Wednesday, December 30, 2009

READY, SET, GOAL...THE ROAD TO BROADWAY!

It is hard to believe this is my last blog of the year...of the decade, even!
One of the greatest things to come out of this year has been my weekly series with Dana Lorge. Wednesday Nights At The Iguana. I never realized when this fell into my lap in May that I would still be doing it. I continue to campaign for the importance of ARTS IN EDUCATION.
I hope that as I write my blog this time next year, that EVERY school in the nation has an arts program as part of their curriculum.
I will continue to work with Carol Channing and Harry Kullijian and their foundation for the arts.
At the end of this blog, you will see how you, too, can help.


This has been a great year for Liza Minnelli! Talk about come-backs! She inspires me! In February, the DVD of her Tony Award winning (and now Grammy nominated) LIZA'S AT THE PALACE comes out.

I was lucky enough to see the concert at The Palace at the end of 2008. Last month, I saw the filmed version at The Paley Center. Liza was in attendance and was interviewed by Michael Feinstein afterwards.
Marc Rosen and Arlene Dahl were in attendance. As well as most of the cast of the show.
2010 is going to be a concentrated plan to get to Broadway. I am going to work and study with (and surround myself) with the people that I think will get me there. I will be keeping you abreast of my progress through my blogs, twitters, and Facebook. I hope that you will support me in this quest. I don't mean financially! I mean emotionally and spiritually.
When I was 13, I committed to come to NY on August 5th, 1979. I DID IT! I did a lot of theatre and 15 years ago, I went in another direction with my tribute to Carol Channing. It has been an incredible journey and I will continue to do those performances when the time arrives.

On Tuesday, I have my first audition of 2010. It's for a role and a show that I really desire A LOT! Keep me in your thoughts and prayers at 10:15AM on the 5th!


On a sadder note, this decade started with Tragedy at the World Trade Center. The decade ends with us STILL dealing with threats to our way of LIFE.
This is in today's NEW YORK POST: O furious over botch in security



By CHUCK BENNETT

AP


President Obama yesterday trashed the “systemic failure” by security and intelligence agencies that allowed an al Qaeda crotch bomber to nearly blow up a US airliner — as it was revealed the CIA had been tracking the jihadi since August. “When our government has information on a known extremist, and that information is not shared and acted upon -- as it should have been -- so that this extremist boards a plane with dangerous explosives that could have cost nearly 300 lives, a systemic failure has occurred," Obama said."And I consider that totally unacceptable."The president, speaking from Hawaii, where he's on vacation, hit the system responsible for keeping airline passengers safe, after remaining largely silent for two days following the thwarted Christmas Day attack over Detroit.
"There was a mix of human and systemic failure that contributed to this potentially catastrophic breach of security," Obama said, confirming reports that would-be bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's father had warned US officials in Nigeria about his son on Nov. 19.
The CIA had been tracking a person of interest dubbed "The Nigerian," but missed the connection with Abdulmutallab, even after his dad contacted the US Embassy in Lagos, CBS News reported.
CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said the agency didn't have Abdulmutallab's name until November and didn't connect the dots with "The Nigerian" until after the bungled bombing.
The agency is reviewing data "to determine if more could have been done to stop Abdulmutallab," he said.
The young thug's father told embassy officials his son might have traveled to Yemen to rendezvous with Islamic terrorists.
That led to a broader meeting the next day, in which the information was shared with representatives of the Homeland Security Department, the FBI and the State Department, a US official told The Wall Street Journal.
It's unclear whether intelligence officials then effectively analyzed the information from Nigeria.
But a US intelligence source told The Post the State Department cable warning about Abdulmutallab on Nov. 20 was "very thin" and could have been summarized in "one sentence" -- so sparse that he wasn't added to any watch list, nor was his US travel visa revoked.
The president ordered a review of airline screening procedures and the way in which terrorists are placed on watch lists. He said he wants answers about the stunning breach on his desk tomorrow.
In other developments yesterday:
* Yemen-based radical imam Anwar Aulaqi, the former Virginia mosque leader who counseled two 9/11 hijackers and the Fort Hood Massacre gunman, had approved of Abdulmutallab's failed attack and was becoming more involved in planning assaults, sources told the Washington Times.
A US intelligence official told the paper that Aulaqi indoctrinated Abdulmutallab into al Qaeda, blessed him and told him, "You are going to be the tip of the spear of the Muslim nation." Officials said Aulaqi might have been killed in Yemen earlier this month.
* Obama and his advisers believe there is "some linkage" between al Qaeda and Abdulmutallab. The administration is "increasingly confident" that the group worked with him to secure the explosive mixture he took aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253, The Washington Post said.
The government also had intelligence suggesting a possible al Qaeda attack on the US around Christmas, the paper said.
* The United States and Yemen are looking at fresh targets in Yemen for a potential retaliatory strike over the foiled bombing, CNN reported.
* MTA police stepped up patrols and random bag inspections on commuter rails and major stations.
* Sen. Chuck Schumer said he wants Transportation Security Administration personnel stationed in foreign airports.
* Al Qaeda has its own security scanners and has been practicing concealing explosives, a Dutch newspaper reported. They have carried out test runs by smuggling explosives through European airports, the paper said.

Additional reporting by Tom Namako
chuck.bennett@nypost.com

I've often said that if everyone began the day with a show tune or a song, there would be no violence in the world! I BELIEVE THAT!

Here is an entertainer, I recommend: Jane Stuart Trio @ The New Leaf CafeFriday, January 15 at 7:30pm
New Leaf Cafe @ The Cloisters (Ft. Tryon park) NYC. She will also be appearing at The Iguana on February 3rd, my mom's birthday!
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 next Tuesday! 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 MY WORK:
Richard: SO sorry to miss the party! I was so looking forward to it and singing with your glorious voice and the others! Your Carol Channing is SO marvelous, but, at Jim's Memorial, your voice sounded so rich and strong! We were so impressed! It's very difficult to just be yourself and stand and sing! You touched us all with your heart and your talent! What a treat - and -the bonus is, you are such a lovely person! You are really a superb, charming and warm performer! Hoping SOME day to get to your Wed. night fiesta! Sorry if I waxed compliments overboard, but it's not often we get to do it with sincerity and when it is, it's a joy!! Have the greatest New Year! Billie Stewart






I had the wonderful opportunity of performing last nite at the Iguana. Dana and Richard are the most inviting hosts and make every one feel welcomed and loved... They have created a comfortable atmosphere at the Iguana.. I was sitting between Celeste Holmes and Eileen Fulton.. Not too bad I'd say. A perfect place to meet new people and brainstorm. Come and be a part of New York's Gem and make a little of your own history. see you there! Esther Beckman


Richard....
My sister, Joanna, and my student Omar Felix went with me to Dancers Over 40 on 12/13 for the tribute performance...your energy, warmth and enthusiasm as Carol Channing made the afternoon very special for all of us, and tied the whole program together. Can't wait to see more, Richard...
Cheers,
Garold Gardner, garoldgardnerscholarshipfoundation.org



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NYC Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price! Dana Lorge and I have put our 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!



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.






TONIGHT!
December 30th: Ritt Henn, Annie Hughes, Cindy Marchionda, Sarah Rice, David Nathan Scott


January 13th: Barbara Gurskey returns!

January 20th: Douglas Davidian, Cait Doyle, D'yan Forrest, Greta Heron, Catt John, Alegra Themmen

Feb 3 : Michael Austin, Christopher Gerrard, Lucia Mozzola, Jane Schechter, George Stella, Jane Stuart

February 17th : James Alexander


March 10th: David Alpher & Jenny Litt, Louise Quick (pictured), Nicholas Tamagna, Pam Tate, Maureen Taylor

March 24th, Julie Reyburn returns!


April 28th: Kecia Craig and Frank Stern!
Keep checking http://www.richardskipper.com/schedule.html for upcoming entertainers.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Acting Nuts, THE SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS, "UP IN AIR"...AND MORE!


Acting Nuts

By Paul Russell


Actors who leverage layering are the actors moving ahead of others.


When I work with my students, either at NYU or privately, I always cover audition technique and scene study.
Often when I venture upon this acting avenue with thespians—viewing what acting skills they have to show—the first presentation foray is just that: presentation. Either the actor plays a singular emotion ('Johnny-one-noting' as I call it) through the entire piece, or the actor gives me a one-dimensional take on the role.

When either happens, I begin to immediately lose interest. I light-grid. 'Light gridding' referring to when I zone out at a theater, looking to the light grid, when the action presented on stage has less excitement than watching dead grass grow.

Whenever presentation happens I'm asking, "Where's the depth? Where are the layers?" The more evolved the choices, the objectives, the twists and turns, the more exciting for the viewer watching the actor.

When directors, casting directors, or talent reps view an actor delving into the text, one who finds surprising, unexpected choices, the more that actor is viewed as intelligent and insightful. Layering is key to that successful summation from others.


I have two 'layer/flavor analogies' that I often provide to an actor when we're working together once they have fallen into the one dimensional-acting trap.

"Like a potato casserole," I'll begin, "with slices of potato both thick and thin layered on top of each other and then covered by a crumbly crust, give me layers within this scene/character."


When that falls on deaf ears (because God knows potato casserole, a less-than-palatable plating, is rarely popular beyond Iowa and parts of Pennsylvania), I go for a better known 'food' staple to exhibit my layer/flavor analogy.


"Think of what you're doing as a Snickers bar. You've got the nougat, the caramel and the nuts. Those are the layers and flavors. The chocolate that wraps up those flavors is the entire scene itself.
What's inside makes for the content of the scene and character.
Play the interior flavors and layers. Give me more choices. More flavor."
Often students give me just the nougat.

Now while all this may sound silly (we're in a business that often is victim of such) there is a serious message here within the text. Successful actors know how to see beyond the font that forms the text on the page and dive into what is not written. (Writers do this intentionally. It's more interesting for the listener/reader to formulate themes than to be told, "It was a dark and stormy night." Next!)

Actors who just read the text and don't consider why one phrase or word was placed on paper are actors who I term to be 'jet skiing.'
They just skim over the words without going deeper into what lies underneath. They play only the surface. When this happens in one of my classes I'll be quick to ask, "Why is the character saying that sentence or word?" Often there's hesitation in response. Then comes a fast-food like retort that is symptomatic our short-cut society today; a one-to-two word reply stating an emotion.

Fine. But what prompted that emotion? What was the trigger? What is the character not saying?
Play that as well. That's layering.

The more choices, appropriate to scene, character, motives, objectives and story that an actor provides -- without seeming schizophrenic or an actor gone emotionally rouge -- the better casting, talent reps, and audience will respond. At worst they'll think of you as intelligent.

So if you find yourself having trouble with a scene or monologue ask yourself. "Am I playing all the flavors and layers that can be found within this? Or am I just playing the nuts?"


Paul Russell's career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway.
He is the author of "ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor."

For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Screen Actors Guild on Thursday unveiled nominations for its widely watched film awards, giving key nods to three films including "Up in the Air" and capping a busy week of honors from industry groups.



Hollywood watchers are focusing on several movies in the awards sweepstakes including Quentin Tarantino's war fantasy "Inglorious Basterds," urban drama "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," Iraq war movie "The Hurt Locker," mid-life crisis tale "Up In the Air" and adventure "Avatar."

"It's thrilling and gratifying and pretty extraordinary from this particular filmmaker's perspective," said "Hurt Locker" director Kathryn Bigelow about her movie's success.
Three films, "Up in the Air," "Inglourious Basterds," and "Precious" earned three nominations apiece for Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards with "Basterds" and "Precious" among nominees for best ensemble cast, SAG's top honor.

Joining them were the stars of the musical "Nine," including Penelope Cruz and Daniel Day-Lewis, as well as the actors in "The Hurt Locker" and "An Education."

"Up in the Air," starring George Clooney as a corporate hatchet man, earned three nominations for Clooney as best actor and Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick as best supporting actress.

"AIR" UP IN SMOKE?
While it failed to make SAG's nominees for cast -- believed to be a bad sign because actors are the largest voting block at Oscar-giver The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences -- "Up in the Air" has led many critics' lists and been an early front-runner. And pundits say not to count it out yet.

"It's all about momentum," said veteran award-watcher Anne Thompson, whose blog Thompson on Hollywood, appears on film website IndieWire.

"I suspect it may remain in the top five, but it could have peaked" in the race to No. 1.

David Poland, who runs website Movie City News, said the big change this week has been the smashing critical success and box office potential of director James Cameron's "Avatar."

'Avatar' has changed the game.
In SAG's other key film categories, Clooney will be joined in the best actor race by Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart," Colin Firth in "A Single Man," Morgan Freeman for "Invictus" and Jeremy Renner in "The Hurt Locker."


The five nominees for best actress were Sandra Bullock for football movie "The Blind Side," Helen Mirren in "The Last Station,"

Carey Mulligan for "An Education," newcomer Gabourey Sidibe in "Precious" and Meryl Streep in "Julie & Julia."

Joining Farmiga and Kendrick in the race for supporting actress will be Penelope Cruz in "Nine," Diane Kruger for "Inglourious Basterds" and comic actress Mo'Nique, who took on a dramatic role playing an abusive mother in "Precious."
SAG's supporting actor race pits Matt Damon in "Invictus" against Woody Harrelson in "The Messenger," Christopher Plummer for "The Last Station," Stanley Tucci in "The Lovely Bones" and Christoph Waltz with "Inglourious Basterds."

(Editing by Eric Beech, Jackie Frank and Eric Walsh)

It is never too late to be who you might have been" --anonymous


(845) 365-0720
or
richard@richardskipper.com



Next Workshop - JANUARY 5th
MARKETING AND PROMOTING YOURSELF:
GETTING THE VISIBILITY YOU DESERVE!

I am bringing years of experience to this workshop. The cost of the workshop is $125 for three hours.

Please call (845) 365-0720 for more information and to reserve your space and/or create a specific workshop for YOUR needs (ASK ABOUT OUR SPECIAL OFFER!). There is a Paypal option to reserve your space now. My shows continue to be wonderful successes around the country, and as I continue making my business great, I looks forward to sharing my experience with others.


This workshop will focus on how to get you the attention that you need. Richard's shows have been sell-outs.

Other topics will include how to use the internet to your advantage in marketing; how to get your name "out there"; cold calling; creating a contract specific to your needs; how to create a press kit that shows you to your best possible advantage and more! I get a sense of the various levels of each workshop and custom makes, on the spot, a class catering to the needs of the actual group in the room.
I will ascertain YOUR agenda prior to the workshop beginning so that each participant will leave with all of their questions answered, so come prepared!



On board with me is GLEN CHARLOW, who brings over 15 years in the business to the participants of this class and who will discuss the concept of image; how to use the internet effectively and how your website "sells" you even before you pick up the phone. To read more on Glen Charlow please visit: www.gcdtp.com.


For general information on workshops or Career Coaching, please contact Richard Skipper directly at 845-365-0720 or Richard@RichardSkipper.com.




Panetta: Forget why, ask what the arts can do for you


By GARY PANETTA (gpanetta@pjstar.com)
Journal Star
Posted Dec 27, 2009 @ 01:49 AM

As funding for arts organizations continues to shrink, what are cultural leaders supposed to do?

I have a suggestion: Stop talking about why the arts are important and why the community should support them.
Instead, start talking about what the arts can do for the community at large. Start talking about how the arts are worthy of support because of what they do for children's education. Start talking about how the arts can improve the quality of life by being part of an effort to reclaim decaying neighborhoods. Start talking about how the arts can give Peoria - or any city or town - a distinctive character and a sense of place that can be of real value in a world where every commercial district is increasingly looking the same.

Talking this way is difficult for arts leaders, however, because they understandably tend to have a narrow focus: Their own organization and its woes. Certainly, passionate advocacy for a specific group - whether it's one of the local community theaters or art centers or whether it's the Peoria Symphony Orchestra or the Peoria Ballet - is vital.

Nevertheless, someone has to start looking at the big picture, looking for ways to insert a cultural agenda in places where people usually don't expect to see one - for example, in the midst of city planning or economic development.

Carol Coletta, president and CEO of CEOs for Cities, a network of business leaders concerned about the future of urban areas, points the way. When Coletta spoke in Peoria in November - as part of a conference with the National Endowment for the Arts - she stressed the practical importance of the arts for any community.

To be successful, Coletta says, cities must strive to do the following:

Develop, attract and retain talent.

- Enable connections among their residents, the city, the region and the global economy.

- Emphasize what makes them unique places to live and work.

- Foster innovation in every way.

Coletta argues that the arts are crucial in helping cities accomplish each of these goals. A vital arts scene, she says, can be a talent-magnet, drawing younger, well-educated, talented people to cities and towns. Why? Because young, creative people are more likely to choose a city where they want to live and then look for a job - the reverse of the traditional pattern.

Artists also are good at making connections - connecting people of different ethnic groups, different parts of a city, different socioeconomic backgrounds. In a society that sometimes emphasizes what divides us - whether it's race, class, ethnicity or sexual orientation, the arts can be a bridge.


Artists also can be effective at helping a city find its unique identity. In a world where things are increasingly becoming the same, the arts and artists can help a community plug into its history and heritage.

Finally, the arts can help foster innovation. Artists are masters at taking ordinary things - colors, notes on a scale, fabric, whatever - and making extraordinary things. This ability, Coletta says, to come up with new ways of seeing things, of creating new possibilities is a rare and needed talent today.

Why? Because the future is all about technology, and the arts and artists themselves are more and more mixed up in technology and technological break-throughs.

Just look at the way that Bradley University's theater and multimedia departments are working together, not just creating innovative theater using digital technology but also preparing students to lead professional lives of continual improvisation and learning, where creativity spurs technology and technology spurs creativity. Just look at almost any visual artist's Web page, and you will see someone who is not merely trained at painting and drawing but in a variety of multimedia skills as well.

But to see why the arts can really make a difference, take a look at Main Street or Sheridan Road or the Downtown Warehouse District.

On Main Street, a group called Campaign for a Walkable West Bluff is using student artwork to beautify empty storefronts. During the past year, the group has held three art displays using the work of students from Bradley University, Whittier Primary School and St. Mark School.

"I think what's exciting is that we are trying to create a different vision of the street," one building owner said. "People tend to think Main Street is unsafe and in decline. We're trying to combat that by trying to put things up so they can see the possibilities for its use instead of just vacant buildings."

Galleries and studios also have cropped up in the city's warehouse district. So have arts-related activities like the Riverfront Market, which features not only an array of locally grown produce but also music and visual art.

And on Sheridan Road, Jonathon Romain, a nationally known artist who has been profiled by Black Entertainment Television, has opened a gallery and studio. Romain, who has gone from selling drugs to making and selling art, is an inspiring example of the difference that creativity can make in anyone's life. He hopes to use his gallery not only for art, but also for outreach to young people at risk of falling into the cycle of drugs and crime that he escaped. Efforts like Romain's are something that ideally should be multiplied elsewhere in the city.


Art-for-art's-sake arguments are not likely to convince anyone but the already converted, especially in the middle of the Great Recession. But arguments that stress art-for-the-city's sake have a better chance because what's at stake is not simply a particular visual artist or performing arts group but a region or community's common good. And isn't that what public policy is supposed to be about?

Gary Panetta is the fine arts columnist and a critic for the Journal Star. He can be reached at 686-3132 or gpanetta@pjstar.com. Write to him at 1 News Plaza, Peoria, IL 61643.

What I Want for Christmas by Michael Kaiser
President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts


Like everyone else, I have a list of things I want for Christmas. Here is mine:

1. All arts organizations to recommit to their missions: Virtually every arts organization has a mission and I dare say that a majority of board and staff at most arts organizations could not tell you what that mission is.
A mission is crucial: it should direct all of our efforts and tells us how we measure success. If a majority of stakeholders cannot recite the mission, the organization is likely to be drifting. I want arts organizations everywhere to rethink their missions and to recommit to them as well. When everyone in the organization is moving in the same direction, there will be a far greater level of achievement and far less waste.

2. A serious discussion on arts education: There are many, many people around the nation who are thinking about and working on ways to bring arts back into our public schools. I know that my staff and I are working diligently on this effort. We need a serious discussion at the federal level about ways to bring arts back into the schools.

We need to engage the best thinkers on this subject as well as the government leaders responsible for education. There is a good deal of money already being spent on arts education; but arts education efforts are uncoordinated and unfocused. I believe that if we can come up with a better scheme, we can provide far better education for our children.

3. Arts funders to support arts management training: Those who have heard me speak know that I am a fierce advocate for arts management education.

What is the use of spending billions on training professional musicians, and actors and dancers if we do not have the people who are prepared to employ them? We are in a danger zone in the arts because so much in our environment is changing: the way people get information, the way people access entertainment, the ability of our audiences to pay for tickets, the amount of coverage by media for serious art, etc. We need smart sophisticated managers who know how to deal with these changes.

4. Government leaders to expend some political capital on the arts: It is disheartening to me every time I hear a politician laud the importance of the arts. This might seem absurd but all I hear when a politician supports the arts is lip service. When are we going to get a group of political leaders to actually expend some political capital to make sense of government spending on the arts? There are nine federal agencies who fund the arts and they never sit in a room together to develop funding policy. This cannot be optimal. We need our federal arts money to be spent wisely.

5. A concerted campaign to promote the value of the arts in our society: The arts need a marketing effort. Individual arts organizations can help by doing a better job of creating institutional awareness and excitement.
But the entire field needs a marketing campaign as well. We provide so much to our society but we have not convinced enough people that this is true.
If we had, many of my other Christmas wishes would already have obtained.

I am not naive. I am willing to wait for many Christmases to pass before all of these gifts are received.
But this is a season of miracles.

ArtsWestchester Announces Professional Development Workshops
Posted by Westchester.com
Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Westchester Arts & Entertainment NewsWhite Plains, NY - As part of an ongoing effort to enhance arts education practices, ArtsWestchester has announced two upcoming professional development workshops in 2010.


These workshops are especially tailored for arts educators and recognize that demanding schedules often make it difficult for teaches to avail themselves of professional development opportunities. Teachers are introduced to new trends in the field, and have the opportunity to come together as peers to share the practices that have worked best for them.

Workshop fees: ArtsWestchester Roster Artists: free, non roster artists: $15, college students $5. All workshops take place on the fifth floor of The Arts Exchange, the headquarters of ArtsWestchester, 31 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains. Registration is ongoing but space is limited, so early reservations are suggested. Those interested may register online at www.artswestchester.org (click on Fine Tune Your Skills from the home page), or by calling Jesse Mendez at (914) 428-4220 x 333.



“It’s always nice to have a fresh perspective,” says ArtsWestchester Executive Director Janet T. Langsam. “Teachers, teaching artists, and tomorrow’s teachers are introduced to specialists they might not ordinarily meet. At the same time, there is a special feeling of camaraderie, as teachers meet colleagues from throughout the county who face the same challenges as they face every day.”

Upcoming Workshops Include:

The Green Classroom: Solar Energy
Wednesday, January 6, 2010, 5:30-7:30
Learn about solar energy and how to integrate current knowledge of solar energy and science concepts into your teaching artist residency. This panel and brainstorming session brings together science and art educators and a solar energy consultant to discuss ideas on how to integrate art and science curriculum into a teaching artist residency.

Panelists:
David Weiss, Solar Energy Consultant, Mercury Solar Systems located in Port Chester, evaluates and installs PV Solar electric systems and thermal hot water systems in homes and businesses. Devon Spencer, Director of Science Barge Education, B.A. in Theatre & Dance, University of Texas at Austin, M.A. in Environmental Conservation Education, New York University. Ms. Spencer teaches adults and youth on the Science Barge and participated in Teaching the Hudson Valley 2009. Claire Cronin, Art Teacher, RJ Bailey School in Greenburgh, will discuss creating successful science curriculum integrated art residencies. David Propp, Science and Gifted teacher at Highview School in Greenburgh, has worked on art and science projects such as building solar cars with 5th grade students.

Teaching Through the Arts:
Incorporating Core Curriculum into your Practice:
Tuesday, February 2, 2010, 5:30-7:30 pm

This interactive workshop focuses on the New York State Learning Standards in the Arts and the New York City Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts. Learn the crucial elements for designing lesson plans, devising assessment techniques and conducting residencies to discover students’ cognitive, social and personal development through the arts. See how to strengthen connections between the arts and academics and how to form a strong/productive artist teacher partnership.

Workshop Leader:

Haifa Bint-Kadi (teaching artist). Ms. Bint-Kadi is a professional mosaic artist, who has been awarded numerous commissions to create mosaic murals in public places. In 2007, Ms. Bint Kadi was awarded a teaching fellow by the Empire State Partnership and the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and conducted teacher and arts administration professional development specializing in integrating the academic curriculum and the arts.

ArtsWestchester is your connection to the arts. Founded in 1965, it is the largest, private, not-for-profit arts council in New York State; its mission is to provide leadership, vision, and support, to ensure the availability, accessibility, and diversity of the arts.
ArtsWestchester provides programs and services that enrich Westchester: our grants help fund concerts, exhibitions and plays; we bring artists into schools and community centers; we advocate for the arts and build audiences through our marketing initiatives. In 1998, ArtsWestchester purchased the nine-story neo-classical bank building at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue which has since been transformed into the Arts Exchange, a multi-use resource for artists, cultural organizations, and the community.


Alaina Reed Hall of 'Sesame Street' and '227' Dies at 63






Alaina Reed Hall, the kind-faced actress best known as Olivia on 'Sesame Street' who later starred on '227,' died Dec. 17 in Los Angeles after a lengthy battle with breast cancer, the Springfield News-Sun reported. She was 63.

Beginning in 1976 and running up until the late 1980s, Hall was known to millions of children as photographer Olivia on the PBS show. She told the News-Sun in 2004 it was "the best job I ever had."

In 1985, she was cast in the urban sitcom '227' as Rose, the go-to friend in the neighborhood.
The cast also included the always-sassy Jackée Harry and ran for five seasons.

After '227' left the airwaves in 1990, Hall made several guest appearances in shows such as 'Blossom' before scoring a lead role on the short-lived sitcom 'Cleghorne!' in 1995.

Her film credits include 'Death Becomes Her' and 'Cruel Intentions.'

Hall was also a talented singer, having began her career on Broadway ('Hair,' 'Chicago') and released a single, 'Bad for My Head,' in 1972.


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 next Tuesday! 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 MY WORK:
I had the wonderful opportunity of performing last nite at the Iguana. Dana and Richard are the most inviting hosts and make every one feel welcomed and loved... They have created a comfortable atmosphere at the Iguana.. I was sitting between Celeste Holmes and Eileen Fulton.. Not too bad I'd say. A perfect place to meet new people and brainstorm. Come and be a part of New York's Gem and make a little of your own history. see you there.
Esther Beckman




Richard....
My sister, Joanna, and my student Omar Felix went with me to Dancers Over 40 on 12/13 for the tribute performance...your energy, warmth and enthusiasm as Carol Channing made the afternoon very special for all of us, and tied the whole program together. Can't wait to see more, Richard...
Cheers,
Garold Gardner, garoldgardnerscholarshipfoundation.org


Richard! What a wonderful evening at the Iguana. Thank you for a lovely night of song! Michael Miller



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NYC Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price! Dana Lorge and I have put our 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!



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.











December 30th: Ritt Henn, Annie Hughes, Cindy Marchionda, Sarah Rice, David Nathan Scott


January 13th: Barbara Gurskey returns!

January 20th: Douglas Davidian, Cait Doyle, D'yan Forrest, Greta Heron, Catt John, Alegra Themmen

Feb 3 : Michael Austin, Lucia Mozzola, Jane Schechter, George Stella, Jane Stuart

February 17th : James Alexander


March 10th: David Alpher & Jenny Litt, Louise Quick, Nicholas Tamagna, Pam Tate, Maureen Taylor

March 24th, Julie Reyburn returns!


April 28th: Kecia Craig and Frank Stern!
Keep checking http://www.richardskipper.com/schedule.html for upcoming entertainers.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Scottsboro Boys on Broadway, Colman Domingo, Pocono Playhouse...and more!


The Scottsboro Boys: cast announced


The cast and creative team for the world premiere of The Scottsboro Boys - the new musical by the legendary composer/lyricist team of John Kander and Fred Ebb, with book by David Thompson and direction and choreography by Susan Stroman - have been announced by the Vineyard Theatre, where the musical will begin previews on 12 Feb 2010 prior to its official opening night on 10 Mar 2010.

The 13-member cast of The Scottsboro Boys will feature two-time Tony winner John Cullum, Colman Domingo, Brandon Victor Dixon, Sean Bradford, Josh Breckenridge, Derrick Cobey, Rodney Hicks, Kendrick Jones, Forrest McClendon, Julius Thomas III, Sharon Washington, Cody Ryan Wise and Christian White.


Also announced is the creative team for the musical, which will have set design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Toni-Leslie James, lighting design by Kevin Adams and sound design by Peter Hylenski.
David Loud is music director; orchestrations are by Larry Hochman.
The Scottsboro Boys explores the infamous "Scottsboro" case of the 1930's, in which a group of African American teenagers were unjustly accused of attacking two white women -- and the boys' attempts to prove their innocence.
The Scottsboro Boys reunites Vineyard Theatre with John Kander, David Thompson and Susan Stroman -- who along with the late Fred Ebb -- previously collaborated on The Vineyard's revival of 'Flora, The Red Menace' in 1987.
John Cullum has received Tony Awards for his performances in the musicals 'On The Twentieth Century' and 'Shenandoah', and Tony nominations for the musicals 'On a Clear Day You Can See Forever,' 'Urinetown' and '110 in the Shade.'

He most recently appeared on Broadway in 'Augist: Osage County.'

Colman Domingo has appeared on Broadway in 'Well' and 'Passing Strange,' and earlier this season debuted his acclaimed solo play 'A Boy and his Soul,' at the Vineyard Theatre.
Brandon Victor Dixon received a Tony nomination for his role as 'Harpo' in 'The Color Purple,' and is currently appearing as the title character in 'Ray Chales Live!' at Pasadena Playhouse.




Sean Bradford has appeared on Broadway in 'The Lion King.' John Breckenridge was featured in the cast of 'The Ritz' on Broadway; Rodney Hicks' credits include 'Jesus Christ Superstar,' and 'Rent' on Broadway; Derrick Cobey appeared in this season's new musical 'Tin Pan Alley Rag' Off-Broadway; and Kendrick Jones is an actor and dancer who has performed nationally with the dance troupe 'Tap City.'

Forrest McClendon appeared at the Prince Music Theatre in Philadelphia in 'Dreamgirls'; Julius Thomas III appeared in '25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee' in Chicago; Sharon Washington has performed in numerous productions at the Public Theater, including 'Richard III', 'Cymbeline' and 'Coriolanus'; Christian White appeared at City Center Encores! in 'The Wiz'; and Cody Ryan Wise appeared at City Center Encores! in 'Damn Yankees' and in the national tour of 'The Lion King.'



The legendary collaboration of John Kander and Fred Ebb over four decades resulted in some of the most beloved and enduring musicals in theatre history: from 'Flora, The Red Menace' to 'Cabaret' (Tony Award); 'Zorba,' 'Chicago' and 'Woman of the Year' (Tony Award); to 'Kiss of the Spider Woman' (Tony Award), 'Curtains,' 'The Visit' and 'All About Us..' David Thompson is a Tony Award nominee for Best Book of a Musical for 'Steel Pier.'. His other credits include the script adaptation for 'Chicago' and the musical 'The World Goes 'Round,' a musical revue of the songs of Kander and Ebb.
In addition, he has written new librettos for the revival of 'Flora, The Red Menace' and Jerry Herman's 'Dear World.'
Susan Stroman won two Tony Awards as director and choreographer of 'The Producers.'. She co-created, directed and choreographed 'Contact' for Lincoln Center Theater (Tony Award, Best Choreography). Other Broadway credits include 'Young Frankenstein,', 'Happiness,''Oklahoma!' 'The Music Man,' Steel Pier,' 'Show Boat' (Tony Award) and 'Crazy For You' (Tony Award).

Act Now: Protest Buju Banton's Grammy Nomination



Reggae singer Buju Banton has advocated violence against gay people throughout his career.


In a popular song released in 1988 entitled "Boom Bye Bye," Banton repeats the anti-gay 'f-word' and says that "f-----s have to die" and he will "shoot them in the head" or "burn them."

The Associated Press has reported that the song "Batty Rider" from Banton's 1993 record "Mr. Mention" glorifies the shooting of gay men.
In October 2009 Banton was quoted in news reports as saying "This is a fight, and as I said in one of my songs 'there is no end to the war between me and f----t' and it's clear."

By nominating Banton for a prestigious Grammy Award the Recording Academy is turning a blind eye to Banton's support of deadly violence against gay people.
Signing this letter tells the Recording Academy that honoring Banton with this nomination is not OK.

Read the full press release at GLAAD.org.

I am protesting Buju Banton's Grammy Nomination
Dear Recording Academy,

I am joining GLAAD's protest against Buju Banton's Grammy nomination and urging Recording Academy members NOT to support him. Honoring a man who continues to advocate killing gay people is absolutely unacceptable.


Reggae singer Buju Banton has advocated violence against gay people throughout his career.

In a popular song released in 1988 entitled "Boom Bye Bye," Banton repeats the anti-gay 'f-word' and says that "f-----s have to die" and he will "shoot them in the head" or "burn them." He continues to sing this song at his concerts today.

The Associated Press has reported that the song "Batty Rider" from Banton's 1993 record "Mr. Mention" glorifies the shooting of gay men.


In October 2009 Banton was quoted in news reports as saying "This is a fight, and as I said in one of my songs 'there is no end to the war between me and f----t' and it's clear."


By nominating Banton for a prestigious Grammy Award the Recording Academy is turning a blind eye to Banton's support of deadly violence against gay people.
[Your name here]



As Ralph Miller headed to bankruptcy court Monday to try to keep the only one of his four theaters that hasn't been destroyed by fire, a federal agency is leading the investigation of the most recent blaze at the Pocono Playhouse in Mountainhome.









The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with state and local Pennsylvania police, is investigating the October fire.


The ATF is also investigating two previous fires at the Woodstock, N.Y., Playhouse in 1988 and the Falmouth, Mass., Playhouse in 1994.
The ATF would not discuss details "since it is an open investigation," said spokesman Tony Tropea.
"We are aware of those other fires and other incidents," Tropea said. "There's a great deal of work that needs to be done."
Pennsylvania State Police investigators are preparing their report about the Pocono Playhouse blaze to send to the ATF.
Miller, who has collected more than $1 million in insurance for the fires, has consistently denied any involvement.

Miller has said he was told that a 1984 fire at one of his properties, at a storage building used by what is now his last theater, the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, was set by a local firefighter.


But an official with the police in Doylestown Township, where the fire occurred, refuted that.



He referred to police reports, obtained by the Times Herald-Record through a public records request, that said the case had never been solved.
Witnesses reported hearing explosions before the fire erupted, and one witness said she thought she saw three people running from the building before it was afire, according to police records.

But Doylestown police closed the case with no finding of arson.

"If there was an indication or information there was arson, we would have looked into it. But there was absolutely nothing," said Lt. Dean Logan.
Miller on Friday maintained a fire marshal told him a firefighter had set the blaze.

"I was cleared," he said.

Along with those fires, Miller has been haunted by a trail of debt, including two previous bankruptcies.


Miller had used the playhouse as collateral on a $2 million July 2008 loan from Stonebridge Bank, for which he allegedly made only one payment.

He was due in court Monday.
Ironically, Stonebridge fears the Bucks County Playhouse may meet the same fate as Miller's other theaters.
"Stonebridge is concerned and worried that Mr. Miller's string of bad luck and loss by fire will continue and will adversely impact its collateral if relief from the stay is not immediately granted," say court papers.

The filing adds: "Three previous fires which destroyed theaters owned by the debtor, including a fire in October 2009, casts very real doubt on the debtor's ability to protect and safeguard the collateral of Stonebridge."
The hearing on the bank's motion is set for tomorrow Dec. 21.

In papers filed Friday, Miller's lawyer said insurance money from the Pocono fire could basically save his assets, including the Bucks County Playhouse.

Meanwhile, American Home Mortgage Servicing, which holds the mortgage on Miller's home in New Hope, filed papers in Bankruptcy Court on Thursday seeking permission to foreclose on his home.
Miller declined comment on the bankruptcy.


Alec Baldwin Donates $1 Million To Alma Mater
Establishes the Alec Baldwin Drama Scholarship Fund


New York - Tisch School of the Arts, the premiere institution of the performing, cinematic and recording arts, is pleased to announce the establishment of the Alec Baldwin Drama Scholarship Fund, made possible by a generous $1 million gift from Baldwin, Class of '94.

"The support I got from Tisch made it possible for me to become an actor and to have a career in this business," said Baldwin. "It's important to give back to those institutions that give us such opportunities, and I encourage anyone to look into supporting their alma mater."


Recipients of awards from the Fund will be named "Alec Baldwin Drama Scholars." It is Baldwin's belief that in addition to excellent training, achievement of one's goals in the performing arts requires an unwavering work ethic, development of leadership skills, willingness to collaborate, the ability to tolerate risk, and the capacity to work with constructive criticism.

Beginning in September 2010, the endowed fund will provide tuition assistance to students who best exhibit the characteristics noted above, are in good academic standing, and demonstrate financial need. Special consideration will be given to students from economically disadvantaged families or who are the first in their families to attend a college or university.

"We are blessed to have great alumni such as Alec Baldwin. His life and career are a model of the work ethic, leadership skills and commitment we value at Tisch.
In order to have great alumni you need to start with great students," said Dean Mary Schmidt Campbell. "Great students come from all over the world, and scholarships such as Alec's enable us to attract and retain the best of the best to attend the Tisch School of the Arts regardless of their ability to pay. We are truly thrilled with Alec's generosity and this transformative gift for the school."
As one of the nation's leading centers of undergraduate and graduate study in the performing and cinematic arts, Tisch offers programs that incorporate state-of-the-art facilities; a collaboratively oriented community of award-winning faculty members; internship opportunities with established professionals; and the incomparable artistic and cultural resources of New York City. The Alec Baldwin Drama Scholarship Fund will support those students who would not otherwise be able to afford an NYU Tisch education.

About Tisch School Of The Arts

For more than 40 years, Tisch School of the Arts has drawn on the vast resources of New York City and New York University to create an extraordinary training ground for the individual artist and scholar of the arts. Students learn their craft in a spirited, risk-taking environment that combines the professional training of a conservatory with the liberal arts education of a major research university. www.Tisch.NYU.edu

'Madame with an E' a hit at Algonquin

By Karen Meister

The Algonquin Arts Theatre celebrated its debut of the Celebrity Benefit Series on Nov. 14 with the infamous puppet, “Madame with an E,” in what turned out to be an entertaining and successful night.


Claiming to be “the oldest living showgirl in Las Vegas,” Madame was in rare form with racy comments, raunchy songs and double entendres, capturing very hearty laughs from the Manasquan audience.

Rick Skye, joining Madame, has performed on Broadway and the West End, along with touring cities throughout the U.S. and abroad. He received the MAC Award for Best Impersonation in 2006 and Best Performance Award in 2007 at the Dublin Theatre Festival.
Mr. Skye is honored as the second puppeteer to work with Madame during her years of stardom.
The first was Wayland Flowers, who actually discovered the puppet’s potential to become famous — or infamous.




They coupled in the mid-1960s, and Flowers’ intuition paid off; they were a huge success during the 1970s and 1980s. The team became two-time Emmy Award winners and was a sensational hit wherever they performed, from Nevada to London.

The two were regulars on the popular game show Hollywood Squares and made frequent guest appearances on several prime time TV programs. They continued to perform until 1988, when the popular puppeteer passed away.

The devastated Madame was at a loss until two decades later, when Mr. Skye took the act back to the stage and brought Madame back to life.

Mr. Skye took the best of Mr. Wayland, refreshed the act with his own adept ability and ingenuity, and updated the material for a new generation while still entertaining those seasoned, devoted fans.

Along with Madame and Mr. Skye came a very talented musician and sort of stand-up comic, Michael Ferreri, who bantered back and forth with Madame while playing a fabulous collection of songs on the piano. He is a delightful addition to this talented trio.

If you don’t mind some expletives and some pretty “raw material,” then you would really enjoy this unique act. Madame almost seems human, sitting on the piano, singing and retelling stories that all end in a roar of laughter. She’s just one sassy diva who can entertain to the fullest.
"I always tell people all it takes is your own valet, a wardrobe staff and a masseuse. There is nothing like healing with the help of a new handler, a dry martini and a packed house.”
This production was supported by the generosity of several local eateries, including the Old Mill at Spring Lake Heights, and Brewed Addiction and Sweet Tease, both in Manasquan.


After the performance, there was a reception with delicious samples from the three venues.
Champagne, coffee and desserts were served on the stage. Madame and her entourage mingled among the guests, creating the perfect ending to a perfectly entertaining evening.


As they say on Broadway, break a leg Madame and friends, and may you continue to bring laughter to all you encounter. Madame has been known to promise “something new, something borrowed and something oh-so-very blue."




DAVID BOWIE'S Ziggy Stardust album is a staple entry in countdowns of greatest ever records.

And now the 1972 collection has scooped a new honour - after topping a list of the "gayest albums ever made".
The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars - featuring such classics as Starman and Suffragette City - was crowned the campest disc in gay magazine Out.

It beat out competition from THE SMITHS' The Queen Is Dead, ELTON JOHN's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and MADONNA's Immaculate Collection.

How the judges ignored KYLIE, LIZA MINNELLI, VILLAGE PEOPLE and the Beaches soundtrack is beyond us.



http://www.tangle.com/view_video?viewkey=7bd86c57513b2efac899




Carol begins next years efforts to raise awareness for the need to have arts in education with an appearance in Dallas in January with Bernadette Peters before 1,700 students and teachers. Something else that I can be passionate about!






Liza Minnelli sex lawsuit settled out of court Published in: Legalbrief Today
Date: Mon 14 December 2009
Category: Litigation




Singer Liza Minnelli has settled a long-running battle with M'Hammed Soumayah, who was her chauffeur for over a decade before being fired in 2004, agreeing to drop a lawsuit in which he sought a total of $100m for assault and battery, breach of contract, personal injury, and multiple counts of sexual harassment.

A report in The Independent notes presiding Judge Paul Feinman said the terms of the deal were confidential, adding that 'the entire action has been settled and discontinued'. The deal was reached on 13 November, four days before Minnelli would have been required to give evidence under oath, according to the report.
Full report in The Independent


After a performance of "White Christmas," a member of the audience stopped by to see one of the stars in her dressing room.

"My father adored your mother," the visitor said.

Because the star was Lorna Luft, daughter of Judy Garland, and the visitor was Mary Ellin Barrett, daughter of Irving Berlin, all they could do was hug each other.
"I know that he did," Luft told her guest.

Could the great American songwriter have felt any other way about the great American vocalist? She starred in one of his most popular movies, "Easter Parade."
The show "White Christmas" stems from another one of Berlin's genre-defining hits. Bing Crosby sang "White Christmas" in three movie musicals. In 2000, the Muny's executive producer, Paul Blake, premiered his stage version of one of those movies — the 1954 picture actually called "White Christmas" — on the big outdoor stage in Forest Park.
"Paul is wonderful," Luft said. "He saw the possibilities."

Since then, the show has undergone a number of changes and become a holiday hit around the country. Last winter, it even outgrossed "Wicked" for a couple of weeks in New York.

The tour, which opens Tuesday at the Fox, stars Luft, along with Kerry O'Malley, Megan Sikora, Stages St. Louis favorite David Elder and Stephen Bogardus, who first took the Bing Crosby role when "White Christmas" played the Muny in 2006.

The show is mainly a vehicle for a parade of great Berlin songs: "Blue Skies", the hilarious "Sisters," the torchy "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me," and many more.



The story centers on World War II veterans Bob and Phil (Bogardus and Elder), postwar partners in a hugely successful song-and-dance act who stage a big show at a charming Vermont inn.

As Martha, the inn's housekeeper, Luft delivers one of Berlin's brightest numbers, "Let Me Sing and I'm Happy."
It's basically a comedy role, which thrills her.

"I built Martha on all those great satiric, wise-cracking dames that I grew up with," she said. "Eve Arden and Martha Raye and Lucille Ball and Ethel Merman, of course, because Martha (the housekeeper) is a belter. They were smart and generous and always funny.
I loved them."

Those are exactly the same words that she uses to describe her mother. Born in 1952, Luft and her brother Joseph are the children of Garland's marriage to her manager, Sid Luft. (Liza Minnelli, their half sister, is the daughter of Garland's marriage to movie director Vincente Minnelli.)

"My mother had her problems, it's no secret," Luft said. "But I have made my peace with that. She was the best mother she knew how to be. And her children always came first."

Luft said she has always tried to emulate that: children first, show-business second. Now that her children Jesse and Vanessa are grown, she feels more comfortable working, especially on the road.
"It's a lot easier than it used to be," she said.

Luft and her husband, British musician Colin R. Freeman, divide their time between homes in California and England.

Their Los Angeles house "is beautiful," she said, a smile in her voice. "I am sure my son loves to have it to himself!"


Making peace with her legacy, musical and personal, has been a long process, one she worked out partly in public. In London — where, she said, audiences have "made me feel so welcome, like one of their own" — she recently played the Wicked Witch in a stage version of "The Wizard of Oz," the show that made her mother famous.

"I wouldn't want to do anything like 'Wicked' or 'The Wiz,'" she said. "But I have no problem with the second-generation situation, as long as it's a true celebration of the original."

In 1998, Luft wrote a best-selling memoir, "Me and My Shadows," then went on to co-produce an Emmy-winning miniseries based on it.
In her multimedia concert "Songs My Mother Taught Me," Luft uses the miracle of technology to sing duets with Garland, who died in 1969.

"My mother's voice is always with me, nothing subliminal about it," Luft said.

She considers that a joy, one that only few people who have lost a parent are lucky enough to experience.

"When I'm listening to the radio and my mother comes on, I love it," Luft said. "She's always with me, so it's good to hear her sometimes."


Whose Christmas Is It?





By MICHAEL FEINSTEIN
Published: December 17, 2009

ABOUT 10 years ago, I was doing a weekend of Christmas concerts, accompanied by a fine regional symphony in California. The first night went well, I thought, with a program of holiday classics that seemed beyond reproach. The song choices were about as controversial as a Creamsicle.


But I was wrong. Minutes before I walked onstage the second night, a nervous representative of the orchestra board appeared in my dressing room to tell me that my program was “too Jewish.” Wow, I thought, who knew that orchestra management played practical jokes on artists moments before their shows? My laughter turned to disbelief when the stuttering gentleman said that there had, in fact, been complaints.


Between numbers the night before, I had mentioned that almost all the most popular Christmas songs were written by Jews and then riffed on the idea that the Gentiles must have written mostly Hanukkah songs. The audience was enthusiastic, so I assumed it was somebody on the board who had been offended.

Just as I was informing the unlucky messenger that the second night’s show would be “even more Jewish,” places were called. I bounded onstage in time to belt out the opening lines of “We Need a Little Christmas,” wearing a fake grin that barely concealed my rage. After a while, the music calmed me down, and I was able to merge with the holiday spirit encoded in the Jerry Herman classic. The Jewish Jerry Herman Christmas classic.

The evolution of Christmas is reflected to a degree in its music. As the holiday has become more secular, so have its songs, with religious and spiritual compositions largely supplanted by the banalities of Rudolph, sleigh bells and Santa. Many Christians feel that the true essence of Christmas has been lost, and I respect that opinion. It must be difficult to see religious tradition eroded in the name of commerce and further dissipated by others’ embrace of a holiday without a sense of what it truly means to the faithful.

Yet I also hope that those who feel this encroachment will on some level understand that the spirit of the holiday is universal. We live in a multicultural time and the mixing, and mixing up, of traditions is an inevitable result. Hence we have the almost century-old custom of American Jews creating a lot more Christmas music than Hanukkah music.
If you look at a list of the most popular Christmas songs, you’ll find that the writers are disproportionately Jewish: Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” “The Christmas Song” (yes, Mel Tormé was Jewish), “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Silver Bells,” “Santa Baby,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Winter Wonderland” — perennial, beloved and, mostly, written for the sheet music publishers of Tin Pan Alley, not for a show or film. (Two notable exceptions: “White Christmas,” introduced in “Holiday Inn,” and “Silver Bells,” written for “The Lemon Drop Kid.”)

You’ll notice that certain famous Jewish songwriters are conspicuously absent from this list. Why? Unlike the Tin Pan Alley songwriters, who churned out songs to order on every conceivable subject for their publishers, writers like Jerome Kern, the Gershwins, Richard Rodgers and Harold Arlen mainly created songs for musical plays and films, and unless a story line required a holiday song they had no need to write one. When they did try one outside the framework of a show, it rarely had the same spark. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Happy Christmas, Little Friend,” recorded by Rosemary Clooney in the ’50s, is sadly lethargic. Even Clooney couldn’t recall it when asked to sing it 30 years later. Or so she claimed.

In my holiday shows, I’m always looking for novel expressions of the season, and when I introduce a new song I don’t usually think about the religion of its creator. That said, I’m always pleased to discover a surprising juxtaposition. It doesn’t take Freud to figure out that the sugarplums, holly and mistletoe all tap into a sense of comfort, longing, security and peace that so many fervently desire; that we all wish the clichés were true. As Jews, Christians, Muslims, Mormons, Buddhists and everything in between, we are all more alike than we are different. That’s something to celebrate.

Michael Feinstein is a musician and the author of “My Life in Song.”


THOR ARNGRIM
1928 - 2009

Thor Arngrim
Born Wilfred James Bannin (aka Thor Arngrim) on November 25, 1928 in Regina, Saskatchewan
Died at 9:15pm on December 16, 2009 in Vancouver, BC of complications due to Parkinson's Disease

Thor Arngrim was a retired and respected personal manager (Seymour, Heller & Associates - later Arngrim & Petersen Mngmt), who handled the careers of noted personalities such as Liberace, Susan Anton, Peter Jurasik, Michael Ontkean, Debbie Reynolds as well as that of his son Stefan Arngrim (Barry Lockridge in Land of the Giants) and daughter Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson in Little House on the Prairie).
He was married to famed voice over legend Norma Macmillian (voice of Casper and Gumby, among many others) until her death in 2001. He founded the famous Totem Theatre of Vancouver, Canada in 1951. As a performer, Thorn Arngrim was best known for roles in the original Broadway production of “Tamburlaine the Great” (1956) directed by Tyronne Guthrie and in the Tony Award winning Broadway production of “Luther” (1963 - 1964), staring Albert Finney produced by David Merrick.

He is survived by his daughter Alison Arngrim and his son Stefan Arngrim and a multitude of beloved friends … A “Celebration of his life” is being be planned for January 2010. Donations in Thor's memory can be made to AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA.org), where he volunteered for many years, or PAL Vancouver (Performing Arts Lodge) where he lived, (www.palvancouver.org/) or the Parkinson Society of British Columbia (www.parkinson.bc.ca/).


On January 19th, the touring show of "Ballroom with a Twist" will open at at the DuPont Theatre featuring talent from the hit series "Dancing With The Stars" Dmitry Chaplin, Chelsie Hightower, as well as the husband and wife team of Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya.

Barbara Eden will be the host, with choreography by Dancing With the Stars pro, Louis van Amstel (who partnered with celebrities Lisa Rinna, Priscilla Presley, Monique Coleman and Kelly Osborne on the show) and American Idol alumni David Hernandez and Trenyce will provide exciting vocal accompaniment and interludes.



Attached below are the release for this production. Please feel free to contact me with any questions about the show or the talent.

Deepest regards,

Harlan (Boll)
626-296-3757

-------------------------------------------------
Barbara Eden
Hosts
“BALLROOM WITH A TWIST”
Choreographed by Louis van Amstel
& featuring Dmitry, Chelsie, Jonathan and Anna
of the hit series
“Dancing With The Stars”

Who better to offer audiences a magical evening of entertainment than Barbara Eden, who will host the highly anticipated production of Ballroom with a Twist. A brilliant new dance production that rings in the New Year at the DuPont Theatre January 19-24, 2010.
The DuPont Theatre proudly announces the signing of 2009 Dancing With the Stars first runner-up Dmitry Chaplin, the blonde & beautiful Chelsie Hightower, and the strikingly magnetic husband and wife team of Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya to headline this extraordinary lineup of talent. Louis van Amstel, a four-time Dancing With the Stars pro, brings ballroom to the stage as he directs and choreographs an entire ensemble of fabulous young dancers from shows such as Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and High School Musical. American Idol alumni David Hernandez and Trenyce provide stylish and exciting vocal accompaniment and interludes.

This groundbreaking show pushes the boundaries of ballroom dance, infusing it with the energy and intensity of the latest "hip-hop" styles. It is slated to be the only national tour in the 2009 post-DWTS season in which to see these wildly popular dancers triumphantly taking the stage to showcase their sultry moves.
Ballroom with a Twist is an extravagant evening of entertainment for the entire family, highlighted by stunning costumes, magnificent music and breathtaking performances. Come out and dance with the stars at the DuPont Theatre!

Barbara Eden, is one of America's most endearing and enduring stars. She has starred in a score of feature films, five television series, 15 top-rated movies and as a singer, has headlined at many of America's top hotel resorts and casinos in Tahoe, Atlantic City and Vegas, as well as on concert stages and in theaters across America. Her long-running series “I Dream of Jeannie“ has been on television screens globally for 44 uninterrupted years since beginning its first year network run on NBC in 1965. Today, it continues to be one of the world's most popular family shows, and is seen every day on cable and in international syndication on TV screens around the globe. The busy star's recent activities include her starring role as “Florence Unger“ in the national company female version of Neil Simon's “The Odd Couple“ and her recurring starring role as the matriarchal Aunt Irma in “Sabrina: The Teenage Witch.”

Louis van Amstel, born in 1972 in Holland, is a professional dancer, choreographer, and a dancesport coach. He is a world championship ballroom dancer, and also known in American pop culture for partnering with celebrities Lisa Rinna, Priscilla Presley, Monique Coleman and Kelly Osborne in Dancing with the Stars. After retiring from professional ballroom competition, he moved on to choreography and production. He founded the company VanDance, LLC, and directed, produced, choreographed and performed in the Broadway show Latin Fusion. Louis has appeared on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and had a cameo role as himself on ABC's All My Children, where he taught two characters to ballroom dance.

Dmitry Chaplin - This young pro transitioned from So You Think You Can Dance to DWTS last season, when he was paired up with Holly Madison. Dmitry's ballroom dancing career began at the age of 12 in his hometown of Rostov-on-Don in Russia. His perfect combination of technique and performance soon got him noticed by judges and teachers in his home country. After moving to the United States, his commitment to dance brought him to work with some of the best coaches in the ballroom world, including Louis Van Amstel and Shirley Ballas. Dmitry studied in both America and the United Kingdom, and began representing the U.S. at famous ballroom competitions around the world as one of the best dancers in the Under 21 division. In 2006, Dmitry's dance career took a different course when he joined the cast of the hit TV show So You Think You Can Dance. He became one of the Top 10 dancers, representing the ballroom world and establishing himself as an audience favorite.

Chelsie Hightower - Only 19 years old, she has been a finalist on So You Think You Can Dance, and in professional competitions has ranked as one of the top three couples in the country. Chelsie has been helping others learn to dance in America and abroad since she was 15.

The glamorous husband and wife team of Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya have been a part of DWTS since its debut in 2005. They are both professional ballroom dancers that teach celebrities how to dance. Although only having danced together for a relatively short time, Jonathan and Anna achieved many high placements in competitions around the world. Jonathan and Anna currently rank 6th in the US and 24th in the world. Together with Anna's mother, they own the You Can Dance Studio in LA.

Jonathan started dancing at the age of 20. Coming from a big sports background in high school (namely basketball), it was as much of a shock to Jonathan as it was to his family and friends when he discovered a passion for ballroom dancing. Jonathan went to see the Al Pacino movie Scent of a Woman and there was something about the famous tango scene that struck a chord. He took advantage of the free ballroom lessons offered on his movie ticket stub, and the rest is history.
Anna began dancing at the age of seven in her native Russia. Her parents owned a dance studio, so it was only natural that Anna took to dancing from an early age. At the age of seven she entered her first competition, which she won, and she has been winning titles (first amateur and now professional) ever since. Trebunskaya moved to the United States with her parents when she was 17 years old. Both her mother and father were professional ballroom dancers, and her mother still makes her costumes today.

Performances of BALLROOM WITH A TWIST at the DuPont Theatre are Tuesday through Sunday, January 19-24, 2010. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evening performances start at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday evening performances start at 8 p.m., and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Ticket prices begin at $45. To purchase tickets or for more information about group rates, call the DuPont Theatre Box Office at 302-656-4401 or 800-338-0881 or on the internet at www.DuPontTheatre.com

For press information visit the DuPont Theatre website Press Room at www.DuPontTheatre.com

For information or to view video clips, go to http://www.scottstander.com/
and click on BALLROOM WITH A TWIST.



BHBPR * 2635 Page Dr, Altadena, CA 91001 * 626-296-3757 * h.boll@dcpublicity.com


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 next Tuesday! 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 MY WORK:
Richard! What a wonderful evening at the Iguana. Thank you for a lovely night of song! Michael Miller, NYC




Thank you for your spirit and for asking me to perform last night at THE IGUANA!!!! It was, as always, a wonderful evening and your support and love means more to me than you know! Hope to see you SOON and do more!!! Love through the holidays,
Susan Eichhorn Young, http://www.susaneichhornstudio.com





Another lovely evening of entertainment at the Iguana! Thanks so much for everything!
Arianna, http://www.AriannaUSA.com




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NYC Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price! Dana Lorge and I have put our 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!
This week, Christine Talbott Sutin on keyboard.
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.








Dec 23
8pm

IGUANA VIP LOUNGE, 240 West 54th Street, NYC
WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT THE IGUANA
OUR CHRISTMAS SHOW - Barry Levitt on keyboard & Saadi Zain on bass.
Tonight's guests include: Frank Basile, Esther Beckman(joined by Marcus Simione), Eileen Fulton (AS THE WORLD TURNS), Sunny Leigh, George Stella, Jill Melanie Wirth ...
...and a few other surprises as well! Remember $10.00 Cover/No food or drink minimum!
Reservations a must (212) 765-5454


December 30th: Ritt Henn, Annie Hughes, Yvette Malavet-Blum, Cindy Marchionda, David Nathan Scott


January 13th: Barbara Gurskey returns!

January 20th: Douglas Davidian, Cait Doyle, D'yan Forrest, Greta Heron, Catt John, Alegra Themmen

Feb 3 : Michael Austin, Lucia Mozzola, Jane Schecter, George Stella, Jane Stuart

February 17th : James Alexander

March 24th, Julie Reyburn returns!


April 28th: Kecia Craig and Frank Stern!
Keep checking http://www.richa

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

CAROL CHANNING, LIZA MINNELLI, and THE WIZARD OF OZ, OH MY!


Happy Holly Daze! Here's your Christmas "Carol"! I begin this blog with a wonderful recent interview where Carol talks about the importance of arts in education.
Enjoy! Here is the link http://growingbolder.com/media/entertainment/theater/carol-channing-524707.html#content_tabs

Liza Minnelli not over the rainbow for 'Oz'
By LAURI NEFF (AP)
NEW YORK — "The Wizard of Oz" is a family favorite, but the film — celebrating it's 70th anniversary this year — isn't on Liza Minnelli's must-watch list.


Minnelli says it's tough to watch because of the fictional horrors her mother, Judy Garland, endures.
She said: "I just loved her so and for some reason 'The Wizard of Oz' bothers me when I see it.

They do terrible things to her. ... That's 'cause it's my mom."
Minnelli reflected on "The Wizard of Oz" while reflecting on her special, "Liza's At The Palace."


It captures her 2008 Tony-winning play and airs on public television stations this month.

The show ran more than two hours. When asked how she managed such a pace, the 63-year-old said: "You leave your pain shoes at the side of the stage."


* http://www.officiallizaminnelli.com/

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


The Cabaret Chronicles: Michael Feinstein & David Hyde Pierce, Maxine Linehan, Gretchen Reinhagen and More!


Saturday, December 12, 2009; Posted: 11:12 AM - by Jenna Esposito

Well, here we are - the middle of December, can you believe it?! Now, first thing's first - before I delve into the past week's shows, I invite you to join me in wishing a very happy birthday to two of the most celebrated singers in the history of American popular music: the legendary Connie Francis, as well as Ol' Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra! Both were born on December 12th - boy, what a red-letter day for music, not to mention the Italian-American community!
While Mr. Sinatra is, sadly, no longer with us, we are fortunate that Ms. Francis still is, and rumor has it that she's got some great gigs coming up in 2010! I do hope you'll join me in wishing her the happiest of birthdays and a fantastic year to come!

Boy, is it a busy December - between holiday parties, attending shows, and putting on shows myself, I've had a ridiculously full schedule! Ah, well, 'tis the season, I suppose.
Luckily, the shows I've seen have been quite entertaining, so they've actually served as a brief respite from the holiday madness! Last Saturday, I headed to Feinstein's at Loews Regency to see Michael Feinstein and David Hyde Pierce in their "Holiday Show." What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday night in NYC! Both men are terrific performers in their own right, but what they managed to bring out in each other was simply spectacular! David Hyde Pierce, best known for his role as Niles on TV's "Frasier," (for which he received multiple Emmy and Screen Actors Guild Awards), as well as leading roles in Monty Python's Spamalot and Curtains (for which he won the 2007 Tony Award) on Broadway, is making his nightclub debut in this show, and it was truly an honor to have witnessed it!

His dry, deadpan humor that worked oh-so-well for him on "Frasier" translated terrifically to the intimate confines of Feinstein's - in fact, it translated so well that not only was the audience in stitches, the band was, too, as was his singing partner! His humor was showcased in songs such as Jerry Herman's "Penny in My Pocket" and "You Won't Succeed On Broadway (If You Don't Have Any Jews)" from Monty Python's Spamalot, which, after lamenting the lack of good Hanukkah songs, he proceeded to perform as such! He also showed a softer, more vulnerable side in "Your Face," a beautiful ballad with music and lyrics by John Kander. Michael Feinstein was phenomenal as well, bringing warmth and tenderness to his favorite Christmas song (which also happens to be one of my favorites!), "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas;" incredible passion and longing to "What Kind Of Fool Am I?" and just the right amount of bitterness and hurt to the Sadie Vimmerstadt/Johnny Mercer classic, "I Wanna Be Around."
Now, when I mentioned that what the two performers brought out in each other was spectacular, I truly meant it. Mr. Pierce's humor must have been infections, for he brought out a fun, playful side of Mr. Feinstein that I'd never seen before. And it worked the other way around, too - I think having Mr. Feinstein there as a support in his first nightclub show put Mr. Pierce at ease and allowed him to simply be himself and have fun!
It was truly a special show and a simply fantastic pairing of performers. I truly hope that these two gentleman collaborate on more shows in the future - I'd be there in a heartbeat! Kudos, too, must be given to the incredible band backing these two stellar performers: Musical Director John Oddo on piano, Mark Vinci on reeds, George Rabbai on trumpet and flugelhorn, Jim Saporito on drums, and Jay Leonhart on bass.

Monday evening found me at my usual Monday night hangout, Jim Caruso's Cast Party at Birdland. As always, there was a whole slew of talent on hand to keep the evening moving along merrily, including Lea DeLaria, Nicolas King, Angela Bingham, Maureen Taylor, Susan Winter, and (of course!) Jim Caruso himself! Scott Siegel did a terrific job filling in as guest host for the first hour, and, as always, the Cast Party band (Tedd Firth on piano, Steve Doyle on bass, and Dustin Jensen on drums) was fab!

On Wednesday night, I was very excited to be at the CD Release listening party for Irish songstress Maxine Linehan's Petula Clark tribute CD, What Would Petula Do? I'd seen Maxine perform the tribute earlier this year, and loved it. She's got a terrific voice, a charming, engaging personality, and great arrangements, not to mention a fantastic band and backup vocalists. On Wednesday night, the invited audience had a chance to mill around the beautiful Tainted Blue recording studio (where the CD was recorded), sip champagne, and listen to the CD being played, and then we were all brought into the main studio, where Ms. Linehan treated us to a live performance of five of the songs on the CD, including the title track, which was written especially for this project by her musical director Gerald Stockstill, along with Ken Jones. It was a really fun evening, and the CD sounded great - can't wait to get in on my ipod!

Thursday night, it was off to The Metropolitan Room for Gretchen Reinhagen in Special Kaye: A Tribute to the Incomparable Kaye Ballard. Directed by cabaret veteran Barry Kleinbort (who, incidentally, has worked extensively with Kaye Ballard herself!), the show was entertaining, informative, touching, and funny - all rolled into one well-structured, well-paced hour!
Ms. Reinhagen did a great job of covering Ms. Ballard's nightclub material, Broadway material, and the all-important "special material," for which Ms. Ballard is particularly well known.
Also woven in were some interesting anecdotes about several songs which were written for or given to Ms. Ballard first ("If," "My Coloring Book," "Maybe This Time"), but for one reason or another ended up getting made famous by someone else! Ms. Reinhagen did a terrific job with everything, but she really seems to have found herself a special niche with the comedic numbers, such as "Teeny Tiny," "Name Dropping," and "Sara Lee." It takes a special kind of talent to pull songs like that off, and she does it as well or better than anyone I've seen!

Friday night, it was back to The Metropolitan Room for MetroJam, which is the monthly open mic I have the honor of hosting. Despite the freezing temperatures in Manhattan, the room was full of incredibly talented folks, including the tremendously talented Tony DeSare, who was battling a cold but came through like gangbusters as our special guest for the night, performing an incredible piano version of "Autumn Leaves," a brand new Christmas song he'd just written last weekend, and "This Christmas," for which he brought up his friend, singer Adam James, to duet on. Adam then stayed up onstage and did a beautiful "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," accompanied by Mr. DeSare! Other talented folks who got up to the mic last night included Carol McCann, Mary Foster Conklin, David Goldman , David Nathan Scott, and Sarah Rice, among others. It was a great evening, and, as always, the MetroJam Band (John DiPinto on piano, Ritt Henn on bass and Bobby Sher on drums) did a truly outstanding job!


TOMORROW NIGHT...Dec 16

8pm

IGUANA VIP LOUNGE, 240 West 54th Street, NYC
WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT THE IGUANA
Christine Talbott Sutin on keyboard.
Tomorrow's guests include: Elena Bennett & Fred Barton,
Mychelle Colleary, Susan Eichhorn-Young, Ken Greves, Amanda "Pucci" Jones ...
...and a few other surprises as well! Remember $10.00
Music Charge/No food or drink minimum! PLEASE NOTE: TOMORROW NIGHT'S SHOW IS DOWNSTAIRS

Reservations a must (212) 765-5454





'Bat Masterson' actor Barry dead

By BECKY KRYSTAL
Gene Barry, a debonair leading man who was best known as the sharply dressed lawmen of the television series "Bat Masterson" and "Burke's Law," and then earned a Tony Award nomination as a gay nightclub owner raising a son in "La Cage aux Folles," died Dec. 9 at an assisted living home in Woodland Hills, Calif.
He was 90.

His family said they did not yet know the cause of death.

After an early stage career that included acting opposite Mae West in a Broadway comedy, Barry went to Hollywood and starred in a series of films that included the 1953 alien-invasion movie "The War of the Worlds."
But it was on television that he thrived over the next 20 years, usually specializing in affable and urbane characters.
At first weary of what he thought was the tiresome Western genre, Barry embraced the role of Masterson, based on a real-life figure from the Old West, because of its biggest twist:
The character dressed as a dandy, sporting a brocade vest and carrying a gold- tipped cane. The show ran until 1961.
Barry's affinity for playing the dapper hero extended to two other TV shows -- "Burke's Law," in which he played a millionaire police official in Los Angeles who would be chauffeured to homicide scenes in a Rolls Royce, and "The Name of the Game," in which he portrayed a millionaire magazine publisher.
"Burke's Law" was producer Aaron Spelling's first hit, with the title character's opulent lifestyle a hint at what would come in Spelling's later series. "Burke's Law," later renamed "Amos Burke, Secret Agent," aired on ABC from 1963 to 1966 and resurfaced as a short-lived revival on CBS in 1994 with Barry.

A longtime cabaret and touring stage performer, Barry played President Richard M. Nixon in a 1982 Atlanta production of "Watergate: A Musical."



The next year he originated the Broadway role of Georges in "La Cage aux Folles," a Jerry Herman musical based on a French stage play. The show won the Tony Award for best musical.

Born Eugene Klass on June 14, 1919, in New York, Barry changed his surname as a nod to eminent stage actor John Barrymore. He made his Broadway debut in 1942 and appeared in musicals and operettas before being cast as a leading man opposite West in "Catherine Was Great" (1944).

During this period Barry met his wife of 58 years, Betty Kalb, with whom he had three children: Michael, Frederick James and Elizabeth. She died in 2003.


Thomas Hoving, a former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art has died at his home in New York City.

Nancy Hoving says her husband died Thursday of cancer. He was 78.

Hoving was director of the museum from 1967 to 1977 and was known for championing blockbuster exhibits, including the Tutankhamen exhibit.
Artifacts from King Tut's tomb were the most popular exhibit in the museum's history, drawing 8 million visitors.
He left the Met in 1977 to start an independent consulting firm for museums, Hoving Associates. From 1978 to 1984 he was an arts correspondent for the ABC newsmagazine 20/20.


From 1981 to 1991 Hoving edited Connoisseur Magazine; along with his memoirs of his time at the Met, he is also the author of books on a number of art-related subjects, including art forgeries, Grant Wood, Andrew Wyeth, Tutankhamen, and the 12th-century walrus ivory crucifix known as the Bury St. Edmunds Cross.


Originally published by BECKY KRYSTAL The Washington Post.

(c) 2009 Tulsa World. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.


An announcement about Ken Davenport's next project!

Posted: 11 Dec 2009 08:00 AM PST


Last Friday, Broadway producer Ken Davenport announced the end of a five year run of one of his shows.

As written about in last week's Variety, He is prepping to mount the first ever Broadway revival of Godspell.

G'Spell is one of the most beloved musicals on the planet, by one of the most "popular" musical theater composers on the planet, and is the type of unique theatrical experience that audiences crave, and then talk about.





Keep your eye on his blog for future Godspell updates. (THE PRODUCER'S PERSPECTIVE, KEN DAVENPORT)





AN ANNOUNCEMENT: PLEASE PAY THIS FORWARD: Large furnished 1 bedroom apartment available to sublet February 1st for at least 3 months - $1,600 per month.
-Fully furnished located on quiet street in Carroll Gardens

-Sunlight all day throughout entire apartment
-Heat included


-Open kitchen with plenty of cooking space

-Top floor 4 floor walk up - view of Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Shipyard
and Downtown Manhattan
-Near Court St. and Clinton St. restaurants, coffee houses and shops, markets and laundromats and buses
-3 blocks to Carroll Street Subway "F" and "G" lines, 15 minutes to downtown Manhattan
No smokers. No Pets.
Credit Check, References and Security Deposit required.

If interested please contact David at 646-279-6296.



Whoopi Goldberg attended a performance of Ragtime on December 1, then greeted the cast backstage at the Neil Simon Theatre. Jana Robbins, producer, on the far right.
Photographer: Bruce Glikas
© Broadway.com




Christmas With the Stars - Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson Top the List of Performers Reviving Classic Holiday Specials
By ROBERT RORKE
CHRISTMAS isn't what it used to be. In olden days, suave crooners like Andy Williams, Dean Martin and Judy Garland would take time out from their busy schedules to invite the TV audience into their "homes" for Christmas on heavily stylized, classic variety shows. On "The Judy Garland Show," the late singer invited viewers into her "home" - a living room set where Garland's children, Liza Minnelli, Lorna and Joey Luft, decorated the tree and had "visitors": Garland's singing pals Jack Jones and Mel Torme. Andy Williams would invite his singing clan, The Williams Brothers, and The Osmond Brothers to sing on the Christmas specials that appeared in his 1960s heyday.

In the age of "American Idol," Christmas looks and sounds different.
The show's most successful winner, Carrie Underwood, gets her very first holiday special, on Monday night. The reigning queen of country music has as her guests icon Dolly Parton, fellow "Idol" winner David Cook and singer Brad Paisley. You don't want to miss the costumes - Christina Applegate and Kristin Chenoweth put on pink chiffon dresses and sing backup for Underwood on a medley of retro hits. "It's a lot easier to do stuff like that when you have two people around you that actually know what they're d o i n g , " Underwood says in a conference call. "We ended up doing a medley of sorts of throwback songs, like the '50s, '60s vibe, with matching pink dresses and beehives. Three blondes, we had fun together." She also sings her new song "Cowboy Casanova," and a duet with Parton on the latter's most successful song, "I Will Always Love You," and cuts up on stage with the good-natured singer, donning an enormous Dolly-style wig and a gold lame jumpsuit. "I was so excited to be able to get to talk to her and obviously get to sing with her," Underwood says. "It felt like such a special moment for me in the show to be able to perform with her.: Of her gold lame moment, Underwood says, "When Dolly's there, you just step out of the spotlight, let her do her thing because no matter how hard you try, she's going to steal the spotlight. It's great. It's the way it should be." CARRIE UNDERWOOD: AN ALL-STAR HOLIDAY SPECIAL Monday, 8 p.m., Fox * JENNIFER HUDSON A week after Underwood's country-flavored special, "American Idol" runner-up and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson offers her own Christmas extravaganza. Say goodbye to Underwood's earnest twang and get ready for a display of vocal firepower that brought Hudson a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for "Dreamgirls." Hudson's all over the place here.
She rides a boat on the Chicago river for one tune and belts out songs with a band and does some duets with modern-day Bobby Darin-style crooner Michael Buble.
They will sing "Let It Snow" and "Baby, It's Cold Outside." Hudson's special is set in her hometown of Chicago, where she grew up.
Wearing snug dominatrix pleather, she shared memories of the music, people and places that influenced her. JENNIFER HUDSON: I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS aired December 14, 8 p.m., ABC * MICHAEL MCDONALD AND FAITH HILL PBS' "Soundstage" broadcasts year-round concerts that cater to almost every taste. This month, show favorite Michael McDonald blends some of his signature hits like "I Keep Forgettin'" into a holiday set that also features the singer lending his husky tenor to such classics as "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "White Christmas" and Stevie Wonder's "What Christmas Means to Me." Working with Grammy-winning arranger David Campbell, Faith Hill sings selections from her new holiday record, "Joy to the World" which features reworked classics along with the only original song on the track and her single, "A Baby Changes Everything." Hill does "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," and "Winter Wonderland" with a big band, but saves "Little Drummer Boy" for a capella treatment. FAITH HILL: JOY TO THE WORLD December 24, 11:30 p.m., PBS MICHAEL MCDONALD - THIS CHRISTMAS December 25, 10 p.m., PBS

Originally published by ROBERT RORKE.

(c) 2009 The New York Post. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

What they're saying about "Special Kaye"...

"Reinhagen opens with "I'm Here," a specially good piece of special material Kleinbort wrote for Ballard, and right off the bat we know we're in good hands. Most people associate Ballard with comedy, and humor is very well represented here. Among the laugh-out-loud selections are Kleinbort's so-true "When," Dale Gonyea's now near-classic "Name Dropping" (you know, the one with lines like "Is Helen Reddy now?"), and Kander & Ebb's "Sara Lee." One factor that makes this last number work so well is Reinhagen's delivery. As I've often said, "It's not sufficient to do a funny song; you have to be funny." Reinhagen is funny."
- Roy Sander, Bistro Awards

"...this is definitely a MUST SEE, 5-STAR, show of the year, performance. Evoking the musical comedy chops of Carol Burnett, with special material created especially for Ms. Ballard as well as other songs she was known for, this show is an hour of revelation, fantastic vocals and darn-good entertainment!"
- Stu Hamstra, Cabaret Hotline Online

"Reinhagen has the kind of strong, confident presentation that fits this tribute to the ever-hilarious Kaye Ballard"
- David Finkle, Village Voice ("Voice Choice")

"Gretchen Reinhagen's tribute to Kaye Ballard is the kind of gift you remember after you've opened all the presents around the Christmas tree."
- Bruce Fessier, The Desert Sun

"...here is a performer who knows how to deliver a lyric and a poignant onstage moment..."
- Jack Lyons, Palm Springs Guides


Click here to read Roy Sander's full review: http://www.bistroawards.com/index.php/reviews/93-gretchen-reinhagen


GAY MEN'S CHORUS
OF LOS ANGELES
Proudly Presents
NUTCRACKER


www.gmcla.org

WHAT: GMCLA continues its highly anticipated 31st season with a magical rendition of the enchanting splendor of NUTCRACKER, in a new staging of Tchaikovsky's magnificent music with spectacular dance, and familiar holiday songs that include Deck The Hall, Home for Christmas, We Need a Little Christmas, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and many more. Choreographed by Billy Rugh of Creative Planet Schools for the Arts, he has masterfully met the difficult challenge of re-inventing a classic Holiday tale that includes Ballet, Jazz and modern movement.

Nutcracker is based on the story "The Nutcracker and the King of Mice" written by E.T.A. Hoffman. GMCLA offers a traditional performance of the time-honored classic but with a new twist: when Clarence Stahlbaum receives a ballerina as a gift, he's privately delighted.
But after his bullying brother shatters the gift, all seems lost. But it's not; it's just beginning.

WHEN: Saturday, December 19th, 2009 at 3:00pm and 8:00pm
Sunday, December 20th at 3:00pm
WHERE: Alex Theatre, 216 North Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203
TICKETS: $25.00 - $49; by calling 818-243-ALEX (2539) or www.gmcla.org


EDITORS: For over thirty years, GMCLA has been making music to end homophobia. Using professional staging and venues (this year including The Broad Stage, Avalon Hollywood and The Alex Theatre), GMCLA's 200 singers create wonderful music and great entertainment in shows for all the family.

This year, GMCLA launches a high school music education program, the Alive Music Project -AMP- which has already received rave reviews from teachers, students and researchers. AMP provides students with a well-rounded mixture of music which educates and provokes discussions about social issues.

BHBPR * 2635 Page Dr, Altadena, CA 91001 * 626-296-3757 * h.boll@dcpublicity.com
On January 19th, the touring show of "Ballroom with a Twist" will open at at the DuPont Theatre featuring talent from the hit series "Dancing With The Stars" Dmitry Chaplin, Chelsie Hightower, as well as the husband and wife team of Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya.




Barbara Eden will be the host, with choreography by Dancing With the Stars pro, Louis van Amstel (who partnered with celebrities Lisa Rinna, Priscilla Presley, Monique Coleman and Kelly Osborne on the show) and American Idol alumni David Hernandez and Trenyce will provide exciting vocal accompaniment and interludes.

Attached is the release for this production. Please feel free to contact me with any questions about the show or the talent.

Deepest regards,
Harlan (Boll)

Vox Femina Gets Their Yule On!

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus ... and a sugar plum fairy, not to mention five gold rings, seven swimming swans and a partridge in a pear tree too! And audiences experienced them all at Vox Femina's "Holiday Voices" concert at the First Congregational Church in Pasadena on December 12th, where the Los Angeles based, but internationally known, Vox Femina offered patrons their first holiday concert in 11 years to a sold out crowd.

Not the typical holiday fare, the concert presented the unique Vox perspective on the season of love, renewal, and peace. The concert featured popular carols and lullabies (both in English and Spanish) as well as taking the audience on a journey along the road to Bethlehem and the simple stable that witnessed an event that changed the world.

The repertoire included music of Benjamin Britten, Conrad Susa, Z. Randall Stroope, Roger Bourland, Paul Carey and Mack Wilberg. The evening also included various sets dedicated to “Voices of Tradition,” “Voices of Peace and Hope,” “Voices of Vox,” and concluding with “Sugar and Spice.” The engagement included an exciting routine by dancers Billy Rugh and Michelle Benton as a Toy Soldier and Ballerina preforming the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from “The Nutcracker,” in addition to a very special appearance by Ole Saint Nick himself who was treated to a saucy rendition of “Santa Baby” in true Vox Femina style ... There was no response from Mrs. Claus.

Vox Femina Los Angeles is a women's choral ensemble dedicated to the performance of quality choral literature with an emphasis on music by women composers. Choral singing is one of the oldest performance arts in existence, but Vox is excited to perform new works and accept new challenges for themselves and for the audience. Vox Femina Los Angeles is under direction of Dr. Iris S. Levine who is Chair of the Cal-poly Music Department, the Artistic Director for the Stephen S. Wise Master Chorus and the ACDA Western Division Repertoire and Standards Chair for Women's Choirs.
She founded Vox in 1997 and in the past 12 years, Vox has established itself as one of the preeminent women's choruses in the United States with a demonstrated ability to perform highly eclectic repertoire, some of which can be heard on several recordings. It has actively fulfilled its goals through an exciting schedule of performances, touring and educational outreach. Vox Femina Los Angeles is funded through grants and private donations.

"Holiday Voices" was supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the LA County Arts Commission. "Vox Femina Los Angeles and I shared a tremendous pride in presenting this concert.” says Dr. Levine. “It will surely be remembered by all who attended as a performance full of joy and peace, as well as sugar and spice. We intended to comfort the audience, make them laugh and offer a twist on the traditions of the season and I think we succeeded."

For more information about Vox Femina please visit www.voxfeminala.org


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 next Tuesday! 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 MY WORK:
Dear Richard,
It was a fun evening and I am so honored that you and Dana invited me to be a part of it. She's a terrific lady and you work beautifully together. I was so impressed by you not only as a performer but as a host - you really got the crowd going!! I was also very happy to share the stage with several talented artists. I so enjoyed singing at The Iguana. It's a very good room. I hope to come back sometime in the New Year, if you'll have me.
In the meatime, you, Dan, and Dana have Happy Holidays.
See you soon.
Richard Holbrook




Hi Richard my favorite thing about the night was all of the talent I love hearing all those great songs that I heard growing up. Everyone had such grace and talent it was a pleasure just being around all of them and you. I also loved the relationship that you and Dana have, I thought it was magical. You are all so very talented and Samantha is so appreciative as am I that she was able to be a part of it.
Take care
Beth Hoffman



Thanks again for another great night at the Iguana! You are so much fun to be with-- your energy always makes me happy to be with you and come and sing! The acts were also equally amazing. That little girl and Sarah Palin were huge hits. I got a lot of great feedback for my piece as well-- which always is a thrill. Your early mornings at 9:00 seem to be paying off. Enjoy the View!
Allegra Pigott



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NYC Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price!
Dana Lorge and I have put our 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!
This week, Christine Talbott Sutin on keyboard.
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.








Dec 23
8pm
IGUANA VIP LOUNGE, 240 West 54th Street, NYC
WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT THE IGUANA
OUR CHRISTMAS SHOW - Barry Levitt on keyboard & Saadi Zain on bass.
Tonight's guests include: Frank Basile, Esther Beckman(joined by Marcus Simione), Eileen Fulton (AS THE WORLD TURNS), Sunny Leigh, George Stella, Jill Melanie Wirth ...
...and a few other surprises as well! Remember $10.00 Cover/No food or drink minimum!
Reservations a must (212) 765-5454


December 30th: Ritt Henn, Annie Hughes, Yvette Malavet-Blum, Cindy Marchionda, David Nathan Scott


January 13th: Barbara Gurskey returns!

January 20th: D'Yan Forrest, Greta Heron, Scot Wisniewski

Feb 3 : Michael Austin, Lucia Mozzola, Jane Schecter, George Stella, Jane Stuart

February 17th : James Alexander

March 24th, Julie Reyburn returns!


April 28th: Kecia Craig and Frank Stern!
Keep checking http://www.richa