It’s been a good year for the Berkeley Rep. Two of their shows, “American Idiot” and “In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)” earned Tony nominations.

So it only makes sense that they’d want to start out their new season on a high note. It seems to be in this spirit that they have selected Mandy Patinkin to star in “Compulsion, ” their first show of the new season.

Patinkin is undoubtedly best known for his role in “The Princess Bride” as Inigo Montoya, but read more »

broadwayWhere would you go to see “Scalpel!,” a musical about murderous plastic surgery recipients or “Girlfriend,” the story of two boyfriends? Look no further than the Bay Area, which has recently established itself as the birthplace of offbeat musicals, some of which have been going on to conquer Broadway, for example.

You may remember “American Idiot,” the Green Day musical at the Berkeley Rep which transformed scoffs to shock when it made it to Broadway (it opens next Tuesday). Or “Passing Strange,” the bizarre compilation of a singer-songwriter and a rocker, which also recently made its Broadway debut.

The Bay Area has a reputation for being a supportive environment for nonconformity, and apparently the same applies to the theater world. Writers and directors come out here to test out their bizarre brain children away from the prying eyes of industry executives and New York critics.

The world of musicals has long favored “mass appeal over experimentation,” but the recent wave of quirky and successful works coming out of the Bay recently has begun to open a new niche in the musical market and draw in different kinds of viewers.

We don’t mind being musical guinea pigs, so long as we get to see Broadway musicals for cheap before they get big.

Image Source: Dom Dada under Creative Commons
Where Musicals Can Dare to Be Different [NYT Bay Area Blog]

If the Bay Area literary scene produced an “Early 2000s Commemorative Bobblehead,” it would be in the shape of Dave Eggers, complete with eye patch, peg leg, baseball hat, and devilish grin. Love him or hate him, the man already has a sizable legacy of well-crafted writing and community outreach.

Berkeley philanthropes and McSweeney’s diehards alike flooded Berkeley Rep this week to watch Eggers converse with SF Chronicle’s Jon Carroll in a benefit for Park Day School in Oakland. Akin to most Bay Area literary charity functions, the talk comprised both humanizing personal stories and shameless plugs for Mission District non-profits fronting overpriced pirate regalia read more »

“In the Other Room (or the Vibrator Play)” may have just ended its run at the Berkeley Repertory Theater, but it’s still got people plenty excited. That’s because–as we just heard from Arts: It’s What’s for Blog–it’s just been picked up by the Lincoln Center Theater … on Broadway.

That’s right, the little play with big buzz opens on the Great White Way this fall, and the folks at Berkeley Rep (understandably) couldn’t be more thrilled.  The play will mark the Broadway debut of both the play’s director, Les Waters (any relation to Alice?) and playwright Sarah Ruhl. Congratulations, guys. Way to “Rep”-resent! (Hey, quiet. It’s the thought that counts.)

The Drifters- On Broadway [YouTube]
“Vibrator Play” Headed to Broadway [AIWFB]
The Buzz Around Town [Daily Cal]

Spectacular death throes are all the rage these days. Newspaper’s tanking, much like the economy, but while the Daily Cal’s trimmed its print edition by a weekday and slashed staff pay, the future of Berkeley High School’s own Berkeley High Jacket is looking up. The high school paper, a 16 page publication with a biweekly print run, just got a serious wad of money. Timely, too, since the newspaper was stewing in a seriously nasty pickle there, what with student staffers admitting they were in danger of folding the following year if someone didn’t come up with a solution fast.

Which the Berkeley Repertory Theatre did! read more »

While admittedly not a blog centered on the city or university, the Berkeley Rep unveiled its new blog earlier this week. Of particular note is the second entry concerning the play Yellowjackets.

Why? Well, if you’re reading this, it means you’re reading a newspaper blog post about a blog about a play about a newspaper. Isn’t that awesome? That’s like, metashit right there.

At least they’ll have an easier time coming up with content than, say, the last Berkeley blog, as the Rep is planning to use their blog as a way of connecting with its readers and audience and to provide info on what literally happens behind the scenes.

But if you’re into entertainment-related blog stuff, check the Daily Cal’s own arts and entertainment section. It’s what’s for blog!

Image Source: Felipe Micaroni Lalli under Creative Commons
Berkeley Rep [Blog]