Act One premiered on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in Lincoln Center on March 20, 2014 (previews), officially on April 17, 2014. Directed by James Lapine, the cast featured Santino Fontana, Tony Shalhoub (as George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart) and Andrea Martin. Martin played three women in Moss Hart's life; Shalhoub also played three roles: as the older Hart, Moss's father, and George S. Kaufman. The play closed on June 15, 2014 after 67 performances and 31 previews. It was filmed to be shown on the PBS television program "Live from Lincoln Center." The filmed production was televised on PBS in November 2015.
The play is an adaption of Moss Hart's autobiography Act One. The play, narrated by the older Moss Hart, traces his life from being poor in The Bronx to becoming famous and successful as a Broadway writer and director. The play depicts Hart's meeting and collaboration with George S. Kaufman. Act One ends with the production of the Hart-Kaufman successful play, Once in a Lifetime in 1930.
Ben Brantley, in his review for The New York Times, wrote "whatever its flaws, 'Act One,'... brims contagiously with the ineffable, irrational and irrefutable passion for that endangered religion called the Theater."
Elysa Gardner, in her review in USA Today, wrote that the play "... is rather an appreciation, most notable for its deep affection and almost deferential reverence. To say the play lacks the complex poignance of the 'Sunday in the Park with George' and 'Into the Woods' librettist's best work wouldn't be fair; however wry Hart's humor or complicated his relationships — with show business, his family, other people — his 'Act One' is a nostalgic and ultimately upbeat reflection on fulfilling a dream....Lapine captures that essence and the period, on the page and on the stage."
|2014||Tony Award||Best Play||James Lapine||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Play||Tony Shalhoub||Nominated|
|Best Scenic Design of a Play||Beowulf Boritt||Won|
|Best Costume Design of a Play||Jane Greenwood||Nominated|
|Best Sound Design of a Play||Dan Moses Schreier||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Sound Design of a Play||Nominated|
|Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding New Broadway Play||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actor in a Play||Tony Shalhoub||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Andrea Martin||Won|
|Outstanding Set Design||Beowulf Boritt||Nominated|