Now through October 16th at the American Conservatory Theater
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka
ONCE IN A LIFETIME, written by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, explores the crazy period in Hollywood’s early history when technology advanced just enough to co-ordinate images with a soundtrack and bring Silent Film production to a screeching halt. During the transition, when everyone from the newly-formed Sound Departments to the Executive Offices seemed to be making it up as they went along, a whole new crop of hopefuls arrived at the studio gates with every variety of American intonation grown from coast to coast.
NORMA SHEARER – A winner with UCLA
Some of the established stars already possessed voices as beautiful as their faces. Sound experts at UCLA declared that one of M.G.M.’s top female money-makers, Norma Shearer, had the “perfect voice for talking pictures”. Other big names with unyielding accents such as the exotic Polish beauty Pola Negri and Hungarian-born Vilma Banky (the love/lust interest in Rudolph Valentino’s Son of the Shiek) were no longer employable. Make way for the Vocal Coaches.
Julia Coffey (May), Patrick Lane (George), and John Wernke (Jerry)
All production photos by Kevin Berne
The top dog in a trio of has-been vaudevillians manages to sell their tired act for $500. Jerry makes the pitch to May and George that they should hop the next and fastest train to Hollywood, set themselves up as Elocution experts – purveyors of the she sells sea shells method for Success, and stake their claim on Hollywood’s gold. Along the way, up and down with their success, they encounter a veritable Stock Company of familiar character types.
Once in a Lifetime comes from the same team of Broadway luminaries who created the enduring comedy classics The Man Who Came to Dinner and You Can’t Take It with You. The production is directed by A.C.T. Associate Artistic Director Mark Rucker and features a 15-member ensemble who each take on a variety of roles. Among the production’s high-points are an assortment of period film clips including Bing Crosby’s “Going Hollywood” and Frances Williams’ lively “Hollywood Party”. Scenic designs are by Tony Award nominee and A.C.T. associate artist Daniel Ostling (The Homecoming, War Music, and Brainpeople at A.C.T. and Metamorphoses on Broadway).
Will LeBow (Herman Glogauer), Julia Coffey, John Wernke, Patrick Lane
Mark Rucker directed a version of this play with the Master of Fine Arts Program in 2010, and the artistic team was quick to realize that his vision for the play would be a great match for the majesty of A.C.T.’s historic home. Artistic Director Carey Perloff says: “One of the things I love about Mark Rucker is his fascination with vintage American comedy. When he directed Once in a Lifetime with our M.F.A. Program students last year, I found his approach so delightful and original that I immediately asked him to bring it to the mainstage.” Speaking to the wide range of A.C.T. artists who will take part in this production, Perloff adds: “This production will be filled with a remarkable combination of stunning newcomers, brilliant recent A.C.T. graduates, multi-talented M.F.A. Program students, and core company members in surprising roles . . . plus delicious video courtesy of Alex Nichols. I can’t wait!”
Will LeBow, Kevin Rolston (Kammerling), Ashley Wickett (Susan), Patrick Lane
The cast brings together many different arms of the A.C.T. artistic family, including A.C.T. core acting company members (René Augesen and Nick Gabriel), recent A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program graduates (Gabriel along with Marisa Duchowny, Patrick Lane, Patrick Russell, and Ashley Wickett), and three third-year students from the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program (Alexander Crowther, Jason Frank, and Jessica Kitchens). Completing the cast are Julia Coffey, Margo Hall, Will LeBow, Kevin Rolston, and John Wernke.
See related material:
“LUCREZIA BORGIA” – A Hard Act To Swallow at San Francisco Opera
THE “DOUBLE PLATINUM” GOES TO: The California Academy of Sciences!
EDDIE MULLER and “Fear Over Frisco” – An Interview with the Czar of Noir
CD Release – Jacques Loussier Trio – “Schumann: Kinderszenen”
LEAH CROCETTO – An Interview with “Liu” in SF Opera’s TURANDOT
SILENT FILM FESTIVAL – Joins with the American Conservatory Theatre
HENRY PHIPPS – A Conversation with Featured Boy Soprano in SF Opera’s “Heart of a Soldier”
HBO Premieres “The Strange History of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – Midnight, 9/20
“HEART OF A SOLDIER” – A Rapturous World Premiere At San Francisco Opera
THE ART OF ANATOLIAN KILIM – Now at the de Young Museum
“HEART OF A SOLDIER” – World Premiere, Tonight at San Francisco Opera
“The Glory of Love” – A Salute to Jacqueline Fontaine
MEET MAESTRO NICOLA LUISOTTI – San Francisco Opera opens 2011/12 season with Puccini’s “Turandot”
SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY – Opens Tonight and Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary
STEVE MARTIN’S “The Underpants” – Gets an airing at Gough Street Playhouse
A “WORLD PREMIERE” – Mozart’s Concerto for Horn and Orchestra
“MOZART’S SISTER” – Third string cinema
SF EARLY MUSIC SOCIETY – Season Opens with the Catacoustic Consort and Wildcat Viols
“ONCE IN A LIFETIME” – 1930 Comedy Open’s 2011-12 Season at A.C.T.
SF ARTS COMMISSION – Debuts New Public Artwork at the Ortega Branch Library
36th ANNUAL SF OPEN STUDIOS – Every weekend, October 1st—30th
SELECTED HISTORIES: Discover Latin American Art at SFMOMA
POLARIS: VOYAGE FOR ORCHESTRA – With the San Francisco Symphony
“HEART OF A SOLDIER” – SFOpera Presents World Premiere September 10th
GRANTS FOR THE ARTS – 50th Anniversary, A Free Celebration At City Hall
THE MOURNERS: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy
MEROLA OPERA’S GRAND FINALE – Meet Daniel Curran and Mark Diamond
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA – Opens with Puccini’s “Turandot”, September 9th
HELP IS ON THE WAY XVII: Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance!
Previewing two exhibitions coming to the de Young Museum and Legion of Honor
NEW ON CD – “Live from the Marlboro Music Festival”
100th BIRTHDAY – San Francisco Symphony throws free concert bash in Civic Center Plaza, September 8th
KEVIN SPACEY IS “RICHARD III” – At the Curran, October 19th—29th
FOUR SAINTS IN THREE ACTS – Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson’s Experimental Opera at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 8/18–21
3rd i’s QUEER EYE – August Festival focuses on the South Asian LGBT experience
BALI: Art, Ritual, Performance – At the Asian Art Museum until September 11th
FOLGER COFFEE BUILDING – Becomes Downtown Hub for University of San Francisco
“STUFFED AND UNSTRUNG” – The Henson Puppets, Totally Uncensored – At the Curran, 8/18—27th
San Francisco Opera and Musicians Union – Ratify new 3-year contract
DIANA ROSS – One Night Only! – At the Golden Gate Theatre, 9/16
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA – Free Concert at Stern Grove, August 21st
TURANDOT – San Francisco Opera Opening Night Gala, September 9th
“THE BARBER OF SEVILLE” – Presented by the Merola Opera Program, 8/4-7
KIRK DOUGLAS – On Stage At The Castro Theatre
“CASABLANCA” – The SF Symphony accompanies screening
“HE WHO GETS SLAPPED” – A conversation with composer and pianist Matti Bye
ABEL GANCE’S “NAPOLEON” – San Francisco Silent Film Festival to present complete restoration by Kevin Brownlow in 2012
SEPTEMBER 11th – “Opera In The Park” – The City’s Civic Observance of the 10th Anniversary of 9/11
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA – Single tickets go on sale Sunday, July 10th, at 10 AM
THE CASTRO AMBASSADORS – Got questions? Have answers!
MARY GIBBONEY – An Interview with the star of “ABSOLUTELY SAN FRANCISCO”
“BILLY ELLIOT” – A high flying hit at the Orpheum
HEIDI MELTON – An Interview with “Sieglinde” in San Francisco Opera’s DIE WALKÜRE, 6/29
“DAS RHEINGOLD” – The slippery steps to Valhalla
“BILLY ELLIOT” – Leaps Into the Orpheum June 27th
PICASSO — Now at the de Young Museum
SONDHEIM’S “ASSASSINS” – Ray of Light Theatre is right-on target
“TALES OF THE CITY” – Totally Sensational, Totally San Francisco
“THE STOPS” – At NCTC – Come On and Get A Faith Lift
BRENDEN GUY — British Clarinetist In Concert, June 2nd
SILENT FILM FESTIVAL – Opens July 14th with re-discovered film by John Ford
THIS GUN FOR HIRE, 1942 – Looking at “Now you see it, now you don’t” sung by Veronica Lake
Seán Martinfield YouTube with Janet Roitz – ‘Marked Woman’ (1937) and the song that gave it pizzazz – ‘My Silver Dollar Man’
“Would You Like A Souvenir?” – Sean Martinfield and Janet Roitz explore a song from Film Noir classic NORA PRENTISS (1947)
SFMOMA — The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde
“ASSASSINS” – Ray of Light Theatre presents Stephen Sondheim’s controversial musical, June 2–25
VICE PALACE – All Singing! All Dancing! All Hedonism!!!
SEEING GERTRUDE STEIN: FIVE STORIES
THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS – Coming to A.C.T.
PICASSO: At the de Young Museum, Tickets on sale 5/11
BETH WILMURT – A stunning “Alma” in The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, at the Aurora Theatre
THE PRINCESS OF MONTPENSIER – Les yawns, les sighs
CD: ZUILL BAILEY, Cellist – Brahms Works for Cello and Piano
TIIT HELIMETS – An Interview with “Prince Edvard” of SF Ballet’s THE LITTLE MERMAID
NO EXIT: A Helluva Great Time at the American Conservatory Theatre
KIRK DOUGLAS – On stage at the Castro Theatre, July 24th
NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE CENTER – Announces 2011-12 Pride Season
NEW PUBLICATIONS: PUBLIC TRUST BETRAYED. An Interview with author and real estate appraiser, James E. Manning
NEW CENTURY CHAMBER ORCHESTRA – Presents “Mastery of Schubert”, Featuring Soprano Melody Moore
FLORAL DESIGNER NATASHA LISITSA – Creating the Fantastical in the Wilsey Court for “Bouquets To Art 2011″
ZHENG CAO – A Conversation with A Miracle Artist
MELODY MOORE – Soprano shines in SF Ballet’s “Nanna’s Lied”
MARNIE BRECKENRIDGE – An Interview with “La Princesse” of Philip Glass’ Orphée
AVENUE Q – A Totally Fabulous Place To Be
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 AllExperts.com. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments are closed.