George S. Kaufman-Edna Ferber's Comedy Stage Door: a "Rescues" production only the American Century Theater would bring audiences: June 21-24.

Limited Run! Free Admission!

Large cast size and expenses have discouraged theater companies from producing the best of all actress vehicles, the 1936 hit comic drama Stage Door in which more than twenty actresses play actresses. But with its mission to bringing the unexpected to area audiences, the American Century Theater is bringing Stage Door to life.

The scene is a boarding house for aspiring stage divas, and during the evening we get to know all of them. There are love affairs, betrayals, wise-cracks, violence, tragedy and comedy aplenty, and authors Kaufman and Ferber keep all the goings on lively and beautifully synchronized so that Stage Door is just plain great. And the play inspired an all-star film version (including Katherine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, Eve Arden, Ann Miller and many more) that took such liberties with the plot and dialogue that Kaufman referred to it ruefully as "Screen Door."

"Stage Door is the perfect show for the American Century Theater's Rescue Series," says Artistic Director Jack Marshall. "Rescues," which has presented such classics as Detective Story and last season's W.W.II musical revue Call Me Mister, gives area audiences a free opportunity to see top talent in a thoroughly staged reading of a grand show from the pastthe kind of big and risky shows that most current theater companies no longer produce in these days of scaled down casts and budgets. The director of Stage Door is Terry Kester, who did superb work with the TACT production of The Time of Your Life by William Saroyan.

Thanks to the support of Arlington County, Stage Door will actually be on a proscenium stage, and for once, the perennially sold out "Rescues" performances will have plenty of seats: the show will be performed in Gunston Art Center's large Theater One.

Producer Ellen Dempsey (It Had to Be You) will bring a cast that area audiences will recognize. "Getting to see a full cast performance of a show like Stage Door is a rare treat," says Marshall. "Getting to see it free is a gift. But that's what Rescues is: our gift to theater-lovers who appreciate the best work of American playwrights.

Stage Door by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman will be presented at Theater One of the Gunston Arts Center, 2700 South Lang Street in Arlington. All tickets are free of charge, but reservations are recommended. TACT subscribers are entitled to first choice of seating. Performances are June 21, 22 and 23 at 8 PM, and June 24 at 2:30. For reservations, call 703-553-8782.

The American Century Theater is a 501 (c) (3) professional nonprofit theater company dedicated to producing, great, important, and neglected 20th Century American plays and playwrights. TACT is funded in part by the Arlington County Cultural Affairs Division of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, numerous foundations and many generous donors.

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