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BD Wong to Lead THE ORPHAN OF ZHAO at ACT; Upcoming Events Announced

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Artistic Director Carey Perloff announced today four of the seven shows that will comprise the lineup of the company's 47th subscription season, including "a brilliant and visionary high-spirited musical, a seductive and sexy cat-and-mouse comedy, a newly adapted Chinese classic starring stage and screen star BD Wong, and a masterwork from acclaimed playwright George Bernard Shaw."

Additional productions for the 2013-14 season, as well as the complete show order and performance schedule, will be announced at a later date.

Says Perloff: "Next season is turning out to be epic and quite thrilling! We have been drawn to big plays with big ideas and big emotions, from Frank Galati's brilliant reimagining of 1776 to BD Wong in an extraordinary Chinese epic. In keeping with A.C.T.'s love of contemporary stories and international adventure, we eagerly await Venus in Fur and our latest Canadian collaboration on George Bernard Shaw's wicked and trenchant Major Barbara, a coproduction with Theatre Calgary. We've got a great deal more in the pipeline to announce shortly, including the return of some of A.C.T.'s most beloved actors, but we were so excited about these titles that we couldn't wait to start spreading the word. Stay tuned for more!"

The 2013-14 season begins with passionate (and patriotic) fireworks as A.C.T. presents the West Coast premiere of Tony Award-winning director Frank Galati's triumphant new staging of the musical 1776. In the spirit of the remarkable national political debates spurred on by the acclaimed film Lincoln comes a vivid musical look at the riveting events that rocked Congress more than 230 years ago as our founding fathers wrestled with infighting, held heated debates, and negotiated compromises while drafting the Declaration of Independence. Hailed by critics as "brilliant," "thrilling," and "utterly riveting"-and filled with glorious music and unforgettable characters-1776 takes us on a timely, rousing, and suspenseful adventure into the fascinating first chapter of American history. Premiering on Broadway in 1969, 1776 ran for more than 1,200 performances and was the recipient of three Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The New York Times called 1776 "cliff-hanging drama . . . as magical as a fairy tale," and Sarasota Magazine praised Galati's new production as "beautifully staged . . . exciting and suspenseful."

A.C.T. is thrilled to present the Northern California premiere of the sexy new comedy Venus in Fur, the captivating work from theatrical mastermind David Ives that recently electrified (and titillated) Broadway audiences. When a young actress auditions for a demanding playwright/director's adaptation of a classic novel that explores sexual domination, their encounter explodes into a playful, witty, and captivating game of cat and mouse, dangerously blurring the lines between fantasy and reality-and seduction and power. Venus in Fur was named one of the "year's best" plays by more than a dozen major publications, and the New York Times called it "seriously smart and very funny . . . a suspense-packed study of the erotics of power." A.C.T. will welcome back California Shakespeare Theater Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone (who staged A.C.T.'s acclaimed production of Clybourne Park in 2011) to direct this exhilarating work.

A.C.T.'s season will expand to global dimensions with The Orphan of Zhao, James Fenton's beautiful reinvention of a classic Chinese legend that has its roots back in the fourth century BCE. The inimitable stage and screen star BD Wong (M. Butterfly, Law & Order: Special Victim Unit) will make his A.C.T. debut in this luminous production. In the aftermath of a violent coup, an epic story of self-sacrifice and revenge plays out as a young orphan discovers the shattering truth behind his origins. Often described as the Chinese Hamlet, this gripping tale was the first Chinese play to be translated in the West nearly 300 years ago and has inspired countless operas, plays, and movies. The Guardian praised Fenton's adaptation as "haunting . . . [a] drama hewn out of a myth that speaks across the centuries," and the Times of London called it "an emotionally piercing marvel."

To continue the mission of bringing reimagined classic works to the stage, A.C.T. will present a sumptuous production of George Bernard Shaw's political comedy Major Barbara. In this intriguing tangle of religion and business, a Salvation Army officer becomes disillusioned when her church accepts money from a whiskey distiller and armaments manufacturer-her own father. If the price of supporting the poor is complicity with the country's most successful gun factory, what is Barbara to do? As it explores timely themes of business, faith, family, and morality, Major Barbara remains one of Shaw's most topical and richly invigorating works. Coproduced with one of A.C.T.'s favorite Canadian collaborators, Theatre Calgary (who hosted A.C.T.'s production of The Tosca Project on its 2011 tour), Major Barbara will be directed by Theatre Calgary Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum, featuring an international cast of both Canadian and American actors.

In addition to announcing four shows from the seven-play subscription season, A.C.T. is happy to welcome back the Bay Area's favorite holiday tradition, the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, after its record-breaking run last season. Featuring a lively cast of dozens, delightful music, gorgeous costumes, and those deliciously spooky ghosts, this version of A Christmas Carol, adapted by Paul Walsh and Carey Perloff, stays true to the heart of Dickens's timeless story of redemption and brings a playful sensibility to his rich language. A Christmas Carol -now in its 37th year-is a cornerstone of the A.C.T. repertory and has become a holiday tradition for families around the Bay Area.

At this time, only current full-season A.C.T. subscribers can renew their subscriptions for the 2013-14 season. To receive priority notice when packages become available to new subscribers, visit to fill out the online request form or call the A.C.T. Box Office at 415.749.2228. Full-season (7-play) subscriptions will soon be available for $77-$651 and offer incredible savings, unparalleled access, exclusive benefits, and personalized customer service. Subscribers save as much as 50% off single-ticket prices. Students and educators are eligible to save up to half-price on subscriptions, and senior discounts are available for certain series. To make subscriptions more affordable, A.C.T. also offers all subscribers an extended payment plan that allows payment in two easy installments. A.C.T.'s competitive subscriber benefits include free ticket exchanges up to the day of scheduled tickets, guaranteed best seating, ticket insurance, access to convenient prepaid parking one block away from the theater, discounts for neighborhood restaurants, the opportunity to subscribe to Words on Plays, A.C.T.'s in-depth theater guide for each show. To renew a current A.C.T. subscription, please call 415.749.2250 or log on to

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