Jonathan Slaff's acting website
had previously appeared at Theater for the New City in "Upstate"
and "One Director Against his Cast," among others.
At La MaMa, he appeared in the 1991 revival of "Futz"
by Rochelle Owens, directed by Tom O'Horgan; "The Pathological
Passion of the Christ," directed by Dario D'Ambrosi;
and with the great Brazilian mime and practitioner of "essential
theater," Denise Stoklos, in "Casa."
Mr. Slaff was born in Wilkes-Barre,
PA and was a child actor. He moved to New York to attend Columbia
Business School and while completing his MBA, made his New
York debut with the Lion Theater Company in "End as a
Man" by Calder Willingham, directed by Garland Wright.
(The production starred Tom Berringer.) Slaff later appeared
in the Lion's production of "Marathon '33" by June
Havoc, which was also directed by Garland Wright.
He performed with the Kenley
Players in Ohio, both as a child actor and as an adult. As
a boy, he appeared with Dorothy Collins and Gene Hollman in
"South Pacific." As an adult, he appeared in "Kismet"
(with Hal Linden), Heaven Can Wait" (with Peter Strauss)
and "Make a Million" (with McLean Stevenson).
He has appeared in
some of TV's funniest and most classic commercials. His spots
for Federal Express and Wendy's, directed by the immortal
Joe Sedelmaier, were in Clio-winning campaigns. Dialogue from
these spots became part of the American lexicon, like "Parts
is parts!" and "You've all done an excellent job…except
films include "Beer" with Loretta Swit, directed
by Patrick Kelly.
He played Uncle Knit Knots
in the pilot production of Disney's series for preschoolers,
Those who know him as an
actor sometimes find it surprising that in his "other"
job, he is a press agent. His Village-based practice, Jonathan
Slaff & Associates, specializes in media relations
for theater, dance, film, world music and books. He is also
a prolific and widely-published theatrical photographer, represented
by Ovoworks (Kevin
He is a client of Don
Buchwald & Associates. He studies acting with Wynn
Handman and Bob McAndrew.
For Jonathan Slaff's performance
history, and to watch him in some of America's funniest commercials,
please see his website.
WHO'S BEHIND THOSE VOICES AND SURPRISES?
It takes more than just one actor to do this solo turn!
The piece was originally
written in 1970 as a solo turn for one actor, but director
Stanley Allan Sherman enlarged the concept slightly
by giving the hotel a life of its own: adding live actors
to supply sounds and sights of the hotel instead of
relying on "artificial" sound effects and
dummies. Using the playscript as a commedia
dell' arte scenario, the two-person ensemble of
David Zen Mansley and Rachel
Krah acted the hotel patrons and supplied various
sound effects with live voices backstage. They also
added comedic surprises.
Set design was by
Mark Marcante. Lighting design was
by Alexander Bartenieff. Costume design
was by Susan Gittens. Stage Manager
was Gladys Maldonado and Assistant
Stage Manager/Costume Assistant was Pauline
to Crystal Field for making this fabulous creative opportunity
possible, Wynn Handman for introducing Jonathan Slaff
to this role, David Zen Mansley for special set construction
and props, Rachel Krah for cello solos and her work
on set construction, Gladys Maldonado for additional
sound effects and props, Richard Retta for wiring our
phone, Jon Weber for serving as press contact, Joy Linscheidt
for the sound effects used in our workshop presentation
in TNC's 2009 Lower East Side Festival of the Arts,
and to our friends from TNC's Street Theater ensemble
for their set construction help.