Berkeley Rep has just announced Johanna Pfaelzer will be its next Artistic Director, who will begin with the 2019-20 season, with productions she’ll program. For the past eleven years she’s run New York Stage and Film, a program that has helped develop many plays (including the musical Hamilton) that have gone on to great success.
There’s more about the new AD at the Berkeley Rep website.
This is Tony Taccone’s final season leading Berkeley Rep, after more than three decades in that role. “I’ve got huge shoes to fill,” Pfaelzer says. “I mean, I think Tony has proven to be one of the great leaders of the American theater, and such a part of that generation that established these extraordinary places and communities for artists and audiences.” She didn’t have to think twice about having the chance to program her first season here. “Every single piece of this has felt like an extraordinary opportunity and completely daunting at the same time. But I think that notion of creating a first season is both of those things. I think it’s one of the great privileges of leading an organization is that you get to choose the work that these artists are going to… and audiences are going to collaborate on throughout a year.” In the early 2000s, she was Associate Artistic Director at A.C.T., so she’s familiar with the audiences who await her. “What I found during my time during A.C.T. is that these Bay Area audiences are among the most open to big ideas, the most ready to be challenged, the most ready to be met with real intellectual rigor, with real expectations of the different kinds of storytelling that are available to them. So I think they’re really ready to get in the ring with all of their work.” Although it’s too early to give any details about the season she’ll plan, she says her philosophy is one of inclusiveness: “I think it’s important to me to make sure there are people at different stages of their careers that are represented in the building, people who are coming at this with very different styles of storytelling, who are coming at it from different cultural perspectives, and I think it’s somewhere in that confluence that you get to present the richest possible meal to an audience.”