It has been almost one year since I began writing here at the Big Blogs of Breitbart.com. When it all began, I was motivated by the events that brought down Sacramento Music Theatre executive Scott Eckern. Ironically, his story, which inspired this new avocation also served as a real-life lesson in the new political world we inhabit. You see, Mr. Eckern was forced to resign his position because it was discovered that he donated money to the anti-same sex marriage Prop. 8 campaign. Knowing that, I would have been a fool to put my name on the things I’ve written here. So, “Stage Right” was born.
Since then, I have been fortunate enough to have free-reign on all things theatre at Big Hollywood (gently guided by the collective wisdom of Andrew Breitbart and John Nolte) and I’ve had a fantastic time writing about the industry, about the non-profit world… even about my favorite shows. But now, things have changed just a bit.
It started with Patrick Courrielche’s now famous expose’ on the NEA Conference Call. Just like the Scott Eckern story, what bothered me most at the time was the media and especially the left-leaning theatre writers’ attack on Patrick. Instead of showing any level of skepticism over the appropriateness of staff members of the NEA and the White House coordinating discussions with artists about how they can help move the President’s agenda by creating works of art in favor of specific issues, Patrick was attacked and libeled for the sin of telling the truth and bringing the subject to light.
Next came the media’s reaction to James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles’ blockbuster series of videos exposing the corruption at ACORN offices from sea to shining sea. Again, the venom and outrage is directed at the messenger while the message gets rationalized and obfuscated. This story raised my ire to such a degree that I began posting at Big Government.
Next, I started digging deep into the story of how Kenneth Gladney was beaten by SEIU union reps in St. Louis. I saw that not only did the mass media ignore the story, but the left-wing blog world actually tried to make Gladney the instigator. After discovering that an SEIU front group (working with the White House and House Democratic Leadership) had provided written instructions for their union membership on how to disrupt protestors and create conditions that led to the violence, I began to realize that I was in the thick of some very big issues… a lot bigger than whether I get to work in a theatre.
These three stories that have been highlights of the year at Big Government and Big Hollywood have a common thread: Courageous citizens willing to tell the truth no matter what the consequences. Kenneth Gladney is the quintessential “Little Guy”, the “Everyman”, the guy the Democratic Party always says they are looking out for. Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe are fearless mavericks with a pet peeve for hypocrisy. They are putting into practice exactly what “Real” journalists claim they are doing: Speaking Truth to Power. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Patrick Courrielche and have collaborated with him on a number of stories. He is sincere, he is compassionate and he is ridiculously intelligent.
I have reached the point where I can no longer hide behind the warm embrace of anonymity while I stand shoulder to shoulder with such brave and noble colleagues. I no longer fear professional retribution nearly as much I fear the direction of my government and the lack of candid analysis from the professional journalists charged with the responsibility of critically analyzing that government.
So, to that end: My name is Larry O’Connor.
I worked for five years on Broadway for The Shubert Organization and briefly for Lincoln Center Theatre. In Los Angeles, I continued my relationship with the Shubert Organization as the General Manager for their Los Angeles theatre. I oversaw the operations and management of the Shubert Theatre, Los Angeles during the runs of the American Premiere of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Sunset Blvd., Ragtime, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as well as multiple touring productions.
While serving as the General Manager of the Shubert Theatre, I was also the President of a non-profit theatre’s Board of Directors as well as President of the Los Angeles League of Theatres known at the time as Theatre LA. I also served on the boards of four union benefit plans and I served as a co-creator and producer of Los Angeles’ premiere theatre awards program, The Ovation Awards.
After nearly fifteen years with Shubert, I took the occasion of the birth of my first child to start my own production and management company. I managed productions in theatres from 99-seats up to 3,000 seats with stars like Sir Ian McKellen, Kelsey Grammar, Ruby Dee, Neil Patrick Harris, Val Kilmer and Adam Lambert, and with creative staff the likes of Charles Nelson Reilly, Stephen Schwartz, Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Max Azria and Ossie Davis. Not once in all of those productions or with all of those people (some of them well known for their extreme political views) did the subject of my politics ever come up, (as far as I know!).
I sat through many one-sided conversations about politics, the economy, America and the war. It was never necessary for my politics to come out for me to effectively do my job. It still is not necessary, but, we’ll see if I get the chance to find out.
I am married and I have four children. I want my wife and children to know that I am not afraid. That it is not only allowed in our country to raise your voice, it is expected. It’s part of the deal here. And when something is wrong, when a friend is being bullied and intimidated, when people in power are corrupt, we have a duty to exercise our God given right of free speech.
I would like to express my extreme and humble gratitude to Andrew Breitbart, John Nolte and Mike Flynn for allowing me to write here under the cloak of anonymity. I know that when Big Hollywood first launched, Andrew felt a little heat because of it. But, I think we have all seen over the course of this year that Andrew can handle a little heat, he is the Red Adair of the “Under Media”. I would also like to thank the small group of friends who have known my secret and remained discreet. I appreciate your loyalty more than you can know.
This may be the end of my secret, but I see this as the beginning of a new and liberated style of writing. There are many things in my life and in my past that I kept from these pages for fear that it would expose me. Look for those stories at Big Hollywood in the coming weeks. And, at Big Government, look for a continuation of stories like Kenneth Gladney’s assault, and the climate of fear and intimidation created by organizations like HCAN, ACORN, SEIU and the extreme left of the Democratic Party. Those are the stories that brought me to the realization that there are some bigger things afoot here… bigger things than hiding my face from the world.
I’m Larry O’Connor. I’m “Stage Right”. And I’m really happy to be here.