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Berkeley Rep. announces slate

Includes musical with Matthew Sweet tunes

New plays by Lisa Kron and Naomi Iizuka and a new tuner using the music of Matthew Sweet are among the offerings on the 2009-10 slate at Berkeley Rep.

The latest from Iizuka (“36 Views”), “Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West,” centers on issues of authenticity raised by the arrival of cameras in Japan, brought by Americans in the late 1800s. Berkeley Rep associate a.d. Les Waters, who will direct the org’s staging of Sarah Ruhl’s “In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play” on Broadway next season, helms the show in a run that begins in February.

Waters, associate a.d. of Berkeley Rep, also will helm “Girlfriend,” the musical written around songs from Sweet’s 1991 album of the same name. Book by Todd Almond fits the tunes into a plotline about two young men who fall in love. Show begins its run in April 2010.

Penned by Kron and directed by Leigh Silverman (who helmed Kron’s “Well” on Broadway in 2006), “Five Questions” follows a woman whose beliefs are challenged after a Thanksgiving with family and friends. World preem is set to bow in May 2010.

Rounding out the season sked are the west coast preem of a collection of short Tony Kushner plays under the title “Tiny Kushner,” helmed by Berkeley Rep a.d. Tony Taccone (“Bridge & Tunnel”) in October; and a holiday run of “Aurelia’s Oratoria,” performed by Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter, Aurelia Thierree, and written and directed by Thierree’s mother, Victoria Thierree Chaplin.

One more offering, the season opener, remains to be announced.

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