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American Conservatory Theater

To Hype or Not to Hype: That Is the Question

George Heymont | Posted 07.08.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Bloggers, filmmakers, and arts administrators are all faced with the challenge of capturing people's attention. Depending on their respective budgets and the nature of the project they are promoting, various approaches can be pursued.

ACT's Orphan of Zhao: Revenge, Honor, Sacrifice in Ancient China

Leo Stutzin | Posted 06.26.2014 | San Francisco
Leo Stutzin

Apparently many San Francisco viewers find it marvelous. On opening night, ACT's production was greeted by a standing ovation from a huge portion of the audience in the Geary Theater. That doesn't happen often.

Who's Really on Top?

George Heymont | Posted 07.03.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Two new productions focus on what happens when the status quo (based on assumptions that rest on a foundation of male privilege) is undermined by women who are more intelligent, more complex, more aggressive and better at what they do than certain men in their lives.

Trying to Sustain a Charade

George Heymont | Posted 06.25.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Keeping up appearances sometimes requires extraordinary effort. A lot can be overlooked when someone is young, pretty, perky, and in good health. But when tragic events darken one's days, desperate times require desperate measures.

Arms and the Man

George Heymont | Posted 05.24.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Artists of every persuasion are struggling to find new sources of financial support to help them feed their passion and realize their dreams.

Napoli! at ACT: Laughs, Pain and Connivance in World War II Italy

Leo Stutzin | Posted 04.26.2014 | San Francisco
Leo Stutzin

The essence explores a situation in which the struggle to survive -- and the urge to prosper -- blurs traditional lines of morality, behavior and relationships.

Curses! Foiled Again!

George Heymont | Posted 03.13.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

From The Mummy's Curse to The Curse of the Werewolf, from the tale of King Midas to the legend of Sleeping Beauty, literature is filled with curses.

ACT's Christmas Carol Delivers Energy and Scale but Little Heart

Leo Stutzin | Posted 02.16.2014 | San Francisco
Leo Stutzin

Familiar lines alone don't re-create the magical, morality-driven adventure that Charles Dickens published in 1843, and left to the ages. That narrative flickers between bright and bleak aspects of human experience, both personal and social.

A Pair of Pitch Perfect Productions

George Heymont | Posted 02.08.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Earlier this year, two plays by two of Britain's most beloved playwrights were presented within a block and a half of each other in downtown San Francisco.

Exquisite Performances Highlight One-Person Shows in SF, Berkeley

Leo Stutzin | Posted 01.23.2014 | San Francisco
Leo Stutzin

Two plays, two consecutive nights, two explorations of Jewish experience, two virtuoso performances in which one actor fills many roles: Together they offer proof that the art of storytelling is not only alive but very healthy in the age of Apple, Android and Netflix.

Americana in Revival

George Heymont | Posted 01.23.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Bay area audiences recently had an opportunity to experience revivals of two celebrated works which, several decades after their world premieres, seem to have lost some of their appeal. Though something was missing at the core of each show.

Musical 1776 Opens ACT Season With a History Lesson That Sparkles

Leo Stutzin | Posted 11.23.2013 | San Francisco
Leo Stutzin

A Tony Award winner in its Broadway debut in 1969, the show boasts music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards and a book by Peter Stone that transform a story that we might have considered familiar into something magical and new.

Papers, Please!

George Heymont | Posted 08.29.2013 | Arts
George Heymont

Whether undocumented immigrants crawl through a tunnel linking Mexico with the United States or pay a Chinese "snakehead" to help them stow away aboard a container ship bound for America, every day of their life begins with the fear that they will be asked "Papers, please!"

Some Like It Shot

George Heymont | Posted 08.25.2013 | Arts
George Heymont

ike weddings, theatrical events come in all shapes and sizes. For the audience, it's not always a question of getting what you paid for. Sometimes the experience is more about having reasonable expectations.

Anna Deavere Smith On Creativity, Communicating And Connecting

Greg Archer | Posted 08.03.2013 | San Francisco
Greg Archer

Courtesy: YCBA In a world where 140 characters Tweet by us and Facebook updates seem to deaden the mind rather than expand it--in most cases--I fe...

Stuck Elevator -- Audacious, Compelling and Hugely Imaginative

Leo Stutzin | Posted 06.19.2013 | San Francisco
Leo Stutzin

Even the title feels cramped. Stuck Elevator. Hardly the inspiration for a play, let alone a musical drama or an opera; hardly a title that would excite a potential audience. However, Byron Au Yong and Aaron Jafferis thought differently.

Guns 'n Poses

George Heymont | Posted 05.12.2013 | Arts
George Heymont

With America's perverse gun culture, an overwhelming amount of armed violence being marketed as entertainment, and a rising number of mass shootings, the world premiere of George F. Walker's delicious new black comedy, Dead Metaphor, has a creepy timeliness.

The Way We Were

George Heymont | Posted 01.31.2013 | Arts
George Heymont

As we commemorate World AIDS Day, it's timely to notice how three recent documentaries about the AIDS crisis have helped to focus attention on the raging epidemic that should never have happened -- a plague that has now claimed more than 35 million lives around the world.

Elektra at ACT: Ancient Yet Timely, but Marred by Dubious Choices

Leo Stutzin | Posted 01.23.2014 | San Francisco
Leo Stutzin

How little the human race has changed in the 2,500 years since Sophocles' Elektra emerged on the Athenian stage. Her drive, her obsession, her fury had a single focus, expressed in one word: justice.

Normal Heart Opens ACT Season With Rage, Compassion and Love

Leo Stutzin | Posted 11.25.2012 | San Francisco
Leo Stutzin

Rage. Frustration. Terror. Helplessness. Determination. Persistence. Larry Kramer embodied all those emotions and more when he wrote The Normal Heart, which runs through October 7 at the American Conservator Theater.

The More They Rehearse, the Better They Fall

George Heymont | Posted 10.08.2012 | Arts
George Heymont

Most creative talents have a professional bag of tricks they like to employ in the course of creating art. From alliteration to asymmetry, from pointilism to pizzicato, these gimmicks help startle an audience and add to an artist's personal style.

Exhilarating Scottsboro Boys Wows San Francisco

Greg Archer | Posted 09.10.2012 | San Francisco
Greg Archer

2012-07-11-imagepull.jpg

ACT's Exuberant 'Scottsboro Boys' Flaunts Vitality, Humor in a Grim Tale

Leo Stutzin | Posted 09.01.2012 | San Francisco
Leo Stutzin

2012-07-02-pullquote1.jpgWith The Scottsboro Boys, John Kander and Fred Ebb turned their eyes closer to home, at a horrendous travesty of American justice.

Beckett's Endgame and Play Sizzle Despite Dearth of Physical Action

Leo Stutzin | Posted 07.21.2012 | San Francisco
Leo Stutzin

Art isn't easy. The fictionalized descendant of painter Georges Seurat made that assertion in Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park With George, but it applies far more forcefully to Samuel Beckett.

'Maple and Vine' Offers Breezy Journey to a Less-than-idyllic Time

Leo Stutzin | Posted 06.10.2012 | San Francisco
Leo Stutzin

If you're sick and tired of today's rat race, just step right back into 1955. In Maple and Vine, the breezy fantasy that's earning loads of laughs, that's more than a dream. It's a possibility.