Thursday, June 2, 2011

Celebrating The "M"s of Music: MacDonald, Matsuki, Miles, and Mimi!

"Vox populi, vox humbug." (The voice of the people is the voice of humbug.)-Gen. William T. Sherman, Union Military Leader (1920-1891), in a letter to his wife written on this date in 1863


In yesterday's blog, I wrote about how much I despise cell phone usage in the the theatre. I'll go a step further. I dislike it in restaurants, parks, when I go for my evening walk. Can you challenge yourself not to take your cell phone with you UNLESS you are in a situation where you are meeting someone. Logistically, it MIGHT be needed. Yesterday, a study came out that excessive cell phone usage causes cancer.
How did we manage 25 years ago? 1986! Not that long ago.
The internet and social media is a two edged sword. We are seeing that right now with Anthony Wiener. I guess no one is immune from "sexting" anymore! If you saw any of the press interviews yesterday, you saw a drowning man. Will be interesting to see what his next move is.


In recent years, chat boards sprung up all over the internet where people were constantly knocking each other and every other artistic endeavor that came down the path. And you didn't/don't even have to use your real name! Hatred can be spewed from an alias! One thing you can always say about me, I stand behind the power of my convictions. I will always sign my full REAL name. If I say it, I own it.
There are also MANY positives to social media. It IS connecting us on a level that we've never known before. Yes, some/most of it may be superficial to say the least. However, when someone like Mimi Hines accepts my friend request, it is very heady to me! This morning Lonnie Quinn "friended" me! Earlier this week,Jackie Josephs. I have the utmost respect for these professionals whose lives have been about their work and not about scandal. Joan Crawford once said, "People pay to see Joan Crawford, they're going to get Joan Crawford!".
Well today, once again, I'm writing about those that inspire me. Mimi, thank you for friending me. Now I have an opportunity to publicly thank you for all the joy you have given to me over the years. Your voice thrills me beyond end. I used to watch you Phil Ford on the talk shows and you always delivered the goods!
Check out Mimi's website at: http://www.mimihines.com
Mimi Hines is a singer and comedienne best known for her appearances on The Tonight Show and her work on Broadway. She replaced Barbra Streisand in the original production of Funny Girl. Hines was born July 17, 1933, in Vancouver, Canada, and resides in the United States.

Mimi Hines’s enduring career as a singer and a comedienne began August 28, 1958 when she and her partner, Phil Ford
, appeared for the first time on The Tonight Show.

Mimi sang “Till There Was You,” “Till There Was You,” cried, and Ford and Hines were in instant demand, frequently appearing on that show and many others.

Mimi Hines worked for a time in Anchorage, Alaska, where she met her partner Phil Ford, while they were working at different night clubs.

After headlining in all the top nightclubs and showrooms in the country, Mimi parlayed her career by replacing Barbra Streisand
on Broadway in "FUNNY GIRL", running this star vehicle for 18 months on her own star power. Following "FUNNY GIRL", Mimi starred in national touring companies of "I DO! I DO!" and "PRISONER OF SECOND AVENUE", as well as star packages of "ANYTHING GOES", "NEVER TOO LATE", "PAJAMA GAME", "THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN", "NO, NO, NANETTE", "SUGAR" and many others. During this period, Mimi also recorded several very successful albums (recently released on compact disc by Harbinger Records) and appeared often on television.
Mimi Hines is a delight! In addition to tremendous talent, she exudes warmth, charm, and joie de vivre. She instantaneously connects with an audience; her look seems to say, "Aren't we having fun?"
In recent years Hines played at Feinstein's at the Regency in New York City
. She appeared with the Los Angeles Pops Orchestra and starred in national tours of "Sugar Babies" and "Nite Club Confidential" and on a recorded salute to Johnny Mercer called "Mostly Mercer". She toured the world for a year in the title role of "Hello, Dolly!" and starred in productions of "A Majority Of One" and "Can Can" in Florida and in revues featuring the songs of Alan and Marilyn Bergman titled "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" in Los Angeles, as well as the songs of Rodgers and Hart titled "This Funny World" at the Kennedy Center in Washington and the songs of Jerry Herman at The Schoenberg Theatre in L.A..
Mimi appeared as Mrs. Latimer on "FRASIER" and returned to Broadway in the Tommy Tune production of "GREASE", in which she kept the cast in line as the strict but loveable schoolteacher, Miss Lynch.
She also co-starred in the off-Broadway revival of Kander & Ebb's 70 GIRLS 70, with Jane Powell, Charlotte Rae
and Helen Gallagher, was a guest in the final week of "THE ROSIE O'DONNELL SHOW" and stopped the show nightly in two productions for L.A.'s REPRISE, as Letitia Primrose in ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY and as Pippin's wise Grandmother, Berthe, in PIPPIN (which role she recreated at 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle). Recently, she co-starred as Sister Mary Amnesia in the National Tour of the 20th Anniversary production of NUNSENSE, along with Kaye Ballard, Georgia Engel, Lee Meriwether and Darlene Love and starred in AND THEN SHE WROTE at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Springs with Peter Marshall and Christine Andreas. Most recently, she starred in THE FULL MONTY at the Maltz Theatre in Jupiter, FL and the City Center ENCORES production of FOLLIES, causing one critic to comment that "she rips into 'Broadway Baby' with comic ferocity resembling that of a lion at dinnertime, building a bridge between the musical theatre lost and the musical theatre yet to come" and another critic to call her "the living embodiment of show business". Mimi, who was born in Vancouver, currently resides in Las Vegas when she is not on tour.
And, yes, she still does her classic impression of the NBC Peacock upon request. (Source: Mimi's website) Love you, Mimi!

And now...the other 3 "M"s! Forget the three Bs of music. It's the 3 Ms: Jeanne & Sue & Miles at The Palace!
Monday, June 27 · 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Waterbury Palace Theater
100 East Main Street
This event happened because Sue Matsuki, who is now a blonde!, is teaching a Cabaret Class for Seniors through the Osher Learning Center for continued education up at UCONN in Waterbury affectionately called OLLI. Two of Sue's students will be appearing in the show as well. One of them is 93 years young. Sue is in love with her class. They can all sing like you can't believe!
Miles Phillips: Multiple Award-winning (MAC, Nightlife, Drama-Logue, Joseph Jefferson) actor, director, nightclub vocalist and recording artist with appearances in theaters, concert halls and nightclubs from Honolulu to London. He has countless leading New York and regional theatre roles, numerous film and television appearances, a popular solo album and a score of original and studio cast recordings to his credit. His leading man charm, glorious voice and passionate artistry have established him as one of New York's most celebrated male vocalists.
His latest solo show “…Reappearing In My Mind” recently played a triumphant engagement at Feinstein’s and has gone on to play to packed houses and standing ovations across the country.

"Miles Phillips is an actor/singer. He's also a very smart and perceptive artist. When he puts on a show you can expect an act as rich as a seven layer cake … He's comfortable singing in a variety of styles that segue easily from standards to pop and rock, but all of his material is lyric driven ... as a consequence, he often unearths fresh perspectives out of songs you thought you knew. He makes those new perspectives stick thanks to his skills as an actor. One of the - if not THE - most conceptually satisfying show of the year, it is performed with considerable charm, grace, and style."
Barbara & Scott Siegel / TalkinBroadway

For more information and performance schedule visit:
Miles' Facebook Artist Page: http://www.facebook.com/MilesPhillips.ArtistPage
Miles' Website: www.MilesPhillips.com
The Palace is a place that Tony Bennett and Linda Eder have played and it's HUGE (like 1200 seats) so this is a BIG deal for Sue to play her home town. It is also part of my Matsuki Production Company's New York Invasion Series (like we did in PA) but this one came about through her teaching. The guy who asked me to produce this show as part of this benefit knew Jeanne McDonald
and asked Sue to get her on the bill and then said to "bring a boy" and Miles is the perfect choice! Sue has a LOT to celebrate. She just retired from over 21 years at Slome Capital!
'An Evening of Cabaret at The Palace'
A Fundraiser to benefit the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Connecticut

Monday, June 27, 2011
7:00 PM – Reception • 8:00 PM – Performance

Tickets:
$100 - Front Orchestra (limited seats)
$65 - Orchestra
$45 - Rear Orchestra

Reserve Tickets at Palace Box Office
Phone: 203-346-2000
Online: www.palacetheaterct.org
Musical Director: Tracy Stark

Jeanne MacDonald: 2008 MAC Award Winner • 2008 New York Nightlife Award Finalist for Female Vocalist • Back Stage Bistro and MAC Hanson Awards • Julie Wilson Award for excellence in cabaret - Lincoln Center 2005
Join Jeanne's mailing list here: http://www.jeannemacdonald.com/mailinglist.html
Jeanne MacDonald
2008 MAC Award Winner
2008 NY Nightlife Award Finalist
“Watching a singer like Jeanne MacDonald, who brings an emotional balance; a subtle, goodhumored sexiness; and an originality to everything she sings, makes you realize the crucial role good instincts play...” NEW YORK TIMES - Stephen Holden


Jeanne MacDonald has earned a reputation as one of NY’s finest singers in cabaret today; an honest interpreter of the lyric in a genre that embraces a broad range of songs from the American popular music tradition. Peter Leavy of Cabaret Scenes Magazine calls MacDonald “a lyricist’s dream.” MacDonald often creates through her work a seamless blend between traditional standards from such songwriters as Johnny Mercer, Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, and the music of contemporary songwriters, including Jimmy Webb, Randy Newman and Dar Williams. Most recently, in ‘Come Back To Me,’ her glowing celebration of Miss Peggy Lee, MacDonald proves herself an artist with both the sensibility and sensitivity to convey the essence of this legend, weaving her spell with finesse.

Sue Matsuki (nĂ©e Trosell): Waterbury native and producer of this show • Eight-time MAC Award Nominee/Three-time Winner • Selected by Julie Wilson herself as the very first Julie Wilson Award Recipient, given by the Mabel Mercer Foundation.



Break a leg!


JUST SAY “TAKEI”by Shelly Goldstein

I love George Takei.

He’s the latest on a ridiculously long list of gay men with whom I’ve fallen madly in love during my life.

They were always symbiotic relationships. I’ve been the beard for so many gay men, my high school nickname was “Z.Z. Top.”

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen Takei’s marvelous video (below) in response to yet another piece of actual legislation that makes me think the Republican Party has stopped taking their moves from the Karl Rove Playbook and are now working strictly from the canon of Lewis Carroll.

In case you somehow missed it, the great state of Tennessee passed a law declaring that teachers can’t use the word “homosexual” in the classroom.
The logic there – if you can call it that – is that if children don’t hear the word, then “homosexuality” will magically disappear.



This is the kind of thinking that assures us of a generation of LGBT children who will grow up confused, ashamed, and bullied, spending their lives so deep in the closet they might as well major in Moth Ball.

But George Takei’s deft handling of this lunacy, done with his usual aplomb and humor, isn’t the only reason I adore him.

He’s a credit to the name George.
Like the great George Gershwin, he’s melodious. Every syllable he utters in his inimitable, mellifluous voice is as smooth as a snifter of 250-year-old brandy, as sweet as Tupelo Honey, as polished as a great mahogany table that’s been doused with half a can of Lemon Pledge.

Like the Father of our Country, George Washington, he cannot tell a lie. He lives his life openly, even when that choice has made him the butt of countless rude and cruel jokes. His dignity and humor make him both a great role model and a fantastic guest on Howard Stern.

Like George Clooney, he’s an eternal classic.



Like two of the great “Georges” of the '60s – Harrison and Jetson -- he brilliantly navigated the grooviest of eras, off-screen as an iconic symbol of pop culture, on-screen leading the Enterprise through the galaxies.
Kirk never could’ve “boldly gone” anywhere without Sulu telling him how to get there.

George FujimoriAnd he shares something else with a George I’ve loved all my life, a man you’ve never heard of named George Fujimori, the father of my oldest and dearest pal Wendy, with whom I’ve been best friends since we were 3.
George Takei and Fujimori were both among the 120,000 Japanese-Americans who, during WWII, were placed behind barbed wire in Internment Camps for the duration of the war.
Both remained loyal to their country.

George Fujimori left the camp to serve in the U.S. Army, to defend the country he loved, the country that had thrown him in prison.

During the Clinton Administration, George Takei served two terms on the board of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission. His dedicated service led the Government of Japan to present him with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette. The decoration was conferred by His Majesty, Emperor Akihito, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo in November 2004.
George Takei and Brad AltmanI’m guessing George Takei is also the only recipient of that distinguished honor to appear on the Newlywed Game with his husband Brad Altman – the first gay couple ever to appear in the show’s four decades on the air.
They won the game and donated their $10,000 award to the Japanese-American National Museum (the same museum where George Fujimori, now 91, can be found several days a week speaking to school children about the Japanese-Americans who helped defend America in WWII).
George Takei, I love you.

Your entire life has been one of positivity and joy, even in the face of the most dire of circumstances.
Your response to this obscene and ridiculous legislation is inspirational.

You deserve a song. I like to write lyrics – often to other songs -- like this anthem to Gay Marriage, Stupid Callous Homophobic Hateful Legislation, which went viral and was played in more than 13 countries around the world.

Thanks to your video, this month all around the world, LGBT and PFLAG alike will all march proudly in our local “Takei Pride” Parade.

And I, for one, will march to this song:

HEY THERE, GEORGE TAKEI

(to the tune of “Georgy Girl”)

Music by Tom Springfield -- New lyric by Shelly Goldstein -- (Respect to Jim Dale’s original)

Hey there, George Takei

Taking on the law in Tennessee

Banning the word “gay” is lunacy beyond any doubt – it’s crazy!

Hey there, George Takei!

You spoke up for those who had no voice

And it was a noble choice.



For kids frightened to come out

You’ve proved yourself a hero on land and in outer space.

You’ve lived your life with class and with grace – and now we say
Hey there, George Takei!

You were there for kids who are afraid

Now in the Takei Parade we’ll march with our heads held high
And then we’ll cry

Hooray for Takei!

Shelly Goldstein is a writer-producer-performer who has written for every genre of television, film and stage -- and who has performed her one-woman shows to sold-out audiences throughout the US and UK. She has written special material for such performers as Steve Martin, Sharon Stone, Yoko Ono and Liza Minnelli. She has written song lyrics for G-rated children's shows and R-Rated comedy specials such as LOGO's ONE NIGHT STAND-UP. Her YouTube videos are known throughout the world.

SHELLY on YOUTUBE and FACEBOOK
MYSPACE: www.myspace.com/groovyshelly
TWITTER follow me @ groovyshelly


Thanks for being a loyal reader of Richard's Rants And Raves! I wanted to give you heads up on big news coming on June 5th.


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Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

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