In Memoriam

We have lost several Theatre West members recently, including Walter Beery, Casey King, Paul Chipello and Terry Becker.



1943 – 2014

Our good friend and long time Theatre West member Paul Chipello passed away on December 25, 2014. He was a kind and dear man, and we will miss him terribly. (Photo by Noel Shire)

A Memorial is set for Saturday, January 17, 2015, at First Presbyterian Church of Granada Hills, 10400 Zelzah Ave, Northridge, CA 91326 at 2pm. Reception to follow with music and food at the church in Lee Hall. Please RSVP to or call 310-435-9057 with any questions.


Memories of Paul

I first worked with Paul in 1991. He came in to sub at The Ventura Club in Sherman Oaks for our regular pianist. He and I exchanged information and over the ensuing years I would work with Paul and I would also hire him to play with my band.  Paul was a wonderful musician but more importantly he was a kind gentle spirit.

I once asked Paul to send me a demo tape so I could book him on a solo piano job. The first song on the tape was Suite From Forrest Gump or as some know it as The Feather SongI started to play the tape for the client and after this song they didn’t want to hear anything else.  They hired Paul without ever meeting him based on this one performance of his piano playing. If any song embodied Paul’s kindness, sweetness and sensitivity, that was the song.  Rather than playing the standard fare for the demo he chose songs that he spoke to him and therefore spoke to others.

I never heard Paul utter a bad word about anyone in the music business or in the theatre. It just wasn’t Paul. He loved his wife and family deeply and told me so.

The last time I saw him at Theatre West was a couple months ago when I came into to video the musical theatre workshop. I was so happy to see him as it had been several years.  We told each other jokes and had a few laughs and he was still his cheerful wonderful self. I am glad I got to see him again.
My condolences to his lovely wife and family on such a profound loss.
If God needed a pianist in heaven, Paul has got the gig now.

~ Tom Mendola

I never got to thank Paul Chipello enough for all he did to encourage me. The many many “great” ideas I had that he would gently augment. The million versions of Someone To Watch Over Me that he and Betty worked in with me. The many phone calls with songs and musical ideas he had for me. The phone calls to see if I was coming to workshop…..He always asked after my boys, who are musicians, (pianists and accompanist )– he had wonderful suggestions for them, and even job offers. I was blessed to have known him, honored to have worked with him, and indescribably sad and shocked to have him so suddenly gone from us.

Paul and I shared the same faith. So I know he is home. But. I selfishly wish he were still here with us.

~ Anne Leyden

Sunday Matinee when we doing Nunsense. Paul played a Church in Malibu that morning, it was during the heavey rainstroms that year. All the canyons were closed the 405 was a mess. Paul had to drive to Hollywood for the 101,  it took him over 2 hours to get to the Theatre.   We held the curtain with a full house and did a Q and A. At 3:00 we did the show: the Audience stayed and had a wonderful time.

Paul was a dedicated professional and the kindest gentlest man.  He will always be in my life thru all the musical arrangenents he
created for me.

Darling Paul Fly with Wngs of Angels.

~ Sandra Tucker

Betty Garrett said of Paul Chipello that she had never met a more patient, or kind accompanist in her entire career. I think she was right.

 Paul Chipello was the real deal – a large talent, with a large and generous soul. He treated everyone with respect and gave of himself and his talent without reservation. In the two years that he and I ran the Musical Comedy Workshop together, Paul was my right hand and my best buddy. I relied on his talent, I trusted his opinions and I valued his input. The Musical Comedy Workshop will be all the less for Paul Chipello’s passing.
~ Mary Garripoli

Paul and Betty were the essence of the musical workshop for a long long time.  Now they are no longer with us and it will never be the same.  Paul always helped me to make me sound better when I sang my songs.  I will miss him deeply.  Fortunately, Mary is a great replacement and hopefully will continue with their legacy.
~ Andre Landzaat

I had the pleasure and honor to sing with Paul over the course of this year, mostly all Wednesdays for our Musical Theatre Workshop and what a treat it was! He was the most patient, nice and always supportive pianist I’ve ever work with, I will always remember his smile and his music… Gracias Maestro!

~ Anibal Silveyra

Paul was a true gentleman in myriad ways : a GENTLE soul, caring and always smiling. A real MAN, always offering a chair, a glass of water. And always encouraging when I went off key. Oh how I will miss him. Love to Diane and their children, my prayers are with them.
~ Lee Meriwether