News: A Farewell Letter from DCMTA Writer Richard Seff

I didn’t want to slink off into the night without saying so long to you very lovely DC fans at DC Metro Theater Arts. It was time to go, and I’m grateful for the space in which to get sentimental for a moment. Arriving here some years ago with founder Joel Markowitz led me into strange waters, for though I’d spent my working life in theatre, most of it was devoted to the performing arts, with me doing the performing and the writing. Yes, there were those 20 years when I sat behind a desk and pretended to be a businessman, but though I was a theatrical agent whose major talent was spotting talent in others, I really yearned to get back up there myself.

Richard Seff.

My midlife crisis occurred when I was in my mid-forties, and I did re-enter the job market. I managed to stay afloat as an actor from 1975 through the rest of the 20th century, enjoying myself enormously – so much so that I created a prize for people like me – those who’d devoted their lives to the stage as supporting players. It now goes annually to a growing list of favorites known only to aficionados who love good theatre and fine performances.

I thought the third act of my life would be devoted to watching young things grow. But a chance encounter with Joel Markowitz opened another door, and suddenly I was back on the other side of the footlights (remember them?) as a member of the Outer Critics Circle, reviewing those brave souls who were constantly renewing the ranks of the writers, directors, and actors who’d come before them.

I want to thank Nicole who’s done a remarkable job of sustaining DC Metro Theater Arts, widening its horizons as she veers toward the new and the now in plays and musicals which embrace and employ a new generation of artists who are now telling us all about their concerns as well as sharing their hopes and dreams.

I’m going to go on sounding off about my own likes and dislikes, and if you care to join me, you’ll find me at OnAndOffBroadwayTheaterReviews.com and also in print at the ShoreLine Times and at its website shorelinetimes.com.  

Till we meet again, thanks for listening. So long for now.  

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Richard Seff
RICHARD SEFF has been working in theatre since he made his acting debut in support of Claude Rains in the prize winning DARKNESS AT NOON, and he agreed to tour the next season in support of Edward G. Robinson, which took him across the nation and back for nine months. When it was over and he was immediately offered another national tour with THE SHRIKE with Van Heflin, he decided to explore other areas, and he spent the next 22 years representing artists in the theatre as an agent, where he worked at Liebling-Wood, MCA, eventually a partnership of his own called Hesseltine-Bookman and Seff, where he discovered and developed young talents like Chita Rivera, John Kander, Fred Ebb, Ron Field, Linda Lavin, Nancy Dussault and many others. He ultimately sold his interest to ICM. When he completed his contractual obligation to that international agency, he returned to his first love, acting and writing for the theatre. In that phase of his long and varied life, he wrote a comedy (PARIS IS OUT!) which brightened the 1970 season on Broadway for 107 performances. He became a successful supporting player in film, tv and onstage, and ultimately wrote a book about his journey, SUPPORTING PLAYER: MY LIFE UPON THE WICKED STAGE, still popular with older theatre lovers and youngsters who may not yet know exactly where they will most sensibly and profitably fit into the world of show business. The book chronicles a life of joyous work working in a favored profession in many areas, including leading roles in the regional theatres in his work in Lanford Wilson's ANGELS FALL. His last stage role was in THE COUNTESS in which he played Mr. Ruskin for 9 months off Broadway. Five seasons ago Joel Markowitz suggested he join him at DCTheatreScene. His accurate and readable reviews of the New York Scene led, when the time was right, for his joining DCMetroTheaterArts to continue bringing news of the Big Apple's productions just to keep you posted. He is delighted to be able to join DCMTA and work with Joel and hopes that you like what he has to say.