Friday, April 26, 2019


Three Legends of comedy: Channing, Betty White, Lucille Ball
The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.
-Lucille Ball

April 26, 2019!
April 26 is the 116th day of the year. 249 days remain until the end of the year.
I want to take you back 30 years. I was 28 and living on my own in New York
I was living on 33rd Street in Manhattan. I was up for a role in John Glines' new show, Men of Manhattan (which I got!).
I was working at Marie's Crisis on Grove Street and I was dating a guy that died of AIDS several years after we broke up. Also, 30 years ago today, Lucille Ball passed away. That didn't seem possible. This incredible woman had been so much a part of my life for the first 28 years of my life adding so much laughter.  Lucy was a 'friend'. She had been in our living rooms since the 50s.
She was still there when I came along in 1961 and continues to be here.
I Love Lucy was shown in the early evenings in syndication when I was growing up in South Carolina and we used to watch as we were getting ready for supper. No matter how many times we watched those shows, we still laughed at the same routines over and over.
In the summer, The Lucy Show was on in the mornings and I used to watch all of them as well.
Here's Lucy was on from 1968-1974. My grandmother Skipper had a color television and we used to watch there on Monday nights. When this series went off the air in 1974, I was 13 and depressed. Luckily for all of us, she was still contracted to do a few television specials. 1974 was also the year I made my stage debut and it was in Mame, the same year of the movie version starring Lucille Ball. I don't remember it coming to my home town. I didn't see it until it aired on NBC for the first time several years later.
On September 26th, 1986, there was a lot of hoopla when Lucy returned to network television in Life With Lucy.
Life with Lucy
This was her only television series not on CBS. It was on ABC.
I was doing stock in Massachusetts. I settled into my hotel room and wanted to get a bite to eat. I ran across the Massachusetts turnpike to a restaurant across from the hotel, grabbed something to go, and almost got arrested trying to cross back over. The policeman told me I could've gotten killed but because I was from out of town, I didn't get arrested. All I had on my mind was Lucy's return to network television! Unfortunately, this series was short lived and that was sad. It was Lucy's first 'failure' as far as a series is concerned.

November 5th, 1985 was a Tuesday night and like most of the country, I tuned in to Lucy's made for TV movie, Stone Pillow.
It was anything but funny. It dealt with the homeless situation here in New York. It was sad to see Lucy like this but we were able to see what a great dramatic actress she was. She WAS a great dramatic actress. Watch The Big Street tonight opposite Henry Fonda.
Not a trace of Lucy Ricardo in that performance!
Lucille Ball also had a major impact on me in my life. My introduction to Carol Channing came through Lucy when she portrayed her on The Lucy Show.  At first, I thought Carol was a fictitious character because of this way over the top portrayal. When I did discover Carol, a lifelong love affair began!

Years later, I would see Carol Channing in Jamestown, Lucille Ball's home town, as part of the Lucy-Desi Days (May 26-28, 2000).  It was also on that trip that I met Teensie and Weensie (from I Love Lucy episode Tennessee Bound), The Borden Twins, and they became good friends of mine thanks to Glen Charlow.  Roz and Marilyn were their actual names and they came to my show a few times when I was performing in San Francisco, AS Carol Channing! Roz went first, but Marilyn once had dinner at our home (May 30th, 2005 we celebrated their birthday), an evening I will never forget!
Speaking of Glen Charlow, the biggest Lucy fan I know. He takes fan worship to a whole new level. His home is a virtual museum to Lucy. He is also featured in the A and E Biography of Lucille Ball.

I'm sure that many who read this blog have similar stories to tell.
Carol Channing and Lucille Ball Impersonator from Universal Studio– Stock Editorial Photography
The truth is Lucy never left us. She is as vibrant in our lives today than she was even thirty five years ago.

In June 1984, in New York , Lucy spoke at The Museum of Television and Radio and it is a huge disappointment that I didn't get there.
The closest I came to seeing her LIVE was when I saw Diane Findlay portray her years ago in I
with Suzanne LaRusch
Loved Lucy 
and Suzanne LaRusch who portrayed Lucille Ball in An Evening with Lucille Ball: Thanks for Asking, directed by Lucie Arnaz.
The 61st Academy Awards ceremony, organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences  was on March 29, 1989.  That was Lucille Ball's last television appearance. She, along with Bob Hope, introduced a segment called The Stars of Tomorrow. That year's broadcast was also produced by Alan Carr and is infamous because it included the bizarre opening of Rob Lowe and Snow White which probably put the nail in the coffin of production numbers at the Oscars.

Lucille Ball is STILL being celebrated.
Last night, It was a crowd of more than 200, including family, fans and over 50 industry personalities, that gathered as The Hollywood Museum (1660 N. Highland Ave (Highland and Hollywood Blvd) opened its Lobby Tribute to
Jeffry Denman and Diane Findlay in the world premiere of "I Loved Lucy."
Lucille Ball last night to the iconic actress, comedian, model, producer and first woman executive to run a major television studio. The tribute honors the memory of the woman all American's loved, Lucy, on the 30th anniversary of her passing (April 26th, 1989). The President and Founder of The Hollywood Museum, Donelle Dadigan, was proud to announce the launch of the Lucille Ball Lobby Tribute, as special items related to the career and life of the Queen of Comedy were unveiled and highlighted in both the lobby and the "Redheads Only Room," where Max Factor created and perfected Lucy's
One of Lucille Balls Emmys for "I Love Lucy": Bill Dow Photography
famous look.

Among those who attended were an eclectic group including Kate Luckinbill-Conner (Lucille Ball's granddaughter), Alice Amter (Big Bang Theory), Barry Livingston (My Three Sons/Argo/Social Network), Bob Bergen (Voice of Porky the Pig), Carolyn Hennesy (GH/Cougar Town/True Blood), Conner Dean (9-1-1), Drew Seeley (Dawson's Creek/Glory Daze), Elaine Ballace (The Rich & The Ruthless), Erin Murphy (Bewitched), Geoffrey Mark (Author of “The Lucy Book”), Hunter Payton (A to Z), Jack Betts (Batman), Jaime Monroy (Comedian/TV Host), Jax Malcolm (Conservation Invasion), John Bowab (Director), Jorge Del Busto (Designer), Johnny Whitaker (Family Affair), Judy Tenuta (Comedienne), Kacey Fifield (Clique Wars), Kate Linder (The Young & the Restless), Kathy Garver (Family Affair), Kevin Spirtas (currently Emmy
Barry Livingston, Donelle Dadigan, Kate Luckinbill-Conner, Bob Bergen: Bill Dow Phoyography
nominated for After Forever), Kym Karath (The Sound of Music), Maria Conchita Alonso (Saints and Sinners/The Lord of the Skies), Melody Scott (The Young & the Restless), Michael Z. Stern (Author of I had a Ball: My Friendship Lucille Ball), Mikaela Hoover (Guardians of the Galaxy), Rex Smith (Singer), Ro Brooks (Tyler Perry's The Haves and the Have Nots), Robin Riker (Mood Swings), Sean Ryan Petersen (Clique Wars), Susan Olsen (The Brady Bunch), Teresa Ganzel (The Toy/The Duck Factory), Tom Watson (Lucille Ball's Publicist) and many more.
Frank Sheffel, Susan Olsen and Teresa Ganzel
Statements by many of those in attendance:

Barry Livingston speaks about working with Lucy: Bill Dow Photography
I had a wonderful, nostalgic night of fun at The Hollywood Museum reminiscing about the times I worked with the great Lucille Ball!  
Long live The Hollywood Museum!! - Barry Livingston (My Three Sons/The Lucy Show)

What a wonderful tribute to Lucille Ball at the Hollywood Museum! I so enjoyed the exhibit of memorabilia, costumes and photos which were all beautifully presented. 
The experience is truly a 'family affair!' I love Lucy!! - Kathy Garver (Family Affair)

Dress pictured from The Celebrity Next Door Photo: Bill Dowd
I have always loved the Hollywood Museum. Not only do I make it a must see for out of town guests, I also love to turn people who live here onto it. It never disappoints! Last night's special tribute to Lucille Ball was amazing. 
The memorabilia was truly wonderful. As were the speakers. Lucille Ball's granddaughter's tribute to her mom was especially beautiful. So funny and brought a tear to the eye. - Teresa Ganzel (The Toy / The Duck Factory)

Thank you Hollywood Museum! What a joy to see the young and never old Lucy thru your incredible exhibit. It is a must see for Lucy fans and who isn't?  Producer/Director John Bowab

Where else but at the exceptional Hollywood Museum could you find an extraordinary salute to Lucille Ball, and then find exhibit after exhibit showcasing the entire breadth of classic Hollywood history? A visit to the Museum is a must for anyone interested in the best that Hollywood had to offer, curated in the lovingly restored and iconic Max Factor building!
- Geoffrey Mark (Emmy Winner.Grammy nominee and Author of "The Lucy Book"

As a fellow redhead I love Lucy! She drove Desi crazy with her nonstop antics to get into show biz
Jax Malcom, Donelle Dadigan and Conner Dean Bill Dow Photography
,  til he screamed, 'Lucy you've got some Splainin to do!' Lucy was just like everyone in Hollywood trying to catch a break! But she did it with hilarious style and beauty and that signature look which is preserved beautifully by Donelle Dadigan in the Redhead Heads Only Room at the Hollywood museum. It displays her earrings, iconic costumes and hat fabulous fiery red hair! Get thee to the Hollywood Museum and Love Lucy! It could happen!
- Comedienne, Judy Tenuta

Melody Scott, Kate Luckinbill-Conner, Donelle Dadigan Photo Bill Dowd
The wonderful thing about sharing a salute to Lucille Ball is that we should all be grateful that she is STILL ON THE BALL - Jack Betts (Batman)

The Lucille Ball Tribute at the Hollywood Museum delivers a close up look to memories and laughter that has touched us all! Long reign the queen of comedy!  Comedian Jaime Monroy (Life with Lucy). - Jaime Monroy (Comedian/TV Host)

There is so much to love about Lucy at The Hollywood Museum.  The tribute to the red headed legend
Kate Linder:  Photo Bill Dowd
was a memorable night of career highlights as well as loving stories of how she touched the lives of friends, colleagues, and family.  

To the nation she was a TV treasure.  To her family she had the starring role of mom and grandma. - Bob Bergen (Voice of Porky Pig)

The Hollywood Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that houses over 10,000 Authentic Show Business Treasures spotlighting more than 100 years of Hollywood history - from the Silents to Talkies, to Hollywood's Golden Era, Film Noir, Television and its Pioneer Years, through the rebellious 60s, special effects 70s, evolving 80s, involved 90s, technological 2000s, and beyond to current day heartthrobs!
The Hollywood Museum's exhibits showcase the best in film, network and cable television, and new digital platforms featuring iconic and fan favorites! Located in the heart of Hollywood, at the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave - The Hollywood Museum in the historic Max Factor Building is the Official Museum of Hollywood and offers visitors the most extensive collection of Hollywood memorabilia in the world featuring the glamour of Hollywood legends and stars - past, present and in the making.  The museum offers one-of-a-kind
Rex Smith and Donelle Dadigan Photo Bill Dowd
costumes, props, photographs, scripts, stars' car collections, personal artifacts, posters, and memorabilia from favorite stars, films and TV shows.
Just a few steps from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Museum has been named the #1 top tourist attraction in Hollywood by LA Weekly, and one of the “Top 10” Museums in LA by the LA Tourism and Convention Board and Trip Advisor.

REGULAR HOURS: Wednesday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
TICKETS: $15 Adults: $12 Seniors (62+): $12 for students with ID and $5 Children under 5.
Donelle Dadigan and Alice Amter Photo: Bill Dowd
ADDRESS: 1660 N. Highland Ave. (at Hollywood Blvd.), Los Angeles, CA 90028
MUSEUM INFO: or Tel: (323) 464-7776

TWITTER: @HollywoodMuseum 
INSTAGRAM: @HollywoodMuseum

Thanks to Harlan Boll for info and photos on last night's event.

And Keep in Mind...
Phoebe Snow' also passed away on this day. One of my favorite singers!
Phoebe Snow (born Phoebe Ann Laub; July 17, 1950 – April 26, 2011) was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known for her 1975 song "Poetry Man". She was described
by The New York Times as a "contralto grounded in a bluesy growl and capable of sweeping over four octaves."

Sandi Durell (Theater Pizzazz)will be appearing on the "Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone" radio show and podcast this Saturday, April 27 from 9-10 AM EST

How to listen:

The show airs on radio from 9-10 in the morning in New York on WNYM-AM 970
Available to listen to online at
Available on Alexa - in New York area ask Alexa for "AM970 The Answer", outside of the NYC metro area ask Alexa for "WNYM Radio"

Faye Menken Schneier, Peter Filichia, Randie Levine Miller, Cheryl Benton, Sandi Durell, Roni Jenkins,Valerie Smaldone
Available on podcast following airing of the show at this link: 

Myself and two of my clients, Julie Budd and Ann Kittredge! Mark Nadler (pictured) is also mentioned and he is one of my featured guests on May 5th!
I'm happy! Thank you, Sandi Durell for all you do in covering cabaret. See HERE

MAY 29, 2019
For the first time since winning the 2018 MAC Award for Best Debut, Ann Kittredge returns to Feinstein’s/54 Below with her new show, Fancy Meeting You Here: An Evening Of Ahrens and Flaherty.
Not merely a fan of the great collaboration between Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, which led to Tony-winning shows like Ragtime and Once On This Island, as well as Anastasia, Rocky, and My Favorite Year, Ann is fascinated by what makes this particular collaboration an enduring success. Order Tix HERE

Remember Betty Buckley is touring the country  in an amazing production of Hello, Dolly! Click HERE to see if this production is coming near you.

Rose Kingsley and Richard Shelton in Sinatra & Mercer: Too Marvelous For Words
Sinatra and Mercer....What a perfect pair! While Richard Shelton, widely regarded as the world's best interpreter of Frank Sinatra and nominated ‘Best Actor in a Leading Role’ for playing Sinatra, takes you on a journey of Sinatra with his music and stories, 'Opera Great turned Jazz Great' Rose Kingsley, returns to Lincoln Center, with songs and stories of the Great Johnny Mercer. All Mercer songs have been arranged for Rose by, Bob Corwin, who was Johnny Mercer's Musical Director and Pianist for 20 years. This special event is supported by the Mercer Family in an effort to keep his music alive for future generations. More info HERE

Katie McGrath
Aunt of the Year
Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, April 18, 2019
Reviewed by Marilyn Lester for Cabaret Scenes
Katie McGrath
Not too far into Aunt of the Year you might start thinking about how to convince Katie McGrath to be your aunt too. Lucky are her many nieces and nephews (14 of ’em); Auntie is a warm and loving charmer, and she’s funny to boot! Read MORE

I am posting the following from Facebook from Steven Mosher and I hope he doesn't mind. I saw his show last Friday night at Don't Tell Mama and it was one of the best shows I've seen in a long time! GO SEE Stephen and tell him I sent you. Bravo

I must say how grateful I am for the support I am being shown from the Cabaret community and the MAC members who are helping light the way for me as I have been making my inaugural voyage into the world of nightclub performing. 
Sidney Myer could not be more loving and supportive in his efforts to bring THE STORY TELLER to
the stage and his entire team at Don't Tell Mama (Erik Strebig, Randy Cohen Lester, Max Friedman and Joseph, whose last name I don't know) has been a dream to work with. My friend, MAC Award nominee Dorian Woodruff has been a wealth of advice whenever I need it and Public Relations experts Peter Michael Marino and Richard Hillman have been a backbone of support, not to mention reviewer Bart Greenberg, who told me to keep doing this. 
And looking out into the audience and seeing people like MAC nominee Leanne Borghesi, MAC winners Anita Gillette and Tim Cahill and the always supportive King of Positive Energy Richard Skipper didn't scare me like I thought it would .. it made me calm and strong. I am overwhelmed by the welcome this community has given me, a cabaret neophyte. Thank you, Georga Osborne for being the person who told me to just shut up and do it - some of the best advice I ever got.
I am really looking forward to my last two shows at Don't Tell Mama on May 1 and 7. I can't wait to see what comes next.begging for more!"

Judi Mark – Performer, Producer, Professor
Judi Mark was born in Chicago to a musical family and encouraged to express herself creatively. Her dynamic range of training included ballet, modern dance, jazz, theater, voice and piano which set the stage for a successful performance career spanning over decades with appearances on concert stage, regional theater, cabaret, and the high seas. While studying acting with Bill Hickey, she performed in Off-Broadway productions, film and television. Her vocal studies with many world-renowned professionals based in NYC prepared her for work at dinner theaters, cabarets and distinguished venues such as The Algonquin, The National Arts Club, The Triad, The Laurie Beechman Theater, The Metropolitan Room, The Iridium, Sweetwater’s, Sign of the Dove, Judy’s Chelsea, Cabaret in the Museum and Florida nightclubs; Les Violins, The Copacabana, and the Konover Hotel. Read MORE

And Tomorrow Night in NYC, today's Birthday Girl, Ruth Carlin!
RUTH CARLIN, a singer-songwriter, was born in Brooklyn and has lived in and around New York City most of her life.  Growing up, her parents loved theatre (her mother is an actress) and they made it a priority for her to experience a variety of theatrical productions. Happy Birthday!

This Sunday! Join The Lounge-O-Leers for a special, one-night-only, live performance with special
guest, go-go gal extraordinaire, Robin Carrigan (aka Nan of Nan & her Boys).
The Lounge-O-Leers Celebrate the Sounds of the Sixties at Pangea on Sunday, April 28 @ 7pm, presented by TWEED Theater Works, Kevin Maloney, artistic director.
Remember, seating is limited, so buy your tix today! Reserve online (and save some bucks) at:
For more deets:

Now, go and do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return! Treat Them to Two Tix to Rose Kingsley and Richard Shelton at The Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center on May 10th as they celebrate Johnny Mercer and Frank Sinatra
Order Tix HERE


Thank you all! Here's To a Great End of April/Beginning of May! 
Max Factor's Redheads Only Room, where Lucy's famous look was created Photo: Bill Dow Photography

Russ Woolley Proudly Presents
Richard Skipper Celebrates May Flowers on May 5th Laurie Beechman Theatre. This is the last show in this series...For Now
featuring Dawn Derow, Ann Kittredge, Judi Mark, Sue Matsuki, Reggie Whitehead, and special guest stars Mark Nadler and KT Sullivan  
Bass: Skip Ward
Sax: Andrew Gutauska
Drums: David Silliman
AND Tracy Stark
Tickets Now On Sale! Wear Blue, Green, or Purple for great photo ops!
1 PM Brunch Show Laurie Beechman Theater 

With music, reminisces and an afternoon of fun and show business! 90 minutes of merriment and excitement . . .As we Celebrate the Present, we Honor the Past! 
When and Where:
Sunday, May 5th - 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. 

A Few Audience Testimonials about Richard Skipper Celebrates
Richard's interview with Tom Wopat was personable and fun...I love how Richard tuned in to Tom, along with knowledge as to where Tom will be performing in the near future. It was thrilling as to how Richard remembered Tom presenting Richard with his first MAC award...You never know what exciting revelations turn up on these fascinating interviews...
Yvonne Marie McQuade Rockaway, New Jersey

Richard Skipper was born to this mantle. What a spot-on splendid job he does. Always a treat to hear those glorious pipes when he sings AND now add to that this charming, spontaneous yet thoroughly primped, delightfully funny role as Host. What a gem of an entertainment he has concocted ... I was honored to be a part of the festivities
(He had me from the “Opening Credits!” Abundantly BRILLIANT) 
Jeff Harnar, NYC

Thank you for your wonderful shows, Richard! They truly are
with Bryon Sommers and the late great Esther Goodhart
celebrations and bring much joy! 
Kati Neiheisel, New York, NY

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,
This Blog is Dedicated to the Memory of Lucille Ball
Lucy props and collectibles Photo: Bill Dow

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