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ACT Gets Back In The Act

Still coping with a major deficit and the loss of its historic Geary Street home theater after the 1989 earthquake, American Conservatory Theater announced its 1991-92 season schedule amid a flurry of transitional plans.

Departing artistic director Edward Hastings, who took the helm after founder William Ball resigned amid controversy in 1986, remains at his post during the search for a replacement. Hastings is largely credited with restoring the company’s audience base and critical standing, which faltered in the later years of the Ball regime.

The Geary suffered severe structural damage and immediately closed a hit show (Lewis Carroll-based musical “Right Mind”) in the wake of the quake. Since then, the company has farmed out productions to the Orpheum Theater, Palace of Fine Arts and the Stage Door Theater.

Early estimate for theater repairs is $5.8 million. About 75% of rebuilding costs will be reimbursed by the federal Federal Emergency Management Agency, 25% by the California Office of Emergency Service. Next season’s productions will continue to be housed at the Stage Door, Orpheum and Theater on the Square.

The 1991-92 season, ACT’s 25th includes “The Piano Lesson,” “Charley’s Aunt,” “The Cocktail Hour,” “Good,” “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and “Taking Steps.”

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