San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T) has announced the lineup and performance schedule for its upcoming season, including a return to in-person shows beginning in January 2022.
On May 22, 2021, the season kicks off with the world premiere of a virtual play written by Obie Award-winning Bay Area playwright Christopher Chen and directed by Pam MacKinnon. Commissioned by A.C.T, this virtual play will replace the west coast premiere of Chen’s play The Headlands, due to COVID concerns.
The world premiere of the highly anticipated pre-Broadway musical Soul Train will close out A.C.T’s season from Sept. 16–Oct. 23, 2022. Based on the beloved TV show of the same name, Soul Train is the first Broadway-bound musical with an entirely Black and female creative team. The show follows the journey of entrepreneur and radio DJ Don Cornelius beginning in 1971, as he creates a local dance show that goes on to become one of the longest running shows in television history and cements the musical trends of the next four decades.
Soul Train brings together Tony Award-nominated playwright Dominique Morisseau, Tony Award-nominated choreographer Camille A. Brown, acclaimed director Kamilah Forbes, and Tony Award-nominated producer Matthew Weaver, among others, and will be executive produced by figures including four-time Grammy Award-winning artist Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Don Cornelius’s son Tony Cornelius, and Emmy Award nominated CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker.
After over a year of cancelled shows due to the pandemic, directors and creatives are just as anxious to return to in-person shows as theater-goers. “Whether it's by laughing, or throwing a prompt to the performers, or creating the spaces around the action, or actively listening so hard that the actors literally feel your energy, or clapping along and stomping your feet to the music,” said A.C.T Artistic Director Pam MacKinnon, “the audience makes the art form.”