SAN FRANCISCO — American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) kicks off its 2019–20 season kicks off with Caryl Churchill’s “Top Girls” (Sept. 19–Oct. 13).
In 1980s Britain, Marlene celebrates a promotion with a dinner party full of legendary, historical, and mythical women, from Pope Joan to one of Chaucer’s pilgrims to an imperial Japanese courtesan.
As the wine starts to flow, each woman shares her own stories of sacrifice and success—but where’s the sisterhood? This modern classic dissects feminism and the cost of progress in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, a country divided by class, cruelty, and capitalism.
A.C.T. Artistic Director Pam MacKinnon (in her Strand Theater debut) directs the scorching world premiere of Kate Attwell’s “Testmatch,” two time-traveling stories focusing on cricket, a game of strict rules and hidden violence Oct. 24—Dec. 8. It’s 2019 and tensions in the locker room rise during a world-class match between rival women’s cricket players from India and England, as secrets spill about relationships, influencers, and the integrity of the sport. Then in 1800 (or so), Abhi, the Number One Sepoy of the East India Co., struggles to force two bungling, cheating British administrators—absorbed in setting down the rules of cricket—to focus on the famine they have created outside the compound walls.
A.C.T. welcomes back the Bay Area’s favorite holiday tradition, “A Christmas Carol with performances beginning on Nov. 29 at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater.
Ringing in 2020, A.C.T. will present Obie Award–winning playwright Will Eno’s new play “Wakey, Wakey” Jan. 23–Feb. 16. What if you had just a few more minutes left to live? Starring Emmy Award winner Tony Hale, “Wakey, Wakey” is a combination of the everyday and the extraordinary that invites you to share the pleasure, humor, and beautiful mystery of life.
Next up at The Strand, A.C.T. will present Branden Jacob-Jenkins’s “sharply observed satirical comedy” (The Hollywood Reporter) “Gloria” Feb. 13–April 12. In the editorial office of a Manhattan magazine, competing 20-somethings Ani, Dean, and Kendra are only interested in scoring a book deal to kick-start a career. But after disaster strikes, which one of them will write the story? MacArthur “Genius” winner Jacobs-Jenkins reunites with Cal Shakes Artistic Director Eric Ting, who directed the playwright’s “An Octoroon” (2017) at Berkeley Rep. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2016, this scalpel-sharp dark comedy evolves into a provocative exploration of how we cope with trauma and the tales we tell each other to escape.
In spring 2020, A.C.T. will present Lydia R. Diamond’s new play, “Toni Stone” (March 5–29, 2020). Stone dreams of nothing but baseball. But to become the first woman to play professionally as a member of the Negro League’s Indianapolis Clowns, she must confront hostile crowds, ruthless team owners, and players who slide spikes first. In this new play, Diamonduncovers the theatrical journey in Martha Ackmann’s book, “Curveball: The Remarkable True Story of Toni Stone.”
“On a dark and stormy night, Brad and Janet get a flat tire...” So begins the party at The Geary Theater with Richard O’Brien’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (April 23–May 17, 2020). Tony Award–nominated director-choreographer Sam Pinkleton reimagines this swirling, science-fiction world for 2020 San Francisco. Before this cross-dressing classic was ever a midnight movie at The Strand, Richard O’Brien’s Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Magenta, and Riff Raff started life as a smash rock musical. Experience The Geary as never before in this outrageous celebration of sex, drag and rock ’n’ roll.
After the success of” Vietgone” (2018) at The Strand, playwright Qui Nguyen returns to A.C.T. with “Poor Yella Rednecks: Vietgone Part 2” (June 4–28, 2020), the second chapter in his hip-hop trilogy about a Vietnamese family who swap war-torn Saigon for rural ’70s Arkansas. Lovers Tong and Quang are now married, but with low-wage jobs, a son struggling with English, and rumors of old flames, the challenges are only beginning.
Season subscriptions for the 2019–20 season range in price from $98–$693 and are available now. Single tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Aug. 9 Priority for early access to tickets and to secure seats is given to subscribers. To become a new subscriber or renew a current subscription for the 2019–20 season, visit act-sf.org/join or call the A.C.T. Subscriptions Office at 415-749-2250.