A.C.T. Announces 2010-2011 Season, Features New Musicals & New Voices

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A.C.T. Announces 2010-2011 Season, Features New Musicals & New Voices

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Artistic Director Carey Perloff announced the lineup of the company's 44th subscription season today. Recently commended for its "sophisticated artistry" (The New York Times) and its "intellectual passion [and] guts" (Los Angeles Times), A.C.T. has put together an eclectic mix of plays with big theatrical visions and ideas, from reimagined classics to bold new plays. Anchored by the world premiere of a musical version of Armistead Maupin's groundbreaking Tales of the City series, which will take over two slots at the end of the season, the repertoire also features works by such artists as Tony Award-winning master clown Bill Irwin, Nobel laureate playwright Harold Pinter, and celebrated newcomer Tarell Alvin McCraney, as well as an international multimedia production of No Exit that pushes the boundaries of live performance. A play to be announced will complete the 2010-11 subscription season. Perloff says: "While many things seem to be shrinking and constricting in our contemporary culture, we deliberately sought out plays for next season that are big and theatrical. We wanted to bring our audience plays with huge imaginations, enormous heart, and rich language, from re-envisioned classics to bold new voices, from a San Francisco icon like Tales of the City to a celebration of Pinter's genius craftsmanship. I'm deeply proud that we are able to celebrate our core acting company with the incredible René Augesen's tenth anniversary at A.C.T." René Augesen joined the A.C.T. core acting company in the 2000-01 season, after appearing in The Misanthrope, and will have given many memorable performances in 23 productions by the end of the 2009-10 season.

The 2010-11 season opens with the return of two-time Tony Award winner and A.C.T. favorite Bill Irwin (A.C.T.'s Fool Moon, Texts for Nothing) to the Bay Area in Molière's Scapin. Irwin-who adapted (with Mark O'Donnell), directs, and stars-uses his trademark sophisticated clowning, commedia dell'arte, and live music to turn this 17th-century farce of mistaken identities and theatrical mishaps into a sparkling tour de force perfect for all ages. In Scapin, the rascally title character balances his penchant for mayhem and mischief with a promise to help two pairs of wide-eyed lovers. "I feel I have unfinished comic business here in San Francisco-I so look forward to being part of the A.C.T. season opener," says Irwin, who was one of the founding members of San Francisco's celebrated Pickle Family Circus. "I've long wanted to return to Molière's Scapin and the adaptation that Mark O'Donnell and I did together 14 years ago. I've also long wanted to return to A.C.T. and its audiences, and I've long wanted to work again with my San Francisco colleagues and friends of many years. Might as well do it all at once." Irwin's Pickle Family Circus artistic collaborator and celebrated Bay Area actor Geoff Hoyle joins him for this production. About Irwin's last take on this character, which seems tailor made for his unique style of physical comedy, The New York Times exclaimed: "The entire world is Mr. Irwin's straight man. . . . This prince of clowns bears a distinctly nonearthly relationship to the basic laws of motion and anatomy." Also featured in Scapin are A.C.T. core acting company members René Augesen and Gregory Wallace, as well as members of the A.C.T. artistic family Steven Anthony Jones and Jud Williford.

The 2010-11 season continues in October with a bold new American voice, which takes over the Bay Area in a theatrical event that spans three theater companies: A.C.T. presents the West Coast premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney's Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet, directed by the acclaimed Mark Rucker (A.C.T.'s The Rainmaker and the award-winning film Die, Mommy, Die!). This production will be the final play in McCraney's trilogy, which is produced in association with Magic Theatre and Marin Theatre Company. The New York Times said that McCraney's is "a new, authentically original vision. . . . It's what people must have felt during productions of the early works of Eugene O'Neill in the 1920s or of Sam Shepard in the 1960s." Having taken New York City and Chicago by storm, McCraney's mythical and poetic trilogy was hailed by the Chicago Tribune as "the greatest piece of writing by an American playwright under 30 in a generation or more." McCraney speaks to the unprecedented partnership that is bringing the trilogy to the Bay Area: "It's incredible that three theaters have taken on doing all three plays, really allowing for each play to live distinctively and have a conversation with each other across the Bay Area." Set in the Louisiana bayou, Marcus follows a sensitive African American young man with a secret he can't seem to wash away. As Marcus struggles to come to terms with his sexuality while searching for a place in his community, McCraney brings in magical flights of imagination and his extraordinary poetic flair to this gritty coming-of-age story. McCraney adds: "Marcus is the youngest and to me the funniest of the three plays, giving us a bittersweet view into the time-told tale of coming of age." A.C.T. core acting company member Gregory Wallace will be joined in the cast by A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program students Richard Prioleau and Shinelle Azoroh and recent graduates Omozé Idehenre and Tobie L. Windham.

February brings a celebration of the legacy of the late Nobel laureate playwright Harold Pinter with a production of his most sexually provocative play, The Homecoming, directed by his longtime artistic collaborator A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff. In The Homecoming, a long-absent son and his attractive wife, Ruth, return to his contentious childhood home in London's East End. In this unusual homecoming, father and sons vie for Ruth's attention and affection with outrageous consequences. Hailed as "Pinter's masterpiece" by the New York Times and "a contemporary classic that packs a wallop" by Newsday, The Homecoming proves the monumentally subversive influence of this master playwright on modern theater. Perloff began her artistic relationship with Pinter while she was the artistic director of the Classic Stage Company in New York City, where she worked closely with the writer in staging his plays The Birthday Party and Mountain Language (American premiere). She also directed the double bill Celebration (American premiere) and The Room at A.C.T. in 2001. Perloff says of Pinter: "A writer of acute observation and meticulous precision, the late great Harold Pinter is missed by all lucky souls who had the pleasure of working with him. Pinter's theater, like his pauses, always leaves room for the audience to fill in the gaps with their own secrets, their own dreams, their own fears, their own imaginations. He was the least manipulative and, in some sense, the most generous (and wickedly funny) of playwrights. I cannot imagine a better way to celebrate his legacy than exploring The Homecoming, my favorite of all of Pinter's plays, with our amazing core acting company." Pinter, a celebrated playwright, actor, director, and political activist, has been a defining force in today's theater with such plays as The Caretaker, Betrayal, Celebration, The Birthday Party, and Old Times. Along with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, Pinter has received a Tony Award and lifetime achievement recognition with the David Cohen Prize, the Laurence Olivier Special Award, the World Leaders Award for "Creative Genius," and the European Theatre Award. His screenwriting was recognized with two Academy Award nominations, for Betrayal and The French Lieutenant's Woman. The Homecoming will feature A.C.T. core acting company members René Augesen, Anthony Fusco, Manoel Felciano, and Jack Willis alongside A.C.T. favorite Andrew Polk (November and Speed-the-Plow at A.C.T.).
The season continues in April with a live cinematic interpretation of Jean-Paul Sartre's existential classic No Exit by Canada's The Virtual Stage and Electric Company Theatre. Fresh from sellout performances across Canada, Sartre's redefined classic makes its U.S. debut at A.C.T. Adapted from the French by Paul Bowles and conceived and directed by Electric Company Theatre Artistic Director Kim Collier, this multimedia production pushes against the boundaries of live performance and continues A.C.T.'s tradition of introducing groundbreaking international artists to the Bay Area following the huge success of Brief Encounter and The Overcoat. In No Exit, a mysterious valet ushers three people into a shabby hotel room. As the door locks behind them, an eternity of damnation lies ahead. What they soon discover is that hell isn't fire and brimstone at all-it's other people arguing about their lives. Sartre's 1944 existential classic is skillfully reimagined as a series of hidden cameras turn the stage into a cinema, and the audience into voyeurs, as a thrillingly staged "live film" takes place before their eyes. Collier says: "In this new vision for No Exit, the sense of entrapment and alienation is more complete and palpable. By creating a theatrical space around the hotel room that traditionally defined the perimeter, we are ‘widening the frame' on Sartre's play. This gives us a platform to continue our investigations of the intersection of live theater and film, and to investigate how a silent, physical narrative can reframe an existing, well-known piece." Hailed as "theatrical perfection . . . spectacularly brilliant . . . one of the finest theatrical achievements in recent memory" (Calgary Herald) and "the bravest theatrical ride I've been on this year" (The Globe and Mail), Collier's groundbreaking production provides an unflinching and inventive take on Sartre's meticulously constructed masterpiece.

The season culminates in the world premiere of a musical adaptation of Armistead Maupin's acclaimed Tales of the City series, which will occupy the final two slots of the season. With a libretto by Jeff Whitty (Tony Award winner for Avenue Q) and music and lyrics by Jake Shears and John Garden (of the band Scissor Sisters), Tales is directed by Jason Moore (Avenue Q, Steel Magnolias, and Shrek: The Musical on Broadway). Called "the most sublime piece of popular literature America has ever produced" by Salon.com and "remarkable . . . delectable and addicting" by the New York Review of Books, the seven-book Tales of the City series has blazed its own trail through popular culture-from a groundbreaking newspaper serial to a classic novel, to a television event that entranced millions around the world. With Maupin's blessing, the award-winning creative team has been working on turning this remarkable work of fiction into a musical for more than two years and is thrilled to be able to premiere it in the city that launched the Tales phenomenon. Maupin says of the adaptation: "People always tell the press they're thrilled to be working with whomever they're working with, but, in this case, it's the unvarnished truth. I've always believed that a theatrical version of Tales should be homegrown in San Francisco, just the way the story itself was back in 1976. And where better than A.C.T., which has been a cultural beacon here for 40 years. I trust this company to be faithful to the spirit of the material and to transfer it to another medium with charm and inventiveness. And I'm crazy about Carey Perloff, which doesn't hurt at all." Librettist Whitty says: "Though some might suggest our premiere in San Francisco is a sort of ‘out-of-town tryout,' I will quickly reply: No, San Francisco is Town, period. The Tales books have San Francisco as their spine, and while it is daunting for us to premiere it here due to the city's affection for the material, San Francisco is the only proper choice." "I always wanted to do a musical," adds Shears. Tales is the first musical project for the seasoned musician who fronts the glam rock band Scissors Sisters. "When Jeff told me that it was Tales of the City, my heart started racing. For so many teenagers the books are a right of passage, and I so identify the Tales with my youth." In Maupin's iconic story story, amid the fog-drenched glow of disco lights, bathhouses, and the bustling soul of 1970s San Francisco, a wide-eyed Midwestern girl finds a new home-and a new kind of family-with the characters at 28 Barbary Lane. Three decades after Maupin mesmerized millions with his weekly column in the City's newspapers, detailing the lives and (multiple) loves of Mary Ann, Mouse, Mona, Brian, and the mysterious landlady Mrs. Madrigal, his iconic San Francisco saga comes home as a momentous new musical from the Tony Award-winning creators of Avenue Q and the musical minds behind the glam-rock phenomenon Scissor Sisters. The capstone of the 2010-11 season, A.C.T.'s world premiere of this brand-new musical adaptation of Tales of the City is an irrepressible celebration of the spirit that still defines our City by the Bay.

A play to be announced will take the January slot of the 2010-11 season. The title and details will be announced shortly.

The nonsubscription presentation of Carey Perloff and Paul Walsh's adaptation of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol returns during the holiday season, completing the 2010-11 lineup of A.C.T. offerings at the American Conservatory Theater. Directed by A.C.T. Associate Artist Domenique Lozano, A.C.T.'s beloved classic continues to be a Bay Area holiday tradition.

Season subscriptions offer incredible savings, unparalleled access, exclusive benefits, and personalized customer service and are now available via the A.C.T. subscriptions office. To subscribe or to receive a season brochure, please call 415.749.2250 or log on to www.act-sf.org.
Subscriptions for all six plays start at $60, and subscribers save as much as 50% off single ticket prices. Educators and administrators are eligible for half-price subscriptions. To make subscriptions more affordable, A.C.T. also offers all subscribers one free seat upgrade and an extended payment plan that allows payment in two easy installments. A.C.T.'s competitive subscriber benefits include easy ticket exchanges up to the day of scheduled tickets, guaranteed best seats, ticket insurance, access to easy prepaid parking one block away from the theater, and discounts for neighborhood restaurants and Words on Plays, A.C.T.'s in-depth theater guide for each show. Single tickets for Scapin, Marcus, and A Christmas Carol will be available in August 2010. Single tickets for the rest of the plays will go on sale later in the season.

A.C.T.'s season is supported in part by Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund; The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation New Works Fund, an endowed fund of The Next Generation Campaign; the National Endowment for the Arts; and company sponsors Priscilla and Keith Geeslin, Joan Lane, Nancy Livingston and Fred Levin, The Shenson Foundation, Burt and Deedee McMurtry, Kathleen Scutchfield, Mr. and Mrs. Steven L. Swig, Jeff and Laurie Ubben, and Susan Van Wagner.

A.C.T. 2010-11 SEASON IN ORDER OF PERFORMANCE
(All titles and dates are subject to change.)

All performances at
AMERICAN CONSERVATORY THEATER
415 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

A.C.T. Subscriptions Office
415.749.2250 / www.act-sf.org

Scapin
by Molière
Adapted by Bill Irwin and Mark O'Donnell
Directed by and starring Bill Irwin

September 16-October 17, 2010
Press Night: Wednesday, September 22, 2010, at 8 p.m.

"The entire world is Mr. Irwin's straight man. . . . This prince of clowns bears a distinctly nonearthly relationship to the basic laws of motion and anatomy." -The New York Times

Two-time Tony Award winner-and A.C.T. favorite-Bill Irwin (A.C.T.'s Fool Moon, Texts for Nothing) returns to the Bay Area in Molière's chaotic classic. The rascally title character balances his penchant for mayhem and mischief with a promise to help two pairs of wide-eyed lovers. Irwin-who adapted, directs, and stars-uses his trademark sophisticated clowning, commedia dell'arte, and live music to turn this 17th-century farce of mistaken identities and theatrical mishaps into a sparkling tour de force perfect for all ages.

WEST COAST PREMIERE
Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet
The Brother/Sister Plays: Part III
by Tarell Alvin McCraney
Directed by Mark Rucker

October 29-November 21, 2010
Press Night: Wednesday, November 3, 2010, at 8 p.m.

"The greatest piece of writing by an American playwright under 30 in a generation or more" -Chicago Tribune

A few days before Hurricane Katrina, the barometer rises and the air below sea level closes in on a young black man, pressured to balance his identity with family creeds and the magical cultural landscape that surround him. Marcus, with its warmth, myth, humor, and Louisiana argot, is the finale of the West Coast premiere productions of Tarell Alvin McCraney's internationally acclaimed trilogy, The Brother/Sister Plays-presented in partnership with Marin Theatre Company and Magic Theatre. This fantastical coming-of-age play prompted the New York Times to call McCraney's work "a new, authentically original vision. . . . It's what people must have felt during productions of the early works of Eugene O'Neill in the 1920s or of Sam Shepard in the 1960s."

SPECIAL NONSUBSCRIPTION EVENT
A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens
Adapted by Carey Perloff and Paul Walsh
Music by Karl Lundeberg
Choreography by Val Caniparoli
Directed by Domenique Lozano
Based on original direction by Carey Perloff

December 2-26, 2009
Press Night: Tuesday, December 6, 2009, at 7 p.m.

"The best Christmas Carol ever! A terrific and imaginative production. Highest rating!" -Jan Wahl, KRON-TV
"This is a Carol built to banish ‘bah humbugs' for years to come!" -Oakland Tribune

Scrooge is back, and he's meaner than ever in A.C.T.'s A Christmas Carol, the Bay Area's favorite holiday tradition. Featuring adorable Tiny Tim, those spooky Christmas ghosts, and a multigenerational cast of dozens, A Christmas Carol is a sparkling, music-infused celebration of goodwill that your family will never forget.

A play to be announced
January 20-February 13, 2011
Press Night: Wednesday, January 26, 2010, at 8 p.m.

A HAROLD PINTER CELEBRATION
The Homecoming
by Harold Pinter
Directed by Carey Perloff

March 3-27, 2011
Press Night: Wednesday, March 9, 2011, at 8 p.m.

"Pinter's masterpiece" -The New York Times
"Pinter changed the face of 20th-century theater." -Los Angeles Times

A.C.T. celebrates Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter's legacy with his most sexually provocative play. A long-absent son and his attractive wife, Ruth, return to his contentious childhood home in London's East End. In this extraordinary homecoming, father and sons vie for Ruth's attention and affection with outrageous consequences, in a play that changed the landscape of 20th-century drama. Longtime Pinter collaborator and A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff, directs this brilliant classic, which features A.C.T.'s extraordinary core acting company along with A.C.T. favorite Andrew Polk (A.C.T.'s November).

American Conservatory Theater presents
The Virtual Stage and Electric Company Theatre's production of
No Exit
by Jean-Paul Sartre
Adapted from the French by Paul Bowles
Conceived and directed by Kim Collier

April 7-May 1, 2011
Press Night: Wednesday, April 13, 2011, at 8 p.m.

"Benchmark of brilliance . . . filled with innovation" -The Vancouver Sun
"Brilliant . . . the bravest theatrical ride I've been on this year." -The Globe and Mail
"Theatrical perfection . . . spectacularly brilliant . . . one of the finest theatrical achievements in recent memory"
-Calgary Herald
"A vibrant, very modern theatrical experience . . . the acting is uniformly powerful and committed, the stagecraft extremely skillful and focused." -The Toronto Star

Fresh from sellout performances across Canada, Jean-Paul Sartre's redefined classic makes its U.S. debut at A.C.T. A mysterious valet ushers three people into a shabby hotel room. As the door locks behind them, an eternity of damnation lies ahead. What they soon discover is that hell isn't fire and brimstone at all-it's other people arguing about their lives. Sartre's 1944 existential classic is skillfully reimagined as a series of hidden cameras turns the stage into a cinema, and the audience into voyeurs, as a thrillingly staged "live film" takes place before your eyes. A.C.T. continues its tradition of welcoming the work of innovative international artists to the Bay Area with this multimedia event.

WORLD PREMIERE
Tales of the City
A New Musical
Based on Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City and More Tales of the City
Libretto by Jeff Whitty
Music and Lyrics by Jake Shears and John Garden
Directed by Jason Moore

May 17-July 19, 2011
Press Night: Tuesday, May 31, 2011, at 8 p.m.

"The most sublime piece of popular literature America has ever produced" -Salon.com
"Remarkable . . . delectable and addicting" -The New York Review of Books

Amid the fog-drenched glow of disco lights, bathhouses, and the bustling soul of 1970s San Francisco, a wide-eyed Midwestern girl finds a new home-and a new kind of family-with the characters at 28 Barbary Lane. Three decades after Armistead Maupin mesmerized millions with his weekly column in the City's newspapers, detailing the lives and (multiple) loves of Mary Ann, Mouse, Mona, Brian, and the beloved but mysterious landlady Mrs. Madrigal, his iconic San Francisco saga comes home as a momentous new musical from the Tony Award-winning creators of Avenue Q and the musical minds behind the glam-rock phenomenon Scissor Sisters. The capstone of the 2010-11 season, A.C.T.'s world premiere musical adaptation of Tales of the City is an irrepressible celebration of the spirit that still defines our City by the Bay.

TICKETS AND SUBSCRIPTIONS
Subscriptions range from $60 to $513 and are now available via the A.C.T. Subscription Office. For more information or to purchase, please call 415.749.2250 or visit www.act-sf.org.

Single tickets for Scapin, Marcus, and A Christmas Carol will be available in August 2010. Single tickets for the rest of the plays will go on sale later in the season.

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