MGM, Daffy Duck, Rebecca Luker...and MORE!

The motion picture studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was founded on this day in 1924, the result of a merger of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and the Louis B. Mayer Company.
Ars Gratia Artis
Art for Arts Sake 
-The studio's official motto, "Ars Gratia Artis", is a Latin phrase meaning "Art for art's sake";it was chosen by Howard Dietz, the studio's chief publicist.The studio's logo is a roaring lion surrounded by a ring of film inscribed with the studio's motto. 

Happy Sunday, April 17th, 2016!
April 17 is the 108th day of this year. There are 258 days remaining until the end of the year.
It is a GORGEOUS spring day here in New York. As I sit down to begin today's blog, Billie Holiday's I'll Be Around is playing on the radio. It is another music filled weekend. I would like to begind by commending Jim Speake on performing to a capacity crowd at The Laurie Beechman Theatre yesterday. This was to celebrate his 2016 MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Recording of the Year, Sweet Life. Although the show has closed, through the magic of recording, Sweet Life by Jim Speake will always be there. I have over 5,000 songs on my Ipod. Many of the singers and songs are by
Daffy Duck made his debut on this date in 1937
friends that are no longer with us physically, but I feel their presence every time I hear. That is the magic of film and music.

This afternoon, I'm looking forward to seeing Sally Darling and Matthew Martin Ward's celebration of Noel Coward. If you are in NYC at 6PM, please join our party! We will be at Don't Tell Mama.
As I sit down and look at the gems of April 17th, I think of new beginnings.
MGM was formed on this date, Daffy Duck was seen by audiences for the first time.
1964 – Ford Mustang is introduced to the North American market.

Birthday girl Rebecca Luker has recently gone into the award winning and ground breaking Fun Home playing Helen.
Rebecca Luker's Broadway roles include CINDERELLA'S Fairy Godmother, Marie. Winifred in the original Broadway production of MARY POPPINS (Tony Award nomination), Claudia Nardi in NINE opposite Antonio Banderas, Marian Paroo in THE MUSIC MAN (Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk Award nomination  and
Outer Critics Circle Award nomination),  Maria in  THE SOUND OF MUSIC (Outer Critics Circle Award nomination); Magnolia in SHOWBOAT (Tony Award nomination), Lily in THE SECRET GARDEN (Drama Desk Nomination); Christine in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. With the New York City Opera Ms. Luker was featured in X (THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MALCOLM X) and was Fiona  in BRIGADOON.  Off-Broadway she starred in Maury Yeston’s DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY – Outer Critics Circle nomination (Roundabout, 2011), the world premiere of A.R.Gurney’s INDIAN BLOOD (Primary Stages), CAN’T LET GO (Keen Company) and THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES.
I am a huge fan of Rebecca's and I have seen her in many of these roles and cannot wait to see her in Fun Home

Here is our Mini inyerview:
Happy Birthday! What Does This Time in Your Life Mean To You?
Well, first of all, this time in my life is the happiest, healthiest and most satisfying time I can remember.  I love my husband (Danny Burstein), we have two wonderful sons, life is just plain good.  I'm very grateful for all the things in our lives.

Do you have a hard time changing when things change?
It depends.  If something bad is happening to a loved one like an illness, yes, that's hard. I don't want to have to deal with that happening to someone I care about.  Otherwise, I'm a fairly go-with-the flow person.  Change is good, generally.

What is your secret to keeping the balance between “Show Biz” and home life?
Danny and I have a very busy home life and we love to be together.  We generally leave our jobs at the stage door and can't wait to get home to each other.  We have our sons, our other family members and so many wonderful friends who keep our lives full and happy.

What do you do to refill the well when you've worked too hard and feel your life is out of  balance?
I like to keep in shape because that also keeps my mind balanced.  I love ballet, yoga, spin class, lifting weights, running outside, all of that helps my mind, body and spirit stay whole.

What is your biggest fear or an activity that you would never do, now that you’re older?
Biggest fear:  Leaving this earth too soon.  I want to be a very happy, very old lady.  Activity I'd never do:  Well, it's one I wouldn't even do when I was younger, and that bungee-jumping.  Yikes!

How do you measure success?
By my happy marriage, by how many friends I have, who love me and who I love, and by being able to do work that I respect and enjoy. 

Danny Burstein and Rebecca Luker at NYS ARTS Fall Gala 2008
How did you get started in the entertainment industry? How has the landscape of cabaret changed since you first began?
I did some community theater in Birmingham, Alabama growing up and while there, met a couple of folks who would prove to be very influential.  I eventually, with their advice and help, made it to NYC (by way of the Michigan Opera Theater where I interned and met my future agent, Brett Adams).  Some enchanted evening in Detroit, eh?  He signed me after I moved to the city and off I went.

Have you done cabaret and your thoughts on it as an artform?

Cabaret is something I do only rarely; but enjoy very much!  I'm not sure how it's changed except to say it may be a bit more sophisticated, but also more free.  Anything and everything goes now, and I think that's terrific.  Also, more people are doing it, don't you think?

What one thing would you change in the world, to make it a happier place for yourself?
I saw Rebecca in The Sound of Music at the Martin Beck Theatre (now the Hirschfeld) in 1998

Oh hell, I'm already happy.  But I sure would like to make it happier for a lot of other people.  The displaced Syrians for example.  For those families whose daughters were kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014.  There's so much suffering in the world.  I'd be happier if there was no terrorism and war. Period.
What disappointment ended up teaching you an essential lesson?
Fortunately, a big disappointment happened very early in my career and the lesson has stayed with me to this day.  I was in the chorus of my first show, Phantom,and I desperately wanted to move up in the ranks and play the lead in the show.  Well, I had to pay my dues.  I wasn't ready, even though I thought I was.  It really hit me hard when I had to wait a long time to go on.  I know some people never get that chance and I didn't know how lucky I was to even be considered.  I learned patience, and I learned that you have to work hard on everything you do.  I had to swallow my pride again and again and that was good for me.  

What comes up next for you?
Right now I'm in Fun Home until May 22nd and I'm having the time of my life.  What a beautiful show.  I have a few concerts coming up.


Can't think of a thing, honestly!  lol

What do you love the most in nature?
The mountains and lakes up near our PA house.

What does your art help you express or resolve?
It helps me see the beauty in others and in the world, despite all the upheaval we see.

Thank you, Rebecca! Don't miss her in Fun Home! Now through May 22nd. Order Tickets HERE
I just ordered my tickets for May 5th! 

Other Notable Birthdays on this Date 
Birthday boy William Holden with Judy Holliday in BORN
YESTERDAY ('50). What's your favorite William Holden movie? He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1953 for his role in Stalag 17, and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor for his role in the 1973 television film The Blue Knight

I can think of a lot of things to call Saito, but "reasonable"... that's a new one. -William Holden as Shears in Bridge on the River Kwai

Born Today 1918 Anne Shirley: Stella Dallas (Sup Act Nom), Murder My Sweet, Anne of Green Gables, Devil & Daniel Webster, Three on a Match.  
Carol Channing and Thornton Wilder backstage at Hello Dolly!

Thornton Niven Wilder (April 17, 1897 – December 7, 1975) was an American playwright and novelist. He won three Pulitzer Prizes—for the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and for the two plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth — and a U.S. National Book Award for the novel The Eighth Day. And of course, The Matchmaker!
Happy Birthday to Byther Smith (Blues Musician) and Tony Bellus (Singer-Musician), Marta Eggerth (Singer-Actress) & Andy Prieboy (Wall of Voodoo), Don Kirshner, Alexander Graves, Billy Fury, Roy Estrada, Chris Barber, Linda Martin. 

In Other Entertainment News
Ralph Lampkin Jr.
Producer Ralph Lampkin, Jr; of Lampkin Music Group and Co-owner Christopher Gines of Cafe Noctambulo are proud to announce a new joint venture.

The once a month Wednesday series, "Spotlight," will feature varied musical genres, with a concentration on the art of great storytelling. The series will open with longtime LMG artist, Jazz singer Martha Lorin, on May 18th.

Martha, whose voice has been lauded by many a critic these last 20 years, is a champion of the classic songbook. Martha's acclaimed vocal style is a tribute to the golden days of the supper club, but with a hip up-to-date musical feel. Performing with jazz
Martha Lorin
cats Jon Weber and Sean Harkness, the improvisational show is a tour-de-force of great musicianship.
The song choices are organic in nature; how they feel, is, what they sing. Martha's appears on Wednesday,  May 18th from 8:00 - 10:00 pm.....

Following Martha into the room on Wednesday, June 15th 8:00 - 9:30 pm; is indie/rock group, The Ember Jar, in their NY debut. The Midwest based group, made up of guitarist/singer Kevin Scott Joiner, singer/songwriter Abby King and drummer Vinnie Carrasco, will release their new single, "Stardust," this spring. The date is part of a mini tour to the east.

Lampkin and Gines have known each other since the days of Charles DeForest at Danny's Skylight Room, thru their mutual love of the classic songbook and the art of good storytelling, the two started talking about the possibility of working together last fall. With 50 years of show business experience between the two of them, each has worked with the best in the business. They hope to continue bringing good music to the public at this intimate club.

Check out the website (  for more information or check out the Lampkin Music Group FB page.If you are interested in being part of this intimate series, please email

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!
James Clow, Kate Baldwin, Telly Leung and Jen Cody in Hello, Dolly! at the Muny. (Photo by Larry Pry/The Muny) Source

Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!   
Please join us this afternoon for Sally Darling at Don't Tell Mama at 6PM!
Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
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Richard Skipper Celebrates May 25th! A New Talk/Variety Show! He will be joined by Anna Bergman, Carolyn Montgomery-Forant, Gretchen Reinhagen, Adam Shapiro, Leslie Orofino, Wendy Scherl, Carol SkARIAMBUS (joined by Larry Woodard) and an all star cast celebrating the many gems of May 25th 8PM Show... AND A VERY SPECIAL BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE TO CAROLE DEMAS!Wait till you see the tribute to Beverly Sills Reservations a MUST! You Never Know Who You Might See There!
What would YOU like to celebrate?

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


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