Berkeley Rep Blog

Category archive: News

RIP Maurice Sendak

posted by Karen McKevitt on Tue, May 8, 2012
in News

In November 2005, Berkeley Rep presented the musical fable Brundibar, which was adapted by Tony Kushner and featured a stunning production design by Maurice Sendak, the celebrated children's author who passed away today. 

Artistic Director Tony Taccone says, "We were deeply saddened to hear today that Maurice Sendak had passed away. Maurice was an astonishing, brilliant, hysterical, ornery, loving, ferocious genius of a man.  Working with him on Brundibar was a great thrill for everyone involved. We are honored that we were able to play a part in his theatrical life and will cherish his memory forever."

BrundibarBerkeley Rep's production of Brundibar. Photo by Kevin Berne

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Rounding out the season with Fallaci and Elizabeth (and Lowell -- oh my!)

posted by Kyle Sircus on Thu, May 3, 2012
in News , Our shows

Berkeley Rep is rounding out its 2012-13 season with two thoughtful new plays about some fascinating women. First, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lawrence Wright's Fallaci, a world premiere about the ferocious Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci. And last, but certainly not least, Sarah Ruhl and Les Waters (the team behind Eurydice and In the Next Room) reunite to bring Berkeley Rep audiences Dear Elizabeth, a new play about the passionate friendship between poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. 

Berkeley_Rep_Ruhl_lrSarah Ruhl (above) returns to Berkeley Rep with Les Waters with
Dear Elizabeth, a new play about poets Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop. 
Photo courtesy of Berkeley Repertory Theatre

These two selections round out a fantastic season that includes work from the world's top theatre directors: David Henry Hwang's Chinglish (directed by Leigh Silverman), An Iliad (directed by Lisa Peterson), Mary Zimmerman's The White Snake (brought to you by the same theatrical mind behind Arabian Nights and Metamorphoses), the world premiere of Dan LeFranc's Troublemaker (directed by Dexter Bullard), and Mark Wing-Davey's thrilling new adaptation of Shakespeare's Pericles, Prince of Tyre.

Will we see you there? Order your ticket package now to ensure the best seats at the consistently lowest prices. 

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Tony Taccone picks up an award

posted by Karen McKevitt on Tue, Apr 10, 2012
in News

What do Artsitic Director Tony Taccone, actor and producer Chris O'Donnell, and comedian/actress Amy Poehler have in common? Well, by the end of this month they'll all be recipients of the Boston College Arts Council Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement.

Right after the opening night of In Paris, Tony heads back to his alma mater to receive his award and also make a number of public appearances as part of the 14th annual Arts Festival at the college. Read more about Tony and the Arts Festival in this Broadway World article.

Congratulations, Tony! 

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A groundbreaking baker's dozen

posted by Kyle Sircus on Mon, Apr 9, 2012
in At the theatre , General theatre talk , News , Our shows

Get ready for some news that's going to really rock the foundation. This past September, we announced plans for the launch of The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep's Center for the Creation and Development of New Work. Today, we're happy to announce the full list of participants (nearly 40 writers, directors, and composers) and their respective projects (a full baker's dozen of them) for the Summer Residency Lab, set to take off this July. 

Some of the names are familiar ones to Berkeley Rep fans -- Lynn Nottage, Itamar Moses, Leigh Silverman, and Greg Pierotti will all return to the Bay Area to take part in various projects, ranging from food politics to apology lines. What's particularly exciting is the addition of several names that are new to our audience members -- Dan LeFranc, whose Troublemaker will have its world premiere at Berkeley Rep in 2013, will workshop his play here this summer with director Dexter Bullard; considering The Ground Floor doesn't require a formal presentation of the work, playwrights like Amelia Roper can take full advantage of the Summer Residency Lab to continue to develop their work. It's a fascinating list and we're already gearing up to welcome them in just a few short months. 

To read what the press is saying about The Ground Floor, check out articles in today's New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and on If you're a Berkeley resident, it's almost time to break out your binoculars -- you may just spot one of these talented artists around town!

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25,000 gum stains

posted by Karen McKevitt on Thu, Apr 5, 2012
in News

Yep, that's how many gum stains were removed from the streets of downtown Berkeley thanks to Downtown Berkeley Association's Cleaning Team. The Team also removed 8,500 pounds of trash, power-washed sidewalks, hung banners, weeded tree wells, and painted poles, boxes, and bins all in an effort to beautify the streets around Berkeley Rep and beyond. 

Our Managing Director Susan Medak is none other than the board president of the DBA and has some lovely quotes in this Berkeleyside article and this UC Berkeley News Center post

So, next time you come to the Theatre, take a look around at all the beautiful improvements. Go ahead, look up -- there's now less risk of stepping in some gum. 


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Hey, we announced our new season

posted by Karen McKevitt on Wed, Mar 28, 2012
in News , Our shows

Well, we announced five of seven plays, that is. But, they are awesome!

Written by David Henry Hwang
Directed by Leigh Silverman
Main Season | Roda Theatre
August 24–October 7, 2012
West Coast premiere

Adapted from Homer
By Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare
Translation by Robert Fagles
Directed by Lisa Peterson
Limited Season | Thrust Stage
October 12–November 11, 2012 
Read an interview with Denis O'Hare 

Written and directed by Mary Zimmerman
A co-production with Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Main Season | Roda Theatre
November 9–December 23, 2012
World-premiere production

Written by Dan LeFranc
Limited Season | Thrust Stage
January 4–February 3, 2013
World Premiere
Get a glimpse at Dan LeFranc's process

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Mark Wing-Davey
Main Season | Thrust Stage
April 12–May 26, 2013 

Stay tuned: we'll announce more soon!


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Love blossoms at Berkeley Rep

posted by Karen McKevitt on Fri, Mar 23, 2012
in News , Our shows

By Lynn Eve Komaromi, director of development

There’s a special thrill knowing that you played a hand in Cupid’s quest to bring two lovers together. I take pride in the fact that I seated two single guests together at our gala years ago which budded into a relationship that lives on today. Or that the photographer I hired for another gala would have never met the chef in the kitchen that night, leading to nuptials just a couple of years later. Love blossoms at Berkeley Rep.

So imagine the joy I’m feeling now that Berkeley Rep set the stage for Cupid’s quiver and arrow…this time for my nephew! It was 2009, and we were preparing for the world premiere of American Idiot. My nephew Ryan, a huge theatre fan who was known to make weekend trips to New York solely to take in a show, called me up to see if he could purchase a block of tickets for his friends.  No problem -- 10 tickets would be held at will-call that Labor Day weekend.

Read the entire post

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

posted by Kyle Sircus on Tue, Feb 7, 2012
in News , Our shows

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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Mike Daisey's big news

posted by Karen McKevitt on Thu, Jan 26, 2012
in News , Our shows

It's hard to believe that a whole year has gone by since Mike Daisey performed The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs on our Thrust Stage. Even then it was clear: for Mike, this wasn't just about creating a successful theatre piece -- it was about changing the values of one of the largest, most popular American corporations.

Or, perhaps, "American and Chinese corporations."

Because, as the Twitterverse pointed out recently, for all its billions, Apple has $0 in American manufacturing. (Again, that's from Twitter. Debate at will.) (Also from the Twitterverse: "People, we're also responsible b/c of our lust for the products.")

The waves that started here in Berkeley have reached epic proportions in New York, where Agony enjoyed a terrific run at The Public -- and returns there on January 31.


In the meantime, the largest tidal wave came in the form of a special episode of This American Life featuring a portion of Daisey's monologue followed by a rigorous discussion and debate. It aired the weekend of January 6. Mike Daisey reports that it's the most downloaded episode in This American Life's history. Listen to it. I heard part of it in the car and was mesmerized -- thankfully, I wasn't the one driving.

And yesterday, the New York Times posted this article, which has since moved up the front page of its site and garnered over 1,000 comments.

Earlier this week, Mike emailed "Some Big News" to Berkeley Rep, among many others. I had seen a version of this email on his Facebook wall, and I'll excerpt it here. After all, Mike can say it so much better:

"That same week [as the TAL airing] news broke that hundreds of Foxconn workers had a stand-off that lasted two days, where they were all threatening mass suicide by throwing themselves off the roof of the plant over their working conditions.

"This is at Foxconn, a company which Apple's own 2011 Supplier Responsibility Report said was completely up to code, and which Apple applauded for their efforts. This is the company about which Steve Jobs said the employees enjoyed a virtual paradise of movie theaters, swimming pools, and luxury.

"A week after our show was broadcast, Apple made an abrupt announcement. After years of stonewalling and silence, they released the full list of their suppliers, and agreed to outside, independent monitoring of working conditions in the factories they use. It is not everything, but it is a small step down the right road.

"Many news outlets are crediting THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS for being a large factor in Apple's decision. I've received a number of emails from Apple employees who have told me they believe that hearing this story on THIS AMERICAN LIFE, a program many Apple employees listen to with their families and their children, created "a morale situation" that finally compelled Apple to begin to do the right thing.

"I would like to thank everyone who has heard this story and then told it on to the next person. In theater we sometimes doubt that we can effect change—I think we all doubt it, sometimes. The truth is that telling stories, person to person, is the best way we have ever had of connecting to the human—and whatever this show may or may not have achieved, it has come out of the conversations happening night after night after night."

And thank you, Mike, for telling the story first.


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See "The Memory Be Green," plus more TV coverage

posted by Karen McKevitt on Tue, Jan 17, 2012
in News , Our shows

Tune in to KQED at 7:30 tonight for The Memory Be Green, a documentary by KQED and Dave Iverson that combines the creation of Ghost Light with "reflections on George Moscone and the times he lived in."


And, if you missed last week's press conference, check out the coverage on CBS and NBC-11 -- plus, read about that and opening night on Broadway World. Want more? Check out all the buzz!

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