Cynthia Crane, Greg Vander Veer, Kat Kramer...and MORE!

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself.
-Alan Alda

Happy January 28th, 2016!
Staying in touch, and hope to share more exciting news with you today and in the future. Today, I celebrate three artists who make a difference through their art. Two are gorgeous redheads and I admire them so much. One is a documentary film maker who I became familiar with through Marge Champion. He made a film called Keep Dancing which is a true inspiration to me. I Celebrate Cynthia Crane ,Greg Vander Veer, and Kat Kramer.    
January 28 is the 28th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar.
There are 338 days remaining until the end of the year.
Today I celebrate all that this day holds and then some.
It's so hard to believe, but the multi-talented ALAN ALDA, turns 80 today, proving as Bobbie Horowitz says, It's Just a Number! For those of my generation, he was a regular fixture in our homes, thanks to M*A*S*H.

This is one great actor who still blesses us with his art on so many levels. . actor, director, screenwriter, and author. A six-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner, he is best known for his starring roles as Captain Hawkeye Pierce in the TV series M*A*S*H and Arnold Vinick in The West Wing, and his supporting role in the 2004 film The Aviator as U.S. Senator Owen Brewster, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. For 14 years, he served as the host of Scientific American Frontiers, a television show that explored cutting-edge advances in science and technology. He is currently a Visiting Professor at Stony Brook University and a founder and member of the advisory board of the university's Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and the Future of Life Institute. He serves on the board of the World Science Festival and is a judge for Math-O-Vision.
Today is also the birthday of Barbi Benton. She was featured on the cover of Playboy several times (initially credited as Barbi Klein) and in nude photo layouts in the March 1970, December 1973, January 1975, and December 1985 issues, although she was never one of the magazine's "Playmates of the Month".

I saw a post on Facebook today that I would like to share with you. It sums up EXACTLY what I feel: So, I'm reading my Facebook feed, as I do, and WTF people? I'm delighted you're voting for Bernie or Hillary (this post is for those who are, in fact, voting for Hillary or Bernie.) REALLY delighted. Because the other side is truly Nutball McHateTown. 
But WHILE you're supporting your candidate please stop with all the denigrating of the other candidate. Be confident enough in your choice to simply laud your candidate for all their brilliant and inspired ideas regarding the issues that are important to you. 
Is it possible to encourage others to vote your way without disparaging the other option? The Democrats are so lucky to have a decent choice so why not revel in that instead of mud slinging? My 2 cents which, with inflation, is probably more in the 100's.   
-Mo Gaffney

On this date in 1996, Carol Channing took her final bow on Broadway as Dolly Gallagher Levi. Her Horace Vandergelder was Jay Garner and it had opened on October 19th, 1995. I saw it on November 1st. It ran for 116 performances.
It is interesting that this landmark musical has never been revived on Broadway with any other actress other than Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey. That will change next year when Bette Midler takes on the role. Click HERE for some fun facts about Bette.  

Cynthia Crane

Cynthia Crane, "A Saloon Singer of the old school"

A fixture in New York's performing world in clubs here and gone, (Tavern-On-The-Green, Eighty-Eights, Don't Tell Mama, Danny's Skylight Room, Barney's Mad 61, JanWallman's, Royal Roost, Palsson's, the Fives, Panache etc.), she returned to a singing career in the 80's after 10 years and 100 shows as founder/ producer of the Impossible Ragtime Theatre (IRT). Crane has performed Cabaret Concerts in French at the American Embassy on the Place de la Concorde and the Musée de Montmartre in Paris, played Helen Morgan at the Russian Tea Room, sung for the Dutch Treat Club, the National Arts Club, the Players and the Friars.

Cynthia has a new CD that just came out recently in celebration of Frank Sinatra's centennial.  Cynthia and I sat down to chat a few days ago. Here is the result of that conversation.
She is a singer, actress, Wife (Ted Story), mother, GRANDMOTHER (two 5th generation Native NYer grandsons), preservationist and environmentalist.
SINATRA MADE ME A SALOON SINGER: I was too young to be a “Bobby-Soxer”, but not too young to fall for The Voice.  Oh yes, I know the history: that the greatest pop singer of the 20th Century studied singers like Billie Holiday and Mabel Mercer breaking emotional ground and that he completely reinvented the pop sound which preceded him, (in men like Rudy Vallée, Russ Columbo and Bing Crosby), by using recently improved recording equipment and microphones to change the volume and quality of his sound.  (Vallée started out with a Megaphone!)  But Sinatra was more, truly an American Icon; a self-taught artist who excelled at all he did, an innovative perfectionist through concerts, Recordings, Radio, TV, Movies, Paintings, “Chairman of the Board” (Reprise Records).
I was in  high school back in those early years of his vocal troubles when they were calling him ‘over’; the comeback thrilled me, Oscars, Grammys.
Leaving Emerson College, seeking my own voice, I reveled in his concept creations, his arrangements, the songs.

He has remained a presence in my life for all of my life.  With the rest of the world, I was fascinated by his Nancy,
his Ava (“I’m A Fool To Want You”) Gardner, tiffs with NYC press, Vegas, "The Rat Pack”, the ‘glitter’ of politics and power, his ubiquity and longevity.  
I love Frank Sinatra. Cynthia     

“May you live to be 100 and may the last voice you hear be mine”  Frank Sinatra

What’s one thing that you have learned in your work that makes you strive to work harder?  

Just how much are you willing to pay for a premium ticket to “Hamilton”?  


What’s one song that you’ve played or sung over the years to lift you up when you are a bid glum, disappointed with personal developments in your life? 

Please visit for more on Cynthia

Greg Vander Veer’s award winning film Keep Dancing was an official selection at over 25
international film festivals and was nominated for International Documentary Association’s 2010 Distinguished Documentary Award. His feature film Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter screened in festivals worldwide and was released theatrically in early 2015. In 2012, Greg was one of twelve filmmakers chosen as Independent Filmmaker Project’s Emerging Vision Fellow and was also selected to participate in the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Artists Academy.

Greg is currently working on the acclaimed documentary web series Trek to Broadway about the making of George Takei's Broadway musical, Allegiance and the feature documentary film, Church Forest.
Greg also serves as the President of Dance Films Association.

Let's go back a bit. Where are you from and when did the entertainment bug bite you?

 I always liked the idea of being in entertainment.
As a kid, I used to constantly act out incredible death scenes for anyone who would watch me. Then I drifted away from any desire to act. I lived in a very rural area in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.
So there were  really no theatrical opportunities for me and my high school cut the drama department the year before I entered the school.
My father used to bring me on trips to Civil War battlefields.
We would spend hours exploring each one and my imagination would run wild. Then he bought me the VHS box set of Ken Burn's The Civil War. It was incredible, I just loved it! And I watched it over and over again. From that point on I wanted to be Ken Burns and whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to do with my life, I said " I want to be a documentary filmmaker."  I still say that!

When did you get your first professional break? Was it one of those "God, I hope I get it"
I don't know if I've gotten a big break yet, more like a series of small and steady breaks. The first one was this film, Keep Dancing. I was originally hired on as the cinematographer and after about 1 year of filming Marge and Donald in the studio, the director quit and the film was dead. I had developed such a close relationship with Marge Champion and Donald Saddler and I really did not want all of our efforts to be wasted. So I asked them if I could continue making the film along with Douglas Turnbaugh, and they agreed. So I made it and it was very well received and opened the doors to my next film Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter.

Just how much are you willing to pay for a premium ticket to Hamilton?
Hmmm... Well I'm waiting for them to give me one for free! I really do want to see it but documentary filmmaking isn't exactly a lucrative field, so I'd say $150...which is why I'm not seeing Hamilton anytime soon!

Do you remember an occasion when a stranger did something nice for you for no reason at all?

Hmmm. I think strangers do nice things for me all the time. The nicest place I've ever been in the world is Fiji. I traveled around there for about a month when I was 21. I'd be walking along the side of the road and people would not only offer me a ride but they would insist I come home with them for dinner and meet their entire family and then they would insist I spend the night and would drive me to where ever I wanted to go the next day. But even here in this country, I've spent several months traveling around and strangers were always nice, friendly and helpful. I think the world is a lot kinder place than the media allows us to believe.
... Greg and Peter Buntaine, Documentary Photographer ...

Besides your filmmaking career, what are you passionate about?
Well I'm passionate about watching films. And reading novels and historical non-fiction. And I collect globes! I have a lot of globes in my apartment...I mean a lot!
After celebrated careers, legendary dancers Marge Champion and Donald Saddler became friends while performing together in the Broadway Show Follies in 2001. When the show closed, they decided to rent a private studio together, and they began choreographing and rehearsing original dances until they could no longer. 
In their 90s, they continued to pursue their passion for life through their love and mastery of dance. Keep Dancing, a film by Douglas Blair Turnbaugh and Greg Vander Veer, seamlessly blends nine decades of archival film and photographs with later footage to tell a story through dance of the passing of time and the process of aging. Click here to see this amazing film.

The third of my featured interviews today is Kat Kramer!
Kat's father is the legendary film maker, Stanley Kramer. She exudes, to me, the glamour of Hollywood. I met Kat, originally, at the Hollywood premier of Dori Berenstein's documentary, Carol Channing: Larger Than Life, which I am lucky enough to be in.

The late Kathryn Joosten and Lily Tomlin attend Kat's premier of Teach Your Children Well
 Katharine “Kat” Kramer
Katharine "Kat" Kramer founded Kat Kramer's Films That Change the World to showcase motion pictures that raise awareness about important social issues.
In so doing, she is following in the foot steps of her late father, the legendary producer/director Stanley Kramer, who was known for taking artistic and financial chances by making movies about controversial subjects.

Recently, Ms. Kramer premiered the powerful new documentary Teach Your Children Well, which deals with the growing problem of bullying in schools.
Previous selections in
her screening series have included The Cove, which exposed the slaughter of dolphins in
Japan; Elephants and Man: A Litany of Tragedy, about the suffering of elephants in captivity; and Barbra Streisand's Yentl, which focused attention on women's equality, and was used as a springboard for a discussion about the widespread sexual abuse of women.

As an actress, Ms. Kramer has appeared on stage and screen. She has starred in two popular one-woman shows, The Colors of Myself and Kriss Krossing and won awards for her roles as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker and Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank. She has also appeared in such films as Hollywood Dreams, Going Shopping, What Just Happened and Little Fockers. She will also be seen in the upcoming film Katie Q, with Karen Black, Paul Sand and Zack Norman. As a singer, Ms. Kramer is recording Gemstone, an album of Mick Jagger love songs, each as a duet with a different artist who has previously worked with Sir Mick. As a producer, she is developing a web series about the making of her album, titled My Duet with Mick.

Kat has performed special Tributes twice for the Legendary Lily Tomlin. Kramer served on the Dais and opened the program at the Pacific Pioneers Broadcaster's Awards in February 2012 honoring Tomlin.Kat received a standing

ovation with a special musical salute to her mentor with the original parody "Dear Lily Tomlin."

She most recently sang a heartfelt rendition of "Bless The Beasts And Children" from her father's landmark film for
Tomlin when she was honored with the Hope Award from the PETCO Foundation.

Kramer made her Avalon Hollywood debut with LE PETIT CIRQUE for CIRCUS PAWS in front of a star-studded audience that included Lily Tomlin,Susan Sarandon, Lainie Kazan and Stewart Copeland. She has recorded the new
re-imagined version of "Bless The Beasts And Children" that will be released as a single for PAWS and animal-rights
organizations.Kat also performed a humorous kitsch version of the song for the PAWS/LA Fundraiser sponsored by Wells Fargo and PETCO. Kat previously received the "Compassion Award" from the Braveheart Women and recently sold-out her first
workshop with "Meet The Biz" titled "An Evening With Kat Kramer." She is set to launch "An Evening With A Trailblazer" series along with "Meet The Biz."

She performed a stand-up routine with at Hard Rock Hollywood to Benefit "Comedy For Caleb" and Kat has been a presenter for LA Comedy Awards twice.She was also a celebrity judge for the LA Music Awards.Kramer was most recently named Entertainer of the Year
by the LA Comedy Awards.
As a stage actress, Kat has played the classic roles and won awards as Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker," Anne
Frank in "The Diary Of Anne Frank," Estella in "Great Expectations," Lisa in "David and Lisa," and Saint Joan in "The Lark."

Ms. Kramer has headlined at awards shows and galas for such luminaries as Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Shirley MacLaine.Ms. Kramer, who is the Godchild/Namesake of screen icon the late Katharine Hepburn,proudly serves as the West Coast representative of the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. Kat most recently celebrated the 5th anniversary and 5th installment for "Kat

Kramer's Films That Change The World" by presenting the U.S. premiere of FALLOUT hosted by Lily Tomlin.This was followed by the 6th installment screening of documentary "The Decent One" and most recently presented the 7th installment, "Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain" hosted by Martin Sheen and Mischa Barton.

Ms. Kramer is set to launch her new one-woman-show My Duet With Mick. In addition Kat portrays three characters in Season 3 of popular webseries Child of the Seventies. And is playing more characters in Season 4.
A former Miss Golden Globe, Kat resides in Los Angeles.

My mini-interview with Kat 

Why do you do what you do? I do it for the creativity, passion and to help "change the world" for the better. My entire life's mission is to be involved with stage, film, television projects and music that elevate the planet. And my Cinema Series" is dedicated to social justice films, environmental issues, women's equality, LGBTQ issues, and animal rights.

How has your opinion of the business evolved over the years?
I have strong opinions about the business. It is after all show "business" and that all plays a part in the current state of things. It has really become more about the business than the art. The internet and social media has changed  the way they content is marketed to the public. There are pros and cons to this. I happen to find it very exciting that streaming networks like Netflix and Amazon have original programming, and feature films released theatrically. I'm also in music and couldn't begin to offer advice about the music industry. That's why I love performing and singing "Live."

Three things you can't live without:   
1. My family
 2. Music
3. "Grace and Frankie"
Check out Season 4 "Child Of The 70's" coming soon. Kat's character Frances Rye has a  riot of a time! And there are lots of guest stars.  Don't have a release date yet but it will be 2016 and it's a total blast!!!!
Kat is really serious about following in Lily's footsteps and playing characters. Here is an up-coming one she created. She was asked to play an old Jewish man and she created Rabbi Herbert Schweitzergold. Very few have seen and those who have don't know it's her!
Here is a portrait of the Rabbi.

In Other Entertainment Related News

Conor Ryan will perform in Hartford Symphony Orchestra and Goodspeed Musicals' concert celebrating 70 years of Tony Award-winning music.
(© David Gordon)

Hartford Symphony Orchestra and Goodspeed Musicals will join to celebrate 70 years of Tony
Ginger Rogers in Hello, Dolly!
Award-winning music in a one-night-only concert on February 20 at 7:30 pm at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford. 
Some of the Tony Award-winning productions that will be celebrated in song include Guys and Dolls, Ain't Misbehavin', Hello, Dolly!, Spamalot; My Fair Lady, The Wiz, South Pacific, Rent, Les Misérables, and more. (Source:

A host of cabaret artists will play around Manhattan over the next few weeks. Here are the shows I will be attending and I would love for you to join me. Gretchen Reinhagen will be performing on February 3rd at The Metropolitan Room, Anita Gillette and Penny Fuller will be at Feinstein's 54 Below on February 24th at 7PM. Please join us!

Just for fun:  Mickey Rooney discusses twitter with Ben Stiller. Click HERE

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!


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 leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook

Happy Birthday, Mikhail Nikolayevich Baryshnikov.

Keeping Entertainment LIVE!

Richard Skipper,

Leah Horowitz
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:

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

with Musical Director Michael Lavine
Leah Horowitz 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. A host of theatre artists will play the Metropolitan Room in Manhattan in March.
Gay Marshall, who played a year-long run in the Off-Broadway revival of Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, will reprise her critically acclaimed Piaf tribute, Piaf: Queen of Heart, March 4, 11 and 18 at 7:30 PM. - See more at:


  1. Thanks for including me Richard! And on Alan Alda's Birthday. Glad our friend Carol Channing is a part of!


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