Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo Closes Out A.C.T.'s 2008-09 Season
The newest work by Pulitzer Prizewinning master playwright revisits his seminal one-act The Zoo Story. The celebrated artistic team includes acclaimed director Rebecca Bayla Taichman, Broadway actor Manoel Felciano, and 2009 Tony Award scenic design award nominee Robert Brill.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, May 11, 2009—American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) announces the final show of its 2008–09 season: Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo, staged by acclaimed director Rebecca Bayla Taichman (world premieres of Theresa Rebeck's The Scene and Mauritius and Sarah Ruhl's Dead Man's Cell Phone). This new spellbinder by the master playwright who also penned Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and A.C.T.'s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?, is a meticulously calibrated and dangerously brutal look at relationships intimate and unexpected. The story opens with Peter, a tweedy book editor, and his wife, Ann, whose everyday conversation takes an unexpected turn into dangerously personal territory. It's the kind of conversation that can drive a husband out for a walk—to Central Park, where Jerry, a desperate outcast, awaits. An unforgettable pairing of Albee's original The Zoo Story with a freshly penned prequel, At Home at the Zoo (formerly titled Peter and Jerry) bares its teeth to threaten the delicately balanced world its characters inhabit. Artistic Director Carey Perloff has put together an all-star artistic team on this production, featuring Tony Award–nominated actor Manoel Felciano (Ragtime at The Kennedy Center, A.C.T.'s Rock 'n' Roll, and Sweeney Todd on Broadway) as Jerry and scenic designer Robert Brill, who received a Tony Award nomination last week for his work on Guys and Dolls on Broadway. Hailed by critics as "a thoroughly satisfying package of jagged-edged provocation" (Newsday) and "an essential and heartening experience" (The New York Times), Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo plays at A.C.T. June 5–July 5, 2009. Opening night is Wednesday, June 10, 2009, at 8 p.m. Tickets—starting at $14—are available by calling A.C.T. Ticket Services at 415.749.2228, or at www.act-sf.org.
The latest new play by three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Albee (for A Delicate Balance, Seascape, and Three Tall Women) is also a return to his very first success. Albee explains why he revisited one of his most cherished works after over 40 years: "Shortly after I wrote The Zoo Story, I felt that it was not a fully two-character play. Jerry was fully developed and Peter was just a backboard for Jerry's ideas. About four or five years ago I decided to write the first act: Peter at home with his wife before he goes to the park. I've seen several productions and it makes the whole evening a better play."
"Audiences are still buzzing about our acclaimed production of Albee's The Goat," says Artistic Director Carey Perloff. "At Home at the Zoo promises to be equally juicy, as audiences witness the shocking eruption of a seemingly banal marriage in the wake of a surprise confrontation on a park bench. Albee has totally reclaimed his astonishing early one-act The Zoo Story by giving it a companion story—a muscular theatrical workout for three powerhouse actors, as we welcome Rock 'n' Roll's charismatic star Manoel Felciano back to A.C.T."
Like all of Albee's work, At Home at the Zoo takes an unflinching look at the modern human condition with his incisive language, signature rhythms, and unexpected revelations. By juxtaposing one of his most performed and most celebrated plays with a brand new canny, self-contained chamber play about marriage, Albee has created a truly bold and moving evening of theater. The cast for At Home at the Zoo features A.C.T. acting company members Anthony Fusco as Peter and René Augesen as his wife, Ann. Rounding out the cast is Tony Award–nominated actor Manoel Felciano in the role of Jerry, who was called "revelatory" (Washington Post) for his recent turn in the critically acclaimed production of Ragtime at The Kennedy Center. Felciano recently shared the A.C.T. stage with Fusco and Augesen in this season's runaway hit Rock 'n' Roll. The creative team for the show includes scenic designer Robert Brill (A.C.T.'s Blackbird), lighting designer Stephen Strawbridge, and costume designer David F. Draper.
A.C.T.'s production of Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo is made possible by producers Daniel E. Cohn, Natasha and Lincoln Evans-Beauchamp, Christine and Stan Mattison, Patrick S. Thompson, Laney and Pasha Thornton, Lawrence and Robyn Varellas, and Jack and Susy Wadsworth, as well as associate producers Ronald Casassa, Holly and Christopher Hollenbeck, John and Paula Murphy, Charlie and Ann Johnson, and Beverly and Loring Wyllie. A.C.T.'s company sponsors include Roberta B. Bialek, Rena Bransten, Priscilla and Keith Geeslin, Burt and Deedee McMurtry, Kathleen Scutchfield, Jeff and Laurie Ubben, and Susan Van Wagner. This production is dedicated to the memory of Sylvia Coe Tolk, a great friend of A.C.T., who made a generous gift to support this production and whose passion for live theater and actor training lives on through her legacy gift to the conservatory library, establishing the Sylvia Coe Tolk Library Collection at A.C.T.
Tickets for Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo can be purchased by visiting A.C.T. Ticket Services, located at 405 Geary Street, by calling 415.749.2228, or via the A.C.T. website at www.act-sf.org. Groups of 15 or more people are eligible for discounts; please call Edward Budworth at 415.439.2473.
Sponsored by Bank of the West, a Bring What You Can/Pay What You Wish performance will be held on Thursday, June 11, 2009, at 8 p.m. Patrons will be allowed to pay any amount for tickets when they bring a donation of children's books, diapers, or coffee beans to benefit Raphael House, a shelter and support program for homeless families in San Francisco's Tenderloin District. Patrons are limited to one ticket per donated item, one ticket per person. Tickets go on sale at 6 p.m. the day of the performance.
PHOTO EDITORS, please note: Images of the artists involved with A.C.T.'s production of Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo are available in the press photo section of the PRESS ROOM of A.C.T.'s website: http://www.act-sf.org/press.
CALENDAR EDITORS, please note:
AMERICAN CONSERVATORY THEATER
415 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94108
A.C.T. Ticket Services: 415.749.2228
AT HOME AT THE ZOO
Directed by Rebecca Bayla Taichman
American master Edward Albee's (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, A.C.T.'s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?) new spellbinder is a meticulously calibrated and dangerously brutal look at the lives of three New Yorkers. The story opens with Peter, a tweedy book editor, and his wife, Ann, whose everyday conversation takes an unexpected turn into dangerously personal territory. It's the kind of conversation that can drive a husband out for a walk—to Central Park, where Jerry, a desperate outcast, awaits. An unforgettable pairing of Albee's original The Zoo Story with a freshly penned prequel, At Home at the Zoo (formerly titled Peter and Jerry) bares its teeth to threaten the delicately balanced world its characters inhabit.
Cast: René Augesen (Ann), Anthony Fusco (Peter), Mano Felciano (Jerry)
Creative Team: Robert Brill (scenic designer), David F. Draper (costume designer), Stephen Strawbridge (lighting designer)
Previews: Friday, June 5, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, June 6, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sunday, June 7, at 7 p.m.
Tuesday, June 9, at 8 p.m.
Opening Night: Wednesday, June 10, at 8 p.m.
Last Performance: Sunday, July 5, at 2 p.m.
Tickets: $14–$57 previews; $17–$71 Tue.–Fri. & Sun. evenings; $22–$82 Sat. evenings and weekend matinees. Tickets are available through A.C.T. Ticket Services, 405 Geary Street at Mason, 415.749.2228, and online at www.act-sf.org.
Tuesdays–Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Matinee performances on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Additional 2 p.m. matinee performances on Wednesdays, June 24 and July 1
Additional 7 p.m. performance on Sunday, June 21
Tuesday, June 23 performance is at 7 p.m.
InterACT Events—Free of charge!
All events are at American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco)
KORET PROLOGUE featuring Rebecca Bayla Taichman
Tuesday, June 9, 2009, 5:30 p.m.
Get inside the artistic process. Join us for this half-hour discussion with director Rebecca Bayla Taichman introducing the production. FREE and open to the public (no tickets required).
KORET AUDIENCE EXCHANGES
Tuesday, June 23, 2009, 7 p.m.
Sunday, June 28, 2009, 2 p.m.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009, 2 p.m.
Join us for a lively Q&A session with the actors and A.C.T. artistic staff members after these performances.
THEATER ON THE COUCH
Friday, June 19, 2009, 8 p.m.
Join members of the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis for an exciting postperformance discussion that explores the psychological aspects of Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo and addresses audience questions.
OUT WITH A.C.T.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 8 p.m.
A dynamic series for LGBT theater lovers that includes a catered afterparty with complimentary wine and desserts and a cast meet and greet. Visit www.act-sf.org/out for more information about how to subscribe to OUT nights.
EDWARD ALBEE (Playwright) was born in 1928 and began writing plays 30 years later. His plays include The Zoo Story (1958), The Death of Bessie Smith (1959), The Sandbox (1959), The American Dream (1960), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1961–62, Tony Award), Tiny Alice (1964), A Delicate Balance (1966, Pulitzer Prize; 1996, Tony Award), All Over (1971), Seascape (1974, Pulitzer Prize), Listening (1975), Counting the Ways (1975), The Lady from Dubuque (1977–78), The Man Who Had Three Arms (1981), Finding the Sun (1982), Marriage Play (1986–87), Three Tall Women (1991, Pulitzer Prize), Fragments (1993), The Play about the Baby (1997), The Goat or, Who is Sylvia? (2002, Tony Award), Occupant (2001), Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo (2004), and Me, Myself and I (2007). He is a member of the Dramatists Guild Council and president of The Edward F. Albee Foundation. Albee was awarded the Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1980 and was a recipient of the 1996 Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts, and in 2005 he was honored with a special Tony Award for lifetime achievement in the theater.
REBECCA BAYLA TAICHMAN (Director) recently directed Twelfth Night at The Shakespeare Theatre Company (seven Helen Hayes Award nominations, including Best Director) and McCarter Theatre Center. She has also directed the world premiere of David Adjmi's The Evildoers (Yale Repertory Theatre); The Taming of the Shrew (The Shakespeare Theatre Company; four Helen Hayes Award nominations, including Best Director); Theresa Rebeck's The Scene (Humana Festival of New American Plays, Second Stage Theatre, starring Tony Shalhoub and Patricia Heaton); the world premiere of Rebeck's Mauritius (Huntington Theatre Company; Independent Reviewers of New England, Elliot Norton awards); the world premiere of Sarah Ruhl's Dead Man's Cell Phone (seven Helen Hayes Award nominations, including Best Director), Ruhl's The Clean House (2006 Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Resident Play), and the world premiere of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's The Velvet Sky (all at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company); The Diary of Anne Frank (Round House Theatre, three Helen Hayes Awards); Lee Blessing's A Body of Water; Anna Deavere Smith's Piano (Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue); and Elise Thoron's Prozak and the Platypus (New York Summer Play Festival). In addition, she has directed at New York Stage & Film, the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Playwrights Conference, and the Market Theatre, among others. Taichman co-created and directed Green Violin (Prince Music Theater, 2003 Barrymore Award, Outstanding Direction of a Musical) and the OBIE Award–winning Menopausal Gentleman. Taichman is the recipient of a Drama League directing fellowship and a Theatre Communications Group New Generations Grant and is a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop. She has taught at the O'Neill Center's National Theater Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, and the University of Maryland. She is a graduate of Yale School of Drama.
RENÉ AUGESEN (Ann), an A.C.T. associate artist and core acting company member, made her A.C.T. debut in The Misanthrope; she has appeared in recent seasons in Night and Day, The Dazzle, The Three Sisters, A Doll's House, A Mother, The Real Thing, The Gamester, The Voysey Inheritance (also at Kansas City Repertory Theatre), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Rivals, Happy End, Travesties, Luminescence Dating (at Magic Theatre), Hedda Gabler, The Imaginary Invalid, The Rainmaker, Brainpeople, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, Rock 'n' Roll, and War Music. New York credits include Spinning into Butter (Lincoln Center Theater), Macbeth (with Alec Baldwin and Angela Bassett, Public Theater), It's My Party . . . (with F. Murray Abraham and Joyce Van Patten, ArcLight Theatre), and Overruled (Drama League). Regional theater credits include Mary Stuart (dir. Carey Perloff, Huntington Theatre Company); several productions, including the world premieres of The Beard of Avon and The Hollow Lands, at South Coast Repertory; and productions at the Great Lakes Theater Festival, Baltimore's CENTERSTAGE, the Los Angeles Shakespeare Festival, Yale Repertory Theatre, and Stage West. Film and television credits include The Battle Studies, Law & Order, Guiding Light, Another World, and Hallmark Hall of Fame's Saint Maybe. Augesen is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.
MANOEL FELCIANO (Jerry) was nominated for a 2006 Tony Award for his portrayal of Tobias Ragg in Sweeney Todd and won the Broadway.com Audience Award and Broadwayworld.com Choice Award for Favorite Featured Actor. He appeared most recently as Andrei in The Three Sisters at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. He has also appeared on Broadway in Brooklyn, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Cabaret and off Broadway in Trumpery (Atlantic Theater Company) and Shockheaded Peter and Much Ado about Nothing (New York Shakespeare Festival/The Public Theater). Regional theater credits include Ragtime (Kennedy Center), I Just Stopped By to See the Man (The Old Globe) and the title role of Sunday in the Park with George (dir. Jason Alexander, Reprise Theatre Company). Screen credits include the film Uncertainty, One Life to Live, and All My Children. Felciano is also a singer-songwriter; his debut album, Moonshot, is available for purchase at mano.felciano.com. Born and raised in San Francisco, Felciano holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.F.A. from the New York University Graduate Acting Program.
ANTHONY FUSCO (Peter), an A.C.T. associate artist and core acting company member, has appeared at A.C.T. in War Music, Rock 'n' Roll, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, The Government Inspector, The Rainmaker, The Imaginary Invalid, Hedda Gabler, Travesties, The Rivals, The Voysey Inheritance, The Gamester, A Mother, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The Three Sisters, Night and Day, The Room and Celebration, Enrico IV, The Misanthrope, Edward II, and A Christmas Carol. Other Bay Area credits include leading roles in King Lear, The Tempest, The Importance of Being Earnest, Arms and the Man, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Skin of Our Teeth for California Shakespeare Theater; My Old Lady at Marin Theatre Company; and Traveling Jewish Theatre's production of The Chosen. On Broadway, he was in Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing and The Real Inspector Hound. Fusco's many off-Broadway credits include The Holy Terror, Cantorial, Danton's Death, and A Life in the Theatre. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School.