Saturday, December 17, 2011

Celebrating Anthony Reimer!


"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" ~ Will Rogers and Proverbs 3:5-6

 Happy Saturday!

 I  hope this finds you at peace and having a wonderful day. I truly am in the Christmas spirit having seen two wonderful holiday shows this season. 



Home For The Holidays at The Westchester Broadway Dinner Theatre and Thursday night, White Christmas at The Papermill Playhouse. How lucky I am to have such great theatres in close proximity to where I live. 
Through the magic of Facebook and social media, I have been making incredible connections from all areas! I have been lucky enough to connect with David Edwards who wrote, directed, and starred in Home For The Holidays at WBT as well as his partner who co-wrote the book and several other cast members.
The same is now happening with White Christmas.
'Cactus Flower' - Capital Repertory Theatre - with Don Noble - 2010
In the last few days, I have written about Beth Glover, one of the incredible cast members. Beth has been a friend of mine since 1998.   Yesterday, in addition to the history of the song, White Christmas, I wrote about Larry Blank, who did the orchestrations. 


Look for future blogs on Marc Bruni, the director, Lighting designer Ken Billington, who also happens to be a friend, Lorna Luft, and artistic director of The Papermill Playhouse, Mark Hoebee.
Today, I'm going to introduce you to Anthony Reimer. Anthony Reimer lights up the stage every time he makes an entrance. He plays various roles in the show. We first see him in the show as the announcer for The Ed Sullivan Show. He also plays Mike Nulty, the stage manager of the barn extravaganza being produced AND he is the voice of the Regency Room Announcer!  If that wasn't enough, he is also the understudy of Sheldrake!
'Cactus Flower' - Off-Broadway, Daryl Roth Producer - with Emily Walton, Maxwell Caulfield, Lois Robbins and Jenni Barber - 2011


White Christmas is Anthony's Papermill Playhouse debut and he is off to a great start! He has been seen in Cactus Flower at the Westside Theatre, produced by Daryl Roth. 

Regionally, he has appeared at Capital Repertory Theatre, Cape May Stage, Pensacola Shakespeare Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Theatre, Gateway Playhouse, and Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.  

'Twelfth Night' - Alabama Shakespeare Festival - with John-Michael Marrs - 2005
When Anthony was 4 years old, his parents decided, last minute, to take him to Boulder's Dinner Theatre's production of Cole Porter's "Can-Can". 
They got tickets in the last row, and once the show started, even with his little body propped up on a raised seat, he couldn't see! So, what did he decide to do? He got up, during the show, and made his way through the tables and chairs on down to the edge of the stage. No one stopped him, no one moved him. He simply put his little head on the edge of the stage to watch the rest of the show.
'Drowsy Chaperone' - Gateway Playhouse - 2008

It had a huge impact on him.  
He has this vivid picture in his brain of this one moment in the show. He turned to look at one of the actors on stage and the actor smiled and winked at him. Who knew that breaking the forth wall to a four year old would change things in him so drastically? Anthony's mother said after that day, he wouldn't stop hamming it up around the house. For instance, she said he would never sit and watch the TV Shows themselves, but act out the commercials. A little star (or ham) was born!
 
"I Hate Hamlet' - Cape May Playhouse - with David Burney, John Patrick Hayden - 2010
Anthony was born in Denver, Colorado and raised just outside of Boulder. 
He saw that first show, and subsequently EVERY other show that Boulder's Dinner Theatre did until he was 18. 
 
Nobody in Anthony's family was in the arts, per se, but they always have been supporters. 
His mother worked in the Public School system until she retired last year, and his father still works as an aerospace engineer. They were both champions of education, so when he expressed interest in the arts, they allowed him to pursue it, as long as he was willing to study it and take classes.

 
Anthony's parents drove him to choir practice, picked him up after school from drama club, took him to auditions/rehearsals at the local community theatre. He also had a HUGE VHS collection and either recorded or bought movies time and time again. He was addicted to comedies. Also, he couldn't get enough of the 2 hour sitcom block on Channel 4 after school. It started with "I Love Lucy", then "The Honeymooners", "Bewitched", and "Dick Van Dyke Show". 
"My mother must've thought me crazy that I never wanted to watch cartoons, only the black and white sitcoms from the 50s & 60s. I owe a lot of my love for comedy thanks to those two hours everyday". Anthony says.
 
If you count Anthony's very first time on stage, it was in the 5th Grade play. "Sign of the Seahorse", he played Mr. Trout the owner of the Seahorse Cafe. "If I remember correctly I thought if I cleaned up a lot that would give me enough stage "business" during my scenes on stage. Mr. Trout was going to be a very clean owner. I had a trusty hand towel I took everywhere with me to wipe up, very method", Anthony says.
 
Anthony was first paid to be in a show when he was 18. He moved to New York, right out of High School and got hired by the New York Dinner Theatre ("I guess I owe a lot to dinner theatre") They were a hit in Long Island and New Jersey with an interactive dinner theatre show called,  "Joey and Mary's Irish/Italian Wedding" Basically, a rip-off of "Tony and Tina's Wedding" in which the bride is from an Irish Family and the groom is from the stereotypical Italian/Mob family. He was hired to play "Tony Rigatoni", one of the Godfather's bodyguards, although through an accident, he made his debut as the Godfather himself. He went to watch the show. The executive producer wanted him to watch the show before he went into it to get the "feel" for the show. Good idea, right? Except for the fact that the actor playing the Godfather never showed up! It was 1/2 hour and the Stage Manager is calling him, and can't get a hold of him (before cell phones obviously) and then one of the actors had a bright idea, "Hey! Let's put in the new guy!" They taught Anthony the part as he was performing. Literally, actors would come up to him and say, "Okay, when I say this in 10 minutes, you say this.", "You go here", "You stand here". He says he has never been so terrified in his life. Isn't that the actors nightmare? Being onstage and not knowing your lines or what play you're in?! Yep, and that was his first professional gig. He stayed in the company, and continued to pursue this career despite having the life scared out of him. 

 
Anthony tells me one of the only reasons he has a career as an actor at all is because of his arts education. He moved to NYC right after high school to attend what was then called "The School for Film and Television" (it's now called the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts), once he finished there, he completed his BA in acting from the University of Northern Colorado and then went right into the MFA Program through the Alabama Shakespeare Festival/University of Alabama. All the contacts he made, all the networking he did at those three venues were imperitive to his career. He feels so strongly about it, that he went back to work for his Alma Mater, The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, where he teaches on the road, and recruits high school thespians both in the US and overseas. Anthony has seen firsthand how a strong arts education can promote the skills children need to be successful. Exposure to art education promotes self-directed learning, and sharpens critical and creative skills. He owes it all to those teachers. 

But sadly, nowadays, arts programs are the first to be sacrificed. He once went to speak at a high school in which the art teacher explained to him that the principal told her that “classroom space is limited” and her art "studios" are now only contained in a cart that is wheeled from room to room. It happens when “they can fit it in”. He also visited a high school in Pennsylvania where, and he's not joking, the football coach also directed the musical. The coach told me Anthony, "I don't know a thing about Theatre.". It breaks my heart.  Anthony's high School theatre teacher, Ms  Collins, had this quote on her office door, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. 

 
Anthony believes, as I do, that Carol Channing is the definition of an entertainer. His first exposure to Carol was actually watching her as The White Queen in a "Alice in Wonderland" that was made for TV. 
She had this song, about Jam that he used to sing over and over again. "Jam tomorrow, Jam 
 yesterday, but never, ever Jam today."
 
"She was phenomenal. And, I was privileged in 1994 to see her kick off her 30th Anniversary tour of "Hello, Dolly!" in Denver", says Anthony!
"Seeing her play the role that brought her so much acclaim can only described as incredible. Of course she should be inducted into the Kennedy Center Honors. 
Her work spans decades and she's a pillar to the theatre community and show business alike. 
Name one person in this business who hasn't at least attempted to do Carol Channing impression. After all, she did sing "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."


Next Anthony will be filming a pilot for Comedy Central called, "Life Adjustments" where he plays  an Insurance Adjustor. 

 
Anthony's biggest success in Show Business? 
That I’m making a living do it! Also, I love working with some of the greats, getting to speak and play some of the best characters ever written, and the fact that it isn't even close to being over yet. 
 
What was your lowest low and how did you surpass that?
I think the lowest low is when your good old friends, Ms. Self-doubt and Mr. Self-Defeating-Behavior come by for a visit. Frequently I battle the demons of "Am I good enough?", "Why would they pick me?", "I sound terrible.", "I wouldn't hire me either." These phrases are common at auditions, first "read throughs", in the middle of a run, and after you've finished a project. The most important thing I learned was to not let it get to me. I began writing down my strengths/weaknesses as an actor a couple of years ago. I literally have a sheet of paper in my "auditions folder", that I've divided in two. 
One side, I list my strengths. The other side lists my weaknesses. It is in pencil. I am constantly adding an subtracting from these lists. Ever evolving. Reminding myself of what I'm good at, reminding myself of things I need to improve on, and making the steps to get better. No matter what "thought" creeps up, I can always remind myself what I'm good at. It's a great remedy to a bad audition.

 
What one change would you like to see in today’s industry?
I'd like to see more productions become successful because they're genuinely good productions, not just because they have a big Box Office name. 
 


Who are your models and influences as an artist
John Candy

 

Ernest Borgnine
Will Rogers
Anthony and his parents
                                                                  and my Grandma Mary. 
 
What do you think ultimately made you become a performer? 
I loved it. I still do. 

 
Are you happy at the point you are right now in your career?
I am. I think everyone is exactly where they should be. I have to remind myself of that at times, like when I find myself comparing my career to others.

 
Do you feel you have achieved what you set out to do?
I don't think so. I mean, why would I still be doing this? If I feel like I've achieved what I set out to do, I should probably start looking for another profession. I have a lot of goals, some are checked off, and some I haven't even touched yet. 

 
What do you do to remain positive when life's hiccups get you down?
I pray. I believe that God (or what you perceive to be God) is there looking out for all of us. Guiding us, watching us, and waiting to use us. 
 
If you had all the money in the world...that you needed...would  you continue working.
Of course! And then I would buy a theater and put all my friends in the shows and do what I want to do. I guess if I had all the money in the world, I'd be a producer. :0)

Check Anthony out in White Christmas at The Papermill Playhouse through December 24th. For more on Anthony Reimer, please visit his website



Bob Greenberg and Jim Carey, SNL
 I know Anthony from THE HONEYMOANERS Show that I do from time-to-time. He plays Maurice the Tailor. He's a flamboyant French Tailor. Ralph thinks Alice is having an affair him but he's actually designing Ralph a new custom-made bus driver's uniform as a surprise for his 40th Birthday. The Party is also a surprise for Ralph but he puts 2&2 together and gets 5! And the Comedy ensues! I've always found Anthony to be a true Pro. Well-liked, humble and supportive. Oddly enough, he rarely heralds his "brags" so I rarely know what he's up to 'til after. I think he should promote himself more but perhaps he doesn't have to? A swell guy... Happy Holidays! Best, BOB GREENBERG



 Anthony is wonderful to work with, a joy to be dressing! Very nice and entertaining.
Erica M. Payne, Anthony's dresser on White Christmas

 He's an amazing talent, and an awesome human being. He and I have had many great times together.
Asedo Wilson


He was one of my admission counselors at SFT. He's a wonderful man who's got me interested in being in improv as well as pushing me to strive to better myself as person and actor
Derrick Arthur


Anthony is total fun to work with on and off the stage. He comes from a place of joy when he works and performs on the stage. That is always the recipe for a generous and heartfelt performance....he's an actor that really listens and is in the moment in his scenework. I hope to work with him again soon!
Tony Yazbeck (Phil Davis), White Christmas

Go see Anthony Reimer and the amazing cast of White Christmas now at the Papermill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey through December 24th! You'll thank me!



It all started when... 

Broadway legend Carol Channing received her honorary doctorate from California State University Stanislaus in 2004. Since then she and her husband Harry Kullijian have been promoting arts in education through this non-profit foundation. ChanningARTS (Arts Returned To Schools) encourages you to become involved in your community and local PTA to return arts education to all public schools.

They're a 501(c)3 organization and are able to receive your tax deductible contributions by check or PayPal. Please donate today!


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@RichardSkipper.com




"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!


RESERVE TODAY FOR MONDAY NIGHT!


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                                      Tomorrow's blog will be Stocking Stuffers and Great Gift Ideas!


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

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