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In The May Queen at PlayMakers Rep, Playwright Molly Smith Metzler Speaks with a Singularly Funny, Very Human Voice

Andrea Syglowski as tackles the title role of former May Queen Jennifer Nash (photo by Jon Gardiner)

Andrea Syglowski tackles the title role of former May Queen Jennifer Nash (photo by Jon Gardiner)

PlayMakers Repertory Company will present the regional premiere of The May Queen, an original comedy by award-winning playwright Molly Smith Metzler, on Nov. 22, 23, 26, and 27 and Nov. 29-Dec. 4 and Dec. 6-11 in the Paul Green Theatre in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Center for Dramatic Art. Originally commissioned by Chautauqua Theatre Company of Chautauqua, NY, the play premiered in the summer of 2014, under the direction of first-year PlayMakers Rep producing artistic director Vivienne Benesch, who was then serving as artistic director of Chautauqua Theatre Company.

In its Nov. 15th news release, PlayMakers Repertory Company calls The May Queen “a mixed-up mash-up of high school reunion meets The Office.”

According to Chautauqua Theatre Company’s news release for the show’s July 18-27, 2014 world-premiere production:

“Everyone who graduated from Kingston High School [in Kingston, NY] class of ’96 wonders what happened to their May Queen, Jen Nash [played for PlayMakers by Los Angeles/New York actress and writer Andrea Syglowski]. Some say she became one of [disgraced Governor of New York Eliot] Spitzer’s hookers; some say she married a sheik in Dubai; some say she’s the real kingpin behind The Bling Ring. The only person who seems to know for sure is Mike Petracca [played at PRC by New York actor and producer Nate Miller], a former flame who still carries an obsessive torch for the beauty. But when Jen Nash suddenly resurfaces in Kingston and starts temping in his office, Mike is forced to see his golden May Queen — and himself– with new eyes. Metzler’s touching, bright new comedy reveals the roles we play in each other’s lives, whether we know it or not.”

The cast of PlayMakers Repertory Company's Nov. 22-Dec 11 production of <em>The May Queen</em> includes (from left) PlayMakers Rep mainstay Julie Fishell as Gail Gillespie and newcomers Jenny Latimer as Nicole, Andrea Syglowski as Jennifer Nash, and Rishan Dhamija as David Lund (photo by Jon Gardiner)

The cast of PlayMakers Repertory Company’s Nov. 22-Dec 11 production of The May Queen includes (from left) PlayMakers Rep mainstay Julie Fishell as Gail Gillespie and newcomers Jenny Latimer as Nicole, Andrea Syglowski as Jennifer Nash, and Rishan Dhamija as David Lund (photo by Jon Gardiner)

PlayMakers Repertory Company’s news release adds:

“‘The May Queen speaks to core values of community and homecoming, of our nostalgia for that shimmering time on the edge of adulthood in high school, and the power of memory to shape our present — a present that may not be anything close to what we expected,” said Vivienne Benesch, PlayMakers‘ producing artistic director. “We are thrilled to host the regional premiere of this special play, and a playwright whose singularly funny, human voice is like a window into our souls. Molly’s work has a huge heart to it that celebrates real people and real relationships, quirks and all, and entertains from start to finish.’

“‘This play is set in my beloved hometown, Kingston, New York, and is a story of one woman’s homecoming,’ explained Molly Smith Metzler. ‘As for most of us, the journey of “going home” can take some unexpected twists and turns, and that’s what I strove to capture in this play. Having PlayMakers produce the show is another kind of homecoming, as I worked with Vivienne in the original production. I hope audiences will laugh, cry and toast to their own May Queens when they watch it!

The news release from UNC’s professional-theater-in-residence adds:

“Making their PlayMakers‘ debuts are: Andrea Syglowski as Jen Nash (recent credits include Benefit of Doubt at Roundabout Theatre Company [and the film The Last Appeal, [plus she will be appear as Nora in The Huntington Theatre Company’s upcoming production of A Doll’s House), Nate Miller as Mike Petracca (recently on stage in Of Good Stock as Hunter and Ripcord at Manhattan Theatre Club; appearing on TV in The Good Wife ), Rishan Dhamija as David Lund (international stage credits include Arsenic and Old Lace for At Rise Productions, New Delhi and Shiva Calling at Idea Worx Productions, New Delhi), Jenny Latimer as Nicole (Cossette in the 25th Anniversary tour of Les Misérables).

“Returning to perform is PlayMakers‘ company favorite, Julie Fishell as Gail Gillespie (Sweeney Todd, Three Sisters, and Peter and the Starcatcher).”

Jenny Latimer (left) and Julie Fishell star as Nicole and Gail Gillespie (photo by Jon Gardiner)

Jenny Latimer (left) and Julie Fishell star as Nicole and Gail Gillespie (photo by Jon Gardiner)

PlayMakers Repertory Company also notes:

“The creative team of The May Queen includes: Vivienne Benesch (director), Jan Chambers (scenic designer), Tracy Christensen (costume designer), Scott Bolman (lighting designer), Anna Warda Alex (sound designer), John Patrick (voice coach), Hannah-Jean Farris (stage manager), Charles K. Bayang (assistant stage manager), [and] Shaun Patrick Tubbs (assistant director).”

PRC AUDIENCE ADVISORY: “This new comedy can be enjoyed by everyone who ever went to high school or who’s ever worked in an office! [It c]ontains some adult themes and language and is recommended for audiences 14 and older.”

Nate Miller and Andrea Syglowski star as Mike Petracca and Jennifer Nash (photo by Jon Gardiner)

Nate Miller and Andrea Syglowski star as Mike Petracca and Jennifer Nash (photo by Jon Gardiner)

PlayMakers Repertory Company presents THE MAY QUEEN at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 22 and 23 Previews, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 26 Opening Night, 2 p.m. Nov. 27, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29-Dec. 2, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, 2 p.m. Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6-10, and 2 p.m. Dec. 11 in the Paul Green Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art, 150 Country Club Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.

TICKETS: $15-$55 ($10 UNC students and $12 other college students), with discounts for UNC faculty and staff and U.S. military personnel, except $15 (general admission) Tuesday Community Night performances. BOX OFFICE: 919-962-PLAY, prcboxoffice@unc.edu, or https://tickets.playmakersrep.org/.

GROUP RATES (15+ tickets): 919-962-PLAY (7529), prcboxoffice@unc.edu, or http://www.playmakersrep.org/box-office/groups-and-special-events/.

SHOW: https://playmakersrep.org/show/the-may-queen/.

VIDEO PREVIEWS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCNEps28oR0, https://www.facebook.com/playmakersrep/videos/vb.6063055746/10154727390260747/?type=2&theater, and https://www.facebook.com/playmakersrep/videos/vb.6063055746/10154727429915747/?type=2&theater.

PRESENTER: http://www.playmakersrep.org/, https://www.facebook.com/playmakersrep, https://twitter.com/playmakersrep, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayMakers_Repertory_Company, and http://www.youtube.com/user/PlayMakersRep.

PRC BLOG (Page to Stage): http://playmakersrep.blogspot.com/.

VENUE: http://playmakersrep.org/aboutus/paulgreen.

DIRECTIONS/PARKING: http://playmakersrep.org/visitorinfo.

NOTE 1: All shows are wheelchair accessible, and assistive-listening devices will be available at all performances.

NOTE 2: There will be a gala opening-night performance, starting at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26th.

NOTE 3: There will be an All-Access Performance, with sign-language interpretation and audio description by Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 29th.

NOTE 4: There will be FREE post-show discussions, with members of the cast and creative team, following the show’s 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30th, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4th, performances.

NOTE 5: There will be an Open Captioning Performance at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3rd (for more information, click here).

NOTE 6: December 6 to 11 will be Business Week at PlayMakers Rep, with a special group rate for local businesses.

NOTE 7: The North Carolina Psychoanalytic Society will sponsor a FREE post-show Mindplay discussion after the 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11th, performance.

OTHER LINKS:

Molly Smith Metzler (New York, NY playwright): https://playmakersrep.org/molly-smith-metzler-interview/ (PlayMakers Rep interview), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4030641/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://www.facebook.com/mollysmithmetzler (Facebook page).

Vivienne Benesch (Chapel Hill, NC director): http://playmakersrep.org/artists/vivienne-benesch/ (PlayMakers Rep bio) and https://www.facebook.com/vivienne.benesch (Facebook page).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing robertm748@aol.com and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail robertm748@aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)

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Categorised in: Features, Lead Story, Theatre Feature