Off the Cuff: An Evening with Gary Schwartz

September 16–17, 2016

Valley Center Stage

Valley Center Stage presents Off the Cuff: An Evening with Gary Schwartz which will play over two nights, Friday and Saturday September 16 and 17, 7:30 PM at Valley Center Stage.

Gary Schwartz, an award-winning, TV and film actor, director, master improvisational acting coach and now author, has a story to tell. In fact, he has so many stories it will take two nights to tell them. The shows will include songs, videos, monologues, pantomimes, and even poetry that represent Gary Schwartz’s career starting out as a class clown, to his start as a 13 year old professional mime to his transition to Hollywood as a comedian, TV, film and voice actor and renowned Improv teacher. He will even lead the audience in some Theater Games and includes a talk with local playwright Jamie Gower and take questions about his storied career.

It was Gary’s 18-year association with world-renowned theater educator and author, Viola Spolin – famous for training the very first improvisational theater troupe in the US which led to the creation of today’s well-known Second City improv troupe. In 1988 Gary co-founded the Spolin Players improv troupe (, and is the only master teacher to have ever earned an endorsement from both Viola Spolin and her son, the legendary original director of Second City, Paul Sills.

Originally from New York State, Gary began his professional career as a mime at age 13, performing up and down the Hudson River with Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie and other great folk entertainers of the 60’s. In the 70’s and 80’s he appeared in numerous film and television projects including the Oscar-winning feature film Quest for Fire and 65 episodes of the Emmy-winning TV series Zoobilee Zoo, with Ben Vereen. Since then, as a voice actor, Gary has worked on over six hundred films and television shows. He’s worked with Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Tim Burton, Kenneth Brannagh and many other well-known directors.

The performance is a fundraiser to help promote Mr. Schwartz’s latest children’s novel, "The King of Average" – a fantasy adventure with an important message for kids.

Special guests and appearances by Kathy Roche-Zujko, Jamie Gower and John Chmaj. Off the Cuff is directed and accompanied by John Chmaj.