American Conservatory Theater Casting for 'Wendy Play'

American Conservatory Theater conservatory director Melissa Smith and Young Conservatory director Craig Slaight announced casting today for the world premiere production of playwright Amy Herzog's The Wendy Play. Directed by A.C.T. associate artist Domenique Lozano, the production features actors from the graduating class of the Master of Fine Arts Program as well as from the Young Conservatory. The Wendy Play plays March 21 through April 5 at Zeum Theater, located at Yerba Buena Gardens (Fourth and Howard streets). Tickets are $15.50-$20.50 and are available by calling A.C.T. Ticket Services at 415.749.2228 or online at www.act-sf.org.

Actors from the Master of Fine Arts program include Jahmela Biggs, Kaliswa Brewster, Kevin Dedes, and J. C. Ernst, and the cast members from the Young Conservatory are Nicholas Baefsky, Susanna Buckley, Leena Culhane, Isadora Epstein, Tyler Gilliam, Morgan Green, Haley Leitman, Kate Fox Marcom, Gabriella Mingoia, Natasha Morris, Anya Richkind, and Emma Rothschild.  The accomplished design team for The Wendy Play includes set designer Rick Ortenblad, costume designer Callie Floor, lighting designer Jared Hirsch, and sound designer Matt Cowell.

A teacher in all of the conservatory's programs, director Domenique Lozano served as the associate director of and restaged A Christmas Carol at A.C.T. for the last two years. Other directing credits include The Countess with Center REPertory Theatre, Two for the Seesaw with Marin Theatre Company, Inspecting Carol and the West Coast premiere of Jane Martin's Anton in Show Business with San Jose Stage Company, and The Norman Conquests, Holiday, The Real Thing, and She Loves Me with Napa Valley Repertory Theatre, where she is a founding member and associate artistic director. An associate artist at A.C.T., Lozano has directed many projects with the Young Conservatory, including the American premiere of After Juliet, the world premieres of Sarah Daniel's Dust and Constance Congdon's Nightingales, and the West Coast premieres of Jeffrey Hatcher's Korczak's Children and Wendy MacLeod's School Girl Figure. Directing work with the A.C.T. M.F.A. Program includes Caught with Her Pants Down and Richard III. Acting credits include work with California Shakespeare Theater, A.C.T., Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre, San Jose Stage Company, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Lozano has also taught throughout the Bay Area at California Shakespeare Theater, A.C.T., Berkeley Repertory Theatre, UC Davis, and Saint Mary's College.

Playwright Amy Herzog's works include Opportunity, Hungry, Willing, and In Translation. Opportunity was commissioned by the O'Neill at Yale Studio and further developed at the Provincetown Playhouse. Hungry was produced at the Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) in New York following its run at Yale Repertory Theatre's New Theater in New Haven and will have a reading this spring at the Black Dahlia Theatre in Los Angeles. Willing received readings at Apple Girl Productions in New York and Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and was produced at the Yale School of Drama. In 2003, In Translation was a finalist for the Lark Play Development Center's Playwrights' Week. In Translation also received a reading at the John Houseman Theater and was the basis for Herzog's J. R. Humphrey Fellowship at Columbia University. Following its production at the Yale School of Drama's Carlotta Festival, The Wendy Play received a reading at New York Stage & Film.  Herzog currently holds a commission from Yale Rep. She is a member of Youngblood, EST's workshop for emerging professional playwrights, and a cofounder of The Tank, a performing and visual arts venue in downtown Manhattan, where she served as literary manager for two years. She has a B.A. in English from Yale College and an M.F.A. in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama. She currently teaches playwriting at Bryn Mawr College.

The conservatory, led by Melissa Smith and George Thompson, now serves 3,000 students every year. It was the first actor training program in the United States not affiliated with a college or university accredited to award a master of fine arts degree. Danny Glover, Annette Bening, Denzel Washington, Benjamin Bratt, and Anika Noni Rose are among the conservatory's distinguished former students. With its commitment to excellence in actor training and to the relationship between training, performance, and audience, the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program has moved to the forefront of America's actor training programs, while serving as the creative engine of the company at large. The Master of Fine Arts Program Class of 2008 will all perform together at the Class of '08 Showcase, a diverse program of drama, comedy, and music chosen to highlight each graduate's individual talents. Following a performance in San Francisco on April 23, the students will head to New York (performances April 28) and Los Angeles (performances May 5) to present their showcase to theater and film directors, agents, and casting directors.

The A.C.T. Young Conservatory offers a broad range of theater training for young people aged 8 to 19. The 10 sessions and four public productions offered throughout the year are designed to develop talent and creativity, as well as communication and cooperation skills, for young people with all levels of theater background. Working professional actors and directors lead students in a spectrum of classes, including acting, directing, voice and speech, musical theater, audition, and improvisation. Call 415.439.2444 or visit www.actactortraining.org for applications and information.

A.C.T.'s stage at Zeum Theater is dedicated to the development of new works, new forms, and new artists. A.C.T.@Zeum was launched in October 2001 with the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program's world premiere staging of Marc Blitzstein's No for an Answer, directed by A.C.T. artistic director Carey Perloff. Zeum Theater is the current home of the Young Conservatory New Plays Program and gives A.C.T. an additional stage for readings, workshops, rehearsals, and other aspects of new play and production development.

Tickets are $20.50 for adults, and $15.50 for students, seniors, and A.C.T. subscribers. Tickets are available online at www.act-sf.org or by calling or visiting A.C.T. Ticket Services at 405 Geary St. or 415.749.2228. 




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