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***UPDATE*** (March 11, 4:39pm): All events on UNC campus, including PlayMakers, are cancelled. Please refer to UNC’s Covid-19 page for updates.

From left, Lisa Wolpe as Cassius and Jeffrey Blair Cornell as Brutus in "Julius Caesar." (photo by Huthphoto)
From left, Lisa Wolpe as Cassius and Jeffrey Blair Cornell as Brutus in “Julius Caesar.” (photo by Huthphoto)

PlayMakers Repertory Company presents “Julius Caesar,” the classic Shakespearean political thriller. Directed by Andrew Borba in his PlayMakers debut, the production runs from March 4 to 22.

Julius Caesar, returning war hero, is beloved by the people. Rome’s senators fear his ambitions will lead Caesar to dissolve its democracy and proclaim himself Emperor. On a shocking night, his friends and countrymen assassinate Caesar. Will their power brokering save Rome’s democracy? Or is it paranoia that threatens to plunge the Republic into chaos and war?

“This season, PlayMakers has been exploring rich, often complicated stories of the past, in ways that resonate right NOW. What better moment for ‘Julius Caesar’ to finally make its PlayMakers debut than during a time when our own republic is grappling with issues of power, political voice, and how to see past the screen of rhetoric to the truth,” said Vivienne Benesch, PlayMakers’ producing artistic director. “The amazingly talented Andrew Borba is helming a fast-paced drama that magnificently captures the kind of intrigue, passion and personal betrayal that Shakespeare does so well. Add in an arresting set designed by our resident wonder Jan Chambers and an acting company led by some of the Bard’s best American interpreters, and our audiences are in for a real treat.”

“The opportunity to direct Shakespeare is an irresistible magnet for me,” said director Borba. “As a director, I want to tell and share great stories with people. Hands down, Shakespeare created the most complex, large scale, and yet intimately personal stories that you can deeply sink your creative teeth into. It has been a wonderful and inspiring challenge to work with the amazing artists at PlayMakers, to bring Julius Caesar and his cohorts to life in 2020 and make this masterpiece of a play feel as relevant, audacious and heart-stopping as ever.”

Behind the scenes as Jessica Secrest works on a large cast of Julius Caesar's head.
Behind the scenes as Jessica Secrest works on a large cast of Julius Caesar’s head.

This production of Julius Caesar is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a national program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

“Julius Caesar” features C. David Johnson (“Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” on Broadway, 8 seasons of “Street Legal” on Canadian Broadcasting Company) and Lisa Wolpe (“The Taming of the Shrew” at Prague Shakespeare Company, “The Tempest” at Orlando Shakes) making their PlayMakers debuts.

Also featuring  David Adamson (“Everybody,” Henry IV & V”), Sergio Mauritz Ang (“Ragtime,” “Much Ado About Nothing” at Classics in Color), Jeffrey Blair Cornell (“My Fair Lady,” “How I Learned to Drive”), April Mae Davis (“Native Son,” “Tartuffe”), Samuel Ray Gates (“Dot,” “Leaving Eden”), Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes (“Native Son,” “Life of Galileo”), Kathryn Hunter-Williams (“Everybody,” “Henry IV & V”), Tia James (“Native Son,” “The Merchant of Venice” on Broadway), Tori Jewell (PlayMakers debut), Sarah Elizabeth Keyes (“Ragtime,” “Sense and Sensibility”), Khalil LeSaldo (“Dairyland,” “Julius Caesar” at Tennessee Shakespeare Company), Adam Poole (“Ragtime,” “Sweeney Todd”), AhDream Smith (PlayMakers debut), Dan Toot (“She Loves Me,” “Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood”), and Omolade Wey (“Everybody,” “God & Country” at Georgetown University).

The Creative Team of “Julius Caesar” includes: Andrew Borba (Director; Artistic Director at Chautauqua Theater Company, “As You Like It” at CTC), Kara Wooten (Fight Director; “Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood,” “Romeo & Juliet” at Guthrie Theater),  Jan Chambers, (Scenic Designer; “The Cake,” “Henry IV”), Grier Coleman (Costume Designer; “Life of Galileo,” “The Crucible”), Kate McGee (Lighting Designer; “Life of Galileo,” “My Lingerie Party” Off-Broadway), Kate Hopgood (Sound Designer; “Birthday Candles” at Detroit Public Theatre), Nick Guaraglia (Projections Designer; PlayMakers debut),  Adam Versényi (Dramaturg; “The Tempest,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”), and Charles K. Bayang (Stage Manager; “Twelfth Night,” “Three Sisters”).

Poster art for Julius Caesar shows a giant head with the words "Julius Caesar and PlayMakers Repertory Company and March 4-22 and the director name on it: Andrew BorbaThis play is rated PG; we encourage patrons to use their own discretion in determining the age appropriateness of the material. Please contact our Box Office for more details. 

For information and to purchase tickets, call 919.962.7529 or visit Individual ticket prices start at $15.

Performance and Special Event Schedule:

  • February 17, 7 p.m. — “In the Wings,” a partnership with local public Libraries, featuring conversations with actors and artists about the play. At the Durham Public Library, Stanford L. Warren branch.
  • March 5, 6 p.m. — “The Vision Series,” a behind-the-scenes preview with members of the creative team before the evening’s performance. Free and open to the public.
  • March 4 – 6, 7:30 p.m. — Preview performances
  • March 7, 7:30 p.m. — Opening Performance & Press Opening, with post-show Opening Night Celebration
  • March 10, 7:30 p.m. — All-access performance for attendees with special needs, with sign language interpretation and audio description
  • March 10, 7:30 p.m. — Community Night. General admission seating, with all tickets $15
  • March 14, 2 p.m. — Open captioned performance, with dialog, stage direction, and sound effects communicated on a “universal access” live caption unit
  • March 11, 6:30 p.m. — “Setting the Scene,” a free pre-show discussion about the play, led by Resident Dramaturg and Chair of the Department of Dramatic Art, Adam Versényi.
  • March 15 — Free post-show talkback with members of the creative team, cast and community members
  • March 17 — “Where are we NOW?” a free post-show discussion on the topic of Protest, Political Action & Civil Disobedience, facilitated by local artists, scholars, and cultural workers.
  • March 22 — “Mindplay,” a free post-show psychoanalytic reading of our production in partnership with the North Carolina Psychoanalytic Society.

PlayMakers Repertory Company, based in UNC’s College of Arts & Sciences, is North Carolina’s premier professional theater company.


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