H U M B U G !
ALAN SAFIER (Scrooge, Cratchit, Tiny Tim, et al; book co-author) couldn’t keep quiet as a kid in school. The funny things that came into his head soon came out of his mouth, which caused most of his teachers to write on his report cards, “Alan visits too much with his neighbors!” But in the eighth grade at Byron Junior High (Shaker Hts., Ohio), when Alan added his newly-discovered JFK and Jimmy Stewart impressions to his classroom antics, he was finally hooked
on audience laughter. Now he celebrates more than five decades on stage, on television, in commercials, and in voice-overs, with this, his fourth season playing all the beloved characters in everyone’s favorite holiday story.
He's also been touring for nine seasons as the legendary comedian George Burns in Say Goodnight Gracie. Alan has portrayed many other amous 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 former 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! The Musical, his new one-actor version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Alan plays all 27 characters in the show, which features 12 original songs by Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof) and Michel Legrand (Summer of ’42).
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 of 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.
SHELDON HARNICK (lyrics, book co-author) was born and raised in Chicago, where he began studying the violin while in grammar school. After serving in the U.S. Army for three years, he enrolled in the Northwestern University School of Music, where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree. He also developed skills as a writer of comedy sketches and song parodies. He
joined up with composer Jerry Bock in 1958 to write their first musical, The Body Beautiful, but it was their second musical, Fiorello! (1959), that put the team on the map: it earned a Tony Award, Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award. Their next musical, Tenderloin (1960), set in 19th century New York, was followed by She Loves Me (1963), which beguiled audiences with its Central European charm. In 1964, Bock and Harnick, working with director-choreographer Jerome Robbins and book writer Joseph Stein, created the musical masterpiece Fiddler on the Roof which earned the Tony Award, New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, and went on to become the longest running show on Broadway. The Bock and Harnick team then went on to create such versatile fare as The Apple Tree (1966), and The Rothschilds (1970).
Sheldon Harnick is a member of The Dramatists Guild and the Songwriters Guild of America. In addition to his Tonys, Pulitzer and Grammys, his many other honors include The Johnny Mercer Award, the Marc Blitzstein Memorial Award, and Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters awarded by Illinois Wesleyan University and Muskingum College. In 2005, he and his wife Margery celebrated their 40th anniversary with their children Beth and Matthew.
MICHEL LEGRAND (music) became one of the most important names in contemporary music after receiving three Academy Award nominations for his score, adaptation and the song “I Will Wait For You” for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg in 1965. He won three Oscars, three Grammy Awards, and an Emmy nomination for his score for Brian's Song. He first came to the attention of
Americans when, at the age of 22, he arranged and conducted the Columbia recording I Love Paris, which became one of the best-selling instrumental records ever released. He received an Oscar in 1968 for Best Song for “The Windmills of Your Mind” from The Thomas Crown Affair, and for Best Original Dramatic Score for Summer of ’42. His third Oscar came in 1984 for Best Original Song Score for Barbra Streisand’s film Yentl.
Legrand was also a virtuoso jazz pianist as well as a conductor of renown, having appeared with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of Vancouver, Montreal, Atlanta, Denver and New Orleans. He made well over 100 albums, collaborating with Maurice Chevalier, Miles Davis, Kiri Te Kanawa, Sarah Vaughan, Stan Getz, Jack Jones, James Galway, Ray Charles, Lena Horne and Barbra Streisand. Other performers who recorded his compositions include Frank Sinatra, Cleo Laine, Oscar Peterson, Henry Mancini, Tony Bennett and Rosemary Clooney. In 1989, Legrand achieved his longtime goal of directing and co-writing (as well as scoring) his first feature film, Five Days in June. He passed away in 2019.
CAROLYN MIGNINI (creative consultant) has thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this project with the amazing Alan Safier. Most recently, she performed off-Broadway in Hereafter at Theater St. Marks, in a world premiere production of Dirt by Bryony Lavery at The Studio Theater in Washington, D.C., and completed Kindling, a
new film which she also co-produced. Broadway highlights include Tintypes, for which she received a Drama Desk nomination, Fiddler on the Roof, One Night Stand and A History of the American Film. Off-Broadway credits include I Married Wyatt Earp at 59E59, Christopher Durang’s Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You, Middle Ages by A.R. Gurney, and A View from the Bridge at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. Carolyn is also a long-time member of Ensemble Studio Theatre and Pacific Resident Theatre. Dozens of TV appearances include “The Good Wife,” Fx’s “Lights Out,” “The Practice,” “Chicago Hope,” “Murphy Brown,” “Days of Our Lives,” “Touched by an Angel” and “Picket Fences.” Besides performing, Carolyn has been a teacher and coach in N.Y. and L.A. for the past 20 years.