Monday, February 24, 2014

Responding Vs. Reacting

Love this movie! My favorite! A movie about responding...
Change is not difficult. It is the resistance to change that is difficult or painful.

Monday, February 24th, 2014

I hope you are having an awesome day.
As the next 24 hours unfold, think about this...along the way, you have the option of how you respond and/or react to what happens to you. I desire to be a champion of YOU-ness. I hope that my blog will help you to learn, not only of other artists, but a little bit about me, and it will get you to thinking about where you are, where you've been, and where you're going as you skip along the yellow brick road of life. Inspiration, innovation, and self-WORTH are just some of the elements that I desire to fill you up with. My hope is that I don't flood you with information that is not important. I do not desire to dilute your interest.I hope that I am hitting you only with important stuff. I hope that you'll be excited when you see my blog published.   

We all have the opportunity today, once again, to right some "wrongs", pray for peace, plant trees, sing joyful songs.I wish you all a day of happiness and success.I hope you enjoy yourselves today.
During my time in high school, I was, believe it or not, at times, a bullied kid.I think my story is quite interesting. I hope you will find it so, too,
No wonder I love Hello, Dolly! I have always been a person who arranges things...

I was bullied all through grade school and middle school.

I decided to take charge in high school. I would ALWAYS have the last laugh. I became a clown. I learned, through television comedy, how to take everything that came by way and turn it around to my advantage. When something mean or cruel was said or done to me, I would make it a joke.I would NEVER allow the bullies to see that they had "won". In their minds, maybe they did feel as if they had won. Their goal was to intimidate and/or feel that they had dominion over me."Create A Life That FEELS Good On The Inside. Not Just One That Looks
Good On The Outside!"...that became my mantra.

It's funny as I look back on my life 40 years ago, I didn't have a support system.

All the adults around me, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles (if they even knew I existed), and even teachers were telling me to fight back. I'm not a "fighter", at least physically. Why was I asked to be something I was not? I'm still as an adult often asked to be something I am not. I learned a long time ago that I must be selective in the choices I make.
In martial arts, kids and adults are TAUGHT the importance of controlling ANGER and using their brain to avoid conflict before resorting to physical conflict. 

Can you imagine if social media existed in 1974? I don't know that I would have survived it. Although I might have become a YouTube sensation. I used to do lunchtime concerts. On the front steps of the high school, I used to do lunch time concerts!
It started out with just a few of us sitting around and mimicking what I saw on TV the night before. Certain favorites began to emerge, especially my impressions of Carol Channing (THAT'S where that began!) and my rendition of Steam Heat, which was more Pointer Sisters than Pajama Game
What started out with a few "friends" quickly grew to more and more.Perhaps they WERE laughing at me, but I was generating most of the laughs.
This began to take on a life of its own. At one time, two guys decided they were going to get a jump start on me and seize "my" stage. They, unfortunately, started before the lunch break, while classes were still in session, and they almost got suspended.

My main outlet throughout high school was my involvement with The Theater of the Republic, and in the early part of my senior year, The Upstage Company at Coast Carolina University.
When I was in the 10th grade, we met with guidance counselors.

If we met a certain grade point average, we could choose our electives for the next year. I met the criteria and went in to meet the counselor. She asked me what courses I would like to take the next year.
I said without hesitation, "drama"! She said that that was not an option. I asked "why not?" I knew that I was going to be a professional actor. 
I left with no promises but that they would seriously consider it. A few months later, I was told that they would be creating a class the following year in drama and speech making!
The teacher that was assigned the class was Mrs. Vickie Russell. There were 17 of us in the class and the first day of class, she confessed that she might not be the most qualified person for that class but that we all would learn together as the year progressed.The first part of the year was spent working on famous speeches and creating some of our own. The second part of the year would be devoted to studying the classics of drama and a high school play.
We had to find something that could accommodate as many of the class as possible.
There are some who have no desire to be on stage.
We started the search and settled on a play that was perfect for our high school, our region, our class, and the times we were living in. The play was called Breaker Calling Cinderella and it was a spoof of the Cinderella fairy tell but utilizing the world of the CB radio which was very prevalent at the time. The cast asked for 4 men and 9 women, but Mrs. Russell came up with the idea of having the CB Godmother be a CB Godfather! ""Break one-niner for the Silver Princess … Come on back at me, Silver Princess."
It was suggested that I play the Godfather! I was in heaven! I looked like a cross from the Tin Man and Celeste Holm in Cinderella.
My hair was spray painted silver. My face was a clown white with ruby red lips, and glitter. I wore a white robe. Since the play took place in Texas, I wore white cowboy boots with glitter up the sides. I had a CB pack on my back and my wand was a CB antenna. We did two shows. Our "dress rehearsal" was for family to attend before performing it for the school the next day.
I want to digress a moment to discuss the importance of arts in education. Unfortunately, when budgets are cut, the first thing to go is arts funding. Several years ago, I got involved with Weston High School in Weston, Connecticut due to their production of Hello, Dolly!  Since then, I have tried to catch as many of their productions as possible. They are always top notch.
It is a rather affluent company but these kids AND the school work very hard on their productions due to Damien Long, director of the shows as well as a teacher at Weston. Success begins with Self-Esteem and how you fill about yourself. Damian is great in building up all of his students. Class plays really brings out a sense of community on achieving a single goal, the success of a show. This happens both on and off stage.
It is an interesting irony that when a school budget is being cut, arts is the least important thing in a kid's curriculum.
Being in Breaker Calling Cinderella gave me a chance to shine in my class and in my school. When I walked out on stage in our school play, I got a standing ovation from my fellow students.
Me at 4 with my sister
I no longer felt like that bullied kid. I belonged. I had found MY niche. It is an ovation I can still feel 33 years later.
A few years ago, I went back to my hometown to once again perform for my friends, family, and former co-stars.
As a small child, I KNEW I wanted to be on stage.
I pursued it with a very focused determination. Years later, I got the opportunity to return to The Theater of the Republic where it all began for me to entertain my friends, family, and former thespians.
My father passed away in March 2002. The following Thanksgiving, being the first one without our father, Danny and I decided to go to South Carolina to be with my family. We drove down, arriving in Conway shortly after 7PM. I was too tired to go out and didn't desire my mom to cook a dinner.
We stopped into Wall mart to grab something to take home. At the checkout counter, I was asked if I was Ricky Skipper by the lady behind me in the checkout counter. It was Cookie MacMillan, now on the board, and when she found out about my "Carol" show started plotting on bringing me home again. To be continued...

Thank you all the people I have met on this journey who help to shape who I am. 

 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

with Francine Pascal, Michael Stuart's sister at my brunch celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Hello, Dolly! at Sardi's 1/19/14

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 March 25th in NYC as we celebrate Marge Champion to benefit The Spiral Theatre! 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,


1 comment:

  1. It is a wonderful blog, Richard! Thanks for sharing your story. It is good to get to know you better.
    I was bullied my whole life. High school was the worst. I loved hearing the clapping on stage, but stage fright was very bad. I would rather interview like you do.
    I am proud of what you have accomplished. You teach me so much.
    ♡ Rebecca Noel