Tales of the City Musical Tests Its Voice in San Francisco; Betty Buckley, Stephen Bogardus Star

News   Tales of the City Musical Tests Its Voice in San Francisco; Betty Buckley, Stephen Bogardus Star
Broadway's Betty Buckley, Stephen Bogardus, Betsy Wolfe, Manoel Felciano, Kate Reinders and Mary Birdsong are in San Francisco on Oct. 4 to start rehearsals for a workshop of the new musical Tales of the City.

Stephen Bogardus
Stephen Bogardus

American Conservatory Theater is producing the musical drawn from the 1970s-set Armistead Maupin novels, which take place in the City by the Bay. A spring 2011 full production at A.C.T. will follow the workshop; the workshop company does not necessarily reflect the final casting. Still, it's enough to whet the appetite of show fans and devotees of the fiction phenomenon.

As previously reported by Playbill.com, Tony winner Buckley (Cats) will play pot-friendly San Francisco landlady Anna Madrigal of 28 Barbary Lane.

The world-premiere musical production will feature a book by Tony Award–winning writer Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q) and music and lyrics by Jake Shears and John Garden of the glam-rock band Scissor Sisters. Tony Award nominee Jason Moore (Avenue Q and Shrek: The Musical) directs, with choreography by Larry Keigwin.

The developmental workshop takes place at A.C.T. Oct. 4-22; the workshop process does not include a public presentation. The full staging will play A.C.T.'s home May 17–June 19, 2011.

In the workshop, Tony Award–nominated actor Stephen Bogardus (Love! Valour! Compassion!, Man of La Mancha, and Falsettos on Broadway) plays Edgar Halcyon, Anna's love interest; rising star Betsy Wolfe (Broadway's Everyday Rapture) plays Mary Ann Singleton, the Midwestern transplant to San Francisco at the center of the story; and A.C.T. core acting company member and Tony Award–nominated actor Manoel Felciano (Sweeney Todd on Broadway) plays Norman Neal Williams.

Betsy Wolfe
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

They are joined by two graduates of A.C.T.'s acclaimed Master of Fine Arts program: Bay Area actor Nick Gabriel as Michael Tolliver (aka Mouse) and Morgan Spector (who most recently appeared with Scarlett Johansson and Liev Schreiber in A View from the Bridge on Broadway) as Brian Hawkins.

According to A.C.T., "The colorful cast of characters that Mary Ann meets upon her arrival at the now-iconic 28 Barbary Lane will be brought to life" by Patti Allison (Orpheus Descending on Broadway) as Mother Mucca, Mary Birdsong ("Reno 911!" on Comedy Central; Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me and Hairspray on Broadway) as Mona Ramsey, Colin Donnell (Jersey Boys on Broadway) as Beauchamp Day, Adam Fiorentino (Mary Poppins on Broadway) as Jon Fielding, and Kate Reinders (Gypsy and Wicked on Broadway) as Dede Halcyon-Day.

The ensemble for the workshop includes A.C.T. M.F.A. Program student Marisa Duchowny alongside a mix of local and national talent, including Arwen Anderson, Keith Bearden, Alex Hsu, Bianca Leigh, Stuart Marland, Jonathan Ritter and Josh Walden.

Single tickets for Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City (the show's official title) go on sale in January 2011. The only way to get tickets to the show at this time is by purchasing a subscription to A.C.T.'s 2010–11 season.

The creative team for Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City also includes scenic designer Douglas W. Schmidt, lighting designer Robert Wierzel, costume design Beaver Bauer, sound designer John Shivers, and musical director Stephen Oremus.

Development of Tales of the City was supported by the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center during a residency at the National Music Theater Conference of 2009.

For exclusive first looks, presale ticket info, and special offers, join "Tale Chasers," A.C.T.'s email fan club, by visiting www.act-sf.org/TaleChasers.

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