While most performers in the Live At the Orinda! concert series have substantial performance experience and Broadway credits, the season’s final performer brings a wealth of young talent and growing accolades.
A veteran cabaret performer, 19-year-old Ava Nicole Frances has performed to sold-out audiences at Feinstein’s at the Nikko in San Francisco, 54 Below and Don’t Tell Mama in New York and Feinstein’s at Vitello’s in Los Angeles.
Frances makes her debut solo performance at the Orinda concert series with Here’s Looking at You Kid, a robust combination of musical theater melodies, songs from The Great American Songbook and pop tunes, as well as stories of her life and career.
Adopted at birth, she was raised in San Francisco by her two dads, Frank Silletti and Sonny Vukic, who surrounded her with music.
“I owe my dads absolutely everything. They were always very heavily involved with music. I did my first cabaret show at 10 in a duo with my father, Frank, followed by my second show, at age 13, which was dedicated to my favorite singers, Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli. In fact, he’s the director for my show in Orinda while Sonny is one of the producers,” said Frances. “I am so grateful for the opportunities they’ve given me.”
Those opportunities include attending the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA) and partnering with Broadway and recording artist Charlo Crossley. This partnership led to her second Broadway World award for the duo’s sold-out Mutual Admiration show in 2022 at 54 Below in NYC.
Her first award was as best junior performer in Hell on Earth, performed at Feinstein’s at 54 Below in 2020. The same year, Frances released two singles benefiting the Save the Children charity.
A freshman at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, the young vocalist spends her time working behind the scenes for fellow students’ shows, studying for classes and preparing for her Orinda show, which, with a few tweaks, will be performed at Feinstein’s at 54 Below in New York.
“I’m so looking forward to making my solo debut in the Bay Area. I owe it all to my parents and my lovely musical director Michael Collum,” said Frances. “He’s a wonderfully talented man. He is magic, pure genius.”
The Live At the Orinda! show is May 21 at 5 p.m. at the Orinda Theatre. To be placed on a waiting list for the sold-out show, call 925.254.9060 or go to http://www.orindamovies.com. Frances’ website is http://www.avanicolefrances.com.
“I can’t fathom that this is my life right now,” said Frances. “My ultimate goal is to be on Broadway. I just love being a little sponge and soaking up everything I can in New York. Oh, and if my parents ask, I do find time to get a good night’s sleep!
Sally Hogarty can be reached at email@example.com.