Friday, October 30, 2009

HELLO, CICELY!


CICELY Tyson School of the Performing and Fine Arts in East Orange, N.J.
Brand New Arts Facility Rededicated in Honor of Cicely Tyson


A New Jersey arts school will continue to bear the name of famed actress Cicely Tyson following the Oct. 24 unveiling of its new facility.

Celebrities gathered on a red carpet for the official dedication of the $143 million new home of the Cicely Tyson School of the Performing and Fine Arts in East Orange, N.J., according to the Newark Star-Ledger.
The school first opened with Tyson’s name attached, but at a different location, in 1995.
It welcomed 1,000 students to the new school in September before its official dedication, the newspaper said.


“Its like carrying a child and giving birth,” said Tyson, who has been an active participant in school decisions, graduations and other events since the school was named for her. “The birth date is Oct. 24.”


Guests included CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, who served as mistress of ceremonies, as well as N.J. Gov. Jon Corzine, Nick Ashford and his wife, Valerie Simpson, (pictured: Ashford and Simpson),actresses Angela Bassett and Tamara Tunie, gospel singer BeBe Winans, an active supporter of the school, Susan Taylor, the editor emeritus of Essence magazine who is also an author and philanthropist, and Faye Wattleton, the former president of Planned Parenthood of America who is currently the president of the Center For Advancement of Women.

“In this school, the young people can follow their dreams, but also receive an intense academic experience,” O’Brien told the Star-Ledger.

The school serves as the East Orange School District’s educational center for the development of performing and fine arts for students of all ages, according to BlackAmericaWeb.com.
The school also opens its library, gym, cafeteria, music and art rooms to the community after school hours.


Tyson said the school benefits from working with children through all levels of their education.


“We get them when they’re children,” Tyson told the newspaper “We have them through middle school and high school.
That pleases me because we get the opportunity to reach them early. We want them to understand that without education, there is no life.”


Filmmaker George Lucas is famous for popularizing space operas. But for more than two decades, he's also been engaged in a more down-to-earth cause: improving public education.


'Star Wars' filmmaker aims to improve education


Filmmaker George Lucas is famous for popularizing space operas. But for more than two decades, he's also been engaged in a more down-to-earth cause: improving public education.

"I strongly believe that education is the single most important job that the human race has," Lucas said.


WRAL News has partnered with the George Lucas Educational Foundation to present "Edutopia," a series that highlights what is working in public education and how those successes can be adopted in local schools.



The series starts at High Tech High in San Diego, where nearly every student graduates and every graduate is accepted into college.

Students learn by working on projects that produce important projects, such as a DNA bar-coding process that will help convict poachers in Africa.
"I know everyone is serious about it because it's a serious issue, but this is really a lot more fun than you would be able to do in any other classroom," High Tech High student Mari said.
High Tech High students also perform a meaningful internship in the community.

Next, at an elementary school in Tucson, Ariz., the arts are used to teach every subject. Opera helps first-graders learn to write, dance teaches geometry, and fourth-graders learn science while playing the violin.

Independent research confirms that reading, writing and math scores have improved dramatically since the arts-based curriculum was introduced.

At a school in Brooklyn, N.Y., fourth- and fifth-graders are in a program to become "Peace Helpers."
They learn to understand their own anger and help younger children to resolve conflicts.
"I'm still because if I got to sixth grade next year, I need to learn how to control my anger.
Because I have a serious temper problem," fifth-grader Alexus said.
Lucas has spent 20 years documenting such success stories in public schools across the United States.


"I didn't enjoy school very much. Occasionally, I would come up with a teacher who would inspire me," Lucas recalled.
"But as I got older and I began to work with computer technology and telling stories through film, I began to wonder, 'Why couldn't we use these new technologies to help improve the educational process?'"

He shares the techniques he's learned about on the George Lucas Educational Foundation's Web site. The site serves as a comprehensive resource for teachers and parents.


Luft brings pedigree to role


By Bob Fischbach
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER



Actress Lorna Luft was born to show business. By age 11, she was singing on TV with her legendary mom on “The Judy Garland Show.” Her father was producer Sid Luft, and her half-sister is Oscar and Tony winner Liza Minnelli. Luft made her Broadway debut at age 16, singing with Garland at the Palace Theater, and by age 19 was in a Broadway show on her own, “Promises, Promises.”
Since then she has done national tours, regional theater and world tours in a variety of musical-theater roles.
Her best-selling book became a 2001 television miniseries, “Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows.” She intermittently performs a stage show titled “Songs My Mother Taught Me,” which is on CD as well.


Last week we caught Luft, 56, on her cell phone in a Times Square rehearsal hall in New York City, where she and the cast of “Irving Berlin's White Christmas” were preparing for a 10-week tour.
Based on a 1954 movie starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, it opens Sunday at the Orpheum Theater.
Luft sounded pumped about the show and her role, which she originated in London's West End in 2006.
Q. How are rehearsals going so far?
'Irving Berlin's White Christmas'



What: Broadway touring musical




When: 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1; 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 through 5; 8 p.m. Nov. 6 and 7; 2 p.m. Nov. 7


Tickets: $28 to $68


Information: 345-0606 or, toll-free, 866-434-8587


A. Well, they're fast and furious, and thank God we've all done this show before. Putting it up in such a short time, it's quite extraordinary. But people are picking it up fast, like, yeah, yeah, I know what I'm doing.

Q. I read on the Internet you've done “White Christmas” several times since 2006 in London. Have you always played the same character?

A. The same character, Martha Watson. For me, it's one of the great parts. Now to be joining the American cast is just wonderful. As much as the U.K. cast was fantastic, to hear the show with the right accent is stunning.

Q. How does your character differ from the one Mary Wickes played (Emma Allen) in the movie?

A. Mary was not as big a character. (Director) Walter Bobbie and the show's creators (David Ives, Paul Blake) took this character and made her Martha the Megaphone Watson. She's a combo of a lot of those loud, over-the-top showbiz caricatures. She looks a little like Lucille Ball, talks a bit like Martha Rae, sings a bit like Ethel Merman. This woman really runs the inn in Vermont (where the show takes place, owned by an Army general). The general barks out orders, but Martha is his equal when it comes to who wears the pants.


Q. Are there any big differences between the musical and the plot of the movie?
A. Not really. Two couples meet and get a crush on each other. There's no snow at the ski inn, so they put on a show in the barn to draw customers.
You can't mess around with that story. But what they've done is add more Irving Berlin songs.
And that really opens it up to amazing, theatrical stage numbers that will take your breath away.

Q. What's your favorite moment on stage in this show?
A. I do love doing “Let Me Sing and I'm Happy,” my number. And it's been changed since the U.K. Now I have boys (dancers) behind me and all that. It's really a showbiz number.
It's fantastic. I also love the end of the show when we're all standing there singing that (title) song. Puh-leeze, no one will have a dry eye in that house. It tugs on your heartstrings.
This is what musicals are about.

Q. You've done a lot of musical theater. How does “White Christmas” stack up?

A. For me it has a little bit of an edge over all of them. I'm a huge fan of (leading man) Stephen Bogardus, and (leading lady) Kerry O'Malley is extraordinary. For everybody who comes to see the show, it brings back the first time you heard these wonderful songs. You can't beat this score: “Count Your Blessings,” “I Love a Piano,” “Blue Skies,” “How Deep Is the Ocean.”
Q. Irving Berlin, of course, worked with Judy Garland — on “Easter Parade,” for example.

Does this show take you back to your mom's era of musicals in any way?

A. To my mom's era of musicals, and to the first time I saw shows like “42nd Street,” those big shows where every song is a classic.
You come out humming the songs.



Q. What advice did your mother pass along that helped you as a musical-theater actress?

A. Just give yourself. And you gotta be there 110 percent. That's what every person on this stage does.
It's sort of like, once the overture starts, the train pulls out, and it's going, and it's not gonna stop.
Q. What's next for you after this tour ends in January?

A. Are you kidding me? I have to get to Omaha first.


Contact the writer:
444-1269, bob.fischbach@owh.com


Why teach the arts? Art inspires learning
Math and science may boost economic competitiveness, but art completes our education.
By David Arzouman

Tokyo - When American presidents talk about education, they inevitably stress the need to focus on math and science. In a technological world, they say, math and science ultimately equate with economic competitiveness. This line of thinking may be smart politics, but it makes education merely the means to an economic end.


President Obama is no exception to this tendency. But as a candidate, he also routinely noted the importance of the arts, as does Education Secretary Arne Duncan. It is fair then to ask what art actually offers.

Science emphasizes quantities. Art emphasizes qualities. Their mix, although paradoxical, moves us closer to completeness.

We express such paradox in ideals like the student-athlete, warrior-poet, compassionate-conservative, even "wise as serpents, and gentle as doves."

The arts offer both a key educational component and the unique experience of handling each stage of a project – coordinating hand, eye, and mind – from inspiration to finishing touches. In contrast, business realities necessitate specialization.

Schools also practice specialization, both in the estrangement of various studies and by progressively narrowing the focus. Perhaps because expertise pays, it is not generally the case that the "higher" people go in education, the broader, more interconnected, integrated, and holistic becomes their vision.
If the arts provide an alternative metaphor applicable to education, it is that elements must balance and synergize.
The attractive color, "catchy" musical passage, or favorite rhyme that doesn't fit only weakens the work.

With synergy, grayed colors combine into brilliant paintings, just as in sports a coordinated team beats an unsupported superstar.
We arrive at a dilemma. In groups, individuals play roles and specialize; completeness arises from the coordinated activity spanning the group. But if education's defining goal is only preparing students for those roles, it suffers for balance.


So where is the education model that not only emphasizes balance, but also explores the parallels and connections across disciplines?

One example is the quadrivium – arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy – a model that reaches back to Pythagoras.
Consider its strengths. Arithmetic explains the relations between numbers. Geometry explains numbers in space; music, numbers in time; and astronomy, numbers in space and time. It was a vision of correspondences conducive to analogic thinking.
Our wiser cultural ancestors considered geometry more than an engineering tool and music more than mere entertainment. They were key, parallel studies, manifestations of numbers, which were therefore seen as embodying both quantity and quality, a clue to the complementary unity of science and art.
Segregating the two, and regarding only one as essential, is a costly disintegration, expressing a quantitative bias necessary for technological expediency.

Admittedly, art is peripheral to making microchips or jumbo jets. But it's important to distinguish what our technology gets us, and what it doesn't.

The technological gap between a smart bomb and a spear is vast. But the gap in intent can be imperceptible. Cable television, cellphones, and computers don't ensure a more meaningful quality of discourse, only faster and more far-reaching. While our means far outrun anything from the past, our purpose and moral intent struggle to keep pace.
So, yes, education is vital to everything. But it requires an element of inspiration, and inspiration rides on metaphor, correspondences, and relating, the surprising and far-reaching connections that put the world back together, that elicit the "aha" response. This is precluded by over-specialization, but it just happens to be the work of art, whose root meaning is "to fit or join together."

Thinking outside the box of each school department would be edifying. A math lesson might include rhythmic examples, or ratios also experienced as musical intervals. A geometry lesson could show how the master painters once ordered their compositions on geometric underpinnings.

Reopening these pathways would not bypass the traditional curriculum, but simply inspire the artist inside each student, longing to see the big picture.
Unforeseen social benefits would surely follow.
David Arzouman is an artist, composer, writer, and educator developing a new art school in Tokyo.

Liza Minnelli: We still love Liza

LIFE IS A CABARET: Liza Minnelli in concert.
LEGENDARY cabaret performer Liza Minnelli brought a touch of Broadway pizazz to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre last Friday (October 23).

The audience leapt to their feet as soon as Minnelli swept onto the stage (in a sparkling black top, sleek black pants and pink scarf).
She opened with Teach Me Tonight, which was followed by echoes of ``we love you Liza’’.
Apparently she loves us too replying: ``Adelaide is the most beautiful city.’’


At 63 years of age, Minnelli showed amazing stamina and a hearty sense of humour as she dazzled the fans with hit-after-hit including Cabaret, New York, New York, the fun Liza With a `Z’ and If You Hadn’t, But You Did.

That said she wasn’t too proud to sit down during the first act.
``Well now I sit down in the first act. I ain’t crazy, just old!’’

Minnelli’s first Australian tour in 20 years is based on her Tony Award-winning run at the New York Palace.
Her tight 12-piece orchestra features longtime pianist Billy Stitch.


For an encore she returned in a baggy T-shirt, sans make-up and false eyelashes to sing All The Lives of Me as a tribute to first husband Peter Allen.


Beleagured 'Christmas Carol' producer takes show on the road


Sometimes in showbiz -- OK, a lot of the time in showbiz -- what's going on backstage is far more interesting than what's happening in front of the audience.
Such is the case with producer-director Kevin Von Feldt's stage version of "A Christmas Carol."
The theatrical production played last year at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood amid numerous problems, including technical snafus, big-name cast dropouts and accusations that Von Feldt had not paid some of the workers on the show.

The play flopped and Von Feldt told Culture Monster at the time that he planned to remount the production in order to help recoup his costs.


This holiday season, the show is set to go on tour with stops in Chicago, Miami and a few other cities. Earlier this month, the producer announced an impressive cast that included F. Murray Abraham, Stockard Channing, Timothy Hutton, James Garner and George Wendt.

But since that announcement, Channing and Hutton have dropped out of the production. Von Feldt recently told the Chicago Tribune that their defections were a result of the actors' having read Culture Monster's reports on the failed Hollywood version of the show.

In a remarkably candid interview, the producer admits that the Hollywood production didn't sell well and that the technical rehearsals were disastrous. "“It was like ‘Noises Off’ gone bad,” he said.
And the problems seem to be mounting yet again. Yesterday, the show's Minneapolis engagement at the Orpheum Theatre was canceled after Von Feldt was unable to pay the second deposit to secure the venue, according to a report in the Star Tribune.

Surely this "Christmas Carol" is one haunted production.

-- David Ng

Gasteyer, Knight, Kudisch, Diamantopoulos and Newton Will Be Girl Crazy at Encores!

By Adam Hetrick
29 Oct 2009




Real-life couple Chris Diamantopoulos and Becki Newton will find love on stage in the Encores! presentation of the Gershwin musical Girl Crazy, under the direction of Tony-winner Jerry Zaks in November.

The 1930 classic, which served as the basis for the 1992 Tony-winning musical Crazy for You, will run Nov. 19-22 at City Center.
Finian's Rainbow director and choreographer Warren Carlyle will choreograph, with musical direction by Rob Fisher.
Ana Gasteyer, who currently appears in the Broadway revival of The Royal Family, will portray Frisco Kate Fothergill – the role originated by Ethel Merman. Wayne Knight (Chicago) is cast as Gieber Goldfarb, with Tony nominee Marc Kudisch as Slick Fothergill, Diamantopoulos (Les Miserables, The Full Monty) as Danny Churchill, Newton ("Ugly Betty") as Molly Gray, Mylinda Hull (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) as Patsy West, Richard Poe (Cry-Baby) as Jake Howell, Daniel Stewart Sherman (Desire Under the Elms) as Lank Sanders and Gregory Wooddell (Some Men) as Tom Mason.

The Encores! concert staging will have sets by John Lee Beatty, costumes by William Ivey Long, lighting by Peter Kaczorowski and sound by Scott Lehrer.

Girl Crazy has music and lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin and book by Guy Bolton and Jack McGowan.
According to Encores! notes, "The Gershwins' fanciful Depression-era musical of 1930 is the tale of a sophisticated New Yorker (Diamantopoulos) marooned in a dusty Western cow town with no one who understands him but the Yiddish-speaking cabbie (Knight) who brought him there and no one to love but the only woman (Newton) within 50 miles." (SOURCE: PLAYBILL.COM)



30,000-seat stadium to be ready in 2011

By Richard Durrett

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved a proposal for a new football stadium at the University of North Texas that is expected to be completed for the 2011 season.

A public groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 21, according to a news release.
The stadium will replace Fouts Field, which is 57 years old. HKS Inc. Architects, which designed Cowboys Stadium, is designing the new stadium.

"If you look at America's great universities, you'll see that they all have the three A's in common: great academics, great arts and great athletics," said UNT president Gretchen M. Bataille in a release.
"All are key to a vibrant alumni community and continued growth. And all require great facilities.
I am committed to ensuring that UNT, like many of the nation's best research universities, strives to be excellent in everything we do."
The stadium will hold about 30,000 fans and include luxury suites.
Richard Durrett covers colleges for ESPNDallas.com. E-mail richard.durrett@espn3.com.
Michael Jackson Auction Leads to Rhubarb
By KARINA BROWN


(CN) - An auction house claims concert promoter David Gest is trying "to cash in on his former association with the late Michael Jackson" by demanding $200,000 from it for mentioning that Gest had given the late singer some of the items it auctioned off.
Julien's Auction House sued Gest in Los Angeles Federal Court, seeking declaratory judgment.
It claims it was forced to go to court to stave off Gest's demand for $200,000.
Julien's claims Gest threatened to sue if for violating his publicity rights by telling bidders that he once owned 21 of the auctioned items.
Julien's describes Gest's threat of litigation as an attempt "to cash in on his former association with the late Michael Jackson."
Julien's says Gest gave Jackson the items to satisfy a debt. It insists that its sale "did not violate Mr. Gest's alleged right of publicity and that such disclosure does not entitle Mr. Gest to an 'accounting' of Plaintiffs' books and records."
Julien's claims Gest told it that the "'wrong' could only be righted" if the auction house gave him $200,000.
But Julien's says Gest's threat came despite his knowledge that "collectors of Michael Jackson memorabilia are interested in the memorabilia because of the affiliation with Michael Jackson, not because of some past connection to David Gest."
Gest was briefly married to Liza Minnelli after Michael Jackson introduced them.
After their divorce, Gest sued Minnelli for $10 million, claiming she had abused him.
Julien's makes much of this in its complaint, stating, "(I)t is highly doubtful that Mr. Gest's affiliation with the auction items could have increased their value. If anyone really knew who Mr. Gest was, they would also likely know that Mr. Gest has reportedly been involved in domestic abuse, sued his wealthy ex-wife for $10 million (alleging that she abused him), and - according to an article posted on his own Web site - is 'in the process of dumping his homeland, the United States' and has pledged his allegiance to the Queen of England." (Parentheses and italics are as in complaint.)
Julien's seeks declaratory judgment. It is represented by Gerald Hawxhurst and Daryl Crone with Baker Marquart.




And how was your week? Have a HAPPY SAFE Halloween! Don't forget to set your clocks back late tomorrow night! Here's to a great November! Hope to see you at The Iguana Wednesday night!Support THE ARTS! LIVE THEATRE! Go see a show this week! Send me your reviews and suggestions and I will put them in my next blog coming out on Friday! Here's to an ARTS-filled 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 AT THE IGUANA:

What a fun evening! A well-rounded group of excellent performers with talent, charm and wit to burn! Lovely room, good food, easy location... just the whole package. Highly recommend this.




Wednesday evening found me at The Iguana on 54th Street for the appropriately named Wednesday Night At The Iguana. Hosted by Richard Skipper and Dana Lorge, this weekly showcase has really become a hot destination for performers in the city. Each week features five special guests, each of whom perform a short set, and "surprise" performers, who are mixed in among the special guests and each perform one song. The special guests this past week were Barbara Gurskey, Andrea Mezinsky-Kolb, Jonathan Long, Martin Vidnovic, and my sister, Kelly Esposito Broelmann! One of the special surprises for the night was Richard Skipper himself, who wasn't able to be at the first half of the evening, as he was performing elsewhere, but who opened up the second half of the show doing his renowned Carol Channing impersonation - in full Carol Channing dress, hair and makeup! The audience just adored it, and it was a very fun surprise! It was a great evening from top to bottom with some truly outstanding performances. I'm looking forward to going again soon!
Jenna Esposito, THE CABARET CHRONICLES (BROADWAYWORLD.COM) Posted 10/18/09

RICHARD! ~ It was so great to see you perform at the Iguana last WEDs night (Oct 7) ... My date and I agreed it was the best night we had spent in NYC this trip and plan on making it our regular routine henceforth ~ Truly the BEST bargain in town!! The venue, the talent, AMAZING ~ we couldn't have seen that much talent had we spent two weeks hitting the shows ... please give my kudos to EVERYONE. As for you, you stole the show that night with your singing of "I Am What I Am" ... never have I heard it sung with more clarity; and by that I don't mean just gorgeous sound, but a clarity of understanding and COMMUNICATING that to your audience ... BRAVO!!








FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NYC

Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price!
Dana Lorge and I have
now put their OWN spin on The variety show format and are now hosting every Wednesday night in
NYC at The Iguana VIP Lounge (http://www.iguananyc.com) in the heart of
NYC (240 West 54th Street 8-11PM/with an intermission).
WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT THE IGUANA!
Each week
will showcase 5 entertainers.

Barry Levitt returns on keyboard and Saadi Zain on bass!
on bass. Time: 8 - 11:00 p.m.
Cover: $10 - no food or drink minimums – but remember – the food is great!

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.








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

November 11th: Fred Martin

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

December 9th: Richard Holbrook, Josh Zuckerman, Helena Grenot, Jillian Laurain, Jerry Wichinsky

November 25th: OUR THANKSGIVING SHOW! PLEASE NOTE 7PM TONIGHT!James Alexander joins us!

December 30th: Linda Fields, Ritt Henn, Annie Hughes, Yvette Malavets-Blum, David Nathan Scott
Keep checking http://www.richardskipper.com/schedule.html

Sunday, October 25, 2009

RAGTIMES COMES BACK TO BROADWAY!




RAGTIME
Announces Lottery Ticket Program
For Day Of Performances

Performances Began This Friday, October 23

­­­­­­­­­­­­The producers of the Broadway revival of RAGTIME have announced a lottery ticket program for the day of performances.
Two hours prior to each performance of RAGTIME, patrons will be invited to enter a lottery drawing at the Neil Simon Theatre (250 West 52nd Street) for a limited number of $26.50 lottery tickets to that day’s performance. Names will be drawn at random ninety minutes prior to curtain.

There will be a limit of two tickets per person and tickets may be purchased using cash only.

Winners must be present with valid identification at the time of the drawing to purchase their tickets.


The John F. Kennedy Center’s new production of Terrence McNally, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s Tony Award® winning musical RAGTIME, based on the E.L. Doctorow novel, features direction and choreography by Marcia Milgrom Dodge, and a majestic 28-piece orchestra led by musical director James Moore.

RAGTIME features a company of 40, starring Ron Bohmer (Father), Quentin Earl Darrington (Coalhouse Walker Jr.), Christiane Noll (Mother), Robert Petkoff (Tateh), Bobby Steggert (Mother’s Younger Brother), Stephanie Umoh (Sarah), with Christopher Cox (The Little Boy), Sarah Rosenthal (The Little Girl), Mark Aldrich (Willie Conklin), Aaron Galligan-Stierle (Henry Ford), Jonathan Hammond (Harry Houdini), Dan Manning (Grandfather), Michael X. Martin (J.P. Morgan), Mike McGowan (Stanford White), Donna Migliaccio (Emma Goldman), Josh Walden (Harry K. Thaw), Savannah Wise (Evelyn Nesbit), Eric Jordan Young (Booker T. Washington).

RAGTIME also features Sumayya Ali, Terence Archie, Corey Bradley, Jayden Brockington, Benjamin Cook, Carey Rebecca Brown, Jennifer Evans, Carly Hughes, Lisa Karlin, Valisia Lekae, James Moye, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Mamie Parris, Bryonha Parham, Nicole Powell, Kaylie Rubinaccio, Arbender J. Robinson, Benjamin Schrader, Wallace Smith, Catherine Walker, Jim Weaver, Kylil Christopher Williams.
RAGTIME is produced by Kevin McCollum, Roy Furman, Scott Delman, Roger Berlind, Max Cooper, Tom Kirdahy/Devlin Elliott, Jeffrey A. Sine, Stephanie McClelland, Roy Miller, LAMS Productions, Jana Robbins, Sharon Karmazin, Eric Falkenstein/Morris Berchard, Wendy Federman, Jamie deRoy, Sheila Steinberg, Lauren Stevens, Independent Presenters Network, Held-Haffner Productions, HRH Foundation and Emanuel Azenberg in association with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Marcia Milgrom Dodge’s production debuted at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater on April 18 and played a sold out limited engagement through May 17, 2009.
Variety called the re-imagined musical “Simply stunning.” The Washington Post raved “Nothing short of heavenly. Looks and sounds so good. Glorious!,” while Bloomberg News said “Explosive and thrilling!”

At the dawn of the century, everything is changing…and anything is possible.
Based on E.L. Doctorow’s celebrated epic novel and set in the volatile melting pot of turn-of-the-century New York, RAGTIME weaves together three distinctly American tales — that of a stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant and a daring young Harlem musician — united by their courage, compassion and belief in the promise of the future. Their personal journeys come alive as historic figures offer guidance and diversion – among them escape artist Harry Houdini, auto tycoon Henry Ford, educator Booker T. Washington and infamous entertainer Evelyn Nesbit.


Together, their stories celebrate the struggle between tradition and independence all in pursuit of the American dream.

The celebrated production team includes scenic design by Derek McLane, costume design by Santo Loquasto, lighting design by Donald Holder, sound design by Acme Sound Partners, hair and wig design by Edward J. Wilson and orchestrations by William David Brohn.

RAGTIME originally opened on Broadway on January 18, 1998 at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts. The musical garnered four Tony Awards® including Best Book, Original Score and Best Orchestrations. The beloved Ahrens and Flaherty score features some of the award-winning team’s best-known songs including the title song, “Make Them Hear You” and the anthem “The Wheels of a Dream.”
RAGTIME tickets prices are $46.50, $86.50 and $126.50 (including $1.50 facility fee) and available by calling Ticketmaster at 212-307-4100 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com.
RAGTIME began previews October 23rd, 2009 and officially opens on November 15th, 2009 at the Neil Simon Theatre (250 West 52nd Street). RAGTIME will play the following preview schedule from October 23 – November 14: Tues., Thurs., Fri. and Sat. eve at 8p, Sun eve at 7:30p. Wed., Sat. and Sun. mat. at 2p. Dark Mon. Opening night November 15, 2009 and onward: Tues. eve. at 7p; Wed., Thurs., Fri. and Sat. eve at 8p, Wed. and Sat. mat. at 2p; Sun. mat. at 3p. Dark Mon.
www.RagtimeBroadway.com






IpAuctions™ to Sell Rights to The Judy Garland Shows
IpAuctions™ (www.ipauctions.com) will auction all of the USA Rights/Copyrights for the Judy Garland Show for the CBS 1963/1964 Television Season. Music producer Darryl Payne currently owns these rights.


This Classic Nostalgic 1960s series is being held in celebration of the 70th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz,” which starred young Judy Garland in 1939 and the 40th Anniversary of Judy’s passing in 1969.

This historic collection of 26 one-hour-long episodes includes an unprecedented list of guests – including Barbra Streisand, Mickey Rooney, Count Basie, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Ethel Merman, Bob Newhart, Donald O’Connor, Peggy Lee, Steve Allen, Jane Powell, Peter Lawford, Vic Damone, Jack Jones, and Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli, among others.
Judy Garland also performed solo concert performances as part of this amazing wonderful TV show.
In 1962, the CBS Network won the right to broadcast Judy Garland’s musical variety show in an unheard-of pact worth $24 million.

From June 1963 through March 1964, the one-hour episodes were videotaped at CBS’ Television City in Hollywood, California, according to the Judy Garland Database online at www.jgdb.com.
There are once-in-a-lifetime musical pairings and duets between Garland and her guests. Some reviewers claim this collection is the only remaining audio/video in existence of the legendary diva at her physical and vocal peak.

“The purchaser of this historic library will also own the exclusive rights to all of the music and video footage performed on the shows, because the auction includes the original masters plus Digital Audio Tapes,” said Joe Popolo of IpAuctions™. The new buyer can license songs and music clips of the show to third parties for advance payments.


Digital Download, TV Broadcast, Home Video Rights and Direct Response Right are included in this entire classic Garland series.
This auction also entitles the Buyer to enjoy revenue streams generated by retail sales from The Judy Garland Show under an Agreement with Infinity Entertainment Group signed early in 2009.

Currently, Infinity Entertainment Group, based in Anaheim, Calif., has a DVD and Digital Download Agreement with the current seller.
Any retail sales conducted by Infinity on behalf of The Judy Garland Show collection of episodes provides the “revenue stream” that is being auctioned by IpAuctions, Inc., on behalf of the seller.
This Agreement is available for review by potential bidders.
To view Infinity Entertainment’s website and learn more about the company’s GARLAND revenue stream, please visit www.infinity-entertainmentgroup.com.
All sale details about this valuable auction starting November 9 can be examined at www.ipAuctions.com.

IpAuctions™ Inc. is the leading online auction firm specializing in the sale of intellectual property assets. The Company is a member of the National Auctioneers Association and the ABI.

For more information about this sale or other intellectual property, please contact Joseph Popolo, IpAuctions™, at 866-826-1300 or 348 Mill St., Reno, NV 89501 USA.












Dying Teen Records Dream Album
AOL News


A teenage ukulele prodigy refused to let his battle with cancer be his legacy. Instead, he spent his final months realizing a dream of cutting an album with world-class musicians and using the money to help other kids like himself.
Just weeks before his death in August, 16-year-old Killian Mansfield of upstate New York got to hold a copy of his professional CD.
"Somewhere Else" features the teen playing alongside such musical talents as Dr. John, Kate Pierson, John Sebastian, Todd Rundgren and Levon Helm.


Given months to live in his battle with cancer, 16-year-old Killian Mansfield spent the time he had left recording his dream album, titled "Somewhere Else."

On the CD he played ukulele alongside many world-class musicians like Dr. John, Todd Rundgren and Levon Helm.






Killian began playing instruments at age 3. He first took up the violin and then the fiddle before settling on the less common ukulele.
When his family moved to the Woodstock, N.Y., area, the boy became well known as a "teenage troubadour," carrying his instrument in a neon-orange case and jamming with local musicians, New York Magazine reported.

He was diagnosed at age 11 with a rare form of synovial sarcoma, a disease that invades muscle and bone tissue. Over the next five years he endured painful treatments and surgeries, including one that removed a large portion of his jaw.

Killian's album was first conceived last fall when he was told that he was out of medical options and only had months to live. The magazine detailed how the boy told his mother during that hospital stay that he wanted to record: "But I don't want to do it with friends." Smiling, but serious, he added, "I want to play with famous people."


To turn the improbable idea into reality, Killian turned to family friend Ralph Legnini, who has a recording studio in Woodstock. Legnini also has strong ties to the musical community in Woodstock, where many artists have homes. Those connections helped Killian to recruit the well-known talents who collaborated.

Musicians who jammed with Killian quickly forgot about his youth and medical condition when they heard him play.
Jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli told New York Magazine of his experience with the boy in a New York City hospital.


"When I got there, I sort of thought I was on a kind of a play date, right? Then Killian starts playing his ukulele, and I was like, 'Oh, really?'
He knew chord voicings that, for lack of a better way of putting it, I knew. Soon he was showing me things.
No joke, the kid was totally schooling me."
"Somewhere Else" features an eclectic set list of songs of escapism, all selected by Killian. He sang on two tracks and played the ukulele on the rest.

Recording sessions were dependent on Killian's health. To manage his pain, he took strong medications like Dilaudid, steroids and methadone. The drugs caused drowsiness that made it hard for him to work. He could only work for a few hours at a time, the magazine said.
Toward the end, he was not able to move his hands well enough to play. But the work was completed in time to allow Killian to review and approve the final tracks before its professional release.
Proceeds from the album's sales benefit the foundation that Killian set up before his death. The Killian Mansfield Foundation raises money for Hope & Heroes, the program at Columbia Presbyterian where Killian received treatment.

For more on Killian Mansfield's story, visit New York Magazine.
To find out more about the foundation, visit killianmansfield.org.


Liza Minnelli leaves SATC cast in tears



Liza Minnelli brought the cast of the new 'Sex and the City' movie to tears when she performed for them.


The iconic singer - who has a cameo appearance as herself in the upcoming film - played a song for the cast when shooting wrapped on her scene, before making an emotional speech.

According to gossip blogger Perez Hilton, actor Nicholas Rodriguez said: "Liza's scene is ginormous with a huge budget and pretty much everybody is in it, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Chris Noth, Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall and Cynthia Nixon.
"After the shoot, Liza said, 'I would like to have everyone's attention,' and they pulled out a stool for her at the piano and gave her a mic and she sang a favorite of her mother, Judy Garland.

"Then she said, 'Thank you for letting me play with you guys.' It was so heartfelt and genuine.


I got choked up and several people were sobbing like a baby, but I'm not going to name names!"

Liza is a guest at the film's "shock wedding", rumoured to be that of the franchise's gay characters Stanford Blatch and Anthony Marentino.
The film is due for release in 2010.


We lost one of the greats this week: SOUPY SALES."I don't mind you guys comin' round my house," Soupy Sales once said to the off-camera guys who were cracking up at his jokes, "but why'd you have to bring cameras in?" His afternoon TV show, which was aimed at kids and ran in Detroit, Los Angeles and New York off and on from the 1950s through the '70s, had the seeming informality of a friendly fellow you would hire to entertain the tots. He'd crack venerable jokes, play with puppets, teach the occasional verity ("Don't eat just before dinner") and, at the end, get a custard pie in the face.
Simple stuff, really, but delivered with a brio that kept generations of children giggling. So his death on Thursday in a Bronx hospice, at age 83 after years of declining health, had to raise a tear, and a reflective silly grin.



Born Milton Supman in Franklinton, N.C., he served in the Navy during World War II and earned a journalism degree from Marshall College. In his first radio gigs, he called himself Soupy Hines, but he changed it to Soupy Sales when he got a radio-TV spot in Cleveland. He later said he left that job for health reasons — "They got sick of me."
He clicked in Detroit, though, with his first TV kids' show in 1953. Supported by puppeteer Clyde Adler and a crew that provided the laughter (Sales rarely worked before a live audience), he adapted the hip lunacy of TV's avant-comic Ernie Kovacs to his own sunny personality, frequently telling his viewers, "I love you and give ya a big kiss."
They returned the affection. Lunch with Soupy Sales soon gained converts of all ages and went national in 1959. For a brief spell in the early '60s, he was a prime-time star; Frank Sinatra showed up to get a pie in the face.


In a line of TV kids' comedy that stretched from Pinky Lee and Kukla and Fran and Ollie in the early '50s to Pee-wee Herman in the '80s — and which is all but extinct today — Sales was the sweetest and goofiest performer. Outfitted in a sweater and bow tie, his elastic features sporting a nonstop smile, as if he were laughing at his last or next joke, Sales was a Mr. Rogers for kids who didn't watch PBS. Yet there was educational value to his work.
And what was funny then still is today, if you look at the YouTube clips from his old black-and-white shows or can track down any of the three Soupy Sales DVD collections. Never too hip for the rec room, he connected with kids by telling jokes that were more venerable than the 2,000-year-old man — but they were new to 5-year-olds, who got a daily tutorial in how to make people laugh.
He would parry with two animals seen on camera only as long paws: White Fang, "the biggest, meanest dog in the United States," and Black Tooth, "the nicest dog in the United States." Or he would go to the back door and greet some (usually unseen) visitor. One was his "girlfriend" Peaches — represented visually by Sales in a blond wig and baggy dress and vocally by either Adler or Frank Nastasi, who did the puppeteering from the mid-'60s on — with whom he'd engage in buckshot banter.
(Peaches: "Will you always adore me?" Sales: "Yes!" Peaches: "Then let's run off and get married tonight!" Sales: "I can't." Peaches: "Why not?" Sales: "I've got a date.")
With a half-hour to fill five days a week, the show needed musical interludes, and it got them from Pookie the Lion, a primitive hand puppet. Pookie would "lip-sync" the non-lyrics to Clark Terry's "Mumbles" or break into Johnny Standley's evangelist rant "It's in the Book" or the Animals' version of "(Boom Boom Boom Boom) Gonna Shoot You Right Down," and Sales would madly cavort along, a dervish of prepubescent ecstasy. (The show gave you a music education too.) In the mid-'60s, he had a hit of his own: a dance record, Soupy Sales Sez Do the Mouse, whose song "The Mouse" ranks in the novelty-song category up or down there with John Zacherle's "Dinner with Drac" and Steve Martin's "King Tut." That got him a contract as a Motown recording artist. Didn't last long. (See an excerpt from Richard Zoglin's book Comedy at the Edge.)

Despite persistent urban legends, Sales never did blue material for the kids — though his staff did play a prank in which a topless balloon artiste danced to "The Stripper" while the on-set monitor indicated that the career-ending nudity was live on the air. (It wasn't.) He did make trouble for himself on New Year's Day 1965, when, annoyed by having to work on a holiday, he impishly instructed kids to tiptoe into their parents' bedroom, take out "green pieces of paper with pictures of guys with beards" and send them to his New York station.

The punch line: "And you know what I'm gonna send you? A postcard from Puerto Rico." For that he got suspended. He said that the kids were hipper than his bosses: many sent him Monopoly money. One adult enclosed a few dollars and wrote: "Now go to Puerto Rico."


By the mid-'80s, Sales was back on radio, hosting a mid-morning show on New York's WNBC that was improbably sandwiched between Don Imus and Howard Stern. His cheerful comedic style seemed antique compared with the grouchiness of those two audio superstars. But even in the '50s and '60s, parading his encyclopedic memory for shtick, he was a throwback to every baggypants tummeler, every silent-movie clown. And like those masters, he knew that a pie in the face was the visual equivalent of a rim shot. Set up the joke, do the punch line, get a goopy Soupy face. He explained this precise, predictable rhythm in a 2002 interview with Ed Grant on the Manhattan cable-access show Media Funhouse: "Guy says, 'Where's the watercooler?' I say, 'Alaska,' and get hit with a pie."

Levity may not have attended the passing of Milton Supman. There were presumably no last rites with custard filling. But given all the knockabout pleasure Soupy Sales gave innocent kids and sophisticated adults, he certainly deserves a pie in the sky.

London, Oct 24 - ANI: American actress/singer Liza Minnelli will testify in her former chauffeur's sexual harassment suit against her later next month.

The Cabaret star has avoided taking to the stand since her ex-driver M'Hammed Soumayah filed papers in 2004 alleging he had been forced to "engage in sexual relations" with her, reports the Daily Express.

However, according to the New York Daily News, Supreme Court judge Paul Feinman has ordered the daughter of Judy Garland and director Vincente Minnelli to appear in court on 17 and 18 November.

Minnelli is counter-suing Soumayah for 166,000 pounds, alleging he threatened her after she cut his 158,000 pounds a year salary.


La Cage Tour Cancelled, Lack of 'Suitable Stars'
Date: 23 October 2009

The UK tour of the multi award-winning Menier Chocolate Factory revival of La Cage aux Folles, which was due to commence in February 2010, has been postponed until further notice.

A statement from producers reads: “Due to the non-availability of suitable star artists for the particularly challenging lead roles in La Cage aux Folles, the producers have regrettably decided to postpone the forthcoming UK tour.”
The tour was due to start at the Chuchill Theatre in Bromley on 5 February, before visiting the Milton Keynes Theatre, Brighton Theatre Royal, Sunderland Empire Theatre, Salford Lowry and the New Theatre, Oxford. Ticket holders should contact the point of sale for refunds.

Terry Johnson's revival of Jerry Herman’s 1983 Broadway musical comedy opened at the Menier Chocolate Factory at Christmas 2007, before transferring in October 2008 to the West End’s Playhouse. It has picked up multiple awards, including two Oliviers and two Whatsonstage.com Awards.

Since Olivier award-winner Douglas Hodge stepped out of his stilettos, the role of Albin/Zaza has been tackled by chat show host Graham Norton, Roger Allam and, currently, John Barrowman (See 1st Night Photos, 6 Oct 2009). Barrowman plays opposite Simon Burke as the new Georges, the role originally played by Philip Quast and subsequently by Denis Lawson.

It was recently announced that Douglas Hodge will return to the show this Christmas prior to a planned Broadway transfer in 2010 .

Based on the 1973 French play by Jean Poiret and subsequent 1978 French-Italian screen version, the musical focuses on a gay couple – Georges, the manager of a St Tropez nightclub featuring drag entertainment, and Albin, his star attraction - and the adventures that ensue when Georges' son Jean-Michel brings home his fiancĂ©e's ultra-conservative parents to meet them.

La Cage aux Folles has a book by Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy) and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, whose other classics include Hello Dolly!, Mame and Mack and Mabel.
The score features songs including “I Am What I Am”, “The Best of Times”, “Song on the Sand”, “Masculinity” and the title number.



Support THE ARTS! LIVE THEATRE! Go see a show this week! Send me your reviews and suggestions and I will put them in my next blog coming out on Friday! Here's to an ARTS-filled 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 AT THE IGUANA:

What a fun evening! A well-rounded group of excellent performers with talent, charm and wit to burn! Lovely room, good food, easy location... just the whole package. Highly recommend this.




Wednesday evening found me at The Iguana on 54th Street for the appropriately named Wednesday Night At The Iguana. Hosted by Richard Skipper and Dana Lorge, this weekly showcase has really become a hot destination for performers in the city. Each week features five special guests, each of whom perform a short set, and "surprise" performers, who are mixed in among the special guests and each perform one song. The special guests this past week were Barbara Gurskey, Andrea Mezinsky-Kolb, Jonathan Long, Martin Vidnovic, and my sister, Kelly Esposito Broelmann! One of the special surprises for the night was Richard Skipper himself, who wasn't able to be at the first half of the evening, as he was performing elsewhere, but who opened up the second half of the show doing his renowned Carol Channing impersonation - in full Carol Channing dress, hair and makeup! The audience just adored it, and it was a very fun surprise! It was a great evening from top to bottom with some truly outstanding performances. I'm looking forward to going again soon!
Jenna Esposito, THE CABARET CHRONICLES (BROADWAYWORLD.COM) Posted 10/18/09

RICHARD! ~ It was so great to see you perform at the Iguana last WEDs night (Oct 7) ... My date and I agreed it was the best night we had spent in NYC this trip and plan on making it our regular routine henceforth ~ Truly the BEST bargain in town!! The venue, the talent, AMAZING ~ we couldn't have seen that much talent had we spent two weeks hitting the shows ... please give my kudos to EVERYONE. As for you, you stole the show that night with your singing of "I Am What I Am" ... never have I heard it sung with more clarity; and by that I don't mean just gorgeous sound, but a clarity of understanding and COMMUNICATING that to your audience ... BRAVO!!








FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NYC

Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price!
Dana Lorge and I have
now put their OWN spin on The variety show format and are now hosting every Wednesday night in
NYC at The Iguana VIP Lounge (http://www.iguananyc.com) in the heart of
NYC (240 West 54th Street 8-11PM/with an intermission).
WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT THE IGUANA!
Each week
will showcase 5 entertainers.

Barry Levitt returns on keyboard and Saadi Zain on bass!
on bass. Time: 8 - 11:00 p.m.
Cover: $10 - no food or drink minimums – but remember – the food is great!

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.








THIS WEEK, OUR HALLOWEEN SHOW!

October 28th: and we are having a best costume contest! So wear your most outrageous costume for a great prize! Christine Talbot-Sutin will be accompanying tonight's guests which include: Kathryn Allyn (joined by Sheldon Forrest on keyboard), Jenna Esposito, Laurie Krauz, Angela Schultz (joined by Brett Kristoferson), Jesse Lutrell

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

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

December 9th: Richard Holbrook, Josh Zuckerman, Helena Grenot, Jillian Laurain, Jerry Wichinsky

November 25th: OUR THANKSGIVING SHOW! James Alexander joins us!

December 30th: Linda Fields, Ritt Henn, Annie Hughes, Yvette Malavets-Blum, David Nathan Scott
Keep checking http://www.richardskipper.com/schedule.html

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

BEING ALIVE



Sondheim takes the stage

Edward Guthmann, Special to The Chronicle


We know Stephen Sondheim as the pre-eminent musical-theater composer of the past half century. We know him as the lyricist for "Gypsy" and "West Side Story," the winner of eight Tony awards and the composer-lyricist of such musically intricate, mold-breaking shows as "Sweeney Todd," "A Little Night Music," "Company," "Follies" and "Assassins."
But until last year, we didn't know Sondheim the raconteur. In March 2008, he was interviewed by New York Times columnist Frank Rich at the Herbst Theatre.

It was a dazzling evening: Sondheim was droll, generous and endlessly engaging as he shared anecdotes of Ethel Merman and Elaine Stritch, recalled collaborations with Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein, and praised Tim Burton's substantially re conceived film version of "Sweeney Todd."



The evening was part of a four-city West Coast tour assembled by Steven Barclay, a Petaluma lecture agent who represents such literary stars as David Sedaris and Michael Pollan, and was so well received that Sondheim continues to make similar appearances. This year he's been to New York; Richmond, Va.; Philadelphia; Akron, Ohio; and Dallas - sometimes with Rich, sometimes not - and will appear in Houston; Seattle; Vancouver, British Columbia; Austin, Texas; and Boston in coming weeks.
Sondheim returns to Northern California on Saturday for "Stephen Sondheim: A Life in the Theater" at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa.
Instead of Rich, the host will be Peter Stein, a former KQED documentary producer and currently executive director of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.



Stein doesn't have the advantage, like Rich, of a pre-existing friendship with Sondheim. He's an avid fan and charter subscriber to the Sondheim Review, a quarterly journal that was first published in 1994, but has never met the master of musical theater.
"The prospect is daunting," Stein said in an e-mail, "only if you feel that you have to squeeze every question you and your audience want to pose into a short period of time, or if you dwell on the fact that you're talking to a giant of the theater."
In a phone interview from New York, Sondheim said the onstage conversations were the result of a casual dinner conversation with Rich. The two men met in the early 1970s, when Rich reviewed a pre-Broadway tryout of "Follies" for the Harvard Crimson - and built a friendship after Rich stopped reviewing theater for the New York Times in 1994.
"Frank and I were having dinner and he mentioned talking to colleges and arts communities. I said, 'That sounds really interesting.'

I don't know which of us suggested we do it together.

But it just came up that evening. Frank called Steven Barclay and said, 'What would you think of our doing this?' "


He and Rich approached the evenings as "two friends having a conversation that's being overheard," Sondheim said.
"The audiences surprise you. I certainly don't want to mention the cities that surprised us by having really hip audiences. But we've never had what I would call a dull audience, meaning one that seems either uninterested or uncomprehending."


It's been 15 years since a new Sondheim musical opened on Broadway, and yet his work is constantly in circulation. "Gypsy", "Sweeney Todd", "Company", "Sunday in the Park With George", "Assassins," "The Frogs" and "Pacific Overtures" all had Broadway revivals in the past five years. His work barely ages:
"Road Show," Sondheim's most recent musical about real-life brothers Addison and Wilson Mizner, ill-fated land speculators in 1920s Florida, ran last fall at the Public Theater in New York. It's never played on Broadway.

- "Stephen Sondheim: The Story So Far," a four-CD box set that features familiar work along with obscure Sondheim compositions - for film and television as well as stage - was released in September 2008.
"Saturday Night," a little-seen Depression-era musical that Sondheim wrote when he was 23, played early this year at the Jermyn Street Theatre and the Arts Theatre in London.
- A revival of "West Side Story," which introduced new Spanish-language lyrics by "In the Heights" composer-lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda, opened on Broadway in March and is still playing. It will tour to San Francisco in fall 2010, said Shorenstein Hays Nederlander spokeswoman Anne Abrams.

-- "A Little Night Music," the meditation on desire that generated Sondheim's most famous song, "Send In the Clowns," will return to Broadway in December.
English director Trevor Nunn's production, which Sondheim describes as "Chekhovian" and "more of a chamber piece" than the 1973 Broadway original, will star Catherine Zeta-Jones as aging actress Desiree Armfeldt and Angela Lansbury as her mother, Madame Armfeldt.

Sondheim will turn 80 next year - a birthday tribute is planned at the Ravinia Festival near Chicago - but the composer isn't idle.

He's working on a two-volume annotated edition of his complete lyrics, the first of which, "Finishing the Hat: Volume One," is due for publication in late 2010.

"It's just surprising," Sondheim said. "When you're young, 80 is very old. When you're old, it's not so old."
www.wellsfargocenterarts.org.

E-mail Edward Guthmann at pinkletters@sfchronicle.com.

Actress Carol Channing promotes arts to students, parents in Corona




By DAYNA STRAEHLEY
The Press-Enterprise

The arts are like fertilizer for the brain, entertainer Carol Channing told students, parents and teachers Friday evening at Susan B. Anthony Elementary School in Corona.
Channing, 88, won a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award in 1995, and has now committed her life to encouraging arts education in California public schools.
She made her Broadway debut in 1948 and won a Tony in 1964 for her portrayal of Dolly Levi in "Hello, Dolly!" She also was nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe Award for the role of Muzzy in "Thoroughly Modern Millie," released in 1967 and also won a Golden Globe Award.


Susan B. Anthony Elementary School third-grader Danielle Soria, center, and her sister Natalie Soria, a first-grader, get their paintings autographed by actress Carol Channing as she talks to students and parents in the school library during the school's ArtsWalk.

Principal Jo Melillo said the school's ArtsWalk event was intended to sustain the school's arts programs and encourage parents to donate by purchasing their children's "masterpieces" created in class and by Channing's presence.

"I'm thrilled to be here because you're studying the arts," Channing said. "You're not aware of it, but you're getting way ahead of the other pupils."

She said she was able to skip half of first grade and half of second grade because she was busy singing with her father.


Channing recalled that as a child, she learned to imitate her principal, whom she adored, on stage at her grammar school, and made the whole school laugh, including the principal, who was flattered.
"Ugly and comedy are not synonymous at all," she said.

She made a career out of making other people laugh and making them happy.


"We're trying to get the arts back into the public schools," Channing said.



Her husband, Harry Kullijian, said it's a message they plan to take to the nation's capital.
"This is one of the most fortunate schools in the United States of America," he said, because the arts are supported by teachers and parents and students succeed.


Local artists at the school event included musicians, a novelist and gallery from the Corona Art Association.

"If we can't duplicate this across the nation, our nation will not any longer be a leader of democracy in the world," Kullijian said.

Reach Dayna Straehley at 951-368- 9455 or dstraehley@PE.com

This article appeared on page Q - 35 of the San Francisco Chronicle
from TIMES SQUARE GOSSIP ~




The Cabaret Chronicles: Angela Shultz, Barry Lloyd and More!


Saturday, October 17, 2009; Posted: 11:10 PM - by Jenna Esposito

Hello and happy weekend! Evidently, Mother Nature has opted to skip fall here in New York and get straight to winter. Despite the chill in the air, though, the clubs have been as hot as ever and I was able to catch some great entertainment this week!
On Sunday afternoon, I headed over to Don't Tell Mama to see Angela Shultz in her show, Kiss Me Like You Mean It. Having heard Angela sing one or two songs at a time on a number of occasions before, I was really looking forward to this show! She is graced with a beautiful voice and a nice, easy onstage manner, both of which were showcased very nicely in this show.
With direction by Hector Coris and musical direction by her longtime best friend and collaborator, Brett Kristofferson, Angela wound her way through a varied set list, which included songs from contemporary songwriters such as Jill Sobule, John Bucchino, and songwriting duo Zin a Goldrich & Marcy Heisler, as well as bastions of the Great American Songbook like Harold Arlen & E.Y. Harburg. Her easygoing, upbeat personality makes her instantly likeable onstage, and she has a great knack for making songs seem conversational, so that it seems as if she's not putting on a performance, but simply sharing her experiences and feelings with a room full of friends. She does a great job with all of the material, but my personal favorites were Arlen and Harburg's "I Don't Think I'll End It All Today," which she delivered with perfectly pitched humor; Mr. Kristofferson's poignant "Things That Haunt Me," which speaks of simple, everyday things that "haunt" the singer after the end of a relationship; and Mr. Coris' hilarious spoof of American Idol, "My Moment," with which Ms. Shultz brought the house down! The show was a terrific way to spend a Sunday afternoon and will be returning to Don't Tell Mama on Sunday, November 22nd for another 3:30 p.m. matinee.


On Monday evening, it was off to the Metropolitan Room to catch Bay-Area singer/pianist Barry Lloyd in his show Slumming On Park Avenue: A Celebration of Bobby Short. Accompanying himself on piano and supported by Saadi Zain on bass and David Silliman on drums, Mr. Lloyd exuded charm and style from the moment he entered the room and continued to enchant the audience throughout the course of the evening as he wound his way through a number of Bobby Short hits, weaving in stories about what each of the songs meant to him. He discovered Bobby Short at the age of fourteen, when (for reasons he can't recall), he was in a record store looking for an album of Noel Coward songs.
Well, the album he found was of Bobby Short singing Noel Coward, and he instantly became a fan of Mr. Short's!
So, this show was made up of Mr. Lloyd's favorite Bobby Short songs, some of them, of course, being some of Bobby Short's biggest hits; others that were perhaps more obscure, but had more personal meaning. The beautiful Vernon Duke tune, "Autumn In New York" was beautifully delivered, as was the Noel Coward classic "If Love Were All," which Mr. Lloyd sang with a kind of wistful resignation that really breathed new life into it for me.
From top-to-bottom, it was a classy, enjoyable show that kept the audience bopping, grinning, and eagerly awaiting a return visit from Mr. Lloyd!

After Mr. Lloyd's show, I grabbed a cab and headed up to Birdland to catch the last half of Cast Party, which was, as always, wonderfully entertaining! I walked in while the fabulous Marilyn Maye was singing, and was also treated to performances by Ray Jessel, Maureen Taylor, violinist Aaron Weinstein, and more! Host Jim Caruso did his usual terrific job of keeping things movin' and groovin' and Tedd Firth & Paul Gill (on piano and bass, respectively) provided excellent accompaniment for all!
Wednesday evening found me at The Iguana on 54th Street for the appropriately named Wednesday Night At The Iguana. Hosted by Richard Skipper and Dana Lorge, this weekly showcase has really become a hot destination for performers in the city. Each week features five special guests, each of whom perform a short set, and "surprise" performers, who are mixed in among the special guests and each perform one song. The special guests this past week were Barbara Gurskey, Andrea Mezinsky-Kolb, Jonathan Long, Martin Vidnovic, and my sister, Kelly Esposito Broelmann! One of the special surprises for the night was Richard Skipper himself, who wasn't able to be at the first half of the evening, as he was performing elsewhere, but who opened up the second half of the show doing his renowned Carol Channing impersonation - in full Carol Channing dress, hair and makeup!
The audience just adored it, and it was a very fun surprise! It was a great evening from top to bottom with some truly outstanding performances. I'm looking forward to going again soon!
That's all for my showgoing this past week, but be sure to check back next week for a new article!

Where I'm going this week:




Tuesday, October 20th: Liz Callaway at the Metropolitan Room. One of my absolute favorite singers, Ms. Callaway will be at the Metropolitan Room to celebrate the release of her new CD, Passage of Time, which is being released on the P.S Classics label. I can't wait to get my copy (or to see the performance)!
****
LESLIE OROFINO
SINGS
THE BROADWAY BLUES




If you haven't caught Singer and Actress, Leslie Orofino in her brand new show, RED HOT AND BLUES, the songs of vamps, tramps, heartbreakers, mantakers and the girl next door, you can catch her singing the songs of Alberta Hunter, Eartha Kitt, Peggy Lee, Carolyn Leigh, Sophie Tucker and many more. Ms. Orofino will be accompanied by legendary musicians Daryl Kojak on piano and Boots Maleson on bass. Louis Pietig is the director. "Head on over to The Laurie Beechman Theatre in the West Bank Cafe, 407 W. 42nd Street, NYC. 10036 on Friday Oct . 2 at 8:00pm or Thursday, Nov. 5 at 7:00pm. Reservations are recommended because tickets never last for Leslie's shows. Call 212-695-6909 or zip over to her website www.Leslieorofino.com. Tell them Times Square Gossip sent you !
Source: Leslie Orofino In Nyc's Red Hot And Blues

MORE LIZA NEWS!
LIZA Minnelli received her first standing ovation before she'd even sung a note.
On the opening night of her Australian tour, Minnelli performed to a full house at the Sydney Opera House concert hall.

As she made her entrance, dressed all in white, to several minutes of thunderous applause and calls of ``we love you Liza!'' it was clear she was playing to the faithful.

It has been 20 years since Minnelli last performed in Australia, and at 63 she was the first to admit that time has taken its toll in some ways.

``If any of you ever saw me before, then you will remember I used to sit down in the second act,'' Minnelli said.

``Now I sit down in the first act.''

While not without its slight wavers, her voice was still powerful and resonant, and her energy amazing.
Liza Minnelli has given away the Sex & The City movie sequel's biggest secret - she'll be performing with Barbra Streisand in the film.

The actress/singer plays a marriage celebrant at the gay wedding of characters Stanford and Anthony, and now she's revealing all about her hilarious scenes.
She belted out some of her best-loved hits, including Cabaret, Liza With a Z and Maybe This Time.

``As you know, over the years I have been particularly drawn to songs about falling in love.

However, at this time in my life I find I'm particularly drawn to songs about falling out of love,'' she laughed, introducing If You Hadn't, But You Did.

When she launched into New York, New York she brought the house down.

Over the course of the evening, Minnelli was the ultimate showbiz professional - funny and entertaining. She didn't miss a beat.





CABARET: Matthew Westwood | October 19, 2009
Article from: The Australian

Liza Minnelli
Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House, October 17. Riverside Theatre, Perth, Wednesday; Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Friday; Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, October 25; Brisbane Entertainment Centre, October 30; Sydney Entertainment Centre, November 2.
THERE was a lot of love in the room on Saturday night, the second of Liza Minnelli's concerts at the Sydney Opera House. It was Minnelli's return to Australia after a gap of 20 years -- her last concerts were billed as The Ultimate Event with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr -- and her fans let forth something like two decades' worth of adulation when their idol stepped on to the stage.

"I love you, Liza," a lone voice would cry from the auditorium.

"Oh, I love you too," Minnelli would reply, emphasizing every word.

The pitch of mutual admiration continued through the evening, but the love was well earned. Minnelli put everything into opening numbers Teach Me Tonight, If You Hadn't, But You Did and My Own Best Friend.
God knows where Minnelli -- the survivor of four marriages, encephalitis, hip and knee replacements and battles with addiction -- gets her energy from.

And one may have a certain admiration for the singer-as-survivor, emerging triumphant and sequined from private and public travails.

In truth, though, the noise of victory becomes a little wearying. Some songs were belted into shape, the diction unclear and the vibrato wide enough to walk through.

The stage act, too, verges on self-parody, with all that arm-flinging and hands raised in salute. This reached an apogee in the show's climax, the Theme from New York, New York.
Part of the show (with a terrific 12-piece band led by drummer Michael Berkowitz and Billy Stritch at the piano) is based on Minnelli's Tony Award-winning season Liza's at the Palace, at the Palace Theatre in New York. But much of the evening was given over to songs by John Kander and Fred Ebb that were written for Minnelli, or which she made famous: Cabaret, Liza with a Z, and anthems But the World Goes Round and the New York, New York theme.

One longed for quieter numbers that would display another side of Minnelli's gifts. This came in the Charles Aznavour song What Makes a Man a Man and Cole Porter's Every Time We Say Goodbye, but even this tender ballad had to be brought to a show-stopping conclusion.

The show ended in un-diva-like fashion, with Minnelli in a baggy T-shirt and wiping her face with a towel, singing Peter Allen's All the Lives of Me. Even stripped of make-up and false eyelashes, she revealed herself as the supreme entertainer she is.
Minnelli made the expansive concert hall feel intimate, and when she revealed she was having slight wardrobe difficulties - ``my knickers keep riding up!'' - she received cries of ``take it off!''

The concert ended on an emotional note, with an encore tribute to Minnelli's first husband, Boy from Oz Peter Allen.

Returning to the stage in an oversized Chet Baker t-shirt with a towel draped around her neck, Minnelli dramatically pulled off her fake eyelashes, rubbed the make-up from her face, and messed up her hair.
She then closed the show with the moving All The Lives of Me and a special ``thank you Peter'', and received yet another standing ovation.
That's Liza with an eye for young Idol James
BY THE WORD'S AMY EDWARDS
17/10/2009 4:00:00 AM
NEWCASTLE Australian Idol contestant James Johnston found himself staring into the large of eyes of Liza Minnelli while preparing for tomorrow night's show.

The Cooks Hill lad, who is down to the final seven contestants on the show, has worked with music greats such as Suzi Quatro and Harry Connick jnr during this season.

But it was Minnelli who really got Johnston shaking in his trademark skinny black jeans.

"Being mentored by Liza was one of the most intense things I've ever done," 18-year-old Johnston said.

"She has these massive eyes and she stares really intently at you.


"I found it a bit intimidating. But she gave me some great advice.

"She sees music from a different angle and that's a new experience for me."

The theme for tomorrow's Australian Idol, featuring Minnelli, is a stage and screen night.

It was a new genre for Johnston, who has been singing since he was four and cut his teeth in Star Struck.

"I've never really experienced musical theatre before, so to have someone from that background giving me constructive criticism was great," Johnston said.

Born in Wingham, Johnston has entertained Star Struck audiences since 2002, performing in front of more than 100,000 people.

Cabaret queen Minnelli has been performing in Sydney and is taking part in her first Australian tour in 20 years.

Minnelli is the daughter of two Hollywood legends, Judy Garland and director Vincente Minnelli.

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 MY WORK:


RICHARD! ~ It was so great to see you perform at the Iguana last WEDs night (Oct 7) ... My date and I agreed it was the best night we had spent in NYC this trip and plan on making it our regular routine henceforth ~ Truly the BEST bargain in town!! The venue, the talent, AMAZING ~ we couldn't have seen that much talent had we spent two weeks hitting the shows ... please give my kudos to EVERYONE. As for you, you stole the show that night with your singing of "I Am What I Am" ... never have I heard it sung with more clarity; and by that I don't mean just gorgeous sound, but a clarity of understanding and COMMUNICATING that to your audience ... BRAVO!!
Ron Runyon, Indianapolis


Dear Richard Skipper, and other personalities! You are in a position few can hold a candle to. You were the supreme example of what a generous star talent can contribute to an evening..
At my book signing, after the one at Barnes and Noble which you were at.. I was stumped for what to do to top that glorious evening..and I thought at this next event, who? how? can it be equaled? and zoom! shazam! I had it ...Could I ask RICHARD SKIPPER to just appear as Carol Channing and just do what he does? I called and asked a favor, and you blessed me with YES! But I never dreamed what a sensation and delight you would create this night.. Richard I owe you big time!
Thank you is not enough!! You are a great artist! And a most generous friend...the guests were enchanted and believed you WERE ...ARE Miss Channing or whoever you want to be... I am grateful forever to you..you made my evening brilliant! and.. and I sold out!!!! thank you, thank you,...... thank you....SONDRA LEE, HELLO, DOLLY!'s original Minnie Fay

I want to let you know that every time I see you
my heart skips a beat. I think you're so beautiful
strong and talented.
I love you!
xooxoxox!
Sunny Leigh







FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NYC

Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price!
Dana Lorge and I have
now put their OWN spin on The variety show format and are now hosting every Wednesday night in
NYC at The Iguana VIP Lounge (http://www.iguananyc.com) in the heart of
NYC (240 West 54th Street 8-11PM/with an intermission).
WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT THE IGUANA!
Each week
will showcase 5 entertainers.

Barry Levitt returns on keyboard and Saadi Zain on bass!
on bass. Time: 8 - 11:00 p.m.
Cover: $10 - no food or drink minimums – but remember – the food is great!

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.









THIS WEEK, October 21st: Jack Donahue, Stearns Matthews, Leslie Orofino, George Stella, Susan Winter

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

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

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

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

November 25th: OUR THANKSGIVING SHOW! James Alexander joins us!

December 30th: Linda Fields, Ritt Henn, Annie Hughes, Yvette Malavets-Blum, David Nathan Scott

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

Thursday, October 15, 2009

LIZA! LIZA!! LIZA!!!

It's nice to see Liza in the news again and in a good way! Wow! What a year! The Palace show (which I saw!), a Tony for that show (her fourth), an appearance on DROP DEAD DIVA (hysterical), a recent hot show at the MGM Grand in Vegas (filmed to be aired next month), she just filmed an appearance for the upcoming SEX AND THE CITY sequel and NOW she is wowing Australia!
She has broken box office records there. I have compiled a few articles here about her Australia appearances. Enjoy!
Liza Minnelli an 'old broad' worth grabbing





LIZA Minnelli measures her trips to Australia in changes to the Sydney Opera House.
BRYCE HALLETT
October 13, 2009

THE "girl with an int'resting face", as the showman Peter Allen wrote of his American wife Liza Minnelli in Tenterfield Saddler, fronted the Sydney media yesterday after an absence of 20 years. It was a class act.

The entertainer may no longer be the girl of Allen's autobiographical song - they married in 1967, divorced seven years later and remained friends until his death in 1992 - but she still has the trademark effervescence that has made her as famous as her legendary mother Judy Garland.
(Peter Allen, pictured here with Tom Postillio) Minnelli, 63, performs at the Opera House this week in her first Australian trip since touring with Sammy Davis jnr and Frank Sinatra. She first came to Sydney with Allen, playing Chequers nightclub in the 1960s. On later visits she saw the Opera House at different stages of construction, little knowing she would one day grace the Concert Hall stage.


''I choose songs that mean something to me, songs that talk to people rather than just singing into space under a spotlight.''

Minnelli's generosity and warmth starkly contrast with the tabloid horror stories about her battles with alcohol and drug addiction, personal failures and disastrous marriages. In 2000, she was incapacitated by viral encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. She was unable to walk or talk. Her doctor said recovery was unlikely. ''I said 'Nah!' I chose not to believe him. I went back to work and haven't stopped working … My advice to younger artists is [to] believe in what you're doing and do what you believe in.''

Aside from her near-mythical lineage, Minnelli shot to fame playing Sally Bowles in the 1972 film Cabaret .
She won an Academy Award for best actress. '''It was so much fun. Here we were, can you imagine, making a musical in Germany about the Nazis yet no one seemed to notice so we got away with it. No one really knew what we were doing … I just adored it.''
Minnelli's whirlwind delivery can be traced to her godmother Kay Thompson. She had been Garland's vocal coach at MGM and sang in nightclubs in the late 1940s and early '50s. ''I was two years old when I was taken to see Kay perform,'' Minnelli says. ''She was an all-rounder and influenced all of us.''
Minnelli's triumphant return to the New York stage last year echoed the sentiments of theatre critic Ben Brantley a decade earlier when she took over from Julie Andrews in Victor/Victoria on Broadway. "Her every appearance is perceived as a victory of showbusiness stamina over psychic frailty … Minnelli asks for love so nakedly and earnestly, it seems downright vicious not to respond."

Minnelli performs at the Opera House on Friday and Saturday, and at the Entertainment Centre on November 2.
The Broadway star first visited in the late 1960s.

"Then, when I came again, they had sort of started it. The next time I came they were still starting it. The following time it had sort of stopped - you know, there was that long pause," Minnelli said, with undiminished comic timing, at the landmark building yesterday.

In Sydney for the start of a national tour, Minnelli was forthright about staying busy, keeping healthy and staying positive.

"If you keep going, I don't think you have time to think about stopping," she said.
Asked if the constant rehearsing and performing ever grinds her down, Minnelli, 63, replied: "I wouldn't be doing it at this age if I didn't really like it. I'm an old broad to be doing all this stuff."



Minnelli said Australia was a country she has visited for most of her life, but only really got to know while she was married to Peter Allen. "I am really excited to be playing in Australia again. This place means so much to me, and I'm thrilled to be performing the show that won a Tony award in the US - incidentally, my fourth," she said.
Minnelli has just completed a guest role in the new Sex and the City movie.
"My choreographer created a number for me in that film that I should have done when I was 22. I marry these two guys in it. And when I say that they've asked me to sing a special song that was playing when they got engaged, and everyone is expecting It Had To Be You, or something, I get to sing: 'If you like it then you better put a ring on it ..."'

Although she has been a gay icon her whole career, Minnelli dodged questions about gays in the military, and President Barack Obama's broken promises to them.
"You know, people ask me all the time why I have so many gay fans," she said. "And I'd say this, and it's really all I'd like to say on the subject: they have great taste."
Asked whether she, as Barbra Streisand has, would one day grab someone such as Diana Krall and her band to produce and play on an album, Minnelli said it's generally others, in her career, who do the grabbing.

Minnelli has recorded with the Pet Shop Boys, and recently with My Chemical Romance. "I know so many people in rock and roll, and I just love it. Because I'm a dancer I'm constantly driven in my tastes by what sort of beat they're going for and how well you can dance to it," she said.
Audiences in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane can look forward to an all-singing, all-dancing show, with the same 12-piece band Minnelli used at the Palace on Broadway, some of whom have been with her for 30 years.

Fans will hear songs by John Kander and Fred Ebb that Minnelli made famous, such as Cabaret and Maybe This Time.
Liza's at the Palace Filmed Sept. 30-Oct. 1; Hits Airwaves in November
By Andrew Gans
30 Sep 2009



The Tony-winning Liza's at the Palace — featuring award-winning singing actress Liza Minnelli — was filmed in the Hollywood Theatre at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

Minnelli began performances at the Nevada venue Sept. 25 and concluded there Oct. 1.

American Public Television (APT) will distribute the television special beginning Nov. 27.
The performance will be available to public television viewers through the month of December and will then be released to the general public in early 2010 by MPI Home Video.


Minnelli is joined onstage by her musical director and pianist Billy Stritch as well as her quartet of singer/dancers: Cortes Alexander, Jim Caruso, Johnny Rodgers and Tiger Martina. The show is directed by Ron Lewis; Michael Berkowitz is musical conductor/drummer.
All of the material performed during Minnelli's Tony-winning New York engagement will be included in the broadcast. The program captures many of Minnelli's greatest hits as well as an affectionate tribute to her godmother, the late Kay Thompson.

Eric Luskin, vice president of APT's Premium Service, said in a previous statement, "This is an exciting project and we are thrilled to bring it to public television audiences. We are very proud to work with a legendary entertainer such as Liza Minnelli, continuing our tradition of distributing top-rated musical productions to public television audiences."
The television event will be directed by Matthew Diamond and executive produced by JoAnn Young, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.

Prior to Liza's at the Palace. . ., Minnelli, an Oscar winner for her performance in Cabaret, was last on Broadway in a tribute to her late father entitled Minnelli on Minnelli; she also returned to New York City's Beacon Theatre with her acclaimed concert Liza's Back! In addition to her Tonys for Flora, the Red Menace and The Act, Minnelli was awarded a special Tony in 1974 for "adding lustre to the Broadway season." Her film credits include "The Sterile Cuckoo," "Arthur," "New York, New York" and "Stepping Out." The singer is also a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actress. Her album "Liza's Back!" is available on the J Records label, and "The Best of Liza Minnelli" was released on the Columbia/Legacy label.
Showtime aired "Liza with a 'Z'," and Minnelli also received the Julie Harris Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 10th Annual Tony Awards Bash in Los Angeles.

(SOURCE: PLAYBILL.COM)

Liza Minnelli Returns

By Joal, 14th October, 2009

At long last Liza Minnelli has arrived in Australia. The 63-year-old told media she wasn’t dead yet, and that performing at the Sydney Opera House would be a career highlight.

“The first time I came here, [the Sydney Opera House] wasn’t even being built. Then when I came again, they had kind of started it. Then when I came again they had stopped. Do you remember that? There was a long pause,” Liza told media jokingly at a press conference on Tuesday, “I’m thrilled to be here!”

The daughter of Judy Garland, and once married to Australian entertainer Peter Allen, Liza is familiar with the land of oz. This time around she’ll be treating audiences in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane to highlights from her career with her 12-piece-band.

And Liza has assured us the concerts won’t be a tame affair. Letting slip her appearance in the new Sex and the City film, where she weds two gay men and performs Beyonce’s Single Ladies, the performance icon obviously still has it. “Every performance I do has to be the best one I’ve ever done.
What I have to prove is the price of admission,” said Liza, Tuesday. The star may be aging, but with appearences on hit show Arrested Development and recent collaboration with My Chemical Romance, it doesn’t look like she’s about to stop.

Liza also told those assembled that there was one simple reason she was such a hit with the gays – “You know, people ask me all the time why I have so many gay fans, and I’d say this, and it’s really all I’d like to say on the subject: they have great taste.”
Liza’s latest show is taken from her Tony-Award winning Broadway hit, Liza’s At The Palace. Given a unique touch for Australian audiences, the show is said to include Cabaret, Maybe This Time and New York, New York.

But this won’t be Liza’s final hoorah, apparently. “Why on earth would it be the last [visit to Australia]?” Liza questioned one media rep. “What? Are you planning on me dying? Forget it,” says Liza, giving her signature cackle.



CAROL CHANNING NEWS!Carol Channing's new CD "For Heaven's Sake" is available now at www.ferguson-music.com and www.carolchanning.org and stores near you!"



Nelson Pressley reviews Jane Krakowski in the Washington Post: “Even under the weather, she sparkled.”

He’s much cheerier than I am. Was it the earlier show or residual charm from the interview he did?

Here’s a paragraph in his review that leads to an issue with this show that I really want to discuss:
“Krakowski is slated for a few weeks at a Manhattan club later this month, so presumably her voice will be stronger and the act will be honed. On Saturday the band members still seemed to be familiarizing themselves with the material, and Krakowski frequently glanced toward her music stand for lyrics and segue tales.”

Is it really OK that DC audiences were treated to a show that Krakowski herself onstage admitted was “underrehearsed” ? The show was not billed as a “pre-New York tryout.” Do the people paying $55 each in two sold out houses not rate a finished product? Do the people at the second show paying $55 a seat deserve to see a show with 30 minutes eliminated from the first?

Last night, I appeared at a party honoring Sondra Lee's new book, I've Slept With Everybody!" It's a great book and I was honored to be included. Sondra appeared in the original "HELLO, DOLLY!" with Carol Channing and there is an interesting chapter in the book on Carol. You will have to read the book for the story! Anyone, it was a great party! Geoffrey Holder, James Gavin, Charles Busch, KT Sullivan, Barbara Flood, David Noh, John Sefakis (Dancers Over 40) are just a few of the luminaries I saw there. John has asked me to appear Sunday, December 13th, 2 - 5pm DO40 Holiday Party, their first Dancers Over 40 LEGACY Awards, honoring five DO40 women who have excelled in their dance field(s). A little sit down affair at Swing 46.One of the honorees is Nicole Barth, whom I appeared with at the Gower Champion event hosted by DANCERS OVER 40. She was Gower's assistant for years. I've been asked, as "Carol" to go and speak not only about Nicole, but about Marge Champion as well (who they're also honoring).The other ladies they're honoring are Marge Beddow (Gwen's understudy), Gemze de Lappe (who was at the event last night with us - and an Agnes deMille dancer) and Billie Mahoney, who is flying in from Kansas City (she had a cable dance show, Dance On.. for hundreds of years). Check on www.dancersover40.org for the details... it's on the home page right next to the details of our Gennaro event on Monday!
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 MY WORK:


Made it to The Iguana Wednesday the 7th. Thoroughly enjoyed the show and all the performers. Loved meeting everyone; especially my friends' daughter, Melissa Young performing that evening. I ONLY regret that I couldn't stay for the entire show. I'll definitely be back. The best deal in town! CHUCK MOSSEAU, ASBURY PARK


Had a ball at the Iguana on Wednesday. You and Dana were fabulous. Paul loved that you did a number from "Sugar." He loves that score.
Rochelle Chamlin, featured performer

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








FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NYC

Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price!
Dana Lorge and I have
now put their OWN spin on The variety show format and are now hosting every Wednesday night in
NYC at The Iguana VIP Lounge (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. 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.










October 21st: Jack Donahue, Stearns Matthews, Leslie Orofino, Susan Winter

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

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

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

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

December 30th: Linda Fields, Ritt Henn, Annie Hughes, Yvette Malavets-Blum

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