John Douglas Thompson-Led HAMLET, SMALL MOUTH SOUNDS and More Round Out A.C.T.'s 2017-18 Season

John Douglas Thompson-Led HAMLET, SMALL MOUTH SOUNDS and More Round Out A.C.T.'s 2017-18 Season

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Artistic Director Carey Perloff announced today the final four productions that will comprise the lineup of the company's 2017-18 subscription season. The 2017-18 season marks the 25th anniversary of Perloff's arrival at A.C.T.; the longtime artistic director recently announced she would depart following the 2017-18 season.

Joining the three previously announced productions-Harold Pinter's classic drama The Birthday Party, Qui Nguyen's irreverent new comedy Vietgone, and Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks's Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3), an epic American take on the Odyssey set against the backdrop of the Civil War-are William Shakespeare's Hamlet, starring Obie Award winner John Douglas Thompson in the title role and joined by stage and screen star Carl Lumbly; Bess Wohl's critically acclaimed comedy Small Mouth Sounds; Simon Stephens's hit play Heisenberg; and the world-premiere musical A Walk on the Moon, based on the 1999 movie of the same name.

Full-season (7-play) subscriptions will be available in mid-May for $91-$679 and offer incredible savings, unparalleled access, exclusive benefits, and personalized customer service. At this time, only current full-season A.C.T. subscribers can renew their subscriptions for the 2017-18 season. To receive priority notice when packages become available to new subscribers, patrons can join A.C.T.'s e-club at act-sf.org/eclub or call the A.C.T. Subscriptions Office at 415.749.2250.

"From Hamlet and Small Mouth Sounds to Heisenberg and A Walk on the Moon, this is a season of plays in which larger-than-life characters-filled with longing and appetite-suddenly strive to try something new," says Perloff. "This being my 25th anniversary at A.C.T., it is the perfect moment to contemplate the future and to celebrate our favorite collaborators. I am especially thrilled to launch the season with the astonishing John Douglas Thompson in Hamlet, a project I have longed to tackle for some time. The fierce solitude and psychic confusion of a man robbed of his father and then of everyone he trusts in a toxic world gone hopelessly wrong is a heartbreaking and important story for our time. This season, filled with favorite actors-including Thompson, Marco Barricelli, Carl Lumbly, Scott Wentworth, and Judith Ivey-exciting new directors, visionary designers, and great music will stretch us in wonderful ways and fill our multiple spaces with joy and celebration."

The 2017-18 season kicks off with Williams Shakespeare's tragic masterpiece Hamlet (September 20-October 15, 2017), starring Obie Award winner John Douglas Thompson in the title role, and joined by stage and screen star Carl Lumbly. Two seasons ago, Thompson dazzled Geary audiences in the virtuoso one-man show Satchmo at the Waldorf. Now, to kick off A.C.T.'s 2017-18 season, Thompson comes back to San Francisco to take on for the first time one of Shakespeare's most complex and heartbreaking characters. In the story of a man who wakes up to find his world upended and his closest friends unworthy of trust, Shakespeare shows us how quickly change can happen-how an orderly kingdom ruled by a loving king can, in one stroke, become unrecognizable. Hamlet will be A.C.T.'s first Shakespeare production since The Tempest reopened the Geary in 1996. Performances of Hamlet will take place at A.C.T.'s Geary Theater. (Press night will be held on Wednesday, September 27, 2017).

Next, A.C.T. will present Bess Wohl's fresh, perceptive comedy Small Mouth Sounds (October 11-December 10, 2017). On a weeklong silent retreat in the woods, six wildly disparate souls looking for answers find that staying quiet doesn't necessarily bring the inner-peace. An acclaimed new comedy from Drama Desk Award-winning playwright Bess Wohl, Small Mouth Sounds is a wickedly sharp look at mindfulness and the wellness industry. Under the eye of an unseen guru, these six have gathered to get away from it all. But as they listen to their leader's ruminations (and try to hook up while struggling to meditate without snacks), they learn that silence can indeed be golden. It can also be funny, frustrating, erotic, comforting, and profoundly passive-aggressive. Performances of Small Mouth Sounds will take place at A.C.T.'s Strand Theater. (Press nights will be held on Thursday, October 26 and Friday, October 27, 2017).

This winter, A.C.T. is happy to welcome back the Bay Area's favorite holiday tradition, A Christmas Carol (December 1-24, 2017), after another successful run last season. Featuring a lively cast of dozens, delightful music, gorgeous costumes, and deliciously spooky ghosts, this version of A Christmas Carol, adapted by Paul Walsh and Carey Perloff, stays true to the heart of Dickens's timeless story of redemption and brings a playful sensibility to his rich language. A Christmas Carol-now in its 40th year-is a cornerstone of the A.C.T. repertory and has become a holiday tradition for families around the Bay Area. Performances of A Christmas Carol will take place at A.C.T.'s Geary Theater. (Press night will be held on Friday, December 8, 2017).

Ringing in 2018, A.C.T. returns to the world of Harold Pinter for its first staging of his classic drama The Birthday Party (January 10-February 4, 2018), featuring A.C.T. favorite Marco Barricelli, Tony Award winner Judith Ivey, and Stratford Festival star Scott Wentworth. In an undisturbEd English seaside town, the inhabitants of a ramshackle boarding house react to the arrival of two unsettling strangers. Where do the mysterious Goldberg and McCann come from? Who sent them? And why do they keep asking about the sole boarder, piano player Stanley? As the party guests, including flighty Lula and flirty landlady Meg, gather for Stanley's birthday, the desperate pianist is forced to confront a surreal interrogation. Seething with mystery, danger, and sudden humor, this is signature Pinter, a play of "tantalizing theatricality" (The New York Times). Performances of The Birthday Party will take place at A.C.T.'s Geary Theater. (Press night will be held on Wednesday, January 17, 2018).

Next, A.C.T. will present Qui Nguyen's irreverent road-trip comedy Vietgone (February 21-April 22, 2018). A hit off Broadway and at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Vietgone is a modern twist on the classic story of boy meets girl. In this irreverent new comedy, three young Vietnamese immigrants leave a war-torn country for an eye-opening journey across the bewildering and foreign landscape of 1970s America. A vibrant mash-up of pop culture references, audacious dialogue, and an action-packed road trip that instantaneously moves from hilarity to heart-wrenching drama, Vietgone played to sold-out houses at 2016's Oregon Shakespeare Festival and New York's Manhattan Theatre Club. This sexy, sassy, freewheeling ride, backed by its hip-hop and Motown rhythms, will roll into The Strand spring 2018 in an all-new production. Performances of Vietgone will take place at A.C.T.'s Strand Theater. (Press nights will be held on Thursday, March 8 and Friday, March 9, 2018).

In spring 2018, A.C.T. will present Simon Stephens's hit play Heisenberg (March 14-April 8, 2018). In a bustling London train station, free-spirited American Georgie unexpectedly kisses mid-70s British butcher Alex, and sets his world reeling. When she turns up in his shop a few days later, he is suspicious. Is she really attracted to him or is there a longer con game in the cards? As Alex is drawn into Georgie's anarchic world, his conventional life becomes chaotic, uncertain, and undeniably richer. In this "vibrant and emotionally charged" (The New York Times) new play, Tony Award-winning playwright Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) crafts a comedy that rethinks the polar magnetism of opposites attracting, as well as the conventions of modern-day playwriting. With its perfect collision of strangers and strangeness, Heisenberg was an electric hit on Broadway from one of theater's most original voices. Performances of Heisenberg will take place at A.C.T.'s Geary Theater. (Press night will be held on Wednesday, March 21, 2018).

Hailed as "masterpiece," by New York Magazine, A.C.T. will next present Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) (April 25-May 20, 2018), Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks's (Topdog/Underdog) explosively powerful and lyrical new play set against the backdrop of the Civil War. In this epic take on the Odyssey, Southern slave Hero faces a terrible choice: to earn his freedom by fighting for the Confederacy alongside his master or to stay home with the woman and family he loves but remain a slave. This poignant and music-infused journey mixes contemporary wit, folk ballads, and classical traditions to tell a timeless story of freedom, heroism, and belonging. By turns comic and heartbreaking, Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) is a mythic journey through the American soul from one of our most accomplished contemporary playwrights. Performances of Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) will take place at A.C.T.'s Geary Theater. (Press night will be held on Wednesday, May 2, 2018).

Closing out the 2017-18 season, A.C.T. will present the world-premiere musical A Walk on the Moon (June 5-July 1, 2018), based on the 1999 movie of the same name. In the final summer of the 60s, America is aching for change. In the cities, crowds are protesting the Vietnam War. In the skies, Apollo 11 is speeding towards man's first encounter with the moon. And at a Catskills resort near Woodstock, housewife Pearl Kantrowitz is busy balancing her rebellious teenage daughter, her overworked television repairman husband, and keeping her head in the daily mah-jongg game. But a chance meeting with a free-spirited traveling salesman awakens a newfound spirit of exploration and sexuality-and the realization of lost opportunities. Based on the award-winning film, this stunning new musical weds the landscape of Borscht Belt comedy, the radical spirit of sixties revolution, and the passion of two breathtaking love stories into a soaring and original rock and roll score. Performances of A Walk on the Moon will take place at A.C.T.'s Geary Theater. (Press night will be held on Wednesday, June 13, 2018).

Subscribers save as much as 50% off single-ticket prices. Students and educators are eligible to save up to half-price on subscriptions, and senior discounts are available for certain series. To make subscriptions more affordable, A.C.T. also offers all subscribers an extended payment plan that allows payment in two easy installments. A.C.T.'s competitive subscriber benefits include free ticket exchanges up to the day of your scheduled performance, guaranteed best seating, ticket insurance, access to convenient prepaid parking one block away from the theater, discounts for neighborhood restaurants, and the opportunity to subscribe to Words on Plays, A.C.T.'s in-depth theater guide for each show. To renew a current A.C.T. subscription, please call 415.749.2250 or log on to www.act-sf.org/renew.


COMPLETE 2017-18 SEASON:

HAMLET
September 20-October 15, 2017
Press night: Wednesday, September 27, 2017
by William Shakespeare
Starring John Douglas Thompson
Directed by Carey Perloff
A.C.T.'s Geary Theater

John Douglas Thompson returns to The Geary to take on one of theater's most iconic roles: Hamlet. Two seasons ago, Thompson dazzled Geary audiences in the virtuoso one-man show Satchmo at the Waldorf. Now, to kick off the 2017-18 season, Thompson comes back to San Francisco to take on for the first time one of Shakespeare's most complex and heartbreaking characters. In the story of a man who wakes up to find his world upended and his closest friends unworthy of trust, Shakespeare shows us how quickly change can happen-how an orderly kingdom ruled by a loving king can, in one stroke, become unrecognizable. Featuring stage and screen star Carl Lumbly, Hamlet marks A.C.T.'s first Shakespeare production since The Tempest reopened the Geary in 1996.

SMALL MOUTH SOUNDS
October 11-December 10, 2017
Press nights: Thursday, October 26 and Friday, October 27, 2017
by Bess Wohl
Directed by Rachel Chavkin
A.C.T.'s Strand Theater

On a weeklong silent retreat in the woods, six wildly disparate souls looking for answers find that staying quiet doesn't necessarily bring inner peace. The acclaimed new comedy from Drama Desk Award-winning playwright Bess Wohl, Small Mouth Sounds is a wickedly sharp look at reflection and self-discovery. Under the eye of an unseen guru, these six have gathered to get away from it all. But as they listen to their leader's ruminations (and try to hook up while struggling to meditate without snacks), they learn that silence can indeed be golden. It can also be funny, frustrating, erotic, comforting, and profoundly passive-aggressive.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL
December 1-24, 2017
Press night: Friday, December 8, 2017
by Charles Dickens
Adapted by Paul Walsh and Carey Perloff
Directed by Domenique Lozano
A.C.T.'s Geary Theater

This winter, A.C.T. is happy to welcome back the Bay Area's favorite holiday tradition, A Christmas Carol, after another successful run last season. Featuring a lively cast of dozens, delightful music, gorgeous costumes, and deliciously spooky ghosts, this version of A Christmas Carol, adapted by Paul Walsh and Carey Perloff, stays true to the heart of Dickens's timeless story of redemption and brings a playful sensibility to his rich language. A Christmas Carol-now in its 40th year-is a cornerstone of the A.C.T. repertory and has become a holiday tradition for families around the Bay Area.

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY
January 10-February 4, 2018
Press night: January 17, 2018
by Harold Pinter
Featuring Marco Barricelli, Judith Ivey, and Scott Wentworth
Directed by Carey Perloff
A.C.T.'s Geary Theater

A.C.T. returns to the world of Harold Pinter for our first staging of his classic drama The Birthday Party, featuring A.C.T. favorite Marco Barricelli, Tony Award winner Judith Ivey, and Stratford Festival star Scott Wentworth. In an undisturbEd English seaside town, the inhabitants of a ramshackle boarding house react to the arrival of two unsettling strangers. Where do the mysterious Goldberg and McCann come from? Who sent them? And why do they keep asking about the sole boarder, piano player Stanley? As the party guests, including flighty Lula and flirty landlady Meg, gather for Stanley's birthday, the desperate pianist is forced to confront a surreal interrogation. Seething with mystery, danger, and sudden humor, this is signature Pinter, a play of "tantalizing theatricality" (The New York Times).

VIETGONE
February 21-April 22, 2018
Press nights: Thursday, March 8 and Friday, March 9, 2018
by Qui Nguyen
Directed by Jaime Castañeda
A.C.T.'s Strand Theater

A hit off Broadway and at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Vietgone is a modern twist on the classic story of boy meets girl. In this irreverent new comedy, three young Vietnamese immigrants leave a war-torn country for an eye-opening journey across the bewildering and foreign landscape of 1970s America. A vibrant mash-up of pop culture references, audacious dialogue, and an action-packed road trip that instantaneously moves from hilarity to heart-wrenching drama, Vietgone played to sold-out houses at 2016's Oregon Shakespeare Festival and New York's Manhattan Theatre Club. This sexy, sassy, freewheeling ride, backed by its hip-hop and Motown rhythms, will roll into The Strand in spring 2018 in an all-new production.

HEISENBERG
March 14-April 8, 2018
Press night: Wednesday, March 21, 2018
by Simon Stephens
Directed by Hal Brooks
A.C.T.'s Geary Theater

In a bustling London train station, free-spirited American Georgie unexpectedly kisses mid-70s British butcher Alex, and sets his world reeling. When she turns up in his shop a few days later, he is suspicious. Is she really attracted to him, or is there a longer con game in the cards? As Alex is drawn into Georgie's anarchic world, his conventional life becomes chaotic, uncertain, and undeniably richer. In this "vibrant and emotionally charged" (The New York Times) new play, Tony Award-winning playwright Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) crafts a comedy that rethinks the polar magnetism of opposites attracting, as well as the conventions of modern-day playwriting. With its perfect collision of strangers and strangeness, Heisenberg was an electric hit on Broadway from one of theater's most original voices.

FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS (PARTS 1, 2 & 3)
April 25-May 20, 2018
Press night: Wednesday, May 2, 2018
by Suzan-Lori Parks
Directed by Liz Diamond
A coproduction with Yale Repertory Theatre
A.C.T.'s Geary Theater

From Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog) comes an explosively powerful and lyrical new play set against the backdrop of the American Civil War. In this epic take on the Odyssey, Southern slave Hero faces a terrible choice: to earn his freedom by fighting for the Confederacy alongside his master or to stay home with the woman and family he loves but remain a slave. This poignant and music-infused journey mixes contemporary wit, folk ballads, and classical traditions to tell a timeless story of freedom, heroism, and belonging. By turns comic and heartbreaking, Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) is a mythic journey through the American soul from one of our most accomplished contemporary playwrights.

A WALK ON THE MOON
June 5-July 1, 2018
Press night: Wednesday, June 13, 2018
A World-Premiere Musical
Music and Lyrics by Paul Scott Goodman
Book and Additional Lyrics by Pamela Gray
Directed by Sheryl Kaller
A.C.T.'s Geary Theater

In the final summer of the 60s, America is aching for change. In the cities, crowds are protesting the Vietnam War. In the skies, Apollo 11 is speeding towards man's first encounter with the moon. And at a Catskills resort near Woodstock, housewife Pearl Kantrowitz is busy balancing her rebellious teenage daughter, her overworked television repairman husband, and keeping her head in the daily mah-jongg game. But a chance meeting with a free-spirited traveling salesman awakens a newfound spirit of exploration and sexuality-and the realization of lost opportunities. Based on the award-winning film, this stunning new musical weds the landscape of Borscht Belt comedy, the radical spirit of sixties revolution, and the passion of two breathtaking love stories into a soaring and original rock and roll score.

Pictured: John Douglas Thompson. Photo by Walter McBride.


Related Articles


12 DAYS TO GO - VOTING IS OPEN - CLICK HERE TO VOTE NOW!
LIVE: DENÉE BENTON  or BETTE MIDLER for Best Actress in a Musical

From This Author BWW News Desk

Before you go...