In the spirit of the beloved hit The Black Rider, American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) continues the tradition of introducing eclectic, unforgettable musical projects to the stage with the world premiere of Stuck Elevator. A visionary musical work, Stuck Elevator is based on the true story of Gu?ng (?), a Chinese deliveryman who was trapped in a Bronx elevator for 81 hours.
Sounding the alarm will open the doors to freedom, but calling for help also means calling for attention-with dire consequences for this undocumented immigrant. Suspended between the upward mobility of the American dream and the downward plunge into an empty abyss, Gu?ng delves into memories of his past and into nightmares of present predicament, all within the confines of a 4′ by 6′ by 8′ metal box. Inventively staged by internationally acclaimed artist Chay Yew-and introducing the prodigious work of composer Byron Au Yong and librettist Aaron Jafferis-Stuck Elevator unleashes an evocative collision of stories, sounds, instruments, and ideas. Stuck Elevator will run April 4-28, 2013, at A.C.T.'s Geary Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco). Press night is Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Tickets (starting at $20) are on sale now and may be purchased online at act-sf.org or by calling 415.749.2228.
Featuring a hybrid of musical theater, opera, and solo performance, Stuck Elevator will feature Julius Ahn (Madame Butterfly at Nashville Opera; Turandot at Seattle Opera) in the tour-de-force role of Gu?ng. He is joined by an extraordinary ensemble of performers-all of whom play multiple roles-including Raymond J. Lee (Anything Goes and Mamma Mia! on Broadway) as Wáng Yuè (??), Gu?ng's 8-year-old son; Marie-France Arcilla (Jesus Christ Superstar at North Shore Music Theatre; Shout! The Mod Musical at off-Broadway's Julia Miles Theatre) as Míng (?), Gu?ng's wife; Joel Perez (In the Heights , 1st national tour; Fun Home at The Public Theater) as Marco, the wisecracking Mexican deliveryman; and Joseph Anthony Foronda (Pacific Overtures and Miss Saigon on Broadway) as Zh?ng Yi (??), Gu?ng's brother-in-law.
Says A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff: "I discovered this remarkable piece at the Sundance Playwrights Lab, where it leapt to the fore because of its astonishing originality. Who would have thought you could turn the true story of a frightened Chinese deliveryman stuck in an elevator into a hilarious and heartbreaking musical about hunger, immigration, family, dreams, and duck sauce? This richly imagined piece of musical theater is a wonderful tribute to San Francisco's vibrant Chinese culture and a thrilling example of a commitment to new work that defies the boundaries and uses all the tools of theater to create something entirely new."
A.C.T. will offer numerous InterACT events-many of which are presented free of charge-in association with Stuck Elevator that will give patrons opportunities to get closer to the action while making a whole night out of their evening at the theater:
• Audience Prologue: Tue., April 9, at 5:30 p.m.
Before the curtain goes up, get behind the artistic process at this fascinating preshow discussion with the director and artistic staff.
• Theater on the Couch: Fri., April 12, following the 8 p.m. performance
Led by Mason Turner, chief of psychiatry at San Francisco's Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, this exciting postshow discussion series explores the minds, motives, and behaviors of the characters and addresses audience questions.
• Audience Exchanges: Tue., Apr. 16, at 7 p.m. | Sun., Apr. 21, at 2 p.m. | Wed., Apr. 24, at 2 p.m.
After the show, stick around for a lively Q&A session with the actors and artists who create the work onstage.
• OUT with A.C.T.: Wed., April 17, following the 8 p.m. performance
The best LGBT night in town! Mingle with the cast and enjoy free drinks and treats at this popular afterparty. Visit www.act-sf.org/out for information about how to subscribe to OUT nights (and other InterACT events) throughout the season.
• Wine Series: Tue., April 23, at 7 p.m.
Before the show, raise a glass at this wine tasting event featuring leading sommeliers from the Bay Area's hottest local wineries.
• PlayTime: Saturday, April 27, at 12:30 p.m.
Before this matinee performance, get hands-on with theater with the artists who make it happen at this interactive workshop.
The creative team for Stuck Elevator includes scenic designer Daniel Ostling (Endgame and Play and Once in a Lifetime at A.C.T.; Clybourne Park on Broadway), costume designer Myung Hee Cho (Lackawanna Blues at A.C.T.; Emotional Creature at Berkeley Rep); lighting designer Alexander V. Nichols (Endgame and Play at A.C.T.; Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway and Wishful Drinking on Broadway); video designer Maya Ciarrochi (Sweet Bird of Youth at The Goodman Theatre; Arthur Miller's All My Sons at the Huntington Theater Company); and sound designer Mikhail Fiksel (Black n Blue Boys at Berkeley Rep; In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) at St. Louis Repertory).