2017 theater in review: Reflections on a powerful year

Dec 28

2017 theater in review: Reflections on a powerful year

If you're a theater fan, 2017 was a very good year. If you're an American, depending on your point of view, 2017 was a terrifying year. Quite often, it seemed, the theatrical stage and the national stage were in direct conversation.

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Watch on the Rhine at Berkeley Rep

Dec 08

<i>Watch on the Rhine</i> at Berkeley Rep

The thing I can't stand about 24-hour cable news networks is that it's 5% news and 95% talking heads spouting opinions and fighting over those opinions.

The thing I loved about Lillian Hellman's Watch on the Rhine (a co-production from Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the Guthrie Theatre) is that the author stakes a claim for action. After a certain point, opinions matter a whole lot less than what you choose to do about whatever opinion you hold.

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Imaginary discomfort rules at Berkeley Rep

Oct 13

<i>Imaginary</i> discomfort rules at Berkeley Rep

The first time I head the title for the new play by Daniel Handler, the San Francisco writer behind the popular Lemony Snicket books, I was confused. Imaginary Comforts, or The Story of the Ghost of the Dead Rabbit is the title, and it wasn't the Snickety-y subtitle that perplexed me. It was the notion that comfort could be imaginary. Isn't comfort comforting no matter where it comes from? You can receive comfort from an external source (a parent, a pet, a narcotic) or you can just imagine comfort (memory, dream, hallucination), but as long as you are comforted, job done...at least for a little while, right?

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Succumb to temptation and see Ain’t Too Proud at Berkeley Rep

Sep 15

Succumb to temptation and see <i>Ain’t Too Proud</i> at Berkeley Rep

When Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations is in its groove, this world-premiere musical at Berkeley Repertory Theatre is absolutely electrifying. Featuring all or part of 30 songs from the '60s and '70s Motown era, the music alone is alone is enough to make this a must-see theatrical event, but it's clear that this musical biography is going places (namely Broadway).

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Facing a fearsome farce in Berkeley Rep’sOctoroon

Jul 01

Facing a fearsome farce in Berkeley Rep’s<i>Octoroon</i>

EXTENDED THROUGH JULY 29 Lance Gardner is George, a new plantation owner, in the West Coast premiere of An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Below: Afi Bijou (left) is Minnie and Jasmine Bracey is Dido, slaves on the Terrebonne Plantation. Photos courtesy of Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre What a miserable species we...

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Musical Monsoon Wedding debuts at Berkeley Rep

May 20

Musical <i>Monsoon Wedding</i> debuts at Berkeley Rep

Beauty, heart and fun flood the stage of Berkeley Repertory Theatre's world premiere of Monsoon Wedding, the musical adaptation of the 2001 film of the same name. There's clearly a lot of love invested in the making of this show, from the original film's director, Mira Nair, who returns to helm this ambitious stage version, to the ebullient cast.

But is it a good musical? Well, it's a new musical, and it still needs a lot of work.

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