CLYBOURNE PARK – A Bright Debut for Director Jonathan Moscone at A.C.T.

West Coast premiere extended through February 20th

Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Playwright Bruce Norris’ CLYBOURNE PARK is a 2-part comedy/drama that deals with race relations and real estate and the ever-present polemic of who gets to live where, why, and how. Location-location-location. Clybourne Park is a middle class neighborhood in Chicago. How will these new neighbors effect the value of your home? Did the sellers bother to contact everyone else on the block about exactly who purchased the house? Perhaps the community should band together and re-purchase the property themselves, thus stalling what will inevitably turn into an influx of more and more of Them. Along with their political and culture issues. Have we all seen their plans for re-modeling? These people have no taste! What about that legal-obligation-thing of telling the buyers about the horrible death that happened upstairs? Do they know that the sellers’ son – a soldier in the Korean War – hanged himself when he got home?

René Augesen (Beverly) and Anthony Fusco (Russ).
Photo, Erik Tomasson

Marking the A.C.T. mainstage debut of director Jonathan Moscone—longtime artistic director of California Shakespeare Theater , Clybourne Park cleverly spins the plot lines of A Raisin in the Sun to unfold a new story about race and real estate in America. Act I opens in 1959 as a white couple sells their home to a black family. Act II continues in the same house, but it’s now 2009 and the neighborhood has changed. The stakes are different, but the debate is strikingly familiar. Amid lightning-quick repartee – somewhat reminiscent of All In The Family – the characters scramble for control, revealing hard choices, deep rooted fears, and pent-up anxieties. Even the local minister bungles the situation with his spiritually mis-informed comebacks.

Manoel Felciano (Minister Jim), René Augesen (Beverly),
Emily Kitchens (Betsy), Richard Thieriot (Karl)
Photo, Erik Tomasson

Director Bruce Morris believes that Bruce Norris is an extraordinary writer. “In this play he is able to depict the very delicate subject of race relations with a combination of piercing intelligence, genuine emotion, and sharp-edged humor. His voice is undeniable. I’m thrilled to be working with members of A.C.T.’s core acting company on this play, which is one of the most exciting and provocative pieces of theater I have ever read.” The cast—each of whom plays dual roles in the two different eras—includes members of the A.C.T. core acting company and recent graduates of the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Program. Core acting company members include René Augesen, Manoel Felciano, Anthony Fusco, and Gregory Wallace. Omozé Idehenre and Emily Kitchens were members of the A.C.T. M.F.A. Program class of 2010. Richard Thieriot rounds out the cast.

Omozé Idehenre (Francine), Gregory Wallace (Albert), Richard Thieriot (Karl).
Photo, Erik Tomasson

“We know Clybourne Park will trigger fascinating debates throughout the whole Bay Area community,” says A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff. “We like to say that the third act of this play will be the postplay discussion.” In anticipation of lively audience response to the play – which delves into many timely topics – A.C.T. is adding Experts Talk Back, a new postshow discussion series, to the regularly scheduled InterACT events that will take place throughout the run of Clybourne Park. These talkbacks – scheduled for several Thursdays following the 8 pm performance – will feature local experts who will lead discussions about many of the provocative topics (including gentrification and other issues of race and class) that percolate throughout the production, specifically focusing on their relevance to the Bay Area.

The West Coast premiere of Bruce Norris’s Clybourne Park has been extended through February 20th at American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.). The five additional performances will take place on the following dates: Wednesday, February 16th through Saturday, February 19th at 8:00 pm; and Sunday, February 20th, at 7:00 pm.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: Clybourne Park


BRUCE NORRIS (Playwright) is a writer and an actor whose play Clybourne Park premiered at Playwrights Horizons and received subsequent productions at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., and the Royal Court Theatre in London. Other plays include The Infidel (2000), Purple Heart (2002), We All Went Down to Amsterdam (2003), The Pain and the Itch (2004), and The Unmentionables (2006), all of which premiered at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre. His work has also been produced at Lookingglass Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, and the Staatstheater Mainz (Germany). Norris is the recipient of the 2009 Steinberg Playwright Award, the Whiting Foundation Prize for Drama, and the Kesselring Prize, Honorable Mention. He also received Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best New Work for his plays We All Went Down to Amsterdam and The Pain and the Itch. He currently resides in New York.

Playwright Bruce Norris (left) and director Jonathan Moscone at the first rehearsal for Clybourne Park.
Photo, Evren Odcikin

JONATHAN MOSCONE (Director) is entering his 11th season as artistic director of California Shakespeare Theater, where his credits include the world premiere of John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven, Much Ado About Nothing, Happy Days, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, and Twelfth Night. Recently, he was awarded the inaugural Zelda Fichandler Award by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation for “transforming the American theater through his unique and creative work.” Regional credits include Berkeley Repertory Theatre, The Huntington Theatre Company, Intiman Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Goodspeed Musicals, Dallas Theater Center, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Portland Stage Company, and Magic Theatre. He is an adjunct faculty member of the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program and teaches at Berkley Rep’s School of Theater. Upcoming projects include the world premiere of Ghost Light with collaborator Tony Taccone for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Berkeley Rep and Amadeus for the Alley Theatre in Houston. He currently serves as a board member of Theatre Communications Group.

Emily Kitchens, Richard Thieriot, Manoel Felciano, Gregory Wallace, Omozé Idehenre.
Photo, Erik Tomasson

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox.

See related material:
“Would You Like A Souvenir?” – Sean Martinfield and Janet Roitz explore a song from Film Noir classic NORA PRENTISS (1947)
THE RITE – Right into the trash
NOIR CITY 9 — Festival closes today at the Castro Theatre
“NUREMBURG: It’s Lesson For Today” – Rare Documentary Restored
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA – Opens September 9th with with Iréne Theorin as “Turandot”
PEARLS OVER SHANGHAI – Thrillpeddlers Extends Hit Show Through April 9th
BUDRUS – A Documentary on uniting Palestinians and Israelis
LANG LANG – Tonight At Davies Symphony Hall
VOICES OF MUSIC – In Concert, “Concerto Barocco”, January 28th–30th
AVNER DORMAN, Composer – SF Symphony Presents World Premiere of “Uriah: The Man the King Wanted Dead”
CAMERON CARPENTER – Organist signs with CAMI Music and Konzertdirektion Schmid
THE ELIXIR OF LOVE FOR FAMILIES (The Movie) – Free Screenings At The Herbst
BEETHOVEN – A Two-Week Gig At San Francisco Symphony
ASIAN ART MUSEUM – Proposed financial agreement provides long term stable financing
AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ – Yoshi’s SF presents Tony Award-winning Broadway musical
PIANIST HÉLÈNE GRIMAUD – This Week with the SF Symphony
FILM NOIR FESTIVAL – At the Castro Theatre, 1/21–30
THE PALACE OF FINE ARTS – Opening Celebration, January 14th
JENNIFER EWING: Artist-in-Residence, at the de Young Museum
THIS WEEK IN THEATRE – Dirty Little Showtunes, Shrek, The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, and Lisa Vroman
GISELLE – Opens SF Ballet’s 78th Season, 1/29/11
A Conversation with Elza van den Heever
Greg Weber – Appointed Director of Production by SF Opera
A.C.T.’S RENÉ AUGESEN – to Participate in Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program
THE BLACK SWAN – Don’t Save The Drippings
HEART OF A SOLDIER – SF Opera Commissions New Work
ARTHUR SZYK: Miniature Paintings and Modern Illuminations
SF SYMPHONY – Announces 2011/12 Centennial Celebration
I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS – What were they smoking?
SHREK THE MUSICAL – Ogres and Freaks and Spells, “Oh, my!”
CD: MAHLER’S “Songs With Orchestra” – SF Symphony Completes Mahler Recording Project
SHREK THE MUSICAL – Opens 12/1 at the Orpheum Theatre
GENIUS WITHIN: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould
KARITA MATTILA – “Viva To The Diva!”
CLUB FOOT ORCHESTRA – A Conversation with Richard Marriot
TIMOTHY SEELIG – Takes His Baton To SF Gay Men’s Chorus
RECLAIMED: Paintings From The Collection of Jacques Goudstikker
WEST SIDE STORY – Most of it, anyway
DR JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1920) – Spend Halloween Night At Davies Symphony Hall
JAPANESQUE – At the Legion of Honor, Japanese Prints in the Era of Impressionism
BEYOND GOLDEN CLOUDS – At the Asian Art Museum
SCHEHERAZADE – A Spectacular Opening Night for Alonzo King Lines Ballet
FLEET WEEK – Souvenirs From the Party At Pier 39
MADAMA BUTTERFLY – A Beautiful Ensemble At San Francisco Opera
Dr. ELISA STEPHENS – My Visit with the President
TALES OF THE CITY – Casting for A.C.T. Workshop Announced
PHILHARMONIA BAROQUE ORCHESTRA – 30th Anniversary Gala, 9/24
TENOR RAMÓN VARGAS – A Worthy “Werther” At San Francisco Opera
AÏDA – Spectacular Opening Night At San Francisco Opera
CUBAN BALLET – An Interview with Octavio Roca
A Look At “Giselle” with Ballerina Lorena Feijóo
DREAMGIRLS – High Gloss and Not Much Soul
DOLORA ZAJICK – Internationally Acclaimed Mezzo To Receive Merola Distinguished Alumni Award
NORMA TALMADGE & GILBERT ROLAND – “A Woman Disputed” At The Castro Theatre
JULIAN COX – Appointed Chief Curator of the de Young Museum and Founding Curator of Photography
BACH & FRIENDS – West Coast Premiere At The Kabuki, 7/14
DEBORAH VOIGT – A Captivating “Fanciulla del West”
JEANETTE MacDONALD – Hollywood Diva Remembered at the War Memorial Opera House
SABINA ALLEMANN – Former SF Ballet Ballerina Returns In A.C.T.’s “The Tosca Project
CD/DVD Release: CAMERON LIVE! – Organist Cameron Carpenter
AMANDA McBROOM – A rose for new CD, “CHANSON”
CAMERON CARPENTER – Stellar Organist Returns to San Francisco May 2nd
THE LITTLE MERMAID – “This Girl’s Got Everything!”
PEARLS OVER SHANGHAI – An Interview with Russell Blackwood
ZUILL BAILEY – A Conversation
DAVID PERRY – On the “Dos and Don’ts of Social Media”
CAMINOS FLAMENCOS – A Conversation with Yaelisa
JANE MONHEIT – At The Empire Ballroom

CAMERON CARPENTER – Up Close and Very Personal
RUBÉN MARTIN CINTAS – Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet
CHRISTINE ANDREAS – A Conversation with Beautiful Broadway and Cabaret Star
CD Review – REVOLUTIONARY, Cameron Carpenter, Organist
Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at:


» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

Photo By Luke Thomas

Telephone: 415-846-2475


Comments are closed.