Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Cabaret Month: Part TWO! 2018 Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs Nominees Ann Kittredge, Becca C. Kidwell, Tanya Moberly

with 2018 MAC Nominee Natasha Castillo
What good is sitting alone in your room?
Come hear the music play
Life is a cabaret, old chum
Come to the cabaret

Lyricist Fred Ebb (April 8, 1928 – September 11, 2004)

Happy Wednesday, February 28th, 2018!
February 28 is the 59th day of the year. There are 306 days remaining until the end of the year. As I begin today's blog, I'm listening to Bonnie Lee Sanders' CD: It's That Time Of Year: Bonnie Lee Sanders and Friends.
It's bizarre, but I spent all day yesterday thinking that YESTERDAY was the last day of February. My Blog yesterday reflected that. My first day of the month rituals were all in place this AM until I looked at today's local newspaper and realized that TODAY is the last day of the month! Well, it gives me an extra day to start the ball rolling with celebrating Cabaret Month.  
Sara Zahn and Lorna Dallas after Lorna's INCREDIBLE show 2/26/18 at Birdland
Today, I celebrate our past, present, and future. 
I'm very proud to announce that Russ Woolley and I are bringing Carole Cook back to New York. Very important that you reserve ASAP. It is selling so fast we had to add a second night. She will be at Feinstein's/54 Below on June 19th and 20th. Both shows are 7PM. Click HERE to order your tickets TODAY. 
While you are at it, I hope you'll reserve for my next Richard Skipper Celebrates. We will be celebrating John Kander's 91st birthday. March 18th 1PM Brunch show. Laurie Beechman Theatre. Reservations a MUST! 
I will be joined by Jana Robbins and an incredible cast. Click HERE for more info. 

This showed up in my feed today: "There is only one thing for you to remember.
"It is good to FEEL GOOD."
Clarity is your natural state of being.
Healthy is your natural state of being.
Eager is your natural state of being.
Loving is your natural state of being.
with Ann Kittredge: Richard Skipper Celebrates December 3rd

It is natural for you to have desire, 
and it is natural for you to anticipate happy outcomes.
and it is natural for you to love,
and it is natural for you to sing,
and it is natural for you to play.
It is natural for you to skip.
It is natural for you to be joyful.
It is natural for you to know well being.
It is natural for you to expand.
It is natural for you to question.
Happy Birthday, Vincente Minnelli
It is natural for you to find interest.
It is natural for you to want more,
And it is natural for you to FEEL GOOD.
And ANYTHING else is resisting the natural state of who you are."

Today, I celebrate three MAC Award Winning Actresses who are making a big difference in today's cabaret scene. 

Ann Kittredge
Nominee Female Debut It’s About Time; One Night Only
Metropolitan Room, Don’t Tell Mama, Feinstein’s/54 Below 

Who is Ann Kittredge?
I am a believer in the impossible becoming possible. My Buddhist practice has compelled me to be an eternal optimist. The fundamental drive in my life, whether I’m performing, parenting, or being a friend, is to create value in the world.  As heavy as that sounds, I am also a walking
contradiction.  I can be earnest, naïve, tough, polite,
uninhibited, shy, and over-the-top silly all within seconds of each other. 
I LOVE meaningful conversation, and I don’t have to know you
long before I go there. And really important - it’s what has kept my husband Bob and me
together these many years — is laughter. Lots of it. 

What are you reading right now?
I’m reading two books: The Last Lion by William Manchester and The Human Revolution by Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda. I’m also supposed to be reading The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau for book club. Uh oh.

What is your Bookstore Wish List?
As you can see from the last question, I need suggestions for lighter fare.

Mike Ockrent

What is your favorite anecdote that has happened to you in your career?
 Daltry’s face imbedded in my armpit.  We were doing A Christmas Carol for the Paramount Theatre at Madison Square Garden. Towards the end of a long rehearsal day, the director, Mike Ockrent, called for a run-through. In the last scene, after 90 minutes of running and dancing and singing — and sweating — the moment comes: Roger as Scrooge is going to hug me close. 
Roger is a rather short man and I’m a bit taller, it was the first time he would be embracing me, and he went in deep —- ooooh! I was horrified. Here was sexy, hot, rock star Roger Daltry up to the bridge of his nose in my very smelly armpit — not how I had fantasized it. And of course, he chose the armpit because the alternative might have seemed inappropriate (haha). He is such a terrific person, and you should check out his version of God Bless Us, Everyone that he sang with the Harlem Boys Choir.  A must add to your holiday

What has been your greatest experience in this profession?
Yikes!  Greatest?  O.K., I need categories.  Greatest Experience Working with a Director: Tie between Richard Jay-Alexander and Mel Shapiro
Greatest Achievement Bringing a Character to Life: playing the title role in Eleanor, a musical about Eleanor Roosevelt by Tom Tierney and John Forster
Greatest Collaboration: my dear friend and brilliant musician, Wendy Cavett.
Wendy Cavett
go all the way back to college together. Our careers have intersected many times, our
friendship continues. Greatest Leap: Returning to my career after taking time off to parent my kids and be an education advocate.  AND stepping into what was for me an entirely unfamiliar artform — Cabaret.  
This has been a lesson in courage and kindness and hilarity. 

What awards have you won and what does it mean to you to be acknowledged by your
Well, it just so happens I have been nominated for a MAC award this year, for Female Debut.
And when I found out, it felt…affirming!

What is the funniest or most unexpected thing to happen to you on stage that you had to deal
with and stay in the moment?
O.K., I got 3 for you.  
I was playing the daughter, Jennifer in Paint Your Wagon many years ago.  Unbeknownst to me, the man playing my father was complaining about a certain laugh I was getting in a scene.  The conflict of the scene was that he was lecturing me and I was responding like a bit of a spoiled, spunky kid.  The actor went to stage management to complain – he thought I was “stealing” the scene from him.
However, after watching the scene, the stage manager didn’t agree and I was never told.  So one performance, I played the moment as I always did, but this time the man playing my father completely broke character and started wagging his index finger in my face ferociously yelling at me to stop and to never do “that” again.  I just stayed in the moment, and being a bratty kid, I bit his extended finger (I didn’t hurt him).  He was soooooooo flabbergasted.  The scene went on and I found out after the show that he thought I’d been given the note and I intentionally didn’t follow it.

I was singing at a concert honoring Stephen Schwartz who was in attendance.  1500 seat theatre.  When I started my song, I realized I couldn’t hear the orchestra.  I cheat a glance to Alex Lacamoire (the conductor) and lo and behold, I see him quieting all the musicians in the orchestra. In a split second I realized my mic was not working, that the room was enormous, and so I walked down to the apron of the stage and belted the heck out of the song.  Ended up getting a standing ovation.  At intermission, Stephen came up to me and said, “You know, Ann, now everyone in the cast is hoping their mic goes out while they’re on stage.” Haha

I was in a Horton Foote play, The Habitation of Dragons, at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre.  They have a thrust stage (3 sides of the audience).  It was a dark and serious piece.  At the end of Act One, one of the characters has a heart attack.  
I was on stage, the scene is going on as always, but this time, the actor having a heart attack was really having a heart attack.  He fell and what would normally have been lights to end the act, instead we actors were looking to the audience asking if anyone was a doctor.
Good news is the actor recovered in the end.  But wow, unforgettable.

Final Statement
As the song says, it only takes a moment. It has been glorious becoming friends with you as well
as so many generous, supportive fellow artists in the cabaret community. 
Just over a year ago, I felt like a deer in the headlights going to my first MAC open mic. But the open arms of you and Russ Woolley and Bobbie Horowitz and Tanya Moberly and Tom Toce, Jack Donahue, Jerry Osterberg and Sandra Bargman and so many others have enriched my life. No kidding.
I have a question for you, Richard. I was told I need a little more sparkle in my wardrobe. May I borrow one of your jackets for my next show?
You can read more about Ann Kittredge  HERE.  Catch her next show at The Laurie Beechman Theatre March 19th at 7PM.  Order Tickets HERE

Becca C. Kidwell
Nominated New York Debut: Female
 A Song & Its Girl Don’t Tell Mama
Congratulations on your MAC nomination! What does THIS nomination mean to you?  
It is an honor to be recognized by my peers for my work, and it is a confirmation that I'm on the right path in life.  I love that this will help me to be able to continue to share my love through song and hopefully bring joy to as many people as possible.

What are you reading now
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown - this book expands upon Brene Brown's studies about vulnerability and compassion how to rest in those states to live life more fully.
Quantum-Touch by Richard Brown - a book about energy healing as part of my preparatory studies for practicing Reiki
Nightmares:  The Sleepwalker Tonic by Jason Segal and Kirsten Miller - sequel to children's fiction book Nightmares where children are confronted by their nightmares.

What is your bookstore wish list?
A Natural Woman: Memoir by Carole King
A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

What is your favorite anecdote that has happened to you in your career?  
During my second performance of "A Song & Its Girl," I waved my arms in the air during a song and ended up smacking the piano.  
Remembering my director Gretchen's advice about acknowledging when I make a mistake on the stage, I took a moment to apologize to the piano, which at the very least amused her and I felt that moment was really a good example of me being true to myself.  If I intentionally smacked the piano, I still would have apologized to it.

What have been your greatest experiences in this profession?  
Taking a master class with Alice Ripley.  To find out the details of that, you need to see my show on March 7th at Don't Tell Mama.  Also, Working with Gretchen Reinhagen and Tracy Stark.  
They are incredibly strong, passionate women who have helped me to grow by leaps and bounds as a performer over the past year.

Have you ever considered teaching a class?  
I taught high school English and history for five years.  I would love to teach Shakespeare again, but only in a small group or one on one setting.  As for singing and cabaret, I'm still learning and would want more experience under my belt before attempting that.

What other activities are you currently pursuing?  
Yoga, regularly; I love it.  And I'm currently being mentored to become a Reiki (energy healing) practitioner.  Both of these activities have helped to center me and become a more mindful well-rounded individual.

 What awards have you won and what does that mean to you to be honored by your peers.  
None at this time.  It means the world to me.  The MAC community is family to me; they've supported me, watched me grow.  The MAC community is filled with unique, talented individuals and I'm honored to stand alongside them.  As I mentioned before it's also a confirmation that I'm where I'm supposed to be.  When I get up on the stage it feels like home, and I'm so glad to have this loving family surrounding me.

A final statement for my blog
Life's often scary and not always easy, but every moment is worth it.  Both the struggles and the triumphs.  I am always going to live from my heart and follow where it leads me so that I can lift up my audience as I lift up myself.  What an exciting adventure to be a part of!  I can't wait to see what happens next!  Feel free to visit my website:

Here is the link For Reservations:

Tanya Moberly


*DIRECTOR - DAN RUTH in A LIFE BEHIND BARS (2018 Bistro Award for Solo Play / 2018 MAC Award Nominee for Spoken Word and Show of the Year) 

Congratulations on your MAC nomination! What does THIS nomination mean to you?
Carole J. Bufford
Being nominated for Major Female Artist alongside Carol J. Bufford, Natalie Douglas
and Stacy Sullivan is an incredible honor. I feel like I'm playing with 'the big kids' now.
Being nominated for a second time for Director tells me that perhaps I might be kind of good at it, which is awesome because I absolutely LOVE directing.
And being nominated for Salon for the ninth time (with six wins), tells me we're still going strong.

What Are you reading now? 
The current issue of Cabaret Scenes.

What is your bookstore wish list 
My wish is the time to read an actual book. I am so busy and don't really commute anywhere at a long enough distance to get through even a chapter at a time anymore. The last time I read a novel was when I did grand jury duty last summer. But the next book on my list is probably Hal Prince's autobiography.

What is your favorite anecdote that has happened to you in your career?
My favorite anecdote is that I even have 'a career'. I just decided to continue singing, whether or not I landed actual 'jobs'. And now I am fortunate enough to be the producer of Salon (for the last nine years out of the twelve that it's been in existence), I have an entire stable of tremendous talent that I am lucky enough to direct AND I get to sing anything and everything I want in my own shows, currently with six of the most brilliant musicians in NYC.
What has been your greatest experience in this profession? 
Creating and delivering my own work. Cabaret rocks.

Have you ever considered teaching a class?  
I don't really have the desire to teach groups.
I am a very one-on-one type of gal, so I already teach - through directing and coaching.
What Awards have you won and what does that mean to you to be honored by your peers. 
I have 6 consecutive MAC Awards for producing Salon. (2010-1015)
I have a 2014 Bistro Award for Outstanding
12 yrs old Tanya Moberly (which is the age she was obsessed with The Barbra Joan Streisand Album - hence her doing that show)
Theme Show for my I LOVE NEW YORK SONGWRITERS show
and a 2016 MAC Award for Female Vocalist for my SONGS I FEEL LIKE SINGING series, which was 4 Different Shows with 4 Different Musicians. (This year I'm up for 6 Different Shows with 6 Different Musicians.)
The Awards feel great. And I lost plenty along the way, which only inspired me to work harder.
They are not 'the reason' I do what I do - but they sure are nice.

Why do you do what you do?
Singing absolutely saved my life as a child and I declared at the age of 4 that I would be a singer - no ifs, ands or buts about it. It is my joy and having the opportunity to direct & produce Salon (and other things, like being a permanent judge in the Mama's next Big Act contest), only expands that joy by helping others find their joy.
A final statement for my blog 
I have an amazing life and I am grateful to be me every single day.

Thank you, to ALL who are mentioned in this blog for gifts you have given to the world and will continue to give

Now, go and do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return!

Here are a Few Testimonials for Richard Skipper Celebrates: Next One March 18th 1PM Laurie Beechman Theater:

We had the great joy to be at the wonderful Carol Channing birthday bash Richard Skipper blessed us with on January 31st, 2018.  It was truly brilliant throughout and the great joy that was spread throughout the room was perfection. Each time I am able to be at Richard's "Celebrations" I feel uplifted and so glad that I was there.
-Bob Diamond, NYC

Don't miss Donna Marie Asbury on March 18th!

Mr. Richard Skipper's Show was beautiful!!! 
It was far greater then I imagined 
Looking forward to the next show. 
If you have not experienced his events, you owe it to yourself!! You will not be disappointed. 
He is a rare Gem!! 
Darnell Colliers, Buffalo

Richard Skipper Celebrated all over the Laurie Beechman stage December 3rd, 2017. Nothing could've been Christmas-ier. If you needed a little Christmas, this was the place to soak in it, being a tinseled treat of warmth and holiday cheer. It was wonderful to see Bobby Belfry, Ann Kittredge, Sidney Myer, and Deborah Stone all at the top of their respectively unique yuletide cabaret games under the musical direction of Tracy Stark and the band. The show opened with a charmingly nostalgic show happening in 2017, would have to be Ms. Kathryn Crosby, Bing's widow, singing first "Holly Jolly Christmas" and of course ending with "White Christmas." That's Christmas right there. Richard tied it all together with great showmanship. His Richard Skipper Celebrates series produces some of the livelier and most just-plain-fun events in Cabaret.
credit crawl designed by Michael Masci and a video sequence featuring the great variety TV stars of the past, concluding with Mr. Christmas himself Bing Crosby. The highlight of the show, or any Holiday
-Jeff Macauley
March 18th, 2018 

Russ Woolley Proudly Presents
Richard Skipper Celebrates
John Kander... On His 91st Birthday!

1 PM Brunch Show Laurie Beechman Theater  

Confirmed to perform are Tony Award winner Lilias WhiteDonna Marie Asbury currently in Chicago on Broadway, Jana Robbins (Zorba with two separate tours with Georgio Tozzi and Theodore Bikel), Lucia Spina (Kinky Boots), David Sabella (originated Mary Sunshine in the current revival of Chicago on Broadway), and Sandy Stewart (My Coloring Book) and two-time Grammy nominee Bill Charlap

With grateful XOXOXs ,


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Richard Skipper,


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  2. Thank you, Richard for allowing me to share a little of my heart with you and everyone.

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  4. Richard, it is so wonderful that you are providing a forum to get to know MAC members in a different way. Love this. Thank you!

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