The new show, featuring words and music by the folky alt-pop writer, features a book written by Craig Slaight, direction by A.C.T. associate artist Domenique Lozano, musical direction by Jane Hammett and choreography by Christine Mattison.
Here's how A.C.T. bills the show: "Shamed by his father's arrest during the Panic of 1893, young New York socialite Josiah Matliff flees to Chicago. As he traverses the American railways, he meets other teenage runaways from the fringes of society who are escaping their own pasts. Wainwright's haunting melodies and emotionally charged lyrics shape Beautiful Child into an original and unforgettable story of independence and awakening."
The piece is presented in collaboration with Bird School of Music. Beautiful Child plays the Zeum Theater in Yerba Buena Gardens, Fourth and Howard streets, San Francisco, CA.
Wainwright's first opera, Prima Donna, premiered at the Manchester International Festival in July 2009. His newest album, "All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu," was just released, following "Milwaukee at Last!!!," a live recording from his Release the Stars tour. His discs also include "Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall," "Release the Stars," "Want Two," "Rufus Wainwright" and "Poses."
Wainwright is one of many musicians who have been the focus of Young Conservatory tributes, including Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Lennon and McCartney, Sting, Elton John, Jacques Brel, and Noël Coward. Book writer and Young Conservatory director Craig Slaight said in production notes, "It was Laurie Ubben, my fabulous collaborator at Bird, who first got me excited about Wainwright's music. I recall more than one concert with Laurie where I turned to her and said, 'His songs are so personal and just call out to be staged.' Wainwright's beautiful lyrics are rife with disappointment, failed love, and longing for a better place. These themes carry universal weight but have a particular relevance to the journey of growing up."
The Beautiful Child cast features Mackenzie Adams, Danielle Bowen, Olivia Brown, Christopher Garber, Simone Hudson, Colin Ketcham, Adam Maggio, Del Montgomery, Jadyn Petterson-Rae, Haley Reicher and Katie Yeilding.
Jenna Johnson and Richardson Jones, both members of the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program class of 2011, complete the ensemble. The band is comprised of young musicians who train at Bird School of Music: Nicholas Perloff-Giles, Charlie Lazarus, Maranda Seney and Talia Storey-Cuddeback.
Beautiful Child features the design talents of Craig Slaight (scenic designer) and Jef Valentine (costume designer).
For more information, visit www.act-sf.org.
The A.C.T. Young Conservatory offers a broad range of theater training for young people aged 8 to 19. Hybrid productions can mix high school student performers with grad students and professionals.
A.C.T.'s stage at Zeum Theater is dedicated to the development of "new works, new forms and new artists."