A slate of programming from some of the theatre world’s most sought-after artists will be presented by Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 2021, including Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee and Sanctuary City by Pulitzer Prize winner Martyna Majok. Both plays were in the middle of their runs Off-Broadway when the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered theatres around the globe. The Berkeley Rep season will kick off in January or February of 2021, depending on health guidelines at the time.
First up is Majok’s look at two DREAMers and their fight to establish themselves in America. Following Sanctuary City is Charles L. Mee’s Wintertime, directed by Les Waters. The family drama follows a young man who hopes to propose to his girlfriend at his family’s summer home, but life has other plans when his mother arrives with her boyfriend and her father with his lover.
Theatregoers will jam out to Dengue Fever and get an inside look at the history of Khmer Rouge when Cambodian Rock Band plays in the spring. The work is Yee’s Berkeley Rep debut, although the play was developed at its Ground Floor Summer Residency Lab. Despite its cut-short run, an original Off-Broadway cast album was released May 8.
Up next is the previously announced world premiere of Swept Away, directed by Michael Mayer. The musical was originally scheduled to debut in June 2020, but will now begin performances in late spring 2021.
The world premiere of the ripple, the wave that carried me home will follow in the early fall. Written by Christina Anderson, the play follows a story of justice, legacy, memory, and forgiveness.
Rounding out the slate of works is the world premiere of Goddess, with a book by Jocelyn Bioh (School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play), a score by composer Michael Thurber, and conceived by director Saheem Ali. Inspired by the myth of Marimba, the musical follows a young man as he returns home to the coastal city of Mombasa, Kenya, to marry his fiancée and step into his family’s political dynasty.