PHOTOS > THEATRE
The Tempest (Gonzalo) 2018
A story of shipwreck and magic, The Tempest begins on a ship caught in a violent storm with Alonso, the king of Naples, on board. On a nearby island, the exiled Duke of Milan, Prospero, tells his daughter, Miranda, that he has caused the storm with his magical powers. Prospero had been banished twelve years earlier when Prospero's brother, Antonio-also on the doomed ship-conspired with Alonso to become the duke instead. Prospero and Miranda are served by a spirit named Ariel and by Caliban, son of the island's previous inhabitant, the witch Sycorax. On the island, castaways from the wreck begin to appear. First is Alonso's son Ferdinand, who immediately falls in love with Miranda. Prospero secretly approves of their love, but tests the pair by enslaving Ferdinand. After secretly watching Miranda and Ferdinand exchange vows, Prospero releases Ferdinand and consents to their marriage. Other castaways who appear are Trinculo and Stephano, Alonso's jester and butler, who join forces with Caliban to kill Prospero and take over the island. The nobles from the ship search for Ferdinand and are confronted with a spectacle including a Harpy, who convinces Alonso that Ferdinand's death is retribution for Prospero's exile. Having all his enemies under his control, Prospero decides to forgive them. Alonso, joyously reunited with his son, restores Prospero to the dukedom of Milan and welcomes Miranda as Ferdinand's wife. As all except Caliban and Ariel prepare to leave the island, Prospero, who has given up his magic, bids farewell to the island and the audience.
Gonzalo is the counselor to the King of Naples and is seen as a paragon of kindness and compassion while being somewhat naive. His speeches are poetic, regal and magnificent. I very much enjoyed playing with this talented cast in this beautiful Colonials production.
Waiting for Godot (Lucky) 2018
Waiting for Godot is a play that prompts many questions, and answers none of them. As the title suggests, it is a play about waiting: two men waiting for a third, who never appears. 'And if he comes?' one of Beckett's tramps asks the other near the end of the play, 'We'll be saved', the other replies. Waiting for Godot seems to have a unique resonance during times of social and political crisis. As a modernist existential meditation, it can at first appear bleak: "They give birth astride of a grave," says Pozzo. "The light gleams an instant, then it's night once more." But it is also funny and poetic, and reveals humanity's talents for stoicism, companionship and keeping going. Midway through the first act, Pozzo and Lucky appear. Lucky is harnessed by a rope around his neck and carries a large bag, a folding stool, a picnic basket and a greatcoat. Behind him comes Pozzo, holding the other end of the rope and a whip. Pozzo, with his loud voice and dominating manner, seems to be fleeing something rather than freely roaming the landscape. As for Lucky, he is regularly abused by Pozzo and forced to execute several tasks for the supposed entertainment of Vladimir and Estragon, including dancing and 'thinking'. In response to Pozzo's command to 'Think!', Lucky performs the longest unbroken speech in the play, an apparently chaotic stream of consciousness that takes in theology, philosophy, golf, history and scatological humor.
The opportunity to play Lucky was a gift of infinite proportions. I learned so much about cause and effect and the dynamics of the stage and the memorizing of nonsensical text. I learned so much that the nonsensical text actually began making sense! Working with Ari Agbabian, Frank Raducz, Mikki Wulfsohn and Tony Cronin was a joy from the first read through to the final performance.
Twelfth Night (Malvolio) 2017
Twelfth Night is an allusion to the night of festivity preceding the Christian celebration of the Epiphany-combines love, confusion, mistaken identities, and joyful discovery. After the twins Sebastian and Viola survive a shipwreck, neither knows that the other is alive. Viola goes into service with Count Orsino of Illyria, disguised as a young man, "Cesario." Orsino sends Cesario to woo the Lady Olivia on his behalf, but Olivia falls in love with Cesario. Viola, in the meantime, has fallen in love with Orsino. At the estate of Lady Olivia, Sir Toby Belch, Olivia's kinsman, has brought in Sir Andrew Aguecheek to be her suitor. A confrontation between Olivia's steward, Malvolio, and the partying Toby and his cohort leads to a revenge plot against Malvolio. Malvolio is tricked into making a fool of himself, and he is locked in a dungeon as a lunatic. In the meantime, Sebastian has been rescued by a sea captain, Antonio. When Viola, as Cesario, is challenged to a duel, Antonio mistakes her for Sebastian, comes to her aid, and is arrested. Olivia, meanwhile, mistakes Sebastian for Cesario and declares her love. When, finally, Sebastian and Viola appear together, the puzzles around the mistaken identities are solved: Cesario is revealed as Viola, Orsino asks for Viola's hand, Sebastian will wed Olivia, and Viola will marry Count Orsino. Malvolio, blaming Olivia and others for his humiliation, vows revenge.
Malvolio was one of the most "out there" characters I've ever played. His vanity and self importance puffed up his ego to gargantuan proportions. And the other cast members never failed to poke fun at his foibles and predilections making him the foil for much of the humor in this wonderful show.
The Merchant of Venice (Antonio) 2017
Antonio, the merchant in The Merchant of Venice, secures a loan from Shylock for his friend Bassanio, who seeks to court Portia. Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, recalls past insults from Antonio and, instead of asking interest on the loan, asks instead - in what he calls a "merry sport" - that if the loan is not repaid, Antonio will owe a pound of his own flesh. Bassanio sails to Belmont, where the wealthy heiress Portia is being courted by suitors from around the world. Her father's will requires that the successful suitor solve a riddle involving chests of gold, silver, and lead. Where others have failed, Bassanio succeeds by selecting the right chest. Portia marries Bassanio; her waiting woman, Nerissa, marries his friend Gratiano. Shylock's daughter, Jessica, has eloped with Bassanio's friend Lorenzo, taking her father's money with her. Shylock is devastated. When Antonio cannot repay the loan, Shylock demands the pound of flesh. When the news reaches Belmont, Bassanio returns to Venice. Portia and Nerissa also travel to Venice, disguised as a lawyer and his clerk. Portia uses the law to defeat Shylock and rescue Antonio.
This was a wonderful Colonials production and Antonio was a rewarding role to play in a surprising number of ways. Playing opposite the dynamic Ari Agbabian (Shylock) was something I looked forward to having played opposite him in several previous shows. While Antonio's speeches were beautiful and poignant, I found the courtroom scene where my character is facing certain death to be the stimulating dynamic that brought me the most fulfillment as an actor.
As You Like It (Duke Senior) 2016
One of Shakespeare's most popular comedies, "As You Like It" is the story of the exile of the beautiful, orphaned Rosalind from the city to the Forest of Arden, by her usurping uncle (Frederick). But instead of her exile ending in disaster, it ends in her finding her father (Duke Senior), her future husband, and her true self. Duke Senior, the rightful ruler of the dukedom in which the play is set, has also been banished and now lives in exile in the forest with a number of loyal men, including Lord Amiens and Jaques. We have the sense that Senior did not put up much of a fight to keep his dukedom, as he seems to make the most of whatever life gives him, learning as much from stones and brooks as he would in a church or library.
This Colonials production was directed by Tony Cronin and had a 60's, hippie, flower child "back to nature" look and vibe. The young actors in the cast were talented, funny and great to work with. I had a joyful time playing the Zen Master Duke who embraced his exile in the forest with glee. This very funny play might prove more prescient personally than any role I've had since beginning this journey in the late 1970's. I feel like I would exile myself right out of L.A. to who knows where if I had a band of brothers like Amiens and Jaques to hang out and grow older and wiser with.
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (Polonius) 2016
Considered one of the great examples of tragedy in drama, William Shakespeare's masterpiece begins with the recent death of King Hamlet, who was Prince Hamlet's father. Following his death, the king's brother Claudius, who was the uncle of the young prince, was crowned the King of Denmark. After assuming position as the new king, Claudius married Queen Gertrude, Prince Hamlet's mother. The young prince is outraged by the actions of Claudius and vows revenge. Not long after the death of his father and marriage of his mother and uncle, the ghost of King Hamlet appears to the prince. Previously, others in the kingdom believed that the king died because of a snake bite, but the ghost reveals that the king was murdered by Claudius. Hamlet then puts on a play for Claudius that reenacts the death of the king. The play concludes with Gertrude drinking from a poisoned cup, Hamlet stabbing Claudius and Hamlet being stabbed by a poisoned blade. Tony Cronin played both Claudius and the Ghost.
Polonius is chief counselor to the king, and the father of Laertes and Ophelia. He is often described as a loyal advisor, sincere father, and a busy-body who is accordingly officious, garrulous, and impertinent. Whether Polonius is seen as a windbag or a rambler of wisdom, the role is substantial and a joy to play. In Act III he connives with Claudius to spy on Hamlet. Hamlet unknowingly kills Polonius, provoking Ophelia's fit of madness, ultimately resulting in her early death and setting into motion the climax of the play: a duel between Laertes and Hamlet.
I got a kick out of playing Polonius, a former actor who I like to call "The Locutionator". He just loved hearing himself pontificate and why not? He was usually the smartest guy in the room and correct in every assessment, except the one involving his daughter Ophelia and Prince Hamlet. His pointy reckoning came by accident and he was the first of many in this story to fall.
Macbeth (Duncan) 2015
A heroic Scottish general named Macbeth receives a prophecy from three witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the Scottish throne for himself. Duncan, the king of Scotland, is a beloved ruler and a figurehead of order and orderliness. He is gracious and kind and his language is formal. Usurping a divinely appointed ruler was always the most serious of crimes, but to usurp a valiant and benevolent monarch, like Duncan, was wicked beyond comprehension. Macbeth is then wracked with guilt and paranoia. Forced to commit more and more murders to protect himself from enmity and suspicion, he soon becomes a tyrannical ruler. The bloodbath and consequent civil war swiftly take Macbeth and Lady Macbeth into the realms of madness and death.
This was an excellent production of Macbeth, directed and staged by Tony Cronin and performed at the historic Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica, CA. King Duncan is killed by Macbeth in Act II so this was probably my smallest and least challenging part I've yet to play while working with The Colonials, An American Shakespeare Company. But I still had fun. I determined that there were 3 important attributes that Duncan must have for me to successfully play this part: impeccable language skills, a certain "royal" bearing and a beard. I feel like I met the challenge.
King Lear (Gloucester) 2015
King Lear is the story of an old King who foolishly disinherits and banishes his youngest daughter because she would not sufficiently flatter him in front of his court. Lear's impetuous act leads to civil war, his own banishment at the hands of his two other daughters, his descent into madness and eventually his death. As he descends into madness, he recognizes his own faults, his own mortality, his own humanity and most importantly, the humanity of others. This mirrors my character's arc, the Earl of Gloucester, who also finds redemption through the course of the play and pays severely for that enlightenment he finds.
This is my second foray into Shakespeare in Los Angeles and my third overall having performed in "The Merchant of Venice" in college. Tony Cronin, the artistic director and founder of The Colonials, an American Shakespeare Company, played Lear and cast me in this wonderful production at the Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica, CA.
Othello (Brabantio) 2011
This was my first opportunity to work with the Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble and my first Shakespearean production in Los Angeles. The cast was strong and passionate in this story of the Moor who loved Desdemona "not wisely but too well" and the engine of his destruction, the legendary Iago. My character, Brabantio (Desdemona's father), while not a lead character, certainly provided me with lots of opportunity to deal with huge personal and societal issues onstage. These challenges, along with the textual demands; inspire me to continue pursuing roles in Shakespeare's theatre.
Unbroken Circles (The Reverend Robert Parker) 2009
Greg Phillips wrote and directed this comedy/drama about a fictional first family of country music, The Moss Family Singers. I played a Preacher straight out of rehab who was dating the wild child daughter of the matriarch of the family. Our run was at the Odyssey Theatre in West Los Angeles California.
He Who Endures (John Brown) 2007
The Unity Players Ensemble presented this Bill Harris play as a part of Black Trilogy 2007 at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood California. Being a history buff, the story of John Brown has always intrigued me so I jumped at the opportunity to play this fire breathing abolitionist. Spencer Scott directed.
The Crucible (John Hale) 2004
William Wilday directed this wonderful Santa Monica Theatre Guild production of the Arthur Miller classic which was penned as a result of the House Committee on Un-American Activities hearings of the early 1950's. The Reverend John Hale undergoes a change of heart over the course of the play in regards to the witch hunt and that dynamic made every night sing for me.
Something Wicked This Way Comes (Mr. Dark) 2003
Alan Neal Hubbs directed this Ray Bradbury novel turned screenplay turned stage play at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica California. When Ray entertained the audience delivering the Prologue every night, his love of the theatre was evident. The great Jonathon Pryce played Mr. Dark in the 1983 film so when I was cast, the pressure was on. My nightly showdown with Jay Gerber, who played Charles Halloway, was great fun.
The Spitfire Grill (The Visitor) 2002
Andrew Barnicle (artistic director) and Nick DeGruccio (director) were looking for someone to play The Visitor. He had to look like a survivalist/Vietnam War vet/mountain man and be able to convey the story's themes physically and facially. They found me. Our production at the renowned Laguna Playhouse, was the West Coast premiere of this musical. I found the role, my camaraderie with the cast and our reception immensely satisfying.
Medea: The Revenge (Creon) 2002
Sharing the stage with Angela Wiggins, whose standout performance as Medea was truly mesmerizing, made this modern retelling of the Euripides classic exceptional for me. I played Creon (the King) and I especially enjoyed working with the children in the cast. Adapted and directed by Amanda Mountain, this show ran at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood.
Crimes of The Heart (Doc) 2001
I was brought in to read for the role of Doc (the Sam Shepard role in the film) two weeks before opening night by fellow UTK alum Rebecca O'Brien. Rebecca's Lenny was the heart and soul of this Working Stage (Hollywood California) production.
The Rivals (Bob Acres) 1998
This Richard Brinsley Sheridan classic was directed by Jennifer Epps. It began as a Theatre in the Park, outdoor production and finished it's run at The Matrix Theatre in Hollywood California. I originally read for the male lead, Sir Anthony Absolute and was thrown when Jennifer offered me the role of the West Country bumpkin, Bob Acres. It was more fun and challenging than I could have imagined.
Don Juan in Hell (Don Juan) 1997
The late Cris Carrillo, directed this George Bernard Shaw comedy for a series of benefit performances at the Pierson Playhouse in Pacific Palisades California. Don Juan in Hell is Act III of Shaw's masterpiece, "Man and Superman". My Don Juan was a work in progress. But there was one night when everything came together for me (and the cast): the words, the intention and the story. That night stands alone as my crowning achievement in the theatre.
Drivers Edge (Dick Griplock) 1994
A renegade driving instructor hell bent in his search for the perfect commute. This was my one man show that stemmed from frustrations with traffic and bureaucracy. Co-creator and director Scott Berenson (who originated the character of Melvin Belvin on TV's Happy Days) guided me through this baptism of fire at the Church in Ocean Park, Santa Monica California.
Women's Sexual Fantasies (DJ) 1986
The Women in Theatre produced this uproarious night of One-Acts that became so popular, it's run was extended. I played an unfaithful husband, a letch and a blowhard blind date through the course of the evening at the Cast Theatre in Hollywood, California. Mary Pat Gleason directed.
The Male Animal (Wally) 1981
This James Thurber play, set in a 1950's Midwestern college town, finds comedy in how society depicts and rewards manhood: the college professor vs. the former football star. I played Wally, the son of the football star who was played by veteran New York actor Dennis Romer. Rudy Tronto, (who directed Broadway's "Sugar Babies") helmed this Clarence Brown Theatre main stage production, in Knoxville Tennessee.
Arsenic and Old Lace (Officer Brophy) 1980
My first stab at an accent was with Officer Brophy and his thick Irish brogue. The late Wandalie Henshaw directed this Joseph Kesselring classic on the main stage at the Clarence Brown Theatre at UTK. This production is where the magic of the theatre was first revealed to me.