Who makes the rules that we obey and take for granted? When are they useful, and when should they be disrupted? Do rules make a playing field level, or does someone always have an advantage?

In our 2019–20 season, we explore the “rules of play”—how we choose to bend or break them. In the universal game of dress-up, we try on different roles to discover how they fit and who we really are.

 

 

 

2019–20 Season

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2019–20 Season

 

by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Tamilla Woodard

Sep 19–Oct 13
A.C.T.’s Geary Theater
 

Shattering the glass ceiling doesn’t come without a few injuries. It’s 1980s Britain and nothing will stop Marlene’s ascent from working girl to top exec. Not the sniveling, jealous male coworker. Not the family birthdays she’ll miss. Not even other women. In the race to the top, there’s no time for sisterhood.

Written by Caryl Churchill (Love and Information), one of the English language’s greatest living playwrights, and directed by Tamilla Woodard (Men on Boats) in her return to A.C.T., this modern classic dissects the cost of progress in a world divided by class, cruelty, and capitalism.


“Breathtaking . . . a masterful work”
The Washington Post


“One of the most resonant theatrical set pieces of the past 50 years”
The New York Times

 

 

by Kate Attwell
Directed by Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon

Oct 24–Dec 8
A.C.T.’s Strand Theater
 

How can we understand the present, if we won’t acknowledge the past? Tony Award winner and A.C.T.'s Artistic Director Pam MacKinnon (in her Strand Theater debut) directs this scorching world premiere by playwright Kate Attwell—a contrast of two time-traveling stories focusing on cricket, a game of strict rules and hidden violence.

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.

Asking hard-hitting questions about colonialism, gender, and power, Testmatch launches Kate Attwell, an exciting new voice in American theater.

 

 

by Will Eno
Directed by Anne Kauffman
Starring two-time Emmy Award winner Tony Hale

Jan 23–Feb 16
A.C.T.’s Geary Theater


“Is it now? I thought I had more time.”

What if you had just a few more minutes left to live? Obie Award–winning playwright Will Eno (The Realistic Joneses) crafts an intimate comedy drama that takes audiences on a theatrical journey that’s surprising, yet familiar.

Experience the play that has everyone talking—plus the curtain-raiser written especially for A.C.T. by Eno, and refreshments to follow the show. Starring two-time Emmy Award winner Tony Hale (HBO’s Veep and Fox’s/Netflix’s Arrested Development), Wakey, Wakey is a remarkable combination of the everyday and the extraordinary that invites you to share the pleasure, humor, and beautiful mystery of life.
 

“Glowingly dark, profoundly moving”
The New York Times

 

 

by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by Eric Ting

Feb 13–Apr 12
A.C.T.’s Strand Theater
 

In the editorial office of a Manhattan magazine, competing twentysomethings 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 Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Appropriate, Everybody) 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.


“[A] whip-smart satire of fear and loathing”

The New York Times 

“Shocking, hilarious and spectacularly honest”
Chicago Tribune

“A sharply observed satirical comedy . . . a springboard for the playwright to examine the ramifications of our exploitative, media-saturated age”
The Hollywood Reporter

 

 


by Lydia R. Diamond
Directed by Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon
Choreographed by Camille A. Brown
A coproduction with Arena Stage

Mar 5–29
A.C.T.’s Geary Theater

“I had to play . . . I wanted to find the heart of the game.” —Toni Stone

Toni 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. As she negotiates life’s challenges and opportunities on and off the field, Toni stays true to herself and reaches for who she can be.

In this new play, playwright Lydia R. Diamond (Broadway’s Stick Fly and Showtime’s The Affair) uncovers the theatrical journey in Martha Ackmann’s book, Curveball: The Remarkable True Story of Toni Stone. The culmination of a six-year collaboration between Diamond and Tony Award winner and A.C.T.'s Artistic Director Pam MacKinnonToni Stone is the extraordinary, real-life story of a trail-blazing Bay Area athlete.


“One of the best players you have never heard of”
—Negro Leagues Baseball Players Association

 

 

Book, music, and lyrics by Richard O’Brien
Directed and choreographed by Sam Pinkleton

Apr 23–May 17
A.C.T.’s Geary Theater
 

On a dark and stormy night, Brad and Janet get a flat tire . . . So begins our party at The Geary Theater. Tony Award–nominated director-choreographer Sam Pinkleton (Soft Power and Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812) reimagines this swirling, sci-fi 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, rock’n’roll, and being who you really are. In a dazzling mix of sequins and fishnet stockings, “Let’s do the Time Warp again!”

 

“Delicious nostalgia”
The New York Times

“Thoroughly entertaining”
Broadway World

“A musical that deals with mutating identity and time warps becomes one of the most mutated, time-warped phenomena in show business”
The New York Times

 

 

by Qui Nguyen
Directed by Jaime Castañeda

Jun 4–28
A.C.T.’s Geary Theater
 

After the rollicking success of Vietgone (2018) at The Strand, playwright Qui Nguyen returns to A.C.T. for the second chapter in his kickass, 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.

Nguyen reunites with director Jaime Castañeda to draw from rap, leap into martial arts, and dig deep into his own family journey. Funny, sexy, and subversive, Poor Yella Rednecks confirms Nguyen as a groundbreaking playwright of the new American story.

 

All titles and artists are subject to change.

 

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