Lafayette native Bryce Pinkham is a dreamer.
On Dec. 3, at San Francisco's Club Fugazi, he and his co-conspirators will launch an all-out attack on intolerance with "Broadway Against Bullying," a holiday cabaret.
On the heels of success in Broadway's "GHOST The Musical," television's "The Good Wife" and in a benefit performance with Anne Hathaway at New York City's Public Theater, Pinkham is hot to hit the stage in the Bay Area.
"A friend of a friend asked me to participate," Pinkham said in a phone interview from New York. "Not only is 'No Bully' a good cause, I love the idea of coming home for a day."
No Bully, the nonprofit started in 2003 by Bay Area educators, lawyers and psychologists, looks beyond punishments or classroom discussions for solutions to harassment and violence in schools.
Pinkham says growing up in the Bay Area taught him the power of service, the potency of theater and the persistence to turn his pie-in-the-sky aspirations into near-perfect reality. He doesn't recall being harassed, but many of his contemporaries were less fortunate.
"The fact that it's a topic for discussion is encouraging. It wasn't brought up when I was in high school. I know homophobia and prejudice were there and there was bullying, but I didn't get the worst of it."
Active in sports and Scouts, armed with what he calls "reckless creativity," Pinkham is grateful he had opportunities to steer his voracious appetite for exploration into positive outlets.
"Travel was important and there was enough money to have a healthy choice of options," Pinkham says. "I always knew I was growing up in a special place."
One family trip resulted in Pinkham and his father, David, appearing together onstage in a Diablo Valley College production of "The Music Man."
"I was nine. I had to miss tech rehearsals because of a long-planned family vacation," Pinkham recalls. "My dad came in to tell the director, who said, 'OK ... and do you act?' Long story short, my dad ended up with me in the first musical I did."
Although his father stage-managed and -- after his son graduated in 2001 -- directed many of the school's musicals, Pinkham says his dad "stepped aside" from coaching him. Still, there were unspoken lessons: a play is aptly named and should be fun; discipline means drilling lines but also knowing when to stop.
Asked if he found anything missing from his training when he hit Broadway, Pinkham says, "I wish I had done more dance, because it helps put you into your body. And piano lessons would have been good."
Propelled by the experiences he has had ("I performed with movie stars one night, but the feeling I got from a vet at a hospital the next day -- who looked me in the eye and thanked me -- doesn't even compare"), Pinkham and Lucas Caleb Rooney have founded a charity, Zara Aina. Professional theater artists will work with street children in Madagascar, using drama to inspire courage, confidence and concrete educational results.
"I'm thinking I'll sing 'What You Call a Dream' at the benefit," Pinkham says. "The opening chords are like lights turning on in a baseball stadium. '(Sings) It's in the ninth and the score is four to three, A man on first and a man at bat and that man at bat is me ...'"
The final lines -- "my dad is there and it's what you'd call a dream" -- are sure to ring true, when a hometown boy, a proud papa and an audience use their gifts to unite against a common foe and celebrate community.