Expect the Unexpected Gala
Scapin (Bill Irwin, right) and Sylvestre (A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program graduate Jud Williford) dance the Schemer’s Boogie. Photo by Kevin Berne.

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) and Gala Chair Patti Rueff have announced Expect the Unexpected!, A.C.T.’s 2012 Season Gala, starring A.C.T. Young Conservatory alumnus Darren Criss (TV’s Glee, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on Broadway), two-time Tony Award winner Bill Irwin (Scapin at A.C.T., Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? on Broadway), A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program graduate Patrick Lane (Brian Hawkins in Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City), and Betsy Wolfe (Mary Ann Singleton in Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, 110 in the Shade and Everyday Rapture on Broadway).

Proceeds from the Gala support A.C.T.’s acclaimed actor training and arts education programs. The Gala will be held on Sunday, April 15, 2012, at the historic Regency Center (1300 Van Ness Avenue) in San Francisco. Individual tickets range in price from $1,000 to $2,500, with patron levels ranging from $10,000 to $25,000. We’re told “an extremely limited number” of $500 tickets are available online only.

The “black tie with a twist” event (guests are encouraged to be theatrical and add their own flair and props to their outfits) begins at 5 p.m. with a cocktail reception, followed by a lavish dinner and star-studded original musical production titled Tales of A.C.T.!, written exclusively for the Gala by Dan Rubin and directed by A.C.T. Associate Artistic Director Mark Rucker, who most recently directed Higher at A.C.T. The production will feature Darren Criss, Bill Irwin, Patrick Lane, and Betsy Wolfe alongside students from the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program and Young Conservatory and members of A.C.T.’s Board of Trustees, many of whom will be making their stage debuts.

Says A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff: “Over the years, A.C.T. has been committed to telling San Francisco stories—from our luminous production of Philip Kan Gotanda’s After the War, to the glorious experience of bringing to life The Tosca Project, to last season’s monumental world premiere production of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City. At this year’s Gala, in which we celebrate our remarkable conservatory, raise funds for our education programs, and support the next generation of theater artists, we are shining the spotlight on our process as we seek out the next great San Francisco story. We’re thrilled to present, for the very first time, an outrageous original production that will showcase the inimitable talents of Darren Criss, Bill Irwin, Patrick Lane, and Betsy Wolfe alongside our masterful M.F.A. Program students, Young Conservatory artists, and—in something completely unprecedented—A.C.T.’s Board of Trustees, making their theatrical debut! It is truly going to be a unique and unforgettable evening!”

Gala Chair Patti Rueff adds: “We are stepping out of the box with this event and doing something completely different from anything A.C.T. has ever done before. I assure you, it won’t be your run-of-the-mill fundraiser! We are honored and thrilled that Darren, Bill, Patrick, and Betsy will be lending their talent and support to raise money for our conservatory and A.C.T.’s arts education programs in Bay Area schools. In addition to our guests being able to experience the talents of these incredible artists in such an intimate setting, 180 Bay Area schoolchildren with a passion for the arts will be sponsored to attend this event as part of the Gala Fan Club. What an incredible opportunity for them to see stars of Broadway and TV performing alongside our remarkable conservatory students and experience the art of live theater.”

The Gala Committee, led by Rueff, includes Lynn Brinton, Mollie Ricker, Carla Riemer, Anne Shonk, and Michelle Shonk.

San Francisco Bay Area Film and TheaterExpect the Unexpected!

A.C.T. Fundraising Gala
Proceeds support A.C.T.’s acclaimed actor training and arts education programs

Sunday, April 15, 2012 w 5 p.m.
The Regency Center w San Francisco