Channeling Channing,
Richard Skipper Hosts Singers
in Marriage Equality Show

by Bruce-Michael Gelbert

    With a sparkling Carol Channing, dazzlingly impersonated by Richard Skipper, as our MC, a group of Cherry Grove performers, almost all of us singing in our own voices, kicked off the Grove Hotel's second annual Marriage Equality weekend with a program of love songs, at the Ice Palace, on June 15. The weekend benefited statewide coalition Marriage Equality New York, which is fighting for the right of gays to marry legally.

    With tireless John Bowen at the keyboard for the full evening, Channing / Skipper contributed favorite signature tunes "I Put My Hand In," from "Hello, Dolly," and "Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend," from "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," and sounded uncannily like the ageless Broadway diva.

    Young Brian, from the Ice Palace, made a Cherry Grove stage debut with a sweetly sung "I Don't Know How to Love Him," from "Jesus Christ Superstar." Red-hot mama Mistress Sharon was on hand for a no-less dulcet "Endless Love." Dressed in full leather, I tried my hand at S&M love song "So in Love," from "Kiss Me Kate."

    Popular Grove couple Peter Turchiano and Craig Tessler endeared themselves anew with "There Won't Be Trumpets, " from "Anyone Can Whistle" (Peter), "A Quiet Place" (Craig), and "I'll Know," from "Guys and Dolls" (duet). Bay Leaf's Sean Thomas caressingly limned his love in "I Chose Right," from "Baby." Miss Grove Hotel Ariel Sinclair poured out her heart in a tale of tragic love in "Vienna."

    On hand from Marriage Equality were James Loney, who spoke about its mission, and singers Jan Thomson, offering a moving "Love for Sale," and Patrick O'Hare. Thanks go to Isaac Steven Vaughan and Sal Piro for welcoming us all to the Grove Hotel for the occasion.

    FireIslandQNews: BMG MarriageEquality Show pics 6.15.01 and FireIslandQNews: BMG MarriageEquality show story 6.15.01 are links to the pictures and the story.