ROBYN: How Did You Get Into "The Biz"?
CLIFFORD: I guess in was "born in". My father was a symphony conductor and my mother was a cellist. I've been in the life of "The Show Business" as Katey Sagal calls in, from childhood. More specifically, I consider that my actual professional, make-a-living career began when my friend Lara Teeter asked me to help him direct a Cabaret show called "An Off-Broadway Cabaret" built around Bonnie Franklin, Gary Sandy, Teri Ralston, and Byron Nease, with Shelly Markham as the Musical Director. We did about five back to back successful concert and cabaret projects together in a row, and then I was "on the map".
R: Who Were Your Greatest Inspirations?
C: I can hear the snickering now....Barbra, of course. (I produce an annual Birthday party for her...She hasn't come yet...but there's always the next one). Peter Allen...the only man who I ever saw myself in. I began in the biz as a singer myself, doing that kind of a club show...and I loooved Peter.
R: Worst Audition Experience?
C: I haven't really auditioned that much. For better or worse, I learned early in the game, that for what I did and what I wanted to do, I would have to produce things myself...and I almost always have.
R: What Song Is Your "Guilty Pleasure"?
C: One of my favorite songs that I hate myself for loving so much is "50 Percent" from "Ballroom". On a personal level, I think the character's decision is so unhealthy, but I think the song is brilliant.
R: I agree. What is Your Anthem Song?
C: It's been "You And I" by Lesie Bricusse since I began singing more than 30 years ago and I've always ended every show I performed in with it, but these days, I guess it would have to be "Here's To Life"....
R: "Must Haves" Backstage:
C: You can usually find me slugging back diet Dr. Pepper.
R: What One Sentence of Advice Can You Give to Industry Beginners?
C: To this day, the best advice I ever got was "Do three things a day for your career". At the beginning, that was sort of an academic exercise....make that difficult call, do research on that project, prepare yourself in some way.....but after practicing that religiously for decades now, most everything I do in a day feeds directly into my career...It's a discipline I am extremely grateful for and has served me well.
R: What Has Been Your Favorite Moment on Stage?
C: I love singing "Here's To Life" . I gave up my singing for about 25 years and became a producer and director....which I am very happy about and very comfortable with . My main career is as a director and I love being a "behind the scenes" person helping to make other people's art come to life... But around ten years ago, I realized that I had cut a part off of myself that I was missing on a very deep level, so I began, just for my own amusement to sing in small groups with friends and eventually, I've sort of incorporated it into my smaller, more personal club shows....Whenever I get to sing "Here's To Life" I feel like the final scene in the movie "The Idolmaker".....A guy that had the successes and frustrations of helping everyone else fulfill their dreams but felt empty about it....Allowing myself to sing a bit here and there changed that for me completely and has been a very happy evolution in my story.
Producer/Director Clifford Bell (www.Cabarabia.com) hosts this eclectic variety evening with appearances by acclaimed Jazz singer Lauren White (www.laurenwhitejazz.com) & Quinn Johnson (Steve Tyrell's Musical Director - www.quinnjmusic.com) and theater veterans Lois Bourgon (www.loisbourgon.com) and Hillary Turk. Also featuring Tim Moore, who heads the up San Diego Association of Cabaret and Clubs. This event is a benefit for the upcoming 2015 San Diego Cabaret Awards. The Sand Diego Association of Cabaret and Clubs is fiscally sponsored by the Actors Alliance of San Diego.I'm a paragraph. For more information and tickets to the Sunday, August 3 show: