Friday, June 25, 2010


LIFE IS STILL A this blog will prove.
Cannot believe that today ends the sixth month of the year!
How did that happen!?!?! Where is the time going!?!?! Looking forward to the goodies that July will be offering us...and for the next six months to come!
On the 5th, I'm seeing Kevin Dozier at Feinstein's, On the 6th, I'm going to Rockland County's Volunteer Counseling Services Appreciation party, On the 15th, J. Keith Van Staaten at The Triad, on the 20th, Maria Ottavia at DON'T TELL MAMA, on the 27th, I'm at THE BROADWAY EMPORIUM (see last week's blog), and, of course, every WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT THE IGUANA! In these week's blog, I am including some of my favorite entertainers. PLEASE GO SEE THEM! It's the Richard Skipper cabaret stimulus plan!


(SOURCE: Stuart Hamstra Cabaret, HotlineOnline - his take on Tommy Femia and Cynthia Crane last Saturday)

“You all know by now my fondness for Tommy Femia's "JUDY! LIVE!" show, now in its 20th season, at DON'T TELL MAMA.
There is no one in this town, and perhaps on the planet, that can recreate the energy, the charisma, the wildness, the spontaneity of the Garland persona as well as Mr. Femia.

This not a "drag act", this is a true celebrity impersonation.
With the incom–parable David Maiocco at the piano, "Judy" takes us on a whirlwind tour of both her songs and her emotions, with several Garland standards like The Trolley Song, Chicago, The Man That Got Away, plus several that weren't in her repertoire, like the classic "Fifty Percent" from Ballroom.

And this being Judy Garland month - she was born on June 10th, 1922 and died on June 22, 1969 - both my pal Daniel and I made sure we were there on this special occasion.

But there was another element that made it even more special. Each show Tommy invites a guest vocalist to perform a song or two while he does a costume change, and this time his guest was the unsinkable Cynthia Crane.

After her two songs, "Judy" returned to the stage to sing along with Cynthia that classic Garland/Streisand duet, "Happy Days Are Here Again" and I will tell you, I have seen song this done by Tommy and dozens of partners over the years, but never quite like this!
It was incredible, goose-bump producing, magic! Yes, that's another thing I love about cabaret: the unexpected surprise, the "impossible to duplicate" thrill that happens (and not rarely) in a live entertainment cabaret event.

Tommy Femia appears twice a month with JUDY! LIVE! at DON'T TELL MAMA on
Saturday nights at 8:30 pm.
Each show is similar in that each is exciting,
yet each show is different, depending on the audience, the special guest or
event that day's headlines.
Check for the next show

On the heels of her critically acclaimed CD Release, "Live at Feinstein's", 2010 Bistro & MAC Award recipient Julie Reyburn returns for a two night engagement at the famed Park Avenue Club.
The concert will be directed by Lennie Watts and Produced by Jeff Hamblin.
Reyburn will perform "Summer Night" on Friday, July 16 and Saturday, July 17. Both shows will begin at 8:30pm and cost $25 with an additional $25 food/drink minimum.

Feinstein's at Loews Regency is located at 540 Park Avenue (at 61st Street) New York, NY 10021.

Julie is a 2010 Bistro and MAC Award recipient who has appeared in many of the top clubs in Manhattan. Her ability to connect to a lyric with unique interpretations has established her as one of New York's celebrated female vocalist.

She is the first ever Nightlife Award recipient for Outstanding Female Vocalist in 2003 and again in 2005 as a finalist.
In 2007 Julie was presented with the coveted Julie Wilson Award from the Mabel Mercer Foundation "in joyful gratitude for the vocal majesty and lyrical interpretation she continually manifests in her classic presentations of the Great Popular Songbook".

Highlighted in both the "Broadway Musicals of 1940 and 1965", Julie costarred with some of Broadway's best.
She has been featured in numerous Cabaret Conventions sponsored by The Mabel Mercer Foundation. Most recently at Lincoln Center's Rose Theatre as well as in Chicago's famed Park West.
Recordings include: The Broadway Musicals of 1940 (Bayview Records), Heaven Knows - Cast Recording, War Brides - Cast Recording and her debut solo CD, Fate is Kind and Bistro Award winning recording, Live at Feinstein's(No Cover Records).

Kevin Dozier, Eric Michael Gillett, Todd Murray and Barbara Porteus are just a few of the wonderful performers on the bill!

Below are the details plus other appearances Julie will be making around town!


SUNDAY JULY 11TH - In Studio Interview
Ron Forman’s Sweet Sounds heard Sundays from 5 PM to 7 PM. on WKRB 90.3 FM and on the Internet at WWW.WKRB.ORG

Julie Reyburn /

VISIT for upcoming shows and information
Download the Bistro Award Winning CD, "Live at Feinstein's" today on iTunes or

Tony-Nominated Director Jack Sydow Dies at 88 (SOURCE:Andy Propst)

Tony Award nominated director Jack Sydow has died, according to a report in Variety.
Sydow received a Tony nomination for the 1967 revival of Irvin Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun, which starred Ethel Merman. Among his other Broadway directorial credits were the musical Sophie as well as The Crucible, which starred Farley Granger, The Imaginary Invalid and A Touch of the Poet for the ANTA Theatre.
His last Broadway credit was a production of Sganarelle for the National Theater of the Deaf.

As an actor, he was seen in Once Upon a Mattress on Broadway, where he began as a stage manager. (He later directed the touring production, which starred Buster Keaton.) On television, his credits include guest appearances on Frasier, Touched by an Angel, and Brothers and Sisters.
In 1970, Sydow joined the staff of the University of Washington, where he headed the directing program for 16 years.

Kevin Dozier

"Take Me to the World"
Award-winning singer, Kevin Dozier, will be making his Feinstein's debut, July 5 at 8:30 PM.

Under the Musical Direction of Alex Rybeck with Direction by Lennie Watts, the show includes songs by Stephen Sondheim, Ervin Drake, Maltby and Shire, Rusty Magee, Cole Porter, Noel Coward, Tom Lehrer, Lerner and Loewe, and John Bucchino.

Tickets are $25 and $40 and may be purchased at or by calling 212-339-4095. For more about Kevin visit

Cabaret: Precarious but Resilient


Stability is a word not often used to describe New York City’s fragile cabaret world, where only a few can make a full-time living, and the clubs themselves ride an economic seesaw from week to week.

But because Manhattan’s three major supper clubs — the Café Carlyle, the Oak Room and Feinstein’s at Loews Regency — are attached to hotels, their survival is not solely dependent on the box office.

That is a stability of sorts.
And as the 2009-10 season draws to a close, all three clubs seem to have successfully weathered the economic downturn, at least for now.
One sign of precariousness, however, was the shrinking of the Cabaret Convention, an annual clearinghouse for talent at Rose Hall.

This year the quality of the dozen best cabaret acts far surpassed that of Broadway’s new musicals, which were so weak that “Memphis,” a flimsy, grossly inauthentic re-creation of the moment in the 1950s when rhythm & blues went mainstream, won the Tony Award for best musical.

Authenticity is a hallmark of cabaret; without it the genre would quickly wither. This is the one arena in which a beloved performer can develop into a musical sage without an expiration date. The songs of Stephen Sondheim, who turned 80 this year, almost require performers with mileage for their insights to be revealed.
Elaine Stritch and Barbara Carroll, both in their 80s, located the essences of songs like “Every Day a Little Death” (recited by Ms. Stritch in her brilliant Sondheim show at the Café Carlyle), and “With So Little to Be Sure Of” (sung by Ms. Carroll at the Oak Room, where it was part of a Sondheim suite for voice and piano).
Among the numerous tributes to the songwriter Johnny Mercer, whose centennial was celebrated last November, the most stirring was a marathon pop-jazz anthology of his songs by Marilyn Maye, now 82, at the Metropolitan Room, the best of New York’s smaller clubs.

If the new blood arriving in cabaret suggests that the genre has secured its future, there is no guarantee.
Whether performers like Ms. O’Hara, Ms. Foster, Ms. McKay and Mr. Rodgers will become perennials is anyone’s guess.

Because they don’t need nightclub acclaim as a springboard to the Broadway stardom they have already attained, their commitment to the genre is uncertain.
Ms. McKay is a downtown bohemian version of the same thing, a contemporary Doris Day with a feisty political attitude.
Only Ms. Maggart, a Los Angeles protégée of Michael Feinstein and Andrea Marcovicci, has systematically built a cabaret career similar to her mentors’, in which she embodies a genre-hopping 21st-century film noir woman of mystery.

Mr. Rodgers, who leads his own band, suggests a cross between a grown-up Andy Hardy and the young Peter Allen.
Because Mr. Feinstein has his own club in which he regularly performs, he is cabaret’s unofficial godfather. He has developed from an intimate singing pianist into a dynamic standup entertainer who swings like a polite Sinatra and is an outspoken true believer in the superiority of the pre-rock canon, about which he knows more than almost anyone.

In the last two years he has gone out of his way to form musical partnerships. “The Power of Two,” his duet show with the Broadway heartthrob Cheyenne Jackson last June, injected a note of gay pride into a cabaret world that, despite its sizable gay audience, is reticent about sexuality, at least in its upper echelon.
His duet shows with Christine Ebersole and Barbara Cook (with whom he is returning for a month of performances in September) and David Hyde Pierce, set a standard of grownup entertainment that has been almost completely abandoned by a mainstream pop culture in thrall to perpetual adolescence.

This kind of teamwork can be found in other musical partnerships, including those of Sandy Stewart and Bill Charlap, K T Sullivan and Mark Nadler, Victoria Clark and Ted Sperling, Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano, and most of all John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey. In wit and musical savvy, nothing matches their smart conceptual shows, in which Mr. Pizzarelli’s jazz guitar and crooning and Ms. Molaskey’s theatrical jazz singing fuse into something that’s greater than its parts.

Their Café Carlyle show last fall, “Lost and Found,” which included renditions of everyone from Duke Ellington to Joni Mitchell, was the season’s finest, caviar in a world of canned tuna.
Once you’ve acquired the taste, there is no substitute.

John Willis, Ubiquitous Editor of Theatre World, Dies at 93 (SOURCE:BRUCE WEBER)
(Gwen Verdon (1953 winner for Can-Can) presenting the Award to Larry Hagman (1959 winner for God and Kate Murphy).

(John Willis And Dylan Baker)
(Anthony Perkins (1955 winner for Tea and Sympathy), Richard Benjamin (1967 winner for The Star-Spangled Girl), and Theatre World Award founder John Willis.)
John Willis, who spent more than half a century doggedly keeping comprehensive track of American theater productions and film releases and whose encyclopedic records were published in the annual volumes Theatre World and Screen World, died at his home in Manhattan on Friday. He was 93.

(Julie Harris (1949 winner for Sundown Beach) presenting a 1956 Award to Theatre World Awards Co-Founder Daniel Blum. Photo courtesy of Louis Melançon.)
His death was announced by Ben Hodges, who succeeded him as editor of Theatre World in 2008. (James Earl Jones (1962 winner for Moon on a Rainbow Shawl), Julie Harris (1955 winner for Sundown Beach), and Blythe Danner (1969 winner for The Miser). Photo courtesy of Stanley W. Gold.)

A prodigious theatergoer who became perhaps the most ubiquitous audience member of the last half of the 20th century, Mr. Willis was an aspiring actor who came to New York City in 1945 after serving in the Navy during World War II and took a job as a typist at Theatre World, which was then a new publication.

Founded by Daniel Blum, it was a thoroughgoing accounting of Broadway shows, out-of-town tryouts and summer stock productions. It kept tabs on cast members, crew members and running dates and published production photos.
Five years later Blum founded Screen World, which did the same for domestic and foreign films released in the United States, and Mr. Willis was his assistant from the outset. For decades, the two enterprises were singularly authoritative, providing research material for journalists, entertainment professionals and fans.

“Before the Internet, he was the go-to guy for this information,” said Barry Monush, now the editor of Screen World, who became Mr. Willis’s assistant in 1988 and assumed most of the editing chores in the 1990s.

Through the 1950s and 1960s, as Off Broadway, Off Off Broadway and regional theater emerged and flourished, Theatre World did too. As the movie business grew, so did Screen World’s coverage of it.

The theater volumes also included season highlights, career summaries of the year’s performers, brief obituaries and, most years, a season summary written by Mr. Willis. Theatre World was also the sponsor of annual awards for excellence by performers making their Broadway or Off Broadway stage debuts. Mr. Willis’s home office on the Upper West Side was a repository of theater documents — a veritable archive of playbills, press releases, production photos and the like.

Mr. Willis took the responsibility of the awards especially seriously; under his editorship the long list of prominent recipients included Dustin Hoffman, Christopher Walken, Bernadette Peters, Gregory Hines, Meryl Streep, William Hurt, Danny Glover, Richard Gere, Matthew Broderick(pictured here with his wife, Sarah Jessica Parker), John Malkovich, Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson.
He went to see them all — and many, many more.

Indeed, Mr. Willis was a theatergoing phenomenon. Before he broke his hip in a fall in 2002, he saw everything he could, attending an average of eight live performances a week, 50 weeks a year — which over a half-century adds up to 20,000 shows. (He took off two weeks each June to visit his home in Bean Station, Tenn.)

According to Mr. Hodges, Mr. Willis stayed to the end of each performance, with two exceptions: one was during the blackout of 1977, the other when the friend he was with was thrown out of a theater for drunkenness and Mr. Willis was fearful the man was too unsteady to make it home.
“He’d sit through anything,” Mr. Hodges said. “He’d say, ‘They went through all this effort, it’s the least I can do.’ ”

John Alvin Willis was born in Morristown, Tenn., on Oct. 16, 1916. His father was a pharmacist and his mother came from a wealthy family. He graduated from Milligan College in Johnson City, Tenn., and earned an M.A. in English from the University of Tennessee.
Shortly after he arrived in New York, the director of a summer stock production who was working with Blum on the first Theatre World told him about the typist job.

Mr. Willis was married and divorced twice. No immediate family members survive.

As if he didn’t have enough to do, Mr. Willis assisted Blum in compiling Opera World from 1952 to 1954, and he was the sole editor of Dance World from 1966 to 1979.

“I was amazed at the hours he worked,” Mr. Monush said. “You could call him at 1 or 2 in the morning and he’d be up working.”

He deplored the euphemism “natural causes.”

“When I go, please mention what killed me,” he often said.

It was complications of lung cancer.

Liza Minnelli Debuts The Liza Collection on HSN, TONIGHT!

Liza Minnelli will debut The Liza Collection TONIGHT, June 30 at 10pm EDT on HSN.
The Liza Collection - exclusive to HSN - will consist of limited-edition apparel and jewelry inspired by Liza's trademark look and recreated from her personal archives.

"My life has provided me the ability to amass a wonderful wardrobe designed by fashion's brightest stars," said Liza Minnelli. "I am excited to work with HSN in launching The Liza Collection and to have the opportunity to share my favorite looks with millions of women who want to look fabulous and feel their very best."

The collection is a first for Liza within the fashion category, bringing to life some of her most recognized looks, including sequined separates and signature flowy pants. Jewelry is inspired from some of Liza's most treasured pieces pulled straight from her jewelry box including necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings.

Click on the below for a sneak peak of Liza on HSN:

Liza Minnelli is one of the most versatile and highly regarded performers in the entertainment industry. She began her show business career at an early age and won her first Tony Award for Best Actress in a musical by the time she was 19. Since then, Liza has garnered critical acclaim for various acting roles and has risen to international stardom. Along with countless honors and awards, Liza Minnelli is one of very few personalities to win entertainment's top four awards - The Oscar, The Tony, The Emmy and The Grammy.

Amy Wolk sings Bette Midler's "Divine Madness"

Amy Wolk joined by a bevy of boys return for one night only to pay homage to the great Bette Midler! Come watch mayhem ensue! Songs! Dirty Jokes! Boys! Boobs!

1 show only!!

Sunday July 11th

Amy Wolk
Bette Midler's "Divine Madness"

Musical Direction by Steven Ray Watkins
Matt Wigton on bass

Jerry Smith on drums

Musical staging by Brad Broman

and introducting The Staggering Harlettes:
Stefan Basti
Jack Herholdt
Thomas Marcus

Sunday, July 11th at 8:30PM
Don't Tell Mama's
343 west 46th street
Make a reservation!
$20 cover, 2 drink minimum

Maria Ottavia in 'If I Were A Carpenter'

Director: Lennie Watts
Music Director: Tracy Stark
Show Dates:
Sunday July 11th (Showtime at 4:00pm)
Saturday July 17th (Showtime at 8:00pm)
Tuesday July 20th (Showtime at 7:00pm)
Tuesday July 27th (Showtime at 7:00pm)

$15.00 Cover Charge ($10.00 for MAC, Cabaret Hotline Members, Twitter and Facebook Friends)

Plus Two Drink Minimum

Phone Reservations : 212-757-0788
Online reservations:

Support THE ARTS! LIVE THEATRE! Go see a LIVE show this week!

Send me your reviews and suggestions and I will put them in my next blog coming out July 5th.
Here's to an ARTS-filled July! 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


Richard...I so thoroughly enjoyed your performance at the Iguana last night when you described when you began performing as Carol Channing...what a wonderful story and then to follow it up with a kickin performance! I just bought a ticket to your July 27th show and can't wait! Sending you all good things for a fabulous show! xxoo Julie Reyburn,

Hi Richard, I am really looking forward to your second year at The Iguana. The one last year would be hard to top - such great line-ups and it has been an honor to be a part of it. Congrats on one year at The Iguana! Toi, toi! Lori Evanson

Richard, I hope to be part of the 2nd YEAR @ IGUANA. Thank you so much for your ongoing generosity and for allowing me such a great stage to sing on in front of such incredible audiences. I continue to learn so much and am constantly inspired by the incredibly talented singers you schedule to perform there week after week... My best wishes to you for another AMAZING and SUCCESSFUL year at the Iguana!! Thank you! -Gregory Nalbone

Dana Lorge and I have put our OWN spin on the variety show format and are now going into our second year 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!
or more info, please call 845-365-0720 or visit _www.RichardSkipper.com_

TONIGHT: June 30th: KEVIN DOZIER!, Evan Lawrence, TRAVIS MOSER RETURNS, Frank Torren!


Jul 27
9:30 pm

with John Fischer on piano, Steve Bartosik on Percussion and Jeff Carney on Bass. Martina Vidmar will be opening for Richard and joining "Carol" on one number. Please note this will be Richard's only NYC appearance with this show this year. Tickets available at or call TicketWeb 866-468-7619. Tickets are $60, 55, 50, 45, 40. Doors open 50 minutes before every performance. Drinks and snacks available before each show. No serving during performances. ONE NIGHT ONLY

JULY 28: PAULETTE DOZIER RETURNS, Patricia Fitzpatrick

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!
Richard Skipper,

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