The 2024-25 seasons have been announced at the Bay Area's two biggest regional theaters, and highlights include two new hip-hop musicals, a new adaptation of Mozart's The Magic Flute, and a new production of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya featuring Hugh Bonneville, best known as Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham on Downton Abbey.

Berkeley Repertory Theatre announced their upcoming season on Tuesday, which includes two world premieres, three West Coast premieres, and this new production of Uncle Vanya adapted by acclaimed Irish playwright Conor McPherson, and directed by Simon Godwin.

First up in the season will be Mexodus, "an electrifying live-looping musical," that is composed in real-time by writer/performers Brian Quijada and Nygel D. Robinson. The show, a West Coast premiere, explores the little-known stories of the Underground Railroad that led south into Mexico, and the theater calls it a "groundbreaking, theatrical experience of resilience and resistance, celebrating the power of Black and Brown solidarity." That runs from September 13 to October 20.

Over at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, the new season will kick off on September 12 with Private Lives, the classic comedy of manners by Noel Coward. The play centers on a divorced couple who, while honeymooning with their new spouses, discover that they're all staying in the same hotel. The production, directed by KJ Sanchez, will "reimagine" the play and reset it in Argentina (from the original France), incorporating tango in skewering the "the tempestuous dance that is marriage." That will run through October 6 and will be the only fall production for ACT before they launch their reimagined Christmas Carol for the holiday season.

Press image for 'The Matchbox Magic Flute,' via Berkeley Rep

Berkeley Rep will feature two other shows this fall, both of them West Coast premieres. First will be The Matchbox Magic Flute, a new adaptation of Mozart's Magic Flute by acclaimed director Mary Zimmerman (Metamorphoses, The Arabian Nights, The White Snake). "Encounter dragons, birdmen, and trials by fire in this enchanting microcosm of wonder where magic and music intertwine," the theater writes. And The Chicago Reader raved about an earlier production, describing it as "a box of treasures, a haze of marvels, a banquet of dreams." That runs from October 18 to December 8.

That will be followed by the West Coast premiere of Jaja's African Hair Braiding, a play by acclaimed Ghanaian American playwright Jocelyn Bioh, who wrote last season's Goddess. The play is set in Harlem during the pre-pandemic Trump Era, and after its world premiere last fall on Broadway, the New York Times described it as a "riotously funny workplace comedy" and "A kind of 'Cheers' or 'Steel Magnolias' for today." That will run from November 8 to December 15.

ACT's A Whynot Christmas Carol will replace the theater's annual staging of the Charles Dickens classic, running from November 26 until Christmas Eve. Set in the fictional town of Whynot, the play, written by Obie Award-winning playwright Craig Lucas, depicts a small theater troupe rehearsing a production of A Christmas Carol "with too little time and money but no shortage of opinions."

Both theaters will stay dark through January next year, but previews begin January 31 for the world premiere of The Thing About Jellyfish at Berkeley Rep. The play is adaptation of the best-selling novel by Ali Benjamin, centered on 12-year-old Suzy Swanson coming to terms with the death of her best friend. That runs through March 9, 2025.

Hugh Bonneville in publicity shot for 'Uncle Vanya' at Berkeley Rep

Uncle Vanya, starring Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville in the title role, will begin previews on February 14 and run through March 23, 2025. If you're unfamiliar with Chekhov's tragi-comic play, or even if you are, this is probably a must-see.

February 28 will bring the start of the run for Nobody Loves You at ACT's Toni Rembe Theater. The reality-TV-inspired musical comedy written by Tony winner Itamar Moses (The Band’s Visit) premiered a decade ago in New York, and centers on Jeff, a philosophy grad student who goes on his ex-girlfriend's favorite reality show in order to win her back. That runs through March 30, 2025.

The Acting Company, the Tony-winning touring theater troupe, will be presenting two plays in repertory at ACT from April 15 to May 4, 2025. The group will be staging an adaptation of A Comedy of Errors, developed by Play On Shakespeare — the theater group that grew out of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival that translates Shakespeare into contemporary language — as well as August Wilson's Two Trains Running. "These contrasting productions — [by] some of the most passionate iconoclasts of the Western Canon — are hilarious and moving, filled with both social commentary and light-hearted laughter," ACT says.

April at Bekeley Rep will bring Here There Are Blueberries, a play based on true events, conceived and directed by Moisés Kaufman (The Laramie Project, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde). The play concerns a mysterious album of Nazi-era photographs that arrived on the desk of a U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum archivist in 2007, and a shocking truth that they revealed. That runs from April 5 to May 11, 2025. (Incidentally, it is premiering in New York tonight.)

And Berkeley Rep's season will close with the world premiere of the aves, a two-person play by acclaimed playwright Jiehae Park. That runs from May 2 to June 8, 2025.

ACT will present the world premiere, Bay Area-set hip-hop musical Co-Founders, from May 29 to July 6, 2025. Written by Bay Area MCs Ryan Nicole Austin, Beau Lewis, and Adesha Adefela, the piece focuses on startup culture and "features a deliciously catchy score that draws from the Bay Area’s rich hip-hop traditions, as well as soul, gospel, funk, jazz, R&B, and more."

ACT has announced a season that extends all the way into Fall 2025, with Korean Canadian comedian/playwright Ins Choi bringing his 2011 comedy Kim's Convenience to the Toni Rembe Theater from September 18 to October 19, 2025.

You can find tickets or purchase a subscription package for ACT here.

And for Berkeley Rep, find tickets or subscriptions here.

Top image: Hugh Bonneville backstage at the Coronation Concert held in the grounds of Windsor Castle on May 7, 2023 in Windsor, England. The Windsor Castle Concert is part of the celebrations of the Coronation of Charles III and his wife, Camilla, as King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the other Commonwealth realms that took place at Westminster Abbey yesterday. (Photo by Ian West - Pool / Getty Images)