It’s a Carol Celebration as legendary Carol Channing is saluted on her 97th birthday with a variety show hosted by her longtime champion and chum Richard Skipper on the last night of January. Guests performing include Christine Pedi, Diane J. Findlay, Wendy Scherl, Karen Saunders and a special surprise entertainer.
The Laurie Beechman Theatre (Kenny Bell, Producing Artistic Director) and Russ Woolley start the new year with the first of the Richard Skipper Celebrates…series. Musical direction is by Michael Lavine with Rex Benincasa on percussion, Erik Lawrence on sax, and Maryann McSweeney on bass.
The series launched in May of 2016. Since starting it, he’s done tributes to the 53rd anniversary of Hello, Dolly! (last January), birthday celebrations of Liza Minnelli, E.Y. “Yip” Harburg and many others. Richard is artist in residence at The Laurie Beechman and currently booked through June of 2018. He is an entertainer, raconteur, arts advocate and theater historian, conducting over 700 interviews with people in the arts. Recent interviews have included Joyce Bullifant, Kathryn Crosby, Linda Purl, Don Most, Melissa Manchester, Lesley Ann Warren, Loretta Swit, Tippi Hedren, Rich Little and David France, author of How To Survive A Plague, Patty Farmer, author of Starring the Plaza and Playboy Laughs.
Press notes trumpet: “Richard Skipper Celebrates is a talk/variety show that encourages people to celebrate each and every day and each other. This format ensures that every show is different – featuring The Richard Skipper Celebrates band (also new every month). You never know who you might see there and what might happen! Multi-award winning, critically acclaimed Richard Skipper has an almost 40-year career which has taken him from South Carolina to New York to Hollywood and all points in between.”
Here are some quotes about past shows in the ongoing monthly series:
“I had the immense pleasure of performing in Richard’s November 5th show. Richard’s introduction of me was so lush, that I was looking behind myself to see who he was talking about! So, with his wonderful band behind me, I hope that I gave the folks something to ‘write home about’! By the end of the evening, I felt as if I had been missing out on a tradition that is integral to show biz!! Before I could even get through the doors of the theatre, I was warmly greeted by people who had seen me perform in other venues but were ‘fierce cheerleaders’ of the ‘Richard Skipper Celebrates‘ Movement…..yea, I see this as a movement, a wonderful way to keep us ‘Baby Boomers’ connected to iconic shows that set a standard for every show that would come down the pike! Richard’s show took me back to the grand days of variety shows that drew you in and held on to your heart for 60 to 90 minutes every Saturday and Sunday evening. Hey, Richard, I could’ve sworn that I saw Pearl Bailey, Perry Como and Dinah Shore sitting at a table in the back of the room! If you ever need me again, just remember the lyric of that famous Michael Jackson song and ‘just call my name and I’ll be there.” –Denise Spann-Morgan, Brooklyn NY
It’s a joyous holiday time year round when Richard Skipper Celebrates! Mr. Skipper offers his own brand of entertainment creating a warm and fuzzy atmosphere. Richard Skipper Celebrates is a memorable experience you’ll happily want to repeat many times. -Theater Pizzazz
“I had never been to one of Richard’s Celebrates shows, so when he invited me to perform, I didn’t really know what to expect. Wow! It was a great show. It’s not just a show – it’s a production! I had such a nice time, and the audience was having a lot of fun. Richard is a great interviewer and his ability think on his feet, joke, and make the audience feel comfortable is a talent. Congrats!”— Shana Farr, NYC
“A delightful celebration of cabaret, beautiful voices, and Richard Skipper being the ultimate host! Beautifully produced by Russ Woolley. What a wonderful way to share a joy filled 90 minutes!” — Pat Palumbo, Amawalk, NY
“First let me say that Richard Skipper is a phenomenal host and interviewer. I’ve known about Richard for quite a long time as an entertainer, but really not as a host or an interviewer. Thank you for your calmness, your smile and fantastic reporting on such a major star as Melissa [Manchester] and so many others. I cannot wait to see your next show.” — Marvin Nathan
The music charge is $30, plus a $20 food/drink menu minimum. For information, or to order online, click here or call 845-365-0720. The Laurie Beechman Theatre is located at 407 West 42nd Street, NYC. Phone: 212.695.6909