byron nilsson

get off that ladder!

... You know you shouldn't be up there!

There’s no modest way to put this: I know many things, for I walk by night. I know many strange tales, many secrets hidden in the hearts of men and women who have stepped into the shadows. Aside from that, I’ve done a whole lot of stuff, principally in theater and music.

As an actor, I worked for ten years with the NYS Theatre Institute, appearing in 1776, Miracle on 34th Street, A Wonderful Life, Fiorello!, Around the World in 80 Days, and many others. I’ve also performed with the Lake George Opera, Syracuse Opera, and Musicians of Ma’alwyck. Some of this has involved singing, which I also do in a cabaret-show setting with pianist Malcolm Kogut. Songs to Amuse does, we hope, just that, presenting an array of funny and forgotten ditties that reach back to vaudeville and music-hall days.

I’ve written many plays, some of which have seen various types of production. Mr. Sensitivity was part of the 2009 NY Fringe Festival; Drivers was seen at Ensemble Studio Theatre. A one-act musical titled iFind You @ Last, with music by Tom Savoy, premiered at Mohonk Mountain House, while our cantata Buxtehude’s Daughter was performed by the Musicians of Ma’alwyck. There’s an ensemble that likes my stuff: they commissioned a murder-mystery event from me, titled Murder in C Major (in which I sang Henry Russell’s “The Maniac”), and an evening of poetry and music titled Suite of Love, for which I supplied a variety of verse. Other plays include Girl with a Camera (Troy Foundry Theatre), Humoresque (Hudson Opera House), and the musical Pirate Pip, (Lake George Opera). Among my sound-design projects have been several productions at Troy’s Russell Sage College, and, for Stageworks-Hudson, Play by Play, A Wedding Story, Or, The Amish Project, and The Rivalry.

My musical-arranging life began in high school, when I wrote an arrangement of Cole Porter songs to impress the violist on whom I had a crush. Although it failed to win her adoration, I’ve continued to arrange material for chamber ensemble and orchestra over the years, including a set of Flanders & Swann songs I performed with Catskill Symphony, temperance songs for a chamber-music concert, and songs for which I can find no sheet music and must cull from a recording.

A former chef, I still do catering for people I like. I was the restaurant critic for Albany’s Metroland magazine for 30 years. And I’m a member of Actors Equity, SAG-AFTRA, and the Dramatists Guild.