While some may wonder why the story of Edith Beale and daughter Edie has endured for decades, that's never been in question for Jerry Torre.
"I myself remain fascinated from the moment I went into the vestibule," he said of that fateful day he entered Grey Gardens and his life changed.
From their high society past to their shut-in existence in their family estate in East Hampton, the Beales continue to fascinate audiences. The 1976 documentary "Grey Gardens" and the 2006 musical of the same name, a production of which is playing now at Ovation Theatre, are a testament to the staunch women beloved by many, including their former handyman, Torre.
He recalls the day as a teen he trespassed on the grounds and met Little Edie, who nicknamed him the Marble Faun after the Nathaniel Hawthorne novel. (Torre went on to write about his time living with Beales in "The Marble Faun of Grey Gardens.")
"It's a very intriguing powerful legacy," he said of the Beales. "They lived in deplorable conditions. What really kept them together was their love for one another. They were devoted and defiant and brilliant women."
"Fifty years later, I'm still glad to be here talking about it."
And Torre will be doing so this weekend at Ovation in talkback sessions after the performances on Friday and Saturday.
He said after posting a comment about the show on Ovation's Facebook page, he was contacted by Erica Lynn with the theater, who asked if he would be interested in coming out for the show.
Torre, who has seen at least 25 different productions of the musical, said the show is a lasting tribute to the ladies themselves, who were passionate about the performing arts.
"To see it come to fruition in a musical no less is as haunting as their lives themselves. It's an amazing journey to witness."
In a post-show discussion with the cast and audience, he said he'll be ready to answer questions about his time at Grey Gardens and the Beales.
"I'm very comfortable with it because if you tell the truth there’s nothing to hide," he said.
Regardless of what people learn from him, Torre said the musical embodies the very essence of the lively duo to whom it pays tribute.
He said, "... Their endurable spirit lives on through their very lust for life. It is a renaissance of their lives as they direct it from heaven above."