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Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" at PlayMakers Repertory Theatre in Chapel Hill, N.C., in 2017. Pictured: Geoffrey Culbertson. (Photo by Jon Gardiner)

PlayMakers Season Marks 100 Years of Playmaking at UNC Chapel Hill

The theatre’s “Legacy | NOW” season will include a slate of new work combined new angles on older work.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.: PlayMakers Repertory Company has announced the lineup for its 2019-20 season, titled “Legacy | NOW.” The season celebrates 100 years of playmaking at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and will feature two world premieres and the first production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in the theatre’s history.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the lineup for our ‘Legacy | NOW’ season as an opportunity to celebrate, interrogate, and renew the diverse and intersecting legacies that make us who we are,” producing artistic director Vivienne Benesch said in a statement. “Some of the brightest and most thought-provoking theatremakers of today will engage and collide with some foundational stories and storytellers in a season long conversation that recommits PlayMakers to the legacy of social justice and humanitarianism begun 100 years ago.”

The season will open with Nambi E. Kelley‘s adaptation of Native Son (Sept. 11-29) by Richard Wright. The play follows a man’s slide into violence after he struggles to find his place in a world whose prejudice shuts him out.

Following will be the world premiere of Dairyland (Oct. 16-Nov. 3) by Heidi Armbruster, in which a New York City food writer returns home to her father’s dairy farm after she finds herself on the wrong side of the food scene.

Ragtime (Nov. 20-Dec. 15), based on the novel of the same name by E.L. Doctrow, will be next. With book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, and lyrics by Lynne Ahrens, the Tony-winning musical about the volatile “melting pot” of early 20th-century New York tells three distinctly American stories. Lauren Kennedy will make her PlayMakers debut in the production as Mother.

The season will continue with Branden Jacobs-Jenkins‘s Everybody (Jan. 22-Feb. 9, 2020). The existential comedy is an modern update of the medieval morality play Everyman.

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (March 4-22, 2020), a first for PlayMakers Rep, will follow.

The mainstage season will close with Native Gardens (April 8-26, 2020) by Karen Zacarías. The comedy follows a neighborly feud over land ownership that spirals into a war of taste, class, and entitlement.

In addition to the mainstage season, PlayMakers produces the PRC2 Kenan Stage series, curated to spark conversation. Each performance of these productions will be followed by a “second act” of discussion.

The first production in this series will be No Fear and Blues Long Gone: Nina Simone (Aug. 22-25) by Howard L. Craft. The play celebrates the music, loves, and losses of the North Carolina singer.

Following will be Jessica Dickey’s The Amish Project (Jan. 8-20, 2020), a fictionalized exploration of an Amish community left in the aftermath of a schoolhouse shooting.

The final play in the series will be the world premiere of Edges of Time (April 29-May 3) by Jacqueline E. Lawton. The play follows the life and times of Marvel Cooke, pioneering journalist and activist, who was the first African American female writer to work for a mainstream newspaper. Kathryn Hunter-Williams will play Cooke.

PlayMaker’s Repertory Company strives to present work that tells stories from and for a multiplicity of perspectives and creates an impact in both immediate and extended communities.

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