It’s odd to imagine the Berkeley Rep, with its modern new concrete theater and varied seasons, as the grand old dame of the East Bay theater scene. Don’t such places usually drip with gilt, worn plush seats, and wealthy society folk? But the Rep has the street cred and the subscribers, two very different stages, a school, and the pull to get some of the hottest new theater on offer. The group drew national attention this year for choosing to go ahead with Tony Kushner’s new Homebody/Kabul after an NEA funding flap. The move earned respect from locals, and tickets for the show, which recently opened, already are hard to come by. Rep shows are consistently well-chosen and well-made; they regularly feature some of the most exciting and accomplished actors and designers from our area and around the country. And its new school, the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre in the Nevo Education Center, offers a great faculty including such local talent as Leonard Pitt, Nancy Gold, Adam Bock, Bob Ernst, Beth Donohue, and Christopher Morrison.