Photo Flash: Berkeley Rep's VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE Begins Tonight
Berkeley Repertory Theatre kicks off its 46th season this September with Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, winner of the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play. The hilarious Broadway blockbuster from three-time Obie Award-winner Christopher Durang begins previews in the Roda Theatre tonight, September 20, opens September 25, and runs through October 20. Get a first look at the cast below!
Durang, the renowned author of rollicking comedies such as Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You and The Marriage of Bette & Boo, turns Chekhov on his head with this witty and incisive farce. In bucolic Bucks County, Vanya and Sonia fritter their lives away in their family's farmhouse amid regret, angst, and the alarming prophecies of an addled housecleaner. Enter their sister Masha, a self-absorbed movie star with her prized boy toy Spike, and the stage is set for an absurd weekend of hilarity and global warming. Acclaimed director Richard E.T. White returns to Berkeley Rep to stage the laugh-inducing Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, a loving homage to Chekhov's themes of heartbreak and hope.
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is brought to life by an ensemble featuring six of the Bay Area's most accomplished comic actors and gifted newcomers:
Anthony Fusco (Vanya) makes his Berkeley Rep debut. A leading actor and company member at American Conservatory Theater (ACT) and California Shakespeare Theater, his credits include Clybourne Park, Samuel Beckett's Play, Dead Metaphor, David Mamet's Race and November, The Homecoming, Hedda Gabler (directed by Richard E.T. White), Caucasian Chalk Circle, and The Three Sisters at ACT; and King Lear, Blithe Spirit, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Tempest, Arms and the Man, and Candida at California Shakespeare Theater. On Broadway, Fusco has appeared inThe Real Thing and The Real Inspector Hound.
Lorri Holt (Masha) is an award-winning Bay Area actress who has performed in several Berkeley Rep productions, including Finn in the Underworld,Fêtes de la Nuit, Dinner with Friends, Tooth of Crime, Dancing at Lughnasa, Blue Window, and Reckless (these last three directed by Richard E.T. White). Holt has worked with SF Playhouse, American Conservatory Theater, Magic Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Aurora Theatre Company, Marin Theatre Company, Center Repertory Company, TheatreWorks, and in many long-running San Francisco commercial productions, including The Vagina Monologues and Christopher Durang's play, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, with Cloris Leachman.
Mark Junek (Spike) makes his Berkeley Rep debut. His credits include The Performers on Broadway, Galileo and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Classic Stage Company), The Imaginary Invalid (Bard SummerScape), and The Seagull and Henry V (Juilliard). He has appeared in the TV shows Smash andLaw & Order: SVU.
Caroline Kaplan (Nina) makes her Berkeley Rep debut. Her New York credits include The Silver Cord (Peccadillo Theater Company), The Threepenny Opera (Riverside Theater), The Completely Fictional-Utterly True-Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allen Poe (Center Stage in Baltimore), The Merchant of Venice (Trinity Repertory Company), Going Live (Guthrie Theater), and The Three Sisters (Williamstown Theatre Festival).
Sharon Lockwood (Sonia) was last seen at Berkeley Rep as a 200-year-old woman in Culture Clash's Zorro in Hell. Her other Berkeley Rep credits include Volpone, The Alchemist, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Triumph of Love, Pentecost, The Importance of Being Earnest, and The Magic Fire. Lockwood has recently performed in Dead Metaphor at American Conservatory Theater, and originated the role of Barbara in the world premiere of Nickel and Dimed (Intiman Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, and TheatreWorks/Brava for Women in the Arts) under the direction of Bartlett Sher.
Heather Alicia Simms (Cassandra) also makes her debut at Berkeley Rep. An actor, voiceover artist, and writer, she has appeared on television, in film, and on stage in New York, London, and regional theatres around the country. Her Broadway credits include Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, A Raisin in the Sun, and Gem of the Ocean. Simms most recently appeared in Spike Lee's Red Hook Summer.
The creative team for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike includes longtime Berkeley Rep collaborators. Kent Dorsey (scenic designer) has designed sets for a number of Berkeley Rep productions, including The Alchemist, For Better or Worse, Serious Money, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dancing at Lughnasa,Mother Jones, and Blue Window. Beaver Bauer (costume designer) designed several Berkeley Rep productions: What the Butler Saw, Tartuffe, Blue Window, In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe, Rhinoceros, The House of Blue Leaves, and Menocchio. Alexander V. Nichols (lighting designer) returns to Berkeley Rep for his 26th production. His theatre credits include Berkeley Rep's production of Wishful Drinking here and on Broadway, Hugh Jackman Back On Broadway, and the off-Broadway productions of Bridge and Tunnel (also at Berkeley Rep), Horizon, In the Wake, Los Big Names, Taking Over, and Through the Night. Composer Rob Milburn and sound designer Michael Bodeen have recently composed music and designed sound for Berkeley Rep's production of No Man's Land, which moves to Broadway this fall.
Individual tickets to Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike start at $29. Additional savings are available for season subscribers, groups, seniors, students, and anyone under 30 years of age - meaning discounted tickets can be obtained for as little as $14.50. For details, call (510) 647-2949 - or simply click berkeleyrep.org.
Photos courtesy of kevinberne.com.