Thursday, November 16, 2017

Kim David Smith, Molly Pope, Lance Ringel...and MORE!

Kim David Smith and Molly Pope Photo credit:Travis Chantar
Genius is talent set on fire by courage.
-Henry Van Dyke

Happy November 16th, 2017!

November 16 is the 320th day of the year. There are 45 days remaining until the end of the year. 
It seems like everything is moving counter to your trajectory. It just forces me to work harder. 
Like the sands of the hour glass, the days of 2017 are dwindling to a precious few. This has been a year of many ups and downs, many gains and losses, Many achievements, and yes a few life lessons. I don't refer to them as failures.
Sometimes I feel invisible but I forge ahead. This doesn't mean I should give up on my goals. Sometimes, a sideways approach is just the thing needed in order to get to paradise.


Kim David Smith
Today's blog is about a few artists that are anything but invisible and haven't given up on their goals. Two such artists are Kim David Smith and Molly Pope. 
They are joining forces to close out 2017on a high note. They are bringing their immense talents together in a show entitled No Thrill From Champagne: a NYE Celebration.Celebrate the New Year and wipe your slate clean in style with a champagne-sprinkled evening of Cole Porter, Nöel Coward, and Marlene Dietrich-inspired delinquency at the hands of two of Downtown NYC’s favorite post-ingenues, Molly Pope (“Heft” - The New York Times) and Kim David Smith (“the male Marlene Dietrich” - The New York Times). 
Order your tix HERE.
Musically directed by Tracy Stark, No Thrill summons the glamour of yesteryear amid surprising arrangements of contemporary music, brought to life in the glow of Pangea’s intimate cabaret setting (with both an early seating at 8PM, and a late show at 10:30PM!). Take a friend, bring a lover (or two) and join Molly and Kim as they kiss goodnight to 2017
Molly Pope
and welcome in the new!

Here is my Pop Up Interview with both.


Kim David Smith
Described by Broadway World as the "David Bowie of cabaret," "slyly subversive" by the Wall Street Journal, and labeled the "male Marlene Dietrich" by the New York Times, Australian Kim David Smith is a Helpmann Award nominated singer and cabaret performer, known for his Weimar-era inspired works that juxtapose authentic musical material with stylistic
takes on current popular tunes. His electro-pop albums Nova, Supernova, and cabaret EP, The Tease, are available on iTunes and Amazon.

What person do you most admire, living or dead? 
I think Joey Arias and Thierry Mugler are wonders, and Alyssa Edwards a national treasure. I'm not necessarily a worshipful person, so it's hard to pick one individual I admire over all others, but my mind is pretty consistently blown by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Do you continue to tweak after a show opens? 
My shows are usually pretty amorphous, for example Morphium Kabarett, my current solo cabaret program, has been evolving over the course of several years and includes at times repertoire from my pop records, music associated with Marlene Dietrich, classical art song, bawdy German cabaret tunes, and reimagined items from the likes of Kylie Minogue, the Supremes, and Madonna. 
Kim David Smith by Brian Jamie. NYC, 2015
The overall vibe of the show is maintained, but I love shuffling songs in and out of the lineup. Mine and Molly's show, "No Thrill From Champagne" is being created as we speak and will have its first outing on December 31 -- so we're in that exciting, busy little creative-bubble, working on arrangements and the like.   

How did you and Molly Pope come together on this project? If you have worked together before? What is it that you like most working with her?  

Molly and I have been friends for ten years now, pretty much ever since I moved to NYC from Australia. We have collided often at Joe's Pub, and Vlada (when it existed), and have guested in one another's shows in the past, and are finally making good on mutual threats to conceive a duo show together!

What significant impact has Molly had on your career...if anything 

Photo Credit: Allison Michael Orenstein
That remains to be seen! Our relationship and the positives therein have manifested more on a personal level within a proscenium of musical respect; we have cackled over middling gigs, celebrated one another's triumphs, and ignored one another for months at a time when life gets intolerably busy.

What one thing do you think you have learned from your involvement with working with Molly so far that you think you will carry forward in your career?  

That a sense of humor is invaluable, and juggling is inevitable!

MOLLY POPE
is a critically acclaimed singer and actor whose shows have played Joe’s Pub, Feinstein’s/54 Below, Feinstein’s at the Regency, Ars Nova, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, OBERON (A.R.T.), Teatro ZinZanni (Joe's Pub Seattle), and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in Australia.  She has been named a Time Out New York “Top Ten Cabaret Act of 2008” and 2012 and a Village Voice Best of NYC 2011 for “Best Singer To Turn Life Into A Cabaret.”  Most recently she recorded her first album, An Audience with Molly Pope, live at Joe's Pub. 
Hailed as “One of downtown cabaret's most adventurous performers" by the New York Times, she has also performed at The Cafe Carlyle (“Tales From The Jazz Age”), the Afterglow Festival in Provincetown, The Amber Zone at Sid Gold's Request Room and “Our Hit Parade” at Joe’s Pub.  Stage credits include FOUND (Atlantic Theater Co, Philadelphia Theater Co), Horseplay, or the Fickle Mistress (LaMama ETC/Theatre Askew), Dan Fishback’s The Material World (Dixon Place).  A graduate of NYU/Tisch, she has also studied with Charles Busch (ESPA), Darci Picoult, Louis Scheeder, and voice with Barbara Maier Gustern, Matt Farnsworth and the late Marianne Challis

What person do you most admire, living or dead?  Angela Lansbury  is a great person on every level.
     
Do you continue to tweak after a show opens?
Oh yes. I can only rehearse in the abstract up to a certain point. An audience tells me the rest. Part of why I love cabaret is that there are no rules about what you can and cannot do in, or with, a show.

That allows for less pressure for anything to be “perfect” from the jump. It takes me a show or two to make edits, swap out songs and bits, find the groove of it. But the first performance of “Molly Pope Likes Your Status” is still my favorite, though I did make  some changes for the better. It was messy and I forgot lyrics and restarted a song and then comedic bits had unforeseen consequences and I ugly cried. Hard. But I was 100% present in the room with all those people because no one knew what was going to happen, not even me. It felt like a very warm human experience. I guess maybe being present in the room is the only thing that really really matters.

How did you and Kim Smith come together on this project?
 We’ve both worked with Pangea, the opportunity presented itself, we jumped at it. Kim was one of a handful of performers who I just knew I’d work with at some point when the right thing came along. We’ve giggled backstage at too many shows for this not to happen. The pairing has been a long time coming!


What significant impact has Kim had on your career...if anything?  

There’s a mutually respectful honesty in feedback between us that is valuable. Though we’ve never created a project together, we’ve been on the same bill a lot.  We sort of understand the scope of what each other is doing or working on or exploring. I’d say it’s an honest appraisal that is honest because it’s coming from a place of admiration, affection and a desire to see each other do great work.

What one thing do you think you have learned from your involvement with working with Kim so far that you think you will carry forward in your career?
Lighten up. 


Lance Ringel
Lance Ringel
Lance is a playwright that I know from MANY YEARS AGO! We have just reconnected. This is a great opportunity to reconnect. He just got a very positive review in Gay City News for his play IN LOVE WITH THE ARROW COLLAR MAN. It plays tomorrow night, November 17th  at 9 and Sat at 9,  then Fri Dec 1 and Sat Dec 2.  They had a great first week, complete with rousing opening night party.
Tickets are also available at TDF OffOff@9.
Read more about it here.

After all the expense and heartache and ups and downs of this business, why do you still do it?
Arrow Collar Man: Photo credit: Caylena Cahill

I am a veteran writer and a veteran theater spouse (the latter certainly lets you see the heartaches and ups and downs!), but I am a relative newcomer to directly participating in the theater.The camaraderie when you work with a director, cast and crew is truly remarkable, and the way that no two performances are alike adds to the exhilaration.  It is an expensive business, yes, but it is also amazing what can be accomplished on a limited budget by talented people.

Over your years of this business, do you have a particularly interesting story that you'd like to share with the readers? 
Surely the most memorable was being on a snowy mountaintop in Japan and working closely with John Caird to put together a show involving Ugandan and Japanese orphans and members of the Vassar College Choir.  It was a privilege to write the original narrative, and even more so to watch John piece that show together maximizing the talents of the young performers

Lance and Chuck
Who have you worked with who had the biggest impact on you?

That’s easy.  Chuck Muckle has been the love of my life for 41 years and counting, and we wrote a musical together when we were still in our early 20s.  We’ve done six productions together in the last year. 
Arrow Collar Man: Photo credit: Caylena Cahill
He’s an acting veteran with incredible instincts for directing other actors, and especially for tapping the creativity of young actors.

What is your favorite piece of art?

This is driving me crazy – there’s this wonderful illustrator who has done a series of cartoons about a gay couple throughout their lives.  He did a “four seasons” type of thing with two adolescent boys holding each other lovingly in a fall forest.  Some people might call that cheesy taste, but I don’t care; it speaks to me.  We have a copy in our apartment, and to my chagrin I can’t remember the artist’s name right now!
Arrow Collar Man: Photo credit: Caylena Cahill
What do you do to stay connected to your creative self?
I don’t feel my creative self is different from myself, or that there is a class of creative people different from ordinary people. 

Everyone is endowed with creativity.  The challenge is to allow yourself – or to be given – the time, the energy, and the forum to tap it.


You have the power to change anything, because you are the one who chooses your thoughts and feels your feelings.





Take the A Train and get thee to The Laurie Beechman on November 29th at 7PM! Dawn Derow stars in My Ship: The Songs of 1941 Concert at The Laurie Beechman Theater I would LOVE to see you there!  PLEASE NOTE: Ttimes Square Chronicles says THIS show is a MUST SEE!  TheaterPizzazz Review





Here are a Few Testimonials for Richard Skipper Celebrates: Next One December 3rd 1PM Laurie Beechman Theater: Reserve HERE:
Richard Skipper Celebrates December 3rd! With Guest Stars: Bobby Belfry, Ann Kittredge, Sidney
Myer, Deborah Stone, AND special guest star Kathryn Crosby!

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

My mom, sister, daughter and I were lucky enough to see Richard Skipper and his stellar guests. We all highly recommend Richard 'a shows!
Christine Milton, Bronx NY

Thank you so much for letting me be part of your October celebration. You are a consummate showman and what’s more important, generously kind. Love you!
Nancy McGraw, 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 ,


 




Please LIKE (if you do!) and SHARE!


NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!


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!
Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook
Keeping Entertainment LIVE!
 
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com
  






Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Jason Dottley, Sue Matsuki, Mary Elizabeth Micari ...and MORE!


Find your peace and strength by standing firmly in truth. - Jason Dottley

Happy Tuesday, November 14th, 2017!
November 14 is the 318th day of the year. There are 47 days remaining until the end of the year. 
Sitting here listening to muzak, believe it or not, on Sirius XM radio. I love hearing these classic tunes played this way and it takes me back to my childhood. 
Our next door neighbor, Miss Marian, always had this music playing on 8-track tapes! 
Today, I'm looking back...and forward with a few artists that deserve our attention. I hope that all who read this blog will take the time to check them out, go see their shows, and let them know you read about them in this blog.
If you cannot attend, treat a friend for the holidays. GO SEE A LIVE SHOW! Also, please go out today and do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return.
Jason Dottley
I became a fan of Jason's after seeing him in Del Shores' Sordid Lives
Jason is currently on tour with his one man show, Life On The Gay-List 2. 
Jason Dottley’s life on the gay-list has taken him around the globe! From Angela Bassett’s bathtub, to starring alongside a Pink Lady (Olivia Newton-John) a Golden Girl (Rue McClanahan) and a Designing Woman (Delta Burke), a twitter feud with Roseanne Barr, on air at Joe Francis’ Beverly Hills compound, he was even saved to Christ by Tammy Faye Baker (there's video). Jason Dottley’s “Life on the Gay-List 2: All the Sordid Details” is a very candid look at his life as a gay, divorced, 30-something whose longest relationship is with his dog (10 years if you’re curious and/or jealous). 


LIFE ON THE GAY-LIST 2: ALL THE SORDID DETAILS goes to New Orleans area at Four Seasons Patio and Stage THIS SATURDAY and Baltimore at Spotlighters Dec 1st. Tickets and info HERE.  
Jason took a few minutes this morning to answer a few random questions.
 How did Life On The Gay List happen for you?
My show Life on the Gay-List (1 and 2) were inspired by phone calls between one of my best friends Eric Rittenhouse about the crazy things I experience.  Eric is one of the funniest people I know so I asked him if he’d help me write it and the rest is history!


How did you approach your work for this show?
 As both a writer and an actor. My show is 95% scripted, but it feels like it’s not. I don’t think I could ever do stand-up, but a one-man show like mine is just one long monologue, and as an actor, that’s my game!

If you could go back and relive it all, What would you do differently now?
I hate the saying “I have no regrets” because I feel like there has to be something you regret or would do differently. I understand at the same time that everything you’ve done in your past has made you who you are now and some people feel like the negative things are just as important as the positive ones, and I’m one of those people.
But, for the sake of your question, I’d say one thing I would have done differently is not having gotten married so young. I do not regret who I married, but I did it way too young.

Would you like to have this filmed for posterity?
Filming “Life on the Gay-List 2”is absolutely happening. My dream is to have it on Netflix! NETFLIX ARE YOU LISTENING?!

Who has had the biggest influence on you?
My dog. He runs my life. But if you mean human influence, I’d have to say without question, Madonna. 


To read more about Jason, please visit his website

Sue Matsuki (and Edd Clark)
Sue is one of those people that has been a friend of mine for so long that I don't even know how long we've known each other. She and Edd Clark have an annual Christmas Show and she took a few minutes, as well today for a pop up interview.  This is their 10th Anniversary show but they took two years off so it’s been 12 years working together.
How did your Christmas Show with Edd Clark originally happen for you?
Edd approached me after seeing a show that I did and said he and Paul would like to work with me and I was surprised because, Edd's a lyrical tenor and COMPLETELY different from me and my voice and what I do. I had seen Edd in the 3 Tenors Christmas Show (with Steven Tharp and Bill Brooks) and fell in love with them and him in particular so I was like, "Why not?"
Musical Director Paul Stephen (and Edd's husband)  was a saint in how he worked with me as I am not one who can pick up music and read complex harmonies and Paul wrote some AMAZING arrangements for us so
I had a brand new way of working. It was a challenge but I embraced it and ultimately, I credit Paul with making me a better singer. Since Edd was a tenor, I had to go higher and lower in my vocal range to accommodate how we would be able to blend and Edd had to deal with some pretty low notes here and there to accommodate my range.  Paul also challenged me to use all of my range. I am SO grateful to them both for having this crazy idea to sing together. They have been a total blessing!

Sue Matsuki and Jim Caruso at Cast Party

Do you approach this show the same as when you first began it? What has changed the most for you and what has remained the same?  The joy in getting the show ready had remained the same and the love the three of us have in working together has not changed. Yes, we've bumped heads over the past 10 years but we apologize and move on. The biggest gift I receive in working with these two are two more brothers! What's changed, in my opinion, is my confidence in embracing different parts of my voice and challenging my ear, let's face it, Edd is am AMAZING singer, I was a bit intimidated at first!
AND, I think that I loosened Edd up BIG TIME! He was always funny and wonderful and a great singer but now, I think he has SO much fun on stage with me and has embraced my asides and craziness. I still look over at him on stage and smile just because I get to sing with him!

Can you share with us an interesting fact that most people don’t know about you?
I am THE most seemingly secure, insecure person you will ever meet. There, I said it, now you all know!  I get hurt so easily and I think it's because I care too much. Being co-dependent is not a pretty color in this business.
 
What wouldn’t you give to see a film of this show? 
I've seen many videos of the actual show over the years but a film of how this team developed and the art of collaboration would be fantastic!  Collaboration is hard work but should have equally as much joy in it or why do it?!

What is the single greatest piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
By Julie Wilson when I was with her in Alaska. We were at an Open Mic and the band was so-so but wanted me to sit in. She leaned over to me and said, "Never go up and sing unless your gut
One of the many shows that Sue has produced and starred in over the years
tells you it's all going to be OK or else you risk making a bad first impression when you didn't have to make an impression at all. Never feel pressure to perform unless it feels right to you!"

Sue and Edd's FABULOUS Christmas 10th Anniversary Show, one performance only. Saturday 12/9 at 7:00. Don't Tell Mama


Read more about Sue HERE


Mary Elizabeth Micari 
Rev. Mary (Mary Elizabeth) has become a specialist of dirty blues and vintage songs with a filthy flair and she is back again to bring you even more raucous, bawdy blues, early rock and cabaret songs that will have you blushing more than any modern music can! Censorship made singers and song writers in the past have to work a bit harder to get a sexy point across in a song. Double Entendre and clever lyrics were the way to go. Rev. Mary brings these songs back to life with a theatrical flair and her amazing voice as she honors the women who wrote them and teaches you a thing or too as well! Granny's Blue-Mers orchestra is the perfect back up to her featuring fantastic musicians and performers as well and each one is an expert in this type of music. Joining her Dan Furman blues
pianist,Andrew Beall percussionist and composer on drums and Mario Claudio as Papa Sugar Cane!

ADMISSION FOR MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) MEMBERS WITH CARD AT THE DOOR: $5
2 DRINK MINIMUM FOR THE CLUB

http://thewestendlounge.com/

Check out her great review in Cabaret Scenes Magazine


YOUTUBE 
Tell us about your upcoming show
We are performing on Friday November 17th at the West End Lounge.  We have been doing this act for a bit over a year now and it has had many showings. 

We have performed in bars all around NYC as well as in the Duplex several times and now way uptown on West End Avenue and 107th Street.  We do blues, barrel house blues, early rock, hokum, vaudeville blues. All of it is filled with double entendre and all about making LOVE and SEX.   It is stuff that was sung in bars and brothels and on stage in the early part of the 20th Century.  The oldest song I sing is from 1910! We go no further than 1950 because after that this type of thing sort of died off.  These songs were also ALL DONE by women! They are truly a form of female empowerment, a voice for women who had no voice back then, a way to equalize the playing field.  I find we still need them today! Men love it all too, it’s funny and cute as well as great music to listen to and amazing lyrics. 

What Is one outstanding moment in your career?
Well, I was an opera singer at the beginning of my career before Blues took over!  Once when I was singing in a concert full of quite famous opera performers and truly terrified, I had an experience that changed my

whole perspective on performing.  I was singing "Morro" from Un Ballo and when I started I thought I was off key. I felt like I couldn't recover and that my years of dedication and work were for nothing and I should just get off the stage and run away as fast as I could.  I started backing up to get off, all the time still singing the aria.  I banged into the crook of the piano.  BOOM.  The pianist gave me a look and then, knowing I was almost finished with the aria I remained, trapped by the piano and the staring pianist.  I finished and RAN off the stage. I didn't take a bow.  I just got off the stage, out of my gown and shoes and with my metro card in my hand I headed for the door, sure I was washed up forever.  Just as I headed for the door I heard a booming baritone voice belonging to a famous Metropolitan Opera star of that time saying, "Now where did she go?"  He saw me and came to me.  I was SURE he was going to tell me how terrible I was. He asked me where I was going, and I broke down crying.  I was blubbering about how terrible I was and apologizing for ruining the music.  He gripped me by shoulders and lifted me off the floor, so we were eye to eye (he was very tall) and said, "Girl!!! Are you crazy?? Didn't you hear
them screaming for you?  You were amazing!" I was shocked and looked around the room to see my fellow performers smiling and applauding me.  Kisses and hugs all around.  I redressed and remained to finish the concert.  I have never doubted my voice or my work again. 
  
Who have you worked with who had the biggest impact on you? 
The list is long.  I have had amazing teachers and directors all my life, but I would have to go back to my early singing life and say that my 7th grade Chorus teacher Mr. Prisco is the one. 

He heard my big voice and taught me that it was beautiful. He was the first person who believed in me in my life.  Other than him there was a teacher who saved my voice after I had horribly abused it during my musical theater days in college.  Maria Dornya. She taught me patience and made me a musician and a singer.  

What is your favorite piece of art?
Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.  The whole of it! ~

What do you do to stay connected to your creative self?
I do meditation, chanting and dedication to the creative force of the universe.  I also keep a journal daily in the morning. I also NEVER am without music on somewhere.

Isadora Duncan

What person do you most admire, living or dead?
Isadora Duncan.  I learned about her and her ideals for dance, her strength and the power of her convictions. She changed the art of dance. May I also add Mae West who is featured in my show as well for the same reasons? Power of convictions and the strength to carry it through.

The Granny's Blue-Mers band is now led by celebrated pianist Dan Furman (Rip, Proust Virus)  and features Andrew Beall (The Lion King, Les Miserables, Spiderman, In The Heights, and A Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder,) and Mario Claudio, a member of the final cast of the legendary production of LINE at 13th Street and member of the company of UVX at the Abron's Art Center.
The West End Lounge in November
955 West End Avenue, NYC
Friday, November 17 @ 9:00 p.m. Order tix HERE.
                             
*****

I'm throwing back the curtain and showing my followers the little man behind the Wizard who is always trying to put forth a positive image of a man.

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

You have the power to change anything, because you are the one who chooses your thoughts and feels your feelings.
with Shana Farr, Leanne Borghesi, Denise Spann-Morgan, Jesse Luttrell, Phyllis Pastore, Russ Woolley

Here are a Few Testimonials for Richard Skipper Celebrates: Next One December 3rd 1PM Laurie Beechman Theater: Reserve HERE:
Richard Skipper Celebrates December 3rd! With Guest Stars: Bobby Belfry, Ann Kittredge, Sidney
Myer, Deborah Stone, AND special guest star Kathryn Crosby!
My mom, sister, daughter and I were lucky enough to see Richard Skipper and his stellar guests. We all highly recommend Richard 'a shows!
Christine Milton, Bronx NY

Hi Richard, My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed your cabaret show yesterday. The singers were all wonderful and their back stories were so inspiring. You're a very talented host with a sparkling presence and infectious energy. My husband said that you should have your own talk show! Looking toward to seeing you again! Regards, Michelle & Michael

I have been watching Richard Skipper perform for over 25 years now and must say that there are not many people in the entertainment business with the passion and talent that Richard has. His shows are beautifully composed and extremely entertaining!
I look forward to seeing him again on October 8th! We love Richard Skipper, Go Richard!!!
Monica Murray, Oakland NJ 
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 ,


 
 




Please LIKE (if you do!) and SHARE!


NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!


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!
Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook
Keeping Entertainment LIVE!
 
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com