Wonderful Town Star Appears in Brecht-Weill Happy End in SF; Carrafa Choreographs

News   Wonderful Town Star Appears in Brecht-Weill Happy End in SF; Carrafa Choreographs
 
Wonderful Town star Linda Mugleston will star in Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's Happy End at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater in a production featuring choreography by John Carrafa.
Linda Mugleston
Linda Mugleston Photo by Aubrey Reuben

A.C.T. artistic director Carey Perloff will stage the work at his California company's Geary Theater June 8-July 9. The show, which opens June 14, ends the 2005-2006 season at A.C.T.

Brecht and Weill penned Happy End in 1929 to followup their previous hit The Threepenny Opera. The Runyonesque work, set in a mythical gangland Chicago just before the "Roaring Twenties," follows the struggles of a Salvation Army lieutenant Lillian Holiday and a down-and-out mobster Bill Cracker. The action builds toward a dramatic showdown on Christmas Eve. A.C.T. collaborator Michael Feingold describes his translation as "a jolly escapist romp with an acid undercurrent."

Tony Award-nominated Carrafa (Broadway's Urinetown, Into the Woods) serves as choreographer while Constantine Kitsopoulos (Baz Luhrmann's La Bohème, Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake) handles musical direction.

Mugleston (Nine, Into the Woods) stars as the mysterious Lady in Grey ("The Fly") in a cast that also features Charlotte Cohn (Baz Lurhmann's La Bohème), Peter J. Macon (A.C.T.'s Hecuba, Drowning Crow), (A.C.T.'s Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, The Black Rider and Broadway's Julius Caesar).

The ensemble also includes Sab Shimono (Broadway's Pacific Overtures) and A.C.T. vets Charles Dean (The Rivals), Rod Gnapp (The Time of Your Life), Steven Anthony Jones (Gem of the Ocean), Joan Harris-Gelb (A Doll's House), René Augesen (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Lianne Marie Dobbs (The Difficulty of Crossing a Field), Jud Williford (The Rivals) as well as Justin Leath, Celia Shuman, Jackson Davis, Dan Hiatt, Wendy James, Colin Thomson, Drew Hirshfield and Stephanie Saunders. The design team for Happy End is Walt Spangler (sets), Candice Donnelly (costumes), Robert Wierzel (lights) and Jeff Curtis (sound). Nathan Baynard is the assistant director for the production.

Perloff and the A.C.T. artistic staff have been exploring Happy End for years through readings and a workshop featuring Betty Buckley. When the planned staging of William Shakespeare's King Lear — with James Cromwell to star in the title role — was cancelled due to creative differences, they chose to push the work to production.

Tickets to Happy End at A.C.T., 415 Geary St. in San Francisco, CA, by calling (415) 749-2228. For more information, visit www.act sf.org.

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