Thursday, December 15, 2011

Celebrating Beth Glover!

Live with love and forge ahead with truth and joy.


Happy Thursday!
The above quote is Beth Glover's personal philosophy of life. 
It epitomizes her. I have been fortunate enough to know Beth for many years.

Let me tell you about the road that led to Beth for me. 

In 1991, I heard that the Hampton Playhouse was doing Hello, Dolly! I had just started performing as Carol Channing so I went in and auditioned. 

I wasn't a member of Actor's Equity at the time but I was Equity eligible (I don't think that exists anymore) so I was able to audition. I was the last audition of the day. 

I walked in, as Richard Skipper, and sang Before The Parade Passes By as Carol Channing. 
Al Christie and John Vari, who ran the theatre, couldn't have been nicer. They got the biggest kick out of my audition. 

After the audition, John Vari met me outside and said that I gave a "brilliant audition" but that the role had been cast! That went to the amazing Deb Girdler who had been a regular at the Hampton Playhouse for many years. 
I wish that I had seen her in that role. She is a true crowd pleaser! 
Before I left the audition, John told me that they would create an opportunity for me for another season...that he did want to work with me. I left elated that they liked me but truly never thought anything would ever come from it.

Move ahead to 1997...six years later! By this point, I had headlined in Atlantic City, had won a few awards and was getting quite a reputation, a good one!,... as Carol Channing. 

One night, Danny and I went to see a show at Don't Tell Mama. 
Lenny Watts, who was waiting tables there AND was also a regular at Theatre By The Sea, told me that TBTS was looking for a "Carol Channing" for their upcoming season. They were doing a show called Little Rhodie's Burlesque Extravaganza.

I contacted TBTS and got an audition. 
I came in and auditioned for the casting director and one of the directors for their upcoming season. I nailed the audition and got a call back. This time I would be auditioning for the artistic director, and ALL of the directors for their upcoming season.  


I came to the call back, AS Richard NOT Carol! HOWEVER, I never broke character. I came in with "diamond rings" for everyone. There were seven people sitting behind a table. I went down the line and as I went down the line and presented them with a "diamond". I acknowledged where I "knew them" from. "I remember you from the opening night of "Hello, Dolly" in Alabama...", "I remember YOU from the opening night of "Hello, Dolly!  in Alaska..", "I remember YOU from the opening night of "Hello, Dolly! in Arizona..." on down the line. 
THEN, I gave a mini concert and said goodbye. After I exited, Richard Erickson, the artistic director, and said I got the job. They didn't know what they were going to do with me but they would figure it out. 

You see, they really weren't looking for a "Carol Channing". They actually put that in their casting notice as a joke! 
Because they were doing a burlesque show, they wanted to see what kind of nut jobs would audition!?!?!
I gave them exactly what they were looking for! I asked for my Equity Card and was told that they couldn't do it. 

Shortly after signing the contract, I got a call from John Vari, from SIX YEARS AGO! They wanted me as a HEADLINER for THEIR upcoming Burlesque show. It would begin two weeks after I closed in Rhode Island. 
I couldn't believe my luck! It gets better! I asked for my Equity card and got it! THAT'S how I got my Equity card! 

Theatre By The Sea was true to their word. They did not know what to do with me. I sat at rehearsals for five days doing absolutely nothing. I don't think the director of my show wanted me. One day, Richard Erikson came into a rehearsal to see how things were going and was appalled to find out that they had not found a spot for me in the show. 
They ended up writing a parody of me about being "back" in Rhode Island. It seems that Carol Channing and Mayor Cinanci of Providence had had an altercation when she had done the last tour of Dolly through Providence.
Several years before she was there in a revival of Hello Dolly! at PPAC Buddy was going to award her the key to the city or some such recognition in a public ceremony. Prior to this happening, Buddy and his driver/bodyguard had a little intercourse (the verbal kind) with one of the people who worked for the show-- the stage manager. Now Mr. Cianci was backstage and smoking. When told by the stage manager that he couldn't smoke there, Buddy acknowledged him, with a couple of expletives that were demeaning and hateful to gays. When Miss Channing found out, she cancelled the ceremony and refused to receive the key from a mayor who was so intolerant.

They also inserted me into a few sketches. At the time, I was also appearing as Judy Garland. It was exhausting going back and forth between the two "characters" but I had fun.


One night, John and Alfred and Stephanie Patrick-Chalfont from Hampton Playhouse came to Rhode Island to see "if they were getting their money's worth".



John felt that my talent had been wasted at TBTS and vowed that they would give me star treatment at Hampton and they did! I was showcased in each act giving a mini-concert. I also appeared in a few sketches as Carol. It was a totally wonderful experience.

One day, while sitting on the lawn, I hear John and the director discussing one of the sketches in the show. Remember, this was a Burlesque Show.  There was a sketch with a voluptuous blonde who goes into an office with her two "puppies". Because of her accent, she calls them her "poopies". She asks the guy in the sketch to take out her "poopies". He thinks she is saying "boobies" which makes the entire sketch absolutely hilarious. Especially in the hands of Beth Glover and David Weynand.

They needed two small dogs for the sketch. Danny and I just a month before adopted a Yorkie named Chip.
When I heard they needed a dog, I jumped up and said I could get one dog for the sketch! Danny met Margo Lawless and I half way and I got Chip into the company. He became the company mascot. The EMCs loved him and he bonded, as I did, with Beth.
In Gypsy, Tessie Tura tells Gypsy Louise that sharing a dressing room is a lot like sleeping together. Doing stock with someone is takes that statement to a whole other level. I loved the weeks I spent with Beth Glover.

Photo courtesy: Angel Desai
A few years later, I saw her one woman show.
Beth's self-revealing one-woman show Impaled on a Magnolia, (co-written with playwright/lyricist Randy Buck) was critically acclaimed. Rex Reed, in The Observer insightfully reported that it was: “Clever and hilarious. Beth Glover is a formidable cross between Marilyn Monroe and Fannie Flagg.”It truly is one of the best pieces of theatre I have ever seen.

 
I'm a big fan of the lady - she was one of the understudies in a play I did this past spring and I got to see her rehearse - she was terrific! A delight to be with.
-Angel Desai

(l-r) Bevery Ward, Ryan Swearingen, Joseph Kolinski (behind), Denise Payne, Beth Glover and Christopher Sutton in a scene from Dames at Sea. Photo by Paul Undersinger
I was also lucky enough to see her as Mona Kent in Dames at Sea at The Helen Hayes Theatre in Nyack. A true star turn!
And tonight, once again, I will be seeing her onstage at The Papermill Playhouse in White Christmas. I cannot wait. I am thrilled that in the midst of her busy schedule, that she agreed to this interview. If you are familiar with Beth Glover, you already know WHY I love her! If you don't already know her, meet Beth Glover!

I think Beth's one of the most talented gals I know -- beauty, charm, intelligence, loyalty, ability, and sweet nature in one glamorous package! Been a privilege to call her friend (and sometime collaborator) for many years now; here's to That Glover Gal! Long may she wave!
Randy Buck

 I have known of Beth's talent for many years, but only recently worked with her for the very first time. Beth sang a song I and my collaborator Stephen Cole had written many years ago called "One More Star Will Be Dancing." She pretty much learned it in a day, we rehearsed once, and she performed it with me at our friend Tony Stevens' memorial service last month.

She brought so much beauty, so much of herself into that room. Everyone hung onto every word she sang. She is a completely honest & beautiful vessel which the work flowed through to an audience that needed to be reached and touched. I got so many compliments about how beautiful and moving the song was, and Beth was a huge part of that. I am grateful to know her, look forward to any opportunity of working with her again, and am proud to have her as a friend. I so admire this lovely woman.


Sincerely,

Jeff Saver




Beth's all-time favorite quote that helps her get through the biz of show weekly (daily) is the letter from Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille:

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.

And if you block it, it will NEVER exist through any other medium and be lost.  
The world will not have it.  It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions.  It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.  You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU.  Keep the channel open... No artist is pleased...

There is no satisfaction whatever at any time.  There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.

Beth's dad ran the little theatre in their hometown of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, so she remembers Arsenic and Old Lace in her foggy,  4 year old memory and being thrilled by it.  Beth's first Broadway show was La Cage.  She had just moved to NYC and she cried through most of the show.  
 "I had never seen anything like it.  I wanted to learn "I Am What I Am" and my voice teacher wouldn't let me.  She said they'd laugh at me at auditions.  
Maybe one day I can work it into a concert and I'll have the last laugh!" 
The following clip proves this song is universal and for EVERYONE! 

 
Your voice teacher was wrong!

Beth Glover is awesome in White Christmas! I've seen the show twice. She filled in for Lorna Luft the second time I saw it. She was so excellent! I wish I knew her personally but I don't.  I usher on Thursday afternoons. I LOVE it there!!!  xo Emily deHope


 
I asked Beth if she was exposed to the arts growing up.


Well, there was The Hattiesburg Little Theatre that her dad ran.  And there was the Hattiesburg Civic Light Opera that did musicals.  So she saw tons of community theatre as a child/teenager. She was also a very serious dancer in class 5 days a week and dancing at the University of Southern Miss which is in Hattiesburg. By 13, she had done 3 or 4 Nutcrackers with stars from the world renowned Ballet Mississippi of Jackson, MS and many modern dance pieces at USM.  And of course, she sang in church.

 I'm jealous of you getting to see the show. Enjoy it!
Here are some random thoughts:

I first met Beth as Adelaide in Guys & Dolls at the Depot Theatre. My girls were relatively young and sat outside the dressing room with their friends to meet her after the show. When she came out, Beth was gracious, friendly and took the time to ask questions of each girl, learning their names and something about them. It meant a lot to have someone "on stage" pay attention to them.

She was part of a cast party that went on our tour boat in a hellacious storm. We had drunk actors at the bow screaming they were King of the World while getting soaked by the breaking waves.

I'm the TD for a lot of community and school theatre in the area and help at the Depot when I can. I've worked with Beth a handful of times on sound design and always had a blast. What has made it the most fun is that she gets the tech side and has done the bulk of the design work for the last couple of projects. I'm just there for moral support (and cocktails).

Beth and Karen are great people, assets to our community, and I'm proud to call them friends.

Jim Carroll

 Beth's mother and I are first cousins. I have not seen her in years but I really enjoy keeping up with her. The last time I saw her she was a feature twirler for Southern MS. She was teaching my daughter how to throw a baton really high and catch it. She could throw that baton higher than anyone I had ever seen and catch it! She comes from a wonderful, loving family and I would love to see her.
Ruby Fairbarne


Tony Yazbeck and Beth


 
Beth's first time on stage...
  That would be a dance recital at age 3.  She doesn't remember it but she knows that she was never afraid to go on-stage.  She couldn't wait.  She's always been unafraid when it comes to the stage.  Other things...well.

 First professional job?
 Opening for Ray Charles in the only National Tour of the The Taffettas.  She booked that job the DAY she graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.  It still blows her mind that my career started so magically.  
 
Beth's thoughts on Arts in Education
 Soooooooooo important.  Whether one becomes a performer/artist or not, the exposure opens one's mind to so much....the self; the world; walking in another's shoes; expanding one's imagination...the list goes on and on and on.  It's as vital as math and science.  When we explore civilizations past, what is left?  
The art.  The sculptures.  The writing.
   The architecture.  The soul of the people lies in their art. 

 
Beth's thoughts on Carol Channing (All my blogs focus on Carol Channing’s Foundation For The Arts)
  When they announced Carol's last revival in Hello Dolly! I didn't wait 2 minutes to get tickets.  It was IMPERATIVE for me to witness her comic genius in her greatest triumph.  I couldn't believe that I would get to SEE HER DO IT!  And she surpassed my expectations.  She was funny, yes, but her heart was bigger than the Lunt-Fontanne.  The theatre couldn't contain her joy, her presence.  
It was mind blowing.  I remember standing and screaming and crying.  And let me tell you, I've never done that at any rock concert.  Obviously, I'm a total theatre junky and Carol is one of my drugs of choice.  

When I do comic characters, I always remember what she said in her book about her "clown" make-up.  So when I'm applying my make-up, I use some of her techniques.  I used them as recently as last weekend.  

I LOVE CAROL!

 
I’m campaigning for Carol Channing to receive the 2012 Kennedy Center Honor in 2012. If you agree that she should receive this honor, can you say why you think this should happen (Would especially love it if you could film your answer and send it to me!)


Carol Channing is an American Musical Theatre Legend. 
There has never been anyone like her and there will never be another.
Her uniqueness alone should qualify her for the Kennedy Center Honors.
She is a national treasure.

Beth is currently standing by for Lorna Luft in White Christmas. 

Her next appearance will be Christmas in Mississippi with her family:).
Beth has some things in the works but nothing definite at the moment.
 
Artistically:  playing Big Edie & Little Edie in the first regional production of Grey Gardens and then surprisingly being given the Best Actress Award for it by the San Francisco Bay Area Critic's Circle is what Beth feels to be her biggest success so far.

That and the fact that she has actually earned a living as an actress.

What was Beth's lowest low and how did she surpass that...

Hmmmm.  Show business is so filled with super highs and super lows.

Cannot think of a specific one.
 
Beth gets through the big rejections by counting her blessings and being grateful for what she has in her life.  And that's only after she cries for a week, gets drunk and throws things.  

 "Beth Glover has always been one of my very favorite gals and performers. I still remember her showing me makeup tricks when we were Equity leads at the Hampton Playhouse summer stock season together (where I also met Richard Skipper) 15 years ago. She was always so wonderful to watch in every show that summer, luminous and hysterical! And I remember her "Jayne Mansfield" impersonation during Richard's and my "Carol & Carol: The Christmas Carols" series at Don't Tell Mama, which was also brilliant. Bethie was the first person to visit me after I became a mom, too. And her one woman show about being a gay beauty queen in the South needs to be revived! Go, Beth!
Sara Berg



"We saw Beth Glover in White Christmas last week. She is sensational!! We loved it. Truly top notch!" Jane Stuart
 What one change would she like to see in today’s industry?

More racial diversity.  The big professional theatres and Broadway have been slow to really show the world as it is.  We cannot keep having just one black/one asian etc. in shows; especially the big ones.  It makes no sense.

 
Beth's models and influences as an artist

Beth is happy that she is making a living at it.  She's happy that she work a lot and she is currently working.
As the Martha Graham quote says:  There's always "a queer, divine dissatisfaction."
She's always looking for another artistically challenging project -- something that fuels her fire --
not just a job.  Sometimes it has to be "just a job."  But she's always hungry for more ---
challenges, new ideas, more to ignite her passion for theatre, for story-telling, for finding and creating characters.

Ethel Merman

 I just met Beth a couple months ago at an audition. Then, the very next night, I ran into her again on the A train. Beth is the real deal, sensitive and bright. After all of these years in NY, I'm glad "chance" opened that door a few weeks ago. She really strikes me as a true artist. ) -Val Fagan


Ethel Waters

 
Beth makes a living as an actor and as a director.  So in that sense, she has achieved more than she set out to.  
There are still specific goals she has not met.
There's always more to do isn't there?  


Carol Channing
Margaret Cho
Rosie O'Donnell
Kathy Griffin


John Stewart
Tina Fey
Kristen Wiig



"Count Your Blessings."  When Beth is down, she stops and starts counting.

 
Laughing a lot is key.  Kill the pity-party with some silliness.



NO COPY WRITE INFRINGEMENT INTENDED 

Paper Mill’s ‘White Christmas’ has everything right (Review)


HERE ARE RECENT AUDIENCE COMMENTS FROM WWW.RICHARDSKIPPER.COM:


CONGRATULATIONS! You're a class act all the way. Thank you for asking me to be part of last night's most memorable Celebration! You did us all -- and especially Jerry Herman and Carol & Harry's Foundation -- proud. Wonderful cast, wonderful musicians, wonderful friends, wonderfully produced. Especially loved your show-stopping rendition of "Almost Young", which is now my new favorite song.
Love, Walter Willison
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

Richard: Thanks for a great seminar. I gained a wealth of information. I've put some of it to use this morning.
Paul Speziale
Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977








Have your voice heard – You can make a difference!

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@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!



GO SEE WHITE CHRISTMAS TONIGHT!



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Tomorrow's blog will be A FOLLOW UP TO TONIGHT'S WHITE CHRISTMAS EXPERIENCE!
I'm open to suggestions!


Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING  AND HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED WEEK!
Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

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