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Richard Seff has been fortunate to be allowed to spend his entire working life in a field he discovered professionally when he was 19, but to which he'd been exposed as a boy of 6 when he said his first words onstage and later at 11, when he saw his first play on Broadway. Those early 11 years were spent in a conventional manner in Brooklyn, which in the 1930s was a quiet suburb of bustling Manhattan. He has worked in the theatre as actor, playwright, librettist, agent, production associate, and now memoirist, with his book Supporting Player: My Life Upon The Wicked Stage. His journey has been a long one, on a road that has pitched and swerved over decades, but the journey has served him well for on it he has learned all he ever needed to know about life onstage and off. In plays ranging from farce to light comedy to drama to musical play he has played characters as diverse as Shamraev in The Sea Gull, Colonel Pickering in My Fair Lady, Father Bill Doherty in Angels Fall, Baron de Hirsch in Herzl, the Reverend Winemiller in Summer And Smoke, and Bradley in The Cocktail Hour. As a playwright his comedy Paris Is Out! enlivened the Broadway season of 1969-70, and his musical Shine! won a National Music Theatre Festival Award in 2001 and has been published by Samuel French. His first play, The Whole Ninth Floor, starred Alan Alda in summer theatre and his second, Consenting Adults, opened a summer festival for A.C.T. in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. For twenty one years, from 1953-1974, he represented artists in the musical theatre. His early clients included Chita Rivera, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Ron Field, Nancy Dussault, and Julie Andrews and in later years he worked closely with Ethel Merman, Bob Fosse, and Jerome Robbins. His recent years have been devoted to the writing of his book. His last long run on stage was for nine months of 1999-2000 in The Countess at the Lamb in New York. In 2006 he briefly appeared in a series of readings of a two-character one-acter, The Dakota, which was written for him by a young playwright, Bill Fowkes. In 2004, he created an award to be given each year in his name to a character actor and actress, supporting players, who have devoted at least 25 years to their profession. This giving back to the theatre that has so nourished him for sixty years gives him great pleasure indeed.
Samuel French Titles by Richard Seff
- Beyond the Ingénue: Top 20 Roles for Leading Ladies
- An Exploration of Playwright Audrey Cefaly’s Work
- Shining The Light: How One Teacher Brought The Ghostlight Project To His High School
- A Musical Classic Gets a Bold New Staging in San Antonio
- Beautiful: The Multi-Generational Draw of HEATHERS THE MUSICAL
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