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Susan's City Scene
April 19, 2013, 05:00 AM By Susan Cohn Daily Journal Senior Correspondent

Kevin Berne Julius Ahn, right, as trapped deliveryman Guang, tries to get the attention of Joel Perez, as fellow employee Marco, in Stuck Elevator, in its world premiere at American Conservatory Theater through April 28.

STUCK ELEVATOR AT AMERICAN CONSERVATORY THEATER COMPRESSES 81 TERRIFYING HOURS INTO 81 ELECTRIFYING MINUTES. In 2005, a Chinese deliveryman was trapped in a Bronx elevator for 81 hours, hoping for help, yet afraid of what being rescued by the authorities might mean, because he was an undocumented immigrant. Stuck Elevator, in its world premiere at A.C.T., transforms his ordeal into a completely sung series of solo and ensemble performances that vividly depict both his mental and physical deterioration as well as his life outside his temporary cage. An unflinching and entirely mesmerizing look at one man’s search for the American Dream. Directed by Chay Yew. Libretto by Aaron Jafferis. Music by Byron Au Yong. One hour and 21 minutes with no intermission. Through April 28.

STAGE DIRECTIONS: A.C.T. is located at the Geary Theater, 415 Geary St., just off Union Square in the heart of downtown San Francisco. Parking is available one block away at the Mason/O’Farrell Garage, 325 Mason St. Show your theater ticket stub to receive a discount. The theater is a relatively level four-block walk from the Bart-Powell Street Station (Market Street).

TICKETS: Tickets from $20 - $85 are available at act-sf.org or (415) 749-2228.

AN ASIDE: A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff said, “I discovered this remarkable piece at the Sundance Playwrights Lab, where it leapt to the fore because of its astonishing originality. Who would have thought you could turn the true story of a frightened Chinese deliveryman stuck in an elevator into a hilarious and heartbreaking musical about hunger, immigration, family, dreams and duck sauce? This richly imagined piece of musical theater is a wonderful tribute to San Francisco’s vibrant Chinese culture and a thrilling example of a commitment to new work that defies the boundaries and uses all the tools of theater to create something entirely new.”

A.C.T.’S COMING ATTRACTIONS: National Theatre of Scotland’s Black Watch makes its highly anticipated Bay Area premiere May 9. Inspired by interviews with soldiers who served in Iraq with Scotland’s 300-year-old Black Watch regiment, this powerful depiction of war takes over the long-dormant Drill Court at San Francisco’s historic Mission Armory. Splicing together choreographed marches and Scottish ballads with searing video news footage, Black Watch captures the layered state of being at war. Through June 9. A.C.T. completes its 2012-13 season with a new production of Tom Stoppard’s Masterwork “Arcadia,” whose story moves between the 19th century and the present through a series of love stories, as characters from both eras discover connections, unearth mysteries and unravel hidden truths. May 16 - June 9. And it’s not too early to start thinking about A.C.T.’s 2013–14 season, which includes the West Coast premiere of Tony Award-winning director Frank Galati’s new staging of 1776; BD Wong ((M. Butterfly, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) in The Orphan of Zhao; and Emmy Award winner David Strathairn starring in Underneath the Lintel.


YOSHI’S SF PRESENTS PIANIST LARA DOWNES. The theme for the night is the music and memories of exile as Pianist Lara Downes performs at Yoshi’s SF on Wed. April 24. Part CD release concert for Downes’s Exiles’ Cafe and part kick off of The Artist Sessions. Rik Malone of KDFC and Quartet San Francisco joins Downes, who gives an artist talk. 8 p.m. $24. 1330 Fillmore St. San Francisco. www.yoshis.com.


FALSTAFF AT THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN SHAKESPEARE COMPANY. Celebrating one of Shakespeare’s most beloved characters and infamous skirt-chasers, The Merry Wives of Windsor reunites audiences with the ever-merry, ever-scheming Sir John Falstaff from Shakespeare’s history plays King Henry IV, Part 1 and King Henry IV, Part 2. The Merry Wives of Windsor chronicles the exploits of Falstaff who, down on luck and money, tries to swindle two seemingly simple housewives. But the joke’s on him when the Mistresses Ford and Page catch on to Falstaff’s seduction scheme and teach him a lesson with some mischief of their own. African-American Shakespeare Company’s production, reset in the 1960s in the shared backyards of a city neighborhood, adopts the style of the popular urban black theater movement style known as the “Chitlin Circuit.” May 4 – 26. Buriel Clay Theatre African-American Art & Culture Complex. 762 Fulton St. (at Webster) San Francisco. Complimentary parking on site. www.african-americanshakes.org.


FEINSTEIN’S AT THE NIKKO. Michael Feinstein brings the Great American Songbook to San Francisco with Feinstein’s at the Nikko. Opening headliners are Two Time Tony Award-winner Sutton Foster – Wednesday May 8 through Sunday May 12, and Stage and Screen Legend Mitzi Gaynor – Wednesday May 15 through Sunday May 19. In The Hotel Nikko. 222 Mason St. San Francisco. www.hotelnikkosf.com.

Susan Cohn is a member of American Theatre Critics Association and San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle. She may be reached at susan@smdailyjournal.com.

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