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Johanna Pfaelzer Is Berkeley Rep's New Artistic Director - September 10, 2018 - SF Weekly
SF Weekly

Johanna Pfaelzer Is Berkeley Rep’s New Artistic Director

(l to r) Caldwell Tidicue (Belize) and Stephen Spinella (Roy Cohn) in Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s production of Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika. (Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre)

Some 20 months after Tony Taccone announced his departure from the Berkeley Repertory Theatre and shortly after his critically lauded revival of Angels in America, the organization’s board of trustees announced that Johanna Pfaelzer had been chosen to replace him as artistic director.

Pfaelzer, currently the artistic director of New York Stage and Film (NYSAF), will remain in her current position through its 2018-19 season and take the helm at Berkeley Rep on Sept. 1, 2019, when Taccone formally steps down after more than three decades with the company — which chose from among more than 150 applicants.

This comes months after Pam MacKinnon replaced longtime artistic director Carey Perloff at the American Conservatory Theater, meaning the two most prestigious theater companies have undergone major leadership transitions almost simultaneously. And in fact, Pfaelzer, a Berkeley native, had worked for five years as A.C.T.’s associate artistic director.

Notably, she is not a director. A statement released today that compares her Pfaelzer to theater legend (and fellow non-director) Joseph Papp also noted that during her tenure, NYSAF had a hand in developing works like Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, which went on to global acclaim. Pfaelzer also led the organization as it nurtured Stephan Karam’s The Humans, Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, and Green Day’s musical American Idiot.

In the meantime, Taccone will lead Berkeley Rep for one final season, which includes Moisés Kaufman’s production of Paradise Square: An American Musical, Mary Zimmerman’s reconception of Ovid’s Metamporphoses, and Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson’s The Good Book.