Berkeley Rep Adds DEAR ELIZABETH and FALLACI to Season
Today Tony Taccone, artistic director of Berkeley Repertory Theatre, revealed two new plays that he's selected to complete the Tony Award-winning nonprofit's 45th season. In keeping with its reputation for debuting smart and adventurous shows, the Theatre presents the world premiere of Fallaci, written by Lawrence Wright and directed by Gregory Mosher, and the West Coast premiere of Dear Elizabeth, the latest collaboration from Sarah Ruhl and Les Waters. With the addition of these fresh scripts, the upcoming season features an incredible array of accomplished artists who collectively have earned five Tony Awards and 11 Obie Awards – including David Henry Hwang, Denis O'Hare, Lisa Peterson, Leigh Silverman, MarK Wing-Davey, and Mary Zimmerman – while also introducing local audiences to a talented team of Troublemakers: Dexter Bullard and Dan LeFranc. Best of all, since Berkeley Rep insists that scintillating art should be accessible and affordable, theatre lovers can see three or more shows for as little as $27 each!
"With its powerhouse lineup of playwrights and directors, next season already promised to be a year of great theatre," Taccone remarks. "I'm proud to add these smart, sensitive, and thought-provoking shows to the mix. Lawrence Wright and Gregory Mosher are a great team, and they'll bring Oriana Fallaci blazing back to life with the premiere of this play. And we all know how well Sarah Ruhl and Les Waters work together. I'm delighted to welcome them back to Berkeley Rep and continue our collaboration with these beloved artists."
The Main Season for 2012-13 begins in August with the West Coast premiere of Chinglish, the hilarious Broadway comedy written by Hwang and staged by Silverman. Then Zimmerman gives the Bay Area a beautiful gift for the holidays with The White Snake before Berkeley Rep brings the Bard back with a bang in Wing-Davey's production of Pericles, Prince of Tyre. The Limited Season features Peterson and O'Hare's visceral new version of An Iliad alongside the exuberant world premiere of LeFranc's Troublemaker, or The Freakin Kick-A Adventures of Bradley Boatright, staged by Bullard. Fallaci enters the fray in March and the season concludes with Dear Elizabeth. This entire experience is generously supported by BART and Wells Fargo, who have stepped forward as official season sponsors for the eighth straight year.
Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci was larger than life. Her childhood courage resisting the Nazis fueled her work as a war correspondent with an antiauthoritarian zeal that perfectly matched the '60s and '70s. She gained fame by grilling Kissinger, Castro, Khomeini, Qadaffi, and other public figures who squirmed under her ferocious questioning. With Fallaci, Pulitzer Prize-winner Lawrence Wright turns the spotlight on a fellow reporter and her fascinating contradictions. In this world premiere, a young woman interviews the fiery author at the end of her life, when she became a darling of the right. What begins as a discussion of journalism ends with two women exchanging life-changing lessons about destiny and empathy. Don't miss this sizzling new play staged by legendary director Gregory Mosher and penned by a revered writer from The New Yorker.
"The journalist Lawrence Wright possesses a knack for clarifying complicated problems," notes the New York Times. "Obviously this comes in handy in his regular line of work, but it is just as useful in his secondary vocation, as a public raconteur trying to elucidate thorny topical issues from the unlikely pulpit of an Off Broadway stage." "Like that cool professor whose courses always fill up first, Wright is the kind of conveyer of wisdom who doesn't so much lecture as seduce," says the Washington Post. He is a bestselling author, award-winning journalist, screenwriter, and playwright whose previous scripts include The Human Scale and My Trip to al-Qaeda. The latter was also staged by Mosher, former artistic director of the Lincoln Center and Goodman Theatres, whose many Broadway credits include Glengarry Glen Ross, Our Town, Speed-the-Plow, and A View from the Bridge. He has earned every major American theatre award and has also directed in London. Now Mosher reunites with Wright to bring Fallaci to the Roda Theatre.
The final show in the season also features a pair of acclaimed collaborators. Sarah Ruhl and Les Waters, the creators of Eurydice, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), and Three Sisters, return to Berkeley Rep with another tale of love and longing. Dear Elizabeth follows the beautiful and bittersweet friendship between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. Across oceans and continents, across three decades, these esteemed poets found a true marriage of minds in their eloquent correspondence. Dubbed the Dickinson and Whitman of the 20th century, they traded hundreds of vibrant, witty, and passionate letters that now spring to life on stage. This West Coast premiere paints an intimate portrait of two extraordinary – and quite ordinary – lives, told anew by two of the finest artists of our time.
"Ruhl, like Dickinson, is a wild original," says Smithsonian. "Even when she tackles darker topics – heartbreak, loss, disease, and death – her touch is light." "In Les Waters, who directed her exciting Eurydice a few seasons back, she has found an expert collaborator," adds The New Yorker. Next May, they turn their attention to Bishop and Lowell with a new play in the Roda Theatre. As Mark Doty wrote after seeing the correspondence between his fellow poets, "There's such life in these letters that the reader can't help but feel included in an intimate bond between two lively, vulnerable, and complex souls. Because their exchange stretches across decades, we watch these fast friends struggle, deepen, and change, and help to shape each other's work."
Get the best seats for these shows at the consistently lowest prices by subscribing to Berkeley Rep. The Main Season package guarantees tickets for Chinglish, Dear Elizabeth, Fallaci, Pericles, and The White Snake, while the Full Season package also includes seats for An Iliad and Troublemaker. Alternatively, you can "choose your own season" by selecting three or more plays that appeal to your palate. In addition to significant savings, subscribers receive valuable benefits such as the right to reschedule for free, discounts when purchasing tickets for friends, and the opportunity to secure seats before the general public for special events like Mikhail Baryshnikov's In Paris and Eve Ensler's Emotional Creature. Best of all, subscribers have guaranteed seats to sold-out plays while others are turned away.
Ticket packages begin as low as $81. Berkeley Rep also offers generous discounts for senior citizens, theatregoers under 30, and employees of nursery, elementary, and secondary schools. Purchase a subscription now, because the best seats go fast and individual tickets don't go on sale until August.
In four decades, four million people have enjoyed more than 300 shows at Berkeley Rep. These shows have gone on to win five Tony Awards, seven Obie Awards, nine Drama Desk Awards, one Grammy Award, and many other honors. In recognition of its place on the national stage, Berkeley Rep was honored with the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 1997. Its bustling facilities – which include the 400-seat Thrust Stage, the 600-seat Roda Theatre, the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, and a spacious new campus in West Berkeley – are helping revitalize a renowned city. A not-for-profit organization, the theatre welcomes an annual audience of 200,000, serves 23,000 students, and hosts dozens of community groups every year, thanks to 1,000 volunteers and more than 330 artists, artisans, and administrators.
So come see tomorrow's shows today at Berkeley Rep. The Roda Theatre and the Thrust Stage are both located on Addison Street in downtown Berkeley, near bus lines, bike routes, and parking lots – and only half a block from BART. For more information, call (510) 647-2949 or click berkeleyrep.org.