Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Mitzi Gaynor Extends Feinstein's at Loews Regency Run Through May 29
(SOURCE: Brian Scott Lipton, TheatreMania.com)

Film and stage star Mitzi Gaynor has extended the run of her show Razzle Dazzle! My Life Behind the Sequins at Feinstein's at Loews Regency, which will now play May 18-29. The show is directed and choreographed by Tony Charmoli.

The show will feature often hilarious recollections of her famous friends and costars, including Frank Sinatra, Ethel Merman, Marilyn Monroe, Irving Berlin, Howard Hughes, and Marlene Dietrich; behind-the-scenes anecdotes and songs from her films, including There's No Business Like Show Business, Les Girls, The Joker Is Wild, and South Pacific; and a diverse slate of song selections from such writers as John Kander and Fred Ebb, Leon Redbone, Peter Allen, and Betty Comden and Adolph Green.

The creative team includes Bob Mackie (costumes), Dick DeBenedictis and Bill Dyer (musical arrangements), Ed Czach (musical direction), and Colin R. Freeman and Nick DeGregorio (orchestrations).

For tickets and information, call 212-339-4095 or visit www.feinsteinsatloewsregency.com.

On occasion I’ve received queries from readers who, for whatever reason, left the business in their youth and now — decades later — want to make a return.
(That’s your cue Ms. Desmond.)
They look to me for an answer. I don’t know who fears my honesty more. Me or them? Do I tread lightly in deference and respect to the years the inquiring have lived? Or do I ignore the truths I know and offer a white-wash “All will be swell and easy for you” reply? Falsehoods and cautious courtesy will not serve them well.

There is a harsh reality awaiting these actors hoping to return to the thespian fold. They will not be welcomed back with warm embraces and adulation. And if you think I write these words with malicious glee you’d be terribly mistaken.

What follows is a correspondence between a hopeful returning actor and myself. I post it here now to share with you:

I have your book and just finished [the chapter] Training for the Actor. Every topic in that chapter was a question in my mind that you answered very well for anyone who is thinking about turning to acting as a career.
I will intend to pursue a career in acting for film/television for which my undergraduate work was geared toward. The only thing is that undergraduate work was completed 33 years ago. I will retire with 31 years in the US Navy in the spring of 2011. I have thought about applying for grad school, but I will be 55 years old.
I am wanting to jump into being a “working” actor fast. I have the skills, rusty… If I was 23 again I’d probably would have tried the grad school pursuit and the MFA, now, I’m not sure what I should do. All I can put on a resume are the theater works I did back in the 1970s and my life experiences of travelling the world on ships, and being involved in a few major conflicts i.e. Hunt for Red October and Hurt Locker type stuff. I’m figuring I could have at another 20 or 30 year career. Your thoughts??”

Dear *****,
Thank you for the note and for buying the book.

To be fair to you, I’ve got to be as blunt here as I am in my book. But first before dispensing the bitter lemon I offer some lemonade; you’re making a brave move by returning to your love this many years later.
Many people would not have the courage as do you. Bravo.

I wish I could say that your return will not have many obstacles but sadly there are two challenges that will not be easy to overcome.
Your age. And your time away from the business.

You will be competing against men your age who have remained in the business who are well established and have accrued respectable credits on Broadway, regionally and/or on screen. Your resume will not fair well against your peers.

Agents will not be as welcoming to you as they are to your experienced competition or to younger actors who can be developed. The latter — a well-known given — is that youth sells better in our society. Relatively, in comparison with roles 18 – 34, there are not many roles written for mature actors 50s plus (even less so for mature actresses). The older the actor, the harder the sell is. I wish this were not true. But sadly such is the nature of the beast that is our business which is reflecting society. I’ll never understand it fully myself. Why do the fields of entertainment and advertising target an audience that has little to no disposable income among its members while the more mature counterpart often has cash and credit easily at hand? To me this business plan seems like a contradictory move towards earning profit. But again, this is how our society is. The business model must be working well or there would have been a change long ago. Who loses? Older actors, especially the “returning mature actor”. Both, unless an uber-celeb or industry name, have a difficult journey in making measurable strides within the industry.

As to your resume: Putting your life experiences on your resume, while deeply personal and rightfully important to you, will be of little interest for most agents and casting. Agents have enough trouble in this economy selling their established clients with B’way and screen credits.
Your time away is too much work for them in trying to sell you to casting. And I don’t mean that as a slam towards agents. Casting wants to know what have you done lately that is directly relevant to acting.
A civilian world example: If a baker in his twenties left his passion for cakes to pursue construction but then thirty years later wanted to return to baking and applied for a baker’s position at an upscale bakery the employer would not care how many buildings the ex-baker constructed but would want to know what has the builder has done recently relevant to baking and what are his present culinary skills.

Now yes, this can all be terribly demoralizing. This doesn’t mean there is no hope. Just realize, and I think you do, that you’re in for a tough, tough challenge in returning.
Hence why I said you were very brave.

First best step that you can do is find some top-rated conservatory classes, attend them and that way you’re back into the business — somewhat — and beginning to network among other actors. Actors get actors jobs.
Attend paid auditions to meet agents and casting people.

But please bear in mind that your desire for a ‘fast’ way to being a working actor is rarely an obtainable reality for a any artist of story-telling. Whether an actor is new, established, youthful or mature, this business has very few express lanes.

My Best,
Paul Russell

Rebecca Luker, Donna McKechnie, Faith Prince, et al. Set for Great Entertainers on Broadway Series
By: Dan Bacalzo · Apr 13, 2010 · New York

Christine Andreas, Rebecca Luker, Donna McKechnie, Mark Nadler, Marni Nixon, Faith Prince, and Richard Skipper will be among the performers in The American Theatre Network's new summer series of live performances, Great Entertainers on Broadway, to be presented at the Times Square Arts Center, July 26-August 5.

Nadler will kick off the series on July 26, with two shows at 7pm and 9:30pm. He will be followed by Tony Babino (July 27, 7pm), Skipper (July 27, 9:30pm), Luker (July 28, 7pm & 9:30pm), and McKechnie (July 29, 7pm and 9:30pm).

The second week of the series will feature Andreas (August 2, 7pm and 9:30pm), Steve DePass (August 3, 7pm), Nixon (August 3, 9:30pm), and Prince (August 5, 7pm and 9:30pm). An additional female performer, to be announced, will be presented on August 4 at 7pm and 9:30pm.

Gaynor, Cerveris, Bleu, Modine, Shields, Perez and Jordan to Present Drama Desk Awards

By Adam Hetrick
20 Apr 2010

Mitzi Gaynor, Michael Cerveris and Corbin Bleu will be presenters for the 55th annual Drama Desk Awards, which will be hosted by Patti LuPone May 23 at LaGuardia Concert Hall at Lincoln Center.

In addition to Gaynor ("South Pacific"), Cerveris (Sweeney Todd) and Bleu (In the Heights), Drama Desk presenters will include Matthew Modine (The Miracle Worker), Brooke Shields (Wonderful Town), Rosie Perez (The Ritz) and Leslie Jordan (My Trip Down the Pink Carpet).

Brian Stokes Mitchell and Cady Huffman will announce the 2010 Drama Desk nominees at 9:30 AM on May 3 at the New York Friars Club.

The Drama Desk is an organization of theatre critics, writers and editors that honors excellence in all areas of New York theatre: Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway and not-for-profit.

The 2009-10 Nominating Committee includes chairperson Barbara Siegel, TalkinBroadway.com, Theatermania.com; Christopher Byrne, Gay City News; Patrick Christiano, Dan's Papers, Theaterlife.com; David Kaufman, freelance author; Gerard Raymond, Backstage, The Advocate; Richard Ridge, Broadway Beat TV; and Paulanne Simmons, CurtainUp.com and NYTheatre-wire.com.

The Drama Desk, organized in 1949, presented its first awards in 1955. William Wolf is president of the Drama Desk; Leslie (Hoban) Blake is vice president.

For more information visit DramaDesk.
For more information, visit www.americantheatrenetwork.com.

Patrick DeGennaro at Birdland!

Call 212 581 3080
315 West 44th Street

Monday May 10 7:00 pm

$25.00, $35.00 Center Seating

Patrick DeGennaro and his band
(Alec Berlin-Guitar, Randy Landau-Bass,
Brian Wolfe-Drums, Jorgen Kjaer-Keyboards, Back Up Vocals- Lonna Marie, Jen Heaney, Alisa Schiff) return to Birdland with lots of new originals plus some favorites from the newly released UNBROKEN.

"Filled with soaring vocals and intricate melodies "Unbroken" is a collection of original songs that illustrate how DeGennaro is at the top of his considerable game." David Hurst Next

Reservations Required

Support THE ARTS! LIVE THEATRE! Go see a show this week!

Send me your reviews and suggestions and I will put them in my next blog coming out next Sunday! Here's to an ARTS-filled week! Don't forget to contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/Foundation.htm

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!

Richard Skipper

Follow me on Twitter @RichardSkipper

Hi Richard,
I had the pleasure of attending your showcase this past Wednesday evening. I have to commend you and Dana for presenting a throughly delightfull evening with a talented array of performers, many who sent me information on their programs.It was great hearing and seeing them performing live. As General MacArthur said, "I SHALL RETURN."
Len Schlosberg, Leonard Talent Associates Inc.

What an honor to spend a few days with you,Richard! The Bistro Awards were fabulous
(a great deal to you and the promotion and Program Book ads!!)
then to top it off… Wednesday at the Iguana! Together you and Dana have created the perfect nurturing environment for talent : pro and approaching pro .
A welcome change from entertainment venues where ' a nose in the air' is the norm and stops creativity. Instead, you are the warm arms of mentoring and support every artist desires.
Patricia Fitzpatrick, Cape Cod Cabaret: http://www.capecodcabaret.com

Every time I go to the Iguana it just gets better! It's always a fabulous night of amazing entertainment, and such a warm and supportive community that gathers there. Thank you for inviting me to sing! You can bet I'll be back soon. Catt John: http://www.cattjohn.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NYC Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price!
Dana Lorge and I have put our OWN spin on the variety show format and are now hosting every Wednesday night in NYC at The Iguana VIP Lounge (http://www.iguananyc.com) in the heart of NYC (240 West 54th Street 8-11PM/with an intermission).

Cover: $12 - no food or drink minimums – but remember – the food is great!

For more info, please call 845-365-0720 or visit _www.RichardSkipper.com_
No one admitted before

April 21st: Erik Cheski, Henry Dee, Janice Hall, Tod Hall, Rita Ellis Hammer, Sunny Leigh , Sina Lewis, Jim Speake

April 28th: Bryan Anthony, Hector Coris, Kecia Craig, Sandra Davis, Rosemary Loar, Gretchen Reinhagen, and Frank Stern!

May 5th: Anton Van Der Merwe and Julie Reyburn

May 19th: Adrienne Haan, Barbara Gurskey, Bobbie Horowitz, Evan Lawrence

May 26th: Michelle Collier

June 2nd: D'Yan Forest and Tod Hall, Pam Palmieri

June 16th: 2010 Julie Reyburn, Lisa Raze returns!

June 30th: KEVIN DOZIER!




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  2. Great stuff! I hope to see some of your performances/productions on day.