:: meet the people ::
ALAN SAFIER (George Burns) celebrates more than five decades on stage, on television, in commercials, and in voice-overs, with this, his 10th season playing everyone’s favorite centenarian, both off-Broadway and across the country.
In addition to playing George Burns in Say Goodnight Gracie, Alan has portrayed many other famous people in his stage career: John Adams in 1776, Spiro Agnew in Gore Vidal's An Evening with Richard M. Nixon, Charles J. Guiteau in the Los
Angeles premiere of Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, Albert Einstein in the world-premiere musical The Smartest Man in the World, and Truman Capote in the hit off-Broadway 30th-anniversary revival of New Faces of 1952.
Alan’s first stage appearance was at the age of nine, when he played Lord Low-hat in an adaptation of Dr. Suess’s Bartholomew & the Oobleck. He was hooked. He continued acting in school, teen theatre, summer stock, and regional and community theatre productions. He also worked as a radio disc jockey while in high school and college.
After receiving an MFA in Acting at Ohio University, where he studied under the esteemed Bob Hobbs, Alan debuted off-Broadway in another play called Say Goodnight, Gracie (this one about neither George nor Gracie!). Other New York stage credits include Scrambled Feet, Bend Your Ear and Once in a Lifetime. Some of his regional theatre credits include Romeo & Juliet; Steve Martin’s The Underpants; Littlechap in
Stop the World, I Want to Get Off; Bluntschli in Shaw’s Arms & the Man; and Gratiano in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, in which he co-starred with famed original Group Theatre actor Morris Carnovsky.
While living and working in New York in the ’70s and ’80s, he studied with legendary acting teacher Wynn Handman, and with Academy Award–winning actress Beatrice Straight.
West coast credits include a long run as Michael in the L.A. premiere of The Men from the Boys (Mart Crowley's sequel to his seminal play The Boys in the Band); Lou, the homeless Vietnam veteran, in Steve Tesich’s The Speed of Darkness; Stephen in Patrick Marber’s Dealer’s Choice; Frenchy in Clifford Odets’s Rocket to the Moon; Buddy Fidler in the Cy Coleman musical City of Angels; Herb Schwartz in Deb Laufer’s hit comedy The Last Schwartz at The Zephyr in Hollywood; and Maltby & Shire’s musical revue Closer Than Ever.
In 2012, he premiered Humbug!, his new one-actor musical version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Alan co-wrote the script with Sheldon Harnick and plays all 27 characters in the show, which features an original song score by Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof) and Michel Legrand (Summer of ’42). Humbug! will continue to tour annually during the holiday season.
Alan Safier may also be familiar to audiences from hundreds of television and radio voice-overs (perhaps most recognizably as the Kibbles ’n Bits dog) and from guest appearances on TV series. He teaches voice-over, musical performance and acting workshops in New York City and at colleges and theatre festivals across the country. He’s the author of two plays, My Father’s Voice and Love, Loss, & What I Drove, and several published short stories. Alan is a frequent performing guest artist at the William Inge Theatre Festival in Independence, Kansas.
His CD of American standards from the ’30s and ’40s, Alan Safier Sings the Songs of George & Gracie’s Heyday, was released in 2011. He also composed the song “Another Tuesday Morning,” featured on the Jim Brickman CD Simple Things.
Alan grew up in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, and is a passionate Cleveland Indians baseball fan, an avid reader, a lover of theatre and old Hollywood movies, and a politics junkie.
He currently resides in New York City.
DIDI CONN (voice of Gracie Allen) appeared on Broadway in Lost in Yonkers, Julie Taymor's The Green Bird, and A Christmas Carol. Off-Broadway credits include Love, Loss and What I Wore; Souls of Naples; The Vagina Monologues; The Primary English Class; Consequences and The Lesson. Regionally, she has done such shows as Danny and the Deep
Blue Sea (L.A. premiere), A Heap of Livin’ (L.A. premiere), Division Street, Birdbath, Room Service, It Had to Be You, Anything Goes, Enter Laughing and six years in the acting company of the Sundance Playwright’s Lab.
She recently made her opera debut as the Duchess of Krackenthorpe in The Daughter of the Regiment with the Arizona Opera. In films she has had starring roles in You Light Up My Life, Grease and Grease 2. Other films include The Magic Show, Raggedy Ann and Andy, Almost Summer, Thomas and the Magic Railroad and the title role in the Oscar-winning short “Violet.” Television: appeared as Vi in the much-acclaimed “Grease: Live!” on Fox TV, and was a series regular on “Benson,” PBS’s “Shining Time Station,” and Danny Thomas’s “The Practice.” She lives with her husband, composer David Shire, and their son Daniel in the
Alan guests on WATN Channel 24's "Local Memphis Live"
MICHAEL WHITE (director) began a lifelong love affair with the American theatre while still in high school. As a young actor, director, designer and technician, he won numerous awards in statewide theatre competitions, and earned a scholarship to the prestigious University of Texas Department of Drama. In addition to his work onstage, he wrote and directed his first original
play while still a high school junior. By the time he graduated, he was already a veteran of nine Equity productions on the professional stage.
After a distinguished collegiate career, Michael returned to the professional theater wherein he served as an actor, director, designer and stage manager in playhouses from coast to coast. Memorable roles include Nick in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Narrator in Albee’s Ballad of the Sad Cafe, Iago in Othello, and a two-and-a-half-year, box-office-record-setting tour of the comedy Hanky Panky. In addition, he stage managed, assistant stage managed or served as tech director on over 25 Equity shows.
After permanently relocating to Southern California, Michael began a career in film and television that has seen his work in such films as Body Double, Best Seller, The Elian Gonzales Story, The New Women, A Day Without A Mexican, and The Killing Room. On television, Michael has appeared in “Kitchen Confidential,” “Strong Medicine,” “L.A. Heat,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Melrose Place,” “Saved By The Bell,” “The Bold & The Beautiful,” “Days of Our Lives” and several turns performing sketch comedy with the fabulous lunatics at the “Conan O’Brien Show,” to name just a few.
Behind the scenes, Michael served as assistant director on the national tour of The Odd Couple (female version) starring Barbara Eden, and directed the World Premiere of playwright Lizzie Maxwell’s Confessions of a Nice Jewish Girl. Most recently, he directed the national tour of the award-winning Say Goodnight Gracie, the one-man show based on the lives of George Burns and Gracie Allen.
His most recent endeavor has taken him back to his roots on the stage. His brand new one-man play, Upon This Rock, chronicles the story of the Apostle Simon Peter, and is currently booking touring dates around the country.
After innumerable assignments on stage and in film and TV, he still lists as his all-time favorites the roles of being dad to his amazing daughter, Michelle, and husband to his beloved wife, Jennifer. And today, many years after Michael first set foot on a professional stage ... the love affair is still going strong.
RUPERT HOLMES (author and incidental music) received a Tony nomination for Say Goodnight Gracie, which also won the National Broadway Theatre Award for Best Play. For his musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood (recently revived to critical acclaim on Broadway), Holmes became the first individual in theatrical history to singly win Tony Awards for Best Book, Best Music and Best Lyrics, while Drood itself
won the Tony Award for Best Musical. The New York Drama Desk bestowed identical honors upon Holmes and his creation. He also received the Drama Desk award for Best Book for the musical comedy Curtains, with a score by the legendary John Kander & Fred Ebb, for which Holmes also received Tony nominations for book and additional lyrics. The Mystery Writers of America gave his Broadway comedy-thriller Accomplice their coveted Edgar Award; it was the second time he received the honor. Holmes also created and wrote the critically-acclaimed AMC series “Remember WENN,” set in the golden age of radio. His first novel, Where the Truth Lies, was made into a movie starring Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon. With Marvin Hamlisch supplying the music, he created book and lyrics for the award-winning musical of Jerry Lewis’s classic The Nutty Professor. He wrote the book for the Broadway-bound musical Secondhand Lions, which premiered in Seattle this past fall, and his stage play A Time to Kill (based on John Grisham’s novel) opened on Broadway in October, 2013.