Barbara Kahn and More

Judy Garland never won a competitive Oscar or Tony
 There’s no way you can create a chemistry where none exists.
Journalist Michael Parkinson

Happy March 26th, 2018!
March 26 is the 85th day of the year. There are 280 days remaining until the end of the year.
Easter is on the horizon.
So are the MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs)Awards tomorrow night thus ending Cabaret Month and the 'competitive' part of the season and then before you know it, we will be in the midst of the Broadway Awards season. This time next year, people will not even remember who won the awards and then it starts all over again.
While everyone else is trying to put their leads into a funnel, and competing with one another…
What if there was no competition for you? The bottom line is there truly is no competition.
Melissa Manchester Is a Great Artist on her own merits. 
Let's celebrate each other as individuals and our unique bodies of 'worth'. Be relevant to our community. Illuminate your own niche in the community. Support each other.
The motivation for creating your art should be to give the world a great story and a memorable experience — no matter how you create it.  There’s no doubt about it: this is a tough business.
A patron (audience) wants to find a good show. Period. They don't care whether or not you have won awards on your path to your current show.
I wish MUCH SUCCESS to all of the MAC Nominees tomorrow night. While this may sound weird to you, after committing so much time and effort into creating your shows, the endgame is not to get an award. Celebrate each other tomorrow night and try not to let the wins and losses define who you are.

It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
—Harry Truman

Happy Birthday to Diana Ross! Thank you for the musical gifts you have given to the world and will continue to give.

Today, I Celebrate Barbara Kahn!
Poster design by Virginia Asman
Barbara Kahn is a multi-award winning playwright, actor, and director. She started acting in Philadelphia while a teenager. She received a B.A. degree in Theatre Arts from ADELPHI UNIVERSITY in New York while continuing her professional career. She returned to Philadelphia in 1998 to appear in her own play "CO-OP" and in 1999 in "Cyma's Story." "Cyma's Story" was presented in Los Angeles by the Jewish Women's Theatre Project in January 2002at the NOHO (North Hollywood) Theatre Festival in Hollywood and the University of Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany, in 2003. She has directed plays in New York, Paris and at the National Theatre in London.

Barbara's plays have been produced in New York, California, Boston and Philadelphia and have won awards on both coasts. Theater for the New City has been the New York City home for her plays since 1994.  Unorthodox Behavior was presented by Moving Parts Theatre Group in Paris, France in January 2003.

Barbara was honored with the TORCH OF HOPE AWARD for "lifetime achievement," following past recipients Terrence McNally, John Guare, August Wilson, Horton Foote and A.R. Gurney. She received the JAMES R. QUIRK AWARD for the Performing Arts for her "memorable contributions to American theatre" and was awarded participation in The Field's Independent Artist Challenge Program.

Barbara's play "Whither Thou Goest" was published in the anthology, MAKING A SCENE: The Contemporary Drama of Jewish-American Women (ed. Sarah Blacher Cohen, Syracuse University Press. 1997) Her work was also published in More Monologues for Women by Women (Heinemann Press), Harrington Lesbian Fiction Quarterly (Haworth Press) and All In the Seasoning (Bywater Books). Memorabilia from her early productions are in the permanent collection of the Cultural History Collection at the New York State Museum in Albany. She co-authored the lyrics for the song "Actions Are the Music of the Free" for "Bringing Beijing Home" rally at NYU, later performed on request at the United Nations Memorial to Dame Nita Barrow. and at the 17th Annual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts.

Barbara has been a panelist at the OutWrite conference in Boston and a panel moderator at the
The Torch of Hope Award with Barbara's mother and Barbara Barondess.
International Conference of Gay and Lesbian Jewish Organizations.   She was the sole U.S. presenter at the Jewish Women’s Writing Conference in Mainz, Germany in 2003. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild, Sisters On Stage (co-founder), Actors Equity Association and Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA).

Barbara received the 2011 Robert Chesley Foundation/Helene Wurlitzer Foundation Award for achievement in Playwriting. She received the award for Best Short Play for "CO-OP" at the 2012 Downtown Urban Theatre Festival.
Barbara was the recipient of a 2017 Acker Award for her work in the Theater.

Enjoy our Interview...

How do you balance a personal and a professional life?
Poster design by Virginia Asman
My professional life prevents my having much of a personal life. I love what I do, so
that’s not really a sacrifice.

Tell us about Verzet Amsterdam [Resistance Amsterdam]?
Verzet Amsterdam [Resistance Amsterdam] is based on the true story of artists in World
War II occupied Amsterdam who risked their lives to save Dutch Jews from deportation
and death.

Who are your biggest artistic influences?
From left, Bob Sickinger, Dan Schoch and Charles E. Gerber collaborating in New York in 2009. Credit Stephen Schwartz
Bob Sickinger was an early acting teacher, who taught a teenager how to be a in the theater, both in acting skills and in conduct. My father was a child
refugee from war; my sister Phyllis is a human rights activist. Both of them inspired me
to write plays about injustice and oppression. Crystal Field has given me a home for my
plays in NYC since 1994, allowing me to create a body of work and see my artistic
vision come to life onstage.

Tell me about working with Robert Gonzalas Jr. as a director. What is he like to
work with?
Robert was first an actor and choreographer in a musical I wrote and directed. I found myself consulting him on directing issues and wanted to make it official. We have been co-directors on my productions in the decade-plus since. Our overall philosophy is the same, but we have different strong points—he actually enjoys scheduling rehearsals and blocking scenes, while I focus on character and relationship issues—and we often overlap. We rarely disagree in rehearsals. It’s been a joy having him as my theater partner.

Tell us a secret.
My life is an open book.

Which is the most memorable experience you’ve had in your writing career?

Receiving the Torch of Hope Award for my work in non-profit theater. It was presented
in a big gala at the Rainbow Room. My brother brought my mother who was already in
the middle stage of Alzheimer's. Although she quickly forgot it afterward, sharing the
moment with her in the audience meant a great deal to me.

How did you hear you’d booked your first big play?
The first production was canceled mid-rehearsals when co-author Ray Hagen and I had
a major disagreement with the director who was also producing it. Since we both had
been actors at La MaMa, Ellen Stewart stepped up and gave us a three-week run!

What’s the story behind your current project? 
Frieda Belinfante, a well-known Dutch cellist, and conductor, and Willem Arondeus, a painter, and poet formed a resistance group of artists against the fascist German occupiers in 1942-43 Amsterdam. When their first efforts to protect Dutch Jews from deportation and death were exposed, they embarked on a more dangerous and violent action.

How did this project come about?
I am always scouting for dramatic stories of historical figures, particularly LGBT, women, and minorities. I check certain websites and receive daily emails. When I encounter an amazing individual or situation I didn’t previously know about, I decided to share the story with others. Discovering the lesbian and gay man who formed an anti-Nazi resistance
group in World War II, I knew I had to write their story

What would you say is your current motivator? 
Barbara with Ellen Stewart of LaMama E.T.C.for the New City It hasn’t changed much. 

I strive to tell the stories of people whose lives have been
omitted or distorted in popular culture. My favorite compliment from an audience
member—“I come away from your plays feeling entertained and only later realize I’ve
been educated.”

How do you see proceeding with your writing career? Do you have an upcoming
project in mind? 
There are many stories waiting to be told. I haven’t yet landed on one.

Was writing Verzet Amsterdam [Resistance Amsterdam] at all difficult?  
I carefully research all my historical plays. There were some language difficulties, since I don’t know Dutch.  Fortunately, I was able to find enough sources in English, including post-war testimony by my main character.

Once this project has run its course, what’s the next step for you?
Artist: Seth Ruggles Hiler
My immediate next step is writing a short play—maximum 20 minutes—for the annual
Lower East Side Festival of the Arts at Theater for the New City, held on Memorial Day

Come Up with one question I did not ask you for next profile 
Who among colleagues you haven’t yet worked with would you want to collaborate with
on a theater project?

Name one person you would like to see profiled in my blog 
You already named him—my theater partner Robert Gonzales Jr. He is an opera-
photo by Joe Bly
a trained singer, a violinist, a dancer and choreographer, an actor and a director. (I’m sure I left out some of the many things he excels in doing.)

Anything else you wish included?
I write plays, not novels or poetry because I love the collaborative process of working in the theater. A play is the basis of a production, but it takes a team of artists to bring it to life onstage. Thank you, Richard, for this opportunity to share my thoughts with your readers.

There are two ways to be fooled: One is to believe what isn't so; the other is to refuse to believe what is so.
- Kierkegaard

Verzet Amsterdam [Resistance Amsterdam] dramatizes the true story of artists in World War IIband together to resist fascism and protect Jews from deportation and death. Written by Barbara Kahn. Directed by Robert Gonzales Jr. and Barbara Kahn. Set and light design by Mark Marcante. Costume design by Everett Clark. Sound design by Joy Linscheid. Vintage prop design by Lytza Colon. Featuring Steve Barkman, Benjamin Cardona, Robert Gonzales Jr., Carl Ellis Grant, Jared Johnston, Anya Krawcheck, Christopher Lowe, Paolo Solis, Steph Van Vlack. April 5-22, 2018. Theater for the New City 155 1st Ave (9th & 10th Sts.)
occupied Amsterdam who
Thus-Sat. @8pm, Sun @3pm. Reservations: 212-254-1109. Advance tkts:

Verzet Amsterdam, with its relevance to today’s global threats, presents the valiant Dutch artists who fought against fascism in occupied Amsterdam. They came from differing artistic careers, races, religions and sexual identities.
The cast of The Spring and Fall of Eve Adams.
When their first efforts faced exposure, they decided on a more drastic and decisive action. Cellist Frieda Belinfante, poet Willi Arondeus, composer Jan Van Gilse, sculptor Gerrit Van Der Veen and museum curator Willem Sandberg risked their lives to save their Jewish neighbors.

“I only wish that my life will have been a life worth living…” Frieda Belinfante
“People will know that homosexuals are not cowards.” Willem “Willi” Arondeus.

Partial funding for the production is provided by The Puffin Foundation and private donations.
Jackie S. Freeman and Karen Klebbe
Theater for the New City has been the primary New York City home for Barbara’s plays since 1994. Her plays have been produced in the U.S., France, and Germany. She has directed in New York, Paris, and at the National Theatre in London. Among her many awards: the Torch of Hope Award for lifetime achievement in non-profit theatre, following past recipients Terrence McNally, August Wilson, Horton Foote and A.R. Gurney; the joint Robert Chesley Playwriting Award/Wurlitzer Foundation Residency in Taos, NM; and a 2017 Acker Award. With Jackie S. Freeman, she co-authored the lyrics to “Actions are the Music of the Free,” music by Jennifer Giering, performed at the United Nations Tribute to Dame Nita Barrow. A “short list of prominent post-1970’s playwrights who identify as Jewish and who have written about Jews includes Jon Robin Baitz, Richard Greenburg, Alan Havis, Barbara Kahn, Tony Kushner, Barbara Lebow, Jennifer Maisel, Karen Malpede, David Mamet, Emily Mann, Donald Margulies, Elizabeth Swados, Jeffrey Sweet, Alfred Uhry, and Wendy Wasserstein.” (You Should See Yourself: Jewish Identity in Postmodern American Culture. Vincent Brook. Rutgers University Press.) Member: The Dramatists Guild, AEA and SAG/AFTRA.
Marilyn Galfin, Barbara, Edie Windsor and Judith Kasen-Windsor

THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY (TNC) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning community cultural center that is known for its high artistic standards and widespread community service. One of New York’s most prolific theatrical organizations, TNC produces 20-30 premieres of new American plays per year, at least 10 of which are by emerging and young playwrights. Many influential theater artists of the last quarter century have found TNC’s Resident Theater Program instrumental to their careers, among them Sam Shepard, Moises Kaufman, Richard Foreman, Charles Busch, Maria Irene Fornes,
Sam Sheppard
Piñero and Academy Award Winners Tim Robbins and Adrien Brody. TNC also presents plays by multi-ethnic/multi-disciplinary theater companies who have no permanent home. Among the well-known companies that have been presented by TNC are Mabou Mines, the Living Theater, Bread and Puppet Theater, the San Francisco Mime Troupe and the Ma-Yi Theater Company, which won an OBIE Award for its 1996 TNC production, FLIPZOIDS. TNC also produced the Yangtze Repertory Company’s 1997 production of BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH, which was the only play ever produced in America by Gao Xingjian before he won the 2000 Nobel Prize for Literature. TNC seeks to develop theater audiences and inspire future theater artists from the often-overlooked low-income minority communities of New York City by producing minority writers from around the world and by bringing the community into theater and theater into the community through its many free Festivals. TNC productions have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and over 40 OBIE Awards for excellence in every theatrical discipline. TNC is also the only Theatrical Organization to have won the Mayor's Stop the Violence Award.

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Richard's Monday Picks
Following MARILYN MAYE's upcoming six SOLD OUT shows at Feinstein's/54 Below (April 10 - 21)
Learn the “Art of Performance” with MARILYN MAYE at her acclaimed Master Class on SATURDAY, APRIL 28th, 10:00AM - 3:00PM
Gregory Toroian will provide accompaniment.
Location to be provided to attendees.
(Video-taping of your session is available upon request for a small fee.)
(646) 404-2714 (please leave a message)

Happy Birthday, Tennessee Williams!
On Tennessee Williams's birthday, it's important to remember that BOOM was his favorite film adaptation of one of his plays. 

Thank you, to ALL who are mentioned in this blog for gifts you have given to the world and will continue to give

Now, go and do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return!
April 8th, 2018 

Russ Woolley Proudly Presents
Richard Skipper Celebrates
Broadway and off-Broadway Firsts...and More!

1 PM Brunch Show Laurie Beechman Theater 
Lane Bradbury created the role of Dainty June in the original Broadway production of the classic show Gypsy starring Ethel Merman.
Annie Hughes off-Broadway Closer Than Ever
Lauren Mufson Broadway and National Touring companies of Mamma Mia!
Marta Sanders Best Little Whorehouse In Texas Original Company

Musical Direction Joe Goodrich with Rex Benincasa on Percussion, Steve Doyle on bass, and Erik Lawrence on Sax

With music, reminisces and an afternoon of fun and show business! 90 minutes of merriment and excitement …Right on the heels of the 2/11 Russ Woolley's CELEBRATES Richard Skipper's’ BIRTHDAY…SELL-OUT Extravaganza…

When and Where:
Sunday, April 8th - 1 PM, Doors open 12:15

THE LAURIE BEECHMAN THEATRE, 407 West 42nd Street (lower level of the WEST BANK CAFE) Producer: Russ Woolley $30 ticket plus $20 food/beverage minimum - exquisite and reasonably priced food and drink

Richard Skipper has assembled a great cast to entertain and honor Broadway and off-Broadway artists… RICHARD SKIPPER has become synonymous with “feel good entertainment of the highest quality”. For decades Richard has entertained thousands and celebrated the careers of many of Theatre Row’s finest and most honored stars… It is now our turn to honor artists and the roles they created and/or made their own… The afternoon will prove to be an event where all will arrive and leave with smiles! This will be similar to the old-fashioned TV specials and series where we get to chat with and honor this Entertainment Icon.

So — Order your tickets now online…

A Few Audience Testimonials
There's nothing I love better than doing a lot of show tunes with a lot of superior performers – and that's what I got to do last week in the John Kander Birthday Tribute, thanks to Richard! It was such a pleasure to work with each other at long last, after knowing each other for 35 years! I have three words of advice, next time you hear of a Richard Skipper event with this level of talent: Don't Stay Home
-Fred Barton, NYC

I had the pleasure of being a part of Richard Skipper's Birthday celebration for John Kander. What I noticed immediately was the amount of passion Richard has for what he does! You are guaranteed a great time if you go to one of his shows. So go!
Donna Marie Asbury, Bloomfield, NJ

Richard Skipper and Russ Woolley, Tom and I were thrilled to see Richard Skipper Celebrates...John Kander 3/18/18- what an afternoon! My second one, Tom's first, and he is now a convert/addict too! Such talent, imagine all those wonderful performers doing a number together? The roof would blow off! Thank you for a terrific afternoon, and we can't wait for the next one! XOX
-John Oakley Higgins

The show is also made possible by Wright Bros. Real Estate. 

If you have attended Richard Skipper Celebrates, and if you haven't already, Please add your thoughts in Richard Skipper's Guest Book at
You never Know Who You Might See There and What Might Happen!

With grateful XOXOXs ,


Please LIKE (if you do!) and SHARE!


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

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


  1. Richard Skipper is a generous and loving supporter of theater and cabaret artists. His subjects range from well-known to unknown--he treats everyone with equal attention and consideration. He calls the interviews "celebrations," which accurately reflects his approach to his subjects. I am honored to be included among them.

  2. Thank you for interviewing and writing about my extraordinary, talented sister, Barbara Kahn. Can't wait to see her newest play at TNC. Thank you for your support of the arts. Great blog.... Phyllis Pautrat


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