Spotlight Series: Meet Gregg Lawrence—Versatile Actor Who Commands the Stage as Scores of Fully-Embodied Characters

Shari Barrett

Registered Critic, Writer, Publicist

Today's Spotlight focuses on Gregg Lawrence, a versatile actor who commands the stage as larger-than-life, fully-embodied characters.

Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your own theatrical background?

Gregg Lawrence (Gregg): I am a native Southern Californian and I have been acting for over 50 years. And I am a long-time fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers!

(SB): Gregg is being too modest about his incredible range as a triple-threat actor. I have personally seen him as a Klingon, a Venetian gondolier where he was able to bounce his incredible operatic voice through the meandering canals, as well as the King at Medieval Times where he was able to hold court with thousands of spectators watching a jousting tournament.

But what production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

(Gregg): I was working on “Outhouse,” a student film for Chapman University, fulfilling a bucket list item to play a monster on film.  We had finished one weekend of filming when word came down that that University was shuttering all production for the time being.  We have hopes to resume filming when school comes back in session but that may not be until the fall.

I had been making money working as a Standardized Patient for several medical schools around SoCal, where we act as patients with certain conditions to teach the students better communication skills.  But that too has dried up for the time being as the institutions figure out how to teach online.

(SB): How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

(Gregg): I just found out that Pacific Opera Project’s production of their Star Trek-themed Abduction From the Sereglio that we did at the Ford Theatre will be screened online on April 8, 2020, which will give everyone a chance to see me transformed into the warmongering Klingon Commander Salim, ironically the only non-singing role in the opera! In the meantime, it looks like self-taping auditions will be the wave of the future.  It was headed in the online direction anyway, but the pandemic may have given a little boost to making the change across the board. But for now, I am hunkered down, being over 65 and diabetic, and enjoying the time I have to finally binge watch all the TV I have been waiting to stream.

(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the ghost light on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(Gregg): We are all in this together and despite our glorious leader’s plans for us to go back to work in a couple of weeks, I will side with the more cautious among us and weather this thing out, at least while the unemployment lasts.  Things are looking up as I have received some offers to work online.

(SB): Actors have been expressing their frustration with not being able to find work in their chosen profession, especially after having to abruptly give up whatever paying gigs they had. So I am happy to hear that online work may become more readily available until theaters and studios can again open their stages to performers.

(Gregg): My best advice is to stay safe, stay healthy and keep finding reasons to laugh and make others laugh.  It is more important and vital than ever.

This article first appeared on Broadway World.

Shari Barrett, a Los Angeles native, has been active in the theater world since the age of six - acting, singing, and dancing her way across the boards all over town. After teaching in local secondary schools, working in marketing for several studios, writing, directing, producing, and performing in productions for several non-profit theaters, Shari now dedicates her time and focuses her skills as an independent publicist to "get the word out" about smaller theaters throughout the Los Angeles area.

As a founding member of the LA Stage Alliance Leadership Council Task Force, she and reps from theaters throughout the city worked together to articulate a vision for the theatre community of Greater Los Angeles.

Shari has received recognition from the City of Los Angeles for her dedication of heart and hand to the needs of friends, neighbors and fellow members of society for her devotion of service to the people of Los Angeles, and is honored to serve the theatre world in her hometown.

Currently she is the Publicist and a member of the Kentwood Players at the Westchester Playhouse.