Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Sean Dugan Set for West Coast Premiere of George C. Wolfe’s Tony Award-Winning Production of The Normal Heart at A.C.T., September 13 – October 7, 2012

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) is presenting the West Coast premiere of The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer’s landmark play focusing on the early years of the AIDS crisis in New York City in the 1980s, September 13 – October 7, 2012.

George Wolfe, Tonya Pinkins and S. Epatha Merkerson at 54 Below in New York on August 27, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

George Wolfe, Tonya Pinkins and S. Epatha Merkerson at 54 Below in New York on August 27, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Directed by five-time Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe, The Normal Heart unfolds like a real-life political thriller as a tight-knit group of friends refuse to let doctors, politicians, and the press bury the truth about an epidemic ravaging the gay community behind a wall of silence. The Normal Heart has performances at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco). Press night is Wednesday, September 19, at 8 p.m. The Normal Heart is presented in association with Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater in Washington, D.C., by special arrangement with Daryl Roth.
Sean Dugan

Sean Dugan


The Normal Heart will feature original Broadway cast member Patrick Breen in the role of Ned Weeks, the fiery writer and activist at the center of the play. He is joined by noted film and television actress (and fellow original Broadway cast member) Jordan Baker as Dr. Emma Brookner, a passionate physician determined to stop the spread of the mysterious disease. The production also features Tom Berklund (Broadway’s The Addams Family) as Craig Donner/Grady, Matt McGrath (Broadway’s Cabaret, A.C.T.’s The Black Rider) as Felix Turner, Tony Award nominee Michael Berresse (Broadway’s Kiss Me, Kate, A Chorus Line, and The Light in the Piazza) as Mickey Marcus, Sean Dugan (NBC’s “Smash”) as Tommy Boatwright, Jon Levenson (Broadway’s The Normal Heart) as Hiram Keebler/Examining Doctor, Nick Mennell (Broadway’s A Free Man of Color) as Bruce Niles, and Bruce Altman (HBO’s “Game Change”) as Ben Weeks.

Fueled by love, anger, hope, and pride, The Normal Heart centers around a circle of friends struggling to contain the mysterious disease ravaging New York’s gay community. First produced in 1985 by Joseph Papp at New York’s Public Theater, the show immediately became a critical sensation and a seminal moment in theater history. Kramer’s unapologetic tackling of the AIDS epidemic, gay marriage, and our national healthcare system casts theatrical light on issues that are as present in today’s national discourse as they were when the play first premiered a quarter of a century ago.

Wolfe’s 2011 Broadway staging received universal acclaim and was the recipient of three Tony Awards, three Drama Desk Awards, and the Outer Circle Critics Circle Award, all naming it Best Revival of a Play. The show was also awarded the Special Citation from the New York Drama Critics Circle.

Mo Rocca (left), Rachel Dratch in Tail! Spin!. Photo by Thom Kaine

Mo Rocca (left), Rachel Dratch in Tail! Spin!. Photo by Thom Kaine


Dugan just completed a sold-out run of the wildly popular political comedy TAIL! SPIN! opposite Rachel Dratch and Mo Rocca at the Kraine Theater, as part of the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival. He last appeared on Broadway in Next Fall, for which he received a Drama Desk Nomination. His Off-Broadway credits include The Illusion, Next Fall, The English Channel, Perfect Harmony, BFF, Nerds, Valhalla, Corpus Christi, Flesh & Blood, Shakespeare’s R & J. He has worked regionally at Two River Theater Company, Roundhouse Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, The Old Globe, American Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Festival, Theatre J. Film/TV: On The Slope, Gigantic, Trust the Man, Company Man, Overnight Sensation, “Smash,” “I Just Want My Pants Back,” “Eden,” “The Good Wife,” “Fringe,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “The Beat,” “Oz.”

The Normal Heart reunites members of the Broadway revival’s design team, including scenic designer David Rockwell, costume designer Martin Pakledinaz, lighting designer David Weiner, sound designer and original music composer David Van Tieghem, and projection designer Batwin & Robin. Joining the team is restaging director Leah C. Gardiner.

Tickets for the limited engagement of The Normal Heart are now available online at www.act-sf.org and by phone at 415.749.2228. Subscribers to A.C.T.’s 2012–13 season will receive priority seating to this highly anticipated production. To order a subscription, visit www.act-sf.org/subscribe or call 415.749.2250.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Photos: Laila Robins, Sean Dugan, C.J. Wilson, Peter Francis James, Bill Irwin and Tricia Paoluccio at Signature Theatre Company’s revival of Edward Albee’s The Lady From Dubuque
Photos: All-Access Pass to Disney’s Aladdin at The Muny with Thom Sesma, Francis Jue, Robin De Jesus, John Tartaglia, Jason Graae, Curtis Holbrook, Eddie Korbich, Samantha Massell and Ken Page
LA Premiere of $upercapitalist on August 31st with Derek Ting, Kathy Uyen, Rachel Tan, Paul Sheehan and Joyce Yung at LAEMMLE Noho 7; Photos of NY Premiere
Signature Theatre’s World Premiere of Sam Shepard’s Heartless Starring Lois Smith, Gary Cole, Jenny Bacon, Betty Gilpin, and Julianne Nicholson Extends through September 30, 2012
West Coast Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish at Berkeley Rep stars Michelle Krusiec and Alex Moggridge, August 24-October 7, 2012
Theater of the Stars Presents The King and I Starring Ronobir Lahiri, Victoria Mallory, Raul Aranas, Ali Ewoldt, Josh Dela Cruz, Jee Hyun Lim and Raphael Aranas, Helmed by Baayork Lee on Tour through September 11, 2012
Tony Award – winning Playwright Terrence McNally to be Honored at Westport Country Playhouse Annual Gala, September 24, 2012
Manhattan Theatre Club’s 2012-2013 Season: Richard Thomas and Boyd Gaines to star in An Enemy of the People at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung and Paolo Montalban star in the World Premiere of Allegiance – A New American Musical at The Old Globe, September 7 – October 21, 2012
World Premiere Screening of Lil Tokyo Reporter Starring Chris Tashima at Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena, September 14-16, 2012
10 minutes with Sullivan & Son’s Jodi Long, Award Winning Actor and Filmmaker
Illeana Douglas, Kimberly-Rose Wolter and Michael Kang Set for 4 Wedding Planners Screening in Screen Actors Guild Foundation Conversations Series in NY
David Henry Hwang to Receive the 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award at the 5th Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards on October 29, 2012
Multimedia: Screen Actors Guild Foundation’s Conversations with Derek Ting, Linus Roache and Michael Park of $upercapitalist
Lily Mariye’s Model Minority, Jayshree Janu Kharpade’s Fire in Our Hearts, Eliaichi Kimaro’s A Lot Like You, Vincent Sandoval’s Señorita, and Liang Cheng’s My Spiritual Medicine among AAIFF’12 Award Winners
C.J. Wilson navigates armor and swordplay in Signature Theatre Company’s World Premiere of Kenneth Lonergan’s Medieval Play
Athol Fugard’s Blood Knot, starring Colman Domingo & Scott Shepherd in The Alice Griffith Jewel Box at The Pershing Square Signature Center through March 11, 2012
Three Year Swim Club, Encounter, TEA, Christmas in Hanoi and Chess set for East West Players 47th Anniversary Season
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2012 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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