Success...Of Various Degrees

Art work by Eric J. Sutton
"Winter is not a season, it is an occupation."

-Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951)

Happy Winter Solstice!
Today is the first day of winter. It is also the shortest day of the year. It is three days till Christmas.
There are only 9 days days left in this year and then 2011 will be but a memory.

As I look back over the past year, the good absolutely outweighs the bad and for that, I am very grateful.
One year ago tonight, I had my first preview of my show at St. Luke's Theatre. I started that chapter of my life with great excitement. Artistically, I am happy with what I created.

I hope you have been enjoying the blogs this year. They are taking me in directions that I really like. I have met some incredible people this year through my blog and social media. I also have enjoyed the blog suggestions that I have been suggested to me especially over the past few days.
And the suggestions are diverse.
In the past few days, the following people have been suggested to me as topics for my blog. Portia Nelson, Neil Simon, Liza Minnelli, Bea Arthur, and Doris Day.

 "I don't know what I want sometimes, but I know that I want to know what I want." Portia Nelson

Liza in concert in Naperville, Illinois on Saturday, September 22. This was the unforgettable evening when my friend, Eric J. Sutton actually got to meet Liza and she signed her autograph for me!

And it made me think about the contributions these have made to our lives. What do they each have that makes them special...and or successful. How does one make it when one of equal or more talent does not?
Here is one fan's take on meeting his idol, Liza Minnelli.

This is from my friend Eric. J. Sutton: 
It was thrilling that my favorite performer of all time was coming to concert in a venue very close to my hometown, Naperville, Illinois!
My partner and I got our tickets, and off we drove from Indianapolis to Naperville.
Liza was performing her show dedicated to her beloved godmother, Kay Thompson.
The theatre was intimate and beautiful. The show was amazing. When Liza and the boys began Act Two, the theatre buzzed with electricity and we were transformed back to Ciro’s in 1948.
After the show, I hoped that my dream of meeting my hero would happen. 
We were very close, I could glimpse Liza backstage talking with others, but unfortunately we weren’t allowed to go backstage...

My partner, Herbert, suggested that we go outside and wait on the sidewalk for Liza to come out of the theatre. With a picture of Liza from New York, New York on the cover of US Magazine, and a silver sharpie in my trembling hand, I nervously waited.

Folks from the theatre told us that Liza would not be signing any autographs. This made me even more nervous that my hopes of meeting Liza wouldn’t happen.
Finally Liza came out of the theatre, and she looked stunning in a beautiful, black, silk shirt. Liza could not have been more gracious to all of the fans waiting to see her. In fact, the first person she said hello to was Herbert! I was the last person on the sidewalk and also the last person Liza approached. With people encircling us, Liza came to me and said, “Hello,” and courteously signed my picture. The whole time I was shaking like a leaf! Liza told me to, “hold it still, honey!” 
But I was so excited I couldn’t stop shaking. She also said, with a chuckle, that she wished that she still looked like that picture. In fact, she is more beautiful than ever. 
After signing my picture, she hopped in her awaiting car and was whisked off, and that was that! I stood glowing from the experience and continued to delight in the experience all the way back home to Indianapolis. 
I just wish I had been able to say more to Liza and let her know how much she meant to me, but I’m sure by the look on my face she could tell.  
Thank you for being so friendly, Liza!
Your devoted fan,
Eric J. Sutton

I saw an interview with William Shatner a few weeks ago on Piers Morgan.
Can you believe he is 80!?!?! He has a new Broadway show opening in February. He has a new rap album coming out in the new year. He is very sought after as an actor and spokesperson. When asked what he attributed to his success, he said get out of the house! He says as we all get older, we ALL get more and more complacent in our lives. You want a date? Go to "Craig's List"...although that can be dangerous. But in some cases, you can get exactly what you're looking for and they will do what you desire!
Want a dinner? Not only can you get what you desire there, you can also hire people to serve you?
With over 500 channels on your cable carrier, you can see just about ANYTHING you want from the slovenly comfort of your own homes.
Netflix, satellite radio, ipods, home entertainment networks. It is virtually impossible to get people out of the house!

Add to that, the economic climate, the fragility of the world since 9/11...STILL(!), the stress of going anywhere these days, is it any wonder that people are hiding behind their computers. For some, texting and tweeting is a way of life.
New York is no longer the city that never sleeps. I heard last week that bars may start to close at 2AM in NYC!
Yesterday, a friend of mine lost his job as a tour guide with Graylines tour buses here in New York. He has been replaced with a headset with a recording giving tourists a tour of New York. Not only will the average tourists no longer able to ask questions about certain landmarks, but because of the headset, they won't even be intermingling with each other OR they will lose part of the recorded history of New York.
Another method of shutting down human interaction.

I have been saying for years that if booking managers and owners of clubs don't start taking an interest in their customers, they WILL lose them! 90 percent of the audiences in New York cabaret today is made up of fellow performers. WE support each other. That's a given! How many shows on the boards in a cabaret room are there tonight because there is a demand for that performer?
The people who book the rooms now are only filling a niche. "If performer A only has 5 people in his audience, perhaps performer B will double that." We will get those people who attended performer A out of the room as quickly as possible so we can set up for performer B. It's no longer about the audience, it's about BUSINESS. Most rooms have turned into factories...move 'em in, move 'em out!

Those booking managers and club owners have NO vested interest in the acts they are booking. The performer is no longer paid in cabaret rooms in NY, therefore, there is no investment on behalf of the venue to fill those seats. Imagine if performers on Broadway were responsible for  filling those seats!?!?! Producers spend lots of money on PR firms and campaigns to get audiences interested.
People are spending $500.00 to get tickets for BOOK OF MORMON on Broadway. People who are spending that money have no idea WHO they are going to see on Broadway. They will shell out that money because they have been led to believe that that is the tourist thing to do, just as seeing the Empire State Building and and The Statue of Liberty are definite musts.

And yet those same people have no idea that for $50.00 or less they could see a show at Don't Tell Mama, or The Triad, or The Duplex or most other cabaret rooms in NY.
Unless someone has a connection to any of these venues, the THOUSANDS of tourists arriving today in New York today will NEVER know these places exist! Because NONE of these venues have a marketing campaign in place to attract a new audience! They no longer care. It is up to the performer to get butts in those seats. And if the venues took a vested interest to try and build a relationship with those people that do come in, they might be on to something! I'm not talking about the performers frequenting these venues...which make up the audiences, I'm talking about the non-performers.
If I was to take all the club owners tonight and put them all on one stage, I would propose this question: "What are YOU doing that sets you apart from the other venues? Why should I choose to spend tonight at your venue instead of staying at home or going to a movie?"

IF you don't have a definite game plan, you will be left behind in the next year!
Let ME help you with that game plan!
Jan 30
MANHATTAN PLACE, 630 First Avenue, # 5E (36th Street, Bet. 1st & FDR)
Join critically acclaimed, multi-award winning performer/director Richard Skipper and Glen Charlow (Richardâs designer) for this 'how to' workshop on building audiences and creating a following for performers, visual artists, writers and any other individual or group looking to expand their fan base and reach beyond their borders. Skipper, a career consultant and co-producer of the 2010, 2011, and 2012 Bistro Awards and "Richard Skipper Presents..." brings years of experience to this workshop. This hands on FUN workshop will focus on how to get you the attention that you need. Topics include how to use the Internet to your advantage in marketing; how to get your name "out there"; cold calling; creating a contract specific to your needs; how to create a press kit that shows you to your best possible advantage and more! Attendees are surveyed before the workshop to determine their needs. Richard customizes the workshop so that each participant gets their questions answered.
The workshop is $100.00. Space is limited to 10. Reservations can be made by calling 845-365-0720, e-mailing
And, now something that I have a vested interest in!

A Film by Dori Berinstein
opens in New York and Los Angeles on January 20

Entertainment One US will release CAROL CHANNING: LARGER THAN LIFE in New York and Los Angeles on January 20, 2012, with additional markets to follow.    The film, directed by Dori Berinstein (ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway, Some Assembly Required, Gotta Dance), examines the life and career of Tony Award-winning Broadway legend, Carol Channing – her extraordinary stage life, her offstage struggles and survival and the extraordinary storybook romance that found her reunited with her junior high school sweetheart after over 70 years.  

Carol Channing’s life is as colorful as the lipstick on her big, bright smile. In CAROL CHANNING: LARGER THAN LIFE, director Berinstein and co-writer and editor Adam Zucker capture the magic and vivacity of the 90-year-old icon – both onstage and of, past and present.  The film is both an intimate love story and a rarefied journey inside Broadway's most glamorous era.  It is, above all, a look at an inspiring, incomparable and always entertaining American legend.

“My first Broadway show was Hello, Dolly! at the age of five,” commented producer and director Berinstein.  “I adored her astonishing brilliance on stage, screen and television, but it is Carol’s life behind-the-curtain that had me completely convinced that hers is a life that must be told.”

Carol Channing has been a Broadway star since stopping the show in the 1948 Broadway revue, Lend an Ear.    The following year, she landed on the cover of Time Magazine and won international acclaim for her riotous performance as Lorelei Lee in the musical, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.   Her Broadway appearances included Show Girl, The Vamp, Wonderful Town, The Millionairess and Four on a Garden.    In 1964, she created the role of Dolly Gallagher Levi in Hello, Dolly!, winning a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical.  She would play the role of Dolly over 5,000 times throughout the world, without missing a performance.   Channing also received a Special Tony Award in 1968 and a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award in 1995. 

Channing received an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe Award for her performance as Muzzy in Thoroughly Modern Millie.   Her other films include Paid in Full, The First Traveling Saleslady, Skidoo, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Her TV specials include “Broadway at the Hollywood Bowl,” “Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey on Broadway” and the White Queen in “Alice Through the Looking Glass”.  Other credits include appearances on “What’s My Line?” “I’ve Got a Secret,” “Password,” “Hollywood Squares”; variety shows, including “The Dean Martin Show,” “The Red Skelton Show,” “The Milton Berle Show,” “Rowen & Martin’s Laugh-In,” “The Carol Burnett Show,” “The Muppet Show,” as well as episodes of “Playhouse 90,” “The Love Boat,” “Magnum P.I.” “The Nanny,” “Touched By an Angel,” “The Drew Carey Show” and “Family Guy”. 

Channing made headlines in 2003 when she married her junior high school sweetheart, businessman Harry Kulijian after a 70 year separation.   She also released her best selling memoirs, Just Lucky I Guess and has been touring in her one woman show, The First Eighty Years are the Hardest.   She released a new CD, For Heaven Sake in 2010, included many of the songs she loved as a child, as well as spirituals taught to her by her father. 

Dori Berinstein is a three-time Tony Award-winning Broadway producer and an award-winning directed and producer of film and television.   Documentary features directed and produced by Dori include Gotta Dance (2008), which won the Audience Award at the Palm Beach International Film Festival; Some Assembly Required (2007), which won Best Feature Documentary at the International Family Film Festival and ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway (2007), which won Best Feature Documentary from the Florida Film Festival and was one of the International Documentary Association’s Top 5 Films of 2007.  As a Broadway producer, her credits include Legally Blonde (Best Musical Olivier Award), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Best Musical Tony Award), The Crucible, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Best Revival of a Play Tony Award), Fool Moon (Special Tony Award), Flower Drum Song, Enchanted April and Golden Child.   Dori is the recipient of the 2009 Robert Whitehead Award for “outstanding achievement in commercial theatre producing”.   She is currently working with DreamWorks Theatricals and has served as an executive, consultant and/or producer for Walt Disney Imagineering, Warner Bros., Nickelodeon, Sesame Workshop, Sony Pictures, MTV, Vestron Pictures and Paramount Pictures. 

In addition to Channing and Kulijian, the film includes interviews with Jerry Herman, Lily Tomlin, Chita Rivera, Barbara Walters, Tommy Tune, Tyne Daly, Debbie Reynolds, Phyllis Diller, Loni Anderson, JoAnne Worley and Bruce Vilanch. 

is written and edited by Adam Zucker.  Director of Photography is Rob Vanalkemade and music is by Craig Sharmat.  The film was co-produced by B. Harlan Boll.   

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It all started when... 

Broadway legend Carol Channing received her honorary doctorate from California State University Stanislaus in 2004. Since then she and her husband Harry Kullijian have been promoting arts in education through this non-profit foundation. ChanningARTS (Arts Returned To Schools) encourages you to become involved in your community and local PTA to return arts education to all public schools.

They're a 501(c)3 organization and are able to receive your tax deductible contributions by check or PayPal. Please donate today!

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 my exclusive interview with David Snyder from the New York Pops!


Richard Skipper,


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