Northside SF  

Spalding Gray returns to stage, reincarnated through his words
By Bruce Bellingham

photo: courtesy of The Custom Made
Theatre Company
In 2004, I was visiting New York City when I learned that Spalding Gray, the gifted monologist, had jumped off the Staten Island Ferry. It was 17 degrees that night, so he certainly could not have survived. He didn’t. His body was found two months later. Gray had been in a terrible car accident in Ireland earlier, leaving his face badly scarred. That’s a tough break for an actor.

Many learned about Spalding Gray from the performances of his original pieces, such as Swimming to Cambodia, which was preserved on film. He also wrote Monster in a Box, another great success – and Gray’s Anatomy.

In 2006, Gray’s widow, Kathleen Russo, put together a show that’s excerpted from his works, Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell. It’s playing in San Francisco through Feb. 19 at The Custom Made Theatre Company’s Gough Street Playhouse (formerly The Next Stage Theater).

An ensemble of actors will perform Gray’s pieces. They include Leah S. Abrams, Patrick Barresi, A.J. Davenport, Gabriel A. Ross, and Richard Wenzel. The 90-minute show includes works that have not been heard before.

It’s a real treat for Spalding Gray fans.

Russo said that she had hoped to depict many aspects of Gray’s ornate mind. She said she came up with the idea for the show after seeing a performance of Swimming to Cambodia with Gray’s friends Frank McCourt and Eric Bogasian reading various sections of the work. It then occurred to Russo that other actors could read Gray’s work and make it sing.

Recently, director Steven Soderbergh released his documentary about Gray, Everything Is Going Fine.

Although Gray’s life is tinged with tragedy, the monologues are very ironic and reveal a great affection for the world around him.

Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell: Gough Street Playhouse, 1620 Gough Street (at Bush); 8 p.m. Thursday–Saturday through Feb. 19, 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13; tickets $20–$25 at 415-333-6389,


Bookmark and Share Print Page

September 2011 Issue


Horse Shoe Tavern Amici's East Coast Pizzeria


Alfreds Alfred's Steakhouse
Grateful Dog SF

Getting to know the Reillys June Top Picks

Copyright © 2005 - 2008 NorthSide San Francisco