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World preems get into ACT in S.F.

Season starts with Gotanda's 'Yohen'

The world premieres of Giles Havergal’s new adaptation of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” and Sherry Shephard-Massat’s “Levee James” lead the 2003-04 lineup at San Francisco’s ACT.

ACT commissioned the adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos’ novel, which was an international hit in Christopher Hampton’s version. Havergal, who also directs the Sept. 11-Oct. 12 run at the Geary Theater, adapted Graham Greene’s “Travels With My Aunt” for ACT in 1997.

“Levee James” (Feb. 13-March 14), set in a small Southern town in the ’20s, concerns a mysterious woman who arrives at the home of her brother-in-law, reigniting an old passion. Israel Hicks directs a cast including Steven Anthony Jones and Gregory Wallace.

‘Yohen’ kickoff

Season starts with the Bay Area bow of Philip Kan Gotanda’s “Yohen” (Sept. 6-27). Seret Scott directs the play about an African-American WWII vet and his Japanese wife; Jones and Dian Kobayashi star.

The Young Conservatory New Plays Program presents the world premiere of “War Daddy,” a co-commission with London’s National Theater. David Keith will direct the work by novelist-playwright Jim Grimsley (“A Bird of Prey”) in a Nov. 13-22 run. Later in the season comes the world preem of “Mullen’s Alley,” a co-commission with Bath Theater Royal by Tim Mason (“Ascension Day”) and directed by Craig Slaight (June 10-19).

Excerpted ‘Words’

Roscoe Lee Browne and Anthony Zerbe star in the West Coast preem of “Behind the Broken Words,” a showcase of poems and excerpts from plays by writers including Ferlinghetti, Giraudoux, Rostand, Auden, Seamus Heaney and Edna St. Vincent Millay, Nov. 19-12 at the Geary.

Sandra Reaves-Phillips performs “Bold & Brassy Blues,” a new revue of blues classics, Dec. 27-31, while Mark Nadler offers the Bay Area preem of his solo show “Tchaikowsky (and Other Russians)” Feb. 29 and four dates in March.

“The Master and Margarita” (Feb. 26-March 13) is directed and adapted by Adrian Giurgea from the satirical novel by Mikhail Bulgakov. Characters include Satan, a fast-talking tomcat named Behemoth, Pontius Pilate and the mysterious Margarita.

More music

Craig Slaight and Krista Wigle, who previously collaborated on “Forever Young: The Music of Bob Dylan,” return to ACT March 19-28 with their world preem “The Music of Joni Mitchell,” featuring a large cast of teenage performers.

Olympia Dukakis is skedded to star in Constance Congdon’s “A Mother,” adapted from Gorky’s “Vassa Zheleznova” and directed by Perloff (May 13-June 13). In this world preem ACT commission, a farce about a society in economic turmoil, matriarch Vassa will stop at nothing to keep her business afloat and her family together.

Classic lineup

Classics on the ACT sked include Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Oct. 9-23, directed by Havergal); Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot,” helmed by ACT artistic director Carey Perloff (Oct. 17-Nov. 16); Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” in a new translation by ACT dramaturg Paul Walsh, helmed by Perloff (Jan. 8-Feb. 8 at the Geary Theater); William Saroyan’s “The Time of Your Life,” directed by Tina Landau (March 25-April 25); and holiday perennial “A Christmas Carol,” adapted by Laird Williamson and Dennis Powers (Nov. 29-Dec. 26, Geary).

All performances are at the Zeum or Geary theaters in San Francisco. For more information, call (415) 749-2228 or visit http://www.act-sf.org.