American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Conservatory Director Melissa Smithannounced today that the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Program will present Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party, taking audiences back in time, capturing the edginess and excitement of the roaring '20s. With a book, music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, the production is directed by Mark Rucker and will play a limited four show engagement. Performances are: December 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m.; December 15 at 2 & 7:30 p.m. All performances take place at A.C.T.'s Costume Shop (1117 Market Street, San Francisco). Tickets are $15 and are available by calling the A.C.T. Box Office at 415.749.2228 or online at www.act-sf.org.
Based on Joseph Moncure March's 1928 poem of the same name, The Wild Party chronicles one unruly night in the Manhattan apartment of vaudeville performers Queenie and Burrs. Bored with their relationship, the couple invites a bevy of their rough-and-rowdy, gin-slinging gang over for an evening of recklessness that will leave them changed forever. Andrew Lippa's award-winning, jazz-inflected score evokes the enthusiasm of the era-with a saucy nod to modern moral depravity.
Additionally, Niagara Falls, a new play by Steve Yockey – commissioned by A.C.T. exclusively for the M.F.A. Program class of 2015 – will debut with three performances. In this world premiere from one of the Bay Area's hottest young playwrights, newlyweds Jack and Avery Perch are trying to enjoy their kitschy honeymoon, but lingering doubts are creeping in-and their shabby suite and an opera-singing concierge aren't helping. Meanwhile, down on the boardwalk, a woman who might have been Avery is living something that might have been Avery's (unmarried) life against the backdrop of tourists, fortune tellers, and rickety carnival rides. When these worlds collide, both women see their lives flash before their eyes in this play about the big choices we make-and the possibilities we let drift over the falls. Directed by Melissa Smith, performances of Niagara Fallswill take place on Wednesday, December 12 and Thursday, December 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Friday, December 14 at 4 p.m. at Hastings Studio Theater (77 Geary Street, Sixth Floor, San Francisco). Tickets are $15 and are available by calling the A.C.T. Box Office at 415.749.2228 or online at www.act-sf.org.
Ranked as one of the top programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program is the only theater training program in the country accredited to award the master of fine arts degree, yet is not affiliated with a college or university. The essence of A.C.T.'s actor training lies in the interplay between the professional company and the Conservatory. Student actors at A.C.T. perform frequently within the program in Studio Productions, as well as in cabaret and Shakespeare productions that tour to the larger Bay Area. Third-year M.F.A. Program student actors perform in A.C.T.'s mainstage production of A Christmas Carol and also audition for roles in A.C.T. mainstage productions. In recent years, students have played leading roles in Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, Once in a Lifetime, Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet, and The Caucasian Chalk Circle, as well as performing in new and commissioned works. Many graduates of the program go on to distinguished careers in theater and film and include such celebrated actors as Elizabeth Banks, Annette Bening, Christopher Fitzgerald, Danny Glover, Omar Metwally, Dileep Rao, Anna Deavere Smith, and Denzel Washington. A.C.T. provides a wealth of talented actors for productions across the San Francisco Bay Area: graduates of the M.F.A. Program have taken on leading roles in productions at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, San Jose Stage, and Shakespeare Santa Cruz, among others. The M.F.A. Program functions as the cornerstone of the A.C.T. Conservatory, which also includes the Summer Training Congress, Studio A.C.T., and the Young Conservatory, and trains more than 3,000 students annually. For more information, visit act-sf.org/conservatory.