The cast of Chinglish has arrived safe and sound in Hong Kong. Want to follow them on their trip? We've got you covered. Thanks to the candor and wit of Alex Moggridge (who plays Daniel in the show), everyone can follow this awesome cast as they prepare to perform at the Hong Kong Arts Festival. In this installment, Alex chats with his fellow cast members about how they think the show will be received by Hong Kong audiences -- inlcuding some thoughtful musings on subtitles, conjugations, and costume changes.
Be sure to check back on our website for more updates from Alex and the rest of the Chinglish cast throughout their stay.
It was a busy summer here at Berkeley Rep: we wrapped an encore performance of Let Me Down Easy, rehearsed and opened Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup, and started rehearsing Bill Cain’s How to Write a New Book for the Bible. But associate artistic director Les Waters wasn’t hanging out by the pool: he was off to Yale Repertory Theatre (after some slight travel delays due to hurricanes) to restage Sarah Ruhl’s version of Three Sisters with most of the original cast seen here including locals James Carpenter, Alex Moggridge, and Barbara Oliver, among others. And they earned some great reviews. Here are some excerpts:
From the Boston Globe:
If done right, as in the incisive and well-acted production at Yale Repertory Theatre directed by Les Waters, “Three Sisters’’ reminds us that few writers have ever seen into the human soul with more acuity and understanding than Chekhov.
Waters has taken pains to ensure that the performances remain grounded in the particulars of each character, so the sisters and their friends register as real people who are grappling with the difficulties and disappointments of existence. Scene by scene, the Yale Rep’s “Three Sisters’’ adds up to a compelling group portrait of characters who, in ways large and small, try to escape the limitations life has imposed on them.
The Hollywood Reporter and Playbill.com reported that the film version of American Idiot will be released in 2013, with Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong in the role of St. Jimmy -- the same role he played in several Broadway performances that drew huge box office receipts. Additional casting for the film has not been announced. Tom Hanks' company Playtone holds the film rights, and Michael Mayer -- the director of the Berkeley Rep and Broadway runs -- will direct the film. Of course, American Idiot premiered here at Berkeley Rep in 2008.
The national tour of American Idiot begins this fall and will come to San Francisco in June 2012.
After 445 performances to more than half a million people, American Idiot, the Green Day musical that premiered here at Berkeley Rep in September 2009, rocked its final Broadway performance last night, and our very own Managing Director Susan Medak was in attendance.
"The evening is ending with the band singing," she says in a message. "The old cast and the new cast were all up on stage in a total love fest and now it's just the band. Awesome."
Check out MeghanSmo's video of the curtain call on YouTube (also above).
Yep, even though Billie Joe performed the show twice that day, the band and cast did an encore sing-along of "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" and then Green Day offered up an hour-long concert of 10 songs. David Fricke of Rolling Stone provides a detailed report of the concert.
But it's not the end of the road for American Idiot -- it's just the beginning. The national tour kicks off from the Ahmanson Theatre in LA in March, and there's word that Universal is in negotiations to pick up the screen rights and hired Michael Mayer, who helmed the musical, as the director.
Susan wrapped up the final performance: "Such a gas of an evening. Loved seeing everyone. The original cast thinks of Berkeley as some kind of Valhalla."
Update, April 26: New tour dates have been announced -- it starts earlier than reported above. Here they are as of today:
Dec. 28-Jan. 15, 2012 Toronto, ON – Toronto Centre for the Arts
Jan. 17-22 Detroit, MI – Opera House
Jan. 24-29 Boston, MA – Opera House
Jan. 31-Feb. 5 Raleigh, NC – Memorial Auditorium
Feb. 21-26 Minneapolis, MN – Orpheum Theatre
Feb. 28-29 State College, PA – Eisenhower Auditorium
March 2-4 St. Louis, MO – Peabody Opera House
March 13-April 22 Los Angeles, CA – Ahmanson Theatre
April 24-29 Tempe, AZ – ASU Gammage
May 8-20 Dallas, TX – AT&T PAC
May 29-June 3 Costa Mesa, CA – Segerstrom Center
June 5-10 Seattle, WA – Paramount Theatre
The first time Anna Deavere Smith came to Berkeley Rep in 1994 with Fires in the Mirror, people were camped out on the sidewalk, hoping to get tickets to what became the first show in the Theatre's history to sell out before it opened.
Now, we're thrilled to announce that she's returning to Berkeley Rep with her new one-woman show, Let Me Down Easy, as part of Arena Stage's national tour of Second Stage Theatre's production. It starts previews in the state-of-the-art Roda Theatre on May 28, and plays through June 26. It's been 15 years since she's performed on a Bay Area stage, so don't miss out!
Tickets go on sale to the general public this Sunday, February 13 at around 10am, so check out the show page for the buzz and for the link to buy tickets!
Photo of Anna Deavere Smith by Joan Marcus.
Did y'all catch Charles Isherwood's C1 article in the New York Times this week about Billie Jo Armstrong reprising his role as St. Jimmy in American Idiot? Fun read -- but if you only have access to the online version and not the hard copy, you'll miss the lively interview with BJA at the end. Here's our favorite question and answer:
Q. Did you do any special training in preparation for your current run?
A. No. I remember I texted Theo [Stockman, an ensemble member], and all I wrote was, "By the way, how do you act?" And the response I got was, "Ha, Ha, Ha." He goes: "Just be yourself. Just be honest."...
Well, just being BJA must be pretty freakin' rad.
Photo of Green Day by Phil Mucci.
Congratulations to Billie Joe Armstrong and Green Day for their Grammy nomination for the Broadway score of American Idiot! The band scored two Grammys for their original album, so wouldn't this be a nice one to add to the collection?
This is the second time in two years that a Berkeley Rep show was nominated for a Grammy. Last year, Carrie Fisher was nominated for the audio book of Wishful Drinking.
In related American Idiot news, Billie's joining the Broadway cast on January 1 for another turn as St. Jimmy.
This morning, we received a piece of fan art from a young audience member at American Idiot, and I'm pretty sure my heart just grew three sizes. Check it out:
We've had some pretty stellar people on our stages in the two years I've been working at Berkeley Rep. Tony and Emmy Award—winning actor Mandy Patinkin will be on the Thrust stage this very evening. We've had a lot of performances sell-out of tickets. American Idiot sold so well we had to extend it before it even opened. An Evening with David Sedaris was sold out for months in advance of his appearance during our Fireworks Festival this past summer.
We've just announced a special event in The Roda. It will take place for only three nights—Sunday October 10, Tuesday October 12, and Wednesday October 13. It appears the event may set some new ticket sales records for us—and we haven't really done much marketing yet.
Have you heard about it yet? Here's a clue:
Yup! Robin Williams will be here. Get a ticket while you can.
Did you hear? Billie Joe Armstrong -- that local punk who grew up to be the international punk -- just made his Broadway debut in our production of American Idiot. Tony Vincent had to take a break for a few days to attend to a family matter, so Billie Joe stepped into the role! This week only, he's playing St. Jimmy at the St. James Theater in Times Square alongside the rest of our cast.
Watch Billie Joe and his cohorts singing "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" during the curtain call on Tuesday night. Our managing director, Susie Medak, was there and she says, "The crowds were huge, and Billie Joe was awesome. Generous, scary, soulful." Which is, of course, perfect for the charismatic drug dealer he's portraying.
But don't take our word for it. You can read a review of his performance on MTV.com, or watch the accompanying video with interviews from thrilled fans who were lucky enough to be in the audience that night.
The New York Times notes that "Mr. Armstrong’s yearslong involvement in American Idiot, to the point of joining the cast, is without equal for a major American rock performer." Even better, our board member, Felicia Woytak, points out a comment posted about it on the Times' blog. An audience member penned a little ditty that puts the evening in context with the hallowed history of the St. James Theater:
ODE TO BILLIE JOE
We’d seen some people pull out flyers, did they think they would be good this week?
No there were many willing buyers, even us, and I’m a Gershwin geek
And as the lights went down we heard somebody say this stuff was quasi-punk
But as I listened to the sound I got swept in, well really who’d have thunk?
Some say he's singer more than actor, I won’t fight if that’s what someone claims
But I loved Billie Joe, John Gallagher and Green Day at the old St. James
Heck, I saw Patti walk the aisle there, she had us with “Sing out Louise”
Nathan wowed in The Producers; honey, pass the kish-kas please
Saw the Merm do her great Dolly there; oh bubbie, get your dad the pie
But then I saw this Billie Joe, I’m goin’ back three times, don’t ask me why
'Cause now your Mama listens to this stuff and Papa he gets mad and blames
The week that Billie Joe, John Gallagher and Green Day rocked the old St. James
It's going to be quite a week. Then Billie Joe heads off to Caracas, Venezuela to join the rest of the band for its South American tour. And American Idiot will keep on rocking Broadway for months to come.
Photo by Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images