Suzan-Lori Parks’ White Noise, Sarah Ruhl World Premiere, More Set for Berkeley Rep’s 2019–2020 Season

Regional News   Suzan-Lori Parks’ White Noise, Sarah Ruhl World Premiere, More Set for Berkeley Rep’s 2019–2020 Season
 
Johanna Pfaelzer kicks off her inaugural season as artistic director in September.
Steinberg_Playwrights_Awards_2018_HR
Suzan-Lori Parks Marc J. Franklin

Berkeley Repertory Theatre has unveiled the seven titles comprising its 2019–2020 season, marking the first lineup from incoming Artistic Director Johanna Pfaelzer.

The season begins in September with the American premiere of Francis Turnly’s The Great Wave. Mark Wing-Davey directs the thriller, spanning over two decades in both Japan and North Korea. Also in September is the West Coast premiere of Suzan-Lori Parks’ White Noise, which debuted earlier this year at the Public Theater Off-Broadway.

Dianne Wiest in <i>Happy Days</i>
Dianne Wiest in Happy Days Joan Marcus

Berkeley Rep continues its professional relationship with Sarah Ruhl with the world premiere of her Becky Nurse of Salem, starting in December. The contemporary comedy follows Becky, the great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Rebecca Nurse, executed for witchcraft in 1692. Now, Becky navigates the trials and tribulations of women today—with the help of a local witch.

The play is one of two world premieres in the season, joining the previously announced Swept Away. The Avett Brothers and John Logan musical, directed by Michael Mayer, will start in June 2020.

Rounding out the season is (Still) in America from the satirical Latinx theatre collective Culture Clash (February 2020), a new staging Jocelyn Bioh’s School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play from director Awoye Timpo (March 2020), and James Bundy’s production of Beckett’s Happy Days starring Oscar winner Dianne Wiest.

“In putting together this season, it is important to me that the works have the sweeping theatricality and wide range of voices that Berkeley Rep is known for,” Pfaelzer said in a statement. “I want to include artists who think of our theatre as their creative home, as well as to introduce new storytellers to our audience. I can’t wait to begin the conversations with our audience that these artists and their work will launch.”

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