A Five-Act Play: 50 Years of A.C.T.

by Michael Paller
published by Chronicle Books 

Discover the inside story of the acclaimed American Conservatory Theater—as dramatic as anything it has put on stage.

Founded in Pittsburgh in 1965 by William Ball, A.C.T. established its reputation as America’s most audacious and ambitious regional theater when it settled in San Francisco in 1967. Renowned for its rich variety of new commissions, fresh translations of great dramatic works, and outstanding theater of all genres, the Tony Award–winning company's bold tradition has continued under the leadership of Edward Hastings and Carey Perloff.

Today, A.C.T. remains unique among America’s leading theaters in inextricably linking training and performance. Offering a M.F.A degree in acting, A.C.T. has taught many accomplished actors, including Annette Bening, Benjamin Bratt, Nicholas Cage, Darren Criss, Harry Hamlin, Anika Noni Rose, Anna Deavere Smith, and Denzel Washington.

A Five-Act Play is a backstage and onstage look at this extraordinary company. Rich with anecdotes and illustrated with hundreds of photographs, the book celebrates 50 years of commitment to the highest standards of live storytelling and the artists of the future.

A portion of the proceeds from this book will go to support A.C.T.’s arts education
and community programs.


Michael Paller joined A.C.T. as resident dramaturg and director of humanities in 2005. He also teaches in its M.F.A. Program. He began his career as literary manager at Center Repertory Theatre in Cleveland, and worked as a play reader and script consultant for Manhattan Theatre Club and the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. He has been a dramaturg for the George Street Playhouse, Berkshire Theatre Group, Barrington Stage Company, Long Wharf Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company, and others. Paller is the author of Gentleman Callers: Tennessee Williams, Homosexuality, and Mid-Twentieth-Century Drama; and Williams in an Hour. Before his arrival at A.C.T., he taught at Columbia University and the State University of New York at Purchase.

A Five-Act Play is now available to order, and will either be shipped to your home or available for will call based on your delivery selection at checkout.

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