Berkeley Rep to Stage TARTUFFE

Berkeley Rep is proud to welcome back the beloved team of Dominique Serrand and Steven Epp for a provocative and powerful revival of Molière's dark comedy about religious hypocrisy. In 1664 when it was first performedTartuffe was one of the most controversial plays of its day and faced severe censorship. This modern interpretation - featuring a hypnotic Epp in the title role - is as intense and incisive as the day it was written and eternally relevant. A seemingly pious Tartuffe ingratiates himself to the wealthy Orgon, gaining access to the old man's house and throwing his family into chaos. As Orgon falls for the scoundrel's ruse, Tartuffe's deceit takes a dangerous turn. Berkeley Rep audiences fell in love with the impish Epp and esteemed director Serrand with such legendary shows as The Miser and Figaro. Epp has also appeared at Berkeley Rep in Accidental Death of an Anarchist, A Doctor in Spite of Himself, and Don Juan Giovanni. Adapted by David Ball, Tartuffe is a co-production of South Coast Repertory, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and Shakespeare Theatre Company. Tartuffe begins previews Friday, March 13, opens on Friday, March 20, and runs through Sunday, April 12. Press night for Tartuffe will be held on Friday, March 20, 2015. Individual tickets start at $29 and can be purchased by phone at (510) 647-2949 or online at berkeleyrep.org.

"I'm very happy Dominique Serrand and Steven Epp - the masterful duo behind The Miser and Figaro - are reuniting for a revival of Tartuffe, which marks 20 years since they began a long-standing relationship with Berkeley Rep," says Tony Taccone, Berkeley Rep's Michael Leibert Artistic Director. "No one understands the delicate relationship between comedy and tragedy better than Dominique and Steve. We're really excited to bring them back to work their magic in this signature production."

"I'm delighted to be back at Berkeley Rep," remarks Serrand. "I've had the pleasure of working on a number of beautiful and magical productions here and I'm just thrilled to bring this latest iteration of Tartuffe to the Bay Area. With this production we've taken a darker approach. The play is very moving and it can be funny at times but it is also quite brutal. This is my third mounting of Tartuffe with the same team. It is finally achieved."

Berkeley Rep's presentation is the play's second stop on a three city tour. For its first leg at South Coast Repertory, Los Angeles Times raved, "Fantastically sinister...[Dominique Serrand's] production...maintains a productive openness while darkening the overall palette... [A] sophisticated rendering of a Molière's comedy that understands just how close a smile is to a frown." Adds the Orange County Weekly, "Anyone who needs evidence that directing for the stage is a craft, talent and art every bit as illuminating and creative as a killer script or spectacular acting should look no further than Dominique Serrand's fascinating take."

Serrand's previous productions have also garnered effusive praise. "Both brooding drama and zippy farce... a stylistic triumph," writes the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "A dark, intense, and vastly entertaining version of Molière's work. Gorgeous production values and a whip-smart new translation by David Ball...Three-hundred years after its first opening night, Tartuffestill acts as a potent warning," hails Skyway News.

David Ball (Adapter) is an award-winning playwright, director, novelist, and drama theoretician, who wrote Backwards and Forwards, the standard script analysis textbook for the past quarter century. He was dramaturg and playwright at Minneapolis's Guthrie Theater in the 1970s; professor of acting, directing, playwriting, and dramaturgy at Carnegie Mellon University in the early 1980s; artistic director of Pittsburgh's Metro Theater; and director of Duke University Drama through 1991. His plays and adaptations have been staged at major regional theatres and off Broadway, including The Miser and Tartuffe for Tony Award-winning Theatre de la Jeune Lune. His Swamp Outlaw, a Civil War-era novel of Lumbee Indian Henry Berry Lowery and his outlaw raiders, is a Kindle favorite. He has had the privilege of working with director Dominique Serrand for 25 years. In a baffling (even to himself) career change, for 15 years, Ball has been America's most influential jury consultant. His favorite job ever: taxi driver in 1961.

Dominique Serrand (Director/Scenic Designer) has directed several shows at Berkeley Rep, including Figaro, The Miser, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Green Bird, and Don Juan Giovanni. He is co-artistic director of the Moving Company, with Steven Epp, a company dedicated to creating new work and reimagining work from the past. A Paris native, Serrand was artistic director and one of the co-founders of Theatre de la Jeune Lune from 1978 to 2008. He studied at the National Circus School and the Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Serrand has acted, conceived, directed, and designed for most Jeune Lune productions for more than 30 years, concentrating primarily on directing. His directing credits include The Kitchen, Lulu,The Bourgeois Gentleman, Romeo and Juliet, Red Noses, 1789, Children of Paradise: Shooting a Dream, 3 Musketeers, The Pursuit of Happiness, Queen Elizabeth, Tartuffe, Gulliver, The Seagull, The Miser, The Little Prince, and Amerika, or the Disappearance. He staged several operas including The Magic Flute, Cosi Fan Tutte, Don Juan Giovanni, Figaro, Carmen, Maria de Buenos Aires, and Mefistofele. Serrand has directed on numerous stages including PlayMakers Repertory, La Jolla Playhouse, Yale Repertory Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Guthrie Theater, Alley Theatre, and Children's Theatre Company, amongst others. He is a USA/Ford and Bush fellow. In 2005, Theatre de la Jeune Lune received a Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre. Serrand has been knighted by the French government in the order of Arts and Letters.

Tartuffe features an ensemble of accomplished actors - many of whom make their Berkeley Rep debut with this production:

· Christopher Carley (Valere) is pleased to be working at Berkeley Rep for the first time. His New York credits include, on Broadway, The Beauty Queen of Leenane; off Broadway, A Skull in Connemara (Roundabout Theatre Company) and Once in a Lifetime (Atlantic Theater Company); and off off Broadway, On the Nature of Religion(Atlantic Theater Company) and Suspicious Package (Wordmonger Productions). Regionally, he has appeared inThe Cripple of Inishman (Portland Center Stage) and Poor Beast in the Rain.

· Steven Epp (Tartuffe) has appeared at Berkeley Rep in Accidental Death of an Anarchist, A Doctor in Spite of Himself, Figaro, The Miser, Don Juan Giovanni, and he adapted The Green Bird. He is an actor, writer, and co-artistic director of the Moving Company, based in Minneapolis. Epp's acting/writing credits include The House Can't Stand, Come Hell and High Water, Out of the Pan Into the Fire, and Imaginary Invalid at Playmakers, Massoud for Center Theatre Group, Tartuffe at South Coast Repertory, and Love's Labour's Lost at Actors Theatre of Louisville. His regional credits include productions at the Guthrie Theater, Ten Thousand Things, the Jungle Theater, and La Jolla Playhouse, among others. Epp was an actor, writer, and co-artistic director at Theatre de la Jeune Lune, winner of the 2005 Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre, from 1983-2008.

· Sofia Jean Gomez (Elmire) is thrilled to be back at Berkeley Rep. Her theatre acting credits include Argonautikaand The Arabian Nights at Berkeley Rep, Shakespeare Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre Center, and Kansas City Repertory Theatre. Off Broadway her credits include Signature Theatre Company (Angels in America), Manhattan Theatre Club, New Georges, Page 73, and Lake Lucille.

Most recently Gomez received Best Performances of 2014 for The Tempest at the Shakespeare Theatre.

· Brian Hostenske's (Damis) theatre credits include Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at Center Theatre Group, Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them with Artists at Play (Los Angeles Ovation and GLAAD Media Award nominations), Playboy of the Western World at A Noise Within, The Winter's Tale and Twelfth Night at Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Mother Courage at La Jolla Playhouse, and Tartuffe at South Coast Repertory.

· Nathan Keepers (Laurent) is returning to Berkeley Rep, where he was seen as La Flèche in The Miser. Keepers, along with Steven Epp and Dominique Serrand, co-runs the Moving Company in Minneapolis, where he has co-conceived, written, directed, and performed (respectively) in For Sale, Out of the Pan Into the Fire, Werther and Lotte, All's Fair, and Come Hell and High Water. Nationally, Keepers has worked at South Coast Repertory, PlayMakers Repertory Company, American Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Alley Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, and the Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C.

· Michael Uy Kelly (Ensemble) is making his Berkeley Rep debut. Previous credits include Mutt: Let's all Talk About Race with Impact Theatre and Ferocious Lotus Theatre, 410 [Gone] with Crowded Fire Theater, and Tenderloin with the Cutting Ball Theater.

· Lenne Klingaman (Mariane) is making her Berkeley Rep debut. A Bay Area native, her recent credits include the world premiere of James Still's Appoggiatura and Romeo & Juliet (Denver Center Theatre Company); Anna Karenina (Capital Stage); Tartuffe (South Coast Repertory); Twelfth Night, The Three Musketeers, and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare Santa Cruz); Richard III (Intiman Theatre); Flight (P3/east); and more.

· Maria A Leigh (Ensemble) is a Bay Area actor who has worked locally and internationally. Her recent credits include Late: A Cowboy Song at Custom Made Theatre Company, Macbeth at Fort Point and The Odyssey on Angel Island with We Players, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore with Bigger Than a Breadbox Theatre Company, and Chamber Macbeth and Tartuffe with Rapid Descent Physical Performance Company.

· Gregory Linington's (Cleante) New York credits include Throne of Blood at Brooklyn Academy of Music. He has also appeared in The Tempest at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Romeo & Juliet at Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, Tartuffe at South Coast Repertory, End of the Rainbow at Center Theatre Group, Equivocation at Arena Stage, and Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter at the Kennedy Center. He is a 12-year company member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and a company member of Misery Loves Company in Prague.

· Becca Lustgarten (Ensemble) is making her Berkeley Rep debut. Her recent credits include Tartuffe and Death of a Salesman (South Coast Repertory). Her other favorite credits include Three Sisters at Williamstown Theatre Festival, directed by Michael Greif; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Hangar Theatre, directed by Kevin Moriarty; and a number of new plays developed and produced by the Actors Studio (NYC) and Primary Stages Einhorn School of Performing Arts.

· Michael Manuel (Madame Pernelle/Officer) is making his Berkeley Rep debut. He was most recently seen in Impro Theatre's Western Unscripted at the Falcon Theatre in Los Angeles. Manual has worked in regional theatres across the country including Seattle Repertory Theatre, the Empty Space Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Yale Repertory Theatre, Theatre For a New Audience, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, and the Mark Taper Forum, among others.

· Todd Pivetti (Ensemble) is making his Berkeley Rep debut. He has most recently appeared in The Balcony with Collected Works at the Mint in San Francisco, Cock at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, The Speakeasy with Boxcar Theatre, Threepenny Opera with San Jose Stage Company, Julius Caesar (tour) with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Imaginary Invalid with Pacific Repertory Theatre, andTwelfth Night and The Mandrake at Shakespeare Santa Cruz.

· Luverne Seifert (Orgon) last performed at Berkeley Rep in Don Juan Giovanni. His performance credits include The 39 Steps, Servant of Two Masters, The Government Inspector, and The Ugly One (the Guthrie Theater),Antigone (Ten Thousand Things), and For Sale (the Moving Company), and more. His other theatre credits include Polonius in Hamlet (off Broadway, New Victory Theater) and Tartuffe, The Three Musketeers, Chez Pierre, Children of Paradise, Gulliver, Twelfth Night, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Yang Zen Froggs, and Germinal (Theatre de la Jeune Lune, where he was an artistic associate). He received a 2003 McKnight Theater Artist Fellowship and a 2009 Ivey Award.

· Suzanne Warmanen (Dorine) makes her Berkeley Rep debut. Her theatre credits include Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Pride and Prejudice, The Winter's Tale, Macbeth, The Importance of Being Earnest, Lost in Yonkers, Pirates of Penzance, Hedda Gabler, and more. She has also appeared in A Christmas Carol all at the Guthrie Theater, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Arizona Theatre Company, A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur at Gremlin Theatre, and All's Fair/The War Within at the Moving Company, among others. She is the recipient of the 2009 Society of Promethians award.

The stage manager for Tartuffe is Michael Suenkel, Berkeley Rep's production stage manager. The 2014-15 season is supported by BART and Wells Fargo, who have generously renewed their commitment as Berkeley Rep's official season sponsors. Berkeley Rep is also proud to have KPIX-TV (Channel 5) as a first-year season sponsor. Tartuffe is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Strauch Kulhanjian Family, Jack and Betty Schafer, Bruce Golden and Michelle Mercer, Shirley D. and Philip D. Schild, and Guy Tiphane.

ABOUT BERKELEY REP

Berkeley Repertory Theatre has grown from a storefront stage to an international leader in innovative theatre. Known for its core values of imagination and excellence, as well as its educated and adventurous audience, the nonprofit has provided a welcoming home for emerging and established artists since 1968. In four decades, four million people have enjoyed nearly 400 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. Its bustling facilities - which include the 400-seat Thrust Stage, the 600-seat Roda Theatre, the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, the Osher Studio, and a spacious new campus in West Berkeley - are helping revitalize a renowned city. Learn more at berkeleyrep.org.

Photo: Steven Epp and Luverne Seifert are part of the ensemble cast in a revival of Molière's Tartuffe at Berkeley Rep.

Photo by Debora Robinson / South Coast Repertory



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