Al Pacino's One Night Only Restores Faith in Humanity
By Liz Tracy Thursday, May 2 2013
It's not often in your life that you hear a heckler cry out "Hoo-ah!" or even "Attica!" But at Al Pacino's One Night Only event at Hard Rock Live last week, it happened way more than once.
You can call it a show — there's storytelling and laughter — or you can liken it to Inside the Actors Studio, but really, there's not much else out there exactly like One Night Only. My mother actually said it restored her faith in humanity. And that's something you can't say about James Lipton's Proustian questioning.
With tickets starting at $100, the room wasn't full, but every person in there was a crazed superfan. Pacino walked onstage, and the crowd sang and clapped "Happy Birthday." Pacino graciously replied, "I appreciate this so much." The whole night went like that. Though the actor was onstage being asked formal questions by a host, the event was really about a back-and-forth between Pacino and his audience. The show tours sporadically and is on to London next.
When recounting the time director Francis Ford Coppola called to offer him the part of Michael Corleone in The Godfather, someone screeched, "He gave you an offer you couldn't refuse!" He took it all in stride, not inviting dramatics but accepting them as they came.
And as all the catcalls from the audience mounted, Pacino simply revealed himself as more and more of a wonderful person, not simply a wonderful actor.
Examples: His story about refusing more money at first to do Godfather 2 with a script he didn't respect displayed his integrity as an artist. Someone sneezed in the audience; Pacino said, "Bless you." He did more than one silly jig and, at 73, looked as spry as someone in his 20s. During the question portion of the night, a lady asked to marry him. She claimed to have been "passionately in love" with him since she was 13 and didn't seem to care that Pacino's 37-year-old girlfriend was in the crowd.
After the moderator ended the show, Pacino leaned over and shook hands, signed posters, and even continued telling one last story. You could tell he wasn't enjoying this for ego; it was a genuine exchange of good energy. He managed to represent something true and valuable, and from an actor, especially one that famous, those aren't always things we've come to expect