Love for the Stage, and Each Other
In the play “Blue Jay Singing in the Dead of Night,” Jay Jarell — once a cult figure in the rebellious world of late 60s, early 70s underground radio — is now a washed-up disc jockey on the graveyard shift. As the “Blue Jay” struggles to express himself in this changed medium, he fields late night calls and falls in love with a fellow DJ.
“Blue Jay Singing in the Dead of Night” is the most recent play by Dale Griffiths Stamos, who took many theater classes during her time at UC Santa Barbara. Dale and her husband, Greg, share a love for the stage that they express through philanthropic support of the Department of Theater and Dance.
After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, Greg and Dale went on to earn degrees from UCLA (a J.D. for Greg and an M.A. in romance linguistics and literature for Dale). However, their paths did not cross until a mutual friend’s Christmas party in 1980.
“I walked in the front door into a crowded room in South Pasadena, and there was a woman sitting on the piano bench singing next to the guy playing,” said Greg. “I saw her, and then I followed her around for the rest of the evening.”
“I thought: This guy likes theater? Check,” said Dale.
They talked until three in the morning and married a year later.
In 1973, the UCSB Alumni Association contacted Greg to help organize the Class of 1968’s five-year reunion. As a result, Greg learned about a theater program at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles sponsored by the Alumni Association. After attending one play, Greg became a longtime season subscriber. Greg would later serve on the Board of the Alumni Association and Foundation, and was a co-chair of the Class of 1968 50th reunion. He is presently serving on the board of the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER).
Dale is now an accomplished playwright, screenwriter, director, and teacher, and Greg has led a long career in the law. For years, the Stamoses have generously supported the Department of Theater and Dance and its LAUNCH PAD new plays program. An opportunity for students, faculty, and guest artists to pursue experimentation and collaboration, LAUNCH PAD is a nationally recognized creative laboratory for professional playwrights.
"We are so grateful that Greg and Dale Stamos have been staunch supporters of LAUNCH PAD and our playwriting concentration for many years now,” said Artistic Director Risa Brainin. “In addition to their generous giving, they are also incredibly knowledgeable about new play development. I always look forward to connecting with them to hear their thoughtful and insightful responses to the plays."
As an experimental organization, LAUNCH PAD had the ability to adapt to theater in the time of COVID-19. Greg and Dale have attended many virtual LAUNCH PAD and other theater department productions during quarantine, including a live Zoom Festival of 39 monologues and short plays that Risa Brainin commissioned from 24 playwrights. Edited by UC Santa Barbara Professor Davies King, the entire collection was published in August 2020 by Dramatic Publishing.
The Stamoses believe that the UCSB Theater and Dance Department enhances Santa Barbara’s theater scene, as well as educating future actors and writers. They also support UCSB’s Arts & Lectures program, as Producers Circle members.
“At UC Santa Barbara, you have a strong theater department with a great reputation and trusted professors who will be working with you. Along with that, you experience the richer, general university education,” said Dale, who believes that exposure to vast ideas sparks inspiration. Her current work-in-progress is a play about a quantum physicist.
“I’m a continual learner,” said Dale. “The richer your experience in life, and the more you've learned about, the better for yourself as an artist.”
Together, Greg and Dale enrich the education of UC Santa Barbara student writers and actors through their support of the performing arts.