Richard Seff, an industry veteran who has been an actor, playwright and agent, has penned a memoir about his life and work, "Supporting Player: My Life Upon The Wicked Stage," published through Xlibris.
His brushes with Kander and Ebb, Harold Prince, Chita Rivera, Ethel Merman, Rex Harrison, Rosalind Russell and many more players from the Golden Age of Broadway are chronicled in the book, on sale now at www.Xlibris.com.
Seff, now a septuagenarian character actor, started out acting and then played talent agent to major stars and writers for 21 years (1953-1974).
"I thought I'd test the waters on the other side of the footlights," he writes on his website, www.richardseff.com. "I tested — for 21 years! Then, at the peak of my agency career, tired of my blue suit and tie, I exchanged them for the less formal togs of playwright, librettist and actor once again. I haven't worn a suit since, except in character in a play or movie."
(The book's title refers to the support he has given as a featured actor, agent and other production roles — including librettist and playwright.)
During his silver-haired years, he wrote the Broadway play, Paris Is Out! and the libretto for the award-winning musical Shine!, inspired by Horatio Alger stories (score by Roger Anderson, lyrics by Lee Goldsmith). Both shows are published and licensable.
In recent years, Seff endowed an Actors' Equity-administered award in his name, recognizing outstanding character/featured performers who have devoted at least 25 years to their profession (Jayne Houdyshell and Tom Aldredge are among recipients). The annual award is for work on New York City stages.
In "Supporting Player," Seff "brings you a star-filled odyssey through the golden age of Broadway, told from his point of view: that of one of those supporting players," according to the announcement. "The entertaining and informative memoir follows Seff's professional life, as actor, agent, playwright, librettist and production associate. …He tells of some backstage shenanigans, some of them behind closed doors. Richard has worked with many stars, and he cites examples of how stardom is achieved and handled. Discover what goes on backstage, in the wings, and behind closed doors. Learn about theatre investing in the Golden Age, when one could buy a piece of a show in the intermission on opening night."