RICHARD SKIPPER
An Evening With Carol Channing
w/ Luke Rawlings & Jon Kowalski
& Mark Hartman, piano
Don't Tell Mama's
August 18, 2000

By Michael Nelsen, mnmusic@webtv.net

    Well this show may have cured Irv from sitting "front & center"... at least at anything which involves audience participation. Sitting at Miss Channing's feet, he became a main focus during this delightful show. He may not have left with "diamonds" but he left with a rose and a smile. This is a show where audience interaction is paramount to its success. Mr Skipper's Channing has the great ability to reach into, quite literally, the audience and make them part of the evenings fun. Answering questions (ie. "Have you ever performed with Judy Garland?" : answer: "The next best thing...Tommy Femia.", meddling (oops, mean "matchmaking") with audience members and bring them on stage to sing & dance with her & the boys, are all part of the ability to end up with them in the palm of her hand.
    All the great Channing songs are there (although I would love to hear SHOWGIRL's It a Damn Nice Funeral), along with her quick, wicked timing for a well place remark or that look... "what could I have said that you laugh like that?", all the while knowing exactly what was said, or at least implied. Whether talking to audience from the stage, going into the audience or bringing members of the audience onto the stage, Ms Channing has an unfailing sense of what to say or do at any moment.
    Backed by two quite charming and handsome dancers, Luke & Jon and a teacher from the audience named Matthew (sounds all rather Biblical, doesn't it?), Ms Channing certainly fills the stage at Mama's. And before "The Parade Passes By", I suggest you see this high-spirited show...August 25, Sept 1, 22 & 29.