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The Shows


Back in the winter of 1998, I was quietly sitting in my office at the Chalfonte and I got a call from Jilline. She said, "Deb, I have an idea for a show." (I would later find out that it came to her in a dream...) Anyway, I thought: Of course you do! She proceeded to describe how much she missed her late mother Carol, and the things her mother brought her up to cherish and value, and how she thought she should do a show as a tribute to her. I thought: Of course you should!

She went on to describe the kind of repertoire she was planning, the set (her mother's kitchen, 1950's) and then she said, "And I'm going to cook. On stage."

The little voice inside my P.R. brain, always poised for crisis management said: "Danger, Danger! Crowded room! Boiling things! Fire hazard!" But I answered slowly. "Cook, you say? Like COOK cook?" "Yes" she said, "I want to cook pasta and fresh sauce in my stage kitchen, sing and tell stories about love and family and food and then serve it to the audience at the end. In little bowls."

Mondo Mangia evolved into a phenomenon. The show premiered in Cape May and ran there 3 more times, always to sold out audiences. She launched it in Philadelphia, at the City Theater in Pittsburgh, once in Hartford, CT and in Atlantic City as well. Much to the nation's chagrin, Jilline retired the show this fall with 1812 Productions.

She could be singing "Volare" or "Come On 'a My House" or two dozen other songs about food, love, family and memories. "MONDO MANGIA" struck the hearts of thousands of audience members, some returning 5 and 10 times to see the show. My favorite moment was when the lights went low and Jilline described the relationship between aromas and memory. Then she would sing "Sweet Kentucky Ham" and when she finished, all I wanted to do was call my Mom and Dad. Another great moment in performance history was Jilline singing "Sick O' Chicken" an anti-anthem about our collective obsession with low calorie, low-fat, low-flavor food. Seeing Jilline's six foot frame doing rap (and choreography) with a rubber chicken was about as good as it got. The song was written by Philadelphia songwriter Kathy McMearty, a mutual friend of Jilline's and mine.

LA DOLCE VITA: Movie Songs of the 1960's

LDV was Jilline's oldest concept cabaret, and her collaborator and sometimes accompanist, Michael Ogborn wrought an outrageous show. She performed LDV for two seasons at the Chalfonte, as well as at the City Theatre in Pittsburgh, from whence the "On Vixen" billboard (and Christmas card) came. Not only did Ringle perform “La Dolce Vita” to sold-out houses in Pittsburgh, her show had the highest attendance in City Theatre’s 27 year history.Translated “the sweet life” — LDV was Jilline’s cabaret tribute to the pop music theme songs of the 1960’s — her valentine to the “overripe” song of the 60’s era, a period for which Ringle had great fondness. The music is just one of the inspirations for why Ringle was drawn to create this cabaret with longtime collaborator, Michael Ogborn. “Really, I wanted to revisit those fabulous 60’s fashions so near and dear to my heart. The whole world changed in that decade, and film was and is the medium through which we explore our desires as a culture.”

“LDV” (la Dolce Vita) begans with Jilline in an “LBD” (little black dress) singing the themes from such film classics as A Man and a Woman, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Never on Sunday. Then right there on stage, artfully hidden by a folding screen, Ringle changed into a brightly colored capri pantset to sing and banter her way through other 60’s movie nuggets like the popular 60’s beach flicks and onto the sensational steam created by the Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton films. Ringle’s commentary is educated and pure genius; so is her song delivery, making “La Dolce Vita” more than a musical revue of the time.

The mood shifted (as did the fashion), and before you knew it, another costume change was upon you. Even behind the screen, Jilline entertained the audience with a recital of perhaps every Greek name she knows or some other rant, relevant to the always brilliant structure of Ringle’s cabarets. The evolution from capri set to high hair and go-go boots was perhaps the most captivating transformation, and the audience was treated to songs from The Thomas Crown Affair and an obvious segue to a song from, (in case you couldn’t guess) Jungle Book. Ringle’s skill in weaving an accurate picture of this wild decade with storytelling, wit, physical comedy, tenderness and intelligence was legendary. As for the decade of social contradictions, she’ll tell you, “If you remember the 60’s, you weren’t there.”

LDV proved to be a perfect showcase for Jilline's high-octane and versatile (and at times, fall-over funny) delivery of everything from “Alfie” to “What’s New Pussycat?” Noted Ringle, “’La Dolce Vita’ is a fond earful of 60’s cinema songs as goofy and contradictory as the decade itself!”


Jilline was the East Coast's favorite cabaret diva and when she premiered "Come Fly With Me" at The Chalfonte Hotel in 2001, we were reminded of just what a genius she was. This is possibly (in my opinion) her tour de force. It's my personal favorite show because she never failed to make me laugh, cry AND snort. And she was physically brave and sexy and adorable as hell.

“Come Fly With Me” wass her fastest and funniest creation. She was costumed in full “friendly skies wear” employed by Derri Air, and Jilline made a musical trek around the world. She covered 50 countries on 4 continents with familiar, delightful tunes, rendered with props and Ringle’s well-known stage antics, accents, irreverence and sweetness. Upon landing in Cape May, Ringle, with batting lashes and sultry smile, would say, “Coffee, Tea, or ME!?” She sang in Russian, German, Belgian, Norwegian, Japanese, Spanish, and that didn't count the 50 or so dialects in which she dabbled.

“Come Fly With Me” was fast-paced, breathless and intelligent and there was no time to taxi down the runway when Ringle got started on her travels. Ringle took her audience in song to “Siberia”, “Faraway Places”, and spent “Midnight at the Oasis.” The show’s repertoire was boundless and she was co-piloted by Musical Director Owen Robbins who, as destinations changed, so did his hats. Seeing Owen Robbins in a Fez was something to behold. He also lent harmonies and sideman humor to the show. Philadelphian Robbins is a master pianist, and blended a vast array of “destination” songs with international style. As they circumnavigated the globe, Ringle declared, “Everybody’s ethnic in this show, and audience participation (and folk dancing) is encouraged!” When Jilline put up the show in 2004, she had reconceived it with new songs and it was funnier than ever! The show ended with her singing "You Belong To Me" and the encore was usually "On The Way To Cape May" complete with beach ball being slammed around the room, and appropriate choreography.

This show was also a collaboration with Michael Ogborn who penned several of the shows' most outrageous songs. Some of these songs were later used in his show 'Cafe Puttanesca" in which Jilline played a German prostitute. But the Ogborn songs: -- Oh, How I Loved the Kaiser/The Kaiser knew how to waltz -- that was a showstopper. But then so was - Gypsy in My Purse, which begain, "Once I had a mania for a man in Transylvania... and it just got better from then on.

"FOR ME, FORMIDABLE: French Maid Easy

For Me . . . Formidable!" was a new offering in 2000 and was her tribute to a long-standing love affair with French song. Longtime collaborator Michael Ogborn musical directed.

Here was the premise: Take one American in Paris. Dress her in the latest fashion from the House of Dior. Add wine and ooh la la -- c'est magnifique! Against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower and the twinkling lights of the Champs Elysees, you pulled up a chair and let la Jilline romance you in the language of love. Who knew? You may have even seen her do the forbidden Can-Can. It is said that her interpretation of the French lyric is thrilling, poignant and often hilarious. And as always, anything could happen -- and did!

Be assured you didn't need to speak perfect French to enjoy Jilline's bilingual versions of favorites like Autumn Leaves, Beyond the Sea (La Mer), I Wish You Love (Que Reste-t-il de nos Amours), If You Go Away (Ne Me Quitte Pas), I Will Wait for You (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg), What Now, My Love (Et Maintenant), My Man (Mon Homme), and the ever-popular It Must Be Him, which in Cape May land, was her signature song (aside from Georgie Girl).

Jilline was serene in this show, sublime, really. She gave a musical tour through postwar Paris and the songs of Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Charles Trenet, Josephine Baker, Charles Aznavour and many more. As she said in her promos, as for La Jilline, l'amour you see her, l'amour you love her! After all, fifty million Frenchmen couldn't be wrong!

Jilline had some trepidation about this cabaret, even though she had the comfort of Michael Ogborn accompanying her. But still, this was a bit of a departure and she was worried about attendance. As opening night approached, her apprehension seemed to melt, and wrote: "Most of the songs will stay in -- at this point I have a list of about 35 numbers (!). All the artists will definitely be represented. And I have designed a 5 piece breakaway costume in navy and hot pink. We are also going to build a fabulous late 40s/early 50s postcard backdrop in black, white, pink and aqua. And make a cut out poodle. And wait til you see Michael dressed up as Toulouse Lautrec!." She was right. He was pretty cute.

NOTE: I unfortunately do not have any photographs of this show. If anyone has any, please feel free to send me a few!


Cape May's Diva, the Divine Miss Jilline continued the 2000 season with her slinky concept cabaret Shut Up and Kiss Me.

How, you ask, could she have topped her latest tour de force, "Mondo Mangia"? What else did the "6 foot red headed Amazon from Hell whom all men desire" have up her sleeve? "Shut Up and Kiss Me," was the newest creation from Ringle, and she wove her sultry spell for a new "old" cabaret. How to categorize “Shut Up and Kiss Me”? Think GLAMOUR.

Think you're dreaming? Wake UP! This girl meant business. Singing the songs that defined "Siren" in the 50s and 60s, Jilline returned to the roots of classic supper club cabaret. Ringle had long held a fascination for the femme fatales of those eras — Ann-Margret, Jayne Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe, Pearl Bailey, Dinah Washington, Etta James, Nancy Sinatra, Rita Hayworth. "They taught me everything I know." Well, not quite... Ringle held her own in that department. Ringle was a diverse talent, a musical and comedic dynamo, and it didn't hurt to have beauty and brains too.

“Shut Up and Kiss Me” was sophisticated and sexy -- exactly what Ringle fans came to expect. "Shut Up" was cool trip down memory lane on a hot summer night. Or maybe just a sentimental journey to the Latin Casino. Noted Ringle, "Future Vixens of America are sure to appreciate the life lessons I will give on how to be a bombshell, so don't forget to take notes."

Ringle was the girl who put the Va-Va-Ka-BOOM back in bombshell! Joining Ringle in her steamy salute to her favorite sirens was Hepcat Owen Robbins, Musical Director and piano accompanist to the delicious diva, pictured at right just before their appearance in the Cape May Hotel & Guest Talent show.

Note: If anyone has photographs from this show, please feel free to forward some on to me at


"Time Out!" with Didi & Rose airs out of the fictional Channel 63 in Secaucus, New Jersey. The live studio audience joins Dolores Marie DiPiero (Didi) and Rosa Agnes Falco (Rose) as they explore a myriad of subjects ranging from motherhood to movies, pasta to public policy. The show’s format includes viewer mail, interpretive dance, Didi’s Poetry Slam, Rosa’s Political Corner, Didi’s list of People Who Should Know Better, What is Not the Answer and much more! "Time Out!" is an improv-based performance experience where anything can happen. The actresses work in Commedia dell’Arte style, altering their topics and dialogue to accommodate current events, audience participation, and their own inspiration. Each audience will see a unique show.


Dolores Marie DiPiero was working toward an undergraduate degree in psychology at Montclair State College, but left on principle after a heated argument defending Jung to her Freudian analyst/professor. Since then, her work outside of "Time Out!" has included wedding photographer's assistant, and she has an abiding interest in experimental arts, both fine and performing. A lifelong resident of Kearny, New Jersey, Didi is the proud mother of four-year old Mario and the happy partner-in-life to Frank Rossi, Jr. Blessed Be!

Rosa Agnes Falco received her BA in comparative literature from Farleigh Dickinson University and her Masters degree in Library Science from Rutgers, Newark. In addition to the extensive community volunteer work she has undertaken (Habitat for Humanity, Get Out the Vote, Take Back the Night, Planned Parenthood, and numerous Marches on the Capitol as well as the annual Feast of Saint Anthony Carnival and Jumble Sale), Rosa is the longtime research director at the Newark Main Library, and bemoans the tragic underfunding of our country's educational system. She lives in North Newark in a room of her own.

Here are some excerpts from New Jersey’s own Didi & Rose:

ON CAROL BRADY: "I hope her husband's will was very generous, because whether you marry a successful architect or not, six teenagers is just going to be a lot to handle."

ON THE ATKINS DIET: "A conspiracy on behalf of the beef and bacon industries to malign the food of our people."

ON NEWBORNS: "It helps if you’ve had a dog, I think."

ON NEW MOTHERHOOD: "Sleep deprivation is no joke. There’s a reason they use it as a torture device."

ON FREUD: "Don’t get me started. His mother should have slapped him."

What is NOT the answer: Drugs are not the answer, Violence is not the answer, Thong bikinis are not the answer, Younger men are not the answer, Standardized testing is not the answer.

Jilline and Suzanne O'Donnell had been fleshing out these characters for years. They ARE Didi and Rose. They premiered the show at the Orlando Fringe Festival in 2004 and opened the show at the Chalfonte the same year. The show was intelligent, edgy, and definitely left-wing, which truthfully, not all audience members appreciated. Oh well!