Richard Skipper: Cabaret Scenes’ Man About Cabaret

| October 4, 2015

Richard Skipper

Cabaret Scenes’ Man About Cabaret

October 2015

Richard-Skipper-Man-About-Cabaret-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” Ralph Marston

It’s October! Autumn came in quietly last month along with the Pope’s visit coinciding with the United Nations’ General Assembly. Beyoncé, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, and Pearl Jam all contributed to an arts-filled New York in September.

It’s now a time of harvest and preparation for the coming colder months. This is one of my favorite times of the year. How could it not be? Halloween is on the horizon. September found me beginning the month in
Malibu for some much needed R&R.

I did perform two shows of a series that I hope to bring to New York audiences in 2016. Who knows? I may even take it around the country.  I came back to New York raring to go. My only regret is that I missed Julie Budd’s sold-out show at the Metropolitan Room, as well as Jimmie Bush, Jr., who made his New York debut thanks to George Bettinger. Bernie Furshpan, managing manager of the Metropolitan Room was on hand to announce that Jimmie will be returning for four performances to be scattered throughout 2016. Please stay tuned.

A wonderful evening of music, love and laughter was had at 54 Below on the eve before they joined forces with Michael Feinstein! How wonderful to see the perfect host, John Iachetti, in his element once again.  What a delight! Congrats to Joanna Strand and Jacqui Tate on their 54 Below debut! They were joined by John Bailey (piano), Steve Doyle (bass), Jason Reeve (drums), Romano Viazzani (accordion). I loved every minute. Danny and I shared a table with Cady Huffman and Debbie Damp. Ann Hampton Callaway and her wife Kari Strand, what can I say? I’m still smiling. Also in attendance were Stephen and Eda Sorokoff and Stacy Sullivan and her gorgeous daughter, Savannah Brown.

Savannah tells me that she is bringing her show, Too Blondes, (http://www.tooblondes.com/) back to New York audiences on October 11th at New World Stages. Also that day, she and performing partner Chase O’Donnell (the other blonde) are the featured act at The Salon, which takes place on Sunday nights at Etcetera, Etcetera. Go there for dinner and a great night out after seeing Linda Kosut at Don’t Tell Mama at 4PM. Details below.

A few nights later found me at The Friars. We were there for Will Friedwald’s latest installment of Clip Joint. This time we were celebrating the release of Patty Farmer’s book Playboy Swings: How Hugh Hefner and Playboy Changed the Face of Music. I highly recommend this book to all who are fans of the cabaret and music scene.  Patty strikes gold with her second book celebrating our world. A few days later found me interviewing Patty at Barnes & Noble Upper East Side. A few days after that, I conducted the Red Carpet interviews at The Plaza Hotel for the book launch party. John Meyer, Bill Boggs, Marilyn Maye, Arthur Pompesello,  and City World Radio’s Roxanne Richards were among the attendees.

Patty’s first book was The Persian Room Presents…, which I also recommend.  Joining us at The Friars were Julie Budd, Marilyn Michaels, Vick Stivala, Ellen Easton, Judi Mark, and Deb Armelino. Great to see clips of Julie Wilson, Bobby Short, Frances Faye, Barbara Carroll, Dick Shawn, and so many others. I now have great ideas for my next cabaret show! Stay tuned!

Next day, I was part of MAC to School, the Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs’ first-ever Cabaret Boot Camp weekend. It was a two-day event filled with workshops, classes, seminars, mingling, food, drink, and MAC swag! I served on a press panel called Meet the Press, a seminar that explored the ins and outs of dealing with the NY Cabaret press, led by Cabaret Scenes’ Editor-in-Chief Frank Dain. The others on the panel were Sandi Durell Publisher/Editor of TheaterPizzazz.com, publicist and public relations specialist Betsyann Faiella and cabaret reviewers Mark Dundas Wood (BistroAwards.com) and Billie Roe (Broadwayworld.com).

What a thrill to be part of Julie Budd’s CD launch at Barnes & Noble Upper East Side. Thank you, Steven Sorrentino for EVERYTHING! Thank you, Tom Santopietro for adding so much to the evening. It was an SRO crowd and I want to thank ALL of you who attended.

I am looking forward to attending the 5th Anniversary celebration of the National Asian Artists Project, Gretchen Reinhagen’s return to the Metropolitan Room, attending the Salon, Linda Kosut’s return to NYC, appearing on Talk of the Town radio with Lisa Dascoli and Annie Weiss, attending two nights of the Mabel Mercer Cabaret Convention, seeing My Fair Lady on the big screen, Julie Budd back at the Metropolitan Room with a new show, Remembering Mr. Sinatra AND His Friends and her induction into the Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame, interviewing Rick Lertzman and William J. Birnes at Barnes & Noble about their new book, The Life and Times of Mickey Rooney, AND ending the month with Melba Moore’s Birthday Celebration at the Metropolitan Room!

Skipper’s Recommendations

October 2-4
Ben Rimalower Patti Issues
Disneyland, Anaheim, CA

Ben is at the 18th Annual Unofficial Gay Days at Disneyland celebrity with an introduction by Alec Mapa.
“A tight hour-long monologue that pairs a well-honed script with an engagingly spontaneous delivery and a nose for sharp, observational comedy. Mr. Rimalower’s funny, tender reminiscence rides an infectious rainbow high.” The New York Times
Ben Rimalower’s MAC/Bistro Award-winning off-Broadway hit, Patti Issues, plays at 6:00 pm at the Grand Californian Hotel. The show tells the story of a gay adolescent seeking solace at the altar of the ultimate Broadway diva, Patti LuPone.

Other performers include Audra McDonald, RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Manila Luzon and Ben de la Creme, Well Strung, and Miss Coco Peru.  <http://www.GayDaysAnaheim.com/> www.GayDaysAnaheim.com

October 3
JayCee Driesen
Rockin’ Hot Jukebox
Sergio’s Italian Restaurant
5422 Merrick Rd, Massapequa, NY

JayCee returns to Sergio’s Italian Restaurant for her Rockin’ Hot Jukebox show! You get to choose, from over 100 songs, what you want to hear for the evening! JayCee will knock your socks off with her amazing vocals and repertoire! $35.00 per person includes dinner, tax, gratuity and show!! The best deal in town!! Please call for reservations! Seating is limited!!

October 3 & 11
Marcus Simeone and Maria Ottavia
Celebrate Rodgers & Hart and Rodgers & Hammerstein
Don’t Tell Mama at 7 pm
343 W. 46 Street. NYC Reserve on line:
With: Marco Brehm (Bass); Music Direction/ Arrangements: Tracy Stark

October 4
David Vernon hosts The Salon at Etc. Etc. with special featured guest Linda Kosut.  Linda is a Bistro Award winner – BMI Award for Outstanding Recording , MAC Award nominee – Female Jazz Vocalist & Best Jazz Recording, Members’ Choice Award – Cabaret Hotline Online

October 6
Myriam Phiro
Iriidum, NYC at 8 & 10 pm

ScoBar Entertainment presents a twist of French, Latin grooves and bluesy notes when Myriam Phiro renders the American and international jazz and pop standards that inspired her the most along her personal journey, and will accompany each song with a closer look into her fascinating worlds as an actress, vocalist & dancer. The evening will unveil the songs from her new album, Voyages, and will feature an all-star band. Contact Iridium for more info. 212.582.2121 or iidiumjazz@gmail.com

October 6, 13, 20
Gabrielle Stravelli
Feinstein’s/54 Below at 9:30 pm

Internationally-acclaimed pop/jazz vocalist and Cabaret Scenes cover girl for September/October 2015 Gabrielle Stravelli comes to Feinstein’s/54 Below with a brand new show! Ms. Stravelli combines the soulful sensitivity of a vintage song stylist with a distinctly modern sensibility. Known for an intimate and unguarded connection with her audiences, Stravelli has gained a loyal following through tours with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, appearances at the 92nd St Y and at this venue in Sondheim Unplugged, 54 Sings Joni Mitchell, and 54 Sings Billy Joel.

October 7
Gretchen Reinhagen
Both Sides Now
Directed by Barry Kleinbort; Musical Director, Tracy Stark.
For this special one night only appearance, Gretchen and Tracy will be joined by her dear friend, and 70s Show musical director, Andrew David Sotomayor.

October 9
Dorothy Bishop
The Dozen Divas Show
Metropolitan Room at 9:30 pm
Twelve Superstar Divas, One Outrageous Performer!
The beautiful and talented Dorothy Bishop is an internationally renowned singer and world class entertainer with her own hilarious brand of “Diva”. A Yale-trained soprano, her incredible versatility and outrageous sense of humor landed her as a finalist on America’s Got Talent Season 4. She is presently touring with her own musical comedy, The Dozen Divas Show. A vocally brilliant and astonishing tribute show, it was a 2015 MAC nominee for Best Impersonation Show and a Broadway World nominee as Best Musical Act of 2013. The show has played the most stylish clubs of New York City, including Broadway’s Klub Kazino and 42nd Street’s hottest nightclub, XL.

Dorothy’s fantastically fun and utterly unique show features hilarious spot-on impressions of Stevie Nicks, Barbra Streisand, Adele, Renee Fleming, Cher…and pretty much anyone in between.

October 10
Todd Murray
Local 802 – Musicians Hall at 1 pm
322 West 48th Street, NYC.

The 30th year of The New York Sheet Music Society (now renamed American Popular Song Society) kicks off with Todd Murray performing his critically acclaimed show, Croon. http://www.AmericanPopularSongSociety.org

October 10 & 11
Linda Kosut
Easy Come, Easy Go
Don’t Tell Mama at 4 pm
With Mike Greensill and Tim Ferguson, Linda celebrates the release of her CD honoring Johnny Green, Easy Come, Easy Go. Read the Cabaret Scenes review of the CD at http://cabaretscenes.org/2014/11/10/linda-kosut-easy-come-easy-go-the-music-of-johnny-green/

October 11 & 17
Francesca Amari
A Love Song to Gilda Radner
Metropolitan Room at 7 pm
Francesca Amari is so excited to bring her show, A Love Song to Gilda Radner, to the Metropolitan Room, after performing it the last few years in Southern California and Midwest. It’s a tribute to the late, great Gilda Radner and Francesca will be appearing with Music Director Alex Rybeck. They are performing on the 40th anniversary TO THE DAY that Gilda made her debut on SNL.

Francesca is pleased as punch that the wonderful Craig Pomranz will be a guest singer for a special song they do that Gilda co-wrote with Paul Shaffer. The show was created with a creative team of Andrea Marcovicci, music director Shelly Markham, cabaret producer Clifford Bell and comedy writers Shelly Goldstein and Robert Julian. It’s funny, poignant, silly and lots of fun!! And a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Gilda’s Club NYC, which was the first one in the country.

October 13-16
The 26th Annual New York Cabaret Convention
The Town Hall at 6 pm
The Convention returns to The Town Hall. More than sixty singers, entertainers, and musicians are scheduled to appear, and the programming includes exceptional tributes to the melodies of Marvin Hamlisch and Vernon Duke, the songs of John Kander & Fred Ebb. Order your tickets TODAY if you can!

October 14
Julie Budd
Cabaret Convention
The Town Hall at 6 pm

I am very excited to announce that Julie Budd has been added to the line-up of the October 14th Show at this year’s The Mabel Mercer Cabaret Convention, making her Cabaret Convention Debut.

A Sentimental Journey: Songs of World War II is hosted by Jeff Harnar & Andrea Marcovicci and features Karen Akers, Celia Berk, Carole J. Bufford , Ann Hampton Callaway, Eric Comstock, Natalie Douglas, Barbara Fasano, Tovah Feldshuh, Clint Holmes, Nicolas King, Karen Kohler, Marissa Mulder, Todd Murray, Jennifer Sheehan, Gabrielle Stravelli, and Iris Williams.

October 15, 16, 21
Kerry Butler
Feinstein’s/54 Below
10/15 & 16 at 7 pm; 10/21 at 11:30 pm

Broadway favorite Kerry Butler makes her long-awaited Feinstein’s/54 Below solo debut, alongside longtime friend Seth Rudetsky at the piano. The Tony Award-nominated star of Xanadu, Rock of Ages, Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can, Little Shop of Horrors and more shares her favorite songs from her career and beyond.

October 17
Melba Moore
Best Western Premier Hotel at 5 pm

Melba Moore Performing Live: Memorandum of Understanding  5PM. Best Western Premier Hotel 800 E. Park Drive, Harrisburg, PA. 17111, 717 -561-2800

October 17
Frank Sinatra at 100
Symphony Space, NYC, 2 pm, 5 pm, 8 pm

Symphony Space will present Frank Sinatra at 100, a starry celebration of the late singer’s centennial, over the course of three three-hour sets – 2 PM, 5 PM and 8 PM – no fewer than 100 songs from Sinatra’s repertoire will be performed by dozens of artists, including Tony nominees Rebecca Luker and Santino Fontana, Noah Racey, Eric Comstock, Barbara Fasano  and Wicked‘s Lindsay Mendez, among many others.

The concert takes place in Symphony Space’s Peter Jay Sharp Theatre. Tickets for one segment are $45/$35; Members, $36/$28; 30 and under, $25. If two segments are purchased, the third is free. Details can be found at

October 19
Shana Farr
In the Still of the Night
Metropolitan Room at 7 pm

Shana Farr is reprising her performance of the 2015 Bistro Award-winning In the Still of the Night at the Metropolitan Room.
“Farr has created something surprisingly new.” The Wall Street Journal

This successful program highlights the music and lyrics of Noël Coward and Cole Porter thoughtfully assembled and artfully rendered by its creator and performer, Shana Farr. She has woven scripted text, words, poetry, and lyrics of these two great musical masters to create a spoken word/musical libretto that examines the contours of one woman’s love life. Over the course of the evening, Farr runs the emotional gamut from A to Z presenting her penchant for wry wit and her genuine vulnerability. Along with Shana Farr, Music Director Jon Weber and cellist Adam Fisher, also lend their talents to making this show an award-winning production.

October 21
Julie Budd
Remembering… Mr. Sinatra
Metropolitan Room at 7 pm

Julie Budd returns to the Metropolitan Room in Remembering Mr. Sinatra AND His Friends. Check out the Cabaret Scenes review of Julie’s CD at  http://cabaretscenes.org/2015/09/30/julie-budd-remembering-mr-sinatra-2/

October 22
Authors Richard A. Lertzman and William J. Birnes in Conversation with yours truly, Richard Skipper. A book signing to follow. This is to celebrate the release of their book, The Life and Times of Mickey Rooney.

October 24
Tray O’Farrell
Metropolitan Room at 4 pm

Tracy O’Farrell appears at the Metropolitan Room, 4 pm. The performance chronicles the story of O’Farrell’s journey through unimaginable tragedy and loss, her triumphant return to performing after life’s hard and fast curve balls, and a love story that rivals Hollywood blockbusters. Vignettes of heartfelt stories are coupled with beloved tunes resounding her life in song, including “Dream Lover” by Bobby Darin, “We Live on Borrowed Time” by David Friedman, “Blackbird” by Paul McCartney, “I Can Hear The Bells” from the musical Hairspray, the title tune “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts and more. Tickets at http://metropolitanroom.com/event.cfm?id=200135 <http://metropolitanroom.com/event.cfm?id=200135&cart> &cart

October 24
Rain Pryor

Divorced, Dangerous & Divalicious!
Iridium at 8:30 pm

Songs of Hope, Heartache and Truth…Rain Pryor has been performing as a jazz/blues vocalist since 1993, having played to sold out crowds in Los Angeles, DC, Hong Kong, Scotland and London. Her live cabaret received 4 stars and was critically acclaimed.

 She delivers an irreverent style of comedy that leaves you thinking, ” Did she just say that?” The New York Times says “she has an outsize presence built for Broadway; at times her salty banter suggests Bette Midler without the camp.”

October 25
Frank Dain and Geusts
Happy 80th Birthday, Johnny Mathis
Metropolitan Room at 7 pm

Cabaret Scenes’ very own Frank Dain will be hosting the next Cabaret Cares event on Sunday at 7 pm at the Metropolitan Room. This is a fundraiser for Help Is on the Way Today, which benefits kids living with HIV/AIDS. The evening will pay tribute to Johnny Mathis on his 80th birthday (Sept. 30). Joining Frank to add their own magic to the music of Mathis are Kathleen Landis (M.D.), Eric Comstock & Barbara Fasano, Jeff Harnar, Tanya Holt, Marieann Meringolo, Kurt Peterson, Marcus Simeone, Stacy Sullivan and Lennie Watts. Call 212.206.0440 for reservations. I will be there!

I am so thrilled about this month’s fun evenings of entertainment offerings. I feel so excited that I am giving away a pair of tickets to Gretchen Reinhagen’s Both Sides Now.


To enter the contest: Send an email to Richard@RichardSkipper.com with “Reinhagen Redux” in the subject line. In the body of the email please provide:

– Full Name

– Email address

– Number of tickets you want if you win (one or two)

I hope that all who see this will commit to seeing at least THREE live shows in October.

Please make one of them someone you have never seen before!

Have something to promote? Please send me a 100-word blurb about the show and I will include that in my article for Cabaret Scenes on-line to be published in November. Send to Richard@RichardSkipper.com. Please put “November Man About Town” in subject line. Also, if you know of anything else I should promote for October, I’ll try and include that, as well. Don’t forget to look for me as your man about town! I’m the one applauding enthusiastically!

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