Saturday, January 31, 2015

Happy Birthday, Carol Channing: A 94th Birthday Celebration!

Laughter is much more important than applause. Applause is almost a duty. Laughter is a reward.
Carol Channing


In celebration of this year's Bistro Awards, celebrating the 30th Anniversary, yesterday my blog was on Stearns Matthews who is receiving a Bistro Award on March 4th for his CD, Spark.
Tomorrow, my blog celebrates Kristoffer Lowe who is receiving The Ira Eaker Award.
Winners of the 26th Annual Bistro Awards, which will were held April 26, 2011 at Gotham Comedy Club. Edie Cowan directed the evening, which were hosted by comedian and actor Jim David. One of the Lifetime Achievement Award winners that night was today's Birthday girl, Carol Channing. Lee Roy Reams announced the award and I accepted it on Carol's behalf. She was unable to attend due to a nasty cold.
Continuing my series celebrating the Bistro Awards and because it is Carol Channing, today, my blog is devoted to Carol!
Happy Birthday, Carol! 94 NEVER Looked so good. You're still glowing, you're still crowing, you're still going strong...

Add caption
A lot of the world tomorrow will be watching the Super Bowl. In 1971, the Super Bowl got an added bonus when the half time show was born.
Did you know that Carol Channing appeared in TWO Super Bowl halftime shows? Ms. Channing first appeared at Super Bowl IV (1970) at the host for a Tribute to Mardi Gras.
The second time, Ms. Channing appeared alongside Ella Fitzgerald at Super Bowl VI (1972) with a Salute to Louis Armstrong.  - See more at: http://www.crazytownblog.com/crazytown/2013/02/super-broadway-bowl.html#sthash.X9LTDa8L.dpuf
Did you know that Carol Channing appeared in TWO Super Bowl halftime shows? Ms. Channing first appeared at Super Bowl IV (1970) at the host for a Tribute to Mardi Gras.

The second time, Ms. Channing appeared alongside Ella Fitzgerald at Super Bowl VI (1972) with a Salute to Louis Armstrong.  - See more at: http://www.crazytownblog.com/crazytown/2013/02/super-broadway-bowl.html#sthash.X9LTDa8L.dpuf
As everyone is watching Katie Perry tomorrow night, think about how much has changed in almost every aspect of the entertainment world!
I don't think there is a person alive who knows me who doesn't know how much you have meant to me over the years.
Today, I devote my blog to you and the moments of happiness that have sustained me in what sometimes is a deary world.
Thank you Dale Badway and The Theatre World Awards for posting this:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAROL CHANNING
Theatre World Award: "Lend an Ear"
Birthplace: Seattle, WA


Ms. Channing's Broadway credits include: "Let's Face It," "Proof Thro' the Night," "Lend an Ear," "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," "Wonderful Town," "The Vamp" (Tony nomination), "Show Girl," "Hello, Dolly!" (Tony Award), "Four on a Garden," "Lorelei," the 1978 revival of "Hello, Dolly!," and the 1995 revival of "Hello, Dolly!" In 1968 she received a Special Tony Award and in 1995 she received a Tony Award Lifetime Achievement Award. Her Off Broadway credits include: "No for an Answer" and "Singular Sensations." She also appeared in a number of films, including "The First Traveling Sales Lady" with Ginger Rogers, the cult film "Skidoo," and "Thoroughly Modern Millie," opposite Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore. For "Millie" she received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and was awarded a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture.


I first became aware of Carol Channing when, as a kid, I saw Lucille Ball "impersonate Carol on an episode of The Lucy Show.

I absolutely love and adore you and Carol. A loving look of affirmation and validation from her speaks admirably well-enunciated, wide-eyed volumes. Happy 94th Birthday, beloved Carol!
-Alan Choy 

Lucy had no idea what door she was opening! The last time I saw Carol on a personal level was at Tommy Tune's in August of 2013. Carol was in New York thanks to Daniel Nardicio's Icon Series on Fire Island. He brought her and Justin Vivian Bond for an evening together on Fire Island. 
The evening was a smashing success and they would repeat it last January in celebration of
with Mx Justin Vivian Bond
Carol's 93rd Birthday at Town Hall. I was happy to be there as well.  Thanks to Tommy Tune and his assistant, Peter Glebo, I was invited back to where Carol was staying. I asked my friend Luis Villabon, who was dying to meet Carol, to come back with me. Because I had many friends with me, and I didn't want to overwhelm her, I only spent a few minutes with her. But I knew that I would be seeing her the next night, thanks to Tommy Tune

Tommy refers to Carol as his spiritual fairy godmother. From the moment they met, they became solid friends. Last summer, Tommy and Carol appeared together both in Provincetown and in San Francisco in an evening of conversation. 

Carol Channing and Debbi Bush Whiting (Courtesy: Debbi)
I didn’t expect to meet Carol Channing after her Cherry Grove appearance in 2013, just thrilled to be a part of the festivities…BUT low and behold I was invited backstage and VOILA! Dreams do come true.
-Debbi Bush Whiting

Tommy's celebration of Carol at his penthouse apartment was a star studded celebration and was covered by the media. Enjoy this video of highlights of that party, courtesy Stephen Sorokoff. 
Here is the blog I did on that celebration


Happy Birthday to the only and only CAROL CHANNING. What can I say that hasn't been said about this "theatrical force of nature." - Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and of course, Dolly Levi in "Hello Dolly."
-Ron Greenfield, Aspects of Entertainment
Max Showalter

Happy Birthday Ms.Channing! Congratulations and best wishes from a member of the "Dolly Clan". 
Many years after actually doing Dolly with Martin, Grable, Rogers and Lamour......I brought my kids to see Ms. Channing and my beloved Max Showalter in a summer production of Dolly.
-Leslie A. Snow


Happy Birthday to not only a wonderful Dolly and adorable Lorelei, but also to a great jazz baby - Miss Carol Channing!! God Bless You!!
-Richard Holbrook


God bless this wonderful woman. She means so much to all of us.
-Kevin VanMeter 

My favorite Carol impression was by the late, great Tony Stevens. I hope you got to see it while Tony was alive. I mean, he could blow the lid off any party with his brilliant mimicry of her.
Oh, wait. Cory English told me this one.
He had had a "good night" as Barnaby, and had played those laughs for all they're worth. 

Carol with Jerry Herman
He was thereupon summoned to Ms. Channing's dressing room.
"Cory, honey, do you see that program on the coffee table there?"
"Yes, Miss Channing."
"What does it say on the cover?"
"It says 'Hello, Dolly!,' Miss Channing."
"That's right. (pause) It doesn't say 'Hello, Barnaby!,' now, does it?"
And that's the way a star handles it.
Tell her happy birthday from another San Franciscan.

-Don Stitt



Dame Angela Lansbury and Carol Channing salute Jerry Herman with a Hello Dolly!/Mame mash-up:

 Carol Channing starred as Lorelei Lee in 1949's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and has since starred in an array of Broadway productions, winning a Tony for her landmark role in Hello, Dolly! READ MORE HERE.

with my designer and friend Glen Charlow when Carol attended my show, June 5th 2007
 Some stars get a brief round of applause upon making their first entrance. Carol Channing received a prolonged standing ovation just for flashing a big toothy grin when the curtain opened Saturday to reveal her sitting in a tall director’s chair on the Curran Theatre stage. Not quite an hour, many laughs and some well-received snatches of songs later, the ovation that closed “Time Steppin’ ” put the earlier one to shame. READ MORE


I have been madly in love with her since 1973 when we first met. Our paths crossed many more times over
David Dillon with Carol
the years. One story, out of many I have with her, shows her generosity of spirit. In about 1987, I had produced Jerry's Girls in Chicago. During the run, Carol came to town to do her act at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago. We had arranged to do photos together with her at her hotel ... Carol with all of us and Carol alone with Lori Hammel, who "did" Carol in the Dolly number in the show. She invited us to see her act and when we got to the hotel, there was a long table front and center for us. During the show, Carol stopped and said "I want to introduce you to some friends of mine who are doing a wonderful show called Jerry's Girls...  She then went on to tell the crowd about the show, encourage them to come see us and then she introduced us all to her audience by name. I adore her. Always have and always will.
-David Dillon

My favorite and funny moment with Carol Channing was totally unexpected.  Around the time of Carol's 90th, my partner Joe Lajewski and I were shopping at Borders Book and Music in Columbus Circle. We were getting ready to leave when we heard over the speaker system "Carol Channing will be signing her in album  For Heavens Sake in five minutes".  Loving Carol, we decided to stay.  All of a sudden, a young employee was helping Carol walking down the long store isle. They started playing "Give Me That Old Time Religion" and forgive me, but we both smiled. It was so ultimate Carol!  No doubt it was Carol singing the song. Carol saw me, waved and then paused.  The young employee said, 'Oh, by the way Ms.Channing, there a few steps when you get to the stage'.  "Oh, there's a stage and everything!!!" Carol exclaimed.  Carol let go of the assistant and ran up to the stage like a girl of 16 years.  It was priceless.
-Lawrence Leritz

 Happy 94th birthday to actress and singer Carol Channing, who once called Forest Hills home. She
with Michael Orland
was born on Jan 31, 1921. This Smithsonian Institute inductee played the role of Dolly Gallagher Levi in the Broadway show, “Hello, Dolly.”

I featured her in my book, "Legendary Locals of Forest Hills and Rego Park," which will be published on March 6: https://www.facebook.com/LegendaryLocalsofForestHillsandRegoPark
-Michael Perlman

Thank you Rancho Mirage Florist for once again taking care of my annual flower delivery to Carol today! You ALWAYS do a magnificent job!


Celebrating our birthdays together (with John Richard Peterson)
with Carol and Harry

Happy Birthday, Carol...Thanks for the wonderful times I've shared with you!
Tommy Tune's Party for Carol August 2013



Carol Channing is 94 years old today! Check out her AMAZING Broadway career in Playbill Vault!

with Carol Channing and Sondra Lee (Broadway's ORIGINAL Minnie Fay in Hello, Dolly!) This was taken when I interviewed Carol at Barnes & Noble Lincoln Square in July 2010 to celebrate the release of her CD, For Heavens' Sake

Happy 94th Birthday to the extraordinary 3-time Tony Award-winning legend, Carol Channing! All the best! Brava! 
-Angela Lansbury News
with Carol backstage after she wowed Broadway once again after the Gypsy of the Year Competition December 2010
"I'm terribly shy, but of course no one believes me. Come to think of it, neither would I." :)
-Carol Channing

Carol discussing me with Dori Berenstein for Carol Channing: Larger Than Life (Footage not used)

Happy Bday 2 Carol Channing. NO ONE loves & supports her fellow performers more. So grateful 2 know u.
-Christine Pedi 
What a great night this was for me. What a thrill to perform as ME for Carol and Harry celebrating our Birthdays

Celebrating Carol Channing today? has the documentary about her life available for streaming!(Source: Playbill Vault)
with Harlan Boll, Harry, Carol, Dori Berenstein, Adam Zuker, Richard Skipper after screening of Carol Channing: Larger Than Life at The Tribeca Film Festival.  Carol Channing: Larger Than Life came in 3rd place in the Heineken Audience Award race! 2011



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 legacy of Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly!


NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!    
            
with Ingrid Bergman after a performance of Hello, Dolly!
 Please join Richard Skipper in NYC February 25th!. He will be interviewing Lee Roy Reams LIVE ON STAGE to benefit The Spiral Theatre Studio at 300 West 43rd Street, 6th Floor New York, NY 10036 at 8PM!  The evening with Lee Roy Reams will begin with a Wine and Cheese mixer at 7:30 PM, and interview of Lee Roy Reams at 8 PM promptly. Call me if interested. 845-365-0720 $30.00 RESERVATIONS A MUST! Please reserve today!! SEATING IS LIMITED!



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


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



Keeping Entertainment LIVE!
 
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY

Reserve TODAY for the 30th Annual Bistro Awards at The Gotham Comedy Club March 4th! 
CLICK HERE FOR LIST OF 2015 WINNERS
Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com
 




Perry Como and Carol Channing - If You Hadn't, But You Did
1954 performance of the song "If You Hadn't, But You Did." The song was originally from the 1951 musical revue "Two on the Aisle."






Friday, January 30, 2015

Stearns Matthews Is A Winner!

"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the
impossible." - Francis of Assisi

The announcement for this year's Bistro Awards, which will be held at The Gotham Comedy Club on March 3rd, were prematurely leaked twenty-four hours before the official announcement was made due to a glitch on the Bistro Awards website.
One thing, however is certain, Stearns Matthews' win for his CD, Spark, is neither premature OR a glitch.
Every moment in life happens only once. There will definitely be more awards for Stearns as his career continues to unfold. However, this moment in time, is UNIQUE to where he is right now. 
Yesterday, we sat down to discuss his win and the road that led to this moment. Today, I celebrate Stearns Matthews and his body of "worth". 
Stearns has joined the ranks of great cabaret artists
My interview began with an off beat question courtesy of my recent interview with Cooper Lawrence. If someone was on a date with Stearns (unlikely to happen due to his upcoming nuptials!), what one thing could they do that would completely turn him off. His response was talk only about themselves way too much. I'm sorry, Stearns, but I want you to talk about yourSELF today!

What does Stearns do when he wants a little "nonsense" in his life? He sits at the piano and plays and sing songs that he probably would never do in public or that people would want him to perform publicly. 
What does Stearns want more than anything? 
To be performing FULL TIME for a LIVING. 
with director Lennie Watts
What attracted Stearns to this business? He was a musical theatre major in college. He got really bored playing "other people". He just wanted to play himself. He discovered "cabaret" in high school through a community theatre friend. That solidified the idea of playing himself.  And, here he is, a 2015 Bistro Award winner!
As I stated earlier, the announcement wasn't supposed to go LIVE when it did. There was a technological snafu. Sherry Eaker's webmaster for the Bistro Awards website put the webpage LIVE prematurely. Stearn's friend Kristoffer Lowe, whom I hope to also interview for my blog, sent Stearns a text message which read, "Oh my God! I just went to the Bistro Awards website and WE won!" He had gone to the site just on a whim. That's how Stearns found out. It was a crazy moment. They both put it on Facebook due to their excitement. That is how I found out!
with Rex Benicasa, Paul Rolnick, Christopher Denny
Sherry Eaker asked them to take it down until the official announcement had been made.
What I love about the Bistro Awards is their is no tension in the night. All the winners (as well as the audience) already know that they have won. Each of the winners also entertain. Stearns has not thought about what he will perform at this point. However, he is leaning towards Spark of Creation from Children of Eden (which I am hoping he will be performing!). 
Stephen Hanks, Corinna Sowers Adler, and Stearns
That also happens to be the first track of his album. The other choice he is leaning towards is Joe Raposo's Sing, which I also love. That has become a standard for Stearns. 
Stearns has good reason to be proud of this CD. It has been a labor of love and a lot of work. He raised about $22,000 last year on Indiegogo to produce it. He selected his team which consisted of musical Christopher Denny and  producer Paul Rolnick. He considers them magicians. He says they made him sound so much better. It is finally done. 
There is not really a theme to the album. It is just a collection of songs they picked that meant a lot to Stearns and they felt that were special. He is super proud of the end result.
There will be a CD release show which, unfortunately for me, falls on my birthday of February 11th. (I have prior plans!)
(See below for details)
He is busy sending out CDs to all that contributed to the CD campaign.He is currently sending this out to radio stations and out for reviews.He is sending to "out of town" venues to hopefully get those bookings. That is really why he created this CD, as a calling card. His apartment has becoming a mailing warehouse. Ah! The life of an artist!
This is Stearns' first CD and hopefully not his last. The advice that Stearns offers to other artists contemplating "following in his footsteps" for lack of a better phrase is to TAKE YOUR TIME. There is no need to rush anything. 
This is not like a show in which you book the dates and then start working towards that. Don't schedule studio time until you are ready. Don't rush to pick your music. There are absolutely no deadlines UNLESS you have a deadline! Many people don't if they are self producing which is usually the case in  "cabaret CD". Again, Take your time; there is no rush. They started working on this CD in September of 2013 and didn't even record the vocals on the CD until May of 2014. The CD came out in November of 2014. He wanted to make sure that everything was the way he wanted it. He is really happy with  that process.
Stearns is absolutely sure that he should be doing EXACTLY what he should be doing at this point in his life. 
Most artists question that all the time. However, now the CD is out, Stearns feels as if he is creating this little niche for himself.
Getting the Bistro is a major validation that he is on the right track. By the way, I won my Bistro Award in 1998. Stearns was in the 8th Grade in HIGH SCHOOL!  If Stearns could change ONE THING about the profession, he would like to roll back the clock with technology a little. 
with KT Sullivan
There was a time when people used to be more willing to go out and see new artists. They don't any more. They can look them up on YouTube. They then make their minds up as to whether or not they like them as opposed to going in person and checking them out. Artists are meant to be experienced in the company of an AUDIENCE, really SEEING a performer perform. Now, that we have have YouTube and other outlets, things have changed drastically.

Stearns cannot imagine doing anything else because, according to him, he doesn't know how to do anything else. 
Beyond the Bistro Award win, one thing that stands head and shoulders above everything else in Stearns career up to now was doing the MetroStar Competition at The Metropolitan Room. He did the first one in the summer of 2008.It was the summer after he graduated from college. The first day of that competition came within one month of his graduating from college. He had no idea how it was going to end but it was an amazing experience. He didn't know what to expect when he showed up. He says it was like a free master class. He was among the masters of cabaret. They helped to shape him and really threw him into the waters of cabaret. 
 Although he had just graduated from college, he had just done his first cabaret show, at Don't Tell Mama, the day before the MetroStar Competition began. 
He became the first runner up. The winner was Anne Steele.    
When things turn out as Stearns had envisioned, he feels that he has masterminded everything. When they don't turn out as he thought, he questions the circumstances that led to that moment.
One of the things that has attracted Stearns to cabaret is the fact that, for the most part, it is SELF directed, more so than if one is a chorus performer, for example or an actor in theatre. 
with Bobbie Horowitz, Corinna Sowers Adler and Dana Lorge
It seems that way to Stearns. He feels that it is 50/50 between the choices he makes and happenstance. 
From entering into the world of cabaret up to this moment, it is a total of six years. 
When Stearns first entered this world, he was completely star struck by it all. When he was at the MetroStar competition, he was awe struck by the fact that Baby Jane Dexter was there. Then, he realized Karen Mason was on the panel! 
with Karen Mason
He loved her in And The World Goes Round. She was his idol and now she was judging him in a competition! 

Now, six years later, he knows these people personally so it is a different feel. It is an interesting perspective shift. He loves Baby Jane Dexter and Karen Mason. He realizes that when they were his age, or just starting out, they were having the same experience with their idols.Everyone is trying to figure it all out.
As mentioned earlier, Stearns is getting married!  
His partner, Michael, and him have been together eleven years.They are getting married in May. Balancing their careers and a life together has always been easy for them. He is a graphic designer, so he is in the arts as well. Stearns doesn't think of it as a balancing act. 
with Julie Wilson
It just is. 
If Stearns could change one thing about cabaret, he would magically make a way for it to appeal on a wider scale to a younger audience, not to change it, but rather, to bring that younger audience in. Let's face it, THEY are our future. He knows several younger people who are as star struck as he is about the Karen Masons and the Baby Jane Dexters, but it's not enough.  
If he could change ONE THING about Stearns Matthews, it would be not to take things so personally. He is really excited about this Bistro
Award, but he has been nominated for a MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Award and it so far has eluded him. He is currently reading Amy Poehler's memoir, Yes Please. She calls awards "pudding". You tell yourself that you don't want the "pudding". Then someone tells you that you really deserve the "pudding" and that makes you want it even more. Stearns wishes he didn't want the "pudding" so much and that he didn't take it so personally when he doesn't get it.
Growing up, Stearns's favorite children's book was Alice in Wonderland! Now, he is living it! He IS a winner! I can't wait for the NEXT chapter!

Don't Miss Stearns Matthews:
SPARK - Encore Release Show!


Musical Direction and Arrangements by Christopher Denny
Directed by Lennie Watts

Wednesday, February 11th at 7:00pm

The Laurie Beechman Theatre
407 W. 42nd Street
(between Ninth and Tenth Avenues)
New York City

$20 cover with a $20 food/beverage minimum
$15 cover discounted cover - enter code SPARKMAC when buying tickets online

Tickets:
https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe.c/9976791


www.stearnsmatthews.com/album.html  
The first track is available on Stearns' site right now for free for a limited time! 
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 legacy of Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly!

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!


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!





Please join Richard Skipper in NYC February 25th!. He will be interviewing Lee Roy Reams LIVE ON STAGE to benefit The Spiral Theatre Studio at 300 West 43rd Street, 6th Floor New York, NY 10036 at 8PM!  The evening with Lee Roy Reams will begin with a Wine and Cheese mixer at 7:30 PM, and interview of Lee Roy Reams at 8 PM promptly. Call me if interested. 845-365-0720 $30.00 RESERVATIONS A MUST! Please reserve today!! SEATING IS LIMITED!
Would LOVE to see you!
IF you like this blog, please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook



Keeping Entertainment LIVE!
 
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY


Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com