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April Mae Davis, Adam Poole, Shanelle Nicole Leonard, Trevor Johnson
April Mae Davis and Adam Poole star as Fay and Hopkins, with Shanelle Nicole Leonard as Judy and Trevor Johnson as Dad in “Jump” by Charly Evon Simpson at PlayMakers.


PlayMakers Repertory Company is the first theater to participate in the National New Play Network rolling world premiere of “Jump,” written by emerging playwright Charly Evon Simpson and directed by Whitney White in her PlayMakers debut. Before continuing on to three additional theaters in 2019, “Jump” will run from Jan. 23 to Feb. 10 at the Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art, 120 Country Club Road.

“Jump” is a heartbreakingly funny new play about family grief and the spiritual journeys of two sisters, their father and a lonely bridge walker. In this whimsical world, lights flicker, things fall from the sky, and bridges real and metaphorical are a place of solace and healing.

Shanelle Nicole Leonard and April Mae Davis in JUMP
Shanelle Nicole Leonard and April Mae Davis star as Judy and Fay in “Jump” by Charly Evon Simpson at PlayMakers.


“I am so excited to introduce the brilliant, inspirational spirit that is Charly Evon Simpson to the Triangle, fresh off her off-Broadway debut,” said Vivienne Benesch, PlayMakers’ producing artistic director. “This is one of those plays that, from the start, grabs you by the heart and doesn’t let go. Charly’s work shows us the magic that can happen when family, or even strangers, attempt to build bridges of empathy, hope, and love, instead of building walls that separate and divide us. I’m equally thrilled to bring to PlayMakers the amazing talents of director Whitney White, who just had a runaway Off-Broadway hit herself. This dynamic duo are part of an amazing pipeline of women’s voices in theater today. And with a breathtaking set created by the genius mind of Alexis Distler (“Tartuffe,” “Three Sisters”), ‘Jump’ will be a treat for the eyes, mind, soul and heart.”

“When I first read ‘Jump’ I was struck by how gracefully and intensely the play handles the spectrum of grief, and Charly’s profound insight on how family ties can be both shaken and strengthened by loss,” said director White. “Each of Simpson’s characters carries their individual grief like a backpack, as I think we all do. Audiences of ‘Jump’ will, I hope, experience one of the things I so love about theatre: its power to bring people together and in sharing intimate, vulnerable moments, transform us from strangers to fellow travelers. With ‘Jump’ each of us will be walking together for a moment in time, making our individual load just a bit lighter. We will also glimpse together an issue we all need to be a little more aware of — mental health and wellbeing. Keep an eye out for Charly Simpson, because she represents so much that is exciting about American theatre today.”

“Jump” features April Mae Davis as Fay (“Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood,” “Tartuffe”), Trevor Johnson as Dad (“Leaving Eden”), Shanelle Nicole Leonard as Judy (“Tartuffe,” “Sense and Sensibility”), and Adam Poole as Hopkins (“She Loves Me,” “Dot”).

The creative team of “Jump” includes: Whitney White (Director), Alexis Distler (Scenic Designer), Tristan Raines (Costume Designer), Amith Chankdrashaker (Lighting Designer), Sinan Refik Zafar (Sound Designer), Mark Perry (Dramaturg), Tia James (Vocal Coach) and Elizabeth Ray (Stage Manager).

“Jump” deals with themes of grief, depression and suicidal ideation. All patrons are encouraged  to use their own discretion in determining the appropriateness of the material.

For information and to purchase tickets, call 919.962.7529 or visit Individual ticket prices start at $15; Student tickets start at $10. Group discounts are also available.

Performance and Special Event Schedule:

  • January 23 – 25, 7:30 p.m. — Preview performances
  • January 24, 6:00 m. — “The Vision Series—Directors in Conversation,” a behind-the-scenes preview with members of the creative team before the evening’s performance, at the Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art. Free and open to the public.
  • January 26, 7:30 p.m. — Opening Performance & Press Opening, with post-show Opening Night Celebration
  • January 29, 7:30 p.m. — All-access performance for attendees with special needs, with sign language interpretation and audio description
  • January 29, 7:30 p.m. — Community Night. General admission seating, with all tickets $15
  • January 30 and February 3 — Free post-show discussions with members of the creative team, cast and community members
  • February 10, 2:00 p.m. — Open captioned performance, with dialog, stage direction, and sound effects communicated on a “universal access” live caption unit

PlayMakers Repertory Company in UNC’s College of Arts & Sciences is North Carolina’s premier professional theater company. For more than 40 years, PlayMakers has produced relevant and courageous work that tells stories from and for a multiplicity of perspectives, and creates transformational impact in our immediate and extended communities. The theater company is proud to be part of a 100-year tradition of playmaking at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. PlayMakers has been named one of the “best regional theatres in America.”




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