Thursday, April 21, 2016

Annie,Ty Jeffries, Elaine May...and MORE!

The sun´ll come out
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow
There´ll be sun

- lyrics by Martin Charnin

Happy Thursday, April 21st, 2016!
April 21 is the 112th day of this year. There are 254 days remaining until the end of the year.
As I sat down to begin my day, Welcome to the Sixties from the film version of Hairspray was playing on the radio. That is one musical that keeps having different incarnations. It started out as a John Waters' film based on the segregation issues of his youth in Baltimore. Thanks to Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman,Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, it was made into a SMASH Broadway musical. In a day and age in which a movie transfer does not always happen, a movie transfer was made. Although, in my opinion, that it didn't have the 'camp" aspect of the original non musical, I loved it. Now, it is being planned as a LIVE TV event in November. It will continue to have a life for many years to come. 
It reminds me of another musical that opened on Broadway 39 years ago tonight with a book ALSO by Thomas Meehan. The musical was Annie. It was also a Thursday, April 21st, 1977. The sun certainly
did come out for all involved. I was sixteen and it was two years before I would be moving to New York myself.
Annie, of course, is the Broadway musical based upon the popular Harold Gray comic strip Little Orphan Annie, with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and the book by Thomas Meehan. The original Broadway production opened in 1977 and ran for nearly six years, setting a record for the Alvin Theatre (now the Neil Simon Theatre).
Here's Andrea McArdle (with Sandy) singing her signature song. Enjoy!
It spawned numerous productions in many countries, as well as national tours, and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. The musical's songs Tomorrow and It's the Hard Knock Life are among
its most popular musical numbers.
The road to Broadway began at The Goodspeed Opera House.  
All season, Broadway had gone without a major musical, and things were desperate. The dog days were coming, and so were the Tony awards, with their national TV exposure, and the Tonys without a musical would be like Howard Cosell with lockjaw.(Read MORE)
In the 39 years since Annie’s debut, other gingers have been stepping up and into the spotlight. Read MORE.
Take Annie home with you by clicking HERE.  

Today, I also celebrate Ty Jeffries!

Ty Jeffries is a composer. lyricist pianist and entertainer, he is the son of the late British screen legend Lionel Jeffries (Camelot/Wrong Arm of the Law/Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). Ty spent some of his formative years living in Tinsel Town and studied music at the Purcell School of Music in London. As his award winning alter ego Miss Hope Springs Ty had been resident at London's premiere cabaret room Le Crazy Coqs for the past 4 years and has been named Best Cabaret in The Stage UK- won Best Cabaret Brighton Fringe and was nominated Best Musical Variety Act in the most recent London Cabaret Awards. Ty lives in London's Sloane Square. 
Ty's Alter Ego, Miss Hope Springs
Please send me a brief message about what this time in your life means to you.
This has been an extremely exciting time for me as I've been on an eleven date coast to coast tour of the USA, from the Gardenia Room in LA to Lincoln Center in NYC. It's been so marvelous to play to American audiences they so open and welcoming. I've had a blast. I'm so happy that my original songs and 'sit down' comedy at the piano translated perfectly.

Did you ALWAYS entertain or did you ever have another type of job?
I started playing the piano at the age of five, had my first publishing deal as a songwriter at the age of sixteen and started earning my living as a cocktail pianist at Langhan's Brasserie in Mayfair at the age of twenty-one. I was a top male model in NYC, Paris, London and Milan

in the late 80s and walked the catwalks for Jean Paul Gaultier and Comme Des Garçons amongst others. For a while., before I created and launched Miss Hope Springs in 2010, I was a even landscape gardener.

Why do you feel that you became as successful as you did?
I was lucky enough to be offed a weekly Sunday residency  by Jeremy King the proprietor of the then newly created Crazy Coqs cabaret in Piccadilly, London, and managed to build up a real following within months. I don't sing American songbook songs, I only do my own work and have a broad and varied repertoire of original songs, I think people find that refreshing. However, I'm one of those people who never rests on their laurels- I'm thrilled to be so busy of course, but I'm always focusing on the next thing.
Photo credit: Zoe Hunn (Courtesy Ty Jeffries)
Perhaps when I win that Oscar for best song in a motion picture, then I might start to actually feel successful.

Can you tell me about a time when you had to deal with your ideas from opposing parties?
I am basically a one man band on so many levels. I write all my own material and songs and arrange them- I work with wonderful musicians when I use my Hot Jazz Combo on bass and drums- but I can, and often do, do my shows solo at the piano. So really I don't have to deal with opposing parties thank God! Of course one comes across some 'personalities' who can be vexatious, but that's life. Stick to your guns and sail above it all.

Finish this sentence, I feel Old When...
Photo credit: Johnny Rosza (Courtesy Ty Jeffries)
Richard darling, you know it's rude to ask a woman's age! But I'll tell you.. I'm 39 and have been for the last 10 years.

Book or Kindle? What are you currently reading or what was the last book you read?
I would say book for the tactile properties- we spend too long on screens as it is! I am reading a funny book My Lush Life by Douglas McEwan... It's a literary drag show in a way it kept me entertained on the long train ride from LA to San Francisco I made recently (that's traveling in style to me).
I love any books about Golden Age Hollywood and biographies of the stars and brilliant movie makers behind the cameras.

Photo credit: Vaudelesque Productions (Courtesy Ty: Jeffries)
What disappointment ended up teaching you an essential lesson?
There have been so many over the just have to pick yourself up and keep on going, eventually it comes right. There is an expression that 'failure makes success taste all the sweeter', and I give thanks every day that I am gainfully employed doing what I love most.

​If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
Probably a kept woman.

How did you get started in the entertainment
My father was the British character actor screenwriter and director Lionel Jeffries. My mother and he met at RADA...I studied music from the age of 5 and entertained myself for days on end playing the Steinway that some friends had left in our garden shed. When I was 20 my landlady at the time's husband was singing at a swanky West End venue and he heard me singing and playing one night on their piano and offered me 2 weeks dep-ing for him.
That was where it started...but it was in my genes.

What do you think it is that makes you who you are?
It's got to be my bald head!

What challenges do you face trying to fill a room?
The same as everyone else. It's a fine balance between getting people excited about your work and thus getting them to spend their hard earned money on tickets to see you, and coshing them over the head one too many times and turning them with so many things, less is more.

What drives you to do what you do?
I have been writing songs since my childhood and my main driving force is, and always has been, to share my songs. I created my alter ego Miss Hope Springs to do just that. And I'm blessed that, though many in the past doubted me, it ultimately worked out as I had hoped and dreamed it might.

My waist measurement!!!
Enjoy the following clips!
Miss Hope Springs, live at the piano, sings her song Hometown Girl from her rave review sell outHERE
Queen of Fools show at London's Hippodrome Casino. Music and lyrics by Ty Jeffries. Click
Miss Hope Springs takes to the stage at London's Hippodrome Casino to sing and play her all original songs and tell stories from her Ritz to the pits life. Miss Hope Springs Showreel 
Miss Hope Springs was lucky enough to be invited to be a guest on the one and only Lenny Beige's 21st Birthday show at The Regency Rooms in London's West End. It was a glamorous star studded affair...and they got together afterwards in the dressing room to reminisce. ( Mr Beige 'Lenny Beige appears courtesy of of his mother Sadie Beigeowitz (The Kosher Chicken Giblet Queen of Whitechapel)’ See it HERE
Lounge Legends Lenny Beige and Miss Hope Springs get together again for old times sake.

April 21st, 1961
There are other events that happened on April 21st. 1962 – The Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition) opens. It is the first World's Fair in the United States since World War II. 
Elaine May was born on this day. She is a screenwriter, film director, actress, and comedian. She made her initial impact in the 1950s from her improvisational comedy routines with Mike Nichols, performing as Nichols and May. After her duo with Nichols ended, May subsequently developed a career as a director and screenwriter. She has been twice nominated for an Academy Award, for Heaven Can Wait (1978) and the Nichols-directed Primary Colors (1998), but remains best known perhaps for her 1971 black comedy A New Leaf, in which she also starred. In 1996, she reunited with Nichols to write the screenplay for The Birdcage, directed by Nichols. 
Nichols directed Annie on Broadway.

Charles Grodinis an American actor, comedian, author and former cable talk show host.
Happy Birthday, Charles GrodinGrodin began his acting career in the 1960s appearing in TV serials including The Virginian. He had a small part as an obstetrician in Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby in 1968. In the 1970s he moved into film acting, including playing the lead in The Heartbreak Kid (1972) and supporting roles in Catch-22 (1970) and Heaven Can Wait (1978). He became a familiar face as a supporting actor in many Hollywood comedies of the era, including Real Life (1979), Seems Like Old Times (1980), The Incredible
Shrinking Woman (1981), The Great Muppet Caper (1981), The Woman in Red (1984), The Lonely Guy (1984), Ishtar (1987), The Couch Trip (1988), Taking Care of Business (1990), and Dave (1993). He is perhaps best known for his iconic appearances on The Tonight Show and The Late Show, for co-starring alongside Robert De Niro in the classic action comedy Midnight Run (1988), and for his role as George Newton in the 1990s Ivan Reitman comedy franchise Beethoven.
Patti LuPone is best known for her work in stage musicals. She is a two-time Grammy Award winner and a two-time Tony Award winner. She is also a 2006 American Theater Hall of Fame inductee.
LuPone began her professional career with The Acting Company in 1972 and made her Broadway debut in Three Sisters in 1973. She received the first of six (as of 2014) Tony Award nominations for the 1975 musical The Robber Bridegroom. She won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Eva Perón in the 1979 original Broadway production of Evita. She played Fantine in the original London cast of Les Misérables and Moll in The Cradle Will Rock, winning the 1985 Olivier
The world was saddened today by the news that Prince has passed on
Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her work in both. Patti LuPone won the 2008 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance as Mama Rose in Gypsy.
Young World by Rick Nelson peaked at No.5 on April 21,1962 spending 13 weeks on the Hot 100: See it HERE.
22 April 1978, Bob Marley and the Wailers performed at the 'One Love Peace Concert' in Jamaica.

In Other Entertainment News

Paul Chamlin and Rochelle Breyer Chamlin reprise “Life Is…” at Don’t Tell Mama, Saturday, May 21st at 4pm.
Life a tuneful, irreverent, and ultimately uplifting journey through life's many dimensions. This rich theme allows Paul and Rochelle to explore a wide range of songs that touch on everything from joy and optimism to romance, heartbreak, ambition, disappointment, determination, and resilience. The show is directed by the celebrated cabaret performer Teresa Fischer, and features Tom Hubbard on Bass.
There is a $15 cover and a 2 drink minimum. $10 for MAC and all cabaret associations/affiliations.
To reserve, call Don’t Tell Mama at 212-757-0788 or reserve online at
For more information contact Rochelle at

The Seeing Place Theater is doing its 2016 Fundraising Initiative and they are offering some rad perks in exchange for your contribution!


And not only will you get perks, but you'll be a part of The Seeing Place Theater's commitment to its Affordable Theater Program (giving tickets to senior centers and low income housing communities) and its brand new education program for youths and adults!

Full information about where your tax-deductible donation goes (plus a great trailer/video about the company) can be found here:
Thank you, to all of the artists mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!

With grateful XOXOXs ,


Check out my site celebrating the legacy of Dolly Gallagher Levi!


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!   

American Popular Song Society Presents Annual Songwriter's Showcase Hosted by Award Winning Songwriter Tom Toce

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

TOMORROW NIGHT IN NYC! April 22nd 7PM Don't Tell Mama

Keeping Entertainment LIVE!

Richard Skipper,


Don't Tell Mama Presents...

Wendy Scherl returns in What Do You Do All Day?  Directed by the incredible Helen Baldasarre with great musical direction by Matthew Martin Ward. Wendy is an amazing vocalist with a rangy and rich sound. “This is someone to watch!” Go see her, you can thank me later.
- Sue Matsuki   In “What Do You Do All Day”, Wendy Scherl shares anecdotes and song about the numerous hats she wears every single day as a wife, a mother of two boys and two dogs, a short order cook, a daughter, a house manager, a chauffeur and Cabaret Singer! Her show is both touching and real, theatrical and funny!
This show WILL sell out! So reserve today and be a part of his star studded audience!
You will truly be amazed by what this full-time executive director of a family of four accomplishes every day!  Wendy will wow you with both her choice of material and her talent!
After graduating from Northwestern University with a BA in Theatre, Wendy performed in numerous
regional theatre productions around the country, including some of her favorite productions: Hair (The official 20th Anniversary Production in Chicago), Grease (numerous roles), Annie (Grace), The Pajama Game (Babe), and Godspell.  

$20.00 Cover/Two Drink Minimum Cash Only Reserve at 212-757-0788 (after 4PM or through me)

Richard Skipper Celebrates is the publicist for Wendy Scherl and What Do You Do All Day? at NYC's Don't Tell Mama. For press reservations, interview requests, or more information, contact Richard Skipper at or 845-365-0720

Check out Wendy's Interview with Sue Brender HERE

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