Santino Fontana and Tony Shalhoub Will Star in James Lapine’s Act One at Broadway’s Vivian Beaumont

By Michael Gioia
08 Dec 2013

Santino Fontana
Santino Fontana
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Santino Fontana, Tony Award-nominated for his performance in Cinderella, and Tony Shalhoub, a two-time Tony nominee for Golden Boy and Conversations with My Father, will star in Act One, a new play written and directed by Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner James Lapine. Previews will begin March 20, 2014, prior to an official opening April 17, 2104, at Broadway’s Vivian Beaumont Theater.

Lincoln Center Theater, under the direction of producing artistic director André Bishop, announced Dec. 8 that Fontana and Shalhoub will both star as legendary writer-director Moss Hart at different stages of his life in the upcoming LCT production, based on the autobiography of the same name by Hart.

The production will also feature a third actor who will play Hart as a young boy. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.

Here’s how LCT bills the work: “Act One, James Lapine’s new play from the classic autobiography by Moss Hart, deemed one of the finest books about 20th-century American theater, eloquently chronicles the playwright/director’s impoverished childhood and his determined struggle to escape poverty and forge a career in the theater. A path which led to his collaboration with George S. Kaufman and their first great success, Once In A Lifetime.”



Act One will have sets by Beowulf Boritt, costumes by Jane Greenwood, lighting by Ken Billington, sound by Dan Moses Schreier and original music by Louis Rosen.

Fontana, currently starring as the Prince in Broadway’s Cinderella, was previously seen Off-Broadway in The Sons of the Prophet and on Broadway in The Importance of Being Earnest, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Billy Elliot and Sunday in the Park with George.

Shalhoub returns to Lincoln Center Theater after appearing last year in LCT’s critically acclaimed production of Clifford OdetsGolden Boy. His Broadway credits include Lend Me A Tenor, Conversations With My Father (Tony nomination), The Heidi Chronicles and the female version of The Odd Couple. He has been seen Off-Broadway in The Scene, Waiting for Godot, Rameau’s Nephew and Zero Positive.

Lapine returns to LCT, where he wrote the book for the musical A New Brain (with music and lyrics by William Finn) and directed his play Twelve Dreams. Director of the current HBO documentary “Six By Sondheim,” he collaborated with Stephen Sondheim as author and director on the musicals Sunday in the Park with George (Pulitzer Prize), Into the Woods, Passion (Tony Award) and the multi-media revue Sondheim on Sondheim.

A July 2012 reading of Act One featured Shalhoub, Debra Monk, Chuck Cooper and David Turner. "Act One" was also adapted into a 1963 film.

Throughout his career, Hart was recognized as an accomplished playwright, screenwriter, lyricist and director. With George S. Kaufman he penned "The Man Who Came to Dinner" and "You Can't Take It With You," as well as the revues As Thousands Cheer (scored by Irving Berlin) and I'd Rather Be Right (scored by Richard Rodgers). He penned the book for Lady in the Dark and earned the Tony Award for directing the original Broadway production of My Fair Lady. Hart also penned the screenplay for "A Star Is Born."

The Vivian Beaumont Theater is located at 150 West 65 Street. Visit LCT.org.