Amid declining ticket sales and donations, the theater is shifting its business model to rely more on renting out Bruns Amphitheatre, which a survey shows is valued more highly than the plays the company produces.
Emily S. Mendel
Emily S. Mendel reviews Berkeley’s vibrant theater scene for Berkeleyside. As a native New Yorker (although an East Bay resident for most of her life), Emily grew up loving and studying theater, from Off-Off to On Broadway, as her multi-volume Playbill collection attests. Ending her law practice has given Emily the time to indulge in her love of the arts and travel.
Comic farce about Machiavelli’s turn as a playwright debuts at Berkeley’s Central Works
Gary Graves’ new satirical play ‘Mondragola’ is a clever look at the political and societal chicaneries behind the scenes in 1522 Florence.
‘Cambodian Rock Band’ explores the power of music and evil
Local playwright Lauren Yee pulls together these elements in her play that delve into the unimaginable horrors of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge at the Berkeley Rep.
Oakland Theater Project’s ‘Exodus to Eden’ imagines a post-apocalyptic trudge from East Bay to Oklahoma
A ‘Grapes of Wrath’ journey in reverse, the new play is surreal and ambitious, though the production’s 25 songs are a bit excessive.
Aurora Theatre’s ‘Paradise Blue’ is richly imagined
Following the habitués of a jazz joint called Paradise in 1940s Detroit, Dominique Morisseau’s play has finely honed dialogue, realistic characters and a dazzling and dramatic second act.
Berkeley Rep serves up a slice of life in the truck stop kitchen at ‘Clyde’s’
Formerly incarcerated cooks make ordinary sandwiches while dreaming of creating superb, unique ones in Lynn Nottage’s Tony Award-nominated human comedy.
Berkeley Rep actor’s sorrowful eyes tell the story of Polish diplomat who reported on WWII extermination camps
Academy Award nominee David Strathairn never overplays his role in a tour de force one-person performance of ‘Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski.’
Magic stage sets, tombstone humor lend irreverent touch to Berkeley Rep’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ adaptation
British director Emma Rice’s production is ingenious, though the dancing, prancing and antics alter the story’s overall feel.
Dramatic world premiere adaptation of Book of Sand
For a small company, Oakland Theater Project productions are professional and proficient. The play based on Borges’ 1975 short story is no exception.
A brilliant West Coast premiere of ‘Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812’
It was thrilling to see Shotgun Players produce the West Coast premiere of such a complex, multifaceted and challenging production.
Pho-focused play tackles food appropriation
In “Colonialism is Terrible, But Phở is Delicious,” playwright Dustin Chinn offers an oft-comedic take on thorny issues of race, history and dining.
The Great Comet of 1812 from Broadway to Berkeley
An interview with playwright Dave Malloy and Shotgun Players’ co-director Patrick Dooley. The sung-through musical premieres Saturday at the Shotgun Players’ Ashby Stage Theater.