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"Heisenberg" by Simon Stephens at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, through April 8. Pictured: James Carpenter and Sarah Grace Wilson.

American Conservatory Theater Announces 2018-19 Season

Pam MacKinnon’s inaugural season will feature recent plays from Nottage, Backhaus, Udofia, and Yee, as well as classics.

SAN FRANCISCO: American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) has announced its 2018-19 lineup, featuring seven productions.

“Inspired by Carey Perloff’s amazing legacy, I am thrilled to share my inaugural season with San Francisco Bay Area audiences,” said artistic director Pam MacKinnon in a statement. “Featuring diverse new voices alongside American master playwrights, this season is full of big stories, memorable characters, rich language, and bold leaps of imagination. Each production explores who we are, where we come from, and what we aspire to be, while also offering insight into lives beyond our own.”

The season will start with Lynn Nottage’s Sweat (September-October), about a group of friends affected by a factory facing layoffs in Reading, Pa. Loretta Greco will direct.

Next up will be Men On Boats (October-December), by Jaclyn Backhaus, a 21st-century telling of the story of Civil War veteran John Wesley Powell and a group of explorers traveling Wyoming’s waterways. The cast will feature all female-identifying and gender fluid actors to subvert the nation’s historic myths of male conquest. Tamilla Woodard will direct.

Just in time for the holidays will be A Christmas Carol (December), adapted by longtime artistic director Carey Perloff and Paul Walsh from Dickens, with music by Karl Lundeberg. The production, the theatre’s 42nd, is a playful adaptation of the classic Christmas tale. Val Caniparoli will choreograph, and Domenique Lozano will direct.

The season will continue with Albee’s Seascape (January-February 2019), a satirical comedy about a newly retired couple whose visit to the beach is interrupted by a pair of human-sized, talking lizards. MacKinnon will direct.

Following will be Mfoniso Udofia’s Her Portmanteau (February-April), about a woman who travels from Nigeria to New York City to visit her mother and U.S.-born sister for the first time in two decades. The play is an installment of a nine-part saga about a family of Nigerian immigrants and their American-born children. A.C.T. will join with Magic Theatre to present two of the nine chapters. Victor Malana Maog will direct.

Next up will be Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap (March), about the clash of cultures and global politics that erupt when a college basketball team in San Francisco travels to Beijing for an exhibition game in 1989. The play, which was developed at A.C.T.’s New Strands Festival in 2017, will be directed by Lisa Peterson.

Following will be Vanity Fair (April-May), adapted by Kate Hamill from the novel by William Thackeray, in a co-production with the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. The play follows Becky Sharp, an ambitious young woman willing to do anything for wealth and status. Jessica Stone will direct.

The final production (June-July) will be announced at a later date.

Founded in 1965, American Conservatory Theater is dedicated to producing new plays, training actors in its conservatory program, and engaging with its community in San Francisco.

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