Sunday, March 25, 2018

Cabaret Month: Jackie Draper and MORE!

Two Weeks From Today! 
Words are like spices. Too many are worse than too few.
-Children’s author Joan Aiken

Happy Sunday, March 25th, 2018! 
March 25 is the 84th day of the year. There are 281 days remaining until the end of the year. It is a beautiful Palm Sunday here in New York. With Easter on the horizon, we are prepared and ready for those April showers and the promise of May flowers. Today, make a point of stopping and truly experiencing a sight, sound, or smell. Whether it's a brilliant sunset, chirping bird, or delicious-smelling piece of fruit, pause and spend a moment focusing on the sensations you feel.
As I begin to write today's blog, The Love Boat Follies is playing in the background. That is the episode that featured Carol Channing, Della Reese, Ann Miller, and Ethel Merman. It was written by my friend Ray Jessel. How appropriate as I continue to celebrate Cabaret Month. 

Today, I celebrate Jackie Draper! 
 A statement from Jackie: Since early childhood, I studied classical piano. In the year 2000, I was introduced to the art of cabaret by a voice teacher. My first class was with Linda Amiel Burns. I then studied with Helen
Baldassare, who mentored and directed me in fourteen solo cabaret shows since 2003. The shows have been presented at Don’t Tell Mama, Danny’s Skylight Room, and, for the past
eleven years, at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. I’ve performed a total of eighteen different solo shows (the last four directed by Kimberly Vaughn) and intend to continue as long as I still to have something to say and the energy, joy, inspiration (and resources?!) to say it.

Please note: This is a previous postcard
Who/what keeps you going in the creative process?
I love the treasure hunt of seeking and finding unique (and lesser known) songs that resonate with me. I relish plumbing the lyrics to connect with their soul. Then I enjoy working with my sensitive, brilliant Music Director, Gregory Toroian, to craft an arrangement that frames and delivers the lyric and highlights my interpretation. Also, I delight in jamming with my musical colleagues – bass, percussion, woodwinds – whenever I can. And I am moved
by listening to and discovering masters of the song (both historical and current).

What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently?
Dancing inspires me and transports me from every-day concerns to the joy of moving in harmony with the music. The discipline of dance results in exhilarating (sometimes fleeting) freedom of motion. I admire and aspire to the grace and athleticism of great dancing. Grace is good!

Who are your biggest musical influences?
I absolutely adore Doris Day! She is a peerless, tender interpreter of song and a marvelous actor and comedienne. When I was growing up, I wrote a fan letter addressed to “Doris Day, Hollywood, California.” I actually received an autographed picture of Doris Day shortly thereafter. Wow! Imagine that! So many other singers move and inspire me: Rosemary Clooney, Charles
Aznavour, Charles Trenet, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day, Jessica Molaskey, Susannah McCorkle, Lorraine Feather. I could go on and on…

Why don’t cabaret shows attract more of the public, in your opinion?
Maybe enough people aren’t aware of how personally thrilling and joyfully entertaining such live, unique attractions can be.

What is your favorite event in the cabaret community?
I’m delighted by any cabaret show that lets me see who each performer is -- in a truthful, musically inviting way.

If you could have coffee with any living person, it would be …
Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King.
Michelle Obama, or Oprah Winfrey, or Lorraine Feather.

If you could trade places with anybody for a day, you would choose…
I don’t think I would trade places with anyone. First, I really love my life and am conscious of my countless blessings. Secondly, I wouldn’t want to let anyone too near my adorable husband. (I’m very protective! And prudent!)

If there were no barriers to entry, what is one thing you would be doing?
I might like to be … Gosh, I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing.

If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?

What is one instance of knowing you are living in your vision?
To empathize with a friend or acquaintance, encourage him/her to strive, to
learn, to improve, to give joy, to forget self, to do good by being good, to
comfort and strengthen others, that’s a vision I strive to fulfill and embody.

To be successful in this business, it takes…
I’ve heard it said: If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success. A practical
definition of success is a must!

What’s next?
I’m thrilled to be bringing back my most recent show, “This Happy Madness”
on Sunday, April 22, 6 PM, at The Laurie Beechman Theatre.
We’ll visit those aspects of our being that seem to take on a life of their own, transcending logic – inspiring joy, freedom, exhilaration, and, occasionally, obsessive behavior. (For me, that’s probably dancing.)
Songs in English and French will be punctuated by the rhythms of happy feet. Here’s a savory sampling of composers and lyricists represented: Astaire, Aznavour, the Bergmans, Cahn, Dorough, Fields, Jobim, Legrand, Mandel,
McHugh, Mercer, Porter, Styne, Warren. My magical musical team: Music Director Gregory Toroian at the piano; Ritt Henn on bass; Robbyn Tongue on woodwinds. Special guest: dapper dancer Milo Saidl. Kimberly Vaughn directs.

Jackie, you are worth Celebrating! Click HERE

Richard's Sunday Thoughts:
Open statement To The NRA:
The Parkland, Florida school shooting was an unspeakable tragedy that killed 17 students and teachers. Skipper here. I'm 57 and I marched with THOUSANDS yesterday for Gun Violence Prevention. I was joined personally by at least 10 close friends. Central Park West was packed with people from West 86th Street all the way down to West 61st Street where March For Our Lives staged the rally. That means that Central Park West was packed solid for 25 blocks!!!!!!  This is in response to the NRA's statement yesterday in response to the Marches around the world, we are not billionaires nor are we part of the Hollywood elite.

"Stand and Fight for our Kids' Safety by Joining NRA," it said. "Today's protests aren't spontaneous. Gun-hating billionaires and Hollywood elites are manipulating and exploiting children as part of their plan to DESTROY the Second Amendment and strip us of our right to defend ourselves and our loved ones." I begin by putting my name at the top of this letter to the NRA because I stand behind my convictions. I did not see a name attached to their statement yesterday. One thing that I have observed over the past 19 years is an organization that has built its success on the backs and fears of people who have a fear of, as one tweet said earlier this week, "a rogue government poised to take their guns." 
I have also observed that not once over the past 19 years has Wayne Robert LaPierre, Jr nor his mouthpiece Dana Loesch, who puts out hate rhetoric at an alarming rate, once tried to reach out to the many families of mass shootings to offer any
type of solace. 
Interestingly enough, NEITHER have been voted into office and they do not deserve the power they have been given. 
Instead, EVERY time that there is a mass shooting, they amp up their fear-mongering to their membership to alert them that the 'left' is out to take their guns.
Let's get one thing very clear: The NRA is not about the 2nd Amendment as much as it is about commerce. 
It is ALL about the sale of guns. If they spent as much time protecting the other Amendments, perhaps I would have a different idea of who and what they are all about. 
If they are so concerned about people's rights, do they EVER give any consideration to MY rights or those who desire to live and experience LIFE in gun free zones? I've never heard the NRA get
outraged about what has happened each time there is yet another mass shooting.
 Instead, they are outraged about something that 'might' happen! IE: Someone is going to take away your guns OR your Second Amendment Rights. 
If they can't get outraged about the slaughter of small children, they have no souls.
I've never understood why someone needs a gun to complete who they are. I also know it is not politically correct to say this, but I do not believe everyone has the RIGHT to bear arms.
They are trying to convince us that the only way to 'fight a bad man with a gun is with a good man with a gun'. I'm convinced that every good man with a gun is a trigger pull away from being a bad man with a gun. Daily, people are purchasing AR-15s with not a negative checkmark in their past. However, if and when they snap, they go out and create mass carnage with a legally purchased weapon. The ONLY way to combat this is with a ban on assault weapons. The one, in particular, is the AR-15.
By doing this, it will not diminish one iota the people who desire to own them. They will just be illegal to own. When smoking in restaurants was banned, many were up in arms saying it would diminish business. 
I was working in a restaurant at the time this became law. Business actually increased! 
The lives of our children and loved ones are much more important than the need to own an assault weapon.
It is past time for discussion. The pockets of our politicians that are lined with NRA money will just be lined with no platform. 
They WILL be voted out next elections. 
I have had it! Those who know me know this is not a new fight. It is time for a change and we ARE GOING TO SEE IT HAPPEN! Thank you for speaking out yesterday, NRA. You showed your TRUE COLORS and what you truly stand for. I hope your members are listening.
Be gone NRA, your power is disappearing!
Richard Skipper

Seems like a good time to remind everyone: the Previous POTUS

Rep. Steve Cohen:
President Trump is "the most despicable human being to ever reside in the White House"

Proponents of new gun-reform measures largely had the Sunday talk shows to themselves this week, with student activists and Democratic senators dominating the conversation and one Republican senator distancing herself somewhat from the National Rifle Association. Read MORE

John Kander's NYC birthday bash started with a heartfelt speech by Chita Rivera shown via video at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in Times Square. Richard Skipper Celebrated the legendary composer and surviving half of Kander and Ebb, the great masters that brought us a canon of fine musical works that include Cabaret, Chicago, Steel Pier, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, and Woman of the Year among others. Read MORE.
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
AND Stephanie Pope  Chicago, Pippin, Fosse

Musical Direction Joe Goodrich with Rex Benincasa on Percussion, Steve Doyle on bass, and Erik Lawrence on Sax
Lane Bradbury, Gypsy's ORIGINAL Dainty June!

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…

Don't Miss A Richard Skipper Celebrates...

A Few Audience Testimonials
I was so happy attending the wonderful event on Monday, October 30th, with Richard Skipper interviewing my old friend Joyce Bulifant at the Drama Book Shop.  Richard's knowledge of show business and his infectious good humor were ideal to bring out the best stories from Joyce's  terrific new book.  Richard has the ability to make every event a very special occasion.  I look forward to attending the next special night when Richard Skipper celebrates another remarkable person.
Joel Vig, NYC

It was my pleasure to be celebrated in a unique interview with Richard Skipper on July 22nd, 2017. He is the consummate host. I had a wonderful time!  
Medium Tracey Lockwood,

Richard Skipper's World War II presentation on May 20th, 2017 was phenomenal! Richard is a showman and gave much pleasure to his audience. I was happy to be there, I will be at the next show . Thank you for that gift. 
-Patti Dey, Staten Island, NY
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!

Meet Lane Bradbury on April 8th! 

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,

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