'JACQUES BREL', CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, MR. BURNS and More Set for ACT's 50th Anniversary Season
ACT - A Contemporary Theatre under the Artistic Direction of Kurt Beattie is proud to announce the Mainstage productions taking place in the 50th Anniversary Season in 2015. The mid-century mark will reflect ACT's contribution to the field throughout history and looking to the future with the theme, What Was, What is, and What Will Be. 2015 brings cause to celebrate two other milestone anniversaries: ACT will celebrate the 40th year of producing founder Gregory A. Falls' adaptation of A Christmas Carol, as well as the 90th anniversary of the 1925 Fraternal Order of Eagles building, ACT's historic landmark home since 1996. Commemorative celebrations and engagement opportunities will occur throughout the year. A brief history of ACT's founding is included following the season titles.
Beginning in March, ACT continues to partner with the 5th Avenue Theatre, co-producing a musical that appears on each organization's season and performed at ACT. Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris begins in March and runs for 10 weeks in the Falls Theatre, directed by David Armstrong. The musical revue of songs by the then-little-known Belgian singer/songwriter opened in 1968 Off-Broadway and astounded the audiences who came to see it. It ran for four years and went on to be performed around the world. Packed with wit, intelligence and emotion, Brel's songs radiate stories of love, loss, and hope.
Next, ACT looks to its inaugural season in 1965. Gregory Falls programmed Tennessee Williams' 1955 Pulitzer Prize winner Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in the company's first year of exploring contemporary stories and ideas. 50 years later, the play is a mainstay in the theatre canon, produced regularly around the world and with Broadway revivals occurring nearly every decade. Set on a southern plantation on the night of the patriarch's birthday, Brick, Maggie, Big Daddy and Big Mama yearn for truth but cling to secrets and denial that tear them apart. Kurt Beattie directs this stormy classic about sex, lies, and family dynamics in the Allen Arena in April/May.
In June, ACT will co-produce the world premiere of Yussef El Guindi's Threesome, in partnership with Portland Center Stage. In 2011 ACT presented the premiered of El Guindi's Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World which garnered him the prestigious Steinberg Award. He also co-adapted the epic Ramayana in 2012. In his latest play, Leila and Rashid are Egyptian Americans with ties to Cairo. They attempt to solve their relationship issues by inviting a relative stranger into their bedroom to engage in a threesome. What begins as a hilariously awkward evening soon becomes an experience fraught with secrets, raising issues of sexism, possession and independence. Portland's Chris Coleman directs the premiere in the Falls Theatre.
Earlier this month, Jeanne Sakata's play Hold These Truths enjoyed a sold-out four-day run as part of ACT's Central Heating Lab program. The one-man show is based on UW student Gordon Hirabayashi's resistance to the internment of Japanese-Americans in WWII. Inspiring, touching, and often funny, Hold These Truths offers a glimpse into a time in American history when many innocent citizens' rights were taken from them. In July/August of 2015, the play will enjoy its first multi-week run at ACT directed by Lisa Rothe.
A second throwback to ACT's history in 1977 -- and one of Kurt Beattie's all-time favorite comedies -- is Tom Stoppard's Travesties, playing in the Allen Arena in September/October. The play focuses on the fictional meeting of three important revolutionary figures in Zurich in 1917: the communist leader Lenin, the dadaist poet Tristan Tzara, and the modernist author James Joyce. Humorous complications spring from misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and plot twists that Stoppard borrows from Oscar Wilde's farcical masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest. As Stoppard cleverly juxtaposes his three central figures' theories on Marxism, Dadaism, and modernism, he addresses complex questions on the nature and function of politics and art and the role of the artist. Kurt Beattie will direct.
The Mainstage season concludes with ACT Associate Artistic Director John Langs directing the highly acclaimed new comedy Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, by Anne Washburn. Hailed by the New York Times as one of the Top Ten Plays of 2013 and "downright brilliant," Mr. Burns is a post-apocalyptic tale when survivors must begin again and bond together to create a new society. Not Shakespeare. Not Dickens. No, the greatest common cultural icon is the popular "Cape Feare" episode of The Simpsons. This imaginative dark comedy propels us forward nearly a century, following a new civilization stumbling into its future. The New York Times raves, "Anne Washburn's Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play has arrived to leave you dizzy with the scope and dazzle of its ideas." Mr. Burns will be performed in the Falls Theatre in October/November.
Following the Mainstage season, Langs will also direct the 40th Anniversary production of Dickens' A Christmas Carol in the Allen Arena. Greg Falls' taught 90-minute adaptation has been entertaining hundreds of thousands of families in Seattle since 1975. In honor of the artists who have participated in the more than 1,500 performances, ACT will host a special reunion event to celebrate the continuation of this beloved holiday tradition.
Subscription packages for 2015 are on sale now, with priority given to renewing season ticket holders. Subscribers will enjoy special 50th Anniversary commemorative gifts with their purchase, including an ACT tote bag and poster. All Mainstage shows are also available on the ACTPass monthly membership. Single Tickets will go on sale to the general public on February 11, 2015. All ticket purchases and information are available at www.acttheatre.org or (206) 292-7676.
About ACT -- A Contemporary Theatre - ACT is the only local theatre dedicated to producing contemporary work with promising playwrights and local performing artists since 1965. ACT is a cultural engine that makes plays, dance, music, and film that touch us through its annual Mainstage Play series and new works generated from the Young Playwrights Program, the Central Heating Lab, and New Works for the American Stage commissioning program. Because contemporary life demands examination, ACT is driven to inspire and strengthen our diverse community through works that advance our understanding of human life. ACT is an interactive community where artists and the public witness, contemplate and engage in dialogue on today's thought-provoking issues, ideas and art, presented with intelligence, insight, and humor. Dedicated to the advancement and preservation of today's contemporary work for future generations, ACT is a destination for contemporary theatre and arts in downtown Seattle.