Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Celebrating Carol Channing: ALWAYS a class act!

To play Las Vegas, you must start with the finale and go up from there!
Carol applauding ME at a birthday show I did for her 2/13/11)
-sage advice from Carol Channing to Tommy Tune

Happy Tuesday!
I hope this finds all that read this in a good mood. I am still in a great mood after the weekend I just had. It started with seeing Carol Channing on stage again for the first time since she brought the house down in 2010 when she appeared at The New Amsterdam Theater as part of the Gypsy Robe Celebration. Sunday night at his home Tommy Tune hosted a cocktail party for the one and only Carol welcoming her back to NYC.
 Ms. Channing was toasted and honored by guests including Tyne Daly, Peggy Herman,Donna McKechnie, Lucie Arnaz, Lorna Luft, Brooke Shields, Liliane Montevecchi, Robert Klein, Michael Riedel, Frank DiLella, Arlene Dahl, Peter Glebo, Wayne Gmitter, Jim Caruso, Bruce Vilanch, Chris DiLella Jamie deRoy, MYSELF and my partner, Danny,  and more. Cinderella's Laura Osnes and her husband Nathan Johnson serenaded Ms. Channing with Before the Parade Passes By.
Courtesy: Laura Osnes
As Will Friedwald said in his article on Carol in last week's Wall Street Journal, "With a seemingly endless vocal range and legs to match, Carol Channing has long been a talent of outsize proportions." She STLL has it. All that needs to happen is for a spotlight to hit her and magic happens. My friend Bryon Sommers says it is the elixir of  Carol Channing and everybody in her presence simply drinks in that elixir.
with Carol at Barnes and Noble July 23rd, 2010 (I interviewed her when For Heaven's Sake came out)
I cannot even count the number of times I have sat in a Carol Channing audience or simply being in her presence. Each time is a huge dosage of happiness and love. When I first heard that Carol was going to be appearing in Fire Island with Justin Vivian Bond, who I was familiar with but had never seen, I had huge concerns. I just wanted everything to be done with love and respect. My concerns were allayed when I saw a post on Facebook by Daniel Nardicio who
with Carol as Harry Kullijian, Carol's late husband looks on
produced the event as part of the Icons Series. In his post, he was chastising those with their catty remarks about the event due to Carol's age.
A huge bravo to him for treating Carol with dignity and respect and for bringing an energy to Cherry Grove that I have not felt since visiting Fire Island in the eighties. What an undertaking and he succeeded on all counts!
When I was appearing as Carol in the last show I did, a critic said my show was a lesson in hagiography,the study of sainthood. I'll gladly take that. I have been a fan since I first saw her n television specials. The fact that we are friends is an added bonus.
 I have a campaign to get Carol Channing recognized this year with a Kennedy Center Honor.
LEARN about Carol Channing  … then nominate her for KENNEDY CENTER HONOR 
As Greg Hernandez says in his blog, Greg in Hollywood, "Why is a campaign needed? Because it has not happened yet and it should have happened long ago. This national treasure is 92 and what a joy it would be – what a show it would be – if she were to receive this most prestigious honor."
There were so many fun people at Carol's show Saturday night. Among them was Michael Musto.  
Michael wrote in his blog,"Another lady who’s “still crowin’, still growin’, and still going strong” is Carol Channing, and if you didn’t recognize my reference to the Hello, Dolly! lyric, you probably should stop reading this, lol. Broadway legend Carol—a seasoned gay man’s dream diva and someone the Glee characters would no doubt swoon for—appeared in Daniel Nardicio’s Icon series at the Ice Palace in Fire Island’s Cherry Grove on Saturday, interviewed onstage by Justin Vivian Bond, and it was the giddy high point of the whole gay summer."There has been a lot made of Miley Cyrus' now infamous performance at Sunday night's MTV Video Awards. A lot of people are asking 'why'? I have been asking for ages, "What has happened to CLASS in our culture and society'?
I am glad that I came along when I did. I, unfortunately, am spoiled by awards shows and specials from the sixties and seventies in which women wore tasteful evening gowns and men were in tuxedos and it was about celebrating the work instead of what people wore to the awards.
All of the "entertainment" programs and talk shows the day after all discuss who wore what the night before rather than who won what and why? Perhaps there is a reason why we have gotten away from celebrating the "work". Is it worth celebrating? The highlight of this year's Oscars was Shirley Bassey singing Goldfinger.
When the opening bars of that song began and she walked out, the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end.
A talented ARTIST, a great song, no special effects! Could Miley Cyrus, Katie Perry, Lady Gaga create the same spine tingling effect by coming out on stage and just singing a song straight forward without the special effects?

I saw more coverage on Lady Gaga's nose ring than I did on what she performed on the show. In October, I was at the Barclay Center, where Sunday night's awards show took place, to see Barbra Streisand. Another show that was perfection. Just a singer and great songs. Very little coverage. I remember seeing Peggy Lee at the Ballroom towards the end of her life. At the time, she could barely walk. She made her way out on stage and did the entire show sitting in a director's chair.
It is still a life memory I will cherish as long as I live.
I wish I had seen Judy Garland live. One of my biggest regrets is that I never did. Thank God for her too short lived TV series. I have been lucky enough to see both Lorna Luft and Liza Minnelli in concert many times. They learned from the best. Speaking of Lorna, you can see her next Saturday night as Daniel Nardicio's summer Icon series comes to a close.   
Justin Vivian Bond and Carol Channing Saturday night (Next Magazine)
Every night cabaret room stages present singers who still have a love of the great American songbook as well as great songs from around the world. Once again, a great interpreter of song and great material is all I need.
Justin Vivian Bond, who I am now a fan of, delivered that in droves Saturday night.
with Luis Villabon and Carol after Saturday night's show
Brian Sloan in Next Magazine wrote, "On Saturday, a perfect Fire Island beach day became a magical summer's night as we saw Carol Channing and Justin Vivian Bond sing, chat, and genuinely crack each other up at the Ice Palace. Channing was in Cherry Grove for a one-night only appearance with the downtown chanteuse as part of Daniel Nardicio's Icon Series which more than lived up to its name that night. The show began with Bond taking the stage solo and expressing some nervousness about pairing up with Channing: "I have been puking for two days I've been so excited about performing with Carol." But despite this, V did a lovely set of six songs about love, including a couple clever revamps of old Burt Bacharach songs. Then, after a wardrobe change, Bond emerged again with the legendary Broadway star of Hello Dolly and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes to a rousing standing and screaming ovation. The two performers took their seats on the small stage for an SRO audience which ranged in age from twinks to twilight retirees, attesting to the incredible career and broad appeal of this unique performer. There were even a smattering of some New York celebs in the crowd, including Parker Posey, Alan Cumming, Ana Matronic and another old school Broadway star, Tommy Tune."

Thank you Wayne J. Gmitter, Peter Glebo,Gloria Naftali, and Tommy Tune for allowing me to share in this incredible night!

Thank you Carol Channing for the gifts you have given to the world and will continue to give!

With grateful XOXOXs ,


Check out my site celebrating my forthcoming book on Hello, Dolly!

If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at Richard@RichardSkipper.com.
with Jamie deRoy


Check out my blog tomorrow: Dorothy Ponedel and the Make-Up Department from MGM

When it comes to the history of Jerry Herman’s brilliant production, beyond the 5000 plus performances of my own, even I turn to Richard Skipper when I have questions about the remarkable ladies who followed me in the role that the world fell in love with over 50 years ago.-Carol Channing

               Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!

And Reserve today for

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com                            
with Eda Sorokoff and Shubert Tune!

This Blog is dedicated to Daniel Nardicio and Stephen Sorokoff! Thanks for all you do!


  1. what a beauitful story and photos and all the people in the arts giveing carol all that love that is so beauitful god bless you carol channing love u leeday and lots of sloppy licks from rabbi otis ☺♥♪

  2. Richard - Your story is moving, inspirational and brings such hope to your readers. Seeing you and Carol together again is a moment for the ages. Thanks for sharing a memorable evening with all of us.

    Paul Brogan

  3. Carol is one of the most humble and talented individuals to ever grace the stage and thanks to you, Richard, you keep Carol on top of our minds. Your mission is right on and our commitment to Carol's contribution to society is even stronger.

  4. This is an wonderful blog entry. Your passion and determination to help Carol receive a Kennedy Center Award is fantastic. Thank you for sharing with us your time with Carol. The Metropolitan Room will help promote this blog and your campaign.

  5. Richard, we at Hollywood Tweet cannot say enough about our respect for you! What's BEST about you is it truly is all from your heart! You're a genuine person and the world would be a better place if we could only clone you;) Until then, we'll all have to do our best to emanate you!

    @Hollywood_Tweet on Twitter

  6. Enjoyed reading this latest blog entry, and love the video of the party, especially the moment where everyone harmonized on "Before the Parade Passes By". What a beautiful tribute! Wish I was there!!

  7. Richard Skipper and I have been friends for 20+ years. I've had the pleasure of working with him. He's an inspiration! Richard has always done exemplary work, and it gets even better and more accomplished, if that's even possible! Well it is! He's Brilliant. Thanks and Kudos to you Richard Skipper!

  8. You and Carol look so happy! Let's hope she gets a Kennedy Center honor NOW!