"In a normal year, you have received your subscription renewal form in March," says Johanna Pfaelzer, the newly installed artistic director at Berkeley Rep whose inaugural season on the job was cut short two months ago. "I think it's safe to say this is not a normal year."

In a video address to theater subscribers, Pfaelzer announces that the theater has put together its 2021 show season, optimistically hoping that theaters like Berkeley Rep will be allowed to reopen by late winter — say, February or March. The season will thus be a truncated one with seven shows, and premieres will be ongoing into the fall, unlike a normal season that would typically run from September until June.

"It’s our promise to be there for each other," Pfaelzer says. And Managing Director Susie Medak echoes that in a release saying, "It also signals our investment in the future — a return to normalcy, and the future of Berkeley Rep." She adds, "At the same time, the safety and well-being of our audiences, our artists, and staff is top of mind. If it is not safe, we’ll move our dates."

Subscription packages are available starting today at the Berkeley Rep website, and 7-play packages start as low as $196.

Berkeley Rep, along with theaters across the country, cancelled the rest of its season in early March, and with the cancellation went the scheduled world premiere of Swept Away, a new musical written by The Avett Brothers and John Logan. That premiere has shifted a year, and will be part of the 2021 season, starring Tony Award-winning actor John Gallagher, Jr. and Tony Award nominee actor Stark Sands, who had already signed on to do the show.

Below is the full schedule, with no firm dates yet assigned.

In Sanctuary City two young DREAMers fight like hell to establish a place for themselves in America, the only country they know as home. Pulitzer Prize winner Martyna Majok brings us an urgent story about the power of perseverance, the promise of safety, and the question of who is entitled to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.
Performances begin late winter 2021
Berkeley Rep welcomes back playwright Charles L. Mee and director Les Waters for Wintertime.Jonathan brings Ariel to his family’s summer house in the winter woods and plans to propose. Then his mother Maria arrives with her lover Francois, and his father Frank shows up with his lover Edmund — and soon nothing goes as planned. This exhilarating rollercoaster of a play whisks us up the peaks of romance, then down to the depths of jealous despair, never letting us forget that love, like life, is always in motion.
Performances begin late winter 2021
Three-time Tony Award nominee Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812) makes his Berkeley Rep debut with his latest off-Broadway hit, Octet. Eight internet addicts gather IRL to share their stories via a transcendent score for an a cappella chamber choir and an original libretto inspired by online comment boards, scientific debates, religious texts, and Sufi poetry. More than a takedown of our smartphone addictions, Octet is a sublime and revelatory experience that asks how we can find ways to be truly present with each other.
Performances begin spring 2021
Cambodian Rock Band thrilled audiences across the country and off Broadway and now comes to Berkeley Rep! In this darkly funny, electric new play with music, a young woman attempts to piece together her family history and bring a Khmer Rouge war criminal to justice 30 years after her father fled Cambodia. With a live band playing contemporary Dengue Fever hits and classic Cambodian oldies, this thrilling story toggles back and forth in time as father and daughter face the music of the past. San Francisco-born, Steinberg Award-winning playwright Lauren Yee receives her Berkeley Rep debut with Cambodian Rock Band, which was developed in our Ground Floor Summer Residency Lab.
Performances begin spring 2021
Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) blew the roof off Berkeley Rep in 2009 with Green Day’s American Idiot. Now he returns with a captivating world premiere musical Swept Away, this time featuring a book by Tony Award-winning stage and screen writer John Logan (Red, Broadway’s Moulin Rouge!, Skyfall, Gladiator), and music and lyrics by “America’s biggest roots band” (Rolling Stone) and multiple Grammy Award nominee The Avett Brothers. Originally scheduled for our 2019-20 season, Swept Away was necessarily postponed. Berkeley Rep is thrilled that the creative team along with Tony Award-winning actor John Gallagher, Jr. and Tony Award nominee actor Stark Sands, will all be able to join the world premiere production next spring.
Performances begin late spring 2021
In the world premiere of the ripple, the wave that carried me home, commissioned by Berkeley Rep and developed in our Ground Floor, Christina Anderson exquisitely evokes a story about justice, legacy, memory, and the ultimate challenge of forgiveness. Janice’s parents are prominent activists fighting for the integration of public swimming pools in 1960s Kansas. As injustice penetrates the warm bubble of her childhood, Janice grows apart from her family and starts a new life far away. When she receives a call asking her to speak at a ceremony honoring her father, she must decide whether she’s ready to reckon with her political inheritance and a past she has tried to forget.
Performances begin early fall 2021
Berkeley Rep presents the world premiere musical Goddess, with a book by award-winning playwright Jocelyn Bioh (School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play), a score by composer Michael Thurber, and conceived by director Saheem Ali. A young man returns home to the coastal city of Mombasa, Kenya to marry his fiancée and step into his family’s political dynasty. But when he visits Moto Moto — a steamy afro-jazz club and the stomping ground of his youth — he finds himself drawn to a mysterious new singer. Inspired by the myth of Marimba, who created beautiful songs from her heartbreak, Goddess is infused with contemporary romance, ancient magic, and the irresistible vibes of African, jazz, and R&B music.
Performances begin fall 2021