Saturday, January 23, 2016

Chita Rivera, William V. Madison, Michael Musto...and MORE!

You take a plug and put it in a socket, and that's what the theatre is-it lights up right away. You speak, and they respond immediately.Chita Rivera

Happy Saturday!
Here it is, Saturday, January 23rd, 2016, and we are in the midst of a blizzard here in New York.
Tomorrow is also a full moon. In Native American and early Colonial times, the Full Moon for January was called the Full Wolf Moon amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. 
Thus, the name for January's full Moon. Sometimes it was also referred to as the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule.

In theatre news, all Broadway matinee and evening performances in NYC for Saturday January 23rd are canceled. Visit for full statement.However, from where I sit, the sun is shining.
Why, you may ask. It is because I am immersing myself in the career of Chita Rivera.

Courtesy Bryan John

Today is Chita Rivera's birthday and I am devoting my blog to Chita today.  She is a two time Tony Award winner with eight nominations. Her wins are for The Rink and Kiss of the Spider Woman. (Saw both!)
I think I have seem Chita on stage more than any other actress and/or entertainer.  The first time I saw Chita LIVE on stage was The Rink.
This was in 1985. It was Liza that brought me in, but it was Chita that kept bringing me back. The Rink is a musical with a book by Terrence McNally, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and music by John Kander, the tenth Kander and Ebb collaboration.

Next show I saw with Chita was Jerry's Girls
(six times!). After fourteen previews, the Broadway production, directed by  Larry Alford and choreographed by Wayne Cilento, opened on December 18, 1985 at the St. James Theatre, where it ran for 141 performances. Leslie Uggams, who had toured in a "different" version with Carol Channing and Andrea McArdle,  was joined by new cast members Dorothy Loudon and Chita Rivera.

Kiss of the Spider Woman, 1993
Working with Bob Fosse
I remember when Merlin was on Broadway, but alas I missed this.
I was also lucky enough to see her in Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1993.
Most recently, I saw Chita in The Visit. I LOVED this show! I still don't know why it closed! Before that, I saw her in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
I was also at Chita Rivera's opening night of Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life. I saw Chita Rivera and All That Jazz in Philadelphia.
I saw her in Anything Goes at The Papermill Playhouse.
I also have seen her club act a few times.
Thank you, Chita, for so many wonderful nights in the theatre!





Today, I reached out to a few of my favorite people to round out this blog with mini interviews. Here are the results:

William V. Madison 
William V. Madison is a former producer for Dan Rather at CBS News and a former associate editor of OPERA NEWS magazine. In 1986, he was the sole production assistant on the Broadway musical RAGS. A native Texan, he holds degrees from Brown and Columbia universities. In 2013, he returned to the stage after a 30-year absence as the Major-Domo, a speaking role (in German!) in Strauss' ARIADNE AUF NAXOS with Fort Worth Opera. He lives in New York City.

In celebration of Chita's Birthday, I asked William to comment on Chita. He has a book out celebrating Madeline Kahn, Being the Music: The Life). Chita won her Tony for Spider Woman the same year that Madeline won hers for The Sisters Rosensweig. Also, Chita starred in the staged readings of Dear World at the Roundabout that represent Madeline's final theatrical performances. (Very few people know that unless they make it to the epilogue of William's book.)   
Ron Liebman, Madeline Kahn, Chita Rivera, Brent Carver (1993 Tonys)
So long as this is a celebration of Chita, it makes sense to point out the connection between her and Madeline.
I asked William to give me his thoughts on Chita. 
Chita Rivera mocks me as a writer: no words I possess can do her justice. Her very existence sums up the spirit of theater, of dance, of New York City, of Latin-American pride, of what it means to be a beautiful, beloved star. Now, look how many words I needed just to express that simple, barely adequate thought. Chita can say it all just by walking into the room. --

Finish this statement: I’ll never understand why… …some Broadway fans don’t like opera, and some opera fans don’t like Broadway. For me, listening to show tunes as a child actually made it easier to appreciate opera when I was in my teens. 
The idea behind both is that, when people feel strongly, they sing.

If you could change one thing about your profession, what would it be? 
I wrote novels before turning to nonfiction, and I confess that I miss the independence: for instance, in order to tell a story, I didn’t need to interview 120 people or track down terrible movies like For Love Alone: The Ivana Trump Story. ( It's a made-for-TV movie based on Ivana's roman à clef; Madeline plays a gossip columnist in it. I really did see every movie she made, and the majority of TV episodes.) In fiction, I could invent any details I wanted. But then, the novels are still unpublished, while MADELINE KAHN: BEING THE MUSIC • A LIFE is available in stores and online, from the University Press of Mississippi. So maybe there’s something to be said for dependence.

William's last appearance was where and with whom?
Madeline Kahn in Hello, Dolly! Read MORE
 

My last appearance was at the Jewish Community Center in Scotch Plains, NJ, under the aegis of the Jewish Book Council (a wonderful organization), in December. I’m only an honorary Jew, but Madeline Kahn gives me a little extra boost. Wherever I go, I find that people are eager to share Madeline: she left us too soon, and we’re not ready to let her go. --


On February 10, William is hosting a panel discussion on the life and work of Madeline Kahn at the Barnes & Noble at the Grove in Los Angeles. 
This is the first West Coast event for the book, and they are lining up a good group of Madeline’s friends and colleagues, under the title “Broadway to Hollywood.” Back in New York on April 5, the 92nd Street Y will host another discussion, featuring the perspectives of working actresses Valerie Smaldone (moderator) and Madeline’s co-stars Barbara Barrie, Maddie Corman, and Ally Sheedy. 
Proceeds from book sales will benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

Please visit  
billmadison.blogspot.com
and
 


Michael Musto
Michael Musto is ajournalist and a former columnist for The Village Voice, where he wrote La Dolce Musto. He is the author of Downtown and Manhattan on the Rocks as well as a compilation of selected columns published as La Dolce Musto. 

His subsequent collection, Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back, was published on September 1, 2011, by Vantage Point Books.
West Side Story

Michael's Thoughts on Chita 
Chita: Legend. Diva. Goddess. Seeing her onstage is always a treat, and catching her cabaret act a couple of years ago made me feel like I was privy to a master class in presence, talent, and class. Long may she continue to reign. 

I’ll never understand why… So many celebrities write a book before they’ve ever read one. 

Join Sir Michael Musto at the 30th Annual Night of a Thousand Gowns on Saturday, March 12th at the NY New York Marriott Marquis. Benefiting the ICNY LGBTQ scholarship Fund! get tickets at www.icny.tix.com — with Rhonda Potter and Scott Safier at Night of a Thousand Gowns.

Michael's last appearance was where and with whom 
I had an Eventi hotel bash celebrating the Logo TV show I appear on, Cocktails and Classics, where we watch fun old movies and gab about them, give the backstory, and play related party games. At the bash, host/executive producer Michael Urie, me, DJ Pierce (aka Shangela from Drag Race), and actress Rutanya Alda (who plays Joan Crawford’s trusty assistant Carol Ann) introduced a screening of Mommie Dearest. Our clothes all looked amazing because we’d had them hanging on wooden hangers all these years. 

On Friday February 26th at 9:30 PM at Joe’s Pub, Michael is one of the performers in You Like Me, produced by Michael Schulman and Rachel Shukert. 
On Andy Cohen's show a few year's ago.
At the annual event, we get up and act out famous acceptance speeches, verbatim, as the crowd laughs and cheers. But in my case, I’ll be doing a refusal speech. I’m going to be Julie Andrews, spitefully turning down her Tony nomination for Victor/Victoria so she could instead stand with “the egregiously overlooked.” For the most part, though, the others will trot out familiar public acts of gushy gratitude, to riotous effect. The resulting show is so fun it deserves awards of its own. 

What is after that? 

More writing (for Out, Advocate, Paper, the Times), more TV appearances (including segments I do for CNN about the Oscars and other cultural topics), more cavorting around the nightlife, and more fashion. For me, it all leads up to next Christmas Eve, when I’ll treat myself to my annual steak dinner. (Let me treat you!)

Follow Michael on Twitter

 If you could change one thing about the profession... I'd get rid of all those sports channels and make way for more old movies!

Stephen Mosher (photo credit: Thomas Synnamon)
Stephen Mosher
Stephen Mosher is a photographer and fitness trainer, author of THE SWEATER BOOK and subject of the documentary MARRIED AND COUNTING. He writes fo EDGE Magazine and blogs on his website. He lives in New York with his husband, actor Pat Dwyer. Twitter: @stephenmosher1 Instagram: Dozermosher Youtube: Patnstephen2 Facebook: Stephen Mosher Photography

Your Thoughts on Chita Rivera:
Chita Rivera is one of my personal divas, since I was 13 years old and discovered the cast album of CHICAGO in my friend's mother's record collection. 
I have lived and breathed Chita ever since, seeing every show she has done on Broadway since I moved here in the 90s; and when I sing around the house, I try to sing like Chita. I listen to her at least once a day, even if it is just one song. 
She is a light in all our lives and I am proud and honoured to have photographed her twice in my
Courtesy: Stephen Mosher
career, once while rehearsing a dance for a BCEFA benefit and once while singing Love and Love Alone at the CD release for THE VISIT (pictured) I love Chita. And true love lasts forever.

If I could change one thing about the profession (of acting, I assume) I would stop the usage of celebrities for voiceover work. 

It's enough that they make movies, do theater, do television, do audiobook and do VOC work in TV commercials. There are a lot of gifted actors who do not have the luxury of being famous who could use the income from doing voice overs that the celebrities are taking from them. Let's share the wealth, please.

Stephen's last appearance? My husband, Pat Dwyer, and I were asked to do a Q and A for a library that was doing a screening of our marriage equality documentary film MARRIED AND COUNTING. It was the summer of 2014 in Connecticut and we were very pleased by the turnout and the response to the film. The guests had some great questions and comments.
I don't have an "event" to promote, as I am not a performer. I am working, steadily, at my two jobs as a personal fitness trainer and a photographer. I'm also doing some writing, both as the health and fitness columnist for EDGE magazine and on a memoir that is about half finished.

After I finish my memoir I hope to see it published and continue my photography (maybe a second photo book would be fun) and as a health and fitness instructor. Aside from my own work, my life is about supporting my actor husband in his work. He will be doing the play RED with The Greenhouse Ensemble in NYC.

Anyone interested can read about all of my work or see my photography at http://stephenmosher.com/ -- There might even be some photos of Chita Rivera and Richard Skipper there.


Bill Boggs 
Bill Boggs and Julie Budd.

Bill Boggs is correspondent for the PBS TV show My Generation. He is author of both a Hollywood-optioned novel, and an acclaimed self-help book . He is a four-time Emmy Award-winning TV host and executive producer. He is a sought-after speaker. Bill has been an important figure in the business, food, music, travel, sports, news, and celebrity reporting and interviewing for years.
As host of the New York-based Midday Live with Bill Boggs and WNBC's Weekend Today in New York and his long-running Food Network hit, Bill Boggs Corner Table, Bill has interviewed many of the most notable personalities of our time— including cultural icons, presidents, international leaders, business tycoons, writers, athletes, celebrity chefs, and foo
Bill Boggs Interviewing Frank Sinatra
I interviewed Chita a couple of times…one time was related to “Kiss Of The Spider Woman”.  She was excellent to talk to on TV and both regal and down to earth. 

I’ll never understand why…I never have good answers for questions like this.. but since we all love singing…I’ll never understand why those singers on the The Voice never saw a soft note they want to hit.


The one thing I’d like to change about my profession of TV interviewing is more long-form conversations on TV.  For that : Bravo  Charlie Rose

My last appearance was interviewing Julie Budd at the American Popular Song Society.

 I’m looking forward to returning to Lincoln Center and being part of the Monty Alexander And Friends Sinatra Celebration on February 12th and 13th.  Just prior to that I’ll be in Jacksonville, Florida giving one of my Got What It Takes? three hour interactive shows.  

Marvin Scott, Steve Tyrell, Richard Skipper, Julie Budd, Bill Boggs celebrating Frank Sinatra's 100th Birthday at WPIX 11

Please visit Bill's web site billboggs.com and its link to his youtube channel; billboggstv?  It’s loaded with interesting interviews from many different shows of Bill's over the years and growing each month.  Also, he is hard at work on a second novel.
Leslie Laredo, Jeff Leibowitz, Bill Boggs, Jane Rothchild, Patty Farmer, Will Friedwald
 
 

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!   
        

Taken by Stephen Mosher

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook


Thank you, Ken Fallin for sending this to me today

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

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

Jim Brochu!
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
Jim Brochu 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.






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