Training, performing and playing.
The whole school year.
SFArtsED Players is a dynamic musical troupe founded in 2001. The Players comprise 9-15-year-old public school students who meet after class and Saturdays to work with professional theater artists. Their focus is training in singing, dancing and acting through original musicals and Broadway classics.
These talented kids exhibit enormous discipline and enthusiasm, devoting at least nine hours a week (more when show dates near) to classes and rehearsals. It pays off in fully staged performances that are deeply investigated and thoroughly polished: The Pajama Game, Fiorello!, Carousel, Everything Goes! The Music of Cole Porter, Guys and Dolls, Destry Rides Again and Oklahoma! since 2009 alone!
Jazz shoes in hand, students of SFArtsED Summer's Broadway Bound program who work hard receive a very special invitation. The aspiring young performers who show enormous enthusiasm, talent and dedication are invited to become Players by the camp's artistic team. As many as 10% of SFArtsED Players go on to audition successfully for the School of the Arts Alternative High School.
Below you'll find the many and varied accomplishments of the SFArtsED Players.
> First look into Li'l Abner rehearsals
Filmmaker Matthew Pinna and his crew have been working on a documentary about the SFArtsED Players process – amazingly talented kids working with amazingly talented artist teacher – and we're happy to share this clip from a Li'l Abner rehearsal of the number "Jubiliation T. Cornpone." You can help us reach our goal of $10,000 to finish the documentary by making a gift to our Indiegogo campaign: http://igg.me/at/sfartsed/x/5388866
> Save the date: SFArtsED Players present Li'l Abner
The annual SFArtsED Players winter musical is the 1956 charmer Li'l Abner, featuring a score by Johnny Mercer (lyrics) and Gene DePaul (music) and a book by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank. Based on Al Capp's comic strip of the same name, the music is set in Dogpatch, USA, and features dynamic group numbers originally staged by the great Michael Kidd.
Saturday and Sunday, February 15 & 16 at 2 p.m.
Friday, February 21 at 7 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, February 22 and 23 at 2 p.m.
Friday, February 28 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 1 at 2 p.m.
Sunday, March 2 at 1 p.m. (includes Closing Day party)
Where: The Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson Street, San Francisco
Tickets go on sale in mid-December. Be sure to sign up for our email list to keep up with the latest SFArtsED news.
> Bells are ringing. Kids are singing (and dancing and acting).
Putting the laughs in musical comedy, Bells Are Ringing is a charmer. The SFArtsED Players are proud to present a classic Broadway musical overflowing with great songs, delightful characters and that distinctive, smile-making quality of great musicals from the 1950s.
Bells Are Ringing runs through March 3, 2013 at the Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., San Francisco. Tickets are now on sale. Visit www.cityboxoffice.com or call 415.392.4400.
Bells stars Mackenzie Rohan and Ryan Doyle were on Joel Riddell's Dining Around radio program (Newstalk 910 AM).They come in at about 7:20. Take a listen below.
Danny Duncan, a Master Artist with the San Francisco Arts Education Project since 1991, is once again directing the Players’ show. Bells Are Ringing is one of his favorite musicals and has been since he heard the original cast album as a kid. “When I was young, listening to that record, I could see the show in what I call my ‘spirit eye,’” Duncan says. “I could visualize the choreography and the blocking. There was enough dialogue on the album to get a real sense of the show.”
Duncan is a lifelong fan of musical theater and of working with kids. “Musical theater is the call to life,” he says. “The energy of it keeps you forever young. I love all the performing arts, but theater is the mother of it all. The work these kids are doing is blowing my mind. This is one of the most demanding vocal scores we’ve done, and they are really doing it. God bless kids who want to spend 10 hours a week, including six hours on a Saturday, doing musical theater. It takes a different, a dedicated, a spirited type of kid who wants to do this.”
Duncan is working with musical director Sean Forte and choreographers Natalie Greene, Erin Hewitt and SFArtsED Artistic Director Emily Keeler.
“This classic musical will be performed with amazing skill and joy by this year’s Players,” Keeler says. “They are singing the jazzy and challenging songs and playing the sophisticated comedy beautifully. This show, like all the shows we choose, is chock full of musical numbers so that the ensemble has ample opportunity to hone their skills as triple-threat performers – singers, actors and dancers – during five months of rehearsals.”
The Bells Are Ringing set is designed by Paul Kwapy, co-director of Technical Theater at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA). Tiersa Nureyev is creating the fashionable ‘50s costumes, and Jim Pohl is designing the lights. Cassie Grilley, an alumna of the Players, is the stage manager, and SFArtsED’s apprentice program with SOTA provides opportunities for high school students to build the set with the designer and to run the light and sound boards for the shows at the Eureka Theatre.
With music by Jule Styne and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Bells Are Ringing is one of those shows from Broadway’s Golden Age that overflows with melody and laughs. The score includes songs that have gone on to be standards, including “Just in Time,” The Party’s Over” and “Long Before I Knew You.”
Starring as Ella, the answering service operator, is 13-year-old Mackenzie Rohan. This is Mackenzie’s third show with the Players, having appeared in last year’s Destry Rides Again and last summer’s Oklahoma! “I am learning from fantastic, amazing artists who know so much about their craft and want to pass their wisdom down to me,” Mackenzie says. “My journey of finding Ella has not been easy, as there is so much to do and you must stay on top of things, but it is one I have learned so much from. I would not trade this experience for anything.”
Playing the object of Ella’s affections, playwright Jeff Moss, is 14-year-old Ryan Doyle. Ryan, who is in his third year with the Players and working on his fifth show with SFArtsED, says that his favorite part of the Players experience is the sense of family. “There’s a reason I came back for a third year,” he says. “It’s the fact that everyone becomes one giant family, and I love the process of rehearsal. I love the directors and how they teach. They are all so knowledgeable about their craft, and it is amazing that us kids get a chance to work with them.”
WHEN: Feb. 16 – March 3, 2013
- Saturday 2/16 & Sunday 2/17 @ 2:00 PM
- Friday 2/22 @ 7:00 PM
- Saturday 2/23 & Sunday 2/24 @ 2:00 PM
- Friday 3/1 @ 7:00 PM
- Saturday 3/2 @ 2:00 PM
- Sunday 3/3 @ 1:00 PM*
TICKETS: $15 for students and seniors; $22 general admission
* Tickets for the 1:00 PM show on 3/3 are $40 general, $20 student/senior and include drinks, hors d'ouevres and dessert as part of the Players' Family Benefit Reception and Closing Day Party.
Tickets are now on sale. Visit www.cityboxoffice.com or call 415.392.4400.
> Destry sure was one wild ride.
We've heard the Wild West was wild, but the SFArtsED Playes made it wilder. We had a great time visiting the lawless town of Bottleneck, and so did our audiences.
Destry Rides Again ran February 11-26, 2012 at the Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., San
If you're wondering what Destry is all about and why the SFArtsED Players are doing it, watch this short video, which includes some great footage of the Players in rehearsal.
The Players' production of Destry has been receiving some fantastic press.
ABC-Channel 7's Don Sanchez filed a fantastic report on the show.
And the San Francisco Chronicle published a great interview with Destry Director and SFArtsED Master Artist Danny Duncan. Read the article here.
> Hoop-de-Dingle? Oh, you betcha
From the looks of things, Destry is going to be one heck of a ride. All that hard work in rehearsal is beginning to pay off for the SFArtsED Players, who have been hard at work turning Destry Rides Again into a piece of musical theater nirvana. To find out more about Destry, a Western-themed musical from the glittering 1959 Broadway season, just scroll down to the next item on this page.
To see the Players work a little of their magic, check out this clip. A group of Players performed a few snippets of Destry for a select group, and their performance only made us want to see more.
> Get ready to ride. The Players saddle up for Destry
When it comes to great Broadway musicals, Destry Rides Again is rarely at the top of anyone's list. Perhaps it should be. This gem of a musical, set in the Old West town of Bottleneck, is a rootin'-tootin' good time. It has a wonderful score by Harold Rome, and it's based on a hoot of a 1939 movie starring Marlene Dietrich and Jimmy Stewart (you can actually watch the whole thing on YouTube). The remarkable Michael Kidd directed and choreographed the original 1959 Broadway production, and though precious little footage exists of that production, there is this choice number, "Are You Ready, Gyp Watson?" from a late '50s television show:
The SFArtsED Players production of Destry Rides Again runs Feb. 11 through 26 at the Eureka Theatre. Check back here for ticket information.
> Brilliant cast of Everything Goes! featured on KGO Channel 7 News
At words poetic we're so pathetic, so we always have found it best...to leave the talking to the experts. We couldn't be more proud of the eloquent members of SFArtsED Players interviewed for KGO Channel 7 News. Artistic Director Emily Keeler and the Players' parents aren't too shabby, either. Take a look for yourself:
Tickets for the final two performances are going fast. Both shows will sell out.
- Saturday, February 12, 2pm
- Sunday, February 13, 2pm
Tickets are $20 general, $15 for seniors and students. Performances are at the Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., San Francisco.
Visit City Box Office by clicking here. Questions? Call us at 415.551.7990.
> It's show time! Curtain rises on Everything Goes!
In the still of the night you can begin the beguine. Or you can buy your tickets to Everything Goes! The Music of Cole Porter. There are only six performances. Performance dates and times are:
- Friday, February 4, 7pm
- Saturday, February 5, 2pm
- Saturday, February 5, 7pm
(includes Players Family Benefit Reception hosted by cabaret star Craig Jessup)*
- Sunday, February 6, 2pm
- Saturday, February 12, 2pm
- Sunday, February 13, 2pm
Tickets are $20 general, $15 for seniors and students. *Tickets for the Feb. 5 Players Family Benefit Reception are $40. All performances are at the Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., San Francisco.
To purchase your tickets, simply visit City Box Office by clicking here. Questions? Call us at 415.551.7990.
Here's another peek behind the scenes of Everything Goes! The Music of Cole Porter:
> Another openin', another show! Rehearsals continue for Everything Goes! Cole Porter would be so proud.
In September 2010, the 54-member Players troupe set their toes a-tappin' and their voices singing. It's a super-sized company this year, so they're taking on the gigantic talents of Cole Porter, one of the foremost authors of the Great American Songbook. The Players are preparing for the February world premiere of Everything Goes! The Music of Cole Porter. We took our cameras behind the scenes for an inside look at the rehearsal process. The first video offers a sampling of three numbers, "Be a Clown," "Friendship" and "It's Too Darn Hot." The second video features the full company working on "Blow, Gabriel, Blow."
> Not that any sculptures were in attendance, but you’d have to be made of stone not to have wept at Carousel.
This performance was headed towards made-for-tissues moments from the time it was conceived. Henry Shin (Conductor/Musical Director) broached the idea that we could tackle the concert version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s favorite musical. We called back 15 Players Alumni from all over the country and more than a few performing arts college programs. And Director Danny Duncan began rallying the troupes for July.
Oh, yes. There’s more: during rehearsals, admission would have been paid to see 9-15 year-old SFArtsED Players coach college performers as their understudies, once the young adults landed in San Francisco. Carousel was performed as it’s rarely seen today, with live musicians: UC Berkeley Summer Symphony. San Francisco’s Conservatory of Music was our stunning venue.
And if that weren’t enough to bring out the tissues, it was also the 10th Anniversary of SFArtsED Players. To two sold out audiences and three more free performances at SOTA (San Francisco School of the Arts) we were in proud awe as 58 Broadway Bound performers as young as 9, fresh from our Summer Camp, celebrated their own personal bests.
We’d like to leave you with a quotation from one of our Players Alumni, Rodney Earl Jackson, Jr.:
“I have SFArtsED to thank for giving me such high level tools at a very young age that have followed me through high school, college, and will follow me in the future.”
Thanks to our performers for their level of commitment, passion and intensity. And thanks to you for supporting all of this.
> The Players celebrates its 1st decade — performing what Time Magazine called the Best Musical of the 20th century — Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel!
Monday, July 19th is a very big deal for SFArtsED Players, Alumni, and the kids who’ve rehearsed long and hard at Summer Camp. They’ll be performing the concert version with the UC Berkeley Summer Symphony. At the stunning San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Plan on being there in a celebratory mood! See the ticket options below and raise a glass with all of us at the VIP Pre Show Reception, sponsored by Taste Catering.
W H E N > July 19, 2010 • Reception @ 6:30pm • Show @ 8:00pm
W H E R E > San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco
click here for the rehearsal schedule - principal performers
click here for the rehearsal schedule - chorus performers
> Our 2010 season: Fiorello!
What would a musical about turn of the century politics be without tap dancing?
Fiorello! debuts in February at the Eureka Theatre, our SFArtsED Players tribute to a Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway musical about New York’s reformist Mayor, Fiorello H. LaGuardia. Along with our glitzy, retro tap number, our 30 Player cast will sing, act and dance. With professional flair and technical staging excellence.
In rehearsal for weeks now with our own Theatrical Director Danny Duncan, our citywide cast of young people are in a state of extreme anticipation to perform live.
Under our spotlights:
Destry Rides Again
Everything Goes! The Music of Cole Porter
Guys and Dolls
The Pajama Game
The Music Man
Yellow Wood, World premier of original musical by Danny Larsen and Michelle Elliott, recognized with the prestigious Richard Rogers Development Award
Between Dirt and Sky, World premier of musical inspired by the life of César Chávez with original music by Lisa Quoresimo and Chuck E. Grey
Pinoccho Jones, An original musical by Danny Duncan
Secret Sondheim: A Musical Revue
Once Upon a Mattress
ONE, World premier of original musical by Danny Duncan and Randy Craig
Happy Ever After: Fairy Tales on Broadway
The Invisible Princess, World premier of original musical by Danny Duncan and Randy Craig
And talk about hands on, participatory learning!
In Collaboration with School of the Arts Alternative High School (SOTA) Technical Theater Program, kids under the direction of Dan Kryston, build and paint all sets. Under costume designer Linda Riccairdi, they produce costumes. And with costume mistress Kathleen Moore they keep show costumes ironed and mended during the run. Our brilliantly energetic kids also help with quick change and make up. Student lighting designers plan lighting for the shows and run the light board. Students design sound and operate the sound board. Our student Stage Manager who is with us the entire run of rehearsals and performances — from September through April — works alongside our directors. These positions of responsibility give students an opportunity to learn by doing. The expectations SFArtsED holds these technical aspects as high as the performances themselves.
It’s a truly immersive environment, yet another one we offer to stimulate expression, sociability and dexterity. Not to mention an exposure to our cultural inheritance that will stay with these kids forever.
SFArtsED Players Artist / Teachers
[See Artists for their extraordinary profiles.]
Emily Keeler > Producer/Choreographer
Camille Olivier-Salmon > District Liaison
Danny Duncan > Director/Playwright-in-Residence
Natalie Greene > Choreographer and Dance instructor
Erin Hewitt > Choreographer and Dance Instructor
Sean Forte > Musical Director
Ben Malkevitch > Accompanist and Vocal Coach
Dan Kryston > Set Designer and SOTA Assistantship Liaison
Beth Hersh > Lighting Designer
Linda Ricciardi > Costume Designer
Kathleen Moore > Costume Mistress
Pailin Murphy >Stage Manager/SOTA Assistantship