George Boyd Is Director On and Off Broadway
7/24/2014 by BY MIMI BROWN
George Boyd, Director
?In the old Teague City Hall is where my interest in theatre began,? said Teague native, George Boyd. ?They had a beautiful little theatre upstairs where we did plays and had piano recitals. If it?s even possible I want to have my memorial service there when I die.?
George hasn?t lived as long as most of the people in these columns about people of Teague, but he has lived a huge life, so far, and needed to be recognized for his amazing achievements.
Drayton and Rose Boyd moved to Teague after World War II in 1946 with their three-year-old son George Drayton Boyd III. George grew up in Teague and graduated from Teague High School with the Class of 1962. He said, ?I learned the two skills that have made me a living all these years at Teague High School.? ?I learned to type which was always my fall back job in the beginning when theatre jobs were hard to come by and to speak Spanish taught by THS teachers Vicky Massey and Carmen Cavazos.?
George then attended the Lon Morris College in Jacksonville, Texas, a college that was well known for its drama and theatre program. His classes included other students Tommy Tune, Sandy Duncan, Amanda McBroom (wrote The Rose), and K.T. Oslin, to name a few. The famous drama teacher Zula Pearson was teaching there at that time. ?Once a group of us came to Teague and did three, kind of bizarre, one act plays,? said George. ?I?m not so sure the audience was so impressed, but we had a lot of fun. We all spent the night at mother?s house and slept on pallets all over the living room floor, even under the Christmas tree, I recall.?
George decided to move to Chicago and attend Northwestern University where he earned his Bachelors degree in Theatre and then went to the Goodman School of Drama. Two of his classmates there were Bruce Boxleitner and Joe Montegna. ?All my classmates went on to become famous,? said George. ?I?m famous in a very, very small circle,? he said with a smile.
George then decided that London was the place he should be and off he went. He looked for employment and found, as he called it ?a wacky job? but he would have to be a Spaniard. He said, ?I channeled back to Vicky Massey and my high school Spanish. I got away with it and went to work for a bed and breakfast cooking in the morning, cleaning rooms and bathrooms. He did get a better job later working in market research as a transcriber. ?I had to pretend to be Canadian to land that job but I have to give credit to my Teague High School typing teacher, Mrs. Mildred Diemart for teaching me so well.?
The best thing about living in London for George, of course, was the theatre. ?I went to the theatre every night and watched superb actors like Sir Laurence Olivier, Dame Judy Dench, Ian McKellan, Sir John Gielgud and so many more,? said George. ?I loved being there.?
A great friend of George?s, Sir John Pritchard took him to Covent Garden for the debut of ?Lucia Di Lammermoor?, starring Beverly Sills and to the dress rehearsal for ?La Travaita? at Covent Garden. George and his friend were the only ones in the theatre. After one year George returned to Chicago but he was a young man with great memories of London.
Back in Chicago George was the Stage Manager at the famed Goodman Professional Theatre. He was Stage Manager for Christopher Walken, when he was an up-and-coming actor.
George decided that he needed to go and try his hand on Broadway. So off to New York he went. Again he leaned on the typing skills he learned at THS to keep himself alive. He met with a good friend of his, Wes Butler, to see Funny Girl, with Barbra Streisand. He did get a position in the theatre after a time working as Stage Manager for the play Emperor Henry IV starring Rex Harrison. He was also understudy for several men in the play. One night one of the actors didn?t show so at the last minute George grabbed his robe and went on stage. ?Harrison looked at me horrifically but went right on with the show,? said George. They took Emperor Henry IV to Los Angeles and George went also. While in Los Angeles George also worked on Lorelei, starring Carol Channing. He and Ms. Channing became good friends.
Sadly about this time George?s father passed away and George came home to Teague to be by his mother?s side. He was in Teague for a year or so until Rose could handle things without him here. Then it was back to New York and ?Clams on the Half Shell? where he was Stage Manager for Bette Midler. He worked with Lilly Tomlin, Samuel L. Jackson, was Stage Manager for The George Carlin Show, Jane Lynch, Reba McIntire. George also directed ?Beauty and the Beast? in Spanish in Mexico City.
?I was so fortunate to work in an industry where I was able to travel and get paid for it,? said George. He once worked on a show for Harry Belafonte, where they took 35 break dancers from the South Bronx to Germany, Spain, Nice, a stage on the beach at Cannes, and Paris.
He has ridden on a dog sled for the Special Olympics in Anchorage, Alaska and luckily never had to wait for his two-week vacation to go see the world. One thing George is proud of happened in 1964 when he was chosen to go the Democratic Convention. George said that it, coincidentally, opened with Carol Channing singing ?Hello Lyndon.? Another proud moment was when a play that he developed and directed about the early days of the A.I.D.S. crisis, ?As Is? played Off and on Broadway.
Now George is traveling with Mary Wilson of The Supremes, managing her show. He said, ?I also enjoy working with Trinity Star Arts Council bringing the arts to Freestone County.?
It is wonderful that this accomplished director cares enough about Freestone County to take his time to bring great shows and theatre to Teague. We thank you George Boyd.