On Stage

Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell

Bay Area Premiere!

Now Extended by Popular Demand!

Words by Spalding Gray
author of Swimming to Cambodia

Concept by Kathleen Russo

Directed by Brian Katz & Daunielle Rasmussen

With Leah S. Abrams, Patrick Barresi, AJ Davenport, Gabriel A. Ross and Richard Wenzel
Designed by Sarah Phykitt
Costumes - Scarlett Kellum
Lighting -Ian Smith
Stage Mangmt. - Hannah Yanow
Props - Shay Henley

spalding poster

Jan 21 - Feb 19 26, 2010
Thurs - Sat 8pm;
Special Sunday showing: Sunday, Feb 13 7pm

Buy Tickets By Clicking Here

"Spalding Gray comes back to life in this wonderful evening... His talent, his love, his despair, all in one heartbreaking package."     -BETTE MIDLER

Shockingly neurotic, brutally funny, and in love with the crazy world around him, Spalding Gray invented the autobiographical monologue as we know it today. Spalding became famous throughout the world for such unforgettable pieces as “Swimming to Cambodia,” “Monster in a Box” and “Gray’s Anatomy.”

Here, in “Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell,” his collaborator and widow, Kathleen Russo, conceived a way for Spalding’s words to live on in a vibrant, creative and unexpected way.  Her loving concept was to have five actors, of mixed age and gender, take on parts of Spalding’s psyche: love, family, career, adventure and, of course, journal.  Then she mixed together beloved sections of his famous works, along with never-before heard private writings, into a 90-minute narration that is both familiar and unexpected. 

The result is a sum greater than its parts.  Not only are we reminded of the genius of Spalding Gray, but we are treated to an even greater insight to the man and his complicated, funny and touching private life.   

Custom Made’s production comes just after the release of Steven Soderbergh’s documentary on Spalding Gray, “And Everything is Going Fine.”  Spalding is truly alive in both theatre and film, and Custom Made is proud to present the Bay Area Premiere of this remarkable play.

tickets at http://www.custommade.org/ tickets

The Gough Street Playhouse (formerly The Next Stage), attached to the historic Trinity Church, 1620 Gough Street (at Bush), San Francisco

Production Photos

Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell press photos. Click on the thumbnails below for a high-resolution version ; Photos: Jay Yamada, 2011

Gabriel A. Ross

Richard Wenzel, AJ Davenport

Leah S. Abrams

AJ Davenport, Gabriel A. Ross

Gabriel A. Ross, Patrick Barresi

Patrick Barresi

AJ Davenport

Leah S. Abrams

Richard Wenzel

Gabriel A. Ross

Cast and Crew

Leah S. Abrams (Adventure) is the co-founder and executive director of Custom Made.  She has been on somewhat of an acting hiatus the last year, expending all her theatrical energies directing last season's The Diary of Anne Frank.  Previous favorite acting credits with Custom Made include The Old Neighborhood, A New Brain, Orchards, and Temptation.  A huge Spalding Gray fan, Leah is honored to have another crack at performing some of his legendary material.

Patrick Barresi (Career) is an associate company member at CMTC. He makes his CMTC mainstage debut with Spalding Gray; he was last seen in the workshop of ManEater: A Dance Play.  Recent Bay Area credits include Private Fears in Public Places (Dan) at Ross Valley Players, As You Like It (Oliver) Curtain Theatre Company, Broadway Bound (Stanley Jerome) Chanticleers Theatre, and Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Jamie Tyrone) and Hedda Gabler (Eilert) City College of SF.  Thanks to Jerry for his steadfast love and support.

AJ Davenport (Family) is humbled and honored to be involved in Stories Left To Tell.  Her first show with CMTC was the orignal production of Orchards which included a piece by Spalding Gray, a role she reprised with CMTC in 2008.  She’d like to thank Brian and Leah for so many great opportunities to perform and is certain that this will be one of her most cherished theatre memories.  Thanks and love also to SMC who keeps her from becoming too neurotic.  

Spalding Gray (Words) was a writer, actor and performer, who created a series of 18 monologues performed throughout the United States, Europe and Australia. By turns neurotic, brainy, funny and gloomy, Gray was known for theatrical one-man shows in which he simply sat and talked directly to the audience. His monologues were based on his own life: his role in the movie The Killing Fields (1984) formed the basis for the stage monologue Swimming to Cambodia, which in turn became a hit film in 1987. Other monologues followed: Monster in a Box referred to his attempts to write the novel Impossible Vacation and Gray's Anatomy covered his search for a cure for an eye problem known as a macular pucker. Gray co-founded the experimental Wooster Group in 1977 and became a popular figure in the New York theater scene. He also had supporting roles in many films, including The Killing Fields, Beaches (1988, with Bette Midler) and The Paper (1994, with Michael Keaton). In 2001 Gray was in a severe traffic accident while touring Ireland, dislocating his hip and fracturing his skull. Friends said the injuries sent him into a deep depression. Gray disappeared on the evening of 10 January 2004 after being spotted on the Staten Island Ferry. Because he had often talked about death and suicide (his mother had taken her own life), friends feared Gray may have jumped from the ferry and drowned. His body was found two months later, on 8 March 2004, in New York's East River.

Shay Henley (Properties Manager/Technical Director) works freelance as a Theater Carpenter and Set Designer. She started working in Theater as a stage manager in Ashland Oregon and moved into scenic design and construction after relocating back to the Bay. She has been most recently working as a carpenter at California Shakespeare Theater, A.C.T.’s Conservatory and The Jewish Theater SF.

Brian Katz (Co-Director) is the Artistic Director and co-founder of the Custom Made Theatre Company. For Custom Made he has directed The Devil and Billy Markham, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Red Light Winter, The Heidi Chronicles, The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer, The Old Neighborhood,  Slavs!, Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights, Orchards, Lies and Legends: The Musical Stories of Harry Chapin, Vinegar Tom, Black Snow, Animal Farm, Bobby Gould in Hell, Saint Joan of the Stockyards, Bye-bye, bin Laden!, Temptation, Finding the Sun, Candaules Commissioner, The Water Engine, Assassins and Down the Road. Brian has a B.A. in theatre literature and criticism from Clark University and interned in dramaturgy at the Goodman Theatre. While you are reading this, he is most likely feverishly rewriting his modernization of Voltaire’s Candide, Candide of California, which opens in May!

Scarlett Kellum (Costume Design) holds a BFA in Fashion design from the Art institute of California, San Francisco and has been designing costumes for the last 10 years. Previous work includes: Meadowland, The Women in Black, Ashes to Ashes and The Tender King with Second Wind productions and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot with Custom Made Theater Co. She is looking forward to working on Candide of California and The Book of Liz with Custom Made.  Scarlett has also designed for California’s Great America, including Haunt and Backyard Circus. In addition to her theatrical work, Scarlett has designed costume for short and future films, including: Never Alone (Makeshift Collective), T-minus (World Frequency films), SharQui (SharQui productions), The Experiment, (Frogband Productions), The Death of the Red Mask (Bring the Mosh Productions), and Hell House: The Book of Samuel, (Digital Shadows Films). Special thanks to Steve, for putting up with me.

Sarah Phykitt (Scenic Design/Production Manager) Our Body Remembers (Scenic and Lighting Designer) withLevy Dance, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Scenic Design and Production Manager) with Custom Made Theatre, The Jewish Theatre San Francisco (Production Manager), the Duke on 42nd Street (Technical Manager).  Other recent  SF productions include Sketchfest 2010, Stateless: A Hip Hop Vaudeville Experience, The Sisters Rosensweig, and The Floating Light Bulb, NYC productions include Black Nativity, My Dead Mother Is Funnier than You, Altar Boyz, Slava’s Snow Show, Anton: Scenes from the Family Life of Anton Chekhov, Trailerville, and several pieces for the Central Park Zoo’s Wildlife Theater. 

Ian Smith (Lighting Design) graduated from the Performance Production department of Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA 2007 with an emphasis in Lighting Design. He was the assistant technical director for the conservatory of American Conservatory Theater, and for Calshakes 2009/2010 seasons. His lighting design credits here in the bay area include The Princess and the Pea and Cinderalla at the Amador theater, Riot, The Cripple of Inishmann, Bright Young People, and My Life In the Silence at ACT conservatory. He also designed Great Men of Genius by Mike Daisey at Capital Hill Arts Center, Indian Wants the Bronx, The Dutchmen, and Gremet at the Little Theater in Seattle. His other design credits have been for dance and concerts in Seattle and Bay Area.

Daunielle Rasmussen (Co-Director) is the Associate Artistic Director/Casting Director for Custom Made, and is in her fourth season as Artistic Administrator and Director of the Professional Immersion Program at California Shakespeare Theater. She has been a free-lance artist for local companies such as Active Arts, Neighborhood Theatre Players and Neighborhood Youth Theatre as well as a stint with the Magic Theatre. Directing credits include A Lesson Before Dying for the Oakland Public Library, You Can't Take It With You for Town Hall Theatre of Lafayette's Ovation Program. For Custom Made, she has directed Mr. Marmalade, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All for You, and workshoped her orginal dance play, ManEater. Next up, she will helm David and Amy Sedaris’ The Book of Liz.

Gabriel A. Ross (Journals) has been working with CMTC since 2005.  He has performed in Finding the Sun, Sincerity Forever, Equus, The Water Engine, Assassins, The Odd Couple, Orchards, The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer and Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell.  He also directed a couple of incarnations of local playwright Scott Munson's The Pet Dog with the Lady, as well as Durang's The Actor's Nightmare.  He helps produce CMTC's playreading series and workshop programs as well.  He has also worked with SF Shakespeare, The Willows, Impact, Actors Ensemble of Berkeley, Renegade Theatre, Festival Theatre Ensemble and Thrillpeddlers (where he plays Sebastian in the long running Pearls Over Shanghai).  

Richard Wenzel (Love) most recently seen at CMTC as Satan in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, is excited to be a part of this wonderful ensemble filled with Spalding Gray’s hilarious, thought provoking, luminous words.  Favorite roles include Popolitipov in Kushner’s Slavs, Charlie Fox in Mamet’s  Speed-the-Plow and Mr. Van Daan in Diary of Anne Frank.  He has also worked with 42nd St. Moon, New Conservatory, Center Rep and The Willows.  He can be onscreen as well as an FBI Agent in the indie film Strange Culture.  Training includes voice with Daniel Levenstein and acting with Katherine Keats of Mark Monroe Studios.

Hannah Yanow (Stage Manager)  was born and raised in San Francisco, and began her professional training with Lisa Brown in tap at Sunset Academy of Dance, then at age 12 with Brooke Byrne and the Khadra International Dance Troupe, and Elvia Marta at San Francisco’s High School of the Arts. She has participated in professional intensives with Alonzo King's Lines Ballet, The Mark Morris Dance Group, and LEVYdance. Hannah continued her studies at the University of Oregon, and graduated in June 2009 with a BA in Family and Human Services and a Minor in Dance. In college, Hannah began her education in stage production and, over the course of two years, was involved in multiple productions. Hannah volunteers with the Art and Culture department at The San Francisco LGBT Community Center, as well as a group that provides dance classes for people with Parkinson’s disease. She is currently employed at The Arc of San Francisco where she works for adults with developmental disabilities.


San Francisco Chronicle, Spalding Gray Lives on in His Own Words by Chad Jones. "Sometimes stories outlive their storytellers. Spalding Gray, who redefined the art of the autobiographical monologue, died in 2004 at age 62. He had been missing for two months when his body was found in New York's East River. Like his mother before him, Gray was presumed to have killed himself. But for the man who so willingly shared intimate details of his personal life, the story goes on." Read more on SFGate.com

San Francisco Weekly, Gray Matter by Keith Bower. "Spalding Gray was odd and funny and brilliant and (ultimately) tragic. The nerdy northeastern intellectual wrote poetry, founded an experimental theater group, acted in motion pictures and on TV, and finished a novel. More than anything, he's remembered for his minimalist, autobiographical monologues in the 1980s. With a desk, a microphone, a glass of water, and a spiral notebook, Gray was LiveJournal before there was a LiveJournal." Read more on SfWeekly.com