Venue Details

82 Star Starred
Actors Theatre of San Francisco
855 Bush St. San Francisco, CA 94108
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Quotes & Highlights

“Henley succeeds in keeping the audience in stitches pretty much throughout, using the blackest of humor.” CurtainUp


The Magrath sisters are having a bad day: Babe just shot her abusive husband and is out on bail, Meg is home from Hollywood after a nervous breakdown and a failed singing career, and eldest sister Lenny feels unwanted on her 30th birthday. To top it off their granddaddy is dying from a stroke and Lenny’s beloved horse has been struck by lightening. Their troubles started a long time ago when their father left them and their mother hung herself and the family pet cat. The sisters’ reunion triggers a hilarious mix of conflicts, revelations and crises.

Often compared to the work of other “Southern Gothic” writers such as Eudora Welty and Flannery O’Connor, Crimes of the Heart is praised for its compassionate look at small-town people in crisis. Henley completed the play in 1978 and submitted it to several regional theaters for consideration without success. Unknown to her, however, a friend entered it in the renowned Great American Play Contest of the Actors’ Theatre of Louisville. The play was chosen as co-winner and performed in February of 1979 at the company’s annual festival of New American Plays. The production was extremely well received and at the end of 1980 it was produced off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club for a limited, sold-out engagement of thirty-two performances. By the time the play transferred to Broadway in November of 1981, Crimes of the Heart had received the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. Beth Henley was the first woman to win the Pulitzer for Drama in twenty-three years, and the play was the first ever to win before opening on Broadway. It also won both the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New American Play and a Guggenheim Award, and it a received a Tony nomination.

This ATSF production features a cast of actors including Elisa Jones as Lenny, Niki Yapo as Meg, Carole Swann as Babe, Tara Donoghue as Chick Boyle, Phil Hilton as Barnette and Chris Carlone as Doc.

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