Friday, March 31, 2017

Judi Mark, Lucille Carr-Kaffashan, The Chita Rivera Awards...and MORE!

If you're not having fun, you're doing something wrong.
Groucho Marx

Happy Friday, March 31st, 2017!
March 31 is the 90th day of the year. There are 275 days remaining until the end of the year.
It is a rainy day here in New York and I am listening to Jenny Burton and The Jenny Burton Experience singing I Want My Life Back as I embark on today's blog. Today is the last day of Women's History Month - There have been and are many women who inspire me. Some of those women are mentioned in this blog in bold.
Jenny was someone I knew in the early days of my cabaret career.
Our paths were always crisscrossing at Don't Tell Mama, a place where I made my cabaret debut.
I frequently find myself 'going home'.

This past Sunday night, I went to see Sharon McNight who was doing a show celebrating her beginnings at Don't Tell Mama in 1987, a few years before I began.
Tomorrow night, I head back for a double header, Leslie Orofino at 5PM and Lynne Charnay, celebrating her 90th birthday, at 7PM.
www.leslieorofino.com
COCKTAILS WITH COLE
with Leslie Orofino and her fabulous trio
Sat., April 1 at 5:00 and Thurs. April 20 at 7:00 at Don't Tell Mama's.
Daryl Kojak ~ piano, John Loehrke ~ bass and Rex Benincasa on drums. Beloved Sidney Myer will be their guest singer on April 1. Directed by Louis Pietig.
Dedicated to Miss Julie Wilson.
Reserve today after 4pm call 212-757-0788 or www.donttellmamanyc.com

Actress/Singer, Leslie Orofino has been enchanting sold out audiences with her sultry voice from New York City's legendary
Algonquin's Hotel's Oak Room (now defunct) to Napa Valley's Silverado Country Club for over 20 years. Ms. Orofino has several critically acclaimed
cabaret acts and appears with her trio in nightclubs, theaters and benefits.
International Cabaret Star, Julie Wilson exclaimed, " She's a winner...Leslie has a certain elegance mixed with sex appeal that sells each and every song. She's also a great comedian."

Some of Leslie's s musical theater credits range from lead roles as Sharon in Finian's Rainbow, as Mother Abbess in the Sound of Music, Miss Hannigan in Annie, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, Meg Broke in Brigadoon at the St. Bart's Players in N.Y.C. to the Westport Country Playhouse as Kay Goodman in Nite Club Confidential.

Dave Nathan said of Ms. Orofino's CD , Moonlight Cocktails, "She delivers each and every song with ease and aplomb. Solid cabaret
and highly recommended." Available on CDbaby.com.

This has been an exciting month for Lucille Carr-Kaffashan! Lucille Carr Kaffashan is an interesting cabaret performer who understand lyric. She is also smart in her singing choices. Her material is from currant female singer/songwriters of the day and I have to admit, I did not know most of this material, which is rich in context and melodic in tone. She is backed by an incredible band consisting of Musical Director and Pianist, Jeff Cubeta, Sean Harkness on Guitar and Matt Scharfglass on Bass, the audience was transported into the emotionality of the material without worrying about vocal techniques or arrangements. Ms. Kaffashan has a wonderful range and a voice that soothes.  (Source: Times Square Chronicles)

Lucille and musical director Jeff Cubeta were both honored with Bistro Awards at the 32nd annual Bistro Awards show and ceremony on March 13th. Jeff’s award is for “Musical Direction”, and her was for Outstanding Theme Show for her most recent cabaret production, Unwritten, Celebrating 21st Century Female Singer-Songwriters.

To celebrate their awards, and just because this show is so much fun, they are bringing Unwritten
Jeff Cubeta
back to Don’t Tell Mama for two performances, on Saturday, April 29 and Thursday, May 4, at 7 pm. Please join them and and their incredible musicians Sean Harkness and Matt Scharfglass. Unwritten features a mix of joyful, touching, thought-provoking and laughter-inducing 21st century songs written by outstanding artists such as Adele, Sara Bareilles, Susan Werner, Meghan Trainor and Tracy Chapman.



All the details are in the flyer (pictured) . If you’ve seen the show before and would like to see it again, contact Lucille and she'll happily arrange to waive the cover charge for you!

Times Square Chronicles:  “…Ms. Carr-Kaffashan has great interpretation that brings the music alive in so many ways…definitely a singer to catch and to follow to see where she goes next… She has the chops…the talent and…the charisma that audiences will fall in love with.”

Theater Pizzazz: “…a witty and moving musical exploration”

Also coming up in April:

April 30th 4pm – Lucille will be a guest performer in the Ann McCormack/Woody Regan show “Groovin” at Don’t Tell Mama

There's a lot happening in the world of entertainment and I want to share some of it with you today.
Fred and Adele Astaire Awards Renamed to Honor Broadway Legend Chita Rivera by Broadway.com Andy Lefkowitz - The formerly named Fred and Adele Astaire Awards will be re-established as The Chita Rivera Awards for Dance and Choreography, the nonprofit American Dance Machine announced. ... Now carrying the namesake of a two-time Tony-winning dance icon, the Chita Rivera Awards will be presented under the auspices of American Dance Machine, an organization dedicated to the preservation of great musical-theater choreography. (Source: Broadway Briefing)


Highly Recommended: SALON – that unique, MULTIPLE AWARD WINNING, Weekly Open Mic Event, created and hosted by Mark Janas will return to Etcetera, Etcetera - 352 West 44th Street, NYC 10036 – on Sunday, April 2nd from 7-10:00PM. (Sign-Up Begins at 6:15.)songs written by outstanding artists such as Adele, Sara Bareilles, Susan Werner, Meghan Trainor and Tracy Chapman.

Scott Barbarino has truly been an asset in the NYC entertainment scene AND to ME and deserves the honor and respect by his friends and fellow entertainers. I'm even singing a song! Come and celebrate the life and contributions made by Mr. Barbarino on Tuesdaynight, April 4th. Show your support by calling Metropolitan Room at 212.206.0440
$10 OFF for MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs)  Members.
Up On The Marquee: THE LITTLE FOXES.
 Manhattan Theatre Club's new Broadway production of Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes under the direction of Tony Award winner Daniel Sullivan, is currently in previews at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Laura Linney (Time Stands Still, Sight Unseen) and Cynthia Nixon (Rabbit Hole, Wit), will alternate playing the roles of Regina and Birdie, appearing opposite each other at every performance. (Source: BroadwayWorld.com)
 

I think Robert Osborne is smiling down on me! OMG! Look what just happened to me. I normally don't win things!

"Hello Richard! Congrats! You were picked by our judges as the winner of the TCM Backlot “Introduce a Movie at TCMFF” contest. "'They really liked your video – your clear love of Jezebel, your ease in front of a camera, your natural stage presence – and your jacket, I must add."
Yacov Freedman TCM Backlot Manager Thank you

If you happen to be in South Florida tomorrow (No Fooling!) Saturday April 1
JayCee Driesen will be performing at The Festival Marketplace
2900 W Sample Road Pompano Beach Showtime 1:00 pm

This is a Free Concert so bring your friends!
Singing And Shopping makes her a Happy Girl!!

A fun afternoon will be had by all...

Today, my Featured Artist Is Judi Mark!

I FEEL A SONG COMING ON!
Judi Mark returns to the Boca Black Box Theater with an EXCITING new show: an evening of song, dance, and special guest artists with the Phil Hinton Trio!
Buy Tickets Here


Please save the date: April 5, Wednesday, 7-9 PM in Boca Raton, Florida.

Over the course of her long career in show business, performer Judi Mark has sung and danced her way through dinner theaters, cabarets and distinguished venues like The Algonquin and The Copacabana. Mark pulled together many of her experiences on the stage into her one-woman show, 'Judi Mark: Dancing Through Life," which paid tribute to the singers and dancers who inspired her throughout her career. Now, Mark is back with her newest one-woman show, I Feel a Song Coming On.
This tribute to old Broadway and Hollywood nostalgia at the Boca Black Box in Boca Raton features music by The Phil Hinton Trio, among other special guests.

Judi tells me that it's time for a NEW show with the focus on

Entertainment, SONG, DANCE SPECIAL GUESTS, A TRIO…  The more the merrier!


Finish this sentence: I'm very bad at... promoting myself.

Who are Judi's artistic heroes – who have had an impact on her and your work? Liza Minnelli inspired Judi in her early days.  Also triple threat and comedic dancers like Shirley MacLaine. And, SHE LOVES LUCY!

One thing Judi would like to change about this profession and why.

I question if it is a “Profession”. 
The business seems extremely political, driven by money and exploitation of artists. Equity, SAG-AFTRA and others protect their members but Cabaret artists are not protected.
I heard that in the good old day there used to be agents and managers that really nurtured and helped performing artists and then got paid for their work.  
Now, an artist is vulnerable and exploited for the amount of money they can bring to the agent already packaged.

What is it about the business that Judi thinks has changed for the better...and for the worst since she began in it?

Performing opportunities and venues have increased throughout the country. And that is good.  The worst is trying to get an agent who will be helpful and motivated.


How important are the arts to you personally?

Very important.  It has been my life’s work. 


Are you making the kind of art that you envisioned you'd be making?

It is always evolving in a creative and fun way.


How would you describe the arts scene where you grew up?

My mother was a pianist so live music was a daily listening and bonding experience. Classical ballet was a must for me but a trek to get to classes from the suburbs to downtown in Chicago. Community musical theater was a place for me to perform.  My father was an electronic engineer and owned a recording company and label. He managed singers when I was young and they played in ‘grown up venues’ in Chicago. It seemed mysterious, glamorous and intriguing to my young self.
Judi Mark and Jeff Harnar. Photo by: Rose Billings/Blacktiemagazine.com
Who was the most influential person on your work?

My mother. Her grace, style and touch of the piano keys was something I admired as a young girl.  I liked her taste in music too-from classical to show tunes and popular.  She also wrote songs.

Do you recall some great parties in real living rooms where people got up and sang and told stories?
No.  We had to remove our shoes.  No parties there.  It was more like a museum.  I remember a statue of THE Venus De Milo in the living room. I realized at a young age that it was important to keep my figure.


Do you feel like you’re playing a party in somebody’s living room when you are on stage.
Not yet but I’m going in that direction! 

What are you most proud of?
I have accomplished so much as a performing artist: dancing, singing, acting, teaching, producing concerts and event.  I take pride on being independent.  I am also proud of my work teaching literally thousands of students that have become successful in the performing arts.

What is the one song that resonates most with you?
Today’s song: I Feel A Song Coming On







Life is so much better when you stop caring about what everyone thinks, and start to actually live for yourself!!



Maureen Kelley Stewart had her own successful show celebrating EY Harburg
Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought.” — E. Y. “Yip” Harburg

Let's Celebrate: Richard Skipper Celebrates E.Y. (YIP) HARBURG ON HIS BIRTHDAY! April 8th at 1PM at The Laurie Beechman Theater. 

Russ Woolley proudly presents Richard Skipper Celebrates...EY (YIP) HARBURG ON HIS BIRTHDAY!

Richard will be joined by Karen Oberlin, Leslie Orofino, Maureen Kelley Stewart AND...A MYSTERY GUEST

All under the musical Direction of Daryl Kojak with Rex Benincasa on percussion and Jeff Carney on bass. This is a 1PM SHOW! (90 minutes) At The Laurie Beechman Theater Reservations a Must! Please ReserveToday

Nobody celebrates legends like Richard Skipper.
The interior of the Laurie Beechman Theatre
If one of your faves is being feted, there's nowhere on earth more fun to be. And honestly even if you don't care about the honoree, master showman Richard and his talented crew serve up a fabulously good time.
-Ben Rimalower

$30 Cover and $20 Minimum per person

You Never Know Who You Might See There and what might happen!

https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe.c/10155315

 

Sit Back! A New News Cycle Is About to Begin!


Thank you, to ALL who are mentioned in this blog for showing me that it is up to ME to lead by example!


With grateful XOXOXs ,
 





Click on banner to go to website



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!  
  

Keeping America great through Art!     


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

 
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com




Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Susan Eichhorn Young: Why, Anita Gillette as Mae Peterson, and MORE!


Susan Eichhorn Young
 'Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.'
- Jim Elliot

Happy March 28th!
March 28 is the 87th day of the year. It is a rainy day here in NY and I am listening to my dear departed friend Shelly Cullin singing on my iPod, You Do Something To Me.
I was introduced to her many years ago in my 'Carol Channing' days by Trevor Logan who managed The now defunct Plush Room in San Francisco.

Shelly was in the ORIGINAL company of Lend An Ear in May 1948 in Los Angeles, California. Gower Champion became involved and went from advisor to choreographer to being credited as "Dances and Musical Numbers Staged by..." Lend an Ear premiered at the Las Palmas Theatre, Los Angeles, on June 14, 1948. In that company was Carol Channing, who went on to Broadway and the rest is history. Shelly did not go to Broadway but had a successful singing career.
I was lucky to call Shelly (and husband Bill) my friends.
As I look back over my life, I have been fortunate with all the people that have come through my life.
Anita Gillette as Mae Peterson! Are you paying attention NBC?
They have all helped to shape who I am today.
Tonight is the MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Awards here in NYC. Alas, I am unable to attend this year. I wish all involved a highly successful fun filled evening.
One friend in particular who is nominated tonight is Anita Gillette. I absolutely love this woman and I am lucky enough to call her friend and I have been lucky enough to share a stage with her as well a few times.
Anita and Rosie together again!
When I heard that the next NBC Live musical (set for December) is doing Bye Bye Birdie, I immediately thought of Anita as Mae Peterson!
It will be starring Jennifer Lopez as Rosie. Anita and Rosie have already appeared together on screen, in the film Shall We Dance?
NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said that Jennifer went to them and said, 'I love this movie and I'd love to do it,'". Asked if she'd do it live, Lopez — who Greenblatt pointed out has a show in Las Vegas where she performs the song "Lot of Livin'" from the musical  — responded, "Absolutely."
In my research, I discovered that Anita HAS played Mae!
It's a no-brainer! She can act! She can sing!! She has impeccable timing! AND she has played more mothers than anyone I know! Harvey Fierstein, who do I speak to? NBC, are you listening?

Today, I also celebrate Susan Eichorn Young!
Susan’s introduction to the world of theatre began as a child, as she carried the scripts for the plays her dramaturge father was directing and producing, to rehearsals. She became his assistant, and often read lines for the actors who were not at certain rehearsals! At the age of 4, her dad needed a child extra for an opening scene, and her foot hit the boards and the rest, they say, is history!
Susan grew up in a small town in Saskatchewan, Canada.  Believe it or not, they still had access to great training and performing arts, even if they had to travel to see it!
 It is, now more than ever,  NECESSARY in order to take a stand for the integrity of human kind. She was very blessed to have a family that was in the arts , so she  was immersed in it from the beginning of her life.

I asked Susan, Why this show?
She tells me that it is now the time to return to the stage in a one-woman show.
She and her husband Thomas Young were in a near fatal auto accident in 2011. Life changed significantly for both.  She had been on stage as a “guest” here and there, but she hadn’t started creating again for a full show, simply because she felt she couldn’t.
with one of her students, Katy Lindhart






She knew she was stronger physically,  even though there are still, to this day, many challenges, she has been building her stamina to do a show again.  She desired to re-emerge in that “new normal” and create something that might reveal some universal truths through her journey.

She approached her friend and colleague, Trent Armand Kendall,  to see if he would be interested in coming on board to direct, and they began the collaboration of honing in to discover what Susan really wanted to say, and wanted to reveal.  According to Susan, Trent is great at taking an overview and getting to the necessary specificity to build something honest. Steven Ray Watkins came on board as music director,  and Susan tells me that his brilliance for arrangements for her voice and her musical footprint has added much depth.
with husband Thomas Young

Susan and her team “re-emerged” in November of 2016 at The Laurie Beechman Theatre to a sold out house - and she was home again!
April 13th they bring it back - with more detail and specificity.  "Don’t we always do that?  Projects are never “done” - they are always morphing and developing."

Finish this sentence: I'm very bad at...procrastination if I don’t feel fully inspired!

Who are Susan's artistic heroes
 – who have had an impact on her and her work? 
So many…Maria Callas, Teresa Stratas, Annie Lennox,  Meryl Streep,  Viola Davis,  her voice teacher and her friend, Irena Welhasch-Baerg;  and many of her  students in the voice studio inspire her daily.
with Amy Marie Stewart

If Susan had the opportunity to stand up for the NEA, what would she say?  
As stated earlier, she is a Canadian by birth,  but has lived in the US for well over a decade full time.  She believes in the arts are crucial in the develop of the human spirit.  It is HUMANITY that creates a society.
"We need to nurture that in the lives of our children if we want our society to grow and develop.  Having a clear platform that supports the development of that through the NEA is not an 'extra'."

What is it about the business that Susan thinks has changed for the better...and for the worst since she began in it?
Susan thinks slowly, ever so slowly,  more diversity is being invited to the table.  We aren’t there yet, but it’s coming.
She believes that with the “American Idol” mentality,  too many people think they want a career, yet have no real
training or craft or understanding about what that actually means.
As a voice teacher,  she sees that regularly.

How important are the arts to Susan personally?  
They are everything.  She grew up surrounded by music, theatre, literature and learning to think critically.  She can’t even imagine being alive without them.
Is Susan making the kind of art thatshe envisioned she'd be making? 
Life takes us in all kinds of directions,  and
One of my favorite photos with Susan
sometimes throws curve balls.
She always desired to sing,  to act,  to create.
 The “where” continued to morph and she tried to let go of that to allow the possibilities to be what they were. When Susan is creating something true and honest and challenging herself,  then she is making the kind of art she has envisioned. 
another fabulous shot by James E. Alexander, SneakPeek Photography! and hair/makeup by Bridie Coughlan

Gearing up for the show next Saturday!


To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.
 -- George Orwell

Jazz hands before the age of one! HA!
When it comes to Susan's work, her father is a true hero. She tells me that he was an artist in the truest sense, and he taught her how to think,  how to query,  how to discover and look for more. Susan tells me that he will always be her hero. He believed in her, even when she couldn’t believe in herself.


Susan remembers many living room parties through the years in different cities in different countries
with J. Ernest Green
that she has been honored to be a part of - many impromptu and always inspiring!
with Valerie Lemon


Like most in our cabaret community, Susan sometimes feels like she's playing a party in somebody’s living room when she  is on stage. 
Sometimes!  Cabaret does allow for that proximity and that intimacy. 
One of the many reasons why she loves the genre.

What is Susan most proud of?  Being a mother.  Her daughter,  Erin Elizabeth Eichhorn,  has always been the true light in Susan's world.
What is the one song that resonates most with Susan?
Whatever she sang last!


 Don't miss Susan Eichhorn Young when she returns to The Laurie Beechman Theater on April 13th! Order your tickets HERE.

Tomorrow, I celebrate Wayne Stafford

On Sunday afternoon, I was lucky enough to interview David France. How nice to get this testimonial today: Thank you, Prof. Patricia Lander!

Richard Skipper did a magnificent job on Sunday March 26 interviewing David France, author of "How To Survive A Plague" at the Nyack Library.  Richard had great rapport but also asked questions that cut into the material from different angles, which certainly added to the liveliness of the answers.  The interview added a great deal to what might have been simply an author's "reading."
Prof. Patricia Lander, Nanuet, NY

That's not all that happened to me today!
"Hello Richard! Congrats! You were picked by our judges as the winner of the TCM Backlot “Introduce a Movie at TCMFF” contest. "'They really liked your video – your clear love of Jezebel, your ease in front of a camera, your natural stage presence – and your jacket, I must add."
Yacov Freedman TCM Backlot Manager


Click HERE to see the winning clip.

Life is so much better when you stop caring about what everyone thinks, and start to actually live for yourself!!


Sit back! A new news cycle is about to begin!
Thank you, to ALL who are mentioned in this blog for showing me that it is up to ME to lead by example!



With grateful XOXOXs ,
 



Click on banner to go to website



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!  
  

Let's Celebrate: Richard Skipper Celebrates EY (YIP) HARBURG)
ON HIS BIRTHDAY! April 8th at 1PM at The Laurie Beechman Theater. Russ Woolley proudly presents Richard Skipper Celebrates...EY (YIP) HARBURG ON HIS BIRTHDAY!

Richard will be joined by Karen Oberlin, Leslie Orofino, Maureen Kelley Stewart AND...Other Special Surprises!

Karen Oberlin

All under the musical Direction of Daryl Kojak with Rex Benincasa on percussion and Jeff Carney on bass. This is a 1PM SHOW! (90 minutes) At The Laurie Beechman Theater Reservations a Must! Please Reserve Today

Nobody celebrates legends like Richard Skipper. If one of your faves is being feted, there's nowhere on earth more fun to be. And honestly even if you don't care about the honoree,
Leslie Orofino
master showman Richard and his talented crew serve up a fabulously good time.
-Ben Rimalower


$30 Cover and $20 Minimum per person

You Never Know Who You Might See There and what might happen!


Keeping America great through Art!     


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

 
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com