Boxcar Theatre to Relaunch The Speakeasy in August
Boxcar Theatre's 2014 immersive hit, The Speakeasy, is on track to relaunch this summer in its new home in San Francisco's North Beach-Chinatown neighborhood. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Monday, August 8, with previews starting Friday, August 12, and a press opening scheduled for mid-October. Exclusive presale tickets will go online Thursday, June 9 at 10 a.m., and will be available only to members of Club 1923 and affiliated groups. Tickets for the general public will go on sale June 13. For information, online sales and to register as a Club 1923 member, visit thespeakeasysf.com.
Joining The Speakeasy cast are actors Ron Campbell and Mark Nassar. Campbell, a "master clown" and "magnetic performer" (San Francisco Chronicle), toured the world for five years as lead clown in Cirque du Soleil's Kooza. Among his other well-known roles are Cecil B. DeGrille in Teatro Zinzanni, and R. Buckminster Fuller in The History and Mystery of the Universe. Last year he earned raves, as well as the TBA (Theatre Bay Area) Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Play, in the title role of Marin Shakespeare Company's production of Don Quixote. For The Speakeasy, Campbell will create the role of Eddie, the cabaret emcee.
Nassar is the co-creator of Tony n' Tina's Wedding, still the longest running Off-Broadway comedy of all time. He originated the role of Tony, and toured with the production to Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco. Nassar has also worked in television and film, including roles in A Line in the Sand, Faithful and Seriously Twisted, for which he also wrote the screenplay. In addition, Nassar is the writer and director of Johnny Boy, a work of immersive dinner theater running continuously in Chicago since 2012. For The Speakeasy, he will play the part of saloon owner Sal.
Before its initial run closed in June 2014, The Speakeasy ran for 75 sold-out performances over more than five months, earning widespread praise from both critics and audiences. Patrons explored the authentically recreated Prohibition-era nightclub, featuring a cast of 35 actors and an intricately woven story. "Impressively orchestrated" (San Francisco Bay Guardian), "everything I love about San Francisco" (The Bold Italic) and "the best bar in San Francisco" (SF Weekly) are some of the glowing reviews it received. The Speakeasy was forced to close prematurely when its original venue in the Tenderloin was sold.
At 9,050 square feet, the show's new home is almost three times the size of its former space, accommodating up to 250 patrons each night. The initial concept for the venue was created byMarcy Wong/Donn Logan Architects, a firm noted for other high-profile theater projects including Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre and the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley. David Hecht of TannerHecht Architecture is overseeing the designs to completion. The $2 million renovation project features a two-story circular cabaret space, as well as secret passageways and disguised entrances.
Previews will run Friday and Saturday nights and select Thursdays. When the regular run begins in October, performances will take place Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and alternate Sundays at 5 p.m.
"The new Speakeasy is four years in the making, and with an operating budget of $3 million and a cast and crew of over 75 members, it is by far Boxcar's biggest, most ambitious, most lavish project to date," said Nick A. Olivero, Boxcar Theatre artistic director and creator of The Speakeasy. "We think it will be well worth the wait."