Sunday, July 16, 2017

Letting Go of those that have a Problem For Every Situation

Life Is a Banquet and More Poor Sons of Bitches are Starving To Death!
-Mame Dennis

Happy Sunday, July 16th, 2017!
Today is the 197th day of the year. There are 168 days remaining until the end of the year. As I sat down to begin my blog today, I was listening to Linda Kosut sing I Cover The Waterfront. It is a soulful rendition and really sums up where I am, where I've been, and where I desire to go.

The time has come to let go of things, and people, that are no longer of any real use to me. One of my horoscopes is telling me that new projects and new partnerships are coming into being when the Sun changes signs on the 22nd, so clear as much space in my life as I can...and I am! I believe that.
And I refuse to stop growing.
Life is boring if you never improve at anything.

Carleton Carpenter: One of the many players of Call on Dolly!

Trying to rigidly cling to an unmanageable agenda only makes matters worse now.  I am following the course of least resistance and allowing  EVERYTHING to fall like a house of cards.This way, I'm able to pick up those 'cards' that are going to benefit me on some level.   Once the stress of keeping up appearances is gone, I'm available to recreate my life to your liking. Sometimes it takes an unexpected breakdown to experience an undeniable breakthrough. That has been happening over the past few weeks!

I want to begin by telling you about the past two weeks. On July 1st, Danny and I drove up to Buffalo for our nephew's wedding (on Danny's side of the family). When Danny and I met 27 years ago, Joey was running around in diapers.
It was heartwarming to see him start out on the next chapter of his life with his wife after a few missteps along the way.
It was a beautiful wedding on a beautiful day.

Why did I gravitates toward Hello, Dolly! rather than Funny Girl? It starts with Carol Channing!
I flew back to New York the next morning so that I could devote a week alone to work on my book, Call on Dolly! :From Carol  Channing to Bette Midler and Beyond.
Jerry Herman!
A dear friend picked me up at JFK and I came home excitedly to focus on my book. I took a nap when I got home and woke in the afternoon to get going. I've spent seven years on this project.
That has included over 500 interviews and many trips and, thank you, Danny, sitting through MANY productions of Dolly on every level of the spectrum.
So on Monday of last week, I sat down at my computer, booted it up, and I could not access my data base!

I was desperately trying to figure out why I could not get in. Danny's brother, David, who is an IT guy was able to reconstruct it AND retrieve my data base!

 It didn't stop there. My external drive could not be detected.

My entire book project was there! As well as my head shots, family photos, friends, celebrities, interviews, everything! My heart stopped. It truly crippled me. Last week was a lost cause. It was the darkest place I think I have felt in a long time. It zapped my energy. I became lethargic and had no sense of direction and/or what to do next.

My best FRIEND, Russ Woolley, suggested calling a friend of his who is also an IT guy.
He came over and could not figure out the problem.

Another FRIEND, Lisa Egidi-Martinez, contacted a data retrieval company in
Jerry Herman and Lucille Ball as Mame
Stony Point, Rockland County Computer Repair, and they came and picked it up.

I received a text Monday AM of this week that it was looking good and that they were cleaning up some 'junk'.
I'm not exactly sure what that meant. I asked for prayers, positive energy, AND positive thoughts.
Yes! I do believe in that. Well, it worked.
It was returned yesterday and EVERYTHING is intact! Not only did he save all my files, they are now downloaded on to my computer and he even freed up space on my computer ensuring me that I still have plenty of space still on my computer and that I truly don't even need an external drive at this point, a fallacy I have carried around AND been taught for several years.

I am tired of taking one step forward, then two steps back!
Perhaps this is the Universe's way of telling me to step back and take a break.
Ginger Rogers
I was still cautiously optimistic but I breathed a little bit better. So my computer had a near-death experience!
I took the summer off from performing my show to focus on my book and regroup.

I started working on this project in 2011 when my career took an unfortunate turn.

I was trying to figure out what the next chapter would be for me. I had spent 20 years performing as Carol Channing.
It was TIME to move on.

Thus was born Call on Dolly!
Danny and I were vacationing in Palm Springs where the idea hit me like a bolt of energy. 

As soon as I announced on Facebook that I was going to write this book, a friend suggested I contact Roberta Olden, who was Ginger Rogers' personal assistant the last
10 years of Rogers' life. (Today, by the way is Ginger Rogers' Birthday)
I desired to become a writer, blogger and author.

It was never my dream. But it is NOW! I can see it clearly . . .
taste it, smell it, feel it.
I asked where she was and I almost plotzed when he said she was in Palm Springs! He said he would make the introductions.
She called me and told me that she was managing a country club and that would be the best place for us to meet.
Broadway's latest Dolly! Donna Murphy! A holy grail interview
Danny and I went there and I was shocked and  amazed to see she was my age. I expected a much older woman. We sat down to talk and I began to ask her questions. After about 15 minutes, she invited us back to her home.
There she shared so much including Rogers' mom's journal! This detailed an opening night and closing night account of Rogers' run on Broadway. She even had Roger's Harmonia Gardens gown hanging in her closet. It was a great interview and I was off and running!
So for the past seven years,
David Merrick's Bio in the Playbill of the current Broadway Revival

I've been churning out the work through my blogs and the CallonDolly website.
I also have a very big presence on social media. I'm feeling clear, energetic, courageous and that is resulting in
super productivity!
My fans are clamoring for my book to be released or my next blog post to be published based on the emails I receive. I am living my passion and purpose . . serving others . . . fulfilling my potential. Living the dream makes life great. I feel enthusiastic, joyous, and confident. But, so far, my dream of this book being published has remained just that . . . a dream. I haven't achieved my writing
goals or reached the level of success I desire - personally or professionally.

My horoscope today is telling me that I can’t prevent my schedule from falling apart today; random changes demand radical solutions.
I'm listening and making a LOT of changes in my life. The thought for the day is INNER PEACE . Think of this word as your mantra for the day. First apply the word to yourself, THEN apply this word to EVERYONE YOU meet. Think of this word as you respond to EVERY POST you see throughout the day. The thought for TODAY is INNER PEACE . Please pay it forward...
I've been doing a LOT of soul searching lately. Over the last year, I have really been putting together a SUCCESS team, a team of those that support my dream and are propelling me in the RIGHT direction.
Some have been added to that team that are now being removed as I move into the next season of Richard Skipper Celebrates...(the LIVE show).
Did they move me to a new level or bring me down? It is time for me to reevaluate most or there will be NO growth! The foundation of my plan is networking.

Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

Once you know the combination, the lock will open for you and I am finally figuring out that combination.

When I was in high school, my Biology teacher, Miss. Gerald, ended EVERY single class with, "Read, re-read, and take notes."
Doing the Red Carpet at The Bistro Awards (seen here with Dee Dee Bridgeater)
Even as I write these words, I can see her round tomato face
Who would have thought that my life path would have led me to Carol Channing!
pushing up her glasses and saying those words before we were able to get out of our seats and leave the room.
I had another mentor, Miss Florence Epps, who gave me a high regard and respect for ALL that has gone before me. I have written about Mss Epps many times and if you follow this blog, it may seem repetitious. To those of you who follow me, rather than apologizing, I believe it bears repeating.
Mame was my first show with a theater company and truly began to shape the entertainer I am today.  In Miss Epps' backyard, she had built a little playhouse, a mini-theater.
No one is going to rain on my parade
Miss Epps was called the Fairy Godmother of our local theater in Conway, South Carolina, The Theater of the Republic (TOR). She took me under her wing after my appearance in Mame.She saw opportunities in me and became the first to really believe in my ability.
And before I knew it, not only was I becoming my popular with TOR but other theaters started seeking me out.
The next company I became involved with was Coastal Carolina's Upstage Company. I recently wrote about the events that led up to my doing Marat/Sade with that company. To reiterate, I was given a whole new level of confidence that I truly never had with TOR. I had a great time with TOR, but looking back, I realize I always remained an outsider. I still feel that to a certain extent.

A few years ago, I used to still receive my hometown paper due to a gift from a now departed friend. One day while

reading the paper, I discovered that for the first time in the theater's history that they had hired an artistic director to elevate the status of the theater and elevate the theater to a new level. I went on to read that the theater had several fundraising efforts to raise money for the theater to reconstruct the balcony due to damage from a fire.
I called the lady who was always (and probably still is!) considered the 'first lady of our hometown theater.
She talked for 25 minutes about herself, never once asking me anything about my life since leaving Conway. I listened and then realized that in her life I was insignificant. At the end of the conversation, not once asking me about any other aspect of my life, she asked me if I was still performing! I told her to google me before ending the call!
It reminded me of an interview that Katharine Hepburn gave with Phil Donahue when her book, Me, came out. This interview was rare and a big deal for Mr. Donahue.
At the end of the interview, he asked her to autograph his copy of the book. She asked him whom she should make the book out to. He said to her, "You have no idea who I am, do you?" She did not! When he told her he was Phil Donahue, she didn't believe him! HERE.
She went on to say, "It's pretty humbling, isn't it?" I remember watching that incredulously as my jaw dropped!
No matter how big or important we are, there are MANY who have no idea who we are or what we have accomplished (and/or not). I once asked Carol Channing what advice she had for me. She imparted two important pieces of advice for me. I will share one with you.  She said to me to accept  that for every person who likes me, there are an equal number who don't. That was advice that was given to her by Anita Loos when Carol was slammed by Dorothy Kilgallen over Carol's performance in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on Broadway. Carol was the toast of Broadway. She was on the cover of Life and Time magazines at the same time. She was only the second actress to have that accolade. The first was Tallulah Bankhead, who also shared a birthday with Carol, by the way. Kilgallen decimated Carol in print and it really brought her down. Loos assured Carol that it was ONE WOMAN'S opinion and who cared anyway? Broadway LOVED HER! Still does! The current revival of Hello, Dolly! never would have happened if Carol had not made it such an American institution!  
Some 'critics' think that because they can put pen to paper and make words come out, these words can be compelling, valuable, page turning.

To be continued...Remember, this is a stream of consciousness blog and I am a work in progress!

Let's Be Friends! I promise you a great experience! 

Today's blog is dedicated to Ginger Rogers. Ginger Rogers was born Virginia Katherine McMath in
Independence, Missouri on July 16, 1911

Life is so much better when you stop caring about what everyone thinks, and start to actually live for yourself!!

On June 18th, 2017,  I had the great good pleasure of singing in one of Richard Skipper’s
Celebrating Scott Barbarino in April 2017, Metropolitan Room
Extravaganzas par Excellence at the Laurie Beechman Theater. This one celebrated Father's Day. It was a  terrific show and Richard was, as always, a wonderful host and singer.   The show ran smoothly and professionally and the performance level was exceedingly high.  Upbeat and fun it reminded me of those wonderful TV variety shows of my youth.  But it isn’t an imitation of one of them, it is Richard’s own, unique creation.  If you have never been to one, I recommend it highly, if you are one of the regulars, you are already hooked.

 Mark Watson

With Rick McKay
Dearest Richard,
Thank you for organizing and producing such an amazing show to open our Rockland County Pride weekend. Everyone was blown away by the talent of all the performers! You truly made the weekend of Pride one to be remembered. Your continued support and affirmation of our LGBT Community and the Rockland County Pride Center is something we are eternally grateful for.
Thank you!!

Diana Wilkins,

 Dear Richard,
With the late great Tammy Grime, Sondra Lee, and Nancy Anderson

Thank you for the tribute to Judy Garland in honor of her birthday for the American Popular Song Society on Judy Garland's Birthday (6/10/17). The entertaining film clips, the guest performers and your interviews all made for a memorable afternoon.

Ann Dawson, NYC

Sit Back! A New News Cycle Is About to Begin!

Thank you, to ALL who are mentioned in this blog for showing me that it is up to ME to lead by example!

With grateful XOXOXs , 

With Peggy Eason: Please join us on Wednesday Night as Russ Woolley and I Present her at The Laurie Beechman Theater...Click HERE

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Richard Skipper,   


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