The upcoming season at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater will include Freestyle Love Supreme, The Lehman Trilogy, and the pre-Broadway tryout of the new Soul Train musical. With plans to extend the season’s schedule through spring 2022, in-person productions will begin only when it is safe to gather indoors.
A.C.T. hopes to resume its in-person productions at the company’s Strand Theater May 27, 2021, with the West Coast premiere of Christopher Chen’s The Headlands. Tony Award winner and A.C.T. Artistic Director Pam MacKinnon (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) will direct the 21st-century noir after its 2020 world premiere at Lincoln Center Theater.
The rest of the season will take place at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater. Up next is Freestyle Love Supreme, beginning September July 29. The hip-hop phenomenon, created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, and Anthony Veneziale, played a 14-week limited run on Broadway before the group’s documentary premiered on Hulu earlier this month.
The world premiere of the Broadway-aimed Soul Train, from Dominique Morisseau, Questlove, Camille A. Brown, and Kamilah Forbes, will take the stage September 24. The musical is inspired by the ‘70s TV series created and hosted by Don Cornelius, using more than 20 hit songs from the era.
The annual in-person production A Christmas Carol will then return November 30, after being presented as a radio play during the 2020 holiday season. MacKinnon then directs a production of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale, beginning performances February 10, 2022. Closing out the season is the Sam Mendes-directed Stefano Massi saga The Lehman Trilogy.
In the meantime, the slate of virtual programming will stream on A.C.T.’s new platform InterACT at Home. The digital presentations include an live stream encore performance of Madhuri Shekar’s In Love and Warcraft September 4–12, 2020.
MacKinnon will then host Virtually Speaking, a new series of in-depth conversations kicking off November 20. The first guest is four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening, with additional names and dates to be announced.
A.C.T. then presents the aforementioned A Christmas Carol: On Air beginning December 4, an adaptation of Dickens’ text by Paul Walsh and Carey Perloff with direction by Peter J. Kuo. The radio play will be available to stream through December 26. A number of holiday-themed family activities are planned to accompany the production.
2021 begins with the play reading series A.C.T. Out Loud. Scheduled works include Alice Childress’s Trouble in Mind January 29, directed by Awoye Timpo; George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man February 19, directed by Colman Domingo; and Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker March 26, directed by Dawn Monique Williams.
Rounding out the virtual offerings is the original film Animal Wisdom, a musical séance by Heather Christian that played at The Bushwick Starr in 2017. The work is presented in association with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.
Additional InterACT at Home titles will be announced at a later date. All of the productions will also be available to view on demand following the original streams. Casting and a creative team for these productions will be announced later.