The Berkeley Repertory Theatre announced the lineup for its 2017-2018 season Tuesday and among its seven productions will be both parts of the epic Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, the first time its played in Bay Area in over 20 years.
This upcoming season will be the second to last for the theater’s longtime artistic director Tony Taccone, who originally commissioned Angels in America in 1988 from then-budding playwright Tony Kushner. The play became a massive success, winning the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for Best Play among other awards, and would start a collaboration between Taccone and Kushner that still exists today.
This season will be Taccone’s 20th with Berkeley Rep, and the production of Angels in America will be its first at the theater.
Taccone will also be directing his second collaboration with Daniel Handler, best known as the Lemony Snicket, author of the children’s book series A Series of Unfortunate Events. The play, Imaginary Comforts, or The Story of the Ghost of the Dead Rabbit, premieres in October of this year and is described as following “ordinary people trying to make sense out of life in the midst of endless, comedic chaos.”
The season opens with the world premiere of Ain’t Too Proud — The Temptations, which tells the story of the world famous Motown quintet, who Billboard Magazine declared was “the greatest R&B group of all time.” The group began on the streets of Detroit and with the help of hitmaker Berry Gordy, became one of America’s most successful groups. The play portrays the group as they hit the musical stratosphere, only to come crashing back to earth due to drug problems and other issues.
“Both in terms of content and form, every play in the 2017-18 season is a radical attempt to reveal something about how we live,” Taccone said.
Ain’t Too Proud was written by Kennedy Award-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau, and will be choreographed by Olivier Award winner Sergio Trujillo and directed by Des McAnuff, who won Tony Awards for his work on Big River and The Who’s Tommy.
To see the full 2017-2018 season, visit the Berkeley Rep website.