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Avett Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews

Avett Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews

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jacobsnchz14
#1Avett Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/9/22 at 12:09am

Tonight, the new musical from The Avett Brothers, Swept Away, begins performances at Berkeley Rep. Written by Tony Award-winning stage and screen writer John Logan, Swept Away is helmed by Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer, and features choreography by Tony Award nominee David Neumann.

The cast of Swept Away is led by Tony Award winner John Gallagher, Jr. (Spring Awakening), Tony Award nominee Stark Sands (Kinky Boots), Wayne Duvall (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) and Adrian Blake Enscoe (Apple TV+ Dickinson). The ensemble will feature Taurean Everett, Cameron Johnson, Brandon Kalm, Coleton Schmitto, Ben Toomer, Vishal Vaidya, Ryan Watkinson, and Jacob Keith Watson.

The engagement was recently extended for a second time and will now play through Sunday, March 6, 2022.

Swept Away is set in 1888, off the coast of New Bedford, MA. When a violent storm sinks their whaling ship, the four surviving souls - a young man in search of adventure, his older brother who has sworn to protect him, a captain at the end of a long career at sea, and a worldly first mate who has fallen from grace - each face a reckoning: How far will I go to stay alive? And can I live with the consequences?

The design team features Tony Award winner Rachel Hauck (scenic design), Tony Award winner Susan Hilferty (costume design), Tony Award winner Kevin Adams (lighting design), and Tony Award winner Kai Harada (sound design). Music arrangements and orchestrations will be done by Chris Miller and Brian Usifer, with music direction by Julie Wolf, and music supervision by Brian Usifer.

Swept Away is produced by special arrangement with Matthew Masten, Sean Hudock & Madison Wells Live

Updated On: 1/11/22 at 12:09 AM

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jkcohen626
#2Avery Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/9/22 at 1:20am

I wish I'd known about this earlier because I'm on the Peninsula until the 22nd, but there isn't good availability on Weekends and there's no way I'm driving all the way to Berkley on a weeknight! Hoping this is good has a future!

 

bear88
#3Avery Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/11/22 at 5:21pm

Tickets are available for Swept Away if you want them. And they're a lot cheaper than they were a couple of months ago. Dynamic pricing works both ways.

I live in the Bay Area and exchanged tickets I had for Thursday's show for a Sunday evening in late February, towards the tail end of the run, when I hope the Omicron variant will have run its course. The phone lines were jammed, as a lot of people are exchanging tickets, according to the guy I contacted at the Berkeley Rep. Because I had paid more for my "cheap" seats back in November, I ended up paying $11 extra for premium seats next month.

The latest variant is wreaking havoc with Bay Area theaters. I glanced at tonight's available tickets for the first night of The Band's Visit and there are a lot of good seats available at the Golden Gate Theatre. I think people are postponing their plans and trying to get exchanges, at least here.

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Sutton Ross
#4Avery Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/11/22 at 5:24pm

This sounds so special and the cast? Dag, man. 

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Jordan Catalano
#5Avery Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/11/22 at 5:44pm

I hadn’t heard of this. I’m really hoping this comes to NY, it sounds fantastic. 

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Kitsune
#6Avery Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/11/22 at 5:58pm

We subscribed to Berkeley Rep this season, and have tickets for Swept Away in February. I got an e-mail recently saying we could convert our tickets to a video stream instead, which would be available by February 28th.

Not sure if that's available to the general public, or just ticket holders/subscribers.

As for The Band's Visit, we theoretically have tickets for next week. Crossing my fingers this can (safely) happen!

Updated On: 1/11/22 at 05:58 PM

bear88
#7Avery Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/11/22 at 9:03pm

Kitsune, I think the online access option is just for subscribers but I'm not totally sure. I saw School Girls online at the Berkeley Rep at the beginning of the pandemic, but now it seems like a feature for subscribers.

Jordan, given the Broadway talent involved in this, I assume the plan is for the show to find its way to New York City eventually.

The Berkeley Rep has dynamic pricing, and it's been striking how that's affected things due to Omicron. The show was selling out fast and had already extended in November when I bought the cheapest tickets available for $62 each on Thursday because previews and weeknights are less expensive. Those same tickets are now available for $33 (and $23 if you're under 35). 

I paid a few dollars extra to get premium seats for a Sunday evening in late February. It's in the smaller of the Berkeley Rep's two theaters, with a capacity of 399 seats.

I feel badly for the Berkeley Rep, but ticket sales still look pretty strong overall.

Updated On: 1/11/22 at 09:03 PM

Jmuep2
#8Avery Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/15/22 at 12:45pm

Don’t feel too bad for Berkeley Rep. Or I don’t. I reached out to them to see what the policy was on exchanging my non-subscriber ticket was because of Omicron. They made it clear there was no world in which they would refund my ticket or let me exchange it without charging even more. Furthermore, the rep I talked to implied the theatre was just fine with sick patrons coming to the theatre as long as they had proof of vaccination. This may have been one badly communicating employee but I was kinda stunned they were 100% inflexible. 

Andi Benjamin
#9Avery Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/15/22 at 4:14pm

Has anyone heard or seen any reviews? It seems like there's been radio silence.

Updated On: 1/15/22 at 04:14 PM

schubox
#10Avery Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/15/22 at 4:44pm

I have tickets for this on Saturday the 22nd. Thought it was weird there hadn’t been any reviews. I’ll be happy to share my thoughts next weekend if there aren’t any reviews out 

bear88
#11Avery Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/16/22 at 4:15am

Jmuep2 said: "Don’t feel too bad for Berkeley Rep. Or I don’t. I reached out to them to see what the policy was on exchanging my non-subscriber ticket was because of Omicron. They made it clear there was no world in which they would refund my ticket or let me exchange it without charging even more. Furthermore, the rep I talked to implied the theatre was just fine with sick patrons coming to the theatre as long as they had proof of vaccination. This may have been one badly communicating employee but I was kinda stunned they were 100% inflexible."

Our experiences were similar. The rep I talked to wasn’t terribly flexible either, and I negotiated the exchange fee down from $30 to $15, which I thought was irritating given the circumstances. (I was postponing due to Omicron, I explained patiently.) But my situation was a bit unique, as I had purchased seats back in November when prices were higher, so I ended up paying $11 extra for better seats. I basically just have to hope the Covid situation is better by late February. (Getting comparable seats would not have made sense, because as a non-subscriber, I would have been left with stray money that they wouldn’t refund.) I understand and sympathize with the plight of all theater companies right now, but I think it’s shortsighted to hold ticket buyers to pre-Covid standards in the midst of a new variant. I want to support local theater but also want those theaters to understand the health concerns of their patrons without tacking on extra charges. Goodwill matters.

There haven’t been professional reviews yet because the show is still in previews. Opening Night is Friday so I assume we’ll see some reviews after that. I had planned to go to the fourth preview on Thursday before postponing. I look forward to hearing everyone else’s thoughts because I won’t be seeing the musical now until the end of its run.

Updated On: 1/16/22 at 04:15 AM

subtextbycalvinklein
#12Avery Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/16/22 at 6:50am

Caught one of the preview shows this week! Gotta say, I really enjoyed myself.

I'd consider the weakest elements to be pacing (the show could use another 10 or so minutes; though I will say it's SO refreshing to see something that's just a little short instead of far too long—whole thing ran UNDER 90 minutes with no intermission) and that the characters might not work enough for some people. (They're a little ... archetypal for lack of a better word. I personally didn't mind this as I felt that it was in line with the folksy nature of the show, but I could see some people not necessarily vibing with it.) That aside, it was still an entertaining watch and, imo, really solid for a first go-round. I sincerely hope this show continues to move forward, as I think it could possibly have a similar path to Hadestown's if they continue to adjust and grow it. 

Set and sound design were STELLAR. My god, I won't dare spoil what they did with the set, but I will say it got a full round of applause the night I went. Rachel Hauck is so damn good at her job. The atmosphere is incredible.

Direction and choreography blended well together (Michael Mayer isn't always my favorite so this was a pleasant surprise—he does some nice work in a sequence that takes up most of the back half) and the songs were charming and well-placed within the structure of the show. Forgive me, I'm not super familiar with the Avett Brothers, but I'd say this avoids all the nasty pitfalls of lesser jukebox musicals. Highlights are a stomp-and-holler dance number towards the beginning with Sands, Gallagher, and Enscoe and Gallagher's last two solo numbers. The band rocked! 

Cast-wise, Sands and Gallagher were the standouts for me. Sands has a great stage presence and a lovely voice and Gallagher brings his usual folk/rock grit to his vocals that I think suits this show and his character well. The two of them get some great moments. Poor Enscoe seemed a little nervous and tired, but it may have just been an off night. Duvall doesn't get too much to do. The Ensemble members all brought their A-Game and are used very purposely in a way I liked. 

If you're able to make it, the theatre isn't super big so the whole experience feels more on the intimate side and any seat in the house is a great view. All in all the group I went with had a great time! We even got lucky and caught the full cast and some band members after the show, who were all incredibly kind and gracious enough to chat with us about how excited they were to open. If anyone else here has seen it, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

 

Updated On: 1/16/22 at 06:50 AM

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RippedMan
#13Avery Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/16/22 at 7:33pm

Will you ruin the set design for me? I'd love to know more about it. Deciding if this is worth the drive up from LA! Thanks!

subtextbycalvinklein
#14Avery Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/16/22 at 8:01pm

No problem, I'd be more than happy to! Do you mind if I PM you? I don't want to spoil anything for those who might want to go in blind :)

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RippedMan
#15Avery Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/16/22 at 10:17pm

Of course! Thanks!

jacobsnchz14 Profile Photo
jacobsnchz14
#16Avett Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/16/22 at 11:08pm

Would you mind sharing a song list if one was available?

Andi Benjamin
#17Avett Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/16/22 at 11:28pm

schubox said: "I have tickets for this on Saturday the 22nd. Thought it was weird there hadn’t been any reviews. I’ll be happy to share my thoughts next weekend if there aren’t any reviews out"

That would be very helpful. Thanks. I'm seeing the closing show. Meeting our kids there and have great seats. They'll go in any event--they're local--but we're flying in from SoCal and if it's awful, they'll go with friends, Thank you. Please PM if people don't want "spoilers!"

 

Updated On: 1/16/22 at 11:28 PM

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sorano916
#18Avett Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/17/22 at 12:31am

jacobsnchz14 said: "Would you mind sharing a song list if one was available?"

There's no physical program, just a digital one and it lists this Spotify playlist, noting that these were songs in the show. However, that playlist is not in the order of the songs in the show.

When I saw the show yesterday, Berkeley Rep Artistic Director, Johanna, came out before the show, saying one of company members tested positive for COVID so those who had direct contact would be wearing masks (the four ensemble members) while those not in contact would not be wearing masks (the four leads). While not a completely dance heavy show, it was probably a bit uncomfortable for the ensemble to be wearing masks throughout. Avett Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews But kudos to them and well wishes to the swing who tested positive. 

As far a tickets goes, online it had looked like my performance was pretty well sold, but when I got there, there were so many open seats. Many people in my section moved around as soon as the house lights dimmed at the start of the show. 

As far as the show itself, it will not be everyone's cup of tea. I could see that it was boring to some; some were nodding off. It's not the most action packed show but I thought the performances were good and the songs fit with the story (or the story fit with the song, depending on the way you looked at it). The scenic element that @subtextbycalvinklein mentioned was quite good. I wasn't spoiled of what the exact thing going in so I would say to keep that spoiler free if possible just so you'r a bit surprised. :) 

For its future... It might work well for an off-Broadway run somewhere... Signature or BAM or St. Ann's... but I don't think it would work well on Broadway. It's a bit of an intimate show that it would be swallowed up in a Broadway house. 

mxfish1313
#19Avett Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/20/22 at 12:15pm

I bought tickets for this as soon as they went onsale way back in August of 2019. I’m so excited to finally get to see it this Saturday and am hoping that excitement will make the 5 hour drive up seem like nothing (just like driving to Vegas, haha). I called their box office a couple days ago to make sure my under-35 ticket price would still be honored (since I was 33 when I was originally supposed to see it in 2020 but am 35 now) and I had to wait on hold for just over an hour. I figured a LOT of people were trying to exchange tickets. I noticed their website says they’re waiving transfer fees and performance day price differences, so it might be worth reaching back out to them for those of you that WERE charged for that? Though waiting on hold for an hour may not be worth the $15 for some. 
 

All that to say, I am very excited. I’ve liked the few Avett Brothers songs I’ve heard, but my main catalyst for getting these tickets was the chance to see a killer cast in an intimate setting. I’m also a fan of the creative team and the venue (saw Angels in America there a few years ago) so even though I’m not making a weekend out of it like I’d originally planned, I’m just excited this is finally happening. 

levineds
#20Avett Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/20/22 at 2:17pm

I saw this a few days ago with several other theater friends. Of us, I think I liked it the most. They thought it was terrible. I thought it was merely not good. This show needs a lot of work. It runs too quickly to develop much of the needed characterization to make us understand/care for these characters. If we had more time for the characters to flesh out their thoughts/feelings about their situation, it might be significantly better. I didn't actually realize this was a jukebox musical until I read things after (we're local so we see a lot that comes through Berkeley Rep, particularly musicals). That makes a lot of sense as the songs seem to poorly fit the plot/characters and don't propel the show forward or fit into any kind of real narrative. The songs were mostly nice and catchy and the casts' voices and acting are great, but they don't make a coherent musical. The sets are amazing (we all praised them) and the choreo and directing were good. Ultimately, the book was just too bad to compensate and the lyrics do not help.

Detailed comments with spoilers below (after shifting all letters by 13 (e.g. https://rot13.com/ )

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Updated On: 1/20/22 at 02:17 PM

everythingtaboo Profile Photo
everythingtaboo
#21Avett Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/20/22 at 2:54pm

I'll admit I have no idea who the Avett Brothers are but it sounds interesting, and that cast is fantastic. Is it totally sung-through, like American Idiot? 

subtextbycalvinklein, can you spoil the set using the spoiler tag? Don't know how many of us will be able to see it anytime soon.




"Hey little girls, look at all the men in shiny shirts and no wives!" - Jackie Hoffman, Xanadu, 19 Feb 2008

Wayman_Wong
#22Avett Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/20/22 at 3:54pm

''Has anyone heard or seen any reviews? It seems like there's been radio silence.''

''Swept Away'' has been in previews since Jan. 9. It officially opens Thursday, Jan. 20, so you'll probably start seeing reviewers weigh in, starting this weekend. 

Updated On: 1/20/22 at 03:54 PM

nycW44
#23Avett Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/20/22 at 9:44pm

You shouldn't have any problems at box office. I was under 35 when I bought ticket & they didn't ask to check ID at pick up. This past Saturday night, I would say less than 1/2 of theater was full. I figure a lot of subscribers are exchanging for later dates this year. I agree with reviews on pacing & characterization issues. Does anyone know how the cast is doing now? Saturday the ensemble was wearing masks due to a positive case. Hope things are better now!

nycW44
#24Avett Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/20/22 at 9:47pm

I should also say this is my 4th John Logan book musical and my least favorite

schubox
#25Avett Brothers’ SWEPT AWAY at Berkeley Rep - Previews & Reviews
Posted: 1/23/22 at 1:01am

Not sure I can add much more than what others have said but I thought this was pretty great. The cast was phenomenal, I wish the ensemble had been around a little longer because they were all terrific as well. The set was fantastic as others have said. Really blew me away.

Agree with the criticism that because it’s a jukebox musical that the songs don’t always fit completely. But the songs are great and performed well. Also agree the characters could probably be fleshed out a little more, but my wife and I both really really enjoyed it. 


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