January 29th, 2016: Leslie Bricusse, Katherine Ross, Oprah Winfrey...and MORE!

Leslie Bricusse
“It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life for me
And I'm feeling good”
Leslie Bricusse, The Leslie Bricusse Songbook

 Happy Friday, January 29th, 2016!

January 29 is the 29th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 337 days remaining until the end of the year. On this date in 1963,The first inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame are announced. On this date in 2002, in his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush describes

"regimes that sponsor terror" as an Axis of evil, in which he includes Iraq, Iran and North Korea.
And on this date in 2009, the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt rules that people who do not adhere to one of the three government-recognized religions, while not allowed to list any belief outside of those three, are still eligible to receive government identity documents. And the beat goes on.
Katherine Ross
Today is Leslie Bricusse's Birthday.
Double Oscar and Grammy Award winner Leslie Bricusse is a writer - composer - lyricist who has written the book, music and/or lyrics for more than 40 musical films and plays during his career, and continues to enjoy fruitful collaborations with many of the greatest musical artists and composers of our time.

It is also the birthday of Katherine Ross.

She first starred within television shows such as Sam Benedict, in 1962 and Arrest and Trial, in 1963. She appeared in her first film, in 1965, in Shenandoah before obtaining her breakthrough role as much remarked Elaine Robinson in The Graduate, in 1967. 
The Colbys
Her delicate features and innocent stare perfectly embodied the dream girl persona the role required, an image that much contrasted with that of the fatale Mrs Robinson. In 1969, she appeared as the female leading role in the blockbuster, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, in 1969. 

During the 1970s, she continued to star in popular productions such as The Stepford Wives, in 1975 and Voyage of the Damned, in 1976. From the end of the 1970s, she mostly appeared on television films often opposite her husband, actor, Sam Elliott, in such features as Murder in Texas, in 1981 and Conagher, in 1991. She also played the regular role of a socialite for the soap opera, The Colbys from 1985 to 1987. Since she has appeared in a few films such as Donnie Darko, in 2001 and has published several children books. Although, Katharine Ross chose to privilege a somewhat modest career along a discreet private life, all the media's attention came upon her, in 2011, when her daughter attempted to murder her. (Source: TheRedList.com)

AND it is the birthday of Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Gail Winfrey, born on this date is a media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist.he is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011.Dubbed the "Queen of All Media",he has
Harriet Tubman was also born on this date
been ranked the richest African-American of the 20th century,he greatest black philanthropist in American history,and is currently (2015) North America's only black billionaire.several assessments regard her as the most influential woman in the world. In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama and an honorary doctorate degrees from Duke and Harvard.

They have all added so much to our cultural landscape and I applaud them all!

There are other artists that you may or may not be familiar with who are also adding to our cultural landscape. 
Charles Baran
I hope that you will check them out and go and see them if the opportunity arises. Today, I also celebrate Charles V. Baran.

CHARLES BARAN: Recently returned from Fort Lauderdale where he was Wooly the Schelpalong in The Jackie Mason Musical at Empire Stage. Prior to that he was the Father in The Seeing Place production of The Pillowman. Summer 2015: Andrew McNair in Cortland Rep's production of 1776 and Mortimer in The Fantasticks at The Allenberry Playhouse in PA. Other roles include Larry Foreman in The Cradle Will Rock and Burke Kendall in Stand Up Tragedy. He can be seen as Melvin Xaxa in the webseries The Demo Guy on YouTube. His solo show RECIPES FOR DISASTER! at The Metropolitan Room has returned several times. 

On February 6th The Dill Pickle Club Orchestra and Charles
will be heating things up at The Metropolitan Room when RECIPES FOR DISASTER! returns for an encore performance!  Join us!  Stay warm!  Bernie has good heat!  Dan Furman​ on the keys, Chris Clark​ on Bass, Amy Griffiths on Reeds, and Joe Cogen​ on Percussion. Saturday February 6th at 4pm.  Use PROMO code "Friend" and get $10.00 off the cover charge.
Here is my mini interview with Charles.

Finish this sentence: I'll never be too old to...wear a Mickey Mouse T-Shirt and a Baseball Cap!

When did you get your first professional break?
Was it one of those "God, I hope I get it" moments? 
The revival of The Cradle Will Rock at Theater 80 St. Marks in the East Village in 2010.  I was doing a Musical Comedy Class at HB Studio and we had a presentation of the piece and I was playing Larry Foreman, the lead.  After the show, this lady came backstage and said "Im directing the show this summer at Theater 80 St. Marks and I want you to play Larry Foreman". I almost fell down, actually I may have fallen down.  I was stunned.  It was such a wonderful experience.  I guess the moral of the story is you never know who is sitting out there in the audience! 

Just how much are you willing to pay for a premium ticket to

I'm a working actor and can't afford Broadway prices!  So I'll see it on TKTS in the year 2020!  LOL  Unless someone surprises with a ticket!  Hey - you never know!

Do you remember an occasion when a stranger did something nice for you for no reason at all? 
Yes, I was going to an audition and the lady in front of me at the Deli across from Ripley paid for my coffee for no other reason than I was nice to her and said hello.  I was so touched by that gesture.

What do you most want to be true about yourself?
That I am a person that is looked upon as a kind and good soul.

Besides your performance career, what are you passionate about?  I am passionate about advocating for the homeless.  There are so many unfortunate people and life situations have not always been kind to them. 

Anything else you would like me to include?  I was a Houseboy on Fire Island in 1982 and a Bus
Boy in Key West in 1983!  What a year!!

Please join me on February 6th at 4PM as I celebrate Charles even more as part of his audience! Please contact me if you'd like to join me.
I'd also like to celebrate another entertainer who will be at the Duplex on March 6th. He will be celebrating Jerry Herman and all of my followers know what Jerry Herman means to me.

Mason Griffin
Introducing to you Mason Griffin!

He is a music director and coach in the musical theater. In New York City, his playing and teaching venues, past and present, include LaGuardia High School, Amas Musical Theatre, MTCA, The New York Film Academy, Applause NY, Broadway Classroom, NYU, Sing for Your Seniors, UNIS, and music director of the current Off-Broadway production of Naked Boys Singing. Highlight regional productions include: RENT, Les Miserables, Spelling Bee, A Funny Thing...Forum, Little Shop of Horrors, I Love a Piano, and Dreamgirls. A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Mason is the guest music director of Louisiana State University's annual spring musical theater showcase Singo de Mayo. He has had the pleasure to work with industry pros Taylor Negron, Steve Martin, and Laura Osnes. He frequently plays for solo and group cabarets and accompanies auditions around NYC.

Why a show about Jerry Herman?
Jerry Herman has been a idol of mine for many years. I first became aware of his work when I played Horace Vandergelder in my high school production of Hello, Dolly! I then began listening to his other scores and reading any material I could about his life. His memoir Showtune and Stephen Citron's biography Jerry Herman: Poet of the Showtune proved essential in gaining a personal insight into the man behind the music and lyrics. I then heard the album An Evening with Jerry Herman recorded at the historic Rainbow and Stars. That solidified it for me. I thought "why not create a show celebrating his life and work?" So I did. I toiled with the title for a while but finally decided on No Blue Monday. It caught my ear as a catchy and uplifting title. Obviously, I borrowed it from a Herman lyric in Put on Your Sunday Clothes.

Do you have a favorite Jerry Herman song?
I have many favorite Herman tunes but I Am What I Am is likely my all time favorite. Albin's Act 1 showstopper I Am What I Am is a song for everyone. This song encourages people to say "to hell with the status quo I'm going to be me and bring change to the world." It get a surge of energy when I play this song and when I hear others perform it. "Life's not worth a damn 'til you can say 'hey world, I am what I am!'" Amen to that. 

Have you done No Blue Monday outside of
New York?
The very first time I performed No Blue Monday was about 2 1/2 years ago in a retirement home. I was vacationing in South Carolina at my sisters house and options were limited. However, I really wanted to see how an audience reacted to the show. Not to mention how they responded to my voice since my career lies in music directing and accompanying not singing. It was quite interesting to have an audience that weren't theater people or even creative types. Just people who came to enjoy a performance. It's was quite lovely.

Did you ever see Carol Channing do Dolly?
I haven't seen Carol Channing play Dolly. I have often wished I could time travel back to the sixties to see Carol's original performance. What an experience that would be.

Your thoughts on Carol Channing? 
I revere Carol Channing as not only the first Dolly but, as far as I know, the only person who has played the role more times than anyone else. She has a vitality and energy that thrills me. Oddly enough my favorite song she sings on the original Dolly album is Motherhood March. I can see her doing the staging in my head when listen to that song. It makes me smile every time.

Your thoughts on Bette Midler coming to Broadway in Hello, Dolly!
 I'm so excited to see the Divine Miss M play Dolly. Bette Midler is another idol of mine. When I first saw her in Hocus Pocus at 4 years old I was hooked. For me it's the ideal combination. A performer I adore playing one of my favorite characters in a Herman musical. I hope they choose the St. James Theatre. That would be complete perfection. I can't wait!

Your ultimate goal with this show.

My goal with No Blue Monday is simply to get it out there. I want to share my joy with others. I want others to see what I've been working on and hopefully have a chance to hear some tunes they many not be as familiar with.

What do you hope audiences come away with?
I want audiences to come away with optimism. Jerry Herman's music is always upbeat and positive. It's not only memorable for its tunefulness but its happiness. That's what I love most about the Herman canon. His music makes his audiences smile. That's something really special.

 In Entertainment News 
George Takei's Allegiance must close on February 14, but there are still good seats available! You can get your Allegiance tickets on Telecharge.com.

Carol Woods An Evening of Soul and Song
Join Broadway powerhouse and legend Carol Woods for an evening of “Soul and Song”. Ms. Woods has originated numerous roles on Broadway, in feature films and on television with an international career spanning over nearly half a century. Her rendition ofthe Beatles classic “Let It Be” from Julie Taymor’s2007 feature film Across the Universe has become a worldwide hit and earned her a reprised performance at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards. Ms. Woods has been hailed as a “first-rate entertainer” with a stage presence that is “larger than life” showcasing her deep roots in gospel, blues,her love of Broadway and her breath-taking vocals. -Click Here for more Info.

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!   

Please join me on February 24th at 54 Below for Anita Gillette and Penny Fuller!

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

Keeping Entertainment LIVE!

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

Diane J. Findlay
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
Diane J. Findlay 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 Broadway powerhouse and legend Carol Woods for an evening of “Soul and Song”. Ms. Woods has originated numerous roles on Broadway, in feature films and on television with an international career spanning over nearly half a century. Her rendition ofthe Beatles classic “Let It Be” from Julie Taymor’s2007 feature filmAcross the Universe has become a worldwide hit and earned her a reprised performance at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards. Ms. Woods has been hailed as a “first-rate entertainer” with a stage presence that is “larger than life” showcasing her deep roots in gospel, blues,her love of Broadway and her breath-taking vocals. - See more at: http://theiridium.com/events/5023/carol-woods-an-evening-of-soul-and-song-30-general-admission-50-preferred-seating/#sthash.b2YdwY9t.dpuf


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