PlayMakers Repertory Company will kick off its 2018-19 mainstage season with the Triangle premiere of York, PA-born playwright and screenwriter Ken Ludwig’s 2017 comedy with music, Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood, directed by Brooklyn, NY actress and director Jessie Austrian, on Sept. 18-23 and 25-30 in the Paul Green Theatre in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art. This all-star production will feature new music by the Red Clay Ramblers’ Jack Herrick.
“The tale of Robin Hood is part of our collective mythology. Robin Hood is a nobleman who leaves behind his life of privilege to stand up for those in society who cannot. He is joined by a band of Merry Men and Maid Marian as he robs from the rich to give to the poor. But how well do we really know this legendary folk hero and what moves him? The legend of Robin Hood is one of the original resistance stories, and one man’s awakening to the injustices of his society. In Ken Ludwig’s frolicking, funny retelling, he’s not a perfect man at all, but perfectly imperfect and surrounded by a colorful cast of characters who help challenge and shape his ideals.
“‘This is a play that we need right now. The “legend” of Robin Hood has become so much a part of our consciousness that we have forgotten what it really means,’ said PlayMakers‘ producing artistic director Vivienne Benesch. ‘Beyond the swashbuckling, humor and romance — of which there is plenty — Ken Ludwig’s take on this classic tale brings us back to Robin Hood’s social justice roots; what a way to open our season of Theatre that Moves! Theatrically, I am also excited that this production shines with an original score by North Carolina’s Jack Herrick, whose music helps bring a familiar folk-quality to the play, which is only fitting, since the American folk play originated here at UNC-Chapel Hill just about 100 years ago.’
“‘What excited me most about directing this play is the heart at the center of this Robin Hood story,’ said Jessie Austrian[, who is making her PlayMakers Rep directorial debut]. ‘It’s a story about a group of underdogs standing up to corruption and fighting for those in need. Ken has reimagined these classic heroes — and heroine — for a contemporary audience with delightful comedy, which also opens the door to deep pathos and compassion. And, it’s an ensemble play that relies on the audience’s imagination. That’s what I love about theater most: the audience’s imagination is required, we are all a part of making the story together, and we become a community. I hope audiences will leave the theater exhausted from laughing and committed to making our corner of the world a little bit better. We are all capable of becoming heroes in our communities at any time.'”
Also according to PlayMakers Rep:
“Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood features Joshua David Robinson as Robin Hood (Three Sisters, Twelfth Night Off-Broadway); Jeffrey Blair Cornell as Sir Guy (Count, My Fair Lady); Ray Dooley as Prince John (Leaving Eden, Tartuffe); April Mae Davis as Doerwynn (Sense and Sensibility, In the Red and Brown Water at National Black Theatre Festival); Rishan Dhamija as Little John (Leaving Eden, Dot); Christine Mirzayan as Maid Marian (The Christians, The Cake); Tristan Parks as Sheriff of Nottingham (My Fair Lady, The Crucible); and Dan Toot as Friar Tuck (Sense and Sensibility, and Pericles at Chicago Shakespeare Theater).
“The creative team of Sherwood includes: Jessie Austrian (director [and] co-artistic director and founder of NYC’s Fiasco Theater); [Tracey Bersley (PlayMakers Rep’s resident choreographer and a movement coach);] Kara Wooten (fight director; Cyrano de Bergerac, Hamlet at National Ballet of Canada); Jack Herrick (composer, music director; Big River, and Broadway’s Fool Moon), McKay Coble (scenic designer; Leaving Eden, The Tempest/Metamorphoses); Tracy Christensen (costume designer; Three Sisters and Broadway’s 2017 Sunset Boulevard); Rui Rita (lighting designer; PlayMakers debut, Broadway’s Enchanted April); Melanie Chen Cole (sound designer; PlayMakers Debut, Imaginary Invalid at The Old Globe); Jenny Latimer (assistant director; The Cake, My Fair Lady); Ryan Tucker (assistant fight coordinator); Greg Kable (dramaturg); Charles Bayang (stage manager); and Elizabeth Ray (assistant stage manager).
“Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood is appropriate for all ages.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune called it “Fun, frothy summer entertainment! A brightly colored, lighthearted take on the legend, which audiences may find just right for a summer evening in Balboa Park. KSDS JAZZ 88 hailed the show as “an ingenious production!” and added “Whether you relish swashbuckling adventure, amorous exploits, or good triumphing over evil, you’ll find what you’re looking for here. The humor consistently hits the mark.” And Sarasota Magazine praised the play’s “comic spin” and raved “The merriment of this show’s merry men — and women — is contagious, making Ken Ludwig’s Robin Hood!’s exclamation point well deserved.”
SECOND OPINION: Sept. 11th Chapel Hill, NC Daily Tar Heel (student newspaper) preview by Maeve Sheehey: http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2018/09/playmakers-sherwood-delayed-0911, Sept. 5th preview by Jessica Hardison: http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2018/09/mckay-coble-quanda-0905, and Sept. 3rd preview by A.J. O’Leary: http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2018/09/playmakers-robinhood-0903; and Sept. 5th Durham, NC Indy Week mini-preview by Byron Woods: https://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/sherwood-the-adventures-of-robin-hood/Event?oid=17630041.
PlayMakers Repertory Company presents SHERWOOD: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, with original music by the Red Clay Ramblers’ Jack Herrick, at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18 Preview, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 Opening Night, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20-22, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 25-28, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29 and 30 in the Paul Green Theatre in the Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art, 150 Country Club Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.
TICKETS: $15-$48 ($10 UNC students and $12 other college students), with discounts for UNC faculty and staff and U.S. military personnel, except $15 general admission ($10 for UNC students with ID) on Community Night (Tuesday, Sept. 18th).
GROUP RATES (15+ tickets): 919-962-PLAY (7529), email@example.com, or http://www.playmakersrep.org/box-office/groups-and-special-events/.
2018-19 SEASON (Shifting Ground: Theatre That Moves): http://playmakersrep.org/season/2018-2019/
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/.
NOTE 1: All shows are wheelchair accessible, and assistive-listening devices will be available at all performances.
NOTE 3: There will be a gala opening-night performance, starting at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19th.
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, Sept. 19th, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23rd, performances.
Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood (2017 Old Globe Theatre of San Diego, CA comedy): http://www.kenludwig.com/robin_hood/robin_hood.php (official web page) and https://www.samuelfrench.com/p/62891/ken-ludwigs-sherwood-the-adventures-of-robin-hood/ (Samuel French Inc.).
Ken Ludwig (York, PA-born playwright and screenwriter): http://www.kenludwig.com/ (official website), https://playmakersrep.org/artists/ken-ludwig/ (PlayMakers Rep bio), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/ken-ludwig-7069 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0525024/ (Internet Movie Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Ludwig (Wikipedia).
Jack Herrick (composer and music director): http://playmakersrep.org/artists/jack-herrick/ (PlayMakers Rep bio), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/jack-herrick-70068 (Internet Broadway Database), and https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0380606/ (Internet Movie Database).
Jessie Austrian (Brooklyn, NY director): https://www.jessieaustrian.com/ (official website), https://playmakersrep.org/artists/jessie-austrian/ (PlayMakers Rep bio), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/jessie-austrian-487479 (Internet Broadway Database), https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3865649/ (Internet Movie Database), https://www.facebook.com/JessieAustrian (Facebook page), and https://twitter.com/jessieaustrian (Twitter page).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail email@example.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)