Hooray For Barbara Clippinger!
By Tod Jonson
Having a “star-quality” is not new to Barbara Clippinger-Morison, creator of LLT’s overwhelmingly popular and brilliantly executed musical, Hooray for Hollywood. In the show, those auditioning learn to sing, dance and sparkle, performing the wonderful music from the Golden Age of Hollywood, and specifically the fabulous songs that never won an award or were even nominated, a clever premise that Barbara developed for the show, based on a specialty song written for Sammy Davis Jr. and Steve Lawrence,
Barbara began her dancing career at the age of four when a doctor recommended ballet classes because her ankles were so weak she kept falling down and had difficulty walking.
At age 13 she landed her first professional job dancing in grandstand shows at State Fairs throughout the United States and Canada. A few years later after a summer of dancing at Kansas City’s Starlight Theatre, the choreographer took her aside and said “Honey, you should go to NY…..you could be a working dancer.”
Her first audition in NY resulted in her joining the Valerie Camille Dancers, a group of six dancers that performed in clubs, auditoriums, and stadiums all over Europe and South America. Returning to the Big Apple, she was hired to perform in Golden Boy on Broadway for two years with Sammy Davis Jr. When the show was about to close, she became a dancing member of the great June TaylorDancers on “The Jackie Gleason Show.” NYC was the center of big stuff at that time pumping out weekly the”Colgate Comedy Hour” and “The Ed Sullivan Show,” TV shows that were fun dance jobs for Barbara. The famous Latin Quarter in NYC nabbed her as the assistant choreographer to Ron Lewis. They also did the choreography for the Dunes and Riviera Hotels in Las Vegas and nightclub acts for Debbie Reynolds and Lisa Minnelli.
As a single parent of two wonderful boys, it wasn’t long before she learned that show business is not a very stable career, so Barb earned a Master’s Degree in Psychology and with the growing awareness of domestic violence, spoke to the public, educating lawyers, law enforcement officials, doctors and teachers about spousal abuse. She developed programs for battered women, runaway kids, and homeless men and women that were used in shelters throughout the United States.
Barbara moved to Ajijic, Mexico in 1996 and fell in love with this “wonderful little fishing village.” She has been the President of LLT and a Board member for seven years. Barbara was also President of CASA (Culinary Art Society of Ajijic) for three years, and was co-writer of the Lakeside Living column for the Ojo del Lago for several months. For a couple of years, she MC’d the Red Cross Fashion Shows as well as sitting on several committees for Ninos Incapacitados “Dinner/ Auction Fund Raisers.” Last year, Barbara wrote, produced, and directed A Taste of Tin Pan Alley plus two shows starring her husband Mac Morison, Come Fly with Me and Let’s Do itAgain, which donated a total of $100,000 pesos to the Tepehua Community Center and the Ajijic Fire Department. To date she has directed and/or choreographed 19 shows for LLT, beginning with the first big musical ever done at Lakeside The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Starting out as a little girl with weak ankles, she has done remarkably well in overcoming her handicap.
So stand up on those “weak” ankles and take a bow, Barbara Clippinger-Morison! You done good, girl!
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