Monday, April 11, 2016

Joel Grey, Louise Lasser, Ronald Rand...and More!

Happy Birthday, Joel Grey


When you are in a good theatre show, it is a wonderful and very fulfilling experience, entertaining a large audience and their showing their appreciation for your efforts.
Joel Grey

Happy Monday, April 11th, 2016!
April 11 is the 102nd day of this year. There are 264 days remaining until the end of the year.
Apr 11, 1961: Bob Dylan plays his first major gig in New York City

Bob Dylan and Suze Rotolo
Who knows how many other young men arrived in New York City in the winter of 1961, the year I was born,  looking like James Dean and talking like Jack Kerouac? It would have been difficult to pick Bob Dylan out of the crowd at first, considering how much he had in common with the other Bohemian kids kicking around Greenwich Village. Artistic ambition? Check. Antipathy toward mainstream culture? Yes. A desire to put his middle-class identity behind him? Definitely. But the singular creative vision that would separate Dylan from the rest of his peers and change the face of popular music wasn’t really in evidence yet. What Bob Dylan did have, though, in addition to his guitar and harmonica, was a unique stage presence and a vast library of American folk songs in his repertoire. On April 11, 1961, a Tuesday night, he got his first real chance to put those on display with his first major gig in New York City, opening for bluesman John Lee Hooker at Gerde’s Folk City. Blowin' in the Wind was on Bob Dylan's set list as the Minnesota émigré opened for bluesman John Lee Years later, I would enter a contest on Halloween night performing at that same club as Carol Channing! (Read more about Bob Dylan's appearance HERE).
The trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann began in Jerusalem on this date. Eichmann, accused of more than six million murders, was found guilty on August 14, and hanged on May 31, 1962.
On this date in 1964,  Anyone Can Whistle  closes at Majestic Theater New York City after 9 performances.
1967,  Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, premieres.
Also in 1967, Illya Darling opens at Mark Hellinger Theater New York City for 320 performances.
On this date in 1970, The Beatles' Let It Be, single goes #1 and stays #1 for 2 weeks.
1971, Johnny Johnson opens/closes at Edison Theater New York City for 1 performance.
1980, Paul McCartney releases Coming Up.
1981, Valerie Bertinelli marries Eddie Van Halen and Ronald Reagan arrives home from hospital after Hinkley shot him.
1983,  55th Academy Awards - Gandhi, Ben Kingsley and Meryl Streep win.
1991,New York City's Museum of Broadcasting becomes "Museum of Radio and Television" AND  Miss Saigon, opens at Broadway Theater New York City.
1996 King and I premieres at Neil Simon Theater in New York City for 781 perform. I saw Marie Osmond and Kevin Grey in this production.
One of my favorite artists is celebrating his birthday today, Joel Grey. I first became aware of Joel Grey in the mid seventies when ABC television aired Cabaret for the first time. It is no mystery that he won both an Oscar and a Tony for playing this role. It encapsulated everything that being an entertainer involves. It was/is a performance that encapsulates it all and it fits Mr. Grey like a glove.
Actor, singer, dancer Joel Grey photographed in New York City in 1967

Joel Grey (born Joel David Katz; April 11, 1932) is an American actor, singer, dancer, and photographer. He is best known for portraying the Master of Ceremonies in both the stage and film versions of the Kander and  Ebb musical Cabaret. He has won the Academy Award, Tony Award, and Golden Globe Award. He also originated the role of George M. Cohan in the musical George M! in 1973, and the Wizard of Oz in the musical Wicked. He also starred as Moonface Martin in the Broadway revivals of Anything Goes, and as Amos Hart in Chicago.
He recently came out as a gay man and wrote about his complicated personal and professional journey in a new memoir, saying, "I'm still joyous in my life and can't wait for tomorrow." (Read MORE)
You can order Grey's book HERE.
One seldom becomes an overnight sensation. However, given the right opportunity, one can suddenly be discovered, which is precisely what happened when Joel Grey took over the stage in 1966 as the lecherous emcee in Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret. His portrayal made him a household name, a success he later confirmed when he played the character again in the film version. This enabled him to become a “star,” in the right sense of the word, something that also led to his recording albums under his own name, a privilege afforded to those who have made a name for themselves. Right on the heels of his appearance in Cabaret, he recorded the appropriately titled “Only The Beginning,” in which he “covered” various show tunes, sprinkled with contemporary material; a couple of years later, he returned to the studio to do “Black Sheep Boy,” for which he selected some of the songs that were popular at the time. The coupling of both albums on this CD reissue provides a fresh glimpse into the solo recording career of a performer who had become the toast of Broadway and Hollywood, and who was… well, an overnight sensation! (Source: MasterWorks Broadway. Read MORE)

Today, is also the birthday of Louise Lasser.
She is known for her portrayal of the title character on the soap opera parody Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. She was married to Woody Allen and appeared in several of his early films.

Lasser was born in New York City, the daughter of Paula and S. Jay Lasser, a tax expert.She studied political science at Brandeis University. She was married to Woody Allen from 1966 to 1970. She lives in Manhattan and teaches acting technique at HB Studio.
Bill Irwin, Hugh Carey, Oleg Cassini were also born on this date.

Today, I also celebrate Ronald Rand. Ronald Rand is a stage and film actor, educator, director, playwright, producer, and newspaper publisher. A U.S. Cultural Goodwill Ambassador, Rand has performed his one-man show, "Let It Be Art!" as Harold Clurman since 2001 in 23 countries and 20 states. Founder and Publisher of the newspaper, The Soul of the American Actor, he is also the author of Acting Teachers of America. He has a crowdfunding campaign for a new book going on at the time of this writing that I have contributed to and I hope you will as well. The book is called CREATE! A Captivating Collection of Interviews. It is all about creativity and the creative process and you know what that means to me. Here is our mini interview.

Ronald Rand
What does this book mean to you?
I’m thrilled to be able to talk with you about CREATE! which is a dream come true!
CREATE! A Captivating Collection of Interviews
How the World's Most Creative People Live to Create and Create to Live
Internationally Celebrated Actors, Actresses, Artists, Choreographers, Composers and Lyricists,

Dancers, Directors, Educators, Musicians, Playwrights, Poets, Singers and Writers
Originally I was able to share these extraordinary artists and beautiful friends I’ve come to know was so special having them in my newspaper, “The Soul of the American Actor,” and now I’m able to share them in this new book is overwhelmingly beautiful! It’s an opportunity to share these artists’ dreams, their desires to create art and bring so much hope and joy to their fellow human beings, that’s what touches me the most.
As an artist myself I know what it takes, so this is an even more of a special opportunity for me to reveal the choices it takes, the sacrifices, the humanity, the love, the peace it brings and what it takes to bring creation into the world. Perhaps a thought here and there will perhaps make us more aware of our own journey.

Which entertainer is your favorite these days and why?

Every artist in the moment I experience is my “favorite.” Right now I listening and watching Sting, so he’s making my heart soar! I just read a blog by Jack Garfein about his time with Beckett – I went soaring! Earlier I read Arthur Miller’s words in a book, I read Rumi’s poetry, and danced to Phil Collins and Enrique Iglesias, and my heart leapt with Ballet Hispanico yesterday at their matinee – never stops!!!

What is your secret to keeping the balance between “Show Biz” and home life?
Ronald Rand as Harold Clurman

To have fun! Love of life is everything – it depends upon how much I keep my heart open and respond with all of me – with no judgement, and remember how lucky I am and blessed every moment.

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

I love what I do and do what I love so I trust my inner being knows the path. I know all is well and I just trust. Nature is a great restorer. I try and go and sit along a lake when I’m able to and listen to the birds.
LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman's Life of Passion

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

I don’t do numbers, so I keep getting younger, as we all do. Why have fears – I know the universe supports my bliss – and if rain comes, as it might, in the next moment the sunshine will come out – so I accept and love life and nature and art.

How do you measure success?

Since I stopped doing numbers, I don’t think that way. If my performance or a class I teach
or a work of art I’ve created touches the heart of another and we can share and learn from one another or just share a beautiful moment or have a beautiful experience in the moment, what more can one ask. I live a life in service to others.

Do you cook? If yes, What is your specialty? Share your recipe with my readers! If not, what is your favorite restaurant?

I love to cook. But I eat very simply. No spices. One of my favorite dish to cook is honey chicken. I simply sautée thin pieces of chicken,  add a touch of salt, a thin layer of honey as its cooking in virgin olive oil, and voila. Add a few asparagus on top as it simmers. Add rosemary!

What one thing would you change in the world, to make it a happier place for yourself?
Ronald Rand's latest painting

Laugh and tango more!

What disappointment ended up teaching you an essential lesson?

I kept hearing: “Let it go.” But then I read you can’t let go of something that’s already gone. All you have is now – this moment so Smile and keep loving Life!

What comes up next for you?

To keep learning, loving and experiencing more!! Sharing more performances bringing to students and audiences Harold Clurman
across America and around the world in my solo play, LET IT BE ART! Hard to believe it’s already my 15th year – and sharing my Art of Transformation Workshops – and keeping myself open!

What's the one thing you're relieved i didn't ask you?

What’s the meaning of existence since you already know the answer.
Much success with this book, Ronald! Everyone, please visit Ronald's Website for more info.
As an artist myself I know what it takes, so this is an even more of a special opportunity for me to reveal the choices it takes, the sacrifices, the humanity, the love, the peace it brings and what it takes to bring creation into the world. Perhaps a thought here and there will perhaps make us more aware of our own journey.

​I'd love to invite any one who would like to learn more about the book to visit: HERE
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!
Bette Midler is the best woman to revive '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 our party TOMORROW NIGHT, April 12th, for Jim Speake at The Laurie Beachman Theatre

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

Happy Birthday, Sally Darling!

Keeping Entertainment LIVE!

Richard Skipper,


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 or 845-365-0720

Check out Wendy's Interview with Sue Brender HERE

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