Tuesday, April 10, 2018

James Beaman and MORE!

Hearts will never be practical until they are made unbreakable.
-L. Frank Baum

Happy April 10th, 2018!
April 10 is the 100th day of the year. There are 265 days remaining until the end of the year.
It is a gorgeous day here in New York. As I begin today's blog, I'm listening to Moondance playing in the background sung by Gary Crawford.
A lack of physical and mental energy, as well as motivation, has me in a lethargic mood today.
I am extremely irritated at the thought of having to work in any way...but it is a necessary evil! Having a great subject to write about makes it so much more bearable. Writing and knowing that I'm going to see Lynn Henderson tonight at Don't Tell Mama gets my juices flowing. The last few days in my art has given me enough passion to keep me smiling for some weeks to come.
My blog today is a celebration of James Beaman.
James Beaman's journey in show business has been an eclectic one, embracing classical theatre, musicals, the cabaret stage, celebrity impersonation, and more.  He has also worked for many years as a makeup artist, a Pilates teacher, an acting coach and cabaret director.  Versatility, transformation, expansive self-expression—these are are his passions!
James Comes to a life in theatre honestly.  He's the son of a set designer and a playwright/director/actress, who met in theatre school.  He grew up on stage and backstage, and started acting as soon as he could speak.  He cut his teeth on Shakespeare, playing Arthur in “King John” when he was 12.  In his teens, he learned acting, dance, mime, singing and all aspects of theatre at his mother's theatre school in my hometown of Beverly, MA.  He left high school early to attend Simon's Rock College, the nation's premier early entry college.  While there, he acted in, directed, and designed plays by Shakespeare, Wilde, Synge, Strindberg-- and earned his Associates Degree and his high school equivalency at the age of 17.
After earning his B.F.A. in acting at Boston University, he stayed on in Boston, working at Boston Children's Theatre, where his mom served as artistic director; he also gained his first professional acting experience at some of Boston’s finest theatres.
Here's his story.

Are you unstoppable?
I’ve been pursuing my acting career for 28 years. Nothing has stopped me yet.
Although there have been many challenges. They’ve all been issues of survival, really—how to make a living at this? Some of the challenges have been about reinventing myself, evolving, gaining new skills, finding new modes of expression.
These challenges have all made me stronger and more dimensional, as a person and as a performer.

Tell us about James Beaman.
I’m an actor, a teacher, and coach, a Shakespeare scholar, and geek, a movie lover, and devotee of the Golden Age of Hollywood films. I’m a good and true friend. I’m opinionated, ambitious, and have a big heart. My life has been anything but dull. And I feel, and hope, that my best years are ahead of me.

If you had limitless funds, what’s one purchase you would instantly make and why?
I’d probably buy a modest home somewhere warm. Somewhere to retreat to during the brutal northeast winters, which I’ve had quite enough of for one

How has the Trump era affected your art?
Trump and the Republicans have practically taken a hit out on performing artists with their new tax laws. It will be even harder for people who struggle to piece together
a living as performers to afford the career.
But the rise of bigotry, greed, injustice, and cruelty in our culture as a result of Trump’s twisted “leadership” is having a galvanizing force on people everywhere and artists are in a position to be a light in the darkness. I hope that I can create work that reminds people of our common humanity and encourage diversity, inclusion, and empathy.

Has your perspective changed any since starting in this business?
I think one of the gifts of getting older is learning from loss. Losing loved ones. Realizing you didn’t wind up where you thought you’d be in your life and career by the time you reached (insert number here). Loss and struggle can break you, or they can harden you, or... I like to use the metaphor of a river stone in a constant surge of moving water.
You can either get swept away, or you can hold your ground and be softened over time by those forces. I’ve always been sure of myself as an actor, but over time I let the chip fall from my shoulder... I stopped trying to prove myself so much; I’m much less pugnacious. I’ve learned that no matter how much knowledge one has, how much training and craft, how many wonderful credits... that show business is not, and never will be, a meritocracy. We are constantly going back to one... and proving ourselves again.

Do you approach every role you play the same way or does it depend on the character?
I am a research whore... I love being my own dramaturg. I want to know as much
as I can about the history of the piece (I do many revivals), who originated my part, what the inspirations were for the creating of the character by the writers. I also love digging into history and period details (when I played John Adams I was in absolute heaven). Being a devotee of classic film, I also draw inspiration for
many of my character parts from the great character men who came before me.
And I steal, liberally! Mostly, I try to find an idea or a handful of influences or “flavors” that inspire me and I let them play on my imagination.
I am a very physically and vocally driven actor, so finding a voice and a physical life for the character is always essential to my process.

How do you see proceeding with your career? What lies ahead?
So much of an actor’s career is shaped by forces not in his control. The
opportunities to be seen for great parts and great jobs have to be offered... the
granting of the actual job itself is at the whim and impulse of someone other than you (or a team of others). I have always wanted to do Broadway. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a boy. I thought when I played Sir Robin in the First National Tour of Spamalot that the next step would be Broadway.
That was nine years ago. So is Broadway ahead of me? I don’t know. I want to break into TV and film and that’s a challenge in and of itself as I have nearly 30 years of
exclusively theatre credits to my name. I wrote a feature screenplay over the course of five years and it is currently being shopped around for investment by an indy production company. I’m a good writer. I’d like to see where that takes me

Is doing what you do at all difficult?
There are two worlds actors have to negotiate: the work of acting itself and THE BUSINESS. The business doesn’t just include networking and auditioning and schmoozing and promoting. The business is also about how to survive between
jobs and how to keep body and soul together in New York City on a continually unpredictable income. This gets even more trying as one gets to be a certain age. It’s not an easy path and it requires constant reinvestment of energy and optimism and effort.

What do you do when you’re not performing?
I stopped working my day job a few years ago (I worked in the beauty industry as a makeup artist for almost 20 years) because it was becoming increasingly a drain
James in La Cage Aux Folles
on my vitality and made too many demands on my time. But the trade-off has been a precarious financial life. I have been building a side career as an audition coach and Shakespeare teacher and I have found great inspiration in these pursuits and have contributed to the success of quite a few talented actors. But I can’t deny, I feel more ME, more disciplined, clearer, more energized when doing the work of acting.

Why do you think theatre continues to endure despite our culture’s more powerful consumption of films, TV, and streaming entertainment, and what will ensure its survival?
I just finished doing a Shakespeare play in original Elizabethan performance practices, on a basically bare stage, with no lighting changes, and with the audience in full view.  Through the power of storytelling and a direct connection with the audience, we had incredible experiences of joy and laughter, and a shared human event.  Nothing can take the place of that.  Theatre has to be relevant to people’s lives and it is subject to the changing trends and fads that drive the market… but what is eternal about the theatre is the fact that it is LIVE.

Name one person you would like to see profiled on my blog.

I am just familiarizing myself with your blog and you’ve already profiled some great people! I am a big fan of Danny Burstein. I know him slightly and admire him as a person and an actor. I’d love to know more about him and what drives his work.

Anything else you wish included?
Just to say that I have known you now for well over 20 years and I applaud your continued creative passion and the ways in which you raise other artists up with your work! Keep it up.

James is currently directing Sierra Rein. Please click HERE to read more about Sierra and HER body of 'worth'.

Richard Skipper Also Celebrates...
Yes, Sheree Sano is the WINNER! Laat night she won. Tomatoes Got Talent at The Triad. She didn't have to bring all her friends, because they had judges including Gretchen Cryer who wrote and starred in I'm Getting My Act Together And Taking It On The Road.
What a way to go! I am so happy for her.

Last month, the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC) held the 32nd annual MAC Awards, honoring the best in cabaret and live entertainment. This was Michael Barbieri's first MAC Awards in nearly 10 years, having taken a break from the industry a while back. Read MORE

Honoring the Groundbreaking Jamie deRoy–30
Jamie deRoy, Shelly Markham, Richard Skipper, Eda Sorokoff, Peggy Herman
Years a Friar! Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 11
It’s the season to honor the very deserving Jamie deRoy singer/performer/host/actress/producer and general force for good in the cabaret, film/TV and theatrical worlds. DeRoy has been a pioneer and a powerful driver in her varied career, which includes the early days of the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC). Read MORE

Friday, May 4, at 7:00pm (one set)
Back by popular demand

LIFE IS A BITCH —the poetry and lyrics of Fran Landesman
with John DiMartino-piano; Ed Howard-bass
Pangea NYC
178 Second Ave, NYC (bet 11th/12th St)
$20 cover online ($25 at the door) – $20 food/beverage minimum
212.995.0900 for additional information
Mary Foster Conklin

Advance reservations strongly recommended

Here is the ticket link:  https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3381682

LIFE IS A BITCH is an evening of songs by Fran Landesman, self-proclaimed “poet laureate of lovers and losers,” the Dorothy Parker of jazz lyrics, best remembered for The Nervous Set, the world's only beatnik musical, which flopped on Broadway, but two numbers All the Sad Young Men and Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most survived to become jazz standards.  The evening includes collaborations with Tommy Wolf, Alec Wilder, Bob Dorough, Roy Kral, Simon Wallace and Richard Rodney Bennett.

“Every joke has a switch/ Every joker a twitch/ Every high has a hitch/ Baby, life is a bitch.”

“Full of salt and vinegar…with the intensity and tough humor of someone who might have lived on the bohemian fringe in the late ’40s and ’50s, when the word ‘hip’ meant something.”
Stephen Holden, New York Times

"Mary Foster Conklin proved to be the perfect choice to present the writer and her work to 21st-century audiences. In addition to showcasing Conklin’s long-recognized mastery of the jazz vocal idiom, this show was so smart, so sophisticated,
and so assured that it was a total pleasure."
Gerry Geddes, BistroAwards.com

"Ravishing words and music presented with knowing dramatics and warm intelligence”  Michael Dale. BroadwayWorld.com

The sumptuously sexy "Big-Boned Comedian" Leanne Borghesi returns to The Triad Theater, NYC in her comedic cabaret- "MOOD SWINGS”. April 16th, 7pm
After a raucous debut in November, she's back and swingin' uptown!
From sold-out houses at Feinstein's, The Duplex, and The Triad, get seduced into “Borghesi’s Hideaway” for a one of a kind 75-minute spree of sultry jazz, bawdy comedy, and over-the-top bling!

Now, go and do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return!

May 20th, 2018 

Russ Woolley Proudly Presents
Richard Skipper CelebratesPeggy Lee, Liberace, and Friends

1 PM Brunch Show Laurie Beechman Theater 
As we Celebrate (Russ' Birthday!), we celebrate Leanne Borghesi, David Maiocco (as Liberace), David Sabella, Jim Speake*, Chuck Sweeney (as Peggy Lee), AND Those Girls* (Karen Mack, Eve Eaton, Rachel Hanser, Wendy Anne Russell) Tickets are now on sale! Reserve TODAY and Let's Celebrate!

So — Order your tickets now online…

Musical Direction Joe Goodrich with Don Kelly on Percussion, Matt Scharfglass on bass, and Erik Lawrence on Sax
*Steven Ray Watkins will accompany Jim Speake and Those Girls 
Stephanie Pope from Richard Skipper Celebrates April 8th, 2018
With music, reminisces and an afternoon of fun and show business! 90 minutes of merriment and excitement …Right on the heels of the 4/8 Richard Skipper Celebrates Life in the Theatre

When and Where:
Sunday, May 20th - 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 Celebrate and honor … 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… 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 about Richard Skipper Celebrates
I love Richard Skipper so much and his shows are beyond your expectations!!!!!!! Xo
-Rose Apuzzo

I was so happy that we attended Richard Skipper's Christmas cabaret on Sun. 12/3, thanks to Arlene Jacks, who recommended it very highly. What a great experience - it was fun, heartwarming and sentimental.
Great performers and great audience! What a treat to see Kathryn Crosby - that really took me back in time to all the Bing Crosby Christmas specials. I can't wait to attend future celebrations. Richard: you and your team are a class act!
Diane Merklinger, Briarwood, New York

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

This Show Is Also Made Possible by  Wright Bros. Real Estate, Nyack New York

With grateful XOXOXs,


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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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Keeping Entertainment LIVE!


Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com 


  1. So honored to be profiled here, Richard! THANK YOU for being a positive and enthusiastic voice for performing arts and for your continued work and creativity. I very much hope your readers will come and enjoy the glorious debut show of Sierra Rein, which I have been so happy to direct!

  2. A thousand thanks for the shout out Richard - you have a boundless passion for championing artists and their work. I wish you nothing less than continued success.