Thursday, April 12, 2018

Daneen Wilburn, Sophie Tucker, and MORE!

Daneen Wilburn
Failure is a greater teacher than success.
-Author Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Happy Thursday, April 12th, 2018!
April 12 is the 102nd day of the year. There are 263 days remaining until the end of the year. Happy National Cheese Day!
There is so much to celebrate today. Ann Miller was born on this day. So was Jane Withers. The contributions they both gave to cinema and beyond is immense.
I always look for what we can celebrate instead of the doom and gloom that is being presented to us at an alarming rate.  
Sophie Tucker
There is a new book coming out about Sophie Tucker. That is worth celebrating. I LOVE Sophie Tucker! I love the early films she did with Judy Garland and I love the stories that Carol Channing shared about Sophie:. I love Sharon McNight's tribute to Sophie Tucker: I loved the book that Susan and Lloyd Ecker wrote and their documentary and, of course, the Bette Midler jokes.  
Order Red Hot Mama: The Life of Sophie Tucker HERE
Enter to win the book HERE

Also worth celebrating is Daneen Wilburn
Daneen Wilburn has been taking fans on a musical journey of emotion and passion since she was a child. Her voice transitions from soul, to gospel, jazz, and ballads in effortless fashion. “She is an engaging performer and a true talent,” says Grammy Winner Clarence McDonald, producer of Nancy Wilson’s Music on My Mind album, and Bill Wither’s Lovely Day.
He continued, “If you ever have a chance to see her perform, do it.” Perhaps this is why her fans are eagerly awaiting her debut album, produced by two times Grammy winner, Kamau
Team Kenyatta (left) and Porter batting .500 in the Grammy awards game

Daneen’s parents were both gospel singers and made music an important part of her life. She was the lead singer of the family band by age 7, and by age 19, she would find herself singing at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, along with some of gospel music’s top names including Edwin Hawkins, Darryl Coley, and Ricky Grundy.
Edwin Hawkins
After a few years, she married and started a family. She decided to leave the music industry to be a full-time mother. Her dream of a music career would have to wait. Daneen returned to music twenty years later and her voice was as beautiful as ever. She quickly became one of San Diego’s most sought-after vocalist, selling out shows all over town, including a performance for the former first lady, Laura Bush. When US Women’s soccer star, Alex Morgan wed Servando Carrasco, she asked Daneen to sing as she made her way down the aisle.

In 2013 Robert Fowler, owner of the San Diego Padres, asked her to sing for the memorial service of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, at Petco Park before 25,000 fans. Daneen performed an acapella version of Amazing Grace, that silenced the crowd of 25,000 fans, and sports celebrities Reggie Jackson, Steve Garvey, Joe Torre, and Bob Costas, just to name a few. Her voice rang out through downtown and San Diego’s historic Gaslamp District. The city was so moved, that the headline of the San Diego Union-Tribune, simply read, “Amazing Grace.”

Daneen’s new album will be released in May 2018. “When Daneen sings, you will believe every
Add caption
~ Kamau Kenyatta.

Enjoy our interview...
Who blazed a trail for you?
Personally, both my parents were the trailblazers for me. They were both great gospel singers, and they introduced us to music at a young age. They always made sure we had music lessons and instruments no matter how tight money was. My siblings and I would practice all hours of the day and night, and they never complained about the noise. They believed in us, and that support made all the difference in the world.

Tell us about your upcoming gigs.
I have some really exciting gigs on the horizon. I do mostly private functions at this point in my career, but I still love the jazz club scene. On May 20th, I will be in concert at the Solana Beach Presbyterian Church for a fundraiser for The NCICC, which is an organization that provides financial assistance for undocumented immigrants, seeking US citizenship. Also, I’m most excited about my Album Release Concert on July 7th at the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad.
My album is produced by 2 time Grammy Award winner Kamau Kenyatta, and he will serve as my musical director for the evening.

What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned recently?
What a great question. I learned that my father was arrested when he was 21 years old and
lived in North Carolina. He was accused of a crime he did not commit, but as a black man in
the south, he was not afforded a fair trial and was found guilty. He was sentenced to 2 years, but somehow, he was released after 3 weeks. He was never able to find out why and believes it was a clerical error, but God is good. As soon as he was released, he and my mother moved to California with $2.00 in his pocket, and the rest is history.

Tell us a secret.

I don’t have a lot of secrets. I’m an open book. Any secrets I have shall remains secrets.

Who is your number one fan?
My daughters are tied for number one fan. They really believe in me. They sing background for me, and I’m always amazed by how involved they are with my career, especially since they have so much to do. They are alway encouraging me and giving tips on social media. Love them.

Who haven’t you worked with that you would like to?
I would love to work with Gregory Porter. Kamau produced Gregory, and I love his style.

Have you ever considered teaching?
I am considering teaching voice and performance. I’m asked all the time “do you give voice lessons”? I’ve been hesitant up until now, but I think it is time to pass it on.

What would you say is your current motivator?

A. My greatest motivator, at this moment, is the desire to complete the album. The album is something I’ve dreamed about for years, but beyond that, I know the completion is an example of what can happen if you follow your dreams. So many folks have told me how inspired they are that I’m doing this at my age. I don’t want to let them down.

How do you see proceeding with your career: do you have any upcoming projects in mind?
I see myself proceeding in my career with a tour around the world. I want to share my music with as many people possible.

Is doing what you do at all difficult?
Yes, is the simple answer. As an artist, you have to balance trying to make a living with taking your career to the next level. We all have bills to pay, but as an independent artist,
you are on your own. I’m learning the business on the fly. I’m making mistakes but learning from every one of them.

What’s the next step for you?
The next step for me is making a big splash with my album release. I’m putting together a careful presentation of my music. Marketing is so important. The first few days of a release can make or break a project. I’m working on getting my music on the radio.

Who is your favorite artist and why?
That really is a difficult question, but I guess I would say, favorite female vocalist; Oleta Adams.  I love the richness of her tone.  Favorite males vocalist; Marvin Gaye.  I love his vocal ability, but it was his placement and delivery that makes him the best in my eyes.

Name one person you would like to see profiled on my blog.
Whitney Shay

Anything else you wish included?

Just that I appreciate the opportunity, and be sure to use a really good pic of me...LOL

Richard Skipper Also Celebrates...
Fascism: A Warning Hardcover – April 10, 2018
by Madeleine Albright
A personal and urgent examination of Fascism in the twentieth century and how its legacy shapes today’s world, written by one of America’s most admired public servants, the first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of state. Order HERE.

Bob O'Hare: Unfinished Business - A Love Story this Sunday, April 15, 2018, at 3:30 P.M. at Don't Tell Mama. For reservations, please call (212) 757-0788 after 4:00 P.M. or log onto

The final encore performance of Siren Song, Thursday, April 19, 7:30, at Don’t Tell Mama starring Deborah Stone.

Doris Dear April 20th at The Triad

Lee Roy Reams, Daniel Sherman, Richard Skipper, Linda Amiel Burns
From Linda Amiel Burns:

Only five weeks from today on Wednesday, May 16th, The Singing Experience, famed workshop, begins and you can be performing on the stage of The Triad Cabaret on June 13th!

Multi Award-winning Director, Linda Amiel Burns is only conducting two workshops this year due to other commitments, so if you always wanted to be in this renowned workshop, there are still a few places left and one is waiting for you! Join "Life Is A Song!" and make your dreams come true by learning the skills and techniques to be the "Star" you are both on the stage and in life.

Before The Voice and American Idol, there was The Singing Experience and since 1977 thousands of people of all ages and walks of life have changed their lives through music and song. Most graduates return over and over to these nurturing, supportive and fun classes. Visit: to see hundreds of TSE Graduates performing!

Dates and Schedule for May/June Workshop #483
The 4 Rehearsals take place at Studio 353
(353 West 48th Street) from 6:30-9:30PM
1) May 16, 2) May 23, 3) May 30, 4) June 6
5) - Performance at The Triad at 7:30PM - June 13th
(Tech rehearsal prior to show from 5:30-7:00).
6) DVD Viewing Party - June 20th -
TSE Offices from 7-10pm.
(Tuition includes a 2-hour professional DVD by Jerry Handelman)

The workshops fill up quickly, so if you want to
join the cast, you can sign-up online by visiting the website: or phone Director Linda Amiel Burns at 212 315-3500 for more information.
Enrollment is strictly limited. Gift Certificates Available!
Visit: to see hundreds of TSE Graduates performing!

"The best cabaret/musical theater performance workshop there is! Linda's coaching is amazing and she will bring out the best in you." Julie Wilson, Legendary Cabaret Star

"Everyone had enormous stage presence, and looked like they've been trouping since birth! You know you've got it in you and well, Linda Amiel Burns can get it out of you and help you gain confidence, discover your hidden talents and find your voice!" Patricia Volk, NY Newsday

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

May 20th, 2018

Russ Woolley Proudly Presents
Richard Skipper Celebrates
Peggy Lee, Liberace, and Friends

1 PM Brunch Show Laurie Beechman Theater 
As we Celebrate (Russ' Birthday!), we celebrate Leanne Borghesi, David Maiocco (as Liberace), David Sabella, Jim Speake*, Chuck Sweeney (as Peggy Lee), AND Those Girls* (Karen Mack, Eve Eaton, Rachel Hanser, Wendy Anne Russell) Tickets are now on sale! Reserve TODAY and Let's Celebrate! 
So — Order your tickets now online… RESERVATIONS A MUST!

Musical Direction Joe Goodrich with Don Kelly on Percussion, Matt Scharfglass on bass, and Erik Lawrence on Sax.
*Steven Ray Watkins will accompany Jim Speake and Those Girls
With music, reminisces and an afternoon of fun and show business! 90 minutes of merriment and excitement …Right on the heels of the 4/8 Richard Skipper Celebrates Life in the Theatre

When and Where:
Sunday, May 20th - 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 Celebrate and honor . . . 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… 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
Richard with Sondra Lee and Lee Roy Reams
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,

Richard Skipper Celebrated all over the Laurie Beechman stage December 3rd, 2017. Nothing could've been Christmas-ier. 
with Bob Diamond, Stacy Sullivan, Dawn Derow, David Sabella, Michael Valvo, and Sean Harkness
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
Marta Sanders, Stephanie Pope, Lauren Mufson, Russ Woolley, Annie Hughes, Lane Bradbury
under the musical direction of Tracy Stark and the band. The show opened with a charmingly nostalgic 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 show happening in 2017, would have to be Ms. Kathryn Crosby, Bing's widow,
Kathryn Crosby and Bing Crosby
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.
-Jeff Macauley

As someone relatively new to the world of cabaret, I absolutely loved your October show. Not only was the talent amazing and the venue and atmosphere delightfully engaging, but October 8th also happens to be my birthday so many, many thanks for making it a truly wonderful celebration of "my day" in music!
-Kimberly Player

The show is also made possible by Wright Bros. Real Estate. 

With grateful XOXOXs,


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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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Richard Skipper, 

1 comment:

  1. Serendipity! I was just sharing my intro to Sophie Tucker in the '70s at a Bette Midler concert! Her delivery was amazing, and I still remember one or two of them! I so enjoy your celebration of entertainment - you truly are the Dean of Broadway History my friend! xo