Sunday, March 13, 2016

Neil Sedaka, Sarah Boone, Lynn DiMenna...and MORE!

Happy Birthday, Neil Sedaka
I knew I had to have a hit. I would get no more chances. Analyzing what they had in common I discovered they had many similar elements: harmonic rhythm, placement of the chord changes, choice of harmonic progressions, similar instrumentation, vocal phrases, drum fills, content, even the timbre of the lead solo voice. I decided to write a song that incorporated all these elements in one record.
Neil Sedaka

Lynn DiMenna
Happy Sunday, March 13th,
Did you all SPRING forward? We in the East set our clocks forward last night. March 13 is the 73rd day of the year. There are 293 days remaining until the end of the year. We all now have the illusion of the days being longer. I love this time of year. When the days get a little warmer, I will be taking long walks along the pier in Piermont where I live.
Yesterday, was a wonderful day. The day began with the monthly meeting of American Popular Song Society. We meet on the second Saturday of every month.
Dinah Shore Celebrated at American Popular Song Society
Yesterday was a celebration of Dinah Shore. Will Friedwald and Lynn DiMenna joined forces to create a wonderful celebration that included live singers and a few video highlights of Dinah Shore from her televsion series. The next one will be on April 9th. LaTanya Hall celebrates Sarah Vaughn. I cannot wait!
Today, I want to send a heartfelt Happy Birthday greeting to one of my favorite entertainers, Neil Sedaka!
I have a little story to share about Mr. Sedaka. In 2007, I was asked to do an appearance for The American Theatre Wing in honor of Carol Channing, James Earl Jones, and Tommy Tune.
Since Carol and Harry (Kullijian) were already going to be in town, I called and asked if they were going to be available on June 5th, and if possible, I would like to do a benefit for  the Dr. Carol Channing-Harry Kullijian Foundation For The Arts (now defunct). If they said yes, this would be the first benefit for their newly created Foundation. My appearance at The Theatre Wing was a surprise to both.
They were thrilled at the proposition and said YES.
I then called Shane Matthews and Colm Reilly at Helen's (also defunct) to see if the evening would be available. They said the evening was already booked for a private birthday party. When I mentioned that Carol and Harry would be in attendance, they said they would  get back to me to see if the party could be rescheduled. It literally had been booked within the preceding 24 hours.  They called me back within the hour and said that it was a GO.
The person throwing the party would bring the entire party to my show! Fifty seats were sold before I
even announced the benefit! A few days later, I was shocked to receive a call from Neil Sedaka requesting permission to do a number in my show! He was going to perform at the birthday party. I was blown away. He ended up performing in our show. Carol and Harry were there as well as Marge Champion, Rex Reed, Lee Roy Reams, the late Edith and Ervin Drake, and a packed house! It was a night I will never forget. What a thrill to share a stage with Neil Sedaka!

I received the following from Robert Goldberg at the York Theatre:  Years ( and years ) ago,  circa 1980-1985 I attended a benefit at a CT. hospital.   Neil performed.   Arrived in a white stretch limousine and performed for well over an hour, THEN took requests for the few of his hits that he didn't do.  When done he mingled with the crowd and was a very gracious. 
AND
when I volunteered at the Central Park Zoo he came in with his son and grandson.  This was around 2010.  As fortune would have it I was the docent guide in the area at the time.   I asked his son if it was ok to "bother" him and was given the approval.   Neil was absolutely a delight and when I mentioned the hospital benefit 30 years or so earlier he looked at me and said that he remembered it and remembered someone from the group shouting out some songs that he had missed.  That someone was me.
Extremely nice person

Other notable Birthdays Today   
1910 - Sammy Kaye, orchestra leader (Died June 2nd, 1987).
1911 – L. Ron Hubbard, American religious leader and author, founded the Church of Scientology (d. 1986)
William H. Macy, American actor, director, and screenwriter.
Charo, Spanish-American actress and comedian.
Dana Delany, American actress.
Deborah Raffin, American actress (d. 2012)
Born Today 1911 Hugh Sanders: 215 plus film/tv roles (many uncredited); played Doc Reynolds in To Kill a Mockingbird

Notable Transitions on this Date
1999 – Garson Kanin, American director and screenwriter (b. 1912).
2006 – Maureen Stapleton, American actress (b. 1925)
2009 – Betsy Blair, American-English actress (b.
1923).

Today, I also celebrate Sarah Boone.
Sarah Boone has had a diverse career in television, radio and theatre across the country as a performer, director, producer and manager. She has enjoyed continued success as a cabaret artist with appearances in New York (The Metropolitan Room, The Duplex, Don’t Tell Mama, The Triad), Los Angeles (First and Hope Supper Club), and in many Florida venues. Since 2000, Sarah has also overseen the production of more than 100 plays, musicals and concerts.  She is currently the Executive Artistic Director of Theatre Jacksonville in Florida and was also a Consulting Producer with the California International Theatre Festival 2008-12.
Sarah returns to The Metropolitan Room with a new show devoted to the talents of uniquely gifted songwriters who have contributed to the Great American Songbook. From the 1930's to present day, these special few have written both the music and the lyrics to classic standards as well as little known treasures. She has long had an admiration for the special folks who each, individually through their words and music, have created jewels of songs that have become part of the Great American Songbook. This show is a culmination of years of research and planning and includes so many songs that Sarah loves. "It's such a thrill to have it come alive. The feedback from audiences thus far has been so positive. I couldn't be happier."
Here is our mini interview:
What is your advice for people to get past their own needs to really be selfless and do something to make the world a better place for all people.

Gosh, that's a tough question... I think that making a conscious choice to share time and talent with others in the midst of incredibly busy schedules is the best gift we can give to the world.  Changing things for the better one step at a time in our own spheres of influence.

When I interviewed Sarah, it wasTuesday! What makes today fantastic for you?
First off, the weather is gorgeous here in Florida...a beautiful spring day.  I'm close to completing a theatre grant proposal that I've been working on for a long time, so there's that wonderful sense of a job well done starting to flood through me. As always, there's more on my plate for tomorrow, but as for later today, it's got rest and relaxation written all over it....oh, and a Double Threats rehearsal...but that's always the cherry on top of a swell day.

What advice would you give entertainers who wish to pursue a career in this business?
Funny, you should ask that. I actually just participated on a panel at a local university and had to answer a similar question.  I've been making my living in theatre for a long time, and I still feel like I'm just now figuring it all out and have no business giving advice to anyone.  But now, several decades into the journey, I've seen how important it is to stay committed to dreams and goals because that's the key to finding an artistic niche that's yours and yours alone.  You may not find it as fast as you'd like, and it may look entirely different than what you thought it would when you started, but if you don't quit, somehow a career miraculously happens. It's very rarely overnight, but you've become responsible for your own success.  Oh, and always be the person that says yes to life...every experience you have informs you as an artist.  No doesn't get you anywhere.

What are you currently reading? 

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

If you could travel to ANY destination for a vacation or getaway, regardless of cost or practicality, where would if be... and why?
No doubt about it....Italy.  The food, the wine, the gracious people, the art, the history, the siestas, the cities, the countryside.  Need I go on?


What's Your Specialty that might surprise many?

I have an absurd amount of classic movie trivia in my head.

If you changed careers, what would it be and why?

I would be a show photographer.  I helped put myself through grad school shooting plays, musicals, concerts, and dance recitals and loved every minute of it.  There's something really joyful about catching a fleeting moment on film. (Digital now, but it was film back then.)

Three words that describe you and why?

Conscientious:  I always wanted to do the right thing as a kid, and that has carried over into adulthood in a big way.

Determined:  Okay, some people would say stubborn, but I think it's important to always keep going as far as you can.  Quitting is never the first option for me.

Creative: Maybe the most important of the three.  I wouldn't have found joy in performing and producing without creativity.  It defined my career path.
  THE DOUBLE THREATS: A CELEBRATION OF COMPOSERS/LYRICISTS
 Directed by Jean Tait
 Musical Direction by Eugene Gwozdz
Order your Tickets for Sarah Boone at The Metropolitan Room Thursday, March 24th NYC on  HERE. 
Thank to ALL of the artists mentioned in this blog for the gifts they 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!
Samantha Rehr as Dolly Levi

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!    
            
Happy Birthday, William H. Macy

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

PLEASE JOIN ME ONE WEEK FROM TOMORROW! MARCH 19th in NYC


The Metropolitan Room Presents...

David Meulemans returns in Lucky To Be Me! Directed by the incredible Sally Mayes with great musical direction by Tex Arnold. David will take all of us on a great musical romp through the ups and downs of his life.David Meulemans combines a love for the American Songbook with his classically trained voice to entertain audiences from Miami to New York, London and around the nation.  In a recent review, Charles Truenski describes David’s performance of “Lucky to Be Me” at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Room, as “a perfect night of cabaret” stating this is the kind of cabaret New York City needs more of. 

A popular leading man in South Florida musical theatre, David brings his comfortable style, passion for music and remarkable vocal talents to every project he tackles, with humor, heart and joy.  
This show WILL sell out! So reserve today and be a part of his star studded audience!
This is a CD Release Event! ALL in attendance will receive complementary copy of Lucky To Be Me: Recorded LIVE at the Metropolitan Room August 22nd, 2015
http://metropolitanroom.com/event.cfm?id=222431
$5.00 OFF COVER OF ALL MAC MEMBERS
Richard Skipper Celebrates is the publicist for David Meulemans and Lucky To Be Me at NYC's Metropolitan Room. ! For press reservations, interview requests, or more information, contact Richard Skipper at Richard@RichardSkipper.com or 845-365-0720 


 









1 comment:

  1. Richard Skipper!!! Thanks so much for including me in your fabulous blog. So appreciate the coverage and the shout out for my show coming up at the Metropolitan Room!

    ReplyDelete