ACT Theatre

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For A.C.T. (San Francisco), see American Conservatory Theater.
ACT Theatre's home, Kreielsheimer Place, the historic Eagles Auditorium Building. At right is the Washington State Convention and Trade Center.

ACT Theatre (originally A Contemporary Theatre) is a regional, non-profit theatre organization in Seattle, Washington, USA. Gregory A. Falls (1922–1997) founded ACT in 1965 and served as its first Artistic director; at the time ACT was founded he was also head of the Drama Department at the University of Washington.[1] Falls was identified with the theatrical avant garde of the time,[2] and founded ACT because he saw the Seattle Repertory Theatre as too specifically devoted to classics.[1]

Facility[edit]

ACT is located in Kreielsheimer Place, at 700 Union Street in Downtown Seattle. The building, which also includes the 44 unit, moderate-income Eagles Apartments, is the historic Eagles Auditorium Building. Previously part of the Washington State Convention and Trade Center (to which it is connected via internal tunnel), the building was remodeled into theater spaces and apartments and renamed in honor of a major gift from the Kreielsheimer Foundation.[3][4] There are two mainstage theater spaces, each with a capacity of about 390 seats. The Gregory A. Falls Theatre, located below street level, has a rectangular thrust stage. Above ground, the former Eagles Auditorium hall (now known as the Allen Theatre[5]) is an arena or "in-the-round" venue.[4]

Complying with landmark ordinances, the Allen Theatre retains the Eagles Auditorium's gilded balcony, ornate ceiling, and crystal chandeliers, though some of this is obscured by the HVAC and lighting systems. The decision to convert this famous lecture hall and performance venue from a proscenium stage to theater-in-the-round was, according to Misha Berson, "the most controversial aspect of the renovation".[4] The proscenium stage from which Martin Luther King, Jr. once spoke, and on which the Grateful Dead performed, "is now just a painted relic in the background."[4]

The facility also includes the 4,539-square-foot (421.7 m2) Bullitt Cabaret and several other smaller spaces.[6]

History[edit]

Queen Anne Hall (2007), now home to On the Boards.

ACT was founded by Gregory A. Falls in 1965, providing Seattle with "a serious alternative to summer stock theater."[7] They staged their first performance July 9, 1965.[citation needed] ACT was originally located at in a 454-seat thrust-stage theater[4][8] in Queen Anne Hall, now home to On the Boards.[citation needed] Falls remained as artistic director until 1988, when he was succeeded by Jeff Steitzer, then in 1995 by Peggy Shannon.[7]

After a lengthy and difficult search for a larger space, ACT moved into its new Kreielsheimer Place facility in 1996, and presented its first play there on September 1 of that year.[4] However, Shannon's productions at the new facility were not well received by the critics or the public. Shannon resigned in 1997, leaving ACT in debt for the first time in its history, and with subscriptions having fallen from 11,400 in 1996 to 9,000 in 1997.[9] Her successor, Gordon Edelstein, revived the company's critical and popular reputation, bringing such noted performers as actresses Julie Harris and Jane Alexander and singer songwriter Randy Newman, as well as experimental director Joanne Akalaitis and composer Philip Glass. Several ACT premieres went on to successful runs in New York.[9] However, costs rose accordingly, and ACT's debts mounted.[9] In October 2002, ACT made an offer to Robert Egan, producing director at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles,[10] to become their new artistic director, but by the time the 2003 season was approaching, ACT had a US$1.7 million debt and was in no position to honor their offer.[9] They were in serious danger of folding.[9] Subscriptions dropped to 7,500.[11]

Donations (including $500,000 Boeing chairman Phil Condit), some scaling back, and a successful 2003 season under artistic director Kurt Beattie saved the day,[11] sparing ACT the fate visited upon Seattle's comparably prominent Empty Space Theatre in the same period.[12] By the 2006 season, ACT was back to venturesome programming, including Martin McDonagh's black comedy The Pillowman and local writer Elizabeth Heffron's Mitzi's Abortion.[13]

Stature[edit]

Over more than four decades, ACT has established itself as one of Seattle's leading theaters.[14] Along with the Intiman Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre ("The Rep"), it is one of the city's three largest playhouses.[15] ACT's Mainstage has presented many world, American, and West Coast premieres.[16] Numerous productions have gone on to New York City.[17]

ACT is a member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT); the only other Seattle members are Intiman and The Rep.[18] It is also a member of Theatre Puget Sound,[19] and is a constituent of Theatre Communications Group.[20] ACT is also a member of the Downtown Seattle Association, Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau and Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce.[citation needed]

Mainstage production history[edit]

2010 Season Playwright Notes
The Trip to Bountiful Horton Foote
The Female of the Species Joanna Murray-Smith
Yankee Tavern Steven Dietz
The Lady With All the Answers David Rambo
The Lieutenant of Inishmore Martin McDonagh
2009 Season Playwright Notes
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson

(Adapted by) Jeffrey Hatcher

Below the Belt Richard Dresser
the break/s Marc Bamuthi Joseph
Das Barbecü Jim Luigs and Scott Warrender
Runt of the Litter Bo Eason
Rock n' Roll Tom Stoppard
2008 Season Playwright Notes
The Ilkhom Theatre Festival Ilkhom Theatre Company A Seattle First
Fathers and Sons Michael Bradford World Premiere
A Marvelous Party: The Noël Coward Celebration David Ira Goldstein
Intimate Exchanges Alan Ayckbourn
Eurydice Sarah Ruhl
Becky's New Car Stephen Dietz World Premiere
2007 Season Playwright Notes
The Clean House Sarah Ruhl
Souvenir Stephen Temperley
Stuff Happens David Hare
First Class David Wagoner World Premiere
The Mojo and the Sayso Aishah Rahman
The Women Clare Boothe Luce
2006 Season Playwright Notes
The Pillowman Martin McDonagh West Coast Premier
Miss Witherspoon Christopher Durang West Coast Premier
Wine in the Wilderness Alice Childress
Mitzi's Abortion Elizabeth Heffron World Premiere
A Number Caryl Churchill
The Underpants Steve Martin
2005 Season Playwright Notes
Bach at Leipzig Itamar Moses West Coast Premiere
The Ugly American Mike Daisey World Premiere
Born Yesterday Garson Kanin
The Night of the Iguana Tennessee Williams
Vincent in Brixton Nicholas Wright
Flight Charlayne Woodard
2004 Season Playwright Notes
Alki Eric Overmyer World Premiere
Enchanted April Matthew Barber
Jumpers Tom Stoppard
Good Boys Jane Martin West Coast Premiere
Fiction Steven Dietz West Coast Premiere
2003 Season Playwright Notes
Absurd Person Singular Alan Ayckbourn
The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? Edward Albee West Coast Premiere
A Moon for the Misbegotten Eugene O'Neill
Omnium Gatherum Theresa Rebeck and Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros West Coast Premiere
The Syringa Tree Pamela Gien Production went on to New York[17]
2002 Season Playwright Notes
Mourning Becomes Electra Eugene O'Neill
Dirty Blonde Claudia Shear
Yellowman Deal Orlandersmith
Wintertime Charles L. Mee
Fuddy Meers David Lindsay-Abaire
The Education of Randy Newman Randy Newman, Michael Roth, Jerry Patch World Premiere
2001 Season Playwright Notes
Big Love Charles L. Mee West Coast Premiere
Dinner with Friends Donald Margulies
Polish Joke David Ives World Premiere
Waiting to Be Invited S.M. Shephard-Massat
A Little Night Music Stephen Sondheim
Grand Magic Eduardo De Filippo
2000 Season Playwright Notes
God of Vengeance Donald Margulies World Premiere
Talley's Folly Lanford Wilson
2.5 Minute Ride Lisa Cron
A Skull in Connemara Martin McDonagh Production went on to New York[17]
In the Penal Colony Philip Glass World Premiere; production went on to New York[17]
The Odd Couple Neil Simon
1999 Season Playwright Notes
The Crucible Arthur Miller
Goblin Market Polly Pen & Peggy Harmon
Stonewall Jackson's House Jonathan Reynolds
Temporary Help David Wiltse World Premiere; production went on to New York[17]
Side Man Warren Leight West Coast Premiere
Communicating Doors Alan Ayckbourn
1998 Season Playwright Notes
Thunder Knocking on the Door Keith Glover
Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller
Collected Stories Donald Margulies
Scent of the Roses Lisette Lecat Ross World Premiere; production went on to New York[17]
The Summer Moon John Olive World Premiere
Quills Doug Wright
Violet Jeanine Tesori
1997 Season Playwright Notes
The Notebook of Trigorin Tennessee Williams
The Nina Variations Stephen Dietz
Room Service John Murray and Allen Boretz
Going to St. Ives Lee Blessing World Premiere
Blues for an Alabama Sky Pearl Cleage
Old Wicked Songs John Marans
The Big Slam Bill Corbett
1996 Season Playwright Notes
Arcadia Tom Stoppard
Avenue X Jon Jiler and Ray Leslee
Laughter on the 23rd Floor Neil Simon
Cheap Tom Stoppard World Premiere, First performance in ACT's new home at Kreielsheimer Place
The Crimson Thread Mary Hanes
My One Good Nerve Ruby Dee World Premiere
1995 Season Playwright Notes
The Gospel at Colonus Lee Breuer and Bob Telson
Hospitality Allan Havis
Handing Down the Names Steven Dietz World Premiere
Later Life A.R. Gurney
The Odd Couple Neil Simon
Tea Velina Hasu Houston
The Language of Flowers Edit Villarreal World Premiere
1994 Season Playwright Notes
Betty the Yeti Jon Klein
Gray's Anatomy Jim Leonard, Jr. World Premiere
Keely and Du Jane Martin
Man of the Moment Alan Ayckbourn
Fish Head Soup Philip Kan Gotanda
Voices in the Dark John Pielmeier World Premiere
1993 Season Playwright Notes
The Red and the Black Jon Klein World Premiere
The Cover of Life R.T. Robinson
Lonely Planet Steven Dietz
Life During Wartime Keith Reddin
Agnes Smedley: Our American Friend Doris Baizley World Premiere
Dreams From a Summer House Alan Ayckbourn and John Pattison
1992 Season Playwright Notes
Trust Steven Dietz
Shadowlands William Nicholson
The Revengers' Comedies (Parts I and II) Alan Ayckbourn
Eleemosynary Lee Blessing
Sunsets and Glories Peter Barnes
1991 Season Playwright Notes
My Children! My Africa! Athol Fugard
The Illusion Tony Kushner
Tears of Rage Doris Baizley World Premiere
Our Country's Good Timberlake Wertenbaker
Willi: An Evening of Wilderness and Spirit John Pielmeier World Premiere
Halcyon Days Steven Dietz World Premiere
1990 Season Playwright Notes
An American Comedy Richard Nelson
Lloyd's Prayer Kevin Kling
A Normal Life Erik Brogger World Premiere
Born in the RSA Barney Simon and The Market Theatre Company
Four Our Fathers Jon Klein
Hapgood Tom Stoppard
1989 Season Playwright Notes
The Downside Richard Dresser
Breaking the Silence Stephen Poliakoff
A Walk in the Woods Lee Blessing
Red Noses Peter Barnes
Happenstance Steven Dietz and Eric Bain Peltoniemi World Premiere
Woman in Mind Alan Ayckbourn
1988 Season Playwright Notes
Merrily We Roll Along Stephen Sondheim and George Furth
Mrs. California Doris Baizley
A Chorus of Disapproval Alan Ayckbourn
God's Country Steven Dietz World Premiere
Principia Scriptoriae Richard Nelson
The Voice of the Prairie John Olive
1987 Season Playwright Notes
March of the Falsettos William Finn
A Lie of the Mind Sam Shepard
The Diary of a Scoundrel Erik Brogger
The Marriage of Bette and Boo Christopher Durang
Glengarry Glen Ross David Mamet
Biloxi Blues Neil Simon
1986 Season Playwright Notes
On the Razzle Tom Stoppard
Painting Churches Tina Howe
Tales from Hollywood Christopher Hampton
Brighton Beach Memoirs Neil Simon
The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs David Edgar
Little Shop of Horrors Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
1985 Season Playwright Notes
King Lear William Shakespeare
True West Sam Shepard
Maydays David Edgar
Other Places Harold Pinter
End of the World Arthur Kopit
Quartermaine's Terms Simon Gray
1984 Season Playwright Notes
Amadeus Peter Shaffer
Top Girls Caryl Churchill
Angels Fall Lanford Wilson
Thirteen Lynda Myles World Premiere
Fool for Love Sam Shepard
The Communication Cord Brian Friel
1983 Season Playwright Notes
The Dresser Ronald Harwood
The Dining Room A.R. Gurney
Crimes of the Heart Beth Henley
Educating Rita Willy Russell
A Soldier's Play Charles Fuller
Cloud 9 Caryl Churchill
1982 Season Playwright Notes
Da Hugh Leonard
Fridays Andrew Johns
Waiting for the Parade John Murrell
The Gin Game D.L. Coburn
The Greeks: The War (Part 1) John Barton and Kenneth Cavander
The Greeks: The War (Part 2) John Barton and Kenneth Cavander
1981 Season Playwright Notes
Custer Robert E. Ingham
Getting Out Marsha Norman
Billy Bishop Goes to War John Gray with Eric Peterson
Night and Day Tom Stoppard
Loose Ends Michael Weller
Whose Life Is It, Anyway? Brian Clark
1980 Season Playwright Notes
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf Ntozake Shange
Catholics Brian Moore World Premiere
Artichoke Joanna Glass
Wings Arthur Kopit
Buried Child Sam Shepard
Starting Here, Starting Now Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire
1979 Season Playwright Notes
Man and Superman George Bernard Shaw
Fanshen David Hare
Otherwise Engaged Simon Gray
Holy Ghosts Romulus Linney
The Water Engine David Mamet
The Fantasticks Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt
1978 Season Playwright Notes
Henry IV, Part I William Shakespeare
The Shadow Box Michael Cristofer
Ballymurphy Michael Neville World Premiere
Voted "Best of Season" by subscribers. Play went on to  
Manhattan Theatre Club. 
The Sea Horse Edward J. Moore
Makassar Reef Alexander Buzo
Anything Goes Cole Porter, Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse
1977 Season Playwright Notes
As You Like It William Shakespeare
Travesties Tom Stoppard
Ladyhouse Blues Kevin O'Morrison
Streamers David Rabe
The Club Eve Merriam
Absurd Person Singular Alan Ayckbourn
1976 Season Playwright Notes
Sizwe Bansi Is Dead Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona
The Time of Your Life William Saroyan
Scapino Frank Dunlop and Jim Dale
Desire Under the Elms Eugene O'Neill
Relatively Speaking Alan Ayckbourn
Boccaccio Kenneth Cavander
1975 Season Playwright Notes
Sleuth Anthony Schaffer
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui Bertolt Brecht
When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? Mark Medoff
Quiet Caravans Barry Dinerman World Premiere
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck
Oh Coward! Roderick Cook
1974 Season Playwright Notes
The Hot L Baltimore Lanford Wilson
Twigs George Furth
A Streetcar Named Desire Tennessee Williams
Count Dracula Ted Tiller
In Celebration David Storey
The Chairs/The Bald Soprano Eugène Ionesco
Godspell Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak
1973 Season Playwright Notes
No Place to Be Somebody Charles Cordone
Old Times Harold Pinter
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Dale Wasserman
The Contractor David Storey
A Conflict of Interest Jay Broad
A Day in the Death of Joe Egg Peter Nichols
The Decline and Fall of the Entire World as Seen Through the Eyes of Cole Porter Ben Bagley
1972 Season Playwright Notes
The Me Nobody Knows Gary William Friedman and Will Holt
What the Butler Saw Joe Orton
The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds Paul Zindel
Echoes N. Richard Nash World Premiere
The Trial of the Catonsville Nine Fr. Daniel Berrigan
Moonchildren Michael Weller
Butterflies Are Free Leonard Gershe
1971 Season Playwright Notes
Hadrian VII Peter Luke
The Boys in the Band Mart Crowley
The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee
Ceremonies in Dark Old Men Lonne Elder III
Plaza Suite Neil Simon
A Cry of Players William Gibson
You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown Clark Gesner and John Gordon
1970 Season Playwright Notes
The Birthday Party Harold Pinter On same bill as The Balcony
The Balcony Jean Genet On same bill as The Birthday Party
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Tom Stoppard
The Caucasian Chalk Circle Bertolt Brecht
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Jay Presson Allen
Endgame Samuel Beckett
Your Own Thing Hal Hester and Danny Apolinar
1969 Season Playwright Notes
Celebration Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt
The Homecoming Harold Pinter
Rhinoceros Eugène Ionesco
Inadmissible Evidence John Osborne
Marat/Sade Peter Weiss
Philadelphia, Here I Come Brian Friel
Crabdance Beverly Simons World Premiere
1968 Season Playwright Notes
Slow Dance on the Killing Ground William Hanley
Eh? Henry Livings
Royal Hunt of the Sun Peter Shaffer
The Lion in Winter James Goldman
Black Comedy Peter Shaffer On same bill as Captain Fantastick Meets the Ectomorph
Captain Fantastick Meets the Ectomorph Barry Pritchard On same bill as Black Comedy
A Delicate Balance Edward Albee
Waiting for Godot Samuel Beckett
1967 Season Playwright Notes
Luv Murray Schisgal
The Deputy Rolf Hochhuth
Out at Sea/Striptease Sławomir Mrożek
After the Fall Arthur Miller
The Great Divide William Vaughn Moody
The Fantasticks Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt
The Caretaker Harold Pinter
1966 Season Playwright Notes
In White America Martin B. Duberman
The Typist/The Tiger Murray Schisgal
Tiny Alice Edward Albee
A Thurber Carnival James Thurber
The Physicists Friedrich Dürrenmatt
Arsenic and Old Lace Joseph Kesselring
The Collection/The Room Harold Pinter
1965 Season Playwright Notes
Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feeling So Sad Arthur Kopit
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Tennessee Williams
Who'll Save the Plowboy? Frank Gilroy
Dark of the Moon H. Richardson and William Berney
The Private Ear/The Public Eye Peter Shaffer
Source (except as noted):[16]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gregory A. Falls (1922–1997), Columns (University of Washington alumni magazine), June 1997. Accessed online 2009-11-06.
  2. ^ Mark Waldstein, "Evolution of Revolution", City Arts Seattle, November 2009, p. 48–51.
  3. ^ Eagles Apartments at Kreielsheimer Place, housingpolicy.org. Accessed online 2009-11-06.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Misha Berson, Act Makes Its Move -- Theater Company Is Finally Sitting Pretty In The Heart Of Seattle, Seattle Times, September 1, 1996. Accessed online 2009-11-06.
  5. ^ ACT/Allen Theatre, ACT Theatre. Accessed online 2009-11-06.
  6. ^ Bullitt Cabaret, ACT Theatre. Accessed online 2009-11-06.
  7. ^ a b "Contemporary Theatre, Inc., A.", p. 107 in Don B. Wilmeth and Tice L. Miller, eds., Cambridge guide to American theatre Edition 2, Cambridge University Press, 1996, ISBN 0-521-56444-1
  8. ^ Cambridge guide to American theatre says 449 seats.
  9. ^ a b c d e Misha Berson, The drama behind the scenes at ACT, Seattle Times, March 11, 2003. Accessed online 2009-11-06.
  10. ^ Misha Berson, Robert Egan, ACT's new artistic director, knows Seattle well, Seattle Times, October 22, 2002. Accessed online 2009-11-06.
  11. ^ a b Misha Berson, ACT schedules five-play 2004 lineup, Seattle Times, November 9, 2003. Accessed online 2009-11-06.
  12. ^ Misha Berson, Empty Space was a survivor until last "rainstorm", Seattle Times, November 1, 2006. Accessed online 2009-11-06.
  13. ^ Misha Berson, Provocative "Pillowman" heads up daring new ACT season, Seattle Times, March 19, 2006. Accessed online 2009-11-06.
  14. ^ David-Edward Hughes, Seattle, Talkin' Broadway Regional Theater. Accessed online 2009-11-06.
  15. ^ Misha Berson, Smaller theaters are thinking big, getting first dibs on new works, Seattle Times, April 27, 2008. Accessed online 2009-11-06.
  16. ^ a b Production history, ACT Theatre. Accessed online 2009-11-06.
  17. ^ a b c d e f ACT History: ACT plays live beyond ACT, ACT Theatre. Accessed online 2009-11-06.
  18. ^ Member Theatres, League of Resident Theatres. Accessed online 2009-11-06.
  19. ^ TPS Member Companies, Theatre Puget Sound; accessible via dropdown, site is not designed for "deep linking". Accessed online 2009-11-06.
  20. ^ Theatre Profiles: A Contemporary Theatre (ACT), Theatre Communications Group. Accessed online 2009-11-06.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°36′40″N 122°19′57″W / 47.6110°N 122.3324°W / 47.6110; -122.3324