Venue Details

82 Star Starred
Actors Theatre of San Francisco
855 Bush St. San Francisco, CA 94108
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John Guare’s
House of Blue Leaves
Winner of Four Tony Awards, the Obie Award and the New York Drama Critic’s Circle Award

Directed by Michael Medici, assisted by Mary K. Gabrysiak

This sharp-witted black comedy is a biting commentary about our society’s cancerous obsession with celebrity and the corrosive nature of the media and the lure of fame. It’s 1965 and the Pope is coming to New York to address the war in Vietnam. In a time when the American dream has failed terribly, the play’s characters desperately turn to the Pope’s visit for their possible salvation. Trapped in his Queens apartment, zookeeper Artie dreams of becoming a Hollywood composer. His mentally deranged wife, Bananas, realizes his efforts are mediocre and even worse; his mistress, Bunny, suspects the same, yet pushes him to run away with her. In the meantime, Artie’s son, Ronnie, is AWOL from the Army and is secretly preparing to assassinate His Holiness in his own attempt to seek fame and immortality. Throw three maniacal nuns, a B movie director, his starlet girfriend, and explosions into the mix, and the stage is set for hilarious farce.

Playwright John Guare, who is well known for Six Degrees of Separation, has a penchant for eccentric characters and social critique. In House of Blue Leaves, Guare offers an edgy and dark yet touching portrait of misguided desires and broken dreams. House of Blue Leaves premiered Off-Off Broadway in 1971 and promptly won the Obie Award and the New York Drama Critic’s Circle Award as the best American Play of the Year. An acclaimed 1986 all-star revival, featuring Swoozie Kurtz, Stockard Channing, John Mahoney, Ben Stiller, Christopher Walken and others, saw the play move to Broadway and capture four Tony Awards.

This ATSF production features Michael Soldier as Artie, Carole Swann as Bananas and Elisa Jones as Bunny. Additional cast members include James Baldock, Anna Ferraiolo, Lina Hancock, Alan Kaiser, Todd O’Connor, Randy Sawyer, and Maureen Williams.

About the Playwright:
Born in New York City on February 5, 1938, John Guare knew very early that he wanted to be a playwright. Inspired by the original Broadway production of Annie Get Your Gun, Guare wrote his first play at the tender age of eleven. A group of neighborhood kids performed the play in a friend’s garage, and the tiny production caught the attention of the local newspaper, which ran a story on the young playwright.

Guare received a B.A. from Georgetown University (1960) and an M.F.A. from Yale University (1963). In 1968 he won an Obie Award for a one-act play, Muzeeka, but it was not until 1971 that he came to prominence with House of Blue Leaves, a darkly comic attack on American values. Other works by Guare include Two Gentlemen of Verona (1971), Rich and Famous (1974), The Landscape of the Body (1977), and Bosoms and Neglect (1979). Guare scored another major hit in 1990 with Six Degrees of Separation. Inspired by an article in the New York Times about a con-artist who convinced a group of wealthy individuals that he was Sidney Poitier’s son, Six Degrees of Separation enjoyed a run of 485 performances at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre on Broadway and won numerous awards including the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, and an Olivier Best Play Award.

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