A.C.T. will produce the West Coast premiere David Mamet's Race, the Bay Area premiere of native son Lorenzo Pisoni's Humor Abuse and a multimedia-enhanced revival of Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's Once in a Lifetime.
The 2011–12 season will feature seven productions. Production dates have not been announced. The rest of the slate will be announced in March.
The 1930 showbiz comedy Once in a Lifetime, a satire of Hollywood, will be directed by A.C.T. associate artistic director Mark Rucker. A large cast will tackle 60 roles. The production "will incorporate period film clips and dynamic backdrops that meld the worlds of theatre and film in exciting new ways, redefining audiences' experience with 'moving pictures.'"
In Once in a Lifetime, a trio of down-on-their-luck vaudevillians decide to try their luck out west as "elocution experts," coaching Hollywood stars to make their speaking voices as beautiful as their faces as silent films evolve into "talkies."
A.C.T. tested the production in an earlier staging with MFA students. The comedy marked the first collaboration between Broadway writers Kaufman and Hart, a partnership that also produced The Man Who Came to Dinner and You Can't Take It With You. Race made its world premiere on Broadway in 2009-10. It concerns lawyers who consider taking the case of a rich white man accused of raping a black woman.
Also making its Bay Area premiere is Pisoni's celebrated one-man show, Humor Abuse, "a love letter both to the Bay Area and to the passionate, no-holds-barred life of the performer," according to A.C.T. "In this charming stage memoir, Pisoni — the youngest member of the Pickle Family Circus — tells the story of his life growing up (often literally) in the trunk of his father, Pickle co-founder Larry Pisoni. As he launches into this vivid scrapbook of poignant memories and spectacular routines, Pisoni creates an unforgettable theatrical high-wire act, balancing physical pratfalls with heartfelt recollections of the past."
Pisoni, who last appeared on the A.C.T. stage in 2005's The Gamester, said in a statement, "Ever since Erica Schmidt and I created Humor Abuse, I've wanted to do it in San Francisco. I had a wonderful experience the last time I was on the A.C.T. stage, so now I am thrilled not only to have a chance to return to A.C.T., but also to bring this piece with me. I know many A.C.T. audience members will have a deeper nostalgic connection to what happens in the play because the Pickles were a part of San Francisco's culture for so long."
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