BWW Interviews: EUGENE PACK - 'Celebrity Autobiography' at GSP
George Street Playhouse (GSP) in New Brunswick will present Celebrity Autobiography on June 20th at 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm. Audiences will enjoy a night of non-stop laughter as they experience the jaw-dropping vignettes performed from celebrity tell-alls. The show was created by Eugene Pack, the Emmy award nominated writer, creator, performer and executive producer. Broadwayworld.com had an opportunity to interview Pack about his career and Celebrity Autobiography.
Pack grew up on the East Coast in Long Island where he said he was fortunate to be exposed to a lot of theater. He is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where he studied writing/directing and worked with David Mamet who he said was a big inspiration to him as a writer.
After beginning his television writing career on MTV's Jenny McCarthy Show, Pack's went on to use his talents to write for top comedy-variety, music and event specials, among them the Emmy Award- winning special America: A Tribute to Heroes and A Home For the Holidays, which won the prestigious Television Academy Honors.
A playwright-performer, Pack has performed three critically acclaimed comedic solo shows-- The Senior, Something Flexible With Meaning, and Undisputed: My Night With the Queen of the Soul.
As an executive producer, he has created such hits as Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team now in its record-breaking ninth season on CMT.
Celebrity Autobiography has been running for five sold-out years in New York City and has won the 2009 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience. The show also was a critically acclaimed special for Bravo. It is currently touring in the United States and abroad, including London's West End, Australia's Sydney Opera House, and headlining the Edinburgh Festival.
Pack is confident that GSP audiences will enjoy the show. "George Street Playhouse has the right vibe for this show...plus the audiences there are smart and appreciative and are always up for having a great time. We are all really excited about performing at this theatre."
Pack spoke about the line-up of performers for the two GSP shows. "We have an incredible cast assembled for George Street...including Sherri Shepherd, Mario Cantone, Drama Desk award winner Dayle Reyfel and one star that resides in New Jersey...5 time Emmy winner and comedy legend Alan Zweibel. SNL alumni Rachel Dratch is also onboard--George Street audiences enjoyed her in the play Sylvia...and this will give them an opportunity to see her true comedic genius in action as she takes on everyone from Ethel Merman to Gwyneth Paltrow."
We asked Pack about his inspiration for this blockbuster hit. "Years ago...I came across a hard cover edition of the autobiography of Vanna White entitled Vanna Speaks and I started reading a chapter out loud--where she writes these 'dramatic' details of how challenging it is to flip the panels on Wheel Of Fortune....for example, 'One day my belt broke, and I hung on to it and kept flipping those panels...' I had a creative brainstorm thinking...what if you read something like this to an audience....without commentary..taking it somewhat seriously....could this prove to be hilarious? That passage inspired an evening of where performers would get up at the mike and act out excerpts from a wide variety of ever-evolving celebrity memoirs."
Pack calls Celebrity Autobiography "a send up of the fact that every celebrity has a book and is ready to share all these details with the world." And, there are segments that are certain to captivate and entertain GSP's audience. Pack told us a little about the show's structure. "What we love to do is combine different memoirs into mini-performance pieces that we call "Celebrity Mash-ups"...this could be different themes ...for example: "Mom-oirs" offers advice from such Celebrity Moms as Nancy Reagan, Kris Jenner, Ivana Trump and Candy Spelling. Another favorite is the He Said, She Said, She Said...where we ping pong back between the dueling autobios of Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson AND their secretary who also wrote a book! Our big finale tells the story of Hollywood's Greatest Love Story...pulled from three different books by Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds, and Eddie Fisher. It is epic and includes the entire cast."
There is another exciting performance scheduled for Pack's work this summer. The Guild Hall Theatre in East Hampton will be presenting a special benefit on Thursday August 21st. The one night only reading of his new play, Night With Oscar has a cast that includes Matthew Broderick, Tate Donovan, Pamela Adlon, and Marsha Mason.
And, fans of Eugene Pack's work can look forward to his newest artistic venture. "My play Hitherto enjoyed a very successful reading in New York last year with a cast that included some of my favorite actors--Matthew Broderick, Parker Posey, Carol Kane, Tony Danza, Anita Gillette, Geraldine Hughes and Maddie Corman Alexander. I am preparing now for a production next year in New York City."
Tickets for Celebrity Autobiography at George Street Playhouse on June 20th at 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm are now on sale. For more information, call their box office at (732) 246-7717 or visit them online at www.gsponline.org. The playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue in the heart of New Brunswick's vibrant downtown area.