Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Parker Scott!

Erase hate! Embrace diversity!

 Happy Wednesday!

 It is the middle of the week and middle of the month.
Have you achieved what you set out to do this month or this week?

I am still floating from my birthday celebration on Saturday night and how exciting it was to see my old friend Parker Scott once again.

 Parker and I met years ago when he and Miles Phillips and I joined forces under the able guidance of the late Jeff Matson and David Maiocco to create a show called Carol Channing plus Two.Yes, I was Carol.
The Two referred to two twos.

 The first was my TWO co-stars. The other two referred to the fact that we were celebrating the two composers instrumental in Carol Channing's career, Jerry Herman and Jule Styne. I won my second MAC Award for this show for my work as a tribute artist.

(photo by: Craig Sugden, London.)
 That award has always bothered me because this show was truly an ensemble piece and we ALL should have gotten that award. David Maiocco also won for his musical direction. I have written on more than one occasion on Miles, or Millie, as I call him...after the film Thoroughly Modern Millie. I, of course, am Muzzy after Carol Channing's character. Parker is Miss Dorothy after the Mary Tyler Moore character. I have such fond memories of sharing the stage with Parker and today I want to share him with you!

Let's go back to the beginning. 
Man of La Mancha – at the Shepardstown Opera House, in West Virginia was the very first show Parker remembers seeing as a young boy. His brother was playing guitar in the pit orchestra. Parker says he was on the edge of his seat – deeply moved by the beautiful raven haired lady who was baring her soul as Aldonza. She broke his 7 year-old heart in Act 2 when she exclaimed, “but you must remember, they are your own words!” and then began to sing the reprise… To dream, the impossible dream…” 

Parker was exposed to the arts growing up. 
He started piano lessons at age 8. Though, he was surrounded by music at home, his brother played guitar and saxophone, his sister played flute. And at church, there was always music. He sang a solo at age 5. And he has been hooked ever since. 


 Parker's first professional job was singing opera chorus at Washington Opera and Baltimore Opera Companies. Same season he sang at both companies. He got to join AGMA – the singers and dancers union. "It was GREAT!!!!!" He was in 4 operas that season. Don Carlo (at both companies), Der fliegende Holländer and Die Zauberflöte.
(Photo: Beth Kelly)
 
Your thoughts on Arts in Education
We so desperately need arts, music and dance in our public schools. For some kids it is the only connection to getting the exposure to something that could literally change their lives. In this “youth obsessed” climate where age matters so much, getting a head start in elementary school could make the difference in having a career in a chosen field.

Have you ever felt like you were born in the wrong era? What other period of time do you relate to and why?
As much as I very much enjoy living my life in this moment, I would have loved to been in the Baroque era – early 1700s – 1750 and had the opportunity to create some roles in Handel’s beautiful operas. I think the music of that time is so beautiful and so easily fits into my voice. And those elaborate clothes were pretty snazzy too.

Your thoughts on Carol Channing (All my blogs focus on Carol Channing’s Foundation For The Arts)
I remember the first time I saw Carol Channing live in 1984 at The Kennedy Center in Washington DC in Jerry’s Girls. I remember howling with laughter as she sang the “striptease song” Take It All Off. Such comic genius!!! And then again in 1995 in the Broadway Revival of Hello, Dolly!. I was blown away. She was great!!! I laughed so much. And then that wonderful monologue that leads into Before the Parade Passes By had me in tears. I felt like I was watching something historic. Something I felt so lucky to witness.

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
Carol Channing is an American icon. She is one of Music Theatre’s most talented actresses. Her comic timing is unequaled. Her creation of Dolly Levi in Jerry Herman’s Hello Dolly was monumental. For that role alone, she deserves to receive a Kennedy Center Honor. To her credit, she has also created many other memorable roles that leave a legacy of superb work in the theatre and on film. It is time for that work to receive the honors due her.

Most recent appearance
Saturday 28 January 2012 @ don’t tell mama
 
Next appearance
Friday 17 February 2012 @ 7pm @ don’t tell mama

Thursday 15 March 2012 @ 9pm @ don’t tell mama

Sunday 15 April 2012 @
7pm at don’t tell mama

 
What is your biggest success in Show Business?
 Financially – a contract as lead male vocalist aboard Silverseas Cruise Ship – The Silver Whisper. I got to go to over 35 countries. It was an amazing personal journey as well. I got to perform at least 5 days a week. As the lead singer, I lived in a private passenger cabin on Deck 4. And got to eat some amazing food at the showcase restaurants. It was a real pleasure to meet so many different people along the way including, Lords and Ladies from the UK, and a celebrity chef from Barcelona.

 
Artistically – playing John Denver in Judy Norton’s play Bring Me John Denver! I got to sing a 45 minute concert of John Denver songs every night. That experience was beyond amazing!!! The fun began with a 5 hour beauty salon experience to change my hair to BLOND!!! And continued as the crowds so appreciated hearing John Denver’s great songs again. As the theatre is very near John’s hometown, it was so fulfilling to talk to folks that actually knew him while he was growing up. There is such great love and respect for him. It was an honor!
 
Another highlight was singing Ricky Ian Gordon’s song Home of the Brave at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival with Ricky playing the piano.
 
What was your lowest low and how did you surpass that?
Last year, because of an illness, there were a few months that I thought I might never sing again. I overcame the illness with the support of a very loving husband, and some very wonderful friends who were constantly available to provide me with whatever support I needed.
 
What one change would you like to see in today’s industry?
(above, with Erla Wahl, aboard The Silver Whisper)
A showing of real appreciation from the “powers-that-be” for artists who do truly honest and beautiful work – that is outside the realm of whatever is popular with the general public at any given moment. I would like to see more artists who are speaking from their hearts. More singers like Adele – who do not rely on tricks and spectacle to be interesting. Just stand there and sing for us! There is nothing wrong with spectacle… I am the first person to enjoy it… However, if that is all you can bring to the table, I am not as interested. I want to see humanity… real life in front of me. I want to know who the person is, by what they sing.
 
How do you deal with receiving invitations from friends/colleagues to events that are either too many or too costly to attend?
It is almost impossible to see everything and everybody that is of interest to me. I love to support my friends in their creative endeavors. I love to discover new people who are very talented and are sharing their talents with the world. I go to as much as I as possibly can.

If you could not be in show business, what would you do?
I would be a writer. I love words…

Are you happy at the point you are right now in your career?
I am proud of how far I have come in this business and I have faith in how much farther I can go.

Do you feel you have achieved what you set out to do?
I do. Of course, there is always more to achieve… One level of success breeds the desire for the next – and higher – level of success.

What do you do to remain positive when life's hiccups get you down?
(above, as John Denver with playwright/director
Judy Norton aka Mary Ellen Walton)
Cry for a little bit – I believe tears actually do some good for the soul. Then I remember how blessed I actually am and try to focus on the positive and wonderful things I do have in my life.

 
How on earth do you reach theatregoers now that newspapers are obsolete and there are so many channels on TV you can’t pick the right ones to advertise on and with the web being so hit and miss.
I think the Internet is a valuable tool to reach audiences and theatregoers. It requires some research. The information is there to be gleaned. I also believe in “live” interpersonal skills. Getting to know as many people as possible, and being personable. Of course, some folks are just not interested. And that is okay… Find the ones who are interested in the product you have to “sell”. It is a daunting task, though, with courage and an intelligent approach, much can be accomplished.

A genie pops out of the lamp, he grants you three wishes. What are those wishes?
1)        That no child in this world ever suffers any kind of pain again.
2)        That hatred of race, orientation and cease to exist and be erased.
3)        That I always feel content and at peace with myself.

If you could travel anywhere in the world and spend some time there, where would you choose, and what would you do?
This is a loaded question… Having been to so many places that I want to go back too, it is very difficult to narrow it down! 
 
(above, in the balcony at the Mariinsky Theatre,
St. Petersburg, Russia, 2005)
If I must choose one – it would be St. Petersburg, Russia. It is a beautiful city, with such a rich history. And I have a real passion for Russian music, operas and art songs. I would like to immerse myself in that culture, language and music. Wonder along the canals and dream about being in the Yusopov Palace during the time of Rasputin.
 
Though – Paris, France – is such a very close second that I must mention it. I am a Francophile for sure: the language, the people, the food, the wine, the beauty and, of course, the music. All of it is second nature to me, so to be there for a llllooooooonnnnnnggggg period of time would be heaven! I want to stand on a street corner in Paris and sing Hymne a l’amour with an accordion and a cello accompanying me. 
 
What would you ask God if you could right now?
I think I would more likely want to thank him for giving us such a beautiful gift – the gift of music.

What is the last stage show you saw?  Local or professional.
 Stage: The Enchanted Island (at The Metropolitan Opera)

Cabaret: Tom Judson (at The Metropolitan Room)

(Although I must note, I started answering these questions before I saw – The Ladies Sing Happy Birthday to Richard Skipper – at Don’t Tell Mama – this past weekend!)

If you could change places with anyone in the world for 24 hours, who would that be and why?
 Rafael Alencar – to know what it feels like to be so physically desired by so many folks!

Rafael Alencar
Roger Federer – to experience the feeling of winning Wimbledon after fighting through a tough match. To be able to have the ego needed to be a great superstar – and to still be humble and generous of spirit with the human race.
 
When do you know it’s time for a Parker Scott show?
It is always time for a Parker Scott show!

Seriously, though… It is when I have something new to say to the world (and also have the $$$ to proceed with saying it!) As my mentor, Helen Baldassare once told me, “you just know when it is time. You know when you must speak what is in your heart.“
 
What do you see for the future of Cabaret?
Cabaret will always be with us, as long as there are singers who love to sing and people who love to listen to them. I think we who are involved, have to keep doing it. Finding places that will let us express what is in our hearts. There is always room for beautiful music in this world.

What can we do to get your type of entertainment to new audiences?
We can try to get out more and share what it is we do to as many people as we can. Sing at every single opportunity! And present the absolute best of ourselves that we are able to in that moment. When people see us being honest and singing from our hearts they respond in kind, and want to share that experience again and again. To quote David Friedman, “we can be kind.” We can be personable when we meet folks and encourage them to come be part of our world. A lot of it 

 Thank you Parker Scott for the gifts you have given to the world! More could learn from you.
Please join my party as we celebrate Parker in person at DON’T TELL MAMA April 15th!

NO COPY WRITE INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!

with Suzanne Abbott and Leone Hanman.
Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!
If you've seen one of my appearances/shows, add your thoughts to my guestbook at www.RichardSkipper.com
        

with his partner, Dathan B. Williams

                        
Tomorrow's blog will be...Celebrating How to Dress ON STAGE and as a Good Audience Member!

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 TODAY!


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


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



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