Berkeley Rep to End 2008/2009 Season with 'You, Nero'
Tony Taccone, the artistic director of Berkeley Repertory
Theatre, announced today that the Tony Award-winning company will conclude its
2008/09 Season with the world premiere of You, Nero, a new comedy written by
Amy Freed and directed by Sharon Ott, will rule the Thrust Stage from May 8
through June 21, 2009. Starring Danny Scheie as the preposterous emperor of
"You, Nero is the perfect way to end the coming year, on a
high note of incisive, satiric wit," Taccone remarked. "Modern American life
bears a remarkable resemblance to Nero's
"I've been pining to work at Berkeley Rep since I first started seeing shows there," Freed commented. "I love and admire the theatre. As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the most exciting theatres in the country, and I'm beside myself with jubilation that this day has arrived. The play is a full-throttle comedy that just exploded into my brain. It's great fun for the audience while also saying something that I passionately believe. And I wrote this part with Danny in mind he's a terrific performer. So to see it come to fruition right here in our community is truly thrilling."
The press materials say "not only does Nero fiddle while
This Roman romp wraps up Berkeley Rep's 2008/09 Season, an ambitious line-up of adventurous plays that combines beloved artists with the Theatre's commitment to commission 50 new plays by 2013:
The season takes
flight when Taccone directs the world premiere of Yellowjackets, a provocative
new play commissioned by Berkeley Rep. Set at
Next, renowned actor Delroy Lindo returns to Berkeley Rep with the play that netted him a Tony nomination but this time, he's in the director's chair. Following last year's triumph with Tanya Barfield's Blue Door, Lindo takes on August Wilson's African-American epic, Joe Turner's Come and Gone.
In November, Mary Zimmerman presents an alluring adaptation of The Arabian Nights. The Tony Award-winning creator of Argonautika and Metamorphoses made her career by reanimating ancient myths; now she breathes new life into the legend of the 1,001 nights.
In January, it's the world premiere of In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), an elegant comedy written by Sarah Ruhl and staged by Associate Artistic Director Les Waters.Following their national success with Eurydice, this prominent pair reunites to consummate another play of love and longing, commissioned by Berkeley Rep.
Then Sharon Ott directs a gripping production of Fyodor Dostoevsky's classic Crime and Punishment. Performed with only three actors, this chamber piece compresses all the tension and pathos of the novel into 90 minutes of powerful theatre under the sure hand of Berkeley Rep's former artistic director, who returns for the first time since leading the company to a Tony Award in 1997.
And, in April, Waters unleashes another vicious comedy from Martin McDonagh, the Academy Award-winning author of The Pillowman and In Bruges. Like all of McDonagh's work, The Lieutenant of Inishmore employs explosive dialogue and a perfectly oiled plot that is brutal, bloody, yet irresistibly funny.
You, Nero ends the season in place of the play originally scheduled in the seventh slot: Berkeley Rep has postponed its production of David Henry Hwang's Yellow Face and hopes to present that show in the fall of 2009 before touring it to other cities.
For its 40th birthday, Berkeley Rep launched an innovative series of initiatives to make theatre a luxury everyone can afford and these new traditions will continue in the 2008/09 Season. The audience can enjoy free pre-show tastings with local culinary artisans, 30-minute docent talks before every Tuesday and Thursday performance, events like 30 Below and night/OUT that draw a new generation of theatregoers, and a local, organic, sustainable menu that offers delicious intermission treats and pre-show delights for discriminating palates. Even better, Berkeley Rep will retain its new pricing policy that lets more people experience the best theatre in the Bay Area. These ticket prices make Berkeley Rep more affordable to people in the community who are just starting school, starting careers, and starting families because lower prices are now available for every performance.
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