Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ann Wedgeworth, National Hug Day, The Ziegfeld Theatre...and MORE!

Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours.

Happy Thursday,
I hope this finds you doing great! As I began my blog today, I was listening to Sally Darling sing Everyday Will Be a Perfect Dream. I cannot think of a better way to start this day. 
If you're not familiar with Sally, you should be. Along with Matthew Martin Ward, they craft the best shows. She has a new show opening at Don't Tell Mama here in New York in April. 
Please check her out and join me on April 17th at 6PM.
In the news department, a lot of people have been making light of the media's coverage of the impending storm in the Northeast. Please take these threats seriously.

Happy Birthday, Ann Wedgeworth
I have never met her, but I would LOVE to interview her! She is one of those "journeymen" actresses who was always working.
Journeymen actors are those who, while not being megastars, seem to pop up everywhere you turn. 
You've seen Ann in supporting roles and bit parts.You are delighted to see her whenever she appears. She is known for known for her roles as Lana Shields in Three's Company and Merleen Elldridge in Evening Shade.
Wedgeworth won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for Chapter Two (1978).
She was born in Abilene, Texas to Cortus and Elizabeth Wedgeworth.
She graduated from Highland Park High School in University Park, and later graduated from the University of Texas in 1957. After graduation, Ann moved to New York City and auditioned several times before she was admitted to The Actors Studio. Her debut film appearance was in Andy (1965), and for the past four decades she took supporting roles in several films, and earned two NSFC Award nominations for her performances in Handle with Care (1977) and Sweet Dreams (1985).


Today is also National Hug Day! Have you hugged those that you love? I'm sending a virtual hug to ALL who read this. 
In the Sad News Department,Lou Lumenick first reported four years ago that the Ziegfeld Theatre could close because of million-dollar-a-year losses. It has been announced that in the coming weeks, it WILL close. I have so many fond memories there. Every time a blockbuster film had been announced over the past thirty six years (my time in New York), I hoped it would play at the Ziegfeld, especially musicals. I recall the first movie I saw there! I remember going to see Best Little Whorehouse in Texas in 1982, Yentl in 1983, Little Shop of Horrors in 1986,That's Entertainment III there in 1994, Sweeney Todd in 2006, and so many others. The last movie I saw there was Into The Woods last Christmas.   
  Terrence Keene Jablonski posted on Facebook:  The Ziegfeld was always the place you went when our wanted to see the movie in the very best presentation. All New Yorkers knew it had the very best sound system, great screen, seating, etc... it was especially wonderful for 70m Films like Lawrence of Arabia, Vertigo, etc.. I MAX screens have seemingly replaced the experoence, but in its
Richard Nixon was President of the United States the day the Ziegfeld Movie Theatre opened.
hey day, it was classier and more of an event to see it at the Ziegfeld...


For those of you living outside New York City, The Ziegfeld is an American single-screen movie theater located at 141 West  54th Street. 
It was opened in 1969.


The theater was named in honor of the original Ziegfeld
Theatre which was built by the impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. and operated from 1927 until it was demolished in 1966. The day the movie theatre opened, it was Wednesday, under the sign of Sagittarius.
The US president was Richard Nixon (Republican). In that special week of December people in US were listening to Leaving on A Jet Plane by Peter, Paul and Mary. In UK Two Little Boys by Rolf Harris was in the top 5 hits. Topaz, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, was one of the most viewed movies released in 1969 while The House On The Strand by Daphne du Maurier was one of the best selling books. I am sad to see it go! Thanks for the memories.
Photo: Richard Corkery/ New York Daily News
Joan Fontaine
In other news, a rare interview with JOAN FONTAINE about her work,  especially on appearing on stage as Eleanor in THE LION IN WINTER, how working for Hammer Films led to the role . Interview/article by Rod Labbe.
Architectural photographer Klaus Frahm wanted to take people through the “fourth wall” that separates actors from their audience. To do this he photographed some of Germany’s most beautiful theatres from the perspective of the actors, looking out into the auditorium.

Scott Dreier
 It's not often when a person is able to develop their own stage show about their idol, but for the past four years, actor/singer Scott Dreier has done that very thing, when, in 2011, he started paying tribute to former actress/singer Doris Day. I was lucky enough to interview Scott in August of 2014 when he was just about to make his 54 Below Debut. For many years before Doris and Me, the Southern
California native was a performer in voiceovers, in theater, and on television, focusing mainly on family shows on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. Devoted to charitable causes, Dreier designated the proceeds from his first CD, Scott Dreier, to support the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. On the album, he sang a duet on Suddenly, Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors with actress Katy Sagal (Married With Children). Dreier is appearing in Doris and Me at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center this weekend. His idol at 91, is living in comfortable retirement in Carmel-By-the-Sea near Monterey, California.

Hot Clip of the Day: A Little Hello, Dolly! Moment Brought to You by Tony Winner Carol Channing.

Why Hello, Bette! As announced on BroadwayWorld, The Divine Miss D will returning to Broadway next season in the guise of The Divine Miss M, as Bette Midler struts down the staircase of Harmonia Gardens in a brand-spanking new revival of HELLO, DOLLY! READ MORE
This will be the first production of the classic musical to open on Broadway without its original star, Carol Channing. (Read more HERE: Bette Midler Says Hello, Dolly! Is "Irresistible" By Andrew Gans)   
Earlier this week it was announced that stage and screen star Bette Midler will return to The Great White Way in 2017 in Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly!, the first production of the classic musical to open on Broadway without its original star, Carol Channing. - See more at: http://www.playbill.com/news/article/bette-midler-says-hello-dolly-is-irresistible-381233#sthash.vd4GU39f.dpuf
Hello, Dolly! composer, Jerry Herman, released a statement saying the following about his decision to bring back a new staging of the musical in over 50 years: “Many times through the years I’ve been asked about bringing back Hello, Dolly! – and it has always been, ‘Who would be my dream Dolly?’ Who is out there that has the necessary stature, warmth, the incredible talent and ability, and especially the singular, outsized personality that I was looking for in a 21st Century Dolly? Only one person: Bette Midler.”
Singer/actress Christine Pedi of Off-Broadway's The NEWSical has responded to news that Bette Midler will star in a revival of Hello, Dolly! with her imagined version of the auditions for the show—incorporating her impressions of Liza Minnelli, Patti LuPone, Julie Andrews, Oprah Winfrey and others. (Source: Robert Viagas, Playbill.com)

Rachel Shukert wrote in The Tablet, "I was having drinks with a friend the other night, and he said to me: “Is it just me, or does it seem like the world has fallen into darkness?” I couldn’t help but agree with him. There’s just been so much terrible news: the fact that 2015 was the hottest year in history, boding ill for whatever
Courtesy: Ken Fallin
ability to we have left to live more or less in our present biosphere; wells in Michigan are poisoning children, leaving many permanently disabled; you can’t go anywhere without having to talk about Making of a Murderer with people who clearly are less informed about the case than you are. But through every cloud, some light must shine through (even if it’s just the flashlights of police investigators possibly/impossibly planting DNA evidence linking to a murder you may have/may not have committed). 

This week, the light finally came: Bette Midler will be starring in a new Broadway production of Hello, Dolly!" (Read MORE)  

Ginger Rogers rehearsing So Long, Dearie with Gower Champion
Just for fun: One of the Dollys! Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - I'll Be Hard To Handle, Roberta, 1935
By Robert Viagas


Singer/actress Christine Pedi of Off-Broadway's The NEWSical,, has responded to news that Bette Midler will star in a revival of Hello, Dolly! with her imagined version of the auditions for the show—incorporating her impressions of Liza Minnelli, Patti LuPone, Julie Andrews, Oprah Winfrey and others. - See more at: http://www.playbill.com/news/article/what-if-patti-liza-bernadette-and-more-auditioned-for-hello-dolly-watch-christine-pedis-marathon-impersonation-vid-381178#sthash.VqQG24ki.dpuf

It is also Squirrel Appreciation Day! Imagine having your own Mastiff chasing the squirrels in your backyard!

I am posting this on behalf of a friend. He loves this LOVABLE dog,but is spending way less time at home and is trying to have him adopted by a loving family . A connection fell through because the woman who was going to take "Tamon" has a very ill Mother that she's now caring for.

If any of you know anyone who loves Mastiff's , or a lead for Tamon - let me know.
Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith have already said they won't be attending the Oscars after a second straight year of all the acting nominees being white, and there has been pressure on host Chris Rock to do the same.
 Mark Ruffalo had previously said he was "weighing" not attending the ceremony over the diversity issue. (Source: The Hollywood Reporter, READ MORE)

In December, I saw Shawn Moninger at the Metropolitan Room doing stand-up and LOVED him!
  They've added new dates and new opening acts.
On February 27th at 4 PM, (Shawn's birthday) Kenneth Gartman is opening with a new set that he has never performed before.

On March 31st at 7 PM Frank Frizalone will be singing his Sinatra Style.  Frank Sinatra really did say to him in Las Vegas, "Kid, you do me better than me!"  

Get your tickets right away before they sell out again at www.metropolitanroom.com.
Cabaret star and one of  Jerry Herman's Dollys, Marilyn Maye,  congratulates Jason Graae at his opening last night of PERFECT HERMANY saluting the great Jerry Herman.

Today, I also celebrate Jason Graae and his upcoming show at The Metropolitan Room,
A Night at the Opera on January 26th.
Jason Graae, Host and Narrator

Featuring Opera New York Concert Artists:
Veronica Loiacono
Edgar Jaramillo
Elena Helmur
Percy Martinez
Jodi Karem
Roberto Borgatti
DON'T MISS HIM!
He answered a few questions today for me.

What was the most difficult job you have ever held in
this industry
My first professional gig was in summer stock at The Lyric Theatre in Oklahoma City. I was cast as Chino in West Side Story. I was horrible, although I did get laughs, which as Chino, you're not really supposed to get. 
All my friends were Jets but the director wouldn't let the Sharks and the Jets talk at rehearsal.
I wasn't very happy and THEN on the night after opening, I was standing backstage talking to Rosalita or someone , waiting to shoot Tony, and I accidentally shot the gun offstage which is everyone's cue to run onstage. They all did but when they saw Tony hadn't died they all ran back offstage. Mass Exodus. It was horrid and our director was fuming.


Words of advice for aspiring entertainers
Listen, watch, read, do, experience life first hand, and get off your phones.

with Peggy Herman
Finish this statement: I’ll never understand why…
Phones are allowed in the rehearsal rooms. I feel that is sacred turf. It's where a company unites. It's difficult when everyone's attentions are elsewhere. I'm guilty of too much phone time, too. It's my resolution to decrease my time on it.

If you could change one thing about the profession, what would it be?
Oh god I don't know. I really, really love our profession. I live in L.A. and there's the crazy "battle" over Equity Waiver theater companies. I prefer getting paid to act. I went to college and spent a lotta $$ so I could make a living in the theatre. I've got bills to pay.
I don't want to brag but I have a very large nut.


Jason's most recent gig...
My last gig was playing Scrooge in the world premiere of Scrooge in Love with the wonderful 42nd Street Moon Theatre Co. in San Francisco.
It's by Larry Grossman, Kellen Blair, and Duane Poole.
It was a complete joy to work on, and San Fran loved it!

A Little about Opera New York returns to The Met(Room)!
I get to be host/singer/ oboist /Bon Vivant, and I get to join forces with the incredible singers of Opera New York at the Metropolitan Room in NYC.
We premiered it in October and it was a huge success. So we are trying to make this a regular thing- we'll be back Jan 26 and 28th.
Next month we are thrilled to be part of the International Cabaret Festival on Feb 20th AND we have Metropolitan Opera Superstar Susan Graham as our special guest.
(She sang at my wedding-I KNOW!)
I've done many Merry Widows and Die Fledermice in big opera companies and I love that world.

Bringing these classy singers to the "loosey goosey" world of cabaret makes for an unpredictable and musically thrilling night!

What is NEXT?

I'm on my way to Cabaret 313 at The Detroit Opera House to do my Jerry Herman tribute, Perfect Hermany with John Boswell at the piano. Then after the Met Room, I'll be singing more Jerry Herman with the Phoenix Symphony with this fabulous bunch-Klea Blackhurst, Debbie Gravitte, Scott Coulter, Ron Raines.
I know- couldn't they find anyone good?

Anything else you would like me to include?
I'm supposed to fly to NYC in the middle of the blizzard, which is thrilling isn't it?

Thank to ALL that are mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give! 

Make 2016 the year of YES!
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!
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Keeping Entertainment LIVE!
 
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

Klea Blackhurst!
Sarah Rice, Broadway's original Johanna of Sweeney Todd, will sing a Valentine's Day concert of songs from the operetta, classical and musical theatre repertoire, with Paul Jackel, in upstate New York, Feb. 14. - See more at: http://www.playbill.com/news/article/kiss-me-sweeney-todds-sarah-rice-sings-of-love-with-paul-jackel-feb.-14-111546#sthash.bYCP2Q2p.dpuf





February 13th, Peter Filichia in conversation with Richard Skipper at American Popular Song Society 

with Musical Director Michael Lavine
Klea Blackhurst and an all star cast
join  Peter Filichia and Richard Skipper
to celebrate the 1963/64 Broadway Season
Talk/Performance/Book Signing




Call Richard Skipper Celebrates at 845-365-0720 if you need more details.
Many surprises are in store. 
Please contact me if any questions.
Please LIKE Richard Skipper Celebrates on Facebook
Admission is Free for Members/$15.00 for Non-Members .

Doors open at 12:30 for those who want to buy sheet music Also members can take tables and sell their stuff. 2:30 -1:30 "Flea Market" 1:30 seating - showtime: 1:45 - 3:30.
JOIN US AND SEE AN ALL LIVE SHOW!







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