Monday, November 28, 2011

What Motivates You?

"Knowledge is proud that it knows so much; wisdom is humble that it knows no more."
-William Cowper, English poet (1731-1800)

Happy Monday!
It's a new day, a new week,a new holiday season and we all have a blank canvas waiting to be drawn upon. It's really up to you to decide the direction your week takes. Do I sound too much like a motivational speaker? Well, perhaps I do but anyone who knows me knows that I'm really motivated. The idea of succeeding at whatever I set out to do motivates me. Those of you who know me and/or read my blogs know that I was motivated at 13 to come to New York when I was 18...and I did! When I set my mind on a goal and it materializes, I'm driven to make it succeed. Yesterday, on CBS Sunday Morning, they did a story on cancer patients and positive thinking. As you can imagine, there are two camps on this. Believers and non-believers. I can only speak for myself. Having an optimistic outlook has gotten me through some pretty rough patches. It keeps me going and my eye on the bigger prize. As you may know, tonight we are honoring Jerry Herman. I think the reason I am drawn to Jerry is his optimism. He tells the story that one day when he was a teenager, he came home to find his mom in a festive mood as if she were throwing a party. When he asked her what was the occasion, she responded with "It's Today!" It doesn't get any better than that!
Mame was the very first show I ever did and what a way to start in this business. When my family and everyone I encountered told me it was a pipe dream, it just motivated me to work harder.

Some people, sadly, are motivated by greed. A Black Friday shopper who collapsed while shopping at a Target store in West Virginia went almost unnoticed as customers continued to hunt for bargain deals. Walter Vance, the 61-year-old pharmacist, who reportedly suffered from a prior heart condition, later died in hospital, reports MSNBC.

Harvey Milk was motivated by equality for ALL! 

I'm motivated by great music!

Direct from his Sold Out Los Angeles performances, Craig Pomranz, reminiscent of Johnny Mathis, Chet Baker and Little Jimmy Scott, returns to New York and St. Louis!
NEW show “Love and the Clock” isThe First Annual Craig Pomranz Holiday Show!
In New York - Sunday, December 4 at 4:00PM and Saturday, December 10 at 7:00PMMake Reservations at 212.206.0440
"The BEST male singer, his voice is alternately affecting, powerful and nuanced; it is one of the finest instruments in the city” NY Post “Exceptional voice...powerful performance...came deep from his soul, mesmerizing everyone in the audience...” Music Connection “One of New York’s most critically-acclaimed saloon singers” New York Magazine “A powerful voice that is lilting and pure” Village VoiceNew Reviews by Sue Matsuki/Joe Regan Jr. & Alix Cohen Below!
CRAIG POMRANZ CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED SINGER, One of the dreamiest voices in the music industry returns to New York and St. Louis along with Stephen Bocchino, Craig's formidable musical director, accompanist and partner in verbal high-jinks.

34 WEST 22ND ST <<The Metropolitan Room>> RESERVATIONS: 212.206.0440

NEW - Times Square Chronicle Review click here
NEW - Alix Cohen/ review click here
NEW - Love and the Weather/Sue Matsuki Review click here

This is from my friend Michael Walters and is on the money:
"IF U ASK YOURSELF WHY MUSICIANS/ARTISTS/SONGWRITERS/PRODUCERS CHARGE SO MUCH FOR PERFORMANCES, think about this... We don't get paid vacation, we don't get paid sick days, we don't get bonuses for outstanding performances nor for Christmas. We don't have insurance plans, retirement plans, nor do we qualify for unemployment. We sacrifice our family on special days so that we can bring happiness to others and just make a living. Illness or personal affairs are not excuses for a bad performance. Next time you ask, remember that artists are artists because we love what we do, but that love doesn't pay debts.
Michael Walters as Dame Edna
I've written about Michael many times. He is one of the great entertainers working today."  
A native of Hope, Arkansas, Michael was delivered by the same nurse who delivered former President Bill Clinton. That nurse also happened to be his late grandmother, Wilma Booker.
Michael began performing as soon as he realized he had an unquenchable thirst to be the center of attention. A natural mimic, Michael began as a miniature Rich Little - doing impressions of the entire cast of The Muppet Show, Archie Bunker and countless other television icons - and he hasn't stopped since. Fortunately, some of the impressions have gotten better over time.

Michael L. Walters presents a one-man journey through the world of Musical Comedy as seen through the eyes of an actor who lives to entertain. Michael sings classic Broadway tunes from his favorite shows, and re-enacts some of his favorite roles. This fast-paced journey is peppered with stories of special celebrity encounters, offstage mishaps and hilarious tales about his family, who were never quite sure what to do with a show-biz kid. Don't miss your chance to share an unforgettable evening with this unforgettable and critically acclaimed entertainer!

My friend, Wanda Richert says, " Being with a group of Honest, Creative people with Integrity....brainstorming something Incredible out of 'thin air'.... *;).... ♥"
 It should have been the brightest day in Wanda Richert's young life. For three months the 22-year-old former chorus girl had been rehearsing for her Broadway debut in 42nd Street, producer David Merrick's Broadway version of the 1933 movie hit. She had not only won the coveted Ruby Keeler starring role but had fallen in love with the show's famed director, Gower Champion, 59. In the final weeks of rehearsal, however, Champion had fallen mysteriously ill, then was suddenly hospitalized. The night before the opening Wanda visited him. "He opened his eyes when I was there," she recalls. "He did get out, 'I love you.' " The next morning she was barred from Champion's room. "Gower's assistant said he was sedated because he was anxious over opening night," Wanda recalls. "That made me feel better." What she did not know was that Champion was dying.
 The performance went flawlessly that night. But after the 12th curtain call, Merrick walked onstage and melodramatically announced to the shocked audience and cast (and to TV cameramen who had been invited in) that Champion was dead. He then turned and embraced his new star. Wanda smiled bravely through the tears, champagne and glowing reviews at the opening-night party. "As a performer and as a person, I feel good I got through it," she says now. "Knowing it was for Gower helped a lot. I felt his strength."
 Her love affair with Champion began as a casual friendship. "I felt an attraction immediately, but I thought, 'Oh, with the age difference and all, it's impossible.' " But on opening night during the show's pre-Broadway run at the Kennedy Center in Washington, Gower came to her dressing room. "We stood there looking at each other and he kissed me and I knew," she says. "But then they called, 'Places.' " They quickly became inseparable. "I kept pinching myself," Richert marvels. "I thought, 'This is someone my mom used to watch on TV.' " She tried to conceal their affair, "but Gower said, 'Why keep it secret?' " At the time, Richert claims, she did not realize Champion was still married to his second wife, Carla, from whom he had separated. (Gower and Marge Champion, his famous dancing partner, were divorced in 1973.) "In rehearsals, he always talked about his two ex-wives," Wanda says. "If I had known any differently, I wouldn't have gotten involved. I wouldn't want my husband to do that." Wanda eventually met Champion's wife in his hospital room. "I didn't know who Carla was at first, but she knew me," Wanda recalls. "I felt sympathy for her."
 They did quiet post rehearsal dinners at Champion's Manhattan apartment. They ate leftovers cooked up by his houseman, and Gower mixed his favorite cocktail: milk, ginger ale and Bosco. Richert had her own apartment nearby. "We talked about living together, but decided not to. A part of each of us had to have privacy." In their last days, she remembers, "He was as handsome lying in that hospital bed as ever. We'd talk about the show and how things were going." After the visits Richert would often go to St. Patrick's Cathedral. "I'd have a good cry there. I felt uplifted."
 The peripatetic life of a serviceman's family was difficult. By the time Wanda was a high school sophomore in Western Springs, Ill., she was dancing at a Chicago dinner theater—and letting her straight A grades slip. "I wasn't a pom-pom girl or in a clique," she explains. "When the girls found out I was a dancer, they hit me and threw me into lockers."
 She quit school, worked full-time on the regional theater circuit and once did a nightclub turn in a Greek restaurant. "We changed downstairs, surrounded by olives."
This is from an article I found on line from 1980 (One Light on Broadway Goes Out, Another Goes Up: a Star Named Wanda Richert Is Born)

 Assisted by Wanda Richert, Deborah Henry, Angelique Ilo, Ann Louise Schaut, Pamela Sousa, Cheryl Clark and Vicki Frederick, here is Donna McKechnie:

Miles Phillips motivates me! Here he is singing the song that won the Academy Award the year I was born at mine and Danny's wedding:


The Variety Show does exist! See for yourself tonight!

Nov 28
This is the launch of a new series. Once a month, Richard will be celebrating a different theme. A Benefit for Carol Channing's Foundation for the Arts. ( Anna Bergman,Diane J. Findlay, Peggy Herman, Sue Matsuki, Miles Phillips, Jana Robbins, Richard Skipper, Lee Roy Reams, Walter Willison, Bob Mattern, John Patrick Schutz, Sarah Rice. RESERVATIONS A MUST! $25 show plus two drink minimum, $50 PREMIUM SEATS plus two drink minimum (includes complementary glass of champagne).

Have your voice heard – You can make a difference!

I have been fortunate enough to call among my friends several celebrities.
The one thing that I've gleaned from them beyond their bodies of work is their humanness.

Thank you to all of the artists mentioned in this blog for the gifts you ALL have given to the world!

Thank you for joining me on these nostalgic journeys!
I've added a new aspect to my blog.. I am now answering a question on video that YOU send to me. You can ask me ANYTHING and I will answer your question on video within my blog.
Send your questions to

"Richard, for supporting the ARTS and calling attention to the STARS of yesterday. You are a STAR in your own right!! With admiration and friendship"
Arlene Dahl

Thank you to all who have encouraged me! Thanks to all who have tried to stifle my art. I have learned from ALL of you!

Here's to an INCREDIBLE day for ALL!


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Tomorrow's blog will be YOU TELL ME! I'M OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS!
I'm open to suggestions!


Richard Skipper,

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