Sunday, October 2, 2011

An Abundance Of Riches!

"It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it."
-W. Somerset Maugham, English writer (1874-1965)



Happy Sunday!
What a glorious Sunday here in New York. It was a perfect crisp Sunday here following a great night last night. Most of you know that my partner, Dan Sherman, and I got married in July when it became legal in New York. Well, last night, we exchanged new vows with 160 of our closest friends and family present.
Reverend Joshua Ellis officiated. When I first announced that Danny and I were getting married, 150 friends quickly told us that they wanted to be at our wedding. Most of them were present last night. If anyone reading this has any qualms about not being invited, please do not take this personally. We were limited to 160 people. And between Danny's family,(my family chose not to attend), friends from all areas of our lives, We felt awful that we could not invite more. It truly is a daunting task. IF you wanted to be there and were not, let's do dinner soon. You pick the date and time and we'll have you over. We have an abundance of riches on the number of friends we have in our lives.
Danny Sherman and I met on the Memorial Day weekend 1990.
I was working at Marie’s Crisis on Grove Street.

I was also in rehearsal at that time for John Glines' MEN OF MANHATTAN at The Grove Street Playhouse. Danny came into Marie’s on Saturday night (May 26th). However, we were so busy I never met him that night. As we were closing down, the bartender told me that there was a “cute guy in earlier that night who was interested in me”!
I asked why he didn’t tell me.
He said don’t worry, he’ll be back Monday night when you’re not so busy.
(Angela Dirkson and Glen Charlow, pictured left)
When I came in to work on Monday night, Danny was sitting at the end of the bar!
It was a very slow night so I was able to keep Danny company between customers.
He stayed my entire shift! I got off work at 4AM!

After we closed down, we went to The Sheridan Square Diner for breakfast and talked into 7AM. As we were saying our goodbyes, he asked where I lived. I lived at 119th and Amsterdam at the time. He offered to drop me off on his way home. When he mentioned that he lived in Rockland County, I had no idea where that was. When he got to my place, I asked if he wanted to crash since he had been up all night. No ulterior motives! He thought that was a great idea. Don’t worry, we were completely respectable. He came in and we went to sleep until 1PM (Yes, I remember all the details!) Before he left, we exchanged numbers and promised to stay in touch.
After he left, I got a call from a friend of mine who was the house manager for NUNSENSE which was playing at The Douglas Fairbanks Theatre on Theatre Row. He had two tickets if I wanted to see the show that night. I immediately thought of Danny and called and left a message on his answering machine (Remember this was the days before cell phones). He called me back when he got home and would love to go. We agreed to meet at the theatre. We saw the show, went to dinner at The Cottonwood Café in the Village and pretty much have been together ever since!
Men of Manhattan was a success. We were dark on Mondays and Tuesdays. When I met Danny, he was the office manager for a Landscape Architect by the name of Schnadelbach (we were together a couple of years before he started his own firm). He arranged his schedule to be off on Mondays and Tuesdays. He would pick me up at the theatre after my Sunday night performances and we would go up to Cutchogue for my dark days. He had a beach house that he had rented throughout the summer. Many times, other cast members would join us and on one wonderful occasion Danny’s late sister Beth and his sister in law Dawn and their kids joined us.
It was an incredible summer on so many levels!
In September, my roommate wanted to expand his teaching (he was tutor at Columbia)and wanted to expand my bedroom into a viable teaching studio. He suggested to Danny that I move in with him. I did and we’ve been together 21 years.
In all honesty, we never discussed getting married. For all the right reasons, I hoped, however, that it would happen in my lifetime for anyone who wishes that. I don’t think it would have affected our lives one way or the other. I, personally, am interested in equal rights for ALL and have issues with oppression of any kind. So, I followed the road leading to New York’s historic law with great anticipation. Friends kept asking if we were going to get married and I kept singing Annie Oakley’s part from OLD FASHIONED WEDDING:When the law passed in early July, Danny and I were watching the hearings. When Governor Cuomo signed it into law, I very excitedly posted on FACEBOOK that we were getting married! Within 30 minutes, we had gotten 150 hits from friends saying they wanted to come to our wedding (many were present last night)

Shortly after that, Danny and I were at a marriage equality celebration in Nyack. Many friends, and a few reporters tried to get a firm commitment from us; we were still undecided. Would we? And if so, when?
Then the week before the historic first day of same-sex weddings in New York (July 24th), Christine Quinn and Mayor Bloomberg decided to have a lottery to try and keep a gauge on the number of people wanting to get married on the first day. The lottery would allow couples to get get marriage licenses and get married the same day without the usual waiting period. I immediate registered! When Danny got home that night, I told him that I had entered us in the lottery. When Danny asked what that meant, I explained what would happen. I said, like Dolly Levi, if they call our names, perhaps it is a sign! If they don’t call our names, it would not change our lives and we could make that decision at a later date.
I was called by the city clerk’s office on Thursday, July 21st congratulating Danny and me on getting married! My heart started racing! What if Danny didn’t want this. When he came home that night, I asked him if he would like to elope on Sunday! He thought at first that I was joking. I said that if he didn’t want to, I would understand. But this was a chance for us to quietly do this without any fanfare with just a couple of friends present. And that if we decided to have a big party later, we could do that. He felt this way made so much sense. We went on line and filled in all the paperwork. We then invited our friends Pat and Joe Sopiak to be our witnesses. When they got married 19 years ago, it was just the four of us with a justice of the peace. Then our friend Leslie Orofino called me to find out if I knew about the lottery (she was going to sign us up on her own!). I told her that I knew all about it. She asked me if we were going to sign up. I said we did. She asked what we would do if they called our names.
I said they already have. She said What are you going to do? I said Danny and I are getting married on Sunday! She started screaming, “Tom! Tom!! Richard and Danny are getting married on Sunday!” She then said she wanted to be there for us. I, of course wanted her to be there, but we needed to be at city hall by 7:30 Sunday morning! She said, “I don’t care! We want to be there for you! We’ll pick you up!” I said great! And we planned for that!
(Sue Matsuki)Friday night, Danny and I went and picked out our rings.
(Gretchen Reinhagen and her partner, Deb Meyers)The single greatest thing about Danny is that he has truly loved me for better or worse since the beginning. I KNOW it hasn’t always been easy. However, he has ALWAYS been supportive of me and supported me when the going has been tough for me when this crazy career I’m in continually tears me down. He has made the past 21 years beyond anything I even dreamed was possible. I am devoted to him and always will be. I desired last night to share my love with him in the presence of my friends and family.

I knew that I was in love with him the moment I met him and that love has not wavered at all. I cannot imagine my life without him.
I never thought, under the circumstance of my life, that marriage would ever be possible. God has given us this gift and I promise to cherish this gift for as long as we live. This is definitely something I am not taking lightly. When he said yes to getting married after 21 years, it was just as exciting as that first day we met. You more than anyone know I’m not perfect but somehow I feel perfect in his eyes.
(with Jana Robbins)

Thoughts of all the birthdays we’ve shared, and the holidays, and the births, and the passing of friends all flood through my memory as I write these words.
It has been Danny and Richard for 21 years, but now, more than ever, it truly feels like US TOGETHER.
I, Richard Skipper once again, take Daniel Sherman to be my partner, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

Thank you, Glen Charlow, Fran Leonardis, and Miles Phillips (our BEST MAN!) for the photos in this blog! I cannot thank Glen Charlow, Best Man Miles Phillips and all around friend Sue Matsuki in their help and contributions to OUR WEDDING! I also would like to thank Leslie Orofino, Annie Hughes, Reverend Joshua Ellis, Jana Robbins, Sheldon Harnick, Lee Roy Reams, Lenny Babbish, The Rich Siegel Orchestra, Karen Skoglund, Susie and the entire staff of Duke's Ocean Grill in Tappan, and especially all of our guests. OUR TRUE FAMILY AND FRIENDS!

Thank you for joining me on these journey! I've added a new aspect to my blog.. I am now answering 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 when I receive it







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


CALL SOMEONE YOU HAVEN'T SPOKEN TO IN A WHILE AND TELL THEM YOU LOVE THEM BEFORE GOING TO BED TONIGHT




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

2 comments:

  1. You have the life that TV movies are made of. I have a question that I will email to you.
    Cheers,
    Stephan

    ReplyDelete
  2. "...MORE I CANNOT WISH YOU.." EXCEPT TO SAY, HUGE CONGRATULATIONS!! READING ABOUT YOUR BEAUTIFUL JOURNEY TOGETHER AND YOU GRATITUDE FILLS ME WITH LOVING EMOTION!
    THANK YOU, SWEET RICHARD FOR SHARING YOUR ABUNDANCE, AND I WISH YOU AND DANNY CONTINUED HAPPINESS.

    MUCH LOVE,

    BARBARA BRUSSELL

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