Berkeley Rep Blog

February 2012

See Eve Ensler...tonight!

posted by Karen McKevitt on Fri, Feb 24

See Eve Ensler tonight at Dominican University and get a sneak peek at her new show, Emotional Creature, premiering here at Berkeley Rep in June!

What's more, Eve will be in conversation with the equally amazing Isabel Allende, talking about "activism, women and girls, and the power of stories." 

Here's the 411:

Tonight, Feb 24, at 7pm
Dominican University, Angelico Hall
Tickets: $35, includes a signed copy of Eve's book
Reservations: (415) 927-0960, ext. 1 

Eve Ensler with Tony Taccone. Photo: Cheshire Isaacs

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Moliere and the Mafia — Yale grad students design "Doctor"

posted by Amy Bobeda on Thu, Feb 23

Our studious audience members likely got their postgraduate degrees in "normal" subjects — psychology, anthropology, any-other-ology, so it is only natural that many who work with Berkeley Rep got theirs in theatre. This season, we are fortunate that our Doctor in Spite of Himself coproduction with Yale Repertory Theatre has not only brought us 90 minutes of slapstick comedy, but also a handful of talented student designers. For this piece, I concentrated on two disciplines (my favorites), sound and costumes, sitting down with both Ken Goodwin and Kristin Fiebig to hear a little bit about the paths that lead them to the prestigious Yale School of Drama program, what they see in their futures, and why they’ve loved studying theatre.

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Doctor's big night/OUT

posted by Cari Turley on Wed, Feb 22

February 16 was our final night/OUT of the year, and what better show to close us out than A Doctor in Spite of Himself. That show is bananas! And so was the party, thanks to our generous sponsors: Picante, Triple Rock Brewery, Raymond Vineyards, Tres Agaves Tequila, and of course our friends at the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

But most of all, thanks to the fabulous people who came out to the event on Thursday, including the cast and crew of Doctor. Only at Berkeley Rep can you chat with Steven Epp over a keg while the DJ plays "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" at full volume. I love my job.

Party streamers in the Roda Theatre

Photo (3)
DJ G* of the Hella Gay Oakland Dance Party, rocking the house

Photo (2)
The classiest disco ball in the world

Photo (1)
Party people! From L-R: Brandon Weinbrenner (Bret C. Harte Directing Fellow), Wendi Gross (former development fellow) and her friend Brendan, Jacob Ming-Trent (Valère/Cherub), and Mary Kay Hickox (graphics fellow)

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Singularity and the startup

posted by Kyle Sircus on Wed, Feb 22

Only hours before our production of A Doctor in Spite of Himself was set to open in the Roda Theatre, Berkeley Rep was happy to host the monthly Infusion Lunch. This month's speaker was Salim Ismail, the founding executive director of Singularity University, a new leadership-training program for up-and-coming leaders in the technological world. Salim drew what seemed like droves of tech-savvy individuals to the upper Roda lobby, and they all were completely engrossed by his stories and advice. Check out this photo taken by our director of marketing and communications, Robert Sweibel:


Much of Salim's talk centered on the changing facets of higher education, especially with emerging technology. Singularity University, based in the South Bay, has a mission is to assemble, educate, and inspire a new generation of leaders who strive to understand and utilize exponentially advancing technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges. As an organization that reaps the benefits of collaboration every day, we were proud to host Salim and the Berkeley Startup Cluster at the Infusion Lunch. 

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Will dance for free theatre tickets

posted by Karen McKevitt on Fri, Feb 17

Do you like to dance? Do you also like free theatre? Well, here is your chance to show us your stuff, and see a free show. We need "dancing ushers" for A Doctor in Spite of Himself!

  • No experience necessary. Just energy and enthusiasm!
  • We need two dancers per performance. 
  • Dance to our all-time favorite song, “Lime in the Coconut,” in the theatre orchestra aisles just before curtain -- that’s it. No other duties! 
  • Wear a white shirt and a black bottom.

You’ll get a free ticket for that performance!

We're taking sign-ups from now until Friday, March 2, 3pm. Please email Katrena Jackson at with three dates from the below list. 
Wednesday February 22nd 6:30pm call time
Thursday February 23rd 1:30pm call time
Thursday February 23rd 7:30pm call time
Sunday February 26th 1:30pm call time
Tuesday February 28th 7:30pm call time
Wednesday February 29th 6:30pm call time
Thursday March 1st 7:30pm call time
Friday March 2nd 7:30pm call time
Saturday March 3rd 1:30pm call time
Saturday March 3rd 7:30pm call time
Sunday March 4th 1:30pm call time
Sunday March 4th 6:30pm call time
Tuesday March 6th 7:30pm call time
Wednesday March 7th 6:30pm call time
Thursday March 8th 11:30am call time
Thursday March 8th 7:30pm call time
Friday March 9th 7:30pm call time
Saturday March 10th 1:30pm call time
Saturday March 10th 7:30pm call time
Sunday March 11th 1:30pm call time
Sunday March 11th 6:30pm call time
Tuesday March 13th 7:30pm call time
Wednesday March 14th 6:30pm call time
Thursday March 15th 7:30pm call time
Friday March 16th 7:30pm call time
Saturday March 17th 1:30pm call time
Saturday March 17th 6:30pm call time
Sunday March 18th 1:30pm call time
Sunday March 18th 6:30pm call time
Tuesday March 20th 7:30pm call time
Wednesday March 21st 6:30pm call time
Thursday March 22nd 1:30pm call time
Thursday March 22nd 7:30pm call time
Saturday March 24th 1:30pm call time
Saturday March 24th 7:30pm call time
Sunday March 25th 1:30pm call time
Sunday March 25th 6:30pm call time

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In the lobby: drinks, music, imposters

posted by Karen McKevitt on Wed, Feb 15

Ready for a wild, zany ride of bawdy silliness? Then let us prescribe A Doctor in Spite of Himself, opening tonight at our Roda Theatre!

Steven Epp and Julie Briskman. Photo by

As you know, at Berkeley Rep we strive to give you a total theatrical experience from the moment you walk into the lobby. It’s all planned out – the specialty drinks, the lobby display, the pre-show music. So, what’s in store for you this time? Let’s start with an energetic playlist curated by Christopher Bayes and Aaron Halva.

Pre-show music:
“Bad Case of Lovin’ You (Doctor, Doctor)” – Robert Palmer
“S.O.S.” – ABBA
“Calling Dr. Love” – KISS
“Listening To You / See Me, Feel Me” – The Who 
“Dear Doctor” – Rolling Stones
“Good Lovin’” – Grateful Dead
“Sexual Healing” – Marvin Gaye
“I Don’t Need No Doctor” – Ray Charles
“A Shot In The Arm” – Wilco

Be sure you’re in the Theatre for the last pre-show song:
“Coconut” – Harry Nilsson

And the post-show song (in the Theatre only), naturally:
“I Got You (I Feel Good)” – James Brown

As you’re bopping to these tunes, check out the clever lobby display, featuring a number of famous
imposters. There’s Frank Abagnale, Ferdinand Demara, Victor Lustig, False Dmitry, David Hampton - even Milli Vanilli and Princess Caraboo. Test your knowledge of these fakes and more with our trivia game. And then, enjoy the show!


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A Valentine's Day treat

posted by Kyle Sircus on Mon, Feb 13

Our audiences can't get enough of the character of George Moscone singing along to "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" during the second act of Ghost Light. Frankly, we're sad that we won't have an opportunity to watch that scene over and over once the show closes this Sunday. In the meantime, though, the city's forming a new tradition with this song. 

Tony Bennett, the crooner who made this song famous, will be back in San Francisco tomorrow. To celebrate his visit, several musical groups in the city are joining forces for a flash mob. In case you can't be at the City Hall celebration, though, sing along to our favorite ditty on local radio stations at noon local time. You can find out more about the special Valentine's Day event online. It may not be as spot on as Bill Geisslinger's performance, but it's a nice homage nonetheless.


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TJM, homeschooled child star

posted by Amy Bobeda on Wed, Feb 8

Much like the notion of child stardom, homeschooling is romanticized. No shock that the two go hand in hand like doing geometry in your pj's right before Teen Bop comes by to write a cover story about how you have the world’s best hair. Clearly, I am now romanticizing the homeschooling and stardom of my future husband, Justin Bieber.

The homeschooled child star isn’t at the forefront of many Reptile’s minds these days: The Pillowman and Brundibar are far behind us, but once in a while we find a gem of a kid, and voila! A homeschooled child star is born.

For those who have yet to catch my drift, I am talking about the Tyler James Myers (featured on the cover of last month’s issue of American Theatre magazine) who portrays the character of Boy in the Tony Taccone/Jon Moscone love child entitled Ghost Light (running on the Thrust Stage through February 19).

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A one-night stand and a break up, all in one

posted by Kyle Sircus on Tue, Feb 7

Long-distance relationships are hard, but this is one that we Reptiles can get behind. And hey, we're even willing to share! Todd Almond's Girlfriend, the much beloved musical with music and lyrics by Matthew Sweet, is being presented in concert tonight at Joe's Pub. (If you happpen to be in the Big Apple, head on down to The Public and check it out tonight at 9:30pm.) In case you missed it back in our 2009/10 season, Girlfriend follows a budding romance between two high-school guys as they're facing graduation and trying to define themselves and their relationship. We're so excited that director Les Waters is getting a chance to revisit one of our all-time favorites.

We're also happy with the federal appeals court's decision to revisit the decision regarding Proposition 8 in our fair state of California. I'm no political writer, so I'll leave it to you to click over to your favorite news source for the latest update on the court's ruling. I think we're comfortable saying that this is a break up we've been looking forward to -- no ice cream and tissues for our crowd today.

Now I'll just ponder how much sweeter the day would be to celebrate it with our rockin' Girlfriend


Ryder Bach and Jason Hite in Berkeley Rep's 2010 production of Todd Almond's Girlfriend. Photo courtesy of 

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The puzzlers in the play

posted by Amy Bobeda on Thu, Feb 2

I can’t remember the last time someone asked me if I wanted to do a puzzle. Oh wait. I can. I was 8, and it was a 3-D puzzle of the Titanic that I destroyed with my fist within hours of deep frustration. From this, one could deduce that I’m really not keen on puzzles -- sure real-life puzzles are the bomb, but if it’s got "jigsaw" in the name, you better me handing me an actual jigsaw.

Point being, the one thing about folks who devote their life the physical production of plays, be it board ops, deck crew, or actors, it's guaranteed that they love their work because of the precision and concentration. Similarly, both are also skills that required in puzzle construction along with, you guessed it: copious amounts of free time!

Some shows are more puzzle-crazy than others. This season, the puzzle love was strong with the folks on Bill Cain’s How to Write a New Book for the Bible (still running at Seattle Rep for those reading from the PNW) but nothing rivals the puzzle love among the cast and crew of Ghost Light. I place the blame on child star Tyler James Myers, who apparently loves to do puzzles in his free time. His studio teacher, Victora, legally required to be backstage at all times Tyler is working, also has an affinity for putting together the most mind-boggling puzzles. The Virgo of the Ghostlightians is Mr. Ted Deasy -- who has been known to rearrange the chair setup for docent presentations while still wearing his spandex ghost costume just because he can’t handle the disorder--is perhaps the most serious among us.

Mind you, when I say they love puzzles, I mean they love puzzles more than TMZ loves catching a nip slip on camera. These folks are averaging about three puzzles a week, and these are not your grandma’s puzzles. We are talking 1,200-piece minimum, impressionist painting that paints your retina, hard-ass (pardon my French) puzzles. Last week, they were finishing a 1970s smorgasbord of chocolates, pizza, and veggies puzzle, and now they have moved on to a 3-D Irish castle. They are so engrossed in puzzles that now everyone gathers around to watch the last five pieces go into place, and we have to let the finished product sit out for a few days for passersby to admire.

Perhaps the worst part of their puzzle obsession is that fact that I, a gung-ho puzzle hater, can now say I have contributed pieces to a puzzle in the last 48 hours. I am seeking help from a support group currently, and soon the Ghostlightians will move on and someone else will come in, again with an affinity for puzzles.

So ladies out there, if you are under the age of 18 and think the world of Tyler James Myers, forgo the fan mail and send a puzzle his way. You’ll thank me later.

Amy the Antipuzzler


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