Frank Rizzo’s first regular byline was in 1966 when he was the high school columnist in Massachusetts for his hometown weekly newspaper, the Maynard Enterprise. In those hot-lead linotype days he received $5 for each weekly piece.
During his summers home from the U of A where he majored in journalism and minored in theater, he was editor at the weekly Enterprise. (He missed Woodstock but gave killer coverage to the local school board meetings.)
Following his Wildcat/U of A years — he also received a Shubert Fellowship in playwriting and attended grad school here — he returned home to Massachusetts in 1973 to become bureau chief of the Enterprise’ sister publication, the Hudson Daily Sun. He later becoming editor of the larger Marlboro (Mass.) Daily Enterprise.
In 1977, he became entertainment writer for the New Haven Journal Courier, primarily covering the rock scene, and wrote about the state’ incredible theater as much as he could.
In 1982, he became arts writer for the Hartford Courant, now focusing on theater coverage. In addition to writing for the Courant and being published in its sister publications including the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Baltimore Sun.
He has written about disco, rock and punk; covered the Oscars, the Grammys, the Tonys and Live Aid. He was in Cincinnati for the Maplethorpe Obscenity Trial, at the U.S. Supreme Court for the NEA Four case and at the Dakota for the John Lennon vigil. He’s profiled such wide ranging figures as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Julia Child, August Wilson, Elizabeth Taylor, Meryl Streep, Mr. Rogers, Paul Newman, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson, Dr. Ruth, the Ramones, Annie Sprinkle and Mischu, the world’s smallest man.
In 2003 he became theater writer for Variety, covering New England and being among the first nationally to weigh in for such Broadway productions as “Porgy and Bess,” “The Glass Menageries,” “Pippin” and the upcoming “The Bridges of Madison County” — which he surprisingly liked.
He also freelances for American Theater Magazine, the New York Times, the Sondheim Review and other publications.
He is also a television contributor to FOX/CT, which is part of the Tribune Corp.
Rizzo remembers his first Broadway musical (“Funny Girl,” with you-know-who), his first off-Broadway show (“The Mad Show”) and his first Connecticut show (Stephen Sondheim’s “The Frogs” at the Yale Swimming Pool.) He enjoyed them all, though he felt “The Frogs” still needed work.
His partner for the past 33 years is Bill Kux, yes an actor. They married as soon as they legally could in Connecticut.