Applause, Applause review (Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens)
Nowadays, there is only one Carol Channing and his name is Richard Skipper! Mr. Skipper's latest show, "An Evening with Carol Channing," enhances our understanding and respect for the life and artistic accomplishments of Ms. Channing and, at the same time, provides audience members with a thoroughly enjoyable evening of entertainment.
After seeing Richard Skipper perform as "Carol" at NYC's Regents, Ms. Channing said, "(this is) the first time EVER I have been shown with such love, respect and polish." Richard Skipper's flattering, dead-on impersonation of Carol Channing has earned him a Leonardo da Vinci Award for Best Impersonation for his performance in "Carol's Channing's Broadway" (1997), a Backstage Bistro Award for Outstanding Impersonation (1998), and a long overdue MAC Award for OUTSTANDING Achievement in Impersonation (2000). There is no doubt in my mind that Richard Skipper is well on the way to international recognition and acclaim.
While Mr. Skipper provides necessary biographical information about Ms. Channing in his patter, he also sings many of the popular songs which have become associated with her such as "Elegance," "I Put My Hand In," "Before the Parade Passes By," Hello, Dolly!," and "It Only Takes a Moment" (Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman) from Hello, Dolly! and "Little Girl from Little Rock" and Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" (Music by Jule Styne, Lyrics by Leo Robin) from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. David K. Maiocco did an extraordinary job as Musical Director and Thomas Morrissey did exceptional work as Director/Choreographer. Shannon Denise Evans is given credit as Co-Choreographer and Jeff Matson is noted for having contributed Special Material.
One of the aspects of this show which made it special was the presence of two back-up dancers who added a touch of class to the show. Luke Rawlings, a former elite level gymnast from Memphis, is an extremely talented, charismatic performer who is destined to make his mark in the entertainment world. Jon Kowalski, a recent graduate of Vanderbilt University, has a winning smile and a stage presence that guarantees he is Broadway Bound. Together, these dapper dancers lit up the stage and added to the illusion that Richard Skipper works so hard to create.
Near the end of thee show, Richard Skipper was presented a Mikey Award in the category of Best Drag Impersonator for his performance at the Ice Palace in Cherry Grove, Fire Island., While it's always nice to receive another award in recognition of your talent, I really believe that Richard Skipper's impersonation of Carol Channing has risen above what traditionally has been categorized as drag. Mr. Skipper's dynamic celebrity impersonation of Carol Channing does not involve any of the over-the-top elements present in a drag performance. In fact, I have brought a number of guests with me to see Richard Skipper who actually thought he was Carol Channing. That mistake could never occur is he were simply doing drag. For more information about Richard Skipper, check out his website as www.RichardSkipper.com.