Carrie Fisher Brings WISHFUL DRINKING Back To Berkeley Rep's Roda Theater 7/9-23

Carrie Fisher set box-office records at Berkeley Repertory Theatre with her hilarious solo show, Wishful Drinking. Then it became a New York Times bestseller and played to sold-out crowds on a six-city national tour. Now Fisher returns to Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre, her last stop before the show bursts onto Broadway! This limited run - 15 performances only - begins July 9 and ends July 23. Staged by Artistic Director Tony Taccone, Wishful Drinking is produced by Berkeley Rep in association with Jonathan Reinis, Jamie Cesa, and Eva Price. Tickets go on sale this Sunday, May 24.

"I had such a great time in Berkeley that, not only am I coming back, I've moved my father there," Fisher remarks.

In Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher recounts a true and intoxicating story with the same strong, wry wit that she poured into bestsellers like Postcards from The Edge. Born to celebrity parents, she lands among the stars when picked to play a princess in a little movie called Star Wars. But it isn't all sweetness and lightsabers. Aside from a demanding career and her role as a single mom, our heroine spends her free time battling addiction, weathering the wild ride of manic depression, and lounging around mental institutions. It's an incredible tale - from having ElizaBeth Taylor as a stepmother to wedding (and shedding) Paul Simon, from having the father of her baby leave for a man to waking up one morning and finding a friend dead in her bed.

After staging two completely different solo shows - the world premiere of Danny Hoch's Taking Over and Sarah Jones' Tony Award-winning Bridge & Tunnel - Taccone takes audiences on another wild ride with Wishful Drinking. The show has played in Berkeley, Boston, Hartford, Los Angeles, San Jose, Santa Fe, Seattle, and Washington, DC... This is the last chance to get Carried away before it moves to Broadway this fall! Starting in September, Roundabout Theatre Company and the current producers present Wishful Drinking at Studio 54 in Manhattan.

Four shows have moved from Berkeley Rep to Broadway in the last four years - including Bridge & Tunnel, Passing Strange, and In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) - and this is the 12th show in 12 years that the Theatre has helped develop and send to New York. That list of hits also includes Danny Hoch's Taking Over; Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice; Tony Kushner and Maurice Sendak's Brundibar; Naomi Iizuka's 36 Views; Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses; Hoch's Jails, Hospitals & Hip-Hop; Anne Galjour's Alligator Tales; and Philip Kan Gotanda's Ballad of Yachiyo. In fact, Berkeley Rep's devotion to creating new work has delivered 18 shows to Manhattan in the last 22 years, and the Theatre has upped the ante by promising to commission dozens of new plays by 2013.

Entertainment Weekly calls Wishful Drinking "drolly hysterical," and the Los Angeles Times dubs it a "Beverly Hills yard sale of juicy anecdotes." The Wall Street Journal raves: "Addiction, mental illness, movie-star parents, bad marriages, really bad hair. Carrie Fisher, right? You got it: Princess Leia has recycled her nightmarish life yet again, this time putting it onstage in the form of an exceedingly clever one-woman show called Wishful Drinking. [She's] drop-dead funny about a string of personal crises so horrific that the only alternative to laughing at them is slashing your wrists in sympathy."

"Carrie Fisher sure can dish it. And we're only too happy to take it. Her blissfully gossipy one-woman show acerbically, uproariously and, yes, even affectionately mines the rich veins of a life lived to a conveniently lampoonable degree," declares the Washington Post. "Fisher is a writer through and through, and ingrained in her wit is a Wildean panache, an ability to sew a snappy hem on a robe of desperation. She assumes we're smart, too, a strategy that propels us all the more eagerly into her circle, to gaze out at the absurd excesses of a Hollywood upbringing."

Carrie Fisher has been a compelling force in the film industry since her feature film debut opposite Warren Beatty in the 1975 hit Shampoo. The daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, she became a cultural icon when she played Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy. Her star-studded career includes roles in countless films such as Austin Powers, The Blues Brothers, The Burbs, Charlie's Angels, Garbo Talks, Hannah and her Sisters, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, The Man with One Red Shoe, Scream 3, This is My Life, When Harry Met Sally, and Wonderland. Her most recent films include Fanboys, White Lightnin', and the remake of The Women. In 1987, Fisher's book, Postcards from The Edge, leapt onto the New York Times' bestseller list and netted her the Los Angeles Pen Award for Best First Novel. Four more bestsellers followed: Delusions of Grandma, Surrender the Pink, The Best Awful, and Wishful Drinking. Fisher turned Postcards into a screenplay for the hit film starring Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep, and is currently adapting The Best Awful for Lifetime and Sony television with producers Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks. Her writing has also appeared in Details, Harper's Bazaar, the New York Times, Travel & Leisure, Vogue, and many other major publications. Fisher's television credits range all the way from Laverne & Shirley to Sex in the City, with a recent Emmy nomination for her appearance on the popular NBC program 30 Rock. Her experiences with addiction and bipolar disorder - and her willingness to speak honestly about them - have made her a sought-after speaker and respected advocate for these communities.

Tony Taccone is completing his 12th year as artistic director of Berkeley Rep, where he has staged more than 35 shows - including world premieres by Culture Clash, Rinde Eckert, David Edgar, Danny Hoch, Geoff Hoyle, Quincy Long, and Itamar Moses. Taccone made his Broadway debut with Bridge & Tunnel, which was universally lauded by the critics and won a Tony Award for its star, Sarah Jones. He commissioned Tony Kushner's legendary Angels in America, co-directed its world premiere at the Mark Taper Forum, and has collaborated with Kushner on seven projects including Brundibar and the upcoming premiere of Tiny Kushner. In 2004, his production of David Edgar's Continental Divide transferred to the Barbican in London after playing the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, and England's Birmingham Rep. Taccone often works in Ashland, where he has also directed Coriolanus, Othello, Pentecost, and the American premiere of Seamus Heaney's The Cure at Troy. His other regional credits include Actors Theatre of Louisville, Arena Stage, Arizona Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage, the Huntington Theatre, the Kirk Douglas Theatre, The Public Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and Yale Repertory Theatre, as well as San Francisco's Eureka Theatre where he served six years as artistic director before coming to Berkeley Rep. Taccone has served on the faculty at UC Berkeley, sat on the board of Theatre Communications Group, and acted as a regional representative for the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

Tickets to Wishful Drinking start at only $33, and discounts are available for groups, seniors, students, and anyone under 30 years of age. Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre is located at 2015 Addison Street, near bus lines, bike routes, and parking lots - and only half a block from BART. To purchase seats, or for more information, call (510) 647-2949 or toll-free at (888) 4-BRT-Tix - or simply click

Born in a storefront, Berkeley Rep has moved to the forefront of American theatre - and is still telling unforgettable stories. In four decades, four million people have enjoyed more than 300 shows at Berkeley Rep, including 51 world premieres. In the last four years alone, Berkeley Rep has helped send four shows to Broadway: Bridge & Tunnel, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), Passing Strange, and Wishful Drinking. Founded in 1968, the Theatre quickly earned respect for presenting the finest plays with top-flight actors. In 1980, with the support of the local community, Berkeley Rep built the 400-seat Thrust Stage where its reputation steadily grew over the next two decades. It gained renown for an adventurous combination of work, presenting important new dramatic voices alongside refreshing adaptations of seldom-seen classics. In recognition of its place on the national stage, Berkeley Rep was honored with the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 1997. The company celebrated by unveiling a 600-seat proscenium stage in 2001, the state-of-the-art Roda Theatre. It also opened the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, a permanent home for its long tradition of outreach and education programs. The addition of these two buildings transformed a single stage into a vital and versatile performing arts complex, the linchpin of a bustling downtown arts district which has helped revitalize Berkeley. The Theatre now welcomes an annual audience of 180,000, serves 20,000 students, and hosts dozens of community groups, thanks to 1,000 volunteers and more than 400 artists, artisans, and administrators.


Jonathan Reinis is the producer of over 150 plays, musicals, and dance performances including the Broadway productions of Jerry Springer: The Opera with Harvey Keitel at Carnegie Hall (2008), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2006-2007), Kiki and Herb: Alive on Broadway (2006 Tony nomination), Dame Edna (2000 Tony Award), Russell Simmons's Def Poetry Jam (2003 Tony Award), Bill Maher: Victory Begins at Home (2003 Tony nomination), and It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues (1999 Tony nomination). His off-Broadway credits include Room Service, Marga Gomez's Los Big Names, Josh Kornbluth's Love & Taxes, and Shay Duffin as Brendan Behan. Bay Area touring productions include Carrie Fisher at Berkeley Rep; Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues; Josh Kornbluth's Ben Franklin: Unplugged; Sam Shepard's The Late Henry Moss with Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson, Nick Nolte, and Cheech Marin; Dame Edna; Ennio; His Way; Sandra Bernhardt; John Leguizamo's premiere of Freak; Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde; and the national tours of Forever Tango, The Piano Lesson, and Steve Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Reinis built and operated Theatre on the Square in downtown San Francisco for more than 20 years (1981-2002). His San Francisco shows include Talley's Folly, Jeffrey, Irving Berlin in Revue, Bubbe Meises, The Kathy and Mo Show, Shirley Valentine, Love Letters, Mass Appeal, Nehemiah Persoff as Sholem Aleichem, Biloxi Blues, I'm Not Rappaport, Curse of the Werewolf, and Phantom of the Opera by Ken Hill. He also presented Stomp, Riverdance - The Show, Fame: The Musical, and the national tours of Dirty Blonde and Guys and Dolls. Reinis is a member of the Broadway League and ATPAM.


Jamie Cesa produced Kiki and Herb: Alive on Broadway, which received a Tony Award nomination for Best Special Theatrical Event. Off Broadway, he produced and managed Los Big Names, which earned nominations for the 2006 Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and currently he's producing Naked Boys Singing! - one of the top 10 longest running shows in off-Broadway history. His other off-Broadway producing credits include 21 Dog Years: Doing Time @; Love, Janis; The Women of Lockerbie; and the The Last Session, which received Outer Critics Circle and Drama League nominations for Best Musical. Cesa's general management credits include the off-Broadway productions of Celia: The Life and Music of Celia Cruz, Criss Angel Mindfreak, The Last Word, Matt and Ben, SIDD, and Transatlantic Liaison, as well as Respect: A Musical Journey of Women in Orlando, FL.

Eva Price's credits include Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas on Broadway; The Great American Trailer Park Musical (national and European tours); Irving Berlin's I Love a Piano (national tour); The JAP Show: Jewish American Princesses of Comedy (off Broadway and tour); Joy (off Broadway); Los Big Names (off Broadway, Drama Desk nomination); Private Jokes, Public Places (off Broadway and London); and Sunfish (a new musical in development). She is executive vice president of Maximum Entertainment, a producing, investing, and general management company located in New York City. Maximum Entertainment is a partner in Elephant Eye Theatricals, whose productions include Saved (Playwrights Horizons) and The Addams Family (Broadway 2009).


Related Articles

San Francisco THEATER Stories | Shows  Like BWW SF  Follow BWW SF

From This Author BWW News Desk

Before you go...