Happy Friday everyone!
It's exactly a week away from the next Spotlight On YOU Open Mic featuring the wonderfully supportive, warm and talented Kevin Scott Hall and the MAC Award Winning Ricky Ritzel! Speaking of Ricky, I am honored to have the opportunity to share my interview with him!
For those of you who don't know Ricky, here is a little bio to get you started:
RICKY RITZEL has been a fixture on the nightclub and cabaret scene in NYC for over 35 years and, as Will Friedwald in the Wall Street Journal said, 'He is the embodiment of the tradition.' Ricky was recently named one of the 50 Most Influential People in Cabaret by Nightlife Exchange. His latest venture, RICKY RITZEL'S BROADWAY, received the 2016, 2017 & 2018 MAC Award for Outstanding Recurring Series. He debuted his show, 'Ricky Ritzel Sings Elaine Stritch' at 54 Below and has received most Cabaret awards including 18 Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs Awards in 10 different categories. Ricky was named Outstanding Person in the Arts in New Jersey by State Senator, Brian Stack and has performed all over the United States as well as London and Paris. An accomplished solo performer, Ricky has also accompanied such greats as Vivian Blaine, Ruth Warrick, Arthur Prysock, Varla Jean Merman, Julie Wilson, Lenora Nemetz , Nanette Fabray and Miss Coco. Ricky was featured musician/sidekick on MTV's '15 Minutes with Andy Warhol', Sandra Bernhard's Radio Show on SIRIUS Satellite network and was musical director for the Sally Rand Tribute at Town Hall featuring Bebe Neuwirth, Donna McKechnie, Julie Wilson, Carleton Carpenter, Marge Champion, Karen Mason and directed by Tony Stevens. With famed Chicago jazz vocalist Spider Saloff, Ricky created several award winning revues such as "1938", which was recorded on the Kopathetics label, "Porgy & Bess: a Cabaret Concert" and "Ira and Others".His performance as Jimmy Durante in "Schnozzola!" earned him critical raves and numerous awards. Ricky is half of the kooky "Lounge does Top 40" duo, THE LOUNGEOLEERS with 5 CD's on the Emenar label. As an actor he trained at Point Park University & the Pittsburgh Playhouse. His roles include Snug in 'A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, Third Priest in 'MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL', Dr. Rance in WHAT THE BUTLER SAW', Jonathan in 'OH DAD POOR DAD .. .' and various roles in 'HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN FILM' He can also be seen as SCARY MAN who comes on to Christian Campbell in the film"TRICK". Ricky has been seen in Las Vegas as Jimmy Durante in"Stop the Music!' with Sharon McNight as Sophie Tucker and toured with Leslie Anderson for 5 years performing every known work they could find by Johnny Mercer in 4 different revues. He is also proud to have served as the first Artistic Director for cabaret at the premiere season of the Gettysburg Festival , is on the Advisory Board of Directors for the Manhattan Association of Cabarets, of which he was President from 2006- 2009 and is on faculty at Manhattan Cabaret Arts. From 2008-2010, Ricky was performing in Key West at the Keys Piano Bar and as pianist/'straight man' for Madame and her dear friend, Rick Skye. In January 2015 he entered the Guinness Book of World's Records by being featured in the World's Longest Variety Show at the Metropolitan Room, New York City.
I am not sure when I first met Ricky but he has a way of embracing people in a warm and happy way!
For my interview, here are the questions I asked Ricky:
1) Can you share with us a couple of interesting facts that most people don’t know about you?
I worked at an amusement park in summers during high school and I'm a whiz at Skeeball!
I'm also a pretty good chef!
2) You are a wonderful musical director, arranger, and producer of shows. What started your passion for music? How did it all begin?
When I was very little, my parents were watching the Lawrence Welk Show. The piano player came on and I said "I want to do that!".
3 ) What motivates your creativity and passion for life? What inspires your music? Name three things that never fails to put a smile on your face!
I have to create something every day. I could be as simple as a playlist on iTunes.
3 things that make me smile?
My partner, Ted, our dog, Zellie & a crowded kitchen at dinner.
4) Share with us what you have in the pipeline for us to be on the lookout for!
Ricky Ritzel's Broadway almost every month at Don't Tell Mama!
There are a lot more about Ricky that you want to come and find out for yourself next Friday! BRING YOUR FAVORITE TUNE AND GET READY TO JAM WITH RICKY
ALSO YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A RAFFLE FOR A FREE PHOTOSHOOT!!! PICK A SONG, BRING YOUR FRIENDS AND SEE YOU FRIDAY, AUGUST 17TH AT THE SPOTLIGHT!!