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Focus on ‘Crimes of the Heart’ director Paul Graffy


Crimes 066SOn stage at Lab Theater through January 21 is Beth Henley’s Southern Gothic tragi-comedy, Crimes of the Heart. It is a tricky play to produce and direct because the main characters could easily come across as one-dimensional. But thanks to sensitive direction, Lucy Sundby, Danielle Channell and Holly Wilson bring depth to their characters and achieve a chemistry that induces the audience to accept Lenny 03Sthem as sisters in every sense of the term.

Many folks in Southwest Florida know Graffy as a real estate broker extraordinaire. He was featured in the Wall Street Journal after negotiating the sale of a premier 3-beach estate in Naples for a breathtaking $42 million. Since launching his real estate career in 2000, Paul has represented some of Naples’ some notable families, selling many of Naples’ signature properties. Along the way, he has been recognized by the “Real Trends/Wall Street Journal Top Agents” report as a member of the exclusive Top-1/2-of-1-Percent-Meg 12Sof-Realtors-Nationwide club, received Gulfshore Life‘s 5-Star Client Satisfaction Award, multiple Platinum Circle of Excellence Awards, and the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

Interestingly, prior to 2000, Paul worked for designers Kenneth Cole, Calvin Klein, Joe Boxer and Big Dog Sportswear. He served as Vice President of Sales for the latter three, garnering the fashion industry’s coveted Earnie Award in both 1995 and 1996.

But Graffy’s involvement in the performing arts pre-dates his careers in fashion and real estate.

As a young man, he was one of 20 students selected nationwide to attend the prestigious Julliard School of Becky 09SMusic at Lincoln Center in New York. After finishing his training at Julliard, Paul performed in numerous productions both in New York and regionally before pursuing a career in sales.

Over the past 15 years, Paul has directed 12 productions and appeared in 25 others at such theaters as The Lab, Naples Players, Artis Naples, TheatreZone, The Studio Players and The Naples Dinner Theater. Lab Theater audiences will remember Paul in a number of memorable roles, including Pale in Lanford Wilson’s Burn This (2017), Senator Joe Cantwell in The Best Man in 2016, and Johnny Lowell in Stage Kiss. Other roles include Frank Sr. in Catch Me if You Can, Alan in God of Carnage and Crimes 094SGeorge in Moon Over Buffalo, the latter two at The Naples Players in 2014. In 2011, Florida Weekly recognized his stage talent with its Best Actor award.

But for as good an actor as he is, Paul has a passion for directing. “In the performing arts, you can study until you’re blue in the face. You have to do it (to actually learn.),” Graffy told Florida Weekly’s Chris Silk in a 2012 interview. “Like any other art, you learn more from your failures than your Crimes 101Ssuccesses. Every time, it’s a whole new playbook.”

Graffy directed Les Liaisons Dangereuses for The Naples Players in 2014 and Steel Magnolias for The Naples Players in 2013. He’s directed at other places as well, including at Juilliard while he was a student there.

Graffy also knows the business end of theater, having served two Crimes 118Sterms on the Naples Players’ Board of Directors.

January 5, 2018.



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