Wednesday, March 2, 2016

John Cullum, Desi Arnaz, Kristine Zbornik...and MORE!

Happy Birthday, John Cullum
I could make thousands of dollars in Broadway musicals, but among the best experiences I had was doing 'Hamlet' in Milwaukee and a version of 'Cyrano' that my wife wrote for me on a bus-and-truck tour. John Cullum

Happy March 2nd, 2016!
March 2 is the 62nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 304 days remaining until the end of the year.

We have a lot to celebrate. I celebrate Hillary Clinton's big win last night! However, there's only one thing more frightening than Donald Trump as the likely nominee of the Republican Party: The fact that so many Christians are supporting him. Over 40 years ago, the Supreme Court affirmed that a woman’s right to choose is protected by the Constitution. NOW, THAT is being questioned by the Republican Party.
We have a long uphill (no pun intended!) battle to climb. 
Please get out and vote. I was dismayed that record numbers showed up to vote in the Republican primaries and the
numbers are lower than usual in the Democratic primaries. 
We ALL have to be pro-active OR we all will pay the price!
Donald Trump has reached out to House Speaker Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican’s office said Wednesday. (Read MORE)
Donald Trump is holding himself out as an authoritarian messiah -- a strongman whose toxic stew of racism and fear-mongering will "make America great again.".
I believe that whatever happens politically, we have already collapsed.

 Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen. John Steinbeck 

Now, let's celebrate! Last night, I went to see Jeff Macauley's celebration of Dinah Shore in Mwah! at the Metropolitan Room. He was accompanied by Daryl Kojak. We were joined by two MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) nominees Raissa Katonah Bennett and Carolyn Montgomery-Forant
We were thoroughly entertained. 
Today, I celebrate the birthday of John Cullum, one of my favorite actors. 
John Cullum made his Broadway debut as Sir Dinadan in
John Cullum Shenandoah -1975
Alan Jay Lerner’s and Frederick Loewe’s Camelot in 1960. 

He also understudied Richard Burton (King Arthur) and Roddy McDowell (Arthur’s son Mordred),going on four times when Burton became ill and succeeding McDowell. He would go on to play Laertes opposite Burton’s 1964 Broadway performance as Hamlet (and in the film version of the production) and in Burton’s final Broadway appearance in Noel Coward’s Private Lives in 1983.
In 1965, he was called in to replace Louis Jourdan during the Boston tryout of the musical On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.
It was his first starring role on Broadway, netting him a Theatre World Award and his first Tony Award nomination. The original cast album received a Grammy Award (presented to lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Burton Lane). He portrayed Edward Rutledge of South Carolina in the Broadway musical 1776, providing a dramatic highlight with his performance of Molasses to
Rum, a tirade against the hypocrisy of some Northerners over the slave trade (“They don’t keep slaves, but they are willing to be considerable carriers of slaves to others. They’re willing – for the shilling.”) Cullum had been the third Rutledge on Broadway, but played the role the longest and repeated it for the 1972 film.
He is perhaps best known for premiering the role of Charlie Anderson in the musical Shenandoah, which began at Goodspeed Opera House,Connecticut in 1974.
Cullum won the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards when the show was produced on Broadway in 1975. He also played the role at Wolf Trap, Virginia, in June 1976, opened the national tour for 3 weeks in Fall 1977 in Chicago,and starred in the limited run Broadway revival in 1989.

He followed Shenandoah by playing the maniacal Broadway producer Oscar Jaffee in the 1978 musical On the Twentieth Century, opposite Madeline Kahn and later Judy Kaye, earning his second Tony Award
He received his fourth Tony nomination in 2002 for originating the role of evil moneygrubber corporate
president Caldwell B. Cladwell in Urinetown The Musical.
 He earned his fifth Tony nomination in the 2007 revival of 110 in the Shade, playing H.C. Curry, father to Audra McDonald’s Lizzie. Recent Broadway appearances include the title role of William Shakespeare’s seldom-performed Cymbeline, at Lincoln Center in 2007 and August: Osage County, by Tracy Letts.
 In addition to enjoying a long stage career, he is well known to television audiences for his regular role as Holling Vincoeur on the quirky CBS series Northern Exposure, his extended appearances on the NBC medical drama ER as Mark Greene’s father, and on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit as constitutional lawyer and later judge, Barry Moredock.
Cullum has also appeared as Lucky Strike executive Lee Garner, Sr. on AMC’s Mad Men. John Cullum most recently appeared on Broadway in The Scottsboro Boys (2010), a musical by John Kander and the late Fred Ebb about a notorious miscarriage of justice in the American South in the 1930s.
1969 1776 Molasses to Rum

John Cullum in The Scottsboro Boys (Source
The Scottsboro Boys was directed by Susan Stroman. John Cullum was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 2007. John Cullum appears on the Encompass Arts roster in collaboration with his personal manager, Jeff Berger, at Talent Management. (Source: EncompassArts)

Today is also the birthday of Kurt Weill. 1900. American composer (d. 1950). He was born on this day in Dessau, Germany. He composed the score for Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera, and Mahagonny. Among his many works, Lady in the Dark was his first Broadway success. Weill's collaboration with Ira Gershwin on this 1941 production starring Danny Kaye and Gertrude Lawrence ran 467 performances.
1904Dr. Seuss, American author, poet, and illustrator (d. 1991)
1905 – Marc Blitzstein, American composer (d. 1964). Carol Channing made her NY debut in Blitzstein's No For an Answer.
1917 – Desi Arnaz, Cuban-American actor, singer, and producer (d. 1986).
Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III (March 2, 1917 — December 2, 1986), better known as Desi Arnaz or Desi Arnaz, Sr., was a Cuban-born American musician, actor, television producer, writer and director. He was born in Santiago de Cuba to Desiderio Alberto Arnaz II (March 8, 1894 – May 31, 1973) and his wife Dolores de Acha (April 2, 1896 – October 24, 1988).
He is best remembered for his role as Ricky Ricardo on the American television series sitcom I Love Lucy, starring with Lucille Ball, to whom he was married at the time. Arnaz was also internationally renowned for leading his Latin music band, the Desi Arnaz Orchestra.
He and Ball are generally credited as the inventors of the rerun in connection with I Love Lucy.
His father was Santiago's youngest mayor and also served in the Cuban House of Representatives. His maternal grandfather was Alberto de Acha, an executive at Bacardi Rum. According to Arnaz, in his autobiography A Book (1976), the family owned three ranches, a palatial home, and a vacation mansion on a private island in Santiago Bay, Cuba. Following the 1933 Cuban Revolution, led by Fulgencio Batista, which overthrew President Gerardo Machado, Alberto Arnaz was jailed and all of his property was confiscated. He was released after six months when his brother-in-law Alberto de Acha intervened on his behalf.
The family then fled to Miami, where Desi attended St. Patrick Catholic High School. In the summer of 1934 he attended Saint Leo Prep (near Tampa) to help improve his English. (Source: Wikipedia)

Also born on this date...
1919 – Jennifer Jones, American actress (d. 2009)
1934 – Dottie Rambo, American singer-songwriter (The Rambos) (d. 2008)
1950 – Karen Carpenter, American singer and drummer (The Carpenters) (d. 1983)
Happy Birthday,  Laraine Newman.
On this date in 1955, Harold Clurman directs Bus Stop. Kim Stanley and Elaine Stritch are two of the stranded passengers in this William Inge play.
On this date in 1933, King Kong premieres at Radio City Music Hall. Jon Bon Jovi was born on this date.
Happy Birthday, David Beckham!
Today is also the birthday of Pinky Lee!

On this day in 1961. the year I was born, it was a Thursday, under the sign of Pisces. The US president was John F. Kennedy (Democratic). In that special week of March people in US were listening to Pony Time by Chubby Checker. In UK Are You Lonesome Tonight? by Elvis Presley was in the top 5 hits. L'avventura, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, was one of the most viewed movies released in 1961 while Advise And Consent by Allen Drury was one of the best selling books.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.Albert Einstein

Today, I celebrate one of my favorite entertainers and people! Kristine Zbornik!

This Sunday, March 6th at 7:00 pm, Kristine Zbornik is doing a one night only show at this fun east village restaurant/cabaret called PANGEA.

She is calling it KRISTINE ZBORNIK SINGS SONGS FOR SINGLE LOVERS, just because she had to call it something.

She'll be trying a few new things and old "classics" as well.
Kristine Zbornik in the National tour of Wicked
 Here is our Mini Interview:

What does this show means to you?
I’m not sure if it means anything at all.

I got asked to do it and then I tried to get out of it because I didn’t want to do old material and I didn’t feel I had the time or the head space to gather and write new stuff.

Now with the help of Bobby Peaco and  Michael Schiralli,  I’m doing 20 minutes of new material and the rest old “favorites”.  So who knows what any of it means, you just keep moving forward till you die.

Looking back on your career, what would you say would be your fondest memory?
My fondest memory is that I was able to remember anything at
all that I wrote when I was on stage.

What would you say has been the biggest change in stage production and artistry since you began in this business?
Cell phones, internet and attention span.

What advice would you give young artists who wish to pursue a career in this business?
 Be prepared to dance.

What is your key goal and how do you go about trying to achieve it?
To pay rent.  I kick, bite and scratch my way to the middle.

What do you think it takes to succeed on Broadway these days?
Rap music.

Please don't miss Kristine Zbornik Sunday March 6th at 7:00 p.m.
Pangea 178 Second Ave. (bet. 11th and 12th) 212-995-0900
15.00 Cover online/20.00 at the door, 15.00 food or drink min.

Please visit Kristine's Website for more info
In Entertainment News
Bette Midler is a woman to admire.
There’s a special reason. It’s not because she has won 3 Grammy
Awards, 4 Golden Globes, 3 Emmy Awards, and a special Tony Award. It’s because The Divine Miss M, singer, songwriter, actress, comedian, producer has done amazing charity work. She founded the New York Restoration Project, a non-profit organization with the goal of revitalizing neglected parks in economically disadvantaged New York neighborhoods.
Today the multi-talented lady and her organization work to ensure that some 114 community gardens are kept clean and vibrant.

Next April she’ll bring her distinctive personality to a portrayal of the resourceful matchmaker who’s most concerned with a match for herself. Here’s a hint: this show has been linked to a particular star, Carol Channing and Barbra Streisand, among others.
Yes, it’s Hello, Dolly! It
appears to me that the choice of Bette Midler seems particularly appropriate – sly, funny, warm, subjective, vulnerable. Many actresses played Dolly after Carol Channing left the show which ran for six years.
Bette Midler seems like the perfect choice. She’s still glowin’, crowin’, goin’ strong. It’s been said that the lady has youth built into her.

Here’s a quote from Miss Midler: “I’m no spring chicken but I’m curious and I love to do all the things this character Dolly is required to do. It keeps me thin, which I like, and it keeps me engaged.” Expectations are running high. H-e-l-l-o, Bette!
Alas for those that never sing,
But die with all their music in them.

                                                         ~Oliver Wendell Holmes
 That Oliver Wendell Holmes was some smart guy! 

Don’t let that happen to you. There are only 4 places still available
Linda Amiel Burns
in “Spring Fling!” the next workshop of The Singing
Experience that begins on March 16th. Founder and teacher Linda Amiel Burns is contemplating taking time off to work on other projects, so this could be the LAST workshop for a while. So if
Linda Amiel Burns wins MAC Award
  you are considering becoming part of The Singing Experience Family (over 5,000+ graduates) or want to sign up, the time has come!  Don’t procrastinate!  YOUR SOMEDAY IS NOW!
All that music inside you screaming to get out will be
released in this multi award winning workshop as you will find yourself on the stage at The Triad on April 13th, in the
spotlight, microphone in hand, singing with self assurance and
joy!  You will discover you inner “star” and learn to be a complete and well-rounded
performer in a supportive and fun environment. Since 1977, thousands of people of all ages and professions have taken this life-transforming musical journey.
"We polish up the pros and nurture newbies!"
All levels welcome!
Director Linda Amiel Burns has been featured in The New  York Times, The Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning and many others for these renowned classes and her remarkable coaching skills. She is the winner of two MAC Awards and last November was given  "The 2016 Entrepreneur Award" from Theater Resources Unlimited in a star studded Gala at Sardis for “helping
thousands of individuals find their voice, their
confidence and artistic identity at The Singing Experience for
over 38 years!”

Email: or phone 212 315-3500 
                  for questions and registration. GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILABLE.
 (Give the “Gift of Song” to that special someone in your life!)

Tomorrow doesn’t have to be all that complicated.Sometimes a reminder to just keep it simple andget down to business is the best advice you can get. In other words, clarity and action will get you where you want to go!
Stop worrying about what's next and execute on what's now!  
With Doris Dear (Nominated for a MAC Award this year) and Robin Kradles (from last year's MAC Awards. Join us at the 31st Annual MAC Awards on March 29th)
 You need people that won’t affirm you. If people continue to affirm you, you won’t have a breakthrough.
-Tony Robbins
Thank to ALL of the artists mentioned in this blog for the gifts they have given to the world and continue to give!

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!    

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!

March 12, 2016 Lynn DiMenna - A Dinah Shore Centennial Celebration.CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO
Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook

Keeping Entertainment LIVE!
Richard Skipper,
MARCH 19th in NYC

The Metropolitan Room Presents...

David Meulemans returns in Lucky To Be Me! Directed by the incredible Sally Mayes with great musical direction by Tex Arnold. David will take all of us on a great musical romp through the ups and downs of his life.
David combines a love for the American Songbook with his classically trained voice to entertain audiences from Miami to New York, London and around the nation.  In a recent review, Charles Truenski describes David’s performance of “Lucky to Be Me” at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Room, as “a perfect night of cabaret” stating this is the kind of cabaret New York City needs more of.
A popular leading man in South Florida musical theatre, David brings his comfortable style, passion for music and remarkable vocal talents to every project he tackles, with humor, heart and joy.   
This show WILL sell out! So reserve today and be a part of his star studded audience!
RichardSkipper Ceelebrates is the publicist for David Meulemans and Lucky To Be Me at NYC's METROPOLITAN ROOM. For press reservations, interview requests, or more information, contact Richard Skipper at or 845-365-0720

No comments:

Post a Comment