My first real introduction to arts and entertainment was a paid assignment in 1991 to write the original book for a musical-comedy-melodrama, dubbed "Flaming Saddles: A Gay Cowboy Melodrama," for the Silicon Valley Gay Men’s Chorus of San Jose, California.
I was asked to create characters, a plot, and dialogue around the songs for the fundraising show. The songs were standards from the Great American Songbook with a few, queer twists. We had a very successful two-month run, and it was a great start to a wonderful journey in the theater that continues to the present.
Among my latest efforts are television projects, the books for two original musicals, scripts for a sci-fi-horror movie and a thriller, and the script for a web series. I’m also honing my skills as a songwriter and a singer.
So, for nearly 40 years, I have worked in theater, independent movies, comedy, fiction and nonfiction publishing, live concerts and events, and business and trade journalism. As for my professional background and experience, I have two four-year degrees (print journalism and history) from The Pennsylvania State University. In addition to my artistic pursuits, I have been a working journalist since 1983.
I was also a long-time member of the playwriting lab of Curt Dempster, the late artistic director and co-founder of the Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) in New York, N.Y. Curt handpicked the members of this amazing group of writers and the lessons we learned will last for a lifetime. Curt was a leading member of the Off-Broadway movement that guided American theater toward new and powerful directions.
I am also a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, and the nonprofit industry association Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU).
Blithe Séance, or How to Evict a Ghost
This comedy-drama is the story of Theo who lives in a haunted home that he needs to sell before he can leave Boston for the Dotcom revolution of the late 1990’s. To evict the less-than-friendly ghost, Theo has a séance that includes his family, friends, and
outré psychic-medium Jasper who identifies the ghost as Rupert, who was an old roommate of Theo's. The revelation kicks off an emotional rollercoaster for all involved. The play had a script-in-hand development production in November 2019 via The Little Victory Theatre on Staten Island, N.Y. There was also a reading via The Medicine Show Theatre Ensemble in New York, N.Y. in August 2018. I am developing a full-length version of it.
Brona and Alberto
This 10-minute comedy about two members of a dating survivors’ group that have their first date before Brona leaves town forever has had two productions. In March and April 2010, the play had a successful run in the “Really Short Play Festival” of the Manhattan Repertory Theatre in New York, N.Y. The play had its first production in New York via the Initial Stages troupe of the Workshop Theater in September 2002.
The Door to Home
This is a 30-minute drama (with lots of comedy) that is “a touching look at the bond between an aging woman and her grown son,” according to a reviewer for The Queens Chronicle, an award-winning weekly newspaper serving the NYC borough of Queens. The play had its first production via the Variations Theatre Group’s Unchained Theatre Festival in Long Island City, N.Y. during the month of June 2015.
This is a 10-minute drama about Lucas, a young man who has one last chance to start a new life with his college roommate, Aaron, who is denying the mutual love that will profoundly change their lives. This piece has had four productions in New York City: most recently at The Wild Project, Dec. 10, 2019, as part of The International Human Rights Arts Festival; in September 2017, it was included in a special night of short plays that was part of the Summerfest theater festival; as a finalist in the 10-minute play contest of the Fresh Fruit Festival with performances in May and July 2011; and it was a semi-finalist in The Strawberry Festival of August 2006. The script was included in a Strawberry Festival anthology, published in 2007. Here’s a link to the play collection: http://bit.ly/1Qrj8PT and a link to stills from the 2006 production via Vimeo: http://bit.ly/2vlGXrh
This is an experimental, short monologue developed during a playwrights’ workshop with Curt Dempster, the late director and co-founder of The Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST). It was part of a special production at the EST Lexington Center in August 2002, in Lexington, N.Y.
This is the story of Paula and Benny who have found a unique Eden in a self-storage unit. Their paradise is threatened when Paula wants to leave and rejoin the world with Benny. Benny is torn between his love for Paula and a tragedy that confines him. I had a special reading of this 30-minute drama at The Medicine Show Theatre Ensemble in New York, N.Y. in August 2016. I am hoping to find a home for this piece as it deserves a full production.
A Session to Remember
This 30-minute comedy focuses on Wynn, a man in his thirties who needs an emergency therapy session with Sanura, an extraordinary therapist. It's a last-ditch attempt to have the breakthrough he needs to ask his girlfriend to marry him. He knows his unorthodox therapist will go to great lengths to help him succeed. What he doesn’t know is what his therapist truly feels about him. The piece won Best Play, Best Actress, Best Actor and tied for Audience Favorite via the Variations Theatre Group’s initial Unchained Theatre Festival, held June 2013 in a lovely black box theater on Long Island City, N.Y. The play was also was a semi-finalist in the The Network’s One-Act Festival, inaugurated in March 2009.
The Birthday Boy
This is a full-length drama about four gay men in Boston who meet for a pivotal Labor Day weekend in 1989 to celebrate the main character turning 30. Owen, the birthday boy, only wants to find love with his invited guest as his other friends — a longtime couple — deal with some devastating news. The play had a self-produced concert reading at The Directors Studio, November 2009 in New York City. Nearly a decade before, the piece had a staged reading at The Leslie-Loman Gay Art Foundation, April 2000, New York City.
Flaming Saddles: A Gay Cowboy Melodrama
I created the original book for a musical-comedy-melodrama that was produced by the Silicon Valley Gay Men’s Chorus. The songs for the show are standards from the American songbook with a few, queer twists. It was my first paid assignment ever in theater. There was a full production in March and April 1991.
Franklin & Vicky
This is a full-length thriller set in the early 1990's when the truly independent filmmaking movement got its start in the U.S. The main character, a tempermental actor, Franklin, finds the love of his life Vicky, a married woman. To make matters worse, he learns that Vicky is being investigated by the FBI becasue her husband may have links to the mafia. Vicky’s husband is also the producer of the movie that might save Franklin’s career. The movie, a well-made horror flick, is also the directorial debut for Franklin's younger brother Liam. Franklin quickly faces the most eventful choice of his life. The script had developmental readings at EST’s OctoberFest 2009 festival of new work, and via a night of special reading via The Medicine Show Theatre Ensemble in New York, N.Y. in August 2018. The script, which could work on the stage, has also been adapted into a full-length screenplay.
Things had gone so well with Flaming Saddles in 1991 that the Silicon Valley Gay Men’s Chorus asked me to write another musical-comedy-melodrama peppered with great standards. This time the story is about mobsters, mascara, hidden identities and a good pair of heels. “Heels” had a full production in March and April 1992.
Leonardo in Flight
This is a full-length musical about a turning point in Leonardo Da Vinci’s life when he must find a new benefactor or he will never be able to pursue and produce the masterpieces and inventions that will define his life and earn him a place in history as one of the greatest minds of the human race. I am writing (and rewriting) the book while composer Dr. Ariel Teitel is working on the music. We had a concert reading of the first major draft of the piece on Nov. 7, 2013 in New York City. The piece is still under development and will see the light of day.
In 1996, using cowboys as my inspiration, I wrote a full-length, gay farce about a drag queen ghostess who must fix a failing gay couple’s marriage so that she can get into heaven. The ghostess uses virtual reality and pulls a few supernatural strings to send the couple back to “Poke City” where they can work out their problems via a variety of scenarios. The ghostess must get them back together in time for her last chance to be elevated to heaven. I developed the piece while in a workshop with Blue Moon Playwrights in Boston. We had a workshop production in Boston in January 1996. This piece will have a new life as a country-rock, cutting-edge musical.
"However, the economic recession of the early 1990’s meant that Grygo’s journalism opportunities in California were drying up and he would have to move back to Boston to pursue other sources of income. What didn’t change was that he was bitten by the theater bug ... http://bit.ly/2vKUxSY
Thought-provoking plays, right in Queens’ backyard: " 'The Door to Home,' Eugene Grygo’s touching look at the bond between an aging woman and her grown son ... According to Grygo, a Pennsylvania native based in Astoria since 1999, his contribution is “pretty autobiographical,” with a character based on his mother and another an amalgam of his brother and himself. Like the son in the play, Grygo moved back into his mother’s home after being out of work. He wrote the basis for the play in 2006, but this is the play’s first production.
“I felt the audience was with them,” he said after the performance. “I would have wanted a few more laughs.” http://bit.ly/1InmpdI
Astoria playwright Eugene Grygo’s piece, “The Door to Home,” also springs from a true-life event many summers ago. “It is autobiographical,” he said. Grygo’s play focuses on a young man about to embark on the next chapter of his life and his mother’s fears that this means a future of loneliness for her. In the summer of 1992, Grygo prepared to leave his home in Erie, Pa. for life in New York City. He had a very similar experience with his mother as he prepared for the move and used it for the basis of this play. “It is basically the last night they are together,” Grygo said. “It’s done as a mix of comedy and drama.” http://bit.ly/1FRwGNw