Friday, March 21, 2014

Sondra Lee and The Spiral Theatre

Dear Friend in the Theatre: Today, I'm writing to let you know about an important upcoming event.
Richard Skipper Celebrates Sondra Lee to benefit
The Spiral Theatre Studio
March 25th, 2014 242 W. 36th Street, New York City
Call 845-365-0720 to reserve. Tickets are $25.00.
Seating is Limited. Reservations a must

Doors open at 7PM/8PM Start
Beginning Tuesday night I will be a regular contributor to The Spiral Theatre.

Paula Riley
I have for some 20 years been serving the theatre through practically every aspect of the theatre.
 I am obsessed with story telling of all kinds. We ALL have a story to tell. When people now ask me how I would describe myself, I tell them I'm a story teller. I also want to razzle dazzle you. I read today that Liza Minnelli said of her father that he believed in magic and that he fought for truth above all. That sums me up to a "tee".
This year, I have been doing a series of events to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Hello, Dolly!
Sondra Lee was the original Minnie Fay.

Tuesday night's event is a continuation of these celebrations.Sondra Lee and I will sit down to chat about love and work, self-doubt and self confidence, nervous tensions and deep and brief satisfactions ALL in the theatre.
With the cooperation of The Spiral Theatre's artistic director, Paula Riley, I have chosen the Spiral Theatre as my base for these interviews and I hope, along with Paula, to help transform the Spiral Theatre as well as my position as the "go to" guy when it comes to celebrity interviews.
I am very excited about this. This is not the first "interview" I've done with Sondra. She has been part of panel discussions I have put together as well as a one on one when her book, I've Slept With Everybody, first came out. This book will be for sell at Tuesday night's event and Sondra will gladly sign them for you.
I put in quotation marks the word interview because it doesn't feel like an interview to me.
For me it has always been about the work. I am interested in how Sondra
Lee, a petite girl from New Jersey, made it to Broadway (with Jerome Robbins, no less!) and beyond.

Known for my hands on approach to the individuals I am working with, look no further than Richard Skipper
The 26th annual Bistro Awards!
Celebrates! I have been lucky enough to rub elbows, chat up and interview theater, film, television and cabaret greats for the past two decades running. My most recent interview with Eileen Fulton (Lisa of As the World Turns), was met with exceptional reviews in February, 2014 (see a testimonial below).
Recently, I have shared the stage with Peggy Pope, Tommy Tune (at Queensboro Community College), Jackie Joseph (at The Metropolitan Room) for Actors and Others for Animals, Julie Budd (at The Laurie Beechman Theatre) for St. Jude Children's Hospital, Eileen Fulton (for Habitat for Humanity NYC), and Carolyn Quinn (at Barnes and Noble, Upper East Side) regarding her critically acclaimed book Mama Rose's Turn.
The direction of these interviews always come from the artists that I interview.I have conducted over 700 interviews for my blog celebrating people in the arts. In January, I brought cast members together from the original cast of Hello, Dolly, and the companies led by Miss Carol Channing for a two day special event in New York. 
with Steve Downey
After I walked away from my Carol Channing Show (after 20 years of performing it), I wanted to move in a new direction. Don't get me wrong, I will never give up entertaining.
It is part of my DNA. However, I feel that by celebrating others, it is the ultimate celebration. With each of the on stage interviews, the proceeds of the evening have gone to the charity of choice for the artists I interview.

This time around I chose the charity. We are doing this for the Spiral Theatre. I have been following Paula Riley and her dream and vision for this theatre for quite some time.
The details are below. I hope you will celebrate with us on Tuesday Night as we celebrate a Broadway Icon and help give life to a new theatre. Remember to reserve TODAY! Seating is limited.

Join The Spiral Theatre and me as we celebrate the career of legendary Sondra Lee - an actress, dancer, director, teacher, and the original Tiger Lily as we take the audience through nearly 50 years of a glorious career on stage (High Button Shoes, Peter Pan, Hello, Dolly!, among others) and films (Fellini's La Dolce Vita) -- in front of and behind the camera.

Describing her extraordinary adventures, always with a touch of humor and loving memories, recollections of trials and tribulations, countless series of short-lived and lifelong friendships and romantic flings with the famous and not-so famous - Sondra reveals all!.
Wicked, woeful . . . the laughter, the tears . . . like it was . . . like it is! Sondra Lee has an amazingly full life to share.
Sondra with Marge Champion (the subject of our April 25th Spiral Theatre Interview)
Sondra's book, I've Slept with Everybody provides insights and wisdom that only an experienced actress with a great deal of charisma could give.

Neal Hetherington (Habitat for Humanity), Colleen Zenk, Eileen Fulton, Richard Skipper. Photo of the day: AS THE WORLD still TURNS with EILEEN FULTON

( photo credit: Joseph Marzullo/ at Dolly Anniversary Party

The Spiral Theatre Studio is the premier incubator theater for off-off-Broadway plays, focused on the stories of characters grappling with issues related to growing older in a culture disrespectful of aging. Their Salt and Pepper Series promotes greater awareness of issues about the grace and grit of seasoned citizens.
Each of their four annual main-stage productions by established and emerging playwrights features a weekly Industry Night and performs on their innovative "Spiral Stage" that provides an emotional landscape for these poignant plays. 
They are proud to use environmentally conscious, green technology (low carbon footprint, LED lighting) for these showcase productions.

Sondra Lee as Tiger Lily in Peter Pan:

Richard Skipper's  "Hello Dolly"  program at the NY Sheet Music Society's January  meeting was  sensational.
It was one of the best programs we ever had! Having so many people from  numerous Dolly productions talking about their experiences  during Dolly's 50th anniversary celebration was inspiring and fascinating. 
Richard  was stupendous.He filled the room with his enthusiasm and warmth  and asked such intelligent  provocative questions.
Stephanie Zagoren, Montclair NJ (Richard Guestbook)

Let's start celebrating artists again rather than tearing them down.

Thank you ALL of the artists mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!
 With grateful XOXOXs ,
Check out my site celebrating the FIRST Fifty years of  Hello, Dolly! 
Eileen Brennan and Sondra Lee

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!    

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

                                                               Keeping LIVE entertainment LIVE!
Sondra, David Burns, Eileen Brennan

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