Berkeley Rep “Counts The Days” For Live Broadcasts October 1

The Berkeley Repertory Theater has chosen to return to live performances on October 1 – starting with a racing-themed world premiere drama so timely it seems to be begging to take the stage.

This show is the Berkeley Rep commissioned “The Ripple, The Wave That Brought Me Home”, by Christina Anderson. The show, developed as part of the Representative’s Ground Floor Summer Residence Lab, centers on a young black woman facing racial injustice and being the daughter of famous activist parents.

The seven-show season, which runs through June 2022, also includes a comedy / drama by acclaimed playwright Charles L. Mee (“Big Love”) and directed by Les Water; a musical built to tunes by the popular folk-rock group the Avett Brothers; a musical world premiere by Saheem Ali (“School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play”) and Michael Thurber; a new musical from the creator of “Natasha, Pierre & la Grande Comète de 1812”; and a politically charged comedy-thriller featuring songs by Cambodian rock band Dengue Fever. Additionally, Berkeley Rep will host solo performances by legendary author Fran Lebowitz and popular storyteller Mike Birbiglia.

“We are more than excited to finally have a date when we can all return to our theaters,” said Berkeley Rep artistic director Johanna Pfaelzer. “I know artists and audiences have been eagerly awaiting this moment when we can come together again to share these deeply human stories. We are counting the days until October 1st!

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Here is the season in a few words.

“the ripple, the wave that brought me home”: Christina Anderson’s world premiere, directed by Miranda Haymon, opens October 1 at Peet’s Theater. After breaking up with her famous activist parents to establish her own life, a young black woman returns home with a host of issues when asked to speak at an event honoring her father.

“Winter”: By Charles L. Mee, directed by Les Waters, opens November 12 at the Roda Theater. Mee’s new comedy / drama centers around members of an eccentric family who reunite at their summer residence “on a supposedly secret date” and high-energy chaos ensues.

“Swept”: Musical world premiere with a book by John Logan and music and lyrics by the Avett Brothers, directed by Michael Mayer; opens January 9 at Peet’s Theater. Mayer, who directed Green Day’s “Spring Awakening,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and “American Idiot” (which premiered at Berkeley Rep) leads this collaboration of Logan (“Red”, “Moulin Rouge”) and the Avett Brothers on four survivors of the 1888 whaling disaster off the New England coast.

“Goddess”: World premiere conceived and performed by Saheem Ali, music and lyrics by Michael Thurber, book by Jocelyn Bioh; opens March 19 at the Roda Theater. A young descendant of a powerful family in Kenya returns home to marry and assert his place in the family dynasty. But everything changes when he meets a young singer in a nightclub.

“Octet”: West Coast premiere of a musical by Dave Malloy, directed by Annie Tippe; opens April 20 at Peet’s Theater. Malloy (“Natasha, Peter, and the Great Comet of 1812”) crafted this new musical about eight internet junkies who come together to share stories, songs and personal demons.

“Cambodian rock band”: By Lauren Yee, with songs from Dengue Fever, directed by Chay Yew; opens June 3, 2022 at the Roda Theater. Described as a thriller out of a dark comedy, the play with music involves a survivor of the Khmer Rouge atrocities returning to Cambodia as his daughter is about to prosecute a member of the murderous Pol Pot regime. The action is backed up by a live band playing contemporary dengue fever songs and classic Cambodian tunes.

“Sanctuary city”: First on the west coast of Martyna Majok; opens July 8, 2022 at Peet’s Theater. Majok, Pulitzer Prize winner for “Coast of Living,” centers her new work on two undocumented youth (DREAMers) who are struggling to settle in America.

“Mike Birbiglia: The Old Man and the Pool”: Written and performed by Mike Birbiglia, conducted by Seth Barrish; opens January 4 at the Roda Theater. Popular comedian and storyteller Birbiglia returns to Berkeley Rep with “a story of life, death, and his visits to a highly chlorinated YMCA pool.”

Fran Lebowitz: Apparently six shows starting January 21, Roda Theater. The author, commentator and actor appeared to sell out at Berkeley Rep three years ago. Now she’s back on topics ranging from politics to pop culture and media to her pet peeves (which are in abundance).

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