Saturday, February 20, 2010

Michael Walters, Dame Edna, Jon Burr & Lynn Stein...and MORE!

Florida Actor came to New York to audition as Dame Edna's understudy!

Performer Michael Walters has an unforgettable presence, this combined with his quick wit, and booming voice make him the hit of any stage performance .
This week Walters who recently moved from Orlando, to south Florida came to New York to audition as Dame Edna's understudy in Dame Edna's upcoming Broadway show with Michael Feinstein!
He was one of a handful of actors that auditioned for the the role of understudy to famous Aussie actor,comic Barry Humphries.
Humphries, regularly plays the iconic character of Dame Edna.
He originally appeared in the role in 1979 for BBC Arena mockumentary. He often refers to himself as Edna’s manager. For those who may be unfamiliar with Dame Edna, she is best known for her signature lilac colored hair and outrageous cat eye glass’s, and siganture catch phrases as "Hello, Possums!.
Edna became regular on television in the UK, and in US homes making her a household name.

Walters acting background hails back to his childhood when at the age of 5 he began singing in Church plays and local theater . Later in High-school he skipped football practice, (much to his fathers disapproval) to audition for the classic “Bye Bye Birdie” and was cast in a leading role.
Said Walters “It was in High-school that I knew this is really what I wanted to do”.

Mark Two Theater Production of “Guy and Dolls” Kevin Thornton, Michael Walters, Sean Vigue ( FILE)

As many performers have he honed his craft in many of Orlando’s theme parks and local attractions. He has taken the stage at the Mark II dinner Theater, Walt Disneys "Hoop de doo Revue",streetmosphere actor, and as Tony for "Lady and the Tramp" town square restaurant .One role he is especially proud of is that he was the original actor for the role of Bruce the shark for “Finding Nemo the Musical”. This is a role that Barry Humphries had originally performed as a voice over for the Blockbuster film “Finding Nemo” also starring Ellen DeGeneres as Dory.

It was his job at Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show, in Orlando which gave him his first taste of being Dame Edna. The role he had to play was a man dressed as a woman. He chuckles and says “Trust me ,I never wanted to spend my career in a dress, that was never an ambition or goal of mine, but you play the cards your dealt”.
The role was written as a “sort of psychotic Julia Child”.

So said Walters "I wanted to find a character quirk that would make her interesting", so he asked the director if he could get "a lavender wig, some cat eye glass’s and a beaded dress”. He recalls that his first attempts at Edna were “miserable to say the least”. But he soon began to realize that he was getting the laughs .

Soon after an event producer approached him to start performing at red carpet events.
He began taking the role more serious studying footage of the real Dame Edna, and practicing his routine.

When an opportunity to catch his friend Michelle's performance as a backup dancer in Barry Humphries show, Walters jumped at the chance.
He watched with amazement at "how sharp his improv skills were", and how “absolutely brilliant he was .. he took total command of the audience”. It was then that Walters realized he had much more work to do. He sent a note backstage feigning a chance to see his friend, but she quickly caught on that it was Humphries he really wanted to see.
She relented and brought Walters back to meet his idol.

During the meeting Walters showed Humphries his photos as Dame Edna, and even did a little impromptu audition for him. Walters says that Humphries “gave me his blessing to portray the character” making him the “only other person authorized to play the role in the United States”.

Walters recommends getting permissions from any “living stars” before you invest the time, and efforts into any act. He is also approved to portray Jackie Gleason by his widow Marilyn Taylor Gleason.
This week, he headed to NYC for Dame Edna’s return to Broadway in duo show with Michael Feinstein called “All About Me”. (Video courtesy: Corine Cohen of

He told me me he will be bringing his show to The Post Office Cafe in Provincetown this summer mid June through Labor Day. DON'T MISS THIS SHOW!

Michael's website: (Thank you Dawn Behren's for the source of this information)

New York’s Second Annual Rainbow Book Fair to Arrive March 27, 2010.

What do you call the largest LGBT book event in the entire U.S., showing
thousands of books geared especially for the diverse LGBT community,
headlined by famous writers, coupled with non-stop readings, academic panels, and
lots of eye and brain candy of every sort?

Answer: The Second Annual Rainbow Book Fair, taking off on Saturday, March
27, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Concourse of the City University of New
York’s flagship headquarters in the glamorous old B. Altman Building at
Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. The Second Annual Rainbow Book Fair is hosted
by CLAGS, the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at CUNY, which knows that
LGBT books are the backbone of the queer studies field.
To make matters more interesting, this event, unlike so many others in New
York, is stark free to visitors. All you have to do is show up, look
around, hear writers you know and some you’ll want to know, meet dozens and
dozens of them (who’ll all want to meet you, too—writers with new books to
sell love readers!), as well as publishers, and maybe even a couple of agents
or two who’ll be showing up to scout out new talent. (And of course buy
books, writers adore book buyers!) Writers from all over the US, Canada, and
Europe will be on hand, along with such noted names as Martin Duberman, Brad
Gooch, Sarah Schulman, Joan Schenkar, and many others. There will also be,
concurrently, for the poetically minded, a Poetry Salon, curated by
Nathaniel Siegel, which was such a big success at the First Rainbow Book Fair
that it became almost a separate in itself.
The Salon will attract poetry
talent from the East Village to East Brunswick, and if you are a poet and just
want to s
how up, there will be some open mike time, too.

And, if you are learning about the Rainbow Book Fair for the first time,
and want to show books there, tables are a mere $100, and can be shared by
two authors. Even better for $250, you can become a sponsor, get your name
plastered all over New York, with immortality on the Book Fair’s website,
_http://rainbowbookfair.org_ ( . The website will
also show you how to sign up directly through the CLAGS site. For more info
on the Second Annual Rainbow Book Fair, please Daniel Kitchen at To get in touch with Nathaniel Siegel:

Press contacts:

Daniel Kitchen: 973-820-3262

Perry Brass: 917 301 3417

CLAGS contact: Sarah Chinn: 212-817-1955

Jon Burr and Lynn Stein in Concert

Sunday, March 7, 2010
2:00pm - 3:30pm
Rockland Center for the Arts
27 South Greenbush Road
West Nyack, NY

A benefit for the Rockland Center for the Arts

Vocal/bass duo? Amazing!

Jon and Lynn perform soulful re-inventions that express the essence of the American Songbook, 60’s Pop and contemporary jazz. Jon Burr, acoustic bass virtuoso, has worked with Tony Bennett, Chet Baker, Stephane Grappelli, Barbara Cook and others. Artist/curator Lynn Stein returns to her musical roots as a vocalist. The duo will be performing selections from their CD “Jon and Lynn” coming out in March.

"Now you might think that a vocal and string bass duo would sound a bit thin, but let me assure you, it's not at all. This is one of the most musical renditions I've come across in years and I've found myself not only returning to it time and time again, but also recommending it to friends. It's beautiful. What a delight!"--William Duckworth, Composer

"Jon Burr and Lynn Stein of Jon & Lynn are a jazz/pop duo from the NYC area that combine the distinctive sound of the upright bass and voice into a mesmerizing combo that makes you think there's a big band playing instead of just the two of them..." - Darryl Gregory, Unsigned Underground
twitter: jonandlynn

West Nyack, NY 10994
(845) 358-0877
Pacino to Star in ‘Merchant of Venice’ in Shakespeare in the Park

Steve Braun/Sony Pictures Classics Al Pacino, seen here in the 2004 film of “The
Merchant of Venice,” will again take on the role of Shylock for the Public Theater’s
Shakespeare in the Park production.
Say hello to Shakespeare in the Park’s new Shylock: Al Pacino will play that central
character in this summer’s coming production of “The Merchant of Venice,” the Public
Theater said on Monday. Mr. Pacino, the “Scarface” and “Godfather” star, who
previously played Shylock in a 2004 film version of the play directed by Michael
Radford, will play the role for Shakespeare in the Park’s 2010 season, in which
“Merchant of Venice” will be presented in repertory with “The Winter’s Tale.” (Mr.
Pacino, who apparently made the Public an offer it couldn’t refuse, will be
appearing only in “Merchant of Venice.”)

The repertory plays will also feature Jesse Tyler Ferguson (as Solanio in “Merchant”
and Young Shepard in “The Winter’s Tale”); Jesse L. Martin (Gratiano/Polixenes);
Lily Rabe (Portia/First Gentlewoman); Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Prince of
Morocco/Leontes); and Max Wright (Old Gobbo/Old Shepherd). Daniel Sullivan will
direct “Merchant of Venice” and Michael Greif will direct “The Winter’s Tale.” The
plays will be performed from June 9 through Aug. 1.

Mar 13
PIANOS CABARET ROOM (AT PIANOS BAR & GRILL), 36 Broad Street, Bloomfield Center, Bloomfield, NJ
$25 ticket, ($12 food/drink min. pp in cabaret room) Reservations: 973-743-7209. Following the show, please stay and dance in our main lounge!

On Saturday, March 13th @ 9:30PM, RICHARD SKIPPER, one of the most respected and acclaimed celebrity singer/actor/tribute artists will bring his famous show,"CAROL CHANNING IN CONCERT...STARRING RICHARD SKIPPER!" to PIANOS CABARET ROOM (AT PIANOS BAR & GRILL) in Bloomfield, NJ.
$25 ticket, ($12 food/drink min. pp in cabaret room) Reservations: 973-743-7209. Following the show, please stay and dance in our main lounge! "Skipper is no zircon" said THE HARTFORD COURANT , "He is a diamond worthy of Tiffany's & Cartiers."
Carol Channing herself, agrees! After seeing Richard Skipper's performance at NYC's Regent, she told reporters that "[this is] the first time EVER I have been shown with such love, respect and polish." And they have shared the stage several times since then!

"CAROL CHANNING IN CONCERT...STARRING RICHARD SKIPPER!" is a fully staged and choreographed,musical montage celebrating the career and persona of this unique, theatrical legend. Blending Channing standards, such as, "Hello Dolly," with original material and other familiar songs sung by Skipper in his powerful Broadway voice, the musical evening surveys Channing's life with many stops along the way for Skipper's unique--and riotous--"ad-lib" interactions with the audience.
Mr. Skipper is a two time recipient of the MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabaret) Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Impersonation"and the Backstage Bistro award for best performer.
He was named as one of the Top Ten Cabaret Performers by Cabaret Hotline and as "one of the Top of the Century Premiere Cabaret Acts" by Cabaret Scenes Magazine. Skipper returns to Bloomfield, NJ after recent engagements at various venues throughout the East Coast , the Ontario Hilton and Washington D.C.'s Mimi's. In each of those venues, he has played to sold-out houses and received outstanding reviews.
Said Backstage Magazine: "Skipper sparkles with the glow of Channing's charisma, but the extra shine you see on stage is a product of a diamond-like brilliance that is his alone.
[A]n unqualified musical comedy gem...There is no doubt in my mind that Richard Skipper is well on the way to international recognition and acclaim."

Here is your opportunity to experience Channing as you've never seen her before! For further information or directions, contact Pianos Cabaret Bar at 973-743-7209 .

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 Friday! Here's to an ARTS-filled week! Don't forget to contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS:

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!

Richard Skipper

Follow me on Twitter @RichardSkipper

Long may you wave! And continue to bring joy to all your audiences. The iguana is a great showcase for your multiple talents and you and Dana have resurrected a true entertainment that can be recommended to everyone, especially those from out of town.
Joe Regan Jr.

Richard -
You are among the most generous and supportive people I know, always promoting the work and performances of others, bringing people together, putting on a good face (lol), sending joy and love, and style and class into the world through your get-togethers and shows and emails and projects. You are alive! You... and your friends were the first to contribute to the National Theatre 175th Anniversary Fund, and I will never forget that! If only a tiny portion of the good you do for others, and the karma and positive energy which you radiate, returns to you, you will be fortunate indeed. Keep standing up for the good causes, and may your 49th Year be the Best One Yet!

My dear close friend Richard, Though you are 49 and I am 89 I hope I remain your Dolly as you have become a part of me and I have become a part of you. You can continue to make Dolly Gallagher Levi a legendary character that will live for generations to come..Our association will make that possible as you have many more birthday celebrations to enjoy. My love to you Richard. As ever and always, Carol Channing,

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 ( in the heart of NYC (240 West 54th Street 8-11PM/with an intermission).

Cover: $12 - no food or drink minimums – but remember – the food is great!
This is a nice night
out with the family!

For more info, please call 845-365-0720 or visit _www.RichardSkipper.com_
212-765-5454. No one admitted before

Feb 24
IGUANA VIP LOUNGE, 240 West 54th Street, NYC
Barry Levitt on keyboard & Saadi Zain on bass.
Tonight's guests include: Susan Campanaro, Bobbie Horowitz, Cindy Marchionda ...
...and a few other surprises as well! $12.00 Music Charge/No food or drink minimum!
Reservations a must (212) 765-5454

March 3rd: Danielle Grabianowski

March 10th: David Alpher & Jenny Litt, Louise Quick (pictured), Nicholas Tamagna, Pam Tate, Maureen Taylor. And I'm doing a duet with the incredible David Vernon!

March 17th: Bending Threads and Cindy Marchionda returns along with Sally Swallow!

March 24th, Jackie Draper Julie Reyburn, and Diana Templeton returns!

March 31st: Frank Basile returns

April 7th: Esther Beckman Group, Sina Lewis, RJ Shaw, Susan Winter

April 14th: George Stella returns!

April 21st: Rita Ellis Hammer, Susan Eichhorn Young

April 28th: Kecia Craig and Frank Stern!
Keep checking for upcoming entertainers and shows!

May 5th: Anton Van Der Merwe

May 19th: Michelle Collier, Barbara Gurskey


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