Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

Michael & Eduardo's house in NoHo for the Christmas Truck, good cheer and then on to Newberry Park to Carol and Tony's gorgeous new home for food and family fun!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Chuck Pelletier's new song "Christmas Came Rushing"...

...makes total sense to me.
Last year at Christmas we bought a piano
Dragged that thing up both the two flights of stairs
I polished the wood like that old man Geppetto,
Opened the door so it could breathe fresh air
My fingers were shy
Not sure they would still know
All the chords to the carols
I played years ago
Then Christmas came rushing back into my head
Don’t recall what I’ve given, or gotten, or said,
But Christmas came rushing back into my head
In a song

It drew my mind back to when I was just seven
We had a room downstairs we called the music room
My dad used to play an old walnut piano
And every December we’d ask for those tunes
He’d pause for a moment
He’d stare at the keys
Then play, just like magic
Those old melodies
And Christmas came rushing back into his head
We’d sing ‘til he carried us off into bed
And Christmas came rushing back into his head
In a song
That’s when I thought what this piano needs
 Is a few little hands dancing along the keys
So this year I badgered my brothers,
Got them to fly to LA, to spend Christmas out here
And my little nephew crawled up on the bench
To play jingle bells like he does every year
But he got discouraged
He couldn’t remember
Cause he hadn’t played it
Since last December
Then Christmas came rushing back into his head
You could almost see sugar plums dance in his head
Yeah, Christmas came rushing back into his head
Into his tousled-haired, four-year-old head                        music & lyrics by:
In a song.                                                                        Chuck Pelletier           

Friday, August 24, 2012

Read the following and weep! Guidelines have become as needlessly strict as the protestations of our Congress - God help us if we are led by a Republican President in 2013. Our democracy is no longer a democracy. We can no longer live with true freedom of expression.

Due to a last-minute revocation of performance rights, the much acclaimed, ‘Ovation Recommended’ production of Ira Levin’s classic comedy-thriller Deathtrap will be unable to return to the Davidson/Valentini Theatre at the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center in September as previously announced. Net proceeds would have benefitted the entire array of the Center’s free and low-cost programs and services.
Directed by eight-time Ovation Award-winner Ken Sawyer, the Center’s production of Deathtrap enjoyed a ten week sold-out run in the spring of this year. Due to the original engagement’s runaway success, the Center planned to remount the production, but the Estate of Ira Levin that controls the performance rights abruptly revoked them, citing a brief moment of onstage nudity.
Following an impassioned appeal by the Center, rights were once again granted, but this time with very strict guidelines prohibiting any onstage behavior that portrayed the two lead male characters having a physical relationship—this despite the fact that in the play the characters are involved in a full-blown affair.
Deathtrap’s famously complex script provides genuine, edge-of-your-seat thrills, and is known for the jolts and surprises that occur along the way. The Center has decided that re-mounting the show with the imposed restrictions would force the play’s central relationship back into the closet, thus compelling the Center to compromise both its mission and its integrity. It would also result in a very different and less effective production than the one audiences had been lining up to see. Therefore the Center has been forced to cancel. 
The entire original cast was set to return. They are (in alphabetical order) Brian Foyster, Cynthia Gravinese, Burt Grinstead, Elizabeth Herron, Carl J. Johnson, and Stephen Mendillo. The design team included Joel Daavid (set), Luke Moyer (lighting), Paula Higgins (costumes), and Ken Sawyer (sound). Deathtrap was produced by Jon Imparato, artistic director of the Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center.
Patrons who had already purchased tickets for the extension will receive full refunds. The Center’s box office personnel is in the process of contacting all ticket buyers. The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center is located at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, 1125 N. McCadden Place (one block east of Highland, just north of Santa Monica Boulevard), in Hollywood.   

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Don's 59+ Birthday Bash

I'll start with the ice cream, then the cupcake, then I'll polish off the cake - simple!
gary warmee does his best rhoda 'bad seed' take 
allen surrounded by two dolls: renee and michelle bernath

stan with sharon michaels
carol, tony and vicki woop it up

henry holden lives to hold court
sandra, bix and miriam

Yummm! You mean, I have to share the cake?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

An Honor to Meet Barbara Cook

What an honor and privilege to speak with Barbara Cook, who is so gracious and lovely at 84. This concert, postponed from May 19 to June 30 at Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge, was much different as Ms Cook is trying out material from composers that she has previously not sung in concert, such as Cole Porter. Her voice is still wondrous, and she uses such control. "Imagine" was her encore: center stage,
a cappella, and you could hear every word, every note crystal clear. What an artist! God bless her as she embarks on her 85th. Anniversary Tour!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Lovely Rita, 40s Queen of the Silver Screen


I am about to do something that I swore over and over that I would never do, namely to write down my memories of the Love Goddess of 1940s Hollywood, Miss Rita Hayworth. You see, I worked for Miss Hayworth - well, for lawyer Leonard Monroe - in the capacity of daytime driver/escort from fall 1978 - fall 1979, before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. I was a fresh face in Hollywood, just out from New York, trying to make my way as a new actor in town. I was 32, and, attractive enough, to be labeled by many, an up and coming leading man. At a meeting of the Film Advisory Board, a group of film aficionados who supported family-friendly GP-rated movies for TV and the big screen, I was introduced by President Elayne Blythe, who was a dear friend at the time, to a lady I will refer to as Christine Doe, protecting her anonymity, the woman who served as house companion/maid to the declining Miss Hayworth. These caretakers had been seeking out someone 'trustworthy and kind' who was willing to spend a few hours each week visiting the former star, for the purpose of keeping her busy, in the hopes of making her existence happier. The money wasn't much, but it was an opportunity for a young actor to get to know, befriend one of the great actresses of all time, a legend. Who could argue with that? Wouldn't I have been a fool to turn it down? Particularly, since I did have time on my hands between interviews and auditions and had a nice car. Oh, I guess I also ably fit the bill of 'trustworthy and kind', meaning I would keep what I encountered to myself: not tip the paparazzi as to her whereabouts or report activities to the tabloids such as the National Enquirer, which had been looking for the slightest bit of off-color behavior to pin on a former star like Miss Hayworth, anything to sell papers. From what I had been told, Rita was fresh out of rehab in Long Beach, as she had been suffering from the effects of alcoholism. What I saw was a lovely, lovely lady around 60, who was terribly alone, lonely and in need of friendship. She was still quite beautiful - with or without makeup - bright, quiet yet talkative and pleasant company - this was on most days I visited. But, out of the blue, as if a volcano had erupted, the calm would suddenly turn to terror, as the ravages of whatever was ailing the lady took almost total possession of her - kind of like the demon over Regan in The Exorcist - causing her to become confused, volatile and 'difficult' to handle. I didn't know what to say or do; in fact, I felt helpless and worried, not for myself, but because I could not help her understand my good intentions, or simply help her. I repeat, this was a year or two before Miss Hayworth was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and I can tell you first hand, what I witnessed scared and horrified me. The disease takes right and turns it terribly wrong, it turns beauty into ugliness and twists normal sane behavior patterns into ones that can only be described as frighteningly out of control, demented. No one deserves this disease, least of all the lovely Rita Hayworth, who fell as one of its very first victims in 1979.

On the pages that follow I will attempt to share some stories/lessons I learned from my visits with Rita Hayworth - not concentrating on the negative, unhappy times, but rather on the fun, more upbeat meetings. I came to care deeply for Rita Hayworth in the brief time that I knew her. She influenced my experiences, my way of thinking and my assessment of others ... assuredly altering my life for the better.
- don grigware
   May, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Estelle Parsons Thrives On the Stage

She has long been one of my favorite character actresses and at 84 years young, it is hard to believe her age. Surely age is a state of mind. Now if I can only convince myself of that, I'll drop 30 pounds and start rejuvenating.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Renee Greenberg Presents a Reading of Born Yesterday by Garson Kanin

1950 film with judy holliday, broderick crawford, william holden
Reading Cast
Billie Dawn   ....................  Renee Greenberg
Harry Brock   ..............   Don Grigware
Paul Verrall   ...........     Doug Haverty
Ed Devery ...............     Henry Holden
Eddie Brock .............. Bix Barnaba
Senator Norval Hedges ...Patrick Skelton
Mrs. Hedges ....................Colette Rosario
Helen, a maid .............    Laura Coker
Stage manager ...............    Linda Alznauer

Directed by Fran Freedman

Monday evening, February 27
Group rep @ Lonnie Chapman Theatre
Burbank Blvd, NoHo
left to right: Patrick Skelton, Laura Coker, Colette Rosario, Henry, Don, Renee, Doug, Bix Barnaba, Linda Alznauer, Fran
"We carried it off, gang!"
Reading to be followed by party at Corral Cafe
left to right: Henry Holden, Don Grigware, Renee Greenberg, Doug Haverty and Fran Freedman
"What do you think, we were Born Yesterday?"

Saturday, February 11, 2012

some friends in shows

Jacque Lynn Colton costars at Group
rep in If We Are Women. I have
admired her work for some time.
Laura Sydney Gleason (right) is an old friend. We did a play together at Actors Alley - John Guare's A Day for Surprises - in 1980.
Here's her family. Her husband James Gleason (right) is costarring in Sidetracked at the Macha Theatre.