Ronald Guttman, Susi Damilano and Stacy Ross to Star in San Francisco Playhouse's BAUER, 3/18-4/19

San Francisco Playhouse presents the world premiere commission of Bauer by Bay Area playwright Lauren Gunderson.

Gunderson's play tells the compelling and controversial tale of world-renowned artist Rudolf Bauer, who was so driven to create, he sketched on scraps in a Nazi prison and yet eventually stopped painting forever when a feud erupted amongst himself, his patron and benefactor Solomon Guggenheim, and Bauer's lifetime love, Baroness Hilla Rebay - one of Guggenheim's most trusted curators.

The Guggenheim Museum, originally built to house Bauer's works, opened without a single Bauer exhibited. This January, San Francisco Playhouse's commissioned play presents a freshly imagined face-off between Bauer and the two women he loved most as they each confront the passions of his life and art.

Bill English directs a cast starring Ronald Guttman* as Bauer, Susi Damilano as his wife and former maid, Louise, and Stacy Ross* as his lifelong love, Hilla Rebay.

Rudolf Bauer is considered by many art historians and critics to have had a major impact on modern artists such as Jackson Pollock and William de Kooning, and yet his name and work mysteriously disappeared from the art world in the 1950s and many of his paintings remain banished to the basement of the Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

Bauer was also one of the originators of nonobjective painting, a genre commonly referred to as abstract or nonrepresentational art. His contemporaries include Piet Mondrian, Vasilly Kandinsky, and Paul Klee.

Bauer's work was featured in the U.S. as early as 1933 and Solomon R. Guggenheim became his champion and patron, purchasing 300 works for his personal art collection. Guggenheim's first museum, The Museum of Nonobjective Painting that opened in 1939 was dominated by Bauer's artwork.

Concurrent with the world premiere of Bauer, The Weinstein Gallery (383 Geary Street in San Francisco) will present a major art exhibit, The Realm of the Spirit-a retrospective of Rudolf Bauer, spanning five decades and including original oil paintings and works on paper, many on exhibition for the first time in over fifty years. The Bauer display runs March 15 through April 30. For more information on the exhibition, visit or call (415) 362-8151.

"For thirty years, from 1917 to the 1940's, Rudolf Bauer was considered one of the most important artists in the world," explains Rowland Weinstein, owner of the Weinstein Gallery. "Now, very few people even remember he existed. Our retrospective is an in-depth exploration of this artist's extraordinary and groundbreaking work, while the play Bauer examines his struggles with the Guggenheim Foundation that led to his descent into obscurity. Together, these two complementary art events will unravel the mystery surrounding Rudolf Bauer and his place in art history."

The production runs March 18 to April 19th (Previews: March 18-21 at 8pm), playing: Tuesday through Thursday at 7pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm; Saturday at 3pm and select Sundays (3.23 and 4.13) at 2pm. All performances take place at The San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post Street (2nd Floor of Kensington Park Hotel, b/n Powell & Mason). For tickets ($30-$100) or more information, the public may contact The San Francisco Playhouse box office at 415-677-9596, or

Lauren Gunderson (Playwright) An award-winning playwright living in San Francisco, Lauren Gunderson will have had 6 productions (including world premieres) in the Bay Area during 2013/14 including Silent Sky at TheatreWorks, By And By at Shotgun Players, The Taming at Crowded Fire, I And You at Marin Theatre (NNPN Rolling World Premiere heading to 4 other cities), Bauer at San Francisco Playhouse, and Fire Work at TheatreFirst. Emilie: La Maruise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight is published by Sam French, and Exit, Pursued By A Bear andToil And Trouble are published by Playscripts. Her work has also been produced and developed at companies across the U.S. including Berkeley Rep, the Kennedy Center, South Coast Rep, the O'Neill Playwrights Conference, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Portland Center Stage, Actors Express, Impact Theatre, Second Stage Theatre and Lark Play Development Center. She is a Playwright in Residence at The Playwrights Foundation. and @LalaTellsAStory

Bill English (Director/Artistic Director), an accomplished singer, pianist and composer, has spent his life producing works of art. He co-founded San Francisco Playhouse, and in ten years, has overseen its growth from a storefront to a major regional theater company, with a 6-play main stage series, a 2-play World Premiere series, an education program and a New Works program that has commissioned 10 playwrights. Bill's vision propels San Francisco Playhouse to stand out among its peers for making bold choices and taking artistic risks. Bill's work in the theater has been recognized with numerous awards for acting, directing, sound and set design. Under Bill's leadership The San Francisco Playhouse, has earned multiple nominations and awards.

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