Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Peter Fonda, Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1965 Cinderella, Matt Koke...and MORE!

Happy Birthday, Peter Fonda
I have always maintained that society has no business dictating morality.
-Peter Fonda

Happy Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016!
February 23 is the 54th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 312 days remaining until the end of the year.
How many of you plan your days the night before? 
Happy Birthday to two of my favorites: Peter Fonda and Niecy Nash.
We suffered some losses on this day as well. Stan Laurel, of Laurel and Hardy, passed on on this date in 1965. Harry Ruby passed on on this date in 1974.
Today, once again, I celebrate the arts and those who contribute to the arts both as participant and patron. Yesterday, I reposted a blog that I wrote one
year ago yesterday. It was about the Fiftieth anniversary of the first showing of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. I was lucky enough year before last to interview Lesley Ann Warren when the new pristine version of the DVD came out. It was produced by Shout! and my friend Doug Denoff was behind the project. I couldn't believe it when I got the call to interview Ms. Warren.  It turned out to be a great night.
In a world of snarks and put downs in social media. I try to maintain a snark free zone with as much positivity as possible.

I've made some incredible friends through Social media. One of those people is Jamie Lee Farrar. I asked her permission to include a post that she posted this morning in response to my reposting of my blog yesterday.

My friend Richard Skipper shared a memory on his timeline that made me smile and think. Do you ever stop to wonder what your parents were like as children? 51 years ago tonight so says Richard, Lesley Ann Warren's version of Cinderella was telecast on CBS. 
Jamie and her mom meet Lesley Ann Warren
My Mom was just 4 years old and no doubt mesmerized by it. How do I know this? Because to this day, she knows every word of In My Old Little Corner and Impossible.
If I close my eyes, I can picture little four year old Brenda Lee Grisgby dancing around the living area of the house where she grew up, singing to these songs and fighting off sleep. She would watch the telecast annually for the next 10 years.
When I was four years old, my mother passed on this tradition and bought the VHS version which I eventually wore out from rewinding so much. It's a tradition that I'll hold close forever because it is something that will always remind me of my Mom.
Taking chances isn't something I always do. I'm the last person on Earth who writes fan letters because I don't want to bother people but I'm glad I reached out to Lesley when Richard interviewed her and asked him to give her a short email. It was an act of kindness From that, my Mom got to meet her childhood hero and I gained a friend and "Birthday buddy/twin" .

Words could not express the emotion that took place when Mom and Lesley locked eyes and hugged
Lesley Ann Warren and Jamie
Having a parent who is sick with a disease that holds no current cure is hard. You are in a battle that is yours and yours alone . You are trying to help them navigate this new normal while trying to hold on as hard as you can to the way they are. I wanted my Mom to have that memory while she can enjoy it and according to her, it was the third best memory in her life (next marrying my Dad and having me). In that moment, I could see little 4 year old Brenda in 54 year old Brenda. Her eyes shone and she smiled -- actually smiled for the first time in I don't know how long.
I don't want this disease to ever rob my mother of her love of music. I want her to be able to hum "Impossible" when she loses the ability to say it.. but before all that, I want a cure for the disease that is slowly, ever so slowly making life harder for Mom!

MS can do a lot of things, but it will never take my mother's joy-- I won't let it!
Happy 51st Anniversary, "Cinderella" and thank you! 

One of the ways that my mother Incorporated the music into my life was to sing songs from it during very trying and difficult times. I can think of no time more difficult then after the accident in 2013 where I became severely burned. To say the treatments were extremely painful, would be an understatement. I became known to the doctors and nurses as singer on my unit. During the most painful treatments, I would sing sing imposible. I sing it in the ambulance , I during debridement when they would clean and cut away the dead tissue of the burn . I sing it every chance I got. It was a way to remind myself no matter how bad things seemed at that moment, nothing was impossible! Somehow someway, I would make it to the other side and everything would be ok.
Today, I also celebrate Matt Koke!
Matt Koke is the Fund Raising Committee Chairman and on the Board of Directors of the new Rockland Pride Center.
For years, Rockland County Pride has been part of VCS, which has made an incredible commitment to LGBT programming and services since the 1970’s. But the time has come for a dedicated center to provide services and programming to Rockland’s LGBT community. The “Friend Raiser” is their first major push in the Fundraising Department. It will be at the Hand Mansion on Thursday the 25th at 6:30.

Here is my mini-interview with Matt!

What kind of people do you avoid? 
In life, people who are rude.

What does this event mean to you? 
A chance to do something for my community.

What is your daily Motivation?
To make life easier for those I love.

Finish this sentence: It's time to panic when… when the soufflĂ©  falls.

Finish this sentence: If I had another chance… I would have put more effort in.

Compliment three people right now.
Bobby Belfry and Matt Koke, married since 2011

Richard Skipper is one of the most driven people I know.
My husband, Bobby Belfry, is talented and handsome.
My brother is stronger than I realize. 
Follow Matt Koke on Twitter.

On Saturday, February 20th The Ziegfeld Society of New York City  presented Ziegfeld’s Punch Bowl Of 2016: A Tribute to George Gershwin. The event was held  at Lang Recital Hall, Hunter College (69th Street between Park and Lexington Avenue), I'd like to thank Magda Katz for this Wonderful video montage of this show.  Click HERE to see it.
These very Special performances preserved for posterity. I know that Anna Bergman, Shelly Burch,
Joan Copeland, Diane J Findlay, Merrill Grant, Marcy DeGonge Manfredi, Nathan Meyer, Whitney Meyer, Jane Summerhays and Mark York are going to be as thrilled with this as I am.  Check out my blog from yesterday. I wrote about the show.

Since moving to NYC in 2000, Jim Speake has sung in most of New York’s Cabaret venues.

He was nominated for Best Musical Comedy Performer 2013, and Best Male Vocalist 2015, by MAC, The Manhattan 
Association of Cabarets and Clubs.
In 2010, he produced his first recording, “My Generation.”

Sweet Life, released in Nov. 2015, is his newest and latest recording.  Both CD’s are available on CdBaby.com and iTunes. On Tuesday, April 12th at 7pm and Saturday, April 16th at 4pm, Jim will be singing all of the songs from the new recording “Sweet Life the Show” at The Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank CafĂ©, 407 W. 42nd St. NYC. The show is directed by Lennie Watts with Musical Direction by Steven Ray Watkins and the SRW Band.
Tickets are available through Ovation: 212-352-3101. For more information about the CD and the Show go to www.jimspeake.com

More information about the recording:

The recording features songs written by Loggins and Messina,
 Peter Allen, Barry Manilow, Cy Coleman, Neil Sedaka, Stephen Sondheim and others. It was produced by Paul Rolnick for Zevely Records with Artistic Direction by Lennie Watts and Musical Direction by Steven Ray Watkins. Orchestrations are by Tom Kochan. It was recorded at Dubway Studios in NYC, 2015.

This Monday, FEB 29, Karen Mason is singing in a benefit performance of Bill Russel's ELEGIES FOR ANGELS, PUNKS, AND RAGING QUEENS!
This is one of those shows that is a perfect expression of that time during the 1980s when AIDS was devastating our community, our world! So please GO and support an amazing organization, BC/EFA, and see a concert version of this amazing piece of theatre!
The 30th Annual MAC Awards tickets are now on sale!

Click here for ticketing information
Tuesday, March 29th at BB King’s

AMANDA McBROOM will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from MAC and will perform live at the show.
MARYANN LOPINTO will receive MAC’s Board of Directors Award.
The Ruth Kurtzman Benefit Award will be presented to THE ACTORS FUND: JAMIE deROY  and FRIENDS CABARET INITIATIVE
Sardi's co-owners Max Klimavicius and Sean Ricketts. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times

Start spreadin' the news -- Anything Goes is coming!
Jacqueline Parker  now has her own radio show.  It's New York centric, with focus on theatre and the arts.  Please tune in to her premier show this Thursday at 9 pm New York time.  It repeats Monday at 11 am New York time.  It will help with sponsorship if you just access it.  Also, if you send this via email and/or social
Len Cariou
media to your friends who love theatre and the Great American Songbook, I'm sure they'd enjoy it.
And Chicago friends, check the Chicago Tribune for an ad announcing the show.

This week's show includes an interview with Sean Ricketts of Sardi's, Len Cariou and Sarah Rice, and a party in honor of John Wallowitch's 90th birthday with Eric Comstock, Barbara Fasano, Richard Skipper and Jim Gavin. 

 All you have to do is:
 Just a few minutes before 9:00pm (EST ) access WCPR1.com on your computer. Please scroll down until you see the large “Listen Live” button. Hit the button, and you’re all set for a great hour.

To archive any past shows, simply go the WCPR1.com’s home
Sarah Rice as Johanna in the ORIGINAL 'Sweeney Todd'
page, select the “Archive Club” button near the top of the page, submit your name and e-mail address, and you’ll be given a free access password that will not only enable you to access any archived show.

 After you’ve joined the Archive Club, on WCPR’s Home Page, you can select the button that says “Original Shows”, select “Anything Goes!” from the scroll down menu, and visit my “show page”.

"I appreciate your support and interest, and welcome any thoughts you might have.  And do let me know if you're up to something I should know about, and I'll have you on the show."
-Jacqueline Parker
Thank you to all of the artists mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give! 

Laughter is much more important than applause. Applause is almost a duty. Laughter is a reward.
-Carol Channing

With grateful XOXOXs ,


Check out my site celebrating the legacy of Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly!


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!   
Marlene Dietrich 1967 Paris by Bert Stern

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook

Marilyn 1962 by Bert Stern

Keeping Entertainment LIVE!

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

Sarah Rice, Broadway's original Johanna of Sweeney Todd, will sing a Valentine's Day concert of songs from the operetta, classical and musical theatre repertoire, with Paul Jackel, in upstate New York, Feb. 14. - See more at: http://www.playbill.com/news/article/kiss-me-sweeney-todds-sarah-rice-sings-of-love-with-paul-jackel-feb.-14-111546#sthash.bYCP2Q2p.dpuf

Feb 24
March 2nd

Penny Fuller
Anita Gillette and Penny Fuller return in a sequel to their critically acclaimed, Sin Twisters! This is Sin Twisters, Too! Directed by the incredible Barry Kleinbort with great musical direction by Paul Greenwood. They will take all of us on a great musical romp through their Broadway careers, which have criss crossed from time to time, resulting in confusing the two!...even though they don't look a thing alike!
This show WILL sell out! So reserve today and be a part of their star studded audience!
Richard Skipper is the publicist for Sin Twisters, Too! For press reservations, interview requests, or more information, contact Richard Skipper at Richard@RichardSkipper.com or 845-365-07

Anita Gillette

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