Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Patrick W. Ziegler!

Patrick Ziegler
"Stop worrying if your vision is new. Let others make that decision they usually do. You just keep moving on."  
Sunday In The Park With George

Happy Tuesday! 

Well, here we are...firmly entrenched in 2012. How many of you have already broken your New Year's resolutions?I I no longer call them resolutions; I call them intentions. The only person I know who has "made resolutions" that I guarantee will be able to keep them is Kathy Griffin. She says her New Year's resolution is to swear more and eat more chocolate! Of course she was joking, but there is truth in them their jokes (bad grammar intended). She made a resolution that she knew she would be able to maintain based on previous behavior pattens. 

 My intentions have been written down.  They are framed and the lettering is large enough that I can read it from my desk. (They are on a shelf directly across from me). 



ONE intention I intend to keep over the next 12 months is to surround myself with positive people. Yes, I know I sound like Pollyanna! However, I am sick and tired of all the negativity and insensitivity in the world today. I'll give you two examples of what I'm talking about. Last night, on the radio, I heard of the story where a man jumped the turnstiles in New York City on the subway and when he was arrested they discovered he had two automatic weapons on his body. 
At the end of the story, the reporter said to see pictures of these guns go to their website! Why DO we need to see these images?!?!? Hearing the story is enough for me.



Also, on Christmas morning, in Stamford Connecticut, there was a tragedy of massive proportions. A Christmas morning house fire killed three little girls and their grandparents. The next night on the news, the anchorman mentioned the fact that at the end of the story we would get a chance to hear actual voice recordings of the rescue efforts that took place. Is this really necessary? Is this something that we need to hear? Does any consideration even go into the family members and friends that would have to relive this all over again?  In our insatiable quest to know every aspect of a news item, very little sensitivity is paid to those closely affected by the situation. I say enough is enough is enough! I say let's build each other up in the coming months and year ahead.


The two people that I am celebrating today do just that. I have to be honest with you, I have never met either one. 
That being said, I am in on both! As a result of my blog on Lucie Arnaz, I became familiar with Patrick Ziegler. I reached out to him based on the work he is doing and said that I would love to interview him. He asked if I can make the blog about him and his partner and the work they are doing. So tomorrow's blog will be about his business partner, Teresa Thome. That speaks volumes about him and his character. 
He sent me a few photos, but the one I chose to begin this blog with, shows him sprinting for the finish line. How appropriate.


Patrick's first time on stage, the last boy in line on the right
I asked Patrick if he had a favorite quote or a personal philosophy. He said there were actually two that stood out for him. The first is from Stephen Sondheim's song, Move On, from Sunday in the Park with George.
It says to Patrick that you just have to follow your vision.  Try to do the best at your vision and hope that people will enjoy what you are doing and it will touch them is some way.
The second is carpe diem. Seize the day! 


 Patrick says the first live show he saw, he was in!

His brother is six years older than him and he was a Freshman in high school and he would have been in third grade.  
He got cast in "Carousel".They needed kids to play the Snow children and they picked Patrick as one of them.  He was thrilled!
 
Lucie Arnaz with Marion VanVlack who was Lucille Ball's childhood friend and namesake of a character on "I Love Lucy
 
with Carol Burnett
Patrick's parents always had season tickets to the Grand Rapids Civic Theater and they would go to museums and other things like Festival of the Arts that took place in downtown
Grand Rapids during the summer. His parents were very supportive of what their kids desired to do. Patrick played a lot of sports, yes he was a jock, but he also was very into the arts.  He also played Saxophone for a while and was in the band.  As a kid, he was constantly writing plays and trying to get his neighborhood friends together to put on shows. That is where my producing and directing roots come from.  

Fubble Entertainment
 Patrick told me that he will never forget coming on stage for the first time.  They had done rehearsals, once again in Carousel,  but never with an audience.  He walked on stage that first night and felt the laughter and applause of the audience and honestly, no lie, felt butterflies in his stomach. He was terrified and excited at the same time.  He was hooked and, from that moment on, all he desired to do was act, direct, produce, write, create sets, stage manage...anything he could that had to do with theater.  But never thought he could do it professionally until he got to college and learned about it.  He went on and studied at Grand Rapids Junior College, Western Michigan University and then in New York City at The National Shakespeare conservatory.  

Patrick's first professional job was a commercial for the bus transit in Grand Rapids Michigan.  He was taking an acting class at Grand Rapids Junior College. He was a freshman, and the main reason he was taking the acting class was because he had a scholarship for track but when he went to school that year they had to cut track because of funding.  Go figure.  So he had an hour free and found the acting class.  He never thought he could do this.  His teacher, who became his mentor and is still his dearest friend Fred Sebulske, had a small group of them line up on stage and a woman came in and picked him and another girl to play a bride and groom that get married and use public transportation as their wedding vehicle to save her father money!  Well he was hooked.  He thought wow... He can get paid for doing this.  Boy, did he have a lot to learn!  He did work off and on as an actor and model in Michigan and a bit in New York.  His first BIG "Professional" job was as a two day guest part on "All My Children"  It was thrilling.  He remembers getting cast there in the office and them handed him the script.  He left the studio and ran up 66th Street towards Broadway to call his parents from a pay phone. 
Patrick with his Mom and Dad, Brother and partner Mark

He couldn't believe it!  The first day of filming was a big day with someone getting married so all of the cast was there.  The first person that said "Hello" to him in the break room was Susan Lucci.  She was so nice.

His other favorite was Ruth Warrick and it was exciting watching her prepare for a scene.  She was getting pretty old at this time and would stand back stage with the stage hands talking with them. They would help her to her place before her scene and then she would put her shoulders back, stand up straight and walk on set and didn't miss a beat.  Amazing!  

 



Patrick's thoughts on Arts in Education
Oh boy.  So being someone that played sports for many years, Football, Basketball and Track, and loved it, I see how much more importance sports is given rather than the arts in schools.  I feel if we could focus as much energy on the arts as sports and really support them our problems would be taken care of.  I think the arts enrich a students life in so many ways.  Through learning about different cultures, sharing and creating together, pure emotion and expression, learning about diversity in all forms.  I am also dyslexic and I feel that it helped me learn through visual and audible techniques.
I am so grateful for shows like "Glee" it really has brought a new appreciation for music and the arts. When I was in school it wasn't only the "nerds or geeks" that were in the musicals.  All of the jocks were in it.  I feel that was mainly to do with our choir director Al Kruiswyk.  He expressed the importance of rehearsal and the discipline of it and what it takes to make something successful and good.  That is also an important part of sports.  And he also made it so much fun that everyone wanted to be a part of it.  We all respected him so much and he respected us.  He died of cancer my senior year and it had such a powerful impact on me and other students. We didn't do a musical that year and my high school has been challenged with creating a program for musicals and plays ever since.  That is what we are trying to do with "Backstage Drama" and community theater and high school theater as well.  Hoping that a younger generation will watch our show and want to do community and high school theater.  We are already seeing the affects from it and people saying they want to do community theater or get back to doing theater after
watching the episodes.

 
What makes Patrick cry out of the blue when he sees or hears it?
Seeing some sort of expression of true gratitude or love. 
 
Patrick's thoughts on Carol Channing (All my blogs focus on Carol Channing’s Foundation For The Arts)

I’m campaigning for Carol Channing to receive the 2012 Kennedy Center Honor in 2012:
I love Carol Channing.  She is what theater is all about.  I respect her seriousness of it and also her amazing career.  I know that she worked with George Burns for quite a while after Gracie died  There is so much to honor her for and celebrate her contribution to the arts.  I think she absolutely should receive the Kennedy Center Honor.  I have been watching those for as long as I can remember and still have many on VHS.  

Patrick is mainly appearing behind the scenes now a days.  He is co-creator, director, producer and writer of a new web series "Backstage Drama"  The last time he performed was with his good friend Greg Jbara who won the Tony Award for "Billy Elliott" when he came into Grand Rapids to do a fund raiser for Actors Theatre.  Patrick says Greg is such a generous and wonderful person.  They did a Martin and Lewis routine that he found on YouTube and their musical director who does the music for "Backstage Drama" Wright McCarger composed the whole thing by listening to it.  He is so talented.  You can see it here.  They only had a few hours to rehearse it so forgive the goof ups!

 
Hopefully more episodes of "Backstage Drama" and Patrick's company Fubble Entertainment will be creating two new sitcoms that they hope to film this spring and he does have a role in at least one of them are on the horizon in the coming news  Once an actor, always an actor.  He just loves doing it but hasn't had the opportunity since he's been focused on creating projects.

 
Patrick, What is your biggest success in Show Business?

I would say to be able to do what I LOVE to do and make a living at it.  I feel so blessed and honored.  Also that I'm now doing it in Chicago and West Michigan where I grew up is a dream come true.  I lived in Los Angeles and New York City and I loved it but my family is in West Michigan and I love them and missed them so it is great to be able to have my company there. My business partner is my best friend Teresa who I met in college and we just clicked.  She ran the Grand Rapids Children's Museum for many years as I went off and pursued a career in Theater, Film and Television and we stayed friends the whole time, so to being doing this with my best friend is AMAZING!  Also I have to say winning my Emmy Award which I won as Executive Producer of the children's show "Come On Over"  That is a huge success and really a dream come true!
Like Back Stage Drama on Facebook.

What was your lowest low and how did you surpass that?

Oh boy.  You know I've had a few through the years.  Anyone that knows me can agree with that.  But I've had a TON of good.   2011 was one of the best years of my life career wise and one of the most challenging in my personal life.  Right now I'm dealing with a mother who has dementia and that is pretty difficult.  She is someone that LOVED her memories of family and friends and really can't tell hardly anything about it now.  Only a few things.  She is so proud of my brother and I and would tell everyone she knows about this blog, but now she wouldn't remember it 10 seconds after I told her about it.  My father is an angel and takes amazing care of her and that is one reason I'm glad I'm close by so my brother and I do what we can to help out.  I love my parents so much and it is hard to see this happening.  But I know that this is part of life.  I don't understand why but mine isn't always to know why but to just accept with as much grace and surrender as possible.  Also once again living in the now moment, appreciating the good moments which we had this Christmas and trusting a higher power, what ever that means to you, for me I call it God.  Letting go and letting God, things work out and we get through it all.  

 
What one change would you like to see in today’s industry?

I really am tired of so much violence and destruction on TV and Film.  Yes we have a bit of it in our show with a murder but not to the extreme there is on TV and in Film.  I believe there is power in what we put out into the universe and am not surprised at the destruction and devastation that happens in life when most of the things that sell are movies and shows about this.  Then people sit back and say "can you believe that happened."  Yes I can.  I will never forget where I was on 9/11.  I was living in Los Angeles and hadn't turned on the TV that morning.  I was in my car to go for breakfast with my partner Mark and I turned on the radio.  I heard them talking about the World Trade Center collapsing and all of the horror that was taking place and I thought to my self, what horrible movie are they talking about now.  (I'm totally with you, Patrick! Thanks for saying this!)

 
Who are your TOP FIVE models and influences as an artist?

Al Kruiswyk my high school choir director and musical theater director
Fred Sebulske my first acting teacher and personal mentor
Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball.  I say both of them together because I think their contributions to Television are equal.
Carol Burnett.  I grew up watching her on TV on Saturday nights at my Nana's and continue to "steal" from her when I perform comedy.  She is brilliant.  I have met her a few times and know I will work with her some day! 

 
What do you think ultimately made you become a performer? 

Watching reruns of "I Love Lucy."  When I was in school I would come home for lunch and my mother was always watching it.  I was hooked.  I knew that I wanted to do that.  So I wasn't only a fan I studied about that show and Desilu.  Through a series of meeting different people, especially Tom Watson who was Lucille Ball's business manager, I was able to meet and create friendships with many of the writers, directors, producers, editors, etc....The whole Desilu "world" including Lucie and Desi Jr.   Which a nice friendship has been created between me and Lucie and I'm very grateful for that.  I learned so much talking to all of them and reading about Lucy and Desi.  The surrounded themselves with people that were good at what they do and to get out of their way and let them do it.  That is one of the best lessons I learned.  Also the guts and risk that it took for them to start "I Love Lucy"  I lean on that when things are scary with what I'm doing.  I've put everything I've got into my company, but I believe in what I'm doing and I know they did too.  I believe that when you love what you do only success can come your way.  The trick is to stay out of the results and what it should look like!

 
Are you happy at the point you are right now in your career?

I'm so HAPPY!!!  I love what I'm doing.  Creating shows and actually doing them.  They may not be a household name yet, but as long as I'm doing what I love and the people I'm working with are enjoying themselves.  That right there is joy and a successful career.  



Do you feel you have achieved what you set out to do?

I feel like I'm always looking to achieve more.  I feel I've had many achievements and hope to have many more.  


What do you do to remain positive when life's hiccups get you down?

It is a way of thinking.  Mostly being grateful.  Being grateful for the simple abundance in my life.  That I have a roof over my head, food in my belly and people that I love and love me.  That is so much more than so many have in the world.  I'm blessed beyond belief.  That is where I want to focus.  Not focusing on what is wrong or what I did wrong, but what can I learn from it.  I've had big failures already.  Not beating myself up for that, which I use to do, but asking myself what have I learned from it.  That is the most important thing.  


If you had all the money in the world...that you needed...would  you continue working?
ABSOLUTELY!!! 



A genie pops out of the lamp, he grants you three wishes. What are those wishes?
Love and kindness to each other and animals.
End poverty and world hunger.
Equal rights for EVERYONE!

 
If you could travel anywhere in the world and spend some time there, where would you choose, and what would you do?
I would take a trip through Europe with my partner Mark Anthony Lord.  Yes that's his real name.  We've been to London, but I want to see the rest of the country.  Take some time off and just do whatever we want.  


What would you ask God if you could right now?
Why are we here.  I can remember asking this question to my Mom as a kid and asking God.  Then ask what else should I do?

Please visit Fubble Entertainment!

The thing we are looking to get across the most with  The first 5 episodes of "Backstage Drama" was produced with over 145 volunteers of the theater, film and TV industry of West Michigan and Chicago.  They are selling subscriptions for a year of episodes for only $9.99 and 30% of your cost goes to an independent or community theater of your choice.  This is a fund raiser for community theater.  They are doing their own model of "Kickstarter" but instead of a percentage of your donation going to "Kickstarter" it goes to a community theater and the rest of your donation of $9.99 or above goes to create more production which creates more jobs for artists.  Someone just paid $500 for subscription and wrote in a community theater of their choice!  That theater now is getting a check for $150 from uFubble Entertainment without having to do a thing!  THAT'S WHAT PAYING IT FORWARD IS ALL ABOUT!!!!!

Lucie Arnaz and Larry Luckinbill, Greg Jbara, Levi Kreis and Vicki Lewis are among their current supporters!  They also have me now in their corner! They have a few more coming soon!  They are also getting people from local community theater that are expressing why they do theater and how it enriches their lives.  Also Levi donated a song that he wrote that is featured in the pilot episode that the chorus boys sing and the opening song is written by Harold Arlen Award winners and Chicago natives Cheri Coons and Chuck Larkin. 

Go to our website at www.backstagedrama.com and click on Subscribe.

 I just want to say that not only is Patrick a tremendous talent and visionary he is also a supreme champion of the golden age of television. AND he is one of the kindest people in the world. He's a total joy. 
Scott Coulter

Patrick has an amazing eye. He sees how a scene will work. What elements are needed to create a successful moment, and where the funny is. He's good like that. So, I always like working with him because I know he'll find the meat of a scene and slap it around a bit. And I respect that. Patrick's eye also works on a larger level, in that he's a guy who can see the oak tree in the acorn. And it's always a pleasure to work with someone like that.
 Suzanne Sole

 Thank you, Patrick, for ALL you do!

 NO COPY WRITE INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!
Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!

Thank you Lucie for the gifts you give to the world! Thank you, to all the entertainers mentioned in this blog!
I love you ALL!! 

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

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

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                                                      Tomorrow's blog will be..Celebrating Terese Thome!






Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING  and HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS




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

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my friend, Harry Kullijian 

2 comments:

  1. I went to school with Patrick and he IS wonderful! I remember seeing him in the first live show I ever saw. He played Conrad Birdie in our schools production of Bye Bye Birdie. He made a huge impression on the audience (particularly the young girls....his status as a 'hottie' was cemented right there!) Beyond his many talents he truly is a kind and loving person. He has made so many contributions to the world and I am so happy to see him excel and be successful doing what he loves. You ROCK Patrick!! Thank you for all you do, keep making us proud!
    Jeanette Kerkstra Billings

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great blog, Richard! I know Patrick, but learned so much more - I love hearing about what motivates and inpsires people. Bravo Patrick and bravo Richard! Can't wait to read about Teresa!
    Francesca

    ReplyDelete