Jeune Lune's Figaro Gets West Coast Premiere at Berkeley Rep April 25

News   Jeune Lune's Figaro Gets West Coast Premiere at Berkeley Rep April 25
The Tony Award-winning Theatre de la Jeune Lune's sensuous, music-kissed production of Figaro will gets its world premiere April 25-June 8 as part of Berkeley Repertory Theatre's season in California.

Jeune Lune staged The Miser at Berkeley Rep in 2006 and now offers this "eccentric take on a timeless text." Inspired by Mozart and Beaumarchais, Figaro is adapted by Steven Epp and Dominique Serrand, who also perform the lead roles alongside actors, singers and a live string quartet.

Opening night at Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre will be April 29.

According to Rep notes, "Figaro marries music from Mozart's magnificent opera with famous characters from the plays of Beaumarchais to create an accessible and exceptional new show. In this West Coast premiere, Figaro and the Count recall their rivalries years later — amidst the bloodshed of the French Revolution. Steven Epp — the Miser himself — tackles the title role, while director Dominique Serrand portrays his fallen master. Lush video sets the scene as a cast of accomplished singers surrender to intrigue and seduction. In Figaro, juicy love triangles bed down with ruthless satire of a class-conscious culture."

At Berkeley Rep, Epp portrayed Harpagon in The Miser and Sganarelle in Don Juan Giovanni, and adapted the script for The Green Bird. He began working with Jeune Lune in 1983 and has performed with the company at numerous theatres, including Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Alley Theatre, A.R.T., La Jolla Playhouse, The New Victory Theater, the Spoleto Festival, Trinity Repertory Company, and Yale Rep. He played the titles roles in Crusoe, Gulliver, Hamlet, The Miser and Tartuffe and major roles in The Little Prince, The Magic Flute, Maria de Buenos Aires, The Seagull and Twelfth Night.

The company includes Christina Baldwin, Bryan Boyce, Bradley Greenwald, Carrie Hennessey, Bryan Janssen, Justin D. Madel, Jennifer Baldwin Peden, Momoko Tanno, Casey Creig, Anna Hersey and Julie Kurtz. The cast is accompanied by live music from the Seventh Avenue String Quartet, the ensemble that performed last year during Berkeley Rep's world premiere of To the Lighthouse. The quartet features Alex Kelly (cello), Justin Mackewich (first violin), Katrina Weeks (viola) and Sarah Jo Zaharako (second violin).

Serrand designed the sets and projections for this production, collaborating with Sonya Berlovitz (costume design), Marcus Dilliard (lighting designer), Zach Humes (sound designer), Barbara Brooks (music director/conductor) and stage manager Glenn D. Klapperich.

Pierre Beaumarchais was a major French writer of the 18th century. He penned The Marriage of Figaro using characters from his previous success, The Barber of Seville, but the play was banned for years because of its vigorous critique of the aristocracy, according to Rep notes.

Serrand is the artistic director and co-founder of Theatre de la Jeune Lune. A native of Paris, he studied at the National Circus School and the École Jacques Lecoq in France. For more than 27 years, Serrand has acted, conceived, directed and designed for most Jeune Lune productions. His directing credits with the company include 1789, The 3 Musketeers, The Bourgeois Gentleman, Children of Paradise: Shooting a Dream, Gulliver, The Kitchen, The Little Prince, Lulu, The Pursuit of Happiness, Queen Elizabeth, Red Noses, Romeo and Juliet, The Seagull and Tartuffe.

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