Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sage Snakechalmer Celebrates Rita Hayworth

I am a huge Rita Hayworth fan. I always loved her films. My favorite is Pal Joey which also starred Kim Novak and Frank Sinatra. I  also remember very vividly how cruel the tabloids were at the end of Hayworth's life.
They were painting her out to be a drunk. We all know now that she was battling Alzheimer's. I remember reading somewhere that Rita's daughter,  Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, used to show her mom her films at the end of her life. Hayworth just stared at the flickering images with no recognition of the "love goddess", as she was called, before her. Princess Yasmin has spent her adult life bring awareness to Alzheimer's. 

Quinn Lemley, singer and actress has a highly successful musical homage to her career and life called The Heat Is On. Her approach to Hayworth was a fantasy of Hayworth in Heaven reliving the events of her life on HER terms.

Now, Rita Hayworth is being brought back to life, again, thanks to actress Sage Snakechalmer
The vehicle in which Snakechalmer is bringing Hayworth back is called Private Dancer, directed by Bob Degus. According to her press release, " a beautiful face masks suffering and loneliness, co-dependency and
Sage Snakechalmer as Rita Hayworth
addiction, a heart of gold and a free spirit. As she struggles internally with her carefully constructed public persona, Rita Hayworth emerges from the depths of her own denial, ready to stand up and do the only thing that is left for her to do to save her life."

Snakechalmer has sought out everything
Photographer: Colin Angus
Shot on Location at the Oceana Bungalows, Santa Monica
that's been written about Hayworth over the past few years. Sage and I sat down earlier this week to discuss the journey that has led her and us to Private Dancer.

Sage grew up in Connecticut. When she was eighteen, she moved to New York City to attend Fordham University to study art history. Her father was in finance and her mother was a teacher. They were not from an artist's background but they always honored Sage's art from the time that she was very young. She used to paint and dance and lot's of other creative "stuff: that her parents encouraged her to do. 
As a result, Sage was exposed to the arts growing up. 
The first two Broadway shows that Sage remembers seeing are Cats and Les Miz. She was in grade school when she saw Cats on Broadway. Later on, Cats was done in Sage's school, and she was part of that
Photographer: Colin Angus
On location @ The Georgian Hotel
In 2005 Sage began studying acting for her own personal interest. As if that wasn't enough, Sage opened a management company representing fashion and fine art photographers, directors, and studio artists. For over ten years she was at home with this work, traveling to London, Paris and Los Angeles and working for clients such as Cartier, Ralph Lauren, Sony Music, YSL, and Conde Nast Publications.

She closed the management sector of her business in 2011 to pursue acting full time. Sage has studied with some of the most reputable coaches in the world including her mentor and Meisner teacher Robert X. Modica. She describes her combined techniques as "entirely physical" using method with her everyday varied emotional rolodex while discovering her personal truth moment-to-moment.
Sage began getting commercial work right away as a commercial model. She also began producing.

Throughout that time, being involved in several collaborative projects, she often found herself the subject of those projects as well. She worked very closely with many artists. By doing so, she was also able to tap into THEIR creative processes. Because of the diversity of people she was working with, it was an awesome process. She was happy that she was someone in which they would desire to share their creative endeavors with.

When Sage was in college and started studying theater, she did not consider herself to be the "typical" theater student. She did not desire to follow a traditional route. On her own, she also began to study film. During that time, she studied a lot of directors. What started out as taking acting and singing classes for fun, and being a producer and a representative for artists, turned out to be a three year commitment. Through Modica, Sage started studying the Method in late 2010. At the end of
that period of study, Sage got assigned the "character" of Rita Hayworth in a program that she was involved in. She emphasizes that she wasn't cast to play Hayworth. Her method teacher, Sebastian, assigned her the "character" of Rita Hayworth as a character study in a directorial class. That was part of the study of the studio Sage worked in. He thought that Rita and Sage shared a kindred spirit. Sage reminded him of Rita. That was very flattering to Sage due to Rita's outer beauty. Sage knew of her film work but not a lot beyond that.  She accepted the challenge. Ironically, Sage had another friend who was always telling her that she was like Rita.  Sage didn't know exactly what her friend meant but she trusted her.She feels that they do look alike in their eyes and in some of the expressions they both make. She also feels that they have similar personal personae in terms of always desiring to do what the job at hand is. There is something about "showing up". Rita would show up no matter what. That is a trait in Sage's work ethic as well. 

She did the study through the program and continued to study her and write about her and got to know that
Photographer: Andy Liguz
Inspired by the life of Rita Hayworth.
Rita's life circumstances were similar to her own.

She started writing Private Dancer about two and a half years later.
Since she began to immerse herself in Hayworth's life, shehas read most of the books written about Hayworth, even finding one at the Strand that was out of print. Sage has seen most of Hayworth's films except the ones before she signed with Columbia Pictures. In those earlier films, Hayworth mostly played Spanish dancers. 
Sage has seen everything from Only Angels Have Wings up to her later films.    

Hayworth started out as a dancer at a very early age. What Sage has learned of Rita's life is that the private place she retreated to as a dancer was her salvation. The private relationship she had with dance was part of the joy of her life. It wasn't just about performing, it was her safe place to go to. It was her private world that she would enter into through her imagination.That's partly why she ended up being such a great dancer. She needed that private place to go to due to the many circumstances of her life.  

Rita Hayworth never felt like the "Love Goddess." Within the industry, Rita Hayworth was known as a very
shy person. She, however, had a very strong performance instinct that was instilled within her from a very young age. As a child, she appeared at Carnegie Hall. She also danced through her uncle's studio. He was a well known dance instructor.Family members danced on stage and screen. It was their hope that as Rita thrived in her talent that she would have the desire to continue...which she did. She did not lead an "ordinary" life by any means. Orson Welles, whom Hayworth married n September 7, 1943, said in many interviews that Hayworth just desired to be a housewife. She had very strong yearnings to be a housewife and mother. She desired a family that didn't revolve around "show business".  Hayworth filed for divorce in 1948.

Sage's Private Dancer specifically focuses on a period in Hayworth's life in which she is in her first production that she produced, An Affair in Trinidad. This was a comeback after her second child and a third divorce that was pending from Ali Kahn. She went back to work after coming back to Hollywood after a time in Europe and New York City. After fourteen years with Columbia Pictures, she finally had a little power to assert what she desired as far as her work was concerned. She established her own production company called Beckworth Corporation,which was a play on her daughter Rebecca’s name. It was kept largely a secret that she was a producer. As a matter of fact, the films that were produced under her company did not even credit the production company and/or Hayworth in order to preserve her Gilda/Love Goddess/pinup
Photographer: Martin Sobey
On exhibition on 21 Bond Street, New York.
image. Everyone desired to keep that image of a woman with men at her feet. The studio continued to perpetrate her image as Gilda. The truth was that was a working woman and a thinker and she really was a producer and she did have opinions about film making from all the things that she had been exposed to. 

This period in which Private Dancer takes place is an important chapter in Hayworth's life in which she tries to assert herself.  

Sage is a third producer on this production. 
Sage's main goal with Private Dancer is to show a side of Hayworth that has previously been unexplored. She had a very prolific career and people like to talk about that: her dance experience, her musical experience, the great range of her acting and dance. That is all one side of the picture. The flip side of what is usually written about her is her private life: the
affairs, the loves, the marriages, the relationships to Orson Welles and the femme fatale Rita. 
In all of her studies, Sage has never come across anything that discusses what it must have been like for Hayworth to grow up in this business, to be depended upon as the family breadwinner and to go on with continued success and to be able to maintain that success through many of the dark episodes that she, unfortunately, had to forge through. There are many aspects of Hayworth's life that are lesser known. There was the alcoholism that was known about publicly. Little was known at the time of the pre- Alzheimer's conditions. 

Hayworth was a very high functioning human being who had a collective of a lot of feelings that has never really been explored. She has never been written about as a real human being. What was it like to stand in her shoes in which she carried the weight of being a Hollywood figure as she tried to escape even though she kept returning to the studio system? Did she feel that she had choices? Did she feel that she had other options for her life? All of this contributed to making her a very sad woman. 
Ultimately, Sage would like the audience to know what she has discovered through focus groups and industry people beyond the "Love Goddess", that she was not only a spirited success on stage and screen, but that she experienced a private pain living up to her image and this life.

Hayworth didn't desire to be a Love Goddess. She didn't FEEL like a Love Goddess. Orson Welles said once that after he married Hayworth, there came a time when he was no longer attracted to her physically. There WERE wonderful things about her life that prove that she was not a total victim. There are other aspects of her life, however that most people don't know about. 
Sage desires to give a greater understanding of that. She wants audiences to empathize with her as a human being because she WAS a human being. 
One aspect that affected Hayworth very deeply, for example, was when the first bomb dropped on Hiroshima was named after Gilda. When she found out about it, Hayworth was deeply pained and tormented. 

Hayworth was able to play Gilda because she had shades of that character. She was an actress but that was not what she felt inside. Once Gilda came out, she was the new "it" girl. From that point on, she was never the same. That film also determined what her later acting work would be. She was a great actress but her films were limited to that range of female leads without a lot of "character". We think of Gilda as "eye candy", but that was a serious role she played. There were a full range of emotions in that film.    

Sage feels that Rita would be happy that she is bringing Margarita Carmen Cansino, her real name, to people's consciousness for who she truly is and was. 
Sage also feels that through HER work, that most of the grieving that Hayworth didn't go through or process on her own because she was a very busy woman, Sage is now allowing to happen.

Hayworth had more choice than she realized at the time and she took the choices that she thought was right for her at the time. Sage loves the idea that she can open that up for her and give her a sense of peace and a voice.

I cannot wait to celebrate Rita Hayworth AND Sage Snakechalmer on December 7th!

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Thank you Rita Hayworth and Sage Snakechalmer for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!
Thank you Beck Lee for introducing me to Sage. 

 With grateful XOXOXs ,

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

I desire 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!    

Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!

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

I hope you can join us January 18th in NYC as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Hello, Dolly for the New York Sheet Music Society!
Would LOVE to see you! Bring friends! It’s going to be star-studded party!
Go HERE for more details.

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!
Richard Skipper 845-365-0720

Keeping Entertainment LIVE!
Richard Skipper Celebrates

Richard Skipper,

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