Sunday, April 17, 2011

One week from Tuesday! The 26th Annual Bistro Awards are honoring Carol Channing, Dionne Warwick, and Tyne Daly! Do you have your tickets yet?

I am very excited to be working with Sherry Eaker for the second year in a row as associate producer of The Bistro Awards! I'm specially thrilled this year because we are honoring Carol Channing for all that she is doing to restore arts in education. I am proud to be part of the planning committee for the Dr. Carol Channing-Harry Kullijian Foundation For The Arts.
Carol and Harry are in town for the premier of Dori Berenstein's CAROL CHANNING: LARGER THAN LIFE which is premiering Saturday afternoon at The Tribeca Film Festival!I'm also in this film! I hope to see you there as well!

Today, I want to focus on Carol, Dionne Warwick, and Tyne Daly. Tomorrow's blog will focus on three other recipients.
As stated above, Carol will be honored for or her ongoing commitment and dedication to the performing arts through the Dr. Carol Channing & Harry Kullijian Foundation for the Arts, which promotes arts education in our public schools. I want to take this moment to say THANK YOU for all the joy you have given to me and the world. You have made my journey on this planet a lot nicer by your very being! Last summer when Carol was in New York to promote her latest cd, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, Perez Hilton posted on his blog: She's so presh!

Watch the legendary Carol Channing appear on The Wendy Williams Show — she's a hoot!

Carol says her father might have been half-black and that's why she's such a good singer and dancer!

So happy to see her looking so vibrant and healthy!
Cannot wait to see you next week, Carol! Safe travels!
The following is from Greg Hernandez' blog: I’ve been lucky enough to see the great Carol Channing at many events in recent years – including watching her perform her one woman show at The Magic Castle in Hollywood – and I can assure you that at 90, she’s still going strong.

Her longtime publicist, Harlan Boll, is the co-producer of the documentary Carol Channing: Larger Than Life with director/producer Dori Berinstein. Harlan tells me the film has been selected as a “Spotlight” film at the Tribeca Film Festival and premieres on April 23rd. It then heads to the Canada Film Festival, before hopefully going to the Los Angeles Film Festival.
The film features interviews with Lily Tomlin, Barbara Walters, Lee Roy Reams, Tommy Tune, Jerry Herman, Chita Rivera, Bruce Vilanch, Tippi Hedren, Phyllis Diller, Margaret O’Brien, Loni Anderson, Marge Champion, Bob Mackie, Debbie Reynolds, Tyne Daly, Rich Little, JoAnne Worley, Carole Cook, Mary Jo Catlett, and so many others including a remarkable interview with Carol’s NY roommate, Betty Garrett.

I am also thrilled that we are honoring Dionne Warwick! Being a child of the sixties, I grew up listening to her sultry sound. My favorite is still The Theme from Valley of The Dolls.
According to Wikipedia, Marie Dionne Warwick (born December 12, 1940) is an American singer and actress who became a United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization, and a United States Ambassador of Health. THESE are the things we need to focus on..AND her body of work! Not her recent stint on Celebrity Apprentice."My legacy has already been built," ... "This show didn't do anyting but give me airtime. It didn't hurt me whatsoever."Here is a review of Miss Warwick's from a concert she did last week in Buffalo:
NORTH TONAWANDA — As artists from the ’60s and ’70s start to reach retirement age, it’s pretty easy to spot the ones who have given up on ever being relevant again — they put out a “Great American Songbook” album.

It’s a ploy that tends to sound as tired as the artists must feel. But Dionne Warwick’s new record of Sammy Cahn standards, “Only Trust Your Heart,” is a different animal. Unlike the bombastic rock singers who’ve tried to reinvent themselves (Rod Stewart and Michael McDonald being the most heinous that come to mind), Warwick is the original muse of two titans of American song—Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Interpreting the classics is what she’s been doing for the last 50 years.

And it’s what she did with class on Sunday evening in the beautiful Riviera Theatre. Always more of a restrained crooner than a fiery belter, Warwick remains the perfect foil for those lush, gentle Bacharach melodies, and she opened her set with eight straight highlights of their partnership.

With her five-piece band keeping things soft and light, the vocalist delivered the slinky melody and heartbreaking lyric of “Walk On By,” the sprightly, unlucky-in-love anthem “I’ll Never Fall In Love,” and the indelibly romantic “This Girl’s In Love With You.”

Things started to slow down during a salsa take on “I Say A Little Prayer,” which had me longing for the passion that Aretha Franklin brought to that song. And following it up with the lulling theme from “Alfie” didn’t exactly pick up the pace.

This was remedied right quick, however, by an homage to Warwick’s adopted home of Brazil, including a simmering take on Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Corcovado.” It was an enjoyable way to stretch the boundaries of Warwick’s approach, without really going too crazy —after all, many of those Bacharach rhythms and melodies are very much indebted to bossa nova.

Then came a pair of numbers from the new record, and they were performed with such polish, it would’ve been nice to hear a few more. “I’ll Never Stop Loving You” is a top-notch hyperbolic love song, filled with nevers and forevers, and Warwick gave it the full, smoky ballad treatment, the arrangement punctuated by an unexpected, tasteful bass solo.

This high point was an ideal segue into the three ultimate crowd pleasers. First came “I’ll Never Love This Way Again,” the 1979 R&B hit whose towering chorus made for the most bombastic moments of the night. “What the World Needs Now Is Love” ensued, the quintessential example of Bacharach, David and Warwick at the height of their powers — that song could so easily sound like a dippy throwaway from a simpler time, but it just doesn’t. “That’s What Friends Are For” closed things out, its melody powerful enough to cut through the schmaltz, with Stevie Wonder’s harmonica line tugging at the heartstrings, even though this band played it through a synthesizer patch that made it sound like it belonged in the theme from “Perfect Strangers.”

As the crowd stood up and cheered, Warwick wrapped her arms around herself, a gesture that communicated her love for us, the venue, her band, everything. Sure, she’s singing the Great American Songbook. But she’s a Great American Singer.

Last Sunday evening in the Riviera Theatre, North Tonawanda.
Like many of my generation, we watched the brilliant actress Tyne Daly in many television movies and TV shows in the 70s culminating with her incredible show CAGNEY AND LACEY. I've always been a fan! Then in 1989/1990, I saw her in GYPSY six times! Each and every time, she hit a home run. I saw her at Feinstein's and, once again, I'm thrilled she is receiving this award for that show. From Wikipedia: Tyne Daly (born February 21, 1946) is an American stage and screen actress, widely known for her work as Detective Lacey in the television series Cagney & Lacey. She has won six Emmy Awards for her television work,[1][2] and the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical in Gypsy: A Musical Fable in 1989.I cannot wait to see her as Maria Callas in MASTER CLASS!The following is from THE NEW YORK TIMES: Behind the Poster: ‘Master Class’
SpotCo Click to Enlarge Image Manhattan Theater Club’s poster for “Master Class,” starring Tyne Daly.

In 1989 Tyne Daly won a Tony Award for playing Rose, musical theater’s most notorious stage mother, in the Broadway revival of “Gypsy.” Beginning in June, Ms. Daly will play a diva of a more classical stripe, the soprano Maria Callas, in the Manhattan Theater Club’s revival of Terrence McNally’s “Master Class.” (Ms. Daly is reprising the role she played last spring at the Kennedy Center.)

The play, which starred Zoe Caldwell when it opened on Broadway in 1995, is set at a master class taught by Callas, who prods her students into revealing intimate parts of their lives. The poster art for MTC’s revival was inspired by a 1957 portrait of Callas shot by the famed British photographer Cecil Beaton, according to Vinny Sainato, senior creative director of the Broadway advertising agency SpotCo. Mr. Sainato and the designer Amanda Spielman collaborated with the celebrity photographer James White on the black-and-white photograph of Ms. Daly, who was made up, dressed and posed to look similar to Callas.

Mr. Sainato recently spoke with ArtsBeat about what inspired the design. Following are excerpts from the conversation.

Where did you get the idea for this image? It’s done in a classic, black-and-white portrait style that’s kind of unusual for a Broadway poster.

We looked at all these iconic images of Callas. She’s this great beauty. We saw images of the Beaton photograph everywhere. We used that as the inspiration for this shot. We homaged it.

How much do you think Tyne Daly and Maria Callas have in common in this picture?

Callas is much younger in that Beaton photograph. She was in her 20s or 30s. We weren’t trying to make Tyne look like a much younger person. We were trying to capture that essence of a diva.

How would you describe that essence? What makes a diva?

It’s the way she looks at you in that picture. It’s her Cleopatra eyes. It’s looking like this queen almost. It’s all that.

James White shot the photo, but who else worked on it?

The look was created with Tyne and a creative team that included Angelina Avallone, who did the makeup. Paul Huntley did the wig, and Martin Pakledinaz did the costume.

When we were doing the retouching, Elizabeth Taylor had just died. Tyne was very aware of Elizabeth Taylor’s eyebrows. We worked hard on getting those right, with extreme liquid eyeliners. We were also very aware of the “What Becomes a Legend Most?” campaign.

What were some of the other ideas you had for this campaign?

One idea was to show Tyne with cracked stage makeup, like a crack in the diva. But that was just not a diva. Callas would never let you see her stage makeup crack. A diva would put her best face forward.

“Master Class” is set to begin performances on June 14 at the Samuel J. Friemdan Theater.
You don't have to wait till June to see Tyne Daly! You can see Tyne along with Carol Channing and Dionne Warwick next Tuesday night at The 26th annual Bistro Awards! For a complete list of this year's recipients , go here:

Tomorrow's blog will focus on three more of our recipients: MICHAEL FEINSTEIN, LIZ LARK BROWN, and NATE BUCCIERI!



Richard Skipper,


  1. LOVE the Rich Little clip! So Rich in Las Vegas 25 years ago opening for the late Anthony Newley. Also, TYNE was AMAZING in GYSPY...saw her in the tour prior to Broadway. AMAZING!

  2. Thank you for posting on my blog. Are you a follower? Richard Skipper