Professor’s move proves fruitful
April 6, 2005 9:00 p.m.
Daniel Gary Busby has been up to some saucy things since leaving
UCLA last year, and he’s got a lot more on the way.
The former UCLA professor, who taught in the musical theater
program, has gone on to take a tenured assistant professor position
in UC Irvine’s drama department.
“I’m teaching music theory for actors and I’m
directing one or two shows a year,” a privilege Busby never
got to enjoy while at UCLA, he said. “It’s a real
Although Busby misses the UCLA program, he is happy with the
switch and is proud of his new department.
“The program at UC Irvine has been in existence longer,
and there’s a better formula,” he said. “We
actually have more students moving through the program. The
students are equally good (at UCLA), but in different
Busby is also pleased with his new colleagues, and feels that he
has found a comfortable home with the UC Irvine faculty.
“The faculty works well together as a cohesive group. They
are warm and they were excited to have me,” he said.
Busby has been having a good time settling into his new academic
home, but outside projects and independent work have helped him to
develop as a director and keep in touch with old friends at
In his current project, “Saucy Jack and the Space
Vixens,” a frenzied but fun cabaret-style mystery musical,
Busby got to work with former UCLA students James Celentano, a
third-year theater student, and Tracy Rohrer, a recent theater
The production, playing extended shows at the Ark Theatre on La
Cienega Boulevard, is a crazy but always entertaining murder
mystery that Busby had a blast directing.
“It’s great to work on a professional level with
your students,” he said.
Working at the Ark Theatre also put Busby back in touch with
former UCLA colleague Paul Wagar, who runs the venue.
Of course, “Saucy Jack” is not the only project
that’s been keeping this man on his toes.
“Since last year, at UCLA, when I did “˜Into the
Woods,’ I have done seven shows. I had a hugely busy
summer,” he said.
In addition to those projects, Busby is currently working on a
bigger production titled “A Night with Paul Lynde.”
Working with John Hall, who runs a musical theater workshop in
UCLA’s music department, the show has turned into quite a
The one-man show features actor Michael Arrington, who plays
Lynde, the movie buff famous for playing “Uncle Arthur”
on TV’s “Bewitched” and voicing the eerie
“Templeton” in the classic “Charlotte’s
“It’s a ’60s lounge show,” said Busby.
“It’s very funny and there’s a lot of
The show will be made into a TV special, to be shot in the next
month or so. There has also been talk of a movie in the works.
Busby has long been known in Los Angeles for his talents as a
voice coach, and lately he has been enjoying watching the success
of his students grow. Many students at UC Irvine and UCLA, as well
as those under private instruction, have gone on to perform in
major Broadway roles.
For example, former student Maria Eberline will be going on as
the understudy of Elphaba in the national tour of
“Wicked,” which comes to Los Angeles later this
With big projects, Busby has been all too busy since leaving
Westwood, but never too busy to remember it.
“I miss the students,” he said. “Truthfully, I
miss the students and some of the great friends that I’ve
made at the production staff.”