Another Funny Thing Happened: Freed's Roman Empire Comedy, You, Nero, Opens at Berkeley Rep

News   Another Funny Thing Happened: Freed's Roman Empire Comedy, You, Nero, Opens at Berkeley Rep
Berkeley Repertory Theatre's production of Amy Freed's Roman Empire comedy, You, Nero, opens May 20 after previews from May 15 in California, with Mike McShane, Jeff McCarthy and Danny Scheie fiddling around with ancient history.
You, Nero star Danny Scheie
You, Nero star Danny Scheie Photo by Henry DiRocco

McShane is a Rep veteran and popular comic who became a regular on "Whose Line is it Anyway?"; Broadway's Jeff McCarthy played Officer Lockstock in Urinetown; Scheie — who plays Emperor Nero — is a beloved Bay Area actor.

Director Sharon Ott's production includes Susannah Schulman, Richard Doyle, Lori Larsen, Donnell Hill, Kasey Mahaffy, Maggie Mason and Sarah Moser. (Charles Dean, who was cast in the role of Burrus, withdrew from the production for health reasons and was replaced by McShane, who performed at Berkeley Rep in The Stick Wife in 1988 and Waiting for Godot in 1989.)

You, Nero will play the Rep's Thrust Stage to June 28 in Berkeley, CA.


The play is produced in association with South Coast Repertory (SCR), where it debuted in January. According to the Rep, "In this new comedy, not only does Nero fiddle while Rome burns, he fills the Colosseum with an incendiary mix of sex and decadence. The egotistical emperor commands a washed-up scribe to create an extravaganza that flatters his regime. But to stage the script he must survive the real spectacle at the palace, where his mother, his mistress, and an entourage of eunuchs play an elaborate game of deceit and seduction. You, Nero is the third collaboration for this talented team: Freed is a Pulitzer Prize-nominee known for clever comedies such as The Beard of Avon and Restoration Comedy, both of which enjoyed acclaimed productions under Ott's direction. Now she lets loose the tigers on a crumbling empire obsessed with shallow celebrities, violent sports, and sensational entertainment. When Rome unravels like it's reality TV, everyone wants to get in the emperor's new clothes."

The creative team of You, Nero includes Erik Flatmo (scenic design), Paloma H. Young (costume design), Peter Maradudin (lighting design), and Stephen LeGrand and Eric Drew Feldman (original music and sound design). The stage manager for the show is Julie Haber.

Berkeley Rep's Thrust Stage is located at 2025 Addison Street. For tickets or more information, call (510) 647-2949 or toll-free at (888) 4-BRT-Tix or visit

Richard Doyle and Danny Scheie in the <i>You, Nero</i>
Richard Doyle and Danny Scheie in the You, Nero Photo by Henry DiRocco
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