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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Exclusive Q&A with Richard Skipper, Part 3

Buddy Beaverhausen: I've come to learn that coming to a show you're promoting is something special.
Richard Skipper: Because I truly believe in my artists. I truly believe that what they're doing is something special. First of all, though, let me put something out there! I cannot guarantee that I can put butts in those seats. Nor can I guarantee I can get my clients major press. And for anyone who promises these two things, my advice is to run in the opposite direction. But what I can promise is that I'm going to work diligently to get those things. If I let my clients down, I feel that it's I who have failed.
BB: You've talked about Hello Dolly, so can we focus now on the show and Ms Channing?
RS: My relationship with Carol fortified during the years she was married to Harry Kullijian. I first met Carol when she was married to Charles Lowe, who was very complimentary to me and my work. He thanked me for being so kind to his wife. Carol always appreciated what I did because I never made fun of her. I never impersonated Carol in a way that would take away from her legacy or fans or her body of work. When she married Harry, my relationship with her solidified because of  her Foundation for the Arts that I believed in and still truly believe in.
   In 2006, I did my first benefit for Carol and continued to perform for Carol -- and as Carol -- until my last performance in 2011. Every single show I did during that time benefited Carol's foundation for the arts. And I served on the board of the foundation.
   Unfortunately, after Harry died, things changed. And Carol is a little more isolated now with the people surrounding her, so I don't speak with Carol as much as I used to. But I truly hope 2015 will be the year, finally, that she gets her Kennedy Center honor.
BB: Yes, I know you've long championed that.
RS: Yes indeed.
BB: What's the one thing that people don't know about you but you wish they did?
RS: That I'm always upbeat! I'm not. You know, I've talked to the greatest artists in show biz from the novices to the stars and we've all suffered the same thing.The insecurities. Will they like me or not like me? There's a lot people don't know about why I'm not performing as Carol any more, and I look forward to the day I can tell the world of this. And it has nothing to do with Ms Channing! But I've moved on because of circumstances I'm dealing with.
BB: What was your favorite interview?
RS: All of them. Maybe you can relate because each one tells such a touching story. I learn about everyone I write about. Certain people jump out for me: Debbie Reynolds, Jerry Herman, Leslie Ann Warren at Barnes & Noble.... All huge thrills for me. The thing that surprises me is how much we all really are at whatever level of success. And, I may be in the minority, but I'm not interested in who they slept with! I'm interested in their work.
BB: So what can we expect of Richard Skipper in 2015?
RS: I'm going to raise the bar. One of the things I want to do is a series (based on my own travails lately) called Show Business Is Not for Artists, about the underbelly of the business and the things artists have had to deal with and their struggles. I've heard, in recent years, of how many artists have had their work pulled from underneath them. I hope to get back to performing more myself, more on-stage interviews, keep my blog going, celebrate the arts, bring it to another level. I want to preserve and keep celebrating our history and legacy.
BB: One last question: When things go negatively for you, how do you turn it into something positive?
RS: My philosophy is you can't shoot a moving target, so I keep moving! I can't sit and wallow in things. I've got a lot on my plate and I only want to move ahead.
BB: Richard, thank you so much.
RS: And thank you!

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