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Universes Premieres “Spring Training” on April 24-28 at PlayMakers Repertory Company

PlayMakers Repertory Company and Carolina Performing Arts will present the world premiere of Spring Training, written and performed by Universes of New York City, under the direction of Chay Yew, on April 24-28 in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Center for Dramatic Art as part of PlayMakers‘ PRC2 second-stage series. Universes includes Gamal Abdel Chasten, William Ruiz, Mildred Ruiz-Sapp, and Steven Sapp

According to PlayMakers Rep:

Spring Training has been specially commissioned by PlayMakers and Carolina Performing Arts as part of ‘The Rite of Spring at 100‘ project celebrating the classic ballet’s 2013 centennial.

PlayMakers, the professional-theater-in-residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, concludes its 2012-2013 PRC2 second-stage series with the production. PRC2 features innovative, topical plays coupled with engaging post-show discussions with the creative artists and other panelists following each performance….

“In Spring Training, Universes uses ‘The Rite of Spring’ as a springboard to deconstruct rites of passage. The group will bring their unique talents to an exploration of Stravinsky’s groundbreaking composition and create a daring 21st century soundtrack on ritual and revolution, breaking cultural barriers anew.

“Universes is known for being eloquent, edgy, and entertaining. The Los Angeles Times wrote of the New York-based ensemble, ‘These performers are fierce, funny and bitingly intelligent.’ The Boston Globe called Universes ‘a headlong explosion of poetry, percussion and multi-culti musical exploration that absolutely demands to be seen.’

“The Triangle’s Indy Week (formerly The Independent Weekly) gave Universes’ 2007 show at PlayMakers a rave review, saying these are ‘folks you’ve got to see and (particularly) hear’ with ‘intricate rhythms and intricate stories, told by artists … as adept at polyrhythmic musical composition as they are at acting.”

CVNC [formerly Classical Voice of North Carolina] called the troupe’s last PlayMakers‘ appearance (The Big Bang, 2010) ‘some of the most exciting music ever created a cappella …. [Universes] simply pours power and passion from the stage …. Hip-hop or not this group will entertain you.”

“The group recently was honored as one of five finalists for the first Kennedy Theater Prize, the new $100,000 theater award established in honor of Senator Edward M. Kennedy and his interest in American history. One of the theater’s most lucrative prizes, it was established in September by Kennedy’s sister Jean Kennedy Smith, with the assistance of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner….

PlayMakers is based in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. The Drama League of New York has named PlayMakers one of the best regional theaters in America and Indy Week calls PlayMakers the best live theater company in the Triangle.”

SECOND OPINION: April 23rd Chapel Hill, NC Daily Tar Heel preview by Lauren Clark:

PlayMakers Repertory Company presents SPRING TRAINING, a world premiere by Universes at 7:30 p.m. April 25-27 and 2 and 7:30 p.m. April 28 in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art, 120 Country Club Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.

TICKETS: $15-$40 ($10 UNC students and $12 other students).

BOX OFFICE: 919-962-PLAY or

GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-843-2311,, or





PlayMakers Repertory Company:

Carolina Performing Arts:

BLOG (PlayMakersPage to Stage):





Spring Training (play): (official web page).

Universes (poet-performers): (official website) and (Wikipedia).

Chay Yew (director): (Victory Gardens Theater bio) and (Wikipedia).

“The Rite of Spring at 100” (official website).


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Review, a FREE weekly e-mail arts newsletter. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Review.

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Categorised in: Features, Lead Story, Theatre Feature