act

actsf

artfull circle theatre

christmas with the crawfords

 

ethel merman experience

 

ethel merman
janet fly

ARTFULL CIRCLE THEATRE (ACT) WAS FOUNDED IN 1992 WHEN FOUR MEN JOINED FORCES IN SAN FRANCISCO TO BRING TO THE STAGE THEIR SHARED VISION OF CREATING MUSICAL PARODIES OF A SELECT GROUP OF CHERISHED HOLLYWOOD MOVIES.

WAYNE BUIDENS AND DAVE BUSSEY CAME FROM CHICAGO WHERE WAYNE HAD CO-FOUNDED CIRCLE THEATRE IN OAK PARK AND HAD CREATED A SUCCESSFUL MUSICAL VERSON OF THE JOAN CRAWFORD/BETTE DAVIS HORROR FLICK “WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?” BRINGING “JANE” TO SAN FRANCISCO, WAYNE AND DAVE MET RICHARD WINCHESTER AND MARK SARGENT, AND TOGETHER THEY DECIDED TO CONTINUE CREATING MORE PRODUCTIONS IN A SPACE OF THEIR OWN.

WAYNE DISCOVERED AN UNUSED FORMER HORSE BARN FOR THE SAN FRANCISCO FIRE DEPARTMENT AND WORK BEGAN TURNING THE SPACE INTO A THEATRE IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE LEASE WAS SIGNED IN LATE 1992.

THE PARTNERS DECIDED IT WAS VITAL THAT SOME PRODUCTION BEGIN IN THE SPACE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, AND AFTER A BRAIN STORMING SESSION IN LATE OCTOBER 1992, A HOLIDAY SHOW WAS CONCEIVED AND WRITTEN. ENTITLED “CHRISTMAS WITH THE CRAWFORDS,” THE SHOW WAS TO BE A FARCICAL ROMP BASED LOOSELY ON JOAN CRAWFORD AND FAMILY’S CHRISTMAS EVE RADIO BROADCAST FROM HER HOME, MIXED UP WITH LEGENDARY HOLLYWOOD DIVAS BARGING IN AND STEALING THE LIMELIGHT, AND LITTLE “MOMMIE DEAREST” MOMENTS THROWN IN BETWEEN JOAN AND HER CHILDREN. THE SHOW WAS AN INSTANT HIT AND HAS BEEN PLAYING SOMEWHERE IN THE U.S. EVER SINCE, INCLUDING IN NEW YORK WHERE IT RECEIVED A DRAMA DESK NOMINATION IN 2001 FOR BEST COSTUMES (BY CHRIS MARCH OF “PROJECT RUNWAY” FAME). THE NEW YORK PRODUCTIONS FEATURED THE LEGENDARY JOEY ARIAS AS JOAN.

SEVERAL MORE MUSICAL COMEDIES WERE PRODUCED AFTERWARD, INCLUDING “PSYCHO THE MUSICAL,” “WAY OUT WEST,” A TRIBUTE TO THE MOVIES OF MAE WEST AND W.C. FIELDS, “WOMEN’S PRISON CHRISTMAS,” A SEND UP OF WOMEN’S PRISON FILMS OF THE LATE 40’S AND EARLY 50’S, “JUNGLE RED,” A PARODY OF ‘THE WOMEN,” AND “EVE” A MUSICAL VERSION OF “ALL ABOUT EVE.” “JUNGLE RED” EARNED A CABLE CAR AWARD IN 1995, AND “WAY OUT WEST” AND “EVE” BOTH WON BAY AREA THEATRE CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS.

IN 2003, "CHRISTMAS WITH THE CRAWFORDS" CAME HOME TO SAN FRANCISCO, AND IN 2008 A NEW PRODUCTION OF "JUNGLE RED" WAS MOUNTED FEATURING VARLA JEAN MERMAN IN THE ROLE OF CRYSTAL ALLEN (JOAN CRAWFORD IN THE MOVIE).

WORK HAS NOW BEGUN ON ACT'S NEWEST SHOW, "COBRA WOMAN," BASED ON THE 1940S TECHNICOLOR SPECTACULAR AND SLATED FOR PRODUCTION IN 2011.

email act - jrwinch@pacbell.net

© artfull circle theatre 2012