DIAL M FOR MURDER Opens At New Theater in Chinatown
There's a new performance venue in San Francisco, and the SF City Theatre Company has found a new home there. The Clarion Music Performing Arts Center is in San Francisco's Chinatown at 2 Waverly Place (at 2 Waverly Place.) SFCTC's first offering in the new venue will be Frederick Knott's suspense thriller, Dial M for Murder, March 10-24.
The Clarion Music Arts Center was founded by Clara Hsu in 2017 in the building that once housed her Clarion Music Center where she gave piano lessons and sold sheet music. Over the past year, SF City Theatre's artistic director David Acevedo worked with Clara Hsu to convert the music store into a live theatre venue, with performance spaces on the ground floor and the basement.
Dial M for Murder is perhaps best known as the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock film adaptation that starred Ray Milland and Grace Kelly. The play premiered in 1952 on BBC Television, before being performed on stage in the same year in London's West End in June, and on Broadway in October of that year.
Dial M for Murder is considered one of the classic examples of a stage thriller and has been revived numerous times since its first performance. In the vein of film noir, it concerns a married couple, the wife's lover, deliciously intricate plans for a murder, and a dogged police inspector. The play is directed by David Acevedo. It runs March 10-24 at The Clarion Music Performing Arts Center, 816 Sacramento Street in San Francisco's Chinatown
Tony Wendice - David Richardson
Margot Wendice - Adrienne Dolan
Max Halliday - Juan Berumen
Inspector Hubbard - Steve Ortiz
Captain Lesgate - Brian Johnson
David Acevedo (Director, Co-Founder of SFCTC) and his former business partner, long-time actor Marte Mejstrik, are co-founders of SF City Theatre Company, which is dedicated to multi-cultural casting. SF City's first show was their well-regarded production of Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? In 2014 at Southside Theatre at Ft. Mason. SF City Theatre is a reconfiguration of Acevedo's and Mejstrik's Teatro Vagon, which they founded in 2011.
David Acevedo is a an Francisco native. A veteran of theatre in the Bay Area, some of his acting credits include, Richard Roma in GlenGary Glen Ross and Corporal Acevedo in Wasted. His directing credits include Speed the Plow, Electricidad, Trail of Ebenezer Scrooge, Speech and Debate, and The Migrant Farmworker's Son. Acevedo directed Boxcar by Silvia Gonzalez, Twelve Angry Men, and Oleanna at Teatro Vagon. Acevedo is also co-founder of the Latino theatre group "Teatro Unidos," which will also appear at the Clarion Center. He graduated from The American Conservatory Theatre Academy in 1989, and was taken under the wings of Luis Oropeza, Anna Devere Smith, Sydney Walker and John Wilk, all of whom taught and inspired his craft as an artist.
The Playwright: Frederick Knott was born in Hankow, China, the son of English missionaries, He became interested in theatre after watching performances of Gilbert and Sullivan works held by the Hankow Operatic Society. An exceptionally fine tennis player (a profession he gave the central character in Dial M for Murder), he was a member of the Oxford-Cambridge tennis team that played the Harvard-Yale squad in 1937. He served in the British Army Artillery from 1939 to 1946, rising to the rank of Major, and eventually moved to the United States.
Although his most successful play, Dial M for Murder, was a hit on the stage, it was originally a BBC television production. As a theatre piece, it premiered in London in 1952. Knott also wrote the screenplay for the 1954 Hollywood movie which Hitchcock filmed for Warner Brothers in 3D, starring Ray Milland and Grace Kelly, with Anthony Dawson and John Williams reprising their characters from the New York stage production, which had brought Williams a Tony Award for his role as Inspector Hubbard. In 1960, Knott wrote the stage thriller Write Me a Murder, which was produced at the Belasco Theatre in New York in October 1961. In 1966, Knott's stage play Wait Until Dark was produced on Broadway, starring Lee Remick who won a Tony Award nomination for her performance. The film version, also titled Wait Until Dark that was released in 1967, had Audrey Hepburn in the lead role. The play ran on Broadway in 2001, featuring Quentin Tarantino. Knott lived comfortably on the income from his three works and did not write any others. He died in New York City in late 2002.
Place: Clarion Music Performing Arts Center, 2 Waverly Place (at Sacramento St.), San Francisco 94108. (Chinatown.)
Preview: Friday, March 9, 8:00 pm (free).
Opens: Saturday, March 10, 8:00 pm.
Runs: March 10-24, Fridays and Saturdays, 8:00 pm. Sundays, 2:00 pm.
Parking: Portsmouth Garage at Portsmouth Square, Clay & Kearney, 2 blocks away.
Public Transportation: I California bus stops at corner; Montgomery St. BART 8 blocks.
Photo Credit: Heidi Alletzhauser