A Pulitzer Prize-winner straight from Broadway, the world premiere of a new adaptation of a timeless classic and a tour de force musical by Stephen Sondheim will highlight the six-play 2015-2016 Mainstage Season from PlayMakers Repertory Company.
The theater will also present three topical, thought-provoking shows in its PRC2 second stage season. The PRC2 series is a dynamic combination of exciting stories onstage followed by a “second act” of engaging post-show dialogue between the artists, expert panelists and the audience.
PlayMakers is the professional theater company in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. All performances will be presented in UNC’s Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. Mainstage productions will be in the Paul Green Theatre; PRC2 shows, in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre.
Subscription packages are available for purchase. Renewing subscribers can secure their current seats for the new season through May 1. Call (919) 962-7529 or visit http://www.playmakersrep.org for information.
Mainstage productions for 2015-2016 are:
“Disgraced” by Ayad Akhtar: Sept. 16 to Oct. 4, 2015
The season opens with the regional premiere of “Disgraced,” winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Obie Award for Best Playwriting. In the play, an upwardly mobile Pakistani-American lawyer has achieved success while distancing himself from his Muslim heritage. When he and his wife host a dinner party, friendly conversation turns to politics and religion, escalating into something far more dangerous in this breathtaking comedy-drama. Variety calls it “a blistering social drama” and The New York Times said it “bristles with wit and intelligence,” naming “Disgraced” one of its Ten Best Plays of the Year.
“Dear Elizabeth” by Sarah Ruhl: Oct. 14 to Nov. 1, 2015
Described as a play in letters from Elizabeth Bishop to Robert Lowell and back again, “Dear Elizabeth” depicts the 30-year marriage of minds between two acclaimed poets as revealed through a lifetime of their intimate correspondence. Words soar across decades and continents, as their story comes alive with intelligence and whimsy. The San Francisco Chronicle describes the play as “sheer magic.” The San Jose Mercury News said it “captures both the enchantment of poetry and the alienation of reality in equal measure.” PlayMakers’ production will star company member Ray Dooley, recently seen as Puck in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and Ellen McLaughlin, who appeared at PlayMakers in ”All My Sons” and “Penelope.”
TBA: Nov. 18 to Dec. 12, 2015
Negotiations are pending for a new Tony Award-winning play for the whole family to be presented for the holiday season. Information will be released soon.
“Three Sisters” by Anton Chekhov, world premiere adaptation by Libby Appel: Jan. 20 to Feb. 7, 2016
In Chekhov’s landmark drama, sisters Olga, Masha and Irina languish in a provincial town far from their beloved Moscow, yearning for the sparkling city of their childhood, where they are sure all wishes will be fulfilled. “Three Sisters” is a masterful look at a family navigating the space between reality and dreams. This will be the world premiere production of a new adaptation by the director of PlayMakers‘ “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.”
“We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Südwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915” by Jackie Sibblies Drury: Feb. 24 to March 13, 2016
In a present-day rehearsal, a performance piece on a little-known episode of early 20th century genocide takes a jolting turn when the actors – three black and three white – tap into personal resentments and sublimated prejudices. Tensions mount as they expose more of themselves than they ever wanted to. The Washington Post raved, calling “We Are Proud to Present …” “a genuine thunderbolt … devastatingly funny … dangerous and primal.” Backstage Magazine said the play delivers “90 minutes of original, enlightening, pulse-pounding theater.”
“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, a Musical Thriller” music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Hugh Wheeler, from an adaptation by Christopher Bond, originally directed on Broadway by Harold Prince, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick: March 30 to April 23, 2016
A brilliant tale of obsession and revenge, “Sweeney Todd” combines melodrama, murder – and “the worst pies in London” – with a sumptuous score by the incomparable Stephen Sondheim. The murderous barber and his culinary accomplice Mrs. Lovett take the audience on a spellbinding journey of comic turns and thrilling drama. The New York Times proclaimed the multiple Tony Award-winner a “whopping grisly yarn” and “thumping good entertainment.” The Guardian said Sondheim “skillfully mixes savagery, tragedy and comedy to create a work of art that leaves one in awe.” The Hollywood Reporter says “an audacious balance of acid-drenched comedy with subversive class warfare, gore and glowering drama puts ‘Sweeney Todd’ in a league of its own.”
Dates and descriptions of the plays in the PRC2 second stage series:
“Uncle Ho to Uncle Sam” written & performed by Trieu Tran: Aug. 26-30, 2015
A Vietnamese boy and his family barely escape the fall of Saigon and the horrors of a Viet Cong re-education camp to become refugees, at last coming to America. Tran tells of his riveting journey of hardship and brutality, with a new world of gang war, hip hop and Shakespeare on the other side. The Seattle Times says this haunting search for sanctuary is “no storybook saga … [it’s] a powerful tale of blistering force.” Tran appeared as a series regular on HBO’s “The Newsroom.”
“Highway 47” written & performed by KJ Sanchez: Jan. 6-10, 2016
An immensely entertaining storyteller, Sanchez spins a true tale of tangled history in the high desert New Mexico town where her family was among the original settlers under the Spanish Land Grants of 1734. Almost 300 years later, the holds of heritage have deteriorated and the community devolved in a quagmire of disputed land rights and lawsuits with her father playing a prominent role. The Chicago Sun Times calls Sanchez “a tour de force performer and powerful writer.”
TBA: April 27 to May 1, 2016
PlayMakers is finalizing plans to present a third play in the PRC2 series. Information will be released when available.
For information on PlayMakers’ 2014-2015 Season, currently presenting “An Enemy of the People” by Henrik Ibsen, adapted by Arthur Miller (onstage through March 15), followed by the Obie Award-winning “4000 Miles” by Amy Herzog (April 1-19) and “Mary’s Wedding” by Stephen Massicote (April 29-May 3), visit http://www.playmakersrep.org or call (919) 962-7529.
Based in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, PlayMakers is the Carolinas’ premiere resident professional theater company. New York’s Drama League has named PlayMakers one of the “best regional theatres in America.”