Berkeley Rep Season to Feature Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup, World Premiere by Bill Cain and More

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09 Mar 2011

Rita Moreno
Rita Moreno
Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The Tony Award-winning Berkeley Repertory Theatre has announced its 2011-12 Main Season, which will include three world premieres, a classic Molière comedy, Academy Award winner Rita Moreno and a recent Tony Award winner for Best Play.

The new season will kick off Sept. 2 with the world premiere of Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup, a show created specifically for the Tony-winning actress by artistic director Tony Taccone with direction by David Galligan.

Another world premiere, Bill Cain's How to Write a New Book for the Bible, will follow, beginning performances Oct. 7. Kent Nicholson will direct this new play about "a man [who] moves in with his mother when she becomes too frail to care for herself. Their reunion heals old wounds, opening a heartfelt and humorous new chapter in their relationship," according to production notes.

Ghost Light, a haunting fable about San Francisco written by Tony Taccone and staged by Jonathan Moscone, is scheduled to begin performances at the California venue Jan. 6, 2012. In this new work, press notes state, Taccone "imagines a fable for San Francisco based on the assassination of Mayor George Moscone. When Jon was a boy, his father was shot – and suddenly their lives were part of history. Years later, when staging a production of Hamlet, the son must confront his buried feelings about a crime that shocked the nation. The ghost of the king stalks the battlements of a boy’s mind – and speaks to all of us about love and loss."

Molière's A Doctor in Spite of Himself, adapted by Christopher Bayes and Steven Epp and directed by Bayes, will begin performances Feb. 10, 2012. "Steven Epp delighted audiences as Figaro and The Miser – now he’s back with A Doctor in Spite of Himself," according to Berkeley Rep. "The traditional story of a girl feigning illness to avoid an unwanted wedding erupts into hilarity when Epp decides to play doctor. In a pitch-perfect production punctuated with live music, this ridiculous physician proves that love and laughter remain life’s best medicine."

John Logan’s Tony Award-winning Red, directed by Les Waters, will begin performances March 16. The play finds "Mark Rothko [struggling] in his studio to finish a major series of murals. The brilliant master
wrestles with his new apprentice in a battle of wits over a bucket of paint."

Two additional shows will be announced at a later time.

"Berkeley Rep has a long history of presenting work that is fresh and alive and engaged in meaningful dialogue with the contemporary world,” artistic director Taccone said in a statement. "That takes a certain amount of vigilance on our part, and it relies on our relationships with many extraordinary artists. We’re excited to move that agenda forward. We continue to stretch ourselves with this new season, and I look forward to sharing this eclectic selection of shows with our audience."

The 2011-12 season schedule at a glance follows:

Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup
Main Season Play #1 – Roda Theatre
World premiere
Written by Tony Taccone
Directed by David Galligan
September 2 – October 30, 2011
Opening night: September 7, 2011

How to Write a New Book for the Bible
Main Season Play #2 – Thrust Stage
World premiere
Written by Bill Cain
Directed by Kent Nicholson
October 7 – November 20, 2011
Opening night: October 12, 2011

To Be Announced
Limited Season Play #1 – Roda Theatre
December 3, 2011 – January 1, 2012
Opening night: December 7, 2011

Ghost Light
Main Season Play #3 – Thrust Stage
World-premiere production
Conceived and developed by Jonathan Moscone and Tony Taccone
Written by Tony Taccone
Directed by Jonathan Moscone
January 6 – February 19, 2012
Opening night: January 11, 2012 

A Doctor in Spite of Himself
Main Season Play #4 – Roda Theatre
Written by Molière
Adapted by Christopher Bayes and Steven Epp
Directed by Christopher Bayes
February 10 – March 25, 2012
Opening night: February 15, 2012

Main Season Play #5 – Thrust Stage
Written by John Logan
Directed by Les Waters
March 16 – April 29, 2012
Opening night: March 22, 2012

To Be Announced
Limited Season Play #2 – Thrust Stage
May 26 – June 24, 2012
Opening night: May 30, 2012

The Roda Theatre and the Thrust Stage are both located on Addison Street in downtown Berkeley. For more information, call (510) 647-2949 or (888) 4-BRT-Tix (toll-free)  or visit