Local Actor Stars in Northwest Premiere of The Maltese Falcon
Concord – Bay Area actor Chad Clevenger of Vallejo, California has been selected by Berkeley based Butterfield 8 Theater Company to play the coveted role of Samuel Spade in the San
Francisco/Northwest premier of The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett, authorized adaptation by Helen Borgers, as authorized by the Dashiell Hammett Estate.
The Maltese Falcon, published in 1930, written and takes place in San Francisco
, was produced for film twice under that title (1931 and 1941) and once as Satan Met a Lady (1936), and was adapted for radio in the 1940’s. It is a distinguished honor to present the play to the San Francisco Bay Area for the critically acclaimed, award winning Butterfield 8 Theatre Company and its Artistic Director and founder John Butterfield. For Chad Clevenger, playing Samuel Spade is a dream come true. The list of actors who have played Spade is short and distinguished, including Humphrey Bogart in the 1941 John Huston film, and Tom Wilkinson in a 2001 BBC radio play. Chad is only the third actor to portray the detective on stage.
“It’s a privilege for sure, and Hammett’s writing and his characterization of Spade is the quintessential model for so many iconic characters in later works. I see a lot of Spade in Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, and Deckard from Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, along with many others, they’re all part of the same rootstock. Hammet is still relevant, people are still drawing from that well for examples of great drama, thrills, cleverness and even romance.”
A publicity reading featuring select scenes and cast members is scheduled to be held at Borderlands Cafe in San Francisco (870 Valencia St.
), on February 7, at 7 pm
, and a special dinner hosted by Historic John’s Grill on Geary St. The show opens Valentine’s Day, February 14
, in Concord at Cue Productions, 1835 Colefax St.
near Todos Santos Plaza and runs for 12 performances. Tickets and show times at www.b8company.com
“Chad is the perfect blend of a good looking smooth talker and a gritty stand your ground kind of guy. We met Chad at another theatre event and thought he would be a perfect fit for our cast of Maltese Falcon. When you read the book you realize that the Sam Spade of the novel is a very different person than the one portrayed by Humphrey Bogart in the film. For us, we wanted a blend of what the public would expect, Chad is dark, [while] the Spade in the book is blonde, but his characteristics are more along the line of the Thin Man rather than the hard boiled one Bogart gave us. Chad’s job is to find the blend of both, not parroting the film version and making the role his own. This is something he is doing very well. Come check him out.” ~John Butterfield, Artistic Director, Butterfield 8
Chad Clevenger began acting as a teen, and then went on to study theater at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. As a local actor, Chad has performed with Vallejo Shakespeare in the Park, playing the role of Edgar in King Lear and Bay Area Stage, most recently in the title role of Earnest in The Importance of Being Earnest. At last year’s Vallejo Chamber of Commerce sponsored July 4th
Parade Chad mobilized two organizations to enter the parade: local community theater company, Bay Area Stage Productions, as a band of “dancing pirates” reprising his role as Samuel in The Pirates of Penzance which played at The Vallejo Naval and Historic Museum last January, and the other entry to promote the Vallejo Community Arts Foundation and The Empress Theatre with a parading “Empress of Vallejo”.
Since relocating his family to Vallejo, Chad has been active in the community with various community betterment groups and projects, along with supporting local businesses. Chad created the original “Mare Island Iced-Tea” while consulting for Vik’s Wheelhouse at the Vallejo Waterfront. Chad is currently enrolled in Leadership Vallejo, “modeled after an established nationwide program of community leadership, development and training. Leadership Vallejo identifies educates and trains individuals interested in community organizations and becoming the future leaders of their community.”
Chad sees a strong relationship between the arts and community betterment. “There’s so much happening here, and I’ve seen nothing but good work and improvements since I’ve been here and it’s a privilege to contribute and participate in that. The weather, landscape and maritime culture here is ideal. I’m still green here, I’m still discovering Vallejo,” he says, “Acting is a matter of discovery, and being discovered, and Vallejo seems to me to be a matter of discovery and the more I discover, the more opportunities I find. Great people, great food and great art. It’s no wonder the theme park here is called “Discovery Kingdom.”
Chad has his eye on other epic roles such as Stanley Kowalski in A Street Car Named Desire, and Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. Chad has several creative projects in the works, including development of a local feature film and plans for drawing on the wealth of local creative talent and resources. “It’s a time-traveling, steam-punk thriller involving a lot of archetypes and popular cultural elements, and it’s getting some attention from people in Hollywood, but I want to bring that attention here to Vallejo” he says, “but that’s future, right now my focus is on performing in Maltese and pouring everything I can into what we’re doing. Hammett’s writing is dynamic, and the cast and director are incredible. Being in a John Butterfield production has been a goal of mine for some time, he is a caring, generous and talented director. To be doing what I am doing right now is incredibly humbling and I feel extremely blessed, and grateful.”
By Dalia Vidor @ VCIB, Vallejo Convention and Visitors Bureau