PERSONAL: Born in IL; son of Frank C. (a dentist) and Harriet (a financier; maiden name, Gasior) Grippo. Ethnicity: "Italian/Polish." Education: Elmhurst College, B.A.; John Marshall Law School, J.D. Hobbies and other interests: Golf, travel, jazz, river rafting, hiking/backpacking, theater, photography, film/video production.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Allworth Press, 10 East 23rd St., Suite 510, New York, NY 10010-4459.
CAREER: Playwright, producer, composer, lyricist, financier, and attorney specializing in entertainment law, real estate, and estate planning. Owner of New Lincoln Theater Productions, Holiday Road Productions, and Charles Grippo Productions. Founder and editor-in-chief, Showstopper. 1989.
MEMBER: Dramatists Guild, Chicago Dramatist's Workshop, Chicago Writers Bloc, Chicago Alliance for Playwrights (director emeritus), Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans (vice president of Young Adults Division, 1992).
The Stage Producer's Business and Legal Guide, Allworth Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Business and Legal Forms for Theater, Allworth Press (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor of short fiction to Hardboiled Detective.
A Wife's Tale, produced in Chicago, IL, 1997, then in New York, NY, 2001.
Sex Marks the Spot, produced in Frankfort, IN, 2000, then in New York, NY, 2000.
Bedroom Follies, produced in Chicago, IL, 2002. Thursday in the Park, produced in Chicago, IL, 2002. Santa's Children, produced in Chicago, IL, 2003. Right to Carry, produced in Chicago, IL, 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Charles Grippo told CA: "Although my first two published books are works of nonfiction, I consider myself a playwright and author of fiction, inasmuch as I intend to focus in the future primarily in fiction and in writing for the live speaking stage.
"In fiction, I am moved by the classic elements of good storytelling: an intriguing premise, populated by three-dimensional characters in conflict with each other, all set against a detailed sense of place. I like to read—and strive to create—material that surprises me. I abhor the predictable and the trite. At various times I have been influenced by the great classical writers, like Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Jules Verne; the current writers who hold my interest are Stephen King, Elmore Leonard, Dave Barry, and John Grisham. In prose, I prefer to write suspense, with a dollop of dry humor.
"In my playwriting, I am influenced by the great comic writers like Neil Simon, Kaufman and Hart, Abe Burrows, and Ray Cooney. Although serious drama may receive all the critical respect, in truth, a well-crafted comedy is the hardest material to write. Although I would never rule out writing a serious play, I enjoy creating comic material. I like the danger of it; you never know in advance if the audience will laugh, and you may very well fail. But when you succeed, the audience tells you immediately. I have found, through the productions of my plays, that there is no greater thrill than to hear 500 people (or more) laughing at something I have created.
"The best comedy rises from truth, and I am always trying to convey the truth in my plays. I am dismayed that today's critical establishment holds comedy in such low regard. In particular, I resent the current trend among critics to refer to a play as a 'sitcom' as if to denigrate the piece. It seems like an easy way to evaluate the material. I believe a critic who resorts to this says more about his own intellectual laziness and analytical bankruptcy than he says about the play. Furthermore, the term cannot really be used as a pejorative; many sitcoms like Seinfeld and The Dick Van Dyke Show are extremely well written.
"Since I am also a composer and lyricist, I intend to write musicals in the near future. I like to challenge myself by attempting different genres and kinds of writing, from prose to nonfiction to playwriting, and from suspense to comedy. It keeps me from getting stale. And every attempt, even a failed one, helps me to grow by sharpening my skills and (hopefully) making me a better, more interesting writer."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Bookwatch, February, 2004, review of The StageProducer's Business and Legal Guide, p. 24.
Business in Broward, February, 2003, Lynn Helm, review of The Stage Producer's Business and Legal Guide, p. 30.
Dramatics, May, 2003, Richard Bernier, review of TheStage Producer's Business and Legal Guide, p. 35
Library Journal, November 15, 2002, Laura A. Ewald, review of The Stage Producer's Business and Legal Guide, p. 73.
Nuvo, October 2, 2002, Marc McAleavey, review of Sex Marks the Spot, p. 28.
Charles Grippo Home Page,http://www.charlesgrippo.org (January 27, 2005).
KC Stage Online,http://www.kcstage.com/ (January 23, 2003), Richard Buswell, review of The Stage Producer's Business and Legal Guide.