Remembering Grace (In Progress)

The play is "about friendship with six women over 60" and is directed by Susan Nimoy. (more/close)

Playwright Vern Thiessen was commissioned in 2010 by Leonard and Susan Nimoy to write Remembering Grace. According to the Winnipeg Free Press, the play is "about friendship with six women over 60".

Meanwhile, Thiessen remains a writer in demand, with commissions from the Manitoba Theatre for Young People (an ecological musical he is penning with local composer Olaf Pyttlik), Shaw Festival (stage adaptation of Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage) and one for Leonard Nimoy, the one-time Spock from TV's Star Trek.

He was in Los Angeles recently for a reading of his commissioned play Saving Grace, which Nimoy's wife Susan is directing. She also helmed his play Shakespeare's Will in L.A. three years ago and Thiessen formed a friendship with the couple.

"They are generous and talented people," he says. "Leonard is just a good Jewish boy from Boston. He's filled with emotion, not like Spock at all.

"I did hear him say 'fascinating' once and that made my ears perk up."

More here.

In May 2011, according to Thiessens web page, a reading took place at the Lark in New York with the following cast: Kathleen Chalfant, Gordana Rashovich, Amy van Nostrand, Linda Thorson, Maria Tucci, Daphne Ruben-Vega and Amanda Pennington.


Shakespeare’s Will (2007)

Written by Vern Thiessen. Produced by Leonard Nimoy. Directed by Susan Nimoy. "The fascinating story of Anne Hathaway, wife to the world's greatest playwright and a woman hiding dark sorrows of her own." (more/close)



In advance of the opening of the play Mr. Nimoy was interviewed by Cultural Events in Los Angeles in June 2007:

- On a different note, you are currently producing “Shakespeare’s Will” by Canadian playwright, Vern Thiessen, starring Jeanmarie Simpson as Anne Hathaway. The play is directed by your wife, Susan Bay Nimoy. Why did you choose this particular play?

- The play was brought to us by the actress Jeanmarie Simpson who for a long time has been the artistic director of the Nevada Shakespeare Festival. She is a very wonderfully accomplished theatrical actress, whom we’ve known for some time. We have a house in Northern California and we’ve seen some of her work and some of her productions during the Nevada Shakespeare Festival. We have become fans and friends of hers.

And she came by this play, brought it to my wife, Susan and asked her if she would look at it. Susan fell so in love it with this play! It’s a very beautiful piece, very beautifully written, very moving, and funny. It’s an amazing piece of work; an amazing piece of writing. Susan showed it to me and I agreed with her. Jeanmarie Simpson asked Susan if she would direct it and I agreed to produce it and that’s how the project came about. It’s a piece that Susan - with her partner Chase Mishkin - has now optioned for the rest of the United States, including Broadway and for English-speaking territories: UK and Australia. It is now being submitted to directors for the Broadway production. It’s been done before but only in Canada as far as I know.

- So this is the United States Première!

- And this is an extremely well written, very beautiful piece of work and Jeanmarie Simpson is going to be brilliant in it. This a wonderful opportunity for Los Angeles audience to get a glimpse of it BEFORE it goes to New York.

- It sounds terrific; I like Theatre 40 because it frequently features interesting, original plays.

- You’re absolutely right, and this is one of those. It is the story of Anne Hathaway, she is the character on stage, reminiscing about her life as William Shakespeare’s wife. It is quite an extra-ordinary story.

- Your wife, Susan Bay Nimoy is directing “Shakespeare’s Will”, what could you tell us about your wife’s work?

- My wife is a long time director. She’s been away from it for some years but this is a return to something that has been a great love of hers for 40 years. She is one of the first women to be a member of the Directors Guild of America, while she was directing television. She has directed various documentaries over the years. One in particular is a documentary about an artist by the name of Liza Lou who is a wonderful Southern California artist. So Susan has had an interesting career in directing and this is a return to something that she loves and does very well.

Source: Note: the page is no longer available. More here. A pdf of the flyer for the play can be found here.


Igor Stravinsky's "The Soldier's Tale" (2005)

"A Narrator tells the tale of a Soldier who is tricked by the Devil into exchanging his soul – in the form of a violin – for a magic book that will bring him wealth and power."


Pictures from the rehersal via mrssylargray


Exiled in Switzerland, Igor Stravinsky composed The Soldier’s Tale in 1918 towards the end of one of the bleakest periods in his life. Theaters were shut down, his career appeared to have come to a halt, and his royalties were drying up just when he had a family to support. It was at this time that he and his fellow exiles conceived of the idea to create a minimalist theatrical piece – “pocket theater” – that easily could be taken on tour around local villages. It premiered in September of 1918 in Lausanne with Ernst Ansermet conducting, and the Concert Suite premiered two years later.

Stravinsky suggested they base the story on a collection of Russian folk-tales, but with a French text by his poet/novelist friend C.F. Ramuz. Not a playwright, Ramuz suggested he write a story rather than a play and adapt it for stage presentation as a kind of acted narration. The soldier was intended to be neither Russian nor French nor even Swiss but rather Any Soldier, and “the music too was to turn its back resolutely on Russia.” The composer based the percussion on that of the jazz band, and he bought and learned to play each of the instruments as he composed the work, incorporating such musical references as march, waltz, church chorale, pasadoble, tango, and ragtime.

A Narrator tells the tale of a Soldier who is tricked by the Devil into exchanging his soul – in the form of a violin – for a magic book that will bring him wealth and power. Later the Devil, appearing each time in a different disguise, teaches the Soldier how to use his magic book, and then returns to taunt him after the Soldier has made his fortune but finds himself miserable and alone. The Narrator breaks through the imaginary barrier of the story and joins the Soldier in Part Two to advise him to lose to the Devil in a game of cards and thereby win back his violin. Successful, the Soldier sets off to a distant kingdom to cure a Princess of illness and win her hand in marriage. Not so easily defeated, the Devil returns vowing revenge…

Source: Ping Pong Productions

Leonard Nimoy Narrates
March 5 & 6, 2005

Theodore Kuchar, conductor 
Leonard Nimoy, narrator

Kodaly Dances of Galanta
Beethoven Incidental Music from Egmont
Stravinsky L'Histoire du Soldat
Mendelssohn Symphony No. 4, Italian

Mr. Nimoy will do narration for Kodaly's Dances of Galanta and Stravinsky's L'Histoire fu Soldat (The Soldier's Tale). The son of a Boston barber, the legendary Leonard Nimoy studied acting in college but had few memorable parts until he catapulted to fame in 1966 as Mr. Spock in Star Trek, one of TV's most successful series ever. The role won him three Emmy nominations and launched his career as a writer and director, as well as numerous other film and TV appearances. Stage credits have included Fiddler on the Roof, Oliver, Camelot, and Equus. In addition to hosting the well-known TV series, In Search of and Ancient Mysteries, Mr. Nimoy has narrated with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Reno Chamber Orchestra, and others. Truly a Renaissance man, he has authored several volumes of poetry, recorded over 60 songs, and created a gallery of serious photography.


Stravinsky as a Crowd Pleaser? Who Knew?

"The Soldier's Tale" was presented in a delightfully updated English version of the original French libretto, written by Mr. Sheffer, who staged and directed this simple production. Mr. Thomas was wonderful as the befuddled soldier who sells his scrappy but beloved violin to the Devil, thereby losing his soul. The Devil was played to the hilt by the charmingly cagey Mr. Nimoy. The Purchase Conservatory Faculty Ensemble needed no conductor in order to give an assured and vibrant account of this enduring score.

Source: NY Times

Leonard Nimoy with the Reno Chamber Orchestra

Band: Leonard Nimoy with the Reno Chamber Orchestra
Title: A Soldier’s Tale / Incidental Music from “Egmont” Op. 84
Year: 2003 / 2005
Label: N/A
Genre: Classical

Notes: Twice, I’ve recorded Mr. Nimoy and his wonderful voice! First time was when he was doing Stavinsky’s “A Soldier’s Tale,” in 2003. It was a great piece with just an octet and narrator. It was the story of Faust, a story re-written by Charlie Daniels in “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” It’s a tricky piece with a lot of odd time meters and changes. Rehearsal was interesting, to say the least.

Before he came in for rehearsal, I had to set up his vocal mic and improvise a split between the PA and the recording console. I nearly didn’t pull that off with what was available at the hall at the time. The next time I recorded him there, I was far more prepared with a splitter.

I had to set up his mic and asked him if he’d be willing to talk into it at a certain angle to avoid feedback. He asked why and I explained the acoustics behind it. Turning to him afterwards to see if I had perhaps blinded him with science, his reply was, “Fascinating!”

The last line of “Soldiers” is now one of my favorite quotes. Picture, if you will, Mr. Nimoy saying at the end of a very sad story of a man who got greedy and lost everything to the Devil when he should have been content with what he had:

“One happy thing is every happy thing. No one can have it all. It is forbidden!”


Second time was in 2005 when he was doing the Beethoven piece, “Egmont.” It’s a larger piece, with a larger ensemble, but nowhere near as cool as the Stravinsky. Some good moments though. He says “Riding” about a thousand times in it.

This time I was with my dear friend, Ray Silva, who assisted on the recording setup, took the photos and was able to tell Mr. Nimoy that he works on the same sound stage where Star Trek was shot. That was very nice. During a break, Mr. Nimoy signed some autographs for members of the ensemble which was also very nice of him. This is where I got my copy of the Spock album signed.

Since he lives in Tahoe, I’m considering hiring him to do my answering machine outgoing message. That’s probably all I’ll be able to afford. Perhaps a V.O. for a solo album one day! That would be brilliant!

Note: Responsive

Photo Flash: Story of a Soldier Rehearsal with Nimoy and Thomas

On March 16th, actors Richard Thomas (A Naked Girl on the Appian Way, Democracy) and Leonard Nimoy ("Star Trek," Equus) rehearsed for Story of a Soldier, a music theater piece, at Symphony Space (2537 Broadway). Nimoy will narrate the piece.

Story of a Soldier will be presented as part of the free event Wall to Wall Stravinsky at Symphony Space on March 18th from 11 AM through 11 PM. "They rioted after the premiere of The Rite of Spring. But Igor Stravinsky represents more than that notorious day in musical history. His wildly eclectic body of work includes the neo-classical ballet Pulcinella and a big band concerto written for Benny Goodman – and this 12-hour event provides a taste of everything. With hundreds of performers, Wall to Wall will follow Stravinsky from St. Petersburg to Los Angeles, from ballet to opera, from neo-classicism to atonal fireworks," state press notes.

Pictures at


Alien Voices - First Men in the Moon (1997)

H.G. Wells' First Men in the Moon was performed on stage and taped live in front of an audience for broadcast on the SciFi Channel. (more)


Vincent (1978-1980)

To regular readers of this page Bonnie certainly is no longer a stranger. This time she shares with us fellow fans of Mr. Nimoy her impressions of seeing him perform in Vincent at the Peachtree Playhouse - Atlanta, Georgia on March 7-9, 1980.

Taping the play at the Guthrie Theater signified the culmination of three years of touring with the show for Mr. Nimoy. Before the play commences, we get impressions of the theater, the audience arriving, and an introduction to Vincent by Mr. Nimoy... (more)

Equus (1977)

Thoughts on Equus by Jackie Stone

Dysart is a child psychiatrist, a man we are given to understand has had outstanding success in helping children and young people. It is his success and presumably his perceived humanity which prompts a magistrate to refer to Dysart a young man who has, apparently inexplicably, blinded six horses... (more)

Sherlock Holmes (1976)

The play was concieved in the 1890s by William Gillette (1853 - 1937), an American actor and playwright. While Sherlock Holmes successfully catered to the tasts of its time, it had become an anachronism by 1976 when Leonard Nimoy took up the part. "What we're doing [...] is a kind of reverent sendup of the whole Holmes thing. I don't think this material could play otherweise," he explained in an interview. (more)


My Fair Lady (1976) (more/close)


Season Fourteen Memories (1976)

Leonard Nimoy was an excellent Henry Higgins in MY FAIR LADY with a fine, consistent English accent, again showing he could be a lot more than Spock from STAR TREK. His Eliza, Linda Michele, performed at The Top several times and always displayed a "loverly" lyric soprano and a charming stage presence. She appeared a couple of times with John Raitt, and together they made a very effective team.

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Leonard Nimoy appeared in The King and I and My Fair Lady at the Milwaukee's Melody Top Theatre. There are two recollections of Mr. Nimoy's performances in the Submitted Stories part of the website and two photos in Production Pictures.


One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1974)

Leonard Nimoy as McMurphyLeonard Nimoy plays Randle McMurphy. "A rebellious convict sent from a normal prison. He is guilty of battery and gambling. He had also been charged with, but never convicted of statutory rape. McMurphy is transferred from a prison work farm to the hospital, thinking it will be an easy way to serve out his sentence in comfort. In the end, McMurphy violently fights Nurse Ratched's rule which costs him his freedom, his health and, ultimately, his life." (Source: Wikipedia)



The story, narrated by the gigantic but docile half-Native American inmate "Chief" Bromden, focuses on the antics of the rebellious Randle Patrick McMurphy, who faked insanity to serve out his prison sentence, for statutory rape, in the hospital. The head administrative nurse, Mildred Ratched, rules the ward with a mailed fist and with little medical oversight. She is assisted by her three black day-shift orderlies, and her assistant doctors.

McMurphy constantly antagonizes Nurse Ratched and upsets the routines, leading to constant power struggles between the inmate and the nurse. He runs a card table, captains the ward's basketball team, comments on Nurse Ratched's figure, incites the other patients on the ward to conduct a vote on watching the World Series on television, and organizes a supervised deep sea fishing trip. His reaction after failing to lift a heavy shower room control panel (which he had claimed to be able to) – "But at least I tried." – gives the men incentive to try to stand up for themselves, to do their best instead of allowing Nurse Ratched to take control of everything they do. The Chief opens up to McMurphy and reveals late one night that he can speak and hear. A disturbance after the fishing trip results in McMurphy and the Chief being sent for electroshock therapy sessions, but even this experience does little to tamp down McMurphy's rambunctious behavior.

One night, after bribing the night orderly, McMurphy breaks into the pharmacy and smuggles bottles of liquor and two prostitute girlfriends onto the ward. McMurphy persuades one of the women to seduce Billy Bibbit, a timid, boyish patient, with a terrible stutter and little experience with women, so that he can lose his virginity. Although McMurphy plans to escape before the morning shift arrives, he and the other patients fall asleep instead without cleaning up the mess and the staff finds the ward in complete disarray. Nurse Ratched finds Billy and the prostitute in each other's arms, partially dressed, and admonishes him. Billy asserts himself for the first time, answering Nurse Ratched without stuttering. Ratched calmly threatens to tell Billy's mother what she has seen. Billy has an emotional breakdown and, once left alone in the doctor's office, commits suicide by cutting his throat. Nurse Ratched blames McMurphy for the loss of Billy's life. Enraged at what she has done to Billy, McMurphy attacks her and attempts to strangle her to death and tears off her uniform, revealing her breasts to the patients and aides watching. He has to be dragged away from her and is moved to the Disturbed ward.

Nurse Ratched misses a week of work due to her injuries, during which time many of the patients either transfer to other wards or check out of the hospital forever. When she returns, she cannot speak and is thus deprived of her most potent tool to keep the men in line. Most of the patients leave shortly after this event. Later, after Bromden, Martini, and Scanlon are the only original patients left on the ward, McMurphy is brought back in. He has received a lobotomy and is now in a vegetative state, silent and motionless. The Chief later smothers McMurphy with a pillow during the night in an act of mercy, before throwing the shower room control panel, the same one McMurphy could not lift earlier, through a window, and escaping the hospital.

Source: Wikipedia


In the book The Little Theatre on the Square the costume designer remembers working on One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest starring Mr. Nimoy.

Another person drawn into the theatre's realm was Sharon White, who designed and made costumes starting in 1973. Her husband, Ron, joined a local pharmacy the preceding year and, according to White, she was somewhat hesitant about the move. "The only reason that I came, willingly, to Sullivan was because I knew the theatre was here and I could get involved with it and that would save me and it did."

For White, the theatre made an aspect of life in a small town extraordinary. She summed up the frustrations and rewards when she described costuming for Leonard Nimoy in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1974. "As McMurphy, [Nimoy] was this rough, tough ... looking character and he decided it would be more macho if he had a tattoo. I would go in every evening before the Show and paint tattoos on his arm. That is sort of an intimate thing... Here I am with Mr. Spock, for god's sakes, and I am painting pictures on his arms. I couldn't have met Mr. Spock if The Little Theatre On The Square didn't exist."

White continued to describe how Nimoy took over as director and noted some of the challenges associated with costuming such a play. "The person that Guy hired turned out to be such a washout that, early in rehearsal, [Nimoy] took over and did direct ... it was very powerful. [Cuckoo's Nest] kind of stretched me as a costumer because the whole thing takes place in an insane asylum and I had to sew things like straitjackets.... I was running around the mental health clinic saying, `Do you have a photograph of a straitjacket? I have to make one.—

Source: The Little Theatre on the Square


Leonard Nimoy stars in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest at the Little Theatre on the Square in Sullivan Illinois

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the_king_and_iThe King and I (1974)





Season Twelve Memories (1974)

Jo Anne Worley (Winnifred in ONCE UPON A MATTRESS) and Leonard Nimoy (The King of Siam in THE KING AND I) showed what excellent stage actors they are. Both were so associated with their television work that they probably never got the stage opportunities they deserved, but their "small screen" fame got them summer stock jobs which enabled people like me to see how skilled and magnetic they are!

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Leonard Nimoy appeared in The King and I and My Fair Lady at the Milwaukee's Melody Top Theatre. There are two recollections of Mr. Nimoy's performances in the Submitted Stories part of the website and two photos in Production Pictures.

Visit to a Small Planet (1968)

CCI11092010_00246Mr. Nimoy plays the alien who comes to earth to study humanity. (more/close)



This is the synopsis as given on to get an idea what the play was about:

If a visitor from another galaxy happened to land on earth to observe the United States firsthand, what kind of impression would the country make on a complete stranger to the human race? This is the question posed in Gore Vidal's Visit to a Small Planet, a comedy subtitled as A Comedy Akin to a Vaudeville. Originally presented as a television play in 1957 (it had a New York City stage premiere in the same year), the satirical play follows the exploits of Kreton, an alien who lands on Earth, hoping to catch a glimpse of the American Civil War only to find that "something went wrong with the machine"; he has landed in the Manassas, Virginia, of the mid-twentieth century, outside of the Spelding family's home. Upon learning that it is not 1861, Kreton nevertheless decides to stay and observe human behavior. "You are my hobby,'' he tells the Speldings, "and I am going native."

Unlike film aliens such as E.T. or the creatures in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Kreton is no lovable Martian. Arrogant, selfish, and patronizing, he is determined to make his stay memorable by starting a full-scale war between the United States and the Soviet Union (the setting being the days of the Cold War, when trust between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. was distinctly lacking). "I admit to leaping into this on the spur of the moment,'' he admits at the end of Act I, "but we're going to have such good times!"

Vidal's play pokes fun at the post-World War II fear of Communism and the "Red-baiting" (Senator Joseph McCarthy's house hearings on Un-American Activities) common in the late 1950s, as well as military paranoia and the rising importance of television in American life. Using Kreton as the satiric personification of America's ugly underbelly, Vidal's play employs a common science-fiction scenario to explore not alien but American life.


CCI11092010_00246 visit_to_a_small_planet_phesant_run_playhouse visit_to_a_small_planet_cast

tumblr_l1aop8r8841qzuumlo1_400up_up_and_away_04aProbably to cross promote his album Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy a contest was held at the Pheasant Run Playhouse in St. Charles, Illinois during the three week run of the pay where the LP was handed out as a prize. (Sources: Billboard, March 23, 1968, p 46 and Teen, May 1968, "The Ears Have It! - Pointedly", p 87.)



Deathwatch (1960)

After returning to Los Angeles following his discarge from the army, Leonard Nimoy found it difficult to reestablish himself as an actor. He got good reviews for the play that acted as a bit of a turning point. In the wake of it offers in TV and Film picked up. (Source: TV Picture Life, "The Tears and Tensions Behind Leonard Nimoy's Triumph", July 1967, p 74)

A Streetcar Named Desire (1955)


Mr. Nimoy starred in and directed the production for the Atlanta Theatre Guild, Atlanta, GA, while he was stationed there at Ft. McPherson. Stella was played by his first wife, Sandra. The first and only time both of them shared the stage. (Source: TV Picture Life, "The Tears and Tensions Behind Leonard Nimoy's Triumph", July 1967, p 72.)


It's Hard to Be a Jew (1953)

Get a look at a blonde Leonard Nimoy in a production of It's Hard to Be a Jew in this L.A. Weekly interview.



Good News (1948) (more/close)


This is the synopsis as given on to get an idea what the play was about:

Good News is a musical with a book by Laurence Schwab and B.G. DeSylva, lyrics by DeSylva and Lew Brown, and music by Ray Henderson.
World War I is over, the Roaring Twenties have arrived, women have won the right to vote, and college campuses, such as fictional Tait College, are as much a social scene as an academic one. Football is the big game, and star player Tom Marlowe is a prime catch. All the girls are interested in Tom, and vice-versa, although one society climber seems to have him in hand. Studious part-time school librarian Connie Lane doesn't seem to have a chance and stays out of the fray. When Marlowe fails a final exam, he needs a tutor to help him pass so he can play in the big game on Saturday. Connie is selected to help keep his nose to the grindstone, and the two fall for each other. The couples' romance can only endure if the team wins the big game.

Leonard Nimoy's childhood friend Ted Jacobs remembers being in the play with him in this interview:

I can give you examples of what a nice guy Lenny was. In Good News I had a bit where I was supposed to whistle and Len was supposed to hide the football star. I couldn't whistle, do I got a toy whistle to use. It occured to Len and me at one rehearsal that a cute bit could be worked out, I pretended I couldn't find the whistle. Len and I practiced it on our own. The audience was hysterical at both performances when I searched my pockets, sleeves, belt,socks and what all for the whistle. It was a good bit. Len and I liked it. It goes without saying the director didn't aappreaciate it at all. Elliot [Silverstein] almost hashed us up that night, gave us a real lecture. Len soaked it all in - he was real gung-ho on theater. He never kidded around with a show again.

(Source: "The Names They Call Him Back Home", see Interviews.)


Hansel & Gretel (1939) (more/close)

Leonard Nimoy remembers the play in a piece, "All My Life I've Been a Searcher," he wrote for Datsun Dicovery in 1978

At a neighborhood settlement house, The Elizabeth Peabody Playhouse, I saw my first play. It was a production of Gilbert & Sullivan's "HMS Pinafore," and I marveled at the wonderful combination of words, movement, and music. I was amazed at the ability of the performers.

When I was cast as "Hansel" in "Hansel & Gretel," to be played on the same stage, the work began. Piece by piece, line by line, movement by movement, I was coached, pushed, cajoled and trained up to performance level. I went through the several performances of that production without ever thinking of, or understanding, the concept of "stage fright." To this day, I have known "stage fright" only when I have been insufficiently prepared for the evening of the performance. That's the secret ... hours and hours, days and weeks of preparation.