Monday, April 18, 2016

Barbara Hale, Virginia O'Brien, Jana Robbins...and MORE

Born on this date, Barbara Hale, American actress. She's best known as "Della Street" on TV's Perry Mason.
 "It happened when we were both working for RKO in 1943.
I was there briefly before she came out from Illinois. She
certainly made a lasting impression on me. When I left for
service again, I

took with me the image of a bright, lovely
and wholesome personality whose charm kept lingering
in my mind. "
(Raymond Burr, TV Radio Mirror, 1962)


Happy Monday, April 18th, 2016!
Today is my favorite day of the week - Monday. April 18 is the 109th day of this year.
There are 257 days remaining until the end of the year.

Birthdays today: Actress Barbara Hale, Actor Clive Revill, Actor James Drury, Actor Robert Hooks, Actress Hayley Mills. Happy Birthday TODAY TO ACTRESS, PRODUCER & DIRECTOR - DOROTHY LYMAN! DOROTHY'S ACTING CAREER BEGAN IN 1971 ON HER FIRST SOAP OPERA "A WORLD APART".
Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier in a civil ceremony on April 18, 1956.The gown was designed by MGM's Helen Rose.
Superman made his debut 68 years ago today in the 1st issue of Action Comics.


Today is my favorite day of the week - Monday.
Happy Birthday, Dorothy Lyman
 

It’s a day to roll up our sleeves, pull up our boot straps, and  get to work. I got up early this morning. Our cat had cornered a squirrel who had gotten in through the chimney and our dog was refereeing. A typical spring day in Sparkill, New York! 
I'm drinking my coffee, listening to Ann Hampton Callaway sing in The Wee Small Hours of the morning and reflecting on the weekend and the week ahead. It is fraught with possibilities! 

For some (maybe you) it’s a day of anxiety and dread. My entire life has always been (personally) about looking ahead, although (professionally). it is about looking at where we've been. I'm interested in preserving our past, our heritage. I think it is imperative for us to know where we've been in order to
Happy Birthday, Virginia O'Brien
get where we desire to go. I know that sounds like an old cliche, but I believe it's true.

I heard recently where a developer in NYC was saying that New York is not about preservation as much as it is about progress. That kind of thinking is changing the landscape of New York. As New York, especially Times Square looks more and more like a mall, the character of New York is fading before our very eyes.   
Everyone, please pay attention and don't let our past slip through our fingers. 
Today, in honor of their birthdays, I am celebrating three women who have conquered stage, screen, and television.
Barbara Hale became a television star thanks to Perry Mason. Virginia O'Brien became a star due to her dead-pan persona in all those great MGM musicals of the forties. Jana Robbins has done very well on both sides of the footlights.
Happy Birthday, Jana Robbins!
I first became familiar with Jana when I saw her (six times!) as Miss Mazeppa in the Tyne Daly helmed Gypsy in the early nineties. Years later, we became friends (I don't even know when, where, and/or how!). 
When her father passed on from Parkinson's, we joined forces and did a benefit on behalf of Parkinson's. When Danny and I got married, Jana sang at our wedding. She is a TRUE friend and this blog is dedicated to her today.
Jana Robbins has played leading roles on Broadway in Good News, I Love My Wife, Crimes of the Heart, Romance/Romance;  the aforementioned Gypsy, in which she played Mazeppa (the "bump it with a trumpet" stripper) while standing by for Tyne Daly as Mama Rose (40 performances); and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, where she covered both Linda Lavin (Valerie Harper) and Michele Lee. On the National Tour of Allergist's Wife, Robbins replaced Michele
Lee and co-starred across the country opposite Valerie Harper.
Other national tours include Ethel in Footloose and Aldonza in "Man of La Mancha" with Jose Ferrer. Her long list of off-Broadway and repertory credits includes both straight plays and musicals. Some of her favorite roles have been Maggie in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"; Lady in "Orpheus Descending"; Dr. Livingstone in "Agnes of God"; Rosie in "Bye Bye Birdie"; The Leader in "Zorba"; and Bessie Berger in "Awake and Sing" at Arena Stage. Most recently, Robbins played the title role in the world premiere of "Managing Maxine" at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta.
JANA ROBBINS was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where she began dancing lessons at the early age of 4 at the Gene Kelly School of Dance, appearing in recitals and singing provocative solos like "Blues in the Night" by the age of 11. She attended Westmont Hilltop High School, where they luckily did a Broadway musical each Spring. Her
junior year, she was cast as Nellie Forbush in South Pacific and played Eliza Doolittle her senior year in My Fair Lady, helping to further support and solidify her love of theater.
Here is our Mini-Interview
What Does This Time In Your Life Mean To You?
 When I was younger, I was always working to achieve something,  not only so that I might have a sense of accomplishment and the acknowledgement that comes along with it, but also in order to have a sense of worth.  I needed
the validation. At this time in my life..... I no longer need that validation.  The validation comes from simply doing the task itself - whether that's acting, singing, directing or producing. The process of doing all of the above provides me with  a great sense of satisfaction all on its own.

Do you have a hard time changing when things change?
I THINK BEING IN THE THEATER MAKES ME MUCH MORE ACCEPTING OF CHANGE.  ALL MY LIFE, THE SHOWS THAT I HAVE BEEN INVOLVED WITH  HAVE OPENED AND CLOSED. YOU'RE ALWAYS BEGINNING AGAIN..... A NEW CITY..... A NEW SHOW..... NEW FRIENDS..... AND NEW COLLEAGUES.  AND I THINK THAT THAT HAS HELPED TO PREPARE ME FOR ALL THE CHANGES THAT LIFE HAS TO OFFER.

Click HERE to see Jana sing at our Wedding
What is your secret to keeping the balance between “Show Biz” and home life?
THAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A CHALLENGE, BUT I ALWAYS  WANTED IT ALL.  MARRIAGE, CHILDREN, AND A "SHOW BIZ" CAREER.   THANK YOU FOR COMPLIMENTING ME ON DOING IT WELL..... I DON'T THINK THAT YOU CAN HAVE 100% OF EVERYTHING,  SO THERE HAVE BEEN COMPROMISES AND PERHAPS SOME LOSSES ALONG THE WAY..... - I AM DIVORCED AND I NEVER QUITE ATTAINED THE LEVEL OF "STARDOM" THAT I HAD HOPED TO ACHIEVE.  BUT STILL, I'VE HAD A WONDERFUL CAREER IN A BUSINESS THAT I LOVE AND STILL HAVE A PASSION FOR.  I LIFE FILLED WITH WONDERFUL EXPERIENCES FROM RAISING MY SON, AND NOW CONTINUING TO WORK AND PRODUCE WHILE I ALSO GET TO SPEND TIME WITH MOM WHO TURNS 94 NEXT MONTH, AND MY TWO BEAUTIFUL GRANDDAUGHTERS.

Jana as Maggie in CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF at 19 at Stephens College.
Jana's most recent producing credit
What do you do to refill the well when you've worked too hard and feel your life is out of  balance.
WHENEVER I FEEL THAT I'VE DONE ALL THAT I CAN, AND MY LIFE IS OUT OF BALANCE, I GO INSIDE TO RECALL ALL THE LESSONS THAT I HAVE LEARNED
THROUGH THE SEMINARS AND SELF ACTUALIZATION COURSES I'VE TAKEN,  OR I ATTEND SERVICES IN A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE THAT HELPS ME CONNECT TO A HIGHER POWER. LASTLY I AM NEVER AFRAID TO SEEK THE COUNCIL OF A THERAPIST.  MY GOAL IS TO KEEP CONSTANTLY GROWING AND LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE WORLD AND MYSELF.

What is your biggest fear or an activity that you would never do, now that you’re older?
I'VE ALWAYS BEEN AFRAID OF HEIGHTS.  I WOULDN'T SKYDIVE WHEN I WAS YOUNGER AND I DOUBT THAT I WOULD HAVE THE NERVE TO DO IT NOW.

How do you measure success?
I MEASURE SUCCESS BY THE LOVE, LAUGHTER AND INSPIRATION THAT I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GIVE TO OTHERS... AND THE SATISFACTION THAT I HAVE ACHIEVED THROUGH USING THE GOD GIVEN TALENTS THAT WERE BESTOWED UPON ME.
Randall Wreghitt, D Tucker Smith author of ROOF OF THE WORLD which just had a successful run at Kansas City Rep in February,7 years ago at Jana's Birthday Concert at The Laurie Beechman Theater.
 

With Thom Thomas, Jeremy Holm and Scott LaFeber in New Harmony, Indiana.2004 - A MOON TO DANCE BY in New Harmony, IN - original premiere production Jana had three days to learn the entire script due to last minute casting!
How did you get started in the entertainment industry? 
with son and granddaughter

MY MOTHER TOOK DANCE LESSONS WITH GENE KELLY AND SENT ME TO DANCING SCHOOL WITH HIS SISTER AND BROTHER IN LAW WHEN I WAS FOUR YEARS OLD. I NEVER WANTED TO DO ANYTHING ELSE. I MAJORED IN THEATER IN COLLEGE AND CAME STRAIGHT TO NEW YORK.  THE FIRST SHOW I EVER SAW WAS MAN OF LA MANCHA IN WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK.  I WAS VERY LUCKY.  I GOT THE FIRST JOB I EVER AUDITIONED FOR - WHICH WAS BEING IN THE CHORUS OF SOUTH PACIFIC AT JONES BEACH, AND ONE
YEAR LATER I WAS HIRED TO COVER ALDONZA IN MAN OF LA MANCHA WITH JOSE FERRER.

What one thing would you change in the world, to make it a happier
place for yourself?

DISCRIMINATION AND PREJUDICE OF ANY KIND.
 

What disappointment ended up teaching you an essential lesson?
​I THINK THE LOSS OF A RELATIONSHIP TAUGHT ME MUCH MORE ABOUT DEALING WITH LOSS THAN THE LOSS OF ANY JOB. IT TAUGHT ME THAT LEARNING TO LOVE AN ACCEPT YOURSELF IS
Please note this is September 2015
ULTIMATELY WHAT WE ARE HERE TO DO.

What comes up next for you?
I JUST FINISHED PRODUCING THE WORLD PREMIER PRODUCTION OF ROOF OF THE WORLD AT KCREP AS A FIRST STEP ON OUR WAY OF DEVELOPING IT FOR BROADWAY. THE PRODUCTION DIRECTED BY ERIC ROSEN WAS SIMPLY SENSATION.  I AM WORKING TO IDENTIFY OUR FINAL STEP PRIOR TO BROADWAY.  I ALSO HAVE THE JAZZ AGE SLATED FOR THE WEST END.

WHAT'S THE ONE THING YOU'RE RELIEVED I DIDN'T ASK YOU?
WHEN I WILL BE "ON" STAGE NEXT - BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW, BUT I'D LOVE TO SEE THAT HAPPEN AGAIN SOON AND WAS SO THRILLED TO

DO MY CABARET SHOW "I'M STILL HERE" FOR A NICE RUN PRIOR TO LEAVING FOR KC AND ROOF OF THE WORLD.
You and me both! Please check in with Jana at JanaRobbins.com to keep up to date with ALL aspects of Jana's career.
  
Other Notable Birthdays Today
James Woods, American actor and producer.
Kenneth John "Kenny" Ortega (born April 18, 1950) is a film and television producer, director, and choreographer, best known for directing Hocus Pocus, the High School Musical trilogy, Descendants and Michael Jackson's This Is It concerts.
Eric Roberts, American actor.
Jane Leeves actress, producer, comedian, singer, and dancer. She is best known for playing Daphne Moon on the television sitcom Frasier from 1993 until 2004, for which she was nominated for Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards. She is also known for her role Joy Scroggs on TV Land's sitcom Hot in Cleveland.
Jeff Dunhamis a ventriloquist, producer, and stand-up comedian

who has also appeared on numerous television shows, including Late Show with David Letterman, Comedy Central Presents, The Tonight Show and Sonny With a Chance. He has six specials that run on Comedy Central: Jeff Dunham: Arguing with Myself, Jeff Dunham: Spark of Insanity, Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special, Jeff Dunham: Controlled Chaos, Jeff Dunham: Minding the Monsters, and Jeff Dunham: All Over the Map. Dunham also starred in The Jeff Dunham Show, a series on the network in 2009.

Eric McCormack is a Canadian/American actor, musician, and writer. Born in Toronto, he began his acting career performing in high school plays. He left Ryerson University in 1985 to accept a position with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, where he spent five years performing in numerous play productions. (Best known for Will and Grace).

Conan O'Brien is a comedian, television host, writer, producer, musician, and voice actor. He is best known for hosting several late-night talk shows; since 2010 he has hosted Conan on the cable channel TBS. O'Brien was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, and was raised in an Irish Catholic family. He served as president of The Harvard Lampoon while attending Harvard University, and was a writer for the sketch comedy series Not Necessarily the News.

And from a friend...
New Jersey Native gone Hollywood, Chase Bell, has been writing love songs because that's what song writers do...write songs about love. But what is love? What does love mean? Chase decided to ask his fans around town and here's what he's come up with. Here's a beautiful song to make you smile. 
Thank you, to all of the artists mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!


With grateful XOXOXs ,
 



 

Check out my site celebrating the legacy of Dolly Gallagher Levi!
Hello, Barbra!

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!   
        

PLEASE CELEBRATE WITH US MAY 25th in NYC at The Triad!
Richard Skipper Celebrates May 25th! A New Talk/Variety Show! He will be joined by Anna Bergman, Carolyn Montgomery-Forant, Gretchen Reinhagen, Adam Shapiro, Leslie Orofino, Wendy Scherl,
Carol Skarimbas (joined by Larry Woodard) and an all star cast celebrating the many gems of May 25th 8PM Show... AND A VERY SPECIAL BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE TO CAROLE DEMAS!Wait till you see the tribute to Beverly Sills Reservations a MUST! You Never Know Who You Might See There! http://www.richardskipper.com/celebrates.html
What would YOU like to celebrate?

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 CELEBRATE WITH US Friday, May 6th AT DON'T TELL MAMA NYC


Don't Tell Mama Presents...

Wendy Scherl returns in What Do You Do All Day?  Directed by the incredible Helen Baldasarre with great musical direction by Matthew Martin Ward. Wendy is an amazing vocalist with a rangy and rich sound. “This is someone to watch!” Go see her, you can thank me later.
- Sue Matsuki   In “What Do You Do All Day”, Wendy Scherl shares anecdotes and song about the numerous hats she wears every single day as a wife, a mother of two boys and two dogs, a short order cook, a daughter, a house manager, a chauffeur and Cabaret Singer! Her show is both touching and real, theatrical and funny!
This show WILL sell out! So reserve today and be a part of his star studded audience!
You will truly be amazed by what this full-time executive director of a family of four accomplishes every day!  Wendy will wow you with both her choice of material and her talent!
After graduating from Northwestern University with a BA in Theatre, Wendy performed in numerous
regional theatre productions around the country, including some of her favorite productions: Hair (The official 20th Anniversary Production in Chicago), Grease (numerous roles), Annie (Grace), The Pajama Game (Babe), and Godspell.  

$20.00 Cover/Two Drink Minimum Cash Only Reserve at 212-757-0788 (after 4PM or through me)

$5.00 OFF COVER OF ALL MAC MEMBERS
Richard Skipper Celebrates is the publicist for Wendy Scherl and What Do You Do All Day? at NYC's Don't Tell Mama. For press reservations, interview requests, or more information, contact Richard Skipper at Richard@RichardSkipper.com or 845-365-0720

Check out Wendy's Interview with Sue Brender HERE
 



 






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