Photos by Joan Marcus
2 hrs, 40 min with one intermission
How James Lapine Adapted ACT ONE
In a recent article in New York Magazine, Frank Rich calls ACT ONE, "The greatest showbiz book ever written."
The book gave a fascinating insider's view of how a show really gets to the stage. Many people feel it has never been bettered. "Act One" was more than just a Broadway tale, though. It was a bestseller for almost a year, topping the New York Times list for 41 weeks. Why would this story of the playwright and director's early years be so wildly and widely popular?
We think it's because "Act One" is not just the ultimate valentine to the theater. It is also a Dickensian story of a young immigrant and his family, struggling to escape poverty in the early 20th century. From tenements to glamorous townhouses, from Buffalo stages to Catskills summer camps, and finally to the Broadway of his dreams, Hart's masterful telling captures the hope, misery and comedy of the climb, but also the glee of making it - because he did! A classic New York story.
Now, almost 75 years after Moss Hart's first Broadway success, James Lapine (who knows a thing or two about collaboration from his many shows written with Stephen Sondheim) brings ACT ONE to the stage. Tony Shalhoub, playing both George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart as an adult, is familiar to LCT audiences as the father in Golden Boy for which he was nominated for a Tony Award last season. Santino Fontana (the Tony-nominated prince in Broadway's Cinderella) portrays Mr. Hart as a young man. Andrea Martin (Tony winner for her spectacular turn as Berthe in Pippin, and also for LCT's My Favorite Year) plays Aunt Kate, a pivotal figure in Hart's early life.