Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Jane Withers, Helen Forrest, Ann Miller...and MORE!

Shirley Temple and Birthday Girl Jane Withers in the film Bright Eyes
“He liked being unusual so that people would talk about him.” -Jane Withers quote about James Dean

Happy Tuesday, April 12th, 2016!
Happy National GRILLED CHEESE DAY!!!
April 12 is the 103rd day of this year. There are 263 days remaining until the end of the year. As I sat down to write this blog, it is a rainy day here in NY.
As I sit down to begin this blog, Kristen Chenowith is singing Veronique from the recent revival of On The Town. I have my coffee and hopefully you will grab one two and enjoy all that we have to celebrate today.

I begin by wishing Jane Withers a very Happy Birthday! Beginning a prolific career as a child actress at the age of three, Withers is a Young Artist Award–Former Child Star "Lifetime Achievement" Award honoree, best known for being one of the most popular child film stars of the 1930s and early 1940s, as well as for her portrayal of "Josephine the Plumber" in a series of TV commercials for Comet cleanser in the 1960s and early 1970s and probably best known for playing the obnoxious Joy Smythe in the movie she paired with Shirley Temple, Bright Eyes. Also a singer, she debuted the Jule Styne-Sammy Cahn torch song Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry in 1944 in Glad To See You, a Broadway-bound musical which closed out of town in Philadelphia.

Today is also the birthday of Helen Forrest, Ann Miller, and Henry Ned Miller. Helen Forrest She served as the "girl singer" for three of the most popular big bands of the Swing Era (Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and Harry James), thereby earning a reputation as "the voice of the name bands."Ned is an American former country music artist.
Active as a recording artist from 1956 to 1970, he is known primarily for his hit single, From a Jack to a King, a crossover hit in 1962 which reached Top 10 on the country music, adult contemporary, and Billboard Hot 100
Happy Birthday, Ned Miller
charts. He had several more chart singles in his career, although none matched the success of From a Jack to a King. He composed and recorded Invisible Tears, which was later recorded by Charles Manson,Connie Smith, Bobby Bare, and the Ray Conniff Singers.
Today is also the birthday of Tiny Tim. I appeared with him in a revue in the mid eighties.
"Ed" O'Neill is best known for his role as the main character, Al Bundy, on the Fox Network sitcom Married... with Children, for which he was nominated for two Golden Globes.
Since 2009, O'Neill has played patriarch Jay Pritchett on the award-winning ABC sitcom Modern Family, a role for which he has been nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards and won four Screen Actors Guild Awards.
 Alexander "Alex" Briley performs the "G.I." role in the disco music group Village People.
Briley was born and raised in Harlem, New York and later Mount Vernon, New York. A minister's son, he sang in church from an early age and studied voice at the University of Hartford.
David Cassidy, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor.
Vince Gill, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (Pure Prairie League and The Notorious Cherry Bombs)

Notable Transitions on This Date
Remembering Arthur Freed today
Don't try to be different. Just be good. To be good is different enough. ~ Arthur Freed died on April 12, 1973

1975 – Josephine Baker, American-French actress, singer, and dancer (b. 1906)
On this date in 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt passed on. 
AND today, at the age of 62, David Gest.  

On April 12, 1961, the year I was born, aboard the spacecraft Vostok 1, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin becomes the first human being to travel into space. During the flight, the 27-year-old test pilot and industrial technician also became the first man to orbit the planet, a feat accomplished by his space capsule in 89 minutes. Vostok 1 orbited Earth at a maximum altitude of 187 miles and was guided entirely by an automatic control system.
The only statement attributed to Gagarin during his one hour and 48 minutes in space was, “Flight is proceeding normally; I am well.”(Read MORE)

On this date in 1861, the Civil War began when Fort Sumpter was fired upon in my home state of South Carolina.

In Entertainment News

Jim Speake is doing 2 concerts in celebration of his 2016 Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs LaMott-Friedman Recording of the Year, Sweet Life at The Laurie Beechman Theatre.  Tonight at 7PM and Saturday afternoon at 4PM.

Friar George Bettinger will be celebrating Eddie Cantor, George Jessel and Groucho Marx at The Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City on may 13th. Tickets can be acquired at Jolson.org

Just a reminder that The Singing Experience "Spring Fling!" will perform on Wednesday evening, April 13th at The Triad (158 West 72nd Street - upstairs).
Showtime: 7:30pm (doors open at 7:00pm for seating).
Call 212 315-3500 for Reservations or email LABstarmaker@gmail.com to let them know that you are going. ($15 music charge at the door/2 drink minimum)

                    Meet The Cast:
Joan Adams, Josh Berresford, Linda Amiel Burns, Rachel Daddino, Richard Danley, Rocelli DeGuzman, Bill Dyszel, Suzannah Grady, Matt Lewis, Nicci Nicholas, Viktoria Sass, Mary Carol Tedeschi, Bill Thomas.

              The Production Team:
Producer/Director: Linda Amiel Burns, Music Director: Richard Danley, Associate Director: Joan Adams, Tech Director: Shannon Epstein, Videographer: Jeremy Handelman, Graphics/Designer: Liz Burns.

The only "April Showers" predicted for tomorrow night is in song!   Keep singing!

Congratulations to E. Faye Butler, one of my Dollys!, for receiving the Rosetta LeNoir Award from Actor's Equity!  Upon studying E. Faye Butler’s Equity curriculum vitae it’s apparent that much of her union work has been rooted in finding and providing a voice to those in the minority. A current CRB non-Councillor and an Equity member since 1986, Butler has served on several committees, running the gauntlet of union activity — from LORT to Production to Dinner Theatre and Education and Outreach. She’s spent much of her time as a member of the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Committee as a well as the EEO subcommittees Women’s, Senior Performers and Performers with Disabilities. (Source Actors Equity Newsletter)

When the indomitable Marilyn Maye has a birthday party, you can believe it’s like no other. What
Photo courtesy Magda Katz
more could she possibly give to the jam-packed room at New York’s #1 Nightclub on April 10? Well, aside from every song that has become the highlight favorites of her repertoire, by the time you finish reading this, you’ll know much, much more! (Source: Theatre Pizzazz: Read MORE)

Speaking of Feinstein's...

FEINSTEIN’S/54 BELOW, Broadway’s Supper Club, presents The Girls in White: Songs from the Show on Friday, April 22, 2016. Set in post-depression era Texas, The Girls in White is inspired by a true story about a group of incarcerated women who form a band and become an overnight sensation through a prison-based radio program. In their newfound fame, they dream of being pardoned and set free. A story of hope and redemption, The Girls in White is “Chicago” meets “Orange is the New Black” with a country twang.
The Girls in White: Songs from the Show plays Feinstein’s/54 Below (254 West 54th Street) on Friday, April 22nd, 2016.  There is a $15 cover charge and $20 food and beverage minimum. Tickets and information are available at www.54Below.com. Tickets on the day of performance after 4:00 are only available by calling (646) 476-3551.

From Adam Shapiro: I want to make sure everyone is aware that for the next four weeks, there is a fabulous competition happening at The Metropolitan Room. For the fourth year in a row, Joseph Macchia is producing The Metropolitan Room's NEXT TOP DRAG QUEEN! Hosted by Holly Dae (who performed and presented at this year's MAC Awards), this is a competition for drag queens who sing live. (No lip syncing allowed) The judges include several names you know, including Stacy Sullivan, Dorothy Bishop, and ME (and I always dress for the weekly theme) and the musical director for the whole competition is the always incredible Tracy Stark! Last night was the most epic night the competition has ever had and next week, the top ten finalists will compete for the crown. If you have yet to check it out, get down to The Metropolitan Room next Monday at 7:00. It may be a drag, but you'll have the time of your life! CLICK HERE TO ORDER TIX. 

Artist Worth Celebrating
Today, I celebrate Lucille Carr-Kaffashan.
Lucille Carr-Kaffashan’s last two cabaret outings were critically acclaimed shows that
celebrated the work of the Beatles and of 1970’s female singer-songwriters. She
continues this tradition with her brand new show “Unwritten, Celebrating 21st Century
Female Singer-Songwriters.” This May, Lucille brings her love for songwriting artists
to Don’t Tell Mama, New York City’s legendary cabaret theater and piano bar. With
musical director Jeff Cubeta on piano and back-up vocals, Sean Harkness on guitar,
and Matt Scharfglass on bass, Lucille will  perform Unwritten on Saturday, May 7 at
3:00 pm, on Thursday May 19 at 7:00 pm, and on Friday, May 20 at 7:00 pm.
Don’t Tell Mama is located at 343 West 46th Street in New York City, between 8th
and 9th Avenues. There is a $20 music charge ($15 for MAC, Cabaret Hotline Online and American Popular Song Society members), plus a two drink minimum at each performance.
Reservations can be made by calling 212-757-0788 after 4 pm.
With direction by David Hilder, this show features a diverse collection of 21st century songs written by outstanding artists such as Adele, Annie Lennox, Sara Bareilles, Susan Werner, Meghan Trainor and Tracy Chapman. The program reflects the voices of women in their early 20’s as well as those in their 60’s, and every decade in between, opening a window to the hearts and minds of contemporary women. 
Lucille is the recipient of the prestigious Hanson Award, presented each year to one individual by the Manhattan Association of Cabaret and Clubs.
Lucille performed for a number of years in the regional productions of the New Jersey-based Entertainers Theater before developing her first cabaret act. Since her Don’t Tell Mama debut in

1999, she has presented nine different one-woman shows at clubs in New York City,

New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, including Mama Rose’s, The Encore, Helen’s, Odette’s, The Stockton Inn, and Bob Egan’s Cabaret Supper Club. She has also appeared as a
guest performer in special productions at the Laurie Beechman Theater and the Metropolitan Room in NYC, and Tim McCloone’s Supper Club in Asbury Park.
For additional information:
Call or e-mail Lucille Carr-Kaffashan @ 908-812-2106, lucilleck@gmail.com
Here is our interview:
Please send me a brief message about what this show means to you:

This show features the music of contemporary female singer-songwriters of all ages. I came into adulthood at the height of the Women’s Liberation Movement, so I have always been interested in exploring the impact of that social movement on the lives of both women and men. I have distinct memories of watching the women in my mother’s and grandmothers’ generations as they embraced the women’s movement, and at the same
time tried to maintain relationships that were based on the social norms of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. I also have a long-standing admiration and appreciation for singer-songwriters. My prior two shows celebrated the Beatles, and female singer-songwriters of the 70’s, so my current show – Unwritten, Celebrating 21st Century Female Singer-Songwriters – is a natural outgrowth of those retrospective tributes.

The biggest challenge you’re facing right now

My biggest challenge right now is aging gracefully, that is, practicing living in the moment and not being consumed with worry about what the future will hold.

Who originally inspired you to sing/perform/act?

My parents’ house was always filled with music of all kinds, and I was in choirs and glee clubs throughout my school years. My paternal grandfather had a band, and I’ve heard stories about my father being able to “play piano by ear”.
But he never pursued his talents, I guess partly because no one encouraged him, and partly because he worked so hard to support our family. So maybe it runs in the family, but I’ve been blessed with the time and resources to pursue my passion.

What do you do to refill the well when you've worked too hard and feel your life is out of  balance.

I practice yoga regularly; I crash on the couch and watch trash TV; I read novels and see movies to open myself up to other ideas and perspectives; and I love to lie on the beach and soak in the sights and sounds.

What is your biggest fear or an activity that you would never do,
now that you’re older?

I used to love to ice skate, even though I was never very good. But I am terrified of falling and breaking something now!

How do you measure success?

Have I touched someone’s life in a meaningful way? Have I expressed and/or fulfilled as many aspects of myself as possible?

DO YOU COOK? If yes, What is your specialty? Share
your recipe with my readers! If not, what is your favorite restaurant?

Yes, and I love ethnic cooking. I am Italian-American and my husband is from Iran, so I’m pretty good with both of those cuisines.

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

I would slow down the pace, and coax everyone to live more in the present moment, including myself.

What disappointment ended up teaching you an essential lesson?
The times that I was not selected for jobs I had wanted within organizations where I worked, I realized that self-doubt and anxiety about taking risks held me back.

What comes up next for you?
Right now I am totally focused on the opening of my new show, and performing it as many times as feasible this year. After that, I hope to promote all 3 singer-songwriter tribute shows that I have created, in the tri-state area and beyond.

I’m glad you didn’t ask about my extensive theater/performing resume because I don’t have one. Most of my performing experience is within the cabaret world, starting in 1999. I have spent 40 plus years training for and working full time as a clinical psychologist, making whatever time available for artistic endeavors.

What does your art help you express or resolve?
Singing and creating cabaret shows helps me more fully express the thoughts and emotions that get lost in the busy-ness of everyday life. It is way to reflect on and articulate what I learn about life and myself as time passes.

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!
Happy Birthday, Ann Miller!


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

Keeping Entertainment LIVE!

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com


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)

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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