Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Following the recent run of “Watch on the Rhine,” director Lisa Peterson is returning to the Berkeley Repertory Theatre to direct her first production of the year, “Office Hour,” playing Feb. 22 through March 25. The play, written by Julia Cho, “explores otherness and paranoia while revealing our essential human need for connection” as it depicts a meeting between a quiet student, Dennis, and his writing instructor, Gina.
‘Angels in America’
After “Office Hour” graces the stage of Berkeley Rep, the highly anticipated two-part production of “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes,” the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tony Kushner, will run April 17 through July 22. Directed by Tony Taccone, the play is described as an “epic exploration of American politics, gay identity, and mythology, and a personal story of love and loyalty.” The two parts of the play, “Part One: Millennium Approaches” and “Part Two: Perestroika,” are playing separately during the three-month run, as well as being presented together on Marathon Days, which will occur almost every Saturday.
Rounding out Berkeley Rep’s season is Nilaja Sun’s “Pike St.” Directed by Ron Russell, the play chronicles the story of three generations of a Puerto Rican family who struggle for survival in the midst of a hurricane. This story of “tribulation, perseverance and redemption” will premiere May 3 and run through June 17. Information about the season and tickets can be found here.
Aurora Theatre’s season will pick up Jan. 26 with the premiere of “Widower’s Houses” written by George Bernard Shaw and directed by Joy Carlin. It depicts a young doctor falling in love with a woman whose father’s fortune comes from exploiting the poor. It is described as a satire containing “colorful villains and foils to offset the romantic duo” and remains timely by taking on “gentrification, rent prices and social responsibility.”
After “Widower’s Houses” is the world premiere of “Eureka Day,” written by local playwright Jonathan Spector and directed by Josh Costello. It explores the debate of vaccinations and differing views on safety in the setting of a “forward-thinking” school community. Further, it discusses the “central question of our era: How do you find consensus when you can’t agree on the facts?” “Eureka Day” will open April 13. More information on these productions can be found here.
“Ragtime,” written by Terrence McNally, with music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, will kick off the season for Berkeley Playhouse. The musical, based off of the book of the same name by E.L. Doctorow, follows the interconnected stories of three different communities within New York in the early 1900s. Its score “draws upon the unique sounds of the American landscape” to contribute to the story of love, passion and injustice that can “spark the wheels of change.”
‘James and the Giant Peach’
Next in the season’s lineup is “James and the Giant Peach” written by Timothy Allen McDonald, with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Based off of Roald Dahl’s well-known book, the story depicts the character of James discovering a potion that creates a giant peach, which he finds himself literally inside of. A family-friendly show, “James and the Giant Peach” presents an epic musical journey described as “lyrical, hummable and fantastical.” Tickets and information can be found here.