Thursday, August 29, 2013

Daniel Nardicio: An Impresario for OUR Generation!

Daniel Nardicio (Source BroadwayWorld.com)
When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.
John Ruskin

Happy Thursday!
I hope this finds you all having a great day! As I embark on this blog, I'm sipping my coffee and listening to the finale of Hello, Dolly! (1995 Broadway Revival). The excitement of that incredible chorus singing You'll Never Go Away Again gets me EVERY TIME! I felt the same thing in a room of 550 people at the Ice Palace on Fire Island Saturday night as Justin Vivian Bond led the audience at the end of what was actually a swell party celebrating Carol Channing.
The man responsible for getting Carol Channing back to the East Coast and Fire Island is Daniel Nardicio. I personally want to commend Daniel for the professionalism involved and running everything like a well oiled machine.

I know that it takes a village to make something like this happen but you have to have someone in charge to lead the way. Carol Channing always referred to David Merrick and Gower Champion as benevolent despots.
with Margaret Cho and friends
According to Wikipedia, Enlightened absolutism (also called by later historians benevolent despotism or enlightened despotism) is a form of absolute monarchy or despotism in which rulers were influenced by the Enlightenment. Enlightened monarchs embraced the principles of the Enlightenment, especially its emphasis upon rationality, and applied them to their territories. They tended to allow religious toleration, freedom of speech and the press, and the right to hold private property. Most fostered the arts, sciences, and education.
I was so taken with Saturday night, beyond my
with Lynda Carter
excitement of seeing Carol on stage again, that I reached out to Daniel for an interview yesterday. I was thrilled that he was available and so, today, I celebrate Daniel Nardico!
Daniel started out as an opera singer/actor. He appeared in Europe a lot. He developed this booming voice which has come in handy in dealing with Carol and the older Icons of his series.He did that for years. He eventually came to realize that his talents were better served for producing rather than performing.
He actually prefers and likes this aspect better.
with John Waters
About four years a neo-Burlesque movement started emerging in New York on the lower East Side. He began by producing these events and started booking and producing a lot of the bigger Burlesque entertainers.
He was working with Dirty Martini and other entertainers that are really great. These entertainers are in the style of Gypsy Rose Lee and entertainers from that era. They are bringing back that burlesque vibe. Daniel did that for a few years before realizing there is no money in it, very much like New York cabaret. From that, being a gay man, he segue-wayed into New York gay nightlife. He started producing events for that market incorporating aspects of burlesque. He produced a lot of parties and events as part of the New York gay nightlife scene.

Now, in his forties, he decided he didn't want to be still in some gay club in his fifties doing just that. That led to him deciding to produce shows. That led to
where he is today, still producing nightlife events, but also producing shows. He is producing these great iconic women of the theater.

Last year solidified his standing in this arena with his evening of Alan Cumming and Liza Minnelli, also at the Ice Palace. That show was so successful, they added a second performance and this year on Liza's 67th birthday, they recreated the concert in a sold out performance at New York's Town Hall and now there is even talk that it may go to Broadway!
It is veryclose to happening. 
Oddly enough, Alan Cumming and Daniel had gone on a couple of dates years ago, so they are friends.Daniel had already been working on Fire Island for quite a few years doing nightclub events. He realized that everyone was catering to a 22 year old demographic. No one was catering to the 45-55 age range or older who have a disposable income and no where to go on a Saturday night.
He thought about what HE would like to see on the Island. He got the idea for the ICON series and decided to start at the
Tommy Tune, Carol Channing, Daniel Nardicio
top. Since he and Alan were good friends, Daniel asked Alan if he would be interested in doing a cabaret show on the Island.  Beyond the musical Cabaret, Alan had done cabaret shows before. He said yes. Then Daniel thought, what if we got Liza! He would love to see Liza Minnelli and Alan Cumming together. He felt that if he would ask Liza alone, she probably would not do Fire Island, but with Alan, perhaps...and that is exactly what happened.
Margaret Cho (lgbticons.com)

From there, Daniel started reaching out to really fun people he knew like Margaret Cho, Sandra Bernhard, and Lea Delaria.
He brought them each out on different weekends and it was such a smashing success that people kept asking Daniel how he was going to top getting Liza Minnelli. People also thought the ONLY way to top getting Liza is getting Judy Garland!
Over the winter, he kept thinking about who he would most desire to see. Chita Rivera and Carol Channing came to mind.
Daniel put on Facebook, Whatever happened to Carol Channing and what is she up to these days?
There are a lot of stars from that age bracket that come to mind with the same questions. Some of them have passed on but there are many that haven't.
After Daniel's posting on Facebook, a friend reached out and told
Justin Vivian Bond (Source: BroadwayWorld.com)
Daniel that he knew Harlan Boll, Carol Channing's publicist.
Daniel though, she still has a publicist? He wrote to Harlan and asked what she was up to these days. He was told that she had been out of commission for a while but that now she was doing better. 
Daniel told Harlan he was interested in producing an evening with her on Fire Island. Harlan said, "Make us an offer."
Daniel made an offer and Harlan said they would be back in touch.
This was in the winter. Two months later, Daniel received a call in which he was told that Carol desired to do it! It was just as exciting as it was when Liza agreed to do it the previous summer.
Daniel jumped at the chance, but knowing Carol's age, felt that he needed to pair her with someone. That would make it a little easier on her. Justin Vivian Bond and Daniel are dear friends and Daniel asked Justin if she would like to do this.
From the moment Justin said yes, they started putting it together.
Daniel started out talking to Harlan and later on with Carol's manager, Wayne Gimiter.

Daniel loved dealing with both. They are great guys. Talking to Harlan solidified that they were on strong footing. Daniel's only concern was that he didn't desire it to seem "sad". That was his big trepidation. 92 is not young! He was concerned that she might not be up to it.  
Then he met Carol and instantly fell in love and was bowled over.
He had gone out to California for work but was unable to meet her at that time.
I alluded to this before but will reiterate that from the moment we arrived, everything moved like clockwork. There was such a feeling of love permeating throughout the Ice Palace. If that could have been bottled, it would obliterate all the challenges of the world.
The pre-show mix of music had the entire room singing and dancing alone and truly set the tone for the night. Daniel created a party atmosphere that was out of this world. All of the music that played was from the Icons of this series. When they did Town Hall in March, they recorded the concert. The hope is that an album will emerge by Christmas. That was included in the mix. He jokingly says an ICON record label will happen. I, for one, hope it is not a joke.
Saturday night (August 31st), Lorna Luft will finish out the season for this summer.
Looking over this past summer, with all due respect to all of the icons, the icon that exceeded Daniel's expectations was Chita Rivera.
He is in love. Carol and Justin were amazing.As a producer, there were so many other tactical things to think about; getting Carol safely to Fire Island, dealing with her accommodations, getting her back and forth, and all that goes with all of that. He wasn't even able to just sit back and enjoy the evening which is why he had the evening filmed for posterity. He wasn't able to be "present" for the show because he was so involved with all the minute details. With Chita, with which he had no emotional relationship with before this show...although he was very familiar with her body of work, the moment he met her, as he did with Carol, he fell in love. When Chita walked out on stage, she OWNED that stage. At that moment, Daniel became an audience member and was no longer the
I took this picture prior to the show of guys sitting behind me. Look at how happy everyone is!
producer.
He was in awe and EVERYONE in her presence that night shared in that awe. She is a total joy.
At the show I attended for Carol and Justin, there were 550 audience members! That was easily the fullest show they had this summer.
Liza and Alan were a little less full last year because they did two shows.The evening with Carol and Justin sold very quickly and there was actually talk about adding a separate show. They realized it would have been too much for Carol. She flew in from Palm Springs. They also realized it is very difficult to recreate a conversation. They knew that Justin would have asked all the juicy questions for the first show. What do they do for an encore?  It can't be replicated. The right decision was made to make it a one shot deal.
Daniel and Justin
Rest assured, this series will return next summer! He already has ideas rolling around in his head. It is very difficult to book celebrities this far in advance. This is a smaller gig and those celebrities are looking at their bigger gigs. He will start to go into high gear with the planning in January.
Justin, Daniel, and Parker Posey after Saturday night's show
What is really great right now is that younger artists are coming up to him and telling Daniel that they would like to be a part of this series and are suggesting names. For instance, Margaret Cho, who appeared this past summer, has expressed to Daniel that she would like to do an evening next summer with Patty Duke. They are friends and Margaret thinks it would be a lot of fun to do a night with Patty Duke. These suggestions make Daniel's job a lot easier!
Daniel is leaning towards ALL of the evenings next summer being pairings. This is Daniel's signature, putting someone younger and putting them onstage with an Icon/Legend. That is when the series is at its best like with Carol and Justin.
A lot of people, myself included, were not familiar with Justin's work. I quickly became a fan.
Ana Matronic, lead singer of the Scissor Sisters group, was at the show as well on Saturday night. She has suggested to Daniel that she would like to do an evening with Ann-Margret. YES! Having seen Ann-Margret perform LIVE, I'm there!
With Josh Wood II at Grove Hotel - Fire Island - Cherry Grove.
It is a grueling schedule to do this every week.
Next year, he is thinking of just doing five weekends and going as big as he can.
He basically gets a great entertainer to the Island, has a great time with them, and they leave, and Monday morning he is in preparation for the next one. He was just getting over his break-up with Chita when Carol was arriving. He really needed two weeks between shows to deal with the marketing.
Glen Hanson's work
Speaking of marketing, Daniel had the artwork of Glen Hanson, who I am a HUGE fan of. He designed the artwork for Carol Channing: Larger Than Life.
When Daniel booked Carol, the artwork of Carol by Glen was sent to Daniel and he used it somewhere.
Glen sent Daniel and email saying, "Do you mind giving me credit?" Daniel wrote back saying, "Credit? I desire you do the entire series!"
Glen did such great work than none of them had to be edited or redone. All of the artists loved them and desired their own copies As a matter of fact, John Waters wants to use his as his Christmas card this Christmas. Chita said she never liked the art work that is done for her but she wants one for her house.
Carol Channing, Justin Bond (Glen Hanson)
Daniel has taken a nightclub which is an awkward space on Fire Island and turned it into a cool cabaret space.He has learned what works and does not work as they have progressed. It is all tactical stuff that is boring.  
It all boils down to what they have to work with in terms of sound and lighting.
The bottom line is he desires it to be a positive experience for all that are involved both on and off stage. He has had people traveling to see these shows as far away as Florida. A couple sitting next to me had come in from Washington DC.
Everything from getting in and getting seated to getting a drink is done with pristine precision. These details keep Daniel awake at night.
The crew that Daniel has in place, from the ticket takers on, waiters, etc, are all brought in by Daniel. They all understand Daniel's work philosophy, his manifesto for how he desires everything to work.  It was all amazing!
After Lorna exits the stage on Saturday night, Daniel is looking forward to having a relaxing September out on the Island. He has certainly earned it. Then he goes right into his next big Icon, Joan Collins at BB King's on November 5th. I'll be there! It is selling really well.
He is very excited to be working with her. He is a big fan of that Carol Channing, Joan Collins bigger than life persona. Daniel's philosophy is that if they can be impersonated, they are the kind of entertainer he loves. He can't imagine Sutton Foster being impersonated because their isn't that character. He loves Sutton Foster but it is a whole other kind of energy.
Carol Channing and Liza Minnelli are "characters" and they live it. As highfalutin' as this sounds, Daniel's goal is to give them different opportunities for work.
  Putting Alan Cumming and Liza Minnelli together gives Alan a whole new audience and gives Liza a whole new way of working. She has someone to help elevate her another notch.
Daniel loves nightlife and is thankful to where it got him, but now it is time to exercise this bigger muscle that he is developing in producing bigger shows. Something tells me this is just the beginning!
with Alan Cumming


Thank you to Daniel Nardicio for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!

A special thank you to BroadwayWorld.com for the use of some of the photographs used in this blog.

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!





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





TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY

Richard Skipper   
With Randy Jones and Justin Vivian Bond at Grove Hotel - Fire Island - Cherry Grove.
This Blog is dedicated to ALL THAT HAVE BEEN TOUCHED BY Carol Channing and ANYONE who has EVER had a connection with her on ANY Level!    
     






2 comments:

  1. This was so much fun.
    It was like being there.
    Always a treat in seeing Carol.
    Looking forward to future adventures on here.
    Thank you. :-)

    Ever Sincerely ~ TayloR

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Richard!

    I agree with Taylor, it was like being there...and nice to get better acquainted with Daniel Nardico and his work. I'll support an emprasario of our time, any time! Thanks for putting your spotlight on his work!

    ReplyDelete