Monday, April 23, 2018

William Nabel...and More!

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.

Happy April 23rd, 2018!
April 23 is the 113th day of the year. There are 252 days remaining until the end of the year.
It is a gorgeous day here in New York.
Today marks the 57th anniversary of Judy Garland's historic comeback at Carnegie Hall. I began this AM listening to this historic recording. Listen to it in it's entirety. It is perfection from start to finish.
Today is also the birthday of actress and singer Janet Blair.
I have been through hell the last couple of days! If you read my last blog, it was about the Gypsy Robe name change.

When I heard about the name change, I, as many of my fellow theatrical artists, had a knee-jerk reaction. I questioned it publicly on social media as many of us did. I was called by a female friend who told me that it was mostly white men that were enraged by the name change! I listened to her and then I sat down to write my blog.
I posted again on social media that if anyone wanted to weigh in, to write me privately. If you read my blog, you would know that I tried to be fair and balanced. I told my history leading up to me getting my Actor's Equity card and my life since becoming a member of the Union. I also interviewed a member of the Equity Council and a former recipient of the Robe to get their perspective and I included comments both pro and con of several people that wrote to me. I ended the blog by stating that my personal philosophy was that if I have offended one person, I've offended one person too many. At the risk of sounding like Pollyanna, that is absolutely true about me.
I never post negative things about ANYONE on social media and/or my blogs. When people do write disparaging comments about others on my Facebook pages, those comments get deleted.
I also went on to say that I was ready, willing, and able to accept these changes and looked forward to the next chapter. I published the blog feeling very good about the final product. I still do. I received various private messages and emails commending me on the fairness of the blog.
Then later that night I received a text from a friend and my heart stopped. Someone had taken a photo of me from one of my shows and had a meme that stated Richard Skipper Celebrates White Supremacy!
He attached it to my blog with a nasty comment. I immediately wrote to him and asked him to take it down or he would hear from my attorney. His response was to stop harassing HIM!
THAT was my only interaction with him. He never reached out to me to engage me in any discussion.
He just lashed out at me in a vile vicious way. I contacted my attorney who gave me excellent advice. He told me to block him and anyone who sided with him. And if anything else comes of it, we will follow up.
I debated on whether or not to include the photo of what he did but I think you should see what hatred looks like. With a single click, someone can send a falsehood about you and the damage is done especially when they refuse to remove it.
I don't know what possesses someone to do something like this but I'm letting go with this blog.
I wish him well on his life's path and I hope someday somehow he realizes what he did.
I went to bed that night bat 3AM not being able to sleep I was so upset. I finally fell off to sleep and when I woke up the next morning, my hope was that it would be a better day.
concept. Biased behavior that breeds ignorant baseless assumptions is rampant online. I normally don’t comment publicly about this.  However, when it affects so many people over a period of time, both emotionally and financially, I have to speak up.
57 Years Ago tonight, Judy Garland had her historic comeback at Carnegie Hall

Now, today, I'm sharing with you another voice on the Robe controversy to be heard.
William Nable
Who is William Nable?
I've been an actor for over 40 years. 8 Broadway shows starting with HOME SWEET HOMER, opened and closed the
As a writer, a finalist for the Richard Rodgers Prize for TAKE ME AMERICA (book/lyrics), LYING TO SPIELBERG (Utah
Shakespeare NAPP), LOVE ON ICE (book)
In my lighter moments, I like to laugh at myself and think I'm an activist/vocal philosopher....
Most importantly, I guess, I've done over 9,500 performances on Broadway....most of it in two shows,
42ND ST (8 years) and BEAUTY (13 years)

Explain to my readers about the Robe discussion going on in the theatrical community. 

The issue here is that Council at Actors Equity Association (AEA) voted that the Gypsy Robe is racist.
They have voted to change the name.  It's clearly documented that actors/dancers, by definition, are known as gypsies.
NO racist connotations.  The term gypsies actually refer to Egyptians and came about in the 1600's.  It characterized a group of people who emigrated from India in 1100 CE.  So it's a misnomer, to begin with.  There are about 1000 gypsies or 'Roma' in the The United States.  I know of two Roma in the union.  NOne of them were consulted.  They are not offended.  The complaint originates with the treatment of the Roma in Bulgaria....and it's safe to say they are mistreated in Bulgaria.
That the word is a slur has been documented by the National Association For Gypsy Liaison Groups.
Apparently, it's not enough of a slur though, for Roma NOT to self-identify as gypsies and to maintain the term gypsies in the organizations that advocate for them...But I think it's fair to say they have been discriminated against and slurred.
It's not fair to say that that discrimination makes Broadway gypsies racist.

Who's offended?
No Roma in AEA is offended.  At least the ones I know.  They weren't consulted.  The Roma I know in the union identified as Broadway gypsies.  The evidence for the 'offended' remains anecdotal.  The is no connection that I can see to the union.
There has been a political calculation by the council that if people are 'offended' the term should not be used.
As far as I can tell, no one in the union is offended....apparently, no one in the union was consulted.  There was a position paper circulated by the National Organization For Women (NOW) written by the renowned civil rights advocate "Naomi P, communications intern" that describes Roma mistreatment in Hungary.
Naomi P, communications intern also cites mistreatment in Czechoslovakia.  Naomi P, communications intern also cites mistreatment in Macedonia.  Naomi P, the communications intern, also cite Victor Hugo.  So the bona fides of this are grounded in the great civil rights advocate "Naomi P."  Oh, communications intern.

Can the word 'gypsy' be embraced?
Read The New York Times article on this subject

By definition, pick up any dictionary.  In the one thousand year history of gypsies, there has become more than one definition.
One of those is a Chorus dancer.  No malice.  Common usage.  Part of this discussion is reminiscent of the "Redskins" controversy in the National Football League.  This is not that.  There is a nonracial common usage definition: Chorus dancer.  Everyone I know, including myself, has never made a racial association.  None is intended.  Never has been.
The word should be embraced.  The plight of gypsies in Macedonia should also be embraced.  But they are mutually exclusive by definition.

Thoughts on council-
I'm saddened by the personal invective that's arisen about this issue.  People can do what they think is right and disagree.
So what's more important, the offense taken by some Roma over the word 'gypsy' or the tradition of passing the gypsy robe from show to show?
We can have that debate.  But on an entirely different plane is the matter of representation.
AEA is a union of actors.  We are about jobs and conditions for actors.  Council represents these actors and is elected by them.
I find it singularly odd that council would seek to represent anybody but the actors, the gypsies, they represent.
If anyone wants to advocate for gypsies, do it!  But go to the United Nations.  Don't do it at the expense of the people you represent.  The people who elected you.  This is an actors union.  We don't have anybody else to stand up for us.
Council was elected to represent actors.
Actors blood, sweat, and money have created a union for the entire history of this union.  Council wants to jettison this inoffensive little tradition for political reasons that have nothing to do with us.  The gypsy robe is a 60-year tradition for actors living and dead who gave up their talent and sweat to create a union to represent actors.  Not human rights violations in Macedonia.....There is no one else to represent us.
The council should do its job.  Represent actors.

There has been a response.  I'm not going to characterize it.  The council should do what's right.
Represent the actors, the 'gypsies', who elected them. They have legitimate, nonracial, concerns about maintaining their traditions.

Who to talk to-
Kim Jordan is a lovely person.  She is head of the chorus committee who voted to do this.  Al Bundonis, Jen Cody are lovely
thoughtful people also..

In solidarity,
Bill Nabel

LOVE ON ICE, Finger Lakes Musicals,         

THE DEATH OF KLINGHOFFER-Neal Kantor-Metropolitan Opera

TAKE ME AMERICA, book/lyrics-Bill Nabel, music Bob Christianson, Village Theatre, Issaquah WA

LYING TO SPIELBERG, a play by Bill Nabel Utah Shakespeare Festival-NAPP

LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I DROVE by Bill Nabel, Abingdon Theatre, NYC

Richard Skipper Also Celebrates...
Bette Midler is not quite ready to say goodbye to her Dolly. Read MORE
Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! in 2017 Julieta Cervantes / AP

Stars from Angels in America, The Band’s Visit, Dear Evan Hansen, Frozen, Hello, Dolly!, The Lion King, Mean Girls, Once on This Island, and SpongeBob SquarePants will make special appearances at the 32nd annual Easter Bonnet Competition April 23 at 4:30 PM and April 24 at 2 PM at the Minskoff Theatre. Read MORE.

Almost a year after the deadly bombing at the U.K’s Manchester Arena, where she had just finished a concert, Ariana Grande has released a new song, No Tears Left to Cry, her first since the attack.

The Skivvies will welcome a series of stage favorites to Joe’s Pub April 30 for their latest show. Among those scheduled to join them for the 9:30 PM event are Kate Rockwell (currently on Broadway in Mean Girls), Matt Doyle (Spring AwakeningThe Book of Mormon), and Andrew Keenan-Bolger (NewsiesTuck Everlasting).

Release Date Set for Sutton Foster's New Album
The countdown begins! Ghostlight Records has set a release date for two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster's new album Take Me to the World.
The long-awaited third album from the Broadway favorite will be available on physical, digital and streaming formats on June 1.
                  Sutton Foster(Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser)
Take Me to the World takes listeners on Foster's personal journey inspired by the birth of her daughter. The album features Foster's take on classic musical-theater songs written by Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter and Kander and Ebb, as well as pop songwriters such as Paul Simon and James Taylor. Take Me to the World is being released in conjunction with the fifth season of the beloved TV Land series Younger, starring Foster, which returns on June 5.
Now, go and do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return!

May 20th, 2018 

Russ Woolley Proudly Presents
Richard Skipper Celebrates 
Liberace, Rita Hayworth, and Friends

1 PM Brunch Show Laurie Beechman Theater 
As we Celebrate (Russ' Birthday!), we celebrate Leanne Borghesi, Quinn Lemley (as Rita Hayworth), David Maiocco (as Liberace), David Sabella, Jim Speake*, 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…

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 about Richard Skipper Celebrates
Love Richard Skipper's wonderful interviews! I always seem to lose track of time when I'm watching
them. Keep up the great work!

I had the great good pleasure of singing in one of Richard Skipper’s Extravaganzas par Excellence at the Laurie Beechman Theater. The one I appeared in celebrated Father's Day. It was a  terrific show and Richard was, as always, a wonderful host and singer.   The show ran smoothly and professionally and the performance level was exceedingly high.  Upbeat and fun it reminded me of those wonderful TV variety shows of my youth.  
But it isn’t an imitation of one of them, it is Richard’s own, unique creation.  If you have never been to one, I recommend it highly, if you are one of the regulars, you are already hooked.
Mark Watson,Watchung, NJ

Richard Skipper brought together an eclectic array of exceptional talents Richard Skipper
Celebrates...  Richard's upbeat personality and his superb showmanship always put a smile on my face and uplift my spirits.  Thank you, Richard, and bravo! 
Eileen Lacy,  New York, NY

This Show Is Also Made Possible by  Wright Bros. Real Estate, Nyack New York

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, 

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