera Charles in the original Broadway production of Jerry Herman's musical Mame, directed by Gene Saks, her husband at that time.
Ms. Arthur's Broadway career began in 1955 with the original musical Plain and Fancy and continued with roles in Seventh Heaven and Nature's Way. Among her Broadway credits, she played Yente the Matchmaker in the 1964 premiere of Fiddler on the Roof and appeared in Woody Allen's The Floating Lightbulb in 1981.

In 2002, she returned to Broadway starring in Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends, a collection of stories and songs based on her life and career. The show was nominated for a Tony Award® for Best Special Theatrical Event.

In a career spanning seven decades, the celebrated actress, comedienne, singer and writer became a television star as the title character, Maude Findlay, on the 1970's sitcom Maude, and as Dorothy Zbornak on the 1980's sitcom The Golden Girls. She won Emmy® Awards for both roles.

She is survived by two sons and two granddaughters.GO SEE A LIVE SHOW THIS WEEK! 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


HERE IS WHAT AUDIENCES ARE SAYING ABOUT WEDNESDAY NIGHT OF THE IGUANA:



What a ball it was to be among the wonderful entertainers last night (8/12/09).I had a ball singing with Barry Levitt on piano. Richard, I think you and Dana are doing a grrreat job at the Iguana. Keep up the loving atmosphere of supporting the artists and providing entertainment to the consistent audiences. Congratulations dear friend. Love, Leslie Orofino


Richard, You are the best!! Passionate about everything that you do & always thinking of others. You are an amazing entertainer - but, more importantly a sincerely generous person.
Big hugs, Debbie Rehr

Had a great time last nite at the Iguana. That was a wonderful show with marvelous talent.
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.



August 19th: Helene Feldman, Barbara Gurskey, Travis Moser,
Alan Palmer, Gretchen Reinhagen w/Christine Talbot-Sutin on keyboard



PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN OPEN MIC!




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NYC
Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price! Joan Crowe
started this Wednesday night series.
Dana Lorge and Richard Skipper have
now put their OWN spin on it and are now hosting this weekly variety show in
NYC at The Iguana VIP Lounge (http://www.iguananyc.com) in the heart of
NYC (240 West 54th Street 8-11PM/with an intermission). WEDNESDAY NIGHT OF
THE IGUANA!
What they are doing is NOT being done anywhere else! Each week
will showcase 5 entertainers. NEXT WEEK
Christine Talbott-Sutin on keyboard and Saadi Zain returns!
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! The show will also be done with class and elegance. A
"throw back" to the variety shows we grew up with.
For more info, please call 845-365-0720 or visit _www.RichardSkipper.com_

RESERVATIONS A MUST!!!!!!!!! 212-765-5454. No one admitted before
7:30.






August 26th Dana Lorge hosts! (Richard Skipper is out of town). Special Guest stars Helena Grenot, Jana Robbins, Adam Shapiro, Tanya Mobley, Bryn Holdsworh!

September 2nd: Dana Lorge hosts. Guests Scott Albertson (with Daryl Kojak on keyboard), Steve DePasse, Laura Hull, Anthony Santelmo, Jr.

SEPTEMBER 9th: Richard returns from Malibu! Special guest stars: John Demarco, Jackie Draper, Robin James, Sue Matsuki!

September 16th: Ann Dawson, Lou Iacovino, Sara Rice, Val Ryder, & Bill Zeffero



September 23rd: Risa Benson, Stewart Brodian, Jenna Esposito, Frank Torren, Susan Winter


September 30th: Wendy Lane Bailey, Bobby Belfry, 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 28th: Hector Coris returns!, Laurie Krauz & Wicked’s very own Walter ONeil!


December 30th: Ritt Henn, Annie Hughes

Keep checking http://www.richardskipper.com/schedule.html for updates

Monday, August 10, 2009

IT'S A WONDERFUL WORLD!



As you may know on Friday afternoon (August 7, 2009), the U.S. Senate confirmed Broadway producer Rocco Landesman to serve as the next National Endowment for the Arts chair and former Congressman Jim Leach to serve as National Endowment for the Humanities chair. Both are expected to begin work next week.


Upon his nomination, Mr. Landesman said, "I am honored to receive the Senate's vote of confirmation.
I look forward to serving the nation as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. I believe this is an auspicious time for the NEA and the country. Art is essential to the civic, economic, and cultural vitality of our nation. It reflects who we are and what we stand for -- freedom of expression, imagination, and vision.
I am eager to work with our many partners to bring quality arts programs to neighborhoods and communities across the country."

Congress is now on recess until early September. When they return after Labor Day, the House and Senate will resume work on finishing the appropriations process for FY 2010. Currently, the House has approved NEA funding at $170 million but must await the Senate's completion of their bill, which the Appropriations Committee set at only $161.3 million.
While both of these funding levels represent increases above its current budget, these bills will need to be reconciled and a final compromise bill signed into law by President Obama this fall.

Stay informed on this important matter and take action whenever possible by contacting local representatives.
Most of all, thank you for your continued support of the Arts!

-

Thank you, Kristopher McDowell, for allowing me to post the above here. Feel free to visit:
http://kmp.typepad.com/kristopher_mcdowell/



Kristopher McDowell has also posted photos and updates on his never ending tour of the country in search of intimate live music venues. Follow his adventures on the road this week as he heads to the suburbs of Illinois and Wisconsin!
Check-in when you think about it or subscribe to the blog's feed, here is the link:
http://kmp.typepad.com/imusi/

KMP, Inc.
www.KristopherMcDowell.com
"If you do a good job for others, you heal yourself at the same time, because a dose of joy is a spiritual cure. It transcends all barriers."
Ed Sullivan

As I said above, Rocco Landesman, the colorful head of Broadway's Jujamcyn Theaters, has been approved by the Senate to assume the top position at the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Senate also unanimously confirmed Jim Leach to head the National Endowment for the Humanities.
An imposing figure on the New York theater scene, Landesman was seen by many as an unusual but welcome choice by the Obama administration to head the troubled NEA, which has been reeling from years of budget cuts and accusations of irrelevancy.

On Broadway, Landesman, 62, has had a hand in producing such high-profile shows as Tony Kushner's "Angels in America" and Mel Brooks' "The Producers." His nomination to the NEA post was announced in May.

The NEA, which has an annual operating budget of about $155 million, is largely regarded as a passive institution that doles out grant money, rather than the aggressive cultural advocate that many wish it to be.

Landesman, who is expected to begin his new job shortly, will take over from Patrice Walker Powell, who has served as interim chairwoman since February. Dana Gioia, a poet, stepped down as NEA chief at the beginning of the year.

"I am honored to receive the Senate's vote of confirmation," Landesman said in a statement.
"I believe this is an auspicious time for the NEA and the country. Art is essential to the civic, economic and cultural vitality of our nation. It reflects who we are and what we stand for -- freedom of expression, imagination, and vision. I am eager to work with our many partners to bring quality arts programs to neighborhoods and communities across the country."
Leach, 66, is a former Republican congressman from Iowa and is expected to assume his new position at the NEH in a few days. He succeeds Bruce Cole, a former Indiana University art historian, who served seven years after his 2001 appointment.
In 2008, Leach crossed party lines and endorsed Obama for president over John McCain. He is currently a visiting professor at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.



The NEH, which also has an annual operating budget estimated at $155 million, makes grants to a wide field of applicants, including researchers, authors, documentary filmmakers, exhibitions and education in history, literature and arts.

"At a time when deeper understanding of other cultures and greater perspective on American values have never been more relevant, financial support throughout higher education has been gravitating toward job oriented disciplines," Leach wrote in an e-mail to Culture Monster. "In this setting my goal is to emphasize support for programs that help bridge cultural divides at home as well as abroad. Culture and its diversity should ennoble rather than serve as a threat to the human experience."
-- David Ng




GO SEE A LIVE SHOW THIS WEEK! 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

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Aug 12th
8pm
IGUANA VIP LOUNGE, 240 West 54th Street, NYC
WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT THE IGUANA
Last week, we celebrated my thirtieth Year in New York. I arrived in NYC on Aug 5th, 1979. I, along with Dana Lorge host. What we are doing is NOT being done anywhere else! Each week will showcase 5 entertainers. This week,we are joined by Barry Levitt on keyboard and Morrie Louden on bass. Each week will be different. The price is ONLY $10.00 with NO food or drink minimum (although the food at The Iguana is top notch). This is a nice night out with the family!
The show will also be done with class and elegance. A "throw back" to the variety shows we grew up with.

This week's guests include: Arianna, Barbara Guersky, Leslie Orofino,Barbara Porteus, Rachel Stone...and a few other surprises as well!! Remember $10.00 Cover/No food or drink minimum! Reservations a must (212) 765-5454


THE FOLLOWING IS TAKEN FROM MY GUESTBOOK AT WWW.RICHARDSKIPPER.COM

Richard ...you are a terrific entertainer and host and I had a ball the other night at your 30th anniversary extravaganza. I can't remember a more entertaining night of music and fun in a cabaret.
I will definitely be back for some more in the months ahead and will bring some more people.
I am Glad we finally met and thanks again.
Love you lots!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Happy Anniversary to me! 30 years ago today, I arrived from SC. 18yo w/$500.00 in my pocket and never turned back! Thanks to all who I have met


30 years ago today (August 5th, 1979), I arrived in NY! Thank God, I had the opportunity to pursue my career.
I am grateful for all. And if you've been following my blogs, then you know how compassionate I am about Arts Education. So today, I'm jumping right in!
"They've got to take the money out of something besides the arts," Channing says. "Schools have got to do it."Carol Channing says, "The lack of arts education is like before the fall of the Roman Empire. See, what people don't understand is that the arts are the basic study."


"It's what we fight for when we go to war and what we dream of in a lover's lap."
She said her childhood was full of poetry and singing and credits an academic medal at Aptos Middle School not to her IQ, but to the arts. She created the Channing-Kullijian Foundation with her husband of six years, Harry Kullijian, a fellow student and beau at Aptos.
To Carol Channing, art is as important as air. "My goodness gracious, you take away the heart, the soul, the connection in society when you take away the arts," Kullijian says.

The product of San Francisco's Aptos Middle School and Lowell High School has created a foundation to raise awareness about the importance of art and music in education and provide instruments to schools.
She's hosting a benefit show Saturday, 7 p.m. at the San Francisco State University College of Creative Arts, McKenna Theatre. Tickets run from $25 to $75. (Go to cityboxoffice.com for more information.)
Great news in the state of Wisconsin! Wisconsin will get nearly $320,000 in federal stimulus dollars to preserve arts jobs in the state.

The money will be divided among 18 arts organizations.

Gov. Jim Doyle's office says it will help cover artistic directors, gallery curators, volunteer coordinators, artists and education directors.
A Wisconsin Arts Board study from 2007 says the state's nonprofit arts industry generates about $418 million in economic activity annually, including 15,000 jobs.


Continuing her fight to support Arts education in our schools, Carol Channing has created a Public Service Announcement to stress the importance of the initiative.
ACC-UCC presents "Carol Channing RAISES THE ROOF!" as a Benefit Concert for ACC's Roof Repair Fund.
An unplugged evening that follows a simple format, as Carol Channing offers memories, humorous storytelling and an advance preview of her new gospel CD entitled "For Heavens Sake" and several of her signature tunes, including "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," " Little Girl From Little Rock" and, of course, "Hello, Dolly!" that brings the audience up close and personal with the Ultimate Broadway Baby. Hurry! Don't wait to make your reservations for Carol Channing RAISES THE ROOF!

WHEN: Sunday, September 6th, 2009 at 7:00PM at Altadena Community Church, 943 E. Altadena Drive, Altadena, CA 91001
TICKETS: (626) 395-9923 Balcony - $35 dollars for adults, $10 for children 13 and under. Main floor - $75, VIP - which includes a reception with Miss Channing, $125 per ticket

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 Levi appears in her red Freddy Wittop gown, beginning her descent to "rejoin the human race."
Carol Channing's latest project, "For Heaven Sake," 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. The album produced by Larry Ferguson and John Wyatt will be 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.
Altadena Community Church was founded in 1940 by a group of people seeking a freedom of religious thought that they had not found in other churches. In 1967 ACC joined the United Church of Christ, a denomination made up of self-governing congregations from four Protestant traditions.
Each United Church of Christ congregation makes its own decisions, chooses its own pastor (who becomes a member), and respects the differing approaches of other congregations in the denomination. Member churches draw support from the UCC in many ways and, in turn, come together in the UCC to pool their resources for mutual aid and wider mission. In 1986 Altadena Community Church became the thirteenth church in the UCC denomination to declare itself Open and Affirming: People of all sexual orientations are welcome in all aspects of the life of Altadena Community Church.
For more information, go to www.altadenaucc.org.
And Carol is pretty upset that art is an afterthought -- at best -- in our state's schools.

Ah, the perils of creating an iconic musical comedy role! That can be said to be both the magic and the frustration of the Carol Channing.

The Amazonian comedienne with the distinctively profound basso first gained recognition in the 1948 revue Lend an Ear, where she clowned through a variety of roles.
While merely a featured player, she gave an irresistibly hilarious performance as a 1920ish musical comedy flapper in the extended sketch "The Gladiola Girl." So much so that Jule Styne and Anita Loos, in the process of musicalizing the latter's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, chose the unlikely Carol — cast wildly against type — to portray Lorelei Lee, the "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" gal, in the resulting 1949 smash.
Channing happily played Lorelei on Broadway and took the show out on a rollicking road tour.

After regaling audiences for five years as a misplaced 1920s flapper, what do you do next?

Especially when your property is purloined by no less than Marilyn Monroe (who died 48 years ago today!) — cast wildly to type — in the 1953 motion picture version of the musical.

For Channing, this meant finding another role. The opportunity arose to replace Rosalind Russell in Wonderful Town, in New York (briefly) and on the road.
Channing was reportedly quite good in the role, but she had two strikes against her.
Ms. Russell had scored a phenomenal personal success in the show, and was cemented in the public's mind as the one and only Ruth Sherwood by virtue of having played the role not only on Broadway but in the earlier, non-musical screen version of the play ("My Sister Eileen") on which the musical was based. What's more, a significant portion of the audience which flocked to see Carol Channing in those very same cities where she'd regaled them in Blondes were half expecting to see another variation of Lorelei Lee; Channing as Ruth Sherwood, without a single diamond, faced a tough task.
Which is the peril of creating an iconic musical comedy role.

What next? A new Broadway musical, The Vamp (1955), which lasted a mere seven weeks at the Winter Garden.
At this point, Channing got rid of her second husband, an ex-football player and co-producer of The Vamp, and got a new one, television producer Charles Lowe.
He lasted a lot longer, although the marriage ended in what you might call a sea of recriminations. But here was Carol, the legendary Lorelei; one of Broadway's biggest stars only seven years earlier, and unable to find a stage to cavort on.
Lowe arranged a round of nightclub bookings, with a fair amount of success, but still — this wasn't Broadway.
So Lowe packaged her into a new stage revue. Charles Gaynor, who devised Lend an Ear, wrote the songs and sketches for what they called Show Business, which opened in San Francisco in the fall of 1959.
Not a one-woman show, mind you; there was also a comic foil, Wally Griffin, and a French singing quartet, Les Quat' Jeudis (or the Four Thursdays, if you will).
But it was mostly Carol, which was all to the good. After 14 months on the road, the show came to the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in January 1961; for the occasion, the title was changed to Show Girl and Griffin was replaced by Jules Munshin (who was much better known).
Munshin made his name on Broadway in the 1946 revue Call Me Mister and after Show Girl co-starred in the 1961 musical The Gay Life; he is best remembered as part of the Sinatra-Kelly-Munshin trio of sailors cavorting "On the Town" in the M-G-M musical of that title.





The girl of Show Girl, though, was Ms. Channing. Gaynor reprised a couple of "Gladiola Girl" songs in the proceedings ("Join Us in a Little Cup of Tea," "The Yahoo Step"); incorporated Channing's already-familiar impersonations of Judy Garland and Marlene Dietrich; and gave the two stars a reportedly very funny sketch in which the Lunts fussed about the housekeeping at the recently-opened Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. (Munshin also scored in a sketch where he played a Sol Hurok-type.)
These sketches are not included on the original cast album, which has just been issued by Kritzerland in a limited release of 1,000 copies.

Mr. Munshin makes only two appearances on the disc, a negligible duet with Carol and a somewhat more interesting number with the Frenchmen. The quartet has three spots, one with each star and a French ditty of their own called "Mambo-Java" (the one song not written by Gaynor, coming from Noel Guyves).
This includes a section where one of them sneezes rhythmically while another hiccups.

Show Girl played ten weeks on Broadway, which given the economics of the day was sufficient to allow this touring enterprise to show a profit.
For the New York run, producer Lowe partnered with Oliver Smith, the celebrated scenic designer who had co-produced Carol's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Los Angeles showman James A. Doolittle.) The show then went back on the road, with Griffin resuming the place he had vacated for Munshin. And then, in late 1963, Channing undertook Hello, Dolly! and found a second iconic musical comedy role even bigger than the first.

Show Girl gives us a fine portrait of the post-Lorelei, pre-Dolly Carol Channing.
And she is quite droll. The highpoint of the CD is a sketch that has happily been included. "The Inside Story" it is called, with Ms. Channing portraying one Cecilia Sssissson, ssstar of the sssilent ssscreen.

This dame made one talking picture, "Missssissssippi Melody," and then overnight "hit the ssskidsss, ssso to ssspeak." Altogether hilarioussss.
This article courtesy : ON THE RECORD: Carol Channing's Show Girl (PLAYBILL.COM)
By Steven Suskin





Channing was scheduled to perform in San Francisco last year, but canceled after breaking her leg.



This is from Jenna Esposito:

Wednesday evening found me at the VIP Room of The Iguana for Wednesday Night Of The Iguana, the weekly open mic/singers’ showcase hosted by the talented team of Richard Skipper and Dana Lorge. Started by Joan Crowe and recently passed into the capable hands of the aforementioned dynamic duo, this 3-hour show includes five featured performers, each of whom perform 3-song sets, as well as a variety of other talented singers whose names are drawn out of a hat to insure fair treatment for all. I had received a last minute request to fill in as one of the five featured performers for that evening, and I was thrilled to be able to do so.

It ended up being a really terrific night of entertainment, with wonderful performances by the other four featured performers (Deb Berman, Susan Winter, Jana Robbins, and Maureen Taylor), as well as by some of the other singers who found their way to the stage that night (including Sarah Rice, Esther Beckman, Jillian Laurain, and Joan Crowe). Richard and Dana did a wonderful job as hosts - they were charming, gracious, welcoming, and had a nice, natural rapport with each other and the audience...and their songs were great, as well!
Taken from The Cabaret Chronicles by Jenna Esposito


You’ve got to give respect to our old pal Joan Rivers, the girl never gives up. Her new show “How’d You Get So Rich?” will air opposite Jay Leno’s new 10 p.m. NBC show. Rivers claimed that she is delighted with Leno competing with her and says, “Leno has become very boring. Nobody remembers what he says anymore. So, let him try and play the game with me, maybe he’ll learn a few things.”

If you remember, after several appearances on the “Johnny Carson” show years before his passing, the legendary nighttime king refused to have her on his regular guest list. Carson claimed that Joan was a bit too aggressive for him. When she wanted something, there was nothing she would not do to get it.
Obviously, the surviving Rivers has been deeply affected by the hardness and insensitivity of the business, giving her the image that many have had to develop in order to remain marketable.

I take my hat off to Joan for staying alive, where many in her generation gave up without a fight.



Madonna is excited about the release of her “Celebration” album. It spotlights her greatest hits and she swears that she will do anything and go any place to show people her gratitude. “I have much to be thankful for,” she said. “I have a wonderful life that affords me to meet some of the most exciting people in the world. I receive thousands of e-mails and letters every week from young people who tell me that I inspire them to make something of their lives.
Now this makes me feel good. I came from a rather poor background and I know how it feels to dream and hope for something better. You know, there is so much darkness and unhappiness in the world today, and anything that I can do to make things a little better, I want to do it.
Life can be beautiful but we must realize that it takes work – and the challenge itself makes it all exciting and worthwhile.”


In the early ‘70s, Lorna Luft was approached to co-host a weekly talk show, but because of scheduling, it didn’t work out. Lorna is a fantastic singer, easily rivaling her sister, Liza Minnelli. Unfortunately, she never really got the big “push” that Liza received when starting her career.

However, she has appeared in numerous Road Productions of Broadway shows, wowing the audience every time she hit the stage. She appeared on the bill with the late star Bea Arthur and Rita Moreno. Her voice was undamaged, even better than her late mom or sister, Liza.


Now she has been approached by producer Burt Mayo to release an album of her mother’s most famous songs introduced in films. I think it will be an exciting project. “I have always loved the songs she did and when she wasn’t around, I would sing them over and over again.”


Lorna admitted that both she and Liza have hesitated to revamp Judy’s music because her fan base is still extremely strong, and they didn’t want to do anything which might offend them. “No matter where we go in the world,” Lorna noted, “people mention momma with such love and loyalty. To them, she is still with us and in a way, she is. It’s all about the music, isn’t it?”


By Lorna Luft

Was another celebrity killed by an enabler who happened to be a physician? I lost my mother, legend Judy Garland, on June 22 1969, 40 years ago, to an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. She was only 47 years old. I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was only 16. I remember the burning pain, confusion, the sense of fear of ‘what’s going to happen to me,’ and of course a sense of loss I have never gotten over.Lorna-Luft-Judy-Garland

Over the past forty years I have relived her passing away every single day. When I see one of her numerous movies shown on television, pass by a store with her iconic photo as the little girl from Kansas, Dorothy Gale, or hear one of her recordings, I remember her brilliant artistry on countless stages.

My mother was a magnificent human being and a talent we will never see again. And yes, my mother was addicted to prescription drugs. I spent my early adolescent years filling her prescription medications with sugar so she wouldn’t overdose. In the end, no one could have saved her. We did not have the knowledge, education and facilities we have now.

I know we have all heard this story before. I wrote a book about my life in the hope that telling my story would shed some light, and make a difference in the way many people viewed a life that ended way before its time. It was also the story of how far we have come in the education and knowledge of the world of addiction. In the book I told of how I battled my own addiction and have been sober for 26 years.

But what has saddened, disturbed, angered and frustrated me in the last 40 years is still the unethical and irresponsible way that many doctors in the medical field continue to over-prescribe drugs to celebrities and the rich and famous. It seems that we haven’t learned anything over the past 4 decades.

The countless stories I hear of being able to walk into certain doctors’ offices and walk out with a shopping cart full of prescription drugs is endless. We have all heard the stories of the various “Dr Feelgoods” in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and now. Also, we hear countless references to drugs in rhythm and blues and rock n roll lyrics. We have also heard the phrases “Mother’s Little Helpers” for decades.

I think a lot of blame can be attributed to the culture we live in, the financial benefits to all concerned, and the fanaticism of being around the wealthy and famous. Like moths to a flame, some think maybe their fame will rub off on the one who stands nearest the “Star.”

My belief is that the responsibility of the addict is absolutely number one, but we can’t forget the enablers who have helped them all on their journey into the abyss – the ones who have “lied” to protect, “deceived” to protect, “loved them” to protect, and most importantly, BENEFITTED FROM their addiction. God only knows I know how hard it is to have an addict in your life. The pain, grief and chaos it causes is unbelievable and unbearable. I stand with everyone who has fought to get peace and serenity in their tumultuous lives.

We are facing a moral and ethical dilemma: shameful doctors who took an oath to save lives have now helped destroy them. These people must be severely prosecuted and given long and healthy prison sentences.

To the countless people who have lost a loved one and who are suffering the same pain, anger and bottomless grief in their lives today: Stand up and say, “No more!”
Let’s not let our poor, lost and sick souls who we loved with all our hearts and whose we couldn’t reach, die in vain.



For more information, visit www.channingarts.com.


Murrieta Repertory Theatre recently received a grant from the California Arts Council to start a program that provides after-school theater lessons to K-12 students.

"It's about sharing our expertise in the field of theater with the students in our area," said the group's artistic director, Jim Marbury.
Artists in Schools is a statewide program that partners community groups with schools to provide education in arts for all students.

The program gives out two types of grants -- a planning grant for organizations establishing a program, and a grant for groups continuing their existing program.

Murrieta Repertory Theatre is the only group in the Inland region to receive the $2,500 planning grant this year, while Riverside Arts Council and Sinfonia Mexicana in San Bernardino received $7,200 each to fund continuing programs, said Mary Beth Barber, spokeswoman for the California Arts Council.

Murrieta Repertory Theatre used to perform at the Murrieta Community Center but recently moved its performances to locations in Hemet.

Marbury said the 12-week program, set to begin in the 2010-11 school year, will be open to students from schools in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Students will be exposed to acting, directing, writing and the technical aspects of theater production.

He said that theater teaches students critical thinking skills, teamwork and ways to express themselves.

For information about Artists in Schools, visit www.cac.ca.gov/programs/

ais200708.php
LIZA MINNELLI has dismissed rumours of a guest appearance on hit U.S. show UGLY BETTY - after she was spotted dining with TV bosses in New York.
The Cabaret star sent internet gossips into a spin after she was recently seen having lunch with Ugly Betty creator Silvio Horta, executive producer Richard Hues and casting director Geoff Soffer at Manhattan's Waverly Inn.
The sighting sparked rumours Minnelli was lined up for a cameo role in the programme - but a representative for the star insists Minnelli is actually set to join the cast of comedy series Drop Dead Diva, not Ugly Betty.
The rep tells New York Post gossip column PageSix, "Liza is not scheduled to appear on Ugly Betty. She is, however, going to be appearing in an episode of Drop Dead Diva that airs on Lifetime on Sept. 6. Hope that clears things up.”
To learn more about Murrieta Repertory Theatre, visit www.myspace.com/murrietarep

Reach Erica Shen at 951-763-3466 or eshen@PE.com
GO SEE A LIVE SHOW THIS WEEK! 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

TONIGHT: Aug 5
8pm
IGUANA VIP LOUNGE, 240 West 54th Street, NYC
WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT THE IGUANA
Tonight, we are celebrating Richard's thirtieth Year in New York. Richard arrived in NYC on Aug 5th, 1979. Richard Skipper, along with Dana Lorge host. What they are doing is NOT being done anywhere else! Each week will showcase 5 entertainers. Other entertainers that show up will be inserted throughout the show as time permits/this is done by lottery! AND each are joined by Barry Levitt on keyboard and Morrie Louden on bass. Each week will be different. The price is ONLY $10.00 with NO food or drink minimum (although the food at The Iguana is top notch). This is a nice night out with the family! The show will also be done with class and elegance. A "throw back" to the variety shows we grew up with.

Tonight's guests include: Sandi Durell, Bobbie Horowitz, Carolyn Ohlbaum, Brent Winborn ... and a few other surprises as well! Remember $10.00 Cover/No food or drink minimum! Reservations a must (212) 765-5454