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Lullabies on Broadway

Clark Sayre’s One-Man Show and Big Apple Adventure

by D.J. Palladino

Sayre.jpgClark Sayre is trucking into the plain
Kahuna Burger but he will not touch the fries. “I know it’s
ridiculous, but I want to drop at least a couple of pounds before
this thing happens,” he laughed. This anticipated “thing” that
Sayre — who teaches drama at Dos Pueblos High School — will shed
weight for is a one-man show written by, starring, and, in some
ways as a benefit for, Clark Sayre himself. Titled Inventures and
Life Lessons, the play is a conceptual cabaret evening with
stories, and it will play twice at the Dos Pueblos Charger Theater,
before moving, a month later, to Dillon’s, a cabaret in Manhattan
on 54th Street, “just between Broadway and 8th,” said Sayre, who
seems to be smacking his lips over the prospect — if not the french
fries.

The show’s music ranges from “Soliloquy” to tunes by Billy Joel
and Don Henley. “But people don’t need to be worried about being
bored,” said Sayre. “Each of the songs furthers the story, and I
even cut two songs I really liked just because they didn’t move it
forward. There’s no extraneous material,” he laughed. He’s excited
to be working with Shelly Markham, a well-known Broadway composer
and arranger. Their collaboration began years ago when a brasher,
younger Sayre just rang the musician up to get some coaching early
in his musical career. “I just showed up at his house with three
boxes of music — I think he was scared.” The two remain friends
today.

As if on cue, our al fresco big box luncheon conversation was
broken by an effusive former student, Erika Krystean, who took
classes from Sayre moons ago. “Remember when you brought that guy
in and he played music to the songs we wrote? That was great,” said
Krystean, who recently graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA. “She was
talking about Shelly Markham,” Sayre said after she left.

Sayre is justifiably proud of his story. Born in Santa Barbara,
he attended San Marcos High in the late 1970s, when City College
theater professor Rick Mokler assumed directorship of the school’s
theater program (which Eric Stoltz, among others, attended), taking
over from the legendary Marjorie Luke. Sayre went on to UCLA, and
then to Broadway where he played in a variety of off-Broadway
projects as well as touring shows. Eventually, Sayre, who describes
himself as “a character actor with a legit voice,” returned here to
raise a family. He’s taught at DP now for five years, and next year
his dream — a new theater for the high school — will open. But
Inventures is not just Sayre’s theatrical memoir. “A lot of this is
about my dad,” said Sayre. “He was a painter who put aside the
things he loved to raise his family. He didn’t start painting again
until he was too sick to work.” Although Sayre’s dad died 25 years
ago, he is still a driving influence on his son.

“I’m glad you brought me out of my dark office,” said Sayre, for
whom the next few weeks will be filled with the joy and angst of
mounting a show. The show is a platform, and a benefit, for a
year-long sojourn in New York. Sayre and his wife Sharon are taking
their kids, Blaine and Kailey, with them to New York, where they
will be home schooled, doing units on museums and neighborhoods
like Chinatown. Sayre also has auditions set up and hopes to do
some serious theater while in N.Y. Mostly, though, he hopes to meet
new talent, and to strengthen the connections he uses while
teaching advanced drama classes at DP.

Mostly, he’s thrilled. “I’m just a little worried about Blaine
and Kailey, who are at such a sweet age now. I don’t want them
coming back all New Yorker toughened and jaded. That’s my biggest
worry,” he laughed.

4•1•1 Clark Sayre’s one-man show Inventures and
Life Lessons will be at Dos Pueblos High Charger Theater, 7266
Alameda Ave., Goleta at 8 p.m. on August 18, 19, 25, and 26

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