Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Merriest!

Smiles for the frowners
Salutes to the uppers
Boosts for the downers
May the day be the bowl of cherriest
And to all, the Merriest!

Happy Thursday!
I hope this finds you well. If you are here in New York, you know that the holiday season is being thrust upon us...whether you're ready or not! One week from today is Thanksgiving and the days seem to be coming faster than you can shake a stick at them. I miss the days when the excitement would build up to Halloween and then Thanksgiving and THEN Christmas!

Nowadays when you go to buy your Halloween merchandise (which is now giving Christmas a run for its money), you have to muddle through the Christmas merchandise to get to the Halloween merchandise! Our local Lowe's is already sold out of most Christmas items.
I don't want to rush you anymore than you've already been rushed but The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show is already in full swing and so are several holiday themed channels on Sirius Radio!
I've even been to my first Christmas Show at Feinstein's! AND picked up a Christmas CD to kick start my day.

More about that a little later in my blog. On many levels, I feel as if Christmas has already come early this year. This week, I hosted an incredible panel at The Sheet Music Society. That went beyond my wildest expectations. It was a sell out crowd. Same thing happened with a workshop I taught on Tuesday night. I saw an incredible new (for me) singer on Monday night at Feinstein's. Monday night at Feinstein's
Tonight, I'm taking a workshop through Ken Davenport's organization, and on Sunday, I'm seeing Beth Holland at The Laurie Beechman Theatre.

In my workshop on Tuesday night, I talked about the importance of writing a blog. Since I started writing my blog, incredible doors have opened for me. When I did my blog on Jerry Herman in July, Linda Amiel Burns, a friend and president of The New York Sheet Music Society, suggested that I do something at NYSMS. I said pick a date and a time and I will go from there.

Linda picked November 12th and I immediately called Lee Roy Reams. He said if he was in town, absolutely. Then I called Amber Edwards (documentary, Words And Music by Jerry Herman). She said yes! She put me in touch with Donald Pippin who also said yes. And in quick succession Klea Blackhurst,Ken Bloom, Marge Champion, Sondra Lee, and Miles Phillips. A big WOW!
All of the elements came together. It was a huge turn out. I've been told one of the hugest! They also had 45 guests beyond their normal turn out.

Here are some testimonials:
The panel honoring Jerry Herman at The Sheet Music Society on Saturday, November 12th, 2011 was one of THE best panels I have ever seen. Richard Skipper's hosting was exemplary.

I'm not a reviewer, however I've produced many events, panel discussions, etc. and I know what it takes. Of course, Jerry Herman is a gem. Richard did him proud.
Richard raised the bar. He selected ideal panelists and asked the questions that allowed each of them to shine.
Bobbie Horowitz

This past Saturday I attended Richard Skipper's tribute to Jerry Herman. It was just magnificent. Famous entertainers who worked with and knew Jerry Herman on a personal level talked about his life, told great stories that I was not aware of and more than that sang some great songs. Even songs that were cut but were fantastic! It was a truly great show produced by Richard. We also saw some videos that were not seen before showing a young Jerry Herman singing.Everyone loved it! I can't wait till Richard's next project. By the way I am so thrilled that another Jerry Herman tribute will be done by Richard at the Triad in NYC on Nov.
28th with a fabulous cast. DO NOT miss it!!! You will thank me and especially Richard for attending!
Ed Stimler
Forest Hills, NY

Sandi Durell in her comprehensive coverage for The Times Square Chronicles wrote, "Continuing its great tradition of keeping the Great American Songbook alive and growing, the NYSMS welcomed Richard Skipper and a Tribute to songwriter Jerry Herman at its monthly meeting in November.
Skipper worked tirelessly to produce a program of Broadway theatre folks whose lives intertwined with the man who is most popular for writing the music and lyrics to “Hello Dolly,” “Mame, “ La Cage aux Folles,” “Mack  and Mabel.”
The panel consisted of Ken Bloom who wrote the book “Jerry Herman: The Lyrics;” Marge Champion, dancer-choreographer and half the team with former husband Gower Champion during the Golden Age of the Silver Screen, Gower directing and choreographing “Hello Dolly”on Broadway; Donald Pippin, conductor on Herman’s many shows (Mame, La Cage, Mack and Mabel) and recordings.

The New York Sheet Music Society was established in 1980. It began with a small but dedicated group of collectors, who, through the courtesy of the late Sammy Cahn, president of the Songwriters' Hall of Fame, met at One Times Square to exchange sheet music and stories about songwriters, singers, and songs. Now a thriving non-profit corporation, the Society has over 400 members spread across the nation.

Overall, A Wonderful day! On Monday night, I was invited to go to Feinstein's to see a show. I had no idea who I was going to see. The person who was treating me to the show had one caveat...that I write about it in my blog. I thought what if I hate the show?
OMG! Well, I'm here to tell you! I loved the show and it is going to be a pleasure to write about her. Her name is Joanne Tatham and keep your eyes out for her. She is an attractive jazz singer in the vein of Julie London. The purpose of the evening was to showcase her new Christmas CD, "The Merriest".
A great smart classy show with great musicians. Deserves more exposure! Everyone in the audience was treated to her new Christmas CD. I was also triply blessed (is there such a word as triply) when Joanne gave me another CD, Making Light. As I said earlier, I began the day listening to the Christmas CD. I listened to both. Joanne tells in her show that she loves Christmas and that she counted 94 Christmas albums that she owns.

I am in her camp. There are certain Christmas songs that I hear and they instantly transport me to a memory and/or emotion from the past.

I also have a huge number of Christmas albums and CDs. From Thanksgiving till New Year's, they are playing continuously in our home. Joanne's latest cd is now among that collection. My favorite track is Jardin Botanico which is sublime and on Making Light, My Old Flame.
My only quibble on both CDs is that they are too short.
 I also have a huge number of Christmas albums and CDs. From Thanksgiving till New Year's, they are playing continuously in our home. Joanne's latest cd is now among that collection. My favorite track is Jardin Botanico which is sublime and on Making Light, My Old Flame.

My only quibble on both CDs is that they are too short. And for those of you planning your winter get-away, go see Joanne in Palm Springs on Sunday, December 4th for three sets from 2 -5 pm when she sits in as special guest with the Desert Cities Jazz Band at Vicky's of Santa Fe. You'll love the great food and ambiance, and you'll love the straight-ahead jazz of this cool group of guys.

Thank you, Joanne! I will be following you!
You can too by visiting Joanne's website.

On Tuesday night, I did my workshop that I call Beyond The 3 F's (Friends, Family, Fans)on Building An Audience. I did this as part of the continuing education series for artists. We had a full house and I am thrilled at the results.

Here are a couple of testimonials:
I attended Richard Skipper's workshop at The Arts Council of Rockland on Tuesday night (11/15/11). I was prepared for an evening of scribbling down dry information which I would have promptly ignored when I got home. Instead I was treated to a fun and engaging evening. Richard provided many "ahh ha" moments. He made the information relevant, and instilled a sense of urgency to do it now!
Most importantly for me, Richard gave me the permission I was not aware I needed to pursue an audience outside of my comfort zone. Thank you Richard Skipper!
Joanna Morton Gary
Spring Glen, NY

I enjoyed Richard Skipper's Class so very much last night. Like Richard, it was lively and entertaining; AND it was also very informative. Please-for the sake of all of us Artists who know so much about the "Show" end of Show Business, but so often know very little about the "Business" end of Show Business-keep these intelligent, common-sense-filled Classes going. We need them, and we need RICHARD SKIPPER to keep teaching them!
Ronnie Giles
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

Tonight, I'm taking a "similar" class through Ken Davenport Theatricals. Will give you a full report tomorrow.
Speaking of Ken, he writes one of my favorite blogs, The Producer's Perspective. Right now, his biggest show on the boards is the first major revival of Godspell Yesterday, he wrote about creating a show "club" like a book "club". I took his idea and built upon it. What do you think?

Taking a page from Ken Davenport:
The Richard Skipper Celebrates... Jerry Herman Club!
It's simple really. 6 easy steps. Ready?
1. Declare yourself the organizer. Invite friends . . . at least 5 . . . to join your party on the 28th. (IF you succeed, You will be comped in to the show on the 28th PLUS your two drink minimum!)

2 Get 10 to join you and receive a gift basket
3 Get 15 to join you and receive free PR on your next project!
4 Get 20 and receive 2 free tickets to the Broadway show of your choice!
5. Congratulate yourself, because you just helped to create a very special night!
6. Repeat for next month's show!

Quote of the Day: "I get inspired by a lot of stuff, but of course my only responsibility is to the TEXT." - Patti LuPone

I have been fortunate enough to call among my friends several celebrities. The one thing that I've gleaned from them beyond their bodies of work is their humanness.

Thank you to all of the artists mentioned in this blog for the gifts you ALL have given to the world!

Thank you for joining me on these nostalgic journeys! 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, 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!


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Tomorrow's blog will be HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOHNNY MERCER...I'm Open To Suggestions!



Richard Skipper,

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