Wednesday, September 17, 2014

John Bolton and Pageant: The Musical

photo by Simon Pauly
John Bolton is an actor and Broadway regular. Bolton is best known for originating the role of "The Old Man" (Mr. Parker) in the critically acclaimed Broadway show, A Christmas Story: The Musical, based on the classic 1983 movie A Christmas Story, which itself was based on stories by radio humorist Jean Shepherd.
Currently, he is the emcee in the critically acclaimed off-Broadway revival of Pageant: The Musical. John and I sat down earlier to discuss the path that has gotten him to this point.
Today, I celebrate John and his body of "worth".
In addition to originating the role of "The Old Man" (Mr. Parker) in A Christmas Story: The Musical on Broadway, Bolton repeated this starring role in Boston, Hartford and in 2013 at Madison Square Garden. Bolton's other theatre credit includes many Broadway musicals that have won the Tony Award including original productions of Curtains with David Hyde Pierce, Debra Monk, and Karen Ziemba; Spamalot with Tim Curry, David Hyde Pierce, and Sara Ramirez, directed by Mike Nichols; Contact directed by Susan Stroman; and Titanic with John Cunningham, Michael Cerveris and Victoria Clark; and revivals of Damn Yankees with Victor Garber; How to Succeed in Business with Matthew Broderick and Megan Mullally eventually playing the role of Finch opposite Sarah Jessica Parker.
A sought-after cabaret performer, Bolton also appeared in many concert performances including Downton Abbey at 54 Below, Titanic reunion at Lincoln Center Avery Fisher Hall, and most recently he appeared in Guys and Dolls at Carnegie Hall with Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally, Patrick Wilson, and Sierra Boggess.
with Peter Billingsley
The New York Times called his performance a "stand-out."
 I met John several year's ago at Eve Plumb's art opening here in New York. A few weeks ago, I was invited to see Pageant: The Musical, as Frankie Cavalier, and was thrilled to see John Bolton, a true journeyman actor, as the emcee. I reached out to him for a blog feature and he graciously accepted. We sat down in the midst of his busy schedule to chat about the journey that has led him to The Ken Davenport Theatre.
This is the result of that chat.
I began the interview by asking John what makes him happy and what makes him unhappy.
Friends and family are on the upper rung of what makes him happy. His dogs share a space on that rung. What makes him unhappy is feeling like he hasn't done his best in any given situation, especially in an audition or a performance. Also, any injustice in the world angers him. People who have never heard of H.R. Pufnstuf also makes him unhappy!
When I asked John why he performs, he said he would like to say it is all just a cry for help, but the truth is it is something he can do!

That may seem like a funny answer but it is the truth. He grew up in a very sports oriented family, a family that he loves very much.
It was just assumed that he would do the same thing that his older brothers did which was sports.
John Bolton and the cast of Pageant: The Musical
He tried to do that and actually had fun with it. Then he realized that he could act and sing and THAT was fun.
He enjoyed being in plays and on stage. This started when he was in the third grade. He was in the class play and all of a sudden it was something that he could do that he felt good about.
He just kept doing it and, fortunately, went to a small high school that wasn't super competitive, therefore, he was able to get a lot of experience doing plays and musicals.
He took that experience to community theatre beyond that.
In college, he got a BA in journalism at St John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. In Rochester, he continued to do community theatre and remained active in the local theatre scene. Finally, he made the leap to bigger auditions. "I've been fooling them ever since."
Although he came from a sports oriented household, the family was artistic in various ways. His parents, Keene and Norma Bolton, whom he loved very much, sadly have passed on.
They were his biggest fans ever. His mom passed on about ten years ago and his father passed away this past December on the opening night of A Christmas Story which opened at Madison Square Garden. John got word at intermission that his father had just passed. John knew it was coming.
His father was in Hospice. Still, John had to go out and perform Act Two. Prior to that, he just disintegrated in his dressing room.

He could hear his father's voice in his head saying, "Johno, go do that terrific show." His father HAD seen John in the show and was proud of him.

He went out and did his best that night.
His father was a banker and ran several small banks in upstate New York. He was very fiscally minded and his favorite three words were "Save your money." He was a wonderful dad and a very kind man.
His mom was a very talented artist. She also ran estate sales in upstate New York. That instilled in John an appreciation of art and antiques.
His two brothers are ten and twelve years older than him. Their names are Rob and Tom. Rob is a designer and salesman. He lives in upstate New York with his wonderful family. He is also a very talented composer on the side. He has a great way with a melody and is a great guitarist. He has his own recording studio in his basement with amps and things that John has no idea what they do but when it is all put together, it sounds terrific.John's brother, Tom, lives in Chicago where he is an accountant at Chase bank. He, too, is creative in a musical way, in which he has a very fond archival appreciation of fifties and sixties music. He has basically anything anyone could possibly desire on tape. He loves the history of the music as well as those who sang it. And, now, a little bit about Pageant: The Musical. John knew the people who were putting it together. Pageant was returning to the NYC stage for the first time in over twenty years! The show ran EVERY MONDAY night in February  at Red Lacquer at 240 West 52nd Street.

They asked if he would be interested. He loves the show and has very fond and vivid memories of the original production despite how long it has been. That was a terrific company. He wanted to do it but he was already contracted to do Show Boat at San Francisco Opera where it was a nice paycheck!
It was also being filmed for PBS and DVD release. It was a fun role and he was getting to work with his pal Francesca Zambello who was directing as well as Harriet Harris and Bill Irwin, two wonderful people.
It was also working with the San Francisco Opera so it was a good gig. He told them that if they were willing to let him just rehearse for two days, he could do it. They said they couldn't do that; they would have to have a rehearsal process. They thanked him but had to move on.
They hired another gentleman and right before John was about to close in Show Boat in San Francisco, his phone rang and they asked him when exactly he would be getting back to New York. He told them that he was returning on Thursday. This was Tuesday, two days before he was scheduled to come home. They asked him if he could learn the show in two days. He asked them to send the script to him and he would look at it and think about it. They over nighted the script to him and as he looked over the script, all of these rich memories of the original began to come back. John thought that this would be fun and that it was only for just a little while. It was a great job. He would once again be working with great people. He had not to long ago done Guys and Dolls at Carnegie Hall with director Matt Lenz. He knew Shea Sullivan's wonderful work for many years as choreographer. Executive Produced by Andy Sandberg who is an old friend. He thought, "This looks fun. I'm game. I'll learn it in two days!" He flew back and went into rehearsal without the cast. It was just with the stage manager and the choreographer. Then he met the cast on Sunday afternoon at 1PM and he was on that night at 7PM!
He noticed, by the way, that there were critics in the audience. Part of the show involves John's character going out into the audience to pick the judges. He couldn't help but notice that some of the audience members were holding press kits.
All he could think was, "Oh, Christ! I'm being thrown to the lions tonight."
It was his first time on that
After the show, he went to his press rep and said "Will you please let them know I've only had two rehearsals?"

They assured him that they would do that. That's how he became involved. He loves the show.
"It is so much fun." He loves the whole free wheeling nature of the show.
He loves his "girls". He loves watching them in the wings every night. His job is to "serve those 'girls' on a silver platter.It is fun to do that. It is fun to watch them genuinely 'compete' with each other, all in good nature, so far."
He loves the whole audience voting aspect of the show.
Wink Martindale
He gets to "control" the show. It also gives him a chance to channel some of his heroes: Gene Rayburn (who had the great fortune of meeting and working with for one wonderful week many years ago), the amazing Peter Marshall, not to mention the years that John grew up watching Bob Barker host the Miss USA/Universe Pageants (just his speech pattens and such), and John throws in a little Wink Martindale just because"it makes me laugh". John's favorite part of the show is the audience involvement and watching them enjoy the show and how different it is every night. John is happy to say that ALL of the "girls" have won multiple times so there is no poor "pathetic creature left in the dust."
One "girl" tends to win the most.
Still the others are right behind her. He loves the fact that they all get to win. It is also fun to watch the "losers". He loves the whole "judge situation. He loves getting to pick the judges and play with them. He watches each audience when he is standing on the side near the beginning. He is introduced, he comes out and does his bit, then he introduces the 'girls".
As he steps to the side as each of the 'girls' introduce themselves, he watches the audience like a hawk, particularly people near the front because that's where the audience will be able to see the judge's scores a little better.
He looks for people with big smiles on their faces, people who look like they're having a really good time, that will be really good judges.
He has had a pretty good track record with that.
I asked him what he would be doing if THIS wasn't it. He said that as he gets older, he wonders about that more and more.
The fact that he can't find an answer frightens him. He would like to think that he will be doing this for a little while longer, but if that doesn't happen, he might buy a nice bookstore in Rockport, Massachusetts, and be there with his partner and have a nice quiet seaside life with their dogs. That is a pipe dream. What would he actually do living in New York City? He has no idea. He would love to stay involved with theatre somehow, maybe as a stage manager or a writer. He loves to write.
He is a pretty good parody lyric writer He would love to continue maybe going down that lane and seeing where it takes him. For now, he really doesn't know.
Pageant is affording John the opportunity be home for a while. He loves to perform in his home city, which he tries to do more often than not. Often his agents will call and offer him gigs out of town.
Usually, unless it is something that is coming in
or wants to come in or has future aspirations, he will generally say no and not pursue it any further unless it is something he is dying to do. They will try to convince him otherwise. San Francisco Opera was a once in a lifetime situation. It was a great experience and he got to work with some amazing people. I asked John what he considers to be the lowest point of his career. He says it happens every three or four months! It's when he has that audition that he wishes that he had thought about differently. or that he wishes he could just have one more shot at it. There are times when he leaves the room thinking, "Wow! I really messed that one up."
Not that anything has really fallen apart. It goes back to what he said earlier about doing his best. "You go to these auditions. You learn the material. Sometimes you have no idea what they are looking for. You make choices. You hope that if they see something they don't like, they'll hopefully lead you down a different path towards something they do like.
Usually, they will give you several scenes to look at. Maybe you'll do one or two. Not knowing what's coming ahead leads to some frustration in the room."
Once in a while, he goes home after an audition saying, "Well, I'm not going to be getting THAT one!" For some of those, he places the blame at his own feet for not being as being prepared as he should be or sometimes, being too prepared and not being able to allow their direction or their notes or their adjustments in. Those little moments are the lowest moments of his career. As far as the bigger picture is concerned, there have been some shows where he was very happy onstage but unhappy off stage.
They, however paid so well or he worked with great people onstage, that he hates to refer to them as low points because they allowed him to save a lot of money.
John Bolton and the cast of A Christmas Story, The Musical in rehearsal and on stage.
There is his dad once again saying, "Save your money"! There have been a couple of understudy situations in which he was very happy working with some wonderful people but feeling that he wasn't really part of the show.
He is a good team player. He loves to just "throw the ball around" and being with the gang and as an understudy
or a standby, sometimes, he was either made to feel or allowed himself to feel like he really wasn't part of the company. That was painful, but something he got through. Fortunately, he has money in the bank to offset that.
I asked what he thinks of the state of the arts today. He says it is increasingly becoming more and more corporate.
He didn't grow up in the "golden age of Broadway". All he has to go by are those great cast albums he had/has. He imagines that things were just as difficult then in their own way that we just don't know about. Now, it is "theatre by committee" as opposed to letting someone's vision being truly honored or at least attempted is sad. It is pretty much that way with everything these days.
It is that way with popular music. It is certainly that way with television programming and Hollywood. There is a formula to that. John wishes that Broadway "producers"  would take chances on newer talents more often in terms of directors and choreographers. The same names keep showing up.

Seth Tucker, Alex Ringler, Nick Cearley, John Bolton, Curtis Wiley, Marty Thomas, and Nic Corey star in Pageant — The Musical at the Davenport Theatre.
(© Tyrone Rasheed)
John has had the great pleasure and honor of working with some of those "same names" and he has LOVED working with those "same names", but it seems a shame that there is not a lot of room for new directors and
The cast of Pageant at the Davenport Theatre.
(© Tyrone Rasheed)
choreographers beyond one or two a year. They should be able to sneak in and get their chance.
I asked John if he is involved in any other aspect of the theatre beyond acting.
He is part of a small group of guys and one gal who has produced a series of videos. Downton Abbey was filmed at 54 Below. They also did one called Russian Broadway Shuts Down. They are working on another video right now. 

That keeps them going artistically. He enjoys that.
He considers himself an arts aficionado.He attends as much as he can. He has been lucky enough to have a fairly versatile career in which he has gotten to work with. In addition to the a fore mentioned San Francisco Opera Company, he has also sung with the Philharmonic and symphonies all across the country. He has done plays and musicals on Broadway and off-Broadway. He has increasingly done more television. He just recently shot an episode of  Blue Bloods with a nice guest starring role.
Edie Adams (c) with John Bolton (l) as Cornelius and Duane Lanham (r) as Barnaby in the 1991 production of Hello, Dolly! (Bucks County Playhouse, Pocono Playhouse, Falmouth Playhouse)
He tries to grab what he can. Usually, he gets lawyer or accountant types. He spent four seasons in a nice recurring role on Gossip Girl.
He feels that he is enough in the arts, "a little bit here, a little bit there", in different sorts of facets of it all that it keeps him truly involved.
Someone once told him years ago that his style was "old Broadway", that he was only going to do the older shows.He is happy to say that he HAS done those older shows.
That being said, a lot of the younger composers call him regularly telling him they want HIM. They want him to come in and do roles that they feel he is perfect for. He sings "rock" when he can. He tries to stay on the new side of things as well as the old classic side of things.
He has had a lucky fairly diverse go of it. If he can just keep it going, he will be happy. 
The cast of Pageant have all been asked about their availability into January. In a few weeks from now, John is returning to the Bucks County Playhouse. He will be playing a couple of roles in Rocky Horror.
That, also, just fell into his lap. He will be out of Pageant for two weeks to do that.
He certainly hopes that Pageant WILL continue through January. While he is out, Marty Thomas, who currently plays Miss Deep South will switch from evening gown to tuxedo! He will be fantastic. John fears they may not ask him back! Marty actually won the pageant the night before this interview.
There were several people in tiaras were in the audience, but if there were any titled queens in the audience, they stayed anonymous.
They had a great time at the party afterwards watching the Miss America pageant. Five of the competing contestants have actually been to see Pageant.One of those women actually won...Kira Kazantsev, Miss New York, who is delightful to chat with, according to John. Three former Miss
A Christmas Story Bookwriter Joseph Robinette, John Bolton
Americas have attended, several of the state winners, then there are the other contest winners, like Miss United States and Ms. United States, then there is Miss USA...there is a whole circuit! The pageant world is very extensive and a very pleasant world that John previously knew very little about.
What keeps John going?
John has a wonderful partner, the amazing Sean McKnight who is a wonderful choreographer.
They have a nice home midtown in New York City.John has lived in the same apartment for twenty years. He loves his apartment. He loves his friends. He loves his pets. He loves the neighborhood.
He loves the theatre. He gets to be here and be a part of a world that he feels so lucky to be living the life that the sixteen year old in him always dreamed of living.

Is John a good student?
He is NOW as an adult. As a kid, he was good at the subjects he liked.
The others were barely squeaking by.
Could he possibly turn it off and STOP what he is doing?
Well, if the right little bookstore in New England came available, he would really think about it. He always told himself that he would quit at ten Broadway shows.
Now, he is at eight. At ten, he can retire! He supposes he could turn it off if the RIGHT thing was on the other side. He wouldn't have any regrets. He has had some wonderful opportunities. He has certainly worked with some true heroes of his. We are all the better for it!

Thank to ALL 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!


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!

Be sure and Save The Date to see Jim Speake on October 11th as he celebrates Cy Coleman

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Richard Skipper Celebrates

Richard Skipper,

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Calling ALL Beauty QUEENS: A Tale of Two Pageants!

My friends at the Off-Broadway musical PAGEANT are having a very special performance TONIGHT. As I’m sure you’re all aware, “Miss America” airs tonight, where PAGEANT’s very own choreographer Shea Sullivan and costume designer extraordinaire Stephen Yearick are represented by SEVERAL girls down in Atlantic City preparing for the big night even as I write this!
In honor of the evening, PAGEANT is hosting its own audience competition right after the show.
Do YOU have what it takes to be crowned “Miss Audience Glamouresse”? You have to enter to find out! Here’s how:
- Come to the box office in your finest Pageant attire (or at least a sash, or tiara) starting two hours before curtain (5:30PM-7:30PM)
- Use my secret code “SKIPPER” to get HALF-PRICE TICKETS and a FREE DRINK coupon (more on that below!)
- Have a wonderful, hilarious time watching the show. I saw it two weeks ago and you never know who will be the winner – the suspense is real…and so much fun!
- Afterward, the five best (or most imaginatively) dressed audience participants will be chosen as finalists – so check all the sequins on your evening gowns, my lovelies!
- Our finalists will then strut the aisle and be asked a very probing question by our Host, Frankie Cavalier (played by the always wonderful John Bolton).
- The audience and cast will select the winner!

If you are crowned “Miss Audience Glamouresse” you’ll receive the ultimate prize package of: 
- A Limited-Edition Pageant Tiara
- A photo with the cast
- A certificate good for a dozen delicious Schmackary's Cookies

- One pair of full-fashioned hosiery
- A signed show poster!
You’ll also be invited with the rest of the audience, cast, and crew, to join us at Boxers HK for your free drink (be sure you have your coupon and your ticket stub) and to watch the LIVE Miss America telecast.
P.S. The show asked that I include this obligatory legal-schmeagle stuff:  This offer is applicable to the September 14th performance only.
Half-price tickets are subject to availability and are available only at the box office starting 2 hours before the show (5:30pm-7:30pm) and you must be dressed in some kind of pageant attire – evening gowns preferred but a tiara or sash qualifies.
Free drink coupon is valid at Boxers HK the night of the show only and must be presented at the venue with
Watch ABC tonight starting at 8 pm ET (7 pm CT) to find out who will be crowned Miss America 2015!
your ticket stub. A $1.75 theatre facility fee is included in the price of the ticket. Offer may be revoked at any time. And (my favorite one): be sure to use code SKIPPER!

 “No funny bones are spared!  
Pageant is pure entertainment …  A comedic romp!” - Metro New York

A few weeks ago, I was invited to see Pageant at the newly formed Ken Davenport Theatre.
“Outrageous, groundbreaking and thigh-slappingly hilarious!” - Rex Reed, NY Observer

It seems like it was just yesterday when Pageant last played New York. It was actually 1991!
John Bolton and the cast of Pageant: The Musical

Today, in honor of Miss America tonight and in anticipation of my interview tomorrow afternoon with emcee John Bolton, I celebrate Pageant: The Musical!

The Countdown to Miss America tonight, hosted by "Good Morning America's" Amy Robach, will cover every aspect of this year's 2015 Miss America Competition. From the exciting preliminary competitions to the dazzling finale on Sunday night, the countdown will offer behind the scenes footage of the 53 national contestants, vying for the 2015 Miss America crown.
Miss Oklahoma, Alex Eppler, working out in Pageant swag!
"Countdown to Miss America" will also show historical footage and information from the Miss America Organization as it celebrates its 94th year. The historical portion of this segment includes footage from nine decades of the organization's scholarships, service, style and success. This special edition airing before the final 2015 Miss America Competition will introduce viewers to more than 30 former Miss Americas, including Lee Meriwether, who was the first Miss America to be crowned on live television in 1955.

Throughout the evening, the preliminary host, Dena Blizzard, who is a former Miss New Jersey, will share live updates to viewers from Boardwalk Hall. For the first time on live television, the coveted Miss Congeniality award will be announced.From the exciting preliminary competitions to the dazzling finale on Sunday night, the countdown will offer behind the scenes footage of the 53 national contestants, vying for the 2015 Miss America crown.
NinaDavuluri, Miss America 2014.
Countdown to Miss America will also show historical footage and information from the Miss America Organization as it celebrates its 94th year. The historical portion of this segment includes footage from nine decades of the organization's scholarships, service, style and success.
This special edition airing before the final 2015 Miss America Competition will introduce viewers to more than 30 former Miss Americas, including Lee Meriwether, who was the first Miss America to be crowned on live television in 1955.
Throughout the evening, the preliminary host, Dena Blizzard, who is a former Miss New Jersey, will share live updates to viewers from Boardwalk Hall. For the first time on live television, the coveted Miss Congeniality award will be announced.
Returning to host the final 2015 Miss America Competition are Chris Harrison, host of "The Bachelor", and Lara Spencer from Good Morning America.
Returning to host the final 2015 Miss America Competition are Chris Harrison, host of The Bachelor, and Lara Spencer from “Good Morning America”. Working alongside the esteemed hosts is the illustrious judges panel that includes: television producer and writer Marc Cherry; Super Bowl Champion and former Green Bay Packer Donald Driver; CEO and designer Kathy Ireland; U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson; West Point graduate and senior Army aviator General Anne Macdonald; Former Miss America and actress Lee Meriwether, and CEO and author Gary Vaynerchuk. (Source Official Miss America Website)
Lee Meriwether

Countdown to Miss America airs tonight, Sunday, September 14 at 8PM. This special leads up to the 2015 Miss America Competition at 9PM on ABC. You will not want to miss the most dazzling event of the year! 
Nina Davuluri made history last year as the first Indian American to win the Miss America pageant. Born in Syracuse, New York, the daughter of Indian immigrants, Davuluri beat out 52 contestants for the 2014 title with a Bollywood-inspired dance performance and a platform of "Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency." Though her win was marred with an online barrage of racist tweets and social comments -- questioning Davuluri's American identity and incorrectly calling her Arab and Muslim -- the 24-year-old met her first challenge wearing the crown with grace and aplomb, rising above fray and focusing on her year ahead.
When I was a kid, our family used to watch Miss America every year. I have to admit that I lost interest after Bert Parks was no longer involved. I realize that I just dated myself! Although the world has changed considerably over the past twenty five to thirty years, pageants still fascinate.

For more information, visit Join the #MissAmericaconversation on social media at, Twitter @MissAmerica and@MissAmericaOrg, Instagram missamericaorg, and

Wishing all the best to the ladies of MISS AMERICA tonight from the gals of MISS GLAMOURESSE! Your beauty inspires us.

Special shout-outs to our Pageant: The Musical visitors Alex Eppler (Miss Oklahoma), Acacia Courtney (Miss Connecticut), Amanda Smith (Miss Pennsylvania), Victoria Cowen (Miss Florida) and Kira Kazantsev (Miss New York), as well as Choreography by Shea Sullivan and her associate Dmitri Kumolovaya.

I, unfortunately, did not see Pageant: The Musical the first time around. .Therefore, even though I was "familiar" with the show, I truly had no frame of reference to go upon.
The show is now scheduled to run through October 16th. Do NOT miss this show!
Like no beauty pageant you've seen before, six contestants vying for the title of Miss Glamouresse compete in swimsuit, talent, gown, and spokesmodel categories. This silly, fun musical is Miss America meets The Birdcage and Kinky Boots. You even get to pick the winner! Who will it be?Unlike some beauty pageants you've seen before, the female contestants are all played by men. To add to the fun, members of the audience get to select the winner each night!
Filled with excitement and suspense, but first and foremost, beauty … let the beauty begin! 

Pageants are universal! Check out this interview with the lovely Miss Charlotte Holmes!
Miss England, Charlotte Holmes
You wouldn't want to miss out on her fab pageant advice!

PAGEANT debuted Off-Broadway in 1991 at the Blue Angel in New York where it ran for more than a year before playing successful engagements on the West End and around the world. Pageant was last seen this February in a sold-out five-show special engagement that benefitted Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS at the Red Lacquer Club, which was the first time it had returned to the New York stage in more than twenty years.

Want a cast recording of Pageant: The Musical? We need your help! CONTRIBUTE here and PRE-ORDER.
Joan Rivers with members of the ORIGINAL cast

Meet The Cast!

JOHN BOLTON (Frankie Cavalier) received critical acclaim starring on Broadway as The Old Man in A Christmas Story: The Musical.  For his performance he received a Footlight Award, a Drama Desk nomination, and was named to several publications’ Top Ten lists.  He originated the role of Daryl Grady in Broadway’s Curtains, and was in the original Broadway casts of Spamalot, Contact and Titanic, all three of which won the Tony for Best Musical.  He made his Broadway debut alongside Jerry Lewis in Damn Yankees and starred as Finch during Matthew Broderick’s leave of absence in How to Succeed…  He has worked extensively Off-Broadway and as a cabaret performer.  He recently made his Carnegie Hall debut in the all-star Guys and Dolls In Concert.  

Other New York concert appearances include Chess with Josh Groban and Chance and Chemistry with Sir Paul McCartney. He has performed as soloist with The New York Philharmonic and with symphonies across the country.  Mr. Bolton recently headlined productions of Clybourne Park, Same Time Next Year, Young Frankenstein and The Music Man and just completed the role of Frank in San Francisco Opera’s Show Boat, filmed for PBS.  Mr. Bolton’s television work includes four seasons as Bruce Caplan
on Gossip Girl, guest-starring roles on “Boardwalk Empire”, “The Good Wife”, “Law and Order”, and “Ed” and recurring roles on “All My Children” and “As the World Turns”.  He is a producer/writer of the viral video “Russian Broadway Shutdown” and is a frequent host of theatre-related events all across the city.  Follow him on Twitter
JohnBolton and his ladies send a special message to some of the Miss America contestants! 

Nick Cearley
NICK CEARLEY (Miss Great Plains) is ½ of the "Undie"-Rock Comedy Duo known as The Skivvies with Lauren Molina which has been most recently critically acclaimed by People Magazine, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Broadway 1st National: All Shook Up. Regional: Brad in The Rocky Horror Show, Henry in Next to Normal (League of Cincinnati Theatre Award for Acting Excellence), …And Then I Wrote a Song About It (Best Lead Actor in a Musical/ The Star Ledger, NJ), ...Spelling Bee, ...Trailer Park Musical, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Bay Street Theatre, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Bucks County Playhouse, Luna Stage, Diversionary Theatre, Rubicon Theatre, American Stage Theatre Company. Twitter: @clearlycearley and @theskivviesnyc 

NIC CORY (Miss Industrial North East) is thrilled to be joining these queens! Off-Broadway: Signs of Life, The Boys Upstairs, Rocky Horror. Education: Carnegie Mellon and Columbia. Co-author of 'So You Wanna Be a Superstar? (Running Press, 2012) and founder of GET U. IN, a college-coaching company. 

ALEX RINGLER (Miss Texas) is honored to be a contestant for the title of Miss Glamouresse.  No stranger to heels, Alex recently untucked from the First National Tour of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert (Emu, U/S Adam/Felicia).  Broadway: West Side Story (Jet/Shark). Tour: A Chorus Line (Greg), West Side Story (Action), Cats (Alonzo). 

Regional: Naked Boys Singing, Seussical. 

MARTY THOMAS (Miss Deep South)  is a Grammy Nominated recording artist who has appeared on Broadway in Wicked, Xanadu and The Secret Garden.  He appeared off Broadway in A Loss of Roses, Black Nativity and My Big Gay Italian Wedding. He appeared in the film Big Gay Musical and plays Damon' on the CBS sitcom Two Broke Girls.  
He traveled Europe with the famed Harlem Gospel Singers as their first Caucasian member. He was named a 1992 Junior Vocalist Ed McMahon's Star Search Champion and the 2008 Mr. Broadway.  His music is available on ITunes, check for more info. Follow @martythomasbway

SETH TUCKER (Miss West Coast) is super excited to be making his Off-Broadway debut as Miss West Coast, and couldn’t be more humbled working with these amazing men-women. Originally from Arizona, Seth studied Marketing and Music Theatre at ASU. Seth was recently seen in Our Kiki: A Gay Farce at last summer’s Fringe Festival and can currently be seen on the comedic web show Acting Up, both of which he also wrote and directed. Favorite credits include: Coneybear (“25th Annual Putnam...”), Jinx (“Forever Plaid”), Snoopy (“Charlie Brown”) and Rod/Bad Idea Bear (“Avenue Q”).

LUKE McCOLLUM (Swing) is super grateful to be joining the other "girls" in this incredible incarnation of
Lisa Lampanelli and @Rhodes Reed with the cast! This was the night I was there
Pageant.  When's he's not wearing high heels at the Davenport Theatre, Luke can be found performing standup comedy across the country as the opening act for Comedy's Loveable Queen of Mean, Lisa Lampanelli.  Luke also performs standup around New York City comedy clubs including Gotham Comedy Club's Homo Comicus, New York Comedy Club, and Broadway Comedy Club.  Past credits include Cirque du Soleil's Viva Elvis in Las Vegas, Cats, Movin’ Out (Nat'l Tours), and he's also featured in the book "Dancers Among Us".  instagram: 

CURTIS WILEY (Miss Bible Belt) is "truly blessed" to be in the company of such fine women (pause for laughter). A few big musical credits include Motown:The Musical, Jersey Boys, The Lion King. Curtis was recently seen Off B'way in The Great Society. Other NYC credits include: TUT , King Lear, The Wild Party, The Cherry Orchard, and Rivers and Tributaries. Curtis first donned a pair of pumps for Wig Out at Sundance Theatre Institute. Curtis had the distinct pleasure of working with Leslie Lee of Negro Ensemble Co. in Martin: Before the Dream, and has been featured in the "Future Classics Series" at New Yorkrenowned Classical Theatre of Harlem. Follow on Twitter/Instagram: @curtis_wiley

FRED ODGAARD (Swing) is excited to join the cast of Pageant.  Musical Theater: We Will Rock You (Ensemble u/s Khasoggii), Evita (Flatrock Playhouse), West Side Story International Tour (Snow Boy). Workshops: Bliss (Entourage), Fighting Gravity.  Stage: Viva Elvis - Cirque Du Soleil, A New Day... - Celine Dion, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Tokyo Disney. Film/Television: The Americans, SNL, NAS Car, Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing With The Stars, Glee, So You Think You Can Dance, Dance Flick, Shrek The Final Chapter and Orbit Gum to name a few.

FRANK KELLY (Book and Lyrics) taught in the Department of English and Humanities at Farmingdale State College. His poems have been appeared in Breadcrumb Scabs, The Bicycle Review, and Danse Macabre. His first book, Growing Up Me: A Memoir in Poems was published in 2012. He wrote the sketches and lyrics for Xmas! The Xpose! and collaborated with Bill Russell and Albert Evans on The Texas Chainsaw Musical, and Pageant. The last has played off-Broadway, in the West End, in Japan, Australia and all over the USA.

BILL RUSSELL (Book and Lyrics) wrote book and lyrics for the Broadway musical Side Show, receiving Tony nominations for both. A revised version premiered at the La Jolla (CA) Playhouse in November, directed by Bill Condon and co-produced by the Kennedy Center (DC) where it opened in June. He has directed Pageant in London (Fringe, West End), Chicago, L.A., Atlanta, Boston and the University of Kansas. He authored book and lyrics for Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens and directed it in New York and London's Fringe and West End, among many others. Bill wrote book and lyrics for Lucky Duck, directing it at the Boston Conservatory. The Last Smoker in America (Book and Lyrics) premiered Off-Broadway in 2012. Lyric credits include the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular and the official theme for Gay Games.

ALBERT EVANS (Music) has written music and/or lyrics for Pageant, Nite Club Confidential, Streakin'! and The Texas Chainsaw Musical (off-Broadway); A Country Christmas Carol (several regional productions); Mikado Inc., Great Expectations, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and A Tale of Two Cities (Paper Mill Playhouse); and Yankee Doodle Dandy (5th Avenue Theatre, Ordway Center, Theatre Under the Stars). He also provided English lyrics for New York City Opera's performing version of The Merry Widow, broadcast on Live from Lincoln Center (PBS). Mr. Evans lives in Seattle, where he is the Artistic and Music Associate at The 5th Avenue Theatre.

ROBERT LONGBOTTOM (Original Concept) made his Broadway debut as Director/Choreographer on the original musical Side Show, which earned four TONY Award nominations including Best Musical. Other Broadway credits include Rodgers and Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song following its premiere at The Mark Taper Forum. This production earned Mr. Longbottom a Tony Award nomination for his Choreography as well as an Astaire, and Outer Critics Circle nominations. Other Broadway credits include The Scarlet Pimpernel, Bye Bye Birdie for The Roundabout Theatre, and a new production of Dreamgirls that premiered at the Apollo Theatre before embarking on an International Tour. He also directed and choreographed the Off-Broadway hit Pageant, Disney's On the Record, Carnival for the Kennedy Center, The Radio City Music Hall CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR 1994-2000 and Show Boat at Carnegie Hall. Plays include Mister Roberts for the Kennedy Center and Hay Fever for the Old Globe.

MATT LENZ (Director) Broadway: Hairspray (Associate Director), Catch Me If You Can (Associate
From Garbo to Hepburn, the Eyebrows Have It!
Director), Velocity of Autumn (Associate Director), Disney's Beauty and the Beast (Resident Director for Broadway and Tours). Matt also directed Hairspray national tours and companies in South Africa, UK, Toronto, Las Vegas and Germany and the national tour of Catch Me if You Can. Off-Broadway: The Irish Curse (Soho Playhouse), Idaho! (NYMF '08 – "Best of Fest" and "Best Director" Awards), Fingers and Toes (NYMF) and Susie Mosher's The Great Daisy Theory. Regional: Paper Mill Playhouse, George Street Playhouse, Casa Manana, St. Louis MUNY, North Carolina Theatre, Maltz Jupiter Theatre , Zach Theatre, Gulfshore Playhouse, Gateway Playhouse, Short North Stage, Forestburgh Playhouse, Stamford Center for the Arts. Matt is a member of SDC and a director and teaching artist with The Broadway Dreams Foundation. Dedicated to Val and with love and gratitude to Nicholas and Diego. 

Twinkle Montgomery With Tony Monteleone.
SHEA SULLIVAN (Choreographer) No stranger to pageants, Shea was first runner up in the Miss Oklahoma Pageant in 1995 and since then has choreographed for hundreds of contestants in the Miss America system including Mallory Hagan- Miss America 2013. As a theater/film and TV choreographer, Shea recently received a Carbonell Award for choreography for the second consecutive year. Choreography for Pan Am (ABC), Sweet Charity (Cape Playhouse), Music Man (Maltz Jupiter, Carbonell Award), Kiss Me Kate (Cape Playhouse), Legally Blonde (Cape Playhouse), Southern Comfort (Cap 21 and Barrington Stage), Crazy For You (Cape Playhouse), Grease (Surflight), Ragtime (Lyric Theatre) Crazy For You (Maltz Jupiter, Carbonell Award), Easter Bonnet 2011 Opening Number (Minskoff Theatre), Fingers and Toes (Urban Stages), Dames at Sea (Bay Street Theatre), Pageant: The Musical (Stoneham Theatre), DanceBreak '08, and feature films The Big Gay Musical and Go Go Crazy. Music videos for Boice, Katie Thompson and DanceOn. Facebook/Twitter: @sheasullivan 

Witti Repartee: Empress 3 3/4 of Washington DC ...the tradition continues and so does her devotion to the Monarchs of DC...
MARK HARTMAN (Music Supervisor) Broadway: Sondheim On Sondheim (Associate Conductor), Avenue Q (Associate Conductor, Music Director), 1776 (keyboard staff), Miss Saigon (keyboard staff). Off-Broadway/Regional: Silence! The Musical (Music Supervisor), A Christmas Carol (North Shore Music Theater –IRNE Award Nomination, Best Music Director), and many others. Mark is the recipient of two MAC Awards and the Backstage Bistro Award for Music Direction. Mark was also MY musical director years ago! I LOVE HIM!!

MICAH YOUNG (Music Director)  Award winning Best Music Director in the New York Musical Theatre
Highly Recommended: The SCREW YOU REVUE
Festival 2013. Broadway: White Christmas, Mamma Mia, Spring Awakening, Chicago, Promises, Promises, Mary Poppins, Porgy and Bess, Bye, Bye Birdie, Cinderella. Music Director: Crossing Swords (NYMF), Swing State, (NYMF), Lincoln in Love (Goodspeed Opera House), Rails (York Theatre), Mandela (St. Clemens), The Wild Party (Riverside Theatre), The Last Five Years (Enlightened Theatrics), The Casebook of Rudolf H- (New York Theatre Workshop). Associate Music Director Guys and Dolls (Nat'l Tour), White Christmas (Paper Mill Playhouse), West Side Story (Ogunquit Playhouse). Performed at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Caroline’s Comedy Club, Metropolitan Room, York Theatre, and Joe’s Pub, NYC. Composer and Lyricist, original compositions commissioned by Miracle House, The Flea Theatre, Ma-Yi Theatre Company. Training: Bowdoin International Music Festival, Professional Musical Theatre Workshop with Paul Gemignani, Interlochen Arts Academy, and Manhattan School of Music with Constance Keene and Maria Asteriadou.

Reverend Yolanda
 PAUL TATE DEPOO III (Scenic Designer) is a scenic designer for opera, musicals, plays, concerts and special events based in Manhattan. Most recently, Paul created the sets for A Christmas Carol (Capital Rep), Annie (Maltz Jupiter- Carbonell Award Nominee for Best Scenic Design), Look Upon Our Lowliness (NYC Movement Co.), Hello Dolly (Cape Playhouse), Avenue Q (Adirondack Theatre Festival), Broadway's Beauty Pageant, and the 2013 Lincoln Center Directors Lab. He previously designed A Raisin In the Sun (Palm Beach Dramaworks), The Music Man (Maltz Jupiter/Carbonell Award's Best Musical Production), Hello Dolly! (Maltz Jupiter Theatre), The Kite Runner (Boston Repertory Theatre) and the National Tour for indie band Neutral Milk Hotel’s The Music Tapes. Upcoming productions include the new web series Oh, Liza, Master Harold and the Boys (Luna Stage) and both Sweeney Todd at Lincoln Center, and Chicago Lyric Opera's Marriage of  Figaro with scenic designer James Noone. Originally from Key West, FL, Paul is a design graduate of Boston University. 

Tonight at BoxersNYC,everyone is invited to watch The Miss America pageant with the cast of Pageant!

Here is a nod to one of my favorite drag entertainers: KICKSTARTER for RevYolanda's Old Time Gospel Hour THE MOVIE by Ike Allen.

Thank to ALL 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!


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!

Check out This Site Celebrating Arlene Dahl's Body of Film Work

Be sure and Save The Date to see Jim Speake on October 11th as he celebrates Cy Coleman

IF you like this blog, please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook

Keeping Entertainment LIVE!
Richard Skipper Celebrates

Lee Meriwether, Miss America 1955

Richard Skipper,