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American Conservatory Theater to Present George Bernard Shaw's MAJOR BARBARA, 1/8-2/2


After 16 years, George Bernard Shaw returns to the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) stage in a sumptuous production of one of his most witty and richly invigorating works - Major Barbara. Salvation Army officer Major Barbara gets in an intriguing tangle of morality and religion when her church accepts money from her estranged father-a wealthy armaments manufacturer. If the price of supporting the poor is complicity with the country's most successful gun factory, who has the right to be righteous about saving the poor? Timely and topical, Major Barbara is a devilishly funny satire exploring themes of business, faith, family, and philanthropy. In the wake of highly successful Canadian productions, including No Exit, The Overcoat and Vigil, Major Barbara is co-produced with one of A.C.T.'s favorite Canadian collaborators, Theatre Calgary, which hosted A.C.T.'s visionary Tosca Project during its 2011 tour. Directed by Theatre Calgary Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum, Major Barbara features an international cast of both Canadian and American actors. This is the first staging of Major Barbara during A.C.T.'s tenure at The Geary Theater. Major Barbara runs January 8-February 2, 2014, at A.C.T.'s Geary Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco). Press night is Wednesday, January 15, 2014. Tickets ($20 -$140) are on sale now and may be purchased online at or by calling 415.749.2228.

Says Carey Perloff, Artistic Director of A.C.T.: "As I was planning the season and wrestling with the enormous ongoing conflicts in this country around guns, violence and money, it suddenly seemed an urgent time to revisit Shaw's visionary Major Barbara! I can think of no other play that so brilliantly explores the uneasy relationship between ill-gotten gains and corporate philanthropy, as Undershaft tries to appease his passionate daughter Barbara by paying for her good deeds with gunpowder profits. It's thrilling that this will be a genuinely international project, as we team up again with the remarkable Theater Calgary and create a company of superb Canadian and American actors to tell this suspenseful, disturbing and often hilarious tale."

"I am honoured to be directing this masterpiece that speaks of the passion of faith and the passion of war in strikingly modern terms," says Garnhum. "I know the audiences at A.C.T. will enjoy the stimulating mix of thought-provoking narrative and insightful humour."

The cast for Major Barbara includes Nemuna Ceesay as Jenny Hill; Kandis Chappell as Lady Britomart Undershaft; Dan Clegg as Bronterre O'Brien Price and Bilton; Jennifer Clement as Mrs. Baines; Tyrell Crews as Charles Lomax; Dean Paul Gibson as Andrew Undershaft; Gretchen Hall as Barbara Undershaft; Dan Hiatt as Peter Shirley and Morrison; Nicholas Pelczar as Adolphus Cusins; Stafford Perry as Stephen Undershaft; Valeri Planche as Rummy Mitchens; Elyse Price as Sarah Undershaft; and Brian Rivera as Bill Walker.

The creative team for Major Barbara includes scenic designer Daniel Ostling (Stuck Elevator and Once in a Lifetime at A.C.T.; Clybourne Park on Broadway), costume designer Alex Jaeger (Arcadia and 4000 Miles at A.C.T.; Other Desert Cities at the Mark Taper Forum); lighting designer Alan Brodie (Vigil at A.C.T.; The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival) and sound designer Scott Killian (Sarah, Sarah at Manhattan Theatre Club; The Shaughraun at Seattle Repertory Theatre).

A.C.T. will offer numerous InterACT events-many of which are presented free of charge-in association with Major Barbara that will give patrons opportunities to get closer to the action while making a whole night out of their evening at the theater:

• Bike to the Theater Night: Jan. 23, 7:00 p.m.

Providing a greener alternative to theater transportation, A.C.T. and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition offer free valet bike parking, as well as a special discount on tickets, for this select performance.

• Audience Prologue: Jan. 14, 5:30 p.m.
Before the curtain goes up, get behind the artistic process at this fascinating preshow discussion with the director and artistic staff. Can't make it to the event? We'll be streaming it live online!

• Theater on the Couch: Fri., Jan. 17, 8 p.m.

Following the show, discuss the minds, motives, and behaviors of the characters with Dr. Mason Turner, chief of psychiatry at San Francisco's Kaiser Permanente Medical Center.

• Audience Exchanges: Tue., Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. | Sun., Jan. 26, at 2 p.m. | Wed., Jan. 29, at 2 p.m.
Learn firsthand what goes into the making of great theater. After the show, stick around for a lively Q&A session with the actors, designers and artists who develop the work onstage.

• OUT with A.C.T.: Wed., Jan. 22, at 8 p.m.
The best LGBT night in town! Mingle with the cast and enjoy free drinks and treats at this popular after party. Visit for information about how to subscribe to OUT nights (and other InterACT events) throughout the season.

· Symposium: Sat., Jan. 25, at 2 p.m.

You're invited to join us after the show for a lively discussion! A.C.T. invites you to join us in the theater immediately following your performance for a discussion and Q&A with a local expert. The discussion will be moderated by A.C.T. dramaturg Michael Paller. Can't make it to the event? We'll be streaming it live online!

• Wine Series: Tue., Jan. 28, at 5:30 p.m.
Before the show, raise a glass at this wine tasting event featuring unique wines from The Barrel Room, a popular wine bar located in Union Square.

• PlayTime: Saturday, Feb. 1, at 12:30 p.m.
Before this matinee performance, get hands-on with theater with the artists who make it happen at this interactive workshop.

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