By Sandi Durell
It’s a joyous holiday time year round when Richard Skipper Celebrates! His successful monthly series at the Laurie Beechman Theatre has come to be known as a gathering for some of cabaret’s most enjoyable and talented artists and always with a special guest star. What a perfect time to feature Kathryn Crosby, the wife of the iconic Bing Crosby who could easily be called Mr. Christmas!
The celebration, that took place on December 3 at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, was a combination of performance and talk as the lively and effervescent Mr. Skipper offers his own brand of entertainment, so succinctly stated in “We Need a Little Christmas” and a very poignant “Almost Young” (written for Angela Lansbury), creating a warm and fuzzy atmosphere (while the audience enjoyed a delicious brunch menu). This December show, presented by Russ Woolley, began with film clips of all the heart-warming Holiday television and films that bring back memories of our youth and easier days . . . performances by Bing and Judy, Dean, Frank and Andy . . . with film clips of the lovely Kathryn Crosby.
The mix of talent featured Bobby Belfry (a new dad) with perfectly chosen songs “Be Careful It’s My Heart” and David Friedman’s moving ballad “Just in Time for Christmas.”
A very 40s styled Ann Kittredge (wearing her mother’s 65 year old dress, in which she looked stunning) offered “Love You Didn’t Do Right By Me,” joined by cabaret’s favorite booking manager and singer Sidney Myer in Irving Berlin’s “Snow,” followed by Ann’s rendition of the original lyrics called “Free” – written for but cut from Call Me Madam.
Sidney then took charge of the stage saying he’d be happy to continue being part of any Richard Skipper show and giving the answer to why he’s so loved! “I continue to love what I do.” His rendition of what life is all about came wrapped in a joyous and tearful package of “This Moment” followed by the upbeat “I May Never Go Home Anymore.”
Let me not forget that between songs, Richard Skipper sits down with each guest to chat, ask questions and learn more about recollections and backstories.
Next up was Deborah Stone whose cabaret show, called ‘Siren Song,’ provided a glimpse with “Santa Baby” and “You’ll Never Get Away From Me.”
Then it was time for the very charming and good-humored special guest Kathryn Crosby to be introduced, she at the youthful age of 84, having recorded her first CDs at age 83 and to hear her sweetly sing “Holly Jolly Christmas,” and chat with Richard about Bing, her family and Irving Berlin who wrote “White Christmas” for Bing Crosby in 1942, which she then sang. It was all so very delicious taking this step back in time to so many wonderful memories.
The fabulous band included Tracy Stark on piano, Donn Kelly, percussion, Matt Scharfglass, bass, and Erik Lawrence on sax.
Richard Skipper Celebrates is a memorable experience you’ll happily want to repeat many times.
Mark January 31, 2018 at 8 pm on your calendars when Richard Skipper Celebrates Carol Channing’s 97th Birthday with Diane J. Findlay, Wendy Scherl, Christine Pedi, Stephanie Umoh, all under the musical direction of Michael Lavine with Rex Benincasa on percussion, Erik Lawrence on sax and Maryann McSweeney on bass and a surprise guest!
Photos: Michael Stever