Photo Credit: Takako Suzuki Harkness
Richard Skipper Celebrates…
Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you truly are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.
Happy Monday! It is hard to believe this is my third column for Cabaret Hotspot! I hope you are enjoying to get to know these artists a little better through these columns. How lucky we are in New York City with the opportunities that are available to us every day of the week. If you saw three shows a night, you would still miss someone. My hope is that you get to the end of my articles that you reserve to see their shows and let’s all work to make NYC’s cabarets be at capacity always. Without a weekly recharging, I feel depleted.
Today, I am celebrating Marnie Klar. Her latest outing is a celebration of Bobbie Gentry. I was lucky enough to see this this last week and I highly recommend it.
Marnie Klar is originally from Virginia Beach, VA. She has a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Miami, FL, where she performed in “Into The Woods” [Cinderella], “And The World Goes ‘Round,” “Tartufffe” [Elmire], “Piece of My Heart” [Mary Jo], and “Mame,” directed by the legendary Jerry Herman.
She has been featured as a runway model in New York City and Washington, D.C. for such designers as Max Mara, Fernando Sanchez, Tiffany’s and has appeared in print layouts for such magazines as Seventeen, YM, & Self.
Regional Theatre credits include “Three Tall Women” [B}, “Wild Oates” [Jane], & “A Lie of the Mind” [Lorraine] (Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati), and “Once Upon A Mattress” [Lady Larkin] & “The Wizard of Oz” [Glinda] (The Hurrah Players, in Norfolk, VA.)
New York Theatre credits include “Love Song,” (Seeing Place Theater), Shakespeare’s “Venus and Adonis” [Venus- HERE Arts Center], “Warning Adult Content” [Elizabeth- Shetler Studios, TDG], “Jewel Thieves!” [Lady Lynne Fortescue- Times Square Arts Center], and “Fleet Week: The Musical” [Lucille Lortel Theatre- Fringe NYC ’05 Winner Outstanding Musical].
Marnie is a recurring performer with Vocal Ease, a nonprofit organization that provides entertainment for NYC’s senior citizens, and she recently performed In The Lounge at Dixon Place and at the Cornelia Street Cafe with Vaudevillage.
Shows at Don’t Tell Mama include:
MARNIE KLAR SINGS… (2011) – “A Voice from the Heavens.” Sue Matsuki – Cabaret Hotline Online
ACCIDENTAL HAPPINESS (2013) – “Marnie Klar invigorates cabaret scene… Klar can rock…. a vocal force to be reckoned with…”- Mark Dundas Wood, simplyshowbiz.com /
“An artistically commanding and emotionally potent triumph…Klar performs with fervent commitment, and her smile seems to embrace not only the entire room, but the whole universe.”- Roy Sander, Bistro Awards);
HOME (2014) , TUNED IN (2015) and BEDTIME STORIES (2018 MAC Award Nominee).
When did you realize that you wanted to be a performer and when was the first time you sang and or acted in front of an audience?
I always like to say that I popped out of the womb singing, so I think it was just innate in me from the beginning. Also, since I was a sickly child and had to frequently miss school, I would always use my time at home literally acting out entire movies as I watched them. It seemed pretty clear to me, and my entire family, that this profession chose me. I’ve always felt that I’m just along for the ride. This sounds strange, I’m sure, but I would forget about me and get lost in whatever character I was concentrating on. I couldn’t wait for another sick day. As for my first time performing in front of an audience… (in my opinion) it was a train wreck. My parents found out that my school was going to have a talent show and urged me to sing. I was in the third grade and didn’t know anything about performing, outside of my home, or what was involved. So, I decided to sing, “What I Did For Love” from A CHORUS LINE, a cappella. To the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater (in Virginia Beach). When I finished singing, you could hear a pin drop. There was no clapping or talking or anything (except what I thought was laughter from the other kids). I was devastated. As I said, performing clearly chose me, since I’m still at it.
Which is the most memorable experience you’ve had in your singing/acting career to date?
They’re all so memorable, don’t you think? As of now, I think the most personally special and impactful for me is my cabaret show, ACCIDENTAL HAPPINESS, which was about a near death car accident I had been involved in as a teenager. I had gone through 21 years of never telling a soul of what that had been like. I was able to put it into a show and people heard it and I’ve heard it’s inspired others. That’s important to me. In terms of acting, there are so many… What sticks out in my brain, is understudying… I learn so much by observing. And, seeing what’s really meaningful to others… Otherwise, I was in an outdoor stage production with a horse whom decided to lift his tail and do his business on stage… Does that count?
Take us back a little bit. How did you get involved in your chosen profession; was there a mentor that inspired you the most?
I was actually just asked recently… “Was I ever a basketball player?” The answer to that is YES. And, then, “where?” “In Virginia, where I’m from.” And then I tried to summarize that experience by saying that it, basketball, was something that had become very important to me, and I had thought about developing my skills and pursuing it as a career. And then I was offered (OFFERED!) a lead role in a prominent local theatre company’s (The Hurrah Players, in Norfolk, VA) production of ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, and I had to make a decision. How do you decide between something I ended up excelling at, I guess (basketball), to something I had fantasized about (musical theatre)? I chose theatre. As for a mentor… there have been so many, and I’m so, so grateful. What comes to mind, immediately, is my Cantor, whom I credit with teaching me how to sing, in preparation for my Bat Mitzvah. This man had passion. I didn’t understand, literally, the majority of what he sang, however, I always understood the intent and to whom he sang. It was deeply soulful, and with purpose. Every single time.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever received and from whom?
It keeps coming back from multiple people, starting with my Cantor, to Tanya Moberly, etc… “Keep singing.” Keep being you.”
Have you had any funny or memorable moments on stage?
Back to the horse poo… does that count? Otherwise, I could keep going, believe me! Me, personally? I can’t beat the horse poo….
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Currently, I don’t have much spare time and I’m thrilled. Ideally, reading on
beach is Utopia. Since obviously, that’s not always possible, I really enjoy
connecting with my close friends and family members. And, since it’s football season, yeah, watching football.
When did you realize you had a gift for singing and what were your early influences?
DISNEY! YAY! As I mentioned earlier, I was home sick, all the time, so I would act and sing the entire movie versions of MARY POPPINS, ANNIE, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, PIRATES OF PENZANCE, etc… I would play every role! I can’t be more thankful…
Is there a song, or movie,that really helps you, motivates, you, and, or, transports you?
There are so many… The song, STRONGER, by Kelly Clarkson comes to mind. I originally sang it about my car accident, but I think it applies to so many different contexts.
What was that feeling like the first time you went on stage?
Terrified! It wasn’t my room, where I pretended. The audience really didn’t care about me so much…. Ah, well.
What do you do to keep fit?
I walk everywhere. In NYC. Carrying so much STUFF. 10 months of winter, and
months and months of carrying layers, and stuff. Oh, and I walk really fast.
Are there entertainers that you have performed with that were particularly memorable to work with?
Karen Akers. I haven’t worked with her, yet, but I’m still wishing. She’s one classy lady, and I think she knows how much I adore her.
Anything else you wish included?
I just applaud you, Richard. You are someone so special. And, I’m
thrilled and honored to know you. Thank you, for being YOU.
Thank you, Marnie for being YOU! You can catch Marnie this Friday, Nov 16th at 7pm and Dec 7th at 7pm at Don’t Tell Mama. (343 West 46th Street, NYC)
Now, go out and do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return! Treat them to a Live Show this week! Perhaps Marnie’s!
Mention this article and receive $5.00 off your cover for this show. Tell your server prior to the show.
Next week: Richard Skipper Celebrates Steven Ray Watkins!