I am deeply saddened to learn of Sal's passing. Little more can be said that what has already been written by others in praise of this great man. I first knew Sal in the mid-sixties when I attended St. Augustine H.S. in Brooklyn. Without a doubt, he was my finest (and favorite) teacher. He is often spoken of as a mentor to so many in the theater world. I recall him as a most inspirational instructor in poetry and drama. As a previous "guest book" signer said, he often found in you those qualities of character of which you yourself were unaware. Such was my case at St. A's. I will never forget this wonderful man. Requiescat in pace, Sal.
I met Sal when I first got out of grad school at an off-off B'way company at a church on E. 47th Street. I read for "Light up the Sky" and got a small part. Sal was in the company. I then played his niece in Ah, Wilderness. He was terrific. We formed a lasting friendship. He asked me to come out to Brooklyn and do Eleanor in "The Lion in Winter." I couldn't resist the offer! Robert Ginty, a former student of his, played Henry. He went on to some fame and fortune and died too young. A few years after Lion, Sal asked me to do Phyllis in "Follies," a favorite show of his and mine. We had a great time doing it. Sal and I remained good friends all these years. He was acerbic and quite witty,sort of an American Oscar Wilde. He was a wonderful teacher for his students, instilling them with self-worth and a love for theater.
Good night, dear friend. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
I am sad to learn of Sal's passing. He was a gentle soul who demonstrated patience with me and passed along his life's lesson that I use some 30+ years later. Sal leaves a rich legacy behind in the lives he touched as a teacher and mentor. My life is more cultured and complete for having known him.
So many years in theater with Sal at OLPH,,so many amazing memories. Rest in Peace my old friend.
love you always, Jean-Jean
My condolences to Sal's family. I was a student of Sal's when he taught English at Mater Christi HS. Sal was one of the greatest teacher I have ever met in my life. He was able to see what you were capable of doing before you even recognized it in yourself. Then he would encourage and inspire you to go beyond the boundaries you imposed upon yourself. Sal was also a hysterically funny man whose quips still make me laugh many years after he uttered them. Rest in peace Sal. You will always have a place in our hearts.
For many theatrical performers, myself included, Sal WAS the embodiment of the theatre world. He showed us how theatre life could be a fun romp, a crushing heartbreak, an unequaled ego boost, and brutally hard work all rolled into one -- and often happening simultaneously!
During the time I knew Sal, I sat in the audience, both enjoying and admiring his work as a performer and as a director. I had the honor of working next to him on stage as a fellow actor, as well as benefiting from his guidance as a director. I also produced shows he directed for the theatre company for which I was in charge at that time. Sal never failed to deliver. Audiences loved him. Performers loved him. We all loved him.
Sal was larger than life. He energized hundreds of young performers. I was one of many. I first met him when someone invited me to a production of She Loves Me that Sal directed at OLPH. I was in the audience and totally enchanted. The shows that I did with Sal were fun, even magical. When you had the desire to play a part that you might not have had the opportunity to play elsewhere, and other directors were saying No,Sal looked into your soul and said Yes, you can do this.
He trained me to go on with my theatrical aspirations, but most directors and producers were not nurturing and creative like Sal. Of course he was tough, temperamental and witty, theatre people do not bore you! Sal was the quintessential theatre person. The shows I did in the era with Sal were truly my heyday, although I did not know it then. I am so grateful for that time in my life and all of the other tremendously talented people I worked with. I know that Sal is up there waiting for us, singing Send in the Clowns up in heaven, and planning our next big show.
My condolences to Sal's family. I was a student of his at LSMA, Oakdale and enjoyed his instruction in the theater for three years. Rest in peace Sal, you shall be missed.
LSMA Class of '91
Brother & Pierre
Sorry to hear about Sal. As I watched his video on Mater Christie Drama site I was enthralled with his voice. It sounds like he maintained his love of the theater throughout his life. May he now be at peace.
Frank (Franny) Campion
Our thoughts are with the family and friends during this time.