Richard Skipper as Carol Channing in Concert

Posted By Brie Austin In Category: On Stage , Reviews

The off-Broadway St. Luke’s theater on West 46th Street is small and cozy; which makes it the perfect venue for Richard Skipper as “Carol Channing” in Concert. The one-“woman” show seems almost as though Carol were improving in your living room.  With a big smile, the flutter of eyelashes, and an innocent roll of the wide child-like eyes, as well as “Carol’s” continued astonishment and deep appreciation of the audience’s reactions, Skipper presents a Carol that is truly endearing and delightful; you’re drawn in from the opening moment and deeply entertained until the last. Great fun!

The stage is sparse, containing only six blown-up portraits of Carol from her more famous roles in the shows Thoroughly Modern Millie, Gentleman Prefer Blondes, and Hello Dolly. And when one of the portraits falls, Skipper never misses a beat: picks it up, stands behind it — with his head resting atop – and continues the show, until,  as if in second thought, tosses it off stage with a punch line.

Mixing comedy, song, audience interaction and interesting facts and stories about Carol’s life and career, the show is well paced.

Skipper steps into the spotlight in a long red sequined dress; mountainous rock formations adorn her fingers, bright red lipstick her lips, and that ever-famous blonde bob haircut atop his head.

Skipper is accompanied by the Mark Fisher orchestra, as he refers to them, and sings Carol’s classics: Before the Parade Passes By, Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, Hello Dolly and others — with sass, power and believability. Other showstoppers from shows Carol could easily have performed in given the chance include Broadway Baby, and the cynical Widows’ Weeds, which Skipper revives several times throughout the night; always pausing to ask “are you getting the gist of this Craigie?”

Skipper has great vocal range and stage power, but delivers a raspy-big-vowel vocal styling that is undeniably Carol, and spot-on.  But more than that, Skipper embodies Carol Channing the women, with great comedic timing and an authentic presence that reveals the inner Carol; the little girl who worshipped the stage, and seemed fascinated and grateful each time she stepped onto it.   Her love and respect for the stage and the audience is as apparent as Skipper’s love and respect for Channing.

The effortless, playful interaction with the crowd through the show speaks to Skipper’s seasoned skill as a professional, and by the end of Richard Skipper as “Carol Channing” in Concert you can’t help but feel a deep affection for Richard Skipper and Carol Channing.   It’s no wonder that Carol was quoted saying that Skipper’s portrayal is “the first time ever I have been shown with such love, respect and polish.”

Richard Skipper as “Carol Channing” in Concert is a pure delight!

NOTE: A portion of the proceeds of Richard Skipper as “Channing” in Concert will benefit The Dr. Carol Channing & Harry Kullijian Foundation for The Arts.

Richard Skipper as Carol Channing in Concert
Presented by The Camelback Kid with Elegant Diamond Productions and Edmund Gaynes
Directed by Mark Robert Gordon

Cast: Richard Skipper
Production manager: Josh Iocovelli
Musical director: John Fischer, Jeff Carney on bass, Steve Bartosik on drums
Running Time: 90 minutes. No intermission
St. Luke’s Theater, 308 W. 46 St.
Tickets: $41.50 to $66.50. (with Premium Seats at $76.50). Available at www.Telecharge.com or by calling 212-239-6200. For more information, visit www.AsCarol.com.
Performances: Every Wed. at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM. Special added performances Monday & Tuesday January 10th & 11th (7pm).
From 12/22/10. Opens 1/12/11. Open ended.

(PUBLISHED in NY Times 2011, others 2011)

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About Brie Austin

Co-author of I'd Do It Again, he is a columnist/reporter for a variety of magazines in the areas of music, lifestyle, nightlife, travel and business. He also writes business documents and creates copy for websites.

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