When San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre kicks off its 2000-01 season, it will do so with a world premiere musical -- sort of. The Frank Loesser tunes to Hans Christian Andersen, taken from the 1952 movie, remain intact but playwright Sebastian Barry (The Steward of Christendom) has crafted a new book around them, recreating the classic Andersen fairy tales while telling the story of the writer's escape from poverty through his stories.
Hans Christian Andersen runs Aug. 31-Oct. 8. Martha Clarke (The Garden of Earthly Delights) choreographs and directs.
With a specially-chosen, youthful cast, Moliere's The Misanthrope will follow Hans Christian Andersen, running Oct. 19-Nov. 19. A.C.T. artistic director Carey Perloff directs this tale of a love affair between a pampered creature of society and the man who loathes the company she keeps.
The holiday favorite, A Christmas Carol, returns in December. This adaptation by Ennis Powers and Laird Williamson will be directed by Candace Barrett and Raye Birk.
Director Les Waters will have at David Mamet's acidic Glengarry Glen Ross Jan. 4-Feb. 4. Set in the vicious world of crooked real estate salesmen, Glengarry is the first Mamet play for A.C.T. since 1994's Oleanna. 2000 Tony winner Richard Nelson (James Joyce's The Dead) sees the West Coast premiere of his Goodnight Children Everywhere Feb. 15-March 18. Nelson also directs his story of three sister survivors of World War II who, gathered to welcome their baby brother Peter back from a foster family in Canada, discover repressed passions when the handsome 17 year old arrives. The 1999 Oliver Award winner made its American debut with Playwrights Horizons in May 1999.
A.C.T.'s Marco Barricelli stars as Enrico IV in the Nelson translation of Luigi Pirandello's play about a man who wakes up from an accidental fall believing he is Henry IV, emperor of Germany. Perloff directs this first Pirandello on the A.C.T. for 30 years, running March 29-April 29.
The Threepenny Opera's Steven Anthony Jones and Edward II's Gregory Wallace will be "the boys" to a yet unnamed Master Harold in Athol Fugard's "Master Harold"...and the boys, May 4-June 3. Named one of the most important plays of the 20th Century by London's Royal National Theatre, "Master Harold" is set in 1950's apartheid South Africa, where a young white boy comes to understand prejudice through the two black servants left to take care of him.
The final selection for the A.C.T. season has not yet been decided, but a comedy is being sought.
Subscriptions ($370-$62) are available. For reservations, call (415) 749-2250. American Conservatory Theatre is on the web at http://www.act-sfbay.org.
-- By Christine Ehren