Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Renee Katz, Barnes and Noble's Vinyl Weekend, Dee Hoty...and More!

Strength derives from the insights we obtain

when we are most vulnerable.
It is only then that the walls come down
And the soul radiates through-
With honesty and impassioned abandonment
Our art can truly soar.
__Renee Katz

Happy July 11th, 2018!
July 11 is the 192nd day of the year. There are 173 days remaining until the end of the year.
As I sit down to write today's blog, Fred Astaire is singing They All Laughed in the background.
Boy, do we need laughter in our lives today AND music.
The Devil is goading you to proclaim my love from the rooftops today! That is my love of all that is positive. One could hardly call me the soul of discretion right now.
Today, I celebrate Yul Brynner and Tab Hunter, both born on this day AND I also celebrate Renee Katz.

Renee Katz with Tedd Firth
Lives can be changed in a heartbeat - such is the story of the multi-talented survivor and proud native New Yorker, Renee Katz. At the age of 17, she was an accomplished flutist, pianist, and vocalist attending the world renowned High School of Music and Art in New York City. She had plans to study at the prestigious institutions of New England Conservatory and Tufts University. But, just days before her high school graduation, she was viciously pushed from a subway platform into the path of an oncoming train. As the whole city anxiously awaited for what became the triumphant results of Bellevue Hospital's newly formed microsurgery team reattaching her severed
hand; this also turned into a media frenzy.

Despite multiple subsequent surgeries and years of rehabilitation, Renee would never play her flute again.

With the spirit of her Holocaust survivor father within her and her passion for the arts, she redirected her focus to singing and writing poetry. She became an occupational therapist helping others with physical disabilities.
Renee is an accomplished cabaret singer and former MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Awards Vocalist nominee, who sings in popular city venues. She has also released her premiere album entitled "Never Been Gone", and has just
released her debut poetry/CD collection that goes by the same name, containing poetry and songs that reflect on her life's journey.

Renee feels very blessed to be the mother of a teenager who also possesses the same talents of singing and writing. Renee credits her perseverance to her dear father and her creative being to her mother and grandmother. She is eternally grateful to her many cherished friends and patients, as well as to those survivors who have inspired her to move forward.

Today, I celebrate Renee Katz!

HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED WITH YOUR CURRENT PROJECT?
Since my return to Cabaret last summer, with my show Never Been Gone, I have been inspired by members of our beautiful community and am grateful to be back performing in this art form I love so very much.
Another fabulous group of incredible, sharing women at Randie's Roundtable at Sardi's....Nancy Holson, Donna Trinkoff, Christel Ibsen, Marilyn Lester, Renee Katz, Antonia Kasper, Davida Rothberg — with Nancy Holson, Donna Trinkoff, Renee Katz, Antonia Kasper Hinman and Christel Ibsen.
I believe every moment is precious, and so I decided to follow my Winter Awakenings show at Don’t Tell Mama with a new summer show called Only from the Heart can you Touch the Sky.
This show is filled with music I just love to sing; from buried treasures to the familiar songs with gorgeous arrangements I have worked hard on over the years, and with new ones created just for this show. I am fortunate to work with my fabulous Musical Director/Arranger, John M. Cook, who loves to delve into the music as deeply as I do, especially in terms of phrasing and the “small gestures” that make Cabaret the
the unique art form that it is. My long-time Director, Peter Schlosser, makes sure the emotional arc and through line is clear to the audience in an honest way that is true to my heart and in what I am trying to express.

FOR HOW LONG ARE YOU INVOLVED IN THE SHOW AND HOW LONG IS IT SET TO RUN?
Presently, Only from the Heart Can You Touch the Sky is scheduled to run three dates at Don’t
Tell Mama: Sunday, July 29 at 6:00pm and Saturdays, August 4 and 11 at 8:00pm.

RENEE, TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND HOW YOU GOT INTO CABARET?
I am a proud native New Yorker, from the lovely town with an unfortunate name, Flushing. My
Dad is a Holocaust survivor from Rumania and my mom is from Brooklyn and has composed her own music for many years, as did her mother, my grandma from Odessa. My brother is a singer-songwriter/ Ph.D. psychologist who goes by the name Bob Katz. I went to The LaGuardia High School of Music and Art (my class was the Fame class).
with Musical Director, John M. Cook (photo credit: Maryann Lopinto)
We all came from diverse backgrounds but were united in our passion for the arts. As with our
lovely Cabaret community, we represented a microcosm of how united the world can and
should be. To this day, I am bolstered by my “M and A” friends, some of who are actively
performing on our Cabaret stages today. Two weeks before my high school graduation, as many of you know, I was involved in a highly publicized horrific accident that robbed me of my ability to play the piano and flute, but it did NOT take away my voice!
My plans to attend New England Conservatory
for Vocal Performance and Tufts University for Early Childhood Education were altered, as I needed to stay in New York for surgeries and rehabilitation. I attended New
York University and majored in Vocal Performance, as well as Occupational Therapy.
Living in Manhattan afforded me the ability to see more Cabaret shows, which I did as often as I could. I fell in love with the vulnerable and intimate qualities that Laurie Beechman’s voice was able to produce, the genius phrasing of Barbara Cook and Julie Wilson, “the queen of small
gestures” - Blossom Dearie, the silk of Nancy LaMott, and so many others. I attended Cabaret and Songwriter’s Workshops, Cabaret Performance classes, acting classes and performed in Maury Yeston’s BMI workshop. I started with group shows at Don’t Tell Mama, then solo shows
there and at Panache I, Panache II and at Eighty-Eights. I had to leave the Cabaret stage for a few years for varied reasons, but I never stopped working up my repertoire and performed locally.
Renee's parents
I have worked with wonderful musical directors including Christopher Marlowe. We produced an album together entitled Never Been Gone and a few years later, I wrote a poetry book with the same title; which included our CD. When I returned to the Cabaret stage last summer, I bravely created a show based on my life experiences and my book, with the terrific Musical Director, Tedd Firth, who encouraged me to take on the project with him.

WHAT IS A TYPICAL SHOW DAY LIKE FOR YOU?
On a show day, I will typically keep all interactions to a minimum. I warm up, review lyrics and blocking sporadically throughout the day. I will read letters, quotes and emails that have inspired me to move forward. It always helps before I go on, when Sidney Myer magically
appears, takes hold of my hands and is there for me.
We have had this tradition since I began in
Cabaret, and there is just no one like him. We are all blessed to have him “in our own little
Cabaret corner.”

HOW DO REHEARSALS AND INTEGRATION HAPPEN?
Typically, the through line and acting intentions are developed first. The musical pieces are chosen with those in mind. I work on my phrasing, dynamics, and arrangements side-by-side with my Musical Director, John M. Cook. Things also happen spontaneously, which we usually go with. For this show, I am using my own poetry to interlace the pieces, as we are always trying for universal messages. I did my own personal show last June, and I find that in poetry, people can develop their own meanings and experiences for what they are feeling. My Director, Peter Schlosser, continues to shape the emotional arc of the show and blocking is guided by the acting intentions and through line as well. Finally, repetition and practice help with the consistency of performance.

HOW DO YOU SEE PROCEEDING WITH YOUR CAREER? DO YOU HAVE AN UPCOMING PROJECT IN MIND AFTER THIS ONE?
I will be continuing my quest of becoming a Cabaret performer known for my phrasing, and emotional and honest performances. I believe in the power of vulnerability and embracing the “gift of perspective” that the challenges of life often give us.
I believe that numbness silences the soul and that when we face our fears head-on, our voices create a beauty that touches others. And that is my goal- to touch and affect others.

On this upcoming October 11th, I am grateful and so excited to sing in the Cabaret Convention’s Jerry Herman Night. I so love the piece that KT Sullivan asked me to sing! I will be returning to Don’t Tell Mama with my Winter Awakenings show featuring the passionate December Songs by Maury Yeston. After that, I might delve into a show about the mysterious and misunderstood Deanna Durbin, and maybe other women of the Silver Screen.
Michael Colby wrote a song entitled Start Again for me, for when we were both honored by Bobbie
Bobbie Horowitz
Horowitz
in her It's Just a Number series last year, and we have just recently recorded that lovely song.

ARE YOU HAPPY?
I am happiest when I am singing. Music is my #1 constant. It’s my first love and it’s never too
late to return to your first love.
My third and “final” husband is a blessing and my son is the stars, moon and the sky. Something that also makes me feel centered is when people give me the chance to be known as the singer and performer I am, rather than to be defined by the past! I hope more of the Cabaret community will come to hear me and give me that chance.

What was it like to be thrust into the limelight at such a young age and how do you feel that has affected you personally and professionally?
That’s a tough one and I’m laughing because I asked for it!
I shall try.
Being thrust into the limelight at a young age affected me in many ways. For starters, it caused me to grow up very fast. I graduated HS in the hospital, and my college plans to attend the New England Conservatory and Tufts were altered for multiple surgeries and rehabilitation. I constantly had to smile for the media and tried to be strong just like my Holocaust survivor father. I never grieved or went through the normal stages of loss and recovery. Despite all this,  I somehow graduated college in Voice and Occupational Therapy at NYU. I got married at a very young age to a man who knew me before the incident because I wanted to be loved for me, not a media mannequin.
But he got intimidated when I started heavily pursuing my Cabaret dreams, and we divorced. Then I finally grieved and it was a hard time. I wrote much of my poetry book then. I read the works of other poets and cried, and dated, and was more myself then that I had been in a long time. I sang and worked hard on my Cabaret music and immersed myself in it. I was finally pursuing my dreams again. Then I met a less traditional type of man and kept singing,  and also had a beautiful baby, who is now all grown up. That relationship ended as well, but I have something very precious from it. In the middle of all this, I do find that PTSD sometimes affects me, but I am not letting it affect my goals and dreams. I am now happily married to a man who gets it.

NAME A PERSON YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE PROFILED IN MY BLOG.
Maryann LoPinto. She has dedicated a great majority of her time and many talents to the Cabaret community for many years. At almost every event, Maryann is there recording Cabaret history. Her photographs of veteran Cabaret performers, as well as budding new performers, are a treasure.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WISH INCLUDED?
Yes, some of my favorite quotes and word passages:

“I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul”
__William Ernest Henley

My heart will be blessed with the sound of musi

And I’ll sing once more.”
__Oscar Hammerstein II

“Of all the energies that drive us, there is only one that can never be transcended into negative
actions towards others, and that is the energy of compassion”
__Dr. Howard A. Rusk

Feel yourself being quietly drawn
By the deeper pull
of what you truly love.
__Rumi

Please check out Renee's Website for More Info.

Richard Skipper Also Celebrates...

Barnes and Noble Unveils Huge Selection of Exclusive Vinyl Albums at Stores Nationwide for Vinyl Weekend, July 13-15 Click HERE for More Info

Interviews and video: Three-time Tony nominee Dee Hoty returns to OKC to star in Lyric Theatre's 'Hello, Dolly!' Click HERE for more info.

Tomorrow Night: Paint your Pet and Sip at Cherry's on the Bay! Click HERE for more info


THIS COULD BE YOU
Written and Performed by
KENDRA CUNNINGHAM
Directed by
SEPTEMBER 13TH
OCTOBER 25TH
NOVEMBER 29TH
DECEMBER 13TH
ALL THURSDAYS AT 7PM
343 West 46th St
NYC 10036
 212-757-0788 (after 4pm)

Review by Mark Dundas Wood HERE.

The Boys in the Band
Thursday, July 26, 11:59 pm
Special Midnight Performance, Booth Theatre
Don’t miss your chance to see this Special Midnight Performance of Mart Crowley’s landmark 1968 play with the most exciting cast on Broadway, featuring Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory, An Act of God), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, American Horror Story), Matt Bomer (The Normal Heart, White Collar, Magic Mike) and Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon, Girls). The production includes Charlie Carver, Robin De Jesús, Brian Hutchison, Michael Benjamin Washington and Tuc Watkins, and is directed by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello (The Humans, Other Desert Cities, Wicked).
For an additional $65, ticket buyers to this Special Midnight Performance will have access to a private pre-show reception at 10 pm at Bond 45 (221 West 46th Street), just one block north of the Booth Theatre. Available at checkout and while tickets remain, so purchase today HERE

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


NEXT UP!

A Few Audience Testimonials about Richard Skipper Celebrates
Love Richard Skipper Celebrates...! Looking forward to a new season.

-Bea Sonnenshein, Sparkill, New York

Richard Skipper: His show is a real "eye-popping", kickin', bright, glow if charm and energy! You fall in love with Richard as soon as he steps on the stage! I was truly mesmerized by him and the other talented performers in the show! I'm looking forward to RICHARD SKIPPER CELEBRATES next new season September 9th!
Yvonne Marie McQuade, Rockaway, New Jersey


Lovely to see Richard Skipper again this afternoon doing what he does best! Bravo on a terrific afternoon in honor of Cole Porter! He is definitely smiling down on RICHARD!
Well done! And sincere congratulations on Richard's full commitment to delivering and hosting important musical programs and first-class composer/songwriting.
So happy to sit and enjoy his insights and interviewing talents. Smooth and relaxing!

Still grateful for my chance to sit in the red chair at the Beechman last spring to honor Yip Harburg.
Richard is doing IT. Living his calling. Bravo and warmest congratulations!
With love and admiration,
Maureen Kelley Stewart


Season Three Begins September 9th!

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

With grateful XOXOXs,


 

with Rita McKenzie, Richard Skipper Celebrates the 53rd Anniversary of Hello, Dolly! January 31st, 2017

Please LIKE (if you do!) and SHARE!

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!

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!

TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com
This Blog is Dedicated to The American Popular Song Society
Photo Credit: Rose Billings





1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this excellent well written blog! Hoping people will get to know me better as a person and performer!!

    ReplyDelete