Berkeley Rep has announced that David Cale’s thriller Harry Clarke will kick off its next season.
The seven-play season also features Selina Fillinger’s feminist satire, POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive; Berkeley native Eisa Davis’ lyrical coming-of-age story, Bulrusher; Leslye Headland’s comedy, Cult of Love; the West Coast premiere of Lloyd Suh’s immigration drama, The Far Country; dazzling world-premiere musical, Galileo; and Octavio Solis’ 21st-century sequel to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Mother Road.
“In putting together this season, I wanted to celebrate the experiences that are unique to in-person theatregoing — to continue to create those life-giving opportunities to share laughter, a gasp, a moment that lifts you to your feet alongside fellow audience members,” said Berkeley Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Johanna Pfaelzer. (Watch Pfaelzer talk about the upcoming season in the below video)
WATCH: Preview of Berkeley Rep’s 2023/24 Season
“These seven plays, each exquisitely crafted by artists who are deeply invested in the specific delights of live performance, reflect Berkeley Rep’s commitment to stories that have both local and global impact. Bulrusher, The Far Country, and Mother Road are specifically Californian stories, and I feel compelled to make sure they are shared here in the Bay Area, but their themes of identity, lineage, and the profound desire of an individual to chart a new path — in the face of significant challenges — are not bound by geography and will resonate for those who know Boonville, or Angel Island, or the agricultural fields of California’s Central Valley, as well as those who will have the pleasure of learning the secrets of those locations for the first time. Simultaneously, Berkeley Rep has long made significant contributions to the national and international theatre field, and I’m so proud to see artists like Michael Mayer once again choose Berkeley Rep as the home for the world premiere of epic stories like Galileo. And where better to wrestle with the tensions inherent between science and religion, fact and faith, than here in Berkeley?”
BAY AREA STAGE
Berkeley Repertory Theatre 2023/24 Season
POTUS: OR, BEHIND EVERY GREAT DUMBASS ARE SEVEN WOMEN TRYING TO KEEP HIM ALIVE
When the President unwittingly spins a PR nightmare into a global crisis, the seven brilliant and beleaguered women he relies upon most risk life, liberty, and the pursuit of sanity to keep the commander-in-chief out of trouble. (Any resemblance to past White House shenanigans is purely coincidental.)
A Pulitzer Prize finalist, Bulrusher follows a multiracial girl found as an infant floating in a basket on the Navarro River in Mendocino County. It’s 1955, and Bulrusher is 18 and restless, with a gift for clairvoyance that makes her feel like a stranger even amongst the eccentric, dialect speaking folks of her predominantly white enclave of Boonville. When a mysterious Black girl from Birmingham comes to town, Bulrusher discovers new facets of her identity — and uncovers her place in the world.
CULT OF LOVE
Jesus is the reason for the season in this ruthless comedy about a Christian family who claim all you need is love. Written by Leslye Headland (Russian Doll and Bachelorette), the stage is set for another Christmas at the Dahl home, where the four children were raised to love Jesus and each other. Now adults with beliefs of their own, they perform joyous carols and bizarre family rituals, fueled by alcohol and forced cheer – until it all descends into chaos.
THE FAR COUNTRY
In the wake of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Moon Gyet has arrived at San Francisco Bay’s Angel Island Immigration Station with an invented biography and a new name, both given to him by a man who made the same arduous crossing several years earlier. But passage to San Francisco—and the dream of a better life for future generations—commands a very high price. Spanning two countries and three generations, Lloyd Suh’s breathtaking, epic drama on immigration, identity, and memory has been called “Artful…an act, loving and sorrowful, of reclamation” by The New York Times (Critic’s Pick). The Far Country will be directed by Eric Ting. Performances of The Far Country will take place at Berkeley Rep’s Peet’s Theatre.
Helmed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (American Idiot, Swept Away, Spring Awakening), written by two-time Emmy winner Danny Strong (Dopesick, Empire, The Butler), and choreographed by David Neumann (Swept Away, Hadestown). When maverick scientist Galileo Galilei makes celestial observations that challenge humanity’s understanding of its place in the universe, he’s summoned to Rome to defend his discoveries before the most powerful religious institution in the world, which is facing a rebellion of its own. With an original rock score and lyrics by Michael Weiner (Broadway’s First Date) and Zoe Sarnak (Jonathan Larson Award winner).
Closing out the 2023/24 season, Berkeley Rep will present Mother Road, Octavio Solis’ 21st-century tale inspired by John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. William Joad has no heir to bequeath the family farm to — until he learns about Martín Jodes, a young Mexican-American migrant worker descended from Steinbeck’s protagonist Tom Joad. In a reversal of the Joads’ mythic journey, William and Martín embark on a road trip from California’s migrant farm camps back to Oklahoma, where they reckon with their brutal past and forge an unlikely bond. Along their journey on the Mother Road, they gather a chorus of travelers.
Per the season announcement, full season (7-play) subscriptions start at $217 with a variety of single ticket, ticket exchanges, special limited events, School of Theatre classes, and more available at the Berkeley Rep web site.