Sheik, Sater want `Nightingale’ to fly at ACT

Duncan Sheik (left) and Steven Sater say they hope to open their new musical, The Nightingale, at American Conservatory Theater. Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Could San Francisco be the starting point for the follow-up to Spring Awakening?

If Tony Award-winning creators Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater have anything to say about it, The Nightingale, their follow-up to the mega-hit musical Spring Awakening, will make its debut at the American Conservatory Theater in the near future.

In a recent phone interview, Sheik said that when he’s in town for the official launch of the Spring Awakening national tour in early September, he and Sater hope to sit down with ACT artistic director Carey Perloff.

“We really want to get down to brass tacks in terms of a schedule and a plan,” Sheik said. “I’m so crossing my fingers that we do the show in that theater. That’s been a dream of mine and Steven’s since we saw The Black Rider there. Love that space, love the ACT team. What better place to begin The Nightingale, this fairy tale of mythical China?”

Sater also confirmed the discussion with ACT: “We are in serious conversation with them,” he said. “I’m very hopeful of bringing Nightingale there sometime next year.’

Perloff said in a statement that The Nightingale has been a dream project for Sheik and Sater for many years, and they have “longed to see it born at ACT.” To that end, ACT, in association with Martin McCallum, produced a major New York workshop of The Nightingale in November last year in after which the writers continued working through rewrites and maintaining an open dialogue with ACT.

“After last year’s workshop, they did a major rewrite, coming up with a gorgeous, streamlined and deeply moving version of Hans Christian Andersen’s magical tale,” Perloff said. “We very much hope to realize this new musical as part of our 2009-10 Season. Like Fool Moon, Shockheaded Peter and other cross-generational pieces ACT has produced, this should be a huge event for the whole Bay Area.”

The Spring Awakening tour, part of the SHN/Best of Broadway season, opens Sept. 4 at the Curran Theatre. Visit for information.

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