Monday, May 2, 2022

Angels in the Wings


“Angels in America” is a monumental piece of theater. No one who sees it, ever forgets it. And no one involved in it, leaves it behind without a broken heart.

So, with our final performances anon, I write this farewell to the people who have shared this journey of the “great work” with me, to commemorate forever the impact they have had on me.

To Mikey Mulhearn, our fearless leaderand equally fearless Prior Walter: the passion and prowess you so openly shared on stage and off has been and remains inspirational.  The love you have for the transformative magic of theater is palpable and touches everyone you meet. It has touched me and changed me in profound, wonderful ways.

To Emma Maltbyour defiant, lunatic Harper (and my blathering, slurping Martin): your vibrance and artistic acuity have made working with you a treat. We may not have shared much stage time, but I’ve treasured every minute and have enjoyed our time together all these months. Seeds have been planted.

To Nathan Frizzellour ever-verbose Luis: your intrinsic charm has created a Luis that, though self-sabotaging and dogmatic, proves utterly endearing and sympathetic—a feat no other actor in the role (that I’ve seen) has ever accomplished as you have managed. What a gift. My yarmulka’ s off to you.

To Michael Mattsour wise and witty Belize, the sly Mr. Lies and the Man: you prove every performance that you can say volumes with a single phrase or look—that every moment on stage can be full of entrancing, nuanced life. Thank you for getting me into this; you are my own, personal angel!

To Sarah Flemmingour Hannah (and my dry Henry and wry Ethel Rosenberg): what a joy to get to work with such an endlessly devoted, diligent actress. Watching you dive into each role and blossom into them has been a beautiful experience. You can sing to me anytime!

To Jahel Corbán Calderaour fierce Angel, our charming Emily and Sister Ella, and our crazy Homeless Person: the innate talent and honed craft you have brought to your multiple roles has been a thrill to watch; you make each character thoroughly on-point and memorable. We have been blessed.

To Dane Larsen—my baby Joe (and my Prior 1 compatriot): sharing the stage with you has been my honor and my pleasure: you are as talented as you are warm and generous. I could not imagine anyone else I’d rather call my son. Or my friend.  You are forever “familia, now.

And to our incredible crew, who worked and continue to work tirelessly in ways that leave me in awe: you are the necessary and welcome wind that sends this ship sailing every night and I thank you.

And finally, to our audiences: I shall be ever grateful for your taking this journey with us. You are the raison d'être for it all.

I shall miss you all, terribly. But the ache will forever be outshone by the love I bear for all of you.

I think playwright Tony Kushner sums it up best:

“You are all fabulous creatures, each and every one.”

~Gregory

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

What Makes a Winner


History was made at the Oscars this year, but it’s probably not why you think. 

Forget Will Smith for a moment and take note of these pioneering achievements:

--Troy Kotsur became the first deaf actor ever to win “Best Supporting Actor”.

--Ariana DeBose became the first openly queer woman of color to win “Best Supporting Actress”.

--Jane Campion became the third woman in the history of the Oscars to win “Best Director”.

--“Best Picture” and “Best Adapted Screenplay”, also normally dominated by men, were both won by a woman, Sian Heder.

We must not allow these milestones to be overshadowed by one privileged man committing (and getting away with) battery on live television. While that event and all its factors and ramifications must be discussed for us to learn from, let us remember that far more good happened on that stage Sunday night. You have only to look at the list above to see that.

But I would leave you with one more. One that I think is a far better thing to share, remember and cherish as a lesson about who we should be and how we should treat others: the moment of grace, respect and care when Lady Gaga helped a struggling Liza Minnelli get through her guest appearance, offering a comforting “I got it”. 

If Will Smith showed us who we can be when we let anger and poor judgement guide our actions, Lady Gaga showed us who we can be when we allow love and kindness to guide us.

That is the lesson of the night: be like Lady Gaga. Act with love. Gentle, mindful love. 

Do that and you become a winner.

And so do we all.



Monday, December 20, 2021

Things To Look Forward To


Another December comes to an end and we all begin to wonder what the new year will bring. I think all of us are hoping for more joy than grief; more love than hate; more cooperation than contention.

I can’t foretell the future, but I can promise you a few good things that are coming your way. I’ve been involved in several projects that should be making their debuts next year.  And you will be able to see them all...

~

First and foremost (because it will have no shelf life) is my appearance--live on stage--as Roy Cohn in ANGELS IN AMERICA. It’s a jaw-dropping play and dream role and you won’t want to miss it. Arriving April/May for a very limited engagement.


"Angels in America"...live on stage!

Next, you should be able to see me as the unexpectedly psychotic biker Simon in Heroic Age Studio’s brutal new horror feature “TRICK AND TREATS”, which also features Gary Busey and the voice of Malcolm McDowell. It’s perhaps the darkest, scariest film I’ve ever done. You’ve been warned.



Gregory in "Trick and Treats"

Then there’s the feature film 16 BITS from the mind of writer/director Aaron Mento (“UGLY SWEATER PARTY”). I only have a small role, but it’s a hoot…as is the entire crazy, genre-bending film. If you’ve seen Aaron’s work, you know you’re in for a wild ride.


Gregory and Kevin Caliber in "16 Bits"

FAVORITE SON is a short thriller with an LGBTQ quotient that director Dustin Clingan (PHOTGRAPHIC MEMORY) hopes to complete in time for Outfest. I helped write it and also play one of the pivotal roles in the story’s web of deceit.



Tag line for "Favorite Son"

I also play a role in Mikey Mulhearn's short comedy ENVELOPE which will most likely be released next year as well. I play a hilariously histrionic hairdresser.


The cast of "Envelope"

And, last but not least, the 10-year anniversary cut of DEADLY REVISIONS (including cast interviews) will likely appear toward the end of the year. I’m especially thrilled with the new cut and think it’s going to be something you'll want to add to your collection.


"Deadly Revisions"


So there you go. Things to look forward to in 2022.

Till, then, all the best and Happy New Year!

~Gregory


Sunday, November 28, 2021

To Help Us Survive

I feel a great sense of loss at the departure of Stephen Sondheim. His mastery of the musical theater medium may arguably be unparalleled in our age. Certainly the breadth of his works is incomparable. And not just the volume, but the diversity. From murderous barbers to marriage foibles, from the death of vaudeville to the birth of East/West relations, from the aspirations of artists to the rancor of society’s disenchanted, Sondheim’s works have gone places no other composer/lyricist has gone.

Yet, within these esoteric subjects and intellectual musings, he has created some of the most beautiful music of our time. “Send in the Clowns”, “No One is Alone”, “Not While I’m Around” and so on.  Songs singers love to sing. To record. To share.

My first memory of hearing Sondheim was a television special called “Musical Comedy Tonight". Carol Burnett sang “The Ladies Who Lunch” which fascinated me; Bernadette Peters and Richard Chamberlain did “Barcelona”; and Sandy Duncan banged out “Another Hundred People”—a song that thrilled me like nothing ever before. Then I saw the original Broadway production of “Sweeney Todd” and I was obsessed. I never knew a score could be so complex. Then, by sheer chance, I got the original Broadway cast recording of “Merrily We Roll Along”. It was that album that cemented my love for this master of the art. The way the score itself worked backwards—like the actual plot—gave me unending lessons in composition and the mechanics of musicals. Not to mention songs that give me chills forever more. “Our Time”, “Not a Day Goes By”, “Franklin Shepard Inc.”. And that original ending. That gut-punch, ugly-cry ending.

Then it was “Follies”, “Anyone Can Whistle”, “Pacific Overtures” and on and on. Each show having moments of such magic; treasures that make my life all the richer for having heard them. I’ll never forget watching ”Sunday” from “Sunday in the Park With George” on the Tony Awards. I had no idea what the show was about. But I heard it was by Sondheim, so I figured it had to be worthy. And by the time the number ended and the painting was complete, I was shaking. Jaw dropped. Unable to move. Had I really just witnessed a theatrical representation of the creation of a famous painting? How did anyone even conjure up that idea? And to manifest it in such a visually clear way in synch with such a beautiful, stirring song?

That is the genius of Sondheim. With full props to his manifold collaborators, surely. Because theater is a collaborative art; “no one acts alone”. But to have a score that can stand so perfectly and solidly on its own is a marvelous, magical thing. And to create a lifetime of them and provide the world with “so much stuff to sing” is one of the greatest gifts I can imagine.

There’s a moment in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s recent film version of “tick, tick...BOOM!" where the main character, in the middle of a musical homage to “Sunday”, faces Bernadette Peters and puts his hands over his heart as if he cannot keep it inside for the love and respect he bears for her. It’s a callback to her gesture in the show being honored, sure. But it’s a perfect visual representation of the emotions I bear for Sondheim and the gift he gave to me.

“Look at all the things you gave to me”.

To all of us.

Farewell, “Old Friend”. You never knew me. But you have been some of the best “company” I have had. You helped "make me alive". And I will sing and celebrate your songs as long as I have breath within me. 

Till the days go by.

 


Monday, November 8, 2021

The Importance of Appreciating the Moment


Don’t worry: I’m not gonna get all “mystic guru” or anything. There has been a glut of folks yammering on about “being in the moment” in western culture as we slowly realize the value of each moment for what it’s worth. It’s a good thing to be aware of, but not a good thing to over-analyze or spend too much time thinking about; it pretty much invalidates the whole concept of noticing and accepting a moment if you’re engaged in picking it apart.

But here’s something I have learned…or re-learned as I was struck by two things. The first was my lack of offering a blog post for so long. That prompted me to wonder what I had been so busy doing that I neglected this aspect of my creative content output. The second was, as is my November/December routine, going through the year to see what I had accomplished to layout in my annual review I share on the “History” pages of my website. 

Here’s what I discovered.

I had some very busy periods…and some periods where it seemed I was not as “productive”. But notice those quotation marks. I think it’s important to recognize that you can be very productive without having a physical result to show for it. This is what vacations and other forms of time off, rest and relaxation and so on are all about: it’s productive for your body and mind to take time to recharge. To review. To ponder. To sift through or let go of things. And I think we’re realizing that more and more. Life is not all about achieving external things; it’s about achieving internal things as well.

So, what I came to realize was that I had problem…and maybe you have it, too. I felt a great sense of satisfaction and worth when I was busy and active achieving external goals but felt significantly less of that when I was “having” time off. Notice those quotation marks, again. What I wanted to say was “enjoying”. But I wasn’t exactly enjoying the time when I wasn’t working. I felt antsy. Guilty. Wondered about my worth to others. And the double-edged sword was: when I was crazy busy, I often pined for some time off…and when I had the time, I pined for work.

So, here’s the point of all of this. I think it’s important to learn to enjoy and embrace the moment you are in, regardless of whether it’s filled with externally “productive” activity or not. If we can learn to appreciate who and where we are—in each moment—we will live much happier, peaceful lives inside. And I think, how we feel inside translates to the outside world through our mood, our attitude, and our behavior: the more peace and joy we have inside, the more peace and joy slips out and is shared with others. And, as we move into the season that touts being all about peace and joy, that seems like a good thing to remember and to try to manifest.

So, appreciate the moment: whether it’s busy or not, challenging or not, you’ll never have the chance to embrace it again. Breath it in.

Now, let’s all sing Kumbya.



Monday, July 19, 2021

Sharing my Tools


A colleague of mine, filmmaker Jason Horton, asked if I’d be interested in creating a series of videos about some aspect of filmmaking that he could host on his YouTube channel. I was honored and said “Yes!” before realizing I might not have anything new to say.

But maybe the way I said it would resonate with someone. Or maybe I’d reach people who hadn’t heard some of these ideas before. In other words, if I did some good for anyone, it would be worth it.

So I did.

I decided to focus on writing—specifically screenwriting, since I do consulting for folks on that front. I thought I’d share some basic tools to help people make their writing a little better—even after a single video.

So, if you’d like to take a look, feel free. Some of the tips and tools are specific to screenwriting, but many of them are usable for all writing--including email, blogs and other prose.

The series is called ”Tools, Not Rules” and can be found on Jason Horton’s YouTube channel—which is full of great content for filmmakers.

The introduction is here:  https://youtu.be/RrbPYihHZ4s

Enjoy. And feel free to leave a comment!


And for tons of other great filmmaking stuff, visit Jason's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/jhorton2003


Oh...and if you're interested in my screenplay consulting, check out http://www.2writers.com/Gregory_ScriptConsulting.htm



Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Keep Pushing


Long ago,                 Today, 
trying to fit in         being myself


When I started to try to get film roles, no one wanted me. I didn’t fit any brand. I wasn't tall enough, pretty enough, bulky enough. Back then there just wasn’t a cornucopia of roles for off-beat, quirky 20-somethings. So, I did background work. Some people love background work; I find it tedious and unfulfilling.

I finally got a few meaty roles in a few independent projects and, after years of that, landed an agent. Through him I got a nice recurring role on TV One’s “Love That Girl”—a perfect fit for my off-beat, quirky look and style. We all thought this was the beginning of a new trajectory in television. But, what we both learned, eventually, was that off-beat, quirky roles remained far rarer than the hunky, handsome heroes and winsome pretty boys that make up the bulk of male roles in film. The competition for the few crumbs was fierce and the roles often went to "known" names.

That’s changed a bit in the last decade or so with the explosion of new entertainment platforms creating a much wider variety of material—often aimed at niche markets. Sure, hunky handsome heroes and winsome pretty boys remain at the top of the food chain, but there are a lot more opportunities for those of us outside that domain of pedestrian pulchritude: those of us who fit in with Steve Buscemi more than Tom Cruise.

I’ve been fortunate enough to find directors, producers and audiences for my unique brand. But it took years—decades, in fact—and I’ve still got more to do.  The point of all this to remind any of you pursuing this careeror any career in entertainment or the arts—that this is a long game and there are many ups and downs. So my advice would be to tell you to enjoy whatever you can, wherever you are and (as the title of this entry spoils) keep pushing forward.

Best of luck on your journey!

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Story of How Things Work


I wrote a biopic script over twenty years ago. It got optioned once, but never produced. So, it sat on the proverbial shelf collecting proverbial dust for decades. 

Then, I was in a production of the musical “Working” a decade or so later. Theater is such an act of love and investment; I always make friends that last a lifetime when I do it. In this case, I met Jacquelyn Levy.  We did another musical together nearly a decade later.

Then, just last year, she hooked me up with a novelist who wanted to do a joint screenplay and novel deal about a famous musical group. I sent him a copy of my thirty-year-old script as a biopic sample. He dug it and so I started the new script. 

A few months later it was done, and he started pitching it. A producer contacted me to get a copy and find out more. I told her the story you’re reading right now.  She asked me to send her the new script as well as my thirty-year-old script.

A few weeks later, she called and said she wanted to produce the script that had been collecting proverbial dust for decades.

In short, it took time, friends, networking, patience, and the script finding the right person for this story to have its long-overdue happy ending. 

“Behind the Smile: The Story of Hattie McDaniel” is slated to go into production this June.

The moral of the story is: things have a way of working that you may never be able to force or foresee. So, make your art and let what happens happen.



Monday, December 28, 2020

Goodbye 2020


A challenging year, fraught with drama, unrest and loss. But as
 each year ends, I aim to look back on the good things that happened with gratitude. I hope you do the same. 

Thus, a career-related recap of good things that happened in my 2020 is here: Gregory's 2020 Review. You may read about yourself or a project you’re connected with or interested in. And maybe there’s a surprise or two; something you missed along the way. I certainly don't blog about it all!

In any event, I thank you for reading and being a part of my journey on this little planet. Best wishes to you all for a spectacular New Year!

~Gregory






Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Art of Sharing the Gift of Art

I normally take this time to say something about being kind, being a better person...or aiming to do that in the new year. If you’ve missed my year-end posts from previous years about that and need some inspiration, see here and here and here.

This year, I’d like to do another round of sharing the gift of art. So below, you’ll find a list of artists and their various offerings for you to enjoy, discover and/or gift. Filmmakers, musicians, writers, and more. These are good people, so please watch and/or partake in their work. It will help keep you entertained while stuck at home.

And, if you want to support me and my work, go to Gregory's Store and/or Gregory's Patreon.

Other than that, let me simply wish you a very happy and safe holiday season.

Thank you for being here.  

Stay safe.  Stay kind.

~Gregory


Artists (in no particular order)


Film/Entertainers 

Chris Moore
“A Stranger Among Us” (a horror film) https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B08K2P5T57

Mikeal Burgin
“The Caregivers” (a screenplay) https://www.facebook.com/TheCaregiversMovie/

Edward Martin III
Media creator
https://www.hellbendermedia.com/

Itai Guberman
Filmmaker https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2760127/

Mark Schaefer
“Hell Childress, Episode 7” (TV Series)
https://youtu.be/PEFuogBXYBY

Paul Stephen Edwards
"The Great American Horror Road Trip"
(Horror filmmaking docuseries)
https://youtu.be/snitFLL-6SY

Dawn Fields
“Yesterday’s Moon” (a romance film’s journey) www.YesterdaysMoon.com

Kevin Quezada and Hannah Koi Prado
Entertainment Film Producers
HKP-Entertainment.com

Jenn Nangle
"Malvolia: The Queen of Screams" TV Series
www.YouTube.com/malvoliathequeenofscreams

Judd Angel
Actor (demo reel)
https://youtu.be/qVmRWyDF4m0

Colton Baumgartner
Entertainer (Amazon page)
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Colton+Baumgartner


Music/Video

Roy Padro
Music creator
https://allmylinks.com/flava1radio

Anthony Honore
"Get Up!" (Music video)
https://youtu.be/NWdhVc7EzBM


Books/Other Media

Brian Fitzpatrick
Writer
http://www.brianfitzpatrickbooks.com/

Daryl Hajek
“Blood Blossom” (a suspense drama novel)  https://amzn.to/397VgUa

Mindy Dougherty
An entrepreneurial idea & inspirational books www.feedmycity.net 

Edison F Cortez
Fashion Designer, Costume Designer & Artist https://www.instagram.com/edisonsatelier/

Dónaco Smyth
“Animal Watch” (card game)
www.animalwatchgame.com

Tim Gross
“Tales from the Gross Side” short horror tales
https://rb.gy/p6q3nx

Addison Rose Peacock
“Heart Games” (podcast) https://twitter.com/HeartGamesPod