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Obie-Winner Lisa Peterson Unleashes AN ILIAD at Berkeley Rep, 10/12-11/11


This October, at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, an ancient tale comes roaring back to life in a compelling new telling filled with contemporary wit and wisdom. The clash of swords and shields, the broken hearts and broken oaths, the bonds of friendship and family – An Iliad arises on a bare stage, told by an old man who's seen too much. Two-time Obie Award-winner Lisa Peterson directs a stunning show that stars Henry Woronicz, who masterfully captures the grief and glory of the battle for Troy. Presented on the intimate Thrust Stage, the script by Peterson and Tony Award-winner Denis O'Hare is adapted from Robert Fagles' translation of the original. Homer removes his armor on behalf of all humanity and reveals the truth within each of us. A hawk, a dove… An Iliad races through time to become indelibly relevant today.

A co-production with La Jolla Playhouse, An Iliad starts previews in Berkeley on October 12, opens October 17, and runs through November 11, 2012. The executive producer of the local run is Guy Tiphane. The season producers are Wayne Jordan and Quinn Delaney, Marjorie Randolph, Jack and Betty Schafer, and the Strauch Kulhanjian Family. For the eighth straight year, BART and Wells Fargo serve as the official sponsors of Berkeley Rep's season.

"Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare have given us a bold new take on the Iliad," says Tony Taccone, artistic director of Berkeley Rep. "Their Homer is an empath: he experiences the war as much as anyone he is describing in his story. The result is a searing and brilliant critique of our addiction to conflict. It requires an actor of extraordinary skill with language, heart, and intellect, and I am pleased and honored to present the amazing Henry Woronicz to our audience."

Henry Woronicz (The Poet) has acted and directed at numerous regional theatres, including Actors Theatre of Louisville, American Conservatory Theater, American Players Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, Boston Shakespeare Company, Centerstage, Delaware Theatre Company, the Hong Kong Repertory Company, Indiana Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Meadow Brook Theatre, Syracuse Stage, the Shakespeare Theatre Company, and the Alabama, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Utah Shakespeare Festivals. On Broadway, he performed in Julius Caesar with Denzel Washington, and he last appeared at Berkeley Rep in The Playboy of the Western World. Woronicz was a resident actor and director at Oregon Shakespeare Festival from 1984 to 1991 and its artistic director from 1991 to 1995; from 2008 to 2009 he was executive producer of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. He was also the head of the MFA acting program at Illinois State University from 2009 to 2012. His TV credits include Ally McBeal, Cheers, Law & Order, Pickett Fences, Seinfeld, Star Trek, and Third Rock from the Sun.

Lisa Peterson (director and co-adaptor) previously directed Antony and Cleopatra, The Fall, and Mother Courage at Berkeley Rep. She earned an Obie Award for An Iliad, which also won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show. Her other credits at New York Theatre Workshop include Bexley, OH; Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (Obie Award); Slavs!; Traps; and The Waves. Additional off-Broadway credits include Birdy and The Chemistry of Change at Women's Project; Collected Stories at Manhattan Theatre Club; End Days at the Ensemble Studio Theatre; The Model Apartment and Shipwrecked at Primary Stages; The Poor Itch, The Square, and Tongue of a Bird at The Public Theatre; The Scarlet Letter at Classic Stage Company; Sue?o at MCC; and Tight Embrace at Intar. Her regional work includes productions at ATL, Arena Stage, California Shakespeare Theater, Centerstage, Dallas Theater Center, the Guthrie Theatre, Hartford Stage, the Huntington Theatre Company, Intiman Theatre, LJP, Long Wharf Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum (resident director, 1995 to 2005), McCarter Theatre Center, Midwest Playlabs, New York Stage & Film, O'Neill Playwrights Conference, OSF, Philadelphia Theater Company, Seattle Repertory Theatre, South Coast Repertory Theatre, Sundance Theater Lab, and Yale Repertory Theatre.

Denis O'Hare (co-adaptor) won the Tony, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama Desk Awards for his performance as Mason Marzac in the hit Broadway play Take Me Out. His Broadway productions also include Assassins (Tony nomination), Inherit the Wind, and Sweet Charity, among many others. He has also appeared off Broadway numerous times and at many regional theatres. An Iliad, for which he won an Obie Award, is his first collaboration and his debut as a writer for theatre. O'Hare has written two screenplays, as well as short stories and poetry. While at Northwestern University pursuing an acting degree, he followed the poetry writing program for two years and studied poetry under Reginald Gibbons, Mary Kinzie, and Alan Shapiro. He has appeared in many films, including 21 Grams, Charlie Wilson's War, Duplicity, Eagle, An Englishman in New York, Garden State, Michael Clayton, A Mighty Heart, and Milk. His television work includes roles on Brothers and Sisters, CSI: Miami, all of the Law & Order franchises, and the hit series True Blood as Russell Edgington.

At Berkeley Rep, Peterson reunites the design team from the award-winning off-Broadway production of An Iliad. Rachel Hauck (scenic design) has designed many shows off Broadway and at major regional theatres. She is the recipient of the Lilly Award and the Princess Grace Award for theatre. Marina Draghici (costume design) won a Tony Award for Fela! Her off-Broadway credits include several shows at NYTW and The Public/New York Shakespeare Festival, and Berkeley Rep audiences will recall her work on Mad Forest. Scott Zielinski (lighting design) has designed numerous off-Broadway shows and the Broadway production of Topdog/Underdog. His previous credits at Berkeley Rep include Fall, Ghosts, Oliver Twist, and Our Town. He has also worked at theatres in dozens of cities across America and around the world. Mark Bennett (original music/sound design) has earned 12 Drama Desk Awards, the New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie), and the Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Sound Design. His recent work includes The Coast of Utopia and A Steady Rain on Broadway and Sam Mendes' Bridge Project. Bennett's score is performed by bassist Brian Ellingsen, who has been featured as a soloist at New Music Hartford and the Spoleto Festival USA. As a chamber musician, he performs with Heavy Hands and le Train Bleu. As an orchestral musician he has performed principle parts for Gotham Chamber Orchestra, the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, and the Spoleto Festival Orchestra. The stage manager for this production is Kimberly Mark Webb.

During the run of An Iliad audiences can enjoy many special events:

· Low-cost previews take place on Friday, October 12; Saturday, October 13; Sunday, October 14; and Tuesday, October 16.
· Teen Night begins at 6:30 PM on Friday, October 12 and includes dinner, a presentation by a member of the artistic team, and a performance of the show. Tickets are only $10 for high-school students. For details, call (510) 647-2973 or e-mail
· Opening-night festivities are held on Wednesday, October 17 with a pre-show dinner for donors and a post-show party for the audience.
· Post-play discussions moderated by theatre professionals follow the 8:00 PM shows on Thursday, October 18; Friday, October 26; and Tuesday, October 30. Post-show talks with Berkeley Rep's docents take place after all matinees.
· Free 30-minute docent presentations take place at 7:00 PM every Tuesday and Thursday evening. Docent talks are also held in three local communities: at the Moraga Library on Wednesday, October 17 at 2:00 PM, at the Orinda Library on Tuesday, October 23 at 7:00 PM, and at the Lafayette Library on Wednesday, October 24 at 7:00 PM .

In the last six years, six shows developed at Berkeley Rep have ended up on Broadway. Eight more landed off Broadway, two turned into films, and others have toured the nation. So don't miss the new season of exhilarating plays at the Theatre. Tony Award-winner David Henry Hwang just kicked things off with the West Coast premiere of his hilarious Broadway comedy Chinglish, staged by two-time Obie-winner Leigh Silverman. For the holidays, Tony Award-winner Mary Zimmerman gives the Bay Area a beautiful gift with her world-premiere production of The White Snake, and then Dan LeFranc greets the New Year with his exuberant world premiere of Troublemaker, or The Freakin Kick-A Adventures of Bradley Boatright. Next Pulitzer Prize-winner Lawrence Wright unveils the world premiere of Fallaci before Berkeley Rep brings the Bard back with a bang in MarK Wing-Davey's production of Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Finally, in May, two beloved collaborators – Sarah Ruhl and Les Waters – reunite for the West Coast premiere of Dear Elizabeth.

Individual tickets to An Iliad start at only $29. Additional savings are available for groups, seniors, students, and anyone under 30 years of age – meaning discounted tickets can be obtained for as little as $14.50. The Thrust Stage is located at 2025 Addison Street, near bus lines, bike routes, and parking lots – and only half a block from BART. For tickets or information, call (510) 647-2949 or simply click

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 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 received 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, the Osher Studio, and a spacious new campus in West Berkeley – are helping revitalize a renowned city. Come see tomorrow's plays today at Berkeley Rep.

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