Friday, August 26, 2011

Carol Channing, Sandi Durell, and Eric Michael Gillett!



It has been reported that I was seriously ill--it was another man; dying--it was another man; dead--the other man again...As far as I can see, nothing remains to be reported, except that I have become a foreigner. When you hear it, don't you believe it. And don't take the trouble to deny it. Merely just raise the American flag on our house in Hartford and let it talk.
- Letter to Frank E. Bliss, 11/4/1897 from Mark Twain (Samuel Clemmons)

Happy Friday!

Wow! What a week this has been! An earthquake that made New York rumble, Carol Channing died yesterday...AND ROSE FROM THE DEAD!, and now we are bracing for Irene, the storm of the century! I'm reminded of that great Jerry Herman lyric, "Someone has wounded you, Dear World". I think the universe is crying out for help.
Earlier this month, everyone was concerned about whether or not the debt ceiling would be raised. Texas is having the worst drought in over a hundred years. The entire world is in chaos. We ALL need to stop, take a deep breath, and listen. We need to listen to our hearts, our souls, and to each other.

Everyone is so addicted to their blackberries, cell phones, and other devices that they don't even look at each other as they pass each other on the street. I called someone last week that I had not spoken with in a while. I left a message. I got an E-mail the next day asking if I was OK! He didn't even bother to pick up the phone to return the call. I've said it before and I'll say it again, WAKE UP, PEOPLE! You're becoming The walking DEAD!
Yesterday, I wrote about why cabaret is not succeeding beyond its borders. I am overwhelmed by the response I got. One of the largest responses to any of my blogs! I wish, believe it or not, that I was in the minority on my thoughts, but I don't think so. MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs), you want to be a viable organization in the 21st century? Listen to your membership. Booking agents and club owners, get in touch with your patrons.

I may have focused on what is wrong with cabaret yesterday.

Today, I'm going to focus on what's right...but before I get to that, I'd like to address a few things.
Yesterday, I received an instant message on my Facebook chat from a friend who said he hoped it wasn't true what he had just read. When I asked him what it was, he sent me, "The parade may have passed by for a Broadway Legend."

My first response was that The Kennedy Center Honors had been announced, although I had never known them to ever be announced this early. My heart started racing as I started googling Kennedy Center Honors; I couldn't find anything! I asked my friend to follow up on this. Then he sent me to the Broadway Chat Board, I clicked on the link and the first thing I see is that Carol Channing had died! MY heart stopped. I started trembling. I called Harlan Boll, Carol's confidante, FRIEND, and publicist. He said no, it was not true! He called her after the AP called him to see if it was true. What a relief. I sent the link that went to Broadway World to Harlan and the entire thread was immediately removed! I went back to my friend and I asked him if the source that he had received the "news" from was a bitchy, queeny type. He said BINGO!

Why is it that this element lives and thrives on the internet? Why do chat boards like "ALL THAT CHAT" which I avoid like the plague survive?
What propels people to go to these sites and write nasty bitchy comments for the world to see? IF a page like this exists, people need to put their REAL names instead of aliases. These people are cowards. I will NEVER put something in print that I will not sign my full name to.


Ms. Carol Channing is not dead! Despite the announcement on a blog on the Internet on Wednesday evening, I can report that Ms. Channing is not only alive, but be sure to read Canyon News all week, because Tommy Garrett has a great story coming out that proves that not only is she very much alive, but extremely busy as well. It’s very sad when bloggers report and spread rumors about stars’ deaths, when it’s not true. It only takes a telephone call to a friend or their publicist to find out the truth.


From Tommy Lightfoot Garrett, Editor Of Canyon News
Ms. Channing, Hollywood insider and author B. Harlan Boll and I were discussing it on Thursday, and Harlan reminded us about the time Dolores Hope was reported dead by TMZ, because someone saw her going into the hospital three days before her 100th birthday, only for him to spend the next few days dispelling the rumor. Well, he and I may take it seriously, but Ms. Channing told me, “Stop worrying Tommy. You get used to lies being printed about you after a while. My goodness, if you just sneeze after 90, they are ready to print your obit.”

Have a great weekend, see you next week! XOXO

I called Carol and Harry last night. They are busier than ever! They are heading back to Palm Springs next week for a fundraiser for The Foundation For The Arts.

She has a new cd scheduled to come out on Veteran's Day of Patriotic songs! She is very much ALIVE and WELL! And I am campaigning diligently for Carol to receive a 2011 Kennedy Center Honor!
Ken Kleiber of THAT'S KENTERTAINMENT did an incredible blog on her yesterday. Click HERE to read it.


CHECK THIS OUT!




BROADWAY LEGEND CAROL CHANNING TURNS THE SPOTLIGHT ON ARTS EDUCATION IN THE COACHELLA VALLEY With Emmy Award Viewing Party at Lulu California Bistro www.channingarts.org

WHAT/WHO: AND THE WINNER IS - THE CHILDREN. Join the Ultimate Broadway Baby, Carol Channing, as The Channing-Kullijian Foundation offers patron's the desert's biggest Emmy® viewing Party, featuring The 63rd Primetime Emmy® Telecast, hosted by Lulu California Bistro. Channing and celebrated friends will host a red carpet event featuring a live and silent auction, very special performances by Broadway personalities and young people representing the Valley's public schools' arts programs. The Foundation will proudly present the first ARTS STAR AWARD to Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), who successfully championed the H Con Res 275, a concurrent resolution designating a week in September as “Arts in Education Week.”

WHERE: Lulu's California Bistro - 200 S. Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262
WHEN: Sunday, September 18, 2011 6:30-10:00 pm
TICKETS: Available starting at $85.00 by calling 760-566-6231


EDITORS/PRODUCERS: Carol Channing is arguably one of the most recognized and celebrated entertainers in the industry. At 90, she could easily rest on the laurels of her legendary career and hold court as the reigning queen of Broadway. Instead, Carol Channing has dedicated the rest of her life to bringing the arts back to our country's public schools. She and her husband, Harry Kullijian, founded The Channing-Kullijian Foundation For The Arts whose mission is to restore the arts to every public school in the nation and to ensure an arts education to every child in America. “We aren't trying to save the arts”, says Channing, “We are using the arts to save our children”.

The United States Congress and Senate have designated the second week of September as “Arts In Education Week” by a joint resolution HR 275, authored by Rep. Jackie Speier and inspired by Channing. 2011 marks the first annual national commemoration and takes place from September 11-18. The Channing-Kullijian Foundation will celebrate the week in Palm Springs by helping to raise money for, and awareness of, the need for arts in America's public schools. “Studies show that children who get music and art in their schools read better, achieve more and drop out less. These same children show better scores in math and science too and often it takes only one subject that captures their hearts to keep them in school. The arts build self-confidence, team work and ultimately builds better schools and better adults,” declares Mr. Kullijian.

Three time TONY Award® winner, Golden Globe recipient and Oscar® nominee, Ms. Carol Channing was granted a doctorate in fine arts by The California State University, Stanislaus in 2004. Carol and her husband Harry founded the Dr. Carol Channing and Harry Kullijian Foundation for the Arts in 2004 to advocate for arts education as part of the standard curriculum in all public schools throughout the United States.

“I have seen, firsthand, the transformation of young people who are given the opportunity to experience an arts education,” says the Foundation's Executive Director, David Green. “Even those who have no desire to pursue a career in the arts are changed forever from the experience. The arts grow and nurture creative, committed and compassionate human beings. The arts bridge communities, races and people from all walks of life and socio-economic boundaries. The arts are the soul of a nation. When we lose the arts, we lose a piece of our humanity.”

The Channing-Kullijian Foundation is sponsoring two desert fund/friend-raising events in September. “Education a'la cARTE” is a weeklong campaign in partnership with several of the Coachella Valley's most popular restaurants. Participating restaurants will donate a percentage of their profits for the week of September 11-18 to the Foundation and a portion of those proceeds will go directly into the arts programs in designated schools in the Coachella Valley.

Channing Press Contact:
B. Harlan Böll
(626) 296-3757
h.boll@dcpublicity.com


Yesterday, I wrote about what is WRONG with cabaret. Today, I want to tell you what is right about it. Sandi Durell and Eric Michael Gillett! And they are both celebrating birthdays today!

First of all, like Dolly Levi, Sandi wears MANY hats!Sandi Durell and her partner Shari Upbin (ShaRell Productions) are gearing up for several of their upcoming revues going south to Florida this season.

She's been a corporate entertainment events producer for over 25 years as well as a club date singer and performer for most of that time. Sandi has appeared in regional theatre, including Gilbert & Sullivan and has sung nationwide. She segued into cabaret because of her love of the art form and is a great supporter, helping to bring talent to audiences and provide an opportunity for talent to grow.

Sandi conceptualized and produced,with partner Shari Upbin, the original highly successful MAC Nominated 'Timeless Divas!' series that featured celebrity hosts Tovah Feldshuh, Phyllis Newman, Leslie Uggams, Karen Mason, Karen Akers, Tony Randall, Ben Vereen along with casts of the best of Broadway and Cabaret. She conceived, developed and produced numerous Cabaret, Songwriter and Master Class events with artists such as Tovah Feldshuh, Andrea Marcovicci, Julie Wilson, Sally Mayes and others. She is a producer on the Award winning documentary, www.broadwaythemovie.com with Emmy Award winning producer/director Rick McKay. She Executive Produced the CD 'Our Heart Sings' with Broadway artists Kristen Chenoweth, Alice Ripley, Emily Skinner, Mark Nadler, Heather Mac Rae, Donna Lynne Champlin, Christiane Noll.
She was a Producer of the historic Vint/Age 2001 Conference on Ageism in the Arts and Media. Sandi produces the much acclaimed Annual Songwriter Series for the New York Sheet Music Society where she is a Board Director. She is a member of the League of Professional Theatre Women, the 100 year old 'Dutch Treat Club' and a performer. Sandi currently writes articles and interviews and reviews theater and cabaret for the following publications and on-line sites:
www.examiner.com (NY & National Theatre & Cabaret Reviewer)
www.T2conline.com - Managing Editor (Times Square Chronicles)
www.TheThreeTomatoes.com
www.Theaterlife.com

Producer: www.sharellproductions.com
Broadway Live and Hollywood Live


"Dear Richard,

Sandi Durell has been a good friend and supportive presence in my life for the past several years. I will always be especially grateful to Sandi for including two of my songs in one of her wonderful annual Songwriters Showcases at the NY Sheet Music Society. For this concert, the legendary Marni Nixon performed "You'll Never See It Again," a song about the Golden Age of Hollywood, with lyrics by yours truly and music by Matthew Ward. To hear it sung by an artist who was part of that Golden Age was a thrill I will never forget. Happy Birthday, Sandi, and thanks for all your hard work and positive influence on the cabaret community!
"
Peter Napalitano

And then there is Eric Michael Gillett. I've been lucky enough to share the stage with this powerhouse from time to time and it always a thrill!

EXTENDED – SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER!!!
Eric Michael Gillett
CAST OF THOUSANDS ~ Gillett Sings Carnelia
at The Laurie Beechman Theatre!


With sold-out houses in June & July, award-winning vocalist ERIC MICHAEL GILLETT will extend his run of CAST OF THOUSANDS: Gillett Sings Carnelia at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, yet again, with added performances on Wednesdays, September 14 & 21 & October 12 & 26. He also has one remaining show in August, on Tuesday, August 23. All performances are at 7pm. Gillett is accompanied by Musical Director Jeff Cubeta, with Director Arthur Masella.

15 years after it was first performed, Gillett returned to CAST OF THOUSANDS & the material that inspired his first songbook collaboration, in an evening that explores not only songs from the original production, but also new material written by Carnelia in the intervening years. CAST OF THOUSANDS will feature songs from the acclaimed scores of Is There Life After High School? Working & Three Postcards, as well as contemporary classics ("Flight," "Life on Earth") & new material from Actor, Lawyer, Indian Chief.

ERIC MICHAEL GILLETT nightclub shows include his critically lauded collection of radio songs of the past forty years, Hook, Line & Singer, Hooray For Love - Gillett Sings Arlen & his most recent show at Feinstein’s, Widescreen: Songs from & about the Movies, which he also performed at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. Gillett appeared on Broadway in Sweet Smell of Success, The Frogs & Kiss Me, Kate. Gillett recently completed performances in Seven Deadly Sins with Patti LuPone & the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center.

What the Critics have said about Cast of Thousands…

“A cowboy, a housewife, a retired widower, 1940s movie stars & kids of all ages:
these are among the host of characters who people “Cast of Thousands:
Gillett Sings Carnelia,” a one-man musical at the Laurie Beechman Theatre.
Its variety of humanity brings to mind the world of Lily Tomlin.
The verb “sings” is really inadequate to evoke the acute empathy with which
Eric Michael Gillett transformed theater songs by Craig Carnelia into lived experience.
Not only do you see the world through the characters’ eyes, but you also feel it
through their nervous systems via Mr. Gillett’s theatrical shamanism.”

Stephen Holden, NY Times

“The original Cast of Thousands has been honed, revamped, heightened & enlightened with the addition of songs from Carnelia’s other scores…The result is a magical pathway into the
hearts & souls of ordinary & some not so ordinary people . . . the human condition.”

Sandi Durell, Times Square Chronicles



"It's the show of the year that has everyone talking. It's his most powerful performance to date in an extraordinary cabaret-theatre piece based on the creative story songs of Craig Carnelia, skillfully directed by Arthur Masella with Jeff Cubeta deftly serving as musical director. A commanding show that can clearly have a life outside cabaret, few shows have lived up to all the hype and acclaim. Few artists are worthy of the thunderous ovation that closed the evening."

John Hoglund, NiteLifeExchange.com
ERIC MICHAEL GILLETT nightclub shows include his critically lauded collection of radio songs of the past forty years, Hook, Line & Singer, Hooray For Love - Gillett Sings Arlen & his most recent show at Feinstein’s, Widescreen: Songs from & about the Movies, which he also performed at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. Gillett appeared on Broadway in Sweet Smell of Success, The Frogs & Kiss Me, Kate. Gillett recently completed performances in Seven Deadly Sins with Patti LuPone & the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center.

What the Critics have said about Cast of Thousands…

“A cowboy, a housewife, a retired widower, 1940s movie stars & kids of all ages:
these are among the host of characters who people “Cast of Thousands:
Gillett Sings Carnelia,” a one-man musical at the Laurie Beechman Theatre.
Its variety of humanity brings to mind the world of Lily Tomlin.
The verb “sings” is really inadequate to evoke the acute empathy with which
Eric Michael Gillett transformed theater songs by Craig Carnelia into lived experience.
Not only do you see the world through the characters’ eyes, but you also feel it
through their nervous systems via Mr. Gillett’s theatrical shamanism.”

Stephen Holden, NY Times

“The original Cast of Thousands has been honed, revamped, heightened & enlightened with the addition of songs from Carnelia’s other scores…The result is a magical pathway into the
hearts & souls of ordinary & some not so ordinary people . . . the human condition.”

Sandi Durell, Times Square Chronicles



"It's the show of the year that has everyone talking. It's his most powerful performance to date in an extraordinary cabaret-theatre piece based on the creative story songs of Craig Carnelia, skillfully directed by Arthur Masella with Jeff Cubeta deftly serving as musical director. A commanding show that can clearly have a life outside cabaret, few shows have lived up to all the hype and acclaim. Few artists are worthy of the thunderous ovation that closed the evening."

John Hoglund, NiteLifeExchange.com

"Eric Michael Gillett is a remarkably talented & powerful vocalist, who completely
understands Carnelia’s extraordinary cast of characters."

Brian Scott Lipton, TheaterMania.com

“To describe Eric Michael Gillett’s revival of a show that was magnificent in its inception fifteen years ago, Cast of Thousands, that adjective, ‘awesome,’ seems exactly right. The creative marriage of Eric Michael Gillett with Craig Carnelia is, to risk a cliché, one made in heaven.”

Barbara Leavy, Cabaret Scenes

“Baritone at full throttle, his is a voice that conjures wonder. Strong, deep, unwavering
& joyful, its full measure is simply splendid. The economy of Carnelia’s words & the
nuanced sincerity of Gillett’s performance is a match made in theatrical heaven.”

Alix Cohen, Woman Around Town

“If you want to see how to put a show together in a way that is worthy of an Off-Broadway
run & hear a voice from the heavens sing it, please mark your calendars today to make
sure that you do not miss Eric Michael Gillett in this amazing show. STUNNING WORK!”

Sue Matsuki, Cabaret Hotline Online

“From the moment he opened his mouth to sing, the audience was entranced &
Eric Michael sizzled! Craig Carnelia's music is diverse, fun & at times heartbreaking!”

Adam Rothenberg, adaumbellesquest.com

“It’s a one-man tour de force, one of the finest, most moving & most
magnetic shows that cabaret has offered!”
Peter Haas, Comedy Beat

DATES: Wednesdays, September 14 & 21, October 12 & 26 @ 7pm
PLACE: Laurie Beechman Theatre ~ 407 W. 42nd Street @ 9th Ave.
PRICE: $20 Music Charge/$15 food/drink Min.
RESERVATIONS: (212)695-6909

Press Contact:56 Seventh Ave. Suite 4E • New York, NY 10011
(212)366-4345/fax (917)475-1835 • E-mail: MayaPRNY@aol.com
Contact: Penny M. Landau







"Eric Michael Gillett is an incredibly honest and giving teacher. I audited a few of his musical performance classes and learned how to push myself as a writer and find those actors who were the most passionate and professional at auditions."
-Ks Stevens

"I have had the pleasure of knowing Eric Michael Gillett for many years, long before I began working regularly in cabaret. His remarkable performances in clubs, on Broadway and in Madison Square Garden as Ringmaster for the Barnum & Bailey Circus have given me great pleasure and have been an inspiration for so many performers and cabaret artists. I am very proud to count him as a friend and colleague. Happy Birthday, Eric!"
-Peter Napolitano

Eric is directing Pamela Lewis' latest show!

show dates thursday, friday & saturday
november 3rd, 4th & 5th
7:30 pm shows. Put November 5th on your calendar and join me!

"May kindness fall upon Michael as he displays upon others. I was stuck at work and no one was able to bring me to my dr's appointment. Eric Michael was so kind to take his morning off and bring me to the dr's. Happy Born Born Day Eric Michael!"
Danielle Teague-Daniels


"Eric Michael Gillett - they don't come any better. A terrific performer and a wonderful teacher. I'd travel anyway (and I have) to see his work. xoxoxo"
-Marty Geiger


SOURCES: Glen Charlow, Harlan Boll, and Eric Michael Gillett...and all the others who are quoted here!


Thank you for joining me on these nostalgic journeys! I've added a new aspect to my blog.. Every five days, I answer a question on video that YOU send to me. You can ask me ANYTHING and I will answer your question on video within my blog. Send your questions to Richard@RichardSkipper.com Next question will be answered tuesday! Tune in to see what someone wants to know!


"Richard, for supporting the ARTS and calling attention to the STARS of yesterday. You are a STAR in your own right!! With admiration and friendship"
Arlene Dahl




Thank you to all who have encouraged me! Thanks to all who have tried to stifle my art. I have learned from ALL of you!
Here's to an INCREDIBLE day for ALL!


GO SEE A LIVE SHOW TONIGHT




Become A Facebook friend of mine!
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If you've seen one of my appearances/shows, add your thoughts to my guestbook at www.RichardSkipper.com

Tomorrow's blog will be Hurricane 'IRENE"!?!


Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS



Help us get Carol Channing the 2011 Kennedy Center Honor!
Contact me for details!

TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED WEEK!
Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

2 comments:

  1. Eric and I go way back. We were in college together and worked on many fun productions. He could always be counted upon to do a little bit extra and give a little bit more. He directed me in Tennessee Williams' "This Property Is Condemned" which was probably one of my better performances. It was a challenge for all of us. I am so pleased with his success in the cabaret venue and in the larger book musicals as well. he deserves it. Cheers, Stephan

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