Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Mystery of George Spelvin

I received a call from a longtime patron of ours the other day, a representative of George Spelvin. She wanted to renew his subscription for the upcoming 2011-12 season.

Now, this probably doesn’t seem odd, but I was in the middle of reading a scene, from Strike Up the Band, between George Spelvin and Horace J. Fletcher.

“What an odd coincidence,” I thought.

George Spelvin
Do you know who George Spelvin is? He is a man of particular mystery in the Kaufman script. And here he has a representative calling on his behalf, somewhat mysterious in and of itself.

I began to do a little digging (not hard with Google and Wikipedia) and discovered what many of you may already know, but just in case you don’t….

George Spelvin is 125 years old. He has been in more plays than any other actor in history. Most importantly… he doesn’t exist.

It is a pseudonym used in the theatre (mostly American) for a number of reasons, but generally always to stand in for the name of an actor.
Spelvin has stood in for actors playing dual roles; union actors wishing to remain anonymous when performing in non-union theaters; and often when there is literally no actor at all. For instance, when the director doesn’t want the audience to know a character will not actually appear on stage, such as in a mystery or melodrama. I’m sure there has been a production or two of Harvey, where Harvey is played by George Spelvin.

He has also appeared as the name of a character in Strike Up the Band, Christopher Durang’s The Actor’s Nightmare, in an episode of Fibber McGee and Molly, and the I Love Lucy episode, “Don Juan is Shelved.”

Benjamin Knoll
Spelvin comes from an illustrious family that also includes, Alan Smithee (cousin according to the IMDB), and his English relatives Walter Plinge and David Agnew. Can you tell me who these gentlemen are?

Do you have any favorite pseudonyms? Do you have a pseudonym that you have ever used?

Oh, and to find out why our George Spelvin, played by the devilishly charming Benjamin Knoll, is so mysterious, come to the Eureka Theatre April 6-24 for George & Ira Gershwin and George S. Kaufman’s Strike Up the Band. For tickets click here or call (415) 255 -8207.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

And the Award Goes to: 42nd Street Moon Receives 20 nominations!

In January, The San Francisco Bay Times released its "The Top 10 of 2010" list of Theatrical performances. 42nd Street Moon is on the list - twice!  Then in just the past few weeks Moon has been nominated for 9 awards and 11 Bay Area Theater Critic Circle (BATCC) Awards.  

While the BATCC Awards are chosen by a closed ballot, the Awards are chosen through public voting.  Please visit the voting site by clicking here, and help 42nd Street Moon take home the following awards (all for Murder for Two):
Scott Weinstein
Joe Kinosian
Adam Overett
Best Musical: Murder for Two
Best Special Theatre Event: Murder for Two
Best Director of a Musical: Scott Weinstein
Best Featured Actor of a Musical (Local): Adam Overett
Best Lead Actor of a Musical (Local): Joe Kinosian
Best Lighting Design: Cathie Anderson
Best Sound Design: Carole Davis

Our BATCC nominations include:

Klea Blackhurst
Both our casts for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Lady, Be Good! were nominated for Best Ensemble Cast.

Klea Blackhurst picked up a nomination for Best Solo Performance for Everything the Traffic Will Allow.  

Our resident maestro Dave Dobrusky picked up TWO nominations for Best Musical Director for Very Warm for May and Lady, Be Good!

Speaking of directors, Chris Smith was nominated for Best Director for Lady, Be Good!

Our fine Moonie actors picked up three nominations: Maureen McVerry (Very Warm for May) and Rena Wilson (Lady, Be Good!) for Best Supporting Performance - Female, and Anil Margsahayam (Very Warm for May) for Best Principal Performance - Male.
Rena Wilson
Maureen McVerry
Anil Margsahayam
Finally, Lady, Be Good! and Very Warm for May were nominated for Best Production.

We are certainly proud of each of these nominations.  42nd Street Moon strives with each new show to increase our production values and from the positive patron comments we often receive and these nominations, it's a pretty good indication that we are headed in the right direction! 

Again, please help us sweep the Awards by voting here. Voting ends March 31, 2011.

Thank you all for your support. We look forward to seeing your response to our upcoming 2011-2012 season!

And tell us what do you think?  Did the nominating Boards get it right?  Were there other Moonies that got slighted?  Leave a comment!