Friday, September 30, 2011


To be normal, is the ideal of the unsuccessful ~C.G.

Happy End of September!
I hope you had a great September. I did! I appeared in Oklahoma City for Primetimers, did three shows in my annual outing to Malibu, performed at my first same-sex wedding, and performed for Bick Moss for Musical Mondays. And speaking of Musical Mondays, MUSICAL MONDAYS THEATRE LAB IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THEIR
FIRST PRESENTATION OF THE 2011-2012 SEASON (THEIR 13TH YEAR!)Let's hope this is their luckiest year yet!



by Bryan D. Leys and Clare Cooper
based on How to Marry a Divorced Man by Leslie Fram

He’s broke, has a crazy ex-wife, two bratty kids,
and he’s the only game in town.
One woman's zany ride on the road to matrimony.
Layla Diamond, a rock and roll reporter in her late 30's, follows the advice of her daffy mother and seeks out a divorced man. She sets her sights on Bo, a charming sports agent with a needy ex and two obnoxious children. Trying to fit into his life, Layla makes one madcap mistake after another, adopting false identities, causing multiple mix-ups, and turning her marital quest into a complicated farce. How to Marry a Divorced Man features a lively score blending rock, pop, country and R&B tunes.

Tickets: $18 (Season subscriptions of four show available for $45).
Snapple Theater Center, 210 West 50th Street (and Broadway).
For reservations, email

Next production: SPOOLIE GIRL (By Rosemary Loar and Robert Atwood), Thursday, November 17th, 6:30 PM at the Snapple.

I saw Follies on Broadway.

Terri White and Danny Burstyn are STARS! Go see this show! Sadly, I also attending an incredible memorial for Randall Wreghitt. The theatre was packed. Gone too soon and the theatre community is at a huge loss because of it. My friend, the FABULOUS Marie Kelly was in town for auditions. Here's hoping that one lucky show will snatch her up!

I attended the Ziegfeld's special screening of Ziegfeld: A Man And His Women at the Paley Center last Saturday which featured the incredible Walter Willison! We are cooking up a few ideas will keep you posted! And THAT was my September!

October is kicking off tomorrow with my wedding (A renewal of our vows)!
There are two major holidays next month.

Columbus Day and one of my favorites, Halloween!

On Wednesday, The Last of The Red Hot Lovers is playing in Nyack, Jamie deRoy is at The Metropolitan Room, The Bistro and MAC Award winning "The Concerts at Tudor Greens) ends its season, and Craig Pomrantz returns to The Metropolitan Room. How do I choose!?!?! This year's Bistro Award winning Colleen McHugh is appearing at The Metropolitan Room.

The weekend after Columbus Day, Danny, Horace, and I are taking a long weekend in The Hamptons. And then a dear friend of mine is visiting for a few days. I can't think of a better way to spend an evening than to take him to see Jason Graae at The Laurie Beechman for his tribute to Jerry Herman. Stay tune for two major Jerry Herman events that I have coming up in November! My friend Don DelBello defies age when we celebrate his 60th birthday towards the end of the month! The Cabaret Convention happens once again this month. I hope to make it to the Gala Opening Night. That's the only night I can attend. One of my favorite's Liz Callaway is appearing that night! Along with Barbara Carroll.Barbara Carroll (born Barbara Carole Coppersmith on January 25, 1925 in Worcester, Massachusetts) is a jazz pianist, composer and vocalist.
She began her classical training in piano at age eight, but by high school had decided to become a jazz pianist. She attended the New England Conservatory of Music for a year, but left it as it conflicted with working for bands. In 1947 Leonard Feather dubbed her "the first girl ever to play bebop piano."
In the following year her trio, which had Chuck Wayne on guitar and Clyde Lombardi on bass, worked briefly with Benny Goodman. Later Charlie Byrd replaced Wayne with Joe Shulman replacing Lombardi.
After Byrd left she decided to have it be a drums, bass, and piano trio.
In the 1950s she did noteworthy solo work as well as work with her trio. She also began to cross-over doing a jazz-waltz and her trio worked on Me and Juliet by Rodgers and Hammerstein. That stated, the end of the decade saw her career ebb. This occurred because of changing musical tastes and personal concerns.
In September 1954 Barbara married Joe Shulman, a member of the trio. The marriage lasted less than three years as he died of a heart-attack in 1957 at 33. She later remarried to former bandleader Bert Block and had a daughter. She decided in 1965 to retire from jazz and devote her time to her family.
In 1972 she returned to change due to a renewed interest and increase in clubs. In 1975 she was asked by Rita Coolidge to work on a session for A&M. Then in 1978 she toured with Coolidge and Kris Kristofferson. In the following two decades she became known as a cabaret musician. This revival met with disapproval from several serious jazz critics with Leonard Feather stating her career "fell apart" because of musical preference. The statement is a bit ambiguous as it may well mean the changing preferences of the audience rather than hers. That said she remained well liked by many audiences, gained new appreciation in the cabaret world, and continued working to the present.
In the current decade she's been awarded a Lifetime Achievement award and the "Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz."

That same night, Christine Ebersole appears, another one of my favorites!

Nicole Henry

Sylvia McNair

Jennifer Sheehan

Also that night, October 20th, The Presentation Of The Mabel Mercer Award and a special remembrance of Cynthia Chisholm Saint-Armand.
Can't wait!

Also in October, Al Jolson was born. I will be doing a special blog just about that.

The month will end with me visiting another great singer friend of mine, Jane Scheckter! So, as you can see, October will be a very musical month!

But before we get there, we have to end SEptember. "30 days hath September..." What better way to end the month than to celebrate the birthdays of several cultural icons.
Angie Dickenson is 80 today. was always bummed she wasn't a Bond Girl. She put the aaaaaahhhh in HOT!” ~> Wow..can't believe she's 80! Loved her in the 70s as Pepper on Police Woman. We used to watch her every Thursday night. My dad was crazy about her. We also looked for her frequent appearances on variety shows, The Dean Martin Show, and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts.
THOSE were funny! Not those shameful hurtful things they call roasts today.
Angie Dickinson (born September 30, 1931) is an American actress. She has appeared in more than fifty films, including Rio Bravo, Ocean's Eleven, Dressed to Kill and Pay It Forward, and starred on television as Sergeant Suzanne "Pepper" Anderson on the 1970s crime series Police Woman.
Dickinson, the second of four daughters, was born Angeline Brown (but called "Angie" by family and friends) in Kulm, North Dakota, the daughter of Frederica and Leo H. Brown. Her family is of German descent and she was raised Roman Catholic.
Dickinson's father was a small-town newspaper publisher and editor.
In 1942, her family moved to Burbank, California, where she attended Bellarmine-Jefferson High School, graduating in 1947 at just 15 years of age. The previous year, she had won the Sixth Annual Bill of Rights essay contest. She studied at Glendale Community College and in 1954 graduated from Immaculate Heart College with a degree in business. Taking a cue from her publisher father, she had intended to be a writer. While a student from 1950–52, she worked as a secretary at Lockheed Air Terminal in Burbank (now Bob Hope Airport) and in a parts factory.
Angie married football player Gene Dickinson in 1952. With Gene's encouragement, she entered a beauty pageant in 1953, placing second. The exposure brought her to the attention of a television industry producer, who asked her to consider a career in acting. She studied the craft and a few years later was approached by NBC to guest-star on a number of variety shows, including The Colgate Comedy Hour. She soon met Frank Sinatra, who became a lifelong friend. She would later play Sinatra's wife in the film Ocean's Eleven.
On New Year's Eve 1954, Dickinson made her television acting debut in an episode of Death Valley Days.
This led to other roles in such productions as Buffalo Bill Jr., Matinee Theatre (eight episodes), City Detective, It's a Great Life (two episodes), Gray Ghost, General Electric Theater, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Broken Arrow, Meet McGraw (twice), Northwest Passage, Gunsmoke, The Virginian, Tombstone Territory, Cheyenne, and The Restless Gun.
Rejecting the Marilyn Monroe/Jayne Mansfield style of platinum blonde sex-symbolism because she felt it would narrow her acting options, Dickinson initially allowed studios to lighten her naturally-brunette hair to only honey-blonde. She appeared mainly in B-movies early on, westerns, including Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend (1957) co-starring with James Garner.

Happy Birthday Cissy Houston, who is 78 today!
Emily "Cissy" Drinkard Houston (born September 30, 1933) is a Grammy Award–winning American soul and gospel singer. She led a very successful career as a backup singer for such artists as Elvis Presley, Mahalia Jackson, Wishbone Ash and Aretha Franklin, and is now primarily a solo artist. She is the mother of singer and actress Whitney Houston and aunt of Dionne Warwick and the late Dee Dee Warwick.

Singer Johnny Mathis is 76 today!The fourth of seven children, John Royce Mathis was born on September 30, 1935 in Gilmer, Texas to Clem and Mildred Mathis. As a small boy, the family moved to Post Street in San Francisco. It was there that he learned an appreciation of music from his father who taught him his first song, “My Blue Heaven”. At age eight, his father purchased an old upright piano for $25. When he brought it home, it wouldn't fit through the front door. So that evening, Johnny stayed up all night to watch his father dismantle the piano, get it into the small living room of their basement apartment and then reassemble it. Clem Mathis, who worked briefly as a musician back in Texas playing the piano and singing on stage, would continue to teach his son many songs and routines. Johnny had proven to be the most eager of the children to learn all about music. He sang in the church choir, school functions, community events, for visitors in their home as well as amateur shows in the San Francisco area.

Leonard Joseph “Len” Cariou (born September 30, 1939) is a Canadian actor, best known for his portrayal of Sweeney Todd in the original cast of Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. He currently plays the patriarch in the multi-generational television series Blue Bloods on CBS.

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Cariou is the son of Molly Estelle (née Moore) and George Marius Cariou, a salesman.
His father was French Canadian and his mother was of Irish descent.
Cariou attended Holy Cross School Miles MacDonell Collegiate for grades ten and eleven where he directed and starred in the school plays and he later attended St Paul's College.

Marilyn McCoo is 68 today!
For all the success Marilyn McCoo has enjoyed, she continues to pursue a multi-dimensional career as a singer and entertainer, an always-in-demand host and respected actress.
An extremely successful female recording artist, Marilyn's combined record sales, as a solo performer, a member of The 5th Dimension and a part of a duo with husband, Billy Davis, Jr., ranks her among the top 10 black female vocalists of the "rock era." This places her among such greats as Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight.
Marilyn has won a total of eight Grammys. When she sang with The 5th Dimension, the group won six Grammys. Marilyn and her husband, Billy Davis, Jr., won a Grammy (Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo) for You Don't Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show).
Her eighth Grammy was for participating as a guest artist on Quincy Jones' Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration (Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album).
Her first gospel album, The Me Nobody Knows, was nominated for a Grammy and the title single went to #1 on the gospel charts.
Marilyn and her husband, Billy Davis Jr., are celebrating their 42 years of marriage this year. In 2004 they wrote a critically well received book, which shares their secrets of staying happy and committed to each other in Hollywood. It's entitled Up, Up and Away…How We Found Love, Faith and Lasting Marriage in the Entertainment World.
It was written in collaboration with Mike Yorkey and was released by Northfield Publishing Company. In it, they talk about how they met, their successful musical careers, and their major struggles behind closed doors, offering practical marriage advice and spiritual encouragement along the way.

Pop Singer Sylvia Peterson (The Chiffons) is 65 today.
The Chiffons was an all girl group originating from the Bronx area of New York in 1960.
The Chiffons were one of the top girl groups of the early 1960s. With their trademark tight harmonies, high-stepping confidence and the hit machine of Goffin and King writing songs such as “One Fine Day,” the Chiffons made music that helped define the girl group sound of the era.
The group was originally a trio comprising lead singer Judy Craig, Patricia Bennett and Barbara Lee. They formed at James Monroe High School in The Bronx in 1960. At the suggestion of songwriter Ronald Mack, Sylvia Peterson was added to the group in 1962. Peterson had previously sung with Little Jimmy & the Tops in 1959 when she was 14. This group had a local hit with "Puppy Love" (V-Tone). Sylvia shared the lead with Jimmy on the single's B-Side, "Say You Love Me". Peterson would later sing lead on the Chiffons' "Why Am I So Shy", "Strange, Strange Feeling", "The Real Thing" and on "My Block", written by Jimmy Radcliffe, Carl Spencer and Bert Berns, and "When The Boy's Happy", for the Chiffons in the early days when they were recording as the Four Pennies. They changed their name to the Chiffons in early 1963.

Today is also the birthday of one of my favorite people. Sondra Lee!
Sondra Lee was the original Minnie Fay in HELLO, DOLLY!Richard Skipper as Carol Channing, Sondra Lee and Donna Hanover.
Several years ago Dancers Over 40 (DO40) partnered with Lincoln Center Barnes and Noble "as an opportunity and a way to make these B & N events more enjoyable - by supplying refreshments for the crowd - and the talent," according to DO40 President John Sefakis.
DO40 provided deserts and beverages Lee's book signing. Referring to the presence of 'Carol Channing,' Lee explained, "When I am doing these presentation I ask Richard Skipper if he will come as Carol Channing. He is a very generous performer and an incredible person.
He does a lot besides Carol. He's an actor." The event was moderated by Donna Hanover.
Eileen Brennen created the role of Irene Malloy in the original Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! which opened at the St. James Theater on January 16, 1964.

"Eileen and I were actually very close friends. But we shared a dressing room and you can get on each other's nerves.
She said - 'Well! I have exclusivity of the dressing. I said; 'Well, so do I?"

"So, they put up a curtain. But the curtain didn't work. It wasn't good enough. I was going to call my agent and she was going to call her agent. The producers told the theater to build a wall.
They did. They built a wall in this tiny, stupid dressing room.
The only thing is, she had the air-conditioner and I had the radiator. So, she froze in the winter and I was hot in the summer."
Matthew Broderick. For him the wall came tumbling down. Broderick is one of several celebrities who penned an endorsement for the back cover of Lee's book
"That wall lasted until Matthew Broderick was to have that as his dressing room. He tried to walk in and they had to take the wall down," she said of the dressing room Broderick used while starring in The Producers.

"Eileen and I have remained friends. She is a marvelous, wonderful person," emphasized Lee.

Broderick as well as Angela Lansbury, Jules Feiffer and Charles Busch have written book endorsements.

It was Sondra Lee that helped push Charles Busch into the well deserved spotlight. Lee produced Busch's famous show Shanghai Moon.

"Charles is a friend and I felt this particular show of his, which I was very familiar with, was great. I took it to a producer friend of mine who cocked around. Finally, I went to the Drama Department, which was an independent company. They said they would do it with me and that is how it got done."
"I'm going to produce something else very soon," she disclosed about Hillbilly Women, a drama with music by Elizabeth Stearns, based on the book by Kathy Kahn.
"It's a seven character musical play about the women of Appalachia. I think it has a great deal to do with America, especially in the 70's. These women are amazing.
Nothing much has changed," said Lee about the play which Samuel French, Inc describes as; "Based on interviews in Appalachia, this docu drama features seven women who reveal in song and narrative their personal stories of survival against incredible odds."

"They are poor and a lot of them are products of incest," continued Lee. "They made the Levi jeans. They have black lung disease. I think it is an important piece of American history.
I have music from The Judd's and Peter, Paul and Mary, old Union songs. Things that are meaningful."

"I'm a member of the Actors Studio and about 30 years ago I saw this play done - very differently - with very young actresses from The Actors Studio. This version is with much older actresses and it is just brilliant."

Most dancers don't get into The Actors Studio.

"I am a serous actress and also a serious painter," she explained. "You audition to get into Actors Studio.
In its heyday, was an elitist gymnasium for actors to work on their craft. I learned to direct and experiment and work from feed back."

Enzo Stuarti was in the flop Reuben, Reuben but went on to become a Las Vegas headliner

Lee reports no bad career experiences, "although there was one that was a huge flop - Reuben, Reuben by Mark Blitzstein. It's like if you have a child that isn't quite right and somehow it's you favorite of all your children."
"On opening night in Boston it was like being in Europe. People were booing and people in the audience turned on each other. I remember the Second Act opened in an insane asylum. Eddie Albert, who was the star, had the line - 'My God, I must have been crazy.'
Somebody in the audience said - 'You are! You are!'"

"The people in the play were amazing, talented people," she said referring to Kaye Ballard and George Gaynes.

Thank you ALL for the gifts you have given us and CONTINUE to give us!

Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!

Here's to an INCREDIBLE October for ALL...with NO challenges!


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Richard Skipper,


  1. Another fantastic blog. I don't know how you do it.

  2. Thank you for playing "Send in the Clowns" with Christine Ebersol! Her voice is so pretty. I have not gotten to see her on broadway! She was so great on tv!!
    Richard, I am so proud of all you are doing. I am still going to vow to meet you some dow. Fibromyalgia and all other illness that disease brings is not going to keep me down. You are so living my life, lol. Keep going my friend! God is blessing you. 💛 💜 💚 Hugs to you, Danny, & Horace And kitty. Tebecca