Richard Skipper Cabaret Scenes’ Man About Town

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Richard Skipper

Cabaret Scenes’ Man About Town

February 2015

Richard-Skipper-Man-About-Cabaret-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212“I played as hard as I could. That’s all I wanted to be remembered for.” — Larry Bird

Happy February!

I thought I’d start 2016 with a bit of introspection, personal recollections and positive goals moving forward. Wishing you a Happy February with the hope that you will have many blessings in the month to come. This is the shortest month of the year and yet there is so much in this month. It’s my birthday month. It holds Valentine’s Day, it is Black History month, and so much more!

Since my last column, I have seen some great shows! At the end of December, I saw Michael Feinstein at Feinstein’s/54 Below. What a great way to end the year! One of the best shows I saw all of last year and Michael has never sounded better!

A few nights later, I saw Shawn Moninger at the Metropolitan Room with special guest Nancy Timpanaro-Hogan. It was a trip down memory lane. Shawn did my lights and sound at Don’t Tell Mama for years when I was first starting out in the world of cabaret. One of my favorite memories was when I was appearing in Atlantic City and Shawn came to see the show and just being able to spend some quality time together. Shawn left the world of cabaret and became a minister. He also became the life partner of David Friedman and they settled into domestic bliss in Norwalk, Connecticut. Shawn had a desire, however, to be on the boards and he fulfilled that desire in spades at the Metropolitan Room. The venue was packed to capacity with familiar friends and many people that I didn’t even know were there until I saw the posts on Facebook! Shawn was hysterically funny! I had a great time and highly recommend him next time he is around.

On the Saturday after New Year’s Eve, I had my laptop on in the background listening to the “annual” Metropolitan Room Marathon for most of the day. I even stopped by at 6PM for an hour. Bernie Furshpan, proprietor of the Metropolitan, did this last year to get into the Guinness  Book of World Records. It was a great publicity stunt and he succeeded. This year, I was disappointed in many of the choices that I saw perform. That is not to say there were no highlights. There certainly were. Looking forward to what next year brings! I see a lost opportunity here (especially since it is being Livestreamed on Concert Window). Some suggestions: Utilize this time frame to celebrate the BEST that Cabaret has to offer. Devote one hour to the preceding year’s MAC Award winners, the next to the Bistro Award winners, the next hour to the artists that have graced the stages of cabaret over the past 12 months, the next to artists scheduled to perform over the next 12 months. Raise the bar. Unfortunately, many of the artists represented in the marathon were not ready and it did them and all a disservice. Next time, do it by lottery, but have a screening committee and vet the applicants. This could be even greater than what it has become. I say this with respect for all involved. Putting comedians on when there is no one in the room is deadly and comes across as such. With tightening, this could become a bigger and more major event.

The next day, I caught the next-to-last performance of Once Upon a Mattress. I didn’t stop smiling throughout the entire show and I find myself smiling now remembering a perfectly executed production. It was great to see Jackie Hoffman, Lypsinka, Jay Rogers and Jack Donahue (all have graced cabaret stages). All were perfectly cast. This was directed brilliantly by Jack Cummings III  and produced by the Transport Group. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

The month really kicked off with an afternoon with Julie Budd and Bill Boggs at the American Popular Song Society. Not only did Julie wow the crowd with a mini- concert, but, afterwards, she sat down with Bill Boggs for an incredible interview covering her career and process. American Popular Song Society meets on the second Saturday of every month at Musicians Hall, Local 802 and is the best ticket in town. It is only $50.00 for the year (October through June). Otherwise, it is $15.00 per meeting. Next up, I will be interviewing Peter Filichia on February 13th. Please check out American Popular Song Society website for more info.

This has been a strange few weeks dealing with colds and flu and inclement weather, but I did manage to see two great artists back to back. First off, I saw Tommy Tune at the Carlyle. WOW! How lucky to see a master craftsman at work. It was a great night out, albeit a bit pricey! I will say that he was worth every penny. Don’t miss him the next time around.

Next up was Ed Asner’s debut at the Metropolitan Room entitled A Man and His Prostate. The title says it all, but it WAS an entertaining evening and proved, once again, that there are no boundaries in cabaret.  I ended January by seeing Dora Ruben at the Metropolitan.

Skipper’s Suggestions for February

Cabaret Scenes Ltd. has announced the First International Cabaret Festival running from February 17-21. Also announced, The Cabaret Hall of Fame, the brainchild of Bernie Furshpan and Joseph Macchia. The first inductees are Barbara Carroll, Andrea Marcovicci, Marilyn Maye, Steve Ross, Nancy LaMott, Bobby Short, Jan Wallman and Julie Wilson. The opening Gala is February 17 at the Metropolitan Room. Cabaret Scenes’ website has updated its Festival Page with the complete schedule and information on how you can save $5 off the cover for each and every Festival shows you attend! Read all about it…/international-cabaret-festival-…/

February 1 @  7PM

Open Mic
The Harp Raw Bar & Grill
729 3rd Ave, NYC

There is a NEW OPEN MIC in Town (Every other Monday Night).
Normally hosted by Sarah Rice and David Vernon, this night will be hosted by the adorable Sue Matsuki and charming Warren Schein. Matthew Martin Ward will be at the piano and Peggy Eason, the Chocolate Diva, will be featured guest. David and Sarah will return on Feb 15. Go sing a song and have a wonderful meal! Please keep supporting this and tell your friends so they can keep this wonderful possibility going! NO COVER, NO MINIMUM.

February 3 @ 7:00 pm

Gretchen Reinhagen
Reinhagen Redux Recap
Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd. St. (Between 5th & 6th Avenues)
Reservations: 212-206-0440
Cover is $20.00/2 Drink Minimum

SHOW ADDED! Gretchen Reinhagen is taking another visit down memory lane with highlights from shows she has done over the years

February 4 @ 7:00 pm

Jerry Costanzo and His Swing Orchestra
Swing 46 Jazz & Supper Club
349 W. 46th St., NYC

Steeped in the tradition of the great Big Bands, Jerry and his swingin’ pals pay tribute to the Kings of Swing themselves: Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and crooners like Frank Sinatra, Joe Williams, Bobby Darin, Nat King Cole and others. Jerry’s 8-piece ensemble, consisting of 5 smoking horns and 3 driving rhythm will set the stage and carry dancers and listeners back to an era when this sultry and swinging music was the pop of its day.
Swing 46 Jazz and Supper Club offers dining, dancing and cocktails, a dance lesson with a swing DJ in between the 1st and 2nd live band set.
First set: 8:30pm – 9:30pm
Complimentary dance lesson: 9:30pm – 10pm
Second set: 10pm-10:45pm
Third set: 11pm-11:40pm

February 4 @ 6pm

Mary Foster Conklin
315 W. 44th St., NYC

Mary Foster Conklin releases her fourth CD, Photographs. The recording is a smart collection of standards and contemporary tunes by Oscar Brown, Jr., Benny Carter, Lennon and McCartney, Johnny Mandel and Joni Mitchell, with five songs by Beat poet Fran Landesman, best-known for “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most.” Conklin was recently praised by The New York Times as “full of salt and vinegar — with the intensity and tough humor of someone who might have lived on the bohemian fringe in the late ’40s and ’50s, when the word ‘hip’ meant something.”‘

February 6th  @ 7 pm
February 7th at 1 pm (Brunch Show)

Marta Sanders
Follow Me
The Laurie Beechman Theatre
at The West Bank Café
407 W. 42nd Street (Ninth/Tenth Aves) NYC

Tickets for the show are available for $30 (music charge) plus a food & beverage minimum of $20. Buy tickets on line at:
Shake those post holiday blues off with the queen of cabaret, Marta Sanders. Her brand new show, Follow Me, is about travel, movement and transition. Directed by Deborah Zalkind and musical direction by the man himself, John McMahon. You don’t want to miss this.

February 10 @ 8:30 & 10:30

Nicolas King
315 W. 44th St., NYC

Nicolas King returns to the legendary Birdland Jazz Club following his sold-out debut in June! With Billy Stritch on piano, Tom Hubbard on bass and Rick Montalbano on drums. King has appeared in 3 Broadway productions and numerous TV commercials and programs such as The Tonight Show and Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. He is the winner of the 2015 AMG Award for Artist of the Year, 2012 Bistro Award, 2010 Julie Wilson Award. Don’t miss the “precociously polished crooner” (New York Times) in this return concert appearance!

February 12th @5:15PM

The Birdland Big Band
315 W. 44th St., NYC

Musical Director: Tommy Igoe (Guest Conductor, Rob Middleton). Founded by drummer and musical director Tommy Igoe, the Birdland Big Band features the finest musicians in New York! The BBB roars into action every Friday, playing the finest jazz, Latin and Brazilian music from the world’s best arrangers. After work or before a show, drinks or a great dinner, come hear one of the world’s best drummers driving the hardest-swinging band in New York. Experience why the BBB is fast becoming the must-see weekly jazz event in New York and kick off your weekend with what critics are calling “the best live music bargain in all of NYC!”

February 14, 21, 28 @ 6 pm

Carole J. Bufford
315 W. 44th St., NYC

Birdland’s very own jazz quartet hits the stage every Sunday to wrap up the weekend with jazz classics featuring jazz vocalist Carole J. Bufford! “Nurturing young talent, of course, is essential to the genre’s survival. Bufford, a folk-blues singer who delivered strong pop-slanted renditions of Johnny Cash and Bessie Smith songs, suggest[s] that the talent is there waiting to be harvested.” Stephen Holden, The New York Times


February 17-21

Cabaret Scenes International Cabaret Festival
Various clubs and dozens of artists!
Complete details: Click here– international-cabaret-festival-february-17-21-2016-new-york-city/

February 17 & 21 @ 7PM

Kenneth Gartman and Raissa Katona  Bennett
3 Decades in the Dark
The Laurie Beechman Theatre
at The West Bank Café
407 W. 42nd Street (Ninth/Tenth Aves) NYC

MAC members get free admission with the code RKBMAC and you will not be charged the service fee – it will just make your reservation for you.

February 19 @ 7:00 pm

The Dana Lorge Variety Show
Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd St., NYC

Dana’s guests are Frank Basile, Patricia Fitzpatrick, Peter Napolitano, Jared Martin, Rick Crom, and Sarah Peck.

February 20 at 7:30

Hartford Symphony Orchestra and Goodspeed Musicals
The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
Hartford, Connecticut

Hartford Symphony Orchestra and Goodspeed Musicals will join to celebrate 70 years of Tony Award-winning music in a one-night-only concert. Some of the Tony Award-winning productions that will be celebrated in song include Guys and Dolls, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Hello, Dolly!, Spamalot; My Fair Lady, The Wiz, South Pacific, Rent, Les Misérables. Go to for more info.

February 24 @ 7PM

Anita Gillette and Penny Fuller
Sin Twisters, Too!
Feinstein’s/54 Below
254 W. 54th St., NYC

World premiere! Those two multi-award winning Broadway actresses, Anita Gillette and Penny Fuller (often mistaken for each other, although one is a redhead and the other, the blonde, is three inches taller!) are back at Feinstein’s/54 Below armed with MORE adventures from the Golden Age of Broadway: stories and songs of their glories and disappointments, adventures in the land of motherhood, friendship, romance, London (and, of course, a la the show’s title, a juicy spoonerism or two!) Directed by Barry Kleinbort musical direction Paul Greenwood.

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 March? 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 March 1st. Send to by February 27. Please put “March Man About Town” in subject line. Also, if you know of anything else I should promote for March, 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.

Richard Skipper