Berkeley Repertory Theater, where I work, has long been an incubator for new plays. We commission new work, which is hugely exciting, and (I think) great for the arts. Our audiences are smart, and fearless. They're not interested in seeing "regular" theater, and we're not particularly interested in producing it.
More and more often, we're doing new work that travels from the San Francisco Bay Area, to Broadway. So it was particularly exciting to hear that two projects that I worked on were nominated for Tony Awards.
In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (by Sarah Ruhl, directed by Berkeley Rep's Associate Artistic Director, Les Waters) was nominated for Best New Play. It also earned nominations for Maria Dizzia (Best Performance by and Actress in a Featured Role) and David Zinn (Best Costumes). Maria Dizzia played the title role in the glorious Eurydice, which was commissioned by Berkeley Rep, and also a collaboration between Sarah Ruhl and Les Waters. I traveled to New York to re-stage that show, when it played off-Broadway.
In the Next Room was also a runner-up for this year's Pulitzer Prize. Despite what you might think, based on the title, this is a thoughtful show, about men and women in the 19th Century.
And there's a hell of a lot of custom-printed wallpaper in the show. Lots and lots and lots of busy, busy wallpaper. All hand-printed by my studio.
Green Day's American Idiot was nominated for Best New Musical. Christine Jones was nominated for the Best Scenic Design Award, and Kevin Adams was tapped for his lighting design. This was particularly exciting for everyone who worked on the show at Berkeley Rep. When the theater first started work on this show, we all knew that it was headed to Broadway, but the artistic team for that show was uncertain if our physical production would be "good" enough to play in New York.
The show, as designed, was gigantic and complicated, and Berkeley Rep more than rose to the challenge. If you go see American Idiot on Broadway, you'll be seeing the work of our shops. Of course, there were necessary adaptations made to fit a different space (as far as I know, the show was designed without a particular Broadway stage in mind), so some of my East Coast friends worked on this project, as well.
This was a gigantic project, and working on Christine's design was an utter delight. All designers should be as wonderful as Christine.
It is an honor and a joy to work on these kinds of projects. And it's nice to see them get the recognition they deserve.