Richard Skipper: Cabaret Scenes’ Man About Cabaret

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Richard Skipper

Cabaret Scenes’ Man About Cabaret

January 2016

Richard-Skipper-Man-About-Cabaret-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212 “All I want for Christmas is to leave some kind of legacy in a desperate, doomed attempt to fight the ephemeral meaninglessness of it all. “— Ronan Farrow

Happy January!

Wishing you a Happy New Year with the hope that you will have many blessings in the year to come.

Here we are on the precipice of so many wonderful hopes and I’m sure a lot of unexpected twists and turns along the way.

My career path this past year took me down a road that I had not anticipated twelve months prior. My hope for the New Year, in addition to continuing my promotions and writing, is to return to my performing roots. I hope to have news regarding this in the upcoming weeks and months. My goal is to create something that will encompass all that I’ve learned in this business up to this point and I hope that you will join me and support me in this next chapter (my 55th) in life! Let’s get started!

In addition to all of the HOLLY DAZE craziness of the season, I was up to my eyes in Sinatra’s centennial birthday. I have been working with Julie Budd this past year on her Remembering Mr. Sinatra series in celebration of her CD by the same name, which came out in September. If you don’t have it already, I hope that you will purchase it through Barnes & Noble. Julie had a very busy December. She appeared at the Metropolitan Room, the Berrie Center for the Performing Arts in Mahwah, New Jersey and in David Kenney’s annual Holiday show (also at the Metropolitan Room) to benefit radio station WBAI.

Julie will be returning to the Metropolitan Room in the spring as their Celebrity Artist in Residence with a new series of shows to play throughout the year. Please check out the Metropolitan Room’s website as well as for updates. Julie will be making a very special appearance at American Popular Song Society [formerly the Sheet Music Society] on January 9th. Details are below. Speaking of American Popular Song Society, it is probably one of the best deals in town. They meet on the second Saturday of every month from October through June and bring in programs celebrating American Popular Song. It is $50.00 a year and ALL of the programs as well as their newsletter are included in that. It is $15.00 at the door for non-members. For more information, please visit their website.

Julie also taped a segment celebrating Frank Sinatra for WPIX 11 hosted by Marvin Scott. Joining her were Bill Boggs, who had a very exclusive interview with Sinatra many years ago, and Steve Tyrell, who had to rush out to do two performances that night at the Carlyle.

December was an eating fest for me as well. I had Sue Brender, who was visiting from Florida, at my home for dinner. Sue has a podcast with a huge listenership. She has been a great supporter of my clients and me this year. I will be co-hosting with her a few times throughout the year. Please LIKE her page on Facebook. December found me hosting The Legacy Awards for Dancers Over 40 at Lips. It was a great honor for me to be the host this year. I have hosted a few times as Carol Channing and last year, I co-hosted with Harvey Evans. A packed house, great talent on and off-stage, and wonderful honorees for DO40’s 7th Annual Legacy Awards and holiday dinner at Lips Restaurant in NYC. This was the first time ever to have “live” performers sing, dance and do everything in between, and all honoring these wonderful DO40 members. Honorees Donna McKechnie, Tony Sheldon, James Dybas, Janice Herbert and Richard Tuttle (accepting the award for his late uncle, Gene Gavin) were front and center, as speakers Chris Herbert (for Janice Herbert), Patti Mariano (for James Dybas), Paul Tenaglia (for Donna McKechnie), Harvey Evans (for Tony Sheldon) and Richard Tuttle, for his uncle, Gene Gavin, also took to the stage to sing (not dance!) praise upon their friends. Barbara Minkus flew in from California to perform and rounding out the evening was Danny Gardner who was slumming on his night off from Dames at Sea. What a great night. Check out this organization and join as well.

A few days later found us back at American Popular Song Society for an afternoon celebrating Ben Yagoda and his book, The B Side: The Death of Tin Pan Alley and the Rebirth of the Great American Song, produced by Tom Toce — a great afternoon of community and song.

The next night found us at Don’t Tell Mama for Sally Darling’s latest cabaret show, Perceptions. It was sold out! Musical direction was by Matthew Martin Ward. She received great reviews from Roy Sander for the Bistro Awards website and Joe Regan Jr. for TheatrePizzazz. I cannot wait to see her next outing.

Next up was Jerry Costanzo’s return to the Iridium for his Sinatra Inspired show. We were joined by Julie Budd and Roxanne Richards of CityWorld Radio. Jerry wowed the audience in an almost sold-out show. He will be returning in the spring. Stay tuned. What a sweet experience was David Kenney’s benefit concert for WBAI at the Metropolitan Room. I always love finding and seeing new talent. In an already star- packed line-up, he had Duchess open the show. I am now a confirmed fan!

A few nights later, I had my annual Christmas Caroling Party at our home in Rockland County. To me, this is what the holidays are all about: fun, food, friends and Christmas caroling in the neighborhood. I need a bigger property to accommodate everyone!

The next day, I went to two Christmas concerts which definitely put me in the mood for the holidays. The first was The Many Sounds of Christmas at historic St. Peter’s Church, 22 Barclay Street. This is the second year in a row that I have attended their holiday concert. They are doing a spring concert and will be back next Christmas. THEY are The Salvatones featuring Salvatore Diana and New York Virtuosi. Please look them up and see their next concert. You WILL thank me! Later that same day, I went to the Jazz Nativity. It was thrilling to see my eleven-year-old goddaughter bring down the house with her solo. To say that I am proud of her is an understatement.

As you can see, it has been a busy month and a great year of great entertainment. I hope that at this time next year that we all have achieved all that we had hoped to see this year! See you in the clubs!

Skipper’s Recommendations for the very end of the year and January

The Beaux Arts Society, Inc. (founded in 1857) will coronate Royalty at an annual costume Beaux Arts Ball, designates Distinguished Artists, and distributes Leonardo daVinci Awards in the various divisions of the arts. It also runs a Winter Carnival, Spring Fling, Summer Soiree, and Fall Frolic at which members perform. If you are not yet a Beaux Arts Society member, but are a member of this Facebook Group, Dr. Tom Stevens will consider sponsoring you for a two-year free membership through 12/31/17 so you can see if the Society is a good fit for you. Express your interest by Facebook message or by e-mail to Dr. Tom Stevens, President & General Counsel, Beaux Arts Society, Inc.

Oleg Frish’s digital album is available on iTunes for $6.99 and…Sony Red Distribution reduced the price of his album to $5.00 on Amazon. Only during the holiday season! Hurry up, purchase it and listen to the duets with 10 iconic, legendary American singers. Enjoy! Take a listen to my December appearance with Lisa Dascoli’s Talk of the Town for December 2015 featuring an interview with Lisa Bertrand of the Volunteer Theatre Actors Association, plus, I spin some tunes of the musical guests we’ve featured this past year – Julie Budd, Peggy Eason, Jerry Costanzo.

December 29 and 30 @ 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm
Michael Feinstein
Feinstein’s/54 Below
254 West 54th St.

Go celebrate a true miracle on 54th Street this holiday season! Michael Feinstein, the acclaimed Emmy and Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum-selling entertainer proudly welcomes everyone to the newly-renamed Feinstein’s/54 Below for his annual holiday engagement. The New York Times hailed his show “as much a Christmas season ritual as catching the Rockettes at Radio Music Hall or visiting the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.”

December 29 @ 7:30 pm
Melissa Hamilton and guitarist Nick Moran
Chai Wali in Harlem

December 30 @ 7:00 pm
Shawn Moninger
Because I Can
Opening Act: Nancy Timpanaro-Hogan “The Loudest woman in the world!”
Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd. St. (Between 5th & 6th Avenues)
Reservations: 212-206-0440
Cover is $20.00/2-drink Minimum

After 21 years as the cabaret light and sound guy, ministry was the only place left for Shawn to go. Now it’s ten years later and Shawn is back in the clubs, only now he is making his cabaret debut in front of the lights and he’s got something to say.

Why? Because he can! Join him in this extraordinary comedy event.

December 31 –9 pm til 1 am

JayCee Driesen and Jill Wasserman
Per Un’ Angelo – Italian Restaurant
3275 Byron St.
Wantagh, New York

Bring In 2016 with JayCee and Lydia!! They will be singing and dancing the night away!! Join them for a fantastic night as they bring in the New Year!! Special rates apply for all who see this! Discounted Rooms Are Available at Jones Beach Hotel!! Hotel Rooms need to be reserved ASAP!! Please call for details! You don’t want to miss this night of great food and entertainment!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

December 31 (two sets) and January 1-10 @ 7:00 pm
Marilyn Maye
Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd. St. (Between 5th & 6th Avenues)
Reservations: 212-206-0440

New Year’s Eve 7:30 & 10. All other shows at 7PM: 1/3, 7-10

All shows after New Year’s Eve are By Special Request

With Musical Director Billy Stritch!

New Year’s Eve Early Show is $55.00 plus two drink minimum.
Late show $199.00 (includes open bar and dinner)
All other shows are $45.00 plus two drink minimum.

January 2 @ 7:00 pm
Feinstein’s/54 Below
254 W. 54th St.


Starring Christiane Noll (A Tony nominee and Broadway star of Jekyll & Hyde, Chaplin, Ragtime), Bob Stillman (2-time Tony nominee), Rob Gallagher (Lincoln Center’s South Pacific, Les Misérables), Molly Pope (The Town Hall’s recent Piaf 100th Birthday Concert), Paul Schoeffler (Rock of Ages, Sweet Charity), Oakley Boycott (Broadway by the Year at The Town Hall). And More Stars TBA!

January 3 from 12:30 – 2:30 pm
Everything Old Is New Again LIVE
Hosted by David Kenney
Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd. St. (Between 5th & 6th Avenues)
Reservations: 212-206-0440

A joint venture between David Kenney and Cabaret Scenes, Everything Old Is New Again LIVE kicks off its monthly schedule with this show at the Metropolitan Room, which will be recorded and aired during David’s regular 9 pm – 11 pm slot on his Sunday night broadcast of Everything Old Is New Again on WBAI 99.5 fm and The series continues the first Sunday of each month.

This inaugural show features interviews with and performances by Celia Berk, Barbara Fasano & John di Martino, David Hajdu with Karen Oberlin & Michael Winther, Lina Koutrakos, Marilyn Maye, Craig Pomranz, Daryl Sherman and Billy Stritch. Proceeds benefit Cabaret Scenes.

January 9 @ 1:00 pm
A Very Special Afternoon with Julie Budd (and a very special Surprise Guest)
American Popular Song Society
Local 802 – Musicians’ Hall
322 West 48th St.

January 11 @ 7:00 pm
Barbara Fasano
Busy Being Free
Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd. St. (Between 5th & 6th Avenues)
Cover is $25.00/2-drink minimum

Barbara is loving the music, and having so much fun celebrating the release of her new CD Busy Being Free (which is brilliant, by the way!). Please join her at Metropolitan Room. John di Martino, who did all the brilliant arrangements on the record, will be with her.

January 12 @ 8:30 pm and 11 pm
Stacy Sullivan
315 W 44th St.

Stacy Sullivan, making her Birdland debut, will be performing two sets at 8:30 pm and 11 pm. Starting with It’s a Good Day: A Tribute to Miss Peggy Lee at 8:30 pm and closing with On the Air: Songs for Marian McPartland at 11 pm.

This will be a CD Release Party for her new album Stranger in a Dream on Harbinger Records, with Jon Weber, Steve Doyle, and Troy Fannin.

January 16 @ 4:00 pm
James Rich and Lauren Stanford
Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd. St. (Between 5th & 6th Avenues)

Lauren Stanford and James Rich combine forces for an afternoon of eclectic music. She’ll do a set. He’ll do a set.

$24.00 + 2 drink minimum Reservations highly recommended.
For every reservation purchased at, a portion of the ticket sales goes to the ASPCA

January 16th @ 9 pm
Duchess in Jazz on the Mountain
Mohonk Mountain House
New Paltz, NY


Sure-footed swing, sweet-toned harmony and ever-insouciant charm are embodied in the new Boswell Sisters-inspired jazz vocal trio Duchess, featuring notable New York singers Amy Cervini, Hilary Gardner and Melissa Stylianou. Duchess has quickly gained a reputation for providing tight harmonies and big fun at their shows and they bring their signature blend of the classic and the contemporary to their performance at this year’s Jazz on the Mountain Festival, curated by Michael Bourne of WBGO 88.3 FM.

January 19 @ 7:00 pm
George Bettinger
Friars Club

57 E 55 St.

Comedian, impersonator, radio host and producer: George Bettinger is being inducted into The Friars Club. Dinner is at 6 pm. Induction 8:15. George says that this is a great honor for him. He has been in the industry for 37 years —radio, TV and stage.  Mentored by Joe Franklin and Soupy Sales. George has interviewed Madeline Kahn, Lily Tomlin, Sonny Rollins, Michael Learned, Debra Joe Rupp, Gilbert Gottfried, Dave Konig, Jamie deRoy, Pat Cooper, Richard Skipper, Tom Cotter and many more on his international radio show The Mom & Pop Shop every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on He sends much love out to his Friar sponsors Fran Capo and Nancy Lombardo.

Enjoy the rest of your holidays—savor the warmth and love of the season.

I hope that you will commit to seeing at least THREE of the shows mentioned in the column. Please make one of them someone you have never seen before!

Have something to promote for February? Please send me a 100-word blurb about each event and I will include it in my article for Cabaret Scenes on-line to be published February 1st. Send to by January 27. Please put “February Man About Town” in subject line. Also, if you know of anything else I should promote for February, 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!

Till next time, keep thinking those good thoughts.