The Good Book

The Good Book now playing “Heavenly” —San Francisco Chronicle The Good Book: watch video “Electrifying” —San Francisco Examiner, “A revelation” —Chad Jones’ Theater Dogs

The Good Book

By Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson
Directed by Lisa Peterson
Main Season · Peet’s Theatre
April 25–June 9, 2019
West Coast premiere

Running time: 2 hours and 45 minutes, plus one 15-minute intermission

“In the beginning was the Word…”

Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson (the team behind An Iliad) apply their formidable creative energy to unearth the all-too-human formation of the most influential book in Western history—the Bible.

This powerful play weaves together three distinct yet connected stories: a devout young man struggling to reconcile his belief with his identity; an atheist biblical scholar trying to find meaning as she faces her own mortality; and the creative journey of the Bible itself—from ancient Mesopotamia to medieval Ireland to suburban America—through the many hands, minds, hearts, and circumstances that molded this incredibly potent testament to the human spirit.

An important note regarding health and content advisories:
The Good Book includes the use of a smoke effect in one scene and a strobe-like effect in another scene. Berkeley Rep offers an advisory about any stage effect of potential concern to patrons’ health. We don’t offer unsolicited content advisories as sensitivities vary from person to person. If you have concerns about content or themes, we are happy to provide details. Please call our box office at 510 647–2949 or email

Season sponsors

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The Good Book calendar

Creative team

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Denis O’Hare · Playwright

Denis is the co-author, along with Lisa Peterson, of the award-winning solo performance play An Iliad (Obie and Lucille Lortel awards), which played at Berkeley Rep in 2012. He is currently starring in Tartuffe at the National Theatre in London and was most recently seen starring as Jessie in the NBC series This Is Us. Denis wrote and starred in his first feature-length film, The Parting Glass, directed by Stephen Moyer. His Broadway credits include Elling, Inherit the Wind, Sweet Charity (Drama Desk Award), Assassins (Tony nomination), Take Me Out (Tony, Drama Desk, Obie, and Lucille Lortel awards), Major Barbara, Cabaret, and Racing Demon. His off-Broadway credits include Helen, Silence, Cunning, Exile, and Into the Woods (The Public Theater); Vienna Lusthaus and An Iliad (New York Theatre Workshop—Obie Award); and Pig Farm (Roundabout Theatre Company). His film credits include The Goldfish (upcoming), Stano (upcoming), Late Night (upcoming), The Day Shall Come (upcoming), Private Life, Lizzie, Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive, Novitiate, From Nowhere, The Normal Heart, Dallas Buyers Club, C.O.G., The Eagle, 5,000 Feet is the Best, Edge of Darkness, The Proposal, An Englishman in New York, Duplicity, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Milk, Changeling, Baby Mama, Charlie Wilson’s War, Michael Clayton, A Mighty Heart, Rocket Science, Half Nelson, Garden State, 21 Grams, The Anniversary Party, and Sweet and Lowdown. Denis has also appeared in a number of television series including five seasons on American Horror Story and two seasons on True Blood. Some of his other television work includes This Is Us, When We Rise, The Good Wife, The Comedians, Banshee, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, CSI: Miami, Brothers and Sisters, Bored to Death, and 100 Centre Street.

Lisa Peterson · Playwright / Director

Lisa is a two-time Obie Award-winning writer and director whose previous projects at Berkeley Rep include Office Hour (2018); Watch on the Rhine (2017); It Can’t Happen Here (2016); Madwoman in the Volvo (2016); An Iliad (2012), which Lisa co-wrote with Denis O’Hare and which won Obie and Lortel Awards for Best Solo Performance; Mother Courage (2006); The Fall (2001); and Antony & Cleopatra (1999). Other recent West Coast productions include You Never Can Tell (California Shakespeare Theater), Hamlet (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), and Chavez Ravine (Ovation Award for Best Production—Center Theatre Group). She has directed world premieres by many major American writers, including Tony Kushner, Beth Henley, Donald Margulies, José Rivera, David Henry Hwang, Luis Alfaro, Marlane Meyer, Naomi Wallace, Basil Kreimendahl, and many others. She regularly works at the Guthrie Theater, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, and New York Theatre Workshop. Lisa and Denis are working on a commission for McCarter Theatre Center titled The Song of Rome. Lisa is also writing a new music-theatre piece with Todd Almond called The Idea of Order, co-commissioned by La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, and Seattle Rep.

Rachel Hauck · Scenic Design

Rachel’s Berkeley Rep credits include What the Constitution Means to Me, The Madwoman in the Volvo, Roe, It Can’t Happen Here, An Iliad, Mother Courage, Antony & Cleopatra, and Valley Song. Broadway credits include Hadestown, What the Constitution Means to Me, and Latin History for Morons. Recent work includes Hadestown (National Theatre, Citadel, New York Theatre Workshop), Hurricane Diane (NYTW), Othello and Twelfth Night (Shakespeare in the Park), The Lucky Ones (Ars Nova), You’ll Still Call Me By Name (Sonya Tayeh/Jacob’s Pillow), Tiny Beautiful Things and Dry Powder (The Public Theater), Amy and the Orphans and On the Exhale (Roundabout Theatre Company), and Antlia Pneumatica and Grand Concourse (Playwrights Horizons). Rachel received the Princess Grace Award and Lilly Award, Drama Desk and Lortel nominations, and the Obie Award for Sustained Excellence.

Lydia Tanji · Costume Design

Lydia is happy to return to Berkeley Rep where past credits include Homebody/Kabul, Slavs!, Our Town, Heartbreak House, The Glass Menagerie, Crime and Punishment, Master Class, Ballad of Yachiyo, and Dragonwings. American Conservatory Theater credits include Monstress, Let There Be Love, Napoli, Dead Metaphor, Round and Round the Garden, Marcus, Curse of the Starving Class, The Rainmaker, and After the War. Other regional theatre credits include California Shakespeare Theater, Aurora Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, the Guthrie Theater, Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Repertory, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Court Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Childrens Theater, The Public Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Syracuse Stage, Geva Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, and Arena Stage. Film credits include The Joy Luck Club, Hot Summer Winds, The Wash, A Thousand Pieces of Gold, Carved in Silence, Life Tastes Good, and Dim Sum. Lydia received five Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards and two Drama-Logue Awards.

Alexander V. Nichols · Lighting/Projection Design

Alexander returns to Berkeley Rep for his 34th production. Broadway credits include Wishful Drinking, Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway, Nice Work If You Can Get It, and Latin History For Morons, and off-Broadway productions of Los Big Names, Horizon, Bridge & Tunnel, Taking Over, Through the Night, In the Wake, In Masks Outrageous and Austere, and Ernest Shackleton Loves Me! Regional theatre credits include designs for American Conservatory Theater, the Mark Taper Forum, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage, Huntington Theatre Company, La Jolla Playhouse, and Seattle Repertory Theatre. Dance credits include resident designer for Pennsylvania Ballet, Hartford Ballet, and American Repertory Ballet. He was the lighting supervisor for American Ballet Theatre and has been the resident visual designer for the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company. His designs are in the repertory of San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, among others. Recent projects include Elizabeth Cree at Opera Philadelphia, Nixon in China at the LA Philharmonic, and Bluebeard’s Castle for the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra.

Mark Bennett · Composer / Co-Sound Design

Mark’s Berkeley Rep credits include Our Town, An Iliad, Antony & Cleopatra, and Mad Forest. Broadway credits include Junk, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Driving Miss Daisy, The Coast of Utopia (2007 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music), Golda’s Balcony, The Goat, and Lily Tomlin’s The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. He created scores for the five BAM/Old Vic Bridge Project productions 2009–12 (Sam Mendes, director). His off-Broadway credits include Nantucket Sleigh Ride (Lincoln Center Theater), An Iliad (Obie Award), Mad Forest and My Children! My Africa! (New York Theatre Workshop), Socrates, The Low Road, and scores for eight Shakespeare in the Park productions for The Public Theater under Joseph Papp. Regional productions include King Charles III (American Conservatory Theater); Junk, Queens, His Gal Friday, Most Wanted (musical), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Craig Noel Award) (La Jolla Playhouse); and Arms and the Man and Pygmalion (The Old Globe). Mark received the 1998 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Sound Design, a 1998 Bessie Award, an Ovation Award, an American Theatre Wing Award, and 14 Drama Desk nominations.

Charles Coes · Co-Sound Design

Charles is happy to be returning to Berkeley Rep where he designed Accidental Death of an Anarchist. His off-Broadway credits include Tales of the Washer King (Playwrights Realm), Servant of Two Masters (Theatre for a New Audience), Robber Bridegroom (Roundabout Theatre Company), and For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday (Playwrights Horizons). His regional credits include Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Yale Repertory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, South Coast Rep, The Old Globe, the Guthrie Theater, Shakespeare Theatre Company, ArtsEmerson, Wilma Theatre, Two River Theater, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Ford’s Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, and the Huntington Theatre. He has also designed Puppet UP! at the Venetian in Las Vegas and robotic and aquatic spectaculars for Royal Caribbean, and collaborated on installations with artists Ann Hamilton, Abelardo Morel, and Luis Roldan. He teaches at the Yale School of Drama and has worked as an associate on many Broadway shows, including Peter and the Starcatcher (Tony Award, Sound Design), Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Amy Potozkin, CSA · Casting

This is Amy’s 29th season at Berkeley Rep. Through the years she has also had the pleasure of casting plays for ACT (Seattle), Arizona Theatre Company, Aurora Theatre Company, B Street Theatre, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Dallas Theater Center, Marin Theatre Company, the Marsh, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Social Impact Productions Inc., and Traveling Jewish Theatre. Amy cast roles for various independent films, including Conceiving Ada, starring Tilda Swinton; Haiku Tunnel and Love & Taxes, both by Josh Kornbluth; and Beyond Redemption by Britta Sjogren. Amy received her MFA from Brandeis University, where she was also an artist in residence. She has been an audition coach to hundreds of actors and a presentation/communication coach to many businesspeople. Amy taught acting at Mills College and audition technique at Berkeley Rep’s School of Theatre, and has led workshops at numerous other venues in the Bay Area. Prior to working at Berkeley Rep, she was an intern at Playwrights Horizons in New York. Amy is a member of CSA, the Casting Society of America, and was nominated for Artios Awards for Excellence in Casting for The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures; One Man, Two Guvnors; and An Octoroon.

Alaine Alldaffer, CSA · Casting

Alaine’s most recent Berkeley Rep credit is A Doll’s House, Part 2. Alaine is also the casting director for Playwrights Horizons, where her credits include Grey Gardens (also for Broadway), Clybourne Park (also for Broadway), Circle Mirror Transformation (Drama Desk and Obie Awards for Best Ensemble and an Artios Award for casting), and The Flick (Playwright Horizons and the Barrow Street Theatre). Television credits include The Knights of Prosperity (aka Let’s Rob Mick Jagger) for ABC. Associate credits include Ed for NBC and Monk for USA. Her regional theatre credits include Arena Stage, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and American Conservatory Theater.

Madeleine Oldham · Dramaturg

Madeleine is the director of The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work and the Theatre’s resident dramaturg. She oversees commissioning and new play development, and dramaturged the world premiere productions of Fairview, Aubergine, The House that will not Stand, Passing Strange, and In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), among others. As literary manager and associate dramaturg at Center Stage in Baltimore, she produced the First Look reading series and headed up its young audience initiative. Before moving to Baltimore, she was the literary manager at Seattle Children’s Theatre, where she oversaw an extensive commissioning program. She also acted as assistant and interim literary manager at Intiman Theatre in Seattle. Madeleine served for four years on the executive committee of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and has also worked with ACT (Seattle), Austin Scriptworks, Crowded Fire, the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, the Kennedy Center, New Dramatists, Playwrights Center, and Portland Center Stage.

Sarah Rose Leonard · Dramaturg

Sarah Rose is the literary manager at Berkeley Rep and previously dramaturged Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes and Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations. Before returning to the Bay Area, where she grew up, she was the literary associate at Signature Theatre in New York City. In New York she held positions as the associate agent at AO International, Next Generation Fellow at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the CUNY Graduate Center, literary resident at Playwrights Horizons, and literary associate at Page 73. She has dramaturged productions of Iron Shoes (Shotgun Players); A Tale of Autumn and You For Me For You (Crowded Fire); A Particle of Dread, Kung Fu, Big Love, and The Wayside Motor Inn (Signature Theatre); and The Hotel Colors (the Bushwick Starr). Sarah Rose has workshopped new plays with Martyna Majok, Kate E. Ryan, and Mia Chung at The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work.

Leslie M. Radin · Stage Manager

Leslie is very pleased to be back at Berkeley Rep after most recently stage managing Fairview, An Octoroon, Aubergine, Head of Passes, and Troublemaker, or The Freakin Kick-A Adventures of Bradley Boatright. She started at Berkeley Rep as the stage management intern in 2003 and has also worked at American Conservatory Theater, Aurora Theatre Company, California Shakespeare Theater, Center Repertory Company, and Santa Cruz Shakespeare. She has traveled with Berkeley Rep productions to the Hong Kong Arts Festival and the New Victory Theater in New York. Her favorite past productions include Angels in America, Aubergine, Wittenberg, Sisters Matsumoto, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), Passing Strange, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, and The Secret in the Wings.

Additional credits

Laura Humphrey · Assistant Director
Jessie Bonaventure · Assistant Scenic Designer
Susannah Hyde · Assistant Scenic Designer
Jessica Berman · Dialect Coach
Maggie Forti · Guitar Coach
Simon Kafka · Guitar Coach
Tait Adams · Production Assistant
Wayne Barker · Vocal Coach / Music Associate


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Elijah Alexander · Man 3

Elijah returns to Berkeley Rep after appearing in Watch on the Rhine and Much Ado About Nothing. He has been seen on Broadway in Metamorphoses and off Broadway in Shopping and Fucking (New York Theatre Workshop). Other New York credits include Throne of Blood at Brooklyn Academy of Music. He has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Tantalus. Elijah’s regional credits include Playing with Fire (Guthrie Theater); Linda Vista (Mark Taper Forum); Shrew (South Coast Repertory); Fingersmith, Hamlet, Pride and Prejudice, and Henry VIII (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Richard III, Julius Caesar, Gaslight, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Art (Utah Shakespeare Festival); Man and Superman, Restoration Comedy, and An Ideal Husband (California Shakespeare Theater); Disgraced (Arizona Theatre Company); and The Invisible Hand (Gregory Award, A Contemporary Theatre, Seattle). His film and television credits include Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Amazing Love, Touch, Awake, JAG, and Summerland. Elijah received an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. Please visit

Elijah Alexander

Lance Gardner · Man 1

Lance last appeared at Berkeley Rep in An Octoroon and previously in Yellowjackets. He has performed at California Shakespeare Theater, San Francisco Playhouse, TheatreWorks in Silicon Valley, Marin Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, Encore Theatre, Climate Theatre, and more. When he’s not on stage he’s producing audio for radio and podcast. His work can be found at and

Lance Gardner

Denmo Ibrahim · Woman 1

Denmo is thrilled to make her Berkeley Rep debut. She was last seen as Zarina in The Who & The What (Marin Theatre Company) and as Mariam in the original production of A Thousand Splendid Suns (Seattle Repertory). Favorite regional stage credits include American Conservatory Theater, The Old Globe, Theatre Calgary, Vineyard Playhouse, New York Theatre Workshop, California Shakespeare Theater, Aurora Theatre, Crowded Fire, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She has collaborated with playwrights Mac Wellman, Eric Ehn, Yusef El Guindi, Kristoffer Diaz, Thomas Bradshaw, Melinda Lopez, Dustin Chinn, and Tanya Saracho and originated roles with composers Claudio Bohorquez, Rinde Eckert, and Carla Kihlstedt. Her devised work has toured to international festivals in Egypt, France, and Germany. She is the recipient of a Theatre Bay Area Award and a San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award. Denmo holds an MFA in Lecoq-Based Actor-Created Physical Theatre from Naropa University and a BFA in Acting from Boston University. She is a founding artistic director of Mugwumpin and a resident artist of Golden Thread Productions.

Denmo Ibrahim

Keith Nobbs · Connor

Keith has appeared on Broadway in Bronx Bombers, Lombardi, and The Lion in Winter. Off Broadway, he appeared in Hold on to Me Darling, The Legend of Georgia McBride, I’m Looking for Helen Twelvetrees, The Great God Pan, Dog Sees God, The Tutors, The Hasty Heart, Lemon Sky, Stupid Kids, Dublin Carol, Fuddy Meers, Romance, and Four (Lucille Lortel Award, Drama Desk nomination). Among his film credits are The Bad Guys, Weakness, 25th Hour, Double Whammy, It Runs in the Family, and Phone Booth. Television credits include Steven Spielberg and Ed Burns’ Public Morals and Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco’s The Black Donnellys as a series regular, Inside Amy Schumer, Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, The Pacific, In Treatment, In Plain Sight, Person of Interest, Fringe, three Law & Order series, and The Sopranos. Keith is currently studying cultural anthropology at Stanford University.

Keith Nobbs

Annette O’Toole · Miriam

This is Annette’s inaugural appearance with Berkeley Rep. Her New York and regional theatre work includes A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur and The Show-Off (Theatre St. Clement’s), The Traveling Lady (Cherry Lane Theatre), Man from Nebraska (Second Stage Theatre), Southern Comfort (The Public Theater) for which she received the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Actress in a Musical and Drama Desk and Drama League nominations, Hamlet in Bed (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), Magnolia (Goodman Theatre), Third (Two River Theater), Heresy (Flea Theatre), The Quality of Life (Arena Stage), Kindness (Playwrights Horizons), and The Seagull (Classic Stage Company). Her film and television performances include A Futile and Stupid Gesture, Women Who Kill, 48 HRS., Superman III, Cat People, One on One, The Punisher, Search Party, 11.22.63, Halt and Catch Fire, Smallville, and The Kennedys of Massachusetts for which she received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Annette will soon be seen in the Netflix series Virgin River and the feature film Blow the Man Down. Annette received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song for “A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow,” which she co-wrote with Michael McKean, from A Mighty Wind.

Annette O’Toole

Shannon Tyo · Woman 2

Shannon is happy to be making her debut at Berkeley Rep. Off Broadway, she has appeared in The Chinese Lady, Kentucky, Bikeman, and Dear Edwina. Favorite regional credits include Baltimore Center Stage, Barrington Stage Company, Geva Theatre Center, The Old Globe, Music Theatre Wichita, Kitchen Theatre Company, Pioneer Theatre Company, and Tuacahn Center for the Arts. Shannon is a graduate of Syracuse University.

Shannon Tyo

Wayne Wilcox · Man 2

Wayne is making his Berkeley Rep debut. Selected regional credits include Fellow Travelers at the Bay Street Theatre, Sense and Sensibility at The Old Globe and Chicago Shakespeare Theater, It’s A Wonderful Life at Bucks County Playhouse, The Light in the Piazza at Goodman Theatre, The Last Five Years at Philadelphia Theatre Company, and Bright Star at The Old Globe. Off Broadway credits include Suddenly Last Summer at Roundabout Theatre Company, The Great American Trailer Park Musical at New World Stages, Carrie and The Pride at MCC Theater, Rich Boyfriend at the Lion Theater, and A Man of No Importance at Lincoln Center. Broadway credits include Coram Boy, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The Normal Heart (Drama Desk Award), and Chaplin. Wayne can be seen in the upcoming FX series Fosse/Verdon. Additional television/film credits include Marty on The Gilmore Girls, The Good Fight, Elementary, Law & Order, Mania Days, Under, Interview, and Rent. Wayne received his BFA in acting from Boston University.

Wayne Wilcox

The actors and stage manager are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Leaping manThe Good Book is just heavenly. Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson’s play doesn’t only trace a rousing and risible survey of the Bible from piecemeal, often accidental oral history to codex to actual book you can hold in your hand. It also conjures two contemporary characters who are just as rich, complicated, imperfect and striving as the text they’re both obsessed with…Peterson summons and sustains with her stagecraft that feeling of awe before the eternal, but always leavened with the whimsy and wry humor that is distinctly of humans, not God…Peterson’s cast is phenomenal. [The Good Book] shows how we can both stay true to our beliefs and who we are while still being in conversation with the world.”

San Francisco Chronicle

Funny, at times electrifying and always edifying, The Good Book is more entertaining than you might imagine. And the acting (by a multicultural seven-member cast that includes some locals), Peterson’s direction and the design (Rachel Hauck’s set; Mark Bennett’s sound), are all terrific.”

San Francisco Examiner

The Good Book is a revelation. How Peterson and O’Hare go about answering the question of what the Bible really is takes nearly three hours and a play that careens all through time and space in a most entertaining manner. [The play] can feel scattershot, but that’s probably by design. It proves that from disparate parts, you can assemble something that, even though it seems unlikely, coalesces in a deeply meaningful, thought-provoking way.”

Theater Dogs

I loved this show. The casting was fantastic, staging creative, and the narrative full of surprises. I wish I could listen to it or read the script again, because it was so rich, insightful, smart, and provocative. What writing! What acting!”

Audience review

Amazing performances by everyone. I loved the complex storytelling, integration of music, the stories, and the overlapping arcs. I hope to come to see it again.”

Audience review

Watch now

Official trailer: The Good Book

Get a peek at Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson’s new play, The Good Book, in our official trailer.

Behind the scenes: Annette O’Toole and Keith Nobbs

Actors Annette O’Toole and Keith Nobbs discuss their characters’ journey in Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson’s new play, The Good Book.

Behind the scenes: Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson

The creators of The Good Book dive deeper into the play and share some scenes from rehearsals.

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