Get ready for Troublemaker, or The Freakin Kick-A Adventures of Bradley Boatright. Only Berkeley Repertory Theatre could unleash this wild world premiere, which it commissioned from hot young playwright Dan LeFranc. Director Lila Neugebauer returns to the Bay Area to stage this new script on the intimate Thrust Stage. Troublemaker starts previews tonight, January 4, opens January 9, and runs through February 3, 2013. Berkeley Rep is proud to announce that this super project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
"Continuing Berkeley Rep's commitment to commissioning new plays and nurturing new talent, I am delighted to introduce Bay Area audiences to Dan LeFranc, a playwright who is having a breakout year," says Artistic Director Tony Taccone. "We're particularly proud of this premiere, as it's the first project to appear in our season after graduating from The Ground Floor, Berkeley Rep's new development lab. Troublemaker is the story of a 12-year-old boy who sees himself as an action hero protecting his single mom. Dan has found a language that is positively propulsive to express what's going on inside the head of his hero and the crazy modern world we live in."
"I can't wait to see Bradley Boatright and his cohorts tear up the stage," LeFranc remarks. "I couldn't be more grateful to Berkeley Rep for supporting me and fostering this new play through its commissioning program and the amazing summer lab, where Lila and I whipped the script into shape with a team of ridiculously talented actors. I'm hopeful that audiences will have a blast watching Bradley adventure his way through his adolescence and grow up before their eyes."
Here comes Troublemaker! It's nineteen mighty-four. In working-class Rhode Island, Bradley Boatright and his bestest friend tangle with rich kid Jake Miller and some middle-school goons... and their nemesis has help from a bunch of zombies and grown-ups! Faster than a speedboat, more fun than a video game, Troublemaker has a sassy mouth and an irresistible heart of gold. When Dan LeFranc was awarded the New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, that prominent freakin newspaper reported, "In this most vibrant of theatrical communities, we thought it would be fitting to focus on the most powerful of new voices." Now he's stirring up trouble on the Thrust Stage with the help of Lila Neugebauer, a former intern at Berkeley Rep who's built a kick-A career as a freelance director. Put down that backpack, turn up the soundtrack, and let's cut class. It's time for Trouble...
The executive producers of Troublemaker are Thalia Dorwick and Kerry Francis and John Jimerson. The season producers are Wayne Jordan and Quinn Delaney, Marjorie Randolph, Jack and Betty Schafer, and the Strauch Kulhanjian Family. For the eighth straight year, BART and Wells Fargo serve as official sponsors of Berkeley Rep's season.
Tickets to Troublemaker start at $29. Additional savings are available for groups, seniors, students, and anyone under 30 years of age - meaning discounted seats can be obtained for as little as $14.50. The Thrust Stage is located at 2025 Addison Street, near bus lines, bike routes, and parking lots - and only half a block from BART. For tickets or information, call (510) 647-2949 or simply click berkeleyrep.org.
Pictured: Gabriel King plays the title role in the world premiere of Troublemaker (top). Playwright Dan LeFranc (side). Photos courtesy of kevinberne.com.