Friday, June 30, 2017

Don't Defer IT Until Tomorrow!

Used with Permission From The Margo Feiden Galleries
47 Days In Search of a Book Deal: CallonDolly.com
I believe the future is only the past again, through another gate.
- Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, English Dramatist  (1855-1934)

Happy Friday...Last Day of June! (June 30th, 2017)
June 30 is the 181st day of the year.
There are 184 days remaining until the end of the year. It is 9:39 AM to be exact as I start today's blog. I am winning because I am a good person.
The day that I am having has been created by design. The same can very much be said of the life I have created for myself. I pretty much had a knowledge of this 40 years ago. I still do but I need daily reminders and I still have to convince myself of this fact.
Approaching others with optimism allows me to connect with others and live happily.
I am not the person those who did not love me deemed me to be. That is one of the lessons of today's blog. 


My horoscope tells me that talking about everything I'm going to do actually gets in the way of my doing it. The 'WORD' for the day is INTERESTED . Think of this word as your mantra for the day. First apply the word to yourself, THEN apply this word to EVERYONE YOU meet. Think of this word as you respond to EVERY PERSON you see throughout the day. The 'word 'for TODAY is INTERESTED ! Please pay it forward...

Everything takes longer than I expect, leaving me short on time constantly.

I am stepping back from my commitments, reevaluating my recent plans, and reassessing the steps I must take to reach my
goals.

Words are meaningless without intent and determination. It is social media day. There are pluses and minuses to where this has brought us. I absolutely love social media and how much it has connected all of us.
I also despise social media and how it has absolutely thrown a monkey wrench into human interaction. I hate it, for example when I CALL someone and they respond with an email or text message!

Human interaction is what I crave! That's one of the main reasons I pursued the career that chose me and why I do what I do.

Today is a summer day in the greatest city in the world!

I still love this city 37 years after arriving here for the first time (August 5th, 1979). As I sat down to begin writing my blog today, I was listening to Nell Carter, Armelia McQueen and Charlayne Woodard sing "Off Time" on the 1978 Tony Awards. Ms. Carter won for Best Actress in a Musical that year.
It takes me right back to 1978 and '79 when it was on Broadway.

Interesting thought: June 30th, 1978 was also a Friday.
I was 18 and still living in South Carolina. I had a one way ticket to New York and in 36 days I would be leaving on a jet plane never to look back. As an 18-year-old in 1979 dreaming of a life in the theater, I was given valuable lessons in the respect of the theater.
Those lessons stay with me to this day and actually have a huge bearing on the work I do.
I've written about her in the past, but I had a great mentor in Miss Florence Epps. She took me under her wing after she first saw me on stage.
She had a playhouse in her backyard and I used to go after school on Wednesdays and Thursdays. If I had gone to my parents to tell them that I wanted to take drama and elocution lessons, they would have laughed and stood in the way, their usual response.
I don't say this asking for empathy or sympathy. It is simply a fact and part of the fabric of my life. My parents never supported my dreams nor did they ever take any interest in any aspect of my life.

My father passed away in 2002. I regret that we resolved our differences. As far as my mom is concerned (and family and relatives), I have accepted it as my lot in life. Years ago, I interviewed Carol Lawrence.
She told me that being in this business is the greatest elixir in the world. The more we get, the more we desire. The rub is whether or not the general public is buying. My family never bought what I'm selling.

Wayne Dyer  said, "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."


Speaking of the way you look at things, the Quad Cinema in Manhattan is showing a Barbra Streisand film festival next week.
On Wednesday night, one of my favorite Streisand films, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, is being shown.

I love seeing these films in the manner in which they were meant to be seen.: in a movie theater with an audience!

When I first came to New York in the summer of '79, it was in the days before VCRS, DVDs, and Turner Classic Movies.
There were revival houses all over NYC, the Regency, Carnegie Hall Cinema, the Thalia, the Film Forum, to name a few.   I would go through the papers to see what was playing where and would plan my week around these great classic films.
 
I went to see a classic film or two almost every Sunday and sometimes as well during the week.
What memories!At my very first audition in New York, for Woody Allen's Stardust Memories (I did not get a part), I met Millie Brown. I've written about her in previous blogs. She became one of my frequent movie partners. As a matter of fact, the first time I saw On a Clear Day..., it was with Millie.
Melinda Winifred Tentries, but I gravitate towards Daisy Gamble
I saw so many movies this way.
I don't even remember which theater it was or where exactly it was located. I know it was in the West Village and I practically flew home after seeing this film.
Not only did you have a perfect trifecta with Streisand, costumes, story, and songs, but most of the film is set against the backdrop in the seventies.


The Daisy Gamble character is what resonated with me. She also had an ability to look into the past with accute clarity!
Being that age in the 70s in NYC is something that is, of course, glamorized in the film. Where does the time go?
47 years ago, in 1970, I was 8 years old and living in South CarolinaNew York, at that time, may or may not have been in my scheme of thinking.

New York, and the world, was changing. 1970 would be the year of the first Gay Pride March. It was before Studio 54 and the Disco Era, it was long before AIDS.
My sweetness was not a weakness when I first arrived in NY. It may be slightly coarser now due to life experiences but it is still there. When I arrived in New York at the age of eighteen, there was no one greener or more naive! That naivety, I believe saved my life.
Knowing the person I am today, it might be hard for anyone who knows me personally to believe that I did not know I was gay! I was the most asexual person to ever emerge out of Conway, South Carolina. I never went on a date. My last year in SC, and thanks to getting involved with the Upstage Company at Coastal Carolina, I had somewhat of a social life. That was the year I met Beth Mahar, still one of my best friends and one of the greatest people I have ever known.
From the moment she met me, she accepted me for just being me!
 
According to her, she had seen me the previous year as Roberts, the butler, in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, with The Theater of the Republic, our hometown theater.
I did a slow turn to the audience that stopped the show and brought down the house.

She said at that moment, she knew she had to work with me.
 Move forwards a year. As a result of my role as Roberts, I started getting cast in larger, mostly character, parts. I would go on to do The Night of January Sixteenth by Ayn Rand, one of my favorites, Cheaper By The Dozen, and Oliver!One afternoon, going home on the bus, Victoria Kujala, a friend told me about a play she was doing at the college called Marat/Sade.
I had never heard about it. She told me they were looking for a lot of people to play the inmates in the asylum.
That was something I could do. She told me that night that there would be a read through and that I should just show up. She was sure there was something in it for me.

I went home and the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I was. I walked to the college, about 25 minutes away.As I was walking up the steps into the small performance space, Beth, whom I had never met before, came running in my name yelling, "Are you Ricky Skipper?"
When I acknowledged who I was, she told me to apologize for my mom for hanging up on her.
She had called my mom to ask me to come and audition for the show. When my mom told me I was already on my way to the theater, she dropped everything to get there. Beth was going to be the stage manager of the show, and having remembered me, thought I would be great for The Herald, which is essentially the narrator and story teller of the show.
Beth had more faith in me than I ever would have! This role was the antithesis of everything I had done up to this point AND was in verse!
I was introduced to the director, Cynthia, and asked to stick around and they would hear me read.
It was very different than anything I had ever experienced with Theater of the Republic!
Before any type of a read or run through, we all sat in a circle and acknowledged each other. A golden chalice was also passed around with white wine in which everyone took a sip. I had definitely moved to a whole new realm, on many levels. After everyone left, Beth, Cynthia, and myself stuck around so I could read through it. It was more a formality than anything else.
I think the decision had already been made based on Beth's recommendation.
Loved Judy Garland and the world of Musical Comedy!
I barely read a few lines when I was asked if I would like to play the part. I was excited and scared at the same time. That has always been the case with anything new that I try in life. I went home that night and read through the script and had no idea what I was reading! I started committing everything to memory.
I can still recite the opening monologue to this day because of the amount of work I put into this character. The more I worked on it, the more anxious I became as to whether or not I would be able to pull it off. One of the things that I LOVED about Cynthia Hodel's approach as a director was that we spent weeks in improvisation before we even got to the script.
By the time we got to the script, we had a solid handle on as to who we as these characters were.
My biggest fear was what if THEY didn't like me. It consumed every waking and sleeping moment of my life.
Thank God for Beth. She kept assuring me that I was going to be great.
She spent hours grilling me on my lines and never once complained. The entire script was in verse.
What if I forgot a line!?!?!
Well, that's exactly what happened! Opening night, the actor portraying Fran├žois Simonet de Coulmier comes out to welcome the audience. The entire company comes bounding out on stage to take our places. As soon as I took my first position, my mind went completely blank! I don't think I could have told anyone my name if I had been asked!
A childlike curiosity has always propelled me forward

However, the moment that I was given my cue, as if by magic, the words began to flow. I felt as if I were flying! It was a zen moment that I have felt many times since then on stage, but at that moment it was a feeling that I can't describe.

It was there and I'll never forgot the ovation we all received at the end of the evening.
One thing that I had forgotten about until I started writing this blog today.
Before we opened, because of the nature of the play, we had to give a special performance for the board and faculty to deem whether or not we could open the show. Thank God, they gave us the go ahead.
If You Believe

This show came along at the right time in my life. It was the perfect storm in terms of building self esteem in me. It convinced me that I WAS truly an actor. Also, because of the friends that I made and worked with on this show, it gave me a sense of belonging.

All through school, I never fit in. No one knew what to make of me. Even when I was at Theater of the Republic, with every role I played, I felt like I was constantly trying to prove myself. The funny thing is that 37 years later, I still feel this.
Writing The Next Chapter!
As I type these words, I am in an office surrounded by awards, accolades,photographs, and testimonials. Those don't really mean anything to anyone but me. It does show me, however, of where I've been. It also tells me that I can go forward and be prepared for the next chapter! I'm ready!

I never gave up! Persistence and stubbornness are underrated tools for lifelong success.
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!

Today's blog is dedicated to Susan Hayward who was born on this date in 1917.

Life is so much better when you stop caring about what everyone thinks, and start to actually live for yourself!!

Though I have not have the great fortune to see Richard's show's live (Please come to
Vegas!!!)   I do have the great fortune of calling him one of my dearest friends. And that dear ones, is  a great blessing indeed.   Richard is a blessing to all who he encounters.   His positivity   will help you through the hardest of days.   Truly one in a million :)  May God continue to bless all you do! 

Love,
Jamie Farrar

With Annie 'Equalty' Hughes

Congratulations Richard Skipper and Russ Woolley on another wonderful "Richard Skipper Celebrates" production at the Laurie Beechman Theater on 6/18/17. Wonderful production, wonderful host, and wonderful guests. How can it get better than that? It can't! See you in September.
Craig Witham, Philadelphia, Pa

Big congrats to Richard Skipper and Russ Woolley on another terrific show (6/18/17)! It seems impossible, but the shows just keep getting better and better! How to improve on perfection??! Such an amazing group of talented performers and an audience that is enthralled and exhilarated. And you, Richard Skipper, are the icing on the proverbial cake. You are not only talented, handsome and passionate, but you have an uncanny ability to bring people together,and make us all want to be the best selves we can be. The love and respect in the room is palpable. It is a pleasure and honor to be part of your shows!
Pamela Singer, NYC 

 
Russ Woolley proudly presents Richard Skipper Celebrates – September 10th celebrating the birthdays of Adele Astaire,  Robert Wise , Harry Groener, AND SO MUCH MORE! Sunday, September 10th 1 pm at The Laurie Beechman Theatre below The West Bank Cafe at 407 West 42 Street. Richard will be joined by Ann Dawson, Emily McNamara, Ben Rimalower...AND a Mystery Guest! This is a 1PM SHOW! (90 minutes) At The Laurie Beechman Theater Reservations a Must! Please SAVE THE DATE .$30 Cover and $20 Minimum per person.

From fabulous musical direction Rich Siegel and The Richard Skipper Celebrates band (Jeff Carney on bass and Rex Benincasa on percussion ). Do yourself a favor and CELEBRATE!
The afternoon is also made possible by Wright Bros. Real Estate.
https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/968230 

 

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 , 
 



Go to CallonDolly.com 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









Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Let Me Entertain You...Constantly!

Logic is one thing, the human animal another. You can quite easily propose a logical solution to something and the same time hope in your heart of hearts it won't work out.
-Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936)

Happy Wednesday, June 28th, 2017!
Today is the 179th day of the year. There are 186 days remaining until the end of the year. As I sat down to begin today's blog, I was listening to Perez Prado perform Mambo Number 5 from 1949 on the 40s channel on Sirius XM.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I don't think  we would have half the strife in the world if people began every day with a show tune...at at least great music that uplifts all of us. I've written about this before but it is worth repeating, music is constantly playing throughout my working day, creating a great soundtrack.
Science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer wrote, "Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace." 
With the late great Dana Lorge at the Wheel of Divas for The Actors' Fund
The 'WORD' for the day is INTERESTING.
Think of this word as your mantra for the day. First apply the word to yourself, THEN apply this word to EVERYONE YOU meet. Think of this word as you respond to EVERY POST you see throughout the day. The 'word 'for TODAY is INTERESTING. Please pay it forward..
Maybe I have something useful to say today. 
I hope that I achieve this goal with my conversations and my interaction on social media. If you've been
following my blogs recently, you will find that the more recent ones have been more introspective, reflective, and in some cases, brutally honest with what I'm feeling these days.
I feel like I've hit a personal low. I feel like I have so much time on my hands I could go out and have lunch daily with my friends. I don't like it. I want MORE to do! 
I sometimes feel like I don't know who I am. 
I do know, however, based upon what I've been through in my life thus far that whatever my lowest points are, I have learned from them and I can teach others because of of those life experiences.
My husband, Danny, is a very successful landscape architect and he is ALWAYS there for me.
I don't always reciprocate in a way that I should. I tell him on a regular basis that there is a purple heart waiting at the pearly gates for him. Little did he know what he was getting in to when he met me. After 21 years, he said 'yes' when I asked him to marry me.
Yes, I asked him and next month we celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe. We just celebrated the 27th anniversary of our meeting. We have been together since the first day we met!
Cleaning up my own life is a full-time job, so I'm not bothering trying to fix anyone else's now. Although I'm asked quite often to dispense advice, recognizing other people's challenges  doesn't give me license to interfere in their lives.

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.-Judy Garland
Focusing on external issues rather than internal ones is a not-so-clever way to avoid your own work.
Do not mock a pain that you haven't endured.   

What are your dreams?

It's never easy , but it's worth it . Self accomplishment is the best feeling.  

I have huge dreams but I am feeling very stuck right now. 
That is my confession for the day.

I have spent the past year with my on stage series, Richard Skipper Celebrates..., I am moving forward on my book celebrating Hello, Dolly!, CallonDolly.com, and my other writing and yet I don't feel like I'm making real progress.

I really desire to get this book published. Well, why don't I?
As I write these words, I am making a commitment to ME and to YOU that I will!
I have a 'collaborator', but he seems to have disappeared. 
He is an accomplished writer with many books under his belt and he is busy so I respect that.
After the recent revival opened on Broadway, he reached out to me once again to get the ball rolling once again. A few letters were sent out and we received a few rejections.  
I have a new intern starting with me tomorrow.
She specializes in social media and we are going to hopefully bump up our media presence as far as the Facebook page and website are concerned. I'm anxious to see what she brings to the table tomorrow. I write about what I know and I have been fortunate to interview over 500 people involved with the various productions and movie over the years.

My daily to-do list is where my day happens. 
Every time I complete a small chore or task, I move closer to my goals. Life is in the details! I am taking control of my life and continuing the healing process. 

For me, I am seeking more of a positive collective state of mind, a shared organizational outlook that brings out the best in everyone I encounter, reinforces your mission and rocks OUR common goals.
I'm thinking about my goals with this book and project, and if my readers send me in the right direction, it is a win win for all of us. 

Reaching goals is always easier when we have the help of those around us!
Is there a friend in my circle who might know something about it already and can share information with me?
Getting away or the beach doesn't fit into my Goals paradigm
By thinking of even one person who can lend a hand, it provides me with reassurance that I'm not alone.
When things fall into place, I deliver the goods.

I first became aware of Carol Channing in the sixties when she was at the apex of her popularity because of Hello, Dolly!  
Little did I know at the time that I would have a long and successful career appearing AS Carol Channing!
That led to a few film and television appearances. 
Maintaining a career at 56 years old is a lot more difficult than it was twenty five years ago when I was 31. 
On one hand, it feels like it was yesterday. I certainly don't feel any older. I geel that I have MORE to offer than where I was career wise 25 years ago. For one thing, the crux of my career was appearing as Carol Channing. But thirty plus years of facing-and overcoming-challenges have given me a useful perspective on this business along with specific insights into a range of issues. 
I just saw a funny quote on Twitter: I don't want everyone to agree with me.  I just only want to hear from people that agree with me.
Experience is a valuable asset, one gained through a life lived with passion, commitment, and energy.   
Success isn't a matter of throwing something against the wall in hopes that it will stick. 
It's sometimes hard in the chaos of the morning to stay focused on what truly works. 
 I hope through these blogs that I will find my own road map for success. 

Last night, I went out with my producer (and best friend) and his cousins visiting here from Sweden. He is one of the most dynamic people I've ever met. A successful businessman, he regularly waffles between his successful real estate world and producing my show, while at the same time somehow manages to be a doting single father to a young child. We went to see a wonderful show, Carole Demas and Sarah Rice (along with the awesome Joseph Goodrich) in Thank You For Your Love.
It was a celebration of their collaborations throughout their careers with Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt.
Tom Jones even made a guest appearance last night. The SRO crowd at the Laurie Beechman were all as enthralled as I.
They return in October. Here is a REVIEW.
 Please be on the lookout. HIGHLY 
RECOMMENDED!
Tonight, we are going to see Bobby Belfry at Maureen's Jazz Celler in Nyack, practically in my backyard. I try, to the best of my ability, support those that have appeared in my series , Richard Skipper Celebrates... I'm also a fan, so it makes it easier!

When you win, say nothing, when you lose, say less. -Paul Brown

 The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new. - Socrates

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!

Today's blog is dedicated to Richard Rodgers who was born on this date in 1902. He made New Year's Eve an event to Look forward to!

Life is so much better when you stop caring about what everyone thinks, and start to actually live for yourself!!
On June 18th, 2017,  I had the great good pleasure of singing in one of Richard Skipper’s Extravaganzas par Excellence at the Laurie Beechman Theater. This one celebrated Father's Day. It was a  terrific show and Richard was, as always, a wonderful host and singer.   The show ran smoothly and professionally and the performance level was exceedingly high.  Upbeat and fun it reminded me of those wonderful TV variety shows of my youth.  But it isn’t an imitation of one of them, it is Richard’s own, unique creation. 
If you have never been to one, I recommend it highly, if you are one of the regulars, you are already hooked.
 Mark Watson

 Anyone who has an opportunity to see Richard Skipper's cabaret shows should BY ALL MEANS do so! They're sensational! Great entertainers, wonderful music, lots of laughs, just the best way to spend an afternoon! I just cannot wait for the next show because I will DEFINITELY be in the audience (quietly singing along)!
Arlene Jacks, New York, NY


Richard Skipper is the consummate host.  I always enjoy the shows and all the performers--and even the little film intros by Michael Masci!  The theme song Michael picked for the Father's Day opening montage is one of my favorite TV themes--how did you know? Keep up the good work Richard--looking forward to your next season of shows!
Glenn Hochberg, Easton, PA




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