John Guare gets `Rich and Famous’ again

For ACT’s `Rich and Famous, all’s fair in love and Guare

The cast for American Conservatory Theater’s Rich and Famous, a 1974 satirical comedy by John Guare (pictured a left, photo by Paul Kolnik) that is being significantly re-written for this revival, has been announced, and it’s fantastic.

Anyone who saw Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me when it had its pre-Broadway run at San Francisco’s Curran will be delighted to hear that two of that show’s supporting cast, Brooks Ashmanskas and Mary Birdsong, will be starring in Rich and Famous, which features a handful of songs written by Guare.

Also in the cast is Broadway veteran Stephen DeRosa (Hairspray, Into the Woods) and ACT core company member Gregory Wallace. The production is directed by John Rando, the Tony Award-winning director of Urinetown both on Broadway and on the national tour that kicked off at ACT.

Ashmanskas, who plays struggling playwright Bing Ringling, says: “John Guare’s work has the unique ability to simultaneously exist on many different planes of reality that are disparate, fully realized, and by definition dramatic – and `Rich and Famous’ is a perfect example of this. It is Guare’s fantastic bravery and honesty that keeps me hysterical with laughter. To get a chance to tackle this sincere, sophisticated and adorably desperate role in a brilliantly revised version of this terrific play directed by the genius John Rando alongside a stellar cast, including my old pals Mary Birdsong and Stephen DeRosa, is almost too good to be true. I would be thrilled to work at ACT under any circumstances, but this is truly exciting and an honor.”

Rich and Famous plays Jan. 8 through Feb. 8 at 415 Geary St., San Francisco. Tickets are $14-$82. Call 415-749-228 or visit

Playwright Guare (Six Degrees of Separation, The House of Blue Leaves) will be in town this week and will be the guest of ACT’s Koret Visiting Artist Series at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 13 at ACT.

The event, moderated by ACT dramaturg and director of humanities Michael Paller, is free. Reservations are required. Call 415-749-2ACT or visit

Here’s Mary Birdsong singing her original composition “99 Cent Store” (it’s for adult audiences and not work appropriate):

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