Berkeley Rep Adds Kneehigh's Wild Bride, Baryshnikov In Paris and Orlandersmith's Black n Blue Boys

News   Berkeley Rep Adds Kneehigh's Wild Bride, Baryshnikov In Paris and Orlandersmith's Black n Blue Boys
Kneehigh Theatre Company, playwright Dael Orlandersmith and Mikhail Baryshnikov will spice the 2011-12 season of Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California, the Tony Award-winning company announced May 9.

In addition to the five plays already scheduled for the coming season, Berkeley Rep revealed two premieres and a special presentation starring legendary performer Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Britain's Kneehigh Theatre Company (Brief Encounter) will return to the Bay Area for the American premiere of The Wild Bride, adapted and directed by Emma Rice, Dec. 2, 2011–Jan. 1, 2012, in the Rep's Roda Theatre.

The production is billed as "a grown-up fairy tale that follows a girl's journey through a visual wonderland. What happens when your father accidentally sells you to the devil? What do you do when your prince goes off to war? Hearts break, hearts heal, and happily ever after still may be possible. Expect vivid storytelling, devilish humor, and a heady mix of live and found music."

In Paris, a special presentation in the Roda Theatre, stars dancer-actor Baryshnikov in a work adapted from the short story by Nobel Prize winner Ivan Bunin, directed by Dmitry Krymov, April 25-May 13, 2012.

In Paris is being called "a dazzling romance" in which "Mikhail Baryshnikov takes the stage with Anna Sinyakina and a talented ensemble." The play is set in the 1930s and mixes movement with a romantic story and lavish design. "This rare international collaboration — told in French and Russian with English supertitles — unites renowned artists born in Russia for a vivid visual experience. Visit the city of light and love with Berkeley Rep, Baryshnikov, and the Dmitry Krymov Laboratory." In Paris is a production of the Baryshnikov Arts Center, Dmitry Krymov Laboratory, and Russian Century Foundation in association with Korjaamo Theater, Helsinki.

The season concludes May 25-June 24, 2012, with writer-actress Dael Orlandersmith in Black n Blue Boys, a work co-commissioned and co-produced by Berkeley Rep and Goodman Theatre. "This world premiere introduces us to children and adults forging identities in families fractured by alcohol, drugs, and abuse," according to the Rep. "Each relates a story that transforms these challenges into a celebration of our capacity to survive. Orlandersmith created this show after becoming a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize with Yellowman — and she brings these characters roaring to life."

Obie Award-winning director Chay Yew directs, on the Thrust Stage.

As previously announced, 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, in the Roda.

Another world premiere, Bill Cain's How to Write a New Book for the Bible, will follow, beginning performances Oct. 7 on the Thrust Stage. 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 Jan. 6, 2012, on the Thrust. In this new work, 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, at the Roda. "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, 2012, on the Thrust. 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."

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

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