One of Hollywood's major motion picture studios has its eyes on the six foot invisible rabbit Harvey for an upcoming remake, so San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre will have to erase its plans for a 2003 revival of the Mary Chase comedy. Instead, ACT will bring Richard Greenberg's award-winning The Dazzle to San Franciscans Feb. 14-March 16, 2003.
The Dazzle concerns the eccentric Collyer brothers, Langley and Homer, a successful pianist and his wealthy brother who live in isolation until they bring a beautiful young socialite home one night. ACT company members Rene Augesen, Steven Anthony Jones and Gregory Wallace will star in the production, to be directed by Laird Williamson.
A second addition to the season is W. Somerset Maugham's The Constant Wife, playing March 27-April 27, 2003. Set in 1920's London, The Constant Wife dissects the foibles of the upper-class, who spend their time gossiping about the illicit affairs conducted by their set. Kyle Donnelly will direct.
Today, Maughn is best known for his novels "Of Human Bondage," "The Moon and Sixpence" and "The Razor's Edge," although in his time, his plays, including Lady Frederick, East of Suez, The Circle and For Services Rendered were quite popular.
Of course, the biggest news from the American Conservatory Theatre has been that the San Francisco venue will host the premiere dates for Urinetown's national tour. The wildly satiric Greg Kotis-Mark Hollmann musical, about a place where the poor have to pay to pee, plays the Geary Theatre June 24-July 27, 2002. Original director John Rando and original choreographer John Carrafa return for the tour launch, which will travel from ACT to Denver, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Toronto, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and Cleveland. But before Urinetown becomes home for San Franciscan theatregoers, American Conservatory Theatre has planned a season of classics, a rarely revived Tom Stoppard play and Ruben Santiago-Hudson in his solo drama Lackawanna Blues.
Night and Day, in its first major revival since its premiere 25 years ago, is Stoppard's examination of international journalism and the price truth pays in it. Two Western journalists and a photographer are in Africa reporting on a country's attempts at revolution, when they meet a beautiful woman who may be hiding the scoop of a lifetime. ACT core company actors Rene Augesen, Marco Barricelli, Steven Anthony Jones and Gregory Wallace will star with Carey Perloff directing. Night and Day plays Sept. 19-Oct. 20.
Santiago-Hudson, known for his TV appearances on "NYPD Blue" and "Michael Hayes" and his Tony win for Seven Guitars, plays over twenty characters in Lackwanna Blues, set in his home town of Lackawanna, New York in 1956. The Obie-winning drama centers on Miss Rachel's boarding house, where a parade of eccentric, dreaming and lost souls come to stay. Original blues music is composed and performed live by guitarist Bill Sims.
Since its premiere at the Public Theatre, Santiago-Hudson has traveled with Lackawanna to Seattle, Philadelphia and Princeton. Lackawanna Blues plays ACT Oct. 27-Dec. 1.
The classic offerings include David Mamet's American Buffalo with Barricelli and Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters, directed by Perloff with Augesen, Barricelli, Jones and Wallace (May 8-June 8, 2003).
American Conservatory Theatre is located at 415 Geary Street. For ticket information, call (415) 749-2250. American Conservatory Theatre is on the web at http://www.act sfbay.org.
— By Christine Ehren