Too Marvelous! A Tribute To Maureen Taylor and other greats!

"Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old."
-Franz Kafka, author (1883-1924)

Happy Monday!
Let the above quote be your mantra for the week. You will begin to see the world through different eyes.
I would like to acknowledge a few birthdays today. The first is Dionne Warwick. She is 71 today. We presented her with a Bistro Award earlier this year. Contrary to the image we saw on The Apprentice, she was absolutely wonderful to deal with. The photo you see here was taken after she had received the award. Alex Rybeck, who played the most incredible arrangement of SOME of Dionne's greatest hits, Phil Ramone, who had produced most of those hits, myself, and Sherry Eaker, producer of the Bistros were outside the performing space sending Dionne off when her phone rang. Alex quipped that it was Donald Trump on the line just as someone snapped this picture.
I LOVE this picture!

Here is Dionne's reaction:

Lee Roy Reams who was also present that night, to introduce Tyne Daly, who also won a Bistro Award that night, and myself, accepting an award on behalf of Carol Channing for her continuing work for her Foundation bringing awareness to the importance of of Arts in Education (she was too ill to attend) told of an evening many years ago when he was in a show in Lake Tahoe. Dionne Warwick came to see the show and took the entire company out for dinner afterward. A class act all the way! 

(c) Ebet Roberts - Getty Images
Like Alex, I am a huge fan and I have been lucky enough to see her in concert.
I wasn't so lucky with Frank Sinatra, whose birthday is also today. I had tickets to see Sinatra ONCE in concert. It was 1992 and Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine were appearing together in concert at Radio City Music Hall.  Danny and I got our tickets and could not wait. The morning of the concert, my heart stopped when I heard on the radio that the concert had been canceled due to Frank's bout with pneumonia. I don't think he fully recovered and I never saw him perform live. One of my biggest regrets.
Frank would have been 96 today!

Still hoping to see Shirley MacLaine perform live some day!

Today is also Connie Francis' birthday. I saw Connie once in concert at Resorts in Atlantic City. MAGIC! That woman has been dealt one bad deck of cards and yet she still makes beautiful music!

 Last evening, we went to The Metropolitan Room to see Maureen Taylor in "Too Marvelous! A Tribute To Lauren Bacall"  Maureen's next appearance is Tomorrow night. I had a great time and HIGHLY RECOMMEND this show! It was great to break bread with Maureen afterward and get a little background.
Maureen tells me that her biggest wish is hoping that each success opens the door for more! Maureen feels that she has discovered the most significant insight while doing research for this show- it made her feel like there's still time and still hope to achieve what she'd like to achieve by starting by making the most of every present moment.
With songwriter Bob Levy (right) and his partner, Les Gluck
Models and influences? It's pretty ecclectic: since she started out in the classical world-Frederica "Flicka" Von Stade,Julia Migenes,Montserrat Caballe, later-
Judy Kaye,Barbra Streisand,Jessica Molaskey,Tim Wheater,Moya Brennan and ALL of John Barry's soundtracks for films! Happy? Maureen truly feels like she's in "Adult Puberty' and can't wait til she moves through this phase! She would love to be Adam Guettel's muse and would give anything to play Margaret in Light In The Piazza! She feels like she's a "Work in Progress" and hopefully evolving grace and simply "going for the JOY"!  
Portia Nelson
Constance Towers
Maureen just loved Portia Nelson and had a wonderful experience with her!
Maureen's favorite quote:"Each of us is meant to have a character all our own;-to BE what no other can exactly BE and DO what no other can exactly DO."
1st live show: The Sound of Music at the Jones Beach Theater. It was magical -all the lights reflected off the water. 
Constance Towers was the Maria.The music was glorious and carried over the water.(Since Maureen's own mother was "Maria Von Trapp II ") -Seriously,she was in the convent from 17 -24, left,met Maureen's Dad and had 6 kids for the 6 years she was in the convent! 
And her stories,just made it all the more real! Especially since Maureen's mom was very musical,had a wonderful voice and could play the piano. She was one of nine-8 sisters and a brother and they were ALL very musical! It was a powerful experience!
They were definitely exposed to the arts and she encouraged all 6 of her children to play an instrument, be in the band or orchestra in school and sing in the school and church choir. Maureen's chosen instrument was the viola because she loved harmonies! 
She played the viola all thru college and participated in All State and All Eastern both viola and voice.
with Maureen and Joe Regan, Jr.
First adult professional job: Chicago Lyric Opera. Arts in Education? VITAL! To be solution oriented and think "outside the box"...-the arts are indispensable for the "creative thinking process".
Maureen adds that she is not sure what to add for Carol Channing, "Richard.YOU are an amazing advocate for Carol and her foundation and I think you've covered everything."

with Bryon Sommers, Debroah Probyn, and Carol Siwek

Maureen's parents always had music playing.They were wonderful dancers as well,so they all inherited the "ecclectic" bit of loving "small doses of everything"! Examples of what was always playing:
Rosemary Clooney, Sandler and Young, Eddy Arnold, Jo Stafford,anything swing Dad knows all the lyrics to The Grateful Dead (of all things)!

Maureen, I loved your Tribute to Lauren Bacall last night! You looked and sounded "Marvelous" and I'm sure if Betty was in the audience she would have been applauding you also.. I loved all the different types of songs you chose for your tribute and all the great stories were so entertaining. I could tell that you spent many hours researching this show and it was just "Too Marvelous for Words! " I'm so glad you are doing a few more shows so that other people can get to see it. I will spread the word for you. Congratulations and enjoy your holidays! Carol Siwek
Go see this show Tuesday night! You'll thank me!


with Elaine St. George


Once again, Richard Skipper (ref. his tribute to Jerry Herman at The Triad on November 28th, 2011) topped himself with yet another wonderful, beautifully staged and coordinated event; and on top of that, he also managed to fill it with some of the best talent NYC has to offer, too! I'd heard-in talking with some audience members, last night-that he is doing this type of tribute to other legendary Artists on a monthly basis. He can count on my being there to see each and every Show; as long as HE is hosting it! Keep up your great work Richard, and never stop bringing the kind of happiness, joy and magic that you give to all of us!
Ronald E. Giles
Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 

I attended Richard Skipper's workshop at The Arts Council of Rockland on Tuesday night (11/15/11). I was prepared for an evening of scribbling down dry information which I would have promptly ignored when I got home. Instead I was treated to a fun and engaging evening. Richard provided many "ahh ha" moments. He made the information relevant, and instilled a sense of urgency to do it now! Most importantly for me, Richard gave me the permission I was not aware I needed to pursue an audience outside of my comfort zone. Thank you Richard Skipper!
Joanna Morton Gary
Spring Glen, NY

This past Saturday I attended Richard Skipper's tribute to Jerry Herman. It was just magnificent. Famous
with Joel Vig
entertainers who worked with and knew Jerry Herman on a personal level talked about his life, told great stories that I was not aware of and more than that sang some great songs. Even songs that were cut but were fantastic! It was a truly great show produced by Richard. We also saw some videos that were not seen before showing a young Jerry Herman singing.Everyone loved it! I can't wait till Richard's next project. By the way I am so thrilled that another Jerry Herman tribute will be done by Richard at the Triad in NYC on Nov. 28th with a fabulous cast. DO NOT miss it!!! You will thank me and especially Richard for attending!
Ed Stimler
Forest Hills, NY

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 musical journeys!
I've added a new aspect to my blog.. I am now answering a question on video that YOU send to me. You
with Maureen's director, Jay Rogers
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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Richard Skipper,

TODAY IN MUSICAL THEATRE HISTORY December 12, 1900 Sammy Davis, Sr, American dancer and member of the Will Mastin Trio (who appeared on Broadway in MR. WONDERFUL side by side with Davis’ son Sammy Davis, Jr.) is born. (Thank you, David Edwards!)




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