Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dancers Over 40!

Chita Rivera, Carol Lawrence, DO40 Cast last night
Dancers Over 40 was created as a not-for-profit organization to provide a community of support for mature dancers, choreographers and related artists.  

Last night, they extended that support to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Project Achieve and the NYC HIV Vaccine Trials Network.

Happy Tuesday! 
John Sefakis
 I am still flying from the night I had last night at the Dancers Over 40 Event. I have been a part of Dancers Over 40 for the past several years. 
 I'm over 40 but I'm definitely not a dancer! Several years ago, I heard that Dancers Over 40, a group that I did not know at the time was doing a tribute to Carol Channing. I called to make reservations and John Sekakis, DO40's president, said, " I know you! How would you like to be in the show?" I thought at first that he was joking. I was thrilled to share the stage with David Hartman, Lee Roy Reams, Marge Champion, Nicole Barth, Harvey Evans, Karin Baker, and so many others that are such a part of Gower's legacy. They recreated Gower's original staging of Before The Parade Passes By from Hello, Dolly! What an absolute thrill for me! 
But the bigger thrill is that I was welcomed into this organization with open arms. When I was invited to Nicole Barth's (original company of Dolly) apartment along with the other dancers from Dolly to discuss my involvement in the show, I was in heaven. No one ever questioned my involvement. Luckily for all involved, I was very well received. After that, John has included me in so many of their events. I have MC'd several. John had even asked me to be part of last night's show. When he asked me about 5 months ago, I said yes. The universe,however, had other plans for me. I decided to close the door on my performing Career as Carol so that I could focus more on what Richard Skipper has to offer the world...and there's a lot! John was more than understanding when I called him after the first of the year to tell him where I was on everything. He allowed me to come in and cover last night for today's blog. So, today, I'm celebrating Dancer's Over 40! Last night, the SRO audience was made up of some of the biggest names in cabaret and theatre. It was also such fun to see so many Facebook friends that were there because of my efforts. I thank you for supporting LIVE THEATRE! 

David Lewis
The evening began with a rousing It's Not Where You Start with a tap number that defied age led by David Lewis on piano.  

Last night's show for the Dancers Over 40 Benefit embodied the full range of human emotion.From the despair of love lost by a partner's passing to the humor of the hilarious Ode To A Dance Belt. It was truly a great evening of theater. Thank You DO40! BRAVO! - Kurt Wieting
I saw CHICAGO in June 1975 and it changed my life -- I thought, "This is the Broadway of my dreams and where I want to live someday...."  Some years later, I came here to stay, although it was bait-and-switch -- Broadway shape-shifted into some other thing, but the memories live on.  Last night was a great reunion, seeing many CHICAGO original cast members together again after 37 years, with an audience that remembers what used to be possible (and expected.)

It was so haunting seeing today's young expert dancers in their prime, dancing side by side with the great Broadway gypsies of the Golden Age.
 Fosse was an intellectual and the original CHICAGO was loaded with intellect.  Doing the Fosse "style" without the Fosse intellect is like "reading book reviews like they was books!"
Fred Barton

we are all lucky if we even have ONE new york moment .. I have lived here for 8 years and my first NEW YORK MOMENT was meeting Chita Rivera at the dance studio i worked at (when I first moved to the city..and when I first met Meghan Burns)... the 2nd was meeting Liza Minnelli at a piano bar with Terri White the THIRD was tonight..seeing my best friend Buddy Flowers share the stage with his (and my) idol CHITA RIVERA...along with the original merry murderesses (of cell block tango fame) from CHICAGO..WHILE sitting in an audience full of original cast members from MANY Broadway shows...and seeing Fred Barton's face light up when he got to hear inside stories from his (and MY) favorite broadway show "CHICAGO" ....
Jesse Luttrell 
Had the best time last night at the Dancers Over 40 event !!! The sizzling tango dancers, the baritone mourning his lost love ,the darling jazz tap dancers, the Lampshade actress, the comedic bathrobe older dancers surrounded by their younger versions, and of course our wonderful George Marcy. Can't forget the lovely Chita and Carol. OMG ....I recommend the Dancers Over 40 events highly. xox
Leslie Orofino

What can I say...Wonderful evening at the DO40 Dance concert last night. I was basically in charge of taking care of Chita and seeing that everything went smoothly with her. I have to say that she is the most charming, funny delightful person. A great star with no pretensions or star attitude. We had a lovely time together. Also I would like to say it was incredible seeing the great ladies of Chicago together again. With the same energy and magic they had all those years ago in the original production of the show.
What DO40 has to offer, you can't find anywhere else. The history of we who have worked in the professional theatre is something that MUST be passed on to the younger performing artists today. There is nothing without history and there is plenty to be had at DO40. Last nights triumphant evening and packet house attest to the interest that is there in high quality dance and theatre. So I celebrate the wonderful stars who appeared last night so graciously and all the dancers and singers who performed.
Marcus Galante

IT'S NOT WHERE YOU START was absolutely beautiful in every way. Sweet with talent and stellar. The mixture of young and old onstage and off was like the functional families we only dream of. The evening was nothing short of magic! I couldn't be prouder to have had the privilege to contribute in some small way to an event that cannot be topped in my memory. I feel gratitude to every participant both on stage and in the audience. 
The positive energy will go a long way toward healing and a cure.
Mary Lou Barber, Secretary, DO40

Last night, DO40 brought together a very special reunion of the six merry murderesses from the original 1975 CHICAGO! Gypsies Chita Rivera (Cicero!), Michon Peacock (Six!), Cheryl Clark (Pop!), Candy Brown (Squish!), Candace Tovar (Uh-uh!), and Joan Bell (Pop!) appearedtogether for the first time since - -1975!!! They took part in a special rendition of Cell Block, staged for and by the Queen Mum of the NYC HIV Vaccine Trials Network, Stella D’oro.
 And yet another reunion collided like the spheres in the universe do on occasion – host Carol Lawrence, Chita Rivera Chita Rivera(right) and George Marcy – all on stage – and all from the original Broadway West Side Story!  History in the re-making decades apart!
 These incredible reunions took place last night at the Ailey Citigroup Theater/The Joan Weill Center for Dance, 405 West 55th Street at 8:00 P.M. in NYC. Like DO40's first event, this one benefitted Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Project Achieve & Columbia University -- the NYC HIV Vaccine Trials. DO40 Advisory Board Member Carol Lawrence (below right) hosted the event and guests from the ballet and modern world, some appearing for the first time in NYC, added to the star studded line up.  Amy Seiwert, from the Smuin Ballet of San Francisco presented a work, as did JT Carol LawrenceHorenstein (“The Question”) from Los Angeles.  Choreographers Mark Stuart, Thomas/Ortiz Dance, Sasha Spielvogel and Joy Serio Dunbar also be presented their work.  Director Choreographer Larry Fuller recreated his hit number, Ode to a Dance Belt, and opened the show with a newly created DO40-member number, It’s Not Where You Start….   Broadway’s Hottest Gypsy, Rachelle Rak danced, and performance artist Claire Porter was back, as was George Marcy. And DO40 board member Mary Lou Barber debuted her talents as a mature dancer dreading the clock turning 8pm.

 Dancers Over 40, Inc. was created as a not-for-profit organization to provide a community of support in response to the fiscal -- as well as physical - needs of mature dancers, choreographers and related artists. Our goals are to seek educational opportunities, present seminars, socials and panel discussions on topics important to mature dancers concerned about their ability to continue to live and work in a creative environment and continue the legacy to those dancers about to begin their journey.

The founding members of Dancers Over 40:
Eilleen Casey
John Mineo
Christopher Nelson
Frank Pietri

For more information, call the DO40 Hotline, 212-330-7016 or visit our website, www.dancersover40.org.

Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!

Tomorrow's blog will be...Celebrating 2012 MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) nominee Joan Jaffee!

Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!

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

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com
This Blog is dedicated to ALL ARTISTS: Past, present and future and the gifts they give to the world!


  1. This is an amazing blog and your shows are doing amazing great deeds and works. God bless all who are involved-enjoyed reading and seeing it all! kam from Kansas-friend of Emily Frankel

  2. You made the evening come alive again for me by reading this wonderful blog. I am complimented by the use of some of my photos :)
    Hans Von Rittern

  3. Thank you Richard for this blog. I was in the benefit on Monday and saw you backstage but didnt get a chance to say hello! Richard, there are not enough superlatives to say how filled my heart was/is in joining DO40 and the opportunity to perform with such amazing artists. Standing backstage before Ode i said a little prayer and dedicated my performance to a friend we lost last year, the magnificent Tony Stevens. Thank you Richard! Jonathan Cerullo

  4. I was there that night and this blog really captures the magic! Great job richard!