Monday, January 16, 2012

Hello, Dolly! and a Big Announcement!

"Hello, Dolly! is a musical comedy dream, with Carol Channing the girl of it.... Channing opens wide her big-as-millstone eyes, spreads her white-gloved arms in ecstatic abandon, trots out on a circular runway that surrounds the orchestra, and proceeds to dance rings around the conductor.... With hair like orange sea foam, a contralto like a horse's neighing, and a confidential swagger, [she is] a musical comedy performer with all the blowzy glamor of the girls on the sheet music of 1916."
Walter Kerr, The New York Herald Tribune January 17th, 1964

Happy "Dolly" Day!

I hope that you are having a great day. Exciting things are happening here in Palm Springs. Tomorrow, I leave for Los Angeles. Today is an auspicious day on so many levels. 48 years ago today, Hello, Dolly! opened on Broadway. It forever changed the lives of Carol Channing, Gower Champion, Jerry Herman, and for most of the people connected with that production.

It also changed my life. I was all of three years old when "Dolly" opened on Broadway. The first time that I recall anything having to do with the show was when Lucille Ball "impersonated" Carol Channing on The Lucy Show.
That episode aired in 1965. Of coursr, Louis Armstrong's spirited New Orleans infused version of the title song got my feet to tapping each time I heard it.

Then in 1969, I saw TWO Dollys on TV when Pearl Bailey and Carol Channing joined forces for a powerhouse television special, Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey on Broadway.

Also, in 1969, the film version of Hello, Dolly! opened starring Barbra Streisand as Dolly. However, I first saw that when it aired on TV, I think in 1975. My parents let me stay home to see it.

As I've written in previous blogs, little did I know the career path I would eventually go on. For the past 20 years, I have performed all over the country and Greece as Carol Channing, and, of course, Hello, Dolly! was also an integral part of  my show. I even got to play Dolly, myself, in a one night concert (but fully staged) production of Hello, Dolly! with the Revision Theatre in 2008.

It was a thrill when I finally got a chance to see Carol Channing when she revived Dolly for the last time in 1996. I saw it on November 1st, 1996. I've seen Tovah Feldshuh as Dolly in 2006. I even helped out a high school production of Dolly in 2009.


Over the years, David Hartman, Lee Roy Reams, Sondra Lee, Marge Champion, Charles Karrel, Nicole Barth, Harvey Evans, Peter Howard, and especially Carol Channing have become very good friends. 
Lee Roy even sang It Only Takes A Moment at our wedding.

In 2008, Disney's Pixar Studios showed us and a little robot named Wall-E what love and life was all about through film clips from Barbra Streisand's Dolly!

Betty Grable
Ginger Rogers' original Dolly Gown
I cannot imagine the life that I have had without Hello, Dolly!














So today, I'm announcing my new project. A coffee table book entitled Richard Skipper Celebrates The Women who ARE Dolly Levi! If anyone comes up with a better title, I'll take it and credit you with that in the book. My book will not be a tell all, but rather a celebration of the women who have played Dolly from Ruth Gordon on. On Broadway, in regional companies, productions around the world. I am looking to interview EVERYONE who has had a connection with Dolly Levi. Last night, thanks to Paul Brogan, I interviewed Roberta Olden who was Ginger Rogers' live in secretary from 1977-1995. I was able to see Leila's (Ginger Rogers mother) diary from Ginger's opening night of Dolly in August of 1965. Ginger's original Dolly Gown! and other memorabilia!I would like to mention that I bought a great book entitled The Motion Picture Art of Ginger Rogers celebrating her RKO career from 1931-1956 by Roberta Olden and Paul Becker. I urge EVERY MOVIE fan to order this book. You can contact Roberta at rjolden@eartlink.net for more details.

Thursday night, I am having dinner with Carole Cook, the second Dolly Levi! She played Dolly in the Australian company of Hello, Dolly! I have other interviews coming up with this project. I will keep everyone up to date with my progress through my blogs. I am open to all suggestions and feedback as I move forward on this project. My goal is for the book to be released on January 16th, 2014, two years from today! That date marks the 50th anniversary of Hello, Dolly! opening on Broadway. I'm looking for Playbills and programs. I want this to be the ultimate guide to all of the Dollys that we have loved in one form or another!

Just leave Everything To Me!

THANK YOUTO EVERY WOMAN WHO HAS PLAYED DOLLY LEVI and FOR THE GIFTS YOU HAVE GIVEN and GIVE TO THE WORLD!

NO COPY WRITE INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!

Bibi Osterwald
Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!
Follow me on Twitter If you've seen one of my appearances/shows, add your thoughts to my guestbook at www.RichardSkipper.com


Tomorrow's's blog will be... YOU TELL ME! I'm open to suggestions!

Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!

  Here's to an INCREDIBLE day for ALL...with NO challenges!


Now, GO OUT AND DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TOMORROW!

 Become A Facebook friend of mine!
Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING  and HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS

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

                                         

Check out this amazing blog Charles presents...The USA Retro Times
  from 3 years ago celebrating Hello, Dolly!

4 comments:

  1. Richard;

    I am so happy for and proud of you for your plans to do a Book on the various Dolly's; good for you! With all the knowledge that you have accumulated over the years on so many topics, I think that this would be the PERFECT way for you to launch yet another successful career. My thoughts and Prayers are with you for the success you will achieve with this latest, wonderful endeavor. BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO!

    Ronnie

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    Replies
    1. Congratulations Richard! I know this book will be a labor of love. Looking forward to it!!!

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  2. Dearest Richard - Bravo on a project that will become an important reference for millions for decades to come. Thank you for putting your energy and passion into something so important. I know it'll be another gem.

    Paul E. Brogan

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  3. WONDERFUL!!! WONDERFUL!!! WONDERFUL!!! That is the most exciting news ever and I can't wait to hear more about it. I know that you'll be giving progress reports along the way.
    Cheers,
    Stephan

    ReplyDelete