I woke today to the news that the great artist and lovely human Frank Galati has passed. In the Asolo Repertory Theatre’s 2013-14 season, Frank directed me in a gorgeously detailed PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME! In the rehearsal room with Frank, every word, every silence, every image, and everyone’s input mattered. He wept a lot. We laughed a lot. I learned a lot. That same season, his equally brilliant husband and soulmate Peter Amster directed me in VANYA AND SONIA…what a double gift. And to top it off, that season I also had the honor of playing ex-preacher Jim Casy in a stunning revival of Frank’s monumental Tony-winning adaptation of THE GRAPES OF WRATH. I was so glad I got to see Frank again last March, trim and beaming, when he came to cheer on Peter’s peerless direction of THE 39 STEPS at Gulfshore Playhouse. Frank and Peter. What a team. What talent. What love. What larks. Frank, to paraphrase Jim Casy, the whole shebang you created onstage was holy. A world of artists and humans will miss you. Dearest Peter, we are all holding you in our hearts.
Two Jim Casy quotes from Frank Galati’s adaption of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath:
This here ol’ man jus’ lived a life an’ jus’ died out of it. I don’t know whether he was good or bad, but that don’t matter much. He was alive, an’ that’s what matters. Heard a fella tell a poem one time, an’ he says, “All that lives is holy.” Got to thinking’, an’ purty soon it means more than the words says….
I got thinkin’ how we was holy when we was one thing, an’ mankin’ was holy when it was one thing….when they’re all workin’ together—kind of harnessed to the whole shebang—that’s right, that’s holy.