Frank Galati (1943-2023), who died on January 2, 2023 at the age of 79, was a giant in American theatre.
A long-time member of the legendary Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, Frank Galati was winner of Tony Awards for the adaptation and direction of The Grapes of Wrath in 1990, was nominated for an Oscar for co-adapting The Accidental Tourist for the screen, and was the director of Ragtime and The Pirate Queen on Broadway. Frank Galati is also known for adapting several other works for stage and screen.
Frank Galati was in the San Francisco Bay Area to direct a production of “Rhinoceros” by Eugene Ionesco at ACT’s Geary Theatre, and it was in ACT’s offices that this interview took place on May 22, 2019.
“Rhinoceros” is considered to be one of the greatest works of political theatre of the absurd. Originally produced in the late 1950s, the play hearkens back to the origins of fascism and how propaganda infects the minds of citizens.
At the end of the interview, Frank Galati discusses his upcoming project, a musical version of James Agee’s “A Death in the Family,” with music and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, A Man of No Importance). The show, titled “Knoxville” made its world premiere at the Asolo Repertory Company in Sarasota Florida in April 2022, and an original cast album was released digitally in October and on disc in November, 2022. First posted as a Bay Area Theater podcast on June 2, 2019.
Photos: Richard Wolinsky.