PlayMakers Repertory Company announces 2017-2018 season

Video IntroA playful, irreverent take on Jane Austen; a dizzy, dysfunctional family reunion; two topically charged premieres by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill alumni; and the return of the popular rotating repertory with works about faith and following will comprise the Main-stage lineup of PlayMakers Repertory Company’s 2017-2018 Season: A Season on the Edge.

The 2017-2018 Main-stage season from UNC-Chapel Hill’s professional theater in residence leaps into multiple perspectives on questions of morality, family, history’s edges and the complexities of human connection.

The new season is the second selected by PlayMakers’ Producing Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch.

“I am eager to continue creating a path for theatre to make a transformational impact on our communities,” said Benesch. “With several regional premieres, including our first fully commissioned work, the 2017-18 season leaves me breathless with the promise of bringing new points of view and new voices that engage while they entertain. PlayMakers is about providing a first-class theatre experience right here at UNC-Chapel Hill, and being a forum for extraordinary, courageous work that invites us to tackle big questions. Our new lineup, along with a host of exceptional artists from our resident company and around the nation, will do just that.”

PlayMakers will also present two groundbreaking, topical works in its 2017-18 PRC2 second- stage season and a holiday special event for the whole family.

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.

Main-stage productions:

“The Cake” by Bekah Brunstetter, Sept. 13 – Oct. 1

The season opens with a regional premiere and the first of three North Carolina stories this season. Della makes cakes, not judgment calls. But when the woman she helped raise comes back home to Winston-Salem to get married and her fiancé is actually another woman, Della is forced to examine some of her deeply held beliefs for the first time in her life. “The Cake” was written by critically acclaimed UNC-Chapel Hill alumnus Bekah Brunstetter, who currently writes for NBC’s “This is Us.”

“Sense and Sensibility” adapted by Kate Hamill, Oct. 19 – Nov. 6

Based on the novel by Jane Austen

Playwright Kate Hamill gives a fresh, comic take on Jane Austen’s beloved novel. Set in gossipy late 18th-century England, this eminently theatrical adaptation follows the fortunes (and misfortunes) of the Dashwood sisters—sensible Elinor and hypersensitive Marianne—after their father’s sudden death leaves them financially destitute and socially vulnerable. Hamill’s adaptation has been called “an unconditional delight” by The New York Times and “full of galloping comic vitality” by The Wall Street Journal.

“Dot” by Colman Domingo, Nov. 21 – Dec. 16

In another regional premiere, Dotty and her three grown children gather for the holidays with more than exchanging presents on their minds. This compassionate and often hilarious look at dementia’s effects on a family grapples unflinchingly with aging parents and midlife crises in the heart of a West Philly neighborhood. Theater Mania called “Dot” is “a magnificent play full of laughter and heartbreak.”

The rotating repertory presents two shows that explore different aspects of a theme, encouraging discovery and conversation.

Molière’s “Tartuffe”, Feb. 3 – March 11, 2018

Adapted by David Ball

In rotating repertory with “The Christians”

The man of the house has lost his mind. He has been blinded by the counterfeit zeal of a penniless scoundrel who fully intends to make off with his wife, his livelihood and probably the kitchen sink. The New York Times calls David Ball’s new adaptation of this classic French satire of religious hypocrisy “glorious from the first scene.”

“The Christians” by Lucas Hnath, Feb. 3 – March 11, 2018

In rotating repertory with Molière’s “Tartuffe”

Twenty years ago, Pastor Paul’s church was nothing more than a modest storefront. Now he presides over a megachurch of thousands, with a coffee shop in the lobby and a baptismal font as big as a swimming pool. But Pastor Paul is about to preach a sermon that will shake the very foundations of his church’s beliefs. The Chicago Tribune heralded this big-little play about faith in America as “truly gripping and wholly unexpected.”

“Leaving Eden” by Mike Wiley with music & lyrics by Laurelyn Dossett, April 4 – 22, 2018

World Premiere of a PlayMakers Repertory Company commission

Mike Wiley, UNC-Chapel Hill alumnus and acclaimed playwright of “The Parchman Hour,” returns to PlayMakers with singer-songwriter Laurelyn Dossett to explore, through words and music, the cyclical nature of humanity. This unearthing of yesterday yields a hymn for our future, with its glimpse into identity, immigration and economic struggle—all told through the lens of a small town in North Carolina. American Theater has called Wiley’s plays “sophisticated blends of narrative and wit.”

PRC2 second- stage productions:

“Count” by Lynden Harris (a co-production with Hidden Voices), Aug. 23 – 27, 2018

PlayMakers’ own resident company member Kathryn Hunter-Williams directs this searing portrayal of a single day on death row, where six men unpack their personal inheritances of violence, racism, mental illness, poverty and unexpected love. Who is disposable, who counts, and what does justice mean when the scales are broken and the blindfold is our own?

TBA: April 25 – 29, 2018

A PlayMakers special holiday event for the whole family:

“Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol,” Dec. 13 – 23, adapted by William Leach

An intimate evening with PlayMakers legend Ray Dooley as he shares the classic tale of Ebeneezer Scrooge’s journey through Christmases past, present and future to find redemption, charity and love.

All performances will be presented in UNC-Chapel Hill’s Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. Main-stage productions will be in the Paul Green Theatre; PRC2 shows and “A Christmas Carol” will be in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre.

PlayMakers is the professional theater in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s College of Arts and Sciences, and North Carolina’s premier resident theater company for more than 40 years. PlayMakers has been named one of the “best regional theatres in America”.