Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Mary Ann Conk and Thirty Five Years of Shear Madness!

I praise loudly. I blame softly. 
Catherine the Great

Happy May 24th, 2016!
May 24 is the 145th day of the year. There are 221 days remaining until the end of the year.
In less than 24 hours, I will be bringing my new show, Richard Skipper Celebrates, to its first audience! 
I cannot wait. I have a great cast and I'm also thrilled about who will be in attendance. If you are reading this prior to 8PM on May 25th and in the tri-state area, I hope you will join us. 
It is a continuation of my blog and my goal and commitment to CELEBRATE instead of knock down.
Shear Madness opened in Boston at the Charles Playhouse Stage II in January 1980. A second production, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' Theater Lab in Washington D.C., opened in on August 1987.
A third production opened in November, 2015 at the New World Stages Off-Broadway theater in New York.

The Boston production is sometimes described as the longest-running or second-longest-running non-musical play in the world, although various non-musical plays have run for longer: Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap in London since 1952, Eugène Ionesco's The Bald Soprano in Paris since 1957, and Israel Horovitz's Line in New York City since 1974. A Turkish adaptation by director Nedim Saban opened in Istanbul in 1998. In 2003 Saban adapted the play for a second time; where he introduced SMS messages and online chatting as means of interaction. A French adaptation by director Sébastien Azzopardi, written by Sébastien Azzopardi and Sacha Danino, opened in Paris in 2011.
Let's start with celebrating Mary Ann Conk. She, unfortunately, is not in my show tomorrow night. She is appearing in Shear Madness

Raised in North West, New Jersey, Mary Ann is an only child, born to first generation Italian parents. Loosing their first child and then having Mary Ann late in life, and born on Dec 20 they always treated her like their Christmas gift.
She had leads in all the school plays and graduated from Emerson College.
She stayed in Boston after college and detoured from her career to the management end of the music business with her former husband.
Theatre had its grasp and she returned to her first love. Landing Mixed Meters, one if the first cable TV comedy shows, with Steven Wright.
That led to her first professional acting job, in Shear Madness in Boston.
She has performed on and off with the show in 10 cities; presently Off Broadway.2016 marks Mary Ann's 35th anniversary with the show, now running Off Broadway in NYC at the New World Stages (NWS). How fitting to be celebrating that auspicious occasion by covering the ladies in her hometown.
And, this Sunday she is shooting an episode of a new series Reality Sets In. Very excited!

A special treat for me is that I am in the show until Saturday the 28th, Off Broadway at New World Stages.

My story is one of  don't take no for an answer...I was living in
Shear Madness 1981 with Bob Arnold
Boston, recent Emerson College grad, looking for a job in the theatre. I was doing a cable TV show, Mixed Meters, with Steven Wright, when we heard Boston's new hit show Shear Madness was casting. I knew someone in the cast who said forget about auditions - all the slots are filled.
So...I had a cup of tea. Thought about it. Grabbed my head shot and headed down to the Charles Playhouse, where I intended to at least drop my pic off and hope for the best.
As I was leaving, Bruce Jordan, the creator, director, and producer of the show saw me, looked me up and down, and asked "What time is your appointment?" I replied I didn't have one. Bruce responded with "Well if you can wait a half hour, you do."
The rest is history. I played the Boston show, and The Kennedy Center, Philadelphia, Chicago, opened the St Louis show, Albany, Flat Rock, Seattle, Waterloo Canada, and now Off Broadway.

Mary Ann with Mom
Today I celebrate Mary Ann Conk and her body of WORTH!

What is something that people don’t know about you that you would like to share? 
I love teaching and passing on what I know.

What goals do YOU desire to achieve in your lifetime?
I have been fortunate to achieve my main goal - entertaining others. I think comedy is a gift to be shared with as many as possible. It's a scary world; in the large sense and in our own lives - and  of one can make someone forget about that for even a little while, that's everything that's the best gift you can give.

If you could be known and celebrated for one thing, what would it be? 
Kindness to others.

What is your first memory of entertainment?
I have two. I grew up in this area (New York) and we had Million Dollar Movie on TV. When I was a kid, they'd pick a film and play it over and over and again all week. I vividly remember devouring the Fred and Ginger , and Busby Berkley movies. Could not get enough. Secondly, I Love Lucy.

What was the inspiration and impetus for doing this project?  
Being offered Shear Madness in NYC was a no brainer for me. Knowing it would coincide with my  35th was the icing on the cake.

If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be? 
With Gil Brady in The Underpants


What kind of career do you want?  
The one I have been blessed with. 

If you could let go of something that has held you back, what would it be?

Overhearing a Dance Teacher tell my Mom when I was 7, "There must be something else she can do." Teachers don't realize their impact. I teach as well and try in every class to make up for THAT teacher.

Who was the most influential person on your work?

Ned Kinney, my HS Drama Teacher, and Bruce Jordan. I owe  them everything.

If you could go back and change a choice you made along the way as an artist, which one might that have been? Probably  start my career earlier, and not have had to make personal  choices over career ones. But, even though those choices were anti-career I still would've done them in the long run. They make up who I am and have given me a deep well to draw from in my  work.

What are your professional plans for the rest of this year? Well, this Sunday I am shooting an episode of a new series, Reality Sets In. That promises to be a fun project!
If you could do or accomplish ANYTHING and money wasn’t an object, what would that be?

What is your favorite piece of art?
ANY photograph with my parents in it is art to me.

How Far do you think  your Dreams can Take You?
To the Moon and back! Dreams are the stuff of Life!

How important was your training? 
I think training is very important. Initially it sets up the discipline necessary for this kind of life. And you get your foundation. My 4 years at Emerson were invaluable. The learning should never stop. My HS drama teacher, Ned Kinney prepared me well for college, and to this day, rehearsals with Bruce Jordan are Master Classes within themselves.
Please Visit Mary Ann Conk for More Info!

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!   

Richard Skipper Celebrates May 25th! A New Talk/Variety Show! To throw a great party you need great guests...AND he's got them! He will be joined by Carole Demas (celebrating her Birthday!), Kristoffer Lowe, Carolyn Montgomery-Forant, Gretchen Reinhagen, Adam Shapiro, Leslie Orofino, Wendy Scherl, Carol Skarimbas (accompanied by Larry Woodard), and a Mystery Guest! celebrating the many gems of May 25th 8PM Show! Who Will Be OUR MYSTERY GUEST! You'll Have To Be There To See Who It Is!
Reservations a MUST! You Never Know Who You Might See There! http://www.richardskipper.com/celebrates.html
What would YOU like to celebrate on May 25
Call 888 596-1027 to purchase tickets or YOU can also do it on THEIR website. http://www.triadnyc.com/
Check out Our Promo: https://vimeo.com/166498510

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

Keeping Entertainment LIVE!

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com


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