TACT/The Actors Company Theatre (Scott Alan Evans, Cynthia Harris and Simon Jones, Co-Artistic Directors) has announced its 2010/2011 Season. The critically-acclaimed company dedicated to presenting neglected or rarely produced plays of literary merit will offer Mainstage productions of The Memorandum by Vaclav Havel, and Three Men on a Horse by George Abbott and John Cecil Holm at The Beckett Theatre (410 West 42nd Street) on Theatre Row.
In a statement, Scott Alan Evans, the Co-Artistic Director of TACT, said, "This season we're loaded with comedies - with everything that's going on in the world today, we figure we could all use a good laugh. Both plays are big: big ideas, big laughs and big casts. In Havel's brilliant satire of bureaucracy gone mad, and in Abbott and Holm's daffy get-rich-quick comedy, the desire to somehow take control of a world gone crazy is the overarching need. We think that might be something people can relate to these days."
Opening the season is The Memorandum, one of the best known and most popular plays by renowned playwright, former political prisoner and the first president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel. When the managing director of an enormous corporation discovers that all office communications are suddenly being written in "Ptydepe," a newly invented and impossibly complicated language, his attempts to get one memo translated lead him through an increasingly ridiculous maze of red tape.
Inspired by the absurdities of life in Eastern Europe under Communism, Havel began writing The Memorandum as early as 1960. Rewritten many times over the next few years, it became the second of Havel's plays produced at Prague's Theatre of the Balustrade, where he was then literary manager. The play had its American debut in 1968 as part of Joseph Papp's inaugural season at The Public Theatre winning an Obie Award for Best Foreign Play. First produced in London in 1977 (and revived in 1995), The Memorandum has been presented regularly around the world. TACT is staging the first major Off Broadway revival in over 40 years.
TACT Company Member and Associate Producer Jenn Thompson directs. Performances begin on Monday, October 25th, 2010. Opening night is Thursday, November 4th at 7:30pm. Performances will continue through Saturday, November 27th.
TACT continues its 2010/2011 season with Three Men on a Horse, the dizzy and delightful Depression era comedy by George Abbott and John Cecil Holm, one of the American theatre's most accomplished showmen. Hen-pecked greeting-card writer, Erwin Trowbridge, has an uncanny ability for predicting the winners of horse races. For Erwin it's just a hobby, but when his extraordinary talent is discovered by a down-and-out pack of gamblers, Erwin suddenly finds himself very far from his safe suburban home in Ozone Heights.
Three Men on a Horse has enjoyed four Broadway productions since it debuted at The Playhouse Theatre on January 30, 1935 where it remained until November 1936. It then transferred to the Fulton Theatre to complete its run of 835 performances. Directed by George Abbott, the opening night cast included Garson Kanin, Shirley Booth, and Sam Levene. The first revival opened at the Forrest Theatre on October 9, 1942 and ran for 28 performances. Directed by John Cecil Holm, the cast included Horace McMahon. The second revival (directed by George Abbott) opened at the Lyceum Theatre on October 16, 1969 and ran for four previews and 100 performances. The cast included Sam Levene, Jack Gilford, Dorothy Loudon, Butterfly McQueen, Paul Ford, Hal Linden, and Rosemary Prinz. The third revival (also at the Lyceum Theatre) was staged by the National Actors Theatre. It began previews on March 23, 1993, opened on April 13, and closed on May 16 after 24 previews and 39 performances. Directed by John Tillinger, the cast included Tony Randall, Jack Klugman, Jerry Stiller, Ellen Greene, and Julie Hagerty. In the spring of 1987, the play was presented at the Royal National Theatre and because it was the first time it was produced in London, it was eligible for nomination for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, which it won. A 1936 film adaptation was produced and directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starred Frank McHugh, Joan Blondell, Guy Kibbee, and Sam Levene. TACT presented a concert performance of Three Men on a Horse in 1998 at its first home, The NY Historical Society.