Don Grigware

Don Grigware Don Grigware is an Ovation nominated actor and journalist/writer whose contributions to theatre through the years have included 6 years as theatre editor of NoHoLA, a contributor to LA Stage Magazine and currently on his own website:
www.grigwaretalkstheatre.com

Don hails from Holyoke, Massachusetts and holds two Masters Degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Education and Bilingual Studies. He is a teacher of foreign language and ESL.

Don is going into his eighth year with BWW, currently serving as Senior Editor of the Los Angeles Page. He received a BWW Award for Excellence in 2014 as one of the top ten Regional Editors across the globe.

Don is also an author/playwright and recently published Books I, II & III of his children's fable Two Worlds Together: Donnelly's Greatest Christmas. You may purchase copies of the two volumes at amazon.com A trilogy of one-acts in a collection called Holiday Madness was recently revised and re-published, also on amazon.com. Both the story and plays are available on kindle as well as in paperback.
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MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Interview: ISA BRIONES Opens Up About NEXT TO NORMALBWW Interview: ISA BRIONES Discusses NEXT TO NORMAL
Posted: Aug. 19, 2016


BWW Review: Sizzling West Coast Premiere of Authorized Tennessee Williams' BABY DOLL at the FountainBWW Review: BABY DOLL Sizzles at the Fountain
Posted: Aug. 1, 2016


BWW Interview: Thomas James O'Leary Directs NEXT TO NORMALBWW Interview: Thomas James O'Leary Directs NEXT TO NORMAL
Posted: Aug. 15, 2016


BWW Review: Engrossing NEXT TO NORMAL at Pico PlayhouseBWW Review: Engrossing NEXT TO NORMAL
Posted: Aug. 22, 2016


BWW Review: Moonlight Amphitheatre Mounts Gorgeous Rendition of the Rarely Seen TITANIC THE MUSICALBWW Review: Gorgeous TITANIC THE MUSICAL
Posted: Aug. 22, 2016


BWW Review: Beautifully Orchestrated EVERYTHING'S COMING UP ROSIE for 10th Anniversary of Sterling's UpstairsBWW Review: Lovely Evening EVERYTHING'S COMING UP ROSIE
Posted: Aug. 2, 2016


LAST 365 DAYS

DON GRIGWARE Picks The BEST PRODUCTIONS AND PERFORMANCES in LOS ANGELES THEATRE for 2015BWW Review: The BEST of LA THEATRE for 2015
Posted: Dec. 28, 2015


BWW Interview: CEO Griff O'Neil Discusses WCOPA Championships Set to Open in LONG BEACH JULY 8BWW Interview: WCOPA Championships Set to Open in Long Beach July 8
Posted: Jul. 1, 2016


BWW Interview: Dancer JEANNINE JACKSON Talks About Thrilling Dance Show on June 25BWW Interview: Dancer JEANNINE JACKSON Talks About Thrilling Dance Show
Posted: Jun. 20, 2016


BWW Review: National Tour of THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY Bows Gracefully at the AhmansonBWW Review: Glorious BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY
Posted: Dec. 14, 2015


BWW Review: Rarely Seen in the US CALENDAR GIRLS Sheds a Delicious Naughtiness at Group repBWW Review: Rarely Seen in the US CALENDAR GIRLS Sheds a Delicious Naughtiness at Group rep
August 29, 2016

The 2003 filmCalendar Girlswas produced in the US with a British cast starring Helen Mirren and Julie Walters. It is a delightful comedy and a sweet ode to women, who, dissatisfied with many lifestyle choices, try quite earnestly to raise the bar. In 2008 it was made into a play and has been a best seller in the UK, probably because it takes place in and pays homage to Yorkshire. Now under Larry Eisenberg's keen and caring direction,Calendar Girls, rarely produced in the US, has a sturdy production with a sterling cast at Group rep in NoHo through October 9.
BWW Review: Another Resoundingly Special EVENING OF CLASSIC BROADWAYBWW Review: Another Resoundingly Special EVENING OF CLASSIC BROADWAY
August 24, 2016

On Monday evening August 22An Evening of Classic Broadwayreturned to Rockwell Table and Stage for another resoundingly superb and downright mirthful show. Headed byBrad EllisandDianne Fraser, this show really grows on you. I love talent, and you can definitely find it here in abundance. On the bill this time around were of course ringmaster Ellis, ingenious as always with his delicious banter at the piano, and Fraser, who manages to do it all, even adjusting microphones and assisting with the props. She's amazing! Guest singers includedJoshua Finkel, Zachary Ford, Susan Edwards Martin, Barrett Foa, Christina Saffran and daughter Emma Ashfordand last but never least the inimitableJulie Garnye.
BWW Review: Engrossing NEXT TO NORMAL at Pico PlayhouseBWW Review: Engrossing NEXT TO NORMAL at Pico Playhouse
August 22, 2016

Bipolar disease most often occurs in women creating abnormal behavior patterns, and usually treated with drugs. In the Pulitzer Prize winningNext to Normal, the problem is presented via a wife and mother, Diana (Michelle Lane). Her behavior shows extreme mental instability, and the effects on her husband Dan (Nick Sarando) and teen daughter Natalie (Isa Briones) cause a serious rift in their ongoing relationships. Eventually a heartfelt loss from the past unravels that is at the core of the woman's suffering. Structured in a most unusual way,Next to Normalis akin to a rock opera, but it is not completely sung; there is intermittent dialogue. The most emotional moments, though, come through song, so the music by Tom Kitt and book by Brian Yorkey flow together smoothly, and with the three tiered open set and loosely structured staging, what occurs is an unparalleledmusical drama. Now in the intimate space of the Pico Playhouse, the complex drama unfolds crystal clear with fine direction from Thomas James O'Leary and a marvelously skilled ensemble, all of whom sing and act their socks off.
BWW Review: Moonlight Amphitheatre Mounts Gorgeous Rendition of the Rarely Seen TITANIC THE MUSICALBWW Review: Moonlight Amphitheatre Mounts Gorgeous Rendition of the Rarely Seen TITANIC THE MUSICAL
August 22, 2016

Despite boasting one of the most gloriously majestic musical scores ever written for a Broadway stage by Maury Yeston in 1997,Titanic the Musicalwas, no pun intended, a disaster with lukewarm reception from both audience and critics. Come to think of it, how entertaining can a musical be about the sinking of the Titanic?
BWW Review: Welk Resort Presents Sturdy ARSENIC AND OLD LACEBWW Review: Welk Resort Presents Sturdy ARSENIC AND OLD LACE
August 22, 2016

Joseph Kesselring's dark comedy farceArsenic and Old Lacedates back to 1941 and was made into one hilarious film starring Cary Grant and directed by Frank Capra in 1944. Nevertheless, the comedy is timeless, so it still holds up quite deliciously in 2016. One never tires of murder especially when it's played out in a spooky old Brooklyn mansion adjacent to a cemetery...and most of the Brewster family who inhabit it are most definitely certifiable. Elderly Abby Brewster (Robin LaValley) and her sister Martha (Eliane Weidauer) dispose of over the hill lodgers all alone in the world - to bring them peace and eternal happiness. They offer homemade Eldeberry wine laced with arsenic and think they're doing the old codgers a favor. It seems perfectly harmless to them. In fact, they already have 11 bodies buried in the cellar and are about to embark on a funeral service for number 12 who is resting comfortably in the window seat of their living room. It helps when their nephew Teddy (Robin Thompson) - who thinks he's Theodore Roosevelt - carries out their orders and buries the bodies, convinced that he's digging locks of the Panama Canal. When brother Mortimer (Tim Benson) - a drama critic for a local paper - discovers the body by accident, he automatically assumes it's Teddy who has killed the man, never dreaming that his sweet aunts are responsible.
BWW Interview: ISA BRIONES Opens Up About NEXT TO NORMALBWW Interview: ISA BRIONES Opens Up About NEXT TO NORMAL
August 19, 2016

ISA BRIONESwas born Isabella Camille Briones in London, England. Her parents, Jon Jon Briones and Megan Johnson Briones are both actors and singers, and her younger brother, Teo Briones is also an actor. She began modeling in New York at the age of 3, and started acting when her family moved to Los Angeles in 2006. She is best known for her role in the film Takers, playing Matt Dillon's daughter. Isa is entering her senior year of high school, and is excited to be making her professional theater debut in this production of Next to Normal. School theater credits include: Velma in Hairspray, Brooke in Legally Blonde and Abigail in The Crucible. TV and film: "Takers," "Cutthroat", "Lonely Boy".
BWW Interview: Actor RANDY HARRISON Explores Emcee in CABARETBWW Interview: Actor RANDY HARRISON Explores Emcee in CABARET
August 15, 2016

Actor Randy Harrison is touring with Cabaret as the Emcee and is currently at Segerstrom Center for the Artsperforming the show through SundayAugust 21. In our chat he discusses the role and what Cabaret means to him. Describe the experience of playing the emcee in Cabaret. What makes this role such a coveted one?
BWW Interview: Thomas James O'Leary Directs NEXT TO NORMALBWW Interview: Thomas James O'Leary Directs NEXT TO NORMAL
August 15, 2016

Thomas James O'Leary's recent directing credits include Flim Flam: Houdini and the Hereafter, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Nine, Dusty de los Santos, The Debut of Georgia, A Horse with a View, and currently Sunday in the Park with George. Thomas is best known for his three-year run (over 1,000 performances) in the title role of Broadway's longest-running musical, The Phantom of the Opera. Other acting credits include Miss Saigon (Broadway original cast), Les Miserables (First National original cast), Chess (First National), You Never Can Tell (Yale Rep), Last Sunday in June (Century Center), Travels with My Aunt (Colony Theatre), and Take Me Out (LA Weekly Award, Celebration Theatre).
BWW Review: PRT's Superlative ECCENTRICITIES OF A NIGHTINGALE ExtendsBWW Review: PRT's Superlative ECCENTRICITIES OF A NIGHTINGALE Extends
August 15, 2016

1948'sSummer and Smokewas rewritten in the 60s by Tennessee Williams and what resulted was a more clearly structured/themed play with the same central characters entitledThe Eccentricities of a Nightingale.Music teacher Miss Alma (Ginna Carter), daughter of an Episcopal minister Reverend Winemiller (Brad Greenquist), was passionately in love with her neighbor young Dr. John Buchanan (Andrew Dits) and when that love was unrequited rather than become a miserable spinster, she turned to prostitution. Now in a rare and lovely production of the refined play at PRT, poetic spirit is alive and well in Miss Alma, the Spanish word forsoul.
BWW Review: Dark and Thrilling National Tour of CABARET Plays Segerstrom CenterBWW Review: Dark and Thrilling National Tour of CABARET Plays Segerstrom Center
August 15, 2016

Perhaps Kander and Ebb's best musical, apart fromChicago,Cabarethas it all: a fine book, deliciously diverse characters, dynamite music and a subtext that will not quit. The subtext being: either compromise or get out if you value your life, the latter, to be sure, the wiser. This is Berlin, circa 1929/30, before Hitler, just as Nazi pressure hits the fan. Now a national tour based on Roundabout Theatre's 2014 revival docks at Segestromfor a mere 2weeks with a glorious cast headed by Randy Harrison in a big, broad and devilishly fun performance as the Emcee.
BWW Review: Beautifully Orchestrated EVERYTHING'S COMING UP ROSIE for 10th Anniversary of Sterling's UpstairsBWW Review: Beautifully Orchestrated EVERYTHING'S COMING UP ROSIE for 10th Anniversary of Sterling's Upstairs
August 2, 2016

On Sunday July 31Michael Sterlingcelebrated 10 years of his cabaret supper club now called Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal with a mega-delightful show headlining the music of his mentorRosemary ClooneycalledEverything's Coming Up Rosie. On the bill were two exuberantly talented singersKerry O'MalleyandMary Callanan. Backed by virtuoso musical director Richard Allen at the piano and his superb trio of musicians that included Ed Smith on drums and Randy Landas on bass, the two gals sent out glorious vibes in the 90-minute set.
BWW Review: Sizzling West Coast Premiere of Authorized Tennessee Williams' BABY DOLL at the FountainBWW Review: Sizzling West Coast Premiere of Authorized Tennessee Williams' BABY DOLL at the Fountain
August 1, 2016

I cannot think of a better way to spend a hot summer night than to watch a sizzling stage production of a Tennessee Williams film.Baby Doll,when it first arrived in 1956, was condemned by the Catholic Church for indecency, and because of its lewd poster-sized ad depicting Carroll Baker lying in a crib, sucking her thumb, was one of the most controversial filmsacross America. Now, almost 70 years later, the West Coast premiere stage adaptation by Pierre Laville and Emily Mann of Williams'Baby Dollis a practically flawless production at the Fountain Theatre, directed with stunning clarity by Simon Levy...and boasting an unforgettably ingenious cast of five.
BWW Interview: TV Personality MARIO LOPEZ Returns to Zach and A CHORUS LINE This Weekend at the Hollywood BowlBWW Interview: TV Personality MARIO LOPEZ Returns to Zach and A CHORUS LINE This Weekend at the Hollywood Bowl
July 26, 2016

Well-known TV personality and show host Mario Lopez returns to the stage as Zach in A Chorus Lineat the Hollywood Bowl at the end of this week. In our chat he talks about doing the role on Broadway in 2008...and the challenges of performing onstage.
BWW Review: Cabaret Artist JEANNE PAGE Heats Up the FederalBWW Review: Cabaret Artist JEANNE PAGE Heats Up the Federal
July 26, 2016

One thing you may be sure of in attending aJeannePageconcert: you will have a good time. The lady is a dynamic singer, giving it everything she's got and really enjoys doing it. She has such fun
BWW Review: NINE WINNING ONE-ACTS Play at Group repBWW Review: NINE WINNING ONE-ACTS Play at Group rep
July 26, 2016

Evenings of short one-acts are the rage at Equity-waiver theatres! In the black box theatre upstairs at Group rep you you are invited to come seeNine Winning One-Acts, plays that stretch a mere ten-fifteen minutes in length. The mini plays were chosen from over 160 entries from across the United States and written by various unknown playwrights. The evening is divided into two acts with five plays comprising Act One and four in Act Two. There is no single theme running through them, so if I had to describe the conflicts ...why ... life, death, dating, marriage, love, gay relationships, infidelity, euthanasia...and even cat abuse, though mild, thrown into the fray. The evening is Group rep's way of utilizing more company actors and directors, many of whom work less on the theatre mainstage, and for the most part, it's pleasantly stimulating and entertaining fare.
BWW Interview: Actor RANDY HARRISON Discusses CABARET and His Role of EMCEEBWW Interview: Actor RANDY HARRISON Discusses CABARET and His Role of EMCEE
July 22, 2016

Actor Randy Harrison is touring with Cabaret as the Emcee and will be at the Pantages performing the show July 19 - August 7. In our chat he discusses the role and what Cabaret means to him. Describe the experience of playing the emcee in Cabaret. What makes this role such a coveted one?
BWW Review: Starkly Dark and Raw Revival of CABARET Returns Decadently to the PantagesBWW Review: Starkly Dark and Raw Revival of CABARET Returns Decadently to the Pantages
July 21, 2016

Perhaps Kander and Ebb's best musical, apart fromChicago,Cabarethas it all: a fine book, deliciously diverse characters, dynamite music and a subtext that will not quit. The subtext being: either compromise or get out if you value your life, the latter, to be sure, the wiser. This is Berlin, circa 1929/30, before Hitler, just as Nazi pressure hits the fan. Now a national tour based on Roundabout Theatre's 2013 revival docks at the Pantages for a mere 3 weeks with a glorious cast headed by Randy Harrison in a big, broad and devilishly fun performance as the Emcee.
BWW Review: Smoothly Revised RECORDED IN HOLLYWOOD Returns to LA at Kirk Douglas TheatreBWW Review: Smoothly Revised RECORDED IN HOLLYWOOD Returns to LA at Kirk Douglas Theatre
July 18, 2016

The name of the game in show biz is never to settle for greatness, but rather to go that extra mile and make it better. Such is the case withRecorded in Hollywood. In its transferal from a smaller Hollywood space to the Kirk Douglas Theatre,the show provides abook by Matt Donnelly and Jamelle Dolphin that opens up even more than before to tell the true story of record producer John Dolphin. The story takes place from 1948 to 1958 in South Central, Los Angeles, when blacks were arrested for the slightest infractions of the law. Since I did not see the initial production, I am basing my opinions on this newer version. It is slick, a very slick show with a dynamic, triple threat ensemble headed by Stu James, directed superbly by Denise Dowse and choreographed to the max by Cassie Crump. The bad feature is that it only runs through August 7.
BWW Review: Cabrillo's Enchanting LITTLE MERMAID Goes Swimmingly Under the SeaBWW Review: Cabrillo's Enchanting LITTLE MERMAID Goes Swimmingly Under the Sea
July 18, 2016

Watching Cabrillo Music Theatre's The Little Mermaid on the Fred Kavli stage is an enjoyable treat, almost like viewing the Disney film ... it's so alive and scintillating. All the color and splendor of the ocean is onstage, and that has a lot to say about this production's creative team. All the technical aspects of the show are working smoothly, in sync. Cabrillo may be assuredly proud of their production. The sad thing is it only plays a week more, until Sunday July 24.
BWW Review: Buckley and York Bring an Emotionally Engaging West Coast premiere GREY GARDENS to the AhmansonBWW Review: Buckley and York Bring an Emotionally Engaging West Coast premiere GREY GARDENS to the Ahmanson
July 14, 2016

True-to-life eccentrics tend to make the most riveting dramatic/comedic characters. In 1975 Albert and David Maysles produced an award-winning documentary calledGrey Gardensabout Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale (Big Edie) and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale (Little Edie), aunt and cousin respectively of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. The film was eventually rated among the top 10 greatest documentaries of all time, and provided the basis for a the musical of the same name, produced off and on Broadway in 2006. The musical, with book by Doug Wright, music by Scott Frankel and lyrics by Michael Korie, shows the socialite family in its heyday in East Hampton, New York in Act One. Act Two is their demise into total poverty. The estate inhabited by the reclusive mother and daughter combo was condemned by the board of health, and the two women gained notoriety for their delusional, certifiable behavior. Now at the Ahmanson through August 14,Grey Gardensexplores the fiercely fiery relationship between the two Edies, offering Betty Buckley (older Big Edie) and Rachel York (younger Big Edie/Little Edie) their most cherished roles to date.


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