Written by Jan Wallman
Carol Channing in Concert
Starring Richard Skipper
The Wings Theatre
Richard Skipper IS Carol Channing. HE REALLY IS! At least for the amount of time he is on stage dressed and made up as his alter ego, he can convince me. I BELIEVE, TOTALLY. I’m sure I’m in the presence of this great lady and you can’t tell me I’m wrong. What a show! On the quite workable stage of the 99 seat Wings Theatre, a small comfortable Off-Off Broadway house, with no scenery except for some artfully arranged flats with larger than life photos of the Diva in the varied productions in which she appeared over the years of her long and successful career on Broadway.
Mr. Skipper cavorted, pranced, played with the audience and sang her songs with his estimable on stage band and his knock-out Trio of singing/dancing adorable chorus boys, as he respectfully delineated the star he idolizes. I have never before seen a female impersonator as warm and lovable. Richard Skipper has successfully played many cabaret rooms as Miss. Channing and he has also emceed countless benefits as his second self. I have been privileged to enjoy his work in several guises. This theatre production is a step up from the more intimate cabaret rooms, but it should move on from the minuscule Wings to a larger house. I am sure that with more promotion, it could easily fill a larger venue. Even with the difficulty of making phone reservations at the Wings and some problems just trying to get into the building at show time, Skipper managed several sold-out nights. The word of mouth was amazing. Not one, but three friends called to urge me to go see the show, and I heard talk about it and raves all over the place. By the time you read this review, “Carol Channing in Concert Starring Richard Skipper” will have closed, but watch for it to show up somewhere else. I would hope soon, and in a larger theatre with the same band and the same cast and crew. Miles Phillips directed smartly with Paul L. Johnson as musical director with his fine Trio (Chris Clement, percussion and Brian Grochowski, bass). Kudos to choreographer Tracy Wilson and scenic and lighting designer Wheeler Kincaid. The aforementioned boys were a great addition. I loved all three of them, Rocco Larrico, Michael Hopewell and Kristopher Monroe. They are definite keepers. In fact, the whole production is a keeper. I could see it over and over again.