There are four main components of Greg Witzany’s life: work, performing, animals, and gardening, and not necessarily in that order.
By Georgetta L. Morque
There are four main components of Greg Witzany’s life: work, performing, animals, and gardening, and not necessarily in that order. “I give each 100 percent,” says the seven-year Rye resident, who has eclectic interests and many talents and somehow balances them all.
By day, he’s immersed in the financial world at Credit Suisse in Manhattan, yet before and after work, he gives loving care to his two golden retrievers, Harty and Haley; two Eclectus parrots, Lola and Milo; bearded dragon, Chipotle; and Maine Coon cat, Ival. His three horses live in New Jersey. His parents say he reminds them of the protagonist in the movie “We Bought a Zoo”.
Witzany devotes equal attention to gardening. The landscaping and plantings at his country-style home provide an oasis that a professional might have created.
The other part of his life is performing. A trumpet major with a degree in musical theater from the University of Wisconsin, Witzany starred in leading roles in musicals, acted in soap operas, and sang in Manhattan. With show tunes on his CD player at home, Witzany still feels the beat and plans to return to the stage one day.
Witzany always loved animals and animals love him. Growing up in St. Paul, Minn., he had a paper route and more often than not, neighborhood dogs would follow him. He also remembers turning over logs to find creatures to bring home. “I always wanted to be a vet, but I didn’t have the science or math. Loving animals is not enough.”
Before moving to New York City, he spent five years on tour in Europe performing in musicals such as “West Side Story”, where he played the role of Tony. His theatrical talents also brought him to Opryland, a former theme park in Nashville, and Disney World, where he performed in the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue. He starred in a series of musicals in Florida, including “Barnum”, “South Pacific” and “Godspell”, and also spent time in California, acting in soap operas.
In New York City, Witzany performed in the Light Opera of Manhattan while also working at a Broadway theater store. One day, members of a college band in the Macy’s Parade tracked him down to thank him for instilling their love of music. Before going on tour, Witzany taught music to ninth graders in Wisconsin and made a lasting impression by producing the school’s first musical, “Pirates of Penzance”, which was a tremendous success.
In his quest to supplement his musical career, he entered the financial industry 15 years ago through a temp agency. Proof that skills are transferrable, Witzany moved through a couple of companies in various positions, from operations management to the legal and compliance area.
He moved to Rye when a former roommate, a Rye resident, called to say that a house was available that might suit his growing number of pets. He told his boss he would be back soon and hopped on the train to Rye, saw the house near Osborn School, signed the lease, and returned to his office. Three years ago, he moved closer to town.
Lola and Milo have their own room in the attic with floor-to-ceiling twin cages and plenty of toys. They are talkers, and probably have quite a lot to say about current events as Witzany leaves the TV tuned to CNN all day when he’s at work. When he comes home, he lets them out of their cages to play. Chipotle also enjoys getting out of his tank to roam.
“All I need is a giraffe and an elephant and I can start charging admission,” he jokes.
Witzany still does readings from time to time and keeps up with the Broadway and Off Broadway theater scene and people. He recently saw an old friend, the actress and singer Kaye Ballard, now 89, perform at Feinstein’s. He said she was incredible.
Determined to reach a new goal each year, he ran the New York City Marathon last year in 4:28:38, a time that friends swore he could never make.
What’s on tap this year? Stay tuned.