BERKELEY, CALIF.: Berkeley Repertory Theatre has announced its 2021 season, featuring three world premieres. Exact dates for the production have not been released.
“I feel incredibly grateful at this moment to be able to look toward the future,” said artistic director Johanna Pfaelzer in a statement, “and to plan for a time when Berkeley Rep will once again be a place where we will gather. The plays and musicals in this upcoming season include stories of lovers, of activists, of dreamers, of sacrifice, and of hope. I long to be back in the theatre, as soon as it is safe for our audience, artists, and staff to re-inhabit this vital place of joy, inspiration, empathy, and community.”
The season will open with Pulitzer Prize-winner Martyna Majok’s Sanctuary City, about two DREAMers fighting for a place for themselves in America. Performances will begin in late winter 2021.
Next up will be Wintertime, by Charles L. Mee, which takes place at a family summer home in the winter woods and watches as one man’s plans to propose get thrown off when other members of his family arrives. Les Waters will direct, and performances will begin in late winter 2021.
After that will be Octet, by Dave Malloy, an a cappella, chamber choir musical about eight internet addicts who gather to share their stories. Annie Tippe will direct and performances will begin in spring 2021.
Following will be Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band, with songs by Dengue Fever. Chay Yew will direct this play about a young woman’s attempts to piece together her family history and bring a Khmer Rouge war criminal to justice. Performances will begin in spring 2021.
The season will continue with the world premiere of Swept Away, with book by John Logan, music and lyrics by the Avett Brothers, and music arrangements and orchestrations by Chris Miller and Brian Usifer. Michael Mayer will direct and David Neumann will choreograph this musical about four survivors of a shipwreck as they struggle to stay alive. Originally scheduled to premiere in June 2020, performances will begin late spring 2021.
The world premiere of Christina Anderson’s the ripple, the wave that carried me home will follow. This play about Janice, who must reckon with a past she has tried to forget when she’s asked to speak at a ceremony honoring her father, will begin performances in early fall 2021.
The season will conclude with the world premiere of Goddess, conceived by Saheem Ali, with music and lyrics by Michael Thurber, book by Jocelyn Bioh, and additional material by Mkhululi Z. Mabija. Ali will direct this musical, inspired by the myth of Marimba, which follows a young man who steps into an afro-jazz club and finds himself drawn to a mysterious singer. Performances will begin in fall 2021.
“The launch of our 2021 season is a promise to our patrons that we will be back and we will reopen when it is deemed safe to reopen,” said managing director Susie Medak in a statement. “It also signals our investment in the future—a return to normalcy, and the future of Berkeley Rep. At the same time, the safety and well-being of our audiences, our artists, and staff is top of mind. If it is not safe, we’ll move our dates.”
Established in 1968, Berkeley Repertory Theatre has the mission to present innovative new plays.