Friday, March 11, 2016

Robin Westle, Wendy Scherl, James Grissom...and MORE!

Robin, Tom, Jeremy, Danielle and Robin’s Nest
Robin Westle
And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. 
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Happy Friday, March 11th, 2016!
March 11 is the 71st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 295 days remaining until the end of the year. As I sat down to begin by blog today, Perry Como was singing Say It Isn't So on the radio. In my case today, it all is so. Today, in my blog, I am once again bridging the past with the present. I begin by celebrating those who have made contributions that we all are still benefiting from and then I celebrate those are doing great works today.
Let's start with some Notable Birthdays 
Lawrence Welk was born on this date March 11 in 1903.
Happy Birthday to American drag queen entertainer The Lady Chablis!
1967 – John Barrowman, Scottish-American actor, singer, and dancer

A Notable Transition on this date
Betty Hutton, American actress and singer  (February 26, 1921 – March 11, 2007)


Now, I celebrate Robin Westle!
Robin Westle is a speech pathologist, actor, singer, cabaret performer, and mother of two adopted
children, now grown.  She is an adjunct instructor and clinical educator in the Department of Speech and Language Pathology and Audiology at CUNY Hunter College, as well the creator, producer and host of Robin’s Nest, a cabaret benefit series to support Helpusadopt.org, where Robin is a board member. 

This organization was founded by Becky and Kipp Fawcett, who through their own personal struggles, created a 501c3 which awards grants of up to $15,000 to qualified couples and individuals regardless of race, religion, gender, marital status, or sexual orientation to assist them with the high costs of adoption.

Robin holds a BA in speech pathology from the University of Buffalo and an MS in speech pathology from Teachers’ College at Columbia University. Robin has been married to her husband Tom, a lawyer, for 37 years. She enjoys New York living, the beach and time spent with friends.
She is particularly happy when her husband and two children spend time together as a family.
Ladies and Gentlemen, today I celebrate Robin Westle!

What does the work that you are doing now means to you?  
As survivors of the infertility roller coaster and adoptive parents of two adult children, my husband and I are all too familiar with the pain and agony of infertility and the arduous and costly process of creating a family through adoption. The creation of the Robin’s Nest series to support helpusadopt.org has given me the
Robin’s Nest: A Benefit for Helpusadopt.org
Entertainment for an Especially Worthy Cause
pportunity to help others to create families through adoption. Using the artistry and intimacy of cabaret I am able to increase awareness and to raise money for an organization that does not discriminate against race, religion, ethnicity, gender, marital status, or sexual orientation. Working on Robin’s Nest has given me the chance to meet so many amazing, talented, and generous people who have shared their personal stories and their time for this cause.
What is my 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?
That’s a hard one because I definitely am NOT a selfless person. I think that true selflessness is something reserved for a very few, but I also would like to believe that most people perform acts of selflessness every day.  My best advice is to follow the “Golden Rule” and to treat others as you would like to be treated were you in a similar situation.  Because you never know when it will be you who needs the help.
It was Tuesday when I interviewed Robin! What made that day fantastic for her?
Waking up in the morning in the middle of NYC is fantastic! Today I get to go for a long walk through the NYC streets and pass by some of the most iconic buildings in the world on my way to the dentist where I will sit in the chair with a view of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Tonight I get to attend a reading of a brand new musical

conceived, written and performed by some of the most talented people in NYC in a space that used to be one of the most famous nightclubs in the world, while sitting with people I adore.
That’s fantastic!

What advice would I give to entertainers who wish to pursue a career in this business?
Do what your heart tells you. Find your passion and stick with it. Don’t let anyone bring you down. Try to be process oriented instead of goal oriented.  Be persistent. Be patient. Be yourself. Don’t expect to make a lot of money. Never give up. And when all else fails, have a really good dirty martini and laugh until you cry.

What are you currently reading?
I am reading Fall of Giants, the first of the Century Trilogy by Ken Follett.

If you could travel anywhere…
Tahiti, definitely Tahiti. I had this Venus Paradise coloring set when I was little and one of the pictures was a scene from Tahiti.  Ever since then, I have wanted to go toTahiti.

What’s your specialty that might surprise many?
I have a spinning wheel and I spin my own yarn

If you changed careers, what would it be and why?
I always wanted to open a yarn shop because I love yarn.  I love the textures, the colors, and everything that you can do with it.  People who come to a yarn shop are usually there because yarn makes them feel good and they need to create something and if the shop is a good one, the customers are loyal and you develop long-standing relationships with them.

Three words that describe you and why?
Gregarious because I will talk to anyone and I make friends easily.
Funny because I love to make people laugh and I am good at it
Loyal because as long as someone stands by me, I will stand by them

Please visit Robin's Website for More Info.

Sometimes we think our lives aren't "enough" for us, when actually it's we who aren't "enough." Positive, excellent and loving enough.
-Marianne Williamson

Next up today is Wendy Scherl.
Wendy's upcoming show at Don't Tell Mama (Thursday, April 7th at 8PM)  is What Do You Do All Day? It is a true reflection of her life right now. It embraces all the different parts of her life. The show is filled with the joy, laughter, irony and tears that fill her days.
Here is our interview
What is the most exciting thing for you right now?
What is most exciting for me is that every time I sing the songs in this show, I discover something new about the songs and about myself. As my life is changing, the show continues to evolve and grow. While it is my personal journey, my stories are also universal and I think both women and men will see themselves in my story.

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?

Find a meaningful way to say thank you to those who help you. I try to support charities and

organizations that are meaningful to the people in my life or those who have made a difference in my or my family’s life.

This interview was also conducted on a Tuesday! What makes today fantastic for you?

Sorry if this is too personal but I had my annual mammogram yesterday and all was good. My mother is a Breast and Lung Cancer survivor so getting a clean report is the best gift I get every year.

What advice would you give entertainers who wish to pursue a career in this business?

Never stop learning and growing. Each and every day, try to be better than you were the day before.

Take risks and continue to challenge yourself.

What are you currently reading?

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

If you could travel to ANY destination for a vacation or getaway, regardless of cost or practicality, where
would it be... and why?

Vietnam and Cambodia – The culture and history fascinates me. It is a bucket list trip!

What's Your Specialty that might surprise many?

I am a very good cook and baker!!

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

I would own a retail store. It is always something I have wanted to do. I love the daily interaction of retail. You meet so many interesting people and it can be very humbling at times.

Three words that describe you and why?

Inquisitive – I love to learn and discover new things. I love to find new ways of looking at things and I like to hear others perspective.

Thoughtful – I approach most things in life with a great deal of thought and research ( when need be) but I believe that part of being thoughtful is also being flexible (which I am working to be better at). I always try to take others into account.

Fun – I love to laugh at myself which is a big part of my show. I enjoy finding the humor even in the

worst situation. I like to enjoy life.
Please join me on April 7th as I celebrate Wendy Scherl at Don't Tell Mama! Please feel free to contact me for more info. 

James Grissom
And now, James Grissom. I saw James last week on TheatreTalk. He was on to discuss his book,Follies of God: Tennessee Williams and the Women of the Fog. I cannot wait to delve into this book. For those of you who don't know, TheatreTalk with Susan Haskins and Michael Reidel airs originally at 1:30 AM here in New York. As tired as I was, I was riveted! I was thrilled when I wrote to James the next day and he said yes to this mini interview. I hope you enjoy. 
Why Do You Do What You Do? 
 I write because I cannot think of anything else I could or would want to do. I’m good at customer service and working in hotels and restaurants, but I also wish I were home writing or reading.

Have you ever considered giving it all up because you didn’t
get a job you desired?
  No. One never gives up or faces facts. One just moves forward.

What advice would you give writers who wish to pursue a career in this business? 
Get a good day job. Save money. Have a tight circle of friends. Be a very good and loyal friend. Any attention or money you might achieve as a writer is a lovely accident, a sighting of a fairy in the woods. Don’t count on it.

Order on Amazon
 What are you currently reading?
I just read Jean Stein’s West of Eden, which was haunting and brilliant. I am finally reading Hanya Yanagihara’s “A Little Life,” and every single thing in archives and in print on Marlon Brando, because my next book is about him and our two years of telephone conversations.
What do you desire your legacy to be?
I would like to have reached a group of people and enlighted or aroused them.

What are your thoughts on the Republican Debate this week?
 I have not and will not watch any of  the Republican debates. I also do not watch autopsies or videos where women in stilettos stomp kittens to death. I put the Republican candidates in the same category. I avoid at all costs.

What does this time in your life mean to you?
This is the time of life when I’m getting older and realizing there isn’t much time left, so I’ve become more selective, grateful, careful.

Please follow James Grissom's Blog

 
Ricky Ritzel's Broadway is inspired by the 1970's PBS specials, Sylvia Fine Kaye's Musical Comedy Tonight, which featured 3 or 4 Broadway musicals with casts such as
Richard Chamberlain, Lynn Redgrave and Ethel Merman doing 3 or 4 numbers from each show. Sylvia, Danny Kaye's wife, would give wry commentary standing at the piano in a gorgeous outfit. I have wanted to do something like that for a long time and, I figured, we have the resources, with plenty of Musical Theatre grads and working actors in piano bar and cabaret, why not do it now? So every month, we've been doing a different show, never repeating, except the first one and March 25th will be the 9th edition.
The following is based on questions posed to Ricky Ritzel
When I was 4, I wanted to be an astronaut. By 6,  I wanted to be Liberace.
My mother always said, 'As long as you play the piano, you can get a job.

What advice do you offer to anyone desiring a career in this business?
My advice would be, Create something and if you are lucky enough to make a living at it, good for you, but don't expect to.

What is your key goal these days?
My key goal, at 58, is to wake up, make people laugh and have a good time.

What do you think it takes to succeed in cabaret these days?
What it takes to succeed in cabaret these days, is visibility and talent. In that order.

Your Thoughts on the recent Presidential debates
I don't pay strict attention to all this pre-election crap, not until the conventions. Mitt Romney is irrelevant. Just as he was in 2012.

Please join my party on March 25th as we celebrate Ricky Ritzel's Broadway at Don't Tell Mama!

Next up is Marina Kamen. Today is her Birthday!
Marina Kamen (aka MARINA), is a Director/Producer/Casting Director/Vocalist/Choreographer & Musician best known for her music in the advertising industry & fitness/health/dance music communities and has a large online catalogue of workout music, treadmill workouts and audio workouts including fifty albums, 450 Original Songs and 1,200 Online Musical Audio Programs. Marina's EBook entitled I'm Steppin' Out!…confessions of a Food-a-Holic has sold around the globe for the past 15 years and is available on Iamplifi, Audible and on Amazon. Kamen won the 2005 People's Choice Award in Podcasting . MARINA's High-nrg Fitness Brand includes Radio and Television Broadcasts, Music, albums, and a Live Show currently playing in NYC called MARINA's High-nrg Fitness LIVE!…an Interactive Musical Theatre WORKOUT Experience. MARINA's lifelong work merging the worlds of vocalisation and dance has brought her to work with Celebrity artists including Patti Labelle, Carnie Wilson, James Earl Jones, Mandy Patinkin, Gloria Gaynor, Britney Spears, Liza Minnelli and countless others.
In 1987, Kamen and her husband, Roy Kamen, opened Kamen Entertainment Group, Inc.
Kamen's credits in Radio and television advertising have included thousands of campaigns working for Starburst, PopTarts, Mercedes, Exxon Mobile, Coca Cola, Dairy Queen, and Febreeze in the 1990s, in 2004, Marina directed, produced, cast and choreographed Britney Spears' Twister Dance Rave Global Television Campaign for Hasbro. Kamen also Cast, Directed,Choreographed, and produced Television spots for Jenga Tetris and Bop It. Kamen performs a series of live performance concerts around the country. In the late 90s, it seemed impossible because she had three young children and was over 215 pounds. Nonetheless, Kamen started to write and produce
music aimed at the dance market. High energy shows won awards, such as her Silent Night performance at Webster Hall in New York City.
Kamen taught aerobics classes in the 70's and 80's, and through her performances she began using dance music to drive her workout routines

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.
As a 57 year old mother of 3 children ages 22, 24 and 29 in with one marriage that has lasted 33 years certainly takes a huge ability of putting other's needs past your own. We moms cannot call in sick nor tell our children when they are sick that we are not available. This is the largest example of looking out of of one's own plate.
Also the balance of creating a successful long term relationship with my husband and business partner Roy Kamen and being open to taking responsibility for my own mistakes in addition to ability to apologize when wrong is vital. Sounds like common sense which sadly is not often that common.
Too often it is more important for people to be right in their own minds than to think outwardly and put another person's feelings first. Being able to surrender and let our guard down and admit to our short comings.

What motivates you to do what you do?

Striving for the balance of career and family to create a full life. As a performing artist who has struggled with a lifelong issue of weight and addiction, the merger of my artistry together with working in the world of the health & fitness industry has been invaluable. After losing 100 pounds and coming to the attention of health companies who have hired me to work with hundreds of people in Television to help them shed weight through my music and prepare them for the camera in turn helps me stay on track.
Helping others who struggle with our own issues really makes THEM the motivators.
Entertainment can be an extremely selfish and narcissistic industry. Utilizing my skills as an entertainer, Producer, violinist, singer, writer, recording engineer, etc…to actually help others with their health is a tremendous motivator.
Getting the respect from my children who are all now young adults working here in NYC and seeing their self esteem and work ethic is the greatest motivator of all. As so many people have come into their lives though my work and my husband's , they too have seen the life changes in people which has been a part of their development. Staggering!

What advice would you give entertainers who wish to pursue a career in this business?

Understand that it is the "biz" of the show and NOT "show" biz! Singing, dancing, acting, playing music is all great…but the business skills that one applies to any biz needs to be upfront, downstage and center! ! Also, learning and implementing as many production skills as possible is vital. Recording, editing, graphics, programming..the more one is able to work in front of in addition to behind the camera will enable one to have a lifetime of monetizing in this organic unpredictable industry.

What are you currently reading?
I read all day educating myself in areas away from the entertainment field. Politics, medicine, education, relationships. Information is ammunition and the more information one has the more growth. The ability to converse with as many people as possible who differ from ourselves from other worlds and belief systems is most important. I am fascinated with what I do not know and am in awe and respectful of all intellectuals. Our eldest son Justin , now 29, is an Attorney here in NYC in Capital Markets. Interesting, that at 8 years old back in the 90s, he was cast in the Original Alan Menkin Xmas Carol at Madison Square Garden. I have always had such respect for my child's academic ability and his career path. I want to be like him when I grow up:)

If you could travel to ANY destination for a vacation or getaway, regardless of cost or practicality, where would if
be... and why?

My own backyard…..Travel does not excite me.
Too many fascinating experiences I have everyday in my career, with thousands of people that write to me and mainly with my husband and 3 adult children.

What's Your Specialty that might surprise many?

I am a great cook and domestic …a clean freak…..love decorating in the home.

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

A Criminal Attorney. While our eldest son was in Law School, he would read aloud to me while he studied.
Fascinating the human mind and what makes people tick. I feel it is closely related to the skills of acting. After all, acting is reacting and human behavior. With maturity, my ability to focus and absorb information flourished as a result of participating in my son's studies. He chose Capital Markets in the Financial area. I suppose the "yenta" in me is more attracted to the human mind and spirit found in Criminal Law.

Who is your favorite Disney Princess and why?

Cinderella…courageous and kind…serving others….being able to make lemonade out of lemons. She is a true example of selflessness.

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?

I change my mind openly and daily. Being able to be flexible and open is what makes us grow. My children are a constant reminder that we can never stop learning and growing if we are open and willing to changing our belief system and point of view.

What is your secret passion?

Curling up in bed and doing nothing. Hard for me as I am always Hearing the music, feeling the beat and Never Stop Movin' in body and life!

What brings you the most joy in your life?

My husband Roy Kamen, of course.
His love and support with our company Kamen Entertainment Group, Inc.
The technical knowledge he has given me that has given me depth as an artist. More importantly, watching the accomplishments of my children who have all taken away different skills from what their father & I have given them. The eldest with both performance and legal achievements. Our middle son Tyler an accomplished musician, recording engineer and business person working at an Advertising Agency here in NYC and our youngest daughter Tess. She, in my opinion has come the furthest. I am so proud of our boys who are great talents, academic, quick and gifted . Tess had to find a different road.
We would take her to TV shoots with us when she was a little girl.
She would sit quietly and watch as the hair and makeup people worked their creative magic.
Tess is now a stylist who has done the hair for countless celebrities, The Today Show, NYC Fashion Week and is on staff here in NYC on 5th ave at The Red Door Elizabeth Arden.
 Failure is growth and gives one a chance for better improvement and to be able to reboot.

Check out Marena on YouTube

In other Entertainment News 
Buy your tickets NOW
April 9th - San Francisco 
Shawn Ryan and Andrea Marcovicci in
"The Queens of Cabaret"
Two incredible acts in one night of unforgettable Cabaret!

Two of today's greatest Cabaret talents take the stage for a One Night Only Concert Event that is not to be missed! Andrea Marcovicci, the Queen of Cabaret and consummate cabaret temptress joins forces with the outrageously eccentric other Queen of Cabaret, Shawn Ryan to give San Francisco audiences a pure entertainment treat! 

On Saturday, Feb. 27, the Hattie McDaniel home at 317 Cherry St. near downtown Fort Collins was dedicated.(Read MORE)
Hattie McDaniel's home on Cherry Street near downtown Fort Collins was dedicated on Saturday, Feb. 27, by Mayor Wade Troxell and members of the Pioneer Association. (Kenneth Jessen)











LIZA AND JUDY—TOGETHER AGAIN, March 18, 19, 20, at The El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood
Liza and Judy—Together Again brings to life the celebrated mother and daughter superstar entertainers in concert with Suzanne Goulet starring as Liza Minnelli, and Denise Rose starring as Judy Garland on the El Portal’s Main Stage, March 18-20.
In real life Judy and her daughter Liza only performed a few times together, and that was very early in Liza’s career. But with the extraordinary talents of Suzanne Goulet and Denise Rose in this fantasy musical tribute show they are reunited as equals in the spotlight. To see both Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli at their peak recapturing the magic that made them legendary performers is a tremendous gift for their fans. Of course that gift is thanks to Suzanne and Denise who have the looks and the voices, along with the dancing talent to recreate the magical musical numbers that made both of them famous. And there will be dazzling costumes (13 changes).(Read MORE)

Get your tickets now! http://54below.com/artist/carol-woods/
 David Sheward's  review roundup of Disaster on NewYork.com Jennifer Simard steals it.

 Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, starring Audra McDonald, airs at 9 PM onHBO (check local listings).

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!

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!    
            
Remembering Betty Hutton today

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!

Happy Birthday, Lawrence Welk
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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 








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