Books: Diary of a Mad Poker Player, Getting Lucky, and a forthcoming biography of his father-in-law, Milt Okun (producer/arranger, Peter Paul and Mary, John Denver, founder of Cherry Lane Music, and much more), entitled Along the Cherry Lane
Richard’s writing career began while he was a student at Oxford University, where he wrote four Oxford Revues at the International Edinburgh Festival, two of which starred comedian Mel Smith.
His first job after leaving university was writing continuity for Welsh Television (HTV), where he was soon also employed writing scripts for children’s shows.
He went on to contribute to various BBC radio comedies, and to write over sixty hours of broadcast television worldwide, from Germany to New Zealand. Series he created or wrote for include: Cambriantics, Not the Nine O’Clock News; The Famous Five; Valentine Park; The Flying Kiwi; The Worst of Hollywood; and the U. K. Channel Four’s first comedy series, The Optimist, shot entirely on location in Mexico and California. He and his family moved to California in 1992 upon invitation by Marty Cohan and Blake Hunter, creators of Who’s The Boss? to work with them in creating new comedies at Columbia Pictures Television.
Since his move to California, the main focus of Richard’s work has become opera.
With composer, Lee Holdridge, since 1994: Journey To Cordoba, The Prospector, The Magic Dream, Tanis in America, Concierto para Mendez (all for the Los Angeles Opera). Richard and Lee have also collaborated on many other musical projects, from songs for films such as The Adventures of Pinocchio and The Secret of NIMH 2, to The Golden Land, a Millenium Commission for the California Symphony.
Richard’s other recent operatic works include new English libretti for L. A. Opera’s Hansel and Gretel, and the Washington, D.C. National Symphony’s Il Seraglio.
As director: Don Giovanni, for El Dorado Opera Company, Los Angeles.
Other composers Richard has worked with include: Mitch Leigh, Riz Ortolani; Lionel Bart; Cyril Ornadel; John Owen Edwards; Charles Strouse; Jorge Calandrelli; Howard Goodall; Hunter Johnson; Brian May (of Queen). Richard’s songs have been recorded by artists ranging from Eric “Python” Idle and Dom de Luise to Vanessa Williams and L. A. Opera Artistic Director Placido Domingo – not to mention Hello Kitty.
Over a dozen of Richard’s plays and revues have been staged all over the UK, at theaters from the Welsh National and the York Theatre Royal to London’s Greenwich, Victoria Palace, Lyric Hammersmith, Bush, Latchmere, Orange Tree and Her Majesty’s.
Productions include: A Nice Pair, Hegel and Bagel, Rowan Atkinson and Company, Blue Dot Disease, It Happened in Venice, On The Box, The Artful Widow, The Secret Policeman’s Ball (Schoolmaster sketch performed by Rowan Atkinson), The Crimson Lizard, The Human Error, Fundamental Frolics, and the West End Musical, Winnie, on which Richard was script doctor.
Currently, Richard and Lee Holdridge are creating a major new opera for the Los Angeles Opera, based on a short story by Isabel Allende, which Richard will also be directing. His wife, Jenny Okun, is creating art/projection designs, working with set designer Yael Pardess. See www.jennyokun.com.