BERKELEY, CALIF.: Berkeley Repertory Theatre has announced the seven productions in its 2017-18 season, which will feature a world premiere musical about the Temptations, directed by Des McAnuff, and Angels in America, directed by artistic director Tony Taccone, who co-directed the world premiere 26 years ago.
“Both in terms of content and form, every play in the 2017-18 season is a radical attempt to reveal something about how we live,” said Taccone in a statement. “From Dominique Morisseau to Lemony Snicket, from Julia Cho to Tony Kushner to Lillian Hellman to Nilaja Sun…these writers have something to tell us, with a sense of political urgency, as they re-imagine the world in a way that’s entertaining, insightful, and ultimately irresistible.”
The season will open with the world premiere of musical Ain’t Too Proud—The Temptations, with book by Dominique Morisseau, and the music of the Temptations (August 2017). Des McAnuff will direct this musical, which will follow the history of the group. Sergio Trujillo will choreograph, Harold Wheeler will provide orchestrations, and Kenny Seymour will music direct.
After that will be the world premiere of Imaginary Comforts, or the Story of the Ghost of the Dead Rabbit by Daniel Handler (October 2017). Handler, also known as Lemony Snicket, is the author of A Series of Unfortunate Events. His new play will follow ordinary people as they try to make sense out of life. Taccone will direct.
Then the theatre will present Watch on the Rhine by Lillian Hellman (November 2017). The play is set in the U.S. in 1940, as a mother named Fanny is waiting for a daughter, who is now married to a German, to come home. Lisa Peterson will direct the show, which is a coproduction with the Guthrie Theater.
Peterson will also direct Office Hour by Julia Cho (February 2018). The play is about a university instructor, who tries to counsel a troubled student, who may or may not be a campus shooter.
Then, Berkeley Rep will present both parts of Angels in America by Tony Kushner (March 2018). The play is an exploration of the AIDS crises, gay identity, and politics during the ’80s.* Taccone, who co-directed its world premiere in Los Angeles 26 years ago, will direct. The two parts of the play will be performed in repertory.
The season will close with Nilaja Sun’s newest solo show Pike St. (May 2018). In it, Sun will portray three generations of a Puerto Rican family and the vibrant characters of New York’s Lower East Side. Ron Russell will direct.
Berkeley Rep was founded in 1968 and programs a mix of world premieres, newer plays, and classics.
*A previous version of this story story claimed that Angels in America was last performed in the Bay Area in 1994. It was actually performed in 2015 and 2016 at Town Hall Theatre Company in Lafayette, Calif.