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Good Theater to Present James Lapine's ACT ONE

Good Theater the professional theater company in residence at the St. Lawrence Arts Center, 76 Congress Street, Portland will close its 14th season with the regional theater premiere of ACT ONE by James Lapine from the autobiography by Moss Hart. Good Theater is the first company to do Act One since its Broadway debut in 2014. The production opens April 6 and runs through May 1. Tickets are available by calling the Good Theater box office at 207-885-5883 or going to the company's website where tickets may be purchased on line.

In addition to the performances, Good Theater will offer several special events to coincide with the run of Act One. On Thursday April 14, the company will offer a talk-back following the performance with the cast and director of the show. On Sunday April 24 at noon, Brian P. Allen will offer a talk on Moss Hart. Both of these events are free and open to the public whether you attend a performance or not. Call the office for more details.

ACT ONE features a cast of 14 actors playing 60 roles. The company features: Thomas Campbell (Good Theater debut), Christopher Davis (Good Theater debut), Betsy Dunphy (Little Me and Forum), Paul Haley (Regrets Only and Becky's New Car), Meredith Lamothe (Regrets Only and The Importance of Being Earnest), Conor Riordan Martin (Shear Madness and The Rainmaker), Allison McCall (Becky's New Car and August Osage County), Halim Moldaver (Broadway at Good Theater), Tony Reilly (Frost/Nixon and Next Fall) Amy Roche (Clybourne Park and Regrets Only), Mark Rubin (Clybourne Park and August Osage County), Lisa Stathoplos (Master Class and August Osage County), William Oliver Watkins (Good Theater debut), and Michael Wood (Shear Madness and Mrs. Mannerly).

Brian P. Allen directs the production. "This is very exciting to present an amazing piece of theater in an entirely new production. The Broadway version featured a massive three-story set on a 60' turntable giving each of the 21 scenes in the play a complete setting. We don't have the technical capabilities to do this, so our production will be about imagination and suggesting locations giving the actors an opportunity to shine," says Allen. "I loved the book, Act One, and was captivated by the play when I saw it on Broadway. I've taken Our Town as my inspiration for staging this show, and I look forward to sharing it with Good Theater audiences."

Some of the real-life characters to appear in ACT ONE include: Moss Hart, George S. Kaufman, Langston Hughes, Dorothy Parker, Harpo Marx, Dore Shary and Edna Furber among many others.

The production team includes: Steve Underwood (set design), Justin Cote (costume design), Iain Odlin (lighting design), Michael Lynch (production stage manager), Craig Robinson (technical director), and Cheryl Dolan (props & scenic artist).

Good Theater received two grants to help produce ACT ONE. The Maine Community Foundation's Theater Fund and the Davis Family Foundation both provided funds to assist the company with mounting this highly ambitious production.

Moss Hart was a writer and director on Broadway during the 1930s into the 1960s. As an author with George S. Kaufman he wrote Once in a Lifetime, The Man Who Came to Dinner and You Can't Take It With You. He wrote the play Light Up the Sky which Good Theater presented during its 2008-2009 season. He also wrote the musicals As Thousands Cheer and Lady in the Dark. He wrote the screenplays for A Star Is Born (Judy Garland version), Hans Christian Andersen, Winged Victory and Gentleman's Agreement. As a director he is most famous for staging My Fair Lady and Camelot.

Good Theater opened its season with an original musical revue, No Biz Like Show Biz and followed that with the world premiere of Mama's Boy by Rob Urbinati. In addition to Broadway at Good Theater, the company also presented the Maine premiere of Shear Madness for eight weeks. That show will return to Good Theater in January 2018 for another run.

Next year Good Theater's season includes the Portland premiere of the Tony Award winning Best Play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang, the Maine premiere of The May Queen by Molly Smith Metzler and Horton Foote's award winning The Trip to Bountiful as well the company's annual Broadway at Good Theater concerts.

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