Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Alan Palmer!


"If I can help someone with the gifts I have been given, they are giving me a gift by receiving."

Happy Tuesday!

Today, I am writing about an amazing entertainer who had a very successful show several years ago in New York off-Broadway called Fabulous Divas of Broadway in which he did an amazing tribute to some of the biggest names in Broadway. Well, he's back! This time the focus is on Hollywood in Alan Palmer's Fabulous Divas of Hollywood
In the midst of his busy preparations, he took the time to sit down and take a much needed breath to delve a little deeper into what makes Alan Palmer Alan Palmer! Enjoy!

 
Who was the most famous iconic person you ever met? What was your experience: good, bad,  or indifferent  in terms of meeting them? Did they live up to your expectations?
I have met and worked with MANY famous people. Most of them were wonderful experiences. However, that being said, I met Faye Dunaway or as I like to call her Faye Dunawaywith, a day before I was to leave town on a tour. 
A friend who was Faye’s personal assistant at the time had asked if I wanted to make a quick couple of hundred and all I had to do was take Faye’s son Liam and a couple of his 14 year old friends to Magic Mountain for the day. Well, first of all, I love Magic Mountain, I love money and at the time…I loved Faye Dunaway. See another friend had been working with her at the time to open as Norma Desmond in the Los Angeles production of Sunset Blvd. and she would have been amazing too because she is a freakin loon, a loon who can’t sing! But I digress. I showed up at Faye’s humble abode where she and her son lived. My friend greeted me told me that Norma.. I mean Faye would be with me shortly and went back to work. When the mistress of darkness entered the room, she asked me to follow her to her little bungalow/ office out back. She sat down, looked at me and said, “let me ask you something.” I was so excited to be in front of Hollywood royalty. I thought oh my gosh she is going to ask me to be in her next movie or ask me something about my friend Andrew who was the resident director of Sunset Blvd. “let me ask you something, are you gay?” Wow, this came out of no where. I was completely in shock. “I, um, yes”, I resounded. She looked me square in the eyes and said, “I don’t think we want to be subjecting any 14 year old to that. Do we?"  I was flabbergasted. I felt as though I were in the principles office for doing something wrong. All I could do was stare. “Obviously we will pay you for the day but I don’t think it would be appropriate for you to take Liam and his friends to Magic Mountain, lovely meeting you.” And that was that. My meeting with Faye Dunaway.

 
Alan as Audrey Hepburn
Alan started performing at four years of age. He always LOVED performing. The funny thing is, he has so many other interests, so each time he performs, it feels like the first time. He has never been a performer who takes any job for granted and will usually say yes to anything that sounds fun. He finds he gets a ton more work from people calling. He has not auditioned for a show in years.
 
Alan says to respect EVERYONE you meet and work with. They do not have to be your best friend but you do have to appreciate what each person has to offer and respect their choices. Never allow yourself to get caught up in drama, there is enough on stage. Fill your world with wonderful people you enjoy hanging around with and never get caught up in reviews. If you are bringing your craft to an audience from an organic place, you will always succeed! 

When I asked Alan how he deals with anxiety in this business, he told me he doesn't have a lot of anxiety. He has a wonderful husband of 22 years and two amazing kids. They have a beautiful home where they enjoy a lot oftheir time together. Alan's parents are amazing folks as well. They always believed in him, supported this crazy world of show business and his lifestyle. They have never wanted him to do anything that didn't make him happy. 
The life lessons that he learned from his parents are pick a job that you can be happy with for a lifetime. 
You are at work more than you are home for the most part. You had better LOVE the thing that take you away from the ones you love.

 
Who are your favorite Broadway musical choreographers and why?
 Gioivanni Perez, Jerry Mitchell, and Kenny Frisby
(© Tristan Fuge)

Broadway Bares founder and executive producer Jerry Mitchell -- flanked here by dancers Giovanni Perez (left) and Kenny Frisby (right)
  I have a lot of favorites, Jerry Mitchell, Susan Stroman, Casey Nicholaw, Twyla Tharp to name a few. I love anyone that can bring something new to stage and a choreographer that can make us feel like it is new.
 
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(PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION AT THE END OF THIS BLOG!)
Carol Channing has been a theatrical institution for decades. She has concerned many obstacles in her lifetime. Her undying love for the stage is what has kept her going her entire lifetime. Her humor, compassion for the GLBT community and willingness to help with fund raising for AIDS organizations have made her approachable. The feeling you are talking to your neighbor next door when she speaks with you. These and many more reasons Carol Channing should receive the Kennedy Center Honor! 
 
How does Alan choose his material?
He loves material that he enjoys doing over and over. He loves a lyric that speaks to him. He loves writing shows that people connect with and walk away feeling good about.

 
If you could grant someone you love their ultimate dream but that it would mean driving a Wonder Bread truck the rest of your life, would you? (from Peter Cincotti) 
If my husband or my kids needed anything, I would drive that truck while singing show tunes in my head (or out loud) and be the happiest man alive knowing that I am helping in fulfilling their dreams. I KNOW my husband has done that for our family. I feel blessed every day to have found a man that loves me, respects me and supports my dreams. While doing what he loves he is supporting his dreams and family as well. 
 
What is your biggest success in Show Business?
I have done so many crazy things and do not judge them as successes or failures because I have done them. My mom would say me touring with the Chippendales, New York people may say touring the Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber with Michael Crawford, I have a large group that would say the television series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but I think my biggest success has to be doing a show in Los Angeles and Scotland entitled Lovelace. I know at some time in the near future it will hit Broadway. It has an amazing writing team including Charlotte Caffey from the Gogo's and won a ton of awards in LA. But it was a success for me because it was so out of my comfort range and I only took it because my husband told me to take this role and I met a great group of people that I hope will always be a part of my life. 
 
What would you tell your 25 year old self?
Well, since I am only 28.... he he, I would say, "you are going to have an amazing life filled with many incredible people who love and respect you, so enjoy the journey"!
 
What one change would you like to see in today’s industry?
I would love to see American Idol open the age range to 100! It is sad that people are not willing to accept performers over 30!
 
Do you consider what you wear on stage for your show a costume? Or is it just clothing to you?
Amazing question, It's funny, the second the I put next wig and costume on, I lose myself completely. I become that person. Not to say that it makes my character, it simply puts the icing on an already delicious cake. 
 
Are you happy at the point you are right now in your career? 
 I am very happy! I work all of the time but that is not what makes me a person. Performing is my passion but my family and friends keep me very grounded and it is simply a job.
That being said, I would love to go as far as I am supposed to go. I also never look back. If I do, I might miss something ahead.
 
What makes you unhappy?
HATERS! I don't understand people in the entertainment industry who are not happy for their friends, or even people they have worked with. I find people are only happy for another if they are exceeding them. The more you fester in envy or jealousy, the more you move away from your goals and the gift of love. I celebrate all of my friends successes and grieve for their disappointments. 
 
Let’s reflect back and look forward with purpose... like standing on some big hill. Tell me what you see looking back and forward, spiritually, not a list of your accomplishments and goals.
It is amazing how many people I have unintentionally helped. I find I simply help people without giving a thought. I would love to continue this throughout my lifetime.
 
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 don't think there are ever any simple answers with advertising. Finding a good gimmick, good pitch, good people around you, facebook, tell friends, family, anyone that will listen. I spend a lot of time on the Internet looking for new insights and pay attention to what is trending. 
 
A genie pops out of the lamp, he grants you three wishes. What are those wishes?
Great health for everyone, and end to poverty, and inner peace for all. 

Thoughts about where you are RIGHT NOW in your career
I am in the process of filming a new reality series that I can't discuss until it airs, I would love to come back to New York doing the biggest Broadway show but I would be just as happy in Los Angeles doing a film or two a year and a few television spots as I do now or just being a dad and husband cooking to my hearts content. LOVE to cook! 

Is your priority in your career doing the work or being famous?
My priority is my family. 
 I enjoy my craft and feel very blessed to be able to do it. The only reason I would want to be mega-famous would be to use my name to raise money for organizations, theatres in need and changing political views.

 
What do you do to prepare for your performances?
 Wow, it depends on the type of performance. If it is music, I work very hard to make songs hit naturally in my voice. If it is an acting piece, I break down the script into purpose and intent. 
 I then spend many hours watching people and finding physical and vocal attributes that would work well with my character. I then break down the layers of my character figuring out why they do the things they do. 
 It is very important for me to find those layers and not rely just on what an author and director has given you. It makes your journey fresh each night you perform. I love taking a map but it is going on different journeys each night that makes for great performances. It also never gets old. I have done over 1,000 performances of Joseph ..... Dreamcoat in the role of Joseph.
 That show never got old for me because there was always something new to learn. I remember one night breaking down on stage singing Any Dream Will Do
 The director ran back stage after the show and asked me what was wrong. I had caught the eye of the performer playing my brother, Benjamin who had returned and the look that he had at that moment made me break down. I was overjoyed that he had returned. 
 
You do an iconic role. Do you think you should on to an iconic costume piece as a memento OR donate it to a museum for others to enjoy?
With the Power Rangers, I have donated most everything that I had for charity. I had a limited addition action figure of my character that I gave to a charity as well and now my kids ask about seeing things from that time. I think it is better to help others than to hold onto items that just collect dust. 
 
Have you shared any love today? (From Myles Savage)
 I don't think a day goes by that I don't try to share LOVE to everyone I meet. Some people are not able to accept love or know how to accept love however, if you can give a smile to a stranger, lend an ear, help a person in need, open a door for a person, allow someone to go first, or simply compliment a person, I know it will make a difference. That is love. Love for humanity.  

What is your fondest Memory?
  I tour the world a lot working with troubled youth. I do a workshop called Therapy Through Theatre. I remember the first time working with a group of students, none of which you would think would like theatre at all. The first day I had each of them write a story about the best day of their life. I then had them write the worst day. I made sure none of them put their names on these papers. I had fellow students come up and draw the papers at random. They read the other kids stories. These were stories of teen rape, parents committing suicide on their birthday, parents dying of a brain aneurysm, feeling like they had been born in the wrong bodies, the stories continued to worsen. However, watching these kids faces as their stories were told seem to bring peace through their tears. It gave them a trust in each other and allowed them to open up on stage, to be free to try new and different things. Our first performance was not of Broadway caliber, however, the performance back stage was magical! Each student was wanting to help the others. If there happened to be a costume malfunction, everyone would help fix the problem, if someone went up on a line the others managed to help. If a student forgot a prop, someone else managed to get that prop in their hand. It's teamwork, team-building, selfless LOVE. I think back to the first time doing these workshops and it always brings a smile to my face. 

At the end of the interview, Alan shares with me that he would not change a thing about his life. Even through the roughest of times, if it had not been for those times he would not be able to do what he is doing today!

Alan's friend Monica Allen had the following to say to me: 
Alan is most definitely one of the most creative and caring people I have had the pleasure to meet. Having seen an early version of his new show, Fabulous Divas of Hollywood, I can say that it is absolutely Alan in every way. He's an amazing family man, performer, mentor, and friend. He has such an amazing eye for the little quirks that make each and every character in his show completely identifiable, yet fresh and hilarious. Add his astonishing vocal abilities, funny and touching anecdotes, and over-the-top costumes and you have a show that defies pre-determined categories. Alan's show is innovative in a way that feels right at home. Alan has such an incredible love for not only the arts, but all of the people around him. I can't count the number of times Alan has come up to me and said, "That song you just sang brought me to tears!" when anyone else would have settled for a simple, "Good job." His heart is always open.


Roy Arias Theatre
300 West 43rd Street 5th Floor
New York , New York 10036
June 15, 16, 22, 23
8 pm
General Admission $40
First two drinks included
www.smarttix.com

Thank you to Alan Palmer for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!


With grateful XOXOXs ,
Check out my site celebrating my forthcoming book on Hello, Dolly!
I want this to be a definitive account of Hello, Dolly!  If any of you reading this have appeared in any production of Dolly, I'm interested in speaking with you!
Do you have any pics? If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at Richard@RichardSkipper.com.

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!


Join me and Ron Young! (original cast of Hello, Dolly!)
June 29
7-9pm
BARNES AND NOBLE UPPER EAST SIDE, 150 East 86th Street
RICHARD SKIPPER CELEBRATES Ronald Young
In his new memoir, "The Only Boy Who Danced: A Journey from Oklahoma to Broadway and Beyond", Ronald Young details an eventful life in the theater. The Only Boy Who Danced: A Journey from Oklahoma to Broadway and Beyond.

Sometimes Broadway dreams do come true. Fresh from the obscurity of living in the small farming community of Grove, Oklahoma, Ronald Young, at 22, is catapulted onto New York City's "Great White Way"... BROADWAY. After arriving in Manhattan on a Friday, he auditions for his first Broadway show on Monday. Bingo! After three call back auditions he snags his first dancing role in the soon to be mega hit "HELLO, DOLLY!" directed and choreographed by Gower Champion and starring Carol Channing. Armed with three music degrees and lots of enthusiasm he embarks on his career on Broadway.
His resume includes working with some of the legends of the theater: Ethel Merman, Shirley Booth, Angela Lansbury, Tommy Tune, Bernadette Peters, Joel Gray, Chita Rivera, Sandy Duncan, Georgia Engel and many others. He appeared in a host of shows: "MAME," "GEORGE M!" "THE BOY FRIEND," "MY ONE AND ONLY," "A CHORUS LINE" and the films "HAIR" and "ANNIE."
"THE ONLY BOY WHO DANCED" is a series of compelling, riveting stories about Ronald Young's personal quest to make it on Broadway. If you or a friend have hidden aspirations to make it on the New York theatrical scene, you will enjoy his tips and suggestions on how to break through this tough barrier.
Richard Skipper and Ronald Young are sitting down for an exploration of Ronald's incredible career in show business. Email Richard at Richard@RichardSkipper.com for more info

Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!    
                 
My blog tomorrow will be..YOU TELL ME! I'M OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS!!



Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!





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








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

This Blog is dedicated to ALL THE DOLLYS and ANYONE who has EVER had a connection with ANY of them on ANY Level! 

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