Biography

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About John Rinaldi

John's love of singing and musical theater is lifelong. 

Born in Orange, California, he landed his first part, an Islander on Bali H'ai in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific" (which was performed under the stars at the magical Pearson Park Amphitheater), at the age of 11. His first principal role was Prince Chululongkorn in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The King and I", which he performed with the Whittier/LaMirada Light Opera the following year. As a young person, John studied classical and musical theater vocal technique with Darlene Romano (currently the Chair of the Music Department at the College of the Desert), and acting with Leland Murray. John took piano lessons from Eleanor Twichell from age 9 to age 16, sang in Concert Choir and Vocal Ensemble at Santiago Junior High School and performed in numerous productions with Fullerton Civic Light Opera, the Grove Shakespeare Festival, Downey Civic Light Opera, Long Beach Community Players, Newport Theatre Arts Center, the Beverly Hills Playhouse, and the Yorba Linda Musical Theatre. It was during those years that John cut his teeth of everything from "Song of Norway" and "Finian's Rainbow" to "Evita", "A Chorus Line" and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." He has always been at home in a variety of styles from opera to contemporary, which has informed his career as both a performer and a teacher.

John graduated early from high school, and at the age of 16, made his professional stage debut as the Bangleman in "Kismet" at Sebastian's/West Dinner Playhouse in San Clemente, CA. His next two performances (Mendel in "Fiddler on  the Roof" and as a featured performer in the 1940s musical revue "Jukebox Saturday Night") were also at Sebastian's. At the age of 19, John was offered a contract to sing in the chorus of "Aida" with Opera Pacific at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, CA. Opera Pacific became John's artistic home for the next few years, and soon John was asked to join OP's Apprentice Artist program. This gave him a chance to take master classes from many of the creative professionals involved in OP's productions. Highlights of John's time at Opera Pacific included singing as the Tenor in "My Fair Lady"'s Cockney Quartet, opposite Patti Cohenour as Eliza Dolittle, and directed by Lara Teeter. He also appeared as Violetta's servant, Giuseppe, in "La Traviata", and was a chorister in "Norma" starring Dame Joan Sutherland. During this period, John had the great good fortune to study voice from the brilliant Kathryn Skatula, who appeared in the National Tours of both "Annie" and "Nine" and who coached many Hollywood notables.

John studied Theatre and French at Orange Coast College, then took some time away from performing and studying to work in both the tech industry and the non-profit sector. Whether that meant carrying a bullhorn to lead tours of engineers around Excite.com's new campus in Redwood City, CA, working with tech-nerds from around the globe in Apple Computer's International Developer Department in Santa Clara, CA, or working as a trainer for Eastfield Ming Quong (EMQ) in both Los Gatos and Campbell, CA, John was never far from the spotlight.

John began studying voice and acting again at American Conservatory Theatre's Studio program in 2006.  At ACT John learned how to harness his power as an actor. This blew the doors off the proverbial barn for John, allowing him to tap into both vocal and emotional reserves that he had never before had a chance to access. He returned to performing in 2007, with the revue "The Music that Makes Me Dance" at ACT's Garret Theatre. He also appeared in ACT's Ruby Jubilee. John studied voice with Ava Victoria first in group classes at ACT, then in her studio, from 2006 to 2012, and again from 2015-2017. John also served in Ava's studio as a Teaching Assistant beginning in 2009.

John re-enrolled in college in 2012 and completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Vocal Performance at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, CA in 2015, graduating Summa Cum Laude. While at NDNU, he also completed two summers of their Musical Theatre Conservatory, which gave him a chance to take master classes from artists as diverse as Karen Morrow, Euan Morton, Susan Egan, Wesla Whitfield, and Jamie Torcellini, and also to work with incredible faculty members like Dr. Lee Strawn, Daniel Lockert (who is still John's vocal coach and pianist), Debra Lambert, Marc Jacobs,  Greg Fritsch, Kimberly Mohne-Hill, Dottie Lester-White and Robyn Tribuzi. Dr. Lee Strawn also oversaw John's required student teaching and was his voice teacher from 2012 to 2015. During his years at NDNU, John stepped into leading roles from Uncle Max in "The Sound of Music" to Alfredo in "Die Fledermaus", King Ouf in Chabrier's "The Star" and Mr. Laurence in  "Little Women". He also had the chance to participate as an actor in two readings of Craig Bohmler's remarkable musical "All the More to Love", one at Hillbarn Theatre and the other at NDNU as a fund-raiser for the Musical Theatre Conservatory. In "ATMTL", John enjoyed playing a swath of different characters, with a shoe fetishist with a thing for a certain sassy red pump, and a down-on-her-luck drag queen named Gloria N.X. Chelsea standing out as his favorites.

In the years from 2012-2016, John appeared in many musicals in  the San Francisco Bay Area. Some of his favorite roles and credits include Bundles McCloskey/Man With Papers/Bert Healy/Morganthau/Servant/Ensemble in "Annie" at Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre in Livermore (talk about a busy track!), Manfred (who sings the pattery "The Lady's Paying") in "Sunset Boulevard" at Contra Costa Musical Theatre in Walnut Creek, Sipos in "She Loves Me" and Mister (as well as understudying Jules and Louis) in "Sunday in the Park with George" at Foothill Musical Theatre, a cross-dressing Herod in "Jesus Christ Superstar" at Coastal Repertory Theatre in Half Moon Bay, Mr. Erlanson (the tenor in the Liebeslieders/Quintet) in "A Little Night Music" and the cigar-chomping Herman (who loves to cry at weddings) in "Sweet Charity" at Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City. He returned to his outdoor theatre roots during three seasons at Woodminster Amphitheatre in Oakland, playing Avram in "Fiddler on the Roof" and Bamatabois in "Les Miserables", as well as singing in the Ensemble of "Annie Get Your Gun" and serving as a pit singer in "A Chorus Line".

John was a Staff Music Director at the Hillbarn Theatre Conservatory from 2014-2016, wielding the conductor's baton for shows ranging from Jason Robert  Brown's "13", to "Oklahoma!" and "Willy Wonka Jr."

John also began performing cabaret in 2016, and currently has two one-man shows which have played to full houses at the Society Cabaret's venues in San Francisco and San Jose. "He Said/She Said" is an irreverent look at John's life and loves through the eyes of some of his favorite musical theatre heroes...and heroines. "Another Hundred People" focuses on John's love affair with The Big Apple, which started when he made his first pilgrimage to Broadway to see the original production of "Annie" in 1978. He has guested in cabaret shows with G. Scott Lacy and Patrick Leveque, and played the dual role of notorious gangster Nicky Gazpacho and an on-the-lam Bad Santa in "Cabanoir", a 1940s film noir-spoof musical cabaret for the holiday season which played at the Society Cabaret in San Francisco in December, 2016.

John opened his private voice studio in the Bay Area in June of 2015, working with students of all ages and skill levels. His students ranged from beginners to Broadway veterans. John was pleased to see his students getting cast regularly by some of the best Bay Area theaters. John's training allows him to listen to a singer and quickly identify their vocal strengths and weaknesses. He works with students on vocal technique, interpretation, choosing the correct material for their casting type, and developing a strong audition book. John works with each student at their own level, while also helping them to stretch and challenge themselves artistically, but always with a focus of singing in a safe, healthy and sustainable manner. You only have one voice, so you should learn how to treat it right and sing your best.

For John, performing and teaching are two sides of the same coin. One feeds the other. Being a teacher makes John a stronger performer, and being a strong performer makes John a better teacher. 

John now splits his time between Brooklyn, NY and Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. He is married to Krijn, and they have two rescue dogs, Domino and Lola.

Fun trivia fact: John spent his 18th birthday working as an extra in the cult-classic film "Back to School" starring Rodney Dangerfield. He appears in the pivotal "Triple Lindy" dive sequence.