Welcome to the 11th season at Berkeley Playhouse!
If our first decade was about growing up and finding our place, the start of our second decade puts us on the road to deepening the relationship to our art and our community.
This season features characters who, regardless of age or size, find themselves at the crossroads of personal discovery, and must overcome the toughest hurdles we can face—the ones we impose on ourselves. It’s a season where diva superstars realize fame isn’t the ultimate goal, and a young girl who looked to rainbows for answers learns she doesn’t need to look any further than her own backyard; where a boy learns that size actually doesn’t matter, but that finding joy in who you are does; that true love can shatter prejudice and break down walls of all kinds; and that the journey of discovery can lead you right back to where you started.
The Berkeley Playhouse community is growing in every way: our youngest audience members who saw our first performances are now graduating; artists who premiered on our stages are now on Broadway; and you—our valued patrons—have given us the strength to mature beyond our wildest dreams. Our sold-out production of Ragtime, with a cast of over 35 actors, and a rotating set that proved to be one of the most complex in our history, showed us that the sky is the limit, and that now is the time for our artists to dream big.
We’re so excited to embark on this second decade with you by our side. Through music, dance, story and song, our community thrives. The magic of live theater allows audiences—from ages 8 to 80—to grow together through a shared experience. We can’t wait to share our future with you.
Elizabeth McKoy Kimberly Dooley
Founding Artistic Director Producing Artistic Director
ORDER EARLY AND SAVE ON THE FULL SEASON!
Order before May 13th to secure your Season Pass at the 17/18 Season rate.
When you become a Season Pass Holder at Berkeley Playhouse, you’re not only guaranteeing you and your family an amazing year of live theater, you’re joining a thriving community of families, students, artists, educators, and other lovers of live theater.
Season Pass Holders receive:
- Up to 45% off full-priced tickets
- Priority seat reservations
- FREE, unlimited ticket exchanges & lost ticket insurance
- Exclusive rates on additional tickets for friends and family
WELCOME TO OUR 18/19 SEASON
“Drives audiences wild!” - Variety
Book and Lyrics by Tom Eyen | Music by Henry Krieger | Original Broadway Production Directed and Choreographed by Michael Bennett
It’s the fabulous '60s, and Effie, Lorrell, and Deena are young, determined, and talented. They’ve got a dream to be the next big girl group on the radio, no matter what the cost. When they are discovered at a local talent show by a ruthless manager with his own agenda for fame, they are propelled into a world where dreams do come true—and where success can tear apart even the strongest of relationships. Detailing the epic rise of a Motown-like super-group from obscurity to stardom, the story of two lifelong friends takes center stage in this legendary and soulful musical journey that explores the rewards of shooting for the stars, and the costs of valuing success over family.
“Enchanting... a magical musical journey!” - DC Metro Theater Arts
By L. Frank Baum | Adapted by Frank Gabrielson | Background Music by Herbert Stothart
With Music and Lyrics of the MGM motion picture score by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg
Brimming with classic songs and Technicolor spirit, The Wizard of Oz blows its way into the Julia Morgan Theater for an all-new production of this American classic. When a storm hits her family farm in Kansas, young Dorothy and her dog Toto are swept over the rainbow to a magical land where scarecrows talk, tin men sing, lions (barely) roar, and where one very wicked witch rules the skies. One of the most treasured stories of the 20th century, filled with the songs that made it an instant classic, this musical journey of finding home—and yourself—is this holiday season’s must-see family event.
“Unforgettable... sumptuous... iconic!” - The Mercury News
Book by Arthur Laurents | Music by Leonard Bernstein | Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim | Based on a conception of Jerome Robbins
One of the most groundbreaking and romantic musicals ever written, West Side Story resets Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to the 1950s and the turbulent and passionate streets of New York’s West Side. Tony is a dreamer, ready to leave his street gang behind and face the future head-on; Maria is idealistic and looking to explore womanhood and the world beyond her family’s dress shop. When the two meet, their worlds stop—and cultural divides and societal expectations give way to star-crossed love. Featuring one of the most exciting scores ever written for the stage, and a story that tackles topics of prejudice, street violence, and the need for compassion between communities, this Berkeley Playhouse premiere will rumble in your heart long after the final note is sung.
“The fantastically playful musical... gorgeously melodic” - Chicago Tribune
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz | Book by Roger O. Hirson
From the composer of Wicked comes this charming, enchanting, and dazzling musical parable about the cyclical paths one can take to find what is right in front of them. Prince Pippin, son of King Charlemagne the Great, is on a quest for the secret to true happiness and fulfillment. Unable to gain insight from his father, Pippin decides that experience and adventure is the path to enlightenment. He heads into war as a soldier, explores relationships without love, tries his hand at artistry—he even becomes the king of the land! And yet happiness eludes Pippin. As narrated by a troupe of magical performers, this exuberant journey of existential fulfillment is one of Broadway’s enduring classics—and a true musical masterpiece from one of our most celebrated composers.
“There’s charm and poignancy amid the hijinks...priceless!” - Washington Post
Book by John Weidman | Music by David Shire | Lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr.
Based on the Twentieth Century Fox film, Big, written by Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg
The classic ’80s comedy is now a heartfelt musical fantasy. Josh Baskin is 12 years old. He wishes that his mom would stop hugging him in public, that he didn’t have to take out the garbage, and that Cynthia Benson, the girl next door, would notice him. When she passes him over for an older boy, Josh makes a wish to be big—and wakes up the next morning in the body of a 30-year-old man! Driven from his home, Josh must navigate the unknown world of adults—jobs, girlfriends, and fancy foods—as he and his best friend seek out a way to undo the spell that caused him to grow. Filled with Zoltar machines, floor pianos, and a dazzling, pop-filled score, Big, The Musical reminds us that there’s always room to be a child at heart, and that maturity comes in all sizes.
Our 18/19 Family Guide
Considering a youth pass for your child?
Click here to read our Family Guide with parent notes and discussion points about this season’s musicals.