New season marks 100 years of playmaking at UNC-Chapel Hill with a Pulitzer prize winner, several world and regional premieres and a cosmic musical tribute
A merry romp through Sherwood Forest, a Pulitzer Prize winner, a high-stakes power play between working class and big business, a world premiere of depth and delicacy, the search for truth in the stars and one of the most romantic musicals of all time make up the Mainstage lineup of PlayMakers Repertory Company’s 2018-2019 season: “Shifting Ground – Theatre that Moves.”
The 2018-2019 Mainstage season delves into the reverberations caused by choice. Each of the six plays explores the power individuals wield to shape and shift everything– from our most intimate relationships, our memories and the institutions around us, to the broadest strokes of science, history and ultimately truth.
“In selecting this next season at PlayMakers, I wanted to take up the charge of using theater to provoke, represent and entertain our audiences and artists alike,” said Producing Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch. “Our 2018-2019 lineup is all about shifting ground – how power dynamics constantly realign and the ways in which we reclaim or rewrite the narratives of our lives. From the brilliant reach of Brecht to the intimacy of Paula Vogel, the rigor of Dominique Morrisseau and the touching poignancy of emerging playwright Charly Simpson, we have chosen a season of great plays that I hope will move us in every sense of the word.”
PlayMakers will also present three works in the PRC2 Kenan Stage season, complementing the Mainstage themes and adding new work and conversation to the PlayMakers experience.
The 2018-2019 PlayMakers season marks the 100th anniversary of the playmaking tradition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1918, a traveling troupe of University and local artists performed, calling themselves Carolina PlayMakers. The troupe took their final bow in 1976, and PlayMakers launched as a professional regional theater. In its 40-year history, PlayMakers has produced more than 300 productions, served nearly 50,000 audience members each year and reached more than 125,000 area youth through award-winning educational programs.
Subscription packages are available for purchase now and renewing subscribers can secure their current seats for the new season through May 1. Call (919) 962-7529 or visit PlayMakers’ website for more information.
“Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood” by Ken Ludwig, Sept. 12–30, 2018
The season opens with the regional premiere of a swashbuckling new comedy about that iconic hero of the people who learns that sometimes doing “the wrong thing” ends up being the right thing after all. Ken Ludwig’s “Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood” is family fare that promises music, merry men, Maid Marian and much merriment.
“Skeleton Crew” by Dominique Morisseau, Oct. 10–28, 2018
The third in acclaimed playwright Dominique Morisseau’s Detroit Trilogy, “Skeleton Crew” is a searing drama about a tight knit group of employees facing the realities of big business bureaucracy in one of Detroit’s last-standing auto plants during the 2008 recession. As the power dynamics shift between blue- and white-collar workers, how far over the lines is each side willing to go to survive? “Skeleton Crew” has been described as “the best play you’ll see this year” (Detroit Free Press).
“She Loves Me” book by Joe Masteroff, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, Nov. 1 –Dec. 2, 2018
Hum your way into the holidays! In this romantic musical comedy of mistaken identity, two perfume clerks who aren’t at all the best of friends can’t seem to find common ground – until they realize they are each other’s anonymous pen pals. Inspiration for the classic movie, “You’ve Got Mail,” this holiday event for the whole family has been called “the most romantic of all Broadway musicals” (The Wall Street Journal).
“Jump” by Charly Evon Simpson, Jan. 23–Feb. 10, 2019
This funny, heartbreaking and tender play takes us on a journey where lights flicker, things fall from the sky, and a sister finds solace on a bridge. PlayMakers is proud to present the world premiere of this work by emerging playwright Charly Evon Simpson.
“Life of Galileo” by Bertholt Brecht , Feb. 27–March 17, 2019
Brecht’s renowned drama explores the life of 17th century scientist Galileo Galilei, the ultimate groundshifter who upended not just the world’s view of our solar system, but our place in it. Political dogma, scienceand survival, still at the forefront of our cultural dialogue four centuries later, asks what price are we willing to pay for the truth? Featuring original music by Justin Ellington and directed by PlayMakers’ Producing Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch.
“How I Learned to Drive” by Paula Vogel, April 3–21, 2019
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this wildly funny and compassionate play travels across one woman’s adolescent memories and the complicated roads she was forced to navigate in a relationship with an older man. “How I Learned to Drive” has been called “a lovely, harrowing guide to the crippling persistence of one woman’s memories” (The New York Times).
PRC2 Kenan Stage productions for 2018-2019:
“Temples of Lung & Air” by Kane Smego, Aug. 22 –26, 2018
International hip-hop artist, groundbreaking educator and UNC graduate Kane Smego premieres his electric, personal spoken word odyssey and ode to hip-hop as a global tool for community building.
“Bewilderness” by Zachary Fine, Jan. 9–13, 2019
Few realize that Henry David Thoreau wrote a flop of epic proportions before he penned his American Masterpiece, Walden. This new work is a comedic look at one of America’s greatest philosophers and a celebration of the failures we all must face along the road to our greatest discoveries.
TBA: April 24–28, 2019
All performances will be presented in the Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art on the UNC– Chapel Hill campus. Mainstage productions will be in the Paul Green Theatre; PRC2 shows will be in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre.
For information about PlayMakers’ 2018-2019 season, visit www.playmakersrep.org or call (919) 962-7529.