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 ,
 



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1 comment:

  1. thank you Richard!!! You are such a gift to our business and to humanity - and a soul friend to me! XO Susan

    ReplyDelete