Saturday, March 31, 2012

Amra Faye-Wright!


Stop whining and get on with it!!!....(Amra can still hear her mother's voice)

Happy End of March!

Today I'm going out with a bang!
Yesterday, I wrote about Liliane Montevecchi who is appearing at Feinstein's on April 9th. You don't have to wait as long to see Amra Faye-Wright who is appearing there this upcoming week. Obviously, Feinstein's is cornering the market on some of the most beautiful women in the world, both physically and within. Today, I'm celebrating Amra Faye-Wright! 
Enjoy her journey.  
Amra, who is currently starring as Velma Kelly in the Broadway musical Chicago, is returning to Feinstein’s at Loews Regency April 03 and 05 to perform her celebrated cabaret act.

Amra grew up in a small town called East London in South Africa. She didn't see a full scale musical until she was an adult. (She saw the movie musicals, Hello Dolly, Sound of Music etc) and she played in a few amateur concerts, but that was about the extent of her exposure to theatre. However, she had the very good fortune of studying classical ballet with a brilliant ballet mistress who relocated to her town.
There she learned discipline, and developed an overwhelming desire to be on stage. Her plan was to be a prima ballerina....then she grew busty!   
When she discovered what an impact her new figure was making on certain sections of the population, her focus on the classics started to shift. Clearly, there was sooo much more fun to be had than bleeding toes!

The two men who had the greatest impact on Amra's life are Kander and Ebb!  When she was 17, she left her hometown in South Africa to be an exchange student. She was placed in Kansas City, Missouri, for a year. She was in a record shop (before cds) one day, flipping through albums, when she came across an album cover with pictures of women in assorted underwear and bowler hats. It was the original soundtrack of Chicago, the Musical. She took it home and played it. Now, remember, she had never seen a musical, but when she heard that album, it changed her life. She had never heard music like this, it was sexy and smart, made her want to dance, and most of all, it made her feel good! 
She could never have guessed that almost 3 decades later she would be back in America, singing those very songs on Broadway, in the revival. Life is just a box of chocolates, right?
 
Amra has learned to open her mouth and speak. There is just no telling who is willing to help you and how they can further your message.She used to be very shy about promoting herself, she says she has to say this is a skill she's still learning, because her journey has been rather unconventional, and she has never really had to promote herself until moving to the USA. In general, she has found Americans to be the most resourceful people, open and eager to promote themselves, and she's constantly fascinated by this positive attitude.
Sitting at home and emailing and doing send-outs is one thing, but getting out to events and meeting people is part of the work of being a successful artist.
 
Amra's thoughts on Arts in Education
 We are seeing people on TV with no arts education competing to be the next big star. People love to see a nobody plucked off the fields and suddenly becoming  famous. Makes everyone feel like it could happen to them too, if only they could afford the bus fare to the next audition. My thoughts are: anyone can become a star for a moment, but staying there for longer than an hour is a sign of training. 
Education is vastly important. 
I'm not saying that it has to be formal education (certainly mine wasn't, but I believe my journey would have been so much easier if it had been formal) but it has to be a life-long training session. Constant classes. listening, imitating, and finding your own voice. And then going back again and taking stock of what you still have to learn. If you feel like you've learned enough, its time to give up.
 
What advice would you give to youth passionate about a career in the arts?
 If you cannot imagine any other career, and if you are aware that you may be out of work more than in work, and you think you can take the knocks and still come back with as much drive and desire...then get yourself into an arts education program, and welcome yourself to the magical world of the arts.  
 
Your thoughts on Carol Channing (All my blogs focus on Carol Channings Foundation For The Arts)
 Ms Channing is a legend and an icon, and I'm a huge fan.

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 (See Below on how you can help)
 I'm surprised this hasn't already been awarded to Carol Channing. I hope very much that this will be the year for this great lady to receive her due reward.

How do you chose your material for your show?
I choose material that immediately speaks to me, that I can make a connection with, and is in my range. That said, I have learned over the years that just because you adore a song, doesn't mean its right for you. Ive seen many wonderful Musical Theatre performers try to take on a Jazz piece and fail miserably.
 (Us musical theatre folk have a firm belief that we can do ANYTHING!) Growing up in South Africa, exposed me to many different styles, and I listened to all genres, which has colored my taste in music. 
So I try to find a song that means something to me, and adapt it, interpret it, and infuse it with my own experiences, while still trying to maintain the integrity of the song. A good Musical Director is essential for me. Liza Minnelli told me that the most important thing you can do, is surround yourself with the best people! 
 
Next appearance
 3rd and 5th April! That's next week!! 8pm, at Feinsteins. titled: Sittin on Top of The World, which is exactly what this show is, a celebration of life, and my journey from African farm to Broadway footlights. I incorporate some show tunes, American songbook,  South African folk tunes, and songs from around the world, taken from my travels (I lived and worked in Europe and Far East for years) MD is Scott Cady, Jeff Carney on Bass, and Heinrich Kruse on drums. I was hoping to have a few more dates, but I am committed to my Broadway performance schedule as Velma Kelly in Chicago.
Christy Brinkley opens with us in Chicago on the 6th April, so I needed to get these shows in pronto! I'm hoping to do another week at Feinsteins in the Fall, but that will be a whole new show (Kander and Ebb). 

What is your biggest success in Show Business?
 On a professional level, I have to say landing the role of Velma in Chicago, which has kept me busy for over a decade, and a role which I have performed all over the world, (and in Japan in Japanese, with full Japanese cast!...not kidding!! I learned the entire script phonetically, and still cant speak a word of Japanese!) On a personal level, my biggest success was my first one woman show, Rouge Pulp. The sense of fulfillment that comes from creating your own product and performing it without the safety net of other performers on stage, was quite overwhelming, and I felt like I had conquered Rome!
 
What was your lowest low and how did you surpass that?
Our very nature as performers means we expect to fluctuate from ecstatic highs to devastating lows. If you want an even existence, don't choose show business. So now I sit with my head in my hands trying to choose which lowest low to tell you! There was the time I went on to perform, seconds after hearing my father had passed away suddenly; and, there was the time my daughter went in for surgery while I was abroad performing (the shock made me lose my voice). Actually, I believe the lowest lows are the times when you're performing away from home, and wondering why you are doing a job that takes you so far from people you love. The times you wonder if the sacrifices are worth the choice you've made to be a performer.
There are skills to develop in how to overcome these terrible times. You always have a choice, decide what it is you want, and get on with it. SEE QUOTE AT TOP OF PAGE !! 
 
Do you consider what you wear on stage for your show a costume? Or is it just clothing to you?
 Oh, most definitely its a costume! Well thought out, and fitted like a glove!
I never put that amount of effort into just clothing.


Actresses Amra-Faye Wright and Melora Hardin perform during "Chicago" on Broadway at the Ambassador Theatre on February 9, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Loud/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Amra-Faye Wright;Melora Hardin
(February 9, 2009 - Photo by Rob Loud/Getty Images North America)
Are you happy at the point you are right now in your career?
Yeah, but, no but, yeah...um! LOL. Does that ever happen?
I'm really going through some transitions right now. I love performing in Chicago, so that's an aside. But living in NYC is a double edged sword. There is so much to be inspired by, but the hamster wheel doesn't stop, and I feel like I am in danger of spiraling into the stratosphere sometimes.
Friends tell me the same thing about living here. 10 years ago, I took life as it came to me and just said yes to everything. Now, I watch myself a little to carefully. A classic case of the more you learn, the more you realize you don't know... damn! I just need to lighten up a little!

Do you feel you have achieved what you set out to do?
 Oh yes! and then some. I was a farm girl, for goodness sakes! Traveling the world and performing in London's West End and on Broadway? That wasn't in the equation at all.
When I got my first dancing job, I thought I could now die a happy woman! I should remember this more often!

What do you do to remain positive when life's hiccups get you down?
 Good lord, just answering these questions is therapy enough! My other answer to a hiccup, was moving house, or country! I've moved 24 times in the last 25 years. Every time I felt discontent, I moved. My husband has said ENOUGH!
So this is what I do now to overcome: I'm blessed with a wonderful husband who makes me laugh; I act silly and dress up in silly costumes to entertain myself; I'm grateful everyday for my health (which allows me to high kick the same leg every night!). 
 Mostly, I try to see the humor in humanity!

How on earth do you reach theatregoers now that newspapers are obsolete and there are so many channels on TV you cant pick the right ones to advertise on and with the web being so hit and miss.
 Word of mouth still seems to be the most effective tool. Performing and promoting yourself and your show shamelessly at as many events, charities, concerts as you can. 

Time and resilience is needed to build a fan base and if you have enough resources to hang in there long enough, it will eventually hit - if your product is good. AND, of course, Richard Skipper's daily blog!

A genie pops out of the lamp, he grants you three wishes. What are those wishes?
1. Endless resources to open my own nightclub, where I could sing what ever I wanted, whenever I pleased.
2. To have all my family living here in NYC.
3. more wishes! (World Peace will come out of these!)

How did you get into this business?
 I studied classical ballet, then later modern dance, and tap, for 12 years. But I only got into show business late in life. I left the farm when I was 27 to go dance as a showgirl in Sun City in South Africa.
I performed there for 5 years, and was picked up by a Parisian company to dance in Europe. While performing in Monte Carlo, I decided to audition for the Cabaret as the singer, (never sung professionally before) that was my first singing job! A whole new world opened up to me, and I began to travel the world starring in multi-million dollar musical extravaganzas. I learned to perform in many languages, which gave me versatility, and put me in demand. 
 
I returned to South Africa and started to perform in musicals there, and then my own one-woman shows. On a trip to England, I pitched up at the General Managers office of Grease, the musical, who also happened to be casting Chicago. I was sent to an audition, and got the role of Velma. I stayed in London for 10 years, and then moved here. And here?...I shall stay,.. I think!

What is your favorite song? And yes, you can only pick one!!!

A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square

What is the last stage show you saw. Local or professional.
 Blood knot (Athol Fugard), with Colman Domingo and Scott Shepherd, at the Signature Theatre. Their performance moved me to tears.

What do you do to prepare for your performances?
 I have to maintain a certain body shape for the role I play nightly, so I eat 2 prawns and lettuce leaf for dinner!! I get 8 hours of sleep and keep alcoholic beverages to a minimum. I do a good vocal warm-up while slapping on my eyelashes, and a ballet barre at the half hour call.
For cabaret performances, I rehearse extensively with my MD, go over every minute detail with a fine-tooth comb, and then go out there and be spontaneous.

You do an iconic role. Do you think you should on to an iconic costume piece as a momento OR donate it to a museum for others to enjoy?
 I think others will only enjoy an iconic used costume if its been sweated in by Judy Garland, say for instance!
I'm not sentimental, Ive moved home too many times to hold on to any stuff. Out it goes!!
 
Do you make a living at this or do you have a survival job? Please elaborate on your thoughts on this
 I'm fortunate to make my living in theatre. Ive been playing Velma for over a decade, alternating with other shows, and cabarets in between. Its not all been easy, there have been some tough times, but if it ever got dire, I would make the decision to get another job.  Everybody needs to pay rent, so between contracts it may be necessary to have a survival job. Its all good, you got to do what you got to do.

 If youre happy, continue forward, if not....choose another career.

What is the best compliment you have received in this business?
Gosh Amra-Faye, I thought you were 25!

25 never looked so good! I hope all of my readers will celebrate you in person this week at Feinstein's!

 “Sittin’ on Top of the World” is a one woman show which traces, with engaging wit and sophisticated glamour, Amra -Faye Wright’s unlikely journey from African farm girl to an award winning actress, singer and a Broadway leading lady. The performance warmly illustrates Amra-Faye’s passion for life and her stylish interpretations from The Great American Songbook. The Musical Director is Scott Cady
Triple threat Amra-Faye Wright continues to dazzle audiences year after year as the high-kicking murderess, Velma Kelly, in the long-running Broadway musical, Chicago. Her embodiment of Velma has been in demand around the globe since 2001, on Broadway and in London’s West End, as well as in Europe, South Africa, and Japan, where she performed the role in Japanese.




April 3 and 5, 8:00 PM

Tickets prices are $25.00 Cover/$40.00Premium Seating/ $25.00 Food and Beverage Minimum.

Jackets are suggested but not required. The club is located at 540 Park
Avenue at 61st Street in New York City. For ticket reservations and club
information, please call (212) 339-4095 or online at
Feinsteinsatloewsregency.com and TicketWeb.com

 Press Contact for Amra Faye-Wright: Wayne J. Gmitter
Think Iconic Artists Agency
Phone: 917-209-1148
Email:  wayne@thinkiconic.com


NO COPYRIGHT 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!

                                 
Tomorrow's blog will be..Happy Birthday, Debbie Reynolds!


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 ARTISTS: Past, present and future and the gifts they give to the world! I WANT YOU TO SUCCEED!



Friday, March 30, 2012

Liliane Montevecchi!

Be happy for whatever you have, because if you are always seeking something you do not have, you are unhappy. One of my secrets is I never ask for something I cannot have.
-Liliane Montevecchi

Vendredi Heureux!

Yesterday, I discovered the sunniest spot in New York! Her name is Liliane Montevecchi! She is exquisitely French, like the finest vintage champagne. In her autobiographical one woman show Liliane captivates the audience the minute she steps on stage. 
She truly is a life force to be reckoned with.I have been a fan of hers since I saw her Tony award winning performance in the original Broadway production of Nine. I even had the honor of sharing the stage with her years ago at Marc Rosen's Birthday celebration at the 21 Club. I've only seen Liliane one other time on stage.
It was at the Papermill Playhouse's star studded production of Follies.

She has just returned from appearing on the road with both this year's Bistro Awards Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Kaye Ballard and Lee Roy Reams in the the musical review Doin' It For Love.
Lee Roy Reams, Kaye Ballard, and Liliane Montevecchi
She IS a Living legend, actress, dancer and diva, she is best known for her Tony Award-winning role in Tommy Tune's Nine and in Grand Hotel, Montevecchi's illustrious career spans four decades. Born in Paris, she joined Roland Petit Ballets as a prima ballerina at age 18, spent seven years under contract to MGM, appearing in movies opposite Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando and Fred Astaire, and more.
Her most recent film is How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, with Matthew McConaughey.

To sit and chat and laugh with her is something I will always cherish.
  Liliane Montevecchi is appearing at Feinstein's at Loews Regency in Hi, Darlings! Remember Me? on April 9, 2012 at 8 PM. Ticket prices are $25 and $40 for premium seating.
I will be there and I hope that ALL of my readers will join me!
 
Paris-born entertainer Liliane Montevecchi first put on ballet shoes at the age of 9. She is now a very proud 80 years young! I was shocked when she told me that. I wanted to rummage her closet to find her "Dorian Gray" portrait! She loves wearing that mantle. She says that because of her accent, when she announces that from the stage, everyone thinks she says she is eighteen, So now, she says she's seventy-nine and a half!  She will be celebrating her birthday on October 13th.

 I cannot wait to see Liliane at Feinstein's next month. I was excited to be  invited to Lilianne's "nest" yesterday to discuss her body of "worth" as I like to call it.

Liliane's mother wanted to be a ballerina. When Liliane expressed an interest in this, her mother encouraged her without being a "stage mother." Her mother gave her the freedom to pursue a career. 

When Liliane was 14, she had started dancing, went to her first audition, and she fell on the stage! They say when you fall on the stage, you will come back!In 2000, she returned headlining.

I asked Liliane if there was one person who had the greatest impact on her life. She says she doesn't know that one person has had an "impact".

There are many people that she admires. Two men who changed the course of Lilian's life were Roland Petit and Tommy Tune. Roland Petit made her a prima ballerina in his ballet company. Tommy Tune led her to her Tony Award in 1982.

Another break came one day when Liliane was singing in the bathroom!
She was in the chorus of the company and the head of the company asked her to come out and sing a song they needed sung in the show and that is how she became a prima ballerina.



Being around as long as she has, she readily admits that many of the people she has met along the way have passed on. In order to make your life long relationships work, she advises always being truthful and respectful. It's a divine combination

I asked Liliane about her thoughts on arts in education. She agrees, as I do, that it is important. Very sad that it has all become so political. Art is the most beautiful thing in the world. It is also truly the only universal language. Liliane admits that she did not have a huge educational background. "But here I am." She says she was a lazy student. During the war, when the sirens went off, she knew she would be going home. That she liked.

The advice she would give kids desiring to go into this business is "Discipline and work, work, work!" You ALWAYS have to be prepared. Never let yourself down. Liliane say she is always ready to go, she is never "fat", she is ALWAYS prepared to say "Yes". Now she says "No" when she desires to say no. She just received a new script to star in a new show in Paris.
It is pages after pages after pages of endless dialogue. She is really contemplating whether or not she wants to commit to such a huge project. As much as she would like to return to Paris with a new play, she is leaning towards not doing it. It's similar in nature to The Vagina Monologues as far as the set-up and structure of the show. It's three women on stage discussing different subjects. Liliane's subject is a farm woman and money. Liliane loves the contact with an audience, that human connection. Talk, talk, talk, blah, blah, blah does not interest her.

I touched upon the subject of Carol Channing receiving the Kennedy Center Honor this year and Liliane's thoughts on this. "Of course she deserves it because of her body of work." Liliane did told me that she did "Hello, Dolly!" in France! (She agreed to a second interview for my book!).

I asked how she chooses the material for her show. Her show came about because of Tommy Tune. He suggested after the success of Nine, that she do her own show. At first, she told Tommy that she was not a cabaret singer.  So together, they started choosing her songs. She went over it again and again. The show she will be doing at Feinstein's is pretty much that show with very minor changes. This was a show that had its premier at the now gone Kaufman THEATER on 42nd Street.

Her two biggest achievements, to her, were becoming a prima ballerina and winning a Tony Award which was very unexpected. She was very grateful and touched that the Tony voters had accepted her.

When I asked her what her greatest lows were and how she surpassed them. She told me she never had any lows. She ignores them.

The biggest change she would like to see in today's industry  is a more balanced "pay scale". Rock stars make millions when other artists are paid very little. Some get paid millions just for making an appearance when other artists are pouring their hearts out and are struggling to get paid. Some are getting paid so much to read tele prompters when others who work at their craft are underpaid. I am reminded of years ago when Larry Hagman was being paid $1,000,000 an episode for Dallas. When asked by one reporter, if he deserved to be paid that much answered, "Well, if they're crazy enough to give it to me, I'll be crazy enough to take it!"

I asked Liliane if she considered what she wears on stage to be regular clothing or costuming, she said in her act, because she chooses it, it is clothing. If she is playing a part, it is costuming.

When asked if she is happy at this point in her career, she answered that she is always happy and she is very grateful. She's got her health, she still looks great, and she can still lift her legs over her head! She is still working and has no desire to retire. However, she still misses her mother and dear friends that have passed away.
 I asked what she does to remain so positive and she answered that she doesn't know. She's in love with the future and she looks around and sees her fine life every day. Trees, flowers, and birds make her happy. She creates her happiness every where she goes. She gets up in the morning, she loves to read.
 She also loves to gamble. She told me she never takes the subway. HOWEVER, one day last week, she got up, took the number four subway to the last stop in the Bronx, Woodlawn Stop, took a bus, and went to Yonkers Raceway Casino, where she gambled the day away literally and figuratively!

 She didn't win anything, but she had a great day. Some days she takes the ferry to Staten Island just to be on the boat. There is always something to do. Go to a lecture, a gallery, anything. 

A genie pops out of a bottle and grants Liliane three wishes. Those three wishes for Liliane would be for her mother and those who have passed to once again be here for her. For her bones to be strong so that she doesn't break anything. The third would be to protect her friends from ill health and unhappiness.

Liliane's favorite song (she was only allowed to pick one) is  "Ne me quitte pas" (If You Go Away). She WILL be singing this at Feinstein's (hopefully to me!). 


I asked what she does to prepare for a performance. She said, "I drink a lot!" After we had a good laugh over this, she told me she was joking! She focuses on what she needs to do, she vocalizes, she warms up her body, her discipline of years as a ballerina. 


The next question comes from Marilyn Wick at Costume World," You create an iconic role. Do you hold on to a famed costume piece as a memento, or do you let it go to a museum for others to enjoy?" Liliane said, "Not at all! I don't hold on to anything.They are things. Let them go."
Liliane is one of the lucky ones. She has always made a living in the arts. She has never had a "survival job".
Please join me April 9th at Feinstein's to celebrate in person Liliane Montevecchi!

Roy Tan
 Press Contact for Liliane Montevecchi: Wayne J. Gmitter
Think Iconic Artists Agency
Phone: 917-209-1148
Email:  wayne@thinkiconic.com


NO COPYRIGHT 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!

                                 
Tomorrow's blog will be..Amra Faye!


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 ARTISTS: Past, present and future and the gifts they give to the world! I WANT YOU TO SUCCEED!








Thursday, March 29, 2012

Happy Birthday, Cynthia Crane!


"He that tootheth not his own horn, his horn shall not be tootheth-ed."

Happy Thursday!
Here in New York, the cabaret community is a buzz with tonight's MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Awards.

Someone that deserves to be honored today, not only because it's her birthday, but because of her enormous contributions to cabaret is Cynthia Crane. Penny Landeau was a founding member of MAC, when she left the board, Cynthia took over as secretary. She served on the MAC board for many years. As a matter of fact, when I served on the board (as vice president), our meetings took place at the home of Cynthia and Ted Story, her husband of 48 years. In the 25 plus years of my involvement in the cabaret community, I have seen many people come and go. I've seen clubs come and go. Cynthia knows what it takes to maintain a career.
She is still at the top of her game.
She is one of those people that I can't, for the life of me, know how, when, and how we met.
I know she has not always been a part of my life.
However the years that she has been a part of me have been enhanced by our friendship and generosity of spirit.

When I served on the board, there WERE obstacles. There are on ANY board. However, Cynthia was ALWAYS in my court. I thank her for that. So on this MAC Award day, I'd like to Celebrate Cynthia Crane on her OWN special day!

When Cynthia was a little girl, during the war, she saw The Red Mill.  She remembers The Star Spangled Banner being played at the beginning and everyone standing up and how moving it was to her. Even though that was not part of the show itself, she will never forget it.
There was a feeling that even as the world was in chaos, "we as a people were standing together."

I asked Cynthia what she has learned in this industry about making her relationships more solid and resourceful and she answered "absolutely nothing!"
 Cynthia feels, as I do that arts in education are a necessity. Without contact with the right side of your brain, we are losing half. She feels that we are a "left-brain society". In today's world, she doesn't even know what kind of advice she would give kids wanting to pursue a career in the arts.

The business of getting work has all changed. When she started out, you would make rounds. You would knock on doors and meet people face-to-face. You would leave your pictures, whatever.

Nowadays, it's all electronic, and you don't have that personal connection.  She truly doesn't know what advice she would offer kids today. Perhaps kids should bond together and try to create as a group.

As you all know, I'm campaigning for Carol Channing to receive a 2012 Kennedy Center Honor (See below to see how YOU can help). I asked Cynthia for her comments on this. Cynthia's first thoughts are that we don't have legends like Carol around anymore.
She is so iconic to us like Mary Martin, Ethel Merman, Humphrey Bogart.
There are still a lot of great people around.
However, there are somehow not as "big" as these icons are.
There's something to be said of the longevity of a career that still lasts.

I called Cynthia few days ago to get the correct spelling of "monstreuse" (Cynthia is a Francophile). When I interviewed Sondra Lee last week, she referred to Carol Channing as a monstreuse. Cynthia says it is a true description of this bigger than life personalities. When she first looked up the word, Cynthia said the first description she found was an "eccentric showgirl". She IS eccentric, she IS unique. No one can take that away from her.

Cynthia's most recent appearance was her John Denver, Bernie Madoff and Me show. She's hoping to get this show booked this summer. I saw this show at Don't Tell Mama here in New York and loved it. When Cynthia recently did it, it was done in Long Island. It was in a library in an audience with strangers and it still works. Cynthia is anxious to get this show booked outside of New York. She presented it to the late Donald Smith. Her timing, she says, was a little off on this.


Currently, Cynthia has no plans for her next move but is open to all possibilities. She also has an idea of a show dealing with anachronisms in songs. She has quite a few songs that would fit the bill. Like Irving Berlin's I Wanna Do Homework. I wanna work home!


Cynthia considers her greatest success in the business the fact that she can still get on a stage for an hour and own it. She relishes the fact that she can share HER stories in an intimate setting. Cynthia has done theatre. She has done band work. She has done club work where you don't talk, you just sing. Her heart, however belongs to cabaret. She says it is amazing when you just have an hour to yourself.

Cynthia with her husband, Ted Story
When Cynthia was first starting out in her career, entertainers WERE paid. The venues did the advertising and it was THEIR job to fill those seats. All you had to do was entertain. Nowadays, you have to be a "one man band". She and I both wish it weren't that way! 
She doesn't know how a club is even able to maintain what they're doing. Then you've got the top clubs where it is a hundred dollars a person and the average person cannot afford to attend.


I asked Cynthia if she considers what she wears on stage to be regular clothing or costumes. She said costumes, of course. She is very careful never to distract from the face. She is not one to wear a lot of "glitter glatter". She wears often dark colors. She says with her hair, a bright red, that it's enough already!


When I asked if she was happy at this point in her career, she said "not really". She wants to be able to go on working and the way things are going she doesn't know if she'll always be able to find a way. She says in the incredible article on her in Cabaret Scenes, she is a bit of a "scatter shot", she is "all over the place." She feels she should have and continue to do so, FOCUS on what needs to get done. To focus 100 percent on what needs doing and where you need to go and she readily admits that she hasn't done that. If she has any regrets, that's it. 


Cynthia has gone through a lot over the past few years. She is one of the casualties of the Bernie Madoff scandal. I asked if she minded if I touched upon this. She says she doesn't mind; it's a part of her life. I asked her how she gets through this. She said she visualizes a lot.

She visualizes colors. She said she felt that you should just prepare yourself for anything. Life is so random and so scary. Her life was wonderful one moment, two healthy children, two healthy grandchildren, a wonderful marriage, and as she said once again in the Cabaret Scenes article, All This and Paris, too! She was appearing in Paris, as she did for several years, before it all came crashing down. She used to prepare herself and fortify herself for anything that came her way. She's not bitter about it. She admits they got involved with Madoff, they took their chances, and they lost. What really gets her is PicardThat lawsuit is still pending. The New York Mets just settled with him. She has no idea what is going to happen.


I asked her what methods she utilizes in terms of trying to reach audiences in this day and age when there are so many choices and options for others. How does she reach her audience? She loves to write. She writes about her personal life and her work on stage. It is sometimes difficult to break through. She writes the Crane Clarion (Click on the link above). YouTube has also been great for Cynthia. She has done very well. Some of her clips have gotten over a thousand hits.

When I interviewed Tony Tripoli last week,  I asked him to suggest a question for my next interview. He came up with a doozy! The question is "When was the last time you embarrassed yourself"? The night before Vedette died, her beloved Bijon, she climbed up the stairs, Cynthia believes to say goodbye, it was the middle of the night and Cynthia had a rotten headache. So she just got a pillow for Vedette to lie on and went back to sleep. Four hours later, she died. Cynthia said she never really said goodbye to her. She feels that she should have gotten up. That is a moment in her life that she is not proud of.


I asked her what her favorite song is. She said she could no more pick a favorite song as she could a favorite child. When Cynthia and I sat down for this interview last Saturday night at Joe Allen's, she had just come from seeing Sue Matsuki's People You Should Know Better show at Don't Tell Mama. Cynthia said her hat is off to Sue. She does so much for people in cabaret.

I asked Cynthia what she does to prepare for a show. Again, visualization, a lot of visualization. She reminds herself of what her purpose is with her show. She wants to break that fourth wall. She does not like shows where people pinpoint a spot on the back wall and play to that, singing their hearts out to a brick in the wall. Cynthia desires to be involved with the audience. If she's seeing a cabaret show, she wants that person on stage to look at her, to talk to her, to be involved with her. I certainly feel that when I see Cynthia!


I asked Cynthia when it was time for a Cynthia Crane show. Always! When she and Ted ran the IRT theatre, luckily she had the money to that. It was totally a labor of love. Unfortunately, cabaret doesn't pay...financially. 

The last "survival" job was when she worked at Massachusetts General Hospital when she lived in Boston. She was in her twenties at the time. 

The best compliment that Cynthia receives is when someone tells her that she she has moved them, that she has moved them on an emotional level. Cynthia has one of the biggest hearts I know. She truly moves me. 
 
Cynthia Crane is one of the most Human human beings I've ever known. When our children were babies, we used to push them around together. She is truly one of the nicest gals I've ever met.
-Julie Wilson
Cynthia Crane: at the top of her game
Best known in the cabaret community as a classic jazz singer, Cynthia Crane surprised us with a classic cabaret act, instead. Artfully assembled, delivered with a lifetime's worth of craft, her show entitled If I Knew Now ... displayed for all to see what she knows now about putting on a show – which is plenty.

-Talkin Broadway




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Tomorrow's blog will be..My Exclusive Interview with Liliane Montevecchi!


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 ARTISTS: Past, present and future and the gifts they give to the world! I WANT YOU TO SUCCEED!