Berkeley Rep Blog

September 2009

Berkeley Rep shows brewing on Broadway

posted by Chad Jones on Wed, Sep 30

This Sunday, Oct. 4, sees the official Broadway opening of Wishful Drinking, the Tony Taccone-directed show that Berkeley Rep audiences saw during runs in 2008 and last summer. Carrie Fisher, the show's author and star, stopped by NBC's The Today Show to talk about her return to Broadway.

If you find yourself in New York, tickets for Wishful Drinking range from $31.50 to $111.50 and are available now from the Roundabout box office at 212 719-1300 or roundabouttheatre.org. The show is at Studio 54, 254 West 54th Street in Manhattan, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue. Fisher performs Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8pm with Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday matinees at 2pm.

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American Idiot cocktail recipes

posted by Bert Reptile on Tue, Sep 29

Because we've had soooo many requests for them, we begged John Gay, our patron services manager, to share the recipes for his specialty American Idiot cocktails, which have proven to be quite popular.

AI cocktails

John happily complied, and herewith, a path to libation nirvana.

Whatsername
1 shot (1.5 oz) Absolut  ruby red vodka
1 oz Torani pomegranate syrup
2 oz orange juice.

Shake together and pour into an ice-filled cocktail tumbler.

Jesus of Suburbia
1 shot (1.5 oz) Skyy vodka
1 shot (1.5 oz) Midori melon liqueur
1 oz pineapple juice

Top off your ice-filled cocktail tumbler with club soda.

St. Jimmy

1 shot (1.5 oz) Jim Beam bourbon
1 shot (1.5 oz) sour apple schnapps (Dekuyper Apple Pucker, preferred)
2 oz cranberry juice.

Shake with ice in a shaker and strain cocktail into a martini glass.

Letterbomb
1 shot (1.5 oz) Jack Daniels whiskey
A splash of grenadine.

Top off your ice-filled cocktail tumbler with Coca-Cola (or Diet Coke, if you wish).
Throw in a liquor-soaked maraschino cherry for garnish.

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Meet one of Green Day's biggest fans

posted by Chad Jones on Fri, Sep 25

The whole American Idiot experience has taken us on a wild ride. One of the best parts, aside from the show itself, has been the opportunity to meet an incredible range of Green Day fans. Last month we held a ticket contest, and one of the entries caught our eye because — here's logic for you — it included eye-catching photos.

Lizzy in Fairfield is not your average Green Day fan. She’s an art school student in San Francisco, and she has translated her love for the album American Idiot into her own personal masterpiece.

This is Lizzy’s American Idiot bedroom (photos courtesy of Lizzy).

Lizzie room 4

We asked Lizzy how the room came to be. Here’s what she said: “My room is my inspirational space. Because of Green Day and the American idiot album, I realized what I wanted to do with my life. I go to art school for directing film and television. The band’s amazing music videos have a special place in my heart, and being surrounded by wall-to-wall décor that reminds me why I go to school is a great motivator for me and my artistic style. I just wish I had more walls to continue painting more artwork from their album.”

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A return to Laramie

posted by Chad Jones on Thu, Sep 24

Laramie 10 From Mina Morita, director of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later

It is hard to imagine that more than 10 years have passed since Matthew Shepard’s life was taken with hate in Laramie, Wyoming.

As a nation, we were shocked that such a thing could happen. The violence was immediate and personal. And yet, where do we stand as a country today, 10 years later? And how has Laramie changed?

Without the wave of media coverage, how often does the average American think of 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina? Memory is ephemeral, and when the media forgets, so do we.

Judy Shepard, Matthew’s mother, has not forgotten. Neither has Tectonic Theater Project, creators of the play (and later movie) The Laramie Project. Tectonic returned to Laramie to see what has changed after a decade.

On October 12th, Berkeley Rep will be participating with over 100 theatre companies in all 50 states, Canada, Great Britain, Spain, Hong Kong, and Australia to present a play reading of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later.

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The need is constant...

posted by Megan Wygant on Tue, Sep 22

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging about American Idiot and Tiny Kushner (actors arrive in JUST TWO WEEKS!) to talk about a more serious matter.

Every two seconds, someone in these United States receives a blood transfusion. This often life-saving act is only possible because someone in that person’s community took the time to donate their own blood for use.

If everyone who was eligible to give blood did so regularly, many more lives could be bettered – or even saved. However, our hospitals are currently suffering from a severe blood shortage, and important medical needs are going unmet.

That’s why we need your help.

Next Tuesday, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the American Red Cross are hosting a blood drive in the Roda Theatre from 11-4pm. Please join us as we work to save lives in our community!

The number one excuse for not donating is that you don't have the time. But, by giving less than 30 minutes of your time, you're giving another person so much more time. For life. Plus, you can easily save your valuable time by making an appointment to give blood. Sign up at HelpSaveALife.org. Use the sponsor code REP to be sure you’re registering to donate with us!

All donors will be entered in a raffle drawing for a free, limited-edition American Idiot poster. A second lucky donor will win a free meal at La Pinata Mexican Restaurants. And all donors will receive a coupon for a free appetizer at Mimi’s Café!

Thanks for reading. And thanks for participating!

Now if only the stage blood we used for The Lieutenant of Inishmore could be recycled for actual use...

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Punk pulsating around the Bay

posted by Chad Jones on Tue, Sep 22

Ruby Ray photo

Green Day’s American Idiot, now on stage at Berkeley Rep’s Roda Theatre, wears its punk heart on its sleeve, and Green Day’s local punk roots have been celebrated and analyzed in many discussions about the show.

If your Bay Area punk knowledge isn’t quite what it should be, never fear. The San Francisco Public Library has a free exhibition through Dec. 6 that focuses in on the San Francisco punk scene of the 1970s through the photographs of Ruby Ray, who first began documenting the local punk scene in the magazine Search and Destroy.

The exhibition, Punk Passage San Francisco First Wave Punk, is in the Main Library’s Jewett Gallery and includes 45 black-and-white portraits as well as concert and performance photographs of local punk innovators. Also included in the exhibit are punk rock ‘zines, fliers, posters, and ephemera documenting the years 1977 to 1981.

Here’s part of the official show description: “Bands such as The Avengers, the Dead Kennedys, the Dils, Crime, Sleepers, the Mutants, and others are represented, placing them within the historic context as an important part of San Francisco’s counter-cultural history, as innovative for its time as the beat and hippie movements were.”

The exhibit also includes special events and related programming. Here’s a sampling:

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What an opening, what a party

posted by Chad Jones on Mon, Sep 21

AI party 9

In the history of opening-night parties, last week’s bash for American Idiot will go down as one of the greats. Now that the frenzy and excitement has calmed somewhat, we can look back with clear heads on a night that was, from beginning to end, an absolute blast (Photo above: Green Day's Tré Cool hangs out with cast member Matt Caplan).

Levi’s®, the lead sponsor of American Idiot, organized the opening-night party and sent their crews in days before to begin setting up. That’s how big and elaborate this event was.

With a true sense of theatricality, party organizers blacked out the windows in the Roda Theatre lobby so that patrons arriving for the opening-night performance of American Idiot would not be able to see into the courtyard and beyond at the treats that waited for them after the show.

As if the anticipation over American Idiot itself wasn’t enough, audience members knew something big and something good was brewing for the post-show festivities.

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Critics rave about the American spirit!

posted by Chad Jones on Fri, Sep 18

AI Party 2

The Friday after an opening night is always a big deal because that's the day the reviews come out. In this modern, online world, reviews actually begin to seep out on Thursday, but Friday's still THE BIG DAY.

While the true test of a show is the audience's resonse, it can be gratifying when a critic agrees that what you're doing is pretty wonderful. So here's a little tour through some of the American Idiot reviews and some coverage of the incredible opening-night festivities. Click on the underlined links to read the full story.

Robert Hurwitt of the San Francisco Chronicle raves that American Idiot is "wildly entertaining." He writes: "The music of Green Day practically blasts the lid off Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre. The cast and creative crew match the pulsating wall of sound for sheer energy and pump it up with Broadway-quality pipes, stage-rattling, thrashing choreography, flying bodies and walls crammed with pulsating video and projected images. Never has the Roda appeared more expansive yet bursting with images and action."

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A toast to the opening of American Idiot

posted by Chad Jones on Thu, Sep 17

This week has seen one thrill after another with the festive opening, at long last, of Green Day's American Idiot. The world premiere of this extraordinary rock-and-roll event was greeted with standing ovations and an incredible level of audience enthusiasm.

To share the excitement, here are a couple video peeks into the world of American Idiot.

First we have a passionate toast made by Tony Taccone, Berkeley Rep's artistic director, to Green Day, the cast, creative team after a recent performance of the show.

Next up is a piece from KGO-TV San Francisco about American Idiot featuring some great interviews with Green Day and the creative team along with footage from the show.

Billie Joe haircut

And finally, the post-show party on opening night was, as the kids say (or used to say, anyway), off the hook. Among the flavored-vodka snow cone stations, rock-and-roll photo booths, and Rock Band video game stations there was a Mohawk hair-trimming booth.

At one point during the party, Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong jumped into the fun and gave Alice morning DJ Ickys an appropriately punk look, as seen in the photo at right. You can see more photos on the Alice website.

Photo by Cheshire Isaacs

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Great press for American Idiot

posted by Chad Jones on Tue, Sep 15

3923097231_fefe7b4ec9Tonight's performance of Green Day's American Idiot is what we're calling "Green Night." It's the beginning of opening-week festivities, and we're all thrilled.

On top of that, we woke up to a great story in the Bay Area News Group papers, which include the Oakland Tribune, the Contra Costa Times, and the San Jose Mercury News.

Read Karen D'Souza's front-page story and check out the online slide show.

And then, just to keep the opening-week excitement bubbling, take a behind-the-scenes peek at American Idiot in Berkeley Rep's exclusive video featuring director Michael Mayer.

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