Sunday, February 9, 2014


Tomorrow, February 10 at Barnes and Noble, Upper East Side, New York, NY  NOTHING LIKE A DAME: CONVERSATIONS WITH THE GREAT WOMEN OF MUSICAL THEATER premiers with a book signing with Special Guests: Donna McKechnie, Judy Kaye, Karen Ziemba, Debra Monk and Lillias White.7PM. I will be there and I cannot wait. Today, my blog celebrates this great book by Eddie Shapiro as well as a few other events that also celebrates Broadway's leading ladies. If you cannot make tomorrow night, there is February 12 at 92nd Street Y, w/ Laura Benanti, New York, NY  

My own favorite, Carol Channing is a participant in the book, as
well as Elaine Stritch, Chita Rivera, Donna McKechnie, Angela Lansbury, Leslie Uggams, Judy Kaye, Betty Buckley, Patti Lapone, Bebe Neuwirth, Donna Murphy, Lillias White, Karen Ziemba, Debra Monk, Victoria Clark and Audra McDonald.

Oxford University Press and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS are celebrate the publication of Nothing Like a Dame: Conversations with the Great Women of Musical Theater by Eddie Shapiro about many of the greatest names of the Great White Way.

Karen Ziemba, Hello, Dolly! Drury Lane Theater Chicago: copyright © brett beiner photography 2013

Judy Kaye starred on Broadway in Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins for which she was nominated for a Tony Award.
Debra Monk in 2012

NOTHING LIKE A DAME: Conversations with the Great Women of
Musical Theater
(February 2014) is a collection of exclusive interviews with
twenty of the greatest leading  women of Broadway, by journalist Eddie
“The history of musical theater is full of incredible, indelible
female roles,” writes Elaine Paige in her Foreword to NOTHING LIKE A DAME.
“Elphaba, Cassie, Reno Sweeney, Nellie Forbush, Millie Dill¬mount, Marian
the Librarian, Effie White, Ruth Sherwood, Lorelei Lee… Every one of these
amazing characters has been played (and in many cases, created) by at least one of the incredible women in this book, who share their stories in the pages that follow.” NOTHING LIKE A DAME features women who have devoted the
majority of their careers to theater and have won at least one Tony Award.

Michele Lee AKA Michele Lee Dusick
Idena Menzel
NOTHING LIKE A DAME includes Shapiro's experience interviewing the “cantankerous, outspoken,
and utterly charming” Elaine Stritch over tea at the Carlyle on Thanksgiving
Day, chatting with the eighty-four year old Angela Lansbury in her Manhattan apartment, and asking Patti LuPone about her start in acting while eating her home-baked bread.
Elaine Stritch

Eddie Shapiro is the author and editor of Nothing Like a Dame: Conversations with the Great Women of Musical Theater.  He grew up singing (quite loudly) the music of Broadway.
Each interview is guided by Shapiro's expert knowledge
of these women's careers, Broadway lore, and the details of some of
Broadway's most famous (and infamous) musicals. Here also are icons like
Chita Rivera, who describes the experience of starring in musicals for the
past seven decades, right alongside contemporary Broadway stars like Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, who discuss their roles in the smash-hit Wicked.
This collection includes dozens of photographs of the actresses in
their best-known roles, making it a must-have for theater lovers.

There is not a cast album he doesn't know by heart or a show he hasn't seen over the last 30 years. He has attended more than 1200
Broadway performances. His theatre related criticism and coverage of the arts has appeared in several publications, most regularly in Out Magazine,
Instinct and Backstage West. He has interviewed a multitude of entertainment
luminaries including: Charles Busch, Jon Robin Baitz, Marc Cherry, Alan
Cumming, Stockard Channing, Dame Edna, Florence Henderson, Nathan Lane,
Michele Lee, Eric McCormack, Terrence McNally, Donna Mills, Meagan - Photo by Laura Marie Duncan
Mullally, Ann Reinking, Gwen Verdon and Ben Vereen.
Shapiro is the
co-author of two previous books, The Actors Encyclopedia of Casting
and Queens in the Kingdom: The Ultimate Gay and Lesbian Guide to
the Disney Theme Parks
He is the former Director of AIDS Walk New York and
AIDS Walk Los Angeles and the Producer of Gay Days at Disneyland.

There is usually an abundance of riches in New York and tomorrow night is no exception. While the Nothing Like a Dame book launch is happening at Barnes and Noble Upper East Side, another Broadway leading lady will be on the boards at 54 Below, Andrea McArdle! Broadway’s original Annie, Andrea, returns to 54 Below with an all-new show.
This fresh musical outing celebrates the power and magic of performing “that great role.” Lovers and liars, heroes and villains, elegant ladies and outrageous broads, there is nothing that excites the imagination more than watching a classic character come to vivid life on stage. In Dream Roles, Andrea brings her soaring vocals to some of the theatre’s greatest roles, the roles she’s loved, the roles she’s played and the roles she’s always dreamed of performing. At the same time, Dream Roles showcases the dynamic melodies of Broadway’s musical masters: Sondheim, Herman, Lloyd Webber, Menken and many more. Join Andrea as she pulls back the curtain and turns up the spotlight on her greatest theatrical inspirations… along with a few surprises.

Two Broadway leading ladies, Judy Kaye and Rachel York are currently knocking them dead in Little Me as part of the Encores series at City Center.
Check out Ken Fallin's fabulous Little Me drawing!
In December, Donna McKechnie launched a new series at Birdland called In Good Company. Several years ago, I was lucky enough to see Donna McKechnie in Showtune, celebrating the music of Jerry Herman. I don't think anyone has done more for Broadway's leading ladies than Jerry Herman.
On Saturday evening, March 1st at 7:30pm Pace University will present American Showstoppers, with the 13 piece Fred Barton Orchestra, AN EVENING OF JERRY HERMAN.
Fred Barton
The evening is directed and choreographed by Scott Thompson and produced, orchestrated and hosted by Fred Barton.

Klea Blackhurst, Toni DiBuono, Jeffry Denman, Tari Kelly, Damon Kirsche, Beth Leavel, Karen Murphy and the inimitable Lee Roy Reams lead the cast which features Lianne Marie Dobbs, AJ Hunsucker, Jesse Luttrell and the Scott Thompson dancers.

Most theatergoers when asked to name a Jerry Herman show immediately suggest Hello, Dolly!, Mame and maybe La Cage Aux Follies.
All three musicals are represented in this evening. But to Fred Barton a show stopper isn't only in the most popular of musicals. Parade was Jerry Herman's 1960 off-Broadway revue that starred Charles Nelson Reilly and Dody Goodman.
Three songs from Parade will be performed including The Antique Man which Barton believes is one of Herman's best and which hasn't been performed in New York (and never orchestrated) since 1960.

The evening will also showcase "Las Vegas", from Miss Spectacular, an unproduced musical intended to be the feature attraction at the Mirage in Las Vegas.
When the hotel was sold, the project went into limbo, although a concept album was produced.

Beth Leavel and Klea Blackhurst, both who played Dolly in New England this summer, one at Goodspeed, one at the Cape Playhouse, will continue their Gallagher Levi association. Leavel will be wishing So Long Dearie and alerting people what happened Before the Parade Passes By.

Klea Blackhurst
Klea Blackhurst's songs will include Just Leave Everything To Me from the film version of Hello, Dolly! as well as two numbers which were cut from the show but added for Ethel Merman when she stepped into the role, Love, Look In My Window and World, Take Me Back.

Another song excised from Hello, Dolly was "Penny In My Pocket". Prior to it being cut in Detroit, the song showed how Horace Vandergelder became Yonker's most renowned half-millionaire. Lee Roy Ream who has appeared in, and directed, Hello, Dolly!, will sing that forgotten tour de force.

While Broadway seemed to have a love affair with Jerry Herman musicals, there were some, though adored by insiders, which did not have extended runs. Dear World and Mack and Mabel fall into that category and this evening will showcases songs from both of those shows.

Fred Barton's orchestrations are played regularly at Carnegie Hall and by symphony orchestras around the country and Canada. He's conducted Broadway and national tour productions of City of Angels, Hal Prince's Cabaret, Zorba with Anthony Quinn, and Camelot with Robert Goulet. He was co-creator of the original Forbidden Broadway, and for television co-composed "The Magic Schoolbus", orchestrated and conducted "Wonder Pets!", and music-supervised the HBO's Cathouse: The Musical and the children's show "Olivia".
A 15 minute preview of this show will air on the Michael Riedel, Susan Haskins Theater Talk on Friday February 21st at 1 AM on Thirteen/WNET and on CUNY TV (cable and broadcast) Saturday, Feb. 22nd at 8:30pm, Sunday, February 23rd at 12:30PM and Monday, Feb. 24th at 7:30AM, 1:30PM and 7:30PM.

Pace Presents: American Showstoppers: The Music of Harold Arlen Featuring The Fred Barton Orchestra

Ticket prices for American Showstoppers: An Evening of Jerry Herman Featuring The Fred Barton Orchestra at The Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University range from $30 to $55. The performance will take place on Saturday, March 1 at 7:30PM.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit or call toll-free (866) 811-4111.

Pace Presents performances take place at The Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts located at 3 Spruce Street between Park Row and Gold Street in downtown Manhattan.

Tickets to all events are available for purchase now:

    Online at
    By phone via The Ovation Tix Call Center at (866) 811-4111
    In person in advance at The Michael Schimmel Center Box Office, open Mon-Fri from 1pm-6pm
    Day of Show at The Michael Schimmel Center starting two hours before curtain.

Thank you ALL of the artists mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!
Thank you, Harlan Boll, for the info on Nothing Like a Dame

Thank you, Fred Barton, for press release on  AN EVENING OF JERRY HERMAN.

 With grateful XOXOXs ,

Check out my site celebrating the FIRST Fifty years of  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!    
The Divine Miss M, one of Broadway's most unconventional leading ladies. Would LOVE to see her take on Dolly Levi!

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 February 16th in NYC as wecelebrate Eileen Fulton to benefit Habitat For Humanity, NYC! Would LOVE to see you! Bring friends! It’s going to be star-studded party!

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

Keeping Entertainment LIVE!
Richard Skipper Celebrates


Richard Skipper,

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