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Act One

James Lapine, from the autobiography by Moss Hart
Full Length, Comedy/Drama
30 men, 21 women (flexible casting, may be done with as few as 12 with doubling)
Total Cast: 51, Flexible Set
ISBN-13: 978-0-8222-3217-9


MIN. PERFORMANCE FEE: $105 per performance. SPECIAL NOTE: Original sound design created by Dan Moses Schreier and original music composed by Louis Rosen for the Broadway production of ACT ONE are separately available for purchase with your license and will be distributed digitally. For more information on the sound design, click here. For more information on sheet music, click here.
THE STORY: Growing up in an impoverished family in the Bronx, Moss Hart dreamed of being part of the glamorous world of the theatre. Forced to drop out of school at age thirteen, Hart’s famous memoir Act One is a classic Hortatio Alger story that plots Hart’s unlikely collaboration with the legendary playwright George S. Kaufman. Tony Award-winning writer and director James Lapine has adapted Act One for the stage, creating a funny, heartbreaking, and suspenseful play that celebrates the making of a playwright and his play Once in a Lifetime. ACT ONE offers great fun to a director to utilize over fifty roles, which can be played by a cast as few as twelve, and in a production that can be done as simply or elaborately as desired.
“…brims contagiously with the ineffable, irrational and irrefutable passion for that endangered religion called the Theater…ACT ONE critically reminds us, at a moment when it’s easy to forget, of why so many of us fell head over heels for this cockamamie faith to begin with…Hart captured the desperation, egotism, self-consciousness, illusionism and perverse certainty that made his escape possible. It’s a self-portrait in which affected and determined young misfits continue to find consoling reflections of themselves…Mr. Lapine has telescoped the book’s events with honorable efficiency.” —The New York Times.

“A rollicking valentine to the theater.” —Associated Press.

“…quite faithful and wrought with abundant skill and empathy…And although Lapine is evoking a Broadway scene nearly a century old, not so much has changed: Writers are still neurotic, actors are still vain, and producers are still snakes or saints—or both…credit is due to Lapine for efffectively distilling a fast-moving memory play…ACT ONE is tremendous fun, sweet and wise-wistful, [full of] insight into the joys and terrors of show business.” —Time Out New York.