The current fare at Theatre Palisades is the entertaining, laugh-filled “A Comedy of Tenors,” and one of the play’s most entertaining actors is Dante Greco.
After reading that this young man grew up in Pacific Palisades, CTN secured an interview and asked the professional actor what convinced him to audition for community theater.
“I auditioned because I’d been dying to get back into a play since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Greco, who grew up in Marquez Knolls and attended Marquez Elementary, Corpus Christi and Palisades High. “I’d always wanted to perform at Theatre Palisades.”
Greco says he was shy as a child and never participated in sports or theater. “I mostly just played guitar; Hendrix was my favorite. I played with kids in the neighborhood, read, and watched movies. I was fortunate to have parents and an uncle who exposed me to great films at an early age.”
Dante and his three siblings, Anthony, Stella and Athena, moved to the Palisades with their parents, Tony and Suzanne, in the early 1990s, after spending a year in India, where Tony was directing a documentary about a guru. Tony passed away eight years ago.
Dante’s sister, Athena, is a well-regarded opera singer and cantor at Corpus Christi Church.
While at PaliHi, Greco said, “I didn’t work up the nerve to actually take a drama class until senior year. My first scene in class, I played Chief Bromden in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.’ I was pretty green, so I didn’t do much in the scene, but my unintentionally stoic demeanor won me a compliment and favorable comparison to the character’s portrayal in the film.”
He said his favorite class was speech with Mary Redclay. And now, “I do wish I had taken an Italian language class instead of French. No offense to the French or that teacher, but I’m Italian by blood, and my girlfriend, Ivelise Matavelli, is an incredibly intelligent, talented descendant of Niccolo Machiavelli who was born in Italy, so it would’ve come in handy.”
After PaliHi, Greco went to Santa Monica College and took theater classes. He performed in a few productions, including “Frankenstein” (for which he received an Irene Ryan Award nomination) and a department original called “Radio Ghost Stories.”
After performing in various small productions in Hollywood, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he played Clifford in “Deathtrap.” While there he also landed a bit part on the ABC television show “Nashville.”
Returning to L.A., Greco performed in a show called “Masoch and DeSade,” before playing Ted Kennedy in an alternate-history play called “Trial on the Potomac” alongside the legendary impressionist Rich Little, who played President Nixon.
And his favorite role to date? “Carlo in ‘Comedy of Tenors,’ because I love doing comedy, and the heightened reality of a farce allows for much more silliness than usual, and it’s just been the most fun I’ve had as an actor ever.”
Greco noted that when he’s not auditioning or performing, he plays guitar. “I’ve devoted myself to learning the work of the great Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia, particularly his transcriptions of Bach and Scarlatti.”
Greco once asked Al Pacino to mentor him as an actor. “He said to me, in his iconic high-pitched growl, ‘Oh… I can’t. But thanks for asking.’ He did, however, say that the impression of him that I had just done was good, so that was nice.”
According to Greco, there’s one thing people should know about community theater: “It is made up of actors, directors and producers who are just as passionate, just as talented, and just as capable as anywhere else. The magic theatrical alchemy that produces special experiences for audiences and participants exists here too.”
Performances of “Comedy of Tenors” are weekends through December 5, so if you have relatives in town, consider taking them to this boisterous comedy. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. on Sundays. General admission is $22; seniors/students are $20. There is free parking at Pierson Playhouse, located at 941 Temescal Canyon Rd. Call (310) 454-1970 for tickets or visit: theatrepalisades.org.