Bay Area Theater: San Francisco Playhouse Presents BAUER, a World Premiere Play by Lauren Gunderson

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Bauer, the World Premiere play from award-winning playwright Lauren Gunderson, will be performed at the San Francisco Playhouse theater from March 18 to April 19, 2014.

San Francisco Playhouse (Artistic Director Bill English & Producing Director Susi Damilano) presents the world premiere commission of Bauer by Bay Area playwright Lauren Gunderson.

Gunderson’s play tells the compelling and controversial tale of world-renowned artist Rudolf Bauer, who was so driven to create, he sketched on scraps in a Nazi prison and yet eventually stopped painting forever when a feud erupted amongst himself, his patron and benefactor Solomon Guggenheim, and Bauer’s lifetime love, Baroness Hilla Rebay – one of Guggenheim’s most trusted curators.

The Guggenheim Museum, originally built to house Bauer’s works, opened without a single Bauer exhibited. This January, San Francisco Playhouse’s commissioned play presents a freshly imagined face-off between Bauer and the two women he loved most as they each confront the passions of his life and art.

Bill English directs a cast starring Ronald Guttman* as Bauer, Susi Damilano as his wife and former maid, Louise, and Stacy Ross* as his lifelong love, Hilla Rebay.

The play will run from March 18th to April 19th, 2014, with the Press Opening scheduled for March 22nd. For tickets and more information, visit or call (415) 677-9696.

Rudolf Bauer is considered by many art historians and critics to have had a major impact on modern artists such as Jackson Pollock and William de Kooning, and yet his name and work mysteriously disappeared from the art world in the 1950s and many of his paintings remain banished to the basement of the Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Bauer was also one of the originators of nonobjective painting, a genre commonly referred to as abstract or nonrepresentational art. His contemporaries include Piet Mondrian, Vasilly Kandinsky, and Paul Klee.

Bauer’s work was featured in the U.S. as early as 1933 and Solomon R. Guggenheim became his champion and patron, purchasing 300 works for his personal art collection. Guggenheim’s first museum, The Museum of Nonobjective Painting that opened in 1939 was dominated by Bauer’s artwork.

Concurrent with the world premiere of Bauer, The Weinstein Gallery (383 Geary Street in San Francisco) will present a major art exhibit, The Realm of the Spirit—a retrospective of Rudolf Bauer, spanning five decades and including original oil paintings and works on paper, many on exhibition for the first time in over fifty years. The Bauer display runs March 15 through April 30. For more information on the exhibition, visit or call (415) 362-8151.

“For thirty years, from 1917 to the 1940's, Rudolf Bauer was considered one of the most important artists in the world,“ explains Rowland Weinstein, owner of the Weinstein Gallery. “Now, very few people even remember he existed. Our retrospective is an in-depth exploration of this artist's extraordinary and groundbreaking work, while the play Bauer examines his struggles with the Guggenheim Foundation that led to his descent into obscurity. Together, these two complementary art events will unravel the mystery surrounding Rudolf Bauer and his place in art history.”

San Francisco Playhouse is a nonprofit theater in San Francisco. Located in the heart of the city’s Theater District, San Francisco Playhouse is San Francisco’s "Off-Broadway" company, a powerful, intimate alternative to larger and more traditional venues. San Francisco Playhouse provides audiences with the opportunity to experience professional theater close up, produced by top-notch actors and with world-class design. The company has been awarded a range of accolades for acting, design, and production including the SF Weekly’s Best Theatre Award and The Bay Guardian’s Best Off-Broadway Theatre Award. Presenting a diverse array of plays and musicals, San Francisco Playhouse produces new works as well as re-imagined classics, “making the edgy accessible and the traditional edgy.” The company’s 2012-2013 Season marked its 10th anniversary and as it moved to a newly renovated venue, The San Francisco Chronicle raved that “the company that lived a hand-to-mouth existence for its first few years has become the little playhouse that could. It quickly established a reputation for attracting some of the Bay Area's best acting and directing talent, as well as for its exciting play choices. And with its bold Sandbox Series, it's become a player in developing new works as well.” San Francisco Playhouse is committed to providing a creative home and inspiring environment where actors, designers, directors, theatergoers and writers converge to create works that celebrate the human spirit. For tickets, information and more, visit

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Donny Gilliland
San Francisco Playhouse
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