Members of A.C.T.'s Master of Fine Arts Program to Stage THE BIG MEAL

American Conservatory Theater's Master of Fine Arts Program, Class of 2016, will present Dan LeFranc's The Big Meal-a delicious comedy about eight diners, four generations and one family-February 24-27, 2016 in The Rueff at A.C.T.'s Strand Theater (1127 Market Street, San Francisco). Family is not a word, it's a seating chart in this delicious and provocative comedy. Playwright Dan LeFranc orients the drama around four generations of a single family loving and laughing, fighting and yelling over a series of meals. While the passing of time in LeFranc's world is fluid (this feels like a modern cousin of Thornton Wilder's The Long Christmas Dinner), the meals are quick and casual-a moveable feast. One moment, two young lovers are hooking up over cocktails, the next moment, they're middle-aged and clashing about their kids. With characters that develop, flip, and shift, The Big Meal serves up a thought-provoking feast for audiences.

The performance schedule for The Big Meal is as follows: Wednesday, February 24 at 7 p.m.; Thursday, February 25 at 7 p.m.; Friday, February 26 at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, February 27 at 1:30 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available online at or by calling the A.C.T. Box Office at 415.749.2228.

Directed by Ryan Purcell, The Big Meal will feature Matthew Baldiga, Matthew Capbarat, Christina Liang, Michael McIntire, Rosa Palmeri, Jennifer Reddish, Thomas Stagnitta, and Caitlan Taylor.

This production is made possible by generous grants from The Bernard Osher Foundation and Jewels of Charity. Additional support provided by donors to A.C.T.'s season gala.

Ranked as one of the top programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Program-under the direction of Melissa Smith-is the only theater training program in the country accredited to award the master of fine arts degree, yet is not affiliated with a college or university. The essence of A.C.T.'s actor training lies in the interplay between the professional company and the Conservatory. Student actors at A.C.T. perform frequently within the program in studio productions, as well as in cabaret and Shakespeare productions that tour throughout the larger Bay Area. Third-year M.F.A. Program student actors perform in A.C.T.'s mainstage production of A Christmas Carol and also audition for roles in A.C.T. mainstage productions. In recent years, students have played roles in Ah, Wilderness!, Love and Information, and A Little Night Music, as well as performing in new and commissioned works. Many graduates of the program go on to distinguished careers in theater and film and include such celebrated actors as Elizabeth Banks, Annette Bening, Christopher Fitzgerald, Danny Glover, Omar Metwally, Dileep Rao, Anna Deavere Smith, and Denzel Washington. A.C.T. provides a wealth of talented actors for productions across the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond: graduates of the M.F.A. Program have taken on leading roles in productions at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, San Jose Stage, and Shakespeare Santa Cruz, among others. The M.F.A. Program functions as the cornerstone of the A.C.T. Conservatory, which also includes the Summer Training Congress, Studio A.C.T., the Young Conservatory, and the San Francisco Semester, and trains more than 3,000 students annually. For more information, visit

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