By Elliott Levy
At Berkeley Rep, we're always looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. You've seen our recycling and compost bins, we turn the lights on in our admin offices only when necessary, our shops always think about how to reuse and recycle materials -- and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
We've been particpating in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star™ energy-benchmarking service. Participation in Energy Benchmarking allows us to view our facilities' energy consumption compared to facilities similar in size, usage, and climate across the nation. This information enables us to identify areas where we can conserve and how to do so most effectively. Of our applicable facilities, we have achieved an organization-wide rating of 91 on a scale of 100, with 50 being the national average. This outstanding rating has qualified our facilities for Energy Star™ Certification.
Last month our efforts were recognized when the city of Berkeley gave us certificates of Energy Efficiency Excellence signed by Mayor Tom Bates and Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, for "helping Berkeley meet its ambitious Climate Action Plan goals." We're thrilled with the awards, but we'll always continue to look for new and more ways to be energy efficient!
Even in previews, An Iliad earned standing ovations and more than several teary eyes as actor Henry Woronicz captivated audiences with a contemporary retelling of the Trojan War.
It officially opened on Wednesday -- and the reviews are in! Here's what the critics say:
Artistic Director Tony Taccone and Managing Director Susan Medak both scored awards recently. We already told you about Susan's award. On Friday, Tony picks up the Margo Jones Award!
Recipients of this award have demonstrated a significant impact, understanding, and affirmation of the craft of playwriting and have encouraged the living theatre everywhere. Past recipients include Joseph Papp, Lloyd Richards, and Christopher Durang and Marsha Norman.
By Pauline Luppert
One could say plays developed at Berkeley Rep really get around. Eight have enjoyed Broadway runs, including American Idiot, Bridge & Tunnel, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), Passing Strange, and Wishful Drinking — and 20 played off Broadway, including Brundibar, Compulsion, Eurydice, In the Wake, and Taking Over. In the last 10 years alone, Berkeley Rep has helped send 17 shows to New York and 2 to London while 2 turned into films and others toured the nation. Now, for the first time, Berkeley Rep will be sending a production to Asia.
Mere days before the West Coast premiere of his play, Chinglish, opens here at Berkeley Rep, David Henry Hwang learned he just won the most generous prize in theatre.
The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust put $200,000 in David's purse, citing his 32 years of writing provocative satires and dramas featuring Asian and Asian-American characters, including the Tony Award-winning M. Butterfly.
The New York Times reports that "Mr. Hwang, 55, said in a telephone interview that the money had allowed him to decline film and television work recently and focus his time on writing plays."
That's good news for the theatre world. Congratulations, David!
The 2012-13 has officially started, and we've hit the ground running. Sure, David Henry Hwang's Chinglish opens Friday, but close on its heels is Denis O'Hare and Lisa Peterson's An Iliad, an adaptation of Homer's classic tale.
We're co-producing the play with La Jolla Playhouse, where it just opened last week and garnered a terrific review in the San Diego Union Tribune. Here's an excerpt:
"As the Poet, Henry Woronicz summons the kind of performance you might wait a lifetime (or three) to see. For some 100 intermissionless minutes, he brings to vivid life the vast scale, the massive, terrifying clashes, of the war between the besieged city of Troy and the attacking Greek forces. At times he works the audience like a hard-bitten showman, cracking offhand jokes and telling anecdotes of his life on the road (the Gauls, apparently, were a tough crowd)… Woronicz is affecting and astounding."
OK, so it's not an Olympic medal, but it's still a Pretty Big Deal: Today we announced that Managing Director Susan Medak will receive the 2013 Benjamin Ide Wheeler Medal from the Berkeley Community Fund at its annual awards dinner on October 4.
Established in 1929, the award -- named after one of the most-admired presidents of the University of California -- honors a person who has made significant long-term contributions to the city of Berkeley. And Susan's commitment to the city extends well beyond theatre.
Says BCF President Jessica Pers, "She was instrumental in revitalizing downtown Berkeley into a vibrant arts district with live theatre, music, and arts education. She was also the founding chair of the Berkeley Arts in Education Steering Committee for the Berkeley Unified School District, founding chair of the Berkeley Cultural Trust, and is the current president of the Downtown Berkeley Association.”
“This is a community that takes particular pride in a high level of civic engagement by its citizens,” Susan remarks. “So it is a true honor to be recognized alongside such prestigious past winners when there are so many people who play such an active role in making Berkeley the vibrant and vital place that it is.”
In our book, that's as good as gold.
All of us here at Berkeley Rep were saddened to learn of the passing of Martin Pakledinaz, an extraordinary two-time Tony Award-winning costume designer.
In addition to his vast repertoire of Broadway and ballet designs (including work at San Francisco Ballet and Sutton Foster’s iconic yellow dress in Thoroughly Modern Millie), Marty also designed two productions at Berkeley Rep: The Triumph of Love in 1994 and Changes of Heart in 1996, both Marivaux works translated and directed by Stephen Wadsworth. We have many fond memories of working with him, and we’re honored to be included in his prestigious resume.
Yesterday, the New York Times published Marty’s obituary, including a number of photos of his work, so we won’t repeat it here. But we do invite anyone who has memories of working with him at Berkeley Rep to share them -- or a note of appreciation -- in our comments section.
Emotional Creature is headed off Broadway (after it finishes its run at Berkeley Rep on July 15, that is)!
It'll begin previews at the Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre on October 26, with an official opening set for November 12.
In the last 25 years, 25 shows developed at Berkeley Rep have moved to New York. In the last six years alone, Berkeley Rep has helped send six shows to Broadway, eight to off Broadway, and one to London, while two turned into films and others toured the nation. Over the years, these plays have earned five Tony Awards, seven Obie Awards, nine Drama Desk Awards, four Lucille Lortel Awards, five Outer Critics Circle Awards, and a Grammy Award.
Now Emotional Creature is the 26th play to follow that trail from Berkeley to New York. Congratulations to the cast and creative team!
We're committed to making Eve Ensler's new powerhouse Emotional Creature available to everyone, which is why we've been giving away free tickets to local non-profits serving people in need. But why stop there? You probably already know that we offer half-price tickets to all our shows to people under 30, but for this show -- which speaks so directly to high school students -- we thought we could go a little further.
That's why we're rolling out $15 rush tickets for all high-school students to every performance of Emotional Creature. Starting 90 minutes before each show, we'll sell any open seats for $15 to anyone with a current high school ID. Spread the word!