LA Stage Times Ovation Nominee Profile: Vince Melocchi

by Doug Clayton | December 28, 2009

Vince Melocchi is a 2008/2009 Ovation Nominee for Playwriting for an Original Play for his work LIONS at Pacific Resident Theatre.

If you’d like to add a congratulatory message for Vince (or any other Nominee or Nominated Company), to the Ovation Awards commemorative poster (distributed to all nominees and all attendees at the Ceremony), click here!

As an Ovation Award Nominee, LA Stage asked Vince the following questions:

What was the moment that first inspired you to pursue working in the theatre?

After seeing Al Pacino and Jeffrey Tambor in ”And Justice for All”, I knew I wanted to be an actor. But I also knew that to be the best actor I could be, I had to train seriously. And that starts on the stage. Once I took my first acting class I felt like I was home. There is a feeling I get in the theatre, as an actor or writer, that I just don’t get anywhere else. Years after seeing “And Justice For All”, I was working as an actor on a film in Kansas City with Jeffrey Tambor. At lunch, I told him it was his work that helped inspire me to become an actor. He smiled and said, “You never know who you’ll touch”.

What do you feel made the production you were nominated for particularly successful, either overall or for you specifically?

My director Guillermo Cienfuegos, my producer Lisa Nichols, my wonderful actors, being published by Samuel French, and getting repped by Chris Till at CAA in New York.

This production would not be what is was without Guillermo. No way, no how. Long before we began rehearsals, he’d give me feedback on the script. I’d send him the material, then we’d meet at Starbucks and he would give me notes. I’d go back and rewrite and we’d meet again. More notes. He also designed the set, and did sound design along with Keith Stevenson. Keith also originated the role Andy in LIONS.

My producer Lisa Nichols, was instrumental in helping shape the play. She worked tirelessly, and I couldn’t have asked for a better producer. Her commitment was second to none and I would have been lost without her.

My lead actor, Matt McKenzie was a rock. Really. He is a real pros’s pro and we would have been lost without him. Between Matt and Haskell V. Anderson III, Valerie Dillman and the rest of my great group, we were really, really blessed.

When the play was published by Samuel French, I was honored. Gwen Feldman, Melody Fernandez, Ken Dingledine, Leon Embry and the rest of the Samuel French family have been terrific. I cannot say enough about them and the support they’ve shown the play.

A terrific director I know, Michael Peretzian saw LIONS and recommended I get in touch with Chris Till from CAA in New York. I did. Chris read the play, saw it and liked it enough to start working with me.

Finally, I’m grateful to Marilyn Fox and the membership of Pacific Resident Theatre for their support and faith in LIONS.

What project or projects are you currently working on?

I’m right in the middle of a play that features one of the characters from LIONS, Feeg. He returns to his Western Pennsylvania hometown and is reunited with an old friend.

What do you love most about theatre in Los Angeles?

Being able to do theatre six blocks from the beach, being surrounded by some of the most fantastic actors in the world, and being able to catch the early football games before the Sunday matinee.

What’s your dream project?

A play about my relationship with my hero. My late father.

Biography: Growing up amongst the steel mills of his native Midwest, Vince Melocchi aspired to work there following high school, however, by graduation the factories had stopped hiring. Needing a job he was hired as a local janitor. Not seeing much of a future hauling trash, on a whim and a dare he enrolled in acting classes at a community college, inspired after seeing Al Pacino’s performance in “And Justice For All”.

He then enrolled in Penn State University’s Theatre department, where, in his playwriting class he found he was required to have a play written by the end of the term. Panic stricken, he called his father, who calmed him down by advising him, “Write what you know”. Taking those words to heart he did, and has been doing so since.

He wrote, ”Making Moves”, his play about a group of janitors. It was produced the following year at Penn State.

Next, he attended the American Conservatory Theatre’s professional training program and he has been a working actor since leaving ACT. As an actor he has appeared in film, television, and on many stages including his work in Robert Schenkien’s Pulitzer prize winning play, “The Kentucky Cycle” at the Mark Taper Forum. He is also an acting and playwriting company member at Pacific Resident Theatre.

As a writer, he studied with his mentor, the late Bill Idelson. Vince believes he became the writer he is today thanks to Bill’s watchful and ever vigilant eye.

Apart from ”Lions” (recently published by Samuel French), other plays include, “Figures”, “Bully”, “The Last Linen Day” and “Summer Games”.

He would like to send a special hello to Guillermo Cienfuegos, Lisa Nichols and the rest of his LIONS team.

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