Friday, April 29, 2011

CAROL CHANNING DESERVES THIS YEAR'S KENNEDY HONOR!, MORE THOUGHTS ON THE 26th ANNUAL BISTRO AWARDS, and Happy Birthday, Eric Stephen Jacobs!


CAROL CHANNING
DESERVES THE KENNEDY CENTER
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD!

The career of Carol Channing is varied and continuing. She performs with the gusto of a young aspiring actress.
Her heart remains on stage even though she has recently focused her efforts on improving arts education in California. Offering scholarships, teaching, lecturing and performing, she hopes to invoke renewed public support for arts education through the Channing/Kullijian Endowment for the Arts.

Carol Elaine Channing is an American singer, actress, and comedienne.
Ms. Channing has been a star of international acclaim since a Time magazine cover story hailed her performance as Lorelei Lee in Gentleman Prefer Blondes writing; "Perhaps once in a decade a nova explodes above the Great White Way with enough brilliance to re-illumine the whole gaudy legend of show business."
Since her 1948 Broadway debut in Blitzstein's No For An Answer, her Broadway appearances include So Proudly We Hail, Let's Face It, Lend An Ear, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Show Girl, Pygmalion, The Millionairess, The Vamp, Four On A Garden, and Wonderful Town. In addition to receiving a special Tony Award in 1968, she won the Tony Award in 1964 for her legendary portrayal of Dolly Levi in Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly!
Carol Channing is a dying breed: a legend from the days when people actually succeeded on the basis of talent and hard work—without a rap sheet or a sex tape.

Carol was born Jan 31, 1921 in Seattle, Washington, the daughter of a prominent newspaper editor, who was very active in the Christian Science movement. At just two weeks of age, her father's work took the family to San Francisco, where Carol was raised, schooled and eventually found work as a model. Through determination, hard work, and her family's support (not to mention a mandatory IQ test for which she scored one of the highest recorded results), Carol was able to attend Bennington College in Vermont that had one of the few existing arts programs in the country, majoring in drama and dance.
In 2003, Carol released her best selling memoirs Just Lucky I Guess and married her junior high school sweetheart, businessman Harry Kullijian (after a 70 year separation) and started touring world wide with her one woman show entitled The First Eighty Years are the Hardest, after the very successful preview given to New York audiences that prompted the New York Times to say "Back Where She Belongs: Carol Channing Reminisces . . . The audience jumped to its feet more than once. We were watching a master performer" and Associated Press declared "The audience clearly was there to worship, and Channing did not disappoint." In 2004, Broadway's "first lady of musical comedy," received an honorary doctoral degree becoming Doctor Carol Channing from the California State University bestowed at a CSU, Stanislaus commencement.

Recently, Carol is getting major coverage as the subject of Dori Berenstein’s documentary, CAROL CHANNING: LARGER THAN LIFE. In October, she received yet another distinction when she received her star on The Palm Springs Walk of Fame, a Bistro Award for her continuing contributions to the importance of arts in education, …now where is that Kennedy honor!?!?!


HELP CAROL RECEIVE THIS HONOR

All you have to do is send an E-MAIL to: Michael Kaiser. His Email address is:
jfcass@kennedy-center.org

In the e-mail you can state why you feel Carol is deserving of the award: Her great body of work spanning over 64 years that has given joy to so many people all over the world; her many other awards (the Golden Globe Award for Thoroughly Modern Millie, the Oscar nomination, Emmy nomination, Grammy, and three Tony Awards). And, let's not forget the great humanitarian efforts such as all her work to bring the arts to people everywhere.
Thanks, everyone!

(Pictured here with Marla Green and Eric Stephen Jacobs, whose birthday is TODAY!
Happy Birthday, Eric!)
I'm still receiving e-mails and congratulatory comments on Tuesday night's Bistro Awards. My last two blogs covered this. Here are a few more possibly final thoughts on the evening:
"Everything ran smoothly Tuesday night at the 26th annual Bistro Awards and it is always an inspiration to see people pour their heart and soul into their art the way cabaret people do. My personal favorites were Carole Bufford's amazing (so I thought) rendition of "Folsom Prison" -- not your usual cabaret torch song. I love the blues, one doesn't hear much of it (well I haven't) lately and this was really original and really good. Also, yes, the Alex Rybeck piano medley of Dionne Warwick's hits and Tyne Daly. And the whole atmosphere. When cabaret people do pour their hearts out they make ours soar and forget all the things – bit and little – that might have been circling through our minds during the ordinary day by day. We fly into another and lovely world."What good is sitting alone in your room....." etc etc. It was grand."
Esther Tolkoff

"The show was one of the best shows I've ever seen at an Awards ceremony.
The house as PACKED, thanks to Richard Skipper. It didn't run forever as it has in the past and every single performer was worth listening too. For me the instrumentals were a highlight. I could spend my day listening to Sean Harkness play his guitar and be happy. AND - AND - Alex Rybeck's arrangements of the songs Dionne Warwick made into recording hits was unbelievable. I've known Alex for years and even worked with him a bit. His playing at the Bistro Awards was mesmerizing. Richard spoke beautifully for Carol and Tyne was warm and fun. It was a wonderful night. Sherry should be smiling"
Bobbie Horowitz

Happy Birthday, Eric Stephen Jacobs. I owe so much to this man! When I started out in cabaret, believe it or not, Eric was my first make-up artist. I made my cabaret debut as Judy Garland. Eric did my make-up for every show. He also designed my Carol Channing make-up. So, yes, I owe so much to Eric!Thanks, Eric! Love you!!


(Buy THE CABARET ARTIST'S HANDBOOK by Bob Harrington, edited by Sherry Eaker http://www.amazon.com/Cabaret-Artists-Handbook-Creating-Livliest/dp/0823088529Bu)

Tomorrow's blog will be YOU TELL ME...the first three suggestions I receive!

Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/foundation.htm

TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED WEEK!


Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Musings on cabaret...

The ride: well it can be rough. Hang on tight, let go sometimes and make sure you choose the right people to take it with you.


Even before I knew Sherry Eaker, I knew of Sherry Eaker. It was because of BACK STAGE, the theatrical trade paper geared to the performing artist. When I first came to New York, I used to buy the paper religiously EVERY Thursday morning.
It would be the deciding factor on how the next weeks and possibly my life would unfold. That's where I got all my info for auditions and practically everything else to do with my profession. BACK STAGE was the brainchild of Ira Eaker, Sherry's father. Sherry eventually became the editor-at -large of the paper. A few years ago, the paper changed hands and I have not bought it since.

In the late eighties, I started dabbling in cabaret. When that happened, the first thing I would read when I got BACK STAGE was BISTRO BITS, the column by the late great Bob Harrington. Bob was an integral part of the cabaret world and largely responsible for its resurgence in the 1980s. Bob loved writing about cabaret, and cared so much about what and whom he was writing.

His reviews began appearing in March 1984 under the headline "Bistro Bits", although only on a per-show basis when space in the paper allowed.
Realizing the need for additional coverage of this burgeoning industry, Sherry Eaker created an entire column dedicated to cabaret, and the first "Bistro Bits" column appeared on November 2nd, 1984.
"Bistro Bits" got an immediate and positive response. Janice Hall, 2011 Bistro Award winner for Tribute Show
"Grand Illusions: The Music of Marlene Dietrich"
Metropolitan Room, Urban Stages (Video by Corinne Cohen)

I was 18 when I first arrived in New York. When I discovered DON'T TELL MAMA, I was in heaven! THAT was the world that I wanted to be part of. I lived on 47th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. DON'T TELL MAMA was my neighborhood hangout.

One thing that I learned early on was IF I desired to make a success of what I am working on,I would need to enlist the aid of people whose knowledge is superior to my own. Bob Harrington was that person. You see, not only did he write about cabaret artists (as a reviewer), he wrote about the craft of being a cabaret ARTIST! Notice, I used the word "reviewer" instead of "critic". I believed Bob was INTERESTED in elevating the art form rather than tearing it down.
(Sean Harkness 2011 Bistro Award winner for Instrumentalist)
For me, it was always the work. I LOVE the creative process. I love when creative people come together for the common good of creating art. When you go to see a show, the audience should never see the blood, sweat, and tears that go into a show.
Yet there are so many people who make that happen to make that person in the spotlight shine! A cabaret act needs a technical team to create its sound, look, and flow.

"I've learned how special the audience is, the feeling you get from people being right in front of you, becoming part of your act.
They tell you if they are amused or moved by your interpretation and how they perceive you and your personality."
Julie Wilson, The Cabaret Artist's Handbook by Bob Harrington, Edited by Sherry Eaker


Someone wrote to me that Tuesday night's Bistro Awards gave him a wonderful opportunity to see the best of what was being offered in cabaret today and that can be attested to by anyone who was in attendance Tuesday night. The show ran like a well oiled machine.
The BISTRO AWARD was established by Bob Harrington in 1985 in his “Bistro Bits” column in the trade weekly Back Stage, then under the editorship of Sherry Eaker. For the first few years, the awards were merely listed in Harrington’s column as notable performances he had seen during the calendar year. The first formal presentation of the awards was held in 1990 at Eighty Eight’s, a popular cabaret venue in the West Village. From there, the show moved on to The Ballroom in Chelsea, and then relocated to the Supper Club in the Broadway District, where it remained for many years. This year marks the fourth year at Gotham Comedy Club.
When Bob Harrington was alive, he knew more about what some entertainers did than they did.

"Richard, everything was amazing. It was a gorgeous, tight show. The direction was so impressive! I laughed, I cried, I had goosebumps. It was an honor to be part of such a great night! PS The after show dinner was delicious. So are you. xox"
Faye Lane, 2011 Bistro Award winner for Musical Comedy
"Faye Lane's Beauty Shop Stories"
Soho Playhouse
Trying to put together a definition of what cabaret is for a column sometime ago, then Back Stage editor-at-large and frequent boitegoer Sherry Eaker interviewed a number of that year's Bistro Award winners. Their responses were anything but a consensus, which in an all-encompassing way begins to suggest a definition — a loose and perhaps not entirely satisfying one. Cabaret can be anything that takes place in a cabaret room or anything taking place in other, larger rooms where cabaret performers participate. And that's the burden of the reviews that reflect those shows.
One of the members of the Bistro committee is Erv Raible. NYC based director, coach, publicist and consultant. Executive Director / Artistic Director of the International Cabaret Conference at Yale University, and Executive Director of Erv Raible Cabaret & Concert Artists International.
Owned and booked the cabarets and piano bars: The Duplex (1978-84), Brandy’s (1980-85), Don’t Tell Mama (1982-89) and the legendary Eighty Eight’s (1988-99); and through these venues presented over 4000 performers to the public. Co-founded The Manhattan Association of Cabarets & clubs (president for 11 years, produced the first 9 MAC Award shows). Has written book and lyrics for Wallis & Edward: The Love Story of the Twentieth Century? and is co-lyricist for Ship of Fools: The Musical. Is directing and developing Hildegard of Bingen and the Living Light. Is developing a music documentary Silent Voices: Words and Music of the Holocaust, Hate, Hope and the Human Spirit for the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Also on the committee is Roy Sander. Roy Sander has been covering cabaret and theatre for over twenty years. He's written cabaret and theatre reviews, features, and commentary for seven print publications, most notably Back Stage, and for CitySearch on the Internet. He covered cabaret monthly on "New York Theatre Review" on PBS TV, and cabaret and theatre weekly on WLIM-FM radio. He was twice a guest instructor at the London School of Musical Theatre. He is currently Chairman of the Advisory Board of MAC.

Elizabeth Ahlfors was born, raised and educated in New York (NYU). Her first love was always music, cabaret, and theatre – in the audience, not performing.
She writes for Cabaret Scenes, citycabaret.com, bBistroawards.com, totaltheater.com, and Curtain Up's "Cabaret Nights." She was previously Philadelphia correspondent for theatre.com and InTheatre Magazine and reviewed for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia City News, and Spotlight Magazine. She is a member of the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle.

I would venture to say that most people reading this blog have probably experienced, in one way or another, the magic of cabaret, either as a member of the audience or as a performer singing in an intimate venue.(Lua Hadar, pictured)Lua Hadar with her band TWIST debuted their CD at New York's famed Iridium Jazz Club on Broadway, May 10, 2008. The song is George Gershwin's American Songbook classic, "Soon," in an arrangement inspired by Ella Fitzgerald. Jason Martineau, music director, at the piano, with the New York band.Cabaret is a distinctive art that requires a lot of soul-searching, risk-taking, creativity, and honesty.
I would like to help you reach your goals in cabaret. "It is never too late to be who you might have been" --anonymous

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(845) 365-0720
or
richard@richardskipper.com



Beyond the 3 "F"s
How to Build an Audience and Create a Following (The following is from my press release)

RICHARD SKIPPER, critically acclaimed, multi-award winning performer, director, co-producer of the 2010 & 2011 Bistro Awards, career consultant is bringing years of experience to this workshop. The cost of the workshop is $125 for three hours. Please call (845) 365-0720 for more information and to reserve your space Richard's shows continue to be wonderful successes around the country (he recently appeared off-Broadway in Richard Skipper as "Carol Channing" in Concert), and as he continues making his business great, he looks forward to sharing his experience with others.

This workshop will focus on how to get you the attention that you need. Richard's shows have been sell-outs. Other topics will include how to use the internet to your advantage in marketing; how to get your name "out there"; cold calling; creating a contract specific to your needs; how to create a press kit that shows you to your best possible advantage and more! Richard gets a sense of the various levels of each workshop and custom makes, on the spot, a class catering to the needs of the actual group in the room. He will ascertain YOUR agenda prior to the workshop beginning so that each participant will leave with all of their questions answered, so come prepared!

Richard is also available for one-on-one consultations which afford you the personal time with him catering specifically and only to your needs.

On board with Richard is graphic designer, GLEN CHARLOW, who brings over 15 years in the business to the participants of this class and who will discuss the concept of image; how to use the internet effectively and how your website "sells" you even before you pick up the phone. To read more on Glen Charlow please visit: www.gcdtp.com.
Whether your goal is to use cabaret as a launching pad for other artistic opportunities, or simply to experience the pleasures that are unique to cabaret, the information you will receive from these workshops will help you gain a better understanding of the art and the business of cabaret, and will ultimately allow you to arrive at your destination.

For general information on workshops or Career Coaching, please contact Richard Skipper directly at 845-365-0720 or Richard@RichardSkipper.com.

(THE CABARET ARTIST'S HANDBOOK by Bob Harrington, edited by Sherry Eaker was a MAJOR source of this blog)

Tomorrow's blog will be YOU TELL ME...the first three suggestions I receive!

Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/foundation.htm

TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED WEEK!


Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Phoebe Snow and a recap of The 26th annual Bistro Awards!

"I call upon you to draw from the depths of your being — to prove that we are a human race, to prove that our love outweighs our need to hate, that our compassion is more compelling than our need to blame."
Miss Elizabeth Taylor - 1932-2011

Yesterday was a day of ups and downs and it all centered around music. I was devastated to hear of the passing of Phoebe Snow. I only met her once. Several years ago at The MAC Awards. What a gracious sweet woman.
About a year ago, CBS Sunday Morning did a profile on Phoebe. With all of her music, she led a sad life. I hope she is now at peace. Here is a little tribute to Phoebe.
Phoebe Snow, a bluesy singer, guitarist and songwriter whose "Poetry Man" was a defining hit of the 1970s but who then largely dropped out of the spotlight to care for her disabled daughter, has died.

Snow, who was nominated for best new artist at the 1975 Grammys, died Tuesday morning in Edison, N.J., from complications of a brain hemorrhage she suffered in January 2010, said Rick Miramontez, her longtime friend and public relations representative. She was 58.

Snow's manager, Sue Cameron, said the singer endured bouts of blood clots, pneumonia and congestive heart failure since her stroke. Her real name was Phoebe Laub (born July 17, 1952 in New York City)


"The loss of this unique and untouchable voice is incalculable," Cameron said. "Phoebe was one of the brightest, funniest and most talented singer-songwriters of all time and, more importantly, a magnificent mother to her late brain-damaged daughter, Valerie, for 31 years. Phoebe felt that was her greatest accomplishment."

Known as a folk guitarist who made forays into jazz and blues, Snow put her stamp on soul classics such as "Shakey Ground," "Love Makes a Woman" and "Mercy, Mercy Mercy" on over a half dozen albums.

Not long after Snow's "Poetry Man" reached the Top 5 on the pop singles chart in 1975, her daughter, Valerie Rose, was born with severe brain damage, and Snow decided to care for her at home rather than place her in an institution.
"She was the only thing that was holding me together," she told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008. "My life was her, completely about her, from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed at night."


Valerie, who had been born with hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the brain cavity that inhibits brain development, was not expected to live more than a few years. She died in 2007 at age 31.

Over the years, Snow found time to sing on Paul Simon's song "Gone at Last" and tour with him, as well as perform at the Woodstock 25th anniversary festival in 1994, as part of a soul act that included Thelma Houston(pictured), Mavis Staples and CeCe Peniston.

Snow was also recruited by Steely Dan's Donald Fagen to participate in the New York Rock and Soul Revue, which took her, Charles Brown, Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs and others on tour and into New York's Beacon Theatre to record a rollicking live album in 1991.

"Occasionally I put an album out, but I didn't like to tour, and they didn't get a lot of label support," she told the Chronicle. "But you know what? It didn't really matter because I got to stay home more with Valerie, and that time was precious."

She was born Phoebe Ann Laub to white Jewish parents in New York City in 1952, and raised in Teaneck, N.J. Though many assumed she was black, Snow never claimed African-American ancestry.

She changed her name after seeing Phoebe Snow, an advertising character for a railroad, emblazoned on trains that passed through her hometown.
Snow quit college after two years to perform in amateur nights at Greenwich Village folk clubs.

Her first record, "Phoebe Snow," came out in 1974, and showed off her songwriting chops on a selection of tunes that spanned blues, jazz and folk. Hit-bound "Poetry Man" took the record to No. 4 on the album charts, but her success was uneasy.
"There are turning points in everyone's life where you decide if you're going to sink or swim. My insecurity wasn't serving me well at all. It was really a stumbling block," she told The Associated Press in 1989.

Rumors abounded that Jackson Browne was Poetry Man. "No. It's somebody you wouldn't know. People just thought Poetry Man was Browne because he was the first act I toured with," Snow told USA Today in 1989.
After 1976's gold-selling "Second Childhood," Snow's subsequent albums found smaller audiences. Through the 1980s and into the 1990s, Snow sang commercial jingles -- for companies including Michelob, Hallmark and AT&T -- and performed live here and there.

Inexperienced in the music business, she broke a number of contracts with record companies and others, and found herself embroiled in a number of lawsuits and severe financial problems. Snow's husband, musician Phil Kearns, left her while Valerie was still a baby. She sang the theme for NBC's "A Different World" and the jingle "Celebrate the Moments of Your Life" for General Foods International Coffees. She also sang at radio host Howard Stern's wedding to Beth Ostrosky in 2008 and for President Bill Clinton, who asked her to perform at Camp David during his presidency.

In 2003, she released the CD "Natural Wonder," her first album of new, original material in 14 years. Her other albums include 1989's "Something Real," and 1981's "Rock Away." In 2008, she released a live album titled "Live" and a best-of CD in 2001. Thank you, Phoebe, for the gifts you gave the world!Well, the 26th annual Bistro Awards have come and gone and what a great night for me. Dionne Warwick was the ultimate in class. Listening to Alex Rybeck's incredible medley of Dionne's hits was one of the highlights of the evening for me. I was sitting with Dionne and her reactions were priceless. She LOVED it and was very appreciative. Tyne Daly was supurb. She looks gorgeous and I cannot wait for MASTER CLASS in June! Lee Roy Reams adds class and elegance to anything he lends his name to. I would love just an evening of him. Sarah Rice was fabulous performing Greenfinch & Linnet Bird from Sweeney Todd. Of course, Sarah is the original Joanna. She performed this number as part of Sondheim Unplugged, which won the 2011 Bistro Award for Cabaret Series
Written, directed, and hosted by Phil Geoffrey Bond
Laurie Beechman Theatre, Don't Tell Mama That is Tym Moss interviewing Cynthia Crane in the background and Ed Stimler and I embroiled in a meaningful conversation in the forground.

I just received the following from Leslie Orofino: Dearest Richard,


I am still glowing from the magnificent array of talent that performed last night at the Bistro Awards. I was so excited when I arrived home I awoke Tom and had to tell him all about the evening.


For starters, I know your contribution as Associate Producer of the evening was monumental.
You are tireless when it comes to helping our community and I love you for it. Your tender portrayal of Carol Channing accepting the awards and asking to contribute to Dr. Carol Channing-Harry Kulijian Foundation for the Arts ( www.ChanningArts.Org) was magnificent.


Congratulations to Sherry Eaker ( Producer ), Jim David ( Host), Edie Cowan ( Director) .Lenny Babbish ( Musical Director), Mary Rodriguez ( Drums) Kimothy Cruse ( Stage Mgr.) and Frank Dain ( program design). Also, to the Bistro Awards Committee Sherry Eaker, Elizabeth Ahlfors, David Finkle, Rob Lester, Erv Raible and Roy Sander.

Needless to say, Dionne Warwick ( Liftetime Achievement Award ) and Carol Channing/Skipper ( Special Award) were amazing . The talent that performed were knockouts..... Carole J. Bufford, Tyne Daly, Kevin Dozier Sean Harkness, Allan Harris, Hilary Kole, Faye Lane, Colleen McHugh. Fabulous.


Congratulations and Champagne Toasts to you all !!!!


Love, Leslie Orofino
Here I am with Peggy Herman. Peggy is returning to cabaret after many years in a new show in her Metropolitan Room Debut!, Herman On Herman with a Touch of Merman. Directed by Peter Glebo and Tommy Tune. Music Director Alex Rybeck. I'm attending on Sunday, May 15th at 7PM at The Metropolitan Room. If you would like to join us, please let me know. "I want to thank everyone who made the "Bistro Awards" a fantastic event. It was a pleasure and honor to meet some people for the first time, and some that I have not seen in years. The evening was one I won't forget, with exceptional performances by exceptional performers."
Ed Stimler (pictured with me)

(Joseph Macchia, Dana Lorge. and Doreen Montalvo on the red carpet)"I thought the show was terrific. Everything went very smoothly, the performers were wonderful."
Dana Lorge


"Congratulations to all the Bistro Award winners last night. It got off to a hot start with Johnny Rodgers Band and the evening kept sizzling on. Tyne Daly looked toned and terrific, and Dionne Warwick was gracious. The winners proved they are all winners. And all the women wore stilettos! I'm jealous."
Elizabeth AhlforsMusical Comedy
"Faye Lane's Beauty Shop Stories" Award recipient
Soho Playhouse just extended at SoHo Playhouse through September! God is Alive! Magic is Afoot! Moonpie Martinis are delicious! xox Here I am with Jim David, the brilliant emcee for the evening.

"It was a very warm and friendly group of people who came together for this event. Met some incredible people who helped add to the excitement of the evening in sharing stories about the event, performers, etc. While our seats were all the way on the side, was close to where the award recipients and others entered from so we saw them as up close as possible even in the dim lights.

This is the 2nd awards show have attended - the first being the Nighttime Awards at Town Hall and definitely had better feelings about this one - felt more connected to the entertainers, award recipients, etc. - the champagne party was a great way to start everything and everyone in a good mood.... even found some entertainers that we might seek out to see at a later date...

If think of anything else, will let you know but I think you are a class act and did a great job! Looking forward to next year!"
Leslie Mark Alter
(ALLAN HARRIS, 2011 Bistro recipient for Ongoing Achievement in Jazz and Cynthia Crane)

"It was a wonderful, supportive evening and everyone had a fantastic time. Tyne Daly was such a delight and stayed until the very end to support and enjoy all of the performers and was delighted to meet and speak with each of her fans.
She's a class act."
Paul Lucas


"Dear Richard and Sherry-
Last night's Bistros were marvelous !
Bravo and Congratulations !
xo"
Stephanie Zagoren
(Here was a fun moment backstage. Record producer Phil Ramone, who presented to Dionne, Alex Rybeck, Dionne, and Sherry)



"I must say it was a most enjoyable evening---and great seeing you honor some of the great bistro and cabaret performers. There are fewer and fewer venues for this type of performance.Thanks for the invite---it certainly was a lot of fun and I got to meet interesting people. I spoke with the Rescignos who lived near me in Delaware, I know Alex Rybeck's brother and I am obsessing about Sean Harkness "
Peter Schott, Delaware



"Last night was the highlight of my month! I got to share in a very special evening with my dear friend Alex Rybeck, who had a small dream of his come true, when he got the opportunity to play for his favorite performer, Dionne Warwick. We're both huge fans of Ms. Warwick and have in the past performed her music at a couple charity events, so he invited my partner Christian and I to be his special guests for the evening. All the performers, the comedy, the high caliber of musicians, sitting next to Dionne and the GREAT Phil Ramone...I could have died and gone to heaven! Carol Channing was perfectly channeled through you last night because if I were to close my eyes and hear you, it's the voice of Carol I hear. You are amazing too. The program was perfectly timed and it didn't even feel like 2 and a half hours, which was a good thing. Christian and I were thoroughly entertained! Thank you so much for helping produce this wonderful event!"
Mark Anthony Lee

26th Annual BISTRO Awards Recap
TIMES SQUARE CHRONICLES
by Sandi Durell


The Bistro Awards are a mix and match of honors, in a wide variety of categories, a tradition since its inception in 1985. The Award recognizes and congratulates accomplishments for those who have done something special during the year. As producer Sherry Eaker describes “there is no “best” anything of the year; instead it’s a “Congratulations for doing great work!”
The festive event took place at the Gotham Comedy Club on April 26th hosted by the funny and truthful Jim David. Present and accounted for was the legendary Dionne Warwick, graciously accepting the Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award after a medley of many of her hit songs was played by Alex Rybeck.

Tyne Daly received a Bistro Award for major engagement at Feinstein’s, singing “Oh Boy” from that show and accompanied by Steven Lutvak.
Various artists performed, showing why they were chosen as Bistro Award Winners: Liz Lark Brown for debut; Nate Buccieri, musical director; vocalist Carole J. Bufford; Anthony Cochran, theme show; Kevin Dozier, vocalist; Janice Hall for tribute show to Marlene Dietrich; Sean Harkness, instrumentalist; Allan Harris, for ongoing achievement in jazz; Hilary Kole for her recording with music legends Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, Michel LeGrand; , musical comedy; Colleen McHugh, entertainer; The Rescignos twins, receiving the Ira Eaker Special Achievement Award; Johnny Rodgers Band, musical group; Phil Geoffrey Bond, writer/director/host of “Sondheim Unplugged” cabaret series.

Carol Channing, scheduled to received a Special Award, was ill and couldn’t attend but sent her special thanks via her good friend, performer Richard Skipper who has been paying tribute to the great Ms. Channing for many years. He channeled her thanks aplenty after a rousing introduction by Broadway’s Lee Roy Reams.

It was a filled-to-capacity night with a warm and fuzzy audience of well-wishers, performers, friends and cabaret aficionados including legendary Julie Wilson. Talent abounded both on-stage and off.

As an aside, if you know the bubbly and always stylish Ms. Eaker, you also know how she worries and wrings her hands yearly lamenting that “there are hardly any ticket sales” until a week prior when the tune changes to “we can’t fit one more person in that room, there are no more tickets.” And so it is that another fabulous Bistro Awards event has come and gone. Thanks Sherry! And thanks to the Bistro Award Committee, Elizabeth Ahlfors, David Finkle, Rob Lester, Erv Raible and Roy Sander and to Edie Cowan, Director and Lenny Babbish, Musical Director for a job well done.
(Photo credit: Jim Baldassare)
2011 Bistro Award winner Colleen McHugh has a big show tomorrow...
and we don't want to jinx ourselves,
but there are some big deal press folks planning to attend!
We would love nothing more than
a full house of our friends enjoying themselves.
Or, frankly, pretending to enjoy themselves. Either way, really.
THURSDAY
The room is really filling up... but there's still room for YOU!
Reservations are more important than ever!
TOMORROW!
April 28th at 9:30pm
Calendar Girl presents
"SPRING FORWARD" (+ BLOSSOM!)


Colleen McHugh and the Calendar Boys Trio reunite to blaze through
tunes by Rodgers & Hart, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael and more,
with a special tribute to the one and only Blossom Dearie.

Reservations are so easy online. No credit card necessary!
http://www.theduplex.com/~thedup/webcalendar/reservations.php?cal_id=5728


At The Duplex!



The AWARD-WINNING Calendar Girl series
presents a NEW SHOW EVERY MONTH!

Coming Soon:

Friday May 20th at 9:30pm
"NAILING THE CARPENTERS"
Admit it - they're all your childhood favorites.
Come and join us on TOP OF THE WORLD.....

This baby will sell out for sure.
Reservations: http://www.theduplex.com/~thedup/webcalendar/reservations.php?cal_id=5828


Thursday, June 16th at 7pm
"FRIEND OF DOROTHY: The Songs of Judy Garland"
See if the crowd turns on us, as they did last year!!
Reservations: http://www.theduplex.com/~thedup/webcalendar/reservations.php?cal_id=5854


Thursday, July 14th at 7pm
"PRET A PORTER: Cole Porter's French Connections"
It's Bastille Day. Attention must be paid.
http://www.theduplex.com/~thedup/webcalendar/reservations.php?cal_id=5855


www.colleenmchugh.com
www.theduplex.com

And there you have it! A recap of the 26th annual Bistro Awards. Kudos to ALL involved...both on and off stage!



Tomorrow's blog will be YOU TELL ME...the first three suggestions I receive!

Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/foundation.htm

TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED WEEK!


Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Zanie's Furry Friends, Lee Roy Reams, and Hayley Mills


I am thrilled that Sarah Rice has asked me to be part of the Zani's Furry Friends benefit at Birdland on Saturday, May 7th. I also am appearing with two of my favorite entertainers, Lee Roy Reams and Hayley Mills. I have been a fan of both all of my life.
Zani's Furry Friends is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to rescuing companion animals from New York City's shelters where, unfortunately, they are at significant risk for euthanasia due to overcrowding. As well as directly helping the animals we save, their rescue creates space at the shelter thus giving another shelter animal an opportunity to await a chance for adoption or rescue, thereby potentially saving yet another life. Zani's is a member of the Mayor's Alliance and a New Hope Partner with the Animal Care & Control of New York City (ACC of NYC). They are entirely funded by donations and depend on our great network of volunteers to continue our work.




Lee Roy has also been a major supporter of mine over the years and for that, I am truly grateful!
Lee Roy Reams is an American musical theatre actor, singer, dancer, choreographer, and director.

Born in Covington, Kentucky, Reams earned a Master of Arts degree and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. He made his Broadway debut in Sweet Charity in 1966.

Reams was nominated for both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance in the original production of 42nd Street in 1980.

He played the role of Frank Schultz in the 1989 Paper Mill Playhouse production of Show Boat, which was televised on Great Performances by PBS .

Reams has appeared on concert stages and in cabarets throughout the country. At present he is serving as the resident director of the Theatre at Sea program sponsored by the Theatre Guild.
* 1966: Sweet Charity (Young Spanish Man)
* 1969: Oklahoma! (Will Parker)
* 1970: Applause (Duane Fox)
* 1974: Lorelei (Henry Spofford)
* 1978: Hello, Dolly! (Cornelius Hackl)
* 1983: La Cage aux Folles (Albin/Zaza)
* 1994: Beauty and the Beast (Lumiere)
* 1995: Hello, Dolly! (Choreographer)
* 1998: An Evening with Jerry Herman (Co-star & Director)
* 2006: The Producers (Roger DeBris)
Lee Roy will be a busy man tonight! Prior to The Bistro Awards, he is announcing The Astaire Awards!
(Source: Brian Scott Lipton)


The nominations for the 2011 Fred and Adele Astaire Awards, honoring the best in dance and choreography on stage and in film, will be announced on Tuesday, April 26 by actor Lee Roy Reams.

The ceremony be held on Sunday, May 15 at NYU's Skriball Center for the Arts. Joe Lanteri will direct the event. Brian Stokes Mitchell, Bebe Neuwirth, and Len Cariou are among the stars expected to be presenters.

The awards are presented by Ava Astaire in tribute to her father and aunt and Patricia Watt in tribute to her father Douglas Watt, who was the renowned drama, dance and music critic and a founder of the awards in 1982.

This year's Nominating Committee Chair is Sylviane Gold. Committee members include Reams, as well as Anna Kisselgoff, Damian Woetzel, Wendy Perron, Manny and Lani Azenberg, Donna McKechnie, Wendy Federman, Barbara and Buddy Freitag, Michael Riedel, Marge Champion, Margaret Selby, Melinda Atwood, Bryan Bantry, Adam Zotovich, Andy Sandberg, and Bruce Michael.

As previously reported, legendary dancer and choreographer Jacques D'Amboise will be honored with the Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award.

For more information, visit theastaireawards.org.
Lee Roy Reams sings "La Cage Aux Folles" from Jerry Herman's 1983 musical of the same name.

This clip is an excerpt from the highly recommended DVD of the 1993 concert "Jerry Herman's Broadway at Holiday Bowl." Additional clips are available at http://www.thebestarts.com/JerryHerman/

Come say hello to Lee Roy this eve at the 26th annual Bistro Awards!


I appeared with Hayley Mills (pictured here along with myself, John Wallowitch, and, Donna McKechnie
"FROM PICCADILLY TO TIMES SQUARE" on November 19th, 2001. This was a benefit performance put together by Margot Astrachan for The St. George Society for the British families & victims affected by the tragedy of 9/11. As sad as we were, it was a thrilling night for me to share the stage with such brilliant artists. John Wallowitch and I had been friends for years and remained friends until his death. We also share a birthday. Donna and I have remained friends. I cannot describe the feeling of being on stage and seeing the gorgeous Hayley Mills beaming in the wings. She was incredibly nice to me and it is hard for me to believe that that was 10 years ago! Of course, I have been a fan of Hayley's since The Parent Trap and Pollyanna. Hayley Mills is an English actress. The daughter of John Mills and Mary Hayley Bell, and sister of actress Juliet Mills, Mills began her acting career as a child and was hailed as a promising newcomer, winning the BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer for Tiger Bay (1959), the Academy Juvenile Award for Pollyanna (1960) and Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress in 1961. During her early career, she appeared in several films for Walt Disney. Hayley Mills, daughter of the late Sir John Mills, was one of the world's most famous child stars with films such as Tiger Bay and Whistle Down The Wind. Now a grandmother, she lives in New York and south-west London with her actor partner, Firdous Bamji.

I love you, Hayley, and I am SO looking forward to this!
Hayley Mills and Lee Roy Reams are set to co-host Love Makes the World Go 'Round. The benefit concert will be held on May 7 at 4:30pm at Birdland, and will feature direction by JoAnn Yeoman. Once again,proceeds from the event will go towards animal rescue organization, Zani's Furry Friends.

Performers confirmed for the evening include: Elena Bennett, Carole Demas, Natalie Douglas, Rich Flanders, Janice Hall, Jon & Lynn, Sue Matsuki, Tanya Moberly, Sarah Rice, Steve Ross, Steve Schalchlin, ME, Julie Wilson, and David Vernon.


For more information, visit: http://www.zanisfurryfriends.org



FIRST PARK PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS THE NEIL SIMON PULITIZER PRIZE WINNING PLAY "LOST IN YONKERS"



First Park Productions (Committed To Promoting Diversity Through Theater), presents LOST IN YONKERS! Praised by Clive Barnes
in the New York Post "Neil Simon has done it again with a craftsmanship and skill probably unmatched in the contemperary English-speaking theater", Lost In Yonkers also won four Tony Awards, including Best Play. Set in New York in 1942, this play is filled with laughter, tears, and insight. With masterful Director Dick Volker, and talented cast members Liam Bobersky (Jay); Alex LaBrie (Arty; Jason Czernick (Eddie); Margaret Streeter (Bella); Kevin Moroney (Louie); Jen Wall (Gertrude) and Vickie Phillips (Grandma Kurnitz), this "play is being produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc."
Show dates are May 13 - 14 - 15 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 27 - 28 - 29. Friday and Saturday Showtimes at 8 p.m.. and Sunday Matinees at 2 p.m Presented in Franklin Hall of the First Park Memorial Baptist Church, located at the corner of Forest Park Avenue and Garfield Street, (in the Forest Park section of Springfield..
For Ticket Information/Reservations, call 413.654.9111. Advance Sale Discount Ticket Prices offered as follows: General Admission $15.00; Seniors/Students $12.00; At The Door $18.00 and $15.00. Discount for Groups of 12 or more also offered (All General Seating Admission).
Checks should be made payable to First Park Productions and mailed to FPP at 4 Garfield St., Springfield, MA 01108,

For the perfect way to end a Spring Day in May......Get LOST IN YONKERS!




Press Contact:
Vickie Phillips
413.885.2434
Vmpc18@aol.com



Don't forget The 26th annual Bistro Awards TONIGHT at The Gotham Comedy Club in NYC! (www.BistroAwards.com)
Please click on the banner ads on our Bistro Award site and support our advertisers.

Tomorrow's blog will be a recap of The Bistro Awards, Phoebe Snow, and Elena Bennett.

Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/foundation.htm

TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED WEEK!


Richard Skipper, Associate producer of the 26th annual Bistro Awards , Richard@RichardSkipper.com

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bobbie Horowitz: Find your Mini-Qs, Tracy Stark, and Sarah Rice

I LOVE my horoscope today. A lesson for ALL of us: It's difficult to see the effect you have on others today; however, it's still useful to contemplate the results of your actions before you undertake something that wastes your time and energy. No matter how good your intentions are now, you can still come on too strong. It's not helpful to annoy someone who normally supports you. However, you could raise suspicions if you are overly cautious. Your smartest strategy is to acknowledge your own power, but wield it only if necessary.

Today, I'm writing about three of my favorite entertainers in cabaret today: Bobbie Horowitz, Tracy Stark, and Sarah Rice.
I don't even remember how long I've known Bobbie, but I have known her a LOONNNGGGG time! I first became familiar with Bobbie when she was part of Horowitz and Spector, a duo that appeared in cabaret shows playing around Manhattan in the 1970's and 1980's.

Bobbie is herself active on the internet, providing a foray of services and wearing many hats. In fact, Bobbie is a songwriter, reiki master, author, and "image and color consultant" (she highly recommends wearing purple). (Source: Elliot Glazer's blog)

Bobbie has been involved in different, yet related areas in the 70 years she’s lived thus far. . She came to realize that her mission has always been to bring joy into people’s lives and thereby help people love themselves.

She graduated from the Labor Relations School at Cornell in 1961 and, in 1964, received her license in Secondary Education from Columbia Teacher’s College. As a student and then until her son David was born she worked as an economic researcher at Drechsler & Leff, her dad’s labor relations law firm. The firm represented management. Among the clients represented were the NY Hotel Association, The Men’s clothing Association, ladies’ clothing manufacturer Anne Fogarty. My grandfather David Drechsler, who founded the firm, helped Sidney Hillman found the Men’s Clothing Workers of America in 1914.
When her son was in kindergarten she followed her childhood passion and plowed into NY Theater. She began by studying with Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg and Gene Frankel. During her life She’s performed in theater and cabarets, produced theater and events and wrote songs, winning a 1988 MAC Award for the act she performed with former songwriting partner Sharon Schapow. She continues to write songs. You can see her theatrical resume on www.bobbiehorowitzproductions.inc. She attributes much of the positive response she got as a cabaret performer to the “look” she’d learned to achieve as a result having been analyzed by an image consultant. This led her to become certified in the field herself, in order to be able to help others.
Bobbie is always smiling because she knows that YOU ARE a unique work of art!

Do you know that?

Let Bobbie Help You Find The Frame Than Best Harmonizes With You, the Art Piece

Let Bobbie help you get a YES more often in your lifeThat’s Bobbie at 68 yrs. young – picture taken 11/08. Ht: 5’6 & ½” Wt: 126 lbs. Stayed 126 lbs for over 5 yrs!
She will be 71 on May 22 and still weighs 126 lbs and she hasn't shrunk!

If she could release 43 lbs, keep them off, rejuvenate & keep having fun – so can you!


Find Your “mini-Qs”
I’ve been a long-term fan of Bobbie Horowitz for fifty years. Bobbie’s vibrant writing style, positive attitude, and simple-to-choose ‘Mini-Q’ ideas will help you find a healthy, happy balance in your life. If you are young at heart, read this book.
Ken Blanchard – coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and The One Minute
Manager balances work and life.


I must say Bobbie, that you wrote an absolutely fantastic little book, “Find Your Mini-Qs”! I enjoyed every page, right to the end. I suggest to everyone to read her book, great story, by a great writer, and a great person.
Love to you, and BRAVO!

Barbara Stettner – Representative for Eric de Kolb Artwork

“I’ve been reading your book and I’m truly enjoying it. It’s so well written.”

Dr. Edmund S. Kaplan MD

I want to thank you again for your book – for writing it so clearly and in such a well-organized way.
Donna Lopez
Retired Teacher, Singer

I had a great time chatting with you and got so much good information out of our meeting. I am so excited about going shopping and putting some of that information to use! I think I will feel more confident the next time I go in to audition knowing that I have made wardrobe choices that fit me and my personal palate/style, and that will translate into a better and more confident overall audition!
Catherine John, PerformerBobbie became an authority on rejuvenation by necessity! As a Certified Image Consultant she needed to be at her optimum weight ad fitness. Between the ages of 54 and 63 Bobbie gained 33 pounds and developed severe osteoarthritis. She lost 43 pounds by age 65 and at age 70 she's kept her weight and rid herself of any osteoarthritis and she has very few lines on her face. Bobbie teaches what she needed to learn. Bobbie seems to channel the path that worked for her and she also has a way to help others find their own unique and FUN path to attain and maintain their optimum weight and strength. I attest to this. Bobbie guides you to design your very own daily “way” that fits into your lifestyle. You can chip way all the “stuff” that isn’t the real you and allow the star you truly are to shine.
Thank you, Bobbie, for all you've given me! I'm looking forward to the next 71 years.
Please visit www.BobbieHorowitz.com

I have been fortunate enough to work with Tracy Stark many times. I have known Tracy at least 10 years. We've been on the road together and earlier this month, I appeared with Tracy along with Sue Matsuki and Gretchen Reinhagen at Bob Egan's New Hope.Pianist/Arranger/Conductor/SingerSongwriter, Tracy Stark is a 4-time MAC Award winner, a Bistro Award winner for Musical Direction, and winner of the Dottie Burman Songwriter of the Year Award. Tracy has worked with Lesley Gore, Phoebe Snow, Karen Black, Randy Jones (Village People), Jimmy Osmond, Tovah Feldshuh, Eric Millegan, Tonya Pinkins, Ann Crumb, Marni Nixon, and hundreds of other rock, jazz, and Broadway vocalists. She has conducted, played, and sung at all the finest and the sleaziest venues all over the world. She has played/conducted on numerous television shows, including The Today Show. Her songs are included on at least 20 different compilations, and have been winning accolades in songwriting competitions for the past 2 decades.
Her last CD, ‘Feast for the Heart’ is exquisitely produced by Richard Barone, and includes a duet with the inimitable Phoebe Snow.
She is currently in the process of recording a new CD, on the wonderful MIRANDA MUSIC label.
“…a captivating artist with goosebump-raising skill…one of our country’s best musicians.”
Songwriter’s Monthly

“…perceptive and poignant, cool and hip, sassy and funny.”
Backstage

“…gifted…masterpieces…beautiful…sensual…passionate…it seems like Stark can write almost anything…You’re going to be impressed.”
Electronic Link Journey

“…creative genius…”
Applause! Applause!

“She proves why seemingly everyone in town wants to work with her....”
Kevin Scott Hall, Edge NY

Here is a list of Tracy's next four appearances:Saturday,
April 30th, 2011
Metropolitan Room
MetroMinor Competition - 4 PM

Monday, May 2nd, 2011
Metropolitan Room
MetroMinor Competition - 4 PM

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011
BB King's
MAC Awards! - 6 PM
243 W. 42nd
NYC

Saturday, May 14th, 2011
Metropolitan Room
MetroMinor Competition - 4 PM
34 W. 22nd (Bet 5th/6th)


Earlier this month, Tracy played a PBS Special with Lesley Gore. It was taped at Caesar's in Atlantic City. In addition to Lesley, it featured her friends Frankie Avalon, Fabian, and Little Anthony.


Tracy is nominated for 2 MAC Awards. One for Musical Direction, and one for Song of the Year, for "Haunted" which she wrote with Marcus Simeone.
If you want to hear the song, here's the link.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/25512238/01%20Haunted.mp3
Much success, Tracy, and thank you for all the gifts you give us. BTW, Happy early Birthday!

I first met Sarah Rice (officially) when she came to sing at WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT THE IGUANA. I say "officially" because I actually became aquainted with her in 1979 as the ORIGINAL Joanna in SWEENEY TODD!
We recently appeared together again last month for The Ziegfeld Society! Yes, I'm now a Ziegfeld girl!
Sarah asked me to be part of an INCREDIBLE cast on May 7th benefitting Zani's Furry Friends. I will be covering the entertainers involved in that as we move closer to the performance date.

SARAH RICE arrived in NYC with $100, two cats and a piano. Shortly after, she originated the role of Marianne in a musical adaptation of THE MISER called HANG ON TO YOUR RIBBONS, off-off Broadway. This led to being cast as The Girl in the long-running original off-Broadway production of THE FANTASTICKS. She continued in the role off and on for over two years. During that time she also played Anne in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, Cunegonde in CANDIDE, at the Guthrie, Miranda in THE TEMPEST, Zan in REGINA, Gretel in HANSEL AND GRETEL and Liesl in THE SOUND OF MUSIC.
Here are just FIVE of the operas in which Sarah has appeared: Candide Cunegonde Bernstein
Regina Alexandra Blitzstein
Bittersweet Sarah Noel Coward
The Daughter Of The Regiment Marie Donizetti
Linda di Chamounix Linda Donizetti
Thank you, Sarah and I am looking forward to Zani's Furry Friends on May 7th at Birdland!


Don't forget The 26th annual Bistro Awards TOMORROW night at The Gotham Comedy Club in NYC! (www.BistroAwards.com)
Please click on the banner ads on our Bistro Award site and support our advertisers.

Tomorrow's blog will be about Zani's Furry Friends, Hayley Mills, and Lee Roy Reams.

Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/foundation.htm

TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED WEEK!


Richard Skipper, Associate producer of the 26th annual Bistro Awards , Richard@RichardSkipper.com