The Siegels' Nightlife Notes
Jun 13, 2003

    Celebrity impersonation is an art form unto itself. It isn't enough to look and sound like the person you're aping, and even if you've got every mannerism and tic of the celebrity down pat, that doesn't necessarily make it art. It's only when an impersonator puts the whole package together and gives it his or her own spin that the comically cracked mirror image has a reason to exist. Fortunately, cabaret has a glittering galaxy of artists; they are among the most consistently successful entertainers in our world. Among the very best of them is Richard Skipper, who has been having marvelous fun as Carol Channing for years.

    Skipper's new show on Monday nights at The Duplex has been extended through the end of June. His shows are significantly different from one another because he interacts with the audience so often and so effectively. It's a high-wire act, but Skipper is incredibly fast on his feet (even in heels) and, in our experience, he always gets laughs. In fact, we like him best when he kids with the audience; Carol herself was no great shakes as a singer, so hearing Skipper perform her musical theater hits, while nostalgic and amusing, doesn't quite match his real gift of taking Channing's madcap personality to a loveable extreme. That he slants his show heavily toward comedy and less so toward music suggests he has properly calculated what works and what doesn't in this show. He also brings on talented special guests (the night we were there, Audrey Lavine and Scott Coulter performed).

Skipper puts on a generous show. About 90 minutes. Chances are you'll love every single one of those minutes.