Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Clifford Bell and The Barbra Party

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but
Clifford Bell
where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is April 4th, 2018.
April 4 is the 94th day of the year. There are 271 days remaining until the end of the year. This is the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I celebrate his legacy. Today is also the birthday of Clive Davis, Kitty Kelley, Graham Norton, and Tony Perkins. I celebrate them all. My horoscope tells me today that I'm able to hide my most serious concerns today so I can enjoy quality time with my friends.  I'll buy that!

April is also is the birth month of Barbra Streisand. Interestingly enough, when I sat down to begin this blog, Evergreen came on the radio! Hopefully, that will prove to prophetic for Clifford Bell.

CLIFFORD BELL, known affectionately as "Lawrence of Cabarabia", is one of the leading producer/directors in the fields of Cabaret, Concerts, and One Person Shows. As a thirty year veteran of the Los Angeles nightclub scene, Clifford has been most identified in the past with the legendary Cinegrill at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, and currently at the popular Upstairs At Vitello's, and the prestigious Catalina Jazz Club.
Aside from his work in Los Angeles and New York, Clifford has collaborated on concert tours with several acclaimed artists, most recently Katey Sagal and Peter Gallagher. Clifford directed the long-running "Croon" starring Todd Murray with Musical Direction by Alex Rybeck. Clifford also co-created the successful touring show "Direct From Broadway" starring Tony Award Winners Debbie Gravitte ("Jerome Robbins' Broadway") and Michael Maguire ("Les Miserables"), with his frequent collaborator Lara Teeter ("On Your Toes").
Andrea Marcovicci joins the 20th Anniversary of Our Name is Barbra 
In addition to producing, directing, and booking live performances, Clifford has also produced several popular cabaret CDs including Betsy Ann Faiella's breakthrough "Can I Be Frank?", Lee Lessack's eponymous debut CD, and Eileen Barnett's "Live At The Cinegrill". Recently the Senior Vice President of Artists  and Repertoire for the prestigious Broadway oriented label Fynsworth Alley, Clifford is also proud of discovering young Judy Butterfield, the seventeen-year-old San Francisco sensation and producing her debut CD "Judy Sings Judy: Live From The Empire Plush Room" and her first studio-recorded CD "How Long Has This Been Going On?".  Most recently Clifford has Executive Produced two Jazz CDs featuring Lauren White and The Quinn Johnson Trio.

Kiki Ebsen
As one of the most prolific presenters in the genre of cabaret, Clifford has either directed, produced, or booked the leading names in the genre including Billy Barnes, Susie Mosher, Jason Graae, Lindy Robbins, John Bucchino, Jim Caruso, Todd Murray, Kathryn Crosby, Shelly Markham, Maureen McGovern, Anne Kerry Ford, Lee Lessack, Ana Gasteyer, Mary Jo Mundy, Eileen Barnett, Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich, Roslyn Kind, Wesla Whitfield, Gregg Marx, Brian Lane Green, Sharon McNight, Jan and Mickey Rooney, Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley, John Boswell, Johnny Rodgers, Susan Werner, Babbie Green, Michele Brourman, Bonnie Franklin, Brad Ellis and Eydie Allyson, Michael Kostroff and Eric Leviton, Keri Kelsey, and Dana Meller.

Enjoy our interview...
Are you unstoppable? 
I am easily paused....but never stopped.

Tell us about The Barbra Party
This is our 20th Year Anniversary - It began as a fun night in a living room with about 10 very creative and talented friends who decided to have a birthday party for Barbra Streisand.  In the singer community, we are discouraged from singing songs identified with Barbra because they sort of get retired after Barbra's recorded them, but EVERYONE secretly dreams of singing Barbra songs...So we got together and
A letter from Barbra!
sang Barbra songs and it was soooo much fun, that here we are 20 years later - but now we do it in fancy venues and raise money for charity.  The joke has always been ..."Barbra hasn't come....yet" but last year we got a huge surprise when she sent her Co-Director Richard Jay-Alexander and her CD Producer Jay Landers to the show with a letter from Barbra how much she loved the idea of the show and the work of the charity we were benefiting "Project Angel Food".  I have a letter from Barbra Streisand that starts "Dear Clifford" and ends "Love, Barbra" so basically my life is complete.

If you had limitless funds, what's one purchase you would instantly make and why?
Probably a property to live on in a groovy house, with a separate building for a music studio...and a separate building as a performing space.....limitless funds oughta accommodate that, right?

How long have you been on your diet?
Oh, My Darling...I eat freely...Haven't had a drink or a drug or a cigarette in almost thirty years....but I do eat.

Has your perspective changed any since starting This Project?
I probably get the most joy in my life from doing OUR NAME IS BARBRA annually.  I see the best of people and I love the playground of Barbra's unparalleled body of work.

Is the format the same every year or do you shake it up a bit?
I try to be creative...It's always basically a variety show...but I frame it differently each year.

How do you see proceeding with your career? Do you have an upcoming project in mind after this one? 
I've always been very prolific ...I think in the future, I'll do fewer shows and take more care with bigger efforts.  And I have months of things lined up......I always keep busy.

Is doing what you do at all difficult?

The work of making music...or shows, in general, is joyful and meaningful...However, there are lots of hassles and conflicts and nonsense and I am particularly undone when people aren't punctual.  I really dislike that.

What do you do when you’re not performing? 

How has the Trump Era affected your art?
The stakes are higher than ever. And Art is more important than ever.

Name one person you would like to see profiled in my blog 
Wentworth Miller  (Wentworth, if you ever see this, I would LOVE to interview you.)

Anything else you wish included?
Thank you so much for your support over the years...It's such an important part of doing shows to be able to have formats like this that help spread the word and support the work.  I'm very grateful.

Project Angel Food is honored once again to be the beneficiary of the 20th Anniversary Concert of Our Name Is Barbra at the Catalina Bar and Grill! This exciting evening will feature some of L.A.'s most Popular Musical Artists, such as legendary composer ARTIE BUTLER, KIKI
Artie Butler with Cliff
EBSEN, MELANIE TAYLOR and TERRY WOLLMAN, ILENE GRAFF & BEN LANZARONE, and the Reigning Queen of the Cabaret World, ANDREA MARCOVICCI. Come listen to these phenomenal voices perform songs associated with the iconic BARBRA STREISAND to celebrate her birthday and to raise money for one of the most beloved service organizations in Los Angeles, Project Angel Food.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
7:30 PM
Catalina Bar and Grill
6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028
General Admission $25
(Plus Two Item Minimum/Minimum waived with full dinner)
VIP Admission $100
(Preferred Seating, Prix Fixe Dinner, Special Gift Bag, and Free Parking!)

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will
Happy Birthday, Maya Angelou
never forget how you made them feel.

- Maya Angelou, born on this date in 1928

Richard Skipper also Celebrates...
Lennie Watts is joining forces with the wonderfully talented Brad Simmons to present BLUE EYED SOUL! From Hall and Oates To Ambrosia to Dusty Springfield and the Righteous Brothers!
Mondays at 7:00
4/9,16 and 23
Don’t Tell Mama
20.00 Cover + 2 drink minimum CASH ONLY (15.00 MAC) or 212-757-0788 for reservations.

An Evening with Jennifer Roberts is Now Available on CD. Order HERE. Read my recent blog on Jennifer HERE

Remembering Gloria Swanson who transitioned on this day. 
Remembering Gloria Swanson who passed this day in NYC in 1983.  I was lucky enough to have met her. 

Happy Birthday, Walter Charles

This article states why I, too, am not supporting Roseanne's return to television: It can be very difficult to separate the art from the artist. In the case of Roseanne Barr and her critically acclaimed television show based on her life, it is nearly impossible. I wasn’t going to watch the reboot because I find Ms. Barr noxious, transphobic, racist and small-minded. Whatever charm and intelligence she brought to the first nine seasons of her show, a show I very much loved, are absolutely absent in her current persona, particularly as it manifests on Twitter. She is a supporter of Donald Trump, vocalizing
her thoughts about making America great, claiming that with her vote, she was trying to shake things up. She tweets conspiracy theories, rails against feminism and shares Islamophobic opinions. Read MORE

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

April 8th, 2018

Russ Woolley Proudly Presents
Richard Skipper Celebrates
Broadway and off-Broadway Firsts...and More!

1 PM Brunch Show Laurie Beechman Theater 
Lane Bradbury created the role of Dainty June in the original Broadway production of the classic show Gypsy starring Ethel Merman.
Annie Hughes off-Broadway Closer Than Ever
Lauren Mufson Broadway and National Touring companies of Mamma Mia!
Marta Sanders Best Little Whorehouse In Texas Original Company

Musical Direction Joe Goodrich with Rex Benincasa on Percussion, Steve Doyle on bass, and Erik Lawrence on Sax
With music, reminisces and an afternoon of fun and show business! 90 minutes of merriment and excitement …Right on the heels of the 2/11 Russ Woolley's CELEBRATES Richard Skipper's’ BIRTHDAY…SELL-OUT Extravaganza…

When and Where:
Sunday, April 8th - 1 PM, Doors open 12:15

THE LAURIE BEECHMAN THEATRE, 407 West 42nd Street (lower level of the WEST BANK CAFE) Producer: Russ Woolley $30 ticket plus $20 food/beverage minimum - exquisite and reasonably priced food and drink

Richard Skipper has assembled a great cast to entertain and honor Broadway and off-Broadway artists… RICHARD SKIPPER has become synonymous with “feel good entertainment of the highest quality”. For decades Richard has entertained thousands and celebrated the careers of many of Theatre Row’s finest and most honored stars… It is now our turn to honor artists and the roles they created and/or made their own… The afternoon will prove to be an event where all will arrive and leave with smiles! This will be similar to the old-fashioned TV specials and series where we get to chat with and honor this Entertainment Icon.

So — Order your tickets now online…

A Few Audience Testimonials
I've said it before and I say it again...Richard Skipper Celebrates is the best series of shows available in NYC! The performers are always top-notch, the audience is filled with the most joyous and appreciative attendees and the entire productions are flawless! Thanks again to Richard Skipper and Russ Woolley for all the time and hard work you put into these shows. You're the GREATEST!!
-Arlene Jacks, NYC

Wow! After interviewing Richard Skipper on our podcast Behind the Curtain: Broadway's Living Legends, I was on Cloud 9. Well, his show put me on Cloud 11! How he is able to create such magical events, time and time again astounds me. Richard Skipper is a national treasure and no one can really call themselves a New Yorker until they have seen a Richard Skipper show.
Robert W Schneider,

My friends and I went to Richard Skipper's celebration of Carol Channing 1/31/18, and it was so much fun. I loved how Richard mixed interview with song. The love in the room was palpable, and his never-ending smile showed how much of his heart went into this show. I would recommend this show to anyone who wants to feel better, open their heart to song and be lifted by the sheer joy of music. Richard is one of a kind, and his gift inspires us all. Thank you, Richard Skipper
Michele Phillips, Piermont, NY
This show is also made possible by Wright Bros. Real Estate. 

Check out our promo video:
With grateful XOXOXs,


My Holy Grail Interview!
Please LIKE (if you do!) and SHARE!


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!
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Keeping Entertainment LIVE!


Richard Skipper, 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so very much, Richard Skipper. You have been such a stalwart performer of "The Barbra Party" and our efforts to raise money for Project Angel Food, I'm so grateful that you bring your unique identity as the Consummate New York Entertainment Scene Spokesman all the way to "the other coast" - Perhaps next year you'll join us!!!