Thursday, November 16, 2017

Kim David Smith, Molly Pope, Lance Ringel...and MORE!

Kim David Smith and Molly Pope Photo credit:Travis Chantar
Genius is talent set on fire by courage.
-Henry Van Dyke

Happy November 16th, 2017!

November 16 is the 320th day of the year. There are 45 days remaining until the end of the year. 
It seems like everything is moving counter to your trajectory. It just forces me to work harder. 
Like the sands of the hour glass, the days of 2017 are dwindling to a precious few. This has been a year of many ups and downs, many gains and losses, Many achievements, and yes a few life lessons. I don't refer to them as failures.
Sometimes I feel invisible but I forge ahead. This doesn't mean I should give up on my goals. Sometimes, a sideways approach is just the thing needed in order to get to paradise.


Kim David Smith
Today's blog is about a few artists that are anything but invisible and haven't given up on their goals. Two such artists are Kim David Smith and Molly Pope. 
They are joining forces to close out 2017on a high note. They are bringing their immense talents together in a show entitled No Thrill From Champagne: a NYE Celebration.Celebrate the New Year and wipe your slate clean in style with a champagne-sprinkled evening of Cole Porter, Nöel Coward, and Marlene Dietrich-inspired delinquency at the hands of two of Downtown NYC’s favorite post-ingenues, Molly Pope (“Heft” - The New York Times) and Kim David Smith (“the male Marlene Dietrich” - The New York Times). 
Order your tix HERE.
Musically directed by Tracy Stark, No Thrill summons the glamour of yesteryear amid surprising arrangements of contemporary music, brought to life in the glow of Pangea’s intimate cabaret setting (with both an early seating at 8PM, and a late show at 10:30PM!). Take a friend, bring a lover (or two) and join Molly and Kim as they kiss goodnight to 2017
Molly Pope
and welcome in the new!

Here is my Pop Up Interview with both.


Kim David Smith
Described by Broadway World as the "David Bowie of cabaret," "slyly subversive" by the Wall Street Journal, and labeled the "male Marlene Dietrich" by the New York Times, Australian Kim David Smith is a Helpmann Award nominated singer and cabaret performer, known for his Weimar-era inspired works that juxtapose authentic musical material with stylistic
takes on current popular tunes. His electro-pop albums Nova, Supernova, and cabaret EP, The Tease, are available on iTunes and Amazon.

What person do you most admire, living or dead? 
I think Joey Arias and Thierry Mugler are wonders, and Alyssa Edwards a national treasure. I'm not necessarily a worshipful person, so it's hard to pick one individual I admire over all others, but my mind is pretty consistently blown by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Do you continue to tweak after a show opens? 
My shows are usually pretty amorphous, for example Morphium Kabarett, my current solo cabaret program, has been evolving over the course of several years and includes at times repertoire from my pop records, music associated with Marlene Dietrich, classical art song, bawdy German cabaret tunes, and reimagined items from the likes of Kylie Minogue, the Supremes, and Madonna. 
Kim David Smith by Brian Jamie. NYC, 2015
The overall vibe of the show is maintained, but I love shuffling songs in and out of the lineup. Mine and Molly's show, "No Thrill From Champagne" is being created as we speak and will have its first outing on December 31 -- so we're in that exciting, busy little creative-bubble, working on arrangements and the like.   

How did you and Molly Pope come together on this project? If you have worked together before? What is it that you like most working with her?  

Molly and I have been friends for ten years now, pretty much ever since I moved to NYC from Australia. We have collided often at Joe's Pub, and Vlada (when it existed), and have guested in one another's shows in the past, and are finally making good on mutual threats to conceive a duo show together!

What significant impact has Molly had on your career...if anything 

Photo Credit: Allison Michael Orenstein
That remains to be seen! Our relationship and the positives therein have manifested more on a personal level within a proscenium of musical respect; we have cackled over middling gigs, celebrated one another's triumphs, and ignored one another for months at a time when life gets intolerably busy.

What one thing do you think you have learned from your involvement with working with Molly so far that you think you will carry forward in your career?  

That a sense of humor is invaluable, and juggling is inevitable!

MOLLY POPE
is a critically acclaimed singer and actor whose shows have played Joe’s Pub, Feinstein’s/54 Below, Feinstein’s at the Regency, Ars Nova, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, OBERON (A.R.T.), Teatro ZinZanni (Joe's Pub Seattle), and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in Australia.  She has been named a Time Out New York “Top Ten Cabaret Act of 2008” and 2012 and a Village Voice Best of NYC 2011 for “Best Singer To Turn Life Into A Cabaret.”  Most recently she recorded her first album, An Audience with Molly Pope, live at Joe's Pub. 
Hailed as “One of downtown cabaret's most adventurous performers" by the New York Times, she has also performed at The Cafe Carlyle (“Tales From The Jazz Age”), the Afterglow Festival in Provincetown, The Amber Zone at Sid Gold's Request Room and “Our Hit Parade” at Joe’s Pub.  Stage credits include FOUND (Atlantic Theater Co, Philadelphia Theater Co), Horseplay, or the Fickle Mistress (LaMama ETC/Theatre Askew), Dan Fishback’s The Material World (Dixon Place).  A graduate of NYU/Tisch, she has also studied with Charles Busch (ESPA), Darci Picoult, Louis Scheeder, and voice with Barbara Maier Gustern, Matt Farnsworth and the late Marianne Challis

What person do you most admire, living or dead?  Angela Lansbury  is a great person on every level.
     
Do you continue to tweak after a show opens?
Oh yes. I can only rehearse in the abstract up to a certain point. An audience tells me the rest. Part of why I love cabaret is that there are no rules about what you can and cannot do in, or with, a show.

That allows for less pressure for anything to be “perfect” from the jump. It takes me a show or two to make edits, swap out songs and bits, find the groove of it. But the first performance of “Molly Pope Likes Your Status” is still my favorite, though I did make  some changes for the better. It was messy and I forgot lyrics and restarted a song and then comedic bits had unforeseen consequences and I ugly cried. Hard. But I was 100% present in the room with all those people because no one knew what was going to happen, not even me. It felt like a very warm human experience. I guess maybe being present in the room is the only thing that really really matters.

How did you and Kim Smith come together on this project?
 We’ve both worked with Pangea, the opportunity presented itself, we jumped at it. Kim was one of a handful of performers who I just knew I’d work with at some point when the right thing came along. We’ve giggled backstage at too many shows for this not to happen. The pairing has been a long time coming!


What significant impact has Kim had on your career...if anything?  

There’s a mutually respectful honesty in feedback between us that is valuable. Though we’ve never created a project together, we’ve been on the same bill a lot.  We sort of understand the scope of what each other is doing or working on or exploring. I’d say it’s an honest appraisal that is honest because it’s coming from a place of admiration, affection and a desire to see each other do great work.

What one thing do you think you have learned from your involvement with working with Kim so far that you think you will carry forward in your career?
Lighten up. 


Lance Ringel
Lance Ringel
Lance is a playwright that I know from MANY YEARS AGO! We have just reconnected. This is a great opportunity to reconnect. He just got a very positive review in Gay City News for his play IN LOVE WITH THE ARROW COLLAR MAN. It plays tomorrow night, November 17th  at 9 and Sat at 9,  then Fri Dec 1 and Sat Dec 2.  They had a great first week, complete with rousing opening night party.
Tickets are also available at TDF OffOff@9.
Read more about it here.

After all the expense and heartache and ups and downs of this business, why do you still do it?
Arrow Collar Man: Photo credit: Caylena Cahill
I am a veteran writer and a veteran theater spouse (the latter certainly lets you see the heartaches and ups and downs!), but I am a relative newcomer to directly participating in the theater.The camaraderie when you work with a director, cast and crew is truly remarkable, and the way that no two performances are alike adds to the exhilaration.  It is an expensive business, yes, but it is also amazing what can be accomplished on a limited budget by talented people.

Over your years of this business, do you have a particularly interesting story that you'd like to share with the readers? 
Surely the most memorable was being on a snowy mountaintop in Japan and working closely with John Caird to put together a show involving Ugandan and Japanese orphans and members of the Vassar College Choir.  It was a privilege to write the original narrative, and even more so to watch John piece that show together maximizing the talents of the young performers

Lance and Chuck
Who have you worked with who had the biggest impact on you?

That’s easy.  Chuck Muckle has been the love of my life for 41 years and counting, and we wrote a musical together when we were still in our early 20s.  We’ve done six productions together in the last year. 
Arrow Collar Man: Photo credit: Caylena Cahill
He’s an acting veteran with incredible instincts for directing other actors, and especially for tapping the creativity of young actors.

What is your favorite piece of art?

This is driving me crazy – there’s this wonderful illustrator who has done a series of cartoons about a gay couple throughout their lives.  He did a “four seasons” type of thing with two adolescent boys holding each other lovingly in a fall forest.  Some people might call that cheesy taste, but I don’t care; it speaks to me.  We have a copy in our apartment, and to my chagrin I can’t remember the artist’s name right now!
Arrow Collar Man: Photo credit: Caylena Cahill
What do you do to stay connected to your creative self?
I don’t feel my creative self is different from myself, or that there is a class of creative people different from ordinary people. 

Everyone is endowed with creativity.  The challenge is to allow yourself – or to be given – the time, the energy, and the forum to tap it.


You have the power to change anything, because you are the one who chooses your thoughts and feels your feelings.





Take the A Train and get thee to The Laurie Beechman on November 29th at 7PM! Dawn Derow stars in My Ship: The Songs of 1941 Concert at The Laurie Beechman Theater I would LOVE to see you there!  PLEASE NOTE: Ttimes Square Chronicles says THIS show is a MUST SEE!  TheaterPizzazz Review





Here are a Few Testimonials for Richard Skipper Celebrates: Next One December 3rd 1PM Laurie Beechman Theater: Reserve HERE:
Richard Skipper Celebrates December 3rd! With Guest Stars: Bobby Belfry, Ann Kittredge, Sidney
Myer, Deborah Stone, AND special guest star Kathryn Crosby!

I was so happy attending the wonderful event on Monday, October 30th, with Richard Skipper interviewing my old friend Joyce Bulifant at the Drama Book Shop.  Richard's knowledge of show business and his infectious good humor were ideal to bring out the best stories from Joyce's  terrific new book.  Richard has the ability to make every event a very special occasion.  I look forward to attending the next special night when Richard Skipper celebrates another remarkable person.
Joel Vig, NYC

My mom, sister, daughter and I were lucky enough to see Richard Skipper and his stellar guests. We all highly recommend Richard 'a shows!
Christine Milton, Bronx NY

Thank you so much for letting me be part of your October celebration. You are a consummate showman and what’s more important, generously kind. Love you!
Nancy McGraw, NYC

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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Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com
  






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