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ABOUT FRANC


BIOGRAPHY

Best-known for his impressive portrayal of the lead role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony Award-winning musical, The Phantom of the Opera, Franc D’Ambrosio performed as the famed masked man more than 2,100 times. Affectionately known as the “Iron Man of the Mask,” Franc held the title of “The World’s Longest-Running Phantom” for more than a decade after bringing over five million theatre-goers to their feet in a 6-1/2-year run.

But that distinction only scratches the surface of an illustrious career spanning decades, including Franc’s portrayal of the opera-singing Anthony Vito Corleone, son of Al Pacino and Diane Keaton’s characters in the seven-time Academy Award-nominated film Godfather III.  Paramount Pictures sent five talent scouts on an international search for the young Corleone, auditioning more than 2,000 artists over a one-year period before casting him in the role. Franc also sang the theme song Speak Softly Love (Brucia la Terra) for both the film and Original Motion Picture soundtrack, garnering over one million hits on YouTube. In 1974, Carmine Coppola’s haunting Godfather theme won an Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score. Franc remains the first and only person ever to perform a vocal version of the song in the film’s trilogy.

Franc’s performance of the song so impressed the late Luciano Pavarotti that it led to an invitation from the legendary tenor for Franc to study at Pavarotti’s private home in Italy in the summer of 1990. Having previously studied at the famed Vocal Academy of Lucca in Italy, Franc quickly cultivated a passion for his Italian roots and culture, becoming fluent in the language and eventually founding the Accademia Vocale Lorenzo Malfatti in Lucca, Italy, where he teaches his craft to young opera students each summer. Franc also lectures at music schools throughout the United States and Europe, including conservatories in Spoleto and Florence, Italy, and the famed Juilliard School in New York City.

In early 2000, Franc caught the attention of Barry Manilow, who personally selected him for the lead role of “Tony” in the pre-Broadway tour of Copacabana based on Manilow’s hit song. Franc worked side-by-side with Manilow for five weeks perfecting the musical production, which culminated in a successful year-long tour and earned Franc a National Theatre Award nomination for Best Male Performer in a Musical.

Since 2005, Franc has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and South America with his critically-acclaimed one-man shows, including Franc D’Ambrosio’s BROADWAY: Songs from the Great White Way, and Franc D’Ambrosio’s HOLLYWOOD: Songs of the Silver Screen, along with A Tribute to the Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Christmas in New York, and a musical perspective of popular war songs from World War II titled I’ll Be Seeing Youz. He is a frequent guest artist with many major American, European, and Asian orchestras and symphonies, and tours the world teaching his widely-acclaimed Master Classes. 

Franc has performed in several network television specials featuring Olympic figure skaters such as Brian Boitano, Kristi Yamaguchi and Nancy Kerrigan, including NBC’s “Brian Boitano’s Skating Spectacular” and “A 2005 Tribute to Movies on Ice” with fellow musical guest Michael Bolton. Franc’s performance of “The Music of the Night,” as interpreted by Boitano, brought the audience of more than 6,000 to their feet for the evening’s only standing ovation. In 2008, he toured internationally with co-star Dorothy Hamill in Broadway On Ice.

In May 2018, Franc was honored to receive the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the third annual Cannes Global Short Film Awards Gala during the 71st Annual Cannes Film Festival. He has released three successful solo CDs, one of which has the unique distinction as the soundtrack for Barry Manilow’s daily workout. In addition to his one-man shows, Franc is also currently touring the world with The Four Phantoms In Concert


Awards & Honors

The Cannes Film Festival
Lifetime Achievement Award
In recognition of Franc's outstanding work in Opera, Film, Television and Stage, and his international philanthropic contributions to promoting cross-cultural connections between music and the Arts
2018

National Theatre Award Nomination
Best Male Performer in a Musical 
for the lead role of "Tony" in Barry Manilow's Copacabana
2000

Grammy considerations
Best Male Vocalist for his performance of “Panis Angelicus” - 1999

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Franc D’Ambrosio’s BROADWAY - 2005

The Saint Pio Award 
In recognition of selfless contributions to society and one’s extraordinary example in relieving suffering to those in need
2019

Italian Cultural Society Il Circolo Award
In honor of outstanding achievement and contributions to higher education and Italian language and culture
2019

United States Senatorial Citation
For outstanding contributions to the Arts and invaluable service to the community
2015

San Francisco Sidewalk Dedication
In recognition of his 2,000th performance
in Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera 
1997

Special recognition for
Outstanding Achievement

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for his role in Godfather III
2000

Grammy nomination
Best Male Voice in the Classical and Pop/Traditional categories for Barry Manilow's Copacabana
2000

Emmy Award nomination
for his role as co-producer of The Three Masters on Ice, TBS Sports
1997

Adelia Award
Saint Pio Foundation’s award recognizing those who serve, advise and support the foundation in an exemplary way
2017

United States Congressional
Certificate of Special Recognition 
Outstanding contributions to the Arts and invaluable service to the community
2015

Italian American Heritage
Grand Marshall
San Francisco Columbus Day Parade
2016

Franc D'Ambrosio Day
Specially designated by the mayors of New York (2014) and San Francisco (1999)


Performances & roles

The Phantom of the Opera

Franc held the title "The World's Longest Running Phantom" for a period of ten years, playing the lead role more than 2,100 times for over 5 million theatre-goers (1992 - 1999).


Godfather III

Paramount Pictures sent five talent scouts on an international search to fill the part of Anthony Vito Corleone, the opera-singing son of Al Pacino and Diane Keaton's characters in the film (a role for which more than 2,000 actors auditioned). Legendary director Francis Ford Coppola cast Franc in the coveted role; he remains the only singer to perform the title theme "Speak Softly Love" in the Godfather trilogy (1990). Franc was also chosen to record the song for the film's Original Motion Picture Soundtrack; the haunting theme won an Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score in 1974. 


Sweeney Todd

Franc began his successful Broadway career in the debut of this iconic first revival, which went on to receive three Tony nominations (1989).


New York City Stage

Among Franc's many versatile stage roles are his critically-acclaimed performances in Kismet, A Little Night Music, She Loves Me, Valentino, Elizabeth Takes Her Leave, and Christmas Wrappings, among others. He has also appeared at the legendary Waxworks, Joe's Pub, Feinstein's 54 Below, and most recently at Carnegie Hall with The Four Phantoms In Concert (2018).

Copacabana

Franc was hand-picked by Barry Manilow to create and star in the lead role of "Tony" in the pre-Broadway tour, earning him a National Theatre Award nomination for Best Male Performer in a Musical (2000).


Broadway on Ice

Olympic champion figure skater Dorothy Hamill co-starred with Franc in this critically-acclaimed national tour produced by Willie Bietak Productions (2008).


National Television Specials

Franc performed live with Olympic champion Brian Boitano for a special production of Brian Boitano's Skating Spectacular (2005), followed by A Tribute to Movies on Ice (2005), both on NBC. He also paired with musical guests Michael Bolton, Ray Charles, Diana DiGarmo and Kathy Mattea in various one-of-a-kind Skating Tribute shows for NBC (1998 - 2006).


Luciano Pavarotti

The legendary tenor personally invited Franc to live, work and study with him at his family home in Italy during the summer of 1990. Franc has described his one-on-one time with Pavarotti as a life-changing experience for which he will always be grateful.


National Touring Artist

In 2004, Franc debuted his highly-acclaimed one-man show Franc D'Ambrosio's BROADWAY: Songs of the Great White Way, which he continues to tour throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. His subsequent tour, titled Franc D'Ambrosio's HOLLYWOOD: Songs of the Silver Screen, debuted in 2007. A collection of recordings from both of these popular stage shows are featured in the CDs Franc D'Ambrosio's BROADWAY and Franc D'Ambrosio's HOLLYWOOD, which continue to be fan favorites on iTunes.

Guest Recordings

Franc is one of the featured singers on a CD titled In Good Company (LML Music) along with Michael Feinstein, Amanda McBroom, Maureen McGovern and others (released in 2005). He also sang his mesmerizing rendition of My Shining Hour on Johnny Mercer's album DREAM, based on the Broadway musical of the same name and featuring a musical revue of the songs of Johnny Mercer, recorded live at The 18th Annual Live S.T.A.G.E. Benefit Concert (1997).

Love Changes Everything: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber

Franc was chosen as one of the featured artists to perform in a special tribute to the famous composer at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts in Pittsburgh (July 8-14, 2011)

White Canvas Productions

Co-producer of 25 network television specials featuring Olympic and World champion figure skaters and big-name musical talent, including Barry Manilow, Michael Bolton, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles

Co-Founder and Chairman of the Accademia Vocale Lorenzo Malfatti 

An opera and music school and summer music festival in Lucca, Italy, founded in 1996 to honor Franc’s mentor, the late American opera singer and voice teacher Lorenzo Malfatti