|Celebrating Lisa Dennett|
Happy Sunday, April 2nd!
April 2 is the 92nd day of the year. There are 273 days remaining until the end of the year.
Today's blog is dedicated to Gilbert Baker who created the Rainbow flag. He transitioned earlier this week at the age of 65. That is TOO YOUNG! I'll be 65 in 9 years! I wonder if I'll be able to leave behind as lasting a legacy. Thank you, Gilbert!
I love rainbows and thanks for the color you brought into the world and will always be here as a testament to YOU!
I'm having a rough day here! I just spent a weekend trying to find a photo for a PR firm who has asked someone to write an article about a subject that I have spent the last seven years researching and writing about. I think you can read between the lines. When do I have to stop trying to prove myself and am just that person that people reach out to based on my expertise? That is the question I am asking the universe today! I have a full weekend of music behind me. As I begin today's blog, I am listening to Little Eva singing Do The Locomotion on the 60s channel on Sirius XM Radio.
Yesterday afternoon, I had a rehearsal with Daryl Kokak to go go over my songs for our celebration of Yip Harburg next week. If you are in NY and follow my blogs, I hope you can join us. I would LOVE to see you! Go to RichardSkipper.com and click on the yellow star to order your tickets. It is a MUST! Lots of surprises in store!
I can admit it freely now. Throughout my career, whether in business and in my capacity as a entertainer, one of the most common challenges I face daily is how to engage others to take action. Even when it comes to my blog, I reached out last week with a post on Facebook, that if anyone had something to promote, to please contact me privately, and I would include them in my blog. It is difficult to get people to do something. I find this extremely frustrating. Especially when I really desire to help everyone fill seats for their events.
I sometimes wonder if I communicate well enough or if I motivate enough. I try to not confuse good communication with good motivation. It certainly doesn't mean anyone was motivated to take action from what you said. What exactly do I need to do to motivate more people?
I realize that some people can have a desire to do something and still choose not to do anything.
This blog, I hope, is an effective method in taking mere words and making them more real, or relatable.
Not everyone has the same point of view or shares your values.
People in the arts are diverse and I LOVE sharing their stories and celebrating their body of 'worth'.
It may be difficult for you to relate to others because your own life experiences and factors are so different.
In a perfect world, an entertainer puts on a show, and an audience just shows up.
When an artist's passions align to the needs of an audience member, magic happens.
As Broadway gets 'larger', it becomes difficult to
We have to embrace it all. When we allow our differences to get in the way, people shut down and stop listening.
Do my Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIN, Instagram followers have more things that divide or unite us?
Is everyone aware of the POTENTIAL for commonality?
Passions, along with emotions are factors in how people make decisions to take action.
Emotions influence people to engage and take action.
|with Wendy Lane Bailey and Sally Mayes|
When I interview, I desire that my subjects not be afraid to share their passions and reasons why.
My goal is to be authentic, genuine and take time tell their story.
Today, I find joy in bringing you all together to meet Lisa Dennett.
A born and bred New Yorker, Lisa has always been drawn to the arts.
She has loved the
theater since she was a girl and spent a semester of her senior year year in high school interning
with an off-Broadway theater and arts center.
She has studied art from drawing to painting, continues to take dance classes and recently returned to singing, her first love.Favorite roles include Sarah in Company and Emma Goldman in Ragtime.
|A Star Is Born!|
Lisa is passionate about advocating for all kids having creative arts experiences. She is the founder/executive director of Interactive Drama for Education and Awareness in the Schools(I.D.E.A.S.) which brings improvisation-based programs to youth with disabilities and disadvantaged youth. Lisa also firmly believes that the child inside of all of us should live long and play forever.
A certified American Sign Language interpreter, between performances, readings and workshops Lisa continues to interpret in a variety of settings and often works with Deaf youth.
In her spare time she enjoys baking,white water rafting and cycling to raise money for charities.
She lives with her husband and cat Squeak Pea.
Why Women of Influence?
Since really getting into the cabaret scene - beyond sitting in the audience in adulation of talented performers - I find myself wanting to do a new show every year. If only I had the funds to produce a show every year!
This project is special for me in two completely different ways.
In the ongoing challenge to have women be equal to men in pay and respect I found myself thinking of all the women in my life, those known to me and even those I never met but know through music. I thought ...what a wonderful way to honor some special women and revisit favorite songs. Second, is wanting to make this show accessible to as many people as possible.
This doesn't only mean a reasonable cover charge, but also accessible to people with disabilities.
I have worked with kids and adults with varying disabilities for decades and they are truly an overlooked audience resource as well as a wealth of talent!
My show is fully interpreted in American Sign
Language (yes, many deaf people can and do enjoy music) and features a Deaf performer.
I searched high and low for a fully wheelchair accessible club, but they are very few and far between.
What does fully wheelchair accessible mean? A wheelchair user should be able to get into the club and room with no stairs, via a ramp, elevator, whatever, plus (and this is often the hard part) have a wheelchair accessible bathroom.
|With Karen Mason|
While they do have an ramp for club entrance, unfortunately Don't Tell Mama doesn't have an accessible bathroom, but keeping accessibility in mind for this show has me well prepared for the next one. Progress with each show, I'm good with that.
Finish this sentence: I'm very bad at... schmoozing.
I love to talk to people but I'm not so good at making small talk with people I really should be talking to and connecting with. I'd much rather have a real conversation. I don't think schmooze fests are real talk.
If you could be any person for one day, who would you be and what would you do?
Oh wow, that is an excellent question. One that I actually don't have an answer for.
If you had the opportunity to stand up for the NEA, what would you say?
This I have a lot to say about, not only as a performer but as the founder/director of a small nonprofit theater education company (www.IDEASdrama.org). The NEA is just the beginning. This country already pales by comparison to other civilized countries in it's support of the arts.
For anyone who is in support of dismantling the NEA and support of the arts I say this: Imagine a day, one single day, without ANY art. You'd have to imagine it because it's impossible to avoid. Art is so much a part of our lives. So much so that people don't realize it. So just imagine one day with absolutely no music. No musicals, no cabaret, no concerts, but also no CDs, no downloads, no iTunes. Gone. Imagine no actors. No live theater, no movies, no television, no Netflix. Gone. No dance. There's no music, so those often go hand in hand.
Social function? Hmm... food, tables, chairs, talking, okay, but certainly not the same. Ethnic cultures include the arts. Stripping away arts is stripping away personal heritage. Visual art is ALL AROUND US. Stop where you are an look around.
|Elise May, Lisa Dennett, Dr. Elise Sobol, Ronnie Shuster, Tessa Derfner|
What is it about the business that you think has changed for the better...and for the worst since you began in it?
Well, I've been in and out for decades. I stopped singing for many years and returned. Even acting took a back seat while I nurtured my little nonprofit organization, which includes doing a lot of improvisation.
|12 weeks of drama workshops with youth with visual impairments, ending in a student-generated original theater showcase. Created by. Lisa Dennett|
I think one thing that has changed for the better is how many outlets there are now.
|When you are trying to motivate people to take action, it is important to remember the role that emotions may play.|
You can share music/theater/performance with so many more people than you could reach before. What has changed for the worse? There seems to be more and more emphasis on what success means. If you haven't played at a certain club, if you haven't been on Broadway it's viewed as you're just a hack with a hobby when that isn't the case at all.
How important are the arts to you personally?
Well, I hope that came across in my NEA answer, but the arts are essential to me. I've had my hand in a bit of everything. I studied art as a child, painted until college, dance is still my
preferred exercise and then of course singing and acting, my first loves.
Are you making the kind of art that you envisioned you'd be making?
Oh gosh, sometimes yes and sometimes no. I think my vision has changed and continues to change. I never wanted to do any camera work and now I love television and film work. I'm happy when a new project reveals itself that might not be anything like what I'd envisioned myself doing. That's part of the fun and challenge.
How would you describe the arts scene where you grew up?
Well, believe it or not I'm one of the few performers in NYC that actually grew up here.
|with Liz Callaway|
I don't think I can boil this down to one person.
Do you recall some great parties in real living rooms where people got up and sang and told stories?
Yes, living rooms, bars, songs, stories. I reveal nothing 😉
In cabaret, yes. I like to evoke the feeling of playing in my living room - where of course I've always done my best singing - and the audience are my invited guests. Last year I did a show on my birthday and had mini cupcakes for everyone. That certainly helped create an intimate feel.
What are you most proud of? I'm most proud of I.D.E.A.S. I never had any intention to start a company. I was an artist who saw a lack of creative theater programs offered to kids with disabilities.
So I developed a program. That's all I really wanted, was to do the program. It became clear that do continue to do the program I would have to incorporate and really go full throttle.
Is the company where I want it to be. No, but to have survived for more than 15 years is something to be proud of.
What is the one song that resonates most with you?
Lisa will be debuting an original song in her show called I Want To Sing Like Karen Mason. Karen is not the only singer mentioned, but also Sally Mayes, Wendy Lane Bailey (photo above) and the Callaway (Ann and Liz) sisters.
Well, Lisa, you have resonated with me today! Thank you!!
April 9th at 4:00 Lisa Dennett returns to Don't Tell Mama with Women of Influence, songs and stories for the women of her life. The show is the first of it's kind to be interpreted in Sign Language and feature a guest deaf performer. $15 cover, $10 for MAC members + 2 drink minimum. Make your reservation here for Women of Influence on April 9th!
Would LOVE to see you on Saturday!
|Maureen Kelley Stewart had her own successful show celebrating EY Harburg|
If you’re a star of stage or screen, and you plan on being honored, Richard Skipper is the man you want for the job!-Michael Barberieri, QlifeMagazine.com
Let's Celebrate: Richard Skipper Celebrates E.Y. (YIP) HARBURG ON HIS BIRTHDAY! April 8th at 1PM at The Laurie Beechman Theater.
Russ Woolley proudly presents Richard Skipper Celebrates...EY (YIP) HARBURG ON HIS BIRTHDAY!
Richard will be joined by Karen Oberlin, Leslie Orofino, Maureen Kelley Stewart , a selection from Harlem Repertory Theater's Jazz Production of The Wizard of Oz.. AND...A MYSTERY GUEST
All under the musical Direction of Daryl Kojak with Rex Benincasa on percussion and Jeff Carney on bass.
This is a 1PM SHOW! (90 minutes) At The Laurie Beechman Theater Reservations a Must! Please ReserveToday
Nobody celebrates legends like Richard Skipper.
If one of your faves is being feted, there's nowhere on earth more fun to be. And honestly even if you don't care about the honoree, master showman Richard and his talented crew serve up a fabulously good time. -Ben Rimalower
The interior of the Laurie Beechman Theatre
$30 Cover and $20 Minimum per person
You Never Know Who You Might See There and what might happen!
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 ,
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TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY
Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com