Friday, December 7, 2012

Frank Dain!

Be true to yourself.
Happy Friday,
I hope you have had a great week and are looking forward to a great weekend. 
It has been a great week on so many levels. Last night, I was lucky enough to be invited to a special screening of a documentary on the life of Sophie Tucker. Be on the lookout for this film; it’s a knockout. Looking forward to a weekend of decorating and preparing for the holidays. 
I love this time of year. It’s a constant in our lives and comes quicker and quicker! Something that hasn’t come quick enough is Frank Dain’s return to cabaret with his solo show The Magic of Mathis, directed by Lennie Watts, Dain offers concerts, which celebrate the tunes made famous by Johnny Mathis, Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 at 6 PM. 
Frank brings fresh interpretations to such Johnny Mathis signature tunes as 'Chances Are,' 'It's Not for Me to Say,' 'Wild Is the Wind,' 'Misty' and 'The Twelfth of Never.' The Magic of Mathis also includes infrequently sung jewels as '99 Miles from L.A.,' 'Yellow Roses on Her Gown,' 'I'll Be Easy to Find' and 'Photograph,' all part of Mathis's remarkable 56-year career."
Frank Dain is a vocalist, graphic designer and, since 2003, the Editor-in-Chief of Cabaret Scenes. There was a thirteen year hiatus since his last show. 
He has also worked with Sherry Eaker on the programs for the Bistro Awards over the past several years.
Last month, I was lucky enough to be able to catch Frank Dain at The Sheet Music Society.
He is currently doing a tribute show to Johnny Mathis. This is not an impersonation, but rather, an honest to God tribute. 
Frank has such an ease on stage that evokes the cool relaxed elegant style of Mr. Mathis. This is truly a show that Mathis would enjoy. For those of you in the New York area looking for the perfect anecdote to a cold December tomorrow night, go see Frank Dain at Don’t Tell Mama. (Details at the end of this blog). He is returning for two shows, tomorrow and the 15th. In the midst of keeping a magazine like Cabaret Scenes on schedule, working for, and preparing for his two shows, he sat down for an interview! 
Today, I celebrate Frank Dain and his body of WORTH!
Who would you consider to be the most important actor or actress to revolutionize Broadway?
I actually think it’s a director/choreographer and a songwriter.
Michael Bennett
Director/choreographer: Michael Bennett. I think he brought a new language to the musical theater, a new way of staging musical numbers that evolve organically out of a scene. I see many shows and think, “If only Michael Bennett were alive and had guided this show.”
Songwriter: Stephen Sondheim. Although I’m not one to think everything he’s done is golden, he has had a major impact. He’s brought a sophistication to the theater, an intelligence. He makes the audience work; listen; pay attention.
In your travels, which city did you enjoy the most. Why? Do you think you’ll return.
Florence, Italy. I’ve been there twice. The first time, I felt like I was home. It all seemed so familiar. That’s odd, because my ancestors are from southern Italy. There’s just something about Florence that seems right to me. And it’s not just the abundance of masterpieces of art, although I could contemplate the statue of David for a very long time, the light, the air, the colors and aromas.
Frank and Kathleen Landis (Photo:Rose Billings)
First thing you do in the morning?
Really? I plead the fifth!
Who was the person who made the biggest impact on your career?
I can’t limit it to one. But if I had to, it would be my third voice teacher, Veronica Burke. We had been working for about a year, training for the “chorus boy” path I was on, when she asked me what I’d like to do with my singing. 
Without even thinking, I said I’d like to put together a nightclub show, just me, a mic and a pianist. “That’s it!,” she shouted. “I’ve been trying to make you a chorus boy, but you don’t have that generic voice. NOW, I know how to work with you.” 
Within a year, I had done my first cabaret show, at Jason’s Park Royal, and that was that. After that first show, I cried. It felt so right. With all the joys I had experienced in theater, nothing came close to the freedom doing cabaret gave me.
But my current voice teacher, Kurt Peterson, has built on what I learned from Veronica and helped me find more in my voice. And then there’s Kathleen Landis. She’s given me performing opportunities I never would have had. The Café Pierre? A four-month-long weekend gig? I can’t imagine those happening without her.
What career other than your own could you have imagined pursuing?
I’ve really enjoyed my monthly visits with David Kenney on his Everything Old Is New Again radio program.  I’d enjoy having a program where I can play music I like and share it with the radio audience. I also love gardening. I find it very relaxing.
How important are relationships in the business to you?
I think they are important up to a point. As with everything, the more people you know, the more opportunities there to learn and to perform. And then there’s the audience. We all rely on fellow performers for support.
But, my personal relationships are the most important to me. Some of those are not in the business and I’ve had them much longer than any that are business-related.
Me with Frank Dain (Courtesy Rose Billings)
What first attracts you to a show?
The performer. Always the performer.
What have you done today to become a better artist?
Worked on my Mathis show, even if it’s only running it in my head, finding new levels to the story the song is telling. 
To me, it’s all about the story.
Who is your favorite entertainer?
Barbra Streisand. She’s the reason I ever opened my mouth to sing.
How would you define bravery?
Standing up to injustice and discrimination and maintaining your moral compass through it all.
Photo by Rose Billings
Name your biggest vice and your greatest virtue.
Vice: I plead the fifth, again. It loses some of its vice-like qualities if it’s known, don’t you think?!
Virtue: patience.
What is your secret of longevity?
I’m not THAT old! (Am I?) Look, I think it’s always one day at a time. Trite? Maybe. But, especially in NYC and especially in show biz, you have to take it as it comes. You can certainly plan for what you’d like to do, but, as I’ve learned this last two years, life happens and throws you curves. You’ve got to breathe and endure. And, sometimes, have to step away and regroup and re-evaluate.
If you could go back in time to any year in your life, what year would you go back to and why?
Go back? No, I don’t think so.
What are you afraid of?
 Not being the best that I can in any endeavor I may take on.
What is your favorite TV show? 
Right now, “The Good Wife,” “Homeland” and “Dowtown Abbey.” I ws too much TV!
When you are working, what do you need around you?
No distractions. People who want the same things I want, whose goals are the same and who respect the way in which we all work. The ability to be open to suggestions, to try new things.
In the wake of the recent 2012 election, how do you feel our legislators can better serve combating and raising awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic through policy?
First, I think they need to take the judgment out of the equation. 
There still seems to be a “this is God’s punishment” attitude with many legislators. You would think that someone who could possible die from an illness would trump anyone’s religious beliefs. But no. I find these Christians to be most un-Christian-like and judgmental. This country is so backwards when it comes to sex and anything bad that results from sex is seen as justified punishment. Even sex education gets watered down because of the demands of the religious right. Knowledge is power, but that doesn’t seem to matter to these people.
 I think testing should be made to be as simple and inexpensive and readily available as possible. The cost of drug treatment, not only for HIV/AIDS, but all other major illnesses, needs to be controlled. Sure, drug companies should make a profit. After all, it is a business. But I find it disgusting that life-saving medication is out of reach for so many because of the cost. That needs to be addressed.
Describe yourself in one word.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I love stupid puns! Real groaners. Also, “The Vampire Diaries” and “True Blood.”
Who are some of the people who inspire you?
My parents. My dad worked in a machine shop six days a week, 10 hours a day. My mom worked as a secretary in a real estate office and then came home to cook and clean. They worked very hard to give us what we needed. Both had musical ability, although my dad, who had a beautiful voice – a real crooner – though he never did anything with it. My mom played piano and accompanied singers. That’s where I learned some of my first songs from the Great American Songbook.
Marilyn Maye, Bill Sensenbrenner
at Feinstein's at Loews Regency(6/11)
Finish this season: Five years from now, I see myself…
You know, when I was young I would answer that. But now, recently, there have been so many changes in my live that I wouldn’t attempt to answer this. I certainly have some goals, but they are goals that I prefer to keep to myself. It’s like when someone asks me what I’m thinking of when I’m singing a song. If I say it out loud, I think it loses its power. It’s a private experience that, too me, only works if it’s kept private. Otherwise, it colors what the listener experiences. S, I can’t say where I’ll be or how I see myself in five years. Except… ALIVE and healthy!
Barbara Cook
at Feinstein's at Loews Regency (6/11) Cabaret Award Nominee: Best Tribute Show (Male or Female)
Frank Dain
The Magic of Mathis
Saturdays December 8 and 15 at 6 pm at Don't Tell Mama
Kathleen Landis - Musical Director
Saadi Zain - Bass
Lennie Watts - Director
Final 2 shows of 2012!

If you want some info on my approach to the show, here's a link to a Playbill interview:

A Few Testimonials 

 I fell in love with his voice and personality years ago. He is so incredibly supportive of the artists within this community.  I love looking out from the stage and singing to him.  Thank you Frank for all that you do, especially keeping Cabaret Scenes alive! -Julie Reyburn

 The master of the ballad, FRANK DAIN, has finally released his first  CD.  "I Thought About You" showcases Dain's breathless, throaty voice with songs like "The Way You Look Tonight," "Night And Day," "All The Things You Are/The Nearness Of You," and "I Cover The Waterfront."  A delightful blend of Johnny Mathis and Frank Sinatra, he mesmerizes with his heartfelt renderings of love songs.
 Just what the doctor ordered in these times of chaos and confusion - a smooth voice that will melt away your tensions.  "I Thought About You" is available in New York at Tower Records and Footlight
 Records and on the Internet at and          
                  - Laurie Lawson -
Laurie Lawson, CEC,
Past President, ICF-NYC
Executive Producer, Coach World TV

I was at home one evening getting ready to go out to a show and I had iTunes on and playing throughout the house.  A gorgeous male crooning voice came on that I didn't recognize it at all but I fell instantly in love with it.  I tried to identify the singer as I listened but with every turn of phrase I realized that I literally had never heard this singer before.  It was astounding to me that I had somehow missed out on such a glorious male vocalist!  I let the entire album play on until the end and finally allowed myself to look at the info on the screen.  I couldn't believe my eyes!  It was Frank Dain.  Being somewhat new to the New York cabaret scene at the time, I had only known Frank as the editor of Cabaret Scenes Magazine.  He had generously handed over a copy of his CD to me and at some point I had burned it into my iTunes collection but had not found the time to listen when it was first uploaded.  Frank's CD is now on my "favorites" list and he comes up in my Genius playlists all the time, thanks to the 5-star rating I gave it and awesome technology.  I'm still trying to make up for lost time - the time before I ever heard Frank Dain's glorious voice.
-Terese Genecco

Thank you Frank Dain 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!

If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!    
My next blog will be...My exclusive interview with Broadway legend, Patricia Morison!

Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!

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

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

1 comment:

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